Thursday, July 07, 2011

Standing on shaky ground

Well, I have picked up one ally in the "don't take the deal" battle. Ladies and Gentleman, I give you....uh, Karl Rove???

"Thus, in backroom negotiations recently, the administration offered roughly $1 trillion in phony savings—mostly money that would never have been spent in Iraq and Afghanistan over the next 10 years anyway, along with $500 billion in interest savings on the trillion. It has also offered another supposed trillion in domestic and entitlement savings, but with cuts starting in 2014 and unlikely ever to be realized.

If the administration's spending cuts are mostly fake, its desire for tax increases is not. While the proposals are constantly shifting, you can be sure the president is looking to grab big chunks of cash from lots of people (and small businesses) who make less than a million a year."

Right on, brother Karl!

I'll say it again people. Phony cuts and deferred cuts in exchange for immediate real tax increases is not a deal worth having.

Score one for the wombats, eh Tyler?

Iz our children learning?

No George, but our teachers are cheating and that's almost the same thing, innit?

"Award-winning gains by Atlanta students were based on widespread cheating by 178 named teachers and principals, said Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal on Tuesday. His office released a report from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation that names 178 teachers and principals – 82 of whom confessed – in what's likely the biggest cheating scandal in US history.
This appears to be the largest of dozens of major cheating scandals, unearthed across the country. The allegations point an ongoing problem for US education, which has developed an ever-increasing dependence on standardized tests.
The report on the Atlanta Public Schools, released Tuesday, indicates a "widespread" conspiracy by teachers, principals and administrators to fix answers on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT), punish whistle-blowers, and hide improprieties."

Sounds like a RICO case just waiting to be filed.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Don't take the Deal!

David Brooks, Tyler, & Megan all implore the Republicans to "take the deal", meaning to accept some tax increases in exchange for "trillions in spending cuts" as conditions for raising the debt ceiling.

I disagree.

But, Angus, those are smart people, smarter than you, what is your problem?

Thanks for asking.

Let's ignore the fact that our economy is still in a big mess with high unemployment and underwater homeowners and just look at the terms of the deal.

The "cuts" are over a 10 year window. People, we have seen this movie before. Presidents are elected for 4 years, House members for 2 years. Current decisions are non-binding on future politicians. The cuts are a joke.

The tax increases, I'll wager, will NOT be coming over a 10 year window.

All current politicians can credibly do is cut NOW. So Republicans, please: cut or get off the pot.

It will never happen, but what we actually should do is (1) raise the debt ceiling with no strings attached. (2) Cut, not raise taxes, (3) pray that our credit holds out long enough for the economy to get healthy. (4) when either the economy gets healthy or our credit runs out, then cut spending down to size.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Loud Penis

You did not know this.

And you did not even know that you did not know that.

But now you know.

(Nod to Tommy the Brit)

We Like to Watch

"Q: Will Transformers: Dark of the Moon serve any purpose for society? A: After watching Transformers: Dark of the Moon, even the most hardened of patriots will finally understand why the terrorists hate us...Q: Should I see Transformers: Dark of the Moon? A: Probably not, but you will anyway. And you will leave the theater a less intelligent human being, but you will also leave slightly happier." [Mike Ryan, Vanity Fair]

"One study, for example, found that children who had just finished playing
violent video games were more likely to fill in the blank letter in 'explo_e' with a 'd' (so that it reads 'explode') than with an 'r' ('explore')...The prevention of this phenomenon, which might have been anticipated with common sense, is not a compelling state interest." [Justice Scalia, majority opinion (footnote #7) in support of First Amendment protection for violent video games]

"Among the most popular 'casual' games (so called because they are quick and simple to play) are twisted, violent games with names like Beat Me Up, Bloody Day and Boneless Girl. Young people don’t need to rent or buy casual games. They are available on computers, tablets and cellphones — free. (California’s law wouldn’t have applied to these games, even if it had survived the court’s scrutiny, because they are not rented or sold.)" [Joel Bakan, NYT op-ed]

(I had never seen "Boneless Girl." WTF? I mean, WTFingF?)

(Nod to Kevin Lewis)

You say it's your birthday.....

This has got to be the best song ever with the words "4th of July" in it, and one of the best songs Dave Alvin ever wrote.

Norman Rockwell and Independence Day 2011

We have two sons. They are both alive and well. A lot of people have lost sons, or daughters, whom they will mourn today, and every day for the rest of their lives. Because our troops are fighting three wars, and doing a lot of other things they were asked to do.

The picture below captures, with a Norman Rockwell-like clarity of composition, a little of how most of us feel about the fallen. The casket contains the remains of 2nd Lt. James Cathey. The honor guard covered the casket with a flag, and prepared to meet the family on the tarmac. The passengers watched, letting Lt. Cathey get off the plane first. (Todd Heisler, photographer)

The night before the burial of her husband's body, Katherine Cathey refused to leave the casket, asking to sleep next to his body for the last time The Marines made a bed for her, tucking in the sheets below the flag. Before she fell asleep, she opened her laptop computer and played songs that reminded her of 'Cat,' and one of the Marines asked if she wanted them to continue standing watch as she slept. 'I think it would be kind of nice if you kept doing it,' she said. 'I think that's what he would have wanted'. (Todd Heisler, again)

(The pix are from 2006, but for some reason have been circulating as an email in the last weeks...Besides, for the family that's only five years. It is never going to be long enough ago. Thanks to AB for sending this to me).

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Russ and John talk about FotC Video on CSPAN

This is more than a month old, but some interesting stuff. For instance, I did not know that Eddie Murphy's brother Rich sang the refrain of the rap song. (The CSPAN show is an hour long. So it's probably only for real fans...)

A Tangled Web: Papiss, Pliss

Hey, who told you that you could use that sunscreen, kid!?

Camp comes down hard on unauthorized sunscreen users!!

“The camp is just doing what the state ordered them to do,” said Paul Basken, a father of two children who attend Barrie camp. “But this can’t be serious. I mean, if I didn’t feel safe about the camp, I just wouldn’t send my kids there.”

Oh, Paul: They are NOTHING if not serious. I just hope these same legislators and bureaucrats can soon be put in charge of whether or not I am "authorized" to take my aspirin. Show yoah papiss, pliss.

(Nod to the Anonywife)

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Legalize it?

DSK Fail

Wow. There are two stories.

HE SAYS: The maid was in the room. He didn't know it. He walked out of the shower, all nekkid and pasty white 62 year old dough boy. The maid, seeing him, was overwhelmed by his physical beauty, and demanded that they couple, immediately, on the nearest available horizontal surface.

SHE SAYS: He came out of the shower, she didn't know he was in the room. She tried to ignore him. He pursued her, caught her, and raped her, in spite of her protests and resistance.

WHAT IS KNOWN FOR SURE: They were both in the room. Sex was had, because there is ... let's call it "DNA" ... from DSK. And it was all up in the part of the woman where "DNA" would be if they had sex.

THE VERDICT: These are two implausible stories. His is just silly. But it turns out that the maid has a history of lying and associating with very sketchy characters. Since both stories are implausible, we look to the presumption. In a criminal case, the strong presumption is innocence on the part of the accused.

DUKE LACROSSE: Not even close. There, no sex was had. Except with six other (non-lacrosse, non-Duke) guys, before and after. (EWWWWW!) But there was never any evidence that any of the students had sex with CM. None. Zero. In the DSK case, he DEFINITELY DID have sex with the woman, according to his own story and the DNA evidence. The question is whether it was consensual. Sounds like DSK walks.

STILL: The lacrosse players at Duke were innocent. DSK is "not guilty." There's a big difference.

I got your evil empire right here, bud.

Closer to home, Hugo Chavez and his Axis of Anklebiters are descending towards farce. The economic success of Chile and Brazil cuts the ground out from under the "Bolivarean" caudillos. They may strut and prance on the stage, appear with Fidel on TV and draw a crowd by attacking the Yanquis, but the dream of uniting South America into a great anticapitalist, anti-U.S. bloc is as dead as Che Guevara

--Walter Russell

Friday, July 01, 2011

Duke Lacrosse Redux?


According to the NY Times, the criminal case against DSK may be falling apart over "major holes in the credibility of the housekeeper who charged that he attacked her in his Manhattan hotel suite in May"

"Prosecutors now do not believe much of what the accuser has told them about the circumstances or about herself."

"Mr. Strauss-Kahn could be released on his own recognizance, and freed from house arrest, reflecting the likelihood that the serious charges against him will not be sustained."

If this is true, it's really horrible. Though at least prosecuters in NY are not trying to pull a Nifong.