Saturday, October 10, 2009

Headline O' Teh Day

The one every copy editor yearns for, but the opportunity never comes. Until today.
Hint: It's not Obama and not the Nobel. It's better.


The only thing holding me back from writing my autobiography was the title. In a moment of inspiration while driving to a meeting last night, I thought of it. Racing Short-Legged Dogs.
Just so metaphorical, don't you think?
Video at 11. Tomorrow. Or whatever.

Random Thought

What would the wingnuts be saying if Obama's favorite sports activity was bicycling and he had been a cheerleader in college. Oh wait...

Basketball Man Saturday

 Er, make that Nobel Man.

“At one point, I had to box the president in, which I kind of hesitated to do, you know, since he is the president,” Arcuri said. “It’s hard to call a foul on the president. If he touches you on the wrist, you just kind of let it go.”

Friday, October 9, 2009

Basketball Man

Reggie Love here standing in for Republican idiots everywhere.

No Comment

The Associated Press reports today that the South Florida-based Southeast Broward Republican Club held an event earlier this week at a gun range where targets included silhouettes of Muslim stereotypes and of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL). Among those who attended the event was real estate CEO Robert Lowry, who is vying to replace Wasserman Schultz in 2010.
From Think Progress.

Nobel Awarded To ... Wait For It

Roman Polanski!

This is Andrew Sullivan's comment o' teh day and I'm not going to say anything about the topic here because Talking Points Memo and Andrew are doing a fine job pulling it all together (they have staff!)
But one thread referenced this essay on the Nobel site which is quite informative, which is why I just skimmed it, being a child of the Internet and all.

If I’m using Politico’s tortured logic, what the Nobel gang really did, basically, is give the prize to Polanski, right?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Random Thought

What will the Romulans and Klingons do when we bomb the moon?
And the Vulcans?

George Bush Rode Bicycles, Barack Obama Plays Basketball

And is reputed to have sharp elbows.

I sent the following memo to Talking Points Memo tonight in response to this story.

For this armchair progressive with a 30-plus year appreciation for the reality of politics (and therefore not enough energy to even respond to the backers of single payer when the frantic emails started arriving and all it took was a click to sign some online petition), I think this thing is a game changer. It certainly is for me.

The people in the reluctant states who will be yelling the loudest will be small business owners, their employees, and right-minded health care professionals, and they will impress the largely unaware ordinary citizens, especially if they get organized for it. And run some well-publicized polls as things develop.

 If I were in one of those states, I would sign up for any public activity to pressure the state powers and if I, on Medicare and with no dog in the fight except possibly a reduction in my Advantage plan benefits whose extras are definitely not worth the extra I pay for them — either/or $400 worth of optical or dental care, a health club membership — I bet I could talk a bunch of my friends into this, too. I love the prospects of that kind of “all politics is local” part of this the best.

Enough with the tea party tactics, suckers, we’re hitting the bricks and THE MEDIA — with this one. Local media don’t play in the same arena as The Villagers. Their editors and assignment editors respond to phone calls and requests for editorial boards. They have to, they’re really working close to the bone these days.

In fact, I’d go anywhere anyone was willing to pay my travel to volunteer as an unpaid outside agitator. I was in newspapers for 30 years, all at the local community daily level. I’d be valuable. (Well, maybe not in Arkansas, but I have friends and family in Texas.) If I would do that, there’s a lot of others who would, too.

Anyway, what I really wanted to observe is that I think I smell a good rope-a-dope theory. I want to believe they’re that smart, and know how to learn from their mistakes and the lessons of all past legislative efforts. Obama and his people are students of this stuff, plenty experienced in local-level politics and they’ve got an organization emailing me almost every day.

So, taking the rope-a-dope angle a little farther, if I were advising the White House and Congressional Democratic leadership, I would say, “Play it totally cool. Don’t even look in their direction. Pretend your eyes are pointed in an entirely different direction and that you’ve already spent so much time and effort on that other direction that you’re really incapable of seeing the possibilities here.

Fake them out. Let the reliable second stringers (Shumer, whoever)  take the lead. They’ll love the glory. And the Republicans won’t know which way to turn. They weren’t prepared for this either. Because we sat on it, because we’re smart and we learn fast. They’ll believe that act because they have to believe you’re no smarter than them, otherwise they couldn’t do what they do. They have to believe they can get what they want, which is failure. But they’ve got no message machine working on this and starting one up today won’t give them time to dent this, although time would be the first thing I’d advise them to ask for. It sounds so reasonable. It might startle the Democrats into letting that happen. Yeah, that would be bad advice but I don’t think there is any good advice in this situation. They’re screwed. (Who called Dole? I want to know who called Dole.)

Guess who else wasn’t ready for this eleventh hour Hail Mary? About 1,300 health insurers, that’s who.

Slowly, slowly, the will of the Congress will turn like the big ship it is. Well, still before Christmas. And the White House, after many meetings, will endorse the idea they’ve been cooking up. It may be a fairly new idea. I’m not saying they had this in mind back in July, for instance. (But I’m not saying they didn’t. I don’t know anything about game theory, but I do know there have to be lots of contingency plans and creative, innovative brains behind it.)

I’m also not saying this or any similar rope-a-dope theory is flawless or even realistic. But somebody’s got a helluva novel here. And besides, I want to believe. Nope, never grew out of it.

Julie McCormick
Port Townsend

Told Ya, They're All A Buncha Chicago Thugs

I saw this today in a slideshow honoring Ben Ali, owner of landmark Ben's Chili Bowl in D.C., who died today.
My first thought was, this is what they're all afraid of, a bunch of big black guys, some in big scary boots and wearing guns, hangin' out on the street.
FYI, Mayor Adrian Fenty is to Obama's right, the rest are police officers. Or Black Panthers or corrupt ACORN community organizers or something.

Quote O' Teh Day

In 1917 I went to Russia. I was sent to prevent the Bolshevik Revolution and to keep Russia in the war. The reader will know that my efforts did not meet with success”.)
W. Somerset Maugham, in the introduction to his collection of spy stories.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Tough TV Choices

Local news leading with "dart attacks on ducks along the Burke Gilman Trail" vs. What About Afghanistan on Charlie Rose.
Hmmm, so hard to decide.

Commercial TV

is not my thing. HBO has spoiled me.
But Modern Family is the season's best new show.
And speaking of recessions, since when does kMart advertise its layaway program?

The Olbermann Health Care Hour

I'm watching this as we speak, are you?

Oops, here.
You can watch it any time.

Oops again. I guess they don't stream real time, but should be up later. Same above link.

Health Reform Compromise

This one sounds like it might work and get the needed votes.
"Robust" public option that states can opt out of.
The only ones that will are in the South, and it will be interesting to see if any move to do so succeeds as their citizens — and small businesses — see what it means.
In other news, Bob Dole told Republicans today they'd better get on board with health care reform, and there have been other signs the GOP's resistance is blowing up in its face. I like politics, I really do.

Quote O' Teh Day

What I'm looking forward to is the battle between Huckabee and Palin.
Andrew Sullivan, Oct. 7, 2009

Here's the thing  though.  I don't think Palin will  seriously try to  become president or vice president, although she may attempt to make it look like she's doing that in 2012. For Sarah, it's all about the money, always has been and always will be.
BTW, there's a web site devoted to her alleged last pregnancy and other things Palin.

I See Crazy People

Everywhere I look. I don't even have to look, they just come.

Iannucci said he regrets what happen and that the incident was just an unfortunate accident that’s now disrupting his life and family.
“I bought fireworks in Pennsylvania last June for the 4th of July when I was there for a Christian show. I sing in a Baptist church in West Haven, solos and with the choir,” he said. “It was not a bomb. It was a hand-throwable firework.”
Iannucci admitted he altered the fireworks to make them launchable, but felt he was not doing anything illegal. He said the fireworks were in his car because he was transporting them to dispose of them.
“I threw a cigarette out the window and it came back in and somehow set one of the fireworks off,” Iannicci said.
East Haven, CT Courier, 3/5
Addendum. SWAT costumes. Costumes? Now I get it. Halloween is coming.

Erm, About That First Amendment

I never really got into South Park. But that's not the point, is it?
And here is the close-up, which you hopefully will be able to read...
I'm considering using this as a patriotic Christmas card this year.

While You Were Busy With Your Life

 For what it's worth dept. (And it may not be worth much, but, hey, this is a blog, not a book.)

Ever heard of Yekaterinburg? Me neither. It's somewhere in Russia and the last thing I read about Russia is that they really ended up with a fucked up economy with average life span of 62.3 or something younger than me and their reproduction rate is about half what it would take to replace the population and there's a lot of alcoholism.

Something has been going on with something called the dollar as the world's reserve currency that barely causes a blip in the media sphere. I have no idea how bad it is. Taplin seems to think it's pretty important, meanwhile Krugman is answering questions from readers that don't appear to recognize this topic.

Then there's the big scary:

The architects of this new global exchange realize that if they break the dollar they also break America’s military domination. Our military spending cannot be sustained without this cycle of heavy borrowing. The official U.S. defense budget for fiscal year 2008 is $623 billion, before we add on things like nuclear research. The next closest national military budget is China’s, at $65 billion, according to the Central Intelligence Agency.

...The cost of daily living, from buying food to getting medical care, will become difficult for all but a few as the dollar plunges. States and cities will see their pension funds drained and finally shut down. The government will be forced to sell off infrastructure, including roads and transport, to private corporations. We will be increasingly charged by privatized utilities—think Enron—for what was once regulated and subsidized. Commercial and private real estate will be worth less than half its current value. The negative equity that already plagues 25 percent of American homes will expand to include nearly all property owners. It will be difficult to borrow and impossible to sell real estate unless we accept massive losses. There will be block after block of empty stores and boarded-up houses. Foreclosures will be epidemic. There will be long lines at soup kitchens and many, many homeless. Our corporate-controlled media, already banal and trivial, will work overtime to anesthetize us with useless gossip, spectacles, sex, gratuitous violence, fear and tawdry junk politics. America will be composed of a large dispossessed underclass and a tiny empowered oligarchy that will run a ruthless and brutal system of neo-feudalism from secure compounds. Those who resist will be silenced, many by force. We will pay a terrible price, and we will pay this price soon, for the gross malfeasance of our power elite. 

I don't know who this author is, how much of an alarmist he is, but one of Taplin's commenters linked to it and I usually respect people having that conversation.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Caption Contest

If I could legally import this NYT picture, I would. But I can't. Anyway, what would your caption be?
Off the top of my head, how about "Take that, pig!"

I Want To Go To There

Andrew Sullivan linked to Fortune's marijuana cover story today.
New Mexico hopes to have the nation's first state-licensed medical marijuana farm and distributorship up and running by the time this article is published. New Mexico's law was enacted two years ago, but state officials hadn't dared implement it until Attorney General Holder blew the all clear in February.

It's All About You, Isn't It?

They asked a bunch of psychologists "What's the one nagging thing you still don't understand about yourself, " and, surprisingly, many of them answered.
Our other disagreement was about forgiveness. I believe there are unforgivable actions – child abuse, rape, holocausts, torture are examples. The Dalai Lama says he forgives but does not forget. In my view, since he believes such people will be reincarnated in an undesirable form, he doesn’t need to forgive them.


We think not.
Castro provided another bizarre memory from that year's assembly by keeping live chickens in his hotel room.
Oh, that crazy U.N.

Comment O' Teh Day

Also, "Spider Milker" sounds like just about the worst job ever. Like, a representative from the Spider Milker Union is going to be the main attraction at the career fair of my nightmares.
From Ilana at MetaFilter. She was commenting about this.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Hey, Big Spender

It wasn't your grandaddy's Depression after all.
All that talk about how Americans learned to be frugal during the Depression, with Grandma saving string and whatnot? And how the great-grandkids are just a bunch of spoiled brats with too much stuff and too much debt?
Hooey. That's right. Hooey.
Consumption Junction started in the 1950s, and based on what we actually spend on stuff vs. necessities (health care anyone?) we've been getting the short end of the stick ever since, in case you haven't noticed.
Yeah, yeah, plasma TV, iPod City. I hear ya.
But don't take my word for it.
Read this. It's short. And based on, sigh, actual data.

Are You A Liberal?

Open adoption available from Jerry Falwell's (I thought he was dead, but no-o-o-!) Liberty Council.
Read more here without driving up their batshit crazy traffic.

Run, Sarah, Run!

News To Use

Your dog is vomiting the box of chocolates he ate while you were at the movies. It's midnight. What to do.

Keep Away From Your Children


Like The Spanish Inquisition

says Nobel winner.
Greider, 48, said she was telephoned just before 5 a.m. her time with the news that she had won.

"It's really very thrilling, it's something you can't expect," she told The Associated Press by telephone.

People might make predictions of who might win, but one never expects it, she said, adding that "It's like the Monty Python sketch, 'Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!'"
Wait a sec. Greider is 48 and the work that won was done during the 70s and 80s. Do the math. First female near-child to win Nobel?
And now for something completely different.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Linkins O' Teh Day

Congress is like "like a den of amphetaminized scorpion demons."
Sounds right to me. I love Jason Linkins, the only way to watch the Sunday talking heads is not to watch.

Quote O' Teh Day

"Why people who have not committed a punishable offense listen to country and western music is beyond me."
John Cleese, Monty Python interview

Oh, just one more then.

And a reunion and documentary.

I Didn't Know That

Monty Python has its own YouTube site.


A friend recommended CheepSleeps and it looks like a good place to get some inside tips for local travel.

The Pope Scope

Andrew Sullivan at The Dish has ongoing conversations about religion. I enjoy reading what he and his readers have to say even though I don't expect any answers, just maybe some clarification of my own thinking. Today there's a link to some Jesuit scientists that seems to help. It's a really good read just for the novelty, not to mention the Jebbi (they let Catholics call them that) intellect.
Good pull quote, too.
Consolmagno has little patience for intelligent design. “Science cannot prove God, or disprove Him. He has to be assumed. If people have no other reason to believe in God than that they can’t imagine how the human eye could have evolved by itself, then their faith is very weak.” Rather than seeking affirmation of his own faith in the heavens, he explains that religion is what gives him the courage and desire to be a scientist. “Seeing the universe as God’s creation means that getting to play in the universe - which is really what a scientist does — is a way of playing with the Creator,” he says. “It’s a religious act. And it’s a very joyous act.”