Sarcasm – Gotta Love It

And I do! Oh how I love it. And irony too. Oh, and while we’re at it, I enjoy laughing. A lot.

Which is why I like this article titled “A link between climate change and Joplin tornadoes? Never!“.

Caution: It is vitally important not to make connections. When you see pictures of rubble like this week’s shots from Joplin, Mo., you should not wonder: Is this somehow related to the tornado outbreak three weeks ago in Tuscaloosa, Ala., or the enormous outbreak a couple of weeks before that (which, together, comprised the most active April for tornadoes in U.S. history). No, that doesn’t mean a thing.

It is far better to think of these as isolated, unpredictable, discrete events. It is not advisable to try to connect them in your mind with, say, the fires burning across Texas — fires that have burned more of America at this point this year than any wildfires have in previous years. Texas, and adjoining parts of Oklahoma and New Mexico, are drier than they’ve ever been — the drought is worse than that of the Dust Bowl. But do not wonder if they’re somehow connected.

If you did wonder, you see, you would also have to wonder about whether this year’s record snowfalls and rainfalls across the Midwest — resulting in record flooding along the Mississippi — could somehow be related. And then you might find your thoughts wandering to, oh, global warming, and to the fact that climatologists have been predicting for years that as we flood the atmosphere with carbon we will also start both drying and flooding the planet, since warm air holds more water vapor than cold air.


It’s very important to stay calm. If you got upset about any of this, you might forget how important it is not to disrupt the record profits of our fossil fuel companies. If worst ever did come to worst, it’s reassuring to remember what the U.S. Chamber of Commerce told the Environmental Protection Agency in a recent filing: that there’s no need to worry because “populations can acclimatize to warmer climates via a range of behavioral, physiological, and technological adaptations.” I’m pretty sure that’s what residents are telling themselves in Joplin today.

So yeah, I laughed. But I also wanted to cry. I think often about just what kind of world we are leaving for the kids. While we have professions in “social media”, they’ll have professions in “global clean up” and “how to make rafts out of credit cards”.

I personally know several people who go absolutely frothing at the mouth at the very notion of “global warming”. Each time we got yet another snow storm or the temps stayed below freezing for the second week, there they’d go ranting and raving about how if it is a “global warming”, why is it snowing outside?”. Heavy sigh.

Which reminds me of a joke/parable.

There’s this place that has flood watch out. Neighbors say do you need anything? Guy says no, God will provide.
Then it is a flood warning and they’re told to evacuate. Neighbors say come with us and guy says no, God will provide.
Water is lapping at his porch and the local police, along with the Nat’l Guard, offer him a ride in their Hummer. No, the guy says, God will provide.
Water is now up to the second floor and a rescue boat comes by but, that’s right, the guy says God will provide.
The flood is now up to his roof and the guy clings to the chimney. Helicopter lowers a rescuer but, nope, God will provide.
The guy drowns and he’s standing in Heaven and he says God, why didn’t you provide?
God says “I did, you idiot! I sent your neighbors twice then a Hummer, a boat, and a helicopter!”

So Gaia and God have been trying to tell us we’re about to drown (metaphorically speaking. maybe) yet, we just ignore them.

2012 Election

I almost wish the Mayan calendar does mean the world ends next year. I don’t think I can stand another election campaign. If they’d just talk about what they will do or where they stand but, no, they have to spend money cutting each other up and that crap.

At any rate, the Republican “race” is looking interesting. I laughed when I heard Gingrich was going to run. Still laughing, actually.

But now I am laughing harder. I’d heard he’d had a bad week with the press so when I found an article that lists it all out, I was pleased.

The Increasingly Poor Decisions Of Newton Leroy Gingrich

As everyone knows, this was the week that the federal government hit its deficit ceiling. That was the story everyone thought would dominate the week. Yet, somehow, Newt Gingrich surprised everyone by managing to hit his own first. And in the first full week of his life as an official candidate for president, too! For well over a decade, Gingrich had flirted with running for president, and just over a week ago, he finally decided to officially take the plunge. But by the time the sun had set on his campaign’s first weekend, political touts had cause to wonder if his aspirations were over. Let us now pause and take stock in the bizarre and awful week of self-inflicting wounds and puzzling decisions that the former speaker of the House has had, shall we?


It is a well done article and, after reading well over half of it, I’d not found an error. But I stopped reading because I couldn’t read for the tears of laughter blocking my vision. Seems as though, after an interview on the yawn worthy Meet the Press, and after several days of denials and apologies and all that crap, Gingrich’s spokesman Rick Tyler sent out a press release that reads more like a jumble of Haiku than a statement.

“The literati sent out their minions to do their bidding,” Tyler wrote. “Washington cannot tolerate threats from outsiders who might disrupt their comfortable world. The firefight started when the cowardly sensed weakness. They fired timidly at first, then the sheep not wanting to be dropped from the establishment’s cocktail party invite list unloaded their entire clip, firing without taking aim their distortions and falsehoods. Now they are left exposed by their bylines and handles. But surely they had killed him off. This is the way it always worked. A lesser person could not have survived the first few minutes of the onslaught. But out of the billowing smoke and dust of tweets and trivia emerged Gingrich, once again ready to lead those who won’t be intimated by the political elite and are ready to take on the challenges America faces.”

While it is indeed humorous, it is actually more painful than funny. That is, until I see that Cothbert (who I do not watch) covered this on his show.

(you can slide over to about 0:58 to miss out on the cheering audience or skip his part and get right to the meat of it at 2:38 or so although what he says sets the rest up quite nicely)

The Value of Proofreading

I have noticed this more and more lately and it is quite disturbing. Usually, it is glaring errors in the article itself but now I’m seeing it in headlines. And not just headlines from small magazines and the like. This one is from CBS News.

A vane Osama bin Laden shown in new videos
CBS News – Bob Orr

(the sad source)

In case you missed it:

vane (plural vanes)
– (countable) A weather vane.
– Any of several usually relatively thin, rigid, flat, or sometimes curved surfaces radially mounted along an axis, as a blade in a turbine or a sail on a windmill, that is turned by or used to turn a fluid.
– (ornithology) The flattened, web-like part of a feather, consisting of a series of barbs on either side of the shaft.
– A sight on a sextant or compass.
– One of the metal guidance or stabilizing fins attached to the tail of a bomb or other missile.


vain (comparative vainer or more vain, superlative vainest or most vain)
– overly proud of oneself, especially when concerning appearance
– having very little substance
– effecting no purpose; pointless, futile.

I’m betting my 11 yr old niece (who wants to grow up to be a writer) wouldn’t mix up the words. And I’m betting that if she did, she would see it on the first read through. Real journalists don’t make those kind of mistakes. Real news editors wouldn’t let it go past their desk. But I’m thinking that both species are endangered. Journalism just isn’t what it used to be.

I know it may seem trivial, but it’s not. This was a major news source (CBS News) and a big headline. I knew at a simple glance that it wasn’t right. Had it been Fox News, I would not have been surprised. But CBS? I expect more.

Civil Discourse


What kind of society do we have where a class has to be offered for political civil discourse? One of the outcomes of the shooting in Tuscon where Rep. Giffords and others were shot is the University of Arizona in Tuscon is starting a “Civility Institute” and will offer classes and seminars in political civil discourse. We have to take classes to learn how to be speak nicely to each other? Sure, in high school we had debate classes and in college we took speaking classes. You’d think that politicians would remember at least some of what they learned there.

But, nope. News programs are focused on sensationalism instead of journalism because it “sells” better.Who wants to watch two political opponents being nice to each other during a debate? Even the Weather Channel is more about drama than the weather.

Dr. Milward said the institute would focus on political disagreements “from the grass roots all the way to the top.”

“In a great democracy, it’s important for people to hold fast to principles, but at the same time to understand where they might be able to compromise,” he said.


Mr. DuVal, who was a friend of Ms. Giffords’s and was a co-chairman of her finance committee, said he hoped the institute would be one way the nation could work toward such a goal. One of the first steps, he said, would be to attempt defining “best practices and corrosive practices.”

“How do we nurture robustness on one hand and not in any way chill speech, and keep it in bounds that are not destructive to democracy?” he said. “Will it change the nature of dialogue? That will be a tall order.”


I don’t mind arguing during a debate. It can reveal flaws as well as the beauty and truth in your point. Or theirs.

I think one of the things that has created this kind of separation between common decency and our words is the creation of the internet and it’s many outlets. On a forum, no one knows you are sitting in your robe or in a cafe (hopefully not both at once). You can say what you want because no one really knows who you are. That feeling of anonymity flows over into places where we are known. Sensationalism eggs us on. A chart with crosshairs over your “enemies” isn’t really violence or promoting violence. It is a visual imagery representing your goals. It is your site so you can limit who can contribute and no real debate takes place. Only your side is presented. You don’t have to be nice. Why should you? Would Palin have told Gifford to her face in a civil discussion that she considers her to be within her group’s crosshairs? The she considers Gifford worthy of elimination, not just defeated in an election?

It’s not just the politicians who need to attend any classes they may have. We all need to learn how to discuss things as rational beings. From Westboro representatives protesting at funerals to politicians denying civil rights, common decency is going extinct.

More on Borders Books

More information and better written articles are slowly appearing. Writer Beware has an excellent (as always) post about it that has good links to further explanations and opinions.

Borders isn’t the only bookstore to announce bankruptcy. There’s one in Canada (which came as a surprise as opposed to the slow shipwreck crash of Borders) and a huge chain in Australia.

What is interesting are the comments to the post. I was going to quote some of them and decided not to. My theories on the self-publish mentality belong in another post/rant for another time.

Borders Books Bankruptcy

(say that real fast three times!)

At first, I was saddened by the bankruptcy filing of Borders Books. Not that we have one near us, but that any bookstore closing/failing is never a good thing.

But then someone reminded me of why it is an awful thing in this case. Let me explain.

As a writer, my publisher sells my book for me. Regal Crest is listed with several distributors who produce catalogs from which bookstores, such as Borders, order books from. But, unlike you and me ordering from a catalog, books are done differently. If I order seeds from a catalog, I pay for those seeds first, get them, and if I don’t use them all, unless the packet was unopened and IF the company has a decent return policy, I am S.O.L. and have seeds left over. Now let’s say Borders orders 5 of my books. They don’t pay for them. Consider it commission sales, I suppose. They sell 3. They return 2 (returns are standard practice and publishers who don’t accept returns, don’t survive for long). And, eventually, they get around to paying the distributor for the 3 they sold. Then, the distributor pays Regal Crest who then pays me. Bigger publishing houses are their own distributors so Borders would be paying them directly.

Now, back to the seeds. If I bought the seeds on my credit card, the credit card company pays the seed company then waits for me to pay them. If I declare bankruptcy, I can either pay them back a very small fraction or not at all, depending on the type of bankruptcy. So the credit card company is out of the money I owe them.

Borders is declaring bankruptcy. They sold a lot of books. They got paid for them immediately by the customer or shortly after by the credit card companies. But they’ve not paid the distributors or publishers yet. Which means RCE’s distributor isn’t getting paid which means RCE isn’t getting paid which means, you guessed it, I’m not getting paid.

In reading an article about Borders, I came across this information: (bolding mine)

Now the company is set to close some 200 stores and shed much of its staff in the coming weeks. The stores slated for closure are scattered throughout the country, including three outlets in Manhattan, 35 in California and 15 stores in the Chicago metropolitan area.

The company currently operates more than 650 stores and employs 19,500 people. Borders said that its stores would remain open during the bankruptcy process and that its rewards program would remain in effect. The company said it would continue to honor gift cards and coupons.

In its filing in United States Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, Borders listed $1.29 billion in debt and $1.27 billion in assets. As of the filing, Borders owed $272 million to its 30 largest unsecured creditors — including $41.1 million to the Penguin Group USA.


Now, first, FIFTEEN stores in the Chicago area?! Fifteen? For real? And that’s just the number they are closing. FIFTEEN!?

Second, $41.1 million owed just to Penguin. That’s a lot of money. And you can bet those writers aren’t going to be paid any more than I will be.

I am betting that we are going to start seeing other large chain stores start to falter. Like Borders, a lot of them exploded in growth that no longer has the demand. Borders (and the other Big Box Book Stores) killed a lot of small, locally owned bookstores. And now the Internet has killed them. Karma’s a bitch.

Sarah Palin Rant

(I’m in a bad mood again. Consider yerse’f warned.)

I saw a headline a few days ago that made me twitch. It was where Palin said we (meaning the US) need to stand beside our North Korean allies.

Now, I’m not a history buff. I couldn’t tell you the time frame of the Korean War. But I could tell you which side we (meaning the US) are allied with. It ain’t the North.

I assumed I had mis-read and since I wasn’t interested in a blood pressure increase, I didn’t read further. Today I came across this article: (bold text is my doing)

Why Sarah Palin’s North Korea Flub Matters

Sarah Palin provided prime material for news outlets and comedy programs when she said on Glenn Beck’s radio show Wednesday:

“But obviously, we’ve got to stand with our North Korean allies.”

If she hasn’t already, I’m sure Palin will say that the “elitist,” “lamestream” media is doing her wrong, and that she is once again a victim of “gotcha journalism.” And Palin’s small but passionate group of supporters will undoubtedly argue that Palin made an honest slip of the tongue, something that could happen to any of us. Her supporters are right. Saying “North” instead of “South” is something that any of us could easily do.

But here’s the thing: Any of us did not stand up two years ago and claim we were qualified to fill a job that is a heartbeat away from the American presidency. We haven’t written books, made speeches, endorsed candidates and spoken to the (mostly right-wing) media as if we were policy experts. And we haven’t been scouting office space in Iowa for a 2012 presidential run.


That’s the real story about the Palin flub about North Korea that the media isn’t covering. It’s not that she misspoke, but that anyone cared what she had to say on the issue in the first place.

Sarah Palin, with her reliance on spouting talking points, simplistic approach to issues and complete lack of experience beyond a half term as governor of a state the size of Columbus, Ohio, is not competent to be discussing North Korea. (Columbus, Ohio’s population is bigger than Alaska’s, 769,360 to 698,743.) And shame on any media outlet that treats her opinions as if they’re worth anything.

The real damning Palin quote in the Beck interview is the one in which she worries if “the White House is gonna come out with a strong enough policy to sanction what it is that North Korea’s gonna do.” Putting aside her usual butchering of the English language, she takes a complicated problem facing the United States (and the world) and reduces it to a talking-point political attack on the president.

Her comment reveals that she has no understanding that we are dealing with a North Korean leadership that may not be rational and may even be self-destructive. And one with the firepower to kill legions of South Korean civilians. To her simplistic, politics-driven approach, it’s only about how the Democratic president isn’t tough enough. (As an aside, she is talking about a president who has increased troops in Afghanistan, stepped up drone attacks on the enemy, and taken out more Taliban and al Qaeda leaders than George W. Bush ever did, but I digress… )

Personally, the fact she baled out of her job as governor just half-way through her term tells me she got a case of the big-head and wanted more. To hell with her obligations to Alaska. She’d ridden that boat as far as she thought it could take her then jumped to another.

I sincerely doubt the Republican Party is insane enough to nominate her to run for President in 2012. I know they have slid backwards a lot lately but, surely, not that far back.

As y’all know from previous posts, I full support the right of Free Speech. I support Palin’s right to open her mouth and continue to prove she is an idiot. What I don’t support is this “pot calling the kettle black” mentality and here I will digress some.

What the fudge are they doing calling themselves the Tea Party for? They injure the original Tea Party folks. The original one, which happened in Boston harbor in 1773, was an early act of rebellion by the Colonists against Britain and Big Corporations. (read about it on Wikipedia) Basically it was about taxation without representation.

Now we have these idiots Americans who call themselves the Tea Party as a response to the way they think America is being run. Thing is, they started this group at the change of government, putting total blame on a brand new President and NOT on the previous administration. Um, wha…? They protest the acts of this new administration, blaming it for the unemployment, the recession, and for not acting quick enough to do what they want. Um, wha…? The original Boston Tea Party-goers did something. They stopped bitching and they did something. Granted, that something got everyone in trouble (the 5 ‘Coercive Acts’) but they did something at least. What has the current Tea Party done? Caused a huge rift in an already crumbling political party, brought all the nut cases out from all sorts of closets, and made us the further laughing stock of the rest of the world. (please, please, stop calling them “tea baggers”. makes me gag)

We can’t act as a nation with so many directional pulls. On the one hand, McCain (bless his twisted heart) says the repeal of the DADT push by Obama is ‘politically driven’ (duh, it’s Washington. what else fuels the crap there besides money?). What is Palin’s comments based on? Sheer love for this country or sheer love of the power and big-head case she has? No, it is also politically driven but for some reason, for her it is allowed. Oh, that’s right, she’s a Republican and therefore exempt. Riiiiight.

One last thing and then I will shut up. Maybe.

I think that when a person holding a political office decides to run for another office, they need to quit first. While H. Clinton was running against Obama, who was looking out for the state of NY’s interests in the Senate? While Palin was joy-riding with McCain, who was looking out for Alaska? And after losing, they all go back to their original jobs and proceed to represent their constituents against an opponent they lost against. It ain’t right. Not right at all.

Let’s say Lorna wanted to work for FedEx. But first, she needs to show that FedEx delivers better than the USPS and UPS and how she, as a future employer of FedEx, would be a good representative if hired. Meanwhile, she is still delivering mail for USPS. How far do you think that would last? And how happy do you think USPS would be when she returned, unhired to FedEx, to get back to work for a company she ignored and/or mistreated?

So why would the state of Alaska, NY, and all those others even WANT them back?