Another writer has taken a look at Chuck Thompson's latest and generally agreed with him:
The [South], home to nine of the nation’s 10 poorest states, is rabidly against government spending, yet all of its states get far more in government subsidies than they give back in taxes, as pointed out by Sara Robinson in a 2012 piece for AlterNet, "Blue States Are the Providers, Red States Are the Parasites."
I live in a blue state, New Jersey, where we get about 70 cents back for every dollar in taxes we send to Washington. I work several days out of my year to support Southern states as well as Western red states like New Mexico and Arizona, which can’t support themselves. Is Kentucky a Southern state? Well, it’s red, and it receives $1.57 from the feds for every buck it pays. How does its senator, Rand Paul, justify this?
Thompson is right that we are two separate countries with irreconcilable differences on health care, gun control, abortion laws, gay marriage, voter registration, subsidies for education, the role of religion in society, the definition of patriotism and the importance of unions. It could be an amicable divorce where everyone gets what they want: Southerners want the federal government to stop spending so much money and get out of their lives, and we in the Northeast would pay lower taxes because we would no longer have to support the poorest states in the country. All the crackpots and phonies who vied for the Republican nomination for president last year—Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Ron Paul and for good measure I’ll toss in Sarah Palin—were taken seriously only because the potential nominee would have all the Southern states on their side of the ledger.
I thought Thompson was hilarious, and more than a little correct. Splitting the U.S. into two (or four) countries sounds like a good idea in some ways. Especially when I read crap like this and this.
I like keeping in touch with friends on Facebook. I also enjoy playing Scrabble. Soon-to-be-Internet-flameout Zynga has a Scrabble-like game called Words With Friends that many of my friends play. Right now I've got about 10 games going.
For the past week or so, Zynga has been shoving entire 30-second commercials between my turns. That is, I play a word, and I either spend the next 35 seconds or so with my computer muted and the Facebook window hidden, or I leave Words With Friends entirely. Since the advertisements all seem to be for cleaning products and—I kid you not—something to make my yeast infection go away, I'm leaving the game a lot more often.
Today I was finally annoyed enough to complain to Zynga on their player support page. It turns out, many, many people are complaining. Everyone seems to agree: we all understand that Zynga has to make some money, so we all understand we're going to see ads. But 30-second TV spots? After every move? No. That has to stop.
So here I was, about to post my own complaint, and I got this:
No, Zynga, you may not have access to my friends just so I can post a complaint. Anyway, you already have access to my friends through Facebook, because I had to consent to that to play the game—so why remind me?
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall were on a visit to the set at BBC Wales' Roath Lock studios on day three of their summer tour of Wales.
The couple also met Matt Smith, who currently plays the Doctor but is stepping down, and Jenna Coleman, who plays his companion, as well as series head writer Mr Moffat.
The tour included the set of the Tardis, the Doctor's time travelling ship, as well as a display of some of the show's monsters, including a weeping angel and a cyberman.
I'm pretty sure he won't be the 13th Doctor...
From getting out of my cab at San Francisco Airport this morning until I finally got through the security line took seven whole minutes, including checking a bag.
Yes. Seven minutes.
I don't understand why more people aren't signing up for the TSA PreCheck program. If you're in the program, you can zip through airport security without removing your shoes, emptying your bag, or waiting behind people who have never seen a magnetometer before.
...include U.S. citizens of frequent flier programs who have been invited by a participating airline. Additionally, U.S. citizens who are members of a CBP Trusted Traveler program, including Global Entry, SENTRI, and NEXUS and Canadian citizens who are members of NEXUS that are issued a Known Traveler Number qualify to participate. Passengers 12 and younger are allowed through TSA Pre✓™ lanes with eligible passengers.
TSA Pre✓™ is currently available for eligible passengers traveling on Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, US Airways and Virgin America.
Seriously. Seven minutes from the curb to the gate area.
Of course, with the BART strike (possibly ending later today), it took me over an hour to get here, but that's beside the point.
Since I planned to visit San Francisco anyway, I got a ticket to tonight's Cubs—A's game at O.Co Stadium. O.Co is just across the Bay, and it only takes about 30 minutes by BART, so...um...oh, crap:
Almost 2,400 striking BART workers from the Amalgamated Transit Union and Service Employees International Union went on strike at midnight Sunday after negotiations collapsed hours earlier.
Union officials say the major sticking points continue to be pay raises, health care and pension contributions.
BART representatives said the agency had doubled its salary offer - to an 8 percent raise over four years - but that the unions had reduced their proposal for a 23.2 percent raise by one-half percent. They said it was the unions' turn to make a proposal and criticized them for leaving the last-gasp bargaining.
Union negotiators say that BARTs increased salary offer is a ruse rather than a generous offer. Three percent of that increase is contingent on the transit agency achieving ambitious goals including ridership, revenue, sales taxes and reductions in the number of employees taking time off under the federal Family Medical Leave Act.
Driving up from Half Moon Bay didn't take any time at all until I got to 6th St. The next hour of my life seemed longer than usual.
So, no game, and tomorrow I'll have to figure out how to get to SFO. I think Caltrain will get me close...
This kid has personality:
Josh Marshall summarizes the surprising and imminent collapse of Egypt's government and why the U.S. is in a strange position:
The big movement over the last day or so has been the slow motion - or perhaps not so slow motion - collapse of the Morsi civilian administration. Not ‘the state’ in the broader sense, but Morsi’s government. The scale of the demonstrations over the last two days seemed to catch everyone by surprise, leading to the pivotal ultimatum issued by the head of the Egyptian Armed Forces, giving the political players 48 hours to come to some sort of consensus and respond to the ‘will of the people’ expressed through the protests or have the military step in. At least 10 ministers from Morsi’s government have resigned, including the overnight resignation of the Foreign Minister.
Overnight (US time) the Brotherhood started trying to organize counter-demonstrations with what seemed to be the pretty explicit aim of physically confronting the anti-Morsi protesters - not an idle threat since the Brotherhood spent decades as an underground group with a significant paramilitary component, though pictures like this don’t inspire a lot of confidence in their current ability to engage sustained action. And just moments ago, one leaders of the Brotherhood called for ‘martyrdom’ to stop the protests. So here we have the perhaps novel instance of Islamist calling for martyrdom on behalf of electoral legitimacy. Or something like that.
So here you have Morsi, clearly no friend of the US or the administration, in the perilous position of counting on the US to keep them in power. It’s no less curious a position for the White House. They’re no fans of Morsi because they do perceive a significant stake for electoral legitimacy.
The next two days will be critical. And they may add evidence to support the strong hypothesis that religious parties simply can't govern. (Take note, GOP.)
I love my dogsitters, but sometimes they send the oddest messages. I received this email yesterday morning:
ALL DOGS must wear a collar around their neck with a name tag and contact information on that tag. Harnesses are not what we need, we need to have collars. It's a City Ordinance, like most laws, the City is starting to enforce them and any customer found not with a collar risks a $500 fine for both the customer and facility. We'll be happy to sell Dogs without collars and name tags one and charge your account accordingly. We have several dogs that look alike, 12 black labs in a room gets confusing and we need to make sure we are aware of each dog and correctly identify each of them.
Re-read that penultimate sentence: "We'll be happy to sell Dogs without collars and name tags one and charge your account accordingly."
Seriously, I had to read that three times before I saw the word "one." Good thing Parker has a collar, though; I'd hate him to be sold. (Wait...that's not right either.)
As the joke goes: "I'm a linguist, so I like ambiguity more than most people."
Via TMP, the ANC leader's first television interview:
It turns out, I'm working a lot more than I anticipated this week, in addition to being on, you know, vacation, so not much blogging for the next day or two.
Meanwhile, this is what I got to see on our descent to SFO two days ago:
The quality could be better, but that's because I snapped it with my tablet about 15 seconds before the flight attendants told me to turn it off. But it shows pretty well why I always sit in the window seat.