Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Seve Ballesteros Update

Update: It's May 8, 2011, in Australia, and I've just learned that Seve has died.  My final post on him here.

Spanish golfing great Seve Ballesteros, battling brain cancer, has spoken publicly for the first time since being diagnosed in October, 2008. (Several updates at link, last from May, 2011.)

(And I just found that great photo - click to enlarge - on a PDF at his Web site.)

Hit the Seve tag in "labels" just below this post for much more info.


R. Crumb to Publish Bible Satire

Specifically the Book of Genesis:

The acclaimed satirist revealed on his personal website that he had finished the project, which is out this autumn, and which his UK publisher is predicting will "provoke the religious right". Four years in the making, Crumb worked from the King James Bible and Robert Alter's translation to reinterpret the Book of Genesis, from the Creation via Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden to Noah boarding his ark.

Scheduled to be out this autumn.


41% unemployment

Welcome to Mendota, California:

Many people in Mendota are turning to alcohol to battle depression, said Amador, the council member. And some single-family homes are occupied by two or three families, in what Amador described as "basically labor camps."


Friday, March 27, 2009

Gene Burnett and DeLonde Bell

A couple friends sing one of Gene's sweet and funny songs, "Nothing's Impossible Now."




"Police describe him as 'upset' and say he was wearing a Calgary Flames shirt."

Oh, hockey, the sport of kings...and other people.


There is No Push For a "Global Currency"

Michelle Bachman is so embarrassingly stupid that if I lived in Minnesota I'd lie and say I was from Wisconsin.

Here's a lesson for the stupidest person in Congress:

The remarks you refer to when you talk about a "global currency" are about the international reserve currency. It has nothing - absolutely nothing - to do with the existence or non-existence of the dollar.

Matthew Yglesias:

This falsehoods here are coming so fast and loose that it’s hard to know where to start here. But to get to the main point, most countries hold “reserves” of various kinds—foreign currency and gold. Most countries, right now, primarily hold dollars. Euros are also popular, and Yen and British Pounds somewhat less so. The United States of America does not, obviously, hold any dollars in our reserves. We actually have quite a lot of gold. And different countries vary their practices in this regard. But most countries mostly hold their reserves in dollars. So the dollar is, in effect, the “global reserve currency.” The IMF also issues something called Special Drawing Rights that countries can use as a reserve asset. SDRs work as a kind of meta-currency, with their value based on a basket of major world currencies. A Chinese official suggested that it might be good for the world to tilt away from such a heavy reliance on dollars as the reserve currency of choice, since this leaves countries exposed to policy decisions in the United States, and toward something more SDR-like that would be balanced between dollars and euros and yen and pounds and so forth.

A good rule to live by: if Michelle Bachman and Glenn Beck are talking, they're either lying or wrong, or a lot of both.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

The War On Kids Continues

How weird is it that we regularly hear stories about "anti-teen" technology? The latest:

LONDON (AFP) – A British town is using garish pink lighting that shows up acne to deter teenagers from loitering, in the latest example of using simple technology to break up loutish gatherings.

Residents of Mansfield in central England have installed fluorescent pink lights normally used by dermatologists to show up pimples and acne blemishes.

That aside, it is also thought that surly teenage males might find it "uncool" to hang around in a bright pink underpass.

When your language regularly uses the word "teen" as an actual pejorative, maybe the focus should be on the adults.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Disney-Produced WWII Anti-Tank-Rifle Training Video

From World War Two. It's partially animated. The Hitler is hilarious, in a Hitler sort of way.

Parts 2 and 3 are here.


Bobby Jindal Thinks Civil Disobedience is Treason

At least that's what it sounds like.

Jindal was on CNN last night just before Obama's press conference. Why the Republicans would do that after his debacle after the State of the Union address is beyond me. Look at just this tiny bit of what Jindal had to say last night:

Jindal described the premise of the question -- "Do you want the president to fail?" -- as the "latest gotcha game" being perpetrated by Democrats against Republicans.

"Make no mistake: Anything other than an immediate and compliant, 'Why no sir, I don't want the president to fail,' is treated as some sort of act of treason, civil disobedience or political obstructionism,"...

The "I want the president to fail" stuff aside (okay, not completely aside - what would Obama failing look like? Really - what would it look like?) what the hell does he mean with "treason, civil disobedience"? What the hell does that mean? Is civil disobedience a form of treason to this jackass?

Crikey, these people are mutants. And he threw in a joke about torture. Wonderful.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Dolphins Blow Ring-Shaped Bubbles

And then they play with them. Just too cool. Look at the moment at about 1:20 in.

And since this has been on youTube several times over the last couple years, it almost seems like this is a disguised advertisement for the aquarium that posted the video. But whatever.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Understanding the Employee Free Choice Act

Here's a more in depth explanation, but I wanted to explain this simply to myself, and anyone else who cares.


• You work in a restaurant where the employer beats you with tire irons and pays you five nickels-an-hour for your 107 hours of work every week.

• You and your fellow employees discuss unionization, so you can collectively bargain with the employer about the tire iron beatings, and other stuff.

• 98% of you want to unionize. You fill out forms ("cards") authorizing unionization.

• You go to the employer with the cards. He may, upon presentation of the cards, recognize you as a union. That's the law. That's "card check."

• He can also say F*ck you and fire your asses. That's against the law, but your employer doesn't care, and if questioned will say you were crappy employees. Who's gonna win?

• The employer can also say, "Get a petition with at least 30% of your names on it, give it to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) [a government agency], and they'll supervise a secret ballot of all the employees."

• That normally takes about six weeks.

• In the meantime he can fire a bunch of you so you can't form a union.

• Card check bypasses the *government-run* NLRB election, just to note. It's "small governmenty."

• Card check is how it worked when the NLRB was formed in the New Deal years. It made sense. It was a simple way for employees to get out from under the boot of asshole employers, who existed (and still exist) in great numbers.

• The Employee Free Choice Act makes employers recognize card check. They can't force an election. It takes some power out of employers' hands, and puts it in employees' hands. No more tire iron beatings. And better, more fair pay.

Here's the most important part: After doing the card check thing, employees can still choose to hold a secret ballot. The EFCA does not "strip away" the secret ballot, as is being yelled by Republicans, it "strips away" the power of employers to force an election, a delaying tactic, even in cases like yours, when 98% of employees plainly want to unionize.

• That's the Employee Free Choice Act, explained.