Author: The BPI Squirrel

Furthermore! – Deal Me In

Nothing makes me grumpy like ill-founded criticism. Well, except traveling and missing breakfast. But I haven’t done either lately, and I’m still grumpy. (More) I’m still researching my thesis on 21st Century Political Nuttitude. I’ve found several chapters’ worth of material on right-wing nuttitude, which is like looking for seeds in a bag of bird feed. In the interests of balance, I thought I should include at least an endnote on left-wing nuttitude. (By the way, back when notes went at the bottom of the page they were called “footnotes.” So why aren’t the notes at the end of a paper called “tailnotes?”) Anyway, I sneaked into the BPI High-Energy Meta Mojo Elucidation Detector (HEMMED) Lab to do some research – carefully avoiding the dreaded Red Button – and found some stuff that made riding in the cargo compartment without a in-flight movie or snacks seem like a fond memory. For example, Dr. Paul Krugman opined that, on the budget deal, “Obama Is Missing.” More broadly, Mr. Obama is conspicuously failing to mount any kind of challenge to the philosophy now dominating Washington discussion — a philosophy that says the poor must accept big cuts in Medicaid and food stamps; the middle class must accept big cuts in Medicare (actually a dismantling of the whole program); and corporations and the rich must accept big cuts in the taxes they...

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Evening Focus: BPI Faculty Debate – Privatization, Part 2

Does privatizing government services spur economic growth? How do we ensure oversight? And how far is too far? (More) Last night in Evening Focus we began our faculty debate on privatizing government services. Tonight we conclude that debate. We rejoin our moderator, the BPI Squirrel: Squirrel@BPI: Good evening, and welcome back to the second part of our faculty debate on privatization here at Blogistan Polytechnic Institute. Once again, our panelists are: Roby NJ, Norbrook, addisnana, DWG, winterbanyan, JimW, and RevGerry. We found all of the sponge golf balls after last night’s debate, so once again each panelist has one. Again, these are to entertain Pootie the Precious, and while we’re sure they won’t cause any physical injury – does he look injured to you? – please don’t hurl them when you disagree with someone. We’ll follow the same format tonight: I will ask three questions, and for each I’ll select one panelist for a Response and another panelist for a Rebuttal. The panelists for each response and rebuttal were selected at random. However the list was hung on a clothesline near the hot tub faculty lounge overnight, rather than returned to the bottom of Pootie the Precious’ litter box. I hope you all are as grateful for that as I am. Our first question tonight: With such high government deficits, won’t privatization save taxpayers money and spur economic growth?...

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Evening Focus: BPI Faculty Debate – Privatization, Part 1

Governors Scott Walker (WI) and Chris Christie (NJ) have proposed privatizing more of their states’ services. The BPI faculty debate this long-rising trend. (More) Wisconsin’s Department of Commerce may become “a public-private hybrid” under a proposal by Gov. Scott Walker (R). While Milwaukee County Executive, Walker contracted out county courthouse security and janitorial services, the mental health center, and even tried to privatize the county zoo. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s new budget assumes $50 million in savings from privatizing “unspecified services” that may include toll collection and other state and municipal services. Although privatization has a long history, the trend toward privatizing core government functions – from military logistics to intelligence gathering and analysis, to schools, public assistance, police, and prisons – has accelerated since the 1980s. Tonight and tomorrow, our faculty and guests debate the merits and risks of privatization. Our moderator is the BPI Squirrel. Squirrel@BPI: Good evening and welcome to the first Faculty Debate here at Blogistan Polytechnic Institute. Our topic is the privatization of public services and we’re thrilled to have such a wonderful panel: Roby NJ, Norbrook, addisnana, DWG, winterbanyan, JimW, and RevGerry. Each of you has a sponge golf ball on the table in front of you. These are to keep Pootie the Precious entertained, and while I’m sure they would not cause any physical injury, please don’t hurl them when you...

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Furthermore! – Back to the Drawing Board….

Okay, my entire thesis on 21st Century Political Nuttitude went out the window yesterday. Sports blogs favored the Bears and Jets, but the Packers and Steelers won. (More) As noted by Ms. Crissie on Sunday, I wrote a clever web bot for my Blewberry to make my picks for the BPI campus NFL pool. But Ms. Crissie implied that wasn’t really research on my 21st Century Political Nuttitude thesis. It was. And if I get billed for all those Gaggle-Giggle-Google minutes – that’s what 3G really stands for – I’m going to get very cranky. That should be covered by my research budget. I guess I should say I’ll get very crankier, because I’m already cranky. My web bot worked perfectly. It reviewed every article and every comment on every football-related blog over the past week. It clearly showed that more comments were posted favoring the Chicago Bears and New York Jets. So I chose those teams for the campus pool … and both teams lost. I’m not so cranky about losing the campus pool. I’d have had to share the pool with Ms. Scarlet, Chef, and Ms. Crissie, all of whom picked the Packers and Steelers. If I’m going to get in a pool that crowded, I may as well dive on in with the resident faculty. The hot tub faculty lounge is near my tree, after all....

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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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