Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Not quite adieu


While I'm not necessarily ready to turn out the lights a la Sparky, I'm finding the 140-character protocol of Twitter is pretty much allowing me to say what I want to. I'm "situate" if anyone wants to follow me.

Monday, March 21, 2011

In case you missed it the first time


From POTUS's letter to Congress, explaining his rationale for the Libya attacks:
Left unaddressed, the growing instability in Libya could ignite wider instability in the Middle East, with dangerous consequences to the national security interests of the United States.
In other words, BO has rationalized the Libya attacks with the domino effect.

I'm so glad that this is happening: It allows the younger readers of this blog to experience the ridiculous arguments that were articulated during the Vietnam era. Then, it was something like if the Commies take Vietnam, then they'll take Laos, then Burma, and soon they'll be marching right down Main Street USA.

In this case, it's a little different, because the rationale has everything to do with oil. Nevertheless, the thinking goes that if Libya falls, then Syria might, then Yemen, then Saudi Arabia, and then where would the US get its oil?

It's the inanity of 1968 all over again.

Happy Birthday


Many happy returns to DarLucky! Jesus was a known enemy of the state by the time he was 33; I assume that DarLucky is keeping the faith.

Friday, March 18, 2011

That Radical


Paul Krugman explains how to get around the Times' new firewall.

Out on a limb


University of Connecticut head women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma has been selected as a finalist for the 2011 Naismith College Coach of the Year ...

Joining Auriemma as finalists are Baylor's Kim Mulkey, Tennessee's Pat Summitt and Stanford's Tara VanDerveer. Each of the four finalists led their team to a No. 1 seed in the upcoming NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship.
Wow. The coaches of the four NCAA top seeds. What a courageous stance the Atlanta Tipoff Club has taken!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A policy maker he's not


As has long been known,
[T]he difference in the percentages of low-income students and their more affluent peers who achieve proficiency [in The Constitution State] has been stuck at around 20 percent despite years of reforms. Although Connecticut is typically praised for its schools, disparities in the performance of students from different socioeconomic backgrounds—which are often referred to as the "achievement gap"—reveal that, in truth, the state has significant inequities in its educational system.

In fact, Connecticut has the nation's largest achievement gap when it's measured by students' socioeconomic status.
Nevertheless, the state's senior senator thinks he knows how to fix all this:
Sen. Joseph Lieberman is drafting a school reform bill that would tie a portion of federal education dollars to a requirement that states implement robust teacher evaluations, with student test scores being a major factor in rating teacher performance.
Of course this makes no sense at all. It'd penalize de facto those teachers who either by choice or happenstance ended up in New Haven or Bridgeport or Hartford schools. In most instances they're working they're tails off just trying to help get kids to a proficient level. That wouldn't be good enough for the Yale-educated know-it-all.

I'd hoped that after Holy Joe announced his retirement, he'd kind of take it easy and put the brakes (to use his phrase) on some of his crackpot ideas. I obviously should have known better.

Krugman's sense of humor


This is actually pretty funny.

Monday, March 14, 2011

And may I say it's about time?


Darlene Love has finally been elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The former Darlene Wright had the best voice in the Spector stable in the early and mid-1960s. She seems to have been the only one of the Philles singers who didn't kowtow to the mad genius. She still sings perhaps the best rock Christmas song ever made, Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), on Letterman every year and proved a year and half ago, somewhere north or south of the age of 70, that she could still rock with the best of them.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Meet the new boss


Remember the bad old days when fealty was more important than policy? It cost a number of honest generals and federal prosecutors their jobs, and we were all very glad when we thought we'd seen the last of this kind of half fast activity.

Welcome to the Obama State Department.

The current situation


According to Jason Linkins:
[T]here was this terrible economic collapse in America a few years ago and ever since then, the important campaign to get Americans to stop blaming the perpetrators of said collapse and the ensuing widespread economic devastation, and in turn start blaming one another, to the material benefit of those who wrecked the economy in the first place, continues to take important steps ...
Yeah. That sounds like pretty much it in a nutshell.

Quote of the Day


"I was tired. I was gassed."
— Big East Tournament MVP Kemba Walker on UConn's
incredible five-day run to the championship
And so the UConn men tie Georgetown for the most Big East championships at seven. It's been an amazing week and one that will surely go into the annals of all-time great performances by a UConn men's team.

The Courant is positing that the Huskies might have secured a two or three seed in the NCAA tournament with the championship. I suspect that may be true, but I also suspect the Huskies might have left more than they might have wanted on the MSG floor since Tuesday.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Just when you thought it was over


For months last year, the burg of East Hampton, CT was essentially paralyzed by the town manager's summary firing of its police chief and the repercussions thereof. Throughout the sordid episode, Police Chief Matthew A. Reimondo was depicted as a lily white victim of then Town Manager Jeffery O'Keefe's cruelty.

Now, it seems that that depiction may not have been entirely accurate.
The [East Hampton] police chief has been reprimanded after acknowledging he sent two racially offensive e-mails last year from his town computer.

Acting Town Manager Robert G. Drewry told the Town Council Tuesday he has dealt with what he calls "a personnel issue" involving Chief Matthew A. Reimondo.
You know, when you help to tear a town inside out, making hundreds come to your defense, you might want to demonstrate that those hundreds had something worthy to fight for. I'm just sayin'.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Senator Sanctimony's insights


Fresh from a fact-finding trip to the Middle East, Holy Joe finds exactly what he was looking for.
Lieberman said America needs to step in and help the Libyan opposition ... The U.S. providing anti-aircraft, for example, might be in our country’s best interest, said Lieberman.

“Whatever it is, we’ve got to help and we gotta help in our interest because [get this] if Gaddafi survives, it’s going to be a message to dictators all around the world and places like Tehran [emphasis added] about how they can stay in power when the majority of their people want change,” said Lieberman.

... Lieberman says releasing oil from the U.S. strategic reserve [to reduce rising gasoline prices] is not appropriate since it’s fear driving the prices, not a shortage of supply.
Apparently, in the Senator's benighted view, fear can be discounted when it come to gas prices, but one can't be too careful regarding Libya and Iran.

January 2013 can't come soon enough.

Pandering in Iowa


And so, in the metropolis of Waukee, Iowa,
at the Faith & Freedom Coalition's presidential forum on Monday night ... which drew about 2,000 mostly elderly voters ... the first semi-official Republican cattle call of the 2012 election cycle [took place].
And what a night it was. Sixty per cent of the crowd was what one might call "evangelicals," and were they ever ready to listen to the exhortations of such ethical paragons as Newt Gingrich and Buddy Roemer, who "between them ... have four divorces."
From a national politics standpoint, the tone of the event felt a bit off, for reasons that Rep. Steve King inadvertently illuminated. In his introductory remarks, the conservative culture warrior declared, "If we get the culture right, the economy will be right eventually." There may be people who actually believe that. But most of them were attending this event.
Fasten your seat belts. It's going to be a bumpy ride.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Quote of the Day


I’d say we spend too much time debating political events and the choices leaders make and not enough time debating the structure of political institutions and the impersonal economic and systemic forces that drive the choices leaders make.
Ezra Klein

Indeed. Too many pundits—and bloggers, including yours truly, no doubt—concern themselves too much with the symptoms of the problem when, in fact, they should be considering the disease itself: the fact that the way American political institutions currently work simply isn't conducive to the political and cultural health of the nation.

I don't expect this situation to change in my lifetime, but, then again, how many Egyptians thought they'd die with Mubarak still in power?

Barry, we hardly knew ye


I'm as mystified as anyone, I suppose, but, for the life of me, I can't understand what's going on in the head of XLIV.

Any conservative who doesn't like him must surely feel that antipathy only because he's black.



in the continuing saga of the haves and the have nots, Dartmouth College announced over the weekend that
The Board of Trustees approved a 5.9 percent increase in tuition, room, board and fees for the 2011-2012 academic year ... With the increase, tuition, room, board and fees will total $55,365.

... The College will likely experience a $3 million increase in financial aid expenditures in the 2011-2012 academic year totaling a projected $80 million, up from this year's $77 million, according to the press release.
The college will obviously need to increase its financial aid.

I'm just blown away by this. The $55,365 obviously doesn't include football tickets, the occasional pizza, and the occasional Diet Pepsi. I know how students can come up with the money, but the whole thing sure looks like another method of eviscerating the middle class.

At the risk of sounding like an old fart, I have to point out that my entire college career cost less than half than one year the College on the Hill now costs.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Kemba Walker


I don't know how I missed this, but UConn's Kemba Walker will graduate this summer. He's still got a year of eligibility left, but may not return. Even though St. Jim says of his All Big East guard,
"Everybody is telling me that [it's important] to find quickness at the guard. There aren't too many quicker than him. … The NBA is looking for a competitive, quick point guard who can defend, run, lead the fastbreak. He's all those things. And he's automatically an addition to your team just because he loves the game,"
I just wonder how many NBA teams might be interested in a six foot guard who's a better shooter than point. I still think he's got a few things to prove in college—like leading a team to a better than 4-6 record in its last ten games—but I can't entirely disagree with Calhoun when he says "right now he sees no reason for Walker to return."

Friday, March 04, 2011

This Wholesome World


Having been with teenagers for more than 7000 days of my life, this story couldn't help but interest me:
Fewer teens and young adults are having sex, a government survey shows, and theories abound for why they're doing it less ...

Comprehensive sex education — which includes abstinence but also teaches contraception and safer sex skills — didn't go away during the Bush years, said Elizabeth Schroeder, executive director of Answer, a national sex education organization at Rutgers University.

"We have been redoubling efforts and it has made an impact on these statistics," Schroeder said.
It's an interesting—though not entirely convincing—post hoc ergo propter hoc argument.

I thought that "data over the years on vaginal intercourse among never-married adolescents shows a steady decline since 1988" might provide a caveat, but
the study, ... based on interviews of about 5,300 young people, ages 15 to 24 ... shows the proportion in that age group who said they'd never had oral, vaginal or anal sex rose in the past decade from 22 percent to about 28 percent.
It sounds like when young people say they "never had sex with that (wo)man," it might actually be the truth.

When worlds collide


Fred Wilpon's association with dirtbag Bernie Madoff continues to plague him.
The Mets will travel more miles by bus this spring than any other team in baseball, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of each team's schedule. Based on estimated driving distances between ballparks, including split-squad games, the Mets will log roughly 2,752 miles as they schlep around the Sunshine State.
While the situation is caused by a number of factors, the billion dollars the Wilpons may be liable for must play into this cost-cutting measure.

Next Saturday marks the two-year anniversary of Madoff's confession in a Manhattan courtroom to creating a Ponzi scheme. We now know how Mets' players and coaches will be commemorating it.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Trying to have it both ways


How Ohio and Brigham Young University are similar: One won't let its public workers strike for better working conditions but also severely limits the collective bargaining that might obviate those strikes; the other demands that its students work long into the night while making coffee, which might aid in staying awake during those arduous nocturnal sessions, illegal.

Both stances, to me, are absurd.

Now it gets ugly


the Ohio State Senate [passing] SB 5, aimed at limiting unionized state employees' ability to collectively bargain or go on strike,
the time is surely coming when public employees will be forced into acts of civil disobedience the likes of which the US hasn't seen since the 1960s.

It's not as if the idiotic politicians don't have a road map.
The bill now moves to the state House, which like the Senate, is under Republican control.

Gov. John Kasich (R) has endorsed the measure and is expected to sign it when it reaches his desk.

Adding insult to injury


Not only did the Huskies get crushed, but
The University of Connecticut lost $1,663,560 in its Bowl Championship Series game loss to Oklahoma on Jan.1, according to Mike Enright, associate athletic director for communications. The Huskies, like other Division I-A schools, had to file a report to the NCAA by March 1. The document shows that UConn was required to purchase $3,349,835 worth of tickets but realized only $676,248 from ticket sales. So the school was out $2,673,587 on ticket sales alone.
I said months ago that I hoped the Huskies would go to Miami for its BCS game. It doesn't surprise me a whit that UConn "sold [only] 4,600 tickets, including 2,771 to the general public and the rest for the university's obligations."

Miami in January would obviously have been a much better venue for any of a number of reasons.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Suze Rotolo


A very nice tribute to one of the icons of the 1960s can be found here.

Having played the album in question at least hundreds of times, I looked at her face quite often in those days.

Requiescat in pace.

Workers of the world, unite


With support for labor unions rising, it's interesting to see that the NFL Players' Union has also been thrust into the issue and is facing some of the same problems as other less celebrated folks.
The N.F.L. players union won a significant legal battle Tuesday. In a reversal of a prior ruling, a federal judge in Minneapolis said that the N.F.L. violated an agreement with the players when it negotiated its latest TV contracts. The judge said the league settled for less money in exchange for the continued flow of cash in the event of a work stoppage. The N.F.L. had a duty to maximize revenue for the players, the judge said.
I realize I'm comparing apples and oranges here, primarily because I'm comparing contracts worth millions to contracts worth a tenth of that, but—who knows?—maybe sports fans will realize the corrupt and mendacious ways of the owners and side with labor for a change.

Certainly, the tide seems to be turning in Wisconsin.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

The Internet and the pursuit of democracy


All government, of course, is against liberty.
— H.L. Mencken

If, in fact, the US really sanctions the phenomenon of "a global phase of extreme turbulence in which the bottom-up forces of a networked world battled the top-down hierarchies of centralized power," then the notion of limiting Net neutrality is counterproductive.

If Boehner and his cronies are serious about allowing only the free speech they think is appropriate, then more Libyas and Egypts seem unlikely.

It's the same old same old: Our revolution was ok, but for other countries, the idea isn't so appealing.

Feeling the pain


Tom Tomorrow pretty much encapsulates how a lot of people are feeling these days:

In other words, when you've given billions of dollars to nefarious banks, brokerages, and other financial institutions, it's obvious that the real miscreants in the country's financial woes are public employees.

Needless to say, those public employees aren't taking this lying down.