Monthly Archives: July 2010

Friday night oldie

The wig business was doing very well in those days. (Ann Margaret all by herself kept it afloat in bad years.) Nice touch in this one with some newsreel cuts.

98th birthday coming up

This is my father. He has a social life, is working with a personal trainer, and remembers every conversation he’s had with me over the last few years. I don’t.  He will no doubt outlive me.

Time for cocktails

One reason why

A tidbit from EJ Dionne in his column today pointing to one of many things that are out of whack:

“When our republic was created, the population ratio between the largest and smallest state was 13 to 1. Now, it’s 68 to 1. Because of the abuse of the filibuster, 41 senators representing less than 11 percent of the nation’s population can, in principle, block action supported by 59 senators representing more than 89 percent of our population. And you wonder why it’s so hard to get anything done in Washington?”

Whenever I hear anyone go all rhapsodic about ‘middle america’ and ‘coastal elites’ and ‘real americans’ or when I hear talkers rail against the power of those big states . . . to them, either it doesn’t occur (most likely) or it doesn’t matter that those cities are where a majority of Americans live; those big States are where a majority of Americans live. Just like this Presdident and this congress are who the majority of Americans voted for.

As it always was

Well this is pretty disgusting. I followed a link and found this headline with some pix of Muslims praying on streets in NYC. No comment on that,  just on this headline.

DISGUSTING! OUTRAGEOUS! ASS-IN-THE-AIR MUSLIMS soiling the streets of Manhattan

I’m Irish. My paternal grandparents immigrated to NYC. Public moods were fed by the newspapers of the day, who loved to portray Irish as monkeys.  But, as Jews like to say of their own history, “The came to kill us; we beat them; let’s eat” (I love that).

Anyway, feast your eyes on these.

The one titled CONTRASTED FACES reads – on left – Florence Nightingale, and – on the right – Bridget McBrutish. Cute, eh? Here’s more:


A proper penalty?

Charlie Rangle (D-NY) is facing a real ethics trial in Congress. His crimes – financial – are many and very real. One of the biggest involves using his Office to direct huge donations to The Rangle Center at New York University.

So you're saying I pushed it a little too far?

It may not be within the Congress’ power, but it seems to me the most appropriate penalty (assuming he’s found guilty) would be to order his name removed from the Center.

Sorry Charlie – and Elvis help me, but I still like you.

Why I can’t watch anymore

Dependable Renegade points me again to the brilliant gustavandmilo. Here’s their latest. Ladies and gentlemen, the stars of ‘Morning Joe’.

We kid ourselves

Time Magazine has this picture on its cover and asks  “What Happens if We Leave Afghanistan“.

Are they unaware that this is what happened while we were IN Afghanistan?

Why does anyone think it will be different?

I wish this hadn’t occurred to me

PBS is broadcasting the Paul McCartney White House concert from a mnth or so ago. I was enjoying it until I realized . . .

Paul McCartney is old enough to be Obama’s father. Worse, Obama is young enough that Paul McCartney could be his father.

That is all. I am now turning to drugs.

Poor Glenn, it’s really not that scary

The real Weathermen - 1969

As usual, Glenn Beck has been terrifying his viewers and listeners (and who the hell are these people?*)  with tales of the ‘enemy’. You know the drill:

  • Be afraid of Communists (okay, but dude, there really aren’t many of those left outside of China).
  • Be afraid of progressives, liberals, democrats – i.e., anyone who believes differently than you or, said another way, the majority of this country who voted the democrats into office.
  • Be very afraid of anyone who speaks of  ‘social justice’. (calling Jesus!)

and now, be very afraid of two 1960’s radical groups who pretty much dissolved well over 40 years ago:

  • SDS (Students for A Democratic Society) dissolved itself in 1969 after less than a decade.
  • Then in 1969, The Weathermen (also known as The Weather Underground) took up the banner. They shut down in 1977.

Glenn – they’re phantoms. They’re not there any more. Ringo is 70 and the SDS students are grandparents.

* Maybe his audience tunes in for the entertainment value. That might explain his numbers. Gee, if advertisers realized that he was only performing, the ‘market’ might consider supporting him with dollars)

Your tax dollars at work

Again, Harpers Index April 2010:

Average number of arrests made each year since 2001 by all 4,000 Federal Air Marshalls combined: 4

Federal spending- per- arrest that this represents: $200,000,000.

USA! USA! The encore

From Harper’s Index, April 2010:

Percentage change since 2008 in the average speed of an Internet connection worldwide:  +14

Percentage change in the United States:  -2.4


That’s our future with Afghanistan. Afghanistan will go back to being Afghanistan whether we leave now or in five years. Or ten years. And all we’ll have accomplished is giving ourselves another Vietnam.  It didn’t have to be this way.  But we needed to go to Iraq, see . . .

Friggin’ Vietnam with better field medicine.

Because, gosh, it’s hard to fill 19 whole minutes every single night

I just had to urgently switch away from CBS Evening News when, four minutes in, Katie Couric posed a question to her reporter that came “from one of our viewers“.

Pretty much, that’ll do it for me.

ISI and Pakistan and empty vessels on my teevee

For almost two decades, books* have been being written about the Pakistani intelligence service, ISI, and how they – with the CIA – created the Taliban. It’s a well known narrative.

Television is discovering the story (as a result of the big wikileak document dump reported in yesterday’s NY Times and everywhere else). To television, it is a brand new story. They didn’t know about this. Some sound like they weren’t even familiar with the ISI.

These are the people who inform a nation.

* Best of the lot is Steve Coll’s 2004 book GHOST WARS: Afghanistan, the CIA and Osama Bin Laden. (approximation of the title) The paperback has an update from the 9-11 Commission. Pakistan and ISI figures heavily in his account. (warning: it’s a long book but reads like a thriller)

Another really good reason

In talking about white roofs earlier, I failed to mention a very motivating factor – the building will be cooler and AC bills – and ergo energy use – will be much lower.

Here’s a first person account from a Texas TV station. This fellow painted his roof white, and his roof temp went from 152F to 112F. His summer electric bill is down $40.00.

Back from vacation

Only Jon Stewart could envision this:

Obama as Trump

Not in the headlines

While we’re all weeping in our lattes about how Obama isn’t doing what we want him to do or he’s not doing it fast enough,  David Brooks talks about short term and long term and reminds us of a few things:

“It occurs to me that the Obama administration has done a number of (widely neglected [I think he means underreported]) things that scramble the conventional categories and that are good policy besides. The administration has championed some potentially revolutionary education reforms. It has significantly increased investments in basic research. It has promoted energy innovation and helped entrepreneurs find new battery technologies. It has invested in infrastructure — not only roads and bridges, but also information-age infrastructure like the broadband spectrum.

These accomplishments aren’t big government versus small government; they’re using government to help set a context for private sector risk-taking and community initiative. . . . These long-term problems, Obama could say, won’t be solved either with centralized government or free market laissez-faire. Just as government laid railroads and built land grant colleges in the 19th century to foster deep growth, the government today should be doing the modern equivalents.”

I do not approve

It seems my President is going to be on “The View’. I wish he wouldn’t do that.

It’s fine for candidates. Presidents need to maintain a little more distance from the rest of us. He needs to learn that.

Ask me if I’m surprised

Big headlines today about reconstruction funds gone missing in Iraq. To those of us who have read and still read the reporting and books published since 2003, this is not news. But the Pentagon just released a new report from its Inspector General for Iraqi Reconstruction. Of  $9.1 billion allocated between 2003 and 2007, 96% cannot be accounted for. They don’t seem to be saying outright that it’s all gone missing; they’re just saying they don’t know what it was used for.

Hey, don't look at me or my guys!! Obama, Obama, Obama. . .

The BBC story noted “The US military said the funds were not necessarily missing, but that spending records might have been archived. In a response attached to the report, it said attempting to account for the money might require “significant archival retrieval efforts”.

Well, okay then.

I’m looking at how this is being reported. Once again,The Washington Post marches to the beat of its own drummer. As in all things Iraq, it marches to the beat of the Bush administration.

A brief review of the reporting shows:

  • The Washington Post article entirely devoid of links, even to the Pentagon report. It says only $2.1 billion is unaccounted for.
  • The LA Times article with numerous links, including one to the Pentagon report. It cites $8.7 billion unaccounted for.
  • The article at Think Progress is link rich, and leads with links to a number of the Pentagon report, quotes from the relevant Pentagon report, and cites the $8.7 billion in funds not accounted for. They also bother to point out that this is 96% of the 9.1 billion original allocated, a point made by the Inspector General.

Following up here . . . can we do it out there?

Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy  policy        April 30, 2001

Snow and cold feed each other in a kind of a loop. White surfaces reflect heat back into space making the ground cooler and cold weather attracts more snow to reflect more heat. That’s why white roofs make sense. I posted about this earlier and it has me remembering that we weren’t always so blind to the world we live in.

Take the white roofs: there was a time when this was part of a vibrant national conversation about the environment; hell, there was a time when there was a conversation. In the seventies Nixon created the EPA, congress started looking at global warming and peak oil, Earth Day was born, we banned CFC’s to protect the ozone layer, Detroit discovered MPG mattered, people faced up to the effects of pollution and did something about it. Carter came into office and put energy efficiency and research into alternative fuels front and center. Things began happening.

And then Ronald Reagan came into office, ripped the solar panels off the roof of the White House and it was Morning in America.

There’s really no reason not to return to this conversation right now and there’s no reason not to start acting again. When I wonder whatever happened to our good sense, I’m reminded of the quote above.

That was our very own once-upon-a-time Vice President, Dick Cheney, a few months before that attack which had nothing to do with how much middle eastern oil we waste so WalMart can keep their parking lots all lit up all the time. And he said it with utter scorn. He’s always liked war better. Like Afghanistan, where it is the 292nd day of the ninth year of the war.

UPDATE: Here’s a link to an article at Popular Science. They’ve got some statistical candy.


Glad to see Chris Matthews has famous American racist Pat Buchanan on to discuss Sen. Jim Webb’s proposal to end affirmative action. Englightening.

And why not two oldies?

Audio only . . . but this was a big one.

Friday! Time to get all old

The next time you see an old guy sipping his early-bird soup at a family restaurant . . . make no assumptions about his previous life!

And a cell gathered . . . sshhh

A lovely evening last night with three friends joining me for dinner here. The raison d’etre for the gathering was to bring one guest up to date on a project we’re all part of. She’s been out of town for a few weeks and needed to get up to speed before Sunday, when we’ve scheduled a public event.

You didn't invite me!

Because our activities in this regard are explicitly political and our targets are a city commission – we want the city to pass a Human Rights ordinance – I expect our meeting could easily be called ‘conspiracy!!!’. That appears to be how it works today.

We are even part of a larger ‘movement, with an ‘agenda’.

Isn’t there a New Testament line where Christ says “wherever two or more are gathered in my name”, which he was encouraging? Sounds to me like a call to activism. I imagine Andrew Breitbart and Tucker Carlson and their indignant cohort would find it so.

Don’t tell them about the dinner party at my house last night. We even had pasta; oh, teh foreign!!

I will keep asking

Why is Luke Russert on my teevee?

Six-months Friedman

Thomas Friedman, unwitting author of the famous Friedman Unit*, looks like someone with bad breath.

(* The Friendman Unit = the defining ‘next six months’ in Iraq, at any point between late 2003 and 2007.)

Her history in sand

Have you ever heard of a sand artist? Ever heard of the hit TV show  ‘Ukraine’s Got Talent’? This lovely young woman told the story of her country in the Second World war. And the audience wept openly.

She won.

White roofs? Oh, yeah.

Atrios, the master of understatement, reminded us this morning that we could change everything with white roofs.

Back in the 70’s, when the ‘greenhouse effect’ was big news, some 12-year old kid somewhere in America came up with the idea of painting all the black roofs white. Since white is reflective instead of absorptive, doing so would have an actual effect on the temperatures at ground level. Brilliant.

Atrios: “It would be good stimulus, good for climate change, good for energy costs, good for a whole bunch of stuff. I suppose that’s why it isn’t happening.”

Maybe the arabs always knew that. I’d like to show you this picture from Yemen, but it seems you need to go the NY Times to actually see it.  I wonder if they always did this or were listening to that 12-year old.

Would sure put a lot of people to work. And we could offer tax cuts and rebates, just like Carter did in the ’70’s when he got us to get energy audits and wrap our hot water heaters. It made a huge difference. (That was the beginning of the Energy Star system with appliances.)

I’m a big fan of anything that will cut our obsense energy use, especially on this 287th day of the ninth year of the war in Afghanistan.

Walter Lippman? Really? Walter Lippman?

My weekly five minutes of Glenn Beck – he’s instructing his audience about liberals and journalists and how journalists have a low opinion of ‘the people’. And to illustrate his point, he is putting up quotes from Walter Lippman, long dead newspaperman. The quotes are tagged ” — Walter Lippman, 1922″.

Nearly a hundred years ago.

Lewis Carroll lurks

It’s Alice Through the Looking Glass here this morning. I spent a few more minutes over at The Corner and found this post. So you don’t have to actually dip your toe in, here’s the post in its entirety:

“The Daily Caller Should Release the Full JournoList Threads   [Daniel Foster]

I’m not sure how the Daily Caller obtained e-mail threads from “JournoList.” I don’t know whether they are in possession of the whole archive or merely snippets. And I don’t know if it is Jonathan Strong or Tucker Carlson who controls them. But if either are both have the threads in which the comments they’ve reported originally appear, it is incumbent on them to release those threads to the public.

The DC has crossed a kind of Rubicon in deciding to print e-mails from an off-the-record distribution list. There is probably a good journalistic (and undoubtedly a good financial) argument for doing so. But to avoid charges of sensationalism, the public should be able to see the context in which the most incendiary remarks were made. It won’t change the indiscriminate call to brand conservative critics of Obama as “racists” or the intemperate wish for Rush Limbaugh’s untimely demise. But it will reveal whether such comments were aberrations, and make clear how other members of the list responded to them at the time.

It is especially important for Carlson to back up the impression of the list conveyed by the stories he’s published, since HuffPo’s Sam Stein revealed today that a Daily Caller reporter, now with The Hill, was himself on JournoList while working for Carlson. That reporter, Gautham Nagesh, told Stein:

“I joined Journolist after [it was exposed in a Politico article] hoping to get an inside view of the left wing media conspiracy,” he told the Huffington Post. “And unfortunately all I found was a wonkish listserv of like-minded people discussing topics that interested them. I found it extremely useful for putting me in contact with sources and exposing me to a side of the blogosphere I wasn’t well connected with.”

So I say again to Tucker and Jonathan: release the threads.”