29 August 2014

MORE WRITING LEADS TO BETTER WRITERS…

0630 by Jeff Hess

xkcd 140829
Mouse-over: I’d like to find a corpus of writing writing from children in a non-self-selected sample (e.g. handwritten letters to the president from everyone in the same teacher’s 7th grade class every year)–and score the kids today versus the kids 20 years ago on various objective measures of writing quality. I’ve heard the idea that exposure to all this amateur peer practice is hurting us, but I’d bet on the generation that conducts the bulk of their social lives via the written word over the generation that occasionally wrote book reports and letters to grandma once a year, any day.

29 August 2014

RULE NO. 58: A LITTLE HUNGER IS GOOD…

0600 by Jeff Hess

Rule No. 58 – It’s Okay to Be a Little Hungry.

From Food Rules, an eater’s manual by Michael Pollan

Previously…

Found in my electronic chapbook. See also Eating Mindfully by Jan Chozen Bey.

29 August 2014

THE REAL DOG-EAT-DOG WORLD: NO. 6…

0530 by Jeff Hess

The Company Event...

The Company Event…

From my dad, of course…

29 August 2014

NOT THE MARIETTA TIMES

0500 by Jeff Hess

TODAY’S MARIETTA TIMES FRONT PAGE

(Note: Newseum doesn’t usually update the front pages until 0630 or so)

Today’s headlines include:

Local News
Middle school plan
Riverfront fun ahead
Salt Fork gets boost through state program
Sewage plant funding discussed
County engineer gets OK to pursue road projects

Top Headlines Poll: What do you like the most about the county fair parade?

Great pictures of Marietta

What’s going on here

Previously

28 August 2014

APPEALS COURT DANGEROURSLY WRONG…

0800 by Jeff Hess

Police didn’t violate the First Amendment when they threatened to ticket Christian evangelists at an Arab-American street festival in suburban Detroit, a federal appeals court said Wednesday in a 2-1 decision that drew a pointed dissent from a judge who called it a “blueprint” to stifle speech.

Members of a group called Bible Believers were pelted with water bottles and rocks while carrying a pig’s head and telling Muslims they were “sick” and would “burn in hell” for their beliefs.

Ed White writing in Court OKs dismissal of case tied to Arab festival for The Associated Press.

Yes, the Bible Believers were unmitigated assholes and likely a waste of human genome, but they were American citizens and guaranteed the absolute right to publicly assemble and non-violently express their views. Censorship is never an acceptable response to offensive speech. The response to such speech must always be more speech.

Judge Eric Clay understood this when he wrote in his dissent (pages 18-29) that: The First Amendment protects plaintiffs’ speech, however bilious it was. (His whole dissent, linked above, is well worth the time to read.)

28 August 2014

CONNIE DUNCAN IS SPOT ON…

0730 by Jeff Hess

zits 140828 050528While Jeremy’s response is ultimately different, of course, I still think that my own rejection of the passive Have a nice day! and use of the active Do all you can to make today a better day! sets the tone Connie is shooting for here.

28 August 2014

PICK A SIDE, ANY SIDE, WE NEED A WAR NOW…!

0700 by Jeff Hess

It was not even a year ago when we were bombarded with messaging that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is a Supreme Evil and Grave Threat, and that military action against his regime was both a moral and strategic imperative. The standard cast of “liberal interventionists” – Tony Blair, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Nicholas Kristof and Samantha Power – issued stirring sermons on the duties of war against Assad. Secretary of State John Kerry actually compared Assad to (guess who?) Hitler, instructing the nation that “this is our Munich moment.” Striking Assad, he argued, “is a matter of national security. It’s a matter of the credibility of the United States of America. It’s a matter of upholding the interests of our allies and friends in the region.”

U.S. military action against the Assad regime was thwarted only by overwhelming American public opinion which opposed it and by a resounding rejection by the UK Parliament of Prime Minister David Cameron’s desire to assume the usual subservient British role in support of American wars.

Now the Obama administration and American political class is celebrating the one-year anniversary of the failed “Bomb Assad!” campaign by starting a new campaign to bomb those fighting against Assad – the very same side the U.S. has been arming over the last two years.

It’s as though the U.S. knew for certain all along that it wanted to fight in the war in Syria, and just needed a little time to figure out on which side it would fight. It switched sides virtually on a dime, and the standard Pentagon courtiers of the U.S. media and war-cheering foreign policy elites are dutifully following suit, mindlessly depicting ISIS as an unprecedented combination of military might and well-armed and well-funded savagery (where did they get those arms and funds?). Something very similar happened in Libya: the U.S. spent a decade insisting that a Global War on Terror – complete with full-scale dismantling of basic liberties and political values – was necessary to fight against the Unique Threat of Al Qaeda and “Jihadists”, only to then fight on the same side as them, and arming and empowering them.

[Snip...]

It seems pretty clear at this point that U.S. military action in the Middle East is the end in itself, [emphasis in original.] and the particular form it takes – even including the side for which the U.S. fights – is an ancillary consideration. That’s how the U.S., in less than a year, can get away with depicting involvement in the war in Syria – on opposite sides – as a national imperative. Ironically, just as was true of Al Qaeda, provoking the U.S. into military action would, for the reasons Fishman explained, help ISIS as well.

But the only clear lesson from all of this is that no matter the propagandistic script used, U.S. military action in that region virtually never fulfills the stated goals (nor is it intended to do so), and achieves little other than justifying endless military action for its own sake. How long before we hear that U.S. military action is needed (again) in Libya to restrain the chaos and extremism unleashed by the NATO intervention in Libya? Does anyone really believe that “limited” bombing of Syria and Iraq in a rage against ISIS will result in anything other than more justifications for military action in that region?

Glenn Greenwald writing in The Fun of Empire: Fighting on All Sides of a War in Syria for The//Intercept.

28 August 2014

JOHN OLIVER NAILS NET NEUTRALITY…

0630 by Jeff Hess


Turn on Caps Lock and fly my pretties, fly…!

28 August 2014

RULE NO. 57: MAKE AN APPLE YOUR BENCHMARK…

0600 by Jeff Hess

Rule No. 57 – If You’re Not Hungry Enough to Eat an Apple, Then You’re Probably Not Hungry.

From Food Rules, an eater’s manual by Michael Pollan

Previously…

Found in my electronic chapbook. See also Eating Mindfully by Jan Chozen Bey.

28 August 2014

THE REAL DOG-EAT-DOG WORLD: NO. 5…

0530 by Jeff Hess

That woman from the other department...

That woman from the other department…

From my dad, of course…

28 August 2014

NOT THE MARIETTA TIMES

0500 by Jeff Hess

TODAY’S MARIETTA TIMES FRONT PAGE

(Note: Newseum doesn’t usually update the front pages until 0630 or so)

Today’s headlines include:

Local News

Spirit of community always shines through
Smart eating
Parade opens fair
NFL makes right call on Gordon

Top Headlines Poll: How hard are you trying to eat healthier foods?

Great pictures of Marietta

What’s going on here

Previously

27 August 2014

WHY POLICE ARE CALLED PIGS…

2200 by Jeff Hess

As darkness fell on Canfield Drive on August 9, a makeshift memorial sprang up in the middle of the street where Michael Brown’s body had been sprawled in plain view for more than four hours. Flowers and candles were scattered over the bloodstains on the pavement. Someone had affixed a stuffed animal to a streetlight pole a few yards away. Neighborhood residents and others were gathering, many of them upset and angry.

Soon, police vehicles reappeared, including from the St. Louis County Police Department, which had taken control of the investigation. Several officers emerged with dogs. What happened next, according to several sources, was emblematic of what has inflamed the city of Ferguson, Missouri, ever since the unarmed 18-year-old was gunned down: An officer on the street let the dog he was controlling urinate on the memorial site.

Mark Follman writing in Michael Brown’s Mom Laid Flowers Where He Was Shot—and Police Crushed Them for Mother Jones.

Police who allow, enable or even just look the other way when the scum in their ranks shit on their badges are no better than the worst of them.

27 August 2014

ROLDO RIGHTS ON: CAN WE KICK
YOU SOME MORE FITZ, ASKS THE PD…?

1600 by Jeff Hess

There’s an old saying I can’t track down even with Google.

It’s about journalists.

It goes something like, “When the battle is over they come down and shoot the wounded.” Not quite right. I knew only one person who might know the direct quote – Terry Sheridan. And he did with all the attribution: Newspaperman Clive Barnes (1927-2008), New York Times dance and theater critic: “A critic is someone who rides in after the battle and shoots the wounded.” That’s the apt description I was seeking.

It’s the feeling I get when I read the Plain Dealer articles now about County Executive Ed FitzGerald.

It is pile on time. Kick ‘em when they’re down.

It is just so easy to do.

I’m no great fan of Fitz because he’s left Cuyahoga County in what I believe will be a financial crunch. Maybe disaster. He helped extend the sin tax for 20 years and the bed tax and hasn’t done anything to reduce the quarter percent sales tax put on by Tax Tim.

He’s put the county in the hotel business. It shouldn’t be in that money-losing business. It already has one called the convention center.

And he’s made personal mistakes. Especially not getting Continue Reading »

27 August 2014

WELL, THAT EXPLAINS THAT…

1000 by Jeff Hess

Internet service was down for millions of Americans on Wednesday morning after cable company Time Warner suffered a major outage.

The company, which has almost 12 million broadband subscribers nationwide, has acknowledged the fault, and says it is “working to restore services to all areas”, but has no estimated time of restoration.

Buried at the end of the article, however, was this bit that should not make any of us happy:

On Tuesday, Reuters reported that Time Warner Cable paid $1.1m to resolve an investigation from the Federal Communications Commission that found the provider did not properly report multiple network outages.

“TWC (Time Warner Cable) failed to file a substantial number of reports with respect to a series of reportable wireline and Voice Over Internet Protocol network outages,” the FCC’s report read. “TWC admits that its failure to timely file the required network outage reports violated the commission’s rules.”

So, $1.1 million is like what, 30 seconds of revenues? Those fecks…

I also wonder if Wiley Miller knew something that the rest of us didn’t.

27 August 2014

WHAT’S A FAST-FOOD DISDAINER TO DO…?

0900 by Jeff Hess

When I decided that my life was a matter of some 80 pounds that were slowing killing me, the first decision I made was that I would never walk into another fast food restaurant again, and the place I avoided the most, because I really, really like the hamburgers, was Burger King. So, Burger King hasn’t gotten any money from me for more than three years. Therefore I can’t join a proposed boycott of the company because I’m already there, but others can, and should do so, not because of food is bad for you—of course the food is bad for you, see above—but rather because the company has decided to abandon the very people who have made Burger King stockholders rich.

Burger King confirmed on Tuesday that it is to buy the Canadian coffee-and-doughnut chain Tim Hortons for about $11bn, in a deal that re-ignited the controversy over American companies moving their headquarters abroad to secure lower tax rates.

As part of the acquisition, the corporate headquarters of the new company will be in Canada, a move that may help Burger King lower its tax burden but exposed the company to a welter of criticism after it was confirmed.

Yes, Burger King is fleeing to Canada to improve the corporate bottom line. While most Burger King restaurants are franchise-owned, they don’t qualify in my book as local businesses. When we support local businesses (and keep more of our dollars circulating in our own economy and not supporting the manufacture of cheap crap from China) we have the opportunity to know and influence those who make money decisions. When the company is so disconnected from customers that there isn’t even a hint of loyalty involved we lose that opportunity.

There will be no Burger King boycott. The people at the corporate headquarters in Florida (you didn’t think they’d move did you?) will continue to ignore their customer base and assuming that their competition is McDonald’s not Eat At Joe’s.

More on the concept from Mano Singham writing in Corporate Perversion at Free Thought Blogs.

27 August 2014

THE JOURNEY VS. THE DESTINATION…

0800 by Jeff Hess

I’ve long adhered to the philosophy that the journey is more important than the destination, that the experience is more valuable than the the result. In my mind, this dovetails with Michael Pollan’s Food Rule No. 53: Pay More, Eat Less, that is, consume less of a more costly product to savor the benefits and experience.’

Suppose my goal is to be drunk, a bottle of bottom-shelf vodka will do the trick. If I want to revel in the multitudinous facets of the color, smell, feel and taste of a skilled distiller of small batch or single-barrel Bourbon or other whisky, then I’m going to pay more, much more, for that experience. Wines are no different.

As are coffees. While I’m sure the Third-Wave of Coffee is nothing new to Superbarista (or her husband, the Grand Master of Cleveland coffee who taught me about the joys of pour-over coffee more than a decade ago), I learned of the phenomenon yesterday while reading Chérmelle Edwards’ The hipster coffee revolution is going to save your morning and the planet. Are you ready to pay a little more to help? in The Guardian. Let me say here that this article may be the shark-jumping moment for this third-wave. Once anyone writes about a movement all patina of hipsterism instantly disappears. Sorry, Chérmelle. If everyone knows, hipsters aren’t interested.

27 August 2014

THE END RESULT OF PRODUCTIVITY PORN…

0700 by Jeff Hess

If you bought every book on clutter in the past few years…you’d just have created more clutter. But there are a few recurring gems of advice if you’re feeling submerged:

  1. Categorise your clutter. You won’t be able to figure out what to do with any given bit of stuff if you don’t know what kind of stuff it is.
  2. Use “collection buckets.” The point is to get the clutter into holding bays. Process later, as time permits.
  3. Divide your home into zones. Attack each in surgical strikes and develop routines.

Oliver Burkeman writing in Clutter for The Guardian.

Rule No. 1 must be: stop buying more stuff.

27 August 2014

THIS IS NOT WHAT MEATLOAF HAD IN MIND…

0630 by Jeff Hess

zits 140827 050505This morning, while walking Buster, I picked up one of those supersize drink cups some dimwit had tossed into the woods. The cup was from Truenorth and was printed with a cute cartoon in which the last panel read—

Truenorth Factoid No. 33:,
The Good Life…
Chips, Soda and
Clean Family Entertainment,
Another Trueday In Paradise.

I suppose that is a kind of paradise if your idea of the perfect existance involves lying in front of the video screen in an obese, sugar/salt/fat induced stupor.

27 August 2014

RULE NO. 56: DON’T EAT WHEN YOUR BORED…

0600 by Jeff Hess

Rule No. 56 – Eat When You Are Hungry, Not When You Are Bored. (Food is a costly antidepressant.)

From Food Rules, an eater’s manual by Michael Pollan

Previously…

Found in my electronic chapbook. See also Eating Mindfully by Jan Chozen Bey.

27 August 2014

THE REAL DOG-EAT-DOG WORLD: NO. 4…

0530 by Jeff Hess

The Intern...

The Intern…

From my dad, of course…

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