Happy Birthday To Me

This is where you all say Happy Birthday to me. I’m 41, a year older, but no wiser. I made some more sun-dried tomato fettuccine to celebrate:

I have to admit, I’m getting pretty good at it. I’m to the point I can make enough pasta for at least 4-5 meals in under 20 mins. I’ll just freeze the rest in individual baggies and use it when I want.

Although as much as I excited about the pasta dinner, I’m really just excited about the mint chocolate ice cream I’m having for dessert.

Wednesday Evening Open Thread

(Jim Morin via GoComics.com)

Y’know, it’s looking to me like Jon Huntsman is actually taking the first steps of his outside-the-box 2016 campaign. He’s getting a ton of positive free publicity from the Media Village Idiots right now, all about his manly centrist “generosity” and “vibrant spirit” and (most important) “Oval-Office-quality good looks & charm”. Of course (as the handicappers all acknowledge, with some mixture of glee & regret), he’s not going to be the 2012 Republican candidate, because the Teahadists and the Talibangelicals have veto power this time around, and those Heartlanders(tm) aren’t giving their spittle-flecked electoral lurve to no Obama-serving Darwin-trusting Mormon-Satanist. And barring catastrophe, whichever unfortunate does get the GOP tiara in Tampa is going to get stomped by President Obama’s re-election campaign. So… we’re all looking, gods save us, at 18 long months of internicine electoral warfare, where all the Repub contenders try to bloody each other up, giving special attention to Willard Romney as the presumptive “It’s His Turn” front-runner.

By the time the 2016 presidential race officially starts (mid-November 2012), the conventional wisdom will be — regardless of Obama’s successes, up to & including personally discovering a cure for all cancers and hitting the crucial homer in the Chicago Cubs’ 2015 World Series triumph — that everyone’s tired of having the Donkey Party in change. All the Media Villagers will be looking around for a cute, well-spoken Republican who doesn’t scare the low-information voters, while the Repub traditionalists go back to their recycling closet to see who’s done enough time-in-combat. And there they will find: Jon Huntsman. Still Mormon, nominally, but the nastiest attacks will’ve been used up on Mitt already, and Huntsman doesn’t have Romney’s soulless psychopath Uncanny-Valley affect…


Apart from airy speculation, and tonight’s WHEN EVERYTHING CHANGED book chat (8pm EDT), what’s on everybody’s agenda for the evening?

Not Fade Away

Look what happens media folks, when you just ignore her:

Amid diminishing media interest, Sarah Palin has quit her high-profile bus tour halfway through and returned to Alaska with her family, according to RealClearPolitics.

The move puts a damper on widespread speculations that Palin’s “One Nation” bus tour, which launched on Memorial Day, was a potential precursor to a potential White House bid for 2012. Palin never made it to her scheduled stops in the key primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

RealClearPolitics, which originally broke the story about the bus tour, reported Wednesday on Palin’s “extended hiatus.” The remaining legs of her trip, according to Scott Conroy, are “in limbo” as “Palin and her family have reverted to the friendly confines of summertime Alaska.”

Ignore her, and she goes away. She doesn’t want to give you a schedule and wants to play games, ignore her. She thrives on media attention, so much so that her flacks like Mansour get all worked up when you don’t immediately publish her facebook ramblings. Ignore her.

Early Morning Open Thread: Farewell, Zeno

From commentor R-Jud:

We’d only been married about five months when we decided to get a cat — or, rather, when I begged to get a cat, and Trev agreed. When we went to the rescue place, I had my heart set on finding a nice, placid tabby. The lady who ran the cattery, who was blowsy and faintly whiffy of sherry, had other ideas for us.
She took us to a cage in a back room where the difficult cases were kept. The cats with missing ears, or exotic medical conditions, or laden with kittens were here. She lifted a scrawny, black tom cat out of one of the cages. He had both forelegs shaved from IVs following recent surgeries. He had a wonky eye, from being whacked about the head by nasty teenage boys. I was dubious, but she thrust this cat into Trev’s arms.
The cat immediately began to purr, surprisingly loud and deep. It butted its head against the underside of Trev’s chin. My husband’s eyes grew wide. His bottom lip may have wobbled.
“I like this one,” he said.
And so we brought home Zeno. On account of the abuse early in his life, he was weak at first, and although generally friendly, he was given to clawing people who tried to touch his belly. But he soon waxed fat, strong, and glossy, fed by our too-liberal hand and a steady diet of birds, mice, and treats from neighbors.
He was an accomplished sleeper, turning up in unexpected places and in daring positions, as is the way of all cats. He enjoyed going out in the rain and would return, soaked and purring, looking for a lap to dry off in. He groomed himself obsessively, accompanied by loud smacks and grunts and snorts that led us to call him “the Pig”.
He was never once impatient with Eve, even when her eager, sticky little baby hands snatched at his ears or tail, and he always greeted visitors to the house by paying them the highest feline compliment possible: he would try to climb onto them and go to sleep. Midwives, mothers-in-law, and guys from the gas company alike got the chance to bask in his purr.
And he loved the garden, napping in the sunniest beds when it was pleasant, and behind the sage bush, or among the raspberry canes under the plum tree when it was too hot.
Zeno had been sick for about a month, and by this morning it was clear he was never going to get better. So we made the hard decision, and poor Trevor brought him home to the plum tree for the last time today. We will miss him very much.

Bill Gross, Deficit Hawk: Screw That, Right Now Jobs Are More Important

From Ezra Klein, at the Washington Post:

Bill Gross: Deficit reduction can — and should — wait
Bill Gross is the manager director of PIMCO, which makes him one of the most important bond traders in the world, if not the most important. And so his exit from the Treasury market a few months ago, plus his intense and very public concern over the deficit, has attracted a lot of concern. “Keep that in mind when you hear people arguing about austerity,” wrote Megan McArdle. “People like Bill Gross are the ones we ultimately need to convince, because they’re the ones whose defection will precipitate a crisis. And he’s not buying either supply-side claims that tax hikes will cause disaster, or the super-Keynesian argument that we can’t cut spending because the economy will contract so fast that we’ll actually end up with a bigger deficit.”
Or so we thought. But in an unusual mid-month note to his investors, Gross hammered the “anti-Keynesians” in both parties who believe “that fiscal conservatism equates to job growth.” The truth, he says, is just the opposite. “Fiscal balance alone will not likely produce 20 million jobs over the next decade. The move towards it, in fact, if implemented too quickly, could stultify economic growth.” […]
So what should we do? “Government must temporarily assume a bigger, not a smaller, role in this economy, if only because other countries are dominating job creation with kick-start policies that eventually dominate global markets.” But what about the deficit? “Deficits are important, but their immediate reduction can wait for a stronger economy and lower unemployment. Jobs are today’s and tomorrow’s immediate problem.”…
Gross’s credentials as a deficit hawk are unimpeachable, but he’s arguing here that, to be a deficit hawk over the long term, you need to be jobs-focused now, as no economy with 9 percent unemployment is going to achieve the growth necessary to get its deficit under control. And he’s right. The question is whether his call for the government to refocus on jobs and brush aside fantasies that deficit reduction is also job creation will get as much attention as his concerns about debt and deficits.

So: Next time the glibertarian co-worker or facebook friend-of-a-friend starts yammering about The Deficit, tell them that the Very Serious PIMCO Superstar wants the government to hire more people. The math demands it!

Also, in DougJ’s absence, it falls to me to point out that Megan McArdle stands fair to inherit Bill “Always Wrong” Kristol’s mantle for infailable inaccuracy, if only she can stop dithering about Himalayan pink salt and find some focus.