Cleveland: Keeping Christmas at Home
Ramona: The War on Happy Holidays
I scanned a nice article at NYT forecasting how our energy needs will change over the next decade.
But it really is the progress our nation has made over the last five years that astounds me.
We are really close to seeing America as a net oil exporter!
Alternative sources of energy are cutting our dependency on coal.
Alternative sources of energy are creating jobs!
New sources of traditional fuel are creating jobs; real jobs paying good money. [Read more]
It's been a tough week for elite gay-baiting. First Howie Kurtz, hack journalist extraordinaire, lost his job at the Daily Beast because he badly botched an attempt to smear NBA center Jason Collins. Part of what Kurtz botched was the facts, claiming that Collins had concealed the fact that he had once been engaged to a woman when Collins had "concealed" that fact by explicitly stating it in his Sports Illustrated coming-out article. ("When I was younger I dated women. I even got engaged," is pretty straightforward.) Kurtz, to his credit, has made a full apology.
Then, Harvard history professor Niall Ferguson (also a columnist for the Daily Beast) was also forced to apologize after publicly gay-baiting landmark economist John Maynard Keynes. Ferguson decided to tell an audience that Keynes wasn't interested in long-term policy effects (itself a gross distortion of Keynes's position) because Keynes was a homosexual in a childless marriage. Yes, really. That's the standard of logic and evidence to which Ferguson holds himself. [Read more]
DULUTH - In a scene of overwhelming carnage, Bobby Jenkins, 9, brutally murdered more than 100,000 people, zombies, and other entities yesterday.
The slaughter began at 3:30 p.m. yesterday, when Sally Jenkins, mother of Bobby, allowed her son to play the video game "Slaughter Everything." After doing some bills, Sally Jenkins stumbled across the murder scene and immediately sent young Bobby to his room.
"It was really unsettling," said Sally Jenkins. "He was just going crazy, slaughtering everybody." [Read more]
Last Friday the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institute published their final working paper by Micheal Greenstone and Adam Looney. The research shows through charts and grafts, that we would have 2.2 more million jobs in the economy if we followed the same policies that we had during the last 5 recessions. The authors compare this recovery rate to past down turns and recoveries. They place the blame squarely on the reduction of public employees in order to reduce debt. Also the authors point out that we fall short of 10 million jobs right now in this economy. [Read more]
Sometimes one tries to move further along the tracks on a particular train of thought and then just like that one is right back at the old station. While I think humiliation and its role in the facilitation of what some authorities refer to as radicalization is an intriguing topic, I wanted to delve more into the collective perception of the radicalization process.
Critical to understanding the (shifting) core of this perception, I believe, is people's relationship with and understanding of tension and conflict. In particular, tension and conflict as it relates to not only as an expression of human nature, but also in the formation of that same human nature. These perceptions inform our politics, our understanding of our place in the world, and the place of others. As with one of the facets of this tension, humiliation, this topic quickly pushes one to the notion that the personal is political (and the political personal).  [Read more]
The NRA is having another convention and crazy crazy people will show up and give grand speeches about liberty and the Constitution and the commie liberals.
Mediamatters does a splendid job demonstrating how the voices of the right including Hannity and Nugent and beckerhead and so many other nutjobs have been calling for out-right revolution over the last few years.
Talk about yelling 'fire' in a crowded theater? [Read more]
I assume that Assad has constructed a golden parachute. He could bail out and land in a well feathered nest in any one of several countries. But, if he did so, his minority tribe would almost certainly lose and suffer terrible retribution. So far Assad is hanging tough and so are his followers. We often bandy the term, "existential threat" lightly, but there are many people fighting for the very life of their families, themselves, and their country as they know it. [Read more]
An Oxford University economist and a Stanford University epidemiologist have combined their considerable breadth and knowledge to conclude the Great Recession and accompanying austerity have caused 10,000 suicides and a million diagnoses of depression in the U.S. and Europe. If you find that hard to stomach, here's something more concrete -- AIDS is once again a full blown epidemic in Greece where budgets have been cut from HIV-prevention programs. [Read more]
So one day somebody at Northwest Rankin High School in Flowood, Mississippi came up with the idea to hold a series of mandatory Christian assemblies, where students would be required to watch a Christian video and listen to ministers (and fellow students) from the Pinelake Baptist Church preach to them about the importance of being a Christian.
Do not drink too much. Do you hear me? I don't want you passing out or going to the dark side. No going to the dark side!
-- Jack Cole, Sideways (2004)
In the film Sideways, Paul Giamatti plays Miles Raymond, a forty-something unsuccessful writer, wine-aficionado, and depressed middle school English teacher living in San Diego, who takes his soon-to-be-married actor friend and college roommate, Jack Cole (Thomas Haden Church), on a road trip through Santa Ynez Valley wine country. Miles wants to relax and live well. However, Jack wants one last sexual fling; at least that is their expressed agendas for the trip. [Read more]
In the 1993 film Falling Down, Michael Douglas plays a divorcé and unemployed former defense engineer, William Foster, who goes on a violent rampage across L.A. while trying to reach his daughter’s birthday party at the house of his estranged wife. Roger Ebert writes of this character:
What is fascinating about the Douglas character, as written and played, is the core of sadness in his soul. Yes, by the time we meet him, he has gone over the edge. But there is no exhilaration in his rampage, no release. He seems weary and confused, and in his actions he unconsciously follows scripts that he may have learned from the movies, or on the news, where other frustrated misfits vent their rage on innocent bystanders. [Read more]
Another tragedy befell another community in this country, this time in Federal Way - a suburb near Seattle, Washington:
A shooting that left five people dead at a Federal Way apartment complex Sunday started as a case of domestic violence, police said Monday. It ended with a woman the suspect was living with and three innocent bystanders dead before police shot and killed the suspect.
Officers responded to 911 calls at 9:30 p.m. at Pinewood Village in the 33300 block of 18th Lane S.
Police said the suspect, in his late 20’s, shot and killed a woman in her mid-20’s who he was living with in the complex.
The suspect then went to the parking lot, where he shot two men who confronted him, police said. He then grabbed a shotgun.
This afternoon, Reuters published an Op-Ed from me about the online investigations into the Boston bomb attack. I am very concerned about the "if you see something, say something culture," and how it has mixed with technology to create something of a society full of amateur detectives and complainers.
Civil libertarians are most concerned about government surveilance power and that, of course, bothers me too. But in a practical sense, a nosy neighbor is probably more of an imposition on my life than the government will ever choose to be. These days, your nosy neighbor could be a stranger living thousands of miles away. [Read more]
As I was leaving my place today, Andrea Mitchell on her MSNBC show asks her guest "...so what is the process of radicalization." I don't know what kind of answer her guest gave since I then closed my front door, but the reporting on this event has had me more than once pondering the term "radicalization" in the current discourse.
Of course, this question is posed in the context of the Boston Marathon bombing and its aftermath. The term radicalization in this context it is understood has a more narrowed definition than the general term 'radicalization.'
Looking back over my days of youth and the circles in which I ran in, there was some touching upon this process. [Read more]
Stories. They've been around for a long time, and sometimes they help us figure out trends and events that seem mysterious.
In the days after Sandy Hook, I thought a lot about the story of the Pied Piper, in which citizens thought they had found a permanent solution to their rat problem, only to discover that the price of that solution was...their kids. (Uh-oh, it turns out that preparing our children for some sort of theoretical disaster by teaching them to ride and shoot and hate America might have its drawbacks.)
Now, thinking of two 19-year olds (so impossibly, foolishly young) whose lives have been effectively sacrificed on twin altars of extreme thinking, I keep coming around to the last scene of Romeo and Juliet, with the two kids from families who had a lot in common but chose to hate each other, laid out on funeral biers and the prince (a dull guy but you know, he was right) trying to connect the dots for them. [Read more]
NEW YORK — The writing style of satire was blown up in a suicide attack at its home in the upper West side of Manhattan. Snark and Snide Disregard were also injured in the attack and are currently in intensive care.
Satire, which gained prominence via writers like Jonathan Swift and Voltaire, has struggled to find its footing recently in the Internet-driven world, as more and more satire is associated with mindless attacks, sophomoric humor and the oft-imitated “Breaking” news story. Satire reached a low point recently when the magazine “The New Yorker” hired Andy Borowitz, who then proceeded to write the exact same story 175 consecutive times. [Read more]
This morning, Thomas Friedman writes that it is unfair for lefties to criticize Obama's Chained CPI Proposal. In his words:
"It was good to see President Obama put out a budget proposal that addressed all three needs. The attacks on him from the left are unfair because, ultimately, we will need to do all three even more. As Bloomberg News reported on Monday: 'Typical wage-earners retiring in 2010 will receive at least $3 for every $1 they contributed to the Medicare health-insurance program, according to an Urban Institute study.'"
Oh my! A three to one return! Unsustainable! [Read more]
In the aftermath of the capture of the second suspect Boston Marathon bombings, one of the questions being asked in a number of circles is how did these two brothers become radicalized. Part of the motivation behind the question is just the quest to understand why they did what they did. Clarity around the motivation may facilitate for some of the victims and others traumatized by the event to a greater sense of closure. For some this questioning into the 'reasons why' may be driven by what may be simply called academic curiosity.
Another purpose of this question, however, is posed with the intent to gain some insight into how we in a developed country can help prevent other young adults like these two from becoming radicalized in the future. [Read more]
"Those are Chechen names," said my wife, upon first seeing the Tsarnaev brothers identified in print. "Interesting that Putin offered his assistance to Boston."
Then, we were off. After all, how else could a pair of brothers hold off the entire Boston area police apparatus for so long? Generally speaking, civilians don't survive shootouts with the police. Even before modern technology, even in the old west, the police would usually win. They bring superior numbers. They bring basically infinite resources. You might hold out for awhile but the police eventually overwhelm you. The police never give up and have institutional support to keep up the fight forever. [Read more]
Supporters of gun control lost yesterday. It was not a terrible bill. Expanded background checks would have stopped some future killers from buying guns. It should have passed. But it would have done little to reduce gun violence in America.
"Fighting" Bob La Follette, a progressive senator from Wisconsin, once wrote, "In legislation no bread is often better than half a loaf. I believe it is usually better to be beaten and come right back at the next session and make a fight for a thoroughgoing law than to have written on the books a weak and indefinite statute."
La Follette became famous for championing "radical" legislation that had no chance of passing--corporate regulations, labor rights, lobbyist restrictions, and popular election of U.S. senators. He took up his colleagues' time with "pointless" filibusters. He ran three times for president and never even came close to winning. [Read more]