Saturday, December 13, 2008

Most Outrageous Book

or book idea — because I refuse to figure out whether it's for real — of the year.
Natural Harvest —A Collection of Semen-Based Recipes.

Dogs, Bread, Grapes, Monkeys

and the Big Three bailout bill. Gail Collins makes me laugh, or at least snicker, and that's worth a lot these days.


.. If Senator DeMint’s constituents are going to riot over a bailout for the auto industry, they’ll wind up being met by tool-and-die makers waving torches and yelling about soybean subsidies. If the lawmakers from Alabama say their constituents do not want their tax money going to bail out Michigan, the people in Michigan are going to say that they never really enjoyed paying more taxes to the federal government than their state received in aid, while Alabama got a return of $1.61 on the dollar. And anytime a representative from the Great Plains opens his mouth, the people from New York are going to point out that while every state gets the same number of senators, there are more people waiting for a subway in Brooklyn in rush hour than inhabit all of Wyoming.

Those Overpaid Auto Workers

Can't remember if I posted this, so here goes:

So here’s a little experiment. Imagine that a Congressional bailout effectively pays for $10 an hour of the retiree benefits. That’s roughly the gap between the Big Three’s retiree costs and those of the Japanese-owned plants in this country. Imagine, also, that the U.A.W. agrees to reduce pay and benefits for current workers to $45 an hour — the same as at Honda and Toyota.

Do you know how much that would reduce the cost of producing a Big Three vehicle? Only about $800.

That’s because labor costs, for all the attention they have been receiving, make up only about 10 percent of the cost of making a vehicle. An extra $800 per vehicle would certainly help Detroit, but the Big Three already often sell their cars for about $2,500 less than equivalent cars from Japanese companies, analysts at the International Motor Vehicle Program say. Even so, many Americans no longer want to own the cars being made by General Motors, Ford and Chrysler.

Go Ahead, Have A Laff

Friday, December 12, 2008

Glass Ceiling Cont'd.

And in a craft in which small errors are commonplace and bigger mistakes a regular occupational hazard, Ms. Toner devised a meticulous personal method for checking and re-checking names, dates, facts and figures in her own raw copy, a step few reporters take. As a result: only half a dozen published corrections over the years, on more than 1,900 articles with her byline.

Not your daddy's Judith Miller.


 I tells ya. Yeah, that's it. And, of course, ACTING!

Some of the largest companies in the US, including General Electric, Wal-Mart and PepsiCo, will today launch a drive to improve ethical standards in business in an attempt to stem the decline in corporate America's public standing.
The move by 17 companies, with nearly $1,000bn in sales, to commit to key principles of good business conduct comes as the financial crisis and recession are fuelling a political and public backlash against the corporate world.

Oh, Jeez

I honestly can't remember what I planned to tag this, but here it is.
 Puppies, right?

Comment O' Teh Day:
Some ideas are truly golden. Simultaneously punch-drunk stupid and as perfect as a geodesic sphere.
Okay, I hadn't actually gone through the whole comment thread when I posted this. Now I have gone through all some of it, and I can honestly say it made me laugh more than anything I have seen this year.

If monkey's could choose what they did with their vast amounts of free time, I reckon this wouldn't be too far off the mark.
Perhaps without the silks. "Nude monkeys riding dogs"...
Ok. Maybe not.

Golden Contrarienne!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

War On Christmas

Hilarious. Only in America.

Responding a scandal in NC where a Jewish mother's complaint about the Christ-like overtones of "Rudolf The Red-Nose Reindeer" got the song pulled from the kindergarten show, our resident Talmudic scholar reveals:
Of course, the song "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" was written by a Jewish-American songwriter, Johnny Marks. He also wrote "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day." Also written by Jews: "I'll be Home for Christmas," "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year," "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)," and of course, the mother of all Jewish-written Christmas songs, "White Christmas," by Irving Berlin.  Why, you could almost say there's a conspiracy by Jews to dominate the Christmas-jingle-writing industry!

What Did You Think

it was about. Oil maybe?
“From the moment the first American tanks crossed the Kuwait border, America was in a proxy war with Iran,” Ware says. “The Iranians knew it, but it took the U.S. four years to figure it out. Now the Iraqi government is comprised almost entirely of factions created in Iran, supported by Iran, or with ties to the Iranian government — as many as 23 members of the Iraqi parliament are former members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.”

Women And Booze

I have skin in this game, so I'm just going to give the link and you can folo wherever it takes you.

P.S. Women Worth Noting: Kerry Howley


is what they call videos that gather millions of views. Inexplicably.
Like "Hamster On A Piano Eating Popcorn." 1:18 min.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Get Your Pointing Fingers Out

Stiglitz calls them capitalist fools.

The whole scheme was kick-started under Ronald Reagan. Between his tax cuts for the rich and the Greenspan Commission’s orchestrated Social Security heist, working Americans lost out in a generational wealth transfer shift now exceeding $1 trillion annually from 90 million working class households to for-profit corporations and the richest 1% of the population. It created an unprecedented wealth disparity that continues to grow, shames the nation and is destroying the bedrock middle class without which democracy can’t survive.

Greenspan helped orchestrate it with economist Ravi Batra calling his economics "Greenomics" in his 2005 book "Greenspan’s Fraud." It "turns out to be Greedomics" advocating anti-trust laws, regulations and social services be ended so "nothing....interfere(s) with business greed and the pursuit of profits."

Who Needs Puppies

when there are bears?

This Guy, This Guy!

From Huffpo:
Democratic officials close to the transition team say that Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize winning physicist, appears to be increasingly on track to become energy secretary.

A Chinese-American, Chu is a professor of physics and molecular and cell biology at the University of California-Berkeley and has been the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory since 2004, where he has pushed aggressively for research into alternative energy as a way to combat global warming.

It is the oldest of the Energy Department's national laboratories, but does only unclassified work and in recent years under Chu has been at the center of research into biofuels and solar technologies. Chu has been a strong advocate for the need to engage scientists in the search for ways to combat global warming by replacing fossil fuels with other energy sources such as biofuels and the sun.

MSNBC reports that Chu will be named Energy Secretary, but that it will not be announced this week.

The Marble Ceiling

TPM calls them the Green Team.

WSJ pointing to Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm as Secretary of Energy, former EPA chief Carol Browner as a "special energy czar," and Los Angeles Deputy Mayor Nancy Sutley as chair of the President's Council on Environmental Quality in the new Obama Administration.

I have a weakness for the current gov. of my birth state. Did I tell you she, also, such, you betcha is a former beauty queen. And, um, Harvard Law grad.

Quote O' Teh Day

From a review of what may be a movie so perfect I may not be able to bear it.

“Wendy and Lucy” is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian). It has some swearing, a little drug use and a brief implication of violence, but no nudity, sex or murder. The rating seems to reflect, above all, an impulse to protect children from learning that people are lonely and that life can be hard.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Smart Pills

I know, I know, it's cheating. But hell, sign me up.

Human ingenuity has given us means of enhancing our brains through inventions such as written language, printing and the Internet. Most authors of this Commentary are teachers and strive to enhance the minds of their students, both by adding substantive information and by showing them new and better ways to process that information. And we are all aware of the abilities to enhance our brains with adequate exercise, nutrition and sleep. The drugs just reviewed, along with newer technologies such as brain stimulation and prosthetic brain chips, should be viewed in the same general category as education, good health habits, and information technology — ways that our uniquely innovative species tries to improve itself.

I Have No Idea

how good journalism ranks among contrariennes or anyone else, but it's kind of a hobby of mine to keep in touch with my former profession, maybe in the hope that things will get better at some point.
This story today gives me more hope than anything I've read recently, because the idea of information as a public service may be the beginning of a new way of thinking about it. And a new way of doing it.
“Information is now a public service as much as it’s a commodity,” Woolley said. “It should be thought of the same way as education, health care. It’s one of the things you need to operate a civil society and the market isn’t doing it very well.”

Monday, December 8, 2008

Animals In Sports

Soccer horses, surfing dogs, monkey basketball.

Recycling Business

is tanking right along with everything else.

Who Knew?

More signs.
Australia has roaming kangaroos, wombats and...wait for it..camels.

Not Just The Supremes

The Washington Post reports that Barack Obama and the big Democratic majority in the Senate now have the opportunity to flip the ideological balance in many lower federal courts -- the places where most case law is truly handed down. "The change will be most striking on the Richmond-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, long a conservative bastion and an influential voice on national security cases, where four vacancies will lead to a clear Democratic majority," the Post says.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Two Puppies Down

Four to go. Sniff.
UPDATE: Three now. 12-8-08 10:13 am
Live Broadcasting by Ustream

My Book Group

has been together for more than 25 years. I shall not out the GD's on the internet, but I frankly don't relate to anything in this NYT story. Still, you might. Let me know.
C'mon, you can do comments. NSA is not interested in comments at Contrarienne dot com.


You Did Not Know

there was an actual movie called Santa Claus Conquers The Martians. Or did you?

Maybe You Haven't Heard This

Because it's Saturday and I haven't heard it on the news once.
Obama to tap Shinseki as VA Secretary.
Shinseki, remember, was the Army Chief of Staff forced into early retirement by Bush and Rumsfeld for not lying to Congress about how many troops it would take to win the peace in Iraq.