Saturday, October 30, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
Remember, this isn't about merit. Gallup didn't ask whether folks like what Congress did; it asked whether people perceive the Congress has having accomplished more or less than the typical Congress. Whether one is fully satisfied or not, denying the policy breakthroughs of the last two years is a serious mistake.
Evaluating the quality of these accomplishments is a subjective question, open to all kinds of competing opinions. Evaluating whether the accomplishments exceed the norm is an objective question and the answer, whether people realize it or not, is unambiguous.
I don't expect the public to have an extensive knowledge of federal policymaking history, but I at least hoped Americans would realize the scope of recent accomplishments. We are, after all, talking about a two-year span in which Congress passed and the president signed the Affordable Care Act, the Recovery Act, Wall Street reform, student loan reform, Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, new regulation of the credit card industry, new regulation of the tobacco industry, a national service bill, expanded stem-cell research, the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the most sweeping land-protection act in 15 years, etc. Policymakers might yet add to this list in the lame-duck session.
Some of these efforts have been decades in the making. In the case of health care reform, politicians have been talking about a major overhaul for a full century, but it took this Congress and this president to get it done.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
An eight-week-old female lion cub swims through fall leaves during a swim test at the National Zoo in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2010. The test was to make sure the four cubs will be safe around the water feature when they are put on public display, which is expected to take place in late December. The test was very successful according to the lion keepers. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
Sunday, October 24, 2010
MATTHEW HINTON / THE TIMES-PICAYUNE Oil was spotted in West Bay just west of the Southwest Pass of the Mississippi River, seen at top left, by the Gulf of Mexico Friday October 22, 2010.
Friday, October 22, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Coming around to see ourselves going?
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Update: Thomas Jefferson in a letter to the Danbury Baptist association in Connecticut.:
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.Update10/21: The Dunning–Kruger effect which is apparently the strongest in Americans:
Kruger and Dunning proposed that, for a given skill, incompetent people will:
tend to overestimate their own level of skill;
fail to recognize genuine skill in others;
fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy;
recognize and acknowledge their own previous lack of skill, if they can be trained to substantially improve.
Monday, October 18, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Friday, October 15, 2010
...she became enthralled by a real-life American serial killer, William Edward Hickman, whose gruesome, sadistic dismemberment of 12-year-old girl named Marion Parker in 1927 shocked the nation.
A psychologist whose research was used in constructing the US's program to torture terrorism suspects has been granted a $31-million no-bid Army contract to provide "resilience training" to US soldiers.
For those who just don't have enough:The latest talking point du jour has been around in one form or another for years. It asks us to forget that A) America spends more on defense than every other major nation combined and B) the Pentagon, whose annual budget is now approaching World War II levels in inflation-adjusted terms, has lost track of trillions of taxpayer dollars. In light of those troubling truths, we are nonetheless urged by Beltway Republicans to focus on the fact that defense spending is "4.9 percent of our gross domestic product, significantly below the average of 6.5 percent since World War II," as a recent Wall Street Journal editorial proclaimed.That widely circulated article, aimed squarely at grassroots conservatives, was jointly written by three of the most influential Republican think tanks in Washington -- the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute and the Foreign Policy Initiative. And like clockwork, the "percentage of GDP" nugget went from their pen to the GOP's well-oiled media machine.
A gold and jewel bedazzled version of Monopoly worth $2 million is heading to Wall Street this Friday. That's not a metaphor.Krugman on the lack of property mortgage documents:
Crafted by master jeweler Sidney Mobell and 22 years in the making, the set features dice with 42-cut diamonds and a photo-etched 18k gold board.
True to form, the Obama administration’s response has been to oppose any action that might upset the banks, like a temporary moratorium on foreclosures while some of the issues are resolved. Instead, it is asking the banks, very nicely, to behave better and clean up their act. I mean, that’s worked so well in the past, right?
The response from the right is, however, even worse. Republicans in Congress are lying low, but conservative commentators like those at The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page have come out dismissing the lack of proper documents as a triviality. In effect, they’re saying that if a bank says it owns your house, we should just take its word. To me, this evokes the days when noblemen felt free to take whatever they wanted, knowing that peasants had no standing in the courts. But then, I suspect that some people regard those as the good old days.
What should be happening? The excesses of the bubble years have created a legal morass, in which property rights are ill defined because nobody has proper documentation. And where no clear property rights exist, it’s the government’s job to create them.
That won’t be easy, but there are good ideas out there. For example, the Center for American Progress has proposed giving mortgage counselors and other public entities the power to modify troubled loans directly, with their judgment standing unless appealed by the mortgage servicer. This would do a lot to clarify matters and help extract us from the morass.
One thing is for sure: What we’re doing now isn’t working. And pretending that things are O.K. won’t convince anyone.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
Since 2006, 20 to 40 percent of the bee colonies in the United States alone have suffered “colony collapse.” Suspected culprits ranged from pesticides to genetically modified food.
Now, a unique partnership — of military scientists and entomologists — appears to have achieved a major breakthrough: identifying a new suspect, or two.
A fungus tag-teaming with a virus have apparently interacted to cause the problem, according to a paper by Army scientists in Maryland and bee experts in Montana in the online science journal PLoS One.
Exactly how that combination kills bees remains uncertain, the scientists said — a subject for the next round of research. But there are solid clues: both the virus and the fungus proliferate in cool, damp weather, and both do their dirty work in the bee gut, suggesting that insect nutrition is somehow compromised.
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
Saturday, October 02, 2010
Friday, October 01, 2010
The Brits are being droned?
Two official safety inquiries took place into the military use of drones over southern England after near-collisions with helicopters, the Guardian can reveal.Obviously the drone operators were distracted by eating cheetos or something. Gotta get real gamers to operate the things, they would know how to avoid collisions!
The investigations are the first of their kind involving unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which are increasingly being flown in British civilian airspace after extensive use in Iraq and Afghanistan.
How many accents can you do?
The GOP will not.. no they won't! ... WON'T eat their evil nasty green ugly vegetables. So there!
Was Christine O'Donnell going from A to Z with her religious quest to see which one would offer the best way to make money?
Two hope blogs for the price of one!!