January 27, 2009

In other news...

  • Mr. The Plumber has a new job that doesn't involve sitting on his couch. He's now a war correspondent for pjtv.com and will be reporting on the situation in Israel. Seriously is there nothing this guy can't do?!?!
  • As it turns out, no one really knows if private contracts for government services are actually saving taxpayers money. I'd be willing to bet it COULD, but that would require the Republicans who control state government to actually hold their contributors accountable.
  • The word of the day is Agnotology which is defined as "Culturally constructed ignorance, purposefully created by special interest groups working hard to create confusion and suppress the truth". From Wired

    “When it comes to many contentious subjects, our usual relationship to information is reversed: Ignorance increases.

    [Proctor] has developed a word inspired by this trend: agnotology. Derived from the Greek root agnosis, it is “the study of culturally constructed ignorance.”

    As Proctor argues, when society doesn’t know something, it’s often because special interests work hard to create confusion. Anti-Obama groups likely spent millions insisting he’s a Muslim; church groups have shelled out even more pushing creationism. The oil and auto industries carefully seed doubt about the causes of global warming. And when the dust settles, society knows less than it did before.

    “People always assume that if someone doesn’t know something, it’s because they haven’t paid attention or haven’t yet figured it out,” Proctor says. “But ignorance also comes from people literally suppressing truth—or drowning it out—or trying to make it so confusing that people stop caring about what’s true and what’s not.”

  • Joseph Stiglitz has a great piece in Vanity Fair about the lead up to the credit crisis and it's, honestly, a really good read. My favorite part

    The truth is most of the individual mistakes boil down to just one: a belief that markets are self-adjusting and that the role of government should be minimal. Looking back at that belief during hearings this fall on Capitol Hill, Alan Greenspan said out loud, “I have found a flaw.” Congressman Henry Waxman pushed him, responding, “In other words, you found that your view of the world, your ideology, was not right; it was not working.” “Absolutely, precisely,” Greenspan said. The embrace by America—and much of the rest of the world—of this flawed economic philosophy made it inevitable that we would eventually arrive at the place we are today.

    Gee, doesn't that sound kind of familiar?

  • President Obama had an interesting conversation last week with Congressional R's...

    Challenged by one Republican senator over the contents of the package, the new president, according to participants, replied: “I won.”

    The statement was prompted by Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl of Arizona , who challenged the president and the Democratic leaders over the balance between the package’s spending and tax cuts, bringing up the traditional Republican notion that a tax credit for people who do not earn enough to pay income taxes is not a tax cut but a government check.

    Obama noted that such workers pay Social Security and Medicare taxes, property taxes and sales taxes. The issue was widely debated during the presidential campaign, when Sen. John McCain, the Republican nominee, challenged Obama’s tax plan as “welfare.”

    With those two words — “I won” — the Democratic president let the Republicans know that debate has been put to rest Nov. 4 .

    Democratic and Republican aides confirmed the exchange. A White House spokesman said he wasn’t immediately aware of the exchange. The aides who heard the remarks stressed that it wasn’t as boldly partisan as it might sound.

    I, of course, would have loved it had the president physically hit Senator Kyl for continuing to be blindly ideological. But that's just me... I have about as much respect for Senator Kyl as I do for other people who are really stupid. And loud.

  • Havagoodun!

    Posted by mcblogger at January 27, 2009 11:58 AM

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