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Archive for October, 2011

Links I’m Reading Today, October 31, 2011

First off, Happy Halloween! Watch out for all those crazy people who take advantage of this day to further their Satanic agenda and who don’t actually exist!

  • Arrest marks growing pains for real-life superhero movement (Austin American Statesman)
  • Erasing false balance: the right is more antiscience than the left (Bad Astronomy)
  • We don’t need to excuse student loan borrowers for poor choices (Austin American-Statesman) (tl;dr – High school students should know not to believe all the promises colleges make about their earning potential. If you try to further your career, you are responsible for inflating tuition and deflating wages, you crybaby. This is based on the fact that I understood all of this 20 years ago.) (Back in my own voice: yes, this column is full of crap.)
  • Former Alltel CEO Makes Odd Connection Between Occupy Wall Street and Rwandan Genocide (Balloon Juice)
  • Credit Unions to Goldman Sachs: Drop Dead (They Gave Us a Republic)
  • Ten Reasons Not to Bank On (or With) Bank of America (Truthout)

Photo credit: ardelfin from


“As she sits, I admit, I’m a little bit wary…”

This deserves to be shared everywhere forever.


Links I’m Reading Today, October 30, 2011

  • The Silliness of Busyness (zenhabits)
  • Occupy the No-Spin Zone (Dahlia Lithwick, Slate) (“I feel it’s time to explain something: Occupy Wall Street may not have laid out all of its demands in a perfectly cogent one-sentence bumper sticker for you, Mr. Pundit, but it knows precisely what it doesn’t want. It doesn’t want you. What the movement clearly doesn’t want is to have to explain itself through corporate television. To which I answer, Hallelujah. You can’t talk down to a movement that won’t talk back to you.”)
  • Why Occupying Wall St. Should Be Only Phase One (Brilliant at Breakfast) (“It’s a subdued albeit vitally important revolution that Wall Street is scared shitless will actually succeed: A paradigm shift in which banking will not be solely dedicated to printing money on the fly but one in which the community’s needs will be paramount, including reasonable student and home loans that empower those who wish to elevate their status in life.”)
  • The E-Mails The Feds Say Show Texas Lawmakers Trying To Limit Voting Power Of Hispanics (TPMMuckraker)
  • Police seek pink bikini burglar (MSNBC Weird News) (Don’t click on this. Seriously.)

Photo credit: alvimann from


Links I’m Reading Today, October 28, 2011

  • Fundamentalism Corrupts (The Bronze Blog)
  • Everything (xkcd: “I want to give you everything, just to see what you would do with it.”)
  • It ought to be up to Americans to decide what is true! (Pharyngula)
  • Treating Americans as nothing more than piles of money has consequences (Where’s the Outrage?)
  • MRAs are almost as hilarious as creationists (Pharyngula)
  • The Cop Who Shot Scott Olsen (a Poem) (Booman Tribune)
  • Clifford Winston’s Case for Abolishing the Requirement that Lawyers Must get Law School Degrees and Pass the Bar Exam (Volokh Conspiracy). I would point out that this makes as much sense as turning medicine over to people without medical licenses, but then I remembered that we already do that.

Photo credit: earl53 from


Links I’m Reading Today, October 26, 2011

  • Glenn Greenwald, How the Legal System Was Deep-Sixed to Serve Elite America and Occupy Wall Street Became Inevitable (AlterNet) (this partly inspired my football idea)
  • David Morris, The Tea Party vs. Occupy Wall Street: Guess Which One is the Real Populist Movement (AlterNet)
  • Dave Johnson, People Distrust Government — Conservative Mission Accomplished (Dirty Hippies)

A thought experiment using football

I have not yet used my occasionally-read soapbox here to discuss my thoughts on the Occupy Wall Street movement. Honestly, when I’m not working I’m reading and commenting on other people’s content and getting progressively angrier at some people’s dogged insistence on Not Getting It.

Yes, my use of the word “progressive” above is now retroactively claimed as a political double entendre.

I have however, been using my other blog (which is much easier to maintain, I must admit) to share news, pictures, and the occasional brain burp on matters pertaining to Occupy Wall Street. (When I’m not sharing animal welfare stuff and Star Wars kitsch, of course.)

So this is really just a cross-post of something I started over there:

Suppose that NFL referees applied the rules of the game as follows:

  • The wealthiest players, because of the value they bring to the game by attracting fans and television revenue, get one yard added to each play where they advance the ball.
  • Referees will not penalize minor rule infractions by the wealthiest players, in order to entice them to continue playing.
  • Penalties against African-American players, particularly ones who do not pull as high a salary, will be enhanced by three to five yards.
  • The score will start at 5 points for home teams with nice stadiums.

Would football still be a fair game? Would football even be a good game anymore? Would anybody want to watch that kind of sport?

Anyone see where I’m going with this?

Clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery on

Feel free to discuss.


Links I’m Reading Today, October 20, 2011

Losing Their Immunity (Paul Krugman, New York Times)

Student loan debts crush an entire generation (Salon)

Republicans Channel Their Inner David Cronenberg (Open Salon)

The liberal class has become a useless and despised appendage of corporate power and all hope lies now with those in the street (And, yes, I DO take it personally)

They always whine when they see the pitchforks (Brilliant at Breakfast)

Police: Teen girl forced to wear armor, swordfight stepfather (MSNBC, in today’s WTF? entry)


It was fun while it lasted, Dr. Pepper

I learned two things today about what it apparently means to be a man:

1. I should try to cut down on my calories.

2. Diet soft drinks will make my weenie shrivel up, or something like that.

Since our society seems to think that we are waging an epic, daily battle to prove our manly qualities to everyone around us, but prohibits us from walking around pantsless with a tape measure for comparison purposes, we have to be creative in how we spew our testosterone.

From Packaging Digest. Fair use appliesEnter Dr. Pepper TEN (note the very MANLY use of all-caps), which, according to Packaging Digest, promises all of the following:

Designed specifically for men who prefer the full-flavor experience of regular Dr Pepper but want a lower-calorie option without the diet imagery, Dr Pepper TEN will feature a distinctly masculine package design, complete with a gunmetal gray color scheme, industrial rivets and bold new font.

“As one of America’s favorite and oldest soft drinks, Dr Pepper has been a beverage innovator for more than 125 years,” says Dave Fleming, director of marketing for Dr Pepper. “Men told us that they wanted a low-calorie option with the full flavor of regular Dr Pepper—and that’s exactly what we’re delivering with Dr Pepper TEN. I’d say these are the 10 hardest-working calories in the beverage business.”

“Diet imagery”? Gunmetal gray with rivets? “The 10 hardest-working calories”? Do the marketing guys at Dr. Pepper actually know any men?

You know what? Screw this. I don’t like football all that much. In 1998-99, I went to Lilith Fair twice. I cry at the end of Serenity, every single time I watch it. I could give two craps what the rest of America thinks of how I rank on some imaginary scale of manliness. I also like Diet Dr. Pepper, but I’m not so sure I want to drink something so closely associated with a beverage that, regardless of how it actually tastes, has been rendered into swill through the power of marketing.


It is I who Walks Behind the Rows

When I was about 8 years old, my parents took me to a Halloween festival of sorts, which featured a large maze. The maze was composed of hay bales and covered by a very large tarp, which meant that (a) you had to move through the maze on your hands and knees, and (b) it was very, very dark inside the maze.

I should note here that I was a skittish child. At Disneyland, I covered my eyes for the entirety of the “Haunted Mansion” ride, to the point that I almost didn’t get off the ride in time. An accidental viewing of the theatrical trailer for “The Shining” at age 5 led to….issues…..

Point being, I didn’t much care for scary things. Still, I decided to try the maze.

I got lost. In the maze. In the dark. Surrounded by bales of hay (I’m allergic to hay.)

Needless to say, I freaked out. I may have cried a bit. And then it occurred to me how to get out of the maze quickly.

The only thing between me and the sweet kiss of freedom was a large tarp. So I stood up. I stood up and yelled for help.

Probably figuring that the sight of a child-sized lump arising from the center of the maze complex would be at last as traumatizing to children outside the maze as being lost inside themaze was to me, someone quickly whipped up the tarp and pulled me to safety. I’ve never been so happy to not be surrounded by hay.

For me, salvation was through a tarp. Lacking bearings, I didn’t know which direction to go except up, so I was grateful that a volunteer was there to help. For a family in Masachusetts earlier this week, they had to rely on a 911 operator and a polkce K-9 unit to get out of an open-air corn maze.

A family, consisting of a husband, wife, and infant, got lost in a corn maze after closing time. Not knowing exactly what to do, they called 911, because this is America.

Lowering the Bar has the story, including a partial transcript of the 911 call, and you should check that out. Considering that a baby was present, I could understand freaking out a bit (although a certain grace under pressure might be a more idealized reaction), but I have to wonder if they had considered all less-restrictive options. LTB notes that the husband said he could see lights. This is a situation where it is totally okay to go into the light.

Perhaps it is unfair to compare a family of three with a 42 year-old patriarch in 2011 to a scared 8 year-old circa 1982. That won’t stop me from doing it, though.

Bonus points to anyone who got my “Children of the Corn” reference.


Occupy Austin live feed

I’ve been checking out the live feed of Occupy Austin. At the moment they’re still out in front of City Hall, but APD may be kicking them out later tonight, without giving them any options for another place to gather.

Watch live streaming video from occupyaustin at

Updates are being given at the moment by ArrestedAustin.