I was planning to take a couple of days off, but five or six people have emailed me the link to this quote, and it's far too good not to feature:
There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.
I'm still trying to fully digest the implications of Specter's Switch, but there was something in one of the Politico articles on the defection that I can't resist commenting on now:
In 2001, Republicans still had the House and the White House. Now they have neither. Instead, they have a Republican National Committee chairman who is drawing weak reviews for gaffes...
What? Are they kidding? Steele's gaffes get great reviews. There's nobody in American politics today who can manage to jump, stuff both feet in his mouth, and land flat on his ass in front of the camera the way Michael Steele does. It's spectacular. And he does it almost every time.
The BBC is reporting that some people are not thrilled about calling the influenza virus that's currently causing alarm around the world "swine flu". Unfortunately, there's a slight possibility that the alternative suggestion wasn't entirely well thought out.
One Monday, Israel's deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman, who belongs to an ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect, said the outbreak should be renamed "Mexican flu" in deference to Jewish and Muslim sensitivities over pork.
Anyone else just facepalm?
First, the Quote of the Day:
we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
If you're an American, those fourteen words will hopefully look at least vaguely familiar. They're the closing words of the Declaration of Independence. Those words weren't tacked on to the end of the document as a fancy ending. That was the price that the Declaration's signers were willing to pay. When they signed, there was a very real chance that they would in the end pay that price.
Over the weekend, Newsweek's Joe Meacham published an editorial that managed to miss the point when it comes to investigating the use of torture on suspected terrorists. Actually, "miss the point" is a little mild. I don't think Meacham can even see the point from where he's standing.
As an alternative to torture prosecutions, Meacham not only suggests that we use a 9-11 Commission-style process, but that the mission of this commission should be broader than just looking at whether a line was crossed - and if so, by whom - when it came to questioning people captured in Iraq and Afghanistan:
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...because there's something about the culture here in the South that I just don't understand.
I was driving earlier, when a funeral procession started to pass from the opposite direction. While I was waiting for them to pass, I was looking at some of the drivers in the procession. A significant fraction of the people in the funeral procession cars were dressed in uniform.
Based on where I was and the direction they were heading, the funeral was clearly going to be in the nearby national cemetery. I just don't get it. How on earth is it appropriate for people to render Confederate military honors in an American Veterans Cemetery?
I'm not going for snark here. I really just want to figure this out.
Fort Barrancas, Pensacola, Florida
After my earlier antics, this seemed apropos. Particularly given the conversation that took place after my wife found the directions I hadn't read.
Jill: I thought you said it was a technical problem!
Tim: Technically, I was the problem.
Episode 1.09 Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble
Representative Joe Barton is feeling very good about himself right now. He's convinced that he "baffled" a Nobel Laureate with a "basic question." During a congressional hearing earlier today, he asked Energy Secretary Stephen Chu how the oil got to Alaska. Here's the YouTube clip of the exchange. For your convenience, I've done a quick transcript.
Barton: Dr. Chu, I don't wanna leave you out, you're our... you're our scientist. I have one simple question for you in the last six seconds. How did all the oil and gas get to Alaska and under the Arctic Ocean?
Chu: [Nervous-sounding laughter] This is... this is a complicated story, but, but oil and gas is the result of hundreds of millions of years of geology, and in that time also the plates have moved around, and so it's the combination of where the sources of the oil and gas are...
Barton (interrupting): Well, I mean, isn't it obvious that at one time it was a lot warmer in Alaska and on the north pole? It wasn't a big pipeline that we created in Texas and shipped it up there and put it underground so we could now pump it out and ship it back.
Chu: No. There are... there's continental plates that have been drifting around throughout the geological ages...
Barton (interrupting): So it just drifted up there?
Chu: That's certainly what happened. And so it's the result of things like that.
Here's what Rep Barton took from that exchange, as eloquently expressed in his two Tweets:
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There are two pictures in today's installment. Both were taken just a few minutes ago. The second is a close-up of the area circled in red in the first picture.
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