If a natural disaster strikes and somebody decides this is an opportune moment to break into a Best Buy and steal themselves a flat-screen TV, feel free to call them a looter.
But when somebody breaks into a supply depot looking for food or medical supplies because their only other option is watching somebody they love starve, they’re not “looting.” Those aren’t “spoils or plunder taken by pillaging, as in war.” They’re basic necessities taken by people in desperate need.
If the media is going to start moralizing, it should at least do it in the right direction.
“When I took this show over, boy, there was a lot of animosity, between me and Dave and who’s gonna get it — and quite frankly, a lot of — well, good friendships were permanently damaged. And I don’t want to see anybody ever have to go through that again. ‘Cause this — you know, this show is like a dynasty. You hold it, and then you hand it off to the next person. And I don’t want to see all the fighting, and all and “who’s better?” and nasty things back and forth in the press. So, right now, here it is: Conan — it’s yours. See you in five years, buddy. Clear enough? Enough said? All right.”—Jay Leno in 2004 (via soupsoup)
“So Pat Robertson, to whom the media are still inexplicably willing to pay attention, is saying that Haiti is being punished for an alleged pact with the devil? This might be a reasonable time to point out that, when Haiti threw out the French, it was the latter who were on the side of evil – first, as slaveowners (Haiti was the only modern nation created by a slave revolt). And then, when Haitians had finally attained freedom from plantation chattel slavery, France forced Haiti to pay reparations to the former slaveowners, to compensate them for their loss of “property.” You read that sentence right – the ex-slaves were forced to pay their former masters, the equivalent of $21 billion (billion-with-a-b) in today’s dollars. It took the tiny nation from 1825 to 1947 – that’s right, over a century – to finish paying off this “debt,” a crushing burden which bled away resources for education and economic development.”—Elizabeth Palmberg (via azspot) (via think4yourself)
“Just because these people are poor doesn’t mean they are dangerous. We ran into the same thing during Katrina.”—Lt. Gen. Russell Honore, talking to CNN’s Anderson Cooper on a situation in Haiti in which doctors have abandoned a makeshift hospital due to ‘security issues’ (via apsies) (via abbyjean)
“It never ceases to amaze that in times of amazing human suffering, somebody says something that could be so utterly stupid. But it, like clockwork, happens with some regularity. To use the power of your pulpit to try to convince people not to help their brothers and sisters is sad.”—Robert Gibbs, on Pat Robertson and Rush Limbaugh (via apsies) (via think4yourself)
Update at 3:13 PM:American Express announced today that processing fees for any donations made to the 65 charities listed on this website between January 12 and the end of February will be rebated back to those charities.
Update at 6:44 PM:Visa announced this evening that it, too, will not apply fees to charitable donations related to the crisis in Haiti through February.
“The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, is in the news. He’s still under fire for remarks he made about President Obama’s blackness. Sources say he could face Congressional censure or, even worse, be promised The Tonight Show at 11:30.”—
Wall Street firms aren’t the only banks that had a banner year. The Federal Reserve made record profits in 2009, as its unconventional efforts to prop up the economy created a windfall for the government.
The Fed will return about $45 billion to the U.S. Treasury for 2009, according to calculations by The Washington Post based on public documents. That reflects the highest earnings in the 96-year history of the central bank. The Fed, unlike most government agencies, funds itself from its own operations and returns its profits to the Treasury.
The numbers are good news for the federal budget and a sign that the Fed has been successful, at least so far, in protecting taxpayers as it intervenes in the economy — though there remains a risk of significant losses in the future if the Fed sells some of its investments or loses money on its stakes in bailed-out firms.
This turn of events comes as the banks that benefited from the Fed’s actions are under the microscope. Starting at the end of the week, major banks are expected to announce significant earnings and employee bonuses. Anger in Washington is at such a high boil that the Obama administration will probably propose a fee on financial firms to recoup the cost of their bailout, officials confirmed Monday.
As it happens, the Fed’s earnings for the year will dwarf those of the large banks, easily topping the expected profits of Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan Chase combined. … Even as the Fed comes to resemble private banks in terms of its balance sheet and its earnings power, there remains one big difference. The CEO of the Federal Reserve, Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, received a modest cost-of-living raise for 2010, despite the record earnings: He now makes $199,700, with no bonus at all.
“Rod Blagojevich is so black, he should be called ‘Tyler Perry Presents Rod Blagojevich’!”—JON STEWART, mocking Blago’s claim that he’s “blacker than Barack Obama,” on The Daily Show (via inothernews) (via shiningstar) (via think4yourself)
“Last Thursday, NBC executives told me they intended to move the Tonight Show to 12:05 to accommodate the Jay Leno Show at 11:35. For 60 years the Tonight Show has aired immediately following the late local news. I sincerely believe that delaying the Tonight Show into the next day to accommodate another comedy program will seriously damage what I consider to be the greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting. The Tonight Show at 12:05 simply isn’t the Tonight Show. Also, if I accept this move I will be knocking the Late Night show, which I inherited from David Letterman and passed on to Jimmy Fallon, out of its long-held time slot. That would hurt the other NBC franchise that I love, and it would be unfair to Jimmy.”—
I love that Conan played it this way. He makes clear that he puts both the Tonight Show and The Late Show franchises and history above his own ambitions. Leno? Not so much. NBC really played this horribly. I know across entertainment, business, and sport it is hard for those who’ve been on top to get out at an appropriate time, but I can’t believe Leno would allow this to happen to the Tonight Show. Classless. The only thing cooler at this point would be for Letterman to hang it up at the end of this season and offer his platform to Conan and put his full production support behind O’Brien. That would be amazing!
“I think the choice is simple: either hold on to our ideals and accept the remote chance that you might die in a terrorist attack, or throw away our ideals and accept the remote chance that you might die in a terrorist attack - but at least we’ll feel like we took action.”—Stephen Colbert, on suggestions of using blatant profiling to ‘keep us safe’, and echoing Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote, “Those who would sacrifice liberty for safety deserve neither.” (via hammerito) (via absurdlakefront)
“[I]t’s my opinion that we should open up any further negotiations between the House and the Senate to C-SPAN so the public can watch. I believe that the best way for these negotiations to occur is through the conference committee process, and I have communicated my opinion to the leadership of my party in the Senate”—Senator Claire McCaskill, who doesn’t update her Tumblr nearly frequently enough. (via squashed)
“Good evening. Because this is a family broadcast, we probably can’t say what we’d like to about the news today that Mark McGwire—the home run hitter, the family favorite from the St. Louis Cardinals—stopped lying today and admitted that he did it while on steroids. For those of us who were raising young baseball fans and baseball players who looked up to Mark McGwire, that summer of ‘98 was magical stuff, as he and Sammy Sosa vied back and forth for the title of Single Season Home Run King. He didn’t tell the truth to Congress or to his fans until finally, formally coming clean today. He’s been unable to get into the Hall of Fame and, apparently—even for him—the shame here was too much.”—
Mashable has been building a vast archive of how-to guides on everything from professional networking to planning a vacation online — what better time to release a combined list than at the beginning of a new decade?
If you’re looking to improve your life in 2010, we hope you’ll find these 40+ How-To guides useful. You can find even more How-To guides and tips in the How-To section of this site.
“A woman in the military is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire in Iraq.”—
-Representative Jane Harman, a Democrat from California, said at a Congressional hearing this year, repeating an assertion she has made a refrain in a campaign of hers to force the military to do more to address abuses.
“As we know, there are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns. That is to say, we know they’re some things we do not know. But there’re also unknown unknowns; the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”—
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Feb. 12, 2002, effectively telling us that the government had no idea what it was doing by invading Iraq.
“Turn a drink down in the United States, and people get the message without your having to explain. “Oh,” they say, ashamed of themselves for presuming otherwise. “Right. I should probably… quit too.” In Europe, though, you’re not an alcoholic unless you’re living half-naked on the street, drinking antifreeze from a cast-off shoe. Anything shy of this is just “fun-loving” or “rascally.”—david sedaris (the smoking section) (via quellequaintrelle) (via robertpatrick) (via wooliebear)