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False Sunshine, Rick Perry’s Niggerhead Problem, Groucho’s 121st: The Live Wire

| October 3, 2011

For typists. (marcof)

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Today’s Live Wire: Quick Links


Sunshine Law Evasions

From the St. Petersburg Times: “Charging a fortune for public records is a clear attempt to evade Florida’s sunshine laws and conceal public business from public view. That seems to be the motivation behind an invoice sent to state Sen. Mike Fasano for more than $10,000 for public records from Ash Williams, executive director of the state agency that manages $145 billion in Florida pension and other public funds. Williams has repeatedly resisted public records requests over a questionable hedge fund investment, and this whopping invoice to the New Port Richey Republican is another attempt to avoid public scrutiny. The Legislature should not sit still for this, and Williams’ bosses — Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater — have to choose between supporting him or the public’s right to know. […] Fasano says in his 17 years in the Legislature he has never been asked to pay for a public record. He calls it a terrible precedent that defies good government principles. If legislators have to pay for state documents, it would shift power to the executive branch, giving agencies the green light to stiff-arm legislative requests by pricing them out of reach. In the letter with the invoice, Williams suggested that he and Fasano talk on the phone, where “any questions” Fasano had would be answered. It’s interesting that information could be communicated orally and quickly, but records that Fasano might share with the media or the public would “take months” of work and cost a fortune to retrieve. […] Just as disappointing as Williams’ evasion of the law is the lack of interest among Scott, Bondi and Atwater. They should demanding that Williams comply with Fasano’s request for public documents and follow the public records laws, not acquiescing to his secrecy.” The full editorial.

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Put the Supreme Court on TV

Kenneth Starr in The Times: “Today, the nation welcomes back nine justices who toil quietly and, for the most part, outside public view. But there is no reason the public should be denied access to their consideration of and arguments about urgent questions — from global warming to health care — that affect us all. Cameras in the courtroom of the United States Supreme Court are long overdue. To hear oral arguments and the handing down of decisions, citizens and countless school groups line up outside the Supreme Court building, completed in 1935, for a chance to experience the court in action for two fleeting hours. Crowds camp out all night for high-profile cases. Many who stand in these lines and endure all-night waits will be disappointed: space in the magnificent courtroom is very tight. […] Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s fear is that televising the oral arguments would introduce “the insidious temptation to think that one of my colleagues is trying to get a sound bite for the television.” But this fear seems groundless in light of the already available sound recordings from these sessions. Newspapers, radio and television were all once condemned for their demagogic potential, but we have long since accepted these media as vitally important pieces of our national dialogue. The idea that cameras would transform the court into “Judge Judy” is ludicrous. Happily, the old guard’s views are now in decline. Justice Elena Kagan, the newest and youngest member of the court, has spoken fervently for openness and transparency. At an Aspen Institute event in August, she said, “If everybody could see this, it would make people feel so good about this branch of government and how it’s operating.” Just so. If the justices won’t open the courtroom doors to cameras — proxies for the public eye — of their own accord, then Congress has the capacity and the duty to take action.” The full column.

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Rick Perry’s Niggerhead Problem

The presidential candidacy of Rick Perry briefly looked like the GOP’s free-at-last moment: Between Mitt Romney , Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul and the Taliban impersonator from Pennsylvania, Republicans looked as if in handcuffs of boredom, nuttiness, unelectability and demagoguery–until Rick Perry showed up. He gave the illusion of looking like the real thing. But only briefly. He;’s been a case study of self-destruction in debates and on the campaign trail as his past and thoughts have been catching up to him, as have his tendencies to trip himself up with those Texan boots of klutz more than brawn. And now this: From the Washington Post: “In the early years of his political career, Rick Perry began hosting fellow lawmakers, friends and supporters at his family’s secluded West Texas hunting camp, a place known by the name painted in block letters across a large, flat rock standing upright at its gated entrance. ‘Niggerhead,’ it read. […] But the name of this particular parcel did not change for years after it became associated with Rick Perry, first as a private citizen, then as a state official and finally as Texas governor. Some locals still call it that. As recently as this summer, the slablike rock — lying flat, the name still faintly visible beneath a coat of white paint — remained by the gated entrance to the camp.” And in a subsequent story: “Perry has called the name “offensive” and said his father painted over the word shortly after leasing the land. That account differs from the recollections of seven people cited in the story, and it remains unclear when or whether Perry dealt with the name while using the camp.” And in The Times: “The latest flare-up also injected the issue of race into the Republican nominating fight, with one of Mr. Perry’s opponents, Herman Cain, seizing on the issue Sunday, saying there “isn’t a more vile, negative word than the N-word.”
“For him to leave it there as long as he did, until before, I hear, they finally painted over it, is just plain insensitive to a lot of black people in this country,” Mr. Cain, who is black, said on “Fox News Sunday.” ”

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Two Questions to Change Your Life

Flagler Palm Coast High School Principal reportedly showed this video at a recent school board meeting.

Two questions that can change your life from Daniel Pink on Vimeo.

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Jacques Derrida on Americanism

From Open Culture: “Our friendly French philosopher spent a fair amount of time teaching in the US and got acquainted with American attitudes. Sometimes, he says, we can be manipulative and utilitarian. What exactly do you mean Mr. Derrida? Can you please elaborate? Of course, he does.”

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Finance Meltdown: The Full Story

From Al-Jazeera, part of a four-part series on the 2008 global financial meltdown. First up: “The Men Who Crashed the World.”

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Twitter Flash: Proof that Mondays Suck

From The Times: “However grumpy people are when they wake up, and whether they stumble to their feet in Madrid, Mexico City or Minnetonka, Minn., they tend to brighten by breakfast time and feel their moods taper gradually to a low in the late afternoon, before rallying again near bedtime, a large-scale study of posts on the social media site Twitter found. Drawing on messages posted by more than two million people in 84 countries, researchers discovered that the emotional tone of people’s messages followed a similar pattern not only through the day but also through the week and the changing seasons. The new analysis suggests that our moods are driven in part by a shared underlying biological rhythm that transcends culture and environment. The report, by sociologists at Cornell University and appearing in the journal Science, is the first cross-cultural study of daily mood rhythms in the average person using such text analysis. Previous studies have also mined the mountains of data pouring into social media sites, chat rooms, blogs and elsewhere on the Internet, but looked at collective moods over broader periods of time, in different time zones or during holidays.”

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Happy 121st, Groucho

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The Trouble With Christie

From TPM: “One of the most persistent stories that dogged Christie in his 2009 campaign was his unusual financial relationship with a top aide at his federal prosecutor office, Michele Brown. Christie lent Brown some $46,000, which he says was to help a family friend through a rough patch. But critics argued that the move was an improper conflict of interest heading into a gubernatorial campaign since Brown was in a position to help Christie in a variety of ways. Her job included handling FOIA requests, including those from Governor Corzine’s campaign, for example. And in one instance, she argued to colleagues in favor of wrapping up a major corruption probe before July 1, when Christie’s successor took over the US Attorney position, a move that ensured credit for the case would clearly flow to Christie. Brown resigned shortly after news of the loan broke and, according to the New York Times, she paid off Christie’s loan in October 2010. It wasn’t the only allegation of conflict of interest that Christie fought off. The then-US Attorney testified before Congress on a series of no-bid monitoring contracts worth millions that he awarded to various law firms. One contract, worth up to $52 million, went to former Attorney General John Ashcroft, Christie’s old mentor. Another former US Attorney chosen for a monitoring contract, David Kelley, had previously investigated Christie’s brother in a stock fraud case in 2005 — he was not indicted while fifteen others were. Top lawyers at another firm he awarded a major contract to later donated about $24,000 to his campaign. Christie said the contracts were awarded on merit and accused Corzine of “character assassination” for raising the issue. […] Given the pressure Rick Perry is under from rivals over his own allegations of crony capitalism, Christie better have some quick debate comebacks ready should he take the plunge into the presidential field. ” The full post.

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Arrested Development: It’s Back

From Hollywood Reporter: “At a reunion for the beloved Fox comedy at the New Yorker Festival on Sunday, creator Mitch Hurwitz teased the possibility of continuing the 2003-06 series with a truncated nine- to 10-episode “mini-season” leading up to an Arrested film. The news, for which 20th Century Fox TV declined comment, comes after years of rumblings of a big-screen sequel for the critically acclaimed series starring Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, Portia de Rossi and Jeffrey Tambor. “It’s true,” Bateman confirmed on Twitter on Sunday afternoon. “We will do 10 episodes and the movie. Probably shoot them all together next summer for a release in early ’13.” Added Arnett, “I’m peeing with @batemanjason at the moment..and we can confirm that we are going to make new AD eps and a movie.”

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A Few Good Links

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5 Responses for “False Sunshine, Rick Perry’s Niggerhead Problem, Groucho’s 121st: The Live Wire”

  1. confused says:

    groucho marx,–julius henry was a loved family member of ours

    –so nice to see him honored

  2. JR says:

    Could you elaborate on that … ?

  3. Liana G says:

    What’s your sentence Flagler School District/Board?

    And, are YOU better today than yesterday?

    Mr Oliva thank you for sharing! I need the distraction and a boost of motivation…

    what’s my sentence…what’s my sentence…what’s my sentence……

    Am I better today than yesterday…think…think…think…..maybe my morning cup of coffee might help

  4. Liana G says:

    BTW, please don’t say ‘Raising students achievement every day in every way’ Our SAT scores say different and those As are suspect.

    Now if you will say ‘raising salaries of underserving individuals ever day in every way’, I will credit you with being honest, but I would still like to see some restructuring done.

  5. NortonSmitty says:

    As much as I disagree with everything Rick Perry stands for, and knowing that he is the perfect Republican candidate for all of you bottomfeeders that looking back feel that George W. Bush may have been just too damn cerebral for your tastes, I just gotta’ put in my two cents kinda’ sticking up for him on the Niggerhead issue.

    My father was from Northern Pennsylvania. This was on the edge of poor farming country that transitioned to an area that was such poor land that logging was how they had to make a living. And until the Japanese arrived to buy the wild cheery, oak, ash and even walnut trees in the ’80s, people harvested the pine trees from the turn of the century up to the 40’s. These were pines that were so useless that instead of cutting them into timber, they were so full of sap they were only good for refining into turpentine. It was used for solvents, cleaner, paint thinner and other things we don’t value or understand today, but kept most of the families alive during the depression harvesting.

    When I was a kid, we only saw signs of this industry when we were hunting in the form of old narrow gauge railroad beds, ruins of pitch refineries and other old shit we didn’t appreciate then, but wish we asked more about to remember now.

    Anyhoo, when we would camp out, we would find these things lying everywhere on the ground that we would stick them into the campfire for a minute or two and they would catch and hold fire for hours. We could use them for torches when we would go down to the river or hike at night. They were the base of pine branches where they grew into the trunks of the trees. They were so full of pine pitch (sap) they would burn for hours. Neat, especially since my great uncle told us they were all over the ground because they were used the same way 70 years ago, and were dropped in favor of new ones when they got dim. They worked fine for us.

    Oh yea, the point of the story is we called these things Niggerheads. I can understand why now, but we didn’t think anything about it then. I’m sure Rick Perry didn’t really think his folks camp in the Texas pine barrens was anything out of the ordinary either.

    So I don’t think it’s fair to call him o8ut as a racist for this.

    But if you want to point out that he is a brainless greedy fundamentalist Christian asshole who took office as kind of middle class and has become half a billionaire by selling out to the drug, private prison, real estate and chemical companies, and the pandering son of a bitch allowed a man he knew was innocent to be executed to keep his base happy, and the idiotic bastard is running for the President of the most powerful country in the world despite the fact he graduated from fucking Texas Technical College as it was called with a C- average grade point in I think Animal Husbandry, Well, that’s cool.

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