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George W. Bush’s Debt, Thrasher’s $1.3 Million Home, Unnecessary Censorship: The Live Wire

| July 28, 2011

Giacometti on Flagler Beach. (© FlaglerLive)

Giacometti on Flagler Beach. (© FlaglerLive)

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Today’s Live Wire: Quick Links

Yes, It Is George W. Bush’s Debt

The Times shows graphically who racked up how much debt. Keep in mind of course that the president who, proportionately, racked up the largest debt, compared with his predecessors until then, was Ronald Reagan, who is the alleged father of “small government.”

national debt by president ronald reagan george bush bill clinton barack obama

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Thrasher Selling His $1.3 Million Home

From the Times-Union: “State Sen. John Thrasher and his wife, Jean, have put their Fleming Island home on the market for $1.3 million. The Record reported last month that although Thrasher’s legal residence is a condominium in St. Augustine, he appeared to be making the Clay County home his principal residence. Thrasher’s senatorial district runs along the coast from Nassau to Volusia counties and does not include Clay County. State law is vague on what constitutes residency for legislators, with the principal requirement being the legislator’s intent to make an address his home. Thrasher’s 1,527-square-foot condominium in St. Augustine has a homestead exemption, and he has stated that it is his primary residence. Most of his legal documents list the condo as his residence. As of last month, Thrasher had the Times-Union delivered to his Fleming Island home every day. Some of his legal documents were mailed to that address as was his water bill, which has been as high as $450 a month – all indications that his Fleming Island home is his main residence.”

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Unnecessary Censorship

Jimmy Kimmel isn’t among our favorites, but his latest edition of “Unnecessary Censorship” is worth the double-edged visual puns:

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St. Johns Cancels County Fair

“The fair started with the premise of giving our youth a place to show their 4-H projects,” Fred Springer, a veterinarian with offices in Elkton and St. Augustine who served as the volunteer fair manager for the past five years, told the Record. “The poor economy is to blame (for it closing). (Financing) is entirely based on sponsorship. Last year, we had zero cash sponsorship.” The Record continues: “Every year for the last seven years, the fair made just enough to put on next year’s fair. Springer said that there’s enough money to put on a fair this year, he said. But if that’s spent, there’s nothing for 2012 and he fears that the fair might close for good. […] Mounting the St. Johns County Fair costs between $50,000 and $55,000. […] But last year, the fair had only $35,000 to spend and there was no entertainment, which hurt attendance.” The full story.

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What $15 Trillion in $100 Bills Looks Like

From the folks at

Click on the image for larger view.

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  • Here’s what happens if ratings agencies downgrade U.S. debt: It’s really bad

Urgent: Jason Alexander on the Netflix Relief Fund

Take out your wallets, your handkerchiefs, your indignation:

Netflix Relief Fund with Jason Alexander from Jason Alexander

Why Progressives Need a Big Idea

Eugene Robinson in the Washington Post: “It is clear that unless President Obama ends up taking unilateral action to break a hopeless deadlock, Republicans will win. The House, the Senate and the White House are all working within GOP-defined parameters. […] Conservatives are on a winning streak because they have a Big Idea that serves as an animating, motivating, unifying force. It happens to be a very bad idea, but it’s better than nothing — which, sadly, is what progressives have. The simplistic Big Idea that defines today’s Republican Party is that taxes are always too high and government spending is always wasteful. Therefore, both taxes and spending need to be reduced. […] I can think of no greater threat to our nation’s prospects than the GOP’s policy-by-anecdote crusade against government. The United States is falling behind other nations in infrastructure, education and health-care indicators such as infant mortality and life expectancy. […] People may dislike paying taxes, but they dislike unemployment more. Progressives should talk about bringing the nation back to full employment and healthy growth — and how this requires an adequately funded government to play a major role.” The full column.

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Florida’s Water Problem Solved: Astronomers Find Largest Reservoir of Water

This artist's concept illustrates a quasar, or feeding black hole, similar to APM 08279+5255, where astronomers discovered huge amounts of water vapor. Gas and dust likely form a torus around the central black hole, with clouds of charged gas above and below. X-rays emerge from the very central region, while thermal infrared radiation is emitted by dust throughout most of the torus. While this figure shows the quasar's torus approximately edge-on, the torus around APM 08279+5255 is likely positioned face-on from our point of view. Click on the image for larger view. (NASA/ESA)

From Nasa: “Two teams of astronomers have discovered the largest and farthest reservoir of water ever detected in the universe. The water, equivalent to 140 trillion times all the water in the world’s ocean, surrounds a huge, feeding black hole, called a quasar, more than 12 billion light-years away. “The environment around this quasar is very unique in that it’s producing this huge mass of water,” said Matt Bradford, a scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “It’s another demonstration that water is pervasive throughout the universe, even at the very earliest times.” Bradford leads one of the teams that made the discovery. His team’s research is partially funded by NASA and appears in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. […] Astronomers expected water vapor to be present even in the early, distant universe, but had not detected it this far away before. There’s water vapor in the Milky Way, although the total amount is 4,000 times less than in the quasar, because most of the Milky Way’s water is frozen in ice. Water vapor is an important trace gas that reveals the nature of the quasar. In this particular quasar, the water vapor is distributed around the black hole in a gaseous region spanning hundreds of light-years in size (a light-year is about six trillion miles). Its presence indicates that the quasar is bathing the gas in X-rays and infrared radiation, and that the gas is unusually warm and dense by astronomical standards. Although the gas is at a chilly minus 63 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 53 degrees Celsius) and is 300 trillion times less dense than Earth’s atmosphere, it’s still five times hotter and 10 to 100 times denser than what’s typical in galaxies like the Milky Way. Measurements of the water vapor and of other molecules, such as carbon monoxide, suggest there is enough gas to feed the black hole until it grows to about six times its size. Whether this will happen is not clear, the astronomers say, since some of the gas may end up condensing into stars or might be ejected from the quasar.” The full story.

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When Lady Gaga Is Great

When she’s not acting like a degenerate, she can really sing. Watch:

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Why Time Flies

From Scientific American: “Everybody knows that the passage of time is not constant. Moments of terror or elation can stretch a clock tick to what seems like a life time. Yet, we do not know how the brain “constructs” the experience of subjective time. Would it not be important to know so we can find ways to make moments last, or pass by, more quickly? A recent study by van Wassenhove and colleagues is beginning to shed some light on this problem. […] [S]ome investigators have suggested that the amount of energy spent during thinking and experiencing defines the subjective experience of duration. In other words, the more energy it takes to process a stimulus the longer it appears as a subjective experience of time. Something moving toward you has more relevance than the same stimulus moving away from you: You may need to prepare somehow; time seems to move more slowly. The experience of time is not linear. Fear and joy stretch time as do stimuli that move towards us. What can we learn from these studies for our day-to-day experiences? When we experience something as “taking a long time” it is really the result of three inter-twined processes: the actual duration of the event, how we feel about the event, and whether we think the event is approaching us. There is little we can do about the first factor but there are obvious ways of modulating how we feel about an event and how we think about an event approaching us. Future studies will need to address the question of whether modifying these factors can alter our subjective time experience so that that we can shorten life’s painfully extended moments of boredom and extend those wonderful moments of bliss.

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A Tribute to Jim Hensen and the Muppets

From Open Culture: “Good luck staying dry-eyed through this moving tribute to Jim Henson, which features a group of puppets trying to cope with the death of their beloved creator. It’s a long time since we’ve seen the so-called stages of grief dramatized so beautifully and with such economy. (The filmmakers recently followed up their 5-minute short with a trailer for what looks like a promising feature-length version.)”

Overtime from ouryatlan on Vimeo.

A Few Good Links

17 Responses for “George W. Bush’s Debt, Thrasher’s $1.3 Million Home, Unnecessary Censorship: The Live Wire”

  1. Mike says:

    Well, of course it is Bush’s debt. Obama inherited a large mess. Anybody with any rational thought process can see that. But a chart helps the simple-minded Republican elk. Perhaps it should have been provided to them in cartoon form as well? Make a power point using Sponge Bob to make it clearer.

  2. Jack says:

    Many people — politicians and pundits alike — prattle on that China owns most of America’s $14.3 trillion in government debt. It’s NOT TRUE!

    I’ll keep it brief for our simple-minded Republicans, just in case that chart is too difficult to understand: America owes foreigners about $4.5 trillion in debt. But America owes America $9.8 trillion.

  3. Jack says:

    And here’s another related article to the debt:

  4. palmcoaster says:

    Great link Jack thank you!

  5. Kyle Russell says:

    Also relevant is the fact that with the cuts Congress is considering, the economy might not recover until 2020:

  6. NortonSmitty says:

    I wrote about this in another older blog the other day and i don’t think too many people caught it, so I’m going to bring it up again. This is a statistic that absolutely floors me. So much that i can’t understand it not cutting through anybodies ideologies that they hold as core fact to hold up and argue against anybody. Whether you think the main cause of our financial woes are Bushes tax cuts, Welfare, social security, Medicare, Corporate tax breaks, Whatever, I don’t care.

    Try to wrap your mind and absorb this one unarguable statistic. A single line item in the Pentagons budget, vetted and published with the backing of the General who is the Chief Logistician for the Pentagon in Iraq and Afghanistan, Brig. Gen. Steven Anderson. Think of this one expenditure in the vast military budget when you want to understand where the money goes:

    We have a lot of tents in these two theaters of war. They are used for everything from barracks to offices. Mess halls, maintenance facilities, storage, whatever. It gets hot in these places, so hard as it may be to understand to those vets from WWII, Korea and Viet Nam, today we need to Air Condition these tents. For reasons of comfort, Computers, or efficiencies, the Pentagon feels there is a requirement to have these tents air conditioned. Whatever the reason, this is not the point.

    I’m slowly working my way to the point that absolutely stuns me. The point that I feel should be on the front page of every newspaper and lead story on every newscast on every channel until it is known by everyone in the country. Better known than the 13 trillion dollar national debt, Sarah Palins Church, Obama’s birthplace, Wieners wiener, Bachmans migraines, Amy Winehouse dead body or whatever the Glass Teat is telling us is the Most Important Thing in the History of the World to This Moment in Time….

    The cost to merely Air Condition the tents we have in Iraq and Afghanistan is budgeted for $20.2 Billion Dollars in the year 2011 Anno Dominio. $20,200,000,000.00.

    Over Twenty Billion of our scarce, diminishing, hard-earned, fought over, whined about and precious MotherFucking tax dollars are being squandered this recessionary year to merely Air condition tents in just TWO of our many war zones! A minor line-item expenditure. Nothing compared to what we’re spending on Bombs, fuel, Payroll, flying killer robots, bribes, graft, Nation building and most importantly PROFIT!

    A very minor portion of the Defense budget when you look at the Big Picture, but let me try to put this overlooked blip on our glorious military budget item into perspective:

    $20.2 Billion Dollars is more than the ENTIRE BUDGET OF N.A.S.A.!!! We just laid off 6,000 engineers and scientists and cancelled the space shuttle and all future manned space programs in the name of austerity and we never heard a word about the fact we are spending MORE THAN THAT EVERY YEAR TO AIR CONDITION THE ARMY’S FUCKING TENTS?

    We let Halliburton sling freon and steal more than TWICE what we spend on feeding every kid in America with the nationwide School Lunch Program! Right out of our pockets and we don’t hear one word about it, but every day we have to listen to the Koch-sucking Tea Bagging Brigade put their face in front of a camera on all of the news shows and scream convincingly that the REAL problem with America is that after thirty years of serving those lunches, THAT OLD LUNCH WOMAN IS GETTING A PENSION SHE CAN LIVE ON AND STEALING IT OUT OF THE POCKET OF A HEDGE FUND MANAGER! NO WONDER THERE ARE NO JOBS!!!

    Mark Twain said over 150 years ago “People pretty much get the Government they deserve.” He was right and we are. But if you Republican backing corporatist fucksticks can read the post above and still think that the problem with our America is overtaxing the rich, corporate over-regulation and unions and pensions, and the rest of us don’t smack you upside the head and tell you to shut your idiotic piehole, I think we all will deserve the screwing we will continue to get here in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.

    Have a good night.

  7. lilith says:

    its obama’s debt….

  8. NortonSmitty says:

    Wow,glad to hear it. Thought it was our debt.

  9. Kyle Russell says:

    I guess we can just have it be paid off by the revenues from his memoirs… for the next few hundred years.

  10. ignorancecosts says:

    Regardless of who racked up the debt, (actually it was Republican and Democrat Congressmen) the point is, we are where we are because we spend too much money. This link to a chart should help you understand a bit more than you do now about the money that our children and grandchildren are going to have to pay back. If there is any money left to pay back by 2030. and if you catch Marco Rubio’s little talk he made yesterday on the house floor, along with some questions from John Kerry, you might learn a bit more than the media and most politicians are telling you.

  11. ignorancecosts says:

    Whoops, I don’t know what happened to the links. Try again. But, judging from most of the comments made on this article, minds have already been closed to any new data. Especially if it doesn’t come your sources.

  12. ignorancecosts says:

    If the links cant’ be included, or I posted them wrong, just delete my comments. Thank you.

  13. Lucine says:

    Gee, Lilith…such deep insight.

    Nortonsmitty: Saints be praised! Somebody here who can put together coherent thought and deep analysis. I thoroughly enjoy reading your insights.

  14. palmcoaster says:

    Kudos to Norton Smitty!
    I am glad that not most are brainwashed yet.

  15. Pat Mc says:

    It is just so easy to blame Bush. What has Obama or the Dems done to fix it????

  16. Atilla says:

    Well I know this will be a lighting rod but at the current pace BO has racked up 2.4 trillion and given 8 full years would would ring up 11 trillion next to GB’s 6.4 in his eight years. WE ALL know this has to stop and we should all know some things that we would like to see WE cannot afford. It will pain some more than others, but society will not continue as we know it and want to see it if we continue to do it on credit, and the sooner we break the cycle the less painful it will be. ALSO I am happy that it is George Bush’s debt I thought I was going to have to pay more taxes for it :) (congress passes budgets all George and Obama do is sign them, if congress takes it out they cannot put it in) (blame congress at least equally to the Presidents)

  17. lawabidingcitizen says:

    So much nuttiness, so little time. Where to start?

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