Wolraich: Obama at the Gates of... Gates
Dr. C: In Praise of Writing Binges
Maiello: Gatsby Doesn't Grate
My high school physics teacher was a fraud. He claimed to have two PhDs, but had no graduate degree of any kind and as I understand it didn't even have a BA in physics. He left in a sudden flurry a couple of months before the end of my senior year.
TEXAS – Scientists at the University of Texas-El Paso have discovered that the human body will deflect bullets in a “legitimate” shooting.
“We have seen that, when the human body is stressed out and about to be legitimately shot, the bullet will not harm them,” said Dr. Phil Gingrey. “The obvious conclusion is that people who do have a bullet enter their body actually want to be shot.” [Read more]
Just two weeks from today, on the 21th of January, 2013, Barack Obama will be inaugurated for the second time as president of these United States.
Obama, as you may remember, is our first half-black president and the man so loathed by his political archenemies, for four full years jillions of dollars destined for desperately needed domestic growth have been held hostage while those jackals were busy working at destroying his presidency. All so that he would never, ever get a second chance at under-privatizing America.
Qutub Minar, Delhi
Lots of travel pieces claim that places are "studies in contradiction." In fact, I'm certain I've even used the line somewhere along the way. That embarrasses me now because when I read it in a magazine, I'm sure what will follow will be lazy and not very interesting. Of course places are full of contradiction. Places are filled with people and people are happy, sad, hypocritical, violent, peaceful, beautiful, hateful, funny, dumb, brilliant, and, most of all, complicated. Duh.  [Read more]
A suicide bomber walks into a bar. He shouts at the bartender, "Gimme the money, or I blow this place to bits!" The worried bartender hands him a wad of cash, and the bomber departs.
The next day, the suicide bomber returns to the same bar. He shouts at the bartender, "Gimme the money, or I blow this place to bits!"
"Are you nuts?" answers the bartender. "If I give you money every day, I'll go out of business. Plus, you're scaring away the customers."
"I tell you what," replies the bomber, "Gimme the money, and I won't come back until the day after tomorrow."
Welcome to the art of negotiation, Republican style. Since the election of 2010, the United States has narrowly averted three Republican-built suicide bombs: one government shutdown, one debt default and one fiscal cliff. We have two more scheduled for February: across-the-board spending cuts and another debt ceiling expiration.
John Boehner has a situation. A week ago, he failed to reach a deal with President Barack Obama to avert the dreaded Fiscal Cliff. To save face, he then attempted to pass his own compromise bill, which he called Plan B, ignoring the inconvenient fact that the Democrats were not party to the one-sided "compromise." As it turned out, the Republicans weren't party to it either. When Boehner's conservative colleagues refused to vote for Plan B, he had to humbly retract his evidently no-sided compromise. [Read more]
It's January 1, which means it's the day that works whose copyright has expired enter the public domain. Here's the list of works that entered the public domain in the United States today:
Nothing. Nada. Not a thing.
But I'll be quick about it.
"The average Medicare couple pays $109,000 into the program and gets $343,000 in benefits out, according to the Urban Institute. This is $234,000 in free money."
No! No! No! No! It is not free money. It is paid, as a tax, over the course of a working life.
The Monyechimp Compound Interest Calculator will tell you that if a person works 30 years, and pays one thirtieth of $109,000 annually, that they would earn $344,639.70, modestly in excess of what Brooks claims as the ultimate "get," with just an average 6.4% annual return. [Read more]
Just based on conversations I've had over the years, one of the assumed best things about the enduring democracy of the United States is that we've had one Constitution, amended infrequently, for a very long time. Other countries, we're told, go through constitutions quite frequently and others don't have them at all. Today, Louis Michael Seidman writes in The Times that we should give up on the Constitution all together. It has become, he argues, an impediment to smart decision-making and an appeal to a long departed gentry who would not understand the problems we face today.
This morning, I heard the news that a 23-year-old medical student who was brutally gang raped in Delhi on December 16th had died. Another gang rape victim, in the state of Punjab, committed suicide this week after being pressed by police to drop the case and accept money or even marry one of the rapists. The girl, a teenager, and her family wanted police to open an investigation.  [Read more]
Apparently casting about for ideas for an Op-ed column this week, Nicholas Kristof has gone back to the "philanthrocapitalism" well with a column titled "How Giving Became Cool." He credits Ted Turner's decision to funnel $1 billion for charitable causes through the United Nations a few years back, and then his agitating for more generosity from Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, who have since championed "The Giving Pledge," where our wealthy betters promise to give away half of their fortunes to charitable causes. [Read more]
Before dawn on Christmas Eve a man set fire to his car and his house and waited for the firefighters to arrive so he could murder them. He shot four, killing two. They were volunteers. One of the men he killed was also a local police lieutenant. They died for going out on a winter morning to protect their neighbors. [Read more]
...Picture it. It was the middle 1990s. Kurt Cobain still breathed. Courtney Love still made sense. People wore flannel on top of their flannel. Britney Spears was a Mouseketeer and a virgin. Some people still carried pocket pagers, known as "beepers." Well, only drug dealers. Pay phones existed. The rapper Ice-T was an unlikely candidate for starring in a Law and Order spin-off. [Read more]
Wishing you all a merry Christmas season, and all the joys it brings. Happy holidays and peace to all, including those who wanted a war so badly they made one up.
Will it spoil everything if I pass along this gentle reminder? Christmas is a time of joy and good will for everyone; all ages, all regions, all religions. Those scrooges who want to pretend there's a war going on over it, have, sadly, forgotten what it was like to be a child.
Maybe Wayne LaPierre is onto something. So suggests DF in his latest blog, What Can We Do to Stop Massacres? Isn't it at least worth considering, he asks, LaPierre's proposal to station armed "responders" at our schools?
It is worth considering. An armed officer presents a defense and a deterrent. It seems indisputable that LaPierre's proposal would help protect our schools against violent attacks.
But would it stop massacres? Not unless we placed multiple armed responders at every park, playground, pool, day camp, playing field, Sunday school, daycare center, shopping mall, or any other place where children gather. [Read more]
Friends, please consider signing this petition urging President Obama to think harder and to come up with a qualified Democrat, rather than former Senator Chuck Hagel, as the next Secretary of Defense.
From what I've been reading today (and fighting about on Twitter) some on the left and the libertarian right are supporting Hagel because of his neocon opponents. The good thing about Hagel is that he won't push Obama into a war with Iran. Neocons hate that. But, who cares? Neocons have no influence. [Read more]
This might be* stupid, but hear me out.
One of the problems with guns is that for all the fancy gadgets and accessories, they are pretty low tech. You can put a laser site on a rifle. It's still just an enhanced version of a very old technology. It's a technology that is so old that it is not networked in any way. It cannot be controlled from afar any more than a hammer or hacksaw can be. [Read more]
Our gun laws have been distorted to suit the needs of a single interest group. That small, privileged group’s desires outweigh the needs of nearly every other American, and have more influence with our elected leaders than the suffering of crime victims, the recommendations of law enforcement, or the common-sense demands of public safety. These privileged few are not hunters, or sportsmen, or homeowners concerned with self-defense. They are hobbyists. We live in a gun collector’s paradise, and it is very dangerous.
Everyone is sick right now. There's only one thing it seems we can all agree on, which is that we can abide the massacre of children neither in conscience nor gut. It's an unfortunate truth that what transpired on Friday in Newtown was different in degree rather than in kind, but the degree seems to matter this time.
Even more unfortunate is that this heightened arousal doesn't really seem to be leading to many cogent answers to the question, "How do we prevent this from happening again?" [Read more]