July 28, 2011

Yikes! Congressman Polis: 3.75% – 2.98% = 1.75% — “almost 2%”

Filed under: blog,Economy,humor,ignorance,Politics — Tony Whitson @ 6:50 pm
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Note: An updated and expanded post on this is now at

OK, I know the GOP ideology drunkards with their mantra about job-killing taxes are exhibiting potentially catastrophic ignorance, mendacity, or both.

Having said that, what about this stunning performance by Jared Polis (D-CO) in the debate on the House floor today (July 28, 2011): 2½ minutes were yielded to Polis so he could present prepared remarks, equiped with a neatly-printed three-color chart showing yields and interest rates paid by countries rated AAA vs. AA. The bottom line in each column listed average interest rates as 3.75% for the countries rated AA (which is what could happen to the US as a result of this nonsense) vs. 2.98% for countries with a AAA rating (like the US has today).

In prepared remarks, with the poster facing everybody, Polis said that the difference between those interest rates is “1.75% … almost 2%,” and went on about how much this difference would amount to in interest payments on debts in the trillions over ten years.

With compound interest on that much over that long, even the difference between his “2%” and the actual .77% difference between the rates he was showing would be quite substantial!

How could anybody watching not have seen this? Apparently, the GOP Congressman who followed to answer him did not see it. I don’t know if anybody mentioned it after that.

Congress members have the privilege of correcting their floor speeches before they are permenantly published in the Congressional Record. I’ll be interested in seeing if this one does get corrected.

And these people are making the decisions about our nation’s finances?


April 11, 2010

go to

Filed under: blog — Tony Whitson @ 10:05 am

This is my first WordPress blog; but it’s not one that I use.

If you got here from a comment I left on a Scienceblogs blog (such as P.Z. Meyers’ Pharyngula), you’re probably more interested in my Evolution-related posts at

(I use this blog for things that don’t belong on my more “professional” blog on curriculum-related matters.)

December 13, 2008

Blago’s hair: Sign of Insanity, or Homage to Johnny Carson character?

Filed under: blog,humor,Politics — Tony Whitson @ 2:13 pm
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Staff reporter Stefano Esposito at the Chicago Sun-Times raises the question: Is Blago’s hair a sign of sickness? He reports:

Gov. Blagojevich’s glossy locks — perfectly sculpted in rain or snow — may be an indication of a sickness beneath his scalp, said one local psychologist.

“It’s all part of managing his image, managing his image of being without a blemish, without a flaw,” said Scott Ambers, who has practiced clinical psychology in the city for more than two decades.

Several psychologists interviewed one day after the governor’s arrest agreed that he might be suffering from an affliction known as narcissistic personality disorder.

Johnny Carson as "Art Fern" -- with Carol Wayne

Johnny Carson as "Art Fern" -- with Carol Wayne

Apparently, this reporter, and the psychologists he interviewed, are deficient in the “Cultural Literacy” wikipedia to recognize Blago’s hairdo as an homage to the late Johnny Carson — and, more specifically, to Carson’s “Art Fern” character wikipedia.

Here are a couple clips of Art Fern with Carol Wayne:

And here’s one with the Governor himself:

October 24, 2008

McCain volunteer’s hoax recalls 1976 Wisconsin Regnery hoax

Filed under: blog,Politics,racism — Tony Whitson @ 8:03 pm
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Ashley Todd, a 20-year-old volunteer for the McCain campaign, admitted she lied in reporting a politically motivated attack that did not occur, according to police. (College Republicans)

Ashley Todd, a 20-year-old volunteer for the McCain campaign, admitted she lied in reporting a politically motivated attack that did not occur, according to police. (College Republicans)

The pathetic story of a McCain worker’s false report of being attacked, and cut on the face with a knife, by “a 6-foot-4 black male” —

“You are going to be a Barack supporter,” she said the robber told her before he sat on her chest, pinned her hands down with his knees and scratched the letter “B” on the right side of her face, using what she believed to be a very dull knife.

— seems to be a bizarre, isolated incident involving one sick individual.

But the incident is not so unique as we might expect.

Al Regnery is now identified with Regnery Publishing, Inc. Under his father’s leadership, the company published ideological but often intellectually respectable conservative and anti-communist books. Under the editorship of Marjory Ross, they now specialize in publishing raw sewage on the level of the Politically Incorrect Guides series.

Regnery served in the Reagan Justice Department as administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, where he “concentrated his office’s efforts on right-wing pet causes such as school discipline and the administration’s antipornography crusade.”

As reported in a New Republic story, when Regnery was running for DA in Dane County (Madison) Wisconsin in 1976:

In late October 1976 Regnery was winding up a campaign to become district attorney in Madison, Wisconsin. His wife had called the police three times in the weeks before the election to complain of obscene phone calls and vandalism. Regnery held a press conference to charge that his political opponents were using “Watergate-style tactics” to force him out of the race. When his wife called the police on the afternoon of October 31, 1976, the charge was much more serious. Christina Regnery, who was eight months pregnant, told police that two men broke into her home and warned that her husband should drop out of the race for district attorney. Then she said the two men had cut her with an embroidery knife and forced her to have oral sex.

The police investigation concluded that Christina Regnery had fabricated the entire incident–and Alfred Regnery told police that he too had “given serious thought” to that possibility. No neighbors had seen anything unusual, there was no sign of forced entry in the Regnery house, and no sign of struggle. In addition, although Christina Regnery had 73 slash marks on her body, none was serious. “Not a single cut required a stitch or a Band-Aid,” said one law-enforcement official involved. The police report concluded that “the infliction of the wounds on Mrs. Regnery are still questionable and may have been self-inflicted or done by subjects known to her. There is no indication that any unknown subjects inflicted any of the injuries.” Regnery and the police agreed that they would “pursue the possibility of self-inflicted injuries.” The report also said that it was “decided at this time that Mr. Regnery would not disclose any of the circumstances surrounding the incident.”

Only minutes later, however, Regnery told a newspaper reporter in the hospital corridor, according to the police report, “that his wife had been raped by a white male and a black male and had been stabbed. … The wounds had been stitched.” Of course, his wife had never alleged that she was raped, she was clearly not the victim of a stabbing, and she had not required any stitches. But Regnery’s false claims were useful to his campaign. The headline in the Madison paper, “Two Attack Wife of D.A. Candidate,” seemed to substantiate Regnery’s earlier charges. Nevertheless, Regnery lost the election.

This most recent hoax looks like one more expression of a fear fantasy with deep roots in a collective psyche of Americans among whom such stories meet ready credulity.

October 9, 2008

CNN on Bill Ayers and Barak Obama

Filed under: blog,Politics — Tony Whitson @ 6:53 pm
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This clip is posted on YouTube with the title ‘CNN: Obama’s relationship with Ayers “much deeper than Obama said.”‘ Actually, the report provides the information, but without substantiating the insinuation that Obama has ever said that the relationship was any less than this.

Bill O’Reilly’s producers have been trying to set up a segment on Ayers for their show Tuesday, Oct. 14.

October 6, 2008

Mighty Mouse McCain

Filed under: blog,Economics,Economy,Politics,Uncategorized — Tony Whitson @ 9:04 pm
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“Here I come to save the day!”

That’s what I was hearing when John McCain announced that he was suspending his campaign and rushing back to Washington to take care of the economic crisis.

He had said that economics was not his forté. Now he was saying that what the nation needs is not people who understand economics — what we need is somebody who can lead us in a crisis, and John McCain is that kind of leader. “Here I come to save the day!”

I was thinking I might Photoshop McCain’s head onto a picture of Mighty Mouse, as he appeared when that line was sung in his theme song. When I googled Mighty Mouse, I discovered that Barney Frank himself already made the connection:

“McCain is Andy Kaufman in his Mighty Mouse costume – ‘Here I Come to Save the Day,'” Frank said as he left a Thursday morning caucus meeting with House Democrats, saying the Republican presidential candidate’s decision to enter the mix “is not helpful.”

“He hasn’t been involved,” Frank said. “He doesn’t know anything about it.”

I hadn’t known about the Andy Kaufman bit, but here it is:

May 28, 2008

Scott McClellan, & Perino’s ‘Missile Crisis’ crisis

From the Washington Post:

Ex-Press Aide Writes That Bush Misled U.S. on Iraq

By Michael D. Shear
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 28, 2008; Page A01

Former White House press secretary Scott McClellan writes in a new memoir that the Iraq war was sold to the American people with a sophisticated “political propaganda campaign” led by President Bush and aimed at “manipulating sources of public opinion” and “downplaying the major reason for going to war.”

This shows the importance for the Cheney Administration of having staff of the caliber of McClellan’s current successor Dana Perino, who is blissfully lacking in the consciousness that could lead to such a betrayal of the Administration’s deceitful and conniving ways.

Remember this (also as reported in the Washington Post)?:

Perino’s ‘Missile Crisis’ Confession . . . .

Appearing on National Public Radio‘s light-hearted quiz show “Wait, Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me,” which aired over the weekend, Perino got into the spirit of things and told a story about herself that she had previously shared only in private: During a White House briefing, a reporter referred to the Cuban Missile Crisis — and she didn’t know what it was.

“I was panicked a bit because I really don’t know about . . . the Cuban Missile Crisis,” said Perino, who at 35 was born about a decade after the 1962 U.S.-Soviet nuclear showdown. “It had to do with Cuba and missiles, I’m pretty sure.”

So she consulted her best source. “I came home and I asked my husband,” she recalled. “I said, ‘Wasn’t that like the Bay of Pigs thing?’ And he said, ‘Oh, Dana.’ “

(See also: Sad Day for U of I schools)

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