December, 2010 archive
Boston Globe columnists round up their favorite words in the news of 2010. A nugget:
REFUDIATE THIS: Sarah Palin is a marketing genius who turned herself into the Kim Kardashian of politics.
The St. Petersburg Times details the rise and disappearance of “Bobby Thompson” and his fraudulent “U. S. Navy Vets”
charity scam. A nugget:
Associated Community Services, which uses 1,000 cold-calling telemarketers, raised millions for the Navy Veterans and kept millions more for itself. Of each dollar donated, ACS kept 60 cents, and a related company that collected donation checks and prepared them for bank deposit got 25 cents. The Navy Veterans got 15 cents.
The telemarketer’s fundraising contract, filed with several states, was signed on behalf of the Navy Veterans by its CEO, Capt. Jack Nimitz, and by the national secretary, Brian Reagan.
Neither man is real, nor is there evidence that any of the dozens of officers whose names are on other Navy Veterans documents exist, according to Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray.
One of the disturbing conclusions of the article is that there is almost no regulatory oversight of “non-profit” organizations, because there’s no potential revenue in policing fraudulent non-profits and existing investigators already have too much to investigate.
No money except for the political contributions.
The local rag translates Auld Land Syne. It’s a cute article with interesting background on a tune that has become a world-wide standard.
An excerpt (their alphabetical order–not mine):
It indicates how ridiculously overstuffed the NCAA college football bowl schedule has become that I could not find any noticeable mention of the whachamaycallit Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl (sheesh! who thinks this stuff up?) in the local rag or any of several newspaper websites I visited.
The local rag’s printed “Bowl Roundup” didn’t even refer to it with a “Too late for press time” note.
I finally found the score at the ESPN (Entirely Superfluous Pontification Network) website.
Leonard Pitts in the Chicago Tribune:
It was last seen last month in Oklahoma. There, voters gave emphatic approval to a measure outlawing the use of Shariah law — a strict and often brutal interpretation of Islamic religious strictures — in state courts. Shariah is not known to be a problem in Oklahoma, or, for that matter, anywhere else in the United States, something even the bill’s backers concede. But, said the initiative’s sponsor, then-Republican state Rep. Rex Duncan, why wait?
Of course, by that reasoning, one can also justify laws regulating time travel, flying cars and pink unicorns pooping in public parks. Should we assume Oklahoma legislators are hard at work on laws to restrict these and other non-existent troubles?
It’s called the politics of hate.
It’s what the rightwing does best.
Dick Polman offers “The 2010 Public Misconduct Awards.”
Fox News Phantasmagoria of the Year: So many choices, so hard to choose. Maybe it was the lie about how President Obama’s India trip supposedly cost $200 million a day (the fake stat was floated by one Indian news agency, quoting an anonymous Indian province “official” who didn’t know anything). Or maybe it was the lie about how health care reform would supposedly compel the IRS to hire and unleash 16,000 new agents on the American public (the stat was invented by House Republicans). But I vote for the Fox-induced hysteria over the president’s Nuclear Security Summit logo. You don’t remember that one? In April, Fox and Fox’s friends at the New York Post reported that the logo featured a circular shape resembling a crescent – much like the crescent featured on Muslim nation flags. Turned out, the logo was inspired by Danish scientist Neils Bohr’s 1915 depiction of an atom. So much for that freakout…But wait, don’t the Danes have national health insurance?
Persons who were planning on watching Sunday night football on their big screen televisions in their centrally-heated houses are griping that the NFL and the Eagles decided not to play at night in a snow storm.
I’ve been caught on I-95, the main route to and from the ball park, in a snow storm. I think they made the correct decision.
Don Russell takes on the critics in the Inky (among other things, he points out that in recent years Philly has gotten more snow than Minneapolis). A nugget:
“We’ve lost a lot of our pioneer spirit,” Gov. Rendell said in one TV appearance. “We used to be a hearty, strong frontier people, and we had that spirit that we could do anything that we set our minds to.”
This from a guy who attended prep school in New York City.
Perhaps the governor was referring to the spirit of those hearty Midwesterners who headed for California in the winter of 1846-47 only to find themselves trapped in a blizzard. They were strong frontier people, too, with a fine pioneer spirit (but apparently no snow plows).
They went by the name of Donner.
The whole thing is just a delicious read.
Looking more like a trend, though adjustments will likely have to be made because of the Christmas holiday, which makes for an atypical week.
Even so, under 400k for the first time in a long time:
First-time filings for unemployment insurance decreased by 34,000 to 388,000 in the week ended Dec. 25, compared with the median forecast of 415,000 in a Bloomberg News survey, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. There were no special factors behind the drop, an official at the agency said as the data were released.
We have CFLs scattered all over the house and a cabinet full of them for replacing incandescent bulbs as they blow.
I’ve never noticed a difference, but apparently they drive this lady batty. (I have noticed differences with tubes, but not so much any more. I think the tubes have improved.)
I’ve heard other persons, male and female, complain about them. Maybe it’s some perception gene.
If you wonder why so many folks are able to believe the lies spouted by the Teabaggers and other factions, look no further.
It’s quite one thing for two persons of good will to interpret events differently. And it is true that we tend to interpret the past in the light of the present. One hopes that greater distance breeds greater objectivity, though it doesn’t always do so.
It’s quite another when even the events are wrong:
In the version of history being taught in some Virginia classrooms, New Orleans began the 1800s as a bustling U.S. harbor (instead of as a Spanish colonial one). The Confederacy included 12 states (instead of 11). And the United States entered World War I in 1916 (instead of in 1917).
These are among the dozens of errors historians have found since Virginia officials ordered a review of textbooks by Five Ponds Press, the publisher responsible for a controversial claim that African-American soldiers fought for the South in large numbers during the Civil War.
This is quite frankly appalling.
New Orleans was a French possession in the early 1800’s.
It gets worse.
The problem is that, if the basic facts (names, dates, who said and did what) are wrong, any conclusions drawn from them are wrong, leading Virginia to end up like Texas, which consciously uses its textbooks to warp its students understanding of the past.
From the BBC:
While the African elephant – the largest living land animal – defies its size by running at speeds of up to 25mph, its legs are so heavy they cannot change direction fast, which means the animal is not so good at more graceful or intricate moves.
It also means they cannot jump, which rules out the pirouette.
But hamsters dance.
Follow the BBC link to find out why hamsters don’t need parachutes.
I’ll be looking forward to seeing this on World’s Dumbest:
According to police interviews with store personnel, Riegler walked over to the self-serve coffee section of the convenience store, removed all of her clothing, danced around the store naked and rubbed up against a customer while making sexual suggestions.
She then walked behind the deli counter and asked an employee if he wanted to have sex with her and grabbed his buttocks.
Follow the link to see the list of charges against her.