11/02/2012 archive

Underwater Squirrels Again

I’ve had it pointed out to me repeatedly over the last few days (because it’s been cold and dark and there’s been nothing much else to do) that this reference doesn’t make much sense unless you are intimately familiar with Something’s Fishy! (Episode 28, Season 5 of The Fairly Odd Parents) where King Greg of Atlantis states that their staple diet consists of starfish, sponges, and the occasional underwater squirrel.

I hope this clears that point up for you.

Since Stars Hollow is as fundamentally fictional as Bikini Bottom and Dimmsdale (and as opposed to Atlantis which is completely true) we seldom have cause to complain about the weather except on those days the floor is a little wet and we are without mats.

Or coffee.

Snow is nothing but annoying icy frozen water stuff that falls out of the sky at inconvenient times. It’s Mother Nature’s icy “Screw you, Lorelai Gilmore”. It’s just stupid stuff you have to shovel out of the way so customers can get into the Inn. It’s the stuff that melts and leaks through your roof! It’s the stuff that stalls your car, it’s the stuff that buries your car.

Well said.

This particular stupid stuff was not quite as icy as last year’s edition but has been equally as effective in disrupting Halloween, taking out power, cell phone, and internet.  I suppose in it’s own way that’s a benefit since I haven’t had to deal with the silliness and have instead been able to perfect my recipe for storm somemores.

Things you will need to have on hand (you can’t shop, obviously)-

  • Miniature Marshmallows
  • M&Ms or whatever scroungable chocolate you can find
  • Animal Crackers

For preparation-

  • A Candle
  • A Lighter or Match
  • Toothpicks

Directions: Light your Candle and place it in the center of your desk in front of your blank black monitor like a shrine to the power company.  Arrange 2 Animal Crackers with a single M&M between sandwich-style.  Take off the lid cracker.  Spear your Marshmallow with a Toothpick and toast it golden brown over your Candle.  Place your hot yummy Marshmallow on top of the M&M and cover with the lid.  Squeeze gently and remove the Toothpick.  Eat.  Repeat.

Now there are those who say that you should only use Flat Toothpicks to keep the Marshmallow from sliding around, I found them a mite flimsy and prone to burn.  Richard opined that the mass of the mini-Marshmallow is insufficient to melt the chocolate.  I’ve never had much luck with that anyway.

Finally some people (Michel) objected that the Candle flame made the Marshmallow taste waxy and sooty.  To them I say you have not suffered enough!  Try it again in 24 hours and see what you think then.

For a beverage I suggest alcoholic, sewage treatment runs on electricity, and for reading material Josiah Gilbert Holland’s The Life of Abraham Lincoln.

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

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Paul Krugman: The Blackmail Caucus

If President Obama is re-elected, health care coverage will expand dramatically, taxes on the wealthy will go up and Wall Street will face tougher regulation. If Mitt Romney wins instead, health coverage will shrink substantially, taxes on the wealthy will fall to levels not seen in 80 years and financial regulation will be rolled back.

Given the starkness of this difference, you might have expected to see people from both sides of the political divide urging voters to cast their ballots based on the issues. Lately, however, I’ve seen a growing number of Romney supporters making a quite different argument. Vote for Mr. Romney, they say, because if he loses, Republicans will destroy the economy.

O.K., they don’t quite put it that way. The argument is phrased in terms of “partisan gridlock,” as if both parties were equally extreme. But they aren’t. This is, in reality, all about appeasing the hard men of the Republican Party.

Bruce A. Dixon: Is This Really The Most Important Election Ever? If So, Then Where Are Our Issues?

It’s hard to see how an election is so darn important for black America when the candidates aren’t talking about the issues. Which one is the candidate that wants to roll back the prison state, or stop the drug war, or question gentrification? Is there a candidate who wants full funding of public education? A candidate who will cut off troops and military aid to Africa? If not, what are we voting for? [..]

The current black political class, and its array of candidates from the president down do not believe in social justice. There are big problems, but they fear big and truthful answers. They don’t want to roll back the prison state. They just want to stick around awhile longer. They want to be on TV and collect honorariums. They don’t know how to address joblessness or gentrification. That’s your issue. They just know how to get paid.

New York Times Editorial: The Junk Is Back in Junk Bonds

Junk bonds – debt issued by companies with low credit ratings – are growing junkier by the day, with ever weaker companies issuing bonds for ever riskier purposes. The bonds’ falling quality and rising risk, described recently in The Times by Nathaniel Popper, show gaps in investor protection. They also revive concerns about how private equity owners of companies that issue the bonds are using that money. [..]

No one is predicting that today’s increasingly risky junk bonds will blow up anytime soon. But risky business, unchecked, has a way of doing so eventually.

Timothy Egan: Nature Votes Last

A catastrophic storm has no feelings, no fury, no compassion and certainly no political position. Hurricanes may sound like bridge partners at the Boca community center – Sandy, Irene and Katrina – until they land and become monsters. The mistake, perhaps, is trying to anthropomorphize them.

But that doesn’t mean that a fatal blow from Mother Nature will not alter the course of human nature. When the seas rose earlier this week, swamping the world’s greatest city and battering a helpless state, the turbulence of the elements washed away the sand castles of politics.

Ralph Nader: Waiting for Obama, Democrats Will Lose the House

Will the Congressional Democrats recover the House of Representatives from the clutches of the cruelest, most corporately monetized, anti-people Republican Party since 1858? Amazingly, the answer, less than a week before the election, is no, according to veteran House Democrats, pollsters and the Washington D.C. punditry. In fact, that negative prediction has been consistent for at least 8 months.

Two more years of Reps. John Boehner, Eric Cantor and their gang blocking Barack Obama (if he gets elected), should he want to champion any significant legislation. Why can’t the Democrats landslide these Republicans as FDR, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Baines Johnson would surely havev done?

The answers lie in the grotesque unmentioned ways that the incumbent Democrats have tied themselves up in knots that spell centralized paralysis. The following highlights how they have made themselves dysfunctional.

Suevon Lee: Where Romney and Obama Stand on the Supreme Court: A Guide

The Supreme Court has remained a largely unspoken topic on the campaign trail – even though the Court plays a critical function in Americans’ lives. (This past June’s Affordable Care Act ruling, anyone?)

The next president could very well appoint one or two new justices. And who steps down first could also depend on who’s elected. [..]

Legal challenges to such key social issues as same-sex marriage, gun rights, immigration and separation of church and state are likely to be heard by the Supreme Court in the coming years. One justice is all it may take to tip the scale in these cases.

So what exactly have the candidates said, and why hasn’t the Supreme Court been a bigger issue? Let’s take a look.

Election Publication Deadlines

TheMomCat and I will make every attempt to ensure that your contribution appears in as timely a fashion as possible including more frequent promotions and extending our publication day.

Pieces that you intend for consideration before the election should be posted by Sunday evening if possible.  Election Day (Tuesday) submissions by Monday night.  If you are too late don’t despair, we will attempt to schedule your work as soon as we can while also featuring reactions to Tuesday’s events.

There will be an Election Night Open Thread for results and observations.

Finally, DocuDharma and The Stars Hollow Gazette are explicitly non-partisan.  You may freely express your support for any candidate.  They are also public so if you publish an unpopular sentiment or inconvenient truth only your discretion and the obviously mean spirited nature of cross blog stalking protect you from consequences and suppression in other forums.  Nor are your ideas immune from criticism and discussion here, but you won’t be sanctioned for anything except violating the normal rules of behavior.

On This Day In History November 2

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

November 2 is the 306th day of the year (307th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 59 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1777, the USS Ranger, with a crew of 140 men under the command of John Paul Jones, leaves Portsmouth, New Hampshire, for the naval port at Brest, France, where it will stop before heading toward the Irish Sea to begin raids on British warships. This was the first mission of its kind during the Revolutionary War.

After departing Brest, Jones successfully executed raids on two forts in England’s Whitehaven Harbor, despite a disgruntled crew more interested in “gain than honor.” Jones then continued to his home territory of Kirkcudbright Bay, Scotland, where he intended to abduct the earl of Selkirk and then exchange him for American sailors held captive by Britain. Although he did not find the earl at home, Jones’ crew was able to steal all his silver, including his wife’s teapot, still containing her breakfast tea. From Scotland, Jones sailed across the Irish Sea to Carrickfergus, where the Ranger captured the HMS Drake after delivering fatal wounds to the British ship’s captain and lieutenant.

In September 1779, Jones fought one of the fiercest battles in naval history when he led the USS Bonhomme Richard frigate, named for Benjamin Franklin, in an engagement with the 50-gun British warship HMS Serapis. After the Bonhomme Richard was struck, it began taking on water and caught fire. When the British captain of the Serapis ordered Jones to surrender, he famously replied, “I have not yet begun to fight!” A few hours later, the captain and crew of the Serapis admitted defeat and Jones took command of the British ship.

John Paul Jones (July 6, 1747 – July 18, 1792) was the United States’ first well-known naval fighter in the American Revolutionary War. Although he made enemies among America’s political elites, his actions in British waters during the Revolution earned him an international reputation which persists to this day.

Captain Jones’s is interred at the US Naval Academy in a marble and bronze sarcophagus.

Staten Island, NYC’s Forgotten Borough

This is where I live and work. I have spent most of my life training for, and dealing with, disasters around the world. Little did I ever expect to be in the middle of one in my own backyard. I am here for my family, my neighbors, my community and my first home city. I am here to try to make order out of chaos, to heal, comfort and console, starting with one life at a time.

As most of New York City inches toward normality, it’s becoming clear the scale of devastation is particularly bad in one part of the city: Staten Island.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has confirmed that least 37 New Yorkers died as a result of Hurricane Sandy-19 on Staten Island alone. Days after the superstorm slammed through the region-leaving a trail of destruction, power outages and flooding its wake-residents of Staten Island accused government agencies of responding much slower to their plight than to that of wealthier parts of the city. Many Staten Islanders are currently without electricity.

Despite being bigger than some of America’s biggest cities, like Boston and San Francisco, Staten Island is often overshadowed by its sister boroughs Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Manhattan. MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell shined a light on this quieter part of New York City in Thursday’s Rewrite segment on The Last Word:

   To see Staten Island-all of it-would be to rewrite your understanding of New York City. It is the place in New York City where wild deer run across roadways. It is not the New York you know. It is a place apart from New York City, five miles over the water on the ferry from Manhattan-and, in many ways, it might as well be a world away. Staten Island has almost everything that the rest of New York City has except skyscrapers. But it has much more.

   Wherever you live in America, Staten Island has a street that looks like a street in your town. Rich-looking, suburban streets with mansions, small town streets with handsome, humble homes that families hold onto for generations. If you got lost in the middle of the island, you could be in a spot that you might mistake for Vermont or West Virginia. It is America’s biggest small town.

I have sporadic internet connection and I’m connecting now through an satellite connection, as I was in Haiti and Gaza. I have taken to using Skype to connect with my family, friends and colleagues because cell service has been anywhere from nonexistent to barely useable it all depends on if you’re in an area where you have power and cell sites.

I’ve had a few flashbacks but I have a lot of good support in this boat. Just don’t anyone stand up and rock it, we would be hard pressed to deal with a capsize.

Thanks to Lawrence O’Donnell for telling the nation about our “little” island in the heart of New York City.

Economic Populist: The Radical Populist Case for Voting for Obama{+}

{+} in swing states

I don’t know whether you’ve seen Matt Stoller’s the Progressive Case Against Obama, Peter Coyote’s The Progressive Case For Obama, Cassiodorus’ The case against the case for Obama, or Priceman’s Peter Coyote’s Failed Status Quo Exercise in Condescension , but it seems making out “Progressive” cases for and against the incumbent US President is all the fashion. Not to be left out, I composed a little piece along the same lines for radical economic populism. Crossposted from Voices on the Square

Burning the Midnight Oil for Economic Populism

The case against a radical Economic Populist voting for Obama is pretty straightforward:

  • The Obama administration is a neo-liberal administration, and buys into the fantasy that eliminating the deficit somehow fosters growth;
  • The “all of the above” energy strategy is a path to slightly slower climate suicide than the “all in for oil and coal” strategy
  • Support for “smart wars” instead of “dumb wars” means more Americans die as a result of overseas conflicts that we do not have to have than dismantling the American Empire and eliminating the root cause of most attacks on Americans overseas.

I am aware of an argument that a vote for Obama is a vote for a “more effective evil” because the radical reactionary alternative is such an “extreme evil” that it is going to be “less effective”. I am not going to address that argument. This is more directed to the “no effective difference” argument.

There are two arguments in opposition to the above Radical Economic Populist case that I can see.