June 11-17: Week Miscellany

News cycles seem to go around and around. Some of it is new and pointless and some of it is just plain old. Malcolm Muggeridge couldn’t have been more right when he said, “All new news is old news happening to new people.” Sometimes I feel like the news media operates a bit like this:


So get ready for more normal chaos:

ITEM — From Tea to Shining Tea: Rush Limbaugh has officially announced his own iced tea brand: “Two If By Tea.” A pun off of Longfellow’s famous poem “Paul Revere’s Last Ride.” (Obviously the original quote is, “One if by land, two if by sea.” Referring to the number of lanterns he would put up depending on the form of the British arrival.) Rush, who is a self-acclaimed tea lover, has said that the tea is the best he’s ever had. Right now the tea is only available on their website, which can be found here. 12-pack cases with 16oz bottles run $23.76, you can also buy 100+ cases for your “TEA Party.” The tab “Tea the People” on the site will tell you the full story behind it. From what I gather Rush Revere likes tea, so he makes tea. It’s that simple. (Site: http://twoifbytea.com/)

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ITEM — Romney Steps in It — AGAIN! Last week I mentioned that Romney had put his support behind Climate Change. In return, Al Gore has put his support behind Romney. “While other Republicans are running from the truth, he is sticking to his guns in the face of the anti-science wing of the Republican Party,” Gore blogged. While Romney bangs his head on the wall, we can all have a good laugh. And laugh again when we don’t vote for Romney, and then Romney can bang his head on the wall again. Politics is such a tricky thing.

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ITEM — Embrace Anarchy! Belgium has gone more than a full year with no official form of government. Right now, you might be expecting people to be running around and killing everyone — because, you know, that’s what happens when there’s no official government. But life is carrying on as normal: Everyone has their tea an crumpets at 11:00 AM, the maids watch the water boil, the butlers watch the paint dry and the crops haven’t stopped growing.

In the absence of a coalition agreement, the previous ministers have remained in their posts, but there is no parliamentary majority, nor any agreed programme. In consequence, Belgian MPs find themselves in the happy position of being able to vote as they please, issue by issue. With no new quangos being created, no new taxes being levied, few new regulations being imposed, the economy is growing faster than the state.” –Daniel Hannan, British MEP, June 16, 2011

Sounds to me like a win-win situation!

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ITEM — Libya, Home of the Oppressed, Land of the Doomed: Obama’s invasion of Libya has been up for constitutional debate. War Powers this and Human Rights that has been the thrust of most of it. In a 30 page report the Obama administration, obviously desperately, submitted in defense of its ludicrous act said, “U.S. forces are playing a constrained and supporting role in a multinational coalition, whose operations are both legitimated by and limited to the terms of a United Nations Security Council Resolution that authorizes the use of force solely to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under attack or threat of attack and to enforce a no-fly zone and an arms embargo.”


The UN? We legitimize a random invasion of an “unrested” country with UN policies? I thought the US was run by US policies not UN policies. If we are really running this country based of of what the UN thinks is appropriate, doesn’t that mean we aren’t really a nation since all the other nations are running us? The report also tries to claim that what they did was in “U.S. interests.” Really? Would you care to elaborate how spending our money on Middle East squabbles in the name of human rights and PR is in our interests?

Constitutional scholar, Louis Fisher, says that there’s “nothing more impeachable” than war without authorization. Whoa! Watch is there Lou, we don’t say the I-word around here! Oh well, I guess Obama couldn’t have just presented his wrists and said, “I’ll go peacefully,” could he?

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ITEM — The Saga Ends: Congressman Anthony Weiner has resigned. Can we be done with it now?

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ITEM — America is Moving to Misery: The famous Misery Index is back. This data set was originally contrived by economist Arthur Okun in the 1970s. It is a compilation of the unemployment and inflation rates. Essentially, the reason it was created was to, somehow, measure how bad Carter really was. Under Carter is reached a peak of 21.98, Obama’s rate is catching up with 12.7 so far. Things aren’t looking good for Obama’s re-election bid the more and more he looks like Carter.

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ITEM — China, the World Lead-er: This week the Human Rights Watch released a report on lead poisoning in China titled, “My Children Have Been Poisoned.” (Creative, eh?) The report can be viewed here.

This report — based on interviews in Henan, Hunan, Shaanxi, and Yunnan provinces, and research in Beijing and Shanghai between late 2009 and early 2010 — finds that local governments have imposed arbitrary limits on access to blood lead testing; refused appropriate treatment to children and adults with critically high lead levels; withheld and failed to explain test results showing unaccountable improvements in lead levels; and denied the scope and severity of lead poisoning.

Parents said that government officials told them that only children living within one kilometer of a factory smokestack were at risk and that milk was adequate treatment for lead poisoning. Parents reported that local police threatened individuals seeking treatment and information, and those trying to protest against polluting factories have been arrested. Journalists told us they have been intimidated and threatened when trying to report on lead poisoning.” –Human Rights Watch, June 15, 2011

If you view section 3 of the report you’ll find a list of flimsy “Recommendations” for the Chinese government. Which included things like making sure government officials, “uphold environmental regulations.” And, “Provide citizens with environmental information in an accessible format that they are entitled to by law.” Law? When did the Chinese government care about law? Or human rights for that matter? I can only imaging the pride some self-righteous reporters must have felt when they wrote this. Thinking they were “changing the world.” With a 75-page report?

Remember the milk poisoning? I don’t have any recollection of a HRW report saving the world. The situation in China is what most would call “bad.” Nothing new here folks. But I do encourage everyone who has an opportunity, to rebel. Now that I’ve said it, I’m proud to be officially censored by the Chinese government. If you’re reading this, chances are, you’re not in China.

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ITEM — E. Coli Looses Its Appeal: You know the old and totally false theory, “It’s okay until someone gets hurt?” Yeah, well so far just a few thousand people have gotten sick and about 40 people have died. But now they’ve crossed the line: eight children are in the hospital because they ate some burgers that probably weren’t burgers. While the EPA bans rat poison to “save the children” cute little French kids with little hats and striped shirts are getting sick. I thought Europe was part of the civilized world? The bean sprouts that most blame for the E. Coli outbreak appear to come from an organic farm outside of Germany. Now, before you point your finger and say, “Organic! I knew it!” They also think that its from a water run-off containing manure from infected animals.

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ITEM — Bach Turns in His Grave: Steve Nelson has modified Bach’s “Unaccompanied Cello Suite No. 1″ to include 7 other Cellos as well as tapping/whacking the Cello and bass drums. This item has won, “Song of the Week.”


And here’s something for those of you who are pop lovers and find orchestral works a general bummer:

Hat-tip to Paul Hastings for the videos.

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-Ben

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