I find I am, almost against my will, utterly delighted by the Tiger Woods crash-and-burn who-woulda-thunk slut-of-the-week pornstars-n-skanks flameout shockfest circus funhouse megaspectacle.
Gratuitous Headline of the Day: “Hindu Nationalists Drop Their Baggy Shorts.”
What's taken place in the year since Obama won the presidency has turned out to be one of the most dramatic political about-faces in our history. Elected in the midst of a crushing economic crisis brought on by a decade of orgiastic deregulation and unchecked greed, Obama had a clear mandate to rein in Wall Street and remake the entire structure of the American economy. What he did instead was ship even his most marginally progressive campaign advisers off to various bureaucratic Siberias, while packing the key economic positions in his White House with the very people who caused the crisis in the first place. This new team of bubble-fattened ex-bankers and laissez-faire intellectuals then proceeded to sell us all out, instituting a massive, trickle-up bailout and systematically gutting regulatory reform from the inside.
Reading the rest of this may spoil your weekend. Why don't you just put it off until Monday?
...Formerly From California Charlie sends this:
Little David is in the 5th grade. Yesterday morning when the teacher asked the children what their fathers did for a living. All the typical answers came up; fireman, policeman, salesman, etc. The teacher noticed that little David was being uncharacteristically quiet and so she asked him about his father.
'My father's an exotic dancer in a gay bar and takes off all his clothes in front of other men. Sometimes, if the offer's really good, he'll go out to the alley with some guy and do it with him for money.'
The teacher, obviously shaken by this statement, hurriedly set the other children to work on some coloring, and took little David aside to ask him, 'Is that really true about your father?'
'No,' said David, 'He plays for the Cubs, but I was too embarrassed to say that in front of the other kids.'
CNET - A study released Wednesday from the University of California, San Diego, reports that the average American consumes a whopping 34GB of data and 100,000 words of information per day. . .
But if bytes are the standard by which American days are judged, it's the video game that takes the top prize. Researchers found that the average American consumes 18.5GB of gaming data per day, representing 67 percent of all bytes they consume daily.
...you might want to check this out. (It's free.)
WASHINGTON – Americans got wealthier for a second straight quarter in the fall, thanks to gains in stock investments and home values.
Net worth — the value of assets such as homes, bank accounts and investments, minus debts like mortgages and credit cards — rose 5 percent from the second quarter to $53.4 trillion, the Federal Reserve said Thursday.
...and the AP. But, wait...
Yet even with that gain, Americans' net worth remains far below the revised peak of $64.5 trillion reached before the recession began. That underscores the vast loss of wealth over the past two years. Net worth would need to rise an additional 21 percent just to return to its pre-recession peak.
...there are snowmen in various states of assembly or disassembly. I like this one because it's a perfectly blank slate, unblemished by carrots or - what do we use instead of lumps of coal these days, for eyes? - or wacky scarves, or one might, I suppose, say even a head. Nonetheless. What there is of this guy is clearly built to last.
The race to revamp the American health care system and turn it into an even bigger and more incomprehensible mess than it is today continues. Watching the congressional back-and-forth on this is a fascinating comic exercise, sort of like putting a chess board between a pair of beached Beluga whales and waiting for a game to break out.
No one expected Obama to attend every Nobel Prize event (I understand the toga party is a highlight), but his ungracious decision to skip even the traditional lunch with the Norwegian king is being taken as a rude snub. In other words, the newest winner of the Nobel Peace [By 2011 Maybe] Prize has managed to piss off... the Norwegians.
I live in a van down by Duke University
link: Pinched - Salon.com
In the mid '90s, our youngest daughter went to Syracuse University on a scholarship which paid her tuition. Mom and Dad paid room and board and "incidentials," which ended up being more than it would have cost us to pay the full freight to go to one of Ohio's excellent state schools.
(An aside: she majored in design, which required a lot of art classes, which required a lot of supplies. So we set up an account at the campus bookstore, which resembled a Super Wal-Mart, except nicer with many orange-colored items and without all the crap from China. The account was conveniently charged to our MasterCard each month, followed by a less-than-detailed statement. We noticed that the charge for "sundries" became larger with each statement until it dawned on us the "sundries" was shorthand for cigarettes and beer. We let her know that we would pay for books and art supplies, but she'd have to figure out how to afford "sundries." The cost of higher education dropped substantially.)
Our daughter emerged from college with no debt and a car that was paid for, while most of her classmates owed more than $100,000 in student loans. How can anyone justify that? So you've got to appreciate this guy, who lives in a van and survives mostly on peanut butter in order to afford an education at Duke, which I'm sure is even more overpriced than Syracuse.
Shares of U.S. health insurers rose on Wednesday after efforts to overhaul the health system moved away from creating a government-run insurance plan....
WASHINGTON - The Transportation Security Administration is investigating a security breach in which a manual for airport screening procedures appeared on a government website in a way that exposed sensitive information, officials said Tuesday....
Would it be possible to just re-wind a decade or so and try again?
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two leading international human rights groups gave U.S. President Barack Obama mixed reviews on his human rights record on Wednesday, a day before he is slated to accept the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo....
It's dumb, I know, really dumb, but I've spent pretty much all my life in cold states. And here's what I've learned from that:
1. The weather tomorrow will be just about the same as it is today except, of course, when it's totally not.
2. If you stick your nose out the door and it gets cold, then it's a cold day. Bundle up.
3. If you stick your nose out the door and it gets cold and also snowed upon, sleeted upon, and rained upon, then you're in New England. Go back to bed. To hell with it.
It's snowing now, it'll be sleet soon, then rain this afternoon, followed by glop which - the glop, I'm talking about now - will probably freeze overnight and be there until May. I'm just saying, this weather sucks.
BOISE, Idaho - It’s become an annual winter tale: A young boy gets his tongue stuck to a metal pole, perhaps as the result of a dare.
This year, the scene straight out of the movie “A Christmas Story’’ unfolded yesterday morning in Boise with a boy of about 10....
Although most e-mail users have come to understand that messages remain on their computers even if deleted...
Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and other U.S. "social networking" sites are at minimum providing information...and in some cases have also received substantial funding by U.S. government related entities as a most efficient and cost-effective means of spying on their users around the world.
Keeping up with a perennial Loop Favorite . . . Alberto "Fredo" Gonzales, the former attorney general, is now contentedly ensconced in his poli-sci teaching gig at Texas Tech in Lubbock. Gonzales is one of about 20 people -- including former U.N. nuke inspector in chief Mohamed ElBaradei, Yao Ming, Robert Caro and Jerry Lee Lewis -- who help us reflect on weighty matters in Esquire's ninth annual Meaning of Life issue, the January edition, out next week.
"I guess I would use my son's word: cool. It was cool to work in the White House," he says
And, oh yeah, a sample of what Little Alberto's eager student might be hearing at Texas Tech in Lubbock this term? Glad you asked.
"We should have," Gonzales says in hindsight, "abandoned the idea of removing the U. S. attorneys once the Democrats took the Senate. Because at that point we could really not count on Republicans to cut off investigations or help us at all with investigations."...
And you can't say that's not poli-sci.
More than 20 percent of the nation’s water treatment systems have violated key provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act over the last five years, according to a New York Times analysis of federal data.
That law requires communities to deliver safe tap water to local residents. But since 2004, the water provided to more than 49 million people has contained illegal concentrations of chemicals like arsenic or radioactive substances like uranium, as well as dangerous bacteria often found in sewage....
Alas, the water department is not too big to fail.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates denied Sunday that President Obama had set an "exit strategy" for Afghanistan, and he forecast that only a "handful" of U.S. troops may leave the country in July 2011, when a withdrawal is due to begin.
The ink isn't even dry yet, is it? On that peace prize?
BAGHDAD -- Even as the U.S. military scrambles to support a troop surge in Afghanistan, it is donating passenger vehicles, generators and other equipment worth tens of millions of dollars to the Iraqi government.
Under new authority granted by the Pentagon, U.S. commanders in Iraq may now donate to the Iraqis up to $30 million worth of equipment from each facility they leave...
Some of the items that commanders may now leave behind, including passenger vehicles and generators, are among what commanders in Afghanistan need most urgently, according to Pentagon memos.
Officials gather in Copenhagen this week for an international climate summit, but business leaders are focusing even more on Washington, where the Obama administration is expected Monday to formally declare carbon dioxide a dangerous pollutant....
An EPA endangerment finding "could result in a top-down command-and-control regime that will choke off growth by adding new mandates to virtually every major construction and renovation project," U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue said in a statement....
Please, Chamber of Commerce, save us from certain doom! Or, alternatively, go soak your head.
WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration, buoyed by a resurgent Wall Street, plans to cut the projected long-term cost of the Troubled Asset Relief Program by more than $200 billion, in a move that could smooth the way for the introduction of a new jobs program.
What have I been telling you all this time? Ninety-nine percent of the world's problems could be solved by just finding a better accountant. A better accountant could just make them disappear.
In a move that's sure to make Internet freedom advocates everywhere laugh out loud, Chinese government censors hard-pressed to stem the tide of porn are now offering to pay web users to go searching for it.
Almost needless to say, China's interest in pornography has swelled, in a manner of speaking.
...why don't we just round it off to needless and let it go at that. Although I can see how you might have been distracted.
The Washington Post’s Alec MacGillis reports that the stimulus has been a boon for D.C.-area contractors. According to reports from stimulus recipients, federal agencies are paying contractors millions to help sort through applications for stimulus funding. “The money’s largely going to places where it’s always been going,” says a former government official. MacGillis reports: “Of stimulus grants and contracts awarded so far, the District has received nearly 10 times as much per capita as the national average.”
SYDNEY – Two stars of the "I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here" television show have been charged with animal cruelty after allegedly killing and cooking a rat to eat during filming.
Bart Decrem, chief executive of Tapulous, a start-up company that publishes musical rhythm games, recalls the early days...
We're talking, here, about the early days of the iPhone which was, what, three years ago now? Or possibly four?