First Cuppa Coffee – Monday, April 23, 2012: The Dog Ate My Homework Edition

by on April 23, 2012 · 3 comments

in Culture, Economy, Environment, Labor, San Diego

Romney’s education platform: bust the unions first… Last Sunday, candidate Willard Romney gave a speech to supporters of his ‘Victory Fund’ in the backyard of a home in Palm Beach, Florida. It wasn’t supposed to be open to the press, but reporters being who they are, stood outside the fence and listened in. Much of what he told the crowd was very general and has already been reported; stuff like the elimination of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Cabinet-level agency once led by Romney’s father, George.  Surprisingly enough, one agency not slated for elimination in a Romney administration will be the Department of Education; he feels it’s too valuable a conduit for helping to break unions in the field of education.

Political tit for tat, dog eat dog style…  One would hope that you haven’t heard the oft repeated story about candidate Willard Romney’s family trek to Canada way back when with the family dog (Seamus) atop the family sedan. But you have. I doubt that anybody votes based on these stories, but they certainly do make for great smirking in after hours dives frequented by a certain kind of political consultant. Personally, I like the excuse given by the family that the dog had the shits; there ought to be somebody out there who’ll pipe up about having to drive behind the Romneymobile.

Now, Republican dog lovers have their own story to spread. And smirk about. This tale shows up over at Daily Kos as yet another example of Arizonian idiocy about all things not white.  Former State GOP Chairman Randy Pullen, who lost his job last year to a Tea Party candidate and therefore needed to boost his image with the Zonie knuckle-dragging set, sent the following tweet this weekend:

 Eating dog meat is common in Asia. Says a lot about our President’s upbringing and values. Why he doesn’t fully appreciate American values

 Shocking as it may be, it would seem that there is one conserv researcher out there that’s actually read Barack Obama’s first autobiography, Dreams of My Father, the source of the latest meme making rounds of undecided dog lovin’ voters everywhere. Here’s the money quote:

 “With Lolo, I learned how to eat small green chill peppers raw with dinner (plenty of rice), and, away from the dinner table, I was introduced to dog meat (tough), snake meat (tougher), and roasted grasshopper (crunchy). Like many Indonesians, Lolo followed a brand of Islam that could make room for the remnants of more ancient animist and Hindu faiths.”

 I am surprised that nobody’s jumped on the usage of the word “animist”. After all, it rhymes with terrorist. This is probably as good a place as any to note that Carl DeMaio is posting pics on Facebook of his supporters’ Doggie t-shirts.

Another hotel chain we don’t need… Even as San Diego’s hoteliers are adding another tax to their customers’ bills (“Who cares? We can’t fill the rooms anyway?”), another new hotel brand is readying its launch. The estate of Ernest Hemmingway –he wrote manly books, for those of you who skipped English Lit—has announced its intention to build out a hospitality chain using the allure and machismo of “Papa”.  Maybe they can sue Doug Manchester for unauthorized use of the nickname…

Earth Day battle of the pollsters… Do Americans care about global warming? Is climate change real? Those questions may seem similar, but in the context of the conflicts between tree huggers and drill baby drill types, the differences loom large. If you look closely, it’s pretty easy to figure that the way the questions are parsed and subsequently construed can be used to create any scenario desired.

Seven out of Ten Americans Agree…. Climate Change Leads to Extreme Weather.  So goes the headline over at, which cites a Yale study on extreme weather, a Brookings Institute poll, and an L.A. Times article.

Global Warming Dead Last Again… Sez talk radio host Alex Jones’ Prison Planet, which cites the annual Gallup Annual Environment poll, calling it “…a double body-blow to admitted document thief Dr. Peter Gleick; Americans don’t share his top two concerns on water and climate, probably because of the actions of zealots like him.” It’d be nice if he could stick to one topic at a time, but with all that talk radio caffeine ‘y’know….

Fact checking, psycho-style...  A group of researchers have banded together, reports The Chronicle of Higher Education, under the moniker of the Reproducibility Project to replicate every study from the three most prestigious journals in the field of Psychology for the year 2008.  I know it’s wonky, but this is gonna be way more fun than reading about WalMart passing out bribes in Mexico. It seems as though some people think there might be a whole lotta scammin’ going on in the Psych biz. Usually, the authors of these studies are able to utilize these studies (and their 15 seconds of fame) to enhance their grant collecting ability from various well-meaning foundations, so they can do more studies.

It’s a cash cow… which would be alright, except that some of the studies actually influence how people get treated. Nobody ever double checks the research because, well, it’s simply not profitable. Is that the sound of shredders running in the background that I hear? Can double checks on Big Pharma studies be far behind?

The Mayoral debate that didn’t happen… According to the Daily Fishwrap (SDUT) the debate that candidates Bob Filner and Nathan Fletcher had in Balboa Park during Earth Day festivities, with many thousands of people in attendance, never happened.  A fringe anti-abortion group that crashes the event did merit coverage, according to today’s dead tree edition. I guess if Carl DeMaio decides that putting up yard signs (which is what he tweeted that he was doing yesterday) is more important than debating, then the Union-Tribune doesn’t cover anything that any of the other candidates happen to do. (Bonnie Dumanis also failed to show for the debate.) People who saw the debate said it was lively and exciting to watch.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Anna Daniels April 23, 2012 at 11:25 am

Frank Rich in the New Yorker does a bang-up job on the Top Dogs- the old, white, rich men who are buying the presidential election. They are not just eating our homework- they are eating our democracy.


Jack April 23, 2012 at 11:43 am

Oh Anna, there you go again. As a man, it’s great to be old, white and…oh…nevermind.


Anna Daniels April 23, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Jack- My Beloved is old, white and Rich, and even that doesn’t qualify… :)


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