Archive for December 5th, 2012

Too many tabs, man. Too many tabs.

December 5, 2012

Many years ago, I worked at an institution of higher learning that I usually refer to, with my trademark snark — not to mention my stale wit — as PU. A guy in my office was also named Matt; he had some kind of information technology job, the exact nature of which escapes me.

Anyway, one day Matt stopped at my desk for some reason and noticed the bar at the bottom of my screen. My computer was running some more or less current (at the time) version of the Windows operating system.

Windows then did (and continued, I believe, up until the version released this year) to display a number of rectangles in that bottom-line status bar. Each rectangle represented either a program that the computer was running or an individual window of a program that was running. If more than a few programs were running, a program would get just one box.

Read the rest of this entry »

One Wondrous Sentence: Republicans and taxes

December 5, 2012

This one wondrous sentence, quoting influential right-wing author and activist Brent Bozell, speaks volumes about the pressure on Republican lawmakers not to compromise with President Obama on his desire to raise tax rates for wealthy Americans as the nation approaches the so-called fiscal cliff.

“I will make it my mission to ensure that every conservative donor to the Republican Party that I have worked with for the last three decades—and there are many and they have given tens of millions to Republican causes—gives not one penny more to the Republican Party or any member of Congress that votes for tax increases.”

Source: John Fund, “Conservatives vs. the GOP,” National Review Online, Nov. 30, 2012.

Socialism, lies and the right-wing media

December 5, 2012

Listen to an hour or two of conservative media and you’re likely to hear the words “socialism” or “socialist” applied to President Barack Obama or the Democratic Party, if not both.

The use of those words by eminent right-wing talkers such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, in fact, has been so promiscuous that my bafflement at the label has withered thanks to repeated exposure. Then I saw some new figures from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and my outrage at this misnomer flared up again.

First, let’s look at the nature of socialism. In The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics, the late Robert Heilbroner — a socialist himself, as well as a professor of economics at New York City’s New School — defined the movement thus: “a centrally planned economy in which the government controls all means of production.”

Heilbroner, who died in 2005, was not complimentary about socialism, nor was he sanguine about its future. “Born of a commitment to remedy the economic and moral defects of capitalism, it has far surpassed capitalism in both economic malfunction and moral cruelty,” he wrote. He added that it was not clear “[w]hether socialism in some form will eventually return as a major organizing force in human affairs.” Read the rest of this entry »

%d bloggers like this: