Monday, February 28, 2011

Worthy Quotations

The imagination is necessary not to make things up - that would be wrong - but to come up with plausible scenarios for what one's senses are detecting; theories that might explain what is going on.
-Iain M. Banks, Transition, p27

One for the Ages

A unionized public employee, a teabagger and a CEO are sitting at a table.  In the middle of the table is a plate with a dozen cookies on it.  The CEO reaches across and takes 11 cookies, looks at the teabagger and says, "Watch out for that union guy.  He wants a piece of your cookie."

Friday, February 25, 2011

A Statistical Observation, in the Form of a Prediction

Neither you, nor almost anyone you know, will ever be rich.  I don't mean wealthy.  I don't mean comfortably well-off.  I mean fuck-you money rich.

On the plus side, studies show that money doesn't make you any happier.  So you got that going for you.  Which is nice.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Something I've Noticed

When I'm writing, and the words are coming easy, when I'm just cruising along with the road open ahead, when I know what's happening and what happens next, and exactly how I want to say it; those are the stretches I end up editing the most when I go back.  It's the times when I struggle, when every word is like squeezing water out of a rock, when I don't know what I'm doing and can't remember what I just did, that what I come up with reads the cleanest, the clearest, the smoothest, as if the wrenching discontinuity of the words' production somehow folded in on itself and became its own opposite on the page when I wasn't looking.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Fun with Numbers

According to the Financial Times (article is behind a paywall, citation from here):

The Republican plan to slash government spending by $61bn in 2011 could reduce US economic growth by 1.5 to 2 percentage points in the second and third quarters of the year, a Goldman Sachs economist has warned. 

Now, I trust Goldman about as far as I can throw them, ethics-wise.  But I do trust them to be clear-eyed when it comes to economic projections.  That's their bread and butter.

According to this website, the GDP from Q4 2010 was $13.38 T.  That's more than thirteen trillion dollars.  So if the economy grows by 1.5 to 2 percentage points less, that's at least $200 billion dollars less money sloshing around in the economy, paying people and buying stuff. 

How many jobs do you suppose that is, even after the super-wealthy take their outsized cut? 

Oh yeah.  They don't care.

Dear slight majority of Americans:  You voted for these guys why again?

I Stole This Graphic from Mother Jones

If you want to know why things are the way they are in America, economically and politically, this graph (and the other seven) will give you a pretty good idea, I think.

How the Other Half Thinks

Scott Walker got punk'd yesterday, and had a 20 minute phone call in which he spoke quite candidly about what's going on in Wisconsin with Ian Murphy of the Buffalo Beast (or 50 Most Loathesome fame), thinking Murphy was David Koch of the Koch brothers.

You can listen to the call here:

and here:

Edited transcript here.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

If You Ever Wanted to Know...

...under what circumstances I would not only approve of but encourage the projection of military force overseas by the United States' Armed Forces, shooting the helicopter gunships and jet fighters attacking civilians in Libya out of the sky would probably be right up there.

It's one thing to sic your riot-gear cops on protesting civilians.  But it's a whole other can of worms when you cut loose on civilians with military-grade weaponry.

Of course, we would never do that, because Libya has proven oil reserves.

Quote of the Day

"Inasmuch as most good things are produced by labor, it follows that all such things of right belong to those whose labor has produced them. But it has so happened, in all ages of the world, that some have labored, and others have without labor enjoyed a large proportion of the fruits. This is wrong, and should not continue. To secure to each laborer the whole product of his labor, or as nearly as possible, is a worthy object of any good government."
-Abraham Lincoln

Koch Whore Pays the Vig

If there was any doubt that Wisconsin governor Scott Walker is anything other than a bought-and-paid-for thug for the parasite class, this and this should put those doubts to rest.

If he was arguing in good faith, that Wisconsin's budget troubles necessitate some collective belt-tightening and that public-sector unions have to do their fair share of the tightening, that would be one thing.  Those unions have said over and over that they'd be willing to sit down with the governor, and would even make many of the concessions he's asking for in order to strengthen Wisconsin's budget picture.  But that's not what he's asking for.  In fact, he's not asking for anything, he's playing Big Daddy and telling them what he's gonna do, and what he's gonna do is strip away the public-sector unions' collective bargaining rights.

So why does Scott Walker hate working people?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Quote of the Day, the Second

When anyone in a position of authority--an employer, the police, a school administrator--advises you not to hire an attorney, it's time to hire an attorney. When they advise you not to hire an attorney because it will create a confrontational atmosphere, you should have hired one yesterday; you're being railroaded.
[T]he system has a word for a guy without a lawyer, and it's guilty.

There's a reason our system of jurisprudence is adversarial.  Because, not unlike the class war the bottom four quintiles are so often in denial about, the powers that be are, in general, out to get you.  That they ever say otherwise is just part of the game.

Put another way, never, EVER, trust anyone who says "Trust me."

Quote of the Day

Science fiction is read most avidly by precocious children, brainy adolescents and a particular kind of retarded adult.
-Thomas M. Disch

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Title in Search of a Story

Crouching Flygirl, Hidden Badass.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Quote of the Day

According to another study by Cornell's Suzanne Mettler, many Americans don't even realize they're relying upon government services. 53 percent of those who said they're not using a government program borrowed a student loan from the government. 44 percent are on Social Security. 39 percent are on Medicare (reinforcing the imperative: "Keep your government hands off my Medicare!"). 27 percent are on Medicaid. 28 percent are on Disability. 41 percent are receiving veteran's benefits. Again, these are people who also insist they're absolutely not "living off the public tit," to quote Senator Chuck Grassley. But they are.
-Bob Cesca

Quote of the Day

I am not interested in anything any Republican or Conservative has to say about debt or deficits or "shared" sacrifice.

Not now. Not tomorrow. Not ever again.

You are the Party that inherited surpluses from Bill Clinton and pissed them away.

You are the Party that ran two wars on a credit card.

You are the Party that ran two wars on a credit card...while cutting taxes.

You are the Party that only learned how to spell d-e-f-i-c-i-t ten seconds after the Black Democrat was inaugurated.

You are the Party that held medical care for 9/11 first responders hostage so that you could ram through one more round of giveaways to billionaires.
To reiterate, I am not interested in anything any Republican or Conservative has to say about debt or deficits or "shared" sacrifice.

Not now.

Not tomorrow.

Not ever again.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss

Let me tell you how much I loved this book.  I took it with me on a trip back to my alma mater for its 50th anniversary reunion, a long weekend of celebrations, events, and visitations at which I was reunited with some of my favorite people in all the world, people who were there when I formulated the beginnings of the person I grew up to become and who, despite all they've seen, not only still like me, they downright love me.  And I love them, as much as I've ever loved anybody.  Some of them I hadn't seen in more than a decade.  Some of them aren't even on Facebook, if you can believe that.  We danced, we partied, we revisited much-loved places where some of the most significant events of our variously-spent youths occurred (and believe you me, shit was epic back in the day).  We showed the kids that go to school there now how it was done, and we looked good doing it.  I don't think I got more than five hours of sleep a night for most of a week.

The night before I flew home, I think I got five hours.  The night before that, no more than 3 1/2.  I had a 13+ hour day of flying to get back (from Florida to the Pacific Northwest, with not one but two layovers).  It was actually still dark when I got up and got going to the airport.

I had more than a couple of drinks, and took a painkiller for my back.  I was exhausted.

You would think I would have slept away the hours on those flights.  Any sane person would.  More than once, I thought for sure that my eyes were just going to roll into the back of my head and I would have to be shocked awake with a defibrillator to get me off the plane.

But I did not sleep, because I was reading The Name of the Wind, and all I wanted to do was keep reading.  So I did, until I finished it.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

The Jet Set Flip

The Jet Set Flip (rocks)
dark rum, tuaca, lemon, egg white, vanilla brown syrup
shake ingredients and strain over fresh ice
sugar rim, lemon garnish

The Jet Set Flip was my favorite drink on the Launch Party cocktail list. Partly due to my love affair with dark rum (well, good dark rum, anyway), partly due to my newfound appreciation for vanilla. And partly because it has egg white in it, because making drinks with egg white in them is not only delicious, but also just cool, for reasons that are either self-apparent or never will be. It's old-school in all the right ways. There really was a golden age of mixology, a back in the day, if you will, when they were better at this whole business of making cocktails, and didn't use all this prefabricated high-fructose corn syrup nonsense that's so prevalent in bars today, because they didn't have it. And when you look in recipe books from back in those days, a staple, especially of tropical sorts of drinks, was the egg white, which turns creamy and frothy when you shake it over ice, and transforms the harsh acidity of citrus juices into a teasing, exotic, velvety-glove kind of feeling that strokes your taste buds in the most tantalizing way.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Kristen Schaal on the Daily Show

Rape loophole... heh.

hat tip Chez P (again)

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

More Hilarious Win

Hat tip Chez P (one of my favorite writers on the internet) and, of course, Tom Tomorrow.