John Y’s Musings in the Middle: Calendar Equity

Calendar equity? It may be time….

February is soon coming to a close. As usual, too soon.

I don’t say that because anything especially touching or profound happens ever February. Not at all. Just the very literal fact that Feb got the shortest number of days of any of the 12 months.

And over time it’s taken its toll on February’s self-image and self esteem.

It’s one thing to draw the short end of the stick one, two, three years in a row. But over 200 here in just the US! And don’t get me started on the whole Julian Calendar thing. It’s wounded generations of Februaries than can never be made right again.

It’s just that I was born with and have developed in my life a strong sense of social justice. And it’s time that we stand up for February to have equal time.

I commented last week about February have lousy national holidays. Do you think that President’s Day and Groundhog Day being in February is really an accident? It takes confidence and some successes to be able to handle a Thanksgiving or Fourth of July even (although there admittedly would be temporal challenges to moving the 4th to February).

The point is you’ve never heard anyone say, “I can’t wait until February!” Or “I hear we’re going to have an awesome February this year.”

It doesn’t happen.

In fact, we are so impressed, sated, and exhausted from the over-achieving November and December and –to a lesser extent–January, we typically just quietly endure the chronically under-achieving February….and, frankly, don’t even get our hopes up about anything until March 1.

It’s like February, already inferior, has to sit each year next to the three most popular kids in the class. Not fair!

February is like the Kentucky of Presidential Primaries (we get to vote in May to decide if it will be Romney or Santorum or Gingrich or any of the others, if they are still alive, physically and politically).

Sure, primaries (and Februaries) happen. But no one pays attention and neither really matters. Both are done mostly out of habit. More as an afterthought than eagerly anticipated.

I think, perhaps, we should take one day each from May, July and August (none has used efficiently their 31st day) and give those three days to February. February will then at least feel like it’s equal to most other months—with 31 days.

And then every four years, on Leap Year, February can look down it’s nose on all other months. And on that day, for the first time, Leap Year –and February –will totally rock!!

Or maybe…just maybe—and I’d love this!–February could turn the tables on the other “slacker” months by pointing out that it does in 28 days what it takes most the others 31 days to do.

The RP’s BREAKING News: The Politics of Wellness

Good morning, RP readers! Are you dreading your week before it starts? New research shows that your case of the Mondays may be caused by your brain. [CNN]

Krystal Ball: Transvaginal Ultrasounds Are Akin to Rape

Our own contributing Krystal Ball helped change an imminent government policy in Virginia last week.  After helping expose the implications of a proposed state law that would have required transvaginal ultrasounds for women seeking abortion, Governor McDonnell withdrew his support.

Here’s Krystal on MSNBC’s “Martin Bashir Show” last week:

MSNBC’s expert on abortion Krystal Ball: “So, Virginia is my home state and I actually ran for Congress there in 2010. So this hits very close to home for me also being a woman. What they are saying in Virginia is not only do women have to undergo an ultrasound, they have to undergo a trans-vaginal ultrasound. Mandatory state probing, okay. That’s what this legislation is talking about.”

“It actually meets the Virginia definition of rape.”

Here’s the video:

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And here’s Krystal’s piece from last week’s The Recovering Politician:

State mandated-transvaginal probes!

Well Virginia, you certainly know how to get a gal’s attention. This weekend I went home to Virginia, partly to give my parents their granddaughter fix but partly to survey the political landscape. My home state has suddenly become the focus of national attention due to extreme anti-woman legislation that looks ready to be passed by the Republican legislature and could yet be signed into law by Republican Governor and vice presidential hopeful Bob McDonnell. The truth is that Virginia’s lady problems go way beyond what I like to call PAP (Probes and Personhood).

For years, a slim Democratic margin in the Virginia Senate and a hold on the governorship kept extreme legislation from becoming law. But since Republicans took over both chambers and the governor’s mansion, each bill has been more hard-edged than the last. With PAP, the Virginia GOP seem to finally have crossed a line — and it may well doom McDonnell’s national ambitions.

Read the rest of…
Krystal Ball: Transvaginal Ultrasounds Are Akin to Rape

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of the Planet

Organic farmers rally together to turn the tables on Monsanto by suing them. Monsanto is known for their strong arm tactics and teams of lawyers that aim to put small farmers out of business. []

At a time when meat prices are on the rise how would you feel about eating a hamburger grown in a laboratory? []

Fruit flies use alcohol as a defense mechanism. []

A new type of planet is discovered by scientists. It appears to be comprised of steam but could have had earth like conditions long ago. []

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Eavesdropping

The downside of eavesdropping.

Was just having dinner with my wife and daughter at a local restaurant. My daughter and I were talking and I noticed she was trying to listen to a loud conversation at the table next to us.

I paused and asked, “Do you like to eavesdrop?” She nodded yes. “Me too” I said.

We talked about the nuances of eavesdropping, how to do it effectively without being noticed, and how to spot tables that are interesting and eavesdrop-worthy.

We continued to dissect the art of eavesdropping before I noted, “You know, the good part about eavesdropping is that you learn other people —who often intimidate us bc they speak so confidently and loudly–aren’t that interesting after all.

At that moment, we each looked at the other with mild panic and realized the downside of eavesdropping.

No one…No table…not even the waiters or busboy were trying to listen to our conversation.

I said, “Oh my goodness. Do you think we are the least interesting people here?!!” My daughter, laughing, said, “Afraid so.”

After that we stopped eavesdropping and tried to talk louder and something someone else may want to eavesdrop on.

The RP’s Breaking News: The Politics of Tech

Remember Watson, the computer that beat Ken Jennings on Jeopardy? Well, both Watson and its creators could be taking their talents to the healthcare field to do some revolutionizing. [The Atlantic]

Artur Davis: No Tears for Buchanan and MSNBC

I didn’t shed many tears for Pat Buchanan in the wake of his firing from MSNBC. The sales for his book—a pedestrian work that merely recycles 20 years worth of his diatribes—are about to surge, and he is mildly more familiar and relevant to Americans today than he was 72 hours ago. If he desires it, it’s a certainty that he is headed to Fox News Channel, and probably with a prominent platform.

The lack of sympathy shouldn’t be confused with an affinity for censorship. It should have been no wonder to MSNBC’s hierarchy that Buchanan’s demographic theories are overheated, and that he sounds alarm bells that are alarms primarily if you have a certain crabbed view of the country or a trace of zenophobia. To penalize those views now, when they have been the Buchanan brand for over two decades, has an arbitrary, unfair quality.

The problem with each side of this saga is that I always suspected that MSNBC was using Buchanan in a distasteful kind of way, and that he played along to the detriment of the conservatives whom he supposedly embraces. Buchanan’s on-air role had the feel of a caricature; it was the elevation of a conservatism that is exactly what many liberals imagine conservatives to be—smugly intolerant of the left, cantankerous, narrow-minded. Every time Buchanan chided modern conservatives for waywardness, it was exactly the kind of claim that the left expects the hard right to make—one that seemed unacquainted with the new hues in our culture, and one that yearned to reconstitute America along pre-sixties lines.

Read the rest of…
Artur Davis: No Tears for Buchanan and MSNBC

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of Tech

The Politics of Tech

Two Chinese workers who are employed by Apple in a Suzhou, China factory who were poisoned by toxins due to working conditions have written an open letter pleading with consumers to push for reform. [BGR]

Finally a company got the touchpad on laptops right. Thanks, Razer. [engadget]

“How Target Figured Out A Teen Girl Was Pregnant Before Her Father Did” [Forbes]

Microsoft is beginning a new ad campaign that is not shy about attacking Google. Wait til you see it. [BGR]

Zynga, the game maker known for mega-popular social games like “Farmville”, has committed a gaming sin. After their game “Dream Heights” received many negative reviews two of Zynga’s employees were caught offering their own reviews. [toucharcade]

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Colonel Sanders

When I was about 6 or 7 years old I had an interaction with Colonel Sanders and he shared with me some pretty profound business wisdom.

We were at the Colonel’s Lady (Claudia Sanders) restaurant in Shelbyville, and the waitress had just brought rolls to the table.

The Colonel patiently showed me, a fidgety little boy, how to take the butter pats and mash and mix them with just the right amount of honey and then to smear the gold and yellow concoction on to a piece of the roll.

I loved it and wanted to keep eating the honey buttered rolls, but he stopped me because, he explained, his restaurant philosophy was to always leave the customer “wanting a little more” when they left— so they would come back.

That’s the opposite of the he-man meals restaurants feed us now….but I think the Colonel right.

In fact, that philosophy is good advice for many areas in our personal lives as well as in a variety of service industries.

But the advice I cherish the most from the Colonel –and have put the most frequent use in my life—was how to mix butter and honey for rolls.

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of Pigskin

The Politics of Pigskin

With the NFL Scouting Combine coming up most people have their eyes on one or two players they hope their team will target. Here is a list of 10 offensive players that everyone should watch out for. [Yahoo! Sports]

The QB coach that molded Cam Newton into last year’s Offensive Rookie of the Year is now working with Andrew Luck, who most assume will be the #1 overall pick when draft day rolls around. [ESPN]

Peter King answers some questions about the NFL offseason in this week’s MMQB. [Sports Illustrated]

When the Giants won the Super Bowl earlier this month it gave coach Tom Coughlin his second title. In honor of his coaching achievement here is a look at the Tom Coughlin coached All-Stars. [Football Outsiders]

A lot had been made of the fact that new Steelers O-Coordinator Todd Haley and Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger had not spoken or met since Haley’s hiring. That popular story line can hopefully take a rest as it is reported that they met on Tuesday of this week. [Sporting News]

More Steelers drama as WR Hines Ward pleaded guilty this week to reckless driving charges stemming from an arrest back in July of last year. [ESPN]

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