Author: The BPI Squirrel

Furthermore! – Stale Media Demands “Bold New Ideas”

The media response to President Obama’s speech on jobs yesterday says less about the consistency of his message than it does about stale pundits’ fetish for shiny new things. (More) It’s well-known that I like macadamias. Yes, I’ll eat pecans when Chef bakes a pecan danish ring for the BPI faculty and staff, but I prefer macadamias. I don’t want them salted, or dipped in honey or chocolate, or baked into brownies or muffins. A macadamia may improve other foods, but other foods will not improve a macadamia. I don’t want “bold new ideas” for macadamias. President Obama’s message on jobs and the economy is like a macadamia. As the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank notes, President Obama has been giving essentially the same speech since 2005. The principles and ideas in President Obama’s “A Better Bargain” are the same principles and ideas he proposed in 2011 in Osawatomie, Kansas. Rather than applauding the president’s consistency, Milbank criticizes the lack of “bold, new proposals.” Yet as Milbank admits, nothing President Obama could have said yesterday would change the political calculation of House Speaker John Boehner, who called the president’s speech “an Easter Egg with no candy in it.” (I’m no expert, but Chef paints hard-boiled eggs for the BPI Easter Egg hunt. They never have candy in them. They have egg in them. Just sayin’.) Let’s take education, for example....

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Furthermore! – Can You Hear Me Now?

There’s an old saying about plumbers: “You don’t notice their work until something breaks.” Árbol Squirrel doesn’t have plumbing, but sometimes the internet is stopped up. (More) I always begin with an anecdote from Árbol Squirrel that serves as a metaphor for a story from my research for my thesis in 21st Century Political Nuttitude. For example, I might say that my son Regis spent an exceptionally long time grooming himself in our bathroom this morning, because he has a lunch date with a guirrel from across the quad here on the BPI Campus. That left our twins, Nancy and Michelle, dancing at the bathroom door because they’d just awakened and needed the facilities. I might then add that Mrs. Squirrel and I called to Regis and suggested he hurry along because the family was backed up at the bathroom door. And from there I would segue into my topic du jour. But Árbol Squirrel has no plumbing, so Nancy and Michelle simply scampered onto another branch to do their morning business. Plus Mrs. Squirrel and I were too busy giggling at Regis’ attempts to style his ear tufts to comment on his having been in the bathroom for half an hour. And I have no topic du jour because the internet was stopped up this morning. On a typical morning I look at several sources – Talking Points...

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Furthermore! – The Crumb Budget

Rather than pay a living wage, McDonald’s wants to teach their employees to budget with crumbs. (More) Mrs. Squirrel could teach a course in budgeting. She decorated Árbol Squirrel with castoffs she found around the BPI campus. She stashes things that I would never think to save, and finds ways to use them. You wouldn’t think that half of an empty cream cheese container would make a nifty desk chair, but it did by the time she was finished. The big shots who run McDonald’s don’t understand that their employees get by in much the same way. In fact, they couldn’t figure out how their employees survive on what they earn at McDonald’s: In what appears to have been a gesture of goodwill gone haywire, McDonald’s recently teamed up with Visa to create a financial planning site for its low-pay workforce. Unfortunately, whoever wrote the thing seems to have been literally incapable of imagining of how a fast food employee could survive on a minimum wage income. As ThinkProgress and other outlets have reported, the site includes a sample budget that, among other laughable assumptions, presumes that workers will have a second job. Except it’s hard to schedule two jobs when you’re a minimum wage worker whose shifts change week-to-week. As for how America’s working poor really get by, I’ll let Salon’s Paul Campos explain: The unstated assumption behind...

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Morning Feature – I Am a Crypto-Platypus

If President Obama is a “crypto-Muslim,” as the ever-unhinged Pat Robertson insists, then I am a crypto-platypus. (More) No, Mrs. Squirrel doesn’t lay eggs. Neither we nor our parents or children have duck bills, otter feet, or beaver tails. I don’t even have a venomous spur on my hind feet. In fact, we all look like … squirrels. Yes, we have tufted ears because we’re red squirrels. But we look nothing like platypuses. And that’s all part of our secret plot. I’ll let Pat Robertson and his guest Erick Stackelbeck explain: Robertson: What is it with the Obama administration? What is it, do you think Obama’s a crypto-Muslim or what’s the story? What do you think? Stackelbeck: I think he, and I describe this in the book, Pat, I think he is a revolutionary leftist. He’s a transformative leftist. He says he wants to fundamentally transform America, right? And he’s in the process of doing it now. And you’ll work, if you have that mindset, in my view, you will work with other entities that you may not agree with on everything. You’ll work with other entities against a common foe. For the hardcore left, for the hardcore Islamists, the common foe is Judeo-Christian civilization, at the end of the day, and turning that on its head. So we have strange bedfellows, I wrote a chapter on it in...

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Morning Feature – NASA Replies to Dexter

Dexter is seven years old and he wrote to NASA saying he wants to fly to Mars. Does no one at NASA know a seven-year-old? (More) The resident faculty took the day off to celebrate the 124th anniversary of Tijuana. Or at least that’s their excuse. I’m suspicious because they’re still denying the Tijuana Incident. Plus they tricked me into this roving reporter gig as work study to pay for my tuition while I finish my thesis on 21st Century Nuttitude – when BPI doesn’t even charge tuition – so you can understand why I’m suspicious. I think the resident faculty are really conducting a live experiment of the random walk algorithm, if you get my meaning. Regardless, your lowly mail room clerk is polishing her letter opener, so I have to take a day away from my research to be here. You’re welcome. And I’m sure that’s what Dexter said when he got the letter from NASA. Or at least his mom probably did. She posted a photo of his letter: You can click on the other thumbnails at the bottom to see NASA’s reply and some photos from Mars and NASA stickers. There’s even a picture of Dexter himself. In case you can’t read seven-year-old, here’s the text of his letter: My name is Dexter and I heard you are sending 2 people to Mars and I...

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