What a nightmare.  Granted, Congressman Weiner never touched another woman, where Senator Vitter committed actual, physical adultery.  And granted, what Congressman Weiner did was legal, where Senator Vitter hired prostitutes (which in Washington DC is not).  And granted, Congressman Weiner never trumpeted his own moral rectitude, where abstinence-only advocate Senator Vitter is all about “the sanctity of marriage.”  But Weiner is a Democrat.  This must-watch Rachel Maddow clip just builds and builds in calling out the Republican hypocrisy.


Matt Ball:  “I’d appreciate it if you could give this (or just the first two paragraphs) a quick scan.  Anytime someone suggests eating chickens instead of large animals (it takes over 200 intensively-raised birds to provide the same number of meals as one steer), the amount of suffering in the world increases immensely.”

☞ Our first instinct is to ignore stuff like this – we have enough trouble with human suffering, let alone the suffering of chickens.  Yet if you found your child torturing an individual chicken, or any other animal, you’d be deeply concerned.  So basically – because we love cheap chicken – we don’t want to know.

Might there be some middle ground, short of $15-a-pound lovingly raised chickens?  Some way to avoid the worst of the suffering for “just” a couple of dollars more per pound?  At least until we perfect lab-grown meat – with no bones or nerve cells at all – as described in the New Yorker last month?

All this of course goes back to yesterday’s Tom Friedman column: the earth is full.   Until our technology takes a quantum leap (which I think it will), we are trying to crowd too much consumption onto one finite planet; too many chickens into each coop.

For now, perhaps, heavier on the family planning and lighter on the KFC?


We first bought this at $6.50 seven years ago.  Four years later, I wrote: “It closed last night at $14.56. Nominally a clothing chain, it’s basically a real estate play, not least Manhattan real estate.  Someone with a lot more shares than me thinks that real estate makes the stock cheap.  Of course, months or years from now, commercial real estate could be a lot cheaper or more expensive than it is today.  For now, I’m holding my remaining shares.”

With hindsight, I was an idiot not to have sold at $14.56 and bought recently at half that price.

But it could be worse.  The stock closed at $10.95 last night.  And because we got a $1 a share dividend in April of 2005, our effective cost was not $6.50 but $5.50 – so at $10.95 we have seen a 10.3% compounded rate of return.  Better than most 2004 investments have fared.

And it could get better.  The recent jump in these shares came on news that the company has put itself up for a possible sale, and there are those who think it is “freakishly undervalued” – and might fetch three times the current price.

So I’m still not selling my remaining shares.

Now go watch the Weiner/Vitter clip.


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