William K. Wolfrum's picture

    Welcome to the Age of Narcissism

    Humans have always been an extremely narcissistic bunch. Look at religion. A large swathe of humanity believes that there is a God - an actual God - who knows their name, address and Social Security number. And this God - with all the options of a God open - chooses to spend its time thinking about them.

     

    Topics: 
    Wattree's picture

    About the Value and Excellence of Jazz

    BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE

     

    Mother guilty of felony poverty-loses kids, goes to jail

    Faced with the policy conundrum that is posed by the choice of directing public funds towards free childcare or prison for mom and institutionalization for kids, Arizona makes the predictable and catastrophic choice.

    Most of you will have heard the devastatingly sad story of Shanesha Taylor, an unemployed and homeless single mother of two, who miraculously was granted an interview for that job that Bill Clinton decided was the answer to ending "welfare as we knew it."

    She had no place to leave her toddler and infant for the 45 minute interview, so she took a desperate chance.

    Richard Day's picture

    CONSENSUS

    ANTHROPOLOGY

    I recall in the late 1960's that Anthropology professors discussed the problem involved in 'aging' the primates in this NEW WORLD.

    Well the 'consensus' was that 13,000 years ago, Homo Sapiens crept into our New World via the Siberian whatever....

    The latest ice age gave a land cross from Siberia to the Americas (read Canada) and from that land cross, people from the East found a new home.

    Wattree's picture

    WHY I LOVE BEING BLACK

    I absolutely LOVE being Black - and I'm not just saying that because it's expected of me. While I have the ultimate respect for the unique character of every race and ethnicity, if I'm reincarnated a thousand times, I want to come back Black each and every one of them.
    .
    Being Black in America gives one an education and perspective on life that you can't get anywhere else. That's not widely recognized, because public attention is often focused on the most dysfunctional in the Black community. But contrary to popular belief, that might not be an altogether bad thing, because it allows the excellence within the Black community time to incubate, untainted by the public eye. That's what allowed Barack Obama to explode upon the world stage as a fully developed powerhouse, and there are hordes of others just like him who are currently incubating in Black cocoons in suburbs and inner cities all over America.

    GOP Backs Casino Mogul's Nanny State

    Republicans team up with casino mogul Sheldon Adelson to meet a major threat to America and Americans in the 21st century. A problem that can no longer be ignored, delayed or kicked down the road. Not outdated infrastructure, or collapsing bridges. Not climate change. Not immigration reform or health care reform. Not skyrocketing student debt loads. Not a myriad of other issues you might think deserve attention.
     
    Internet gambling. And internet poker too, which the GOP believes is wreaking havoc from coast to coast!! Believe it!!
    Michael Maiello's picture

    Crowdrobbing

    Today, Mark Zuckerberg took some of the money raised in Facebook's IPO and used it to buy the immersive experience of Oculus, something of an iPad that you jam onto your face so that you can wander around in your own personal Holodeck.  That's right, I'm old and this technology scares me. What's next, laser swords?

    Topics: 
    Ramona's picture

    Ye Auld New America: Didn't We Go Down This Road Before?

     
    Working for someone else, fingers to the bone with no expectation of decent wages or a foothold on the ladder, is back in vogue here in America.   Even your big deal congresspersons will tell you that.  There are no greater patriots than the country's laborers, and the very, very finest--the finest patriots of all--are those who have no use for unions. The best patriot/workers understand that in America it's All for One and None for All.

    Topics: 
    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Data Haunted World

    The one somewhat decent idea I had during theatre history class many years ago was that Aristotle's Poetics had managed to identify nothing more than a Tragic Mean and that if a writer followed Aristotle's rules perfectly they were more likely to write something average than remarkable.  Around this time I was also taking a lot of writing classes and reading books by people who offered structural advice for writers -- it was all based on Aristotle, though updated.  Aristotle told us what all the memorable Greek tragedies had in common.  Syd Field told us what all of the Hollywood b

    Topics: 
    Michael Maiello's picture

    Titus on Wall Street

    A couple of years back I started writing a bunch of short sketches where old stories, with some of the old tropes, found themselves recast in modern times.  It all ended with Troy! Troy! Troy! a retelling of the Trojan War with the twist that faulty intelligence led the Greeks to invade Troy only to wind up in a quagmire after learning that Helen was never there.  As it turns out, Euripides beat me to this premise by a rather long margin.

    Topics: 
    William K. Wolfrum's picture

    Breaking: Scientists busted for hour laundering; Daylight Savings Times canceled

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - More than 42,000 scientists across the globe - including such luminaries as Neil deGrasse Tyson and Stephen Hawking - have been arrested for hour laundering in a world-wide sting, sources say.

    "They got them all, finally," said the source. "Finally, this terror ends."

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Solving the Two-Body Problem

    For years now, my spouse and I have had what academics call the "two-body problem": two careers at two universities in two places. It's a common problem for our professional generation, and we have an easier version of it than most. My spouse (the more accomplished blogger Flavia) works at a school about 250 miles away from mine. We maintain two homes and commute between them.

    Topics: 
    Ramona's picture

    Paul Ryan to Poor Parents: Even Your Kids Are Ashamed Of You

     
    Photo:  Salon

    Paul Ryan took to the podium at CPAC on Thursday and did not disappoint those of us waiting to pick at the lies this duly elected government official must tell in order to remind us all that our government --the very same government he volunteered to be a part of; the very same government that pays him a handsome salary and will give him lifelong perks--has been infiltrated so thoroughly by the socialists (that's us) huge chunks of it must be eradicated and the spoils turned over immediately to the only saviors who have our best interests at heart--the privateers.   (Why does Paul Ryan lie?  Because he's Paul Ryan and that's what Paul Ryan does and does and does.

    Here's a portion of what he said:

    "The way I see it, let the other side be the party of personalities. We’ll be the party of ideas. And I’m optimistic about our chances—because the Left? The Left isn’t just out of ideas. It’s out of touch. Take Obamacare. We now know that this law will discourage millions of people from working. [We do?] And the Left thinks this is a good thing. [They do?] They say, “Hey, this is a new freedom—the freedom not to work.” [Who says that?  Lemme at em!] But I don’t think the problem is too many people are working—I think the problem is not enough people can find work. [ Now you're talking] And if people leave the workforce, our economy will shrink—there will be less opportunity, not more. [Yeah, that's what we've been saying ever since you guys came up with that crazy outsourcing idea] So the Left is making a big mistake here. [They are?] What they’re offering people is a full stomach—and an empty soul. [Okay, now--what?] The American people want more than that."

     So then he went on to explain that remark about the full stomach and the empty soul:                               

    "This reminds me of a story I heard from Eloise Anderson. She serves in the cabinet of my friend Governor Scott Walker. She once met a young boy from a poor family. And every day at school, he would get a free lunch from a government program. But he told Eloise he didn’t want a free lunch. He wanted his own lunch—one in a brown-paper bag just like the other kids’. He wanted one, he said, because he knew a kid with a brown-paper bag had someone who cared for him."

    Now, I know I'm not the only one to sit up and take notice over that one.  It's been all over the place.  But the emphasis from most corners has been on Paul Ryan's misuse of an anecdote that was lifted initially by Eloise Anderson, Scott Walker's appointee to the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, who skewed the story to serve her own purposes after apparently finding something somewhat similar in Laura Schroff's book, An Invisible Thread.

    I don't care where it came from.  I don't care that Paul Ryan was careless about the source.  What grinds me most about this are these words out of Paul Ryan's mouth:

    She once met a young boy from a poor family. And every day at school, he would get a free lunch from a government program. But he told Eloise he didn’t want a free lunch. He wanted his own lunch—one in a brown-paper bag just like the other kids’. He wanted one, he said, because he knew a kid with a brown-paper bag had someone who cared for him.

    This is a representative of our government shaming poor people.  This is a man of privilege--a man who never hesitates to vote against safety-net programs designed to pull underprivileged people up and out and on their own; a man who, through his own "Ryan Budget", offered up huge cuts to the safety nets in order to give more to the rich and to the military--shaming poor parents by telling them their own children don't want a free lunch.

    He told a crowd--and the rest of us by extension via TV cameras--that poor kids are ashamed of their parents, that poor parents who accept government aid ought to be ashamed, and that we on the left are guilty of encouraging that kind of behavior:

    "That’s what the Left just doesn’t understand. We don’t want people to leave the workforce; we want them to share their skills and talents with the rest of us. And people don’t just want a life of comfort; they want a life of dignity—of self-determination. A life of equal outcomes is not nearly as enriching as a life of equal opportunity."

    This is what Paul Ryan does, and why he is so dangerous.  A quick reading of that quote above has everybody nodding their heads.  Skills!  Talents!  Dignity! Self-determination! Equal opportunity!

    But what he's really doing is equating essential programs like welfare and SNAP to "a life of comfort".  He's suggesting poor people are poor because they like it that way.  A "life of dignity" means getting out from under the government wing and going it alone.  "Self-determination" means you brought this on yourself.

    The "Brown bag" story means stop using your kids as pawns in order to get people to feel sorry for you and give you stuff.

    And, oh, by the way, get a job.  (But good luck with that, since the dreaded Obamacare just killed that avenue for you, too.  The theory goes that employers hate the idea of Obamacare so much they're cutting their workforce in order to show how much they hate it.  The insurance companies thank them very much.)

    This is Paul Ryan. He is wildly successful.  We pay him, but it's a drop in the bucket compared to his other income sources.  We will give him health and retirement benefits for the rest of his life--not that he needs us to pay for them.  We've given him the power, as a representative of the people, to use this public platform and he uses it to screw the least of us.

    If there's a lesson to be learned here, it's this:  Live with it.

    Topics: 
    Ramona's picture

    Hail, CPAC! Silly Season is Upon Us. Can Spring be Far Behind?

     

    To this liberal there is no more fun in the world than when CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) comes to Virtual Town.  I look forward to the two-day conference every year and I'm never disappointed. Best comedy show ever!
     

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Stock Markets Should Not Be Larger Than The Countries That Host Them

    I don't usually agree with Anne Applebaum, a hawkish, right-wing foreign policy thinker, but she brings up an interesting point about the London Stock Exchange listing of Rosneft, back in 2006.  The LSE offered legitimacy to a company built by Putin's expropriation of Yukos, a company run by a Russian oligarch who probably wasn't quite the white hat he's been made out to be since running afoul of Russia's elected strong man.

    Topics: 
    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Fear Itself: Ukraine Edition

    The single most important thing Barack Obama needs to do about Ukraine is not to panic. The single most important thing anyone else in the United States can do about Ukraine is not to panic Barack Obama. Developments in the Crimea are extremely dangerous, and that's exactly why everybody needs to calm down.

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Don't Know Nothing About Economy...

    I am cleaning out my workspace, in preparation for messing up a new one and I came across a pamphlet I have been carrying around ever since it was given to my by Robert Lenzner, then national editor of Forbes in 2000.  It is called Life Without Treasury Securities and was written by Albert M.

    Topics: 

    Pages

    Latest Comments