Friday, November 19, 2010

MSNBC is Silly

So now it is Joe Scarborough, a one-time Republican congressman, who is suspended for making political campaign contributions without asking permission.  This is beyond silly.  Lean forward indeed.

Dogs in Bloggs

Is your day a bit gray?  Well, go and read this cartoon and text story of two dogs and a move cross country.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Some Things

The Obama administration's decision to try Ahmed Ghailana led to a 20 yr minimum with a maximum of life in a "Supermax" prison, where he would in isolation for nearly all the time. A success, one might think.

The GM IPO is going like gangbusters.  A success, one might think.

The FDIC is probing, in a non-alien abduction way, 50 bankers. A success, one might think.

Tom Delay shoots himself in the foot, evidence wise.  A failure one, might think.

House Republicans stall an extension of jobless benefits.  Given the anemic growth in jobs, a failure, one might think.

Leading Republican senator Kyl threatens to stop the Start Treaty, leading to nearly everyone to call him nutzo. A failure, one might think.

Meanwhile a third Palin endorsed candidate loses in her home state, no less.  A failure one, one might think.

Think about it.  On the basis of the available evidence, Obama is moving forward making sane, if centrist, policies which actually accomplish what they are supposed to do; while the Republicans run round and about making fools of themselves and are riven with internal dissent between their Tea Party and the saner, if still crazyish, wings.  Who, one wonders, will win in the long run?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Uff Da

Sarah Palin makes up a word and is roundly mocked for making up a word. It was soon clear that she made up the word out of ignorance. Colbert's Truthiness, on the other hand, mocked the rising tendency of folks who preferred a world in which that which they wished was the fact of the matter was treated as the facts of the matter even if the facts of the matter were the opposite of that which they wished. This act of creation was both funny and intentional  Yesterday, the OED declared Refudiate the word of the year. The OUP Blog, on which the announcement was announced, makes a weak argument in favor refudiate..  One, which is to say I, hopes or hope that the elevation from scattered-brained to dictionary is withdrawn due to popular refudiation.

Monday, November 15, 2010

On Firing Bad Teachers

Lots of people, serious people yet, insist that the first step to improved education, given the crises of the American educational system, is to remove teacher protections because "bad" teachers cause the crises.  Obviously, this is false and obviously this is a continuation of the neo-Liberal attack on workers.  Why are teachers protected from firing?  Well, here's an example of a "bad" teacher:

Jay McDowell, a teacher in Howell, Michigan, was temporarily suspended without pay earlier this month after telling a student wearing a Confederate flag and a student making anti-gay remarks to get out of his class. At a school-board meeting on Friday, openly gay 14-year-old high-school student Graeme Taylor came to McDowell's defense, thanking the teacher for doing "an amazing thing" in a town home to the KKK, and urging the school board to give McDowell his pay and reverse the disciplinary actions. The inspiring video has made its way around the Internet, because how cool is this kid?
What, I wonder, would have happened to a teacher who had the audacity to behave like a decent human being absent union protection?  Are all the teachers in the various or alleged "rubber rooms" across this great land of ours -- long may she wave, similarly situated?  Obviously not.  Are some of them, yes, yes they are.  Is it the case that making it easier to fire folks makes the easier-to-fire folks less likely to take some decent and honorable stance if that stance is going to irritate the powerful?  Well, you tell me, although for what it's worth I think the answer is yes.

See also.

Three Things

I solved the budget "crisis."

George Bush allowed an innocent man to be executed:
But DNA tests completed this week at the request of the Observer and the New York-based Innocence Project show the hair didn’t belong to Jones after all. The day before his death in December 2000, Jones asked for a stay of execution so the strand of hair could be submitted for DNA testing. He was denied by then-Gov. George W. Bush.
The TSA security regime is crazy and not in a good way. One guy tells of how
before I could go through the metal detector, I was pulled out of line to go through the backscatter machine. When asked, I half-chuckled and said, "I don't think so." At this point, I was informed that I would be subject to a pat down, and I waited for another agent.

A male agent (it was a female who had directed me to the backscatter machine in the first place), came and waited for me to get my bags and then directed me over to the far corner of the area for screening. After setting my things on a table, he turned to me and began to explain that he was going to do a "standard" pat down. (I thought to myself, "great, not one of those gropings like I've been reading about".) After he described, the pat down, I realized that he intended to touch my groin. After he finished his description but before he started the pat down, I looked him straight in the eye and said, "if you touch my junk, I'll have you arrested." He, a bit taken aback, informed me that he would have to involve his supervisor because of my comment.
When he
began to make my way to the stairs to exit the airport, when I was approached by another man in slacks and a sport coat. He was accompanied by the officer that had escorted me to the ticketing area and Mr. Silva. He informed me that I could not leave the airport. He said that once I start the screening in the secure area, I could not leave until it was completed. Having left the area, he stated, I would be subject to a civil suit and a $10,000 fine.
What a great country indeed.  America is exceptional.