Author: The BPI Squirrel

Furthermore! – Whose Intelligence Level?

A new USA Today/Gallup poll shows almost as many Americans support the tea party agenda (27%) as support President Obama’s (28%). “[T]his shows that the intelligence level of the average American has dropped as they are picking a group that is going against their best interest,” writes a TPM reader. Gee, thanks. (More) I’m just a squirrel researching a thesis in 21st Century Political Nuttitude, but when research shows self-interest is a weak motivator, maybe it’s time to question the intelligence of those who stubbornly deny the science of what motivates voters. Yes, we consider self-interest in voting, but that doesn’t dominate our decisions. We base our decisions more on aspirational interest: Who I Want To Be. For example, the same USA Today/Gallup poll showed more Americans think Congress must not raise the estate tax for millionaires (56%) as think Congress must extend unemployment benefits (48%). That makes no sense in terms of Who I Am. Americans are far more likely to need unemployment benefits than to be heirs to estates over $1 million. But consider Who I Want To Be. Few of us like to imagine ourselves needing unemployment benefits. Many of us like to imagine ourselves heirs to a million-dollar estate. Seen through that particular lens of Who I Want To Be, it’s rational that ordinary Americans wouldn’t want to raise the estate tax on millionaires. Does...

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Furthermore! – Battles, Maps, Murphy, and Toothaches

Red squirrels are British in origin, so we know the truth of the British Army maxim that “Every battle is fought at night, in the rain, at the corner of four map sections.” Likewise for toothaches, which always erupt on the weekend, before a holiday, when you have vacation plans. (More) These are corollaries of Murphy’s Law, which I feel compelled to note was not written by that Murphy. It was written Murphy McFluffie, who in his own words is “not really a pessimist.” Indeed, as is so often the case when squirrels try to communicate wisdom to humans, Murphy was misunderstood. The truth is that Murphy was having a quiet day in his tree, contemplating why British generals always march to the corner of a map on a rainy evening before engaging the enemy, when this happened: After extracting himself from the hedge, he promptly wrote his now famous law. It really wasn’t about British battles, maps, rain, or night. It wasn’t about Frisbees that inevitably land either on roofs or directly beneath the centers of cars. And it wasn’t about spaghetti sauce and white shirts, dropped toast with jelly, or the sensor in a copy machine that detects when you’re already late and triggers a mechanical failure. Please don’t blame Murphy for any of those. He had nothing to do with any of them, except for the...

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Furthermore! – Who Wrote the Constitution?

You humans amaze me. When James Maditail and the others met for the Constitutional Convention, they were writing by committee. Some of their ideas captured wisdom in a nutshell, and some were just nuts. Then the humans tried to transcribe the chittering and it got more muddled. (More) You may think it’s awful to suggest the U.S. Constitution was written by squirrels, but it makes more sense than saying it was written by God. You know squirrels exist, at least. Still, a Supreme Court Justice would be howled out of the room if he even hinted the original Constitution were written by squirrels. But this week Antonin Scalia implied it was written by God. He should have been howled out of the room, because that’s nuts. I disagree with “original intent” theories from the get go. They look for something that never existed: a singular original intent. There was no singular original intent for the Constitution, because there was no singular Original Intender. The Constitution was written by a committee, and it shows. Its language reflects unresolved disputes and half-baked compromises. (“Three-fifths of all others,” anyone?) The ink was not even dry before people began arguing over what it included and didn’t. Those arguing were stubborn enough that the original Constitution would not have been ratified without its first ten Amendments – the Bill of Rights – tacked on....

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Furthermore! – The Empire Strikes Back?

The baby is in his teen months, and is now hooked on that science fiction classic: Leaf Wars. He likes the original trilogy, with Luke Branchhopper and Hemlock Solo battling Deciduous Vader and Emperor Poplartine. If only there were a real Yewda to help stop the Banking Empire from Striking Back. (More) I’ve mentioned before that we like movies here at Arbora Squirrel. So when I read today that Banks expect more sympathy from GOP-controlled House, I thought of the second Leaf Wars movie: The Empire Strikes Back. As fans know, in the first movie Luke Branchhopper and Hemlock Solo rescue Princess Leafy and destroy the dreaded Death Saw. This still from the movie shows one of the classic fight scenes. But Deciduous Vader escapes and in the second movie he rejoins Emperor Poplartine, intending to crush Luke, Hemlock, Leafy, and the rebellion. To stop them, Luke must climb a Douglasfurba to learn the secrets of the Force from the ancient Jedi master, Yewda. (I won’t say more, as I don’t want to spoil it for the 11 squirrels who haven’t already seen it.) And what else is there to say to this? “We had been disappointed with a number of legislative outcomes with the past Congress, and so we look forward to better outcomes with this Congress,” said Peter Garuccio, a spokesman for the American Bankers Association in...

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Furthermore! – “Company Policy”

As reported in the New York Times, the National Labor Relations Board filed a complaint last week against a company who fired an employee for comments made on Facebook. I don’t know about the merits of her case, but reader comments suggest many of us think corporations are above the law. (More) I guess I’m lucky. I have job security because no one else can fly in the cargo section. Okay, Pootie the Precious could, but BPI wisely decided the news is broken enough without also being delivered in Lolcat. Anyway, I often complain publicly about my travel arrangements and no one at BPI has tried to silence me. But Dawnmarie Souza wasn’t so lucky. She worked for an ambulance company, American Medical Response of Connecticut. After her supervisor told Ms. Souza she could not have union help in preparing her response to a customer complaint, she posted a scathing complaint about the supervisor on her Facebook page. Among other things, she called him a “17,” the ambulance company’s code for a psychiatric patient. Some of her coworkers read the comments and expressed their support. Some added their own criticisms of that supervisor. When the company found out about Ms. Souza’s Facebook post, they fired her in part for violating a company policy that forbids employees from depicting the company “in any way” on Facebook or other social networking...

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