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October 07, 2013

Coffee Snorters, Zero Tolerance Edition

Somehow, America survived the Tackle Box of Terror, the PopTart Weapon, the Hello Kitty bubble gun terrorist threat, the Scary Crutches, and the dreaded "Pow pow finger" of Death .

But this. will. not. stand.

Ladies and gentlemen, we present the latest Looming Threat to Good Order and Discipline in our Public Schools:

The Geico 'Hump Day' ad has many people laughing across America but teachers at Vernon Center Middle School in Vernon, Connecticut, would prefer to put the chatty camel in detention.

The problem?

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mary P. Conway told WFSB that some sixth-grade boys at the school were impersonating the camel so much that teachers claimed it was disruptive.

'Everybody's walking around in the hallways and saying its hump day in that weird voice,' student Brooke Lewis said.

The issue got a bigger rise as some students began imitating the camel during the entire week and not just on Hump Day.

'Sometimes it's the counting down to when it is,' Lewis said.

Wethinks Dr. Mary needs to cut back on the caffeine. Perhaps then, sanity will have a fighting chance.

The common Beagle. It is a fearsome creature:

How many people have died because of Communism?

In introducing the Black Book, lead author Stephane Courtois, Director of Research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in Paris, offers the following rough breakdown of the numbers of people that communism killed:

USSR -- 20 million

China -- 65 million

Vietnam -- 1 million

North Korea -- 2 million

Cambodia -- 2 million

Eastern Europe -- 1 million

Latin America -- 150,000

Africa -- 1.7 million

Afghanistan -- 1.5 million

Communist movements, parties not in power -- 10,000

In total, this is not far short of 100 million deaths at the hands of a single ideology.

Eggs. Omelet.

Plus ca change:

“The Congress of the United States is in deep trouble,” one eminent columnist wrote. “More than ever before, the public attitude toward Congress is a mixture of indifference, amusement and contempt. . . . Never before in history has Congress talked so long to accomplish so little.”

...On a more somber note, Alsop opined: “When the citizens of a democracy begin to hold their legislature in contempt, democracy is itself in danger.”

Well, we’ve been hanging in there for a long time.

A sobering thought:

The triumph of ideology is one of the great political upheavals of recent decades. It is, of course, partial; it coexists with interest-group politics and always will. It’s also full of paradoxes. On both the left and right, many activists are intelligent, sincere and hardworking. But the addition of so many high-minded people — usually “true believers” in some cause — to the political system has made it work worse. It increasingly fails to conciliate or, on many major issues, to decide.

Possibly related:

President Obama has become the Hamlet of the West Wing: One minute he's for bombing Syria, the next he's not; one minute Larry Summers will succeed Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve, the next he won't; one minute the president is jetting off to Asia, the next he's not. To be in charge, or not to be in charge: that is indeed the question.


MS. HARF: No numbers.

QUESTION: Why don’t we have any numbers on furloughs?

MS. HARF: We just don’t have any to provide at this point. We’ve said it’s a very small number in these offices. If we have numbers to share, we will.

QUESTION: Well, it’s small, like what – like under 10 or 50 or –

MS. HARF: I know you ask the same question every day, and we just don’t have numbers for you at this point.

QUESTION: Why not?

QUESTION: My question is: Why.


MS. HARF: Why?

QUESTION: Why are you unwilling to provide the numbers?

MS. HARF: Right. Well, we – I just don’t have those numbers in front of me. I know our folks are looking at them now.

QUESTION: How long does it take? It’s been going on for days.

QUESTION: But I didn’t ask you whether you had them in front of you. I asked why, and Deb asked why.

MS. HARF: Well, I said that’s why I can’t provide them, because they’re not in front of me.

QUESTION: Why? No, but that’s – look, tautologies like this don’t help anybody. There’s got to be a reason why you’re unwilling to provide the numbers. What is it?

Most. Transparent.Administration.In.History.(It starts at the top):

In November, a presidential memorandum instructed all government departments and agencies to set up pervasive “Insider Threat Programs” to monitor employees with access to classified information and to prevent “unauthorized disclosure,” including to the news media. According to the policy, each agency must, among other things, develop procedures “ensuring employee awareness of their responsibility to report, as well as how and to whom to report, suspected insider threat activity.” Officials cited the Manning leak as the kind of threat the program is intended to prevent.

A survey of government departments and agencies this summer by the Washington bureau of McClatchy newspapers found that they had wide latitude in defining what kinds of behavior constitute a threat. “Government documents reviewed by McClatchy illustrate how some agencies are using that latitude to pursue unauthorized disclosures of any information, not just classified material,” it reported in June. “They also show how millions of federal employees and contractors must watch for ‘high-risk persons or behaviors’ among co-workers and could face penalties, including criminal charges, for failing to report them. Leaks to the media are equated with espionage.”

Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, told me that the Insider Threat Program has already “created internal surveillance, heightened a degree of paranoia in government and made people conscious of contacts with the public, advocates and the press.”

At the same time, revelations in the documents Snowden gave to The Post and Britain’s Guardian about the NSA’s collection, storage and searches of phone, text and e-mail data have added to the fear surrounding contacts between reporters and sources.

“People think they’re looking at reporters’ records,” Post national security reporter Dana Priest told me. “I’m writing fewer things in e-mail. I’m even afraid to tell officials what I want to talk about because it’s all going into one giant computer.”

This President has prosecuted more Americans under the Espionage Act than every other President combined. Kind of makes all that Bush-era blathering about Chill Winds look overblown, doesn't it?


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid delivered a striking mea culpa on the Senate floor Friday as he opened the chamber, saying he and his colleagues have simply gotten too personal and nasty in their floor debates.

A day earlier Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican, had scolded Mr. Reid for attacking Sen. Ted Cruz, another Texas Republican, by name as they debated the government shutdown. Mr. Cornyn read directly from the Senate Rules that prohibit members from impugning each other’s motives or conduct.

This is the guy the President has put in charge of "negotations":

“There’s no question, Reid is now the quarterback,” said a Senate Democratic aide.

That became clear when Reid persuaded Obama last month to abandon an effort to set up a bipartisan meeting of congressional leaders before government funding expired.

Gosh - even Dubya didn't let Dick Cheney speak for him.

How much of the federal government has actually shut down?

"Based on estimates drawn from CBO and OMB data, 83 percent of government operations will continue. This figure assumes that the government pays amounts due on appropriations obligated before the shutdown ($512 billion), spends $225 billion on exempted military and civilian personnel, pays entitlement benefits for those found eligible before the shutdown (about $2 trillion), and pays interest costs when due ($237 billion). This is about 83 percent of projected 2014 spending of $3.6 trillion."

So the government shutdown, at least as measured by money spent, is really a 17 percent government shutdown. Perhaps that is why the effects of the shutdown, beyond some of the most visible problems, like at the monuments and memorials on the Washington Mall, don't seem to have the expected intensity. Seventeen percent of federal expenditures is still a huge amount of money, and the shutdown is affecting many people. But many more who are dependent on federal dollars are still receiving their money, either as salary, transfer payment, or in some other form.

Posted by Cassandra at October 7, 2013 05:10 AM

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Is The Coffee Snorters page made so exhaustive to deter wiseass commenters? I am not deterred.

Re Plus ca change
"On a more somber note, Alsop opined: “When the citizens of a democracy begin to hold their legislature in contempt, democracy is itself in danger.”

The most contemptible thing about the legislature, indeed, the entire democratic process is the voter. It seems he will give the most votes to the greatest autosatirist* running.

Just as example of what the voter had wrought: Bill Clinton, George Bush Deux (Duh?), Barry Obama, the entirety, nearly, of Congress. A sampling:

Anthony Weiner, autosatirist
Unremarkable New York Jewish politician Anthony Weiner marries Huma, a Muslima from the Hood, who, for some reason, chooses to continue using her maiden name rather than going though life as Mrs. Huma Weiner. Anthony, angling for sweet young things, being both metro and cosmo but no sport, tweets his tackle in the mistaken belief it is to women as chum is to game fish. Found out, he resigns his office under duress but without humiliation. Rehabed, loyal trophy wife in tow, new trophy digs for show - $3.3 million Manhattan digs (owned by a wealthy Democratic donor) - Anthony announces a run for mayor of NYC. In tracking polls, he leads all candidates until it becomes evident he has two heads and no brain. To date, his only accomplishment is to have been twice an inspiration: once for aspiring autosatirists, another for the phrase 'one prick tony' - possibly a dyslexic malfunction – more likely a meticulous assessment.

*Autosatirist (noun)
1. of or relating to satire generated by one’s own routine, life, or lifestyle. Autosatirists at once expose themselves to ridicule, and also those having a high regard - or voting - for them.

2. Unintended self-mockery. Ex: With Sunday's N Y Times column, David Brooks, extolling a crisp crease of a pant leg as all the CV necessary for the Presidency of the United States established himself as nonpareil autosatirist

BTW – Wednesday, October 9* is now unofficially recognized as the day satire (the written word) died and was resurrected as lifestyle, i.e., autosatire.

*October 9, (2009) - Barry O officially announced as recipient of Nobel Peace Prize.

I have reserved a bottle of Madeira* for the occasion.

* a favored refreshment among many of the Founders and Framers of the Glorious Revolution.

Posted by: George Pal at October 7, 2013 10:03 AM

We can't possibly survive on 83% of last month's government! Why, that's only slightly more than 100% of the government we had a few years ago. People have grown exponentially more helpless since then.

Posted by: Texan99 at October 7, 2013 12:30 PM

Thanks Cassandra, these are fun!

Howdy George,
Note sure I agree on the details or rationale, but quite agree it is becoming difficult to adequately mock those that seemingly are blind to irony. BZ for ref to Madeira.

Howdy Texan, pithy.

Best Regards,

Posted by: CAPT Mike at October 7, 2013 11:01 PM

Have some Madeira my dear

It's ever so much nicer than beer.....

Posted by: CAPT Mongo at October 10, 2013 05:20 PM