November, 2009 archive
The Instant Society 2
Government Health Care, the Pennsylvania Way 0
Stokes is (state representative) Perzel’s brother-in-law, and served as his campaign manager. The grand jury report said Stokes was put on the state payroll in late 2000 because he needed health benefits.
He “applied” for his state position 13 days after he was hired. Over six years, taxpayers paid him a total of $196,808 in salary.
Curious (Updated) 0
Responding to a paper in which an economics professor recommended that “under water” mortgage holders walk away, a spokesman for Fannie Mae was quoted as saying
“there’s a moral dimension to this as homeowners who simply abandon their homes contribute to the destabilization of their neighborhood and community.”
Interestingly, no moral dimension seems to attach to the bankers and mortgage brokers who sold the hinky paper in the first place.
I guess, to have moral dimensions, one must have morals.
Addendum, Much Later:
Atrios on the double-standard.
In the world of free country club memberships, well, personal debts carry a moral obligation. Business debts–well, comme ci, comme ca.
“An Armed Society Is a Polite Society” 2
The ex-local rag:
In a report released this month, the (Violence Policy–ed.) center found that the shooting deaths of 67 people – including eight law enforcement officers – had been attributed to people holding legal gun permits. In 10 incidents, the shooters also took their own lives during a murder-suicide, and eight were mass shootings with three or more victims.
The report covers the two-year period from May 2007 through October 2009, not including the Nov. 5 killing of 13 people in Texas. In that most recent mass killing, Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan is charged with emptying two handguns in a crowded Fort Hood troop-processing center.
All of the shooters – who were identified from news accounts – held legal permits to carry a concealed handgun. As a result, the Violence Policy Center contends that “contrary to the false promises of the gun lobby, the simple and deadly fact is that state concealed-handgun systems are arming cop-killers, mass shooters, and other murderers.”
A yahoo packing heat is still a yahoo–a more deadly yahoo.
Thinkers Need Not Apply 0
Kathleen Parker in the Washington Post on the Republican
loyalty oath purity pledge:
It’s too bad that “elite” and “nuance” have become bad words in the Republican lexicon. Elites are viewed in Republican circles as “those people” who are out of touch with “real Americans.” And “nuance,” the definition of which suggests a sophisticated approach to understanding (as opposed to “Because I said so, case closed”) has come to be viewed as a Frenchified word Republicans successfully hung on presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004. His flip-floppery on issues became associated with nuance, a.k.a. lack of decisiveness. Ergo, a lack of leadership skills.
It was superb message manipulation, if you go for that sort of thing. But it was also pandering to America’s inner simpleton. Not to defend Kerry, specifically, but heaven forbid anyone should ever consider shades of meaning or new developments and change his mind. As Kerry said during a 2008 Associated Press interview, “Decisiveness wrongly applied can create a lot of pain.” This nation was, after all, for slavery before it was against it.
Remember, when Curly and Larry weren’t sure what to do, Moe was decisive.
Via Balloon Juice.
From El Reg:
Erik Estavillo is seeking $1m (£600,000) in damages, claiming the orc-tastic roleplaying game (World of Warcraft) has turned him into a blank-eyed basketcase who can no longer function in the real world (as the lawsuit itself appears to prove). Having apparently become addicted to rampaging around some made-up mountains clobbering other collections of pixels with big clobbering weapons, Estavillo is calling pusher on the WoW developers, whom he accuses of “sneaky and deceitful practices”.
All I can say is, “WoW.”
Last Known Address? 0
On Waldon Pond, of course.
When troopers arrived at the scene (of a loud party–ed.) a number of individuals fled on foot, police said. Trooper Jason Grozier found one of these individuals in the parking lot of the Marlin Market, and attempted to make an arrest, when he was intentionally struck by a vehicle operated by Waldon Remington III.
Return of Beyond the Palin as Kim Kardashian 0
Katha Pollit in the Guardian:
For her fans Palin may be a goddess of vitality and truth, but for everyone else she’s the first political female train wreck, the Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan of the Republican Party. We can’t stop looking. Maybe she’ll confuse Iran and Iraq again! And tell about praying on the phone with Rick Warren while taking a shower! Or write another letter in God’s voice about her baby, Trig! Maybe Palin is cosmic payback for all those nasty jokes about Hillary’s pantsuits and thick ankles, and for the mighty cry of “borrring!” that goes up all over the media whenever a politician – Al Gore? – displays actual knowledge of a complex subject. You wanted hot and relatable? You got it.
For a party that has nothing, a star who is nothing.
An International Criminal Organization 1
For 18 years I attended Catholic churches. (My ex was of Catholic upbringing and could not bring herself to abandon that aspect of her heritage, though she had no great brief for Catholic theology per se).
The Catholic Church hierarchy cannot be considered as a source of moral tutelage in any area and its attempts to lecture anyone on morality must be viewed as the most extreme hubris.
A Dose of Reality 1
My leftie friends who complain that President Obama has not changed the world,nor moved the planets in their orbits, and nor leapt tall buildings in a single bound during his ten months in office would do well to read this.
Then start calling and writing their congresscritters rather than sitting back and bitching.
Winning the election was reaching the starting point, not crossing the finish line.
It is old news, but it is worth remembering who were the liars and who were the “useful idiots.”
President George Bush was able to disguise his blatant militarism behind the false sincerity of his ally Blair and his own secretary of state, Colin Powell. The president’s task was made far easier given the role of useful idiot played by much of the mainstream media in the US and Britain, where reporters and editors alike dutifully repeated both the hyped-up charges levied against Iraq and the false pretensions that a diplomatic solution was being sought.
Nothing To Do, Nowhere To Go 0
Still under half a mil. Must have been a difficult Thanksgiving for these folks:
Initial jobless claims declined to 466,000 in the week ended Nov. 21 from 501,000 a week earlier, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The number of people collecting unemployment insurance dropped in the prior week, while those getting extended payments also declined.
The report showed the four-week moving average of initial claims, a less volatile measure, dropped to 496,500 last week from 513,000 the prior week.
Continuing claims declined by 190,000 in the week ended Nov. 14 to 5.423 million.
Seen on the Street 2
I remarked yesterday as we were driving to Thanksgiving dinner that this is the most fertile area I have seen for creative and clever vanity tags.
Today’s local rag seems to have been listening (the article is about a couple whose license plates are “MR. VAIN” and “MRS. VAIN”:
A 2007 survey found that about 1 in 6 Virginians have personalized plates – making the commonwealth the vainest state in the nation.
Some examples below.
Bloggers on the Blotter 0
It is probably not a good idea to take a personal feud on line, even if the case is dismissed.
A civil peace order filed by a Salisbury (Maryland–ed.) business owner against a controversial blogger was dismissed by a Wicomico County District Court judge late Wednesday afternoon.
Robinson (the plaintiff–ed.) told the judge he called Albero (the blogger–ed.) after he received a phone call concerning a comment on Albero’s blog that had Robinson’s name attached to it. Robinson said he called Albero to say he didn’t author the comment, and that Albero allegedly cursed at him and made a death threat.
Albero told the judge that he did use an expletive when he spoke with Robinson, but claimed that Robinson was the one who allegedly threatened to put a bullet in his head.
“I’m satisfied that on behalf of both parties there has been deplorable and ungentlemanly conduct,” Hayman (the judge–ed.) said.
More details at the link.
Free to a Good Home 0
Aircraft carrier, slightly used.
Going Bald 1
From tearing my hair out every time a media outlet glibly refers to the Friday after Thanksgiving as “the biggest shopping day of the year,” as if that were revealed truth.
It’s not and never has been. Big, yes. Never the “biggest.”
If they can’t get that right from readily available statistics, why do we expect them to get complicated stuff, like noticing when a politician is out-and-out lying, right?
Aside: I did not hear the Friday after Thanksgiving called “Black Friday” until I moved to the Philadelphia area in 1983. Even 135 miles away in Washington, D. C., where I had lived for nine years, the term was unknown in that contest. Even in Philly, it had little to do directly with shopping.
It had to do with traffic. The Wikipedia article is pretty accurate.
Easy Sweet Potato Pie 4
Based on a recipe from Southern LIving’s Our Best Recipes:
- 2 cps cooked and mashed sweet potatoes (canned sweet potatoes work just fine)
- 1/4 cp butter
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/4 cp sugar (may substitute brown sugar for all or some)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cp bourbon (Virginia Gentleman recommended)
- 2 pie shells (the recipe says it makes one pie; don’t believe it)
Combine ingredients. Mix until smooth.
Pour into pie shell(s).
Preheat oven to 425 Fahrenheits.
Cook at 425 Fahrenheits for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 Fahrenheits and cook for an additional hour and 20 minutes or until knife inserted in center of pie comes out clean.
Drink remainder of bourbon.