8.24.2012

Or in other words, since last Wednesday

For thinking conservatives of a classic variety, Obama is the best president since Clinton and the first Bush.

Andrew Sullivan

Not Obamas fault necessarily but a failure of leadership nonetheless

Household incomes have fallen faster since the end of the Great Recession than they did during it, even as corporations have returned to greater profitability than they reached before the Great Recession.

Think Progress

An investment pays off

The couple of months ago I broke down and subscribe to the New York Times to escape all the shrill of this interminable and overwrought election year. The plan is to continue my subscription at least until the election is safely behind us.

My investment paid off handsomely this morning when the Times ran a comprehensive piece on the subject of rape and the terms "forcible" and "legitimate" attached thereto.

Read it. It will likely not change anybody's mind but it may encourage us all to take a deep breath, at least, and count to 10.

Flora

IMG_0868 by Ted Compton
IMG_0868, a photo by Ted Compton on Flickr.

One, but only one…

…of the history-making events to occur on August 22 (this in 1972) was the Brooklyn bank robbery that inspired the classic movie Dog Day Afternoon. Happily, this movie involves no kissing and therefore qualifies for our official movie list.

Do we get our money back?

WASHINGTON — After spending millions of dollars testing four different scanning devices that would allow airline passengers to keep their shoes on at security checkpoints, the United States government has decided for now that travelers must continue to remove their footwear…

New York Times

8.23.2012

We need more guys like this

Nepalese man bites snake in revenge attack - NY Daily News

A Nepalese farmer who was bitten by a venomous snake took revenge by sinking his teeth into the reptile and killing it, police said on Thursday.…

[The guy] was treated at a local clinic and is recovering at home.

Well, no and no

Do you find yourself reading about Kim Kardashian but only sharing articles from the Harvard Business review?

Venture Beat (huh?)

But surely Pat Roberts will be able to stop it, right?

Tropical Storm Isaac Heads Toward Florida Ahead of Convention - WSJ.com

Tropical storm Isaac, which is gathering strength in the Caribbean, could strike Florida, hurricane forecasters say, triggering concern it might force a postponement or cancellation of the Republican National Convention in Tampa next week.

Money laundering?

 
Posted by Picasa

Noted

Republicans Move Convention to Seventeenth Century : The New Yorker

TAMPA (The Borowitz Report)—With the threat of Hurricane Isaac hitting Florida next week, the Republican National Committee took the extraordinary step today of moving their 2012 National Convention to the seventeenth century.…

“After exploring a number of options, we decided that moving to the seventeenth century would cause the least disruption,” [an RNC spokesperson] said. “We’re not going to have to change a thing.”

Consider the source.

Picky, picky

Fox-Approved Convention Theme Contradicted By Publicly Financed Site | Blog | Media Matters for America

The Republican Party's convention site is creating an awkward reality at odds with the conservative media mythology that is at the center of the convention's theme.…

The construction of the Tampa Bay Times Forum was majority financed by the public; the arena is owned by local government; and the Republican convention has received tens of millions in government funds to help with costs and security.   

You said it first! Your mom wears combat boots!*

Obama Camp Hits Romney On Class Sizes Despite Similar Comments From White House | TPM2012

Mitt Romney’s campaign is crying foul over a new Obama ad accusing him of promoting bigger class sizes, noting that the president’s own education secretary has also expressed skepticism on the importance of small classes.

*OK, I guess that's not much of an insult any more. But YKWIM.

Hey, don't hold back

Every financial commentator of the last 20 years was proven to be an ass.

(Salon)

8.22.2012

RE: The footnote

The GOP reaps what it sowed - Salon.com

And even as “mainstream” Republicans were repudiating Akin, they were presiding over the most extreme antiabortion language yet in the 2012 party platform, again calling for a ban even in cases of rape and incest. Although Romney claims to support those exceptions to abortion bans, he didn’t lift a finger to influence the platform – because he couldn’t have if he tried. Todd Akin has more power than Romney on that front.

Latch


iPhone photo:  Phil Compton

A public service


XKCD

No one—no one—is better at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory than the D's

Has Obama Made the Job Situation Worse? - NYTimes.com

So the argument that President Obama has made the economy worse is not only central to the Republicans’ case, it’s pretty much all they have.

Here we go again

Obama must contain Syrian threat of biological and chemical arms - NY Daily News

A year ago this week, President Obama called for Syrian President Bashar Assad to stop killing his people and step down.

Twelve blood-soaked months later, Obama is threatening military action if there’s evidence that an increasingly desperate Assad is preparing to use chemical or biological weapons on his people or that horribly bad actors could take control of the stockpiles…

Looking away

My Way News - Americans tune out Afghan war as fighting rages on

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - It was once President Barack Obama's "war of necessity." Now, it's America's forgotten war.

The Afghan conflict generates barely a whisper on the U.S. presidential campaign trail.…

The Congressman from Misery

Biography
As a U.S. Congressman, Todd serves on three committees: Armed Services, Science and Technology and Budget.
Todd Akin, now renowned as the 13th Century Congressman from the State of Misery (here's to you, Candi, wherever you may be) has, on his web site, a section entitled "News and Media" which does not mention any of the, you know, news and media currently devoted to his sorry person. It appears from a piece in the Times this morning Akin's views on feminine plumbing are hardly outré among the Christianists down home. Just because the national R's are cleverly running away from him (although not so fast, it seems, as to outdistance the draft* Republican platform) does not necessarily mean he's in electoral trouble down Misery way.

"He" (I'm saying "he" because almost certainly we're talking about a Mrs. He here) also has home-schooled all six of his children (as have many of his staunchest supporters, according to the aforementioned Times piece), which means, darlin', if civilization has not ended yet it will real soon.

But hardly mentioned in all the hubub is that this cretin serves on the House's Science and Technology Committee.

Which is to say, we're all screwed.

*No longer draft. 

8.21.2012

Sky

Sky by Ted Compton
Sky, a photo by Ted Compton on Flickr.

Dude, that's just frightening

In Defense of the Skinny-Dipping Congressman - Conor Friedersdorf - The Atlantic

Billy Graham was one of many to go skinny-dipping with President Lyndon Johnson in the White House pool.

Fortunately, I never took the Econ course

U.S. oil demand dipped to near 4-year low in July: API | Reuters

(Reuters) - U.S. crude oil demand fell to its lowest in nearly four years in July as the middling U.S. economy and fuel efficiency gains weighed on consumption, the American Petroleum Institute said on Friday.

"Don't get knocked up in Nebraska"

Wham, Bam, Sonogram! Meet the Ladies Setting the New Pro-Life Agenda | Mother Jones

Understated rhetoric aside, AUL's mission is to end all abortions in the United States.…

YA problem from drought

No drought-busting rains seen for U.S. crop belt | Reuters

The U.S. Coast Guard said on Monday that 97 vessels were stranded by low water on the Mississippi River near Greenville, Mississippi…

"Arab Spring" bites back

allAfrica.com: Egypt to Send Aircraft and Tanks to Sinai First Time Since 1973

For the first time since the October war of 1973, Egypt is preparing to send aircraft and tanks to Sinai as part of its offensive against militants in the border area.

At the same time, Israel also announced it will deploy an air defense system near the Egyptian border.…

There'll always be an England

Edinburgh Festival 2012: ten funniest jokes at this year's Edinburgh Fringe revealed - Telegraph

 

8.20.2012

"The only way to be sure what will happen next is to wait and see."

So ends Richard Bailey's Speaking American and also our tour of the English language that began with The Lexicographer's Dilemma and The Meaning of Everything. Bailey's book, Speaking, gets a little technical at times and is burdened by an awkward system for citations and footnotes, but the story it tells is fascinating and the many, many historical tidbits tucked away in his discussion of American English are delightful to read. The chapter on Chicago in the first half of the 20th Century is worth the price of the book all by itself (IMO). It goes on our list.

Speaking American: A History of English in the United States by Richard W. Bailey

Awkward sentence of the day

TAMPA, Fla. — They hail from the Broadway stage, the control rooms of NBC and the design studios that created sleek sets for Oprah Winfrey and Jon Stewart.

Their craft is slick packaging and eye candy that audiences consume by the millions.

(Not to mention awkward story.)

8.19.2012

I hate this stuff

From the Huffington Post:

Mitt Romney 2011 Tax Return To Be Released By October 15, Ed Gillespie Says

Romney, a former private equity executive who is one of the richest men ever to run for president…

WTF? One of the richest? Would that be one of the three richest or one of the 25 richest? The third richest or the 17th richest? Kennedy was certainly rich, and both Bushes, but what about LBJ? Or Carter?

The datastream is clogged with this kind of horsepuckey—coming from both sides of the political aisle—and somehow I expect it will remain until early November. 

Alas.

So…wait…your mom can hear everything you say?

Spy tech secretly embeds itself in phones, monitors and operates them from afar | Privacy SOS

In 2008, a Reston, VA based corporation called Oceans' Edge, Inc. applied for a patent. On March, 2012 the company's application for an advanced mobile snooping technology suite was approved.

Well then…umm…

New Nationwide Study of Election Fraud Since 2000 Finds Just 10 Cases of In-Person Voter Fraud

A new nationwide analysis of 2,068 alleged election-fraud cases since 2000 shows that while fraud has occurred, the rate is infinitesimal, and in-person voter impersonation on Election Day, which prompted 37 state legislatures to enact or consider tough voter ID laws, is virtually non-existent.

Fastest ship in the world

A Man and His Ship: America’s Greatest Naval Architect and His Quest to Build the SS United States by Steven …: Book Review - USATODAY.com

Turns out that the wonderful cruises we enjoy today are a direct result of the visionary naval architect William Francis Gibbs, who was obsessed with building the greatest ocean liner of all time a century ago and putting the USA at the top of the industry.…

…metaphorically, the story of Gibbs and the construction of the S.S. United States (completed in 1952) is really a snapshot of the American Dream culminating with this country's mid-century greatness.

I traveled to France in this ship in 1958. Last I saw it (not long ago on the web) it was a heap of rust tied up in Philadelphia.

Keeping everything cool

Nearly all of the world’s booming cities are in the tropics and will be home to an estimated one billion new consumers by 2025. As temperatures rise, they — and we — will use more air-conditioning.

New York Times