Author: The BPI Squirrel

Furthermore! – Bullying, Bluffing, and Negotiating

Speaker John Boehner and House Republicans have moved from bullying to bluffing. Will they get to the next step of actually negotiating? (More) Squirrels are renowned for our negotiating skills, or would be if humans ever credited squirrels for the ideas you borrow from us. Oh sure, you’ll admit we inspire you to invent dishonest robots, as if squirrels and not Ricky Gervais starred in The Invention of Lying. But you claim credit for social networking, even though squirrels have complex social networks. We invented Chitter. You stole it and called it Twitter. Why do you think so many of us hang out there? That said, I’m willing to give humans credit for the antics of Speaker John Boehner and House Republicans. For the past two years, their idea of ‘negotiation’ has been bullying, or what Paul Krugman calls “protection racket politics.” While squirrels are sometimes also accused of bullying … … I’m a bit suspicious about those squirrels. I think that was a false flag operation, trying to besmirch squirrels with the behaviors of humans. In fact, House Republicans bullied the nation so brazenly last August that: (1) they were forced to accept a debt ceiling deal they had no intention of keeping; and, (2) last month President Obama won with an Electoral College landslide and Democrats gained seats in both the Senate and the House. Or, as...

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Furthermore! – “I think paying $40,000 a year should give me that basic right”

There’s a fine line between self-actualization and ego-centrism. Declaring publicly that you will speak and act as you deem fit, because you pay $40,000 a year to be in college, flashes EGO in neon lights. (More) When I was a young squirrel, I wanted to be a grownup so I could say or do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, like my parents. Of course, as a grownup I learned that grownups usually don’t get to say or do whatever we want, whenever we want. Instead of meeting the expectations of parents and teachers, we have to meet the expectations of spouses, children, employers, colleagues, and communities. The notion that “No one will ever again tell me what to say or do” is a child’s fantasy, not an adult’s reality. For many, that distinction starts to become clear during college. Although about half of college students now live at home to save money, many move out of their parents’ homes for the first time in their lives. Students living in dormitories or apartments can stay out late without answering to any authority other than exhaustion. Many colleges don’t keep class attendance records and, unless there are other checks like in-class quizzes, students can skip class without needing or offering any excuse. Add the many other temptations of campus life, and it’s hardly surprising that almost half of college freshmen...

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Furthermore! – Enough Preemptive Freakouts

The first post-election Preemptive Freakout is already underway, as The Usual Suspects howl that President Obama is about to “cave” in tax and budget negotiations with House Republicans. Sigh. (More) Squirrels understand Preemptive Freakouts. Just watch one of us eat sometime. If you can see us, that is. We usually carry our food to a safe place, which by definition means we’re not being watched. Even so, we usually look around, just to be sure there are no predators around. We also rarely run in straight lines, dashing this way, then that way, pausing, dashing this way again, to make it harder for airborne predators to swoop down and carry us away to dinner. So I hope The Usual Suspects will hear the voice of experience when say … “Enough.” The Preemptive Freakout du Jour is, of course, whether President Obama is about to “cave” in tax and budget negotiations with House Republicans. This weekend, senior White House advisor David Plouffe said this weekend that successful negotiations would require concessions from both Republicans and Democrats: The only way that gets done is for Republicans again to step back and get mercilessly criticized by Grover Norquist and the Right, and it means that Democrats are going to have to do some tough things on spending and entitlements that means that they’ll criticized on by their left. Cue the Angst Mongers:...

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Furthermore! – Marco Rubio’s “Great Mysteries”

When asked about the age of the earth, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) replied: “I’m not a scientist, man. […] It’s one of the great mysteries.” I’m not a scientist either, but the evidence confirming the age of the earth makes me wonder what Sen. Rubio’s other “great mysteries” might be. (More) As I’ve written before, squirrels have a rich if often unreported history in science. Isaac Newtufts dropped that apple on Newton’s head, and derived most of the first equations for classical physics while Newton was still rubbing his noggin. Albert Einstail saw how relatives warp time and space, as families across America will discover again this Thursday, and mentioned it to his friend in the Geneva patent office. So while I’m not a scientist, I have a squirrel’s natural inclination in that regard and I can usually make heads and tails of journal articles. For example, I understand what they mean when the U.S. Geological Survey describes the radiological sampling of earth rocks, moon rocks, and meteorites from asteroids and concludes: These calculations result in an age for the Earth and meteorites, and hence the Solar System, of 4.54 billion years with an uncertainty of less than 1 percent. To be precise, this age represents the last time that lead isotopes were homogeneous throughout the inner Solar System and the time that lead and uranium was incorporated into...

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Furthermore! – The GOP’s Problem Is Not Their Lipstick

Judging by his letter yesterday to House Republicans, Speaker John Boehner didn’t learn the lesson of this year’s elections. The GOP’s problem is not their lipstick. (More) I’m not an expert on lipstick. Mrs. Squirrel doesn’t wear any because her lips – like most squirrels’ lips – look just lovely framed by whiskers and that adorable patch of white fur beneath her nose. But I digress. The topic of lipstick arose when our twins, Nancy and Michelle, watched an animated movie. “Would you like a pet warthog, dad?” Nancy asked. “No, sweetie,” I said. “Real warthogs aren’t like the one in that movie.” “What if we put red lipstick on him?” Michelle suggested. I chuckled. “No, sorry. I don’t want a warthog.” “What if we put pink lipstick on him?” Nancy pressed. Several minutes and lipstick shades later, Michelle’s whiskers twitched in understanding. “So the problem isn’t the lipstick, but the warthog?” “Exactly,” I said. “Now you can explain politics to Speaker John Boehner.” Mrs. Squirrel had another movie ready by then, so I didn’t have time to explain to the girls about Speaker Boehner’s letter to House Republicans yesterday, titled “The Value of a Majority.” You can probably estimate the Nuttitude Quotient just from the title, or you could if you had my NQ formula. Which you don’t, because I haven’t finished my thesis yet. But again, I...

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