Kevin Drum, a political blogger for MotherJones.com, points out a disturbing feature of the current political landscape. “When it comes to domestic policy, there’s virtually nothing the president can do without congressional approval. The American public, however, rather famously seems not to understand this, and Republicans know it perfectly well. With no real knowledge of how public policy works, and without a press willing to make it clear, congressional obstruction is essentially invisible and cost-free. So Republicans have spent the past two years doing everything in their power to make sure the economy doesn’t recover, and now they’re planning to ride that bad economy to victory in November. Pretty great strategy, isn’t it?” Consider the last paragraph in this Times article about Pennsylvania voter sentiment… How exactly is Obama supposed to “tell Congress to go to hell”? It’s not the President’s job to tell Congress where to go. It’s the job of the voters of Pennsylvania (and Ohio, Michigan, Massachucetts, et al). Then they should elect some representatives who will actually work to fix the economy instead of destroying it to get reelected…
Let’s Destroy the Economy to Win an Election
Katherine Q. Seelye | NYTimes | 29 Nov 11
It was trivia night at Kildare’s bar here, and among the teams competing was a group of history teachers from Scranton High School. They easily won the round that tested their knowledge of American presidents, including that the last one with facial hair was William Howard Taft.
But they were slightly stumped when a reporter asked them about their own preferences for president next year.
President Obama will speak on Wednesday in Scranton, Pa., a bellwether area of the state where polls show he is in trouble. It will be his first trip to the city since he took office. (Ruth Fremson/The New York Times)
You have to hand it to Gingrich. While most of the idiots running for the republican nomination have no trouble demonstrating their ineptitude and lack of qualification to lead this country anywhere, Newt Gingrich continues to wrap himself in the illusion of competence. He is truly the teflon don, capable of shrugging off his past with disdain. A politician’s politician if there ever was one. If ‘politics is the art of the possible’ as Bismarck said, Gingrich is probably going to con his way to the nomination. Then we’re all in trouble…
My Man Newt
Maureen Dowd | NYTimes | 29 Nov 11
In many ways, Newt is the perfect man.
He knows how to buy good jewelry. He puts his wife ahead of his campaign. He’s so in touch with his feelings that he would rather close the entire federal government than keep his emotions bottled up. He’s confident enough to include a steamy sex scene in a novel. He understands that Paul Revere was warning about the British.
Mention Sir Isaac Newton and you think about falling apples or why the moon stays where it is. This recitation by Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson illuminates how brilliant Newton really was…
Sir Isaac Newton
Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson | YouTube | Jun 11
____________________________________________________________________________ Neil deGrasse Tyson is an American astrophysicist, a science communicator, the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space, and a Research Associate in the Department of Astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History. Since 2006 he has hosted the educational science television show NOVA scienceNOW on PBS.
An interesting view on the issue of privatizing the Post Office. I’m surprised it didn’t happen years ago. Why is it mandated that the government must be in the business of delivering junk mail and Netflicks DVDs? There’s no law that says the government must run railroads or provide telephone service? If Fedex takes over the mail will rates go up? You betcha! Probably to a level that maintains profitability for Fedex. What a radical idea! That the delivery of mail should produce a profit for the deliverer. If the USPS did that for sure the republicans in Congress would scream that it was another form of taxation. And they’d be right. Gee, you mean we have to pay taxes to get a government service? What a radical idea!
Privatize the nation’s mail delivery
George Will | Washington Post | 25 Nov 11
The Jacksonian-era movement to keep the Sabbath pure deplored Sunday mail delivery. Said one evangelical: “We have always viewed it as a national evil of great magnitude, and one which calls for national repentance and reformation, that the mails are carried, and the post offices kept open, on that holy day in every part of our country.”
Others, however, including Saturday-Sabbath keepers, said ending Sunday mail deliveries would amount to the government deciding what day is holy and therefore would violate the separation of church and state. And Richard M. Johnson, the chairman of the congressional committee with jurisdiction, warned of calamity:
“The mail is the chief means by which intellectual light irradiates to the extremes of the republic. Stop it one day in seven, and you retard one-seventh of the advancement of our country.”
OK class, everyone ready to risk their lives traversing the most dangerous pathway on the planet? El Caminito del Rey (English: The King’s little pathway) is a walkway, now fallen into disrepair, pinned along the steep walls of a narrow gorge in El Chorro, near Álora in the province of Málaga, Spain. Once the site of a dam it is now a place where insane people like to make YouTube videos to scare the bejesus out of folks like you and me. The question is, what in the world are the two barefoot dudes doing in the middle of the path? Sit back, relax and whatever you do, don’t look down…
Wow! This looks really neat. I’m not crazy about roller coasters but I’d love to try this. I predict this sort of ride will soon appear at every ski hill in New England although I’m sure the lawyers will insist on brakes…
Question… When does political obstructionism become a threat to national security? Clearly the members of Congress will ignore this question as the 2012 election year unfolds. The American electorate, however should consider it carefully. I, for one, have come to the conclusion that the behavior of the republican politicians in Congress does indeed threaten the well-being to our nation. At a time when every American (except the rich) is feeling the pinch, when retirees have lost their nest eggs and when our industrial strength is compromised by boardroom deals with foreigners, the republican party decides to take a powder. I think Gene Robinson says it very well here…
Eugene Robinson | Washington Post | 19 Nov 11
No, the sun didn’t rise in the west this morning. No, Republicans on the congressional supercommittee didn’t offer meaningful concessions on raising new tax revenue. And no, “both sides” are not equally responsible for the failure to compromise.
As usual, the two parties began with vastly different ideas of what it means to negotiate. Democrats envisioned meeting somewhere in the middle, while Republicans anticipated not moving an inch. This isn’t just my spin, it’s a matter of public record: Before the 12-member supercommittee ever met, House Speaker John Boehner warned that they had better not agree to any new tax revenue.
Mention Afghanistan and images of bombed markets, beheadings and lethal drones come to mind. That’s unfortunate because Afghanistan is probably one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Much of that beauty is in the eyes of its people, a fact wonderfully captured by this video.
I couldn’t agree more. Capitalism has always followed the path of Gordon Gekko – ‘Greed is Good.’ What sort of world will it be when 3 billion Chinese have that attitude. When nothing matters but profits… no one profits but the ruling class. That’s a path to calamity. What do you think this ‘Occupy Wall Street’ nonsense is all about? If you think I’m wrong, read the history of the 19-20th centuries…
Richard Branson: ‘Capitalism has lost its way’
Graham Snowdon | Guardian | 18 Nov 11
Capitalism has “lost its way” and financial profit should no longer be the main driving force behind big business, says Richard Branson, the Virgin Group founder who bought the formerly nationalised bank Northern Rock.
Branson makes the assertion in the foreword of his book, Screw Business As Usual. In it, he says he wants to reflect “a vibrant and marked sea change from the way business always used to be done, when financial profit was the only driving force”.
Richard Branson: 'The short-term focus on profit has driven most businesses to forget about the long-term role in taking care of people' Photograph: Everett Collection/Rex Feature