Small Streams


Sunday Opinions
November 7, 2010, 4:50 pm
Filed under: media, politics | Tags: ,

Tom Friedman, once again, makes his case for a tax on oil:

Finally, we need to dry up the funding for terrorist groups, and the mosques, schools and charities that support them. And that means working to end our addiction to oil. It is disgusting to listen to Republican politicians lecturing President Obama about how he has to stay the course in Afghanistan while they don’t have an ounce of courage to vote to increase the gasoline tax or renewable energy standards that would reduce the money we’re sending to the people our soldiers are fighting.

Frank Rich conceives of a plan for the Republicans to cut taxes and not grow the deficit:

[Obama] could start by offering them what they want, the full Bush tax cuts, in exchange for a single caveat: G.O.P. leaders would be required to stand before a big Glenn Beck-style chalkboard — on C-Span, or, for that matter, Fox News — and list, with dollar amounts, exactly which budget cuts would pay for them.

Maureen Dowd on George W. Bush’s upcoming book:

Rummy and Cheney knew how to play W.; when they offered to resign, he was so impressed with their loyalty, he let them stay. Besides, W. writes, “there was no obvious replacement for Don.” How about … anybody?

Nicholas Kristof points out that we’re looking more like a banana republic. Send for the rum drinks:

The richest 1 percent of Americans now take home almost 24 percent of income, up from almost 9 percent in 1976. As Timothy Noah of Slate noted in an excellent series on inequality, the United States now arguably has a more unequal distribution of wealth than traditional banana republics like Nicaragua, Venezuela and Guyana.

C.E.O.’s of the largest American companies earned an average of 42 times as much as the average worker in 1980, but 531 times as much in 2001. Perhaps the most astounding statistic is this: From 1980 to 2005, more than four-fifths of the total increase in American incomes went to the richest 1 percent.



Saving PA Money
June 27, 2010, 7:04 am
Filed under: community, politics | Tags: , ,

Evan Trowbridge, an intern for the Post-Gazette, writes about a website created to solicit opinions for saving the state money. The site, yourpabudget.com, was created by five legislators and allows readers to give a thumbs up or thumbs down to the suggestions.

My favorite suggestion, poised between spam and parsimony, is this one:

Buy genuine HP toner cartridges online for half the price your vendor is charging for remanufactured junk.

Ryan
Elizabethtown, PA

I’m starting to write my own suggestion:

Greetings,

Allow me to introduce myself. I am the minister of finance for a far away country. Through a third party, I heard that your commonwealth can be trusted with a large amount of money . . .



You’ve Got to Admit It’s Getting Better
February 10, 2010, 9:14 am
Filed under: politics, work

(It couldn’t get much worse.)

Looking at trends, the employment situation seems to be getting better.



More Hopey-Changey
February 9, 2010, 5:32 pm
Filed under: politics

What the world thinks of us.

We are, after all, a city on a hill.



Hopey-Changey
February 7, 2010, 11:37 am
Filed under: politics | Tags: , , ,

The Tea Party has begun revealing itself as a group of people chalk full of selective memory, cynicism, and Fox News dogma. The New York Times reports on their latest gathering.

Sarah Palin’s speech includes some pointed trash talk:

“This is about the people, and it’s bigger than any one king or queen of a tea party, and it’s a lot bigger than any charismatic guy with a teleprompter,” she said.

That was just one of several digs at President Obama. “How’s that hopey-changey thing workin’ out for you?” she asked at one point.

Well . . . we’ve stopped the practice of torture for one . . .



What’s Happening
December 27, 2009, 3:29 pm
Filed under: politics | Tags:

I’m checking the latest on Iran The NY Times and at the Dish.

The military and clerics are against it and only urban youth are for it. Urban youth have no guns and have no discipline. All they have are ideas and a hatred of dictators. That’s right Mr. Smith. Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.

Ahmadinejad compares crackdown to G-20 in Pittsburgh. I wonder how County Executive Dan Onorato and Mayor Luke Ravenstahl feel about that.



In Front of Your Nose
December 6, 2009, 11:13 am
Filed under: awareness, meta, politics

I just finished reading George Orwell’s collected essays, journalism, and letters. Four volumes, five months, a great number of subjects, surprising really, when I recall what turned up in Orwell’s life that illuminated mine.

It’s hard at times to locate his point of view. He was at times objective, but not Olympian. He was at times inflamed, especially on the issue of unfettered speech. But he always took more pains than nearly any writer I know of to understand another’s point of view.

To some extent Orwell has been unneccessarily beatified, and he is probably more quoted than read (in fact, I have tried and failed twice to re-read 1984). But the more I’ve read Orwell, the greater the payoff has been.

Andrew Sullivan has the following Orwell quote stuck on his masthead: “To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.”

Here’s the rest of the paragraph. . .

One thing that helps towards it is to keep a diary, or at any rate, to keep some record of one’s opinions about important events. Otherwise, when some particularly absurd belief is exploded by events, one may simply forget that one ever held it. Political predictions are usually wrong, but even when one makes a correct one, to discover why one is right can be very illuminating.

Inspiring, don’t you think?



Let the Debate Begin
November 21, 2009, 4:43 pm
Filed under: business, health, politics | Tags:

According to the New York Times there are enough votes for cloture so the debate on the Senate’s health care bill can begin.

For many, expanding government’s role in health care means a deepening slide into socialism.

But if our health care system can’t compete with other countries’, it means our businesses can’t compete, our manufacturers can’t compete, our retailers can’t compete, and even a number of services can’t compete.

If we forego the chance to reform health care, we might be on the right — but losing — side of an ideological argument. Essentially, countries like China, Japan, and Germany would be creating favorable business conditions and we wouldn’t be, playing a game of monopoly capitalism where we would not be able to participate.



As I Please
September 27, 2009, 10:17 am
Filed under: awareness, drawing, politics, thinking | Tags: ,

Have been thinking about political stuff (g20), but I offer this instead.



Crowds
September 14, 2009, 2:33 pm
Filed under: cities, Pittsburgh, politics | Tags:

In regards to a recent Chris Briem post here’s a graphic on crowds.

Thanks, Dan