January 9, 2013 1 Comment
Slate ran a video of a dolphin stampede. It was a really cool idea, but the execution wasn’t the greatest. Plus, it wasn’t embeddable. A quick hop over to youtube and here’s a better on anyway. Pretty cool:
Politics, health care, science, education, and pretty much anything I find interesting
Jonathan Chait wonderfully points out just how dumb the household budget and/or small business budget metaphor Republicans are always using is for understanding the economy and applies it to our current debt ceiling debate.
[Republican Representative Greg] Walden uses the hoary tactic of analogizing the U.S. government to a small business:
My wife and I have owned and operated a small business since 1986. When it came time to pay the bills, we couldn’t just mint a coin to create more money out of thin air. We sat down and figured out how to balance the books. That’s what Washington needs to do as well.
See, here’s the thing. The United States government is not like a small business. Small businesses routinely go out of business. That is something we’d rather avoid as a country.
But let us try to take Walden’s small business analogy seriously. Suppose the problem is that we’re a business whose expenses are outstripping our income. We propose some measures to correct it — say, cutting expenses when possible and also working some longer hours. But we have a business partner who listens to a lot of Rush Limbaugh and has some different ideas. He says increasing revenue by working longer hours — even a single longer minute when we have customers waiting in line at closing time — is totally off the table. He says the answer is to cut our employees’ pay and ban them from taking bathroom breaks. And he also informs us that, unless we approve the savings ideas he wants, with none of the savings ideas we want, he’ll refuse to pay vendors who have already delivered things to us, thereby ruining our credit rating forever.
That would be terrible! You would probably stop thinking about optimal ways to run your business and start looking for back-door solutions to prevent your crazy business partner from permanently ruining your credit rating. Then he would probably start getting really angry about it. That’s where we are right now.
Yes, it really is that nuts.
Okay, not “everything,” but a lot. HuffPo got a hold of a Nancy Pelosi powerpoint briefing to incoming Democratic House members. These two slides are suggestions on how they should be using their time:
Recognize that basically half their working hours or more are dedicated to fundraising (what do you think “strategic outreach” is anyway). Not to mention, those “constituent visits” almost surely lean heavily towards those constituents who have ponied up. As Kevin Drum point out– amount of time for learning about policy? Zero. This is just a horrible, horrible way to run a government. How can anybody think this is a good thing?! Simple and obvious solution? Public financing of Congressional campaigns. Sadly, that’s as likely any time in the near future as eliminating legal gun purchases.
January 9, 2013 Leave a comment
It’s kind of hard to go wrong with a photo gallery (Big Picture) with the theme of “shadow and light.” My favorite:
The last remains of sunlight fall on the summit of Cerro Stanhardt in Patagonia, Argentina as Stephan Siegrist completes his climb in August, 2012. (Thomas Senf/Photopress for Mammut/Associated Press)