First World Problems

Making America Safe for Democracy

It must have been during one of those invasions that America is so fond of that we first started hearing about it. Sure, we can rain hell and topple a government, but what next? A country needs more than a dictated instruction manual — it needs people to run the joint, and citizens to fill their roles. A nation needs a civil society.

You know, like ours.

That was the point: A constitution is just a piece of paper, as are laws. America is Americans, and we show the world how it’s done. We’ve had more than two centuries of practice, after all. We’re not just a democracy, we live by democratic norms.

At least, we used to. Or thought we did.

Read more »

Pay Up, Friedman

My Third-World Cab Driver knows more than you.“There are many reasons Apple has not spent its cash hoard, but I’ll bet anything that one of them is the uncertain economic and tax environment in this country.” —The Mustache of Understanding, proudly displaying his utter ignorance of Apple’s history of recovering from a near-bankruptcy, high profit margins from skyrocketing gadget sales, and famous practice of not spending that mushrooming cash hoard unless there’s a damn good reason. Oh, and that American manufacturing plant they’re planning to open this year. [NYT]

Gettin’ Real in the Whole Foods Parking Lot

I think I spotted Dodgerblue making a cameo in this video shot in a West L.A. Whole Paycheck.

BBC, Eh?

Another sign we’re becoming Idiot America:

Last month, the BBC released Frozen Planet, its much-anticipated follow-up to the Planet Earth series. The new seven-part documentary explores life in the Arctic and Antarctic, including an entire episode on the dangers posed by humans and global warming.

However, viewers in the United States will not see that final episode because the BBC believed it would not play well abroad.

So now the Brits think we’re too stupid for their programmes? And this part kills me:

Read more »

The Annoyance Scale

There was a segment on MSNBC yesterday morning about Bethenny Frankel.  She is a self-help guru. She is a “celebrity natural food chef.” She is a Real Housewife of New York. And she is really fucking annoying.

But how annoying is she, really? Incredibly annoying? She’s certainly no Paris Hilton. Moderately annoying?  Heidi Montag and Justin Bieber fill that role every day.  What we need people, is a scale. We need a shorthand. We should be able to say: “He’s Larry King annoying” and have others understand what we mean. So here are a few modest suggestions, starting with the least-annoying annoying person:

Read more »

We Begin Bombing in Five— Wait, Hold On a Sec…

“Last weekend, a computer glitch took 50 U.S. nuclear missiles offline for more than 45 minutes at a Wyoming Air Force base. The military says it still could have launched the weapons had it needed to, and there’s no evidence of foul play.” [Yahoo]

The Terrorist Plot to Poison Our Youth with High-Fructose Corn Syrup is Working…

“What we were finding was that the soldiers we’re getting in today’s Army are not in as good shape as they used to be,” said Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, who oversees basic training for the Army. “This is not just an Army issue. This is a national issue.” [NYT, via Daring Fireball]