Thursday, December 15, 2016

Incompetence




Did you want to read a positive, uplifting story about an old Internet company? Keep moving:

Yahoo can’t help being Yahoo, the technology industry’s most hapless company. And now the market is betting the company's incompetence might cost shareholders $1 billion or more.
Yahoo Inc.’s latest embarrassing stumble was a disclosure on Wednesday that cyberthieves in 2013 siphoned informationfrom more than 1 billion Yahoo accounts, including users' email addresses, scrambled account passwords and dates of birth. Criminals could use the information to go after more sensitive personal data elsewhere online. Yahoo previously disclosed a likely separate cyberattack that involved at least 500 million accounts.

Don't worry--only a handful of Yahoo! executives are going to walk away with millions. It's not like everyone is going to share the pain equally and it's not as if the people running things are going to do something foolish and dramatic like give back all the bonuses they were promised.

Poor performance does not lead to shame and doing the right thing. It leads to more money and promotions! Yay!

 

https://www.bloomberg.com/gadfly/articles/2016-12-15/yahoo-s-cyberfail-could-cut-1-billion-from-verizon-deal

 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Don't Forget About the People in Louisiana




And don't forget their pets, either:

Between 20 and 30 parishes in southern Louisiana remain in a state of emergency on Wednesday, five days after severe flooding ravaged large portions of the region.

Six of the hardest hit areas last week recorded more than two feet of rainfall. Expertsestimate that from Aug. 12 to Aug. 14, the equivalent of 4 trillion gallons of water — enough to fill more than 6 million Olympic-size pools — fell on southern Louisiana.

Officials estimate the flooding damaged 40,000 homes and displaced more than 30,000 people. As of this writing, 11 people have died, though that number isexpected to rise as rescue efforts continue.

Several roadways were also affected by overflowing waterways. According to a New York Times report, “Parts of major roadways became islands, including a stretch of interstate where hundreds of drivers had been stranded for over 24 hours.”

As of Monday, the Weather Channel reported that 125 vehicles were “still stranded on Interstate 12 between Tangipahoa Parish and Baton Rouge, according to Maj. Doug Cain from the Louisiana State Police.”

President Obama on Sunday declared that “a major disaster exists” in four of the hardest hit parishes — East Baton Rouge, Livingston, St. Helena, and Tangipahoa — allocating federal funds to “grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.”

It is way too easy to ignore rural American in this country. Part of the problem is the infrastructure of modern news gathering. There used to be news bureaus all over America and now there are just people with their phones. This keeps people from really knowing what's going on because reporters are supposed to provide context and scale to their stories. That's not really happening right now.

One helpful thing, though--the presence of the Louisiana National Guard certainly helps. It's a good thing they're not sitting in Iraq right now.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Leave People Alone




Erin Bailey is a fellow blogger on Squarespace, and she has written a powerful essay on what she faces on a day to day basis. As a woman and a fitness blogger, she runs up against some of the nastiest misogyny you can imagine. 

Honestly, just leave people alone. You can smile, you can wave, and you can appreciate how much better this world would be if people would stop acting like assholes. What you can't do is sexually harass someone just because they are exercising in public.

I blame hookup culture. There are some men who know that it is a numbers game. The more women they accost, the better their chances for being accosted right back. Never mind that 1,000 women have to endure endless amounts of sexist bullshit--it's all about getting lucky. There is something to be said for granting other people the space to live their lives in dignity.

Monday, August 8, 2016

There is Nothing Masculine About Hating People




Let's not overthink things here:

Political analysts have repeatedly made the case that Trump is a mirror; that he does not create but only stokes Americans’ deep-seated fears, xenophobia, and racism that surface by way of economic instability. The bitterness and primal scorn that Trump has tapped among white Americans in struggling areas is aimed not just at those of foreign extraction, as Alec MacGillis writes in our magazinethis month, but also the even more impoverished people whom homegrown “working-class” whites see as scavengers ripping a cut of many already meager paychecks.

Economically, Americans are much better off than they were eight years ago. But it was a black man who accomplished this, so Donald Trump is the natural rally point for white supremacy in America. You cannot make the case that Trump is a smart choice in any regard. He is explicitly the candidate who sticks it to minorities. He is home base for the kind of Americanism that has been hidden for decades. He gets away with saying and doing things that would have sunken a candidate in the 1980s and 1990s because he is a master manipulator of social media.

There is nothing "masculine" about hating people.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Trump Orders Mother With Screaming Baby to Leave




It's impossible to keep up with this asshole:

Donald Trump asked a woman with a crying baby to leave his rally in Ashburn, Virginia on Tuesday.

“Don’t worry about that baby. I love babies," Trump said after hearing the baby crying during an aside about the trade imbalance. "Don’t worry about it. I love babies. I hear that baby crying, I like it. What a baby. What a beautiful baby. Don’t worry, don’t worry. The mom’s running around like—don’t worry about it, you know. It’s young and beautiful and healthy and that’s what we want.”

Trump then returned to his non-baby-related remarks, only to hear the baby make more noise.

“They have ripped us to shreds, ripped us absolutely to shreds," Trump said of China, before turning back to the woman with the child.

“Actually, I was only kidding, you can get the baby out of here," the Republican nominee said to laughter and applause. "That’s all right. Don’t worry. I, I think she really believed me that I love having a baby crying while I’m speaking. That’s OK. People don’t understand. That’s OK."

No word on whether or not Trump's thugs roughed up the mother or took any candy from the baby.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Nobody Has a Monopoly on Truth and Morals




Paul Manafort runs the Donald Trump campaign. He is the most ethically challenged member of Trump's team, and that's saying a whole hell of a lot:

It is far from certain that Mr. Manafort’s views have directly shaped Mr. Trump’s, since Mr. Trump spoke favorably of Mr. Putin’s leadership before Mr. Manafort joined the campaign. But it is clear that the two have a shared view of Russia and neighbors like Ukraine — an affection, even — that, in Mr. Manafort’s case, has been shaped by years of business dealings as much as by any policy or ideology.

“I wouldn’t put out any moral arguments about his work,” said Yevgeny E. Kopachko, a pollster with Mr. Yanukovych’s former party who cooperated with Mr. Manafort for years and called him a pragmatic and effective strategist. “Nobody has a monopoly on truth and morals.”

Mr. Manafort did not respond to requests for an interview. In television interviews on Sunday, though, he defended Mr. Trump’s views on Russia, saying that as president, Mr. Trump would be firm with Russia but would deal with it like any other country when doing so suited American interests.

“He views Russia as a foreign power that has its own interests at stake,” Mr. Manafort said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Until he joined Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign this year, Mr. Manafort’s work in Ukraine had been his most significant political campaign in recent years. He began his career in Republican politics in the 1970s and extended it overseas to advising authoritarian leaders, including Mobutu Sese Seko in Zaire, Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines and Mr. Yanukovych.

Manafort has been in bed with the Russian-aligned Ukrainians for years. He owes much of his livelihood to taking money from a foreign government. Would any government agency give him access to classified information? My guess is that they would not dream of granting him a clearance. And yet, he's running the campaign for the Republican nominee for president.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Paul Ryan Should Call Donald Trump Before Congress




Given everything we know about Paul Ryan, I think it is safe to say that there will be no House Armed Services or Intelligence Committee hearings into what Donald Trump wants Russia to do on behalf of the Republican Party:

In an interview that aired Thursday morning on "Fox and Friends," Donald Trump said he was not being serious when he called on Russia to find and release emails deleted by Hillary Clinton.

Fox News' Brian Kilmeade told Trump that Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said that Trump's comments hoping Russia would hack into Clinton's server were a national security issue.

"You have to be kidding," Trump responded. "His client, his person deleted 33,000 emails illegally. You look at that. And when I'm being sarcastic with something..."

Kilmeade jumped in to ask, "Are you being sarcastic?"

"Of course I'm being sarcastic," Trump replied. "But you have 33,000 emails deleted, and the real problem is what was said on those emails from the Democratic National Committee. You take look at what was said on those emails, it's disgraceful."

Everything that Donald Trump said in public would trigger House hearings, investigations, special committees, and joint sessions of Congress if a Democrat had said them out loud to the working press. So far, I don't see any stories in the press where Ryan has asked the people who work for him to investigate open entreaties for espionage against the Democratic Party. This is because he really has no idea what kind of a man he endorsed and how big the tiger is after he grabbed onto the tail. 

Only Democrats get investigated under Paul Ryan's watch. Who doesn't already know that?

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Satellite TV is Dying Faster Than Expected




I was a one-and-done customer of satellite television. We had to switch to satellite in order to get out from under the horrible service being delivered by Comcast and, as soon as we could, we cancelled our service because, as many Americans now know, satellite television sucks:

"Satellite TV technology is losing its currency faster than anyone would have predicted," says one analyst, while another Wall Street observer says: "This seems to be Charlie (Ergen)'s strategy."

Charlie Ergen's Dish Network on Thursday surprised Wall Street with its biggest quarterly pay TV subscriber decline ever, posting a drop of 281,000 for the April-June period, marking 200,000 more losses than in the year-ago period.

The company's previous high for a quarterly sub loss had been 156,000 in the fourth quarter of 2010, according to Leichtman Research Group founder Bruce Leichtman. Wall Street had on average expected a subscriber decline of around 91,000. In addition, Dish posted its first quarter of broadband subscriber losses. The company's stock was down 3 percent in early Thursday trading, but my mid-day was up more than 1 percent, showing investors weren't too concerned.

Did they come up with a way to make it a two-way form of communication? No, of course not. They followed the Blockbuster Video business model--lock people into contracts, shit on them whenever possible, charge them as much as the market will bear, and act surprised when someone offers a better, cheaper alternative that isn't as nasty.

Oh, and broadband for rural customers is the way to go. If you can deliver high-speed Internet to everyone, you can kill off Satellite TV and everyone else.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Lou Holtz and a Bottle of Crown Royal




Someone gave retired football coach Lou Holtz a bottle of Crown Royal. Or he brought it with him. Who knows?

This is really a thing that happened. In the midst of one of the greatest shit shows in all of recorded history, someone had a spare bottle to give away, and they gave it to Holtz because why not? Holtz endorsed Trump back in May because he once played golf at a resort that Trump has bankrupted yet.

Lou Holtz walking around the GOP convention with a bottle of Crown Royal is now breaking the Internet. Yay!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Stephen Colbert Humiliates the Republican Party




I would like to see more of this, please:

The Republican National Convention has barely begun, but Stephen Colbert is already getting kicked offstage.

The impish late-night host — mimicking blue-coiffed “Hunger Games” MC Caesar Flickerman — crashed the Cleveland convention stage Sunday to mock soon-to-be GOP nominee Donald Trump ahead of his coronation.

“He has formed an alliance with Indiana Governor Mike Pence,” Colbert said in his lilting impression, bowing his head in apparent boredom. “Sorry, I blacked out there for a moment. So it is my honor to hereby launch and begin the 2016 Republican National Hungry for Power Games!”

Colbert might end up being the only actual famous person with influence to appear at the GOP convention, and that says more about the D-list celebrities that have agreed to appear than it does about anything else.

Friday, July 8, 2016

By the Way, Republicans Are Still Assholes




There are Republican Members of Congress who don't want President Obama to create any more national monuments. Apparently, they're not assholes--they just care more about the land than anyone else:

Cliven Bundy may be in jail, but he still has friends in Congress.

The U.S. House of Representatives next week is expected to vote on a proposal that would exempt 48 counties, primarily in the West, from the law that has been used for more than 100 years to protect archaeologically, culturally, and naturally significant resources in the United States, including the Grand Canyon and the Statue of Liberty.

The counties that would be exempted from the Antiquities Act of 1906 cover more than 250,000 square miles — an area nearly the size of Texas. The amendment, which was authored by Rep. Stewart (R-UT) and Rep. Gosar (R-AZ), appears to have two main purposes.

First, it would block the efforts of local communities in Maine, Utah, Arizona, and elsewhere which have been asking President Obama to establish new national monuments in their states.

In southern Utah, for example, the president would not be able to respond to the requests of tribal nations that he protect the Bears Ears area, which is a hotbed of grave robbing, looting, and desecration of sacred sites. It would also prevent the president from protecting Gold Butte in Nevada, where Cliven Bundy illegally grazed his cows for decades, as a national monument.

[...]

Second, the Stewart-Gosar amendment would make a major concession to the demands of scofflaw rancher Cliven Bundy and his followers who argue that the U.S. government should have no authority over national public lands in the West. Bundy and his sons Ammon and Ryan were arrested and indicted in February for their involvement in armed standoffs with federal law enforcement officials in Nevada and Oregon.

Now, I don't want to make any unfair generalizations, but if one of the outcomes of your amendment is to make things better for Cliven Bundy and his family, you might want to consider whether or not to self-identify as an asshole going forward.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Is There Anything Crazier Than Pokémon?




I am old and out of touch:

Police in Australia have issued a statement following the release of new video game Pokémon Go.

Pokémon Go - out now in the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Japan - is an augmented-reality edition of the popular game franchise and sees the fictional creatures superimposed into real life settings.

Following the game's release down under, the Darwin Police Station in Australia's North Territory issued a statement telling fans to not visit their station looking for Pokémon and to be aware of their surroundings while playing the game.

The statement reads: "For those budding Pokemon Trainers out there using Pokémon Go - whilst the Darwin Police Station may feature as a Pokestop, please be advised that you don't actually have to step inside in order to gain the pokeballs."

"It's also a good idea to look up, away from your phone and both ways before crossing the street. That Sandshrew isn't going anywhere fast."

And stay off my lawn! GRR!

Guccifer Lied

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="900.0"] Marcel Lehel Lazar, aka, "Guccifer" [/caption]


In what has to be one of the craziest detours in an insane political season, we now have this bit of news:

Comey says FBI interviewed hacker Guccifer (1) and he did not hack Clinton’s server.

“He did not, he admitted that was a lie.”

And, as many of you may or may not know, Guccifer is still alive:

Marcel Lehel Lazar, a federal inmate also known as Guccifer, is at the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center in Alexandria, Va. He is alive and has never been missing from this facility.

Sheriff Dana Lawhorne
July 6, 2016

I am so glad that I get to be the one to post about Guccifer today. I was afraid that this would get past me and I would be caught as flat-footed as the House Republicans were today when James Comey ended up being a credible witness before their committee.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Rolling Back the De-Militarization of the Police




Someone should tell Senator Pat Toomey to go pound sand:

During his time in the Senate, Pat Toomey has rarely made an issue of police militarization and law enforcement responses to terrorism.

Which is what makes his current push to arm the police so puzzling.

In a letter to the White House last week, Toomey urged the president to rescind an executive order that blocked transfers of surplus high-caliber military equipment to local law enforcement.

“You have continued to restrict local police access to armored vehicles, explosives, protective helmets, and other lifesaving, federal equipment,” Toomeywrote to Obama. “Specifically, you have restricted local police departments from using federal funds for these items.”

Toomey cited the BearCat vehicle that saved lives while the Orlando attacker was taking hostages inside the nightclub in order to bolster his argument that police departments need access to this type of equipment.

Yeah, about that thing. The Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter Attack Truck (BearCat) is fine for a SWAT team, but not if they're being called out for routine bullshit. It is not appropriate for the Deputy Sheriff of Shit Holler, Kentucky to have as his personal vehicle, which is what happens when local law enforcement begins amassing military-grade weapons and equipment. Despite the fact that these agencies weren't supposed to get this gear, they got it anyway. So much for the rule of law.

Oh, and this happens, too.

The police have too much of this stuff. They are fully militarized and this prevents them from serving and protecting their citizens. Haven't we figured this out yet? 

How about we talk about the lives of the people who are saved when the police aren't using military weapons to kill them during traffic stops and the like? Senator Toomey is not exactly concerned about their body count, is he?












Thursday, June 30, 2016

Your College Degree is Why America is Horrible Right Now




I am probably being ridiculous, but oh well:

Both geographically and demographically, the British referendum split the U.K. along lines familiar in America. An extensive election-day survey by Lord Michael Ashcroft, a British pollster, found that the leave campaign carried over three-fifths of those without four-year college degrees, a comparable number of seniors, and a narrow majority of all whites. Election results showed the leave campaign amassing big margins outside of major cities. The campaign to remain won over two-thirds of non-whites, about three-fifths of college graduates, and big majorities among younger and urban voters. In London, which recently elected one of the western world’s first Muslim mayors, 60 percent voted to stay.

All of this replicates American patterns. Democrats now rely on an urbanized coalition of Millennials, minorities, and socially liberal college-educated and single whites (especially women). Republicans thrive among older, non-college educated and religiously devout whites, especially outside of major cities. In 2012, President Obama carried less than one-fourth of America’s counties; he won fewer counties than any presidential winner since at least 1920. But because Obama so dominated the nation’s population centers, he triumphed by 5 million votes.

In a way, having a college degree means I can't join the racist, belching rabble and vote for Donald Trump. I have too much information--I'm a high information voter--and I can't just sit here and write stupid things all day long (since when has that ever stopped anyone, including me?).

What I think gets left out of the equation is that we are faced with choices that have not energized the populations of either Britain or America. President Obama was a once-in-a-lifetime bolt out of nowhere. He energized millions and he promised renewal. His legacy will be that of a largely successful president who could have done more with a reasonable opposition party. The fact that he accomplished anything at all was entirely in spite of the hate expressed towards him as the first black president. 

With Hillary being the first female president, we'll see some renewal of hope and we'll see more women participating in public life, I would imagine. What we'll also see is a mirror image of the racism expressed towards Obama in the misogyny that will be directed like a broadside at Hillary. 

Like Obama, she'll advance the movement towards a more equitable and fair United States of America. And she'll be denied any credit for doing her best to make people's lives better, just like Obama.












Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Quietly Ending the Death Penalty in America




In case you weren't aware of it, the death penalty is going away. Well, a better way to say it might be fading away:

Arizona prison officials told a federal court Friday they could no longer perform executions due to problems obtaining lethal-injection drugs, effectively ending capital punishment in the state for the foreseeable future.

The Arizona Department of Corrections said it amended its execution protocols to omit midazolam and that the state lacked supplies of either sodium thiopental or pentobarbital, according to a filing in a federal district court in Phoenix, Arizona. All three drugs are sedatives used to render inmates unconscious during a lethal injection.

The department’s “lack of the drugs and its current inability to obtain these drugs means that the Department is presently incapable of carrying out an execution,” the filing said. The state’s current supply of midazolam is also scheduled to expire before a lawsuit by five death-row inmates challenging the state’s use of the drug will be completed. 

One of the things that has always brought international condemnation and shame to the United States has been the uneven and unfair application of the death penalty. Many countries do not even have a death penalty. America is really more into revenge and applying the Biblical punishment of "an eye for an eye." This has become impossible in a day and age when companies become aware of the fact that the drugs they are manufacturing are perfect for putting people to death. 

Anyway, it's long overdue for the United States to join the civilized world in 2016. There will always be some asshole who calls for hanging, the guillotine, or the firing squad. Ignore them.












Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Dennis Hastert to Share Cell With Jared Lee Loughner




I apologize for the click-bait-y nature of this post, but it is a fact that Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert will report to the Federal Medical Center in Rochester, Minnesota. This is where Jared Lee Loughner, the man who killed six people and attempted to kill Gabby Giffords, among others, is currently incarcerated for treatment.

This is about as lenient as the Feds could get in terms of putting Hastert in prison, and, if there is some form of justice out there, then these two could end up sharing some space together. Really, this is what justice looks like in America today? Club Fed for mass murderers and child molesters?

Okay, then.












Monday, June 20, 2016

This is How to Tell the World You Are a Jackass




Write a card like this and send it to the Democratic National Committee, and you can claim jackass status for life.

First of all, these people were not really Democrats. They were independents or people that do not usually vote. How do we know this? Many of them never bothered to vote! If they had actually voted for Bernie Sanders, he probably would have won.

Second, the DNC does not care about your Goodbye Cruel World statements. They have hundreds of other races that have to be won against the Republican Party. If you don't care about working people, women's reproductive rights, veterans, the disabled, LGBTs, and minorities, you weren't going to vote for the Democratic candidate in the first place. Everyone who is an adult is already on board.

Third, this is not how elections and democracy actually works. In our system, you choose one of the two main parties and vote accordingly. Any other use of your vote is a waste because this is the system we use--a two party representative democracy gives you a chance to participate, and if you throw that chance away, that's on you.

We have to stop worrying about these people and their feelings. If they're not on board, they're never going to support Hillary or do the right thing. They will act like upset customers and take their votes elsewhere. Let them. They are irrelevant and they know it.












Thursday, June 16, 2016

Someone Burped Up a Pleasantry




Does that sound racist to you? Does he think I'm an African-American? I don't understand the whole reference to "your people" as having anything other than a patronizing tone. 

Sad, but so ridiculously unhinged as to not warrant further commentary.












Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Stop Covering Trump




I already know the answer--no, large media organizations are not going to stop covering Donald Trump--but that's exactly what they should do in order to show solidarity with The Washington Post:

Donald Trump said Monday that he is pulling The Washington Post’s credentials to cover his events because he is upset with the newspaper’s coverage of his campaign. The move puts the newspaper on a long list of media outlets that the presumptive Republican nominee has banned for reporting that displeased him.

“Based on the incredibly inaccurate coverage and reporting of the record setting Trump campaign, we are hereby revoking the press credentials of the phony and dishonest Washington Post,” read a post on Trump’s Facebook page.

There's a reason why coverage of Trump is being held hostage right now--he creates massive amounts of revenue for these media organizations by giving them access. The Washington Post will see a downturn in traffic to its website and maybe a few ramifications for its print edition because of this. Fewer flashy headlines and fewer impulse buys at what counts as newstands? I don't know.

Coverage of Donald Trump is driving traffic to the web properties that are not banned; this gives Trump some power over them. By denying them access, he is demonstrating control of the narrative around his dumpster fire of a campaign. This has a chilling effect because the media outlets that have not been banned have been shown clear examples of what will get them booted from the campaign. This, in turn, changes the coverage of Trump and places everything in a more favorable light.

All of the media outlets covering him should go dark, but they won't because of the business ramifications. It's just another sad and pathetic piece of a larger puzzle--how the hell did we get here? We are all fools because he's in control.












Thursday, June 9, 2016

Destroyed With One Tweet




If you want some indication as to what the campaign for the presidency will look like this year, here you go.













Tuesday, June 7, 2016

This Dainty Fellow




He was no snob. He would eat the meal of the masses. It would suffice.

He had someone on salary ensure that someone else being paid by the hour with no benefits would put rolled silverware into a napkin for him to consider. It would never be used. Form over function. Waste was a way of life. Napkins, oh God, yes.

He was taught to lay out a thick paper napkin and cover it with another. Each and everything before him had to be covered or adorned. He was told that his French fries needed to be laid out end to end and then consumed before his meal but only if the napkin sanitized it all. Ketchup was for morons and wastrels. It was probably rancid stuff but he had never tasted it. He was a rough man who could appear relatable if the media people asked. I'm relating to them, he muttered, but make sure I get something else later.

The world won't wait for a man to sample everything and proceed with his value meal from McDonald's. You can look at his untouched sandwich and know his disgust. He had a limit, and there was no way he was going to eat the grubby lettuce placed there by someone making minimum wages. It was a rebuke for you rubes and your desire to consume the flesh of animals and burp everything back up into a ridiculously small serving of Diet Coke, more so when considering the food was unacceptable on many levels.

But he was hungry, and he needed what Bukowski called fuel so he could create. A big sandwich consisting of produce picked by the brown people who bellowed at him from afar and the rest assembled by humble and underpaid peons was enough for him, for now.

The Apple Pie was missing from his meal, and so he withdrew a dainty hand and ordered an underling to retrieve him another.

He waited, munching and sad.

The apple pie arrived and this was not to be shared. It was jammed into filthy cardboard and overheated. The proletariat had risen against the bourgeois. He burned his mouth. Screams, that was what they heard when he finally tossed the meal aside. Damned thing. That's what apples taste like? Give them to the poor.

Fuckers.













Monday, June 6, 2016

What Are They Going to do With Roger Clinton?




I have to admit that I have not thought about Roger Clinton in what seems like twenty years. In terms of modern politics, that's forever and a day. His arrest on drunken driving charges mere days before the California primary is an indication of something, but who knows what? A cry for help? Dumb luck? A need to feed the right wing hate machine yet another piece of red meat?

He's the former President's half brother, and that former President's wife is about to conclude the race for the nomination for President of the United States. They couldn't get someone to babysit Roger for a few weeks? How about finding something for him to do until the year is out?





You can't ignore this story because it's going to be fodder for right wing news sites. This is basically what they served up throughout the 1990s--every embarrassing aspect of Bill Clinton's life is worthy of a front page write-up in the New York Times, up to and including the time they found a long-lost brother-in-law not named Roger. I expect Maureen Dowd to sympathize with poor Roger and talk about how his manhood has been sapped from him by that woman who will be president.









Friday, June 3, 2016

Free Lunch




This landed in my in-box today, and I had to kind of cringe to keep from laughing when I read it. I still don't understand why we're not just feeding kids for free in school--whatever system is currently in use where many people live is probably antiquated and based on a time when making a lunch for a kid was relatively inexpensive. Now, with rising food costs and shrinking wages, this issue becomes more and more difficult for people to solve.

I like what Hillary Clinton says here:






Contrast that with this:

When it comes to public schools providing meals for low-income children, congressional Republicans have built up a discouraging record in recent years. In 2014, for example, a GOP congressman from Georgia suggested struggling children should either pay more for school meals or tackle janitorial tasks in their schools in exchange for food.

Around the same time, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) delivered a speech suggesting kids who rely on school lunches aren’t cared for as much as kids who bring their own lunch to school. The far-right lawmaker, we later learned, was relying on an anecdote that turned out to be made-up.

That was the last Congress. In this Congress, Jared Bernstein and Ben Spielberg made the case in the Washington Post yesterday that Republican lawmakers are eyeing new restrictions on the federal program.

Under current law, changed by Democrats in 2010, schools don’t have to verify which individual students are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Rather, if a school serves a community in which 40% of the kids are eligible for meal assistance – called the “Identified Student Percentage” – the schools can make food available to all of its students. It streamlines the bureaucracy and verification process, cuts down on paperwork, and helps ensure children receive the benefits to which they’re entitled under the law.

If you fed kids as part of the school curriculum, and normalized the idea that school means education plus food, it would definitely increase costs for the school districts. That would have to be offset by funding from elsewhere, and, given the many wingnut state legislatures out there, you can count on expressions of massive butt hurt. But, wherever that funding comes from, it would provide several benefits that would have a huge impact on families.

One, it would ensure that kids on the threshold of receiving a free lunch wouldn't be left out and could count on getting food at school. Two, it would ensure that everyone in school had a chance to eat something and not go hungry, thereby making it hard to learn in the first place. Why not eliminate the stigma and just feed all the kids the same thing and make it free (and healthier to boot)? Is the country really that broke or do we just not want to make some hard choices? The schools are already in the business of giving kids free or reduced lunches. Why not get completely into that business, negotiate for better rates and lower costs, and make it part of what makes school important in a community?

There's a lot to be said for the stability that a good school can bring to a neighborhood. It can definitely drive property values up and it can increase participation for parents and students in what happens. Yeah, I get that there will always be apathy. It's not like you have to eat what's put in front of you--kids should be allowed to bring their own food or opt out.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Hillary Wins Washington State Primary




I don't have much to add here, other than noting that defenders of Bernie Sanders were quick to point out that his caucus win in Washington State meant that he got 610,000 "votes" because of that win. Through the magic of questionable math, they asserted that, because he received the support of about 170,000 caucus goers, it meant his vote total would have been much higher.

Well, bullshit. Hillary won the Washington State primary.

That sound you here is the disappearance of any sort of reason why people should think that Sanders can win this or claim he's been robbed. Clearly, the people who support him have a loud voice but do not have the numbers to back it up.












Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Math With Bernie Bots




You may see this kind of nonsense cropping up in your day to day activities:

Hillary does NOT have three million more votes than Bernie. Her count does not give ANY credit of votes to those 10 states Bernie won by caucus. Take, for example, Washington, with an active voter registration of 3,973,623. 56% voted Democratic in the last election. That's 2,225,229 Democrats. Assuming what would have been a 38% turnout for the primary, that's 845,587 voters. Sanders won 72,2% in Washington, giving an equivalent vote count of 610,514 votes for Bernie and 235,073 for Clinton. Counting all the caucus wins for Bernie that gives him a vote count equal to or greater than Clinton's.

This is demonstrably false when you look at what actually happened:

"Despite predictions that the caucus turnout would rival that of the record-breaking 2008 election, Washington's numbers were exactly what people were expecting. Officials were expecting over 200,000 votes, and Washington Democrats communications director Jamal Raad tells Bustle that he estimates more than 230,000 Democrats turned out to caucus, "nearly matching the record of 246,000 set in 2008."

So, here you have a Sanders supporter correctly pointing out that Sanders won in Washington State. Hooray for him. But notice how they shift the methodology to make up for the three million votes cast in Hillary's favor over Bernie. They take population, then they take ALL Democrats registered, and choose a number--in this case, 38%. That means, in Bernie Bot Math, 230,000 Democrats showed up to caucus, about 70% expressed a preference for Bernie, and that means he got 610,000 "votes."

In other words, the roughly 170,000 people who showed up or "voted" for Sanders in the context of the caucus equals a "vote" total of 610,000. By this methodology, every single registered Democrat in every single state can be apportioned thusly for each of the candidates. I'm not even going to bother pointing out that if we used this methodology in New York State, Hillary would have tens of millions of more votes than Bernie.

I mean, how do you even argue with these people anymore?












Friday, May 20, 2016

Todd Starnes is a Lying Turd




I mean, not that you didn't already know it, but Todd Starnes lies like a rug:

Jerry Boykin is the kind of man you’d want teaching your sons – a good and decent man, an honorable man – a Christian man.

For the past nine years the retired lieutenant general has taught leadership and ethics at Hampden-Sydney College, a highly regarded, all-male school based in Virginia. By many accounts – he is beloved and deeply respected by students.

But Gen. Boykin will not be returning to the classroom this fall. That’s because he tells me he's been fired.

The man who was one of the original members of Delta Force and once commanded all of the U.S. Army’s Green Berets – the man who served his nation with honor and distinction for more than 36 years – was ousted because of political correctness.

Nope. Not even close:

In 2003, President Bush publicly distanced himself from Boykin when it was revealed that he had made anti-Islamic statements and cast the “War on Terror” as a religious conflict while giving speeches at churches in full dress uniform, a violation of regulations. Since his retirement from the military in 2007, Boykin has involved himself fully as a Christian far-right activist and anti-Muslim propagandist. He is currently executive vice president of the Family Research Council, which is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

And, just so you know where he stands on the issues:

“One of the most disgusting things I hear is for people to call Hitler the extreme right. The absolute opposite was true. It was the National Socialist Party. He was an extraordinarily off the scale leftist. But many Jews in America, for example, can’t identify with the Republican Party because they’re called the party of the right, and they equate that to Hitler when in fact nothing could be further from the truth.”
–April 2011 video for Rick Joyner’s Oak Initiative

“The continent of Europe is dark, it is hopelessly lost and it’s going to get worse. Every expert will tell you that by the middle of this century the continent of Europe will be an Islamic continent, and they can’t reverse it, they can’t stop it. It is because they took Jesus out of their societies and it’s been replaced by darkness.”
–Address to Family Research Council’s Watchmen on the Wall conference, May 2012

“So we love the Muslim people but we have to be very careful to understand that Islam — in a pure sense and an authoritative sense — Islam is evil. Islam is an evil concept because it does call for innocent blood. It calls for the subjugation of women, it calls for brutality that is alien to us as Christians. So we do love the Muslim people, but the Bible also speaks of a time when men will call good evil and evil good, and we have to be sure that we are in fact calling Islam what it is, and in reality, it’s evil.”
–Speaking with Rick Joyner and self-proclaimed ex-terrorist Kamal Saleem, Feb. 27, 2012

“We are at war. And I think that until Americans are willing to find out what Islam is and to find out the truth about what the Muslim Brotherhood is doing in our country, we’re going to continue to live in darkness.”
– 2011, speaking to James Dobson on his radio program

“There is a cabal, a group of very nefarious people, who very much want to create a global government. In order to create a global government, you essentially have to make everybody the same, so there’s not a superpower. Inside America, the foundations of that are the billions of dollars of a guy named George Soros, who has been, really for the last four or five decades, working very hard to bring us to a point where he can make us — lead us into a Marxist government. But there is an entity within the Council of Foreign Relations that is very much focused on global governments — one world government.”
—Answering questions at the Oak Initiative Summit, 2011

“[Islam] should not be protected under the First Amendment, particularly given that those following the dictates of the Quran are under an obligation to destroy our Constitution and replace it with sharia law.”
—Video for Rick Joyner’s Oak Initiative, 2010

Sweet guy. The very idea that he's being denied something because of political correctness is a false narrative. The guy is being kicked to the curb because he is an unrepentant bigot.

UPDATE: Despite years and years of making bigoted statements in public, Boykin has been rehired.








Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Wal-Mart Needs to Pay




This is the kind of reporting that gets to the heart of what it costs a community to support the Wal-Mart chain:

Law enforcement logged nearly 16,800 calls in one year to Walmarts in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando counties, according to a Tampa Bay Timesanalysis. That’s two calls an hour, every hour, every day.

Local Walmarts, on average, generated four times as many calls as nearby Targets, the Times found. Many individual supercenters attracted more calls than the much larger WestShore Plaza mall.

When it comes to calling the cops, Walmart is such an outlier compared with its competitors that experts criticized the corporate giant for shifting too much of its security burden onto taxpayers. Several local law enforcement officers also emphasized that all the hours spent at Walmart cut into how often they can patrol other neighborhoods and prevent other crimes.

“They’re a huge problem in terms of the amount of time that’s spent there,” said Tampa police Officer James Smith, who specializes in retail crime. “We are, as a department, at the mercy of what they want to do.”

The Times reviewed thousands of records and interviewed dozens of officers and experts to provide an unprecedented look at the impact 53 Walmarts had on local policing.

Among the findings:



Sheriff’s deputies in Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando counties were called to individual Walmart stores more than to any other location — by far. The same went for police in Largo, Pinellas Park, Tarpon Springs, Dade City, Plant City, Brooksville and Port Richey. For authorities in Pinellas and St. Petersburg, Walmarts were the second busiest locations.

Officers logged fewer than 500 calls for violence, drugs or weapons. They took roughly another 7,000 calls for potential thefts. An even bigger category was general disorder, everything from suspected trespassing to parking violations, lost property and people sleeping outside stores. Those roughly 9,000 calls consumed hundreds of hours of officers’ time, but resulted in just a few hundred arrests.

Many businesses paid a lot more in property taxes than the local Walmart but were much less of a burden on police. The Tyrone Square Mall in St. Petersburg, for instance, paid nearly four times as much in taxes as three nearby supercenters combined. Still, the mall attracted fewer police calls.

Officers know Walmart is such a regular trouble spot that they routinely show up without being called.They simply hover around stores and parking lots to avert further issues, providing even more taxpayer-funded crime prevention. The Times found 6,200 of these unsolicited visits on top of the 16,800 other calls.



Walmart stores, with heavy foot traffic and cavernous layouts, are natural targets for shoplifters, panhandlers and other opportunists. Many are located in disadvantaged areas prone to more trouble. The retailer knows all of that, experts said, but doesn’t do enough to address the problems, despite ample resources. Walmart, they said, lays out its stores in a way that invites trouble and often doesn’t have enough uniformed employees to make sure everything runs smoothly.

Wal-Mart has a business model that expects the government to subsidize their part-time employees for health care costs and for basic needs. They do this by paying people low wages (food stamps, welfare benefits) and by denying them health care benefits. And now we know that store security, which should be paid for by the company itself, is completely outsourced to local law enforcement.

Private security guards could pick up the slack and give cops a break. Think they'll agree to do that? Well, unless there's some sort of legislation, or unless there's a per-visit charge from the police after a certain threshold is reached, I highly doubt it.








Monday, May 9, 2016

Fort McMurray

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="940.0"]   Scott Olson/Getty Images   Scott Olson/Getty Images [/caption]


If this is any indication of how devastating it is going to be for people in Fort McMurray, Alberta to return to their homes, I can only imagine how hard life is going to be in the months ahead. 

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley warns "dramatic images" emerging from Fort McMurray, Alta., may upset evacuees as she and Wood Buffalo Mayor Melissa Blake get their first look at wildfire damage during their tour today.

Fire Chief Darby Allen, as well as a limited number of media personnel, will accompany Notley and Blake on the tour.

The group will be escorted by RCMP and emergency vehicles. A news conference at the regional operations centre will come afterwards.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley became emotional Sunday when talking about the two young people who were killed in a vehicle crash while trying to leave Fort McMurray. (CBC )

Notley warned the stories that result from that tour could upset some evacuees.

"There will be some dramatic images coming from media over the next couple of days," Notley said at a news conference Sunday. "I want to reiterate mental health supports are available for anyone who needs help."

Trigger warnng!

The offer of providing mental health professionals sounds uniquely Canadian to me, and makes total sense. Here in America, we give you a blanket, a cup of water, maybe a trailer, and we move on. How many people were offered mental health counseling after Hurricane Sandy or whichever disaster? I don't remember reading about that, but here is an academic paper about the aftermath:

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate mental health outcomes among New Jersey shore residents with health impairments and disabilities after Hurricane Sandy.

DESIGN AND SETTING:

Six months following Hurricane Sandy, a cross-sectional survey of 200 adults residing in beach communities directly exposed to the storm located in Monmouth County, NJ, was conducted.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, mental health service use, and medication use.

RESULTS:

The average age of residents surveyed was 59 years (SD = 13.7) and 52.5 percent (95% CI = 45.5-59.4) reported recent hospitalizations, physical limitations, fair to poor health status, multiple chronic health conditions, or physical disabilities. A total of 14.5 percent (95% CI = 10.2-20.1) of residents screened positive for PTSD and 6.0 percent (95% CI = 3.1-10.2) met criteria for depression 6 months after Sandy. In addition, 20.5 percent (95% CI = 15.4-26.7) sought some type of professional counseling after Sandy and 30.5 percent (95% CI = 24.5-37.3) experienced PTSD symptoms, depression, sought professional mental health support, or used psychotropic medications. In multivariate analyses, the best predictors of mental health and service use were having sleep problems, suicidal thoughts, moderate or severe pain, and having high exposure hurricane-related events. Analyses also suggested that noncollege graduates were more likely to receive mental health services (OR = 3.10, p = 0.009), while women were less likely to have depression (OR = 0.12, p = 0.038).

CONCLUSION:

Having physical impairments and health conditions were not directly related to adverse mental health outcomes following Sandy, but having sleep problems, pain, or suicidal thoughts were. Further research is needed to assess the health status of community residents with serious health impairments over time following disasters.

It should be more prominently featured in the coverage of these disasters that receiving mental health assistance is normal and natural. Not everyone has to project the face of resiliency and act all stoic. Many people need help and there's no shame in asking.








Friday, May 6, 2016

I Cannot Win Friends or Influence People

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="417.0"]  They seem like such nice chaps and I'm interested in America so what could possibly go wrong?  They seem like such nice chaps and I'm interested in America so what could possibly go wrong? [/caption]


You would think a happy fellow like me could just wander onto some website and start making friends. You would be wrong:

The state of our union can be summed up pretty easily: Democratic policy ideas don’t work, and the Republican Party is melting down. From New York state, where Democratic power brokers are beginning to be herded into prison, where so many of them belong, to Chicago, where a civil war between Democrat-run public unions and the Democratic mayor rages even as the city’s finances fall apart, to the collapsing cities of Detroit and Flint, and on out to the high-speed rail boondoggle in California, the country is covered in the ruins of decades of “progressive” governance. Take Obamacare itself, a “reform” that is already making health care more bureaucratic and less affordable. Even as premiums and deductibles rise and the provider networks shrink, special interests like labor unions, insurance companies and hospital chains seek to rewrite its rules and regulations to achieve windfalls for themselves at the public expense. They will almost certainly succeed, and over time, Obamacare like other programs will become increasingly encrusted by sweetheart deals, carve-outs and other provisions that reduce its positive qualities while making it ever more expensive and bureaucratic.

Inadvertently, I wandered onto a site that would make the John Birch society look like a meeting of the San Francisco Committee on Handing Out Things to the Homeless. Damn, son--why do I keep trying?

"Up until now, at every similar crisis in American history, a wave of religious revival like the colonial-era Great Awakening, the Kentucky Revivals of the early Republic, and a series of successor movements has renewed and refreshed this source of national coherence and strength. Without something like this today, it’s not clear that American culture will continue to support the kind of republic that we’ve come to think of as eternal and unchanging."

So, I said:

This would be the same religious fervor that allowed us to destroy the South and free millions from slavery, right?

Seriously, though--religion is going to cure us of what ails us? Please. What will cure us are more jobs, reducing the deficit, and keeping us out of foreign wars of choice. In other words, another eight years of President Obama. Fools.

And I know I'm not helpful, but you seem like such nice chaps.

All I have to do is shut up and keep moving. And yet, I can't help myself.

Monday, May 2, 2016

MSNBC Sinks to a New Low




MSNBC is no friend to liberals, the liberal agenda, or the American viewing public:

Alex Wagner, the charismatic host of the canceled NOW with Alex Wagner and formerly one of MSNBC’s rising stars, has finally said adieu to the network. It was announced on Tuesday that she had taken a position with The Atlantic. She will now serve as the magazine’s senior editor and will be heavily involved in the company’s video and live events. This will include moderating a panel on Saturday mornings.

This company is actively jettisoning people of color and everyone is mostly okay with that? If ratings counted for anything, Joe Scarborough wouldn't even be on television. Instead, he's the mouthpiece of an organization that might as well continue to have nobody watching. That's a helluva business model. Screw over your employees, screw over the people watching, eliminate diversity, and then wonder where all the money went.








Friday, April 29, 2016

How Could Anyone Get Violent at a Trump Rally?




The question here is, why doesn't this happen every minute of every day and why don't these people save us the trouble and just punch themselves in the face?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

You Can't Fight City Hall




People like to think they can make a difference:

Human
waste dumped

A bag of human waste was reported dumped at 2:50 p.m. Monday at Albert Lea City Hall. The incident reportedly happened shortly before 10 a.m.

I don't want to make a wild guess, but I think it was someone who is unhappy with the current direction of the city as a whole and probably not someone who set down their bag of human waste and forgot it.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Shaddup




No one ever considers this possibility--what if they were horrible singers and the cop was just trying to spare everyone else?

A group of North Carolina middle-schoolers were allegedly told by security guards at the 9/11 Memorial in New York City to stop singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” during a Friday visit. According to the kids’ teacher, the New York Post reported Monday, the guards implored the students to cease singing because it would be considered a “public demonstration,” something that requires a permit at the site of the 2001 attacks. Video of the truncated anthem shows the choir of wide-eyed kids singing before security guards interrupt and begin speaking with the music teacher, identified as Martha Brown.

I mean, damn, son. Middle schoolers can't sing. And whatever happened to showing reverence? It's not about you, after all. It's about something else sometimes.

Friday, April 22, 2016

They Are Full of Crap in Utah




Utah has declared war on pornography at just the right time for Ted Cruz to speak up and say something that will make everyone sick to their stomach. Just how much of a "public health crisis" is pornography? Not so damned much.

Biological examinations of so-called “porn addiction” have generally been fruitless. A2015 neuroscience study published in Biological Psychology found that electrical activity in the brains of people who felt their porn usage was problematic looked nothing like the patterns found in the brains of actual addicts. That didn’t stop the Utah state legislature from declaring that “recent research indicates that pornography is potentially biologically addictive.”

Why might someone believe in “porn addiction” without supporting evidence? Recentresearch in the Archives of Sexual Behavior has shown that “religiosity is robustly predictive of perceived [pornography] addiction.” This perception of addiction is unrelated to actual use. In other words, a religious person who watches pornography once a week is probably more likely to consider himself “addicted” than an atheist who indulges every night.

Relevant here is the fact that most Utah state legislators are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and that one of the most frequently cited figures in anti-porn pseudoscience is Donald Hilton, a Mormon neurosurgeon. The Mormon Church itself has endorsed the concepts of “sexual addiction” and “porn addiction,” treating them under a 12-step model in its Addiction Recovery Program.

It does take a great deal of faith to believe many of the other unscientific claims in SCR9.

For instance, the resolution contends that pornography “can impact brain development.” This claim might appear credible based on a 2014 study that found an association between porn use and gray matter volume in one region of the brain but even the authors of the study note that the relationship may not be causal. The decreased gray matter volume, the authors acknowledge, could simply be “a precondition that makes pornography consumption more rewarding,” rather than a result of frequent viewing over time.

This is about codifying values and not so much about actually taking care of people. This is about modifying behavior through the imposition of values that not everyone shares. 

We have a mental health crisis in this country, that's a given. But there are two contributing factors to how this crisis threatens us as a nation. One, we don't spend enough money to take care of the mentally ill--that's a value judgement made by inept politicians who don't want to see their budgets go haywire and force them to tax the wealthy. Second, we allow too many mentally ill people access to guns because we don't have the courage to change those laws.

And porn is supposed to be an issue here? The puns write themselves--come on.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

This is Not the Last You Will Hear of Him




I can't wait to see how all of these scores will be settled:

Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump’s campaign manager and notorious arm-grabber, has been demoted to a body man and a scheduler, according to a CBS News report. Paul Manafort, who was hired last week, will now run the GOP presidential frontrunner’s campaign in his stead. The number of staffers that report directly to Lewandowski, known for a history of yelling at employees and making demeaning comments to women, has been reduced considerably. The campaign’s national field director, Stuart Jolly, also resigned Monday.

Whoever "moved" Lewandowski out of his role and into his new one will be destroyed before the new moon if not sooner. This man operates as if the world is his personal toilet. He does not care what happens to the toilet because he's renting the house and the landlord is an asshole. He is a media-savvy Millennial and he knows how to dig the holes where the bodies will be buried.

Trump could not fire this man; that would be too dangerous. He has to be eased into something else and then handled carefully for the next twenty years. Lewandowski is something so toxic that he is beyond unemployable. He is someone you should never, ever come into contact with or form a business relationship with because he is a force unto himself. He will consume everything before him just as would a cloud of locusts.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Hillary Ruined Haiti? Give Me A Break




Come on, try harder:

Much of the blame for Haiti’s chaotic political scene can be pinned on Hillary Clinton’s State Department, whose handpicked president has only made things worse.

Last week Haiti’s Electoral Council postponed the nation’s current presidential election indefinitely. The present chaos is a fitting coda to the recent presidency of Michel Martelly, a novice politician who governed accordingly.

Amid the current upheaval, the name Mirlande Manigat is well worth recalling. As Haiti struggled to dig out from the disastrous 2010 earthquake, Manigat stood poised to become its first elected female president—until Hillary Clinton’s State Department intervened.

A former First Lady of Haiti and a respected university administrator, Manigat invoked Brazil’s Lula as she ran on a moderately left-wing platform championing universal public education. Manigat, who holds a Ph.D. from the Sorbonne, also campaigned in the U.S., detailing at length her vision for Haiti.

This is another ridiculous hit piece on Secretary Clinton's tenure at State. First of all, no one ruined Haiti - Haiti was already ruined. Second, she championed someone who let the NGOs come in and try to help. Third, she opposed a Sorbonne-educated candidate who, umm, went to New York City to campaign for the presidency of Haiti because that's where the money was. She made a judgement call based on what she was being told by the State Department's people in the region--the professionals who understand diplomacy.

So, in effect, you have someone criticizing Hillary because she rejected the candidate who was wallowing in outside money raised in another country. Tell me again how her ties to corrupt people are supposed to "disqualify" her from the presidency?

When it comes to Haiti, steel yourself for heartbreak. There have never been any great options for the place so blaming Hillary is really stretching it. Next up- an expose from Slate on how everything that went wrong everywhere in the world until modern times was also Hillary's fault.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Not Entirely Fair Reporting




The University of Missouri is hemorrhaging students:

Following a drop in students applying for housing, the University of Missouri will not be placing students in two dorms for the fall 2016 semester.

Mizzou will be closing the Respect and Excellence halls (ironic names, given the circumstances) in order to utilize dorm space "in the most efficient manner" to keep costs down.

In March, the university announced that it saw a sharp drop in admissions for the coming school year, and will have 1,500 fewer students. This will lead to a $32 million budget shortfall for the school, prompting the need to close the dorms in order to save money.

Of course, these two things won't happen:

1. They won't touch their endowment to make up the budget shortfall in a meaningful way.

2. They will blame former professor Melissa Click because she's the ready-made face of racial and social unrest at the university.

If the leadership at the school had been competent in any way, shape, or form, they would have already had in place a plan to deal with racial disputes between students. Instead, they were caught sitting on their hands. Now, nobody wants to go to school there.

What a shock.

And what's funny about this piece by Ashe Schow is that it reads like a condemnation of the students who decided that they were sick of going to a school where racism was ignored.  Hey, asshole--here's how capitalism really works. When you don't respond to your customers, they vote with their feet. The University of Missouri is about to learn how things really work.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Good to Know




In the midst of the worst banking scandal since the worldwide crash of 2008, you have this little nugget of wisdom:

The CEO of Austrian bank Hypo Landesbank Vorarlberg resigned Thursday, following the release of 11.5 million documents from a Panama law firm accused of setting up secret offshore accounts to evade scrutiny. According to local news, the bank was one of the many institutions around the globe named in the documents released. Executive Michael Grahammer said he was “100 percent convinced that the bank broke no laws or violated sanctions” but that he was still leaving the company, due to an alleged misrepresentation in the media. Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson of Iceland stepped away—but did not resign—from his post on Tuesday following protests over allegations that he and his wife own an undisclosed tax haven-based company with large claims on some of the country’s collapsed banks. In a new interview with The Wall Street Journal, Mossack Fonseca partner Jürgen Mossack also denied wrongdoing and said the controversy wouldn’t change its business model. “We’re not going to stop the services and go plant bananas or something,” he said.

That's good to know, but can you make money with a banana tree plantation nowadays? And don't you think that the shareholders of Mossack Fonseca are feeling a little nervous when they hear flip answers from the man in charge?

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The New Republic is Hiring

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="800.0"]  via Gawker  via Gawker [/caption]


Are you looking for a gig handling the Twitter account of a media empire that has seen better days? The New Republic is going to be hiring, soon...

Friday, April 1, 2016

Fewer and Fewer Bums Out There




Thanks to President Obama, there are fewer bums out there:

The rest of the world economy and Wall Street may have been shaky, but American employers were full steam ahead in March, adding a stronger-than-expected 215,000 jobs, according to new figures Friday from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Average hourly wages rose 0.3 percent, up from the 0.1 percent registered in February. However, the unemployment rate edged up to 5 percent, a slight bump from 4.9 percent a month ago. So far this year, average monthly job gain have averaged out at 209,000.

Now, there may be an uptick of hobos, but that simply means that Obamacare has given them the option of spending the summer on the lam from all the railroad dicks out there because they know that if they take a truncheon to the throat, they can spend a month in County Hospital eating that spread.

I used to think I would end up sleeping under a bridge, using the railroad tracks as a sidewalk. What happened to my dream? How did I end up respectable and bathed?

 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Kiester




You can't laugh at the town of Kiester anymore because, well, the joke got old a long time ago:

The small Faribault County town of Kiester, population 501, is going to soon have some national recognition.

Some residents, however, are not so sure they want the notoriety.

A New York advertising agency is coming to the town to film scenes for a new Preparation-H hemorrhoids medicine television commercial.

“Yes, we know. They are doing it here because of the name of the town,” said Kiester mayor Doug Trytten. “And some of our residents don’t like that.”

But, said Trytten, joked about the town having the same name as a euphemism for a person’s backside have been going on for years.

“They (the ad agency) approached the City Council basically asking permission to come and use the town for the commercial,” Trytten said. “We (the council) chuckled about it, then voted to allow them to go ahead.”

The ad agency crew had planned to start filming this past week, but postponed it for a couple of weeks due to the weather, according to city clerk Doris Troll.

I have been loosely familiar with a thing called Faribault County my whole life. I was born and raised in Freeborn County, which is exactly the same shape and sits slightly to the right of Faribault County. This has convinced me that I am superior somehow, but not as superior as someone from the aptly name Mower County, which is slightly to the right of Freeborn County. In Southern Minnesota, as long as you aren't from Winona County, you're just alright by me.

We have laughed our whole lives at Kiester, which is somewhat like Conger and nothing like Bricelyn, which is a hotbed of sedition and confusion. Or is that Alden? I used to know a lot about these places and then I up and left like I should have. Here's how these towns work--a lot of old people live there. A few people live there and they have small kids. There's a pop machine, a guy trying to sell something, and a couple of places that are boarded up and used to be things. Someone works on cars and someone else put in a place where you can get a handful of overprices groceries. If you can't make it to Hy-Vee, you get something in town, you know. Did you read all of that? Well, congratulations, because if we were in a car going 30 miles and hour, you and I just passed thrown Kiester in a blink of an eye.

Anyone going from a New York City ad agency to Kiester is going to have their mind blown by the culture shock that awaits them. Perhaps they should ease into it and stop off in Albert Lea so they can be beaten up at the Nasty Habit and have their credit card skimmed on South Broadway.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Too Nasty For Newt Gingrich




The man who practically ushered in the era of the politics of personal destruction says that Mitt Romney is too much for him to stomach:

Newt Gingrich on Monday blasted Mitt Romney's speech denouncing Donald Trump as "vitriolic and nasty," calling it a sure indicator that the 2012 Republican nominee would never be accepted as a consensus party choice at a hypothetical contested convention this summer in Cleveland.


“I think if Mitt had really wanted to maneuver for the nomination, he wouldn’t have given the speech he gave last week," the former speaker of the House told "Fox and Friends." "Because that speech was so harsh and so intense that it virtually guaranteed that I think both for the Trump people but also for a lot of the Cruz people, that Romney would just plain be unacceptable."


The speech "may have been courageous on his part — it’s certainly what he, I think, believes," said Gingrich, who has made a series of recent complimentary remarks (and tweets) about Trump. "But it was such a vitriolic and nasty speech that it guaranteed that they guy who currently has the most votes and most momentum would never accept Romney as sort of the draft at the convention.”

Gingrich is operating under the assumption that he would be a good Vice President under Donald Trump. That's the job Chris Christie wants, too. Gingrich, however, is too poor--too much of a loser--to get the nod. Trump's pick for Vice President will be the only Republican who hasn't savaged him so far. That Republican's name is Senator Jeff Sessions.


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Thursday, March 3, 2016

Emasculation and Failure




This made me think of the really terrible place the Republicans are in right now:

Donald Trump responded to Mitt Romney’s speech Thursday during a rally in Maine, hitting the former Republican nominee by saying he would have gotten on his knees for the Trump endorsement back in 2012. “I am not a fan of Barack Obama and that was a race that I backed Mitt Romney, I backed him, you can see how loyal he is,” Trump said. “He was begging for my endorsement. I could have said, Mitt, drop to your knees, he would have dropped to his knees, he was begging. He was begging me.” At another point, he railed against Romney as a “choke artist” and said “chickened out” of running again in 2016.

There is no natural leader of the Republican Party anymore. Reagan is dead. Everyone else is a "loser" in that they have not successfully held the presidency and left things better than they found it. The legacy of both Bush presidents is that the first Bush was thrown out of office and the second Bush left things in horrible shape. This means they are not "winners" who could shout down Donald Trump's nonsense.

What? We're going to hear from Bob Dole? Dan Quayle? We've heard from Sarah Palin and she has endorsed Trump because to incur his wrath would shatter what little fundraising she is still able to carry out. That leaves Paul Ryan and Dick Cheney--who would listen to them?

In fact, Dick Cheney's silence speaks volumes. He has never been shy about criticizing President Obama. And yet, he has largely remained outside of the current race, unable to say anything because, well, when you leave office with everything in ruins, you can't very well claim you are a winner.

Trump is blossoming in this environment. He has already slain John McCain. Now he can take Mitt Romney to task for being a loser. And there's no one left to shout him down because they are all "losers."

This line of attack will appear again. Trump has handed politicians in both parties vast sums of money. This makes it easy for him to label them and denigrate them. He will not hesitate to emasculate any male politician who has taken his money; he will not hesitate to berate Hillary Clinton when she takes the gloves off.



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