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Textual Titillations, Chamber Scott, Perot Trump, Buying Legislators and Poetry in Jazz: The Live Wire

| April 16, 2011

Patterns ((c) Atif Saeed, Pakistan)

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Today’s Live Wire: Quick Links


Textual Rudeness

David Carr in The Times: “YOU are at a party and the person in front of you is not really listening to you. Yes, she is murmuring occasional assent to your remarks, or nodding at appropriate junctures, but for the most part she is looking beyond you, scanning in search of something or someone more compelling. Here’s the funny part: If she is looking over your shoulder at a room full of potentially more interesting people, she is ill-mannered. If, however, she is not looking over your shoulder, but into a smartphone in her hand, she is not only well within modern social norms, but is also a wired, well-put-together person. Add one more achievement to the digital revolution: It has made it fashionable to be rude. [...] Anthony De Rosa, a product manager and programmer at Reuters [wrote]: wrote: “I’m fine with people stepping aside to check something, but when I’m standing in front of someone and in the middle of my conversation they whip out their phone, I’ll just stop talking to them and walk away. If they’re going to be rude, I’ll be rude right back.” [...] Every meal out with friends or colleagues represents a negotiation between connectedness to the grid and interaction with those on hand. [...] Mobile devices do indeed make us more mobile, but that tether is also a leash, letting everyone know that they can get you at any second, most often to tell you they are late, but on their way. (Another bit of bad manners that the always-on world helps facilitate, by the way.)” The full column.

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Buy One Legislator, Get On Free

florida legislature's new balls

Tumescent for corruption

Daniel Ruth in the St. Pete Times: “[T]he Senate Rules Subcommittee on Ethics and Elections, which is a bit like Mafia having a rules subcommittee on teetotaling, virginity and conflict resolution, [just voted] to rescind a measure prohibiting lawmakers from accepting beverages, food and or gifts. If passed into law, the new Buy One Legislator, Get One Free regulations would permit lawmakers to accept up to $25 in chow, gee-gaws in appreciation for dedicated service to the state’s special interests, or liquid nourishment. Items between $25 and $100 would have to be reported, and anything above $100 would first have to be approved by House Speaker Dean Cannon or Senate President Mike Haridopolos when they can find the time away from stuffing their own pockets and bellies to deal with the requests. After all, this is Tallahassee, which is an old Indian word for “Where’s mine?” [...] When a recent grand jury excoriated the Florida Legislature as a breeding ground for a “culture of corruption,” does anyone, with the glaring exception of the tone deaf Florida Legislature, think it is a particularly bright idea to ease up on the ways lawmakers can be compromised more than the Mayflower Madam? [...] For this isn’t about the cost of a cup of Joe. It’s about the access the lobbyist gets every time he or she grabs the check. A state senator or House member can be rung up more cheaply than Joyner would care to admit. In the end, given all the other ways the Florida Legislature has proven it can be paid off, simply acknowledging the obvious by lifting the gift ban is fitting in a twisted sort of way. After all, this is Tallahassee, the Mustang Ranch of politics.” The full column.

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Scott’s Hail to the Chamber

From Beach Peanuts blog: Just in case there are any Floridians left who really believe Rick Scott has their best interests in mind, he’s taken part in an “infomercial” with the Florida Chamber Of Commerce and their President, Mark Wilson to boldly prove otherwise.
In the video below, Scott participates in the Chamber’s “Bottom Line” series, which is described on the Chamber website as “a weekly web-based program featuring key figures from Florida’s corridors of power.” [...] Scott’s “bottom line?” Why, he’s sucking up and doing their bidding like a clueless but needy employee who fears he may lose his job if he doesn’t perform up to their standards. (Surely you remember Scott’s pre-election Eddie Haskell days: “I’ll do ANYTHING Mrs. Cleaver!”) Just so that he says all the right things, Chamber president Mark Wilson happily coaches him along and gives him a hand with his answers, since public speaking isn’t Scott’s strong suit any more than being a governor is.” Watch:

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Free-Speech Leap in Vancouver

From the Toronto Globe & Mail: “Vancouver’s controversial draft protest bylaw has been rewritten to allow street structures, such as the Falun Gong meditation hut, outside consulates that conduct business in residential areas. The draft bylaw eliminates all fees and deposits but adds fines for non-compliance with the regulations. Requirements for a transportation plan and to remove protest structures overnight have been taken out. [...] The new draft bylaw would set a new standard on free speech for North America, legally enabling expanded opportunities to use structures on city streets for political expression, a staff report to city councillors says. The draft bylaw “would be breaking new ground in Canada and would be novel. At this time we can find no precedent to guide our proposal,” a report from the engineering services to city council says. “We have not found any jurisdiction that specifically permits structures for the purpose of political expression on public streets,” the report states, adding that staff have reviewed relevant bylaws in cities across North America, including Victoria, Halifax, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. “At this time we can find no example of any local Council permitting a structure for political expression.” [...] Vancouver had proposed a ban on structures on public spaces in residential areas in response to a court ruling that invalidated sections of a city bylaw used to close down the Falun Gong hut.” The full article.



Donald Trump’s Black-People Idiocy

From Salon: “Appearing on a radio show hosted by the New York Post’s Fred Dicker this morning, Trump took on the “frightening” level of support that President Obama enjoys from black voters, bragged that “I’ve always had a great relationship with the blacks,” and saluted Hillary Clinton — whose 2008 campaign against Obama was dogged by occasional suggestions that it was catering to racial and cultural resentments — for all the work she’s done for “the black population.” We can argue about whether this might hurt Trump — both in terms of his fake presidential campaign’s prospects and the reputation of the Trump brand. Right now, it’s unclear how much — if any — pick-up it will even receive. But his racially awkward comments do stir memories of another unfortunate incident involving a rich guy-turned presidential candidate. [...] Here’s how the Atlanta Journal-Constitution summed up what happened when Perot took the stage [before the NAACP in the 1992 presidential race]: “Rattling off a list of gloomy statistics on unemployment from around the country, Mr. Perot offended many in the audience – and incited a heckler – within the first five minutes of his 30-minute speech, in which he never used the term “civil rights.” “I don’t have to tell you who gets hurt the worst when this sort of thing happens to them: You, you people do, your people do. I know that, you know that,” Mr. Perot said.” The full post.

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The Rude Pundit Sums Up Obama as Only the Rude Pundit Can

From “Tryin’ To Get the Feeling Again“: “First off, let’s give credit where credit is due. Inviting Rep. Paul Ryan and other Republicans to sit in the front row during his big ass deficit addressin’ address was just a goddamn hilarious move by President Barack Obama. Think about it: Ryan and various Medicare-gutting bags of douche got their BBMs to be there and probably took their seats, smugly waiting to see how much Obama would give in to the radical Ryan budget. Instead, they get the President telling ‘em all that their budget “paints a vision of our future that is deeply pessimistic. It’s a vision that says if our roads crumble and our bridges collapse, we can’t afford to fix them. If there are bright young Americans who have the drive and the will but not the money to go to college, we can’t afford to send them.” Or, in other words, “You suck and I’ll tell you that to your faces, not behind your backs.” And they had to sit there and take it. Now that’s comedy. By the way, hearing Republicans complain about the partisan tone of the speech is like watching a group of cobras complain that the local mongoose bites them too hard. Seriously, guys, you’re cobras. Suck it up. It’s just fucking embarrassing. As for the rest of the speech [...] [a]las, alas, [Obama's] innocence is lost. [...] So, sorry, the Rude Pundit didn’t get a thrill up his leg when President Obama said about the Bush-era tax rates on the wealthiest 2% of Americans, “We can’t afford it. And I refuse to renew them again.” You know why? Because he fucking said he wasn’t going to fucking renew them in the first place and that ended up being a fucking lie, just like promise after promise. To put it simply, the Rude Pundit doesn’t believe Obama’s words anymore.” The full post.

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From the National Archives: Lincoln Assassination Police Blotter

From the National Archives: “On April 14, 1865, as he sat in Ford’s Theater watching a comedy, President Lincoln was assassinated. The District of Columbia Metropolitan Police blotter lists the assassination among the more mundane police business of April 14, 1865. The entry begins: “At this hour the melancholy intelligence of the assassination of Mr. Lincoln, President of the U.S, at Fords Theater was brought to this office, and information obtained from the following persons goes to show that the assassin is a man named J. Wilks [sic] Booth…” The Washington, DC, Metropolitan Police was one of several civil and military police groups involved in the investigation. Booth escaped from the scene but was tracked down in Virginia by a platoon of New York Cavalry. Refusing to give himself up, he was trapped in a burning barn and shot. The full document (click on the image for larger view):

Click on the image for larger view.

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Riding Disney’s Trains at Germany at Epcot

If you’ve been to Epcot, and chances are you have, you’ve seen the elaborate electric train scene at Germany, or been dragged there by your children and held there to their train trance. “Through the talents of Disney Parks Broadcast Production,” the Disney Blog reports, “we also can hop aboard. With the help of a minature camera, we all can enjoy the train trip that no one has ever taken before.” Watch:

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Best Politicians’ Soundtrack Ever

Courtesy of the Oregon Legislature (no question Florida’s could have its own similar hit):

Poetry in Jazz: Hughes, Neruda, More

And this by Rumi, the great Sufi poet:


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A Few Good Links

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