Archive for November, 2011

L’Affaire Cain

I really don’t care about Herman Cain’s affair. Of all the reasons to not vote for him, and they are myriad, this doesn’t even make the top one thousand. His love life is his own business and that of his family. We don’t know the circumstances surrounding his relationships, or anything else of that nature, and frankly, it is none of our business. If this is something he kept from his family, the pain they are going through is enough without the punditry piling on.

Read the rest of this entry »

From The “Duh” Files

The “Supercongress” failed today, as pretty much anybody with an existing EEG could have told you. Who would have thought that after a Congress full of people with vastly different ideas about how to fix the budget failed, a smaller group of Congressional leaders with vastly different ideas about how to fix the deficit would also fail. The only real way that the Supercongress could have worked is if the goal were to get the number of people down to such a small amount that the brain scramblers from Men In Black would work.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Stillwater Bridge

If you want a list of the most controversial political issues in the Twin Cities these days, two that are near the top are the Vikings stadium and the proposal to replace the Stillwater Lift Bridge. The controversy cuts across partisan lines, with Amy Klobuchar, Al Franken, and Michele Bachmann on the side supporting a new bridge, and Betty McCollum and Keith Ellison against it. 30 state legislators have signed a letter opposing the bridge. Environmental groups are largely against the bridge, as the St. Croix River has protected status under federal law. The Department of the Interior would have to exempt the bridge from the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, something that they are apparently unwilling to do.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Solarised Self

Serious intra-generational meditations are always in vogue during times of upheaval and chaos, and today is no exception. And frankly, why wouldn’t it be a great time to contemplate the forging of millions of people in the furnaces of the now? Europe is threatening to fly apart like a delaminating high-speed flywheel, protesters are occupying cities all over the world, and the political “leaders” everywhere are finding it hard to speak or act without tripping over their own feet. With unemployment above 9%, that leaves plenty of hours free to think and write and blog about these issues; the ubiquity and non-existent monetary cost of the web makes it easy.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Magazine of Parody

I’ve been taking Harris Online Polls since college. In that time, I’ve racked up a lot of rewards for taking all those polls, from gift cards to binoculars to universal remotes to an room air filter, of all things. Recently, though, they changed their rewards structure, and pretty much the only things available are magazine subscriptions. I’m not terribly interested in sports magazines, and less so in so-called “men’s” magazines (although I have not one, but two subscriptions to Complex magazine purchased for me by some anonymous strangers, since 2007). Eventually, I chose a subscription to Forbes magazine, thinking it would be interesting to read a viewpoint that I’m not as familiar with. Little did I know how “different” that viewpoint would be. After reading it for several months, I’m still not convinced that it isn’t an absurdist right-wing Onion.

Read the rest of this entry »

Division I Stupidity

There’s little to add to my friend Murali’s thoughts on the Penn State shame, but it’s still fun to try. I’ve also had a pretty dim view of Division I college sports ever since I was in school when Clem Haskins managed to pull a Minitrue and get the Gopher’s appearance in the 1997 NCAA tournament erased from history. It’s a money machine that puts the best interests of the players below that of the dollar, yadda yadda. It’s nothing new, but it is still wildly popular, and financially lucrative.

Popular as it is, however, I never would have expected riots over the firing of a coach who turned a blind eye to child abuse. That’s what this boils down to: people at Penn State knew what was going on, but instead of going to the authorities and risking a blemish on their record, they tried to ignore it. The program was more important than protecting these victims. Not only back then, but even today according to some people.

This does beg for a comparison with the coverups in the Catholic Church. While there is no excuse in either situation, at least with the church, I can almost imagine how some people who invested their lives and very definition of self in their religion would want to defend it. But college football? Really? Their lives are over because a coach was fired?

I don’t care about Joe Paterno’s legacy or the lives of those players who are now worried about whether a game is going to be played. The only people who merit concern are the victims who were ignored.

Willful ignorance

I don’t watch or listen to talking heads very often, especially those that are supposed to be “newscasters”. It’s a depressing display of hackery, made all the more frustrating since these people are presumably paid many, many times what the median family in the U.S. makes, so that they can do a poor job of finding the real truth. Nowhere is this more clear than when it comes to two of the major issues of the day, where perplexed journalists scratch their heads and mutter “Why are those crazy Greeks/Occupy Wall Street people so upset? It’s a mystery we’ll never figure out!”

Read the rest of this entry »