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New Colbert SuperPac Newsletter: Spring Renewal-in-a-Pac

The Colbert machine, aka Colbert SuperPac, is still running. But, it’s the running you see when someone is trying to finish something they started, but won’t. The wobbly-legged, jello-strides-o-shame at mile 13 of 26, right before the body takes a spill. Your spill is coming, Colbert. Didn’t you see Barry (what I call Barack, we’re cool like dat, yeah) kickin’ slow jams on your ice cream rival-slash-archenemy, Jimmy Fallon Show the other night? Awww yeah, the Hope Machine is just gettin’ started — you’re goin’ down, Colbert…

The Colbert SuperPac Spring Newsletter:

Dear Colbert S. Uperpacmembers,

Spring is a time of renewal — you can see it through our office windows, our windshields, and our televisions tuned to Nat Geo programs featuring hardcore animal humping. The next generation is being born. And the same is true in the world of Super PACs.

A few weeks ago, I unveiled the Colbert Super PAC Super Fun Pack, a limited-edition kit to help the next generation form Super PACs. Finally, college students could get their political voices heard on a national stage, not just at Thanksgiving Dinner where they get in a shouting match with Uncle Jack that makes Aunt Noreen cry.

Nation, I am proud to announce that all 1,000 Colbert Super PAC Super Fun Packs sold out in less time than it would take you to say “Colbert Super PAC Super Fun Pack,” repeatedly for a week. And now, they’ve been delivered to college campii across the country.

Both presidential candidates have been making cheap attempts to pander to the youth, which merely comes off as fake, or “whack.” They’re too little, too late, while Colbert Super PAC is neither little nor late — we’re large and now. And with a thousand unaffiliated Super PAC tentacles stretching to colleges across this land, my power (like your student loan debts) will only grow.

Each kit features a decoder ring, secret clues, elaborate ciphers, and a map to find a hidden treasure. That treasure? A sense of accomplishment.

…and a 101-year-old sterling silver antique turtle which, when touched, makes a beautiful chime. It’s far superior to a 101-year-old actual turtle that, when touched, gives you 101-year-old salmonella.

Whichever Super PAC Super Founder super-finds it first will also get a visit to their college campus by a man famous for his many television and email-newsletter appearances: Stephen T. Colbert.

So, lace up your treasure-hunting-shoes, because the game is afoot. Let the best man, woman, or corporation-legally-defined-a-person win.

Cryptically Yours,

Stephen Colbert
President and Chief Enigma Machinist
Americans For A Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow

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Splunk, a Slam Dunk

I love APM/NPRs, Marketplace. Yeah, if that makes me a nerd, nerd I be, hell yes. They brought a piece to air today on the fast growing niche, big data, that serves a ton of areas in a ton of ways. With the near unlimited amount of information and access to it, big data is only getting bigger. I love the field, probably would’ve majored in it if it was available back in the day. Am Planning on making some contacts, connecting with some big data firms and people (linkedin, etc.) and writing, researching using some big data priciples, methods, etc.

Anyways, big data firm, Splunk made a cannonball-sized splash in the financial/big-data/etc., world with a huge IPO today (4/20/12). Their IPO actually doubled their stock price, which wasn’t available in the article, but I’ll Google it and re-post it when I can.

The piece, by Queena Kim, is listed below.

More data on big data soon.

Splunk

NPR/APMs Marketplace, ‘Splunk Makes a Splash,’ 4/20/12

Constitutional Law is Fun, and William Newcomb-Holden

God I loved the constitutional law course I took, political science 470, taught by a one James Todd. Great course, going through the history of modern law, especially American jurisprudence, and the unique conditions, distinct set of choices at crucial moments, and the structural framework and philosophical characteristics that have come to define our great, yet imperfect system of law and justice. Professor or Dr., whichever, Todd was a very effective teacher, and gave the students and the class a good deal of freedom to think through cases and issues with confidenceirrespective of a right or wrong context.

The reason I started this post was to mention a book I came across while studying in the library one night, briefing cases for my constitutional law course. I thrived on briefing cases, and actually liked it! Get some of that, son! Briefing is essentially, reading and studying the main information, the gist of cases, and analyzing it as we saw fit, into the big world of our justice system. Words were the key. Each case has key words that make up the critical road signs that may lead to a case’s simple, clear resolution, or a difficult, complex set of circumstances that promulgate a long, arduous path to a solution. I liked the hard ones. Where every word has to be defined and understood not in the dictionary, but specifically in the context of the law. And there’s kind of a legalese that contains it’s own distinct meanings, and degrees of meaning within their most current meaning, because every case is different, and the life of each case sprinkles new variations of meanings and ideas upon them. Anyways, to Newcomb-Hohfeld.

William Newcomb-Hohfeld’s book, Fundamental Legal Conceptions as Applied in Judicial Reasoning and Other Legal Essays (1919), found my eye as I strolled through aisle by aisle of books on all matters jurisprudence. The Fundamental Conceptions is great in it’s simplicity, an efficient expression of intellect. More on the author, book, and philosophical paeradigm soon.

Fundamental Legal Conceptions as Applied in Judicial Reasoning and Other Legal Essays (1919)

Wesley Newcomb-Hohfeld’s Wikipedia page/profile

R-Squared Rap with J-Stew … Topic? “It’s the Economy, Stupid!”

Robert Reich is the former Sec. of Labor in the Clinton Administration, and current Professor of Public Policy at UCal, Berkeley (go bears!). Reich was recognized by Time magazine as one of the top ten most influential secretaries to have served in the nation’s federal government in the past century (via Reich’s homepage).

Reich was Jon to the Stew-izzle’s featured guest kast night, promoting his new book on the economy, poltics, and a lot of other interesting stuff, Beyond Outrage. Reich is a smart dude. Every time I see him, or even hear him on the radio — being that he’s a regular contributor on NPR/APM’s Marketplace — his words seem to express what is going on that I was simply not seeing until then. Like I had all the great paintbrushes, paints, and ideas, but he swept in and pulled a Bob Ross (oh yes I did just go there). Making it look so easy, both Robert and Bob (or Bob and Robert, errrrrr**, you get it). He’s just got such a good grip on the world’s economic pulse. His dome is stuffed with history, data, variables, and patterns that he’s able to combine and sort almost instinctively. As quick as his magical membrane-wrapped cerebrum computes something it’s finding a way slung out his mouth in a fluid, digestable, and easily understood way. Brilliant guy. Having seen and heard him on a plethora of TV shows and radio pieces, and the sample size increases (oh yes, I did slide a nerdy statistics reference inhere — I think I smell spuriousness, ha!), the accuracy and reliability of the subject being tested (Reich) only increases. The rich, measured, incredibly analytic, puzzle-solving magician powers gradually become better and better with time. Yes, that is the good stuff. That is life at it’s finest. Worthy qualities of a jedi, and the jedi way. It seems like his presence just does what he does — errr, just elucidating the relevant global-to-local economic analysis in a hot Berkeley minute — without trying whatsoever. His noggin probably permeates enough heat to provide winter warmth for a village of two-hundred in Siberia in the middy (sic, ‘middy’ ~ intentional spelling/slang for ‘middle,’ errrr) of winter. His mouth just starts moving and … before you know it .. Bob Ross, errrr Reich has left the building, but he did leave a pretty sweet masterpiece.

On The Daily Show, Reich expounds on what has become a hot topic as of late, the ineffectiveness (or effectiveness, if that’s your take) of the (cue horror music) tax code. I wish Reich would’ve had a half an hour, but he has a few quick minutes. During Eisenhower’s presidency, the highest effective tax rate topped off at a whopping 91% (via/hat-tip to Reich on TDS w/ Jon Stewart). And, a little historical irony: that was when we were on the same team as the USSR, who would serve to justify (to the gov’t, not to me) the Cold War boom in the need for a military-industrial complex. PostWWII, the nation’s economy exploded, spurred by a pent-up war demand, and especially by two of the most salient industries that can rev up the economy quite easily: the automobile and the housing industries (via/hat-tip Conte and Karr, An Outline of the American Economy. Suburbs, strip malls, shopping centers, and an econ injection in it’s own right ~ the baby-boomer demographic (ding’ding’ding consumer demand — via/hat-tip, Conte and Karr, AOotAE). I could go on, and it’s actually a particular part of American history, the post WWII years from ’45 to ’78 especially, up to the year I was born. Not that I have something against the ’80s and ’90s, I love my era baby, those are the years of youth son! And, the years that the “baby’s all growns up,” (via/hat-tip, Swingers). But late ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s: such dynamic, classy but trashy, years. ‘Mad Men’ has only stoked it. I love stoking a good fire. Right before smores. Back on topic.

But, there were very distinct sets of various conditions that are very different to our world. Stewart chimes in (he’s actually a really bright guy, not that it’s assumed that he’s not, just that he’s smarter than he wants to come off as in some ways, to me) that the era consisted of a certain collective conscious, a shared societal sentiment that was very different from today’s collrctive belief. Reich slips into the pocket for a nice body blow, saying that corporations were largely based nationally, for production/supply and consumption/demand. Now almost everything is global. They don’t get into much more on this stuff. Hmmm, I’ll make a note to come back to this set of ideas, expose and explain.

Before he’s whisked away and taken to meet with Yoda and Obie One, Reich quips in that we need to invest in people. Investing in research, stocks, etc. is one thing, but for national, widespread growth, investing in people gets the biggest bang for the buck. What to spend on? Here’s a little brainstorm:

Ways to invest in people, and in society. This is a very quick, general listing. I’ll try to elaborate and add more detail, nuance, geographical economic landscapes, and sheer data. You can invest in as many ways that you can imagine, so imagine up. In education (public k-12, higher education, vo-tech, on the job training, continuing ed, etc.), social investments [health/well-being; preventative/alt medicine, conscious increase in mental health awareness/psych therapy, nutrition, taxes on soda/ciggies/alchyhol/etc., infrastructure; the obvious stuff, sure — roads, water, solar, electric/internet/wi-fi grids, agriculture in rural/metro, increased research on improvements in anything/er’thang infrastructure related; energy creation/storage/usage, better more transparent financial/energy usage/urban-rural-development/etc. planning, public spaces/works (parks, libraries, museums, partnerships through these bodies with schools and business)].* Much more on this later. That is all (via/hat-tip, That Is All, Juan ‘Bigote Barbarosita’ Hodgman

*All investments cover the entire spectrum, from the individual all the way to the national unit, as the bookends. To be clear and complete, the units in between are obvious, but here they are anyway, starting from the top; nation/regions/states/counties/metrop’s/cities/towns/hoods/neighbors/families/individuals/etc. And, random as it be, I was reading about the Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Pleasant Hills, California, and I was reminded of the wondrous thing we call sister cities. Hell to the yizz-ess. You know, where two cities form a bond, a connection that well, does … what?!? Is it that we need such a public, formal connection with some distant place to help our society improve? Why not develop a set of inter/intra-nat’l/regional/municipal/etc., connections that establish and develop the country’s various units, and network? Sister cities, brother burroghs/counties, cousin counties, etc., and the connections could form mini-contracts, that last a certain amount of time, and use a simple list of a litany of areas to connect on, etc. And while I’m at it, theoretically it could apply not only to any/every unit of area, but now any unit of anything; ideas, industries, all matters cthulhu (via/h/t, That Is All, John ‘Bigote con Quesitos’ Hodgman). That is all.

**errrrr serves as a communicative device that reveals and expresses a sudden sense of ‘oooops’ or ‘uhhhh’, whereas my being sees an error (hence errrr, pretty complex, eh) in my ways of thinking. And so through the magical meaning of errrr, I see one, an error in my way, two, open my mouth and slobber at said error recognition, three, freeze ~ slobber some more, and four, close said mouth, and five, mend my ways (of thought and such). That is all (via/hat-tip to Señor John ‘Bigotote’ Hodgman)(via/hat-tip to Señora María ‘Ingenuosita’ Popova haha

Robert Reich’s homepage

Bob Ross, Inc.

¡Three Amigos! “¿A plethora of piñatas?”

That Is All, John Hodgman’s tumblr

The Curator’s Code, by maria Popova

“Grossman and Patchett, Let’s Get it on!” It’s ‘Literary-Duel-Time’…

The PBS Newshour went dirty tonight, resorting to the seldom used ratings-card (cue theme-whistle for The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly): they went literary duel. The dual paned, split TV screen (they were in different cities) struggled to keep the two bloodthirsty writers, and their dangerous quills from one another. Okay, they were in different cities, being interviewed and mediated by the calm, super-even-keeled, Jeffrey ‘Patient One’ Brown. They gathered to battle it out over why the twenty member Pulitzer Board, made up of such random yet well-fitting people as The Washington Post‘s Eugene Robinson, author Junot Diaz, The Wall St. Journal‘s Paul Gigot, and The New York Times‘ Tom Friedman, chose not to award the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction this year.

Ann Patchett is the author of such notables Bel Canto, The Magician’s Assistant, and State of Wonder and runs Parnassis Books in Nashville, Tennessee. Lev ‘the’ Grossman hails from Brooklyn, New York, and is the author of The Magician King, and The Magicians. He writes about books and technology for Time Magazine. Patchett feels the prize is a highly symbolic, obligatory’esque duty of the Board, and a major factor in promoting both reading and writing. As the owner of an independent bookstore, in an ailing industry, Patchett also expressed how more than anything except Christmas, the Pulitzers bring people and business to her store (and other stores, too, assumedly). Like the Oscars, and/or the Grammys (shouldn’t it be ‘Grammies‘?, the Pulitzers serve as the main medium for recognizing the vast reaches of writing’s realm.

Grossman surprised me, and although at first I found it easy to take Patchett’s side, the integrity and principle behind his take eventually won my mind’s eye over. Lev posited that there just aren’t great, deserving novels written every year. His argument actually lifts the award up, and reinforced the integrity and his respect for the Pulitzer of Fiction, and in general. Great novels are hard to find, and Grossman’s take only increased the value and prestige of the prize.

The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2012 Nominees

The Pulitzer Board

Ann Patchett
http://www.annpatchett.com/

Lev Grossman
http://levgrossman.com/

News, Human Nature, Nature, and Nonviolent Compassion …

I hear a lot of people say they hate the news; they don’t watch, read, a/o listen to it. “It’s depressing,” is a common response. I can totally respect that, too. How anyone responds to anything, no less news, is their business, their right. That in itself — that everyone has the right to respond to the news/whatever, thanks to free will — is a great thing, and something that a lot of people are still unable to do in many places. But, when I hear someone say that they hate news I’m naturally vexed, and feel almost completely the opposite.

The news is a voice bursting with importance and meaning. It’s the voice of the voiceless in many ways, as many regimes/societies are censored, silenced, and hidden in plain sight. Take Syria right now. I just heard a piece from PRI’s The World that interviewed a young guy hiding in a house surrounded by tanks, snipers, and without food and water, as has been for the past year. The Assad regime has killed more than @ 9,000 innocent civilians. Unarmed girls and women are raped, murdered, and strewn out in the streets, often strangled or stabbed to death to save bullets and incite fear. Just last month, 26 women and 21 children were found beaten, mutilated, some apparently raped, and killed — some with their throats slit. Without news, there would be no way to know that this is taking place. News serves to shine a light on outrageous cases like Syria, but also on a whole plethora of other areas of our lives (e.g., sports, the economy, etc.). Obviously, the case of Syria at present is one extreme, but it serves to highlight what people are capable of doing, as history has repeatedly shown us time and time again. Sometimes that’s not what we want to hear. But, naiivete to such things: awareness an/or knowledge of a wrong, and subsequent inaction is just as bad, if not worse, than the wrong in and of itself. So, a lot of people ‘choose’ to stay away from knowing, choose not to notice, or be aware. Ignore it until it happens to you, or someone you know. If something is happening to one person, it’s happening to everyone. We’re all connected. Syria is just the same game, with a different name as Darfur, Myanmar, Bosnia, Rwanda, the Ivory Coast, etc. From one extreme, in cases of systematic murder, rape, etc., to the other, more subtle violations of rights, liberties, and justice, looking is the first requirement for exposing reality. Shining the light, looking through the cracks, crevices, and into the figurative rabbit holes is a constant, necessary requirement of a forward moving, normal person and society. No one event in history is the same as another, and the breadth and depth of things that life creates reflect an obvioud diverse set of modalities and degrees*. It helps me, — like anything, not just news/history, etc. — to relate it to different things in different ways (while obviously being mindful of differences). For instance, such simple things like; I need to study, eat well, and manage my money, etc. And for more important things (in my view, that is), like; I need to dig into relationships, traumas, etc., and deal with them accordingly. It’s all about moving forward, progress. Being a better person. Being the best people we can be. And I know that it’s somehow become a trend for people to ignore and fear the things we need to deal with the most. Because they’re things we don’t like about our selves (intentionally not ‘ourselves’, sic), that we don’t like about our past, etc. And so we turn away from it. Hide it under the rug. And, hence, not be able to move forward, to be our best self, live our best life.

On another level, on a nearby plateau, is the need to be the compassionate observer (which should be called just being ‘normal,’ but alas, one brick at a time). As members of this one big family called nature, on the planet we share, we have what I feel/believe is one of those most basic of instincts, compassion. Love. We’re obligated to protect life where we see it being harmed. Especially when something in a place of unequalled/unrivalled power uses it to take advantage/harm something of lesser power. Like watching a bully punch, make fun of another kid. It’s an imbalance of nature that needs and obligates the world to protect the victim, using the least possible resistance/defense. Using the least possible required force to resist/repel/defend, squares perfectly with the whole philosophy (and with brasilian/gracie jiu-jitsu, eh — no surprise). Because we believe in not harming things, neither do we want to in return harm the ‘bully.’ Harming the ‘bully’ makes us the very thing we don’t believe in, letting anger and fear turn into hurting someone else. Revenge is simply the bully switching sides. Through the belief in nonviolent compassion, we maximize getting nature back in balance. We do what we say and say what we do. Morally, and spiritually airtight. It doesn’t behoove us because it’s what the philosophy tells us: but because it’s our basic nature, our most salient instinct.

More on this later, esp re Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Jr., the Dalai Lama, Brasilian Jiu-Jitsu, etc.

*This is crucial right here: the ability, and the notion of being able to be aware (one), specify/define (two), react (three), and classify/compare (four) the vast amount of things that happen is of the utmost import. It allows a prioritization, and comparitive analysis that serves to simplify and organize the complex, complicated world and events that pass before us, esp when we get into abstract concepts; values, morals, ethics, justice, etc., AD INFINITUM! My hours upon hours of prowling the U of A (University of Arizona) library at all hours (what is better than 24hr libraries, esp university size, quality ‘braries) and reading Plato, Socrates, Descartes, Nietzche, Russel, Einstein, Weber, Durkheim, etc., AD INFINITUM, while laying on the floor in the aisles, did not go to waste! Anyways ~ the operationalization of events, etc., serve to maximize our collective understanding, and move forward in addressing them. I need to do a seperate post on operationalization: it’s process, meaning, and significance. Duly noted.

John the Hodgman, ‘That is All’, and Cthulhu

John Hodgman, or, as I like to call him, ‘John the Hodgman’, is one silly guy, I tell ya. He’s been doing spots (does not mean painting dots on cubicles, etc.) on ‘The Daily Show, with Jon Stewart’ for a few years now, and that’s where/when I started to get his shtick/humor. Before then, used to annoy me when/wherever I’d see him. But, with time, his stuff started to become freaking hilarious to me. I mean from one tail of the bell-curve (shout out/holla gini-coefficients, and standard deviations in the hizz-ouse!) to the other. From thouroughly annoying to thouroughly enjoying. Kind of a rare thing (more later on why. He’s penned (or penciled thanks to a one, David Rees) a trilogy of books that encompass, well, a whole hell of a lot of things. Take the title of the first one of the three, ‘The Areas of my Expertise:

An Almanac of Complete World Knowledge Compiled with Instructive Annotation and Arranged in Useful Order by myself, John Hodgman, a Professional Writer, in The Areas of My Expertise, which Include: Matters Historical, Matters Literary, Matters Cryptozoological, Hobo Matters, Food, Drink & Cheese (a Kind of Food), Squirrels & Lobsters & Eels, Haircuts, Utopia, What Will Happen in the Future, and Most Other Subjects

‘Zactly. Put that in your juicer (is a link to the Gracie Academy’s juicer off-putting-brand-placement, a la Wayne’s World?) and drink it.

The second book is ‘More Information Than You Require,’ and the final one is ‘That Is All.’ (Note to all: Cthulhu is one bad mambuh-jambuh, as mythological beings go. That is all.)

More on the Hodg’podge and everything Hodg soon.

That is all (ha!).

Here’s some links:

Areas of my Expertise tumblr — funny stuff; gifs, riffs, and raffs, as only the Hodg can do
http://areasofmyexpertise.com/

Hodgman’s twitter
http://twitter.com/hodgman

Interview w/ The Phoenix
http://thephoenix.com/Boston/Arts/69389-Interview-John-Hodgman/

Interview w/ NPR, Robert Siegel
http://m.npr.org/story/141803647?url=/blogs/monkeysee/2011/10/31/141803647/john-hodgman-and-robert-siegel-consider-all-things-some-of-them-rather-dubious

(Full/Desktop version)
http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2011/10/31/141803647/john-hodgman-and-robert-siegel-consider-all-things-some-of-them-rather-dubious?

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