Ahh

pool

My friend and I went to the state park today and swam in their our ginormous pool. It was enormously refreshing.

Cory Booker is not a progressive

As Salon points out, and as I’ve been saying for years. New Jersey voters apparently prefer to vote on personality, not actual issues that affect their lives:

“We just had the worst financial decline in my lifetime, and there were really, really bad actors involved in it,” Booker says. “The mortgage lending agencies, ratings agencies, undercapitalized insurance companies. All of these things are egregious things that from a public policy perspective we must take action on.”

You’ll notice Booker didn’t include “banks” on that list. And those who have done battle with him in the rough-and-tumble world of Newark politics (the documentary about the 2002 campaign that helped launch him to stardom was called “Street Fight”) are skeptical of his zeal to take on these bad actors.

“Cory’s definitely no Democrat but he plays the liberal game,” says Ronald Rice, the longtime Newark state senator whom Booker defeated in 2006. “His whole life is Wall Street and Silicon Valley. We picked that up when he first came here. He was always a part of the privatization movement.”

Booker’s critics point out that he collected over half a million dollars from the financial industry during that first, unsuccessful mayoral run against cartoonish machine pol Sharpe James. Since defeating Rice, James’ hand-picked successor, in 2006, Booker has overseen major layoffs of public employees, including over 150 cops in 2010. Murders are down substantially and the population is inching upward for the first time in decades, prompting talk of a revival, but unemployment, poverty and carjackings remain exceptionally high and public services are often maligned (even if tweeting at the mayor about an unplowed street can occasionally produce an encouraging response).

Booker is also a vocal fan of charter schools and “education reform.” He’s tight with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a hero to conservatives for hurling rhetorical grenades at labor unions whenever the opportunity presents itself, and New York City Mayor and unabashed 1 percenter Michael Bloomberg, who (like many titans of big finance) is raising cash on Booker’s behalf.

And yet, for all of this, one other thing is true about Cory Booker that neither he nor his opponents can deny: Rather than revolting against him, New Jersey Democrats have gone all in.

The reason? As Booker puts it, switching to the third person, “Because he’s gonna win. Our internals reflect that.”

Harmony


That’s why this was such a brilliant commercial!

This does not surprise me. Singing harmony is one of the best highs ever:

July 8, 2013 — When people sing in a choir their heart beats are synchronised, so that the pulse of choir members tends to increase and decrease in unison. This has been shown by a study from the Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg that examined the health effects for choir members.

In the research project “Kroppens Partitur” (The Body’s Musical Score), researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy are studying how music, in purely biological terms, affects our body and our health. The object is to find new forms where music may be used for medical purposes, primarily within rehabilitation and preventive care.

In the latest study, published in the open-access journal Frontiers in Neuroscience, the research group is able to show how the musical structure influences the heart rate of choir members.

In December 2012, Björn Vickhoff and his research group brought together fifteen 18-year-olds at Hvitfeltska High School in Gothenburg and arranged for them to perform three different choral exercises: monotone humming, singing the well-known Swedish hymn “Härlig är Jorden” (Lovely is the Earth) as well as the chanting of a slow mantra. The heart rhythm of the choir members was registered as they performed in each case.

The results from the study show that the music’s melody and structure has a direct link is linked to the cardiac activity of the individual choir member; to sing in unison has a synchronising effect so that the heart rate of the singers tends to increase and decrease at the same time.

Feds consider probing Santorum

littlericky

Of course, it’s highly unlikely anything will actually come of it, which is the problem. These arrangements are so common in politics, they’re hardly worth mentioning — because no one is ever successfully prosecuted:

The Federal Election Commission is asking former presidential candidate Rick Santorum, Iowa evangelical leader Bob Vander Plaats and an anti-gay marriage organization to tell the agency why it should not investigate an allegation that they violated campaign finance limits during the last election.

The complaint, brought by Fred Karger, a gay rights activist who ran a quixotic campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, accuses Santorum of coordinating with the National Organization for Marriage to pay $1 million to Vander Plaats to endorse him, with the money eventually going for ads backing Santorum. That would be a violation of campaign finance law.

Head of the group the Family Leader, Vander Plaats is an influential member of Iowa’s evangelical community who got a reputation as a kingmaker after he endorsed former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, the surprise winner of the 2008 caucuses. So there was considerable competition among last year’s contenders for the GOP presidential nomination to win his backing.

Vander Plaats endorsed Santorum two weeks before the caucuses. Santorum eked out a victory overeventual nominee Mitt Romney at the caucuses, propelling his long shot campaign towards being a more serious contender.
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