Saturday, January 22, 2011
And Brussels was the first place I lived where home broadband was an option, so they caught up pretty quickly on the internet front too.
There was a time when Keith Olbermann was the only person who drew attention to the deep, deep veins of damage in our public life.
The first time he came to my attention was in 2004, when he focused like a laser on the electoral irregularities rife in Ohio, both on Countdown and his old blog Bloggermann, with a simple, straightforward shrug: "I'm a sports guy. I look at the numbers." (I may have that quote wrong, but it was similar to that.)
As he developed a clearer voice in his broadcasts, including the often hotly-awaited Special Comments, I didn't always agree with him, but he always seemed to speak from a principled position. He is a good American, and we need him.
He will be missed.
Friday, January 21, 2011
Or bags of cash.
The summer that Coleman took me into his confidence about Faunia Farley and their secret was the summer, fittingly enough, that Bill Clinton's secret emerged in every last mortifying detail—every last lifelike detail, the livingness, like the mortification, exuded by the pungency of the specific data. We hadn't had a season like it since somebody stumbled upon the new Miss America nude in an old issue of Penthouse, pictures of her elegantly posed on her knees and on her back that forced the shamed young woman to relinquish her crown and go on to become a huge pop star. Ninety-eight in New England was a summer of exquisite warmth and sunshine, in baseball a summer of mythical battle between a home-run god who was white and a home-run god who was brown, and in America the summer of an enormous piety binge, a purity binge, when terrorism—which had replaced communism as the prevailing threat to the country's security—was succeeded by cocksucking, and a virile, youthful middle-aged president and a brash, smitten twenty-one-year-old employee carrying on in the Oval Office like two teenage kids in a parking lot revived America's oldest communal passion, historically perhaps its most treacherous and subversive pleasure: the ecstasy of sanctimony. In the Congress, in the press, and on the networks, the righteous grandstanding creeps, crazy to blame, deplore, and punish, were everywhere out moralizing to beat the band: all of them in a calculated frenzy with what Hawthorne (who, in the 1860s, lived not many miles from my door) identified in the incipient country of long ago as "the persecuting spirit"; all of them eager to enact the astringent rituals of purification that would excise the erection from the executive branch, thereby making things cozy and safe enough for Senator Lieberman's ten-year-old daughter to watch TV with her embarrassed daddy again. No, if you haven't lived through 1998, you don't know what sanctimony is. The syndicated conservative newspaper columnist William F. Buckley wrote, "When Abelard did it, it was possible to prevent its happening again," insinuating that the president's malfeasance—what Buckley elsewhere called Clinton's "incontinent carnality"—might best be remedied with nothing so bloodless as impeachment but, rather, by the twelfth-century punishment meted out to Canon Abelard by the knife-wielding associates of Abelard's ecclesiastical colleague, Canon Fulbert, for Abelard's secret seduction of and marriage to Fulbert's niece, the virgin Heloise. Unlike Khomeini's fatwa condemning to death Salman Rushdie, Buckley's wistful longing for the corrective retribution of castration carried with it no financial incentive for any prospective perpetrator. It was prompted by a spirit no less exacting than the ayatollah's, however, and in behalf of no less exalted ideals.
It was the summer in America when the nausea returned, when the joking didn't stop, when the speculation and the theorizing and the hyperbole didn't stop, when the moral obligation to explain to one's children about adult life was abrogated in favor of maintaining in them every illusion about adult life, when the smallness of people was simply crushing, when some kind of demon had been unleashed in the nation and, on both sides, people wondered "Why are we so crazy?" when men and women alike, upon awakening in the morning, discovered that during the night, in a state of sleep that transported them beyond envy or loathing, they had dreamed of the brazenness of Bill Clinton. I myself dreamed of a mammoth banner, draped dadaistically like a Christo wrapping from one end of the White House to the other and bearing the legend A HUMAN BEING LIVES HERE. It was the summer when—for the billionth time—the jumble, the mayhem, the mess proved itself more subtle than this one's ideology and that one's morality. It was the summer when a president's penis was on everyone's mind, and life, in all its shameless impurity, once again confounded America.
So this kind of heroism probably doesn't really resonate.
Beginning in September of 2010, Glenn Beck started branding Piven, a distinguished professor of Political Science and Sociology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, as an “enemy of the Constitution.” Piven, well known for advocating for the organizational rights of the poor and encouraging voter registration, has since received threatening phone calls and letters, and has become the subject of many death threats left open to the public on Glenn Beck’s website, The Blaze"...Should Professor Priven be worried? Yes. She should.
The Center for Constitutional rights details a backlash through some of the many violent quotes on Beck’s website. Examples include, “Maybe they should burst through the front door of this arrogant elitist and slit the hateful cow’s throat,” “We should blow up Piven’s office and home,” and “I am all for violence and change Frances: Where do your loved ones live?”
Read the rest.
"You need to go back to June --- June of this year, 2010," said would-be mass murderer Byron Williams, referring to Glenn Beck in a jailhouse interview. Williams had been stopped by police in a San Francisco shoot out on his way to assassinate members of the ACLU and the progressive Tides Foundation in July of 2010. "Look at all his programs from June, and you'll see he's been breaking open some of the most hideous corruption," Williams, who viewed Beck as a "schoolteacher on TV", later said.In case you are wondering about Beck's comments in the video above, thinking it must be out of context or something, it's not.
At what point will Fox, and CNN before them, be compelled to concede that it might have been a mistake to make this nut a star?
Thursday, January 20, 2011
It isn't some tremendous mystery why the economy didn't turn around, and the administration didn't use the tools they had at their disposal which didn't require President Snowe's approval.
I deleted a longish and rambling draft of this post, so I'll just point out that the greater degree of financial support (not even counting the managed float of the RMB) is more important by a factor of 2-4 in the lower cost of Chinese PV modules, rather than labor costs or environmental regs, so it isn't inevitable that US manufacturing can't compete. First Solar is proving that pretty well, and the Chinese firm Suntech is opening US manufacturing now. If 10% of the annual cost of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan were pumped into solar to reduce the capex of domestic producers, we'd be making the least expensive, most efficient modules in the world in short order.
Anyway, for the sake of brevity here, I'll just say that I'll be happy to explain the fate of Evergreen for the price of a beer sometime. Suffice it to say, String ribbon wafers were an important and potentially disruptive technological advance, but both outside forces and apparently fundamental limitations of the process have hindered the technology, and the company. I should add that I do not work for Evergreen or any PV module manufacturer.
*There are obviously important debates over various aspects of the issue about which reasonable people can disagree, but Michele Malkin and her cohorts are not reasonable people.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama's apparent willingness to consider cuts in Social Security benefits may be winning him points with Washington elites, but it's killing him with voters, who see the program as inviolate and may start to wonder what the Democratic Party stands for, if not for Social Security.
That's the conclusion of three top progressive pollsters who spoke to reporters Wednesday at a briefing sponsored by the Economic Policy Institute, the Century Foundation and Demos.
"For the public, cutting benefits is the problem, not the solution," said Guy Molyneux, a partner at Hart.
Instead we'll do a bunch of bank shot stuff which isn't very likely to work well or fast.
...adding that I think I'll understand the world a bit better if I start interpreting phrases like "strong personality" to mean "emotional maturity of a 4-year-old."
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
The voters have a clear and dramatic message for the new Republicans in the Congress and the President on the eve of his State of the Union Address: focus on jobs and the economy and show how America is going to be economically successful again. This is not a nuanced poll. If Democrats did not get the message in 2010, voters are ready to send a message again, according to the first Democracy Corps–Campaign for America’s Future survey of 2011.
The media pundits and Washington conventional wisdom say deficit reduction and cutting government spending are the top priorities for the nation; yet, the Republican Congress has prioritized health care repeal and Social Security cuts (which are on the table for the first time.) They could not have it more wrong. It is jobs, stupid.
sadly, "Washington conventional wisdom" appears to include the administration. Prove me wrong!
*My point is not "everyone should want to live in cities!" just that while I get that raising children in an urban hellhole offers some different challenges, I don't get the idea that it's universally "more difficult."
*Urban hellhole living doesn't necessarily mean downtown skyscrapers, or being carless, or more generally lacking anything resembling suburban amenities. Supermarket and Target with large parking lot are near to me. Also, too, Walmart and Ikea.
*Yes schools are an issue that can trump everything else. I get that.
The other thread is the "people want to live in cities until they have kids then it's too hard." I get that quality of local schools is a genuine issue, but otherwise I'm rather confused by the "can't raise 2 kids without a minivan in the suburbs" attitude I see from lots of people. People can and do raise kids in the city and manage just fine. Really not sure what the difficulties are.
They really are out of touch.
We are doomed.
BAGHDAD — In the worst terrorist attack in Iraq in months, a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a gathering of police recruits on Tuesday, killing 60 people and wounding about 150, police officials said.
The attack in Tikrit, a city north of Baghdad that's best known as Saddam Hussein's hometown, was the latest to target Iraqi security forces, which have made considerable progress in fighting al Qaida-linked militants but continue to suffer sporadic violence.
Monday, January 17, 2011
Look forward people!
Sunday, January 16, 2011
I shouldn't be surprised by much of anything these days, but the extent of the "well the borrowers owe somebody so it doesn't really matter who kicks them out of their house" reasoning really has shocked me. Once you open the door to fraud, even fraud by people who notionally do actually have a legal right but are too cheap and lazy to be bothered to prove it, you completely destroy any confidence in our property title system. I'm certainly open to arguments that our current system is clunky and inefficient and should be improved upon, but that doesn't mean the banskters can just go ahead and do it outside the law.
Most of us aren't David Broder, with lifetime full employment guaranteed no matter how badly we do our jobs.