Saturday, January 10, 2009

God Versus The Advertising Standards Authority

... or check it out here after the click. Darn that "truth in advertising" bit!!

David Letterman's Favorite George Bush Moments

... or check the video on YouTube.

Bush's Last Month Sees Unemployment Hit 22%

... According to Wingnuttia's Math

Per the discussion of the right-wing's new efforts to slander Franklin Roosevelt, note that though the Bureau of Labor Statistics today reports that the unemployment rate in President Bush's last month is 7.2 percent, if you use the same kind of absurd math conservatives use to berate the New Deal, then the unemployment today is actually around 22 percent.

As University of California historian Eric Rauchway has noted, Wingnuttia's leading FDR slanderers like Amity Shlaes and Thomas Sowell base their claims that unemployment during the New Deal didn't go below 20 percent by counting government workers as unemployed. And those claims are being echoed by right-wing rags like the National Review and fringe think tanks like the Heritage Foundation. I want to repeat that: conservatives base their claims that unemployment didn't drop below 20 percent during the pre-WWII New Deal not on the official government data showing otherwise, but by counting government workers in programs like the Works Progress Administration and Civilian Conservation Corps as unemployed.

So, in the interest of comparing apples to apples, it's important to remember that using the same ridiculous method of counting, the unemployment rate today is 22 percent. Officially, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says the total workforce is 155.4 million workers, and says 11.1 million workers in that workforce are unemployed - a 7.2 percent unemployment rate. But when you add the 22.5 million workers who BLS says work for the government to the 11.1 million officially unemployed workers ...

... more from David Sirota after the click.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Class Warriors Blamed For Palin Failure

“I’ve been interested to see how Caroline Kennedy will be handled… and if she will be handled with kid gloves or if she will be under such a microscope also,” Palin says. “Perhaps we will be able to prove that there was a class issue here also, that was such a factor in my candidacy versus, say, the scrutiny of her candidacy.”

Jesus Christ, Sarah Palin really doesn’t read the newspapers, or else she would see that Caroline Kennedy has definitely not been “handled with kid gloves.” And, as a point of fact, people disliked Sarah Palin not because she was hillbilly meth-capital trash — hell, so was Bill Clinton! — but because she was an idiot. Also.

... yeah, yeah, yeah, Sarah :::eye roll::: ... more Paliin on Wonkette after the click.

My comment: Just another Republican claiming to be a victim. Gotta have someone to blame for the Rout of 2008 ... and anyone but themselves will do. Ewe Betcha!

More "Why things are the way they are"

Cowabunga man!

from Eavesdrop DC

Overheard at a middle school in Prince William County, VA...

Student, while reading a chapter in his History book on Italian Renaissance painters, Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, and Michelangelo:

"Hey, look! There's a chapter in here about the [Teenage Mutant] Ninja Turtles!"

Why Are the Media More Interested in Blago Than in Unraveling the Bailout Mystery?

Have you heard what's going on with the government's almost trillion-dollar bailout and how your money is being spent? Do you know all you need to know about who's managing all that taxpayer money -- and how effectively it's being used?

Not if you're getting your news from cable TV. Judging by where the media are focusing their attention, you'd think the Blago/Burris/Reid and Kennedy/Paterson/Cuomo soap operas are the biggest issues facing the nation -- and that little thing about the potential collapse of the world's largest economy is just a sideshow.

Why have the media shown such relatively little interest in the utter lack of transparency about the bailout. Is it because they are still in campaign mode -- addicted to small bore, quick burn-out stories?

... more form Arianna Huffington after the click.

My comment: I swear, I'm going to throw my shoe through the TV if I'm subjected to more national news coverage of a burning house or a semi driving off the road and plowing into a tree. I don't need any more coverage of cute missing white blonds in the Caribbean or moms, who in a fit of postpartum depression, killed thier five children. I don't want "news" stories that ultimately effect MAYBE five people in a nation of three hundred million! I can think of better ways of exercising our national sense of voyeurism!

Walter Cronkite, Eric Severide, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley did more actual news in a half hour time allocation than Wolf Blitzer can manage to squeeze into a twenty four news cycle. Bill Orally asks questions and then shouts over the answers ... Chris Matthews is no better (though, at least his questions are marginally more intelligent and a little better informed).

The main stream news media has become a fiddler playing a recital of endlessly repetitive scales while the nation and the world goes up in flames.

What ever happened to "news you need to know"? Is this what these people went to J School for? Traffic reporting? "Dog bites man" stories? What a waste of their parents money! What a waste of my time! Your time!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

What Buddha Might Say To George Bush (And Us)

When someone believes they are the ultimate power but, as a result, creates immense suffering for others, then it is a form of madness. Their view becomes clouded, their understanding is no longer trustworthy. But in a way it is not their fault, for they do not know they are acting out of ignorance. Their unskillful mind is telling them differently; they believe what they are doing is coming from a higher power when it is actually a delusion of the ego. And being angry at ignorance gets us nowhere.

... more from Ed and Deb Shapiro after the click.


I picked up this little piece along the way this morning:
George W. Bush is about to destroy a cherished tradition at '21.' "We've hosted every sitting president since FDR, but GWB hasn't been here in his eight years," a source at famed eatery told us. "Everybody around him - Dick Cheney, Laura Bush, Barbara and Jenna, Karl Rove, Condi Rice and George H.W. and Barbara Bush - has made it." Dubya did eat at '21' when he was governor of Texas, but that doesn't count.
My comment: It reminded me of an incident that happened some twenty plus years ago when I was director of sales and marketing for a Japanese import label. I received a note on classy stationary asking if it would be possible to obtain an obscure CD that the label had released some years before. It was still in the US catalog but it was far from a "best seller". I went to the warehouse and pulled a copy, packaged it up with a brief note and sent it out "gratis" ... to the matre d' at "21".

Several days later I received a note in return, thanking me profusely for going out of my way to answer the request and inviting me to bring several friends for dinner "on the house".

"21" lives up to the legends. The service was spectacular and the food was out of this world. (And I couldn't have afforded it any other way.)

The moral of the story? Take care of people and they'll take care of you ... sometimes returning the favor ten times over ... literally.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Who trumped the Obamas at Blair House

After weeks of speculation, the mystery guest that trumps the President-elect and his family has finally been revealed. The White House offered the house to John Howard, the former Prime Minister of Australia who is set to receive a Medal of Freedom. Instead of arranging other accommodations for Howard’s one-night stay, the Bush administration told the Obama family to stay in a hotel for two weeks. (Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Colombian President Álvaro Uribe, who are also receiving the Medal of Freedom, opted to find other accommodations.)

... more on ThinkProgress after the click.

My comment: Blair House is the residence in DC that the president-elect is extended by the previous administration during the transition as a courtesy. The fact that no one was booked for Blair House at the time the Obama's made the original request is interesting. I suppose the debate now would be over whether this maneuver is more or less petty than when the Clinton administration swiped all the "W"'s from the White House keyboards on the way out.

Personally, I find the missing "W"'s an amusing puerile prank and was, as such, a reflection of the administration. This seems to typify the current administration equally well ... arrogant, petty ... and smaller than life.

Porn Industry Bailout?

An article in next month's Atlantic asks, "Is porn recession proof?" According to porn magnate Larry Flynt and "Girls Gone Wild" king Joe Francis, the answer is no.

TMZ reports that the pornographer pair is heading to Washington to ask for a $5 billion porn bailout:

"With all this economic misery and people losing all that money, sex is the farthest thing from their mind," Flynt says. "It's time for Congress to rejuvenate the sexual appetite of America."

Francis sees his industry like the big three automakers, only BIGGER: "Congress seems willing to help shore up our nation's most important businesses; we feel we deserve the same consideration."

... and there's more on HuffPo after the click.

My comment: It makes more sense than some of the things that have been done lately!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Apes that write

Savage-Rumbaugh's work with bonobo apes, which can understand spoken language and learn tasks by watching, forces the audience to rethink how much of what a species can do is determined by biology -- and how much by cultural exposure.

Susan Savage-Rumbaugh has made startling breakthroughs in her lifelong work with chimpanzees and bonobos, showing the animals to be adept in picking up language and other "intelligent" behaviors.

... check it out on TED.

My comment: Maybe we're not as unique as we like to think ... when we look in the mirror. What is it that makes YOU so different?

Sunday, January 04, 2009

The Next Next Things

The Washington Post

With its power to send knowledge around the globe at lightning speed, information technology has vastly changed our world — unleashing the Internet along with a global economy of knowledge workers and even, some would say, sparking the fall of communism and the rise of terrorism. Computer power has increased exponentially since 1980, when machines less sophisticated than your cellphone filled entire rooms. And we can expect similar mindboggling advances in the coming decades.

... boggle your mind a little with the Washington Post after the click.

My comment: Its hard to see the changes from day to day. It seems you have to step back a little to get a bit of perspective. My father was born in 1912 and passed away in 1991. During the course of his life he witnessed two World Wars, The Great Depression, the Atomic Bomb, the advent of the computer age and man walking on the moon. When he was born, flight meant a noisy biplane with a flight range on the order of the wing span of today's 747 and an altitude you could throw rocks at. In 1990, the year before he died, the SR-71 set a flight speed record of 2,124 mph and a sustained altitude record of 85,069 feet on a coast-to-coast, NY to LA flight. As a boy, he made hay and plowed fields with a team of horses. Today, the family farm is pretty much a thing of the past in "developed" countries; replaced by "agri-businesses" and factory farms. The house he lived in as a child was heated by wood and the wood came from a twenty acre wood lot at the far end of the 140 acre farm he lived on. The "bathroom" consisted of an outhouse behind the wood shed and a galvanized tub filled with water boiled on the wood cook stove in the kitchen. Running water involved a pump handle that one exercised in an up and down motion ... with some effort. I know because that's where my life started in 1945.

My generation invented the Internet, digital watches, compact discs, MP3 files, cable and satellite TV as well as a host of other "necessities" that didn't exist, even in dreams, when I was born.

The change that occurred during my father's lifetime was significantly faster and more far reaching that the change that effected his father and the previous generation. But as different as things were comparing life at the beginning of my father's journey with the way things were at the end, the change we are experiencing now is even greater and moving much faster ... with no sign of letting up any time soon.

I wonder what price we've paid for the gain.

Bush's Accomplishments - Smaller Than Life

This document is the literary correlative to “Mission Accomplished.” Bush kept America safe (provided his presidency began Sept. 12, 2001). He gave America record economic growth (provided his presidency ended December 2007). He vanquished all the leading Qaeda terrorists (if you don’t count the leaders bin Laden and al-Zawahri). He gave Afghanistan a thriving “market economy” (if you count its skyrocketing opium trade) and a “democratically elected president” (presiding over one of the world’s most corrupt governments). He supported elections in Pakistan (after propping up Pervez Musharraf past the point of no return). He “led the world in providing food aid and natural disaster relief” (if you leave out Brownie and Katrina).

If this is the best case that even Bush and his handlers can make for his achievements, you wonder why they bothered. Desperate for padding, they devote four risible pages to portraying our dear leader as a zealous environmentalist.

But the brazenness of Bush’s alternative-reality history is itself revelatory. The audacity of its hype helps clear up the mystery of how someone so slight could inflict so much damage.

... the rest from Frank Rich after the click.

My comment: He was a stellar president ... if you ignore just about everything he did.

I remember some spirited debates with a good friend in the run up to the 2000 election. In actuality, neither of us could muster much enthusiasm for either candidate. We voted our separate ways ... both holding the opinion that it really didn't matter all that much. It seemed that Democrats and Republicans looked a lot alike at that point. The press threw its glowing support behind the smug little draft dodging frat boy and mocked the socially uptight intellectual to the extent that it was hard to distinguish fact from fiction. In the meantime, how much difference could one man make ... particularly in a democracy with checks and balances? Then I watched in "shock and awe" as the next eight years worth of news reels unfolded.

How wrong we were. One man can make a heck of a lot of difference ... particularly when the spin machine has half the population hood-winked ... twice over.

They say that history is written by the victor. Maybe that's not always the case. We are witnessing an attempt to write history ... by a consummate looser.