Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

I am very disappointed about a number of things: even though the Fox Tea Bagger movement is more popular than the Republicans, nobody has yet put a stake through the GOP's heart.

The Supreme Court appears poised to give corporations the same rights as people. You think things are bad now!

Health Reform is a mess, but apparently the best we can get.

Afghanistan. Oh, Afghanistan.

As usual, Gail Collins sums up the year pretty well.

Despite it all, I believe as strongly as ever that Obama is the right man for the job right now. Bullied Pulpit had a good post last week that explains why.

Happy New Year. Here's hoping 2010 is the start of a long run of outstanding years for you!

The Self-Regulating Food Industry

The GOP's 30-year campaign to "get government off our backs" – because as Saint Ronnie said: "the government IS the problem" – is really starting to pay off.

Let's see, we had the housing bubble, followed by the financial meltdown, followed by the worst recession since the Great Depression. A startling success.

Now we're starting to find out what a government that didn't believe in government let people put in our food. I dare you to read the first five paragraphs of this story, then go have a hamburger at McDonald's.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Worst of 2009

Time to start our list of The Worst of 2009. Pretty quickly I can come up with:

1) Anheuser-Busch, for it's adolescent Bud Lite advertisements, shown during football games, that ask "How can you tailgate without any tail?" and complain about "putting on a condiment". Ha-ha. Get it? Condom-ent. Ha-ha. How did things get so vulgar? Who are they really selling beer to?

2) The pharmaceutical industry, for Viagra/Cialis ads. Obama once said he'd like to be able to enjoy a football game with his daughters without having to explain to them what erectile dysfunction is. Indeed.

3) The banking industry, those "best and brightest" "masters of the universe" whose stupidity and larcenous behavior destroyed the economy. And who are at it again.

4) Fox News, for its fraudulent reporting, including fabricated news film. Goebbels would have been so proud.

5) The pharmaceutical industry, for campaigning against health insurance reform.

6) The Republican Party, for always appealing to worst instincts of the least informed in order to protect the most materially blessed, and for making sure America misses the boat on the emerging energy economy. We'll be buying our windmills from China.

7) The Chicago Bears.

8) Joseph Lieberman. What a tangled psyche.

9) Those television ads for lawyer referral companies, trolling for medical malpractice and personal injury cases, promising "We can get you money!" Talk about your ambulance chasers and bottom feeders! You can make a lot of money in this world if you have no shame.

I don't think Palin, McCain, or Cheney rate an honorable mention. They're just weird. Okay, Cheney is evil, but out of office he's mostly just entertainment. But we gotta have ten, because these lists always have ten.

Who have we missed?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Cheer – Not!

Tom Friedman bemoans America's inability to do anything important.

Maureen Dowd retaliates for being taken off McCain's Christmas card list. Not that what she says isn't true.

Looks like the prison at Guantánamo is going to be operating until at least 2011. Cowardice seems to be the main reason.

Speaking of Guantánamo, don't miss this story about a former prisoner there.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Gail Collins apologizes to John Kerry, and takes back an apology to Joe Lieberman. More about this later.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Usage and Use Are Not Interchangable

Thanks to Suellen for spotting this amusing little review of the reprint edition of Fowler's original A Dictionary of Modern English Usage, a book which holds an honored place in our house.

The writer is a little critical, so at the end of the essay covers his back in a clever way.

Friday, December 11, 2009

When We Were Crazy

I can't tell you how depressing it is to have memories that are half a century old, but here it is:

When he was in high school, my older brother, Ted, was something of a science geek. Between building models of missiles, I remember that he built a Geiger counter and performed an experiment that measured the amount of radioactivity that made its way to Bergenfield, New Jersey, when the Chinese began testing their nuclear bombs (which, as Tom Lehrer pointed out, we called "a nuclear device"). As I recall, and Ted correct me if I'm wrong, the increase in radioactivity was quite measurable.

Imagine that.

The madeleine that set off that memory was this little walk down history lane by Josh Marshall, who reminds me – if I ever knew – that in 1962 alone the U.S. conducted 105 nuclear tests (two every week). And we put some of them on the tips of missiles, one of which veered out of control!

I'll have to hold on to this factoid. Sometime when I get really discouraged about the rate of progress the world is making, when the Fox News morons and Ayn Rand cultists seem to be in the ascendancy, I'll pull that out and feel a little better.

Endnote: In fact-checking this post, I realize it must have been a Russian or American nuclear test Ted was monitoring, since the Chinese didn't start testing until 1964. But I left the story the way it was because 1) memory plays tricks on you, and 2) I like the Tom Lehrer quote so much I just had to leave it in.

And because I love you:

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Nobel Laureate

I watched Obama's Nobel speech on streaming video this morning. I'm glad I did. It will be criticized by some as "professorial," which it certainly was. You can read the text of it here. But this professor is Commander-in-Chief of the most powerful military force in history.

What kept going through my mind was how grateful I am to have this guy representing this country on the world stage. What an improvement.

He was speaking, I think, more to the European audience than an American audience. He provided his rationale for being a Nobel Peace Price laureate at the same time he has ordered American troops into battle. He spoke to his audience as though they were intelligent people who might, after the Iraq War, have their doubts about whether American leadership would generate anything but an endless succession of wars.

I repeat: it treats his audience as intelligent people who can handle thinking about complex ideas.

Compare and contrast:

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Update: The NY Times editorial about the speech is worth a read.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Health Insurance Reform

Where have I been? Well, one morning a couple of weeks ago I was doing my customary morning reading when I noticed I was really, really angry about what I was reading. So I took my blood pressure, and saw a number I'd never seen before.

"This ain't good," thought I.

So I've been working on anger management, which in a world with Republicans in it is a real challenge.

Gail Collins manages to laugh at it all.