Archive for July, 2009

29
Jul
09

Roundup – Ce Soir

Line o’ the Day:

6. Ice Cream Sandwich. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. Ice cream sandwiches are fucking tremendous, but the only bad part of eating them is when you’re finished and it looks like you just went three fingers deep inside someone else’s asshole. Little children are also vulnerable to the dreaded Ice Cream Sandwich Sanchez, in which the chocolate part of the sandwich gets encrusted around your mouth, giving you that freshly administered Rusty Trombone look.

16. Dippin Dots. You see Dippin Dots in ice cream trucks now, along with baseball stadiums, beach towns, and everywhere else. They’re fucking retarded. Oooh, it’s the ice cream of the FUTURE! In the future, all food comes in pellet form! Now I know how it feels to be a goat in a petting zoo. Get fucked, Dippin Dots. I’ll take my ice cream in non-ball bearing form.” [Big Daddy Drew via Deadspin]

Best of the Best:

NEWISCANE:

Finishing Quote:

“Munk asked the hedge fund manager to look at Harvard’s finances and assess the extent to which its endowment will be able to keep pace with its immovable costs. The hedge fund manager’s conclusion: ‘They are completely fucked.’” [Vanity Fair on Harvard's endowment troubles]

28
Jul
09

Off Topic: Glenn Greenwald on the Obama Betrayal

Glenn Greenwald has been one of the most vocal and salient voices on the Obama Administration’s backtracking on, and even the expansion of, the civil liberties abuses by the Bush Administration.  According to his Salon blog: “I was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator in New York. I am the author of two New York Times Bestselling books: “How Would a Patriot Act?” (May, 2006), a critique of the Bush administration’s use of executive power, and “A Tragic Legacy” (June, 2007), which examines the Bush legacy. My most recent book, “Great American Hypocrites”, examines the manipulative electoral tactics used by the GOP and propagated by the establishment press, and was released in April, 2008, by Random House/Crown.”

One would note this hardly makes him either a far left or far right ideologue.  He has, as detailed at the very bottom of this post, opposed many Conservative areas including gay rights (Greenwald is gay), drug laws, and the financial bailouts, particularly from bonus and profit perspectives.  He has also praised Obama in a number of otherwise controversial areas, such as the Sonia Sotomayor nomination.

The Obama Abuses (some articles are followed by money quotes from the post):

Civil Liberties:

  • Obama fails his first test on civil liberties and accountability — resoundingly and disgracefully (2/9/09)
  • Obama and habeas corpus — then and now (4/11/09)
  • Obama’s kinder, gentler military commissions: “It now appears definitive that the Obama administration will attempt to preserve a “modified” version of George Bush’s military commissions, rather than try suspected terrorists in our long-standing civilian court system or a court-martial proceeding under the Uniform Code of Military Justice…It is plainly not the case that these “modifications” address the core criticisms directed to what Bush did, nor is it the case that Obama’s campaign position on this issue can be reconciled with what he is now doing.” (5/15/09)
  • · The NYT sums up Obama’s civil liberties record in one paragraph: Quoting the New York Times: “President Obama’s decisions this week to retain important elements of the Bush-era system for trying terrorism suspects and to block the release of pictures showing abuse of American-held prisoners abroad are the most graphic examples yet of how he has backtracked, in substantial if often nuanced ways, from the approach to national security that he preached as a candidate, and even from his first days in the Oval Office.” (5/16/09)
  • Obama’s embrace of Bush terrorism policies is celebrated as “Centrism”: “Obama makes a melodramatic showing of ordering Guantanamo closed but then re-creates its systematic denial of detainee rights in Bagram, and “[l]ast month Secretary of Defense Gates hinted that up to 100 suspected terrorists would be detained without trial.”  Obama announces that all interrogations must comply with the Army Field Manual but then has his CIA Director announce that he will seek greater interrogation authority whenever it is needed and convenes a task force to determine which enhanced interrogation methods beyond the Field Manual should be authorized.  He railed against Bush’s Guantanamo military commissions but then preserved them with changes that are plainly cosmetic.  Obama has been at least as aggressive as Bush was in asserting radical secrecy doctrines in order to prevent courts from ruling on illegal torture and spying programs and to block victims from having a day in court.  He has continued and even “ramped up” so-called “targeted killings” in Pakistan and Afghanistan which, as Goldsmith puts it, “have predictably caused more collateral damage to innocent civilians.”  He has maintained not only Bush’s rendition policy but also the standard used to determine to which countries a suspect can be rendered, and has kept Bush’s domestic surveillance policies in place and unchanged.  Most of all, he has emphatically endorsed the Bush/Cheney paradigm that we are engaged in a “war” against Terrorists — with all of the accompanying presidential “war powers” — rather than the law enforcement challenge that John Kerry, among others, advocated.” (5/19/09)
  • Obama’s civil liberties speech (5/21/09)
  • Obama, the Right and defendants’ rights: “This was yet another case where the Obama DOJ sided with the Bush administration and advocated the position that the conservative justices adopted.  The Obama DOJ aggressively argued before the Court that convicted criminals have no constitutional right to access evidence for DNA analysis.  Indeed, its decision to embrace this extreme Bush position caused much controversy and anger back in February.” (6/20/09)
  • · Establishment view of Obama’s civil liberties record: From a Washington Post Editorial: “President Obama has said that the state secrets doctrine should be reformed, and he has promised to be more measured. Yet when confronted with actual cases the Obama Justice Department has adopted the same legal arguments as the Bush administration.” (6/29/09)
  • The Obama justice system: “Spencer Ackerman yesterday attended a Senate hearing at which the DOD’s General Counsel, Jeh Johnson, testified.  As Ackerman highlighted, Johnson actually said that even for those detainees to whom the Obama administration deigns to give a real trial in a real court, the President has the power to continue to imprison them indefinitely even if they are acquitted at their trial. About this assertion of “presidential post-acquittal detention power” — an Orwellian term (and a Kafka-esque concept) that should send shivers down the spine of anyone who cares at all about the most basic liberties — Ackerman wrote, with some understatement, that it “moved the Obama administration into new territory from a civil liberties perspective.”  Law professor Jonathan Turley was more blunt:  “The Obama Administration continues its retention and expansion of abusive Bush policies — now clearly Obama policies on indefinite detention.”” (7/8/09)

State Secrets

  • The 180-degree reversal of Obama’s State Secrets position: “What was abusive and dangerous about the Bush administration’s version of the States Secret privilege — just as the Obama/Biden campaign pointed out — was that it was used not (as originally intended) to argue that specific pieces of evidence or documents were secret and therefore shouldn’t be allowed in a court case, but instead, to compel dismissal of entire lawsuits in advance based on the claim that any judicial adjudication of even the most illegal secret government programs would harm national security.  That is the theory that caused the bulk of the controversy when used by the Bush DOJ — because it shields entire government programs from any judicial scrutiny — and it is that exact version of the privilege that the Obama DOJ yesterday expressly advocated (and, by implication, sought to preserve for all Presidents, including Obama).”   (2/10/09)
  • Marc Ambinder grants anonymity to “officials” to defend the Obama DOJ: This posts quotes from the New York Times editorial: “The Obama administration failed — miserably — the first test of its commitment to ditching the extravagant legal claims used by the Bush administration to try to impose blanket secrecy on anti-terrorism policies and avoid accountability for serial abuses of the law.” (2/11/09)
  • Charlie Savage on Obama’s embrace of Bush/Cheney “terrorism policies”: “These are not complaints that Obama has failed to act quickly enough to reverse Bush/Cheney policies.  Indeed, there are many areas where Obama has explicitly said he needs time before deciding what he wants to do — closing Guantanamo, proceeding with detainee trials; deciding if he wants to claim Bush’s power to indefinitely detain “enemy combatants” on U.S. soil;  responding to some FOIA requests, etc.  Very few civil libertarians — and certainly not me — have objected to his needing more time before he finalizes his exact policies.  That’s perfectly reasonable.   Some of these issues are truly complex, involve many moving parts, and require that many factions which he needs (e.g., inside the CIA) be placated.  Taking some time is reasonable.  The complaint is not that Obama has failed to move quickly enough to repudiate Bush/Cheney abuses.  Virtually nobody is arguing that.  Rather, the criticisms are grounded in the opposite premise:  these cases which have provoked objections are all cases where Obama has already taken affirmative actions to preserve and defend Bush/Cheney policies.” (2/18/09)
  • New and worse secrecy and immunity claims from the Obama DOJ: “the Obama DOJ filed the government’s first response to EFF’s lawsuit (.pdf), the first of its kind to seek damages against government officials under FISA, the Wiretap Act and other statutes, arising out of Bush’s NSA program.  But the Obama DOJ demanded dismissal of the entire lawsuit based on (1) its Bush-mimicking claim that the “state secrets” privilege bars any lawsuits against the Bush administration for illegal spying, and (2) a brand new “sovereign immunity” claim of breathtaking scope — never before advanced even by the Bush administration — that the Patriot Act bars any lawsuits of any kind for illegal government surveillance unless there is “willful disclosure” of the illegally intercepted communications.” (4/6/09)
  • Keith Olbermann’s scathing criticism of Obama’s secrecy/immunity claims (4/8/09)
  • Major defeat for Bush/Obama position on secrecy (4/28/09)
  • Obama’s support for the new Graham-Lieberman secrecy law: “Obviously anticipating that the Government is likely to lose in court again (.pdf) — Obama wants Congress to change FOIA by retroactively narrowing its disclosure requirements, prevent a legal ruling by the courts, and vest himself with brand new secrecy powers under the law which, just as a factual matter, not even George Bush sought for himself.” (6/1/09)
  • The Obama officials blocking accountability for Bush crimes (6/15/09)
  • Obama and transparency: judge for yourself (6/17/09)

Illegal Spying:

Torture:

Preventive Detention:

Viewpoints Opposing Conservatives:

In Praise of Obama:

23
Jul
09

Roundup – Mystery Team

“We should thank the hobo, so he doesn’t put a curse on us.”

Line O’ the Day (Double Dose of Athletes):

“PLAYING MR. NICE GUY IS OVER…From now on everything is going to be bad, the war is ready to begin and I play … dirty!” – Lenny Dysktra, in texts and emails to his wife [Ventura County Star]

“A lot of the guys will sit there and live football. Every Sunday they’re glued to the t.v. watching football. I don’t watch football. I’d rather watch two people fuck.” – Lawrence Taylor [Sports Radio Interviews]

Best of the Best:

Bloomberg:

Mish on Everything:

NEWISCANE:

18
Jul
09

Roundup – Reagonomics!

Line O’ the Day:

I can’t wait for what’s up next on Arts Beat…  “Better sequel: The Godfather Part II or Transformers 2?”; “Space Heaters: Warmer than the Sun?”;  and “Ouch! I Thought These Were Safety Scissors!” [Warming Glow on the NY Times discussing if Family Guy had surpassed the Simpsons]

Deadspin:

NEWISCANE:

16
Jul
09

Roundup – Fox News Do What Fox News Does

Line O’ the Day:

Well, on this particular Friday evening, rather than the typical DJ, there was a young man with a guitar playing. Same crowd of families and large groups of children sitting at the picnic tables, but listening to this guy and his old Hohner. I didn’t think too much of it at the time, but as we were standing there, I started to realise that I knew the song he was playing, but couldn’t place it. So I actually listened, rather than simply treating it as background noise, and I suddenly realised he was playing Johnny Cash’s “Fulsom Prison Blues” to a group of twelve year old kids. Now, far be it from me to criticise, as I love Johnny Cash as I love few things in this world, but there was something rather odd about seeing a large group of tweeners listen to man sing about the man he shot in Reno.

Well, needless to say, I was thrilled by this, and immediately began to mentally put together a set list that this delightful troubadour could play for these children. I shall share it now with you.

Fulsom Prison Blues – Johnny Cash

Country Death Song – The Violent Femmes

Where the Wild Roses Grow – Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

Where Did You Sleep Last Night – Nirvana

Death Letter – Son House

There. That ought to give the little bastards an idea of what the world is like. [Viva El Birdos]

NEWISCANE:

As The Checkout Line Churns

Clothing Store | Philadelphia, PA, USA

(I’m ringing up a customer and notice her last name is the same as mine. I have a very uncommon last name, so I made the mistake of mentioning this…)

Me: “Your last name is [name]? Mine, too. Wonder if we’re related?” *chuckle*

Customer: *very serious* “What is your name?”

Me: “Oh, I was joking, we’re not related; almost all of my family lives up in New England.”

Customer: *more serious* “What is your name?”

Me: “Uhhh…I’m no–”

Customer: “Do you have a brother named [brother’s name]?”

Me: “Yes, actually…”

Customer: “Is your mother [mom’s name]?”

Me: “Uh, yeah…”

Customer: “And your father’s name is [my estranged father’s name]?”

Me: “Well, he’s my biological father, yes.”

Customer: *sticks out hand* “Nice to meet you, I’m your step-mother!”

(The entire line of about a dozen people behind her gasps, like they were watching a soap opera.)

Me: “Oh, God…please don’t tell my father I work here.”

Customer: “You know why your father left your mother, right?”

Me: “Uh…no?”

Customer: “Because she cheated on him with [my stepfather]!”

(The line behind her gasps again.)

Me: “Oh, okay…”

Customer: “You know, your father is very heartbroken about you. You’ve grown up to be such a beautiful young woman. You should call him and talk to him just so he can see how you’re doing.”

Me: “Actually, we don’t–”

Customer: “You and I need to go out for coffee sometime. I have a lot of stories to tell you.”

Me: “Okay, well–”

Customer: “I promise, I’m not an evil stepmother. Well, I’ll see you later, sweetie!” *bounces out the front door*

Me: *speechless*

Next customer: “Sweetie, are you okay?”

Me: *still speechless*

Next customer: “Why don’t you take a break? We don’t mind waiting.”

Entire line: “No! Go take a break!”

Me, to my boss: “Hey, I’m taking a break. I’ll be back in–”

Boss: “For God’s sake, go home! I’ll see you on Monday.”

[Bloomberg]
16
Jul
09

Tooling Around with Kevin Hassett

Yes, kids and kittens, we’re back with our friend, Kevin Hassett.  Hassett has been a busy motherfucker in the weeks since we last flung poo at him, producing a couple of very worthwhile articles:

These tidy analyses demonstrate Hassett’s considerable political prowess as they are rather adept commentaries on pop culture’s treatment of elected officials and the petty wars amongst our betters.  But, never fear, for Hassett never leaves the economic crazy train for long, slanging a remarkably incoherent screed despite the very good points into which he occasionally rambles.  Fire up the FJM machine, the shitter’s full!

Obama Flubs Schumpeter Creative Destruction 101

Commentary by Kevin Hassett

June 22 (Bloomberg) — In his landmark 1942 book, “Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy,” economist Joseph Schumpeter emphasized the key role that creative destruction plays in generating long-run economic growth. It is the driving force of capitalism.

It’s always fun when Hassett mentions a landmark book because then we can bring up DOW 36,000!  Now in Ninja Text!

That. Just. HAPPENED.

While the used paperback is $0.98 on Amazon, the hardback can apparently be had for $0.01.  Don’t forget the $0.18 audio tapes!  I’m trying to think who would be the most fitting to read it, and I think it’s a tie between Jim Cramer and Lenny Dykstra.

There have been numerous accusations that President Barack Obama is intent on reforming America as a socialist nation.

It sells better with the liberals like fascist does with the republicans.

Obama himself may have fed the beliefs with his own words, saying, as he did, that he believes government should “spread the wealth around.”

Which is naturally code for “sucking up whatever is not nailed down, then taxing nails.”  And remember kids, “preemptive war” is code for “serial rape”.

He also said, back in 2003, that he favors a single-payer system for American health care.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney, asked recently about Obama’s “socialist” policies, responded, “I agree with the criticism without using the labels.”

“But seriously, fuck that Jew.  Wait, are we not talking about Franken anymore?”

Most of Obama’s policies to date are very far from the socialist ideal.

What is the socialist ideal? Canada?  France?  A Buddhist monastery?  Berkley?

They may well move the economy in a direction that a conservative might oppose, but they do not revive the model of the Soviet Union either.

We’re sidling awfully close with preventive detention getting kicked around, protecting the worst civil liberties abuses of the Bush Administration and the wholesale nationalization of industries.  All we need is a menacing national hockey team and a sweet name for our secret police.

Still, there is one aspect of Obama’s policies that gives a student of Schumpeter great pause, and perhaps even some sympathy for Cheney’s answer.

CHENEY DOES NOT NEED YOUR SYMPATHY!  *shoots puppy, claims to be aiming at pheasant, urinates on puppy’s corpse*

Obama and his team seem sharply opposed to the view that creative destruction is a valuable economic force. They seem happy with what might be called destructive destruction — the obliteration of value and wealth without any resulting positive change.

What, like carpet bombing other countries and missile defense systems for no practical reason than to piss off Ivan?

Creative destruction describes the painful effects of innovation and progress. Sometimes great inventions wipe out the existing economy, just as the Internet may be killing print newspapers.

Like DVD porn before them.  So it goes.

In other cases, economic failure clears the way for competition among inventive newcomers. In both scenarios, the nimble and inventive replace the calcified old guard, eventually moving economic welfare to a higher level.

This mention about economic welfare by itself neglects the point about creative destruction.  Economics is fundamentally about the allocation of scarce resources, best implemented by a free market in which property rights are respected, thereby assuring that costs and benefits are borne by those who contribute to them.  When new industries or inventions replace the old, resources are redistributed to a more productive area, through the coordination engendered by the free market system.  This often increases welfare, but the point of economics is coordination between acting humans.  Welfare is a more subjective concept.

No Bank Innovation

The Obama administration has regularly opposed changes that might ignite a positive wave of creative destruction. Banks, for example, engaged in imprudent practices that pushed them toward the brink of bankruptcy. Where are the new innovative banks to replace them?

I don’t know.  How about we ask the Administration that bailed them out?  Can someone get Hank Paulson and GW on the phone?

They don’t exist, because private capital can’t compete with the enormous subsidies flowing from the government to the diseased dinosaurs.

But what of our deflationary spiral if the banks go under?!?!  A fairly bold move to go against the Keynesian orthodoxy so directly.

Make no mistake, there is destruction: investors have seen their wealth destroyed. But the government’s actions have prevented any creative outcome.

And created that destruction in the first place; the Federal Reserve, hard at work.  Governments are creative when it comes to destruction.

Revolutionary Automobile

Imagine the wave of innovation that could be set off if General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC were allowed to fail. Existing firms, such as Ford Motor Co., Honda Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp., would have vast new markets to compete for. New firms, such as Tesla Motors Inc., whose Model S may well be the most revolutionary automobile to hit the market since the Model T, would not have to compete against cheap, subsidized government-made cars.

It’s probably not the best thing to mention as your free market icon a car company that just took a $465 million loan from the Federal government.  Which was in the Wall Street Journal.  Two days before this article was published.   Perhaps some forms of socialism are more free market than others.

Instead they do have to compete, because it is just unthinkable for Obama to force his unionized political allies to make any sacrifices.

Wait, Obama’s political allies have formed a union?  We demand more time with Bo!  Rahm, get your finger out of that dog’s ass!  I don’t care if it’s dressed like it wanted it!

Obama is opposed to letting failure produce space for creation, but he also is opposed to innovative creation that would have destructive repercussions.

He’s opposed to creation that causes destruction?  Like a stealth bomber or something?  Or is his opposition of creation causing destruction?  WHAT DOES THIS SENTENCE MEAN?  It’s probably the latter, but it’s probably written by someone on a bender.

He has proposed large new increases in business taxes to extract the profits that motivate innovators, and he signaled a willingness to force firms to share their wealth with a resurgent organized labor.

Instead of forcing firms to vie for government contracts for imperialist wars and consolidating energy companies into a government cartel (like the banks!).  But we could always go for broke and use both Bushesque wars and cartelization in addition to socialist policies.  Fascism and socialism together—going both ways in America.  We’ll be the bisexuals of tyranny.

The actions of Obama and other Democrats speak volumes. They are supporting so-called card-check legislation, which would make it easier for unions to organize workplaces. And a provision in the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill passed recently by the House appears to have been specifically designed to allow the Teamsters union to organize FedEx Corp.

Tax on Success

The message is clear. If you succeed and become profitable, Obama will take a big share of your profits for the federal government and give another big share to the unions.

My profits?  I only want them to take other people’s profits, like with steel tariffs and farm subsidies.

The scale of the combined tax that results from this is hard to fathom. Federal Reserve economist Bruce Fallick and I

Of course he worked with the Fed’s people.  But remember, government enforced monetary and banking cartels are not socialism.

estimated in a research paper published in 1996 that unions tend to successfully extract from firms about a third of their profits.

Does this include the portion that would be actually justified by their labor?  Apart from it?  Do I really have to read that paper?  THERE BETTER BE NAKED WOMEN FORNICATING IN THIS PAPER.

Unions seem to calculate their wage demands based on a firm’s profits.

As opposed to fairy tales and acid dreams, like when the US presents ultimatums to rogue nations.

In the new world that Obama is preparing for us, where unions can organize almost everyone, the tax rates from states, unions, and the federal government will approach 70 percent.

“Can”, unfortunately for the commies, does not equal “will”.  For private industry in 2008, the amount of the labor force unionized was 7.6%.  That’s a long way from even a majority, which unionists have never had.

Fun fact however, upwards of 36% of government employees are shaking down the man for a little extra in the pension kitty.  And with Bush and Obama nationalizing everything they could wave their dicks at, this sort of thing portends more poorly for highly regulated industries.  Health care, I’m looking in your direction (oh wait, you’re already run by a cartel).

Again, there’s the destruction. It is the wealth of entrepreneurs that is destroyed.

Like the government sugarbaby, Tesla.  I don’t disagree here, but it should be noted that the absolute height of the socialist folly is believing you can invade another country, destroy it, and then rebuild it in your own image.  That is literally the endgame of central planning.

Such policies will chase the ambitious away from the U.S. and leave the long-run economy a stagnant mess.

Mmmmmm, smells like France.

Path to Socialism

Socialist states emerge over time because entrenched interests like organized labor achieve a position from which they can extract extra sustenance from successful firms.

Or because the nation’s central bank causes an economic meltdown with hyperinflation, helping fuel the National Socialist Workers Party’s rise in Germany ‘round 1930.  As much as I dislike organized labor, the Fed is easily the biggest danger to a free state.

Workers who have won a higher wage than their productivity would rationalize do not want old things to die, or new things to be created.

This is sort of a roundabout way of saying unions are aghast at competition, as their fight for higher wages is typically one against their competitors: other workers.  Hassett’s phrase here seems to paint them as misanthropic curmudgeons who try to douse laptops in holy water while cowering from cell phones.  Unionists don’t mind change as long as they can control it, though I will agree that they have little incentive to innovate, and much to be wary about the competition (see here, US vs foreign auto workers and the resulting tariffs).

Whether he is socialist or not, by embracing the idea of destructive destruction, Obama is giving such stakeholders exactly what they want, and threatening to suck the vibrancy out of our economy.

Hassett inadvertently gives the President a new slogan: Obama will personally suck your vibrancy, America!

On a side note, while Hassett speaks a lot about the damage of proto-socialist policies, I would argue that most Republican platforms subvert the free market framework in a more devious fashion.  The policies of many republican administrations has been to the lower regulations while leaving the regulatory agencies in place, or worse, secretly working those regulations to benefit certain players at the expense of others.  By taking these half measures and outright plunder, they then help precipitate recessions (which the Fed and fractional reserve banking always has a hand in) or business crimes, which are then blamed on these alleged free market policies, which are in reality anything but (closer to fascism than anything else).  In my mind, the Republicans with their limp deregulation efforts, cronyism and aid to moral hazard have done more damage to free market economics by flying their pirate ships under the laissez-faire banner than the socialists who dug their own graves with the millions who suffered under the Soviets and Chinese.

And now, here’s Primus:

15
Jul
09

Roundup – Andy Rooney Talks About Fruit

Line O’ the Day:

Soldiers talk much of honor. I do not understand how military service can possibly be thought honorable. If the Wehrmacht were landing in North Carolina, yes, but I do not believe that it is. Where is the honor in bombing from the air lightly armed peasants who can’t fight back? It is cowardly, yes, and obscene, but do not talk of honor. Murder for hire is murder for hire.

We now have men who sit at screens, drinking coffee and firing missiles from remote robotic aircraft at people on the ground whom they cannot identify. Brave men, they. I could burst into a kindergarten and kill the children with a ball bat. The one is as honorable as the other.

Recently I saw on television a black sergeant in Afghanistan, probably chosen by his commander for photogenicity, standing in front of a tank or mobile gun, I forget which. He said something scripted like “This is a such-and-such unit, the most powerful fighting force in the world.” This sort of ritual cockiness is carefully ingrained. Near my barracks in Parris Island was a sign, “The most dangerous thing in the world is a Marine rifleman.” If it had said “an ambitious colonel” it would have come closer to truth. [Fred On Everything]

Best of the Best:

Bloomberg:

Seeking Alpha:

NEWISCANE:

One More Puke On The Path To Recovery

Gas Station | Syracuse, NY, USA

(I’m a female working in a gas station and it’s close to midnight. The customer is obviously drunk, which means I can’t sell him alcohol.)

Customer: “You’re the kind of pretty thing I’m not allowed to touch.

(He proceeds to our beer cooler and takes one bottle out of a six-pack.)

Me: “Sir, I can’t sell you that for two reasons. One, you are obviously drunk and store policy says you cant but alcohol. Two, if you were sober it would have to be the whole six-pack or nothing.”

Customer: *stares at me for 30 seconds and then pukes on his coat*

Customer: “Am I sober enough now?”

California poised to shut gates on great outdoors as parks struggle with budgets




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