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Interview 1.

What a waste of gas. It was a part-time job in a telemarketing boiler room.

“You knew I was only interested in a full-time job. Why did you bring me in?” I said to the owner.

“Well, you said you were interested,” he said.

What a jerk. And they all wore matching golf shirts and visors. I haven’t seen a get-up like that since I was 15 and worked in fast food.

Imperial presidency seems here to stay

President Dwight Eisenhower’s foreign-policy record was far from perfect (Exhibit A: Iran), but would he have allowed America to become mired in the disastrous Iraq and Afghanistan wars? Not blody likely. The man who was commander-in-chief of the Allied forces that landed in Normandy, unlike other post-WWII presidents, knew there is a big difference between being a president and a five-star general. It’s a distinction that George W. Bush, Barack Obama and others don’t seem to appreciate:

The Eisenhower portrayed by [Jim] Newton is more of a devotee of brinkmanship than a peacemaker. But because of a long military career, particularly his wartime experience, he could see danger posed by the generals, admirals and intelligence community and their allies in the arms industry. He saw through them.
In his farewell address, Eisenhower warned that this combination reached into “every city, every statehouse, and every office of the federal government.” Then in the most memorable passage of the speech, he said, “In the councils of government we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist…

Better living through chemistry?

All you really good mommies, listen up! That antibacterial soap and preservatives in many personal hygiene products may be causing more harm than good for your very young offspring. Using products with these ingredients may be linked to more allergies for your kids.

Researchers say that the antibacterial agents and preservatives do not, themselves, cause the allergies. Studies conducted by researchers at John Hopkins released a study that stated that the use of antibacterial soaps and products may play a role in immune system development. In turn, this can cause children developing allergies.

“We saw a link between level of exposure, measured by the amount of antimicrobial agents in the urine, and allergy risk, indicated by circulating antibodies to specific allergens,” said lead investigator Jessica Savage, M.D., M.H.S., an allergy and immunology fellow at Hopkins.

The study involved children 6 to 18. Their urine was tested for levels of triclosan, found in antibacterial soap, and parabens that a found in common personal hygiene products. Then, the levels of these ingredients were compared to levels of antibodies found in persons with environmental allergies.

“In the study, those with the highest urine levels of triclosan — an antibacterial agent used in soaps, mouthwash and toothpaste — had the highest levels of food IgE antibodies, and therefore the highest allergy risk, compared with children with the lowest triclosan levels. Children with the highest urinary levels of parabens — preservatives with antimicrobial properties used in cosmetics, food and medications — were more likely to have detectable levels of IgE antibodies to environmental allergens like pollen and pet dander, compared with those with low paraben levels.”

So, germaphobia is not the best thing for your kid’s immune system. Good old fashioned hand washing is fine and exposure to Mother Nature’s dirt may be the best. Yes, it’s OK for kids to be a little dirty and lick their pets.

But, I still don’t believe in the “three second rule.”

Go negative now!

From Frank Rich, for anyone who hasn’t read much about the history of presidential campaigns, a group that seems to include all the talking heads and editorial writers who tut-tut about negative ads:

The serious questions raised by the early Obama ads are not whether they were too much but too little: Was waiting until May behind the curve? Are the ads vicious enough to inflict lasting damage? Is there a nuclear option in Obama’s advertising arsenal that can blow Romney out of the water as LBJ’s immortal mushroom-cloud “Daisy” ad did Barry Goldwater on Labor Day in 1964? Given the anemic employment numbers and the pack of billionaire GOP sugar daddies smelling blood after their Wisconsin victory, a reboot of hope and change would truly be the reelection campaign’s most self-destructive option

Glenn Greenwald on Julian Assange:

For several reasons, Assange has long feared that the US would be able to coerce Sweden into handing him over far more easily than if he were in Britain. For one, smaller countries such as Sweden are generally more susceptible to American pressure and bullying.

For another, that country has a disturbing history of lawlessly handing over suspects to the US. A 2006 UN ruling found Sweden in violation of the global ban on torture for helping the CIA render two suspected terrorists to Egypt, where they were brutally tortured (both individuals, asylum-seekers in Sweden, were ultimately found to be innocent of any connection to terrorism and received a monetary settlement from the Swedish government).

Perhaps most disturbingly of all, Swedish law permits extreme levels of secrecy in judicial proceedings and oppressive pre-trial conditions, enabling any Swedish-US transactions concerning Assange to be conducted beyond public scrutiny. Ironically, even the US State Department condemned Sweden’s “restrictive conditions for prisoners held in pretrial custody”, including severe restrictions on their communications with the outside world…

Here’s that rare Democratic politician who has a knack for getting to the heart of the matter — whatever the matter — in a hurry:

Former Florida Rep. Alan Grayson (D) on Wednesday blasted Republicans in Congress for continuing to grill U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder over the “fast and furious” gun-running scandal.

“Why won’t they launch an investigation of why 50 million Americans don’t have health care?” he asked on Current TV. “When are we going to see those investigations?”
Republicans on the House Oversight Committee chose to hold Holder in contempt of Congress over the Department of Justice’s refusal to release certain documents pertaining to the failed operation.

This piece from Common Dreams is news of a sort, but few environmentally conscious citizens will be surprised by it:

… Everyone knows that we are facing an unprecedented environmental crisis– right?

Wrong. This news seems never to have gotten to America’s Republican legislators. In the face of these huge and escalating threats, the GOP majority over the last year has voted no fewer than 247 times (nearly once a day for every day the House was in session) to weaken environmental protections that have been in place for decades and to defeat needed legislation.

This according to a report released on Monday by Representatives Henry Waxman, a member the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and Edward Markey a member of the Committee on Natural Resources. They have called the 112th Congress the most anti-environment ever…

Common Dreams is a fine organization, but the blandly satirical tone of the piece is annoying. It’s not as if the current crop of wing-nut Republicans hasn’t heard the “news” regarding climate change, threats to fresh water and food supplies, and so on. For a variety of reasons, they simply don’t care.

Nuns on the bus

Asshole Paul Ryan didn’t show up because he knew they were coming.

You ain’t thinking ’bout me

Sonia Dada:

That time is gone

The dBs:

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