Friday, January 25, 2013

Méritocratie Oblige

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Howler of the Week (so far)

“…we’re expecting over the next 22 months to be the focus of this administration as they attempt to annihilate the Republican Party.
“And let me just tell you, I do believe that is their goal — to just shove us into the dustbin of history.”
                                          --John Boehner 1/23/13
Seems to this observer that the GOP is doing quite a good job of annihilating itself without any help from the Administration.
Let us not forget that this is the party whose Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, said early in 2012: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

To hear Boehner quoting Trotsky (!!!) on “the dustbin of history” can’t help but call to mind another political ideology that self-destructed in the late 20th Century.

TR and Abe, where are you when they need you?

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The Deficit: Max-ed Out

An ironic testimony to the bi-partisan moral perfidy of the current Congress is that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had to name Montana’s Democratic Senator (and chairman of the Senate finance committee) Max Baucus (NRA RATING: A+) to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. Talk about the fox in the henhouse! Baucus has been on Big Pharma’s payroll since early in his Senate career, having taken in almost $4,000,000 in contributions from it and other healthcare interests before declaring a moratorium (out of shame?) in 2009.
He then proceeded to violate his own moratorium, only to get caught at it and forced to give the money back (not, of course, including any of the original $4M).
And now this outrageous giveaway to Amgen (one of whose 74 Washington lobbyists is Baucus’ former chief of staff), nauseatingly detailed in today’s New York Times.
Too bad the 17th Amendment didn’t call for national direct election of senators, or public revulsion might have enabled us to deep six people like Baucus who survives politically because he brings back such a large slice of federal bacon to his constituents in Montana (pop. 989K, roughly 1/300th of the U.S.).

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Annals of Journalism

Dan Kennedy, in his blog, Media Nation, chortlingly cited this truthy maxim from an old book on newspaper design:

Research indicates that readers classify information in the paper into two areas: information that is interesting and/or useful; and information that is not interesting and/or useful.

To this old TV newsmonger, the problem with cable news is way too little of the former and far too much of the latter.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Cliff Notes

Regular readers of this column are well aware that its writer is a blooded -- if not bleeding -- Liberal, hence it will come as no surprise that I found the arguments advanced by the president at today’s press conference to have been not only adroit, but irrefutable as well.

I draw your particular attention to the following quotes from Politico:

“,,,America cannot afford another debate with this Congress over how to pay the bills they’ve already racked up,” Obama said in the East Room of the White House at what aides have billed as the final news conference of his first term. “To even entertain the idea of this happening, of America not paying its bills, is irresponsible. It’s absurd.”

“They will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy,” Obama said. “The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip.”

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Friday, January 11, 2013

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Seasonal Afterglow

Not sure whether to file this under Consumerism Run Amok or Capitalism Triumphant, but I just stumbled across the stat that on a single day -- Cyber Monday -- Amazon sold 26.5 million items; a rate of 306 items per second. 2012 was their best year ever; walking away.