JANUARY 14, 2009 3:58PM

The emperor of warm nuts

A former executive with the tech retail chain Fry's, under indictment for skimming millions in kickbacks from vendors, had some very specific preferences when visiting Vegas resorts as a "high roller" guest, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

Ausaf Umar "Omar" Siddiqui, former vice president of… Read full post »

JANUARY 12, 2009 3:21PM

Gene Robinson joins inauguration event

In an attempt to mend fences with the gay community, which expressed discomfort with his choice of evangelical celebrity pastor Rick Warren to say a prayer at the inauguration ceremonies, President-elect Barack Obama has asked openly gay Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson to pray at another ina… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 10, 2009 2:51PM

Haggard, promoting HBO doc, now admits 'sex is complex'

Ted Haggard appeared yesterday before the press to promote the HBO documentary about him, "The Trials of Ted Haggard." (An ironic title, by the way, since Haggard has never been charged with any crime despite admitting to buying and possessing methamphetamine.) Among the entertaining statemen…

Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 21, 2008 2:11PM

To the president elect, re: energy

Of the self-immolators during the Vietnam War, Denise Levertov said1:
     We need them.
     Brands that flare to show us
     The dark we are in,
     To keep us moving in it.

That was forty years ago. Another war now blinds us, illumina… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 20, 2008 9:45PM

Bush's success in spreading American capitalism

All along, President Bush said his main goal was to spread American democracy in the Middle East. By democracy, most people understood, he meant capitalism.

Well, he can now claim success, as the shoes thrown at Bush by that Iraqi journalist have suddenly become a big hit. A Turkish shoemaker re… Read full post »

DECEMBER 19, 2008 4:48PM

A carol for Xmas 2008

To the tune of "Carol of the Bells"

(Chorus: "Bling, bling, ching, ching," etc.)

Guantanamo,
Katrina blow,
Terrorist cells,
Anthrax that smells,
Stock market's down,
Layoffs in rounds,
Finance meltdown,
New shantytown,
These are the very bad things that we won't miss when the GOP goes.
Sing, very soon we'll hav/… Read full post »
DECEMBER 18, 2008 11:59PM

I grew up in a Shell Oil refinery

mark_1960

That's me in 1960, standing in front of my family's house in the Shell Oil Refinery in Roxana, Ill. -- where I lived for seven years.  The refinery's office building is in the background. It's Easter, I think, and I'm dressed for church.

I spent almost all my early childhood… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 17, 2008 10:27PM

Ted Haggard to promote HBO documentary about him

ted_haggard_400 

Ted Haggard, the disgraced megachurch leader whose outing as a meth-snorting Big Gay embarrassed the Christian Right just prior to the 2006 midterm elections, has agreed to promote an HBO documentary about his rise and fall. 

The documentary, "The Trials of Ted Haggard,"… Read full post »

Rake  

In a Huffington Post article today, brain researcher Andrew Newburg is interviewed on his work concerning the measurable effects of meditation -- the usual laundry list of stress reduction, memory improvements, and so  on. Anybody who's read an article on this subject during… Read full post »

In his speech Sunday accepting the Nobel Prize in literature, French writer Jean Marie Gustav Le Clezio suggested that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler might not have been able to survive for long if the internet had existed in his day, saying "Hitler's criminal plot would not have succeeded -- ridicule migh… Read full post »

In a waggish frame of mind, last month I suggested we have more Daylight Savings Time, not less. But a new article on the VOXEU site -- an economics blog focusing on Europe -- says that justifications for Daylight Savings Time are usually not upheld by studies, and that DST may actuall… Read full post »

My worst job was a three-month stint washing dishes in a bar from 11 pm to 3 a.m. three nights a week for minimum wage. 

It was a bar that served a limited menu, and each night when I came in,  several hours after the kitchen closed, there would be a… Read full post »

What with all the talk about the coming administration's cabinet picks and the need to hit the ground running -- what is that metaphor derived from, anyway? -- I was wondering the other day the same thing that columnist Thomas Friedman wonders in today's NYT:  why do we need to wait… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
NOVEMBER 22, 2008 9:29PM

How about more Daylight Savings Time, not less?

There's some suggestion that among the changes to be wrought by the coming president should be ending Daylight Savings Time. Among the reasons offered is that it doesn't save energy, it plays havoc with people's biological clocks, it's difficult for computer programmers to take into account, and it m… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
NOVEMBER 17, 2008 4:41PM

The new depression: what will it look like?

An article by Drake Bennett in yesterday's Boston Globe has some suggestions for what a 21st century New Great Depression would look like: Instead of people lining up at soup kitchens, Bennett says, people will be lining up at emergency rooms.

He's half right -- no doubt people without health… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
NOVEMBER 15, 2008 2:24PM

Protests against anti-gay initiatives: too little, too late?

I'm reluctant to admit it, but I am sort of in agreement with this sentence in the LA Times today on today's nationwide protests against anti-gay marriage ballot initiatives such as California's Prop. 8:

And it remains uncertain whether the aggressive tactics ultimately advance the activists' goal:… Read full post »

Focus on the Family head James Dobson was "jubilant" over passage of gay marriage bans in Florida, California and Arizona, the Colorado Springs Gazette reported. While Dobson praised the election of Barack Obama as "historic," he also said he was concerned that Obama is "in favor of much of the homos… Read full post »

This happened late last night, just before 1 a.m. Eastern time, as Fox News was desperately searching for something to say. Shepard Smith, who reamed Joe the Plumber a new one last week, gave Ralph Nader a few minutes, leading with a quote that Nader had given the Houston Fox News… Read full post »

Nov. 5, 2008 -- Fly back to Alaska, hold press conference with local media (the only ones who will attend, thank God) expressing relief that you are now back among "real Americans" who "get it."

Nov. 6, 2008 -- Hold another press conference to say that your words to the  Alaskan… Read full post »

From Ben Smith's blog on Politico: He quotes a message from "a medical student in Evansville, Ind." Emphasis mine.

For me the most moving moment came when the family in front of me, comprising probably 4 generations of voters (including an 18 year old girl voting for her first time and… Read full post »
Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 21, 2008 12:54AM

GOP congressman: 'Liberals hate real Americans'

North Carolina congressman Robin Hayes -- whose official website is bannered with a cotton boll, a scowling soldier, a National Forest sign and a line of racing stock cars -- told a crowd waiting to see Sen. John McCain Saturday that "Liberals hate real Americans that work and achieve and believeRead full post »

A firm called Young Political Majors (YPM) is under investigation in three states for duping voters into registering Republican, the LA Times reported today.

The firm allegedly set up tables in public places, such as outside a supermarket, and asked voters to sign what they said was a petition for st… Read full post »

OS poster Jason Snyder covered this a few days ago better than anyone else needs to, so I won't go into too much detail. But a just-posted New York Times article datelined 13 October briefly documents the story of Andy Martin, a far-right, anti-Semitic gadfly who rants against Jews in court… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 12, 2008 3:04PM

Far right views possible Dem wins with glee, not loathing

Many articles in the last few days, such as this one on Politico and this one in the Washington Post, have focused on the cathartic anger being expressed at McCain and Palin rallies this week, and at the hint of mob mentality in shouts of "Get him!" and "Traitor!" 

But while… Read full post »

In speeches yesterday, Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin said of Barack Obama and the Democratic Party:  "These are the same guys who think patriotism is paying higher taxes."

If you ask me, she's right. Because I never served in the military, my greatest contribution to the se… Read full post »