Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Friday, February 20, 2015 7:12 pm

Odds and ends for Feb. 20

Yeah, we’re in a post-racial society now.

Having decided that hacking cell phones on a case-by-case basis wasn’t efficient enough, the NSA and its British counterpart, GCHQ, hacked a sim-card manufacturer, gaining access to billions of cell phones. (We learn of this via a leak from Edward Snowden to The Intercept, but go on, keep telling me how Snowden is nothing but a criminal.)

Some conservative PACs are fleecing their contributors, big-time: to the tune of a combined $50 million or more.

Brian Williams of NBC isn’t the only anchor with a lying-about-being-in-combat problem. Bill O’Reilly at Fox News is another one. David Corn calls him out at Salon. O’Reilly’s response, which was entirely unpredictable, was to call Corn a liar and a “despicable guttersnipe.”

Apparently North Carolina has defeated poverty, because there’s not one other damn reason why the UNC Board of Governors would close the Poverty Center. Except because they’re sociopaths, and thin-skinned ones at that.

Once again, a pesky Constitution gets in the way. This time, it’s the Wisconsin constitution, which,  a state appeals court has ruled, prevents Gov. Scott Walker from overruling administrative orders issued by the state’s elected superintendent of public instruction.

If you like what the Kochs have been trying to do in Wisconsin and here in North Carolina, you’ll love what they’re trying to do in Illinois, where the governor apparently has declared war on everyone who’s not already a millionaire.

Here’s a short, ugly lesson about the ethics of rich people. (Yeah, I know, not all rich people. Still.)

One could be forgiven for thinking that N.C. State Sen. Trudy Wade is just remarkably hard of hearing. In point of fact, the likelier explanation for her behavior is that she’s doing the bidding of a couple of wealthy, silent types who have promised her some sort of recompense even in the unlikely event she loses her Senate seat over her misbegotten, antidemocratic reorganization/redistricting plan for the Greensboro City Council. I find it unlikely to be coincidental that this plan matches up nicely with the Koch playbook for trying to get more Republicans elected even in largely to overwhelmingly Democratic cities. (Yes, the city council is nonpartisan under current law. Like that matters to the Kochs.)

If there ever will be any hope of Tar Heels and Blue Devils getting along, perhaps it will be over beer. We’ll find out early in March.




Tuesday, January 27, 2015 10:13 pm

Odds and ends for Jan. 27

RIP President Obama’s plan to kill the tax exemption for 529 (college-education) accounts, age 7 days. You people who think the deduction for mortgage interest can be repealed are so cute.

In the 2016 Republican Presidential Candidates in Legal Jeopardy race, Rick Perry takes the early lead!

You people tweeting #Blizzardof2015 like it’s gonna be the only one? Also cute.

Speaking of Twitter, it wants me to follow Franklin Graham. Yet more reason to believe it’ll be a loooong time before Skynet becomes self-aware.

No Stephen Curry? No problem: My Davidson Wildcats just keep winning.

Greensboro is getting its first (legal) distillery since Prohibition. That’s the good news. The bad news: It’ll be making rye and bourbon. Meh.

Relatedly, the World of Beer restaurant chain is coming to Greensboro. But as for me and my house, we shall worship the Wall of Beer.

Everybody in Greensboro but me has been talking about the controversy at UNCG over its firing and attempted prosecution of three employees. I’m still not talking about it — nothing I could add — but perhaps this means we can soon move on to talking about other, happier things.

Google Fiber is coming to Charlotte and Raleigh. But not Greensboro. *sigh* All the more reason for Greensboro folks to get behind CityFi.

Don’t drink and drone.

Duke plays undefeated Virginia Saturday evening. I’ll be eating dinner with my bride and Tony and his bride. We win.

Saturday, April 28, 2012 12:02 am

Product review: Sol beer

What with Cinco de Mayo coming up (a/k/a Amateur Night for gringos), if anyone offers you a choice between a bottle of Sol beer and a bottle of horse pee, take the horse pee. And then hit the guy in the head with the Sol bottle. The horse pee has substantially more character than the beer.

Thursday, February 23, 2012 7:42 pm

At least one Koch is a great American, and so is Jimmy Carter

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 7:42 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

So sayeth James Fallows, who praiseth the non-Earth-raping Koch and the ostensibly hapless former president, and so, at least in the context of beer, say I.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011 8:51 pm

You kids get out of my yard … and stop trying to get me to buy you beer.

Tom Scocca gets at something I’d sort of sensed but hadn’t really grasped. Maybe it’s because my parents didn’t make a big deal either way about drinking when I was kid. Maybe it’s because, with the legal drinking age then 18, I could get beer pretty much anytime I wanted it from about 15 on, and its very accessibility rendered its acquisition somewhat less urgent. Ida know. But as a quasi-responsible parent, damn, am I annoyed I didn’t grok this faster:

What are beer commercials about? The two central premises are these:

1. Beer—cheap, common, domestic beer—is a rare commodity that drives men mad with the desire to have it, at any cost.

2. Women are the great obstacle between men and the fulfillment of this desire.

Taken literally, this is baffling. Beer is cheap and easy to find. The only cost should be $6.99 for a six pack, at any convenience store. And rather than hiding from women to drink their beer, many single adult heterosexual men seek out female company when they’re drinking. “Drink our beer and avoid contact with women!”—who could possibly be the target for that pitch?

But it makes perfect sense if the target audience is—and it is—16-year-olds.

The girls aren’t really girls; they’re Mom. And Mom is the first hurdle in the thrilling obstacle course that makes up the world of the teenage beer drinker.

Geez. It’s the tobacco companies all over again. On the bright side, far fewer than one in three people who drink beer are going to die prematurely by using the product as intended, and secondhand beer, although certainly toxic (not to mention odoriferous), is more easily avoided and almost never lethal.

Saturday, January 29, 2011 4:49 pm

Must-see TV

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 4:49 pm

And they say appointment television is dead. 8 p.m. ET tomorrow, y’all.

(h/t: Fred)

Friday, July 23, 2010 8:44 pm

What could be cooler than the world’s strongest beer?

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 8:44 pm

The world’s strongest beer that has an apocalyptic name and that you drink out of a dead animal, that’s what.

(h/t: Louis)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010 8:06 pm

Reason No. 724,482 why I love women

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 8:06 pm
Tags: ,

They can protect us from Teh Skunk:

Rhonda Dannenberg, a suburban mother of three, stuck her nose in six glasses of beer at the MillerCoors brewery here and swished a bit of each in her mouth. Then she delivered the kind of frank verdict that’s shaking up the mens-club world of beer tasting.

“I got a strong bruised fruit,” Ms. Dannenberg, 36 years old, said of one of the Miller Lite batches, drawing a few nods from the three other women and two men at the table. “Slight cardboard taste. Oxidized. Unacceptable.”

At many companies, the assembled panelists would have been men, typically brew masters and other technical types. And it makes sense. To judge from TV commercials, men like beer better than women do and sometimes even seem to like beer more than they like women.

But the British company SABMiller PLC decided several years ago to reach deeper into its employee pool to find adept tasters, inviting marketers, secretaries and others to try their hand. The company concluded that women were drinking men under the table.

“We have found that females often are more sensitive about the levels of flavor in beer,” says Barry Axcell, SABMiller’s chief brewer. Women trained as tasters outshine their male counterparts, he says.

If practice makes perfect, men should have the clear edge in beer tasting, since they account for 72.8% of the world’s beer sales, according to market-research firm Datamonitor Group. But SABMiller, which makes Pilsner Urquell, Peroni and Grolsch in addition to Miller and Coors brands, says its empirical evidence shows that females are the superior sex when it comes to detecting such undesirable chemicals as 3-methyl-2-butene-1-thiol, which makes beer “skunky.”

Y’know, I sort of kind of generally know what I like in terms of how different beers taste, but I can’t swear to you I could pick my “favorite” out in any kind of blind taste test. (I’ve been to maybe a dozen wine tastings in my life, which is a dozen more than the beer tastings I’ve been to. Go figure.) So it’s good to know that the ladies of SABMiller PLC have got my back, cervisially* speaking.

*cervisially (adv.): in a way or manner of or pertaining to beer, from  L. “cervisa,” beer. Now don’t say you never learned anything here.

Thursday, May 20, 2010 5:33 am

Size matters

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 5:33 am

Friday, December 11, 2009 6:21 pm

Odds and ends for 12/11

Memo to Rick Warren has not “done the right thing.” Rick Warren has merely done the only thing that might stave off a PR disaster for himself and what he laughably passes off as a “ministry.” There’s a difference. “Doing the right thing” would have required Ranger Rick to immediately, loudly and repeatedly denounce state-sanctioned murder of gays (and imprisonment of their families/friends for not reporting them). Now study up; this will be on the final.

Why don’t we have a health-care bill yet? Here’s one reason.

Success! Because why in the world would we want to regulate the financial instrument that almost destroyed the global economy?

Aetna’s solution to Robert Steinback’s health-insurance needs: “Die, Mr. Steinback.” As the brother of two guys with Type 1 diabetes, I feel his pain, and I’m still waiting for someone to explain credibly to me why we don’t need at the least a national, robust public option, if not single-payer.

Not exactly giving us what we like: The Senate health-care proposal is less popular than the public option. How much less popular? Seventeen percentage points. That’s huge.

You want death panels? You can’t handle death panels!

And speaking of panels: Digby has a name for the panel Pete Peterson is proposing to figure out a way to balance the budget: the Bipartisan Committee To Destroy Social Security and Medicare So Wealthy People Don’t Ever Have To Pay Higher Taxes. Prolix but accurate.

Facts matter. So take that, Glenn Beck supporters.

The party of responsibility and accountability, which controls the S.C. legislature, has declined to impeach Gov. Mark Sanford.

Another way to get by without health insurance: Yitzhak Ganon just didn’t go see the doctor. For sixty-five years.

We’ve killed al-Qaeda’s No. 3 guy. Again.

The grownups of fact-checking take on “Climategate.” Their findings will surprise no one and enrage denialists.

Shorter Sarah Palin: “Correcting my (many) factual mistakes = making the issue something it’s not.”

Does Fox News want to make us laugh, or is it simply trying to bankrupt Rupert Murdoch?: Even by the rug-burn standards of online polling, this question is so loaded it is leaving big cracks in the digital asphalt.

Green? Shoot!: The number of people shifting to emergency unemployment insurance because their regular coverage had run out topped 379,000 last week, bringing the overall total to a record 4.2 million. At the current rate of increase, the number of people getting emergency payments will top the people getting regular payments (5.5 million) within a month.

Green? Shoot!, the sequel: Independent financial analyst David Rosenberg (via ZeroHedge) says that 1) because of contracting credit and asset deflation, we’re not in a recession, we’re in a depression; 2) the 20% deflation of household assets in the past 18 months — a loss of $12 trillion in value — is “a degree of trauma we have never seen before”, 3) … aw, hell, just go read the whole thing. It’s orders of magnitude more depressing than anything on CNBC, but also appears orders of magnitude more fact-based, unfortunately.

Green? Shoot! Reloaded: Paul Krugman offers some objective criteria by which we might determine exactly what constitutes “good news on the job front.”  Just remember, we’ve got to make up lost ground. A lot of lost ground.

Public pants-wetting: Why do Reps. Trent Franks, Steve King and Sue Myrick hate America?

In news that will surprise exactly zero parents, scientists now say 98% of children under the age of 10 are sociopaths.

And, finally, some good news (h/t: Fred), or, When the Germans say “Prost!”, they mean it: Beer could fight prostate cancer.

Saturday, December 6, 2008 4:46 pm

Sigh. If only Samuel Adams came in cans …

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 4:46 pm
Tags: , ,

(h/t: Valerie)

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