Monthly Archives: November 2010

Cheap and ugly. Oh, stupid too.

Rep Steve King (R-IA) is one ugly and stupid dude. He’s outraged today because a class action suit alleging discrimination in recent decades by a gov’t agency against black farmers and American Indians is just a sly way of paying ‘slavery reparations.’

He thinks it was cooked up by a young Sen. Obama, who King calls “a very, very urban Senator”.

Isn’t that special?

UPDATE: I see that the incomprable Dr. Duncan Black (aka Atrios) took notice of the same story. His entire post:

So – important news of the day is that Steve King thinks Obama is blacketyblackblackblackblackBLACKBLACKcountBlacketyblackula.

Heads up! Time for McCain to have at ‘teh gays’ again.

This man is afraid of something –  in his heart or in his past. He’s deaf and blind to what’s around him. Therre will be a chance to see that up close yet again, when the Senate Armed Forces Committee meets on Thursday and Friday of this week.  Fire up yer’ CSpan and pop yer’ corn!

The Pentagon’s study on the impact of repealing DADT was released today. Predictably, those currently serving are fine with it. I’m sure the numbers are different among the senior officer corps, but among the enlisted? No prob.

From Daily Kos today:

The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold hearings on the report on Thursday and Friday, with Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, and top members of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines all testifying. Leading the charge against repeal will be John McCain (R-AZ), the ranking Republican on the committee.

McCain, who has apparently decided to make his lasting legacy be that of the last man standing against the civil rights issue of the twenty-first century, will presumably continue to argue that violating Americans’ 14th Amendment rights isn’t a problem.

Wikileaks – why?

When Wikileaks published all that Iraq war info, I was pretty much okay with it. The war was a negative undertaking and, I think, criminal. So yeah, leak away.

But this one? Sorry Julian, I do not get it. A quarter million documents in which individuals gossip a bit, let a little candor show, express personal likes and dislikes – what exactly is achieved besides making it hard for people to talk to one another? Bad move. I haven’t seen anyone out there embracing what they did this time. At least not anyone whose voice is heard.

But, via to Little Green Footballs, there’s another one about to hit. And this time I could be aboard:

(Reuters) – The founder of whistle-blower website WikiLeaks plans to release tens of thousands of internal documents from a major U.S. bank early next year, Forbes Magazine reported on Monday.

I forgot it’s my birthday

. . .  until I opened my email and the facebook messages were there (more bithday wishes than I’ve had since I turned 16 – reason #422 ‘why I like facebook’.)

Look at this rare birthday recording from the Beatles – posted by neice Kate! Everyone over 50 should save this one.

Oh fer elvis’ sake!

Normally I would refrain from mocking  Palin (unless provoked), but this is just Palin in a nutshell. She Tweeted about the Wikileaks matter:

Inexplicable: I recently won in court to stop my book “America by Heart” from being leaked,but US Govt can’t stop Wikileaks’ treasonous act?

Does she know Wikileaks doesn’t originate in this country and that Assange is not an American?

Ahem. 35,000.

Sometime this week, Whatever Works will have its 35,000th view since launching in October ’09.  (For those of you who don’t know, WordPress doesn’t count my own visits.)

Doing the happy dance!


In news reporting, we no longer have a Federal Government or Departments of the Federal Government or a Presidency. We only have TheObamaAdministration and PresidentObama. While the phraseology is accurate enough, it contributes to a mind set that ultimately limits all discussion about national policy to the singular area of political combat. Flu shots come from TheObamaAdministration.

This isn’t all that new, but it isn’t much older than cable news. Before that time it was quite common to hear a news report say ‘the President’, or ‘today the federal government’ or  “today the administration” or ‘the Treasury Department today . . . “.

Say it the other way long enough and the substance is drained from the issue – and it’s replaced by a definition of which political direction the action issues from.

Ga’bless us, every one

Friend Eric and blog regular Logan are Scrooge and Tiny Tim in this year’s production of A Christmas Carol. Over six years, Eric has become Scrooge to half a generation of local kids. But each year, the role of Tim is bestowed upon a different six or seven year old. And now it’s Logan’s turn. He didn’t inherit the role at all; he had to audition and perform both a monologue and a rehearsed song. There was competition. But – quite naturally for those of us who love him (and we are legion) – there was never any contest. He had to be Tim.

Last night our small city staged it’s annual Christmas parade – with 127 floats, costumes galore, music everywhere and lights, lights, lights.  Santa led things off  in the Budweiser carriage behind four magnificent Clydesdales.

I took  Logan and his mom out for some dinner early before costume call and we then spent a very long time at the float waiting for our start time.

Sometimes waiting is the best part.

The Giving Pledge

Capitalism’s giants. Self-made billionaires. American folk heroes. Embodiments of the American dream.  Civicly engaged. Deeply generous. Liberals all.

Warren Buffett, Ted Turner, Bill Gates

watching them now from this morning’s This Week show.

Growing up Orwell

I think it’s a reasonable guess to say that when we launched the war in Afghanisan, these young men were somewhere between 10 and 14 years of age. For them, we’ve always been at war with Eastasia.

Today is the 52nd day of the tenth year of our war in Afghanistan.

Well, look what I forgot!

Not only was it Friday, but ‘Black Friday’, the celebration of American consumerism invented by the retail industry and about to become an American Holy Day. Yesterday was all of that and I was so lost in my joy, I forgot the oldie.

OMG – anyone remember this?

The future of news?

While the chattering classes on cable and the overpaid ‘anchors’ on network news suck up the air, they don’t often acknowledge the sources for that news about which they chatter so much. They are not reporters; they talk about what actual reporters have written. The television class get their news from print – mostly newspapers. In fact, mostly four or five newspapers – The NY Times, The Wall Street Journal, The LA Times, Chicago Trib – a few others. The congressional journals – like The Hill, Hotline, CQ – are essential to their schtick too, but as well reported as they are, their subject is congress and only congress.

Eric Alterman’s Think Again column last week looked – yet again – at the erosion of good professional investigative reporting, and examined – yet again – what if anything replaces it.

A few highly motivated individuals and organizations have attempted to fill the gap by founding new nonprofit media organizations. These include:

  • The investigative team of reporters created by Propublica, which is funded by the civic-minded billionaires Herb and Marion Sandler and headed by Paul E. Steiger, former managing editor of The Wall Street Journal
  • The Center for Independent Media, headed by David Bennahum, a former writer at Wired
  • The creation of a series of local-news-oriented partnerships with journalism schools like those at Columbia and the City University of New York, or CUNY, which employ faculty and students to cover stories that are no longer economically affordable for local newspapers
  • Too many other small and still incipient ventures to mention

. . .  With the core news function of for-profit media increasingly on life support in the United States, we need to find ways to preserve investigative journalism

. . .

He points to countries who invest in a vigorous press, something the United States doesn’t do, likely  because Americans are hostile to the idea.

. . .  But as University of Illinois professor and tireless crusader for media democracy Robert McChesney and John Nichols point out:

we looked at the Economist magazine, and they rank every country in the world on how democratic it is and how open its governance is, how little corruption there is, how free people are, their civil liberties. … and the top six countries they ranked as the freest, most democratic countries were just about the six heaviest press-subsidizing nations in the world. The United States ranks well below them. Then we looked at Freedom House, a conservative group whose whole mission is to monitor government censorship and . . . it ranks every country in the world on how free the private press are in each of these countries every year. … Well you go down their list of the six freest private presses in the world and they’re pretty much in the six most heavy press-subsidizing nations that have those vibrant freest press systems. The United States is tied for 21st.

From earlier in the column:

Americans currently pay about $1.35 each in tax dollars to support noncommercial media, compared to about $25 in Canada, Australia, and Germany; nearly $60 in Japan; $80 in Britain; and more than $100 in Denmark and Finland. A similar fee in the United States would yield as much as $35 billion every year.

Thoughtful stuff – from someone who knows his stuff. (I am a serious fan.)

Get your season on!

The food was very fine, the company was even better – and I saw Christmas lights all the way home tonight. Dear elvis, let’s slow down please.

As for the poor benighted souls who now consider it their patriotic duty to trample each other at the malls and big box stores tomorrow –  I wish they’d consider a leisurely breakfast instead.

Meanwhile, I actually found myself thinking about some Christmas wreaths, and how to put lights on one of them, so it can hang on my new carport gate. Yikes. I haz met the enemy and it is me.

(Attention liberals: Don’t y’all forget to oil up your weapons – it’s nearly time for us to pick up those arms and go once again into the breach in  our never ending War on Christmas!)

The Thanksgiving Classic

Gobble gobble

I’m the designated maker of pies for Thanksgiving. Ingredients are now in-house, and I shall bake the pies – two of them- tomorrow morning. There will be pumpkin of course – made with black strap molasses. And there will be an apple – made with pears and cranberries and maybe some raisins.  Yummy yummy to y’all and gobble gobble too.

He did it

Tom DeLay convicted. By a jury of his peers under the American system of law. Bet he’s glad he got his turn on Dancing with the Stars before heading to the pokey.

Money laundering. (Tom was reinvesting national Republican money into local races in TX is my memory.)

Sarah Palin: just the glitter, not the guts please

Chris Kelly today in Huff Post notices Sarah Palin’s Favorite Communist Movie.

. . . she says Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is one of her “favorite movies,” that it’s “about timeless truths of America handed down to us from our forefathers and foremothers,” that it’s “wonderful” and “not pro-government, certainly, but definitely pro-American,” she must know it was written by a communist, right?

His name was Sidney Buchman. In 1951 he appeared before HUAC and admitted to being a member of the Communist Party, but refused to name anyone else. In 1952, he was subpoenaed again, but refused to honor the subpoena — much like Todd Palin did when called to testify about Troopergate.

Unlike Todd Palin, Buchman was found in contempt of Congress by a vote of 314-0. He was fined $150 and sentenced to a year in Federal penitentiary (suspended). A two-time Academy Award winner, it would be a decade before his name appeared on another American movie.

What does this mean?


From China Daily:

China, Russia quit dollar

I wanted to take a nap . . .

. . . but then I saw this.  At McClatchy.

WASHINGTON — A majority of Americans want the Congress to keep the new health care law or actually expand it, despite Republican claims that they have a mandate from the people to kill it, according to a new McClatchy-Marist poll.

Second best thing ever

Since I retired, I’ve been making my house more inviting – for myself mainly. I spend considerably more time here – and most of it in the daylight!

Some time ago, while living in Connecticut, I developed pneumonia and pleurisy, while at a convention – such a good time. (In those days, I was a commuter, taking the train from CT to NYC daily; that often meant leaving in the dark and coming back home in the dark.) So – once diagnosed, I was ordered to rest at home for at least ten days. I spent a good deal of that time on the couch in the living room – and in the daylight. I saw things I’d been in too much of a hurry to see before. That little rest at home resulted in a lot of painting and carpet cleaning etc.

That’s what is going on with me now. Things that seemed just fine when I wasn’t here a lot aren’t so fine anymore. I built the pool as an embrace of my new life. And it was the best thing I’ve ever done.

Recently though, I did the second best thing. My house is quite small and has no garage or attic or utility room. There is a carport, which I pretty much used for the car. No more.

Ta-da!! Instant garage, utility room, work area. It’s a whole new room. The car lives outside now, which is its problem. I’m happy as a clam. This is two sections of vinyl fence mounted onto the house. Very simple. Not expensive. And my new favorite bestest thing ever.

Republicans are right! These people need our help.

And the only way to help them is to lower their taxes! This is clearly an urgent matter and all of us should get aboard and advocate for them. The Republican Party was right; if only we’d listened!

H/T Drudge Retort:

Corporate Profits Were the Highest on Record Last Quarter


I think I’m going to enjoy Eric Cantor

I used to think Cantor (R-new leadership) was a level-headed guy. He’s smart, not all Christianey (Jewish in fact) and doesn’t uses an entire can of spray every morning.  He was obstructionist in the way of his party, but I always figured him to be someone who’d grow in his office.

Wrong. Apparently, he doesn’t like a proposal for a value-added tax, because . . . wait for it . . .

Cantor Dismisses Budget Fixing Proposal Because It Sounds Too European

WordPress builds in a flaw

Bloggers like readers. Especially, bloggers like commenters. And sometimes, depending on a bloggers’ mood, bloggers love to check their site stats.

When one subscribes – as I do – to other blogs, an email shows up every time they post. Which is cool – I may not go over every time, but if  it piques my interest, I would visit the blog itself so I could read the entire post. Until recently that is. WordPress has begun showing the entire post in the email saving me the trouble of that visit.

And that blog’s ‘hit’ numbers go down because the reader had no need to click thru to the post from the email.

I frankly wish WordPress would disable this feature. It’s hurting my feelings.

Yayayayayayayaya, I’m not l-i-s-t-e-n-i-n-g . . .

Was over at brucetheeconomist commenting on a post. As I was writing my comment, this thought developed – I share it.

All these discussions about putting money out vs taking money in – does stimulus raise revenue? do tax cuts create jobs? I’ve not got your skills in this area, but it always sounds to me like people are so committed to their pet theoretical outcomes, that they ignore or miss  obvious elements that have great impact, because those don’t fit their script. 
Example: Sunday, I watched McLaughlin Group (political scream show). Somehow they were discussing ending the monarchy in Britain because the royals live off the state and cost too much. It was a genuinely silly discussion, but I was astonished that they entirely ignored two things that should be part of any such conversation.:

1. the contribution to tourism

2. the national identity at a time when all western democracies are struggling to integrate immigrants into the dominant culture. It’s said that in Britain the loudest and proudest fans of the monarchy are the immigrants. It’s what being British is all about.

Anyway, stupid discussion and for some reason reminded me of economic chatter about how to improve the economy.

Adding to my list of banned words


Full body scanner

my junk

and . . . as of this moment, any word in this story.

Somebody needs a new headline writer

The Huff Post apparently has an entire SNL page.  I just went there for the first time. As nice as it is to have a convenient one-stop to catch the best skits I don’t stay up to see on Saturday night, the page is embarassing.

Here are the headlines at 11pm Sunday:

Kate Middleton Bullied By Queen Elizabeth II In Hilarious ‘SNL’ Sketch

Scarlett Johansson’s Hilarious ‘SNL’ Promo With Jason Sudeikis

The Women Of ‘SNL’ Perfectly Spoof ‘Real Housewives’ Reunions

Jane Lynch Makes Hilarious ‘SNL’ Promos With Fred Armisen

‘SNL’ Newcomer Vanessa Bayer Does Hilarious Miley Cyrus Impression

SNL Does Perfect Spoof of Jimmy McMillan


Oh yeah, the finished pool

Any long time reader (Ed, Susie, Elaine) will recall I did a lot of updating and popsted pix as I was building my p0ol last spring. I never did manage to post any pix of the completed job. So here.

Now it’s just embarassing

CBS CBS oh what happened to CBS (well, we all know, but I like to lament sometimes). Back in the day, the news operations of the networks were considered loss leaders. The best reporting brought the most audience and advertisers liked that. News itself didn’t make money, but it increased viewership numbers which helped the network big time.

Of course those days are over and of course the 22 minute half hour of network news today is little more than a string of press releases followed by a story about a four year old who dialed 911 and saved her mommy and her puppy. Great stuff.

But once in a while they make an effort. And certainly there are still some superb people working for the nets, people like Richard Engel on NBC.

CBS News – once called The Tiffany News Network – decided to do a big serious story about the economy. Here’s Steve Benen at The Washington Monthly (my linker gizmo isn’t working! Wonder what that’s about) :

CBS News sent around a press release yesterday afternoon about a special “In Focus: Debt and Deficit,” hosted by Katie Couric.

The release noted, “With this year’s record-breaking deficit of $1.5 trillion — the biggest ever in U.S. history — and the national debt reaching a whopping $14 trillion, Americans are now faced with making tough choices in order for the country to dig itself out of its national financial mess.”

The press release happened to be wrong. The deficit isn’t $1.5 trillion; it’s $1.29 trillion. The deficit also isn’t “the biggest ever in U.S. history,” neither in real terms nor in percentage of GDP. The national debt hasn’t reached a “whopping $14 trillion” yet, either. All of these errors were in the first paragraph.

No reason we can’t have two oldies

No reason at all. Another one of those clips with great audio and a montage of stills. No video.

Friday, Friday, so good to me . . .

Because on Friday I can go peruse my youtube favorites. In so doing, I generally spend an hour or so lost in the 5’s.  When one is retired, there really is no such thing as wasting time – in fact, slow, pleasant, lost hours are often quite delightful. When I was 16, I sat on a lawn with Frank Halprin, wearing a white pleated sharkskin (actually a fabirc) skirt, and we listened to the young Johnny Mathis.

Here’s what I found today: