Monthly Archives: November 2010

Who was more right about the future: Huxley or Orwell?

Can’t improve on anything said in the original post by Stuart McMillan: please click below to read (it’s equal parts brilliant and creepy):

George Packer (The New Yorker), on “Decision Points”

Bush ends “Decision Points” with the sanguine thought that history’s verdict on his Presidency will come only after his death. During his years in office, two wars turned into needless disasters, and the freedom agenda created such deep cynicism around the world that the word itself was spoiled. In America, the gap between the rich few and the vast majority widened dramatically, contributing to a historic financial crisis and an ongoing recession; the poisoning of the atmosphere continued unabated; and the Constitution had less and less say over the exercise of executive power. Whatever the judgments of historians, these will remain foregone conclusions.

Read the whole thing here.

Why is the U.S. Just Like North Korea?

Because we prefer to starve a significant part of our population while we continue to build unnecessary weapons, and maintain a more-than-likely useless traditional military capability, in the continuing delusion of controlling part, or all, of the world by force.

Republicans, especially, would rather build more bombs than extend unemployment insurance. Well, after all, the big money’s to be made in military contracts; those social programs don’t do squat for our loyal Republican entrepreneurs.

Democrats are certainly not without blame, too. But the mad Republican recalcitrance over ratifying new START is beyond the pale.

If Mitch McConnel needs a new windbreaker, I think this style would rather suit him.

Another Perversity of the Death Penalty

Ohio prison rules could limit inmates’ last words
The Associated Press
Thursday, November 18, 2010; 6:08 PM

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The final words of condemned prisoners in Ohio could be edited or shortened under new state prison rules announced Thursday, six months after an inmate recited prayers for 17 minutes before he was executed.

Click here for the rest of the WaPo/AP story.

Picture of the Day

Change in National Debt under different Presidential administrations

Courtesy of James Fallows, The Atlantic.

And now a word from Ronald Reagan’s Chief Economist…

A Panel’s Plan to Cut the Deficit
Published: November 12, 2010
Re “Some Fiscal Reality” (editorial, Nov. 11):

The current federal budget deficit was caused mainly by unnecessary wars and related military spending, the worst economic downturn since the 1930s, and large tax cuts and bailouts for the rich, all stemming from the Bush administration.

Now a bipartisan commission proposes that we solve the long-term deficit “problem” by cutting back Social Security, Medicare and other social welfare programs. Thus the poor, the sick and the elderly would pay for the tax breaks and bailouts for the already wealthy.

The Republicans have made it clear that they have only one economic goal: making the rich richer. Are there no Democrats left with any backbone?

Robert Ortner
Short Hills, N.J., Nov. 12, 2010

The writer was chief economist and under secretary of commerce during the Reagan administration and is the author of “Voodoo Deficits.”

If you saw this morning’s Today Show…

…and saw their “viral video” — an artfully produced multi-track a capella video — Please take a moment to enjoy some of the original videos their guest was ripping off, from the Brooklyn duet Pompaloose. And then click through to their YouTube channel and enjoy!

Here, for comparison, is the somewhat more heavily produced rip-off by “Internet sensation” Mike Tompkins, that was the inspiration for the Today show piece:

Admittedly, Tompkins has clear skills as a producer. You can find what he did with the Today Show folks here:

Still, it seems like such a patent rip-off.