Friday, November 11, 2011

Nobody Asked Me, But....

2) As well it should. Only five schools have ever gotten the NCAA death penalty, given for major felonies like accepting a slushee from a donor. Penn State ought to be six. LITTLE CHILDREN WERE RAPED!
3) Yes, the Occupy movement is just a bunch of lazy stoned hippies who don't want to work. Sure
4) Elitist New Yorker is elitist. 
5) I disagree with this sentence, but not the verdict. She killed her husband, but she also suffered two decades of physical abuse and finally snapped. Five years in jail for this incident is way too harsh. Five years in-house imprisonment sounds fairer.
6) It's a start. It's watered down and barely adequate, but it's a start.
7) On this Veteran's Day, we ought to start respecting our fighting men and women. Dontcha think?
8) Jim Romenesko resigning from Poynter is like Santa Claus resigning from Christmas. BRING HIM BACK! Over a quotation mark? Really????
9) Egypt needs a sense of humour.
10) Attention Rdenecks! Wear a condom...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Too Soon?



This premiered last night on HD Movies, and was actually pretty good. It opens in theatres this Friday.
Written and directed by the controversial Hitler-wannabe Lars Von Trier, it focuses on two sisters (played by Kirsten Dunst, who really has evolved as an actress, and Charlotte Gainsbourg) and how they react to the end of the world in a collision with a rogue planet that looks suspicious Earth-like.
Visually, the film is stunning and it's really hard to balance the overall impending crisis on such a large scale with the small-scale claustrophobia of the family. Von Trier does a pretty spectacular job of it, especially as you know how the story must end. The isolation of these four people (Kiefer Sutherland plays a brother-in-law to Dunst, and Gainsbourg has a son), combined with the emotional instability of Dunst's character, Justine, make for a nice combination of "inner reflection, outer panic" that plays our beautifully.

Throwing The Tools Under The Bus

The Murdochs really are despicable

The Dam Breaks


You Know Those Gut Reactions You Have?

Better pay more attention to them: that's your back-up brain talking to you.


Jeesus! The guy can't even get his own SCRIPT right!

Buh-Bye! Don't Let The Door Hit You On The Way Out!

I suppose eventually Joe Paterno will reveal what he was thinking when confronted with allegations of child rape by a graduate assistant in 1998. He claims he was only told of fondling and horseplay, but Mike McQueary (who has his own complicity to answer for) testified that he specifically mentioned anal rape.
At 84, it's conceivable that Paterno has learned to filter that effectively, to hear ugly truths as less-ugly euphemisms. We all learn coping mechanisms and for someone who both lived his life in a regimented, authoritarian organization (and led it for most of that time) as well as being a man who clearly spent a lot of time in church, another authoritarian patriarchal hierarchy, perhaps he's trained himself to ignore the underside of both.
Whatever. He got what was coming to him last night. His reaction, stunned disbelief, speaks to so many things about the psyche of the privileged that it would take a book by a psychologist to fully probe this reaction.
I honestly think he believed that, by offering to fall on his sword-- at his convenience, of course-- he could save himself the embarrassment of a firing. After all, there's only three games left in the regular season schedule and no Bowl would dare give Penn State a post-season bid now. Imagine the shock.
The trustees really had no choice: they have to deal in the real world, not the insular world of the spoiled. Those are the folks who have to go out and fund raise, and look donors in the eye and explain how a man could go three decades and do the bare minimum to protect the community at large. By taking swift and decisive action, they at least restore a little faith that the entire university ain't broken.
Paterno, Graham Spanier, McQueary, former athletic director Tim Curley, and former university vice president Gary Schultz will likely face criminal charges for at least perjury until the entire story is sorted out. Absolutely, they should (the Pennsylvania and United States Departments of Education have already announced inquiries into the matter.)
There are no sympathetic figures here. The best you can say is that some people did the bare minimum to comply with the law, but not with morals and conscience, and they had every opportunity to do more, but for whatever failing-- loyalty to a friend, ambition to rise in an organization, fealty to a university, fear, repulsion, perhaps even stunned silence reliving old memories of his childhood-- it is outrageous that this little boy and at least a half dozen others suffered for their silences.
Live with that image, gentlemen.

NOTE to Right Wing Asshats

(photo courtesy)
This is NOT Occupy Wall Street.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Poor "Job Creators"

They'll need to double down now.

Herman Cain Fails Geography

Thinks Mount Rushmore is in the Black Hills
Wait...what? It is???

This Stuff Is Blacker Than "Shaft"


This Is Not A Repeat From Three Years Ago

Toyota is recalling a half million cars.

That Was Only A Test

Don't sweat it, and come up out of the bunker.

Today In #OWS

Occupy Atlanta demonstrators surround the home of a police officer.

Cain Is Able

He'd take a lie detector test. But he won't.

You've Heard Of Kitlers?

Cats (or kittens) who look like Hitler?
You know who else resembles an animal?

Not News: Healthcare Reform Upheld On Appeal


But There's No Global Warming!!!


Suck It, Teabaggers*

A really good off-year election for Democrats, who are normally the party of "I don't give a rat's ass," but this year showed motivation and commitment to the causes.
Collective bargaining was upheld in Ohio (because, really, who wants to vote against the guy who might save your life in a fire?), Mississippi's "personhood" initiative-- that basically says life begins at ovulation-- was defeated, and Dems held legislative majorities and office across the South.
But most important? Gov. Chris Christie (R-Obesity) was repudiated in his attempts to steal the New Jersey legislature for the Republicans. He put his personal reputation on the line for several candidates, appearing in television and radio commercials that were so expensive, many candidates pooled campaign resources to get them on the air...AND FAILED!
Every Democrat (indeed, every incumbent) was re-elected.
It was just one year ago that conservatives were crowing about the Teabaggers and a movement, and the long-sought permanent conservative majority. It was just one year ago that the fantasy of a Christie Presidency was floated.
And now, like a Macy's Thanksgiving balloon impaled on a spike of reality, that's gone. Deflated. The man couldn't even steal one seat in his own state where he allegedly has broad support of the voters. So much for being Mitt Romney's running mate. Indeed, so much for making campaign appearances for Romney in a general election.
The Sidney Greenstreet wannabe earned it. He's bullied, hectored and rancored his way to the governor's office, taking advantage of yet another incumbent NJ governor embroiled in scandal, and proven yet again that Republicans don't have the werewithal to lead without clubbing people. I have no doubt that, had Christie negotiated in good faith in the past ten months, he would have been more successful in accomplishing his goal yesterday.
In small, we've seen the evolution of the Teabagger movement play out in New Jersey: meteoric rise based on the "squeaky wheel" theory, only to find out that giving them a little grease didn't solve the problems, but only made them worse.
* I mean, of course, suck the teabag.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Absolutely Awful

Given my personal history with rape and abuse, I'm having a very hard time reading this story and not having a visceral, emotional and disturbing reaction.
Y'know, you think you have your history sorted, and then you read about a ten year old boy being ass-raped...

This Day In Whoville


Hey, Bill? Stick To Keno

Spare us your poutrage.
Men have been the butt of jokes for milennia.
So have women.

Thanks For Pointing That Out, Captain Obvious!

(image courtesy)
No evidence aliens have contacted Earth or earthlings.

Take That, Critics!

One of the fair, if really nitpicky, criticisms of the Occupy Wall Street movement is the general whiteness of the protest.
As if the Teabaggers were the most racially diverse groups on the planet, but I digress.
Well, yesterday, that changed.
Eleven miles. Most Teabaggers couldn't walk eleven feet without sitting down to rest.

Stupid Activist Judge Is Stupid

Cigarette warning labels are on hold.

Hey! Weaker Boener!


One Possible Outcome

With the controversy over Sarkozy's comments about Netanyahu, one should not overlook Israel's ace-in-the-hole to make the world forget about the insult.

I Pity The Fool

(photo courtesy)
Joe Frazier would have been The Greatest fighter of his generation, but for a man named Ali.
I mimicked Ali when I fought, because I was agile and quick, but deep down, I wanted to be feared like Joe Frazier was when push came to punch.

"Setting The Record Straight"

I think that metaphor might be inappropriate, Herman

Note To Sarko


The remarks were part of what the American and French leaders believed to be a private chat after a news conference in Cannes last week, during the G20 economic conference. The pair were still wearing microphones, and some journalists who still had their headphones on for translation caught the remarks, which were first reported by the French photo agency Arret Sur Images.

A Reuters news agency reporter who was also present has since confirmed the exchange.

As the two leaders discussion turns to Israel and the Palestinians, Sarkozy is first to express his distaste for the conservative Israeli Prime Minister.

"I cannot bear Netanyahu, he's a liar," the French president was heard to say.

In response, according to the account by Arret Sur Images, Mr. Obama sympathizes with Sarkozy's frustration, saying, "you're fed up, but I have to deal with him every day."

There is no immediate indication as to whether a recording of the private conversation exists.

I have no doubt it does. Journalists-- not the sheepish kind we have here in America who bleat whatever their corporatist overlords tell them, but the real ones that report overseas-- tend to be sticklers for on the record accuracy, and on-the-fly translations are not always the most accurate available. Someone's dictaphone was running.

Netanyahu seems to have an issue when it comes to honesty. At least once, he's had to drop out of politics due to a scandal involving corruption, including charges of infidelity. In 1997, Israeli police recommended his indictment for influence peddling, and again in 1999, on charges that he accepted $100,000 in free personal services from a government contractor. Neither time was an indictment handed up.

But it seems clear that Netanyahu has some familiarity with lying.

So now we have an influential European leader, president Sarkozy, calling Netanyahu out for his lies, and the most powerful leader in the free world, President Obama, sort of off-handedly agreeing with him.

I'm not completely convinced there isn't some political theatre involved here. As recently as September, Sarkozy offered up a proposal to grant the Palestinians observer status in the United Nations, a sort of half-hearted, ham-handed proposal that marked Sarkozy as the de facto mediator in that Middle East dispute.

It's conceivable that Obama has ceded the traditional American leadership role with respect to Israel to the French, and that Sarkozy was merely commenting on his frustrations with Netanyahu. It's also conceivable that Obama has Sarkozy acting as a figurehead in the dialogue to remove himself as a target of the right wing neo-con yammerheads for whom Israel = God.

After all, although raised strictly Catholic, Sarkozy can claim Jewish heritage (his mother is a Greek Jew by birth, which automatically confers Jewish status on Sarkozy by Talmudic law,) which gives him some credibility in these matters.

And as a conservative politician, for whatever that means in terms of French politics as opposed to American, he quiets the right wing who are too quick to defend him after his attempts to remake the French labor force more in the image of America.

So a part of me believes this was staged diplomatic theatre of the kind that Netanyahu cannot ignore but also cannot overreact to, which explains the mysterious silence with regards to the matter from Jerusalem. He's trying to figure out the correct response.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Cain't Touch This

Ohboy. Looks like ol' Hermanator is now Hermanover!

Myth America

Things you didn't know about our country, but thought you did.
I got 13 of 14. I'll let you guess which one I missed.

A Primer On

Honestly, any "religion" that has at its heart an angel named Moron is giving a wink-and-a-nod.

I Wonder.... many Republicans look at this matrix and say "If only Huntsman was running."

Why Occupy Wall Street Will Ultimately Win

It's not just income inequality between rich and poor.
It's also income inequality between young and old.

50 Million

Thank you, Republican party and Bush presidency. Could you have been bigger dooshes?

It's Getting Nasty Out There

I think the OWS folks are going to have to amp up the volume now.

It's One Thing To Be Electable

It's quite another to be likable. Mitt, you ain't that likable.

First It Was Virginia

God must really hate them conservatives.

Skeptically Mournful

Cold fusion has been a topic of conversation for decades, ever since the disgraced Fleischmann/Pons experiments.
Italian researchers seem to have duplicated the experiment, but...
There is still no peer-review that duplicates the results, because the basic protocols behind the process have been deliberately hidden, as the scientists plan to go straight to the market with a device based on their work.
Long gone are the days iof Jonas Salk and free polio vaccines, I guess.

Cutting Off Your Nose To Spite Your Face

When Teabaggers talk about the high price of public employees, I wonder if this is who they mean?

Ginny Townsend, 41, took a job in January as a nursing assistant in the state-run home for veterans here. Technically, she works for a private company that supplies some employees to the veterans home under a [Michigan] state contract. She makes $10 an hour, about half the wage of the public employees working at the facility.

“I love my job, and I appreciate the opportunity to be here,” Ms. Townsend, a former home health care aide, said on a recent afternoon as she cheerfully delivered fruit and a newspaper to an 85-year-old resident in a sun-drenched solarium.

With the national unemployment rate at roughly 9 percent, Ms. Townsend says she feels lucky just to have a job. But on her low wages, she is barely scraping by. She said she was raising four grandchildren under 11 with her unemployed sister and could not support them without the $300 in food stamps she collects every month.

Do a little math here: $10 an hour works out to less than $23,000 a year, so $20 an hour works out to a little over $45,000 a year. Undoubtedly, with benefits and insurance costs, and of course profit, her employer is being paid about $20 an hour for each full-time equivalent (not all employees would work a full time shift). The average private care worker in Michigan is paid $12.25 per hour.

On top of this, she takes down $300 in food assistance each month or $3,600.

In other words, the state pays $55,000 or so for a $50,000 employee. OK, the state incurs other expenditures like pension contributions and other benefits mandated by collective bargaining, but the differential is clearly not as grand as Teabaggers would have you believe. call it $55,000 for a private contractor's employee versus $60,000 for a public worker.

But Townsend's case highlights the real danger in offsourcing jobs to contractors: Contractors are going to hire the cheapest, underpaid workers, which means they will hire less qualified workers, since even average workers will earn $12.25 per hour, which means that the quality of care will diminish while also draining state resources in other ways (unemployment benefits, food assistance, and so on.)

The savings, in other words, is minimal at best and likely a real waste of state resources.
This is not to say that the state should never outsource work. There are some jobs the private sector will do better than the public sector, and if the area is non-critical, it seems to be those are areas where outsourcing might commence. But no one wants to see the public security and health risked for a false profit.