Blurg July 27, 2012

Nothing calamitous, disastrous or saddening. And nothing large, insurmountable or overly challenging. But life intervenes and interferes today and, alas, this week’s installment of Left Behind Fridays is feeling the squeeze.

I apologize for that (and for the failure this morning to get today’s Alphabet game post up too).

Abnormal blogging should resume shortly. Here are some links to help pass the time (until then, or until 5 p.m., for those currently stuck in an office).

Am I a Romney?

“Being poor is crying when you drop the mac and cheese on the floor.”

“Caltech said this week it has joined the likes of USC and Ohio State in NCAA jail by being placed on three-years’ athletic probation. … The baseball team will vacate all wins during a period in which it went 0-112.”

No relation.

This is heading for a really bad ending.”

“The climate has changed, and the only remaining questions may well be: a) how bad will things get, and b) how long will it be before we wake up to it.”

That is a mighty comfort to have — all of one’s deficiencies are ignored as those of an individual; all of one’s abilities and gifts are taken as positive attributes and credits to one’s race.”

“Some punch lines should be on the offbeat; they shouldn’t be right on the beat because they’ll get sour.”

These men intentionally stood directly underneath an exploding 2-kiloton nuclear bomb.”

“If people are exposed to stories of Biblical heroes with multiple wives and concubines, we shouldn’t be surprised if they emulate them.”

“The land around these taxpayer funded projects were owned by some people before the Olympics game to town. Then other folks magically got control of the land.”

Mitt Romney to Olympians in 2002: “You didn’t get here on your own power.”

It’s a fascinating perspective. When white Republican policymakers disenfranchise African Americans in an election year, based on trumped up allegations of ‘fraud,’ that doesn’t ‘incite racial tension.’ But when the Attorney General notices white Republican policymakers disenfranchising African Americans in an election year, based on trumped up allegations of ‘fraud,’ that does ‘incite racial tension.'”

Our futures are increasingly no longer our own: more and more decisions, large and small, that determine the quality of our lives are being made by Politburo apparatchiks at a Supreme Corporate Soviet somewhere far distant from us. Only now, those apparatchiks are PR and marketing executives, titans of corporate finance, lobbyists for multinationals, and bean-counting managers trying to increase profits at the expense of our freedom.”

Mass incarceration despite a decrease in violent crime.

“Just one more example of critics who are absolutely certain that the government is always terrible … right up to that moment when they desperately need government to swoop in and help them out of a bad situation.”

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  • Whatever it was, there’s no need to apologize.  Can’t speak for everyone but I totally understand not being able to be on time all the time.

  • LL

    That list of mass murders committed by men in the U.S. left out a few. In 4 incidents in the past 100 years, men deliberately crashing airplanes killed 165 people (info on Then there’s the OKC bombing (168 people). And the bombing of a school in Michigan in 1927 (44 killed). And those are just the ones I can think of right off-hand.

    I understand the site is making a point about guns, but there are ways to kill people other than shooting them. 

    Also, they frame it as a racial thing, but the real common denominator in these incidents isn’t white; it’s male. I can’t think of a single mass murder committed by a woman. And Google wasn’t much help there, other than a reference to the Nazis. 

  • pharoute

    Not in the US at least, or at least that I can think of, but there have been women suicide bombers in the middle east. Would left wing bombings in the 60’s count?

  • LL

    I don’t know about any of those, but your comment reminded me of the Manson Family. They murdered at least 4 people (Wikipedia tells me) and some of the people involved were women (Squeaky Fromme is one of them, if anyone remembers her). Not quite the same as “mass murders,” but kinda the same for these purposes. 

  • “Nothing calamitous, disastrous or saddening.”
    Thank you for the reassurances!

    That other Fred Clark is remarkably cute, for a chihuahua.

  • mcc

    Re: “Am I a Romney?”

    I ran across this fascinating article on CNN today:

    It says that Obama and Romney both have problems “connecting” with voters, and for the reason suggests that Romney is too rich and Obama is too educated. The CNN writer seems to view these as equivalent problems. Romney is noted as needing to build a special elevator in the garage of his beach house in order to lift his luxury cars; Obama is noted as being a “academic intellectual” and having bestselling books. These details allegedly make Romney and Obama equally unsuited to speak to or for Americans.

  • Tonio

     That’s the “What’s the Matter With Kansas” irony. Putting aside the resentfulness directed at educated blacks, too many voters get more offended by people who think they’re smarter than everyone else than by people who think they’re better because of wealth. Or else such voters resent wealth only in the hands of entertainers, even though CEOs are far more wealthy and powerful and have far greater impact on everyone else’s lives.

    Does Romney and his entitled cluelessness remind anyone else of Bush 41? Both men pander to the he-man ethic of their parties but look like pretenders.

  • Tonio

     To clarify, I’m not accusing educated people of being elitist that way. Some are, obviously, but far more often that’s simply the politically convenient perception.

  • Obama is noted as being a “academic intellectual” and having bestselling books. These details allegedly make Romney and Obama equally unsuited to speak to or for Americans.

    Because writing bestselling books clearly indicates an inability to speak to common Americans, right?  Though I suppose, in fairness, if the bestselling book ever is The Holy Bible, then we can’t assume that even the bestsellers have any real influence on people who claim to have read them.

  • Dan Audy

    John Scalzi has a nice piece up discussing “Who Gets To Be A Geek” that I suspect many around here would find interesting and valuable given the way almost anything can become a discussion of Doctor Who around these parts.

  • Wingedwyrm

    So, having no experience, whatsoever, with what it’s like to have to worry about bills is equal in problem to having the education that assists you in articulating just that in terms legal, economic, and philosophical.

    The country in which those are two equal problems cannot be allowed to be America.

  • Off-topic:  I have a dial-up connection to the Internet, and today Google has decided that I’m dialing in from Texas.  Based on the ads I’m getting in the sidebars here & elsewhere, I extend my sympathies to anyone who actually does live in Texas.

  •  That sounds like a really interesting article Dan, but the link appears to be broken.

  • Dan Audy

    Hmm that is odd.  Going in to edit the comment shows the proper link rather than the internal to Patheos location where Disqus sends it.  Well here is the plain text URL rather than a link.

  • Nequam

    Maybe God really does object to people bearing false witness.

    (There would be a certain nasty hilarity if this guy was responsible for the Chick-Fil-A fake Facebook account(s).)

  • That article about the way in which the USA is evolving into a caricature of the Soviet Union was quite disturbingly enlightening. 

  • LoneWolf343

    Being poor is when you flip out because your only chair is broken…again.

  • Oh yeah, I’m poor…

  • That being poor article … Fuck. Fuck. This world we’re in.

  • Erl

    Based on my commitment to bloviate less and tell more stories (often reiterated, seldom honored!) I just want to note that the one person who I know who does, in fact, work as a booth babe is an avid cosplayer, spends more money than she makes on it, and only boothbabes because it’s a way to defray the costs of an expensive hobby she wants to pursue anyway. So, uh, there. 

  • Jenny Islander

    I responded at another blog to “Being Poor” some time ago. I was a bit too dismissive of some of the things on the list; I realize that now.  But I stand by my assertion that if you can’t leave $5 on the table when your friends are over, you need new friends.

  • So, some people are impressed with this ad in Maine.  Figured I’d pass it on.

  • I belong to a fan organization which does costumes from the Halo universe.  At PAX Prime 2011, Microsoft hired a model to wear a Cat-B320 costume made by a professional studio for a live-action commercial.  Considering that the costume was fully-enclosing and obscured the face, you can imagine that she was hired more because her body fit the already-made costume rather than for her appearance.  

    As luck would have it though, she jumped at the chance to do this when her agent presented it to her, since she was a big-time Halo fan herself.  After the con, she actually joined our fan organization and is working on making her own costume from scratch, just because she found it so fun.  :)

  • I was shocked – shocked! – to discover that, sadly, I am not a Romney.  I was so certain that ol’ Mitt and I were twinsies.

    (Whenever I see Romeny speaking on TV, I can’t help but think of the old Smith Comma John sketches on MAD TV.)

    Some of my thoughts/recollections on Being Poor…

    Being poor is slicing the government cheese as close as possible to the moldy section when making grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner for the fifth night in a row.

    Being poor is sleeping on the couch when it rains because there’s no area in your bedroom where the water isn’t dripping down on you.

    Being poor is being afraid to show off your prized possession because poor people aren’t supposed to have anything that’s nice.

  • I think we should have cosplay Fridays instead of casual Fridays, partly because I’m a software engineer and every day is casual, and partly because my costume stuff is cool.

  • Being poor is getting tired of people wanting you to be grateful.

    So much *THIS*. Every time I hear of or read of someone who implies that poor people should be perpetually salaaming all those cheap bastards who grudgingly squeeze out the money when asked because it means the difference between keeping the lights on one more month, or something that crucially fundamental to a person’s standard of living in a c0untry wealthy enough to make that a basic fact of human life rather than a luxury only few can afford.

    Why is it that we, in the wealthiest countries in the wealthiest era of humanity ever (to date) to live on this planet can’t organize our societies so that that “Being Poor” list is irrelevant, I have no idea. Nothing on that list should be a conceivable everyday fact of life for someone.

  • AnonymousSam

    The Scalzi article on being poor hits close to home. Looking it over, I’ve had very similar experiences. I want to add one to it, though.

    “Being poor is being tired of people assuming you must be lazy, even though you’ve got a job — one which requires you to work over twelve hours a day for less than minimum wage.”

  • Baby_Raptor

    No, don’t feel bad! You spoil us by posting as much as you do already. Take your time, we can wait! *hugs*

  • Baby_Raptor

    Personally, I’m much more inclined to be comfortable around someone smarter than me as compared to someone richer. YMMV. 

  • renniejoy

     Doctor Who is the cover story for “Entertainment Weekly” (the first time a British show has made the cover), BBCAmerica is running a marathon tomorrow, four clip job specials the first four Saturdays in August, and the season premiere is rumored to be August 25th.


  • Lori


    Obama is noted as being a “academic intellectual” and having bestselling books.  

    Obama has only written one more book than Romney has. They’ve both written 3 books for adults. Obama also has one for children. Are they just dinging Obama because his books sold better or what?

  • EllieMurasaki

    No, no. Obama has done something that to my knowledge Romney never has, and it’s something that absolutely appalls these people: Obama taught.

  • Lori

    What is up with that? I’m not on dial up, but the internet occasionally decides that I’m in Iowa. Nothing against Iowa, but I don’t live there. I drove through it once, but that really doesn’t count.

  • Lori


  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Apropos of nothing above, but that I’m watching the opening ceremony on replay:

    Did anyone else get the feeling that the tribute to the NHS was trolling America? I LOLed and, of course, as a good social democrat cheered the inclusion of health care in the theatre of national achievements. But mostly LOLed.

  • Jessica_R

    That was honest to god my favorite part of that bonkers spectacle. And I think it was as much for the host country at the current conservative gov’t is trying to dismantle it and sell it off.

  • Parisienne

    I don’t know if it was deliberate trolling, but it did follow on nicely from the little débacle the previous day with the gaffe-tastic Mr Romney.

    You can’t say Blighty’s not doing its bit to keep Mitt out of the White House. :)

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Oh you *are* kidding me! WTF Cameron? More to the point, are the Lib Dems anything less than vehemently opposed?

  • Caravelle

    Even in the most statist of countries the right-wing is always trying to dismantle and sell things off. It’s what the right-wing does. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing insofar as there are things the private sector does well, but yeah.

    (and of course it isn’t a dichotomy – you can have private companies that are regulated within an inch of their lives to serve the public interest instead of profits, and you can have public companies that are pretty much independent and that the state uses as a cash cow more than anything)

  • alfgifu

    Don’t panic!  Andrew Lansley, the current Health Secretary, desperately wants to privatise the Health Service, and the government is committed to its big flagship piece of legislation which AL wishes would do just that.  However, the Chief Exec of the NHS (and ex member of the Communist Party) David Nicholson, is equally determined to save it.

    If you’ve ever seen Yes Prime Minister you’ll know who wins that argument.  The legislation is going through, and lots of flashy reorganisation is going to be talked about, but the resulting system will look pretty much like the one we already have, rebranded.

    I’m getting this from my husband who works at a UK government watchdog organisation which is planning to report on this.  Basically, the whole exercise has turned into a massive PR waste of money (far more expensive than the Olympics) and is likely to only achieve alienation of the medical community from the Tory party.  The stress, disruption and uncertainty are nasty, but they will culminate in business as usual rather than dismantling the NHS.

    The Lib Dems certainly don’t like the idea very much, but they have sold out most of their other issues in favour of electoral/political reform (which they probably won’t get either).  The coalition is creaking down its seams at the moment.  Once the Olympic truce for the cameras is over, it could get interesting.

  • Stone_Monkey

    The Tories have hated the NHS since its inception – so it’s only taken them 70 or so years to get into a position where they can actually act on that hatred and get away with it. If you’re going to hold a grudge, you might as well hold it good and hard and for a lifetime.
    The fact that they’re tiptoeing about and using the piecemeal approach to try and eradicate the NHS, rather than the abolish-wholesale-and-sell-the-wreckage-to-your-friends approach that worked so well on the UK coal mining industry in the 80s, possibly tells outside observers how attached to the institution the UK is. The Lib Dems are probably well aware of this – although their membership contains far more crypto-Tories than they like to let on. But as they’re going to be obliterated at the next election I suspect opposing it might be counter productive for them at the moment – that is, if they kick up too much of a fuss the Tories won’t let them have any say in Coalition policy at all.

  •  Sadly, the Lib Dems – or their leadership at least – is along for the ride (See here for more: ; ). Why would the NHS hire staff directly when they could pay a for-profit company to provide (worse) services at a lower cost (by exploiting workers and risking patient lives)? I should note that as health is a devolved issue, this is thankfully not happening in Scotland (quite the opposite – a few years ago, the NHS bought a failed private hospital and turned it into a national centre of excellence that improved things quite nicely).

    The Lib Dems are not sure which way to go with the Coalition just now – they bowed to the Tory plans so often early on that they done serious, lasting damage to their base and their electoral chances, but if they start opposing the Tories that means that the Coalition fails and there’s a new election where they get eviscerated. So, it’s a choice between clinging on to power now or getting kicked out and hoping they can rebuild the party while they still have careers.

  • Caravelle

    If you’ve ever seen Yes Prime Minister you’ll know who wins that argument.

    Well this is the first time I think Yes Prime Minister portrayed anything close to a well-functioning system. (and yeah, thinking it’s OK just because I like the outcome is a problem in itself)

  • Kiba

    I was kind of hoping for an appearance of the Dr. Loved the giant Voldemort and all the Mary Poppins that came to the rescue.

    Also, those NHS doctors and nurses weren’t half bad dancers.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Thanks for the info, all.

    I know that right wingers think selling the family jewels is the answer to everything, but I didn’t know they actually announced an intention to sell the NHS in their first term. Bloody Tories.

    I pull my hair out arguing with right wingers in Australia who point to the budget surpluses of our last conservative government as proof of their innate superiority when it comes to economic management. You point out that they made billions by turning public goods into private assets and oh btw built a structural deficit into future budgets by pissing new cash entitlements on the deserving middle class but those points don’t even register.

    Our current right wing opposition, who almost certainly will be in government late next year, has an economic plan that includes selling *another* public asset, introducing another entitlement for the middle and upper classes, throwing cash at wealthy industries, and cutting services to the poor. But these things can’t be mentioned in a discussion of economic credentials. Nuh-uh!

  • christopher_young

    I can’t think of a single mass murder committed by a woman.

    Rajiv Ghandi, Prime Minister of India, was assassinated by a woman suicide bomber who took out 14 other people at the same time. She was a member of the LTTE (Tamil Tigers), who, as far as I recall, used women to blow themselves and other people up fairly often. In fact I believe they may have invented the suicide bomber tactic. Horrible people.

  • Our current right wing opposition, who almost certainly will be in government late next year, has an economic plan that includes selling *another* public asset, introducing another entitlement for the middle and upper classes, throwing cash at wealthy industries, and cutting services to the poor. But these things can’t be mentioned in a discussion of economic credentials. Nuh-uh!

    Not having the faintest clue about economic issues, I find your assessment very helpful. Thanks!

    (Mind you, next election I’m pretty much going to be a two-issue voter. I’ll support anyone who’s in favour of marriage equality and better treatment of asylum seekers. Other than that… anyone’s guess, really.)

  • veejayem

    I wanted the Dr too! I thought everything else was great ~ bonkers, as somebody already said, but bonkers in a British kind of way so that was all right. But if the Tardis had materialised in the middle of the stadium and disgorged all the inmates of Battersea Dogs Home while a squadron of Spitfires did Victory rolls overhead, it would have been absolutely perfect.

  • Caravelle

     Now that you bring it up I think there have been female suicide bombers in the Middle Eastern conflicts as well.

  • Thank you for linking to the Mel Brooks interview, Fred.

    Every time I hear anyone from that group of actors, writers and directors speak, I am impressed at how much intelligence and care is lurking just under the surface of their zany brand of comedy.