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From Wisconsin…

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From Wisconsin…, posted with vodpod


Austan Goolsbee on the Board

I love this – again. Simple explanation. No one will that really needs to see, probably will. If they did, they probably wouldn’t believe it because it is coming from the White House. But, it is a nice graphic! Easy to understand. Alas, still concerned people will continue to vote against their own interests…

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Slutification of Fashion: Or why do women dress slutty at work?

I have been thinking about this for a while and wonder if it is just me? When I saw fishnet stockings in the office today, I feel like I at least have some ground to stand on.

Let me admit that I am not a fashion person. I look forward to when we all just wear those Star Trek uniforms and I don’t have to shop or worry about what I’m going to wear (plus I don’t think you would have to iron them!!) But while I may not keep up what is trendy, I do see a trend. You can see it when you pick your kid up from school. There are Moms that dress like they want to be Milf’s. You have cougars and you have just some hilariously trashy caricatures. The moms are adults. What is sad is when you see the girls come out of the school dressed like their moms.

It seems to be just across the board. When did it become in fashion to wear fitted shirts even when you have a potbelly? When did it become a good look to wear shorts so short you can see your ass paired with cowboy boots? Really? Daisy Mae is in Vogue? See, I thought that you dressed that way when you went out – like out to a club. I thought “fuck me pumps” were for going to look to get… well, fucked. Doesn’t anything 4″ pretty much count as a FMP? It is to the point that when I go to the grocery store I wonder if there is a prostitution ring nearby. I’m not a prude here. There is hesitation in exploring this issue because it is not like I haven’t dressed a little slutty before. I just don’t see myself wearing my snakeskin dress to work.

Work is where I am the most baffled. The office I am in does not have a strict dress code, nor is it always strict business attire. But, FMP’s at work? Really? It is the new thing. There is a new employ. She is young and cute and fairly tall. The first few months she wore strictly business suits. Then one day I noticed her 4″ heels and made a comment that they were cute. She explained that she felt a little uncomfortable wearing her tall shoes until she saw another employee, also tall, wearing some. So, it wasn’t an issue of style so much as height? Hmm. She’s right. There are other women in the office wearing big shoes paired with tight pants or short skirts. They are cute and not over the top so much as it just doesn’t seem like work clothes. It seems that women have had to work so hard to be in business, they have had to fight to gain respect in male dominated workplaces. And mostly, we’ve made it, leaving aside pay imbalances for another conversation. So, why go back to the secretary in the short skirt and tight sweater stereotype of dress? It seems like a reversion to where a woman had to be hot, not qualified. The new woman is qualified. She is bright and good at what she does. Does she really need to wear the short skirt, bare legs and “tall” shoes that she has on today? Even more baffling to me is the middle aged VP that prompted me to write this. She is accomplished and intelligent. Today she has on a short skirt, high heel boots and fishnet hose.











Scoring Politics

I had one of life’s little synchronicities today. Driving to work and looking at all the political yard signs mixed in with all the sport teams flags and Halloween decorations got me to thinking about politics as sport. I thought about mowing a big “D” in my grass. Not really, but wouldn’t it be funny? Or blue lights on the house in November before switching over to green and red in December. Politics is sport and a festival. But, how far can you go down that route until all becomes a game? Maybe we are already there. It is about who wins and not about what will work. So it was synchronistic to read that Nicholas Kristof was thinking along the same lines. I really love this article:


October 6, 2010

Trifecta of Torment


We journalists tend to cover politics the way we cover sports:

Republicans are gaining yardage on their immigration play! The Tea Party is stealing second base! A bench-clearing brawl over health care! Look at the politicians and pundits mud-wrestle!

So let’s try an experiment: Let’s treat this midterm election as if it might actually profoundly shape the well-being of our country.

For starters, look at the Republican accusation that Democrats are killing jobs while leaving the United States deeply indebted. “Democrats continue to double-down on their job-killing policies,” the Republicans say in their Pledge to America. Rick Scott, the Republican running for governor in Florida, complains that his Democratic opponent “backed the failed stimulus bill, which created debt, not jobs.”

The Republicans start with a fair point: Democrats haven’t delivered what they promised. The unemployment rate rose from 7.7 percent when President Obama took office to more than 10 percent and was still 9.6 percent at last count in August. The Democrats had predicted that unemployment would fall to about 7 percent by now. That was flat wrong.

Chalk one up for the Republicans.

But would they have done better? The Republicans opposed the stimulus package, and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that it created between 1.4 million and 3.3 million jobs.

In other words, under Republican leadership, we would have at least an additional 1.4 million people out of work. As, the indispensable truth squad Web site puts it: “It’s just false to say that the stimulus created ‘no jobs.’ ”

Remember that in the winter of 2008-9, there was talk about another Great Depression. Even the House Republican leader, John Boehner, spoke of the economy being “on the brink.” Now confidence is returning, and the United States has officially moved from recession to (agonizingly slow) recovery.

Some Republicans have other jobs proposals that would create modest numbers of jobs — but many fewer than the stimulus did. Mr. Boehner proposed what he called a job creation plan, but the Economic Policy Institute (which is nonpartisan but admittedly leans Democratic) estimated that it would lead to a net reduction of more than one million jobs.

So, on jobs, the Democrats did poorly, but by most independent accounts, far better than the Republicans would have. Chalk one up for the Democrats.

Then there’s the national debt. The Republicans say, correctly, that Mr. Obama aggravated the debt with the stimulus bill. The latest Congressional Budget Office estimate is that the bill will worsen the deficit by $814 billion over a decade.

But as Andrew Romano, a senior writer for Newsweek, noted in an excellent blog post that helped inspire this column, the Republicans propose other actions that worsen the fiscal situation even more. For starters, the Republicans favor almost $700 billion in extended tax cuts for the most affluent Americans. The Democratic leadership opposes them.

In addition, the Republicans call for repealing the health care reform. The Congressional Budget Office suggests that repealing certain provisions of that act would mean an increase in deficits of about $455 billion. On the other hand, keeping health reform will trim the deficits by more than $170 billion between now and 2020, the C.B.O. says.

There are many other elements in play, but put these big ones together and what do you get, on a comparative basis? The Democrats worsen the deficits by a net of about $640 billion, while Republicans worsen them by some $1.1 trillion — almost twice as much.

Chalk up another one for the Democrats.

There’s a third issue in dispute: which party’s policies are more in keeping with our national values? Republicans suggest that excluding the wealthiest Americans from tax cuts reflects an unpatriotic and divisive effort to foment a class war.

But hold on. There’s a fallacy there. Mr. Obama’s plan wouldn’t actually exclude the wealthiest Americans from tax cuts. It would cut billionaires’ taxes — but only for their first $250,000 in income.

The richest 0.1 percent of Americans (who earn an average of $8.4 million) would get an average tax cut of more than $61,000 under Mr. Obama’s proposal, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. Under the Republican proposal, they would get an average tax cut of more than $370,000, the center says.

Thus, the Republican tax cut would lead to an even more gargantuan gap between rich and poor. As Warren Buffett has said: “There’s class warfare, all right. But it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

I grant that estimates about jobs and revenue are uncertain. But they are not meaningless, and the strong implication is that Republican rule would lead to the Trifecta of Torment: higher unemployment, worse deficits and greater inequity.

That might be more important to ponder this fall than the ups and downs of the mud-wrestling competitions.


When explanations make sense…

Ok. I’m a nerd. But, I found this to be awesome. It is simple. It is visual. It is straightforward. How can anyone misunderstand this? How can you spin it to be negative?I can’t wait to see how the GOP does it. Frank Luntz will find some amazing buzz phrase, I’m sure. Still, look at the dots people! Just follow the dots. Maybe the dots need to come off the board and bounce along with a jingle… “Everyone gets tax cuts up to 250k. Even the rich guys get some. It’s a pretty fair way. But the cost of the red dots is dumb.”

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The Savage Power of Google and Bible Burning

Two unrelated comments:

1) Is there anyone getting together a protest of the crazy idiot in Florida that plans to burn Korans on Saturday? Is there a Bible burning in response?

2) There is nothing scarier to me that Rick Santorum running for president. (Well, Palin winning would be scary, but it would be funny as hell to see her run.) If it scares you too, then click on the sight a few times. One of the problems his strategist are having is that when you google Santorum, this site is within the top three. The site was created years ago by Dan Savage in response to Santorum’s offensive comments about homosexuality, comparing it to pedophilia and bestiality. The site is a product of a contest for the best slang terms to “memorialize the scandal”. Santorum is the neologism for “the frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex.” The idea of Dan Savage. The power of google. The right of the people to vote by clicking!


The long scope of history

Reverend Jeffress, pastor of Dallas’ First Baptist Church.  What a piece of work.  Anyone with so many people’s ear should be more circumspect.  Even if he has these moronic opinions you’d think he’d have enough sense to keep them to himself.

In case you are getting here late, the good reverend stated, from the pulpit, that Islam is an evil religion, full of pedophiles.  Oh, and that the Crusades weren’t all that bad.  He went into more detail but you get the gist.  He incited the congregation and got an ovation for his efforts.  Clearly he was not the only small mind in attendance that day.

If the 2 previous paragraphs didn’t clue you in, I’m about to give my opinion:

The top five religions of the world all share the same thoughts on how to treat people and the best way to travel through this world:  Kindness.  You don’t have to read the Koran to know this.  Google it.  Better yet, find a Koran online and just read the prophet’s last prayer.  His final word on the subject of life, the universe and everything is kindness to one another.  The bible says the same thing, doesn’t it?  I mean, as an overall theme?

I will grant that Islam places God (or rather, Allah) before the state but don’t most Christians?

So what’s the real problem here?  I mean, how did this weird worldview come to be?  Once again, I have an opinion:  The ‘good reverend’, while seeing things from the wholly self-righteous view point of ‘conservative Christian’, is unable to see the reach of history.

Let’s start at the start:  When was the Bronze Age?  In Europe is was from 3000 to 600 b.c.  In Korea it was 800 to 400 b.c.  My point is, the Bronze Age isn’t a fixed point in planetary history because not all cultures are at the same level of development at the same time.  This is due, I imagine, to the supply of food, the resources available and the space that a population has to expand into, etc.

In the ‘60’s we pretended that the American Indian didn’t really do any bad things…well, unless provoked by those nasty white folk.  Closer examination proves they did.  So are the aforementioned white folk better people?  Hell no.  They were (most of them) just a little further up the ladder at that time.  We committed our atrocities before we left Europe (ok, mostly).

Which brings us to today.  The west is a (more or less) civilized world.  The near east largely isn’t.  They are hundreds of years behind us, culturally.  In some ways, thousands of years.  So is most of Africa and a hundred other spots on  the globe.  Let me be very clear on this point:  I am NOT claiming superiority here.  I am saying that much of the world is acting and reacting as we did several hundred years ago because they do not, or did not, have the advantages or resources that we have.  From a Christian viewpoint it would seem that we’d be a little more understanding – given our ‘blessings’ and all.  “We” committed heinous crimes then.  “They” do it now.  In the scope of history, it’s a small gap. The fact that the middle east is so tribal doesn’t help either.  What the disparity does mean is that the technology of the modern world is available to the primitive world.  The more “primitive” cultures can now kill a lot more people than we ever could, back in the day.

People who know me know that I give short shrift to religion in general.  Even so, I think it’s clear that religious sects aren’t things.  They are groups of people and sometimes people do stupid things.  Even evil things.  I’m not saying that some fundamentalist Islamists don’t.  I am saying that some fundamentalist Christians do too.  Evil and stupidity are universal and it’s ignorant and harmful to look down on others who are where we once were.

Finally, please note that I do not mean “all people” do anything or that evil only takes place “then” or “there”.  There are always exceptions.  Baptists today are civilized human beings.  Mostly.