Betsy Devine: Funny ha-ha and/or funny peculiar

Making trouble today for a better tomorrow…

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Entries Tagged as 'politics'

What is even worse than an oxymoron?

January 25th, 2009 · 4 Comments

Bush in flight suit: "Karl Rove told me to stick a sock in it."Mission accomplished!” said Frank, over dinner tonight. We all looked at him. “It just doesn’t mean what it used to mean now, does it?” he said.

“Neither does ‘Heckuva job,'” pointed out someone else.

There should be a word, maybe something based on “oxymoron,” for expressions that used to mean “[something]” but now mean “[ha-ha-ha-NOT-something].” Heckuva job on creating so many, Team Bush!

Since I’m suggesting it, maybe I should make up said word, but since nothing suggests itself I won’t.

But that’s OK, because what I will do is “take full responsibility.”

Tags: Editorial · funny · language · politics

Two screens are better than one

January 20th, 2009 · 2 Comments

Two screens are better than one

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine

We just got a TV the day before Thanksgiving, after more than a decade without one. In the two months since then, we have probably watched a total of ten hours on it, about five of them 30 Rock.

But watching the inauguration of Barack Obama on CNNHD, even with my laptop by my side, I can see that TV gives a different and somehow communal experience of news events, quite unlike the hunt-and-peek solipsist patchwork of (for instance) my TV-less website surfing on Election night.

That effect isn’t necessarily benign. When 9/11 unfolded, students who sat glued to TV for hours were more traumatized than those who talked with friends and family. And how about the 2004 “Dean scream”? Played more than 700 times with shocked comments each time, it emerged as the artifact of a crowd-blocking microphone, but not before torpedoing Howard Dean’s run for president.

In Wikipedia, there’s a policy we call WEIGHT — basically, an article should represent fairly all competing viewpoints, but without giving such undue weight to unusual views as to imply that these viewpoints are widely supported. In TV, there seems to be a policy that we might call DRAMA — for example, to give enormous over-weight to any person or event that generates exciting footage.

I can’t say I’m sorry to be watching hour after hour of the inauguration of Barack Obama. But I like it that I can keep working as I do so.

Tags: Editorial · politics · Wide wonderful world

Yes, we could!

November 5th, 2008 · 2 Comments

We vote in the local fire house

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine

And yes, we did! Thank you, America, for electing Barack Obama.

I predict a new surge in American productivity, starting right NOW, as millions of us start to break our time-sucking addiction to political minute-by-minute analysis.

In my case, starting tomorrow. You know, the Karl-Rovians have been running against me personally for so long — East Coast born and bred, married to a professor, driving a hybrid car, and supporting gay marriage–that it’s great to wake up and discover that America’s burning question is no longer whether the Democratic candidate might be a Marxist who wants Bin Ladin to bomb us and hates iceberg lettuce.

Could this finally be the end of the culture wars? The WSJ seems to think Obama found the answer:

What would beat the culture wars was always clear from the pseudo-populist language in which they were framed. In place of a showdown between a folksy “middle America” and a snobbish “liberal elite,” Democrats needed to offer the real deal — the conflict between a public that craves fairness and an economic system that enables the predatory.

…When your mortgage is under water and your neighbors are being laid off, the need to take up the sword against arrogant stem-cell scientists becomes considerably less urgent.

The Republican response, of course, was to double down on the righteous rhetoric of red-state grievance and spin the wheel one more time.

It was sad to see John McCain sink down into the culture war Karl Rove dog whistle politics, like an old dog so thirsty he drinks water out of the toilet. I hope McCain is getting some sleep right now. Obama is the one with tough jobs ahead of him now, and I have more hope than is perhaps rational that he is going to be a great President.

Speaking of more sleep, I really need some more sleep too.

Tags: Cambridge · Editorial · politics · Wide wonderful world

Fooled again: Your bailout billions at work

October 25th, 2008 · 5 Comments

Christmas came early to US banks, says the New York Times, when Treasury Secretary Paulson decided to use the first installment of the $700 billion bailout money to recapitalize banks instead of buying up their toxic securities. That would be, he claimed the fastest way to get banks making loans again. If Congress didn’t hand over the money at once, recession would hit us!

By October 17, banks had figured out just what to do with all that free money, and making new loans was not part of their plan.

Is it too late for Congress to rein Paulson in again, just to attach a few strings to the rest of the bailout?

Tags: Editorial · politics · voting

Five minutes well spent with boy band for Obama

October 20th, 2008 · Comments Off on Five minutes well spent with boy band for Obama

Just when you thought this election could not get crazier, it’s… BoyBama!

Funny, warm-hearted, and charming, from the wild and crazy dudes at Portal-A Interactive, who explain:

we decided to make this parody music video in support of the Obama campaign and to show women everywhere that we can shamelessly pander with the best of them.

Thanks to the always awesome Liz Lawley for sharing this!

Tags: Editorial · funny · politics · Wide wonderful world

Bush on the bank crisis: “Can’t get fooled again”

September 22nd, 2008 · Comments Off on Bush on the bank crisis: “Can’t get fooled again”

Dave Winer has an excellent suggestion for the current bank crisis:

So let’s see the Republicans do a little of that famous Country First stuff.

Bush and Cheney must resign immediately. No immunity, no pardons. Nancy Pelosi will become President, promising not to run for re-election on November 4. Her term will be one of the shortest in US history, just long enough to enact the provisions of the bill being proposed by the Republican administration. If it really is the best thing for the country and not a trick, then the Republicans, being impressed by the seriousness of it, would have to insist that Bush step aside and let the Democrats execute the plan. The entire Bush cabinet stays in office through January 20, but reports, of course to Pelosi. And that includes Paulson.

It’s pretty simple. If they won’t do it, we know they’re bluffing.

I don’t think they’re bluffing, but I don’t think their plan for “solving” the current crisis is to save homes and jobs and retirement for small-town America. There are a lot of big smart guys who know Bush much better than we do who have very big hands out to snitch any government hand out.

Tags: Editorial · politics · Wide wonderful world

In case of danger, give Bush a big blank check?

September 22nd, 2008 · Comments Off on In case of danger, give Bush a big blank check?

Warning signs

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine

Danger, danger, danger! Our country is in trouble, so let’s give George W Bush a big blank check — no strings, no accountability — so that he can make everything right again.

Blank check? America gave Bush a blank check after 9/11. So we ended up with government-sponsored torture and invasion of privacy on a massive scale. What we didn’t end up with was catching Osama Bin Laden.

Blank check? Congress gave Bush a blank check to go into Iraq if all else failed. Wow that was fast. How many of his cronies are multi-billionaires now on the fat profits they are making there on his watch? What we didn’t end up with was finding weapon of mass destruction.

Somebody is going to have to help clean up the mess that the unregulated excesses of Wall Street have made. But if we give Bush a blank check on that, who is to say that he’ll spend the money wisely? Who’s to say the next president won’t have to ask for another huge amount of money to get things fixed up?

Even Bush should agree, based on the old Texas saying, “Fool me, can’t get fooled again.” Any big bailout needs to have big strings attached.

Tags: Editorial · politics · Wide wonderful world

Obama not ready to lead

August 26th, 2008 · 2 Comments

Obama and Clinton: CNN Texas Debate Mashup

Originally uploaded by stevegarfield

Joe Biden said it. Hillary Clinton said it. And (I confess) Betsy Devine also thought it, back when the primaries were getting started. Who was this young guy with his groupy supporters, his visions of Red-and-Blue harmony? Wasn’t he just a naive dreamer who would quickly be crushed by Karl Rove and his cynical minions?

A supporter of John Edwards, I later trended toward Clinton, deeply annoyed by the Hillary-haters who found welcome instead of rebuke among Obama’s groupies.

But the big-eared guy with the funny name won me over. Making a long story short, he won me over completely, on March 18, with his “speech on race,” giving respect to divisive resentments, both black and white, even as he asserted his own call to unity.

What would it be like, I finally asked myself, to have a President who was thoughtful and empathetic and deeply intelligent. Somebody who stayed loyal to his big-mouthed pastor long after it would be expedient to have denounced him, but somebody who stuck up for what he himself believed in, even when what he believed was a complex reality, not poll-tested bullet points.

Predictably, McCain supporters will use people’s long-ago words to claim that Obama now is not ready to lead. I disagree, and so (I bet) do most of the people they’ll be deceptively quoting.

Tags: Editorial · politics

The trouble with Crime 2.0

August 7th, 2008 · Comments Off on The trouble with Crime 2.0

Poisoner eyes her victim

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine

You already know to watch out for poisoned teacups, but what you should have been worrying about instead …

An internet-based team of “three people from the United States, three from the Ukraine, two from China, one from Estonia and one from Belarus” (says Reuters) stole credit card numbers by millions from US retailers, and sold them “… to people in the U.S. and Europe for thousands of dollars. The buyers then withdrew tens of thousands of dollars at a time from automated teller machines, officials said.” Even so, the chief conspirator’s lawyer sounds very confident that his client will never enter a jail cell.

After all…. the guy who made possible the NH 2002 election phone-jamming got his conviction overturned because the interstate denial-of-service attack on Democrats’ phones was not covered by Federal laws against phone “harassment.”

It’s hard for the laws against doing bad stuff to keep up with human innovation in stuff we can do. Maybe that’s how it should be.

But let’s hope the US Attorney’s office works smarter on identity theft cases than they chose to do in the matter of NH phone jamming.

Tags: Good versus Evil · New Hampshire! · politics · Reputation systems · Science · voting

What if John McCain is Torricelli?

May 2nd, 2008 · 3 Comments

John McCain Seattle

Originally uploaded by soggydan

A few months ago, the GOP gurus were upset, but now they are happy. How can they be happy? All their most Rovian candidates were shot down in the primaries by John McCain, who’s never been in their pockets.

The GOP gurus are happy because they feel confident that McCain can be pushed into a graceful exit before the convention. Having taken the (minimal) heat and (even less) scrutiny from press for a year of primary season, he will step aside for a candidate who will look clean, exciting, and new, swapping loser for winner.

Republicans have been thinking about how they could profit from the Torricelli model since 2004.

Who is the secret candidate we will be handed? Condoleezza Rice? Maybe, but more likely General Petraeus.

Tags: Editorial · politics · Wide wonderful world