From Pine View Farm

May, 2011 archive

I Think They’re All Bozos on This Bus 0

In which Palin drones:

Sarah Palin Bus of Doom

The Rude One comments. A snippet (the rest is NSFW):

It’ll be like Motley Crue back in the day, except with more oxygen tanks . . . .

(With apologies to the Firesign Theatre.)


Stray Thought, DQ Dept. 0

“Plain vanilla” is not a perjorative.

It’s a compliment.


Facebook Frolics 0



Powerpoint Is Evil . . . 0

. . . because it rewards dumb.

Presenters let Powerpoint use them; they don’t use it.

Some unfortunate conference participant, undoubtedly still suffering flashbacks, who harbours a lingering animus towards Bill Gates and his software, once dubbed the PowerPoint presentation as “Killing You Microsoftly”. Such an invidious metaphor is unfair. To death. At least when you die, you’re fortunate enough to have endured your last PowerPoint presentation. The unlucky who go on living must continue to endure PowerPoint, an invasive species threatening the information ecosystem, the kudzu of software.

And like kudzu, PowerPoint continues to proliferate beyond the boardroom, medical meeting and conference room. It has become a preferred method of presentation for the US Military and Pentagon. The linear, concise format makes it easily adaptable for the standard military briefing, even at the expense of clarity and content. Reportedly, when a critical briefing is required, some senior officers unfamiliar with PowerPoint seek out subordinates who have technical mastery of the software’s nuances, dubbed “PowerPoint Rangers”.


I get a kick out of the title segment for the mystery show, Numb3rs, in which the college professor protagonist is shown walking in the glow of a projector between the audience and the screen.

Competent presenters do not do that.

Ever. In one act, it belittles both the image on the screen and the presenter.


TSA Security Theatre 0

Bordering on the absurd bordering.


Twits on Twitter 0

Special wingnut edition.


Dooming the Minds of Tomorrow 0

Words fail me.

A cash-strapped southern New Jersey school district has decided to start charging student teachers to work there.

Medford appears to be the first school district in the state to take such a policy.


The Wedding Industrial Complex . . . 0

. . . is clearly out of control.



Carl Rowan:

It is often easier to become outraged by injustice half a world away than by oppression and discrimination half a block from home.


Final Memorials 0

Some uncomfortable thoughts on being inured to war and the death it brings, from Balloon Juice.


“So I Was a Coffin” 0

By Gerardo Mena:

Via the Rude One.


Commemoration 0

The media, even the funny pages, have Memorial Day tributes to those who have served and, perhaps, fallen for this country. The radio is playing patriotic music. Flags are everywhere, outnumbered only by the “Big Sale” signs.

Sad thoughts interspersed with beach-goers and shoppers and jingoism.

Now consider those (or their sons or daughters or brothers or sisters or fathers or mothers) who were sent into harm’s way and perhaps did not return for unjust or fabricated cause.

Is their sacrifice greater or lesser?

I would argue that it is greater, for they have served with honor those who betrayed their honor.

Persons like to prattle about speaking truth to power.

Mark Memorial Day by resolving to demand truth from power.


We Need Single Payer 0

At Bloomberg, Paul Ryan has an article claiming that competition will lower health care costs, a favorite claim of righties.

Missing is reality. Obtaining medical care is not like buying an MP3 player.

  • In much of the country, there is no competition. In my part of the world, one hospital company controls almost all the hospitals. If the EMTs have to transport me, they get to choose among Sentara, Sentara, Sentara, and Sentara.
  • If someone has, say a heart attack, he or she doesn’t get estimates for the cost of treatment. He or she likely isn’t even conscious so as to be able to shop around.
  • If a woman is having a baby (something that gives more notice), she doesn’t shop around for a delivery room; she goes to the hospital her doctor uses.
  • If I need an EKG, I’m not going to shop for a new lab; I’m going to where my doctor sends me.

Republican paeans to market competition are no more than empty propaganda to perpetuate oligarchy, promote monopoly, and placate the most significant Republican constituency: Wall Street bonus babies.

Or maybe they’re just all smoking dope.


Driving Miss Crazy 0

El Reg:

A Norfolk (UK–ed.) man is potentially facing “six points on his licence and thousands of pounds in fines” after cops nabbed him allegedly driving with his knees while manipulating two mobile phones.


A Norfolk Police spokesman said: “Driving while using a mobile phone means you are not concentrating fully on the road. Using one mobile phone is silly but two mobile phones is amazingly silly.” ®

In the early days of cell phones, I was crossing 29th Street to get to 30th Street Station, Philadelphia, for my homeward commute when some bozo turned from Market to 29th to get on the Schuykill Depressway. He was eating a hamburger with one hand and holding a cellphone with another.

I hate to think what he was driving with.



Jay Gould, Nineteenth Century Wall Street Bonus Baby:

I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half.


Monster Mash 0

Monster Mash

Via BartBlog.


Tats for Tits 2

Michael Serconish is a conservative columnist and radio host who I find an interesting read.

Though I usually disagree with him, I often find his reasoning to be sensible and understandable (unlike Charles Krauthammer and Cal Thomas, who exemplify the “say whatever sounds good today regardless of what I said yesterday” school of argument).

He does not toe the Fox News line and dares to take positions that more orthodox conservatives would not be willing to state in public. He thinks; he does not parrot.

He often thinks wrong, of course, but he thinks (I once said to Atrios that Smerconish’s writings have “a certain ‘everyman’ feel, sort of like Fred Flintstone with a typewriter”).

Now comes Smerconish arguing that politicians’ personal lives are under too much scrutiny, citing Mitch Daniels and Arnold Swarzennegger as examples. A nugget:

The irony is that boorish personal behavior among the political elite may be fueled by the same personality traits that voters consistently seek out in elected officials.

Frank Farley, professor of psychology at Temple University and a former president of the American Psychological Association, believes that many of the factors that make for a successful politician – most significant, a predisposition toward risk-raking – also lead those individuals to behave badly in their personal lives.

Farley says these individuals have a “type T personality” – the T stands for thrill. They’re drawn to unpredictable, high-profile, challenging jobs, making politics the perfect career. According to Farley, the very qualities that persuade voters that type T’s are best-suited for that business – independent streak, strong will, magnetic personality – can also drive personal misbehavior.

He goes on to argue that, unless there is evidence of public misconduct, perhaps it would be best not to overemphasize “personal misbehavior” in assessing qualifications for public office.

Left unspoken in the the phrase “personal misbehavior” is one word, as this column specifically seems to apply to “personal mating misbehavior.”

Also missing was this: it was conservative, specifically, “family values” Republicans–you know, the ones commonly found in airport restrooms and on Craig’s List and in bed with persons other than their spouses–who made personal behavior fair game.

In doing so, they made themselves fair game.

What goes ’round and all that.


American Idol 0



Driving While Brown, Jailing for Profit 0

More here.


Cantor’s Cant 0

All agin’ the fedrul govmint cept when he wants a piece of guvmint for himself.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-7th, said Friday that he backs Gov. Bob McDonnell’s appeal for federal disaster aid, though he’s among the Virginia congressmen who did not sign onto the latest letter of support.