Monday, July 21, 2014

Waldo's going to get lazy for a spell before tackling Year 8 of this blog come August.  Posts may be sporadic until then. Happy fishin', y'all....

Sunday, July 20, 2014

"It's not a problem, we just wish you'd stop."

The Minnesota Vikings' Donald Sterling Moment ticks on. The team released a "summary" of a 150 page report prepared by its employment lawyers- the special teams guys you bring in to clean up a mess. It contains this logical contortion:
The Vikings lawyers acknowledge that Kluwe was encouraged by Vikings management to scale back his activism in support of LGBT rights, but insist it was completely unrelated to the substance of his activism. The analysis claims that “players and management were concerned about the distraction that Kluwe’s activism was creating, as opposed to the nature and content of his activism.” Of course, it was the “nature and content of his activism” that ultimately created the “distraction.” It’s hard to image if Kluwe was speaking out to reduce childhood obesity that it would have become an issue.

The "gentleman" from South Carolina

Sen. Lindsey Graham on Sunday called Secretary of State John Kerry’s foreign policy views “ridiculous and delusional.” 
Kerry and Graham both appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” with Kerry speaking first.

Is that a clock ticking?

California Governor Jerry Brown, 76.

An interesting article in Politico suggests California's political gerontocracy may be reaching its memento mori moment.

California Governor Jerry Brown during his first two terms, 1875-83. He has gone 
from being the sixth-youngest governor of the state to its oldest.

50 years on, extremism in the defense of liberty is still no vice

Saturday, July 19, 2014

"Not a core function of government."

Gov. Nikki Haley is walking a very fine line. 
On the one hand, she decries the “humanitarian crisis” of those thousands of children, driven by desperation we can’t even imagine, who find themselves alone on this side of the border. We are told that “As a mother (emphasis mine), Republican Haley said finds it ‘disturbing’ that the migrant children would be left ‘to fend for themselves’ as they attempt to cross the border.”  
Which, you know, suggests a modicum of compassion.
On the other hand, she wants to make sure that, as the government figures out what to do about this crisis, none of those children are sheltered here in South Carolina — not even on federal reservations such as military bases, which to my mind would be none of her business. 
This sort of dims the halo of her compassion, to say the least.

One less call screener at 30 Rock come Monday

MSNBC got badly pranked on Thursday afternoon by a man claiming to be a member of the military in Ukraine who witnessed the Malaysian Airlines plane crash. 
"The Cycle" host Krystal Ball introduced the caller as an “MSNBC exclusive.” 
“Let’s turn now to an MSNBC exclusive. U.S. Staff Sergeant Michael Boyd, he is at the U.S. embassy in Ukraine and he says he saw a missile in the air hit the plane, he is on the phone with us,” Ball said. 
It goes downhill from there. 
“Well I was looking out the window and I saw a projectile flying in the sky and it would appear the plane was shot down by a blast of wind from Howard Stern’s ass,” the caller said.
But Ball didn’t seem to catch the joke. 
“So it would appear the plane was shot down, can you tell us anything more from your military training of sort of missile system that may have been coming from?” Ball said in response. 
“Well you’re a dumbass aren’t ya?” the caller said. 
Ball, still confused, said “I’m sorry sir?” before pausing for a moment and saying they were taking a break. 
After a commercial break, Ball said the individual on the phone previously had not been an eyewitness. 
“We thought we had an eyewitness on the scene, that individual was not actually an eyewitness,” she said.

Did you check the cargo hold? Oh, wait- where's the plane?

First it was Alistair Cooke's body being chopped up and sold for organ transplants, now this:

The NFL's Donald Sterling Moment?

Chris Kluwe got didn't get dropped by his team for becoming a late-to-the-party gay rights activist, but the story is the new insights into the NFL's homophobic corporate culture:

Another "gotcha" question for Rick Perry '16

"Happy? Ya, sure. You betcha."

What's with Georgia? And that giddy blotch around Columbia? Researchers are looking at what makes for happy cities. More here and here

Meantime, another study wonders if having Danish genes is the key to happiness. 


Not a happy Dane, this one.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Other People's Money

From the Colorado marriage equality front (non-pastry division), news of more conservative-led Pointless Litigation:
The state Supreme Court granted a request by Colorado Attorney General John Suthers for an emergency ruling prohibiting the issuance of the licenses. But the panel's brief order only named Johnson and another clerk who has yet to distribute any documents because they were parties to the initial lawsuit that was stayed. 
Several other county clerks had asked the court for clarity on whether they could distribute marriage licenses as well. 
Suthers is also appealing the lower court's finding that the 2006 voter-approved ban is unconstitutional to the state supreme court. 
A Republican, he has acknowledged that gay marriage will eventually be legal in Colorado but says he has an obligation to defend the state's laws all the way to the high court.
The Award is named for North Carolina House Speaker and U.S. Senate Candidate Thom Tillis, whose cynicism truly knows no bounds. 

Today in Guns

The press secretary for Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) was arrested by Capitol Police on Friday morning for allegedly bringing a 9mm handgun to the Cannon House Office Building, Roll Call reported.

"Well, yeah, it's not exactly impeachment, know, there'll be a trial, and it won't cost us anything, and, uh, you know what I'm saying? It might work out OK."

The suit has become a joke even before it’s been filed. There is a strenuous effort, in certain conservative circles, to take it seriously. When Boehner announced his intention to sue, in June, the Wall Street Journal awarded him “all due credit” for resisting Obama’s “imperial powers,” and on Wednesday Republicans on the House Rules Committee kept a straight face while debating it. But most observers—even on the right—see the lawsuit, as in the words of the blogger Erick Erickson, “a political stunt” aimed at rallying Republican voters who, all things being equal, would have preferred to see the President impeached, or traded to Germany for Bastian Schweinsteiger and a player to be named later.
The idea of throwing red meat wrapped in a petitioner’s brief, of all things, to the midterm electorate should cause Republican strategists to flip their lids. It’s hard to overstate the role of lawyer baiting, litigation hating, and activist-judge bashing in the electoral success of the G.O.P. since the late nineteen-sixties, when Richard Nixon fixed on this formula to unite and expand the Republican coalition of states-rights traditionalists, social-issue activists, small-government conservatives, big businesses, small businesses, and other groups who wanted courts to get out of enforcing regulations they didn’t like and rights they didn’t support. That loathing, by now, is bred in the bone. In the conservative lexicon, there are few epithets worse than “liberal trial lawyer”; Republican ads are presently flinging it at Democratic gubernatorial candidates inGeorgia and South Carolina.
But, as Boehner’s move reveals, the right is having it both ways when it comes to the courts. Attacks on excessive litigation notwithstanding, conservatives are doing exactly what they say the left has long done: rushing to litigate political questions, elevating all manner of disputes to the level of high constitutional principle, and asking judges to settle (or revisit) policy arguments that ought to be resolved by legislators or voters. If the Affordable Care Act can’t be repealed, despite dozens of attempts, it can be undercut by judges, as in the Supreme Court ruling in the Hobby Lobby case. If the National Labor Relations Board can’t be shut down, the Presidential power to make recess appointments—which has kept the agency running—can be curbed, possibly for good, as last month’s Noel Canning decision portends. And if Obama can’t be impeached, well, he can be sued.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

"Only Bermuda here is the grass..."

Here's how to write a newspaper article with a hook
Big, leafy oaks shade the streets in and around Dilworth, a genteel Charlotte neighborhood of historic homes with big porches and an ambience of understated affluence. 
A tour of the environs might start at the stately brick home of Paula Broadwell. You remember her from a few scandals ago, right? The biographer/mistress of Gen. David Petraeus? Rielle Hunter, the videographer/mistress of former Sen. John Edwards, lived a short drive away. 
And then there’s the small, rented brick townhouse on the corner with the sticky front door. A lumbering man with a vaguely familiar face stands waiting there. His presence gives this stretch of North Carolina’s largest city the aura of a Bermuda Triangle of National Scandal. 
Webb Hubbell — the Arkansas Clinton buddy who went to prison in the 1990s after getting caught up in the interminable Kenneth Starrinvestigation of the incomprehensible Whitewater affair — has lived here quietly the past few years since shedding his old life in Washington. Almost no one recognizes Hubbell anymore, or they’re too polite to say so...

"...and a child will lead them."

Joe.My.God always seems to hit the bullseye:

Migrant Children Invade Arizona, Set Up Government, Rename State

The man who'll always be President in his mind

Sen. John McCain said Thursday that he is withholding judgment on the Malaysia Airlines crash, but vowed that there would be “hell to pay” if the plane was shot down by the Russian military or separatists.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Stories Waldo refuses to read past the headline, cont.

The Guardian:

Vagina selfie for 3D printers lands Japanese artist in trouble

The article has photos, too.

The party's just going to pot

The chairman of the Cherokee County, Alabama Republican Party has resigned after he was arrested Friday when police allegedly found marijuana plants on his property, the Gadsden Times newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Today in Guns: South Carolina

"We will fight in the double-entry ledgers, we will fight in the restatement of net earnings, we will fight in the explanatory notes to executive compensations....we will never surrender."

A story that has gotten weirdly little play in the US (I can’t speak for the UK press or the press in other countries) is the pushback by the ‘Big Four’ accountancy firms against the democracy movement in Hong Kong. On July 1, over 100,000 people marched in protest against Chinese plans to curtail democracy in Hong Kong. But the Big Four had not only made it clear that they didn’t like the protests – they had threatened that business would pull out of Hong Kong if the protests continued. 
This is a quite remarkable initiative. It was published in Chinese rather than English – presumably both to speak more directly to potential protesters, and to make it less likely that it would seep into the English speaking press. According to one of the firms, it was pushed by local branches rather than the accountancy groups’ international management. Even if this is true, the statement is signed in the names of the firms and have not been publicly repudiated. 
    "The big four global accounting companies have taken out press advertisements in Hong    Kong stating they are “opposed” to the territory’s democracy movement, warning that        their multinational clients may quit the city if activists carry out threats to disrupt business with street protests. In an unusual joint statement published in three Chinese-language newspapers on Friday, the Hong Kong entities of EY, KPMG, Deloitte and PwC said the Occupy Central movement, which is calling for electoral reform in the former British colony, posed a threat to the territory’s rule of law.The group of pro-democracy activists is calling for 10,000 people to block traffic in the central business district as part of a campaign to put pressure on the Hong Kong government, although if and when this will happen is still under discussion. In the advert, the big four firms warned that protests would disrupt the Hong Kong stock exchange, banks and the headquarters of financial and professional services firms causing “inestimable losses in the economy”. It added that clients of the four firms had reflected further concerns about the wider impact of the protests: 'We are worried that multinational companies and investors would consider moving their regional headquarters from Hong Kong, or indeed leave the city entirely. This would have a long-term impact on Hong Kong’s status as a global financial centre,' the joint statement said."
Of course, this isn’t the first shameful decision made by Western companies looking to build business in China – see Bloomberg’s squashing of a story on corruption among family members of senior Chinese leaders, or, for that matter, Rupert Murdoch’s instruction to Harper-Collins not to publish Chris Patten’s memoirs. But this goes substantially further than quiet acquiescence, to public and active opposition to the pro-democracy movement, and the issuing of threats intended to stifle it. It would be nice to see Ernst-Young, KPMG, Deloitte and Price-Waterhouse Cooper put on the spot by US politicians and journalists about their Hong Kong offices’ unrepudiated public statements opposing pro-democracy protestors.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Today in Guns

Suddenly, Bob McDonnell looks like a choirboy

Former Utah attorneys general Mark Shurtleff and John Swallow were accused Tuesday of numerous bribery and obstruction of justice charges, most of them felonies. The charging documents from the Salt Lake City district attorney allege a decadent lifestyle of private jets, all-expense-paid vacations and veiled threats of violence for those who caused trouble.

Not just another pretty face

Andy Borowitz sums it up:
NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report) – A new study released Tuesday indicates that wearing glasses does not make a person look smarter, but standing next to Texas Governor Rick Perry does.


After this, Clay Aiken looks better and better

National Journal:
Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC), a second-term Congresswoman and chair of the Republican Women’s Policy Committee, participated in a Friday panel on women and the Republican Party. According to a report from Washington Examiner reporter Ashe Schow, she suggested that the best way for the party to appeal to women is to talk down to them.
The article quotes Ellmers, who prior to her 2010 election to Congress worked as a registered nurse and as clinical director of a North Carolina wound care center, as saying:
ELLMERS: Men do tend to talk about things on a much higher level… Many of my male colleagues, when they go to the House floor, you know, they’ve got some pie chart or graph behind them and they’re talking about trillions of dollars and how, you know, the debt is awful and, you know, we all agree with that. …
We need our male colleagues to understand that if you can bring it down to a woman’s level and what everything that she is balancing in her life — that’s the way to go.
It also quotes her as saying that what women most want is more time, including “more time in the morning to get ready.”

In a statement e-mailed to ThinkProgress, Ellmers said her comments had been “taken completely out of context” in the Examiner story. “I am a woman, and find it both offensive and sexist to take my words and redefine them to imply that women need to be addressed at a lower level,” she wrote, blaming “certain leftist writers” for engaging in “‘gotcha’ journalism.’

Monday, July 14, 2014

Shades of "Independence Day"

Germany's parliamentary committee investigating the National Security Agency is mulling using manual typewriters to make sure American agents don’t snoop on its work.  
Patrick Sensburg, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party who is leading the panel, told a German broadcaster on Monday that the committee needed to do all it can to secure its work from spies’ prying eyes. 
"In fact, we already have [a typewriter], and it’s even a non-electronic typewriter," he said, according to a translation from Ars Technica. 

Signs of the End Times (Georgia GOP Senate Runoff Division)

It's been done

Nixon on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In: "Sock it

Hillary Clinton will appear on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" this Tuesday to discuss her new book and, inevitably, the 2016 presidential race.

Hat tricks

Waldo's report on ancient Roman travel agents was well-received by readers ("Thanks for a post that isn't depressing," one wrote).

We're all Graeco-Romans now, as Nixon might have said had he been a contemporary of Cicero's (Ricardus Felonius Nixoniensis?) Waldo finished Thomas Cahill's Sailing The Wine-Dark Sea: Why The Greeks Matter over the weekend, and was reminded anew of how his heart will always pine for the lands of the Hellenes (not to mention of the brilliance of Cahill's writing style). And remember, in Waldo's Blogside Reading is the always-entertaining work of Cambridge classics scholar Mary Beard.

But today's Borowitz Report moves us a little ahead in time:
LONDON (The Borowitz Report) - The Church of England, an institution whose origins date back to the sixth century A.D., has far more modern views about the rights of women than Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, experts said today. 
“In recognizing that women are the equals of men, the Church of England has embraced a position that is centuries ahead of Scalia’s,” Davis Logsdon, a professor of religion at the University of Minnesota, said. “This is a remarkable achievement, given that Scalia was born in 1936 and the Church began in the late five hundreds.” 
But Dr. Carol Foyler, a history professor at the University of Sussex, took issue with that assessment. “I date the beginning of the Church of England to 1534, when it was officially established under Henry VIII,” she said. “But regardless of whether the Church is fourteen centuries old or five centuries old, it’s unquestionably more modern than Scalia.” 
As for Justice Scalia, he seemed to dismiss the controversy, issuing a terse official statement Monday afternoon. “I do not keep up with the goings on of every newfangled institution,” he said.

Maybe not so far apart as we think...