31 March 2011 · Comments Off on I’m Getting Old · Categories: Personal Musings

My little brother’s retirement luncheon was today.

31 March 2011 · Comments Off on Seen on the Street · Categories: Seen on the Street

31 March 2011 · Comments Off on Spill Here, Spill Now, Harder, Harder · Categories: Titans of Industry

Facing South reports on the Gulf of Petroleum:

SkyTruth, a West Virginia-based nonprofit, analyzed recent satellite imagery of the spill that was first reported on March 18. Assuming the thickness of the 2,427 square-kilometer slick was only 1 micron or one-millionth of a meter, the organization concludes the slick held at least 640,728 gallons of oil.

“That would make it a major spill (more than 100,000 gallons), and a heckuva lot more than the 4 gallons in total that was reported to the National Response Center,” SkyTruth states on its blog.

Following last April’s explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, BP and the U.S. government claimed the well was leaking about 1,000 barrels of oil a day. But SkyTruth’s analysis of satellite imagery concluded the flow rate had to be at least 5,000 barrels a day and probably far more, leading the government to revise its own estimate upward.

31 March 2011 · Comments Off on Lines of Koch · Categories: Political Theatre

31 March 2011 · Comments Off on Return of TV Worth Watching · Categories: Personal Musings



31 March 2011 · Comments Off on Q&A · Categories: America's Concentration Camps

In the January issue (there’s a one issue lag before full articles hit their website), Psychology Today explored the techniques of four criminal investigators acknowledged by their peers as among the best at questioning witnesses and suspects.

Torture Enhanced interrogation techniques had nothing to do with it. The ability to read people and to establish a connection with them had a lot to do with it.

Here’s a nugget:

“On an elevator I’ll find out what I can between the first and fifteenth floor,” says Newberry. “I try to make people comfortable and if they’re not, I want to know why.” Newberry is soft-spoken and his physical presence is muted; perhaps the most noticeable characteristic about him is a tic in his right eye. He retired from the ATF in 1998, and lives on a secluded ranch in Northern California. . . .

Newberry likes to recount an incident from the beginning of his career in which a truck bomb killed a woman and child. At the scene was a man, rocking back and forth.

“I got down on my knees and said, ‘This is hard. I know you didn’t mean to do it.’”

“No,” the man responded. “She took the wrong car.”

Why did Newberry approach the man this way?

“Just a gut feeling.”

31 March 2011 · Comments Off on Fox News Fail Whale · Categories: It Is To Laugh

Funny or Die collects the fail. From the website:

This is not about mocking Fox News for any political agenda. This is about the fact that the network clearly has a tendency for major onscreen gaffes, which may or may not undermine those political agendas. It’s also about alliterations. “Major MSNBC Mishaps” just sounds awkward.

Follow the link for the presentation.

31 March 2011 · Comments Off on The Republicans’ Bully Platform · Categories: Political Theatre

A Colorado Republican considers the condition of her party and is disturbed. It is actually a pretty good description of the difference between today’s Republican Party and yesterdays.

She concludes that Republicans have become bullies. A nugget (emphasis added):

Somewhere along the road, Republicans lost their way. The party allowed just one group to act as our mouthpiece in exchange for a strong base of activists. It was a successful strategy for a few election cycles, but it ultimately damaged the Republican brand.

Instead of serving as the party that embraced fiscal restraint, limited government, and personal responsibility, Republicans morphed into the party that pointed fingers at wide swaths of the population, squinted our eyes, and put our hands on our hips, and said, as if in the schoolyard, “We don’t like you.”

And Colorado Republicans may be the biggest playground bullies of all.

Are you pro-life? Are you pro-sanctity of marriage? Are you pro-death penalty? Do you support the deportation of an estimated 12 million illegal aliens? If the answer to any of these questions is no or is nuanced, you are a RINO — a Republican in name only.

The bully theory, the party of “my way or I won’t play,” seems to be consistent with their behavior.

I recommend the column, particularly for those who consider themselves Republican because they’ve been life-long Republicans, by gum.

31 March 2011 · Comments Off on QOTD · Categories: QOTD

Rex Stout:

There are two kinds of statistics, the kind you look up and the kind you make up.

30 March 2011 · Comments Off on Update from the Foreclosure-Based Economy · Categories: Masters of the Universe

Holy Bat Cave, Batman:

Neighbors living near a bat-infested Georgia home in foreclosure are trying to figure out what to do about the flying mammals.

They say the smell outside is so overwhelming they can’t sit on their porches and enjoy the spring weather.

A pest-control company has assessed the situation and sent a letter regarding options to the responsible fiscals at the bank that owns the property.

Why am I thinking they would have better luck opening a guano factory?

30 March 2011 · Comments Off on Facebook Frolics · Categories: First Looks

Facebook, cells, and cells:

Via MarketWatch.

30 March 2011 · Comments Off on On! Wisconsin · Categories: Political Theatre

Via Bob Cesca’s Awesome Blog.

30 March 2011 · Comments Off on The Puzzle of the Porcelain Buddha · Categories: It Is To Laugh

30 March 2011 · Comments Off on Supplying Demand · Categories: Titans of Industry

The United States puts more persons in jail for more reasons than anyone else, including China and Russia, in both total numbers and percentage of population.

The United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population. But it has almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners.

Diversity, Inc., examines the American Legislative Exchange Council, which lobbies for laws requiring tougher prison sentences. It’s supporters include include outfits such as the Corrections Corporation of America and the GEO Group who (surprise, surprise) run prisons for profit.

ALEC is comprised of nine task forces, each responsible for developing what it describes as “model legislation”—essentially, a wish list of laws addressing subjects they would like to see passed in states. Over the past several decades, private-prison operators like CCA and GEO Group have worked with ALEC to ensure the passage of some of the nation’s toughest laws that have lined their pockets and enriched their shareholders.


When private prisons were actively courting state lawmakers, companies such as CCA and GEO as well as their lobbyists gave $3.3 million to state-level candidates in the 2002 and 2004 election cycles, favoring states with some of the toughest sentencing laws, according to a 2006 report authored by Edwin Bender, director of the National Institute on Money in State Politics, which tracks state campaign funding and lobbying.

“Companies favored states that had enacted legislation to lengthen the sentence given to any offender convicted of a felony for the third time,” Bender says. “Private-prison interests gave almost $2.1 million in 22 states that had a so-called ‘three-strikes law,’ compared with $1.2 million in 22 states that did not.”

Read the whole thing and consider the effects when the only motive is the profit motive.

Here’s a link to the ALEC website (I couldn’t get it to work).

30 March 2011 · Comments Off on When All You Have Is a Hammer, Everthing Looks like a Nail · Categories: Political Theatre

American foreign policy, via Comically Vintage.