Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I Say Tomato, She Says Tax Cuts (Wednesday Links)

When listening to the radio last night, I started to get the feeling that we are in the midst of a semantic war.  "Renew tax cuts for the wealthy" for some is "increase taxes" for others.  The "suspension of incremental pay raises" for federal workers is also termed a "pay freeze" (despite continued merit raises and bonuses).  Truly, the semantic war never stopped, but it seems like this battle over the National Debt will be fought in the consonants.

I'm reading a very interesting book called The Great Derangement by Matt Taibbi.  The left slant is pronounced, but the ideas in the book are quite profound.  He suggests that while the public's distrust of politics was concerning, the real impetus of today's fringe elements was when they lost trust in the press.  We as a people no longer had a common set of facts that set the groundwork for political discourse.  That's quite terrifying.


If you like crime stories, check out this piece about the theft of $2.6 million worth of metal.  That had to be almost hard enough to make it worth earning it honestly.

Governor O'Malley is expected to be elected Chair of the Democratic Governors Association, which is expected to heighten his national profile.  US, meet our Governor.  By the way, he's a rock star.

If you were a Howard County or Baltimore City Four Loko aficionado, I'm afraid you will have to find a new hobby.  Both have announced that they will fine merchants that do not stop selling caffeine infused alcoholic beverages.  This whole Four Loko thing is fascinating to me.  Does Big Brother know that bars have been selling "Jager-bombs" (Red Bull and Jagermeister) and "Red Bulls & Vodkas" for almost a decade?  Does the actual infusion of the two in a can make it somehow more dangerous?  Are they offended by the name "Four Loko"?  I can't help but feel like this is market protection from the more powerful elements of the alcohol lobby.  Give public officials an opportunity to be self-righteous and get the "easy out" and they will take it every time.

I liked WB's post about panhandling in Columbia.  In a weird way, I see panhandlers as a public service announcement, reminding people that despite their Range Rover and $600 hand-bag, some people are sleeping outside tonight...even in Columbia.  There are certainly those that have done this to themselves, via substance abuse or bad decision-making, but you would be surprised at how many people ended up on the street due to bad luck, tried to get a foot-hold back into "society", and eventually just slipped into the "He's probably going to spend it on beer" mold.  When I lived in Baltimore, there was a man that lived outside of my building named Ray.  Jane and I would bring him foot at night and blankets when it was cold, but we never invited him inside.  He was never drunk, never high, and was in the process of applying for disability payments due to a partially amputated foot.  He couldn't stay in a shelter, because the other people there would steal his things.  Jane was new to Baltimore and I was not willing to put her in danger for the sake of a stranger.  Since moving out of the City, I think back on that a lot, and whether it was the right decision.  So many times we do just enough so we can sleep at night.  Little more.

Sarah's fine trip down CSA lane has ended for the season.  Recap here.

HowChow notes that Smokin' Hot gets another good review from GrubGrade.  I know some of you didn't like the place, but it looks like you are becoming the minority.

Trevor wishes you a happy Chanukah!  Same to you Trevor!

I'm thinking Professor Hecker's series on Howard County Council redistricting could very well lead itself into a book.  Part 2 here.

Hope you all are having a good week and staying dry.  I'm going to be trying for my first run (inside) since the Big M today.  Hopefully I don't break myself.