I should hope so. Jesus, that’s the saddest tale I’ve ever heard.

cupid and psyche.jpg

Picky, Picky In the Outlet Mall of Love, Finding A Good Fit Can Mean Lots of Returns

Falling in love has never had a reputation for making much sense. Dante glimpsed Beatrice a few times and wouldn’t shut up about her for decades.
Why should not-falling-in-love be any more rational?
It comes down to the deterrent power of a Phil Collins CD in a woman’s car. Or, a guy who habitually sticks his tongue out while eating, like a lapping dog. His girlfriend returns him to his cage, permanently.
Centuries from now, scientists may point to this as the moment in time when the pickiness gene became dominant. In the end, it will come down to one really old, lonely guy and his list.
“She must have blue eyes. She should like animals, but not in a weird way. No thin lips. No lawyers,” he’ll be writing, just before he keels over and the human race comes to an end.

The great thing about essays like this is that anything the audience can say anything about it that does not include references to leather or Martians it will all make since in the context of the dating ritual. Get five people in a room talking about dating and relationships and you get five people that are damn sure that the 54.8 opinions they have are all equally worthy and insightful. Since we are now at a turning point on web technology, Web 2.0 or whatever, maybe its time for romance 2.0. Couples meet in cyberspace, move into a shared account on Myspace for a year, communicate by text messages and phone pics, meet, live together with wireless networked computers with spyware installed on each. They register for wedding gifts at Amazon. She moves to India to become a middle manager for a software developer and he goes to a Knicks game with a tablet PC to do some live blogging. The final frontier, marriage without getting on each others nerves and all the benefits of combined incomes with no ” strange throat-clearing thing “.

In a world of infinite possibilities, the notion of falling in love, of finding The One, seems itself like the taquito girl, small-town and old-fashioned. Once upon a time, The One would’ve lived in your village or another one like it. Now, she could be this sweet girl across from you at the dinner table, but she could also be someone you haven’t yet met. What if there’s another woman somewhere in the world, like this girl, but better? Someone who will snowboard with you, and doesn’t do that strange throat-clearing thing?

Brad and Jen, Brad and Angelina, Jen and Vince. We probably know more about that then is really neccessary, what we really need is the juicy details of that spat between Jean-Jacques Rousseau and David Hume, Two remarkable minds, and a friendship that became a feud

They lived in the 18th century, when men of letters were celebrities and a nasty feud between them generated quill-penned letters to the editor rather than fawning interviews from TV sycophants. Rousseau’s ”On the Social Contract” became gospel to political revolutionaries across time. (He also helped inspire ”Frankenstein,” his belief in the spirituality of pristine nature undergirding that book’s depiction of a monster turned evil by human society.) Hume, ”Rousseau’s Dog” notes, ranks with such supernovas of intellectual history as Plato, Aristotle, and Kant.

The “Merely rich” versus the “Super-rich” or Where’s the Money

When looking at who has what share of America’s Net Worth, a few data points leap out: The Richest 10% owns 69.5% of the assets, up from 67.4% in 1989.

Note that the Fed survey explicitly excludes folks on the Forbes 400 list of the very wealthiest Americans. I believe the Fed eventually breaks down the latest numbers on the richest one million families, the top 1%. That group of Super Rich 1% holds about one-third of the total wealth in the nation; The next 9% also holds about a third.

The group below the top 10% –the 75% – 89.9% slice — owns 17.6% — slightly more than their population percentage might suggest numerically. This group contains the heart of the middle class (and upper middle class), and as we have seen, they have been shrinking.

Call it envy or unequitable wealth distribution or even The Case of How the Wealthy stay wealthy without real work, but let us put that aside. What’s striking about this is that the middle/upper middle income workers comprise 90% of the working population and yet only own about 30 plus percent of the nation’s wealth. Those figures, having excluded the Forbes 400 would suggest that its probably the case that the 75 to 90 might own less then 30%. Seeing that American workers are now competing against tech workers in India and very low paid factory workers in China-Indonesia its difficult to see the current incarnation of globalization making the average American’s earning power increase.

and related, America’s younger workers losing ground on income

The signs include:

• Rising debt levels. Over the past decade, the volume of federal student loans tripled, reaching $85 billion in new loans last year, according to a new book by Anya Kamenetz, “Generation Debt.” Nearly a quarter of college students are using credit cards to pay some of their tuition costs, she writes.

• The median income for men under age 44 was significantly lower in 1997 than in 1970, after adjusting for inflation, according to a long-term analysis by the Census Bureau in the late 1990s. For those over 45, incomes barely held their own during that period.

• The entry of women into the workforce in those decades has helped push median family incomes up over time. But even when men and women are included together, younger workers (age 25-34) are earning well below what they did in 1970. And at all ages, evidence suggests that families are putting in more hours of work to make their household incomes rise.

• Even with extra time at work, median family income has barely budged since 1995 for householders below 45, up about 5 percent after inflation through 2004.

Those aged 45 to 54 did better, with family incomes rising 23 percent during that period, according to the numbers released last week from the Federal Reserve Board.

Since people in general are getting pretty sophisticated about money, or at least reading article like this on the internet. If younger workers see the figure for older workers will some of them set back and not worry, thinking about how the national debt, funding social security, their budget for savings with the thought in mind that they’ll catch up to where they should be when they hit their late fourties. The CSM article reminds us that productivity is up, but that worker compensation has not kept up with that productivity. Perhaps I have an old fashioned Norman Rockwell view of economics where hard work should be rewarded in such a way it provides a reasonabily good standard of living.

Bush Urges More Money for Religious Charities

Legislation that would have made it easier for religious charities to seek government money for social programs sputtered in Congress in Mr. Bush’s first term. He bypassed Capitol Hill and signed executive orders that created religion-based offices in 10 agencies.

In College Park, Mr. Bush perfunctorily recognized Ralph Reed, a former head of the Christian Coalition and a top Bush campaign adviser whose Georgia candidacy for lieutenant governor has been tarnished by ties to Jack Abramoff, the lobbyist.

Let’s do a quick Cliff Notes summary of what is not just wrong in the since of constitutionality, but also in terms of effectiveness and another excess of executive power.
-Many in Congress, left, right and center have problems with such a clear usurption of the wall of separation that protects the government, thus the people from the religion of one group useing the government and tax payer resources to perpetuate its relgion at the expense of others.
Bush has insisted that he does not have any ties to Jack Abramoff, even though Abramoff says otherwise. Now we have Ralp Redd who has said he don’t know Jack at a Bush event, In Ga., Abramoff Scandal Threatens a Political Ascendancy

As everyone knew, Pichon was referring to Jack Abramoff, whose outsize Washington lobbying scandal has reached down to Georgia. Abramoff and Reed — the former executive director of the Christian Coalition — have been friends for 25 years, and until recently it had been a mutually profitable association. Now it is proving highly inconvenient for Reed, and threatens to stall a career that has been emblematic of the modern GOP.

– Bush says his so-called faith based programs work. While there has been cases where some good work has been done frequently the money is not well spent and goes to what amounts to poorly directed funding, to prosletizing, to institutionalized discrimnation,

On September 22, 2003, the White House announced new rules making $28 billion available to religious charities that proselytize and discriminate in hiring. Susan Jacoby, director of the Center for Inquiry in Metro New York claims “The White House has taken what may be its boldest step yet to blur the constitutional separation of church and state.” While the White House announced these controversial new rules, the media hardly paid attention.

Faith-Based Parks-Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, a non-profit group that represents park workers and public employees, charged in a release last week that the National Park Service is hell-bent on removing images of anti-Vietnam War demonstrations, pro-choice marches and gay rights marches from an eight-minute video tape located at the Lincoln Memorial covering historic gatherings that have taken place there and on the Washington Mall.

As reported in the Washington Post, Congress has ordered more than $3 million in grants since 2001 earmarked for respected former Redskins cornerback Darrell Green’s Youth Life Foundation, with the goal in part of opening more Green learning centers here and in other cities. But his center is directly serving only 38 kids, in a city where 35,000 live in poverty.

Three million per 38 kids equals 78,947 per kid. While after school programs in inner cities have proven to reduce juvenile crime the cost benefit ratio here is a little out of whack.

Faith Without Works, After four years, the president’s faith-based policies have proven to be neither compassionate nor conservative.

Four years later, Bush’s compassionate conservatism has turned out to be neither compassionate nor conservative. The policy of funding the work of faith-based organizations has, in the face of slashed social service budgets, devolved into a small pork-barrel program that offers token grants to the religious constituencies in Karl Rove’s electoral plan for 2004 while making almost no effort to monitor their effectiveness. Meanwhile, the plan to extend tax credits for charitable giving has gone nowhere, despite the three enormous tax cut packages Bush has signed. Like any number of this administration’s policies, the faith-based initiative has been so ill-considered, so utterly sacrificed to political expediency, and carried out with so little regard for the problems it was supposed to solve, that it bears only the faintest resemblance to the political philosophy it was supposed to embody.

In an Election Year, GOP Wary of Following Bush

“He has no political capital,” said Tony Fabrizio, a Republican pollster. “Slowly but surely it’s been unraveling. There’s been a direct correlation between the trajectory of his approval numbers and the — I don’t want to call it disloyalty — the independence on the part of the Republicans in Congress.”

Well Tony does get it half right, Bush has no political capital, among voters at this point, but withe the exception of the port deal the Whitehouse seems more then capable of twisting arms and getting dirty deals done. If anyone on capital hill is making the mistake of underestimating the Bush-Rovian ability to make power plays when needed they need to reread that old copy of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. As a commentor on a right-wing blog reminded everyone, after a dozen scandals, Bush still stands.
via pandagon, I’m very sorry to hear that former Texas governor Ann Richards has esophageal cancer. While you’re over there, Reminder: Mandatory pregnancy is *mandatory*

The King of Zembla has a run down of the latest on the UAE ports controversy, Wheeling, Dealing, Reeling

HOLDEN- What kind of asshole writes that inside a steamer trunk!
ALYSSA -The same kind of asshole that buries silver ingots. The day my mother’s uncle is heading out to see the girl, he stops at his accountant’s to grab some cash, and winds up missing his train. So he has to take the next one – which he does – and he gets there an hour later than his usual time of arrival, whereupon he sees lights.
HOLDEN- A hero’s welcome for the new millionaire.
ALYSSA- It seems that while she was standing on the platform waiting that extra hour for my mother’s uncle to show up, the girl was dragged into the bushes by an unknown assailant, raped and gutted.
Holden is silent Alyssa downs her drink.
ALYSSA- The assailant was never apprehended.
HOLDEN- (beat) That’s a love story!!
ALYSSA -Yes, and here’s why: my mother’s uncle rode that train every day for the rest of his life. One day up, the next day back. Did that ’till the day he died. He donated the fortune he’d acquired to the train station in Pittsburgh, to have a well-lit terminal built. The train line let him ride for free after that.
HOLDEN- I should hope so. Jesus, that’s the saddest tale I’ve ever heard.
ALYSSA- That’s my love story.

from the screenplay CHASING AMY by Kevin Smith