Somehow, nothing shouts “douchbag” more loudly than a man my age (uhh, call it ‘over fifty’) who tries to dress, act and talk like a punk half his age.
Why the hell are we giving Egypt almost half a billion dollars? Relevant excerpt from the article:
An influential Republican lawmaker, Representative Kay Granger of Texas, immediately announced that she would use her position as chairwoman of the House appropriations subcommittee overseeing foreign aid to block the distribution of the money. She said the American relationship with Egypt “has never been under more scrutiny” than it is in the wake of the election of President Mohamed Morsi, a former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.
“I am not convinced of the urgent need for this assistance and I cannot support it at this time,” Ms. Granger said in a statement that her office issued even before the administration announced the package.
Representative Granger is absolutely right. In the first place, we are well past the point where the United States can continue showering money on the rest of the world. In case nobody in Washington has noticed, we’re goddamn well broke. In the second case, the Muslim Brotherhood/Morsi regime in Egypt is not exactly friendly to the United States.
While we’re talking about money, here is an excellent primer by PJ Media columnist David P. Goldman on why the economy is struggling through a weak recovery and unemployment remains high. The money quote:
We have the highest corporate tax rate in the world.
We have an administration that sandbagged one of the biggest contributions to energy independence to become available in decades, namely the Keystone project.
We have a regulatory environment that makes it next to impossible to build a nuclear power plant.
We have a health care program that puts the biggest weight of a new entitlement program right on the economy’s weak spot — firms with fifty workers.
We have an administration that can’t get its act together to steer the economy away from a fiscal cliff.
We have an out-of-control budget deficit as far as the spreadsheet can extend to the out-years, which means much higher taxes in the future.
One other problem you can add to the various ones Mr. Goldman enumerates in his article: Our population is largely disengaged from the process, and a significant portion of the folks who are engaged are mostly concerned with how much free stuff they can get at someone else’s expense. A significant portion of the populace can’t name their representative to Congress or their state legislature, but they can talk for hours about every player on their favorite football or basketball team, and can describe in great detail every contestant on this season of American Idol.
Bread and circuses, True Believers. Bread and circuses.
Finally, an aside: The base of operations for this blog will be moving temporarily from Colorado to Minnesota. A successful bid on a long-term consulting project will have yr. obdt. moving headquarters to that region temporarily, so look forward to some accounts of explorations in that area. At least I speak the language there, ya know. Sooper.
In fact, it seems there are various autumnal festivals and so on happening in that part of the country about now. That might be interesting.
Stay focused, True Believers. More as events warrant.
Having spent a little time in China (very little – three days in Shanghai) this article rang a mnemonic bell or two. Have a read: Unlivable Cities. Excerpt:
A modern European ruler listening to a visitor from China describe the country’s fabled rise would be better served with the opposite approach: As the traveler exits a train station, a woman hawks instant noodles and packaged chicken feet from a dingy metal cart, in front of concrete steps emptying out into a square flanked by ramshackle hotels and massed with peasants sitting on artificial cobblestones and chewing watermelon seeds. The air smells of coal. Then the buildings appear: Boxlike structures, so gray as to appear colorless, line the road. If the city is poor, the Bank of China tower will be made with hideous blue glass; if it’s wealthy, our traveler will marvel at monstrous prestige projects of glass and copper. The station bisects Shanghai Road or Peace Avenue, which then leads to Yat-sen Street, named for the Republic of China’s first president, eventually intersecting with Ancient Building Avenue. Our traveler does not know whether he is in Changsha, Xiamen, or Hefei — he is in the city Calvino describes as so unremarkable that “only the name of the airport changes.” Or, as China’s vice minister of construction, Qiu Baoxing, lamented in 2007, “It’s like a thousand cities having the same appearance.”
Shanghai, at least the newer, financial/industrial Pudong district where I spent some time in 2009, reminds one of a beehive; a constant bustle of activity, a mass of humanity always on the move. The locals were learning the fundamentals of capitalism well in a country that is still nominally Communist; vendors of everything from confections to “sexy massages” worked every block. A short walk from the hotel there was an enormous shopping district boasting, among other things, a Victoria’s Secret and a Best Buy. I later informed Mrs. Animal that I almost bought her what one young man assured me was a “genuine Versace handbag,” but I didn’t, as the thought occurred to me that if it was by chance a fake, I’d be out twenty bucks.
And, like most places in the world, American dollars are enthusiastically accepted for any transaction. Sure, the dollar isn’t all that strong these days, but it’s still stronger than most other currencies – maybe any other currency.
But dirty – oh, boy, was Pudong dirty. The air was thick, and litter filled the streets.
China may be learning the fundamentals of capitalism, but the environmental concerns that characterize wealthy, capitalist Western republics are quite a long ways off yet for the Middle Kingdom.
Minneapolis is a fun town. I alway try to take in a bit of local cuisine when I’m on-site, and one thing Minneapolis is known for is the Jucy Lucy, which puts a whole new angle on the honest old American cheeseburger. The Jucy Lucy is a big, beefy, cheesy, saturated-fat laden treat; not for the faint of heart. I’ve had one only as recently as May, my last trip to the Twin Cities, so depending on the expected duration of the job I may forgo it on this trip.
Here are a few brief tidbits from the news:
Who Really Invented the Internet? Spoiler: It wasn’t Al Gore.
I’m not a fan of rap, but Ice-T has carved out an acting career; he also understands the Second Amendment.
Now, from the world of science comes a synthetic jellyfish – with implications for people suffering from heart disease. It’s an exciting modern age we live in.
And, last but not least, Live on the Internet: Dinosaurs vs. Aliens! Yes, really.
Have a superior Tuesday, True Believers.
You know, I cannot quite see how it is that I, pushing fifty, should routinely bypass moving walkways in airports that are in use by people averaging half my age.
Why do I bypass them? They are TOO SLOW.