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Robert Stone, RIP

[ 29 ] January 11, 2015 |

Robert Stone, author of Dog Soldiers, A Flag for Sunrise, and many other novels, has died. Of course, he’s most famous because I once rented an apartment that he had lived in not long before.

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Richard Sherman: A Traitor to Conservatives

[ 20 ] January 11, 2015 |

It’s entirely unclear to me why The Free Beacon would name Richard Sherman its Man of the Year in 2014. But it has rescinded the “honor” because Sherman has recorded an ad, or “a government propaganda video” according to the site, to get people to sign up for Obamacare. Which of course means you should all be rooting for the Seahawks to win another Super Bowl.

Another Way the Airlines Hate Their Customers: Fire Unionized Employees and Replace Them with Contractors

[ 91 ] January 10, 2015 |

United ended its baggage handling contract at Denver International Airport with SkyWest, which has a unionized workforce, replacing it with a contractor that pays many workers the minimum wage. What happened next is predictable:

United Airlines’ baggage-handling issues at Denver International Airport have gotten so out of hand that airport CEO Kim Day has personally reached out to the airline to offer assistance.

“She asked if there was anything the airport can do,” airport spokesman Heath Montgomery said. “The offer has been extended. We are confident United is doing everything they can.”

United’s troubles with lost luggage, delayed flights and a chaotic baggage-claim area, with bags tossed everywhere, have gone on for weeks and are extending beyond the airline to color travelers’ perceptions of the airport as a whole.

Several passengers say they will try never to travel through Denver again, including tourist Jonathan Huckabay, whose luggage went missing when he connected through DIA on Saturday.

He was returning home to Edmonton, Alberta, from a vacation in Mexico when his flight was delayed for more than an hour because of issues getting luggage loaded onto the plane in Denver.

“I will definitely avoid going through Denver if I can help it,” he said. “I was looking forward to seeing the airport and perhaps visiting the city as I hadn’t passed through that hub before, but the experience has soured me on this particular city’s airport.”

Huckabay still did not have his bag Tuesday.

More here.

It’s hardly worth blaming the employees themselves, either. They are, almost to a person, new hires and woefully underpaid. United has recently made the mind-boggling decision to cut ties with its veteran airport staff (through the unionized company SkyWest) and instead hire the lowest bidding contractor they could find. SkyWest’s workers are paid an average of $12 to $24 an hour. Instead of paying employees those wages, United contracted a company ironically called, “Simplicity,” which advertises wages of just $8 an hour — the lowest legal wage a company can give in the city of Denver.

I’m sure that if people complain too much, United can always move to another city that will appreciate the company as the deity that it sees itself as being.

Conservative Freak Out of the Day

[ 80 ] January 10, 2015 |

OMFG, Malia Obama likes the hippety-hop. Western Civilization faces another threat! Only the conservative movement can save us now!!!

Bernie and the TPP

[ 18 ] January 10, 2015 |

Bernie Sanders is taking the lead in attacking the odious Trans-Pacific Partnership, the centerpiece of Obama’s trade agenda.

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is blasting the Obama administration for a lack of transparency in negotiating a major trade deal that he says will be “disastrous” for workers.

The 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would be the largest free trade agreement in history, is still being negotiated but is expected to come before Congress for approval this year.

Sanders, an independent, said the treaty’s proposals were written in secret with input from multi-national corporations while members of Congress were “locked out of the process.” Administration officials dispute that claim.

Sanders said the trade pact is part of a “global race to the bottom” to boost corporate profits.

“It is incomprehensible to me that the leaders of major corporate interests who stand to gain enormous financial benefits from this agreement are actively involved in the writing of the TPP while, at the same time, the elected officials of this country, representing the American people, have little or no knowledge as to what is in it,” Sanders wrote Monday to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman.

What I love is the lies about the number of jobs that the TPP will create:

Murphy said trade agreements like TPP dismantle tariffs and barriers used by foreign governments to shut out U.S. goods and services. The deal could boost U.S. exports by $124 billion by 2025 and generate 700,000 new American jobs, he wrote, citing a study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

These same sorts of claims were made about NAFTA. Instead, 683,000 American jobs were lost because of NAFTA by 2010, 61 percent of which were the high-paying manufacturing jobs at the backbone of the American union movement of the 20th century.

When Does The National Review Think Income Inequality Should Be Fought?

[ 14 ] January 10, 2015 |

When solar energy entrepreneurs get rich, of course.

Touring the World

[ 20 ] January 9, 2015 |

Whether visiting SEK’s office where he caught students having sex, the Nixon Library, or Eng and Chang’s grave (which oddly I have never written about here), I like weird tourism, especially if it intersects with American history. How to do this on the Colombian coast? Easy enough. Visit the bar where the Secret Service agent picked up the woman that led to the agency’s prostitution scandal. And here it is:

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I love the guy who did this because he engaged in my favorite thing in the world: rank conservative hypocrisy.

Huntington was a world away from Severna Park, Maryland, where he lived with his wife of almost 20 years, who homeschooled their two teenage sons and ran a neighborhood Bible-study group. The Huntingtons owned a modest house with two white rocking chairs on the front porch and an American flag flying above the front door. They attended Granite Baptist Church in Glen Burnie. Arthur had graduated from Roberts Wesleyan College, a Christian school in Rochester, New York, where he studied criminal justice. Before joining the Secret Service, he was an airport security guard and then a cop in St. Petersburg, Florida.

I love it when my Baptist Bible school teaching home schooling good Christian security men just so happen to sleep with any woman that moves when their wives aren’t around.

Sexism in Beer Culture, Part Eleventymillion

[ 34 ] January 9, 2015 |

Ugh.

Today in Republican Minority Outreach

[ 4 ] January 9, 2015 |

House Republicans once again show their priorities, seek to repeal Obama’s humane moves on immigration, recriminalize all undocumented people in this country.

And You Thought Robert Moses Was Ambitious

[ 79 ] January 9, 2015 |

Wow:

A Really Greater New York. That was the title of the 1911 proposal by an engineer and planner who imagined paving over massive amounts of New York Harbor to make room to build the New York of the future. Oh, you like the East River and would miss it? Too damn bad!

Yesterday Jen Carlson brought the proposal to our attention, explaining how it was drawn up—and enthusiastically promoted—by one T. Kennard Thomson in 1911. Just how much would Thomson’s plan have transformed New York? Well, as it stands today, NYC encompasses 469 square miles. Thomson wanted to add a full 50 square miles to that by infilling huge sections of naturally water-bound New York.

In the context of early modern New York, it wasn’t all that crazy. After all, the boundaries of Manhattan had been aggressively expanded since the arrival of Dutch colonists. Ellis Island is built on landfill, as is Battery Park City. During World War II, American naval ships brought back thousands of tons of rubble from English cities that ended up in the East River, serving as infill for FDR Drive.

But all of that pales in comparison to what Thomson, a clearly ambitious city planner and engineer, had in mind.

In a 1916 Popular Science article posted on Reddit, he described the massively expensive and expansive infrastructure project. Starting at the mouth of the East River, artificial infill would great a huge swatch of new land, connecting Brooklyn to Manhattan (a new channel would be dug near Flushing to reroute water through Brooklyn). “As a result, it would not be much harder to get to Brooklyn than to cross Broadway,” he writes. “Indeed New York and Brooklyn would be as much one big city as are the East Side and West Side.”

That was far from the most dramatic part of the plan, even if it would have indelibly changed the culture of the city. Down at the southern tip of Manhattan, a long chunk of infill would create an entirely new peninsula extending off of the city—bolstered by Governor’s Island, which would simply be a piece of Manhattan now.

Across the Hudson, more new land would fill in the area around Bayonne, and a new river would connect Newark Bay to the Upper Bay. That’s where Thomson wanted to put Brooklyn’s Navy Yard—the East River, he said, was unsuitable for the task. Oh and Staten Island? It would get two massive new peninsulas, while Sandy Hook would get a new island, too.

Is that all?

Boxer’s Replacement

[ 72 ] January 8, 2015 |

Given the California electorate, whoever replaces Barbara Boxer should be someone around the Elizabeth Warren/Sherrod Brown wing of the Democratic Party. Of course. many of her likely replacements would likely be be far worse than Boxer. At the very least, can you people not elect some Silicon Valley capitalist or Gavin Newsom?

Nazi Cattle

[ 103 ] January 8, 2015 |

I suppose if one is going to raise a breed of cattle created by the Nazis, one should expect it to be a killer breed.

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