Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for September 9th, 2008

Another media failure: the “drill for oil” story

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James Hrynyshyn has a good post on this media failure. It begins:

Polls show that most Americans want to drill here and drill now. Why? Because the television media haven’t told them just how stupid an idea that really is. That’s the conclusion of a study by a group called the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a relatively independent economic think tank. The authors point out that there’s a perfectly reliable source, in the form of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Agency, that predicts that drilling on the outer continental shelf (OCS) will have little impact if any, on oil prices any time soon.

And yet, a survey of broadcast and cable network programming found that:

… out of 267 news programs between June 16th and August 9th, in major media outlets on this subject, there was only one, or less than one half of one percent, that cited the EIA’s estimate that the increased oil production would not significantly affect gasoline prices.

Here’s a relevant excerpt from the 2007 EIA study that got a single mention (on CNN): …

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

9 September 2008 at 3:39 pm

Posted in Media

Like outsourcing the military worked…

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The problem with outsourcing operations, as all know who have tried it, is that you have to create and maintain a structure to monitor the outsourced operation, providing oversight and quality checks. We have seen the failures of outsourcing to Halliburton, KBR, and Blackwater. But the GOP loves to give contracts (and taxpayer money) to campaign contributor’s companies, regardless of how terribly the companies do the work. ThinkProgress reports that Bush is still at it:

In June — after months of kicking and screaming — President Bush finally signed a war supplemental spending bill that included a doubling of GI Bill college benefits for veterans.

Bush’s Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), however, doesn’t seem too happy about the increased work these new benefits will create and plans to outsource it all. Last month, VA Secretary James Peake wrote to the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) union announcing the plan. From Peake’s letter, obtained by ThinkProgress:

The challenges of creating the procedures and systems to support a new program and ensuring accurate and timely benefit payments under this new program effective August 1, 2009, will tax VA’s resources. … Therefore, the decision has been made to seek private-sector support to implement this new program.

The government wants to automate all GI Bill requests and is looking to hire a private contractor to set up such a system. AFGE is condemning this decision, which would dump the expertise of 850 government employees who are able to process a veteran’s request for GI benefits within 20 days.

The VA is arguing that with this new outsourcing plan, benefits could be processed in minutes. Veterans advocates point to the Bush administration’s abysmal record in hiring contractors who have no expertise in the area they’re hired to work:

Marty Conatser, American Legion: “Our newest generation of veterans deserve the benefits administered by the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, not outside contractors. Patients, critics and most media all cite the outstanding job the VA is doing. Outsourcing is not the answer.”

Rick Weidman, Vietnam Veterans of America: “If anything goes wrong, I’ll tell you what’ll happen, and it’s what always happens in these instances, is they’ll say, ‘Well, it’s not our job, it’s the VA’s.’ And the VA will say, ‘We can’t do anything, it’s contracted out. It’s the contractor’s job.’ And that is baloney. The problem isn’t the troops; the problem is the leadership.”

Rep. Harry Mitchell (D-AZ): “I just cannot believe that we’d ever allow this to happen. The level of service won’t be the same.”

So far, the Bush administration has treated this contracting process like it has so many others — with secrecy. As NPR reported today, the VA has so far “handpicked only a small number of companies to compete for the contract, and so far, officials won’t even reveal the companies’ names.”

Perhaps this move by the Bush administration is intended to take the agency one step closer to McCain’s dream of privatized veterans health care?

Written by Leisureguy

9 September 2008 at 3:36 pm

Will the media sit out the campaign?

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That is, just rely on “he said/she said,” with no fact-checking? There are some encouraging signs, but then you get things like this, reported by Steve Benen:

CNN had a segment this morning about Sarah Palin lying on her opposition to the Bridge to Nowhere, but instead of delving into the McCain campaign’s apparent inability to tell the truth, CNN’s John Roberts asked why Barack Obama is having trouble making the truth “stick.”

It was an unusually inane question, which Paul Begala handled very, very well.

“Because the press won’t do its job, John….. It is the media’s job when a politician flat out lies like she’s doing on this bridge to nowhere so call her on it. Or this matter of earmarks where she’s attacking Barack Obama for having earmarks, when she was the mayor of little Wasilla, Alaska, 6,000 people, she hired a lobbyist who was connected to Jack Abramoff, who is a criminal, and they brought home $27 million in earmarks. She carried so much pork home she got trichinosis. But we in the media are letting her tell lies about her record.”

At that point, Roberts did what CNN tends to do — turn to a Republican to offer a competing side to the truth. In this case, Alex Castellanos said the media should be “a little gentle” with Sarah Palin’s obviously false claims. “The amazing thing about Sarah Palin is when she became governor she actually stood up and said no” to federal pork, he said.

So, again, Begala tried to set the record straight.

“That’s just not true. You know, John, the facts matter. There’s lots of things that are debatable who is more qualified or less experienced or more this or more passionate, whatever. It is a fact that she campaigned and supported that bridge to nowhere. It is a fact that she hired lobbyists to get earmarks. It is a fact that as governor she lobbies for earmarks. Her state is essentially a welfare state taking money from the federal government.”

Roberts wrapped up the segment, concluding, “We still have 56 days to talk about this back and forth.”

But therein lies the point. The nation doesn’t need 56 days of “back and forth.” We don’t need 56 seconds of “back and forth.” There’s an objective truth here, and CNN, as a neutral, independent news source, is supposed to tell viewers what the facts are.

But CNN can’t do that, because reality has a well known liberal bias. If Roberts conceded that Begala was telling the truth about demonstrable facts, then he’d be “taking sides.” For a media figure to acknowledge that a candidate for national office is lying shamelessly would be wholly unacceptable — it would break with the “balance” between competing arguments.

The viewer at home hears one side, then the other. Who’s right? That’s not CNN’s problem. If viewers wants to hear an argument, they can turn to CNN. If viewers wants to know which side of the argument is right, they can look elsewhere.

Which is precisely why candidates for national office feel comfortable lying shamelessly in the first place.

And which is why the candidate telling the truth can’t get the story to “stick.”

And Glenn Greenwald in his column today discusses another particularly clear case of the media ducking its responsibilities. This one is really worth reading. It begins:

Yesterday, The Atlantic‘s campaign reporter Marc Ambinder and Matt Yglesias had a somewhat disagreeable exchange about the role journalists play in constructing campaign narratives, and specifically how journalists have been enabling the McCain campaign to tell one demonstrable lie after the next with no repercussions. Though I was off peacefully minding my own business at the time, my good name was brutally dragged into their confrontation in a way that raises several important points worth examining.

The exchange began when …

Written by Leisureguy

9 September 2008 at 3:33 pm

Questions for Palin from the Anchorage Daily News

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There’s no polite way to say it: Sarah Palin has been hiding out from hard questions. It took 10 days from when John McCain announced his pick until the McCain campaign agreed to schedule Palin an unscripted interview with a serious journalist….

Update: Here’s the full editorial from the Anchorage Daily News:

There’s no polite way to say it: Sarah Palin has been hiding out from hard questions. It took 10 days from when John McCain announced his pick until the McCain campaign agreed to schedule Palin an unscripted interview with a serious journalist.

ABC landed the big “get” with Palin. She’ll talk to Charlie Gibson of ABC News later this week.

McCain’s camp has handled their vice-presidential pick like some celebrity who will only deign to give an interview if conditions are favorable. McCain campaign manager Rick Davis told Fox News Sunday, Palin would take questions “when we think it’s time and when she feels comfortable doing it.”

Palin has accused Barack Obama of being a me-first celebrity candidate for president. At least he has been facing media questions for the past 18 months.

Here are some of the questions Palin should be answering, for Alaskans and the rest of the country:

— You present yourself as a Republican maverick who took on your own party’s corrupt political establishment. In November’s election, your party is running an indicted U.S. Senator, Ted Stevens, who is awaiting trial on charges he accepted more than $250,000 of unreported gifts from the state’s most powerful lobbyist. Will you vote for his opponent? Will you urge Alaskans to help you change Washington and vote him out of office? If not, why not?

— Sen. Ted Stevens’ trial is still pending; he has declined to say whether he would accept a pardon from President Bush before Bush leaves office in January. Do Alaska voters deserve an answer to that question before they cast their vote for or against Stevens in November? What is your position on a president pardoning a public official before a jury has ruled on guilt or innocence?

— Alaska Congressman Don Young appears to have won his Republican primary, even though you endorsed his opponent. Will you vote for your fellow Republican Don Young, who has spent over $1 million on legal fees without telling his constituents what sort of legal trouble he is in?

— Why have you reneged on your earlier pledge to cooperate with the Alaska Legislature’s investigation into Troopergate?

— In spring of 2004, the Anchorage Daily News reported that you cited family considerations in deciding not to try for the U.S. Senate: “How could I be the team mom if I was a U.S. senator?” What was different this time as you decided to run for vice president?

— As governor of Alaska, you have not pushed for laws or regulations that put your personal views on abortion, same-sex marriage and creationism into public policy. As vice president, will you push to outlaw abortion, restrict same-sex marriage and require the teaching of creationism?

— If you were a fully qualified vice-presidential candidate from the get-go, why did you wait more than 10 days to face reporters?

— McCain spokesman Rick Davis told Fox News the media didn’t show you enough “deference.” How much deference do you expect to get from Vladimir Putin or Hugo Chavez?

— You have said victory is in sight in Iraq. In July 2007, when you visited Kuwait, you said, “I’m not going to judge the surge.” In the March 2007 issue of Alaska Business Monthly, you were asked about the surge and were quoted saying:

“I’ve been so focused on state government, I haven’t really focused much on the war in Iraq. . . . While I support our president, Condoleezza Rice and the administration, I want to know that we have an exit plan in place.”

Define “victory” in Iraq? What is the exit plan?

BOTTOM LINE: The nation deserves to hear Palin’s unfiltered answers to serious questions.

Written by Leisureguy

9 September 2008 at 3:13 pm

Posted in Daily life, GOP, Media

Wall Street sank Fannie and Freddie

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Interesting article by Dean Starkman in the Columbia Journalism Review. It begins:

My only quibble with the gusher of stories this morning on the government’s takeover on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is my usual one—ahistoricism.

Reading all this, one gets the impression that those politically protected mortgage buyers and fee machines caused the global credit crisis.

They didn’t.

The fact is: Wall Street sank Freddie and Fannie, not the other way around.

It was only a few years ago, during the heyday of the housing bubble, that these government-sponsored enterprises were elbowed aside by Wall Street, which was busy furiously shoveling money to the Countrywides, New Centurys, Ameriquests, and other bucket shops that provided the rotten mortgages that were the raw material Wall Street repackaged and foisted onto return-hungry global bond markets.

This Credit Suisse report (from March 2007 and eerily prescient) reminds us that the government sponsored entities’ share of the overall new mortgage market had fallen to 42 percent by the end of 2006 before shooting up to 76 percent at the end of 2007 (on their way toward 90 percent now) as the market collapsed.

And that’s the overall market. As Paul Krugman points out, a “subprime borrower is basically someone whose credit wasn’t good enough to qualify for a Fannie- or Freddie-backed mortgage”. The subprime market&the really toxic stuff—was always dominated by Wall Street and Wall Street-backed lenders.

According to Bloomberg’s tally, bank write-offs from the subprime and credit calamity have now passed $500 billion.

As I argue in the current print edition of the Columbia Journalism Review, the business press has largely missed …

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

9 September 2008 at 3:02 pm

Posted in Business, Daily life

Tasty lunch

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In a nonstick skillet: Two slices of bacon, cut into pieces and sautéed until brown. Drain fat, add one fresh green chile, seeded and chopped. When the chile is done, add two eggs and stir some and turn over. Then grated sharp chedder and cook until the chedder melts. Extremely tasty. And now time for a walk.

UPDATE: Back from walk. It’s overcast and cool, so I took my full-length walk—all the way to the PG PO and back: 1 hour 13 minutes (and 35 seconds, technically). I made two stops: library (for movies) and supermarket (for more Brussels sprouts), but I stopped my stopwatch during the stops so that time is not counted.

Written by Leisureguy

9 September 2008 at 1:04 pm

Posted in Daily life

Fundamental GOP tenets: Creationism and Climate-Change Denial

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Ezra Klein is exactly right:

Dana has an interesting article about urbanism at the RNC. “The Republican National Convention,” she reports, “[was] swarming with people who say climate change is unrelated to human activity. Like evolution, many social conservatives will tell you, global warming is ‘just a theory’ advanced by secular intellectuals, and so requires no urgent action.”

There’s no real way to phrase this such that it doesn’t sound wildly partisan, but two of the emotionally resonant beliefs that many on the right pour a lot of time and energy into require a genuine hostility to empiricism. They require you to believe propositions that, based on the current evidence, are inarguably untrue. This isn’t the case for the most forms of supply siderism (at the extreme level it’s generally just very dishonest) or the opposition to universal health care or the desire to restrict choice. But creationism in schools and the willful effort to ignore the evidence on man-made climate change are in a category unto themselves. And most all Republican politicians have to evince, at the least, a deep sympathy for these positions, and many soak in applause from forthrightly echoing them. I can think of some unpopular, and maybe even unwise, beliefs that afflict the left, but I can’t really think of anything in the same category of proud, even aggressive, know-nothingism.

I believe that ignoring reality is extremely hazardous, with a near certainty that the denial will eventually collapse in the face of events and that in the meantime great damage will have been done. In a word, denial of reality is not sustainable.

Written by Leisureguy

9 September 2008 at 12:07 pm

Posted in GOP

Bridge to Nowhere

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Written by Leisureguy

9 September 2008 at 12:03 pm

Posted in GOP

The developing portrait of Sarah Palin

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Josh Marshall:

We’ve now had a week of blaring headlines and one-liners about Sarah Palin as the mavericky, pork-busting reformer from Alaska. But we seem to be witnessing the first stirrings of a backlash and a dawning realization that the ‘Sarah Palin’ we’ve heard so much about over the last few days is a fraud of truly comical dimensions.

The McCain camp has made her signature issue shutting down the Bridge to Nowhere. But as The New Republic put it today that’s just “a naked lie.” And pretty much the same thing has been written today in Newsweek, the Washington Post, the AP, the Wall Street Journal. Yesterday even Fox’s Chris Wallace called out Rick Davis on it. (Do send more examples when you find them.)

On earmarks she’s an even bigger crock. On the trail with McCain they’re telling everyone that she’s some kind of earmark slayer when actually, when she was mayor and governor, in both offices, she requested and got more earmarks than virtually any city or state in the country.

Think about that. On the stump, not a single word that comes out of her mouth — or not a single word that the McCain folks put in her mouth — is anything but a lie. I know that sounds like hyperbole. But just go down the list. None of them bear out.

Maybe we’ll get a fuller picture when Palin starts having press conferences in which reporters can ask her questions. I don’t hold much hope for the Charlie Gibson interview, since he was specifically selected because he’s deferential and will not point out (or ask about) material inconsistencies in what he’s told.

Indeed, there’s a funny post by Attaturk on Firedoglake listing the questions he’s likely to ask and those not likely to be asked:

(1) Please tell us a series of tear-jerking stories about your decision to give birth to a Down Syndrome Child.

(2) Why are you so gosh darn popular?

(3) Isn’t it awesome that your are a reformer, with results that I will not require evidence thereof?

(4) How do you feel about Barack Obama not always wearing a flag-pin?

(5) Tell us about your oldest boy serving in Iraq?

(6) How do you stay in such good shape?

(7) Tell us about the time you saved your family from a feral rampaging Moose with just an SUV, an AK-47 and mortar?

(8) Do you find my bluejeans pleasing? It shows that I’m just your average $10 million a year journalist in a staged Alaskan interview.

(9) May I pet your Trig?

(10) Are you up for some drilling?

Questions that will NOT be asked:

(1) Why are you refusing to testify in an investigation of abuse of power now when you promised to testify before?

(2) Why did you inquire into your ability to ban books when you were Mayor?

(3) What books did you want to ban?

(4) Do you believe in the Theory of Evolution? Why or why not?

(5) Why do you opposed abortion even in case of rape or incest?

(6) You’re for “abstinence only” education, did you tell ever think to tell Bristol about the wonders of a third sock?

(7) Why did you say your daughter “chose” to keep her baby when you would prevent anyone else from even having a choice at all?

(8) Tell me what specific decisions you made in regard to the Alaska National Guard?

(9) Tell me why your state’s proximity to Russia gives you particular expertise towards that nation? And while we’re at it, who is the President of say Azerbaijan?

(10) Did you ever attend a convention of the Alaska Independence Party?

(11) Was your husband a member of the Alaska Independence Party? Why? And why did you address their recent convention given their secessionist views?

(12) Do you believe in converting gays through prayer?

(13) Why were you in attendance at a church where the leader of Jews for Jesus excused bombings against Israelis because they had yet to accept Jesus?

(14) Why did you not walk out or protest? Do you believe this to be true?

(15) Seriously, what’s up with you and cats? Are you going to get Bill Frist a cabinet position?

(16) How’d you get that “per diem” money for staying home in your employment contract with Alaska? I’ve got to get that clause in my next contract. I’d like to bill ABC for those times when I’m not working but sleeping. In fact, I’m sleeping through this interview right now, ka-ching!

(17) When you were Mayor of Wasilla, did your town charge rape victims for their own forensic examinations?

Written by Leisureguy

9 September 2008 at 11:45 am

Posted in GOP

The evolution of e-books

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Interesting article (PDF) as libraries start to grapple with e-books. The abstract:

Over recent years there has been considerable confusion over the use of the term ‘e-book’, and this article examines the variety of definitions used to date while proposing a definitive construct. Beginning by examining the definitions of ‘book’, the paper moves on to consider the essential element of a book – the content, and to examine publishing and structural aspects of e-books, as well as their place in libraries, before arriving at a final definition. The definition and its derivation embrace all of the issues that affect the way in which e-books are understood and
used today. In conclusion, the article looks at both the genesis of e-books, and the stage of acceptance and adoption that they have reached, with brief reference to 3rd-generation e-book readers available at the time of writing.

Written by Leisureguy

9 September 2008 at 11:01 am

Obama agrees with Pantheophany (and me)

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I just blogged about the generous packages given to the failed CEOs of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and Pentheophany commented. And now (thanks, Liz!), Associated Press’s Nedra Pickler notes that Obama apparently saw that post and has jumped on our bandwagon:

Barack Obama objected to reports Monday that the ousted heads of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may receive lucrative severance packages and asked the Bush administration to ensure their “poor leadership” isn’t rewarded.

“Under no circumstances should the executives of these institutions earn a windfall at a time when the U.S. Treasury has taken unprecedented steps to rescue these companies with taxpayer resources,” Obama said in a letter to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Housing Finance Agency Director James Lockhart. “I urge you immediately to clarify that the agreement with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac voids any such inappropriate windfall payments to outgoing CEOs and senior management.”

Obama was reacting to a report Monday in The New York Times on a consulting firm’s analysis that found departing Fannie Mae head Daniel Mudd stands to collect $9.3 million in severance pay, retirement benefits and deferred compensation under the terms of his employment contract, provided his dismissal is deemed to be “without cause.”

Treasury spokeswoman Brookly McLaughlin said Treasury would have no immediate response to Obama’s letter.

Obama said Congress explicitly gave the Treasury Department authority to block any severance packages as part of a takeover.

“It would be a gross violation of the public trust to fail to use this authority now, while American taxpayers and American homeowners, already struggling in a weak economy, are being asked to accept an historic intervention to rescue these institutions,” he said.

Paulson announced Sunday that the government would take control of both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, temporarily putting them in a government conservatorship, replacing their CEOs and taking a financial stake in the companies. The move could end up costing taxpayers billions of dollars.

The two companies together own or guarantee more than $5 trillion in mortgages.

Obama said he recognizes government intervention was necessary to help solve the housing crisis, and asked Paulson and Lockhart report back on what steps are being taken to make sure taxpayer dollars aren’t being wasted and that poor leadership isn’t being rewarded.

Written by Leisureguy

9 September 2008 at 10:45 am

More on being prepared

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I just saw a very useful post on one aspect of the topic “Be Prepared.” In preparing yourself for a possible layoff, it’s important to attend to your professional development and education and also to network with people in your field. One way to do both is to attend important conferences in your professional area. But conferences cost money, and your company may not want to pay. I have found, though, that companies will willingly let you attend on your own dime: that is, they’ll cover your salary (and maybe even some of your expenses) provided that you pay the conference fees. suggests how you might be able to attend important conferences for free.

Written by Leisureguy

9 September 2008 at 10:41 am

Posted in Business, Daily life

The words they used

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Scott Feldstein spots an interesting graph showing the different words the two conventions used most.

Written by Leisureguy

9 September 2008 at 10:34 am

Posted in Democrats, Election, GOP

Steve Benen makes a good point

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Steve Benen writes:

The McCain campaign has repeated the bogus claim about Sarah Palin opposing the Bridge to Nowhere many times since the ticket was formed nearly two weeks ago, but by putting the claim in a television ad, the campaign apparently pushed its luck.

For whatever reason, the media seems to offer candidates a certain leeway on false claims made on the stump, but once they start lying in television ads, reporters are less accommodating.

A variety of news outlets, most notably the Wall Street Journal, have taken a firm line on the ad’s claim about Palin and the infamous pork project, blasting the campaign for its fairly obvious efforts at deception. Yglesias added, though, “The ultimate test of what matters isn’t one-off articles but campaign narratives.”

And what might such a narrative look like? Josh Marshall has an idea.

[W]e seem to be witnessing the first stirrings of a backlash and a dawning realization that the ‘Sarah Palin’ we’ve heard so much about over the last few days is a fraud of truly comical dimensions.

The McCain camp has made her signature issue shutting down the Bridge to Nowhere. But as The New Republic put it today that’s just “a naked lie.” … On earmarks she’s an even bigger crock. On the trail with McCain they’re telling everyone that she’s some kind of earmark slayer when actually, when she was mayor and governor, in both offices, she requested and got more earmarks than virtually any city or state in the country.

Think about that. On the stump, not a single word that comes out of her mouth — or not a single word that the McCain folks put in her mouth — is anything but a lie. I know that sounds like hyperbole. But just go down the list. None of them bear out.

That’s a rough assessment, but it’s also a reasonable one. From the troopergate scandal to the Bridge to Nowhere, from Palin’s connection to Ted Stevens to the eBay story, from her hunger for earmarks to her “national security experience” through the Alaska National Guard, the McCain campaign is presenting a bill of goods, hoping voters won’t know the difference.

Eight years ago, the media didn’t hesitate to trash Al Gore as some kind of unreliable serial exaggerator, whose word simply wasn’t reliable. Indeed, reporters actually seemed to take pleasure in it. As it happens, Gore’s purported “exaggerations” were largely a media-created fantasy, reported by those being egged on by the Bush campaign.

Eight years later, the McCain/Palin ticket has actually earned the label, but it’s apparently impolite to acknowledge this out loud.

Written by Leisureguy

9 September 2008 at 10:33 am

Posted in GOP

Palin: another not-smear

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UPDATE: The Washington Independent’s Matthew Delong has a good story on this

The truth about Palin can be distasteful, but if it’s true, it’s not a smear, is it? Take a look at this story by James Grimaldi and Karl Vick in the Washington Post. It begins:

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has billed taxpayers for 312 nights spent in her own home during her first 19 months in office [that’s 55% of her time in office – LG], charging a “per diem” allowance intended to cover meals and incidental expenses while traveling on state business.

The governor also has charged the state for travel expenses to take her children on official out-of-town missions. And her husband, Todd, has billed the state for expenses and a daily allowance for trips he makes on official business for his wife.

Palin, who earns $125,000 a year, claimed and received $16,951 as her allowance, which officials say was permitted because her official “duty station” is Juneau, according to an analysis of her travel documents by The Washington Post.

The governor’s daughters and husband charged the state $43,490 to travel, and many of the trips were between their house in Wasilla and Juneau, the capital city 600 miles away, the documents show.

… In separate filings, the state was billed about $25,000 for Palin’s daughters’ expenses and $19,000 for her husband’s.

Flights topped the list for the most expensive items, and the daughter whose bill was the highest was Piper, 7, whose flights cost nearly $11,000, while Willow, 14, claimed about $6,000 and Bristol, 17, accounted for about $3,400.

… Asked Monday about the official policy on charging for children’s travel expenses, Garnero said: “We cover the expenses of anyone who’s conducting state business. I can’t imagine kids could be doing that.” …

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

9 September 2008 at 10:31 am

Posted in Daily life, GOP, Government

Be prepared – update

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A commenter named Mar made an excellent point in a comment to my previous post “Be Prepared.” My response:

Excellent point, Mar! You’re absolutely right. Recall the scene in Cameron Crowe’s movie Jerry Maguire in which Maguire (played by Tom Cruise) is fired while at lunch in a restaurant. He races back to his office to get his Rolodex of clients. In real life, he would be fired in a conference room by the president with the HR person present as a witness and to handle technical questions about severance (and probably with security on standby), and then he would be immediately escorted from the building: no getting the Rolodex.

So you’re absolutely right: make sure in your current job that you will have access to important information by NOT keeping it on your office computer, but rather on one of the Web 2.0 sites so that you can access the information from ANY computer. Obviously, you should not do this with any proprietary data, but the contact information for your network of professional acquaintances is not proprietary, and you WILL need access to it. So keep that information in a secure on-line application.

Written by Leisureguy

9 September 2008 at 10:07 am


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Written by Leisureguy

9 September 2008 at 9:48 am

Posted in Daily life, Election, GOP

Couples and money

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Very interesting post at More Intelligent Life: Couples and Money.

There comes a moment during a couple counselling session with Donna Laikind when the clients tend to swallow hard and wish they were somewhere else. It is the moment when she touches on the most intimate aspects of their shared life. She goes further, she readily admits, than most have bargained for. “My questions are so probing, and touch on areas of their life that are so private,” she says, “that it’s often a real shock to them that I’m daring to ask them.”

You could be forgiven for thinking that she is talking about sex. But, according to Laikind—a therapist in private practice in Manhattan and Connecticut, and a member of the faculty of NYU medical school—the questions she focuses on at this point cut deeper and are even more exposing than sexual ones could be. They’re about money: and they pull no punches. “I ask them, how much do you earn? How do you organise your money? Who makes decisions about how the money is spent in your house? I even ask them to tell me about all their bank accounts—every single one.”

Are they surprised? “You bet they are. Some of these questions are things a couple have never discussed before. You get people who don’t know how much their partner earns. You get people who admit they have accounts their partner doesn’t know about.” And most importantly, she says, you get a lot of inside-track information about what’s really going on in this relationship. Laikind believes a couple’s financial arrangements are a window into their world–perhaps the best there is. How they organise their finances, whether they fight over money, how they prioritise spending, and whether they have any financial secrets from one another, are all indicators of the health of the relationship, and the balance of power within it.

But if money is a metaphor, it’s a lot more besides. …

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

9 September 2008 at 9:45 am

Posted in Daily life

Tagged with ,

Blog that tracks electoral vote projections

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Very interesting blog. As of now, the projection is Obama 292.8, McCain 245.2. Bookmark it for checking over the next couple of months.

Written by Leisureguy

9 September 2008 at 9:42 am

Interesting education tool: The History Engine

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The History Engine.

The History Engine is an educational tool that gives students the opportunity to learn history by doing the work—researching, writing, and publishing—of a historian. The result is an ever-growing collection of historical articles or “episodes” that paints a wide-ranging portrait of life in the United States throughout its history and that is available to scholars, teachers, and the general public in our online database.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

9 September 2008 at 9:35 am

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