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Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Morning News

posted by on December 6 at 8:43 AM

Study Buddies: The Iraq Study Group, a bipartisan, independent panel evaluating the war, presents their findings to Bush today, who says he will take them “very seriously”.

Haditha Hatred: 5 marines expected to be charged with the Haditha killings of 24 Iraqis, many of whom were unarmed women and children.

What’s your “terror score”? You’ll never know.

Banned from virtual dwellings, too: To reduce its use by sexual predators, Myspace moves to ban sex-offenders from registering profiles.

Rich People = Rich: First ever study of global household assests finds richest 1% of the population owns 40% of absolutely everything, richest 10% own 85% of everything, and half of the world’s population—the poor half—own just 1% of everything.

Silicon Shakeup: Execs ditch Yahoo as the company changes management after being trounced by Google all year.

Norway not Nickels: Norwegian officials declare stripping is art (“it combines dance and acting”) and is therefore tax-exempt.

Grass, goosepoop, garages: Seattle Parks Dept head Ken Bounds retires.

Big box, big benefits: Litle Saigon wants community benefits if the Dearborn development goes in.

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Has anyone else seen the horrific reality shows currently on cable?

I caught The Real Housewives of Orange County recently and was totally appalled. One housefrau, for example, is a real estate agent who is way too excited about all of the divorces in her community. See, divorce is great for her business because “they need to sell their house and buy two houses.” Ka-ching, ka-ching for her, and this is in the first 5 minutes!

Later in that same episode, the real estate agent and her hubby take their 16-year-old daughter to the Mercedes dealership so she won’t have to drive her “hand-me-down Mercedes anymore.” While getting comfy in a $50,000 car, the daughter turns to the camera and seriously says “I know that if my parents buy this for me, it means they love me.” Cinderella, eat your heart out.

One housewife got screwed in her divorce settlement and ended up having to get a job and live in a townhouse. A TOWNHOUSE! What a nightmare and oh, the humanity.

You see, in the real Orange County, life is an endless parade of McMansions, breast implants and Pilates classes. This show contains the kind of “insights” about living in suburbia that make The OC look like Dickens, and it has lots of company.

Case in point, Laguna Beach on MTV. Five minutes of this show and I was pleading for an asteroid to wipe out the town or at least high school; an alternate title for the program could be The Bold and The Brainless. Aren’t there any kids there that do anything other than gossip about relationships and have agonizing Sophie’s Choices about where to have lunch? Where are The Pixies loving art fags and the drama/journalism/yearbook geek squad of which I was a proud member? Dry heaving in the hallway if they’ve seen this hot mess.

David Schmader recently slogged about whether it’s appropriate to hate a child. Well, that seems to be the only logical result after watching My Sweet Sixteen. My fella says that what those kids really deserve is forced sterilization to protect future generations –now that’s an after-school special that I can endorse.

What is the point of these shows? Are we supposed to be disgusted?

Is this rage-blackout porn?

Posted by Andrew | December 6, 2006 8:47 AM

"Norwegian officials declare stripping is art ("it combines dance and acting")..."

And lap dancing should be classified under health care as it combines massage and psychological therapy. Wish my insurance plan covered it.

Posted by Sean | December 6, 2006 9:11 AM

Why doesn't "Little Saigon" give some benefit to the people passing through their neighborhood by not double-parking their delivery trucks on 12th Avenue, and by abiding by all the other traffic and zoning laws (including the ones about forklift operation on public streets) that the rest of the city at least gives a nod to?

Somebody at City Hall is being paid off, or else they are afraid of doing their job because they might "oppress" that community.

Posted by Pot calling Kettle | December 6, 2006 9:29 AM

Re: Rich People = Rich

Marketplace had a cool story on this last night. Jagdish Bhagwati won my soundbite-of-the-day award:

He believes giving people access to financing and reducing bureaucratic hurdles to business would be a good start. Just in case you're feeling smug about being in that half-a-million-buck club, you should know: You share this rung of the ladder with 37 million other people.

JAGDISH BHAGWATI: These numbers are totally meaningless. I would just sort of pick them up and throw them into the first body of water I could find.

That's Jagdish Bhagwati, a development economist at Columbia University. He says it makes no sense to compare a man on a yak in Mongolia to a Manhattan yuppie.

BHAGWATI: Households in outer Mongolia are not thinking about what households on Park Avenue in New York are doing. So what's the point of putting them together and comparing the wealth of one group to the wealth of another group?

While the wealthiest people in the world are concentrated in the U.S., so are some of the least wealthy. That's because so many of us are deep in debt, particularly during the holidays.
I really liked the idea of that the illusion of wealth is betrayed by incurring massive debt, and that in spite of ourselves we are in fact poorer than some third world farmers due to negative wealth (debt).

It's a complicated issue but I thought it was an amusing idea either way. Pay those balances, people!

Posted by charles | December 6, 2006 9:33 AM

Charles @ 4,

It’s true. A third of working age Americans, we’re talking around 70 million people, live paycheck to paycheck, have no savings and will be totally wiped out at retirement. The government’s own accountants are telling us during the Fiscal Wake-Up Tour that Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and payments on our trillions in debt will completely bankrupt the US government in the next 20 to 30 years. Instead, we’re talking about moon bases.

This is insane. I guess we all could just dodge those mean Chinese men demanding their money and go live on Moon Base Alpha. Sounds fun!

Posted by Andrew | December 6, 2006 9:44 AM

I can't wait for the first lawsuit from some guy whose MySpace account is killed for erroneously claiming he's a sex offender.

The techniques they are using are from the out-of-control data mining industry (see also the "terror score" story above. Gee, I've never gotten a "targeted email" spam that was off-target; have you? These techniques are bullshit, and they increasing control our society.

Posted by Fnarf | December 6, 2006 9:48 AM

The next think you know, sex offenders' SIMS characters will not be allowed near artificial children.

Posted by elswinger | December 6, 2006 9:59 AM


If it's any consolation, the Chinese might very well build that moon base first - using profits from all the U.S. debt they're currently financing.

Posted by COMTE | December 6, 2006 12:04 PM

Andrew: If you're interested, I have some exciting opportunities in lunar real-estate that I'd love to talk to you about ;p

Posted by charles | December 6, 2006 12:22 PM

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