Wednesday, March 19, 2014

For Your Blog Reference: Animal Species Recovery Plans and Foolish Human Citations

Brady the adorable puggle last night at Chris's place, Washington, D.C., 12:39AM March 19, 2014. He's the most wonderful little dog.

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OK, I started this entry yesterday but it I ran out of time to post it last night, in part because I this went out yesterday evening and went first to BarCode (where there was a Tuesday night group happy hour) and then Dupont Italian Kitchen upstairs bar. Of note, I inadvertently and prematurely posted a version of this entry last night at 1:15AM (with no pictures or formatting), but I deleted that entry.

A screenshot of one of the TVs at BarCode last night, Washington, D.C., 8:22PM March 18, 2014.

CNN has been going full-bore nonstop in its coverage of the genuinely baffling and intriguing mystery of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH37. There is still definitive answer on what happened to the jet and all aboard it now 13 days later. Of note, the jet changed course and instead of crossing over the Gulf of Thailand to Vietnam on its way to Beijing, it veered to the left on a westerly course that took it over the Indian Ocean, but that's all investigators know.

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I had a really nice time at BarCode with Andrea, Imara, and Jorge -- involving a few bottles of half-priced wine and some bar food. Thereafter, I walked to Dupont Italian Kitchen where Chris H. was working upstairs. He and I subsequently went to the 17th St. McDonalds, where I had a Happy Meal (yes, the Hispanic lady sold me one). Oh, yes, I stopped at Java House before I got to D-I-K.

The kitchen-like inside of Java House deep in the D.C. gayborhood, Washington, D.C., 9:30PM March 18, 2014.

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 I had not been at Java House in the past, well, decade or more (maybe more like 12 to 14 years). But the place really hasn't changed. The cup of coffee was awful but I think it was more just how old it was (I was the last customer of the day).After D-I-K bar, I went with Chris H. to his place and spent some quality time with Brady (and that's where I took the pictures of him posted in this entry).

Yes, a Happy Meal at the 17th Street McDonalds, Washington, D.C., 11:58PM March 18, 2014.

I like that little monkey drawing. He made me happy.

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OK, the rest of this blog is from earlier, and the pictures are those that Gary and I took around D.C. just after the snow on Monday plus some other images.

The large (yew?) bush at the corner of my apartment building (the Hampton Courts) after the snow, Washington, D.C., 5:37PM March 17, 2014.

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From earlier ...

I will try to update this blog later tonight. I successfully completed the referencing work in the biggest of the Hawaii report chapter and now have only one chapter to go (a far smaller one). After going to the gym on Monday (it was good multi-part workout all around over 2-1/2 hours) and then grocery shopping, I worked from about 1030PM all the way to nearly 630AM this morning -- with only middle-of-the-night TV to keep me company. It's actually a lot better now than, say, 20 years ago what with Me-TV and Antenna TV and the usual Hallmark and TV Land stuff.

Looking into the suddenly snowy-picturesque setting of Meridian Hill Park from the intersection of 15th and W Streets and New Hampshire Avenue, Washington, D.C., 5:40PM March 17, 2014. I was walking to the Anthony Bowen YMCA gym at that point.

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As ever, I watched a lot of old sitcoms and variety shows from the late 1950s to the late 1980s ranging from Bachelor Father to The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show to the Jack Benny Show (he was actually rather funny) to the more "recent" shows of Cheers (I prefer the first few seasons) and Golden Girls (though that runs into the early 1990s). As ever,, I found myself both wishing I lived in the mid-20th Century (i.e., the 1940s and '50s) and yet wondering how I could have gotten by (because of the gay thing).

The Bachelor Father episode guest staring the late Charles Knox Robinson kind of intrigued me -- both the topic and Robinson himself. He played an annoying but very charismatic and attractive philosophy major who -- it was implied -- was also a deadbeat.

Anyway, I got to bed as dawn was breaking and slept until 1030AM, when my alarm woke me up. I was about to go back to sleep again when a car alarm went off outside for 2 annoying minutes and that got me up. I started working again and finished the chapter.

I now have nearly 200 PDFs of reports and converted webpages just for Chapter 3. It's quite amazing. I went through more U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service Recovery Plans for this or that endangered species last night than I can recall.

A loggerhead turtle in an April 2006 photo.

I love all those sea turtles -- and so many needing to be saved from humans: Leatherback, Loggerhead, Olive Ridley, Hawksbill, and Green.

But I also really have become fond of the Hawaiian Hoary Bat. Not to mention all those forest birds in the Hawaiian Islands. Oh, and of course, the Humpback Whale, a creature as astonishing as it is awesome.

The Hawaiian hoary bat in a picture by bat Hawaii researchers Forest and Kim Starr, September 7, 2010. Those teeth look sharp.

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Anyway, I finished all that referencing work. I then showered and shaved a short while ago, and now I am going out. The Tuesday night happy hour event is at BarCode, and this week I will go to it as I'm not going to the gym tonight or tomorrow night (I'll go again Thursday). For tomorrow, I intend to be back in the office on a regular schedule (recall yesterday was teleworking and I just worked from home today owing to my wee hours schedule and need to complete the task).

The (briefly) snowy view between the Hampton Courts and the (much prettier) Northumberland buildings, Washington, D.C., 5:38PM March 17, 2014. We don't maintain snow on the ground too long in D.C.

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It's a variably cloudy, cool day in and around the D.C. area. The snow from Sunday and early Monday is rapidly melting, but it's not that warm, either (around 42F now).

Gary took this picture of one of the large houses on our snowy St. Patrick's day in the wealthy section of far upper Northwest Washington, D.C., just off Beach Drive near the Maryland line / North Cornerstone. I think this area is called Rock Creek Gardens.

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I would like to post some links to recent Paul Krugman and Jonathan Chait pieces. The context is that yet another rightwing billionaire in a money bubble (Ken Langone of Home Depot) is invoking the Holocaust and Nazi Germany because he's upset and genuinely confused at the lack of deference being paid to the oligarchical overclass, specifically, all talk of income inequality.

Another picture of from the same neighborhood on the same snowy day in upper Northwest Washington, D.C.

Chait's piece, however, builds on what he wrote on Mar. 17th about the Wall Street financial sector elites successfully getting today's crazy House Republicans to turn decisively on a crummy but NOT actually totally horrible tax reform plan by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp that actually involved some real policy trade-offs and didn't just saddle everyone else with another sky-trillion dollar giveaway to the oligarchical overclass.

Specifically, Chait wrote about how the silence of the Tea Party base in the face of this Wall Street financial overclass revolt against the Camp proposal decisively reveals (as I knew all along) that the two factions are not fundamentally in conflict despite occasional tussles over specific issues (such as default, government shutdowns, and TARP bailouts).

Wall Street donations by party, January 2007 - October 2012 as shown in a chart by OpenSecrets.org.

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In other words, it has nothing to do with a "populism" of any sort but rather implacable hostility to Obama and Democrats. In short, the organizing principle of today's GOP (though not individual Republicans) is to give more money and power to the superrich and super-powerful, hence the opposition to increasing taxes on the top 1 percent (or top 0.01 percent) and to Frank-Dodd.

The corner of Parkside Lane and Parkside Drive NW, Washington, D.C., on a snowy March 17, 2014. 

This is a very wealthy neighborhood. Yet by-and-large, it also tends to vote Democratic. In general, D.C. is as Democratic as white Alabama and Mississippi are Republican.

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But Krugman's blog piece is the best. I can't really excerpt it here so instead I highly recommend you follow the link and read it (link embedded): High Fallutin' Nazis.

As is so often the case, I think Krugman is spot-on in his analysis about how billionaire libertarian sorts do not understand why their own individual success as businessmen (through whatever means) says nothing about the macro-scale economic workings of society, and how deficiencies in demand (i.e., "system malfunctions") can and do create hardship for people that has nothing to do with all that bullsh!t about personal virtue and hard work that these people believe.

OK, I'm relenting and posting this excerpt:

For many people on the right, it has to be true -- just has to be true -- that prosperity is limited by the willingness of productive people (that is, people like them) to produce. The idea that sometimes the problem is instead lack of demand, that the failure is a system malfunction rather than a lack of sufficient effort, is anathema. Among other things, it suggests that sometimes people succeed or fail for reasons that have nothing to do with their personal talents and virtues or lack thereof, a suggestion that they -- who believe that their personal success was entirely earned -- find deeply offensive.

And so when you say that this is a depressed economy in which deficits don't crowd out private spending, in which printing money doesn't mean inflation that expropriates their hard-earned wealth, they don't listen to the argument, let alone pay attention to evidence. They take it as a personal affront, and start yelling about your high-fallutin nonsense.

Budget deficit as a percent of GDP (red) and monetary base (blue line) from 1998 to 2014. The takeaway message: NO ZIMBABWE-style hyperinflation in a demand-depressed economy. Gold bugs and libertarians, to say nothing of the rentier overclass, cannot abide this reality.

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Yours truly with Brady last night.

God, I love that little dog.

OK, that' really is all for now. My next planned update may be late Thursday night or early Friday.

--Regulus

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