Wednesday Reads: Shark Week, 25 Years and Counting

Good Morning!

I am going to start this post off with a bite, a Great White Shark bite:  The Week Sharks Always Attack

If you did not take a look at that video, stop reading this post and click the play button. That is just a taste of what is coming up this week on Discovery!

The Evolution of Shark Week, Pop-Culture Leviathan

On Sunday evening, Shark Week kicked off its 25th annual TV marathon devoted to the world’s deadliest creatures. Which means that for the next six nights, Americans will be able to marvel, shudder, and peek between their fingers at what Shark Week’s executive producer Brooke Runnette calls one of the last wild things—maybe the last truly wild thing—on the planet.


Now the longest-running cable TV programming event in history, Shark Week has cemented itself as a fixture in the pop-culture lexicon, both seriously and meme-tastically. Stephen Colbert and Tracy Morgan (the voices of their generation, of course) have both publicly professed the sanctity of Shark Week in recent years: In 2006, Morgan’s character on 30 Rock sagely advised a colleague to “Live every week like it’s Shark Week”, and Colbert proclaimed it the second holiest annual holiday next to the week after Christmas in 2010.


Every summer since 1988, the little educational-programming week that could has drawn in massive audiences, hitting 29 million viewers in 2008 and close to 30 million last year. But at its humble beginnings, Shark Week was just a shadowy, elusive idea, lurking in the wet depths of the Discovery Channel creators’ imaginations.

This was a big deal back when it started airing on TV. We never had cable when I was a teenager, so I missed out on the MTV craze and of course Shark Week. From the look of that video, things have come a long way from those under water shots in a cage.

Sticking with the shark theme for a moment, because check out what happens when you swim with the Big Sharks: Why Goldman Sachs, Other Wall Street Titans Are Not Being Prosecuted

I know I have mentioned this last week but I still cannot get over the fact that these people are getting away with all this crap.

On Thursday the Department of Justice announced it will not prosecute Goldman Sachs or any of its employees in a financial-fraud probe.

The news is likely to raise the ire of the political left and right, both of which have highlighted one of the most inconvenient facts of Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department: despite the Obama administration’s promises to clean up Wall Street in the wake of America’s worst financial crisis, there has not been a single criminal charge filed by the federal government against any top executive of the elite financial institutions.

Why is that? In a word: cronyism.

Go ahead and read the rest, it is sickening!

And what is going on while these white collar frauds are getting off without even a slap on the wrist, Chalk a Sidewalk, Go to Jail | Mother Jones

“I draws what I like and I like what I drew!” sings Bert, the affable sidewalk artist in Disney’s Mary Poppins. He doesn’t know how easy he’s got it. If Bert lived in one of a dozen American cities, his colorful chalk drawings of boats and circus animals could very well land him in jail.

Take the recent example of Susan Mortensen, 29-year-old mom in Richmond, Virginia. In March, Mortensen was arrested for allowing her four-year-old daughter to draw on rocks at a local park with sidewalk chalk. This month a judge sentenced her to 50 hours of community service helping to strip and repaint 200 boundary posts on a bridge. Mortensen told a local TV station that her daughter is now “very nervous around cops” and “very scared of chalk.”

That’s not all. One week ago in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, police cited two teenagers for decorating a street with chalk renditions of a whale and a sea turtle. The kids must now appear in court and pay a fine to be determined by a district judge. James Donnelly, Doylestown’s police chief, told a local newspaper that the chalking was “an attempt at vandalism” that could lead to the use of more permanent materials.

Chalk. The gateway art supply.

It has me speechless.  And then you have the kind of criminals that Paul Ryan would like to see burned at the stake.

Now that Mitt Romney has chosen Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate, Ryan’s long history as a culture warrior is getting a fresh look. Women’s groups have already honed in on his extreme anti-abortion record, which consistently has earned him a 100 percent voting approval rating from the National Right to Life Committee.

What isn’t so well known about Ryan’s record, though, is that one piece of legislation he supported is so extreme that it would have turned Romney’s children into criminals.

The Sanctity of Human Life Act, which Ryan co-sponsored, would have enshrined the notion that life begins at fertilization in federal law, thus criminalizing in vitro fertilization—the process of creating an embryo outside of a woman’s womb. In IVF, doctors typically create multiple embryos and then only implant the healthiest ones in the woman. Some of them stick and become babies, and some don’t. The embryos that don’t make it to the womb are either frozen for later use or destroyed. The Sanctity of Human Life Act, if passed, would make all those embryos “people” in the legal sense, so if they aren’t used or don’t become babies after being implanted, they would essentially become murder victims under the law.

Geez, what is next…life begins at arousal?

Of course, everyone is talking about the Ryan Budget, except for Ryan:

Paul Ryan Will Talk About Tax Policy ‘In The Light Of Day’ — After The Election

The Romney campaign is willing to discuss its proposals on taxes “in the light of day,” vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan said Tuesday evening — just not until after the election.

Multiple tax policy analysts have concluded that Mitt Romney’s tax plan — to close loopholes and reduce taxes for the wealthy — means higher taxes for most people in order for the math to work. Brit Hume of Fox News asked Ryan to counter that charge. “What we’re saying is get rid of special interest loopholes and deductions that are uniquely enjoyed by the wealthy to lower the tax rates for everybody,” Ryan said.

But lowering middle-class tax rates, if coupled with eliminating key deductions, could lead to an effective tax increase, the cornerstone of the analyses of Romney’s tax plan. Hume pressed for specifics.

“That is something that we think we should do in the light of day, through Congress,” Ryan told Hume, promising to “have a process for tax reform so that we do this in the front of the public. So no, the point I’m trying to say is, we want feedback from Americans about what priorities in the tax code should be kept, and what special interest loopholes we want to get rid of.”

One of the “loopholes” that costs the IRS the most money is the mortgage interest deduction. Another relates to municipal bonds. Hume asked Ryan if either would be on the chopping block. Ryan refused to say.

WTF? What does that “light of day” comment mean?

The head nun was again making a case against the Ryan Budget: Sister Campbell: Ryan budget ‘antithetical to either scripture or sanity’

Sister Simone Campbell, a Catholic nun and executive director of NETWORK, on Monday blasted Republican vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) over his budget plan.

“It’s totally antithetical to either scripture or sanity,” she told Current TV host Eliot Spitzer. “We know the saying that if you want to keep doing the same thing over and over but expect a different result it is insanity. This idea that giving more tax cuts will create jobs, it hasn’t been true for the last ten years, it won’t work now. Really, the way to create or stimulate this economy is to shift money to where there is pent up demand… Where there is pent up demand is not at the top, it is at the bottom.”

Campbell said NETWORK had worked with Jewish, Muslim and Christian groups to develop a “faithful budget” as an alternative to Ryan’s budget plan.

“A number of organizations, including Bread for the World, has never had a position of taxes before, but has taken a position in favor of increasing revenue” rather that slashing spending on domestic programs, she explained.

This next link has me worried, Get Ready for a Catastrophic War: Israel Likely to Strike Iran Before November Elections

More Washington insiders are coming to the conclusion that Israel’s leaders are planning to attack Iran before the U.S. election in November in the expectation that American forces will be drawn in. There is widespread recognition that, without U.S. military involvement, an Israeli attack would be highly risky and, at best, only marginally successful.

It sort of puts that Romney trip to Israel in a new light.

For Netanyahu, the President’s perceived need to outdistance Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in the love-for-Israel department puts Obama in a box. This, I believe, is the key “window of opportunity” that is uppermost in Netanyahu’s calculations.

Virtually precluded, in Netanyahu’s view, is any possibility that Obama could keep U.S. military forces on the sidelines if Israel and Iran became embroiled in serious hostilities. What I believe the Israeli leader worries most about is the possibility that a second-term Obama would feel much freer not to commit U.S. forces on Israel’s side. A second-term Obama also might use U.S. leverage to force Israeli concessions on thorny issues relating to Palestine.

If preventing Obama from getting that second term is also part of Netanyahu’s calculation, then he also surely knows that even a minor dustup with Iran, whether it escalates or not, would drive up the price of gasoline just before the election — an unwelcome prospect for Team Obama.

It’s obvious that hard-line Israeli leaders would much rather have Mitt Romney to deal with for the next four.

It is a rather long article…so bookmark it if you don’t have time to read it all now.

Just a reminder, the Little League World Series starts tomorrow. Welcome to the 2012 Little League Baseball World Series!

Please try to catch some of these games, it is amazing to see the boys play ball. (I wonder if I am the only one who was disappointed that Baseball is no longer an Olympic sport.) So what are you all thinking about and reading today?

32 Comments on “Wednesday Reads: Shark Week, 25 Years and Counting”

  1. ecocatwoman says:

    Just keeping with my contrariness, I TOTALLY disagree with this sentiment “25th annual TV marathon devoted to the world’s deadliest creatures”. HUMANS are far & away the DEADLIEST CREATURES on the planet. En masse we pretty much destroy all we touch. I absolutely despise portraying non-human animals as vicious monsters, which is what has been done to sharks, among others. Shark populations are in severe decline due to humans fascination with annihilating them. Pacific great whites are in danger & calls have been raised to list them on the Endangered Species list. Then there is what the “need” for shark fin soup has done – it is beyond appalling. Just a couple of links: & So, just how much has Shark Week increased our respect & appreciation for this mighty predator who has lived on Earth for many millions of years?

    • quixote says:

      Have to agree with ecocat. Even your nice little kitties are wild. Sharks are just the only wild animals who successfully attack humans and don’t usually get caught. (Well, aside from cubomedusoid jellyfish and many parasites, but that doesn’t make for the sort of television people watch.)

    • I think that documentaries (not the docudrama kind but the real thing) are important to bring about awareness on the topic they are about. Seeing these sharks, and those images of them in the wild, certainly give me that appreciation you speak of Connie. And if it gets some kid interested in science, and possibly motivates them to learn more about them, I am all for it.

      • ecocatwoman says:

        JJ, I am all for informative, interesting documentaries about wildlife. What I object, primarily, are the sensational ads for Shark Week that highlight the “deadliest creatures” narrative. It seems to be more about blood, gore & guts than about how important sharks are to a healthy ocean, how far the populations have declined due to human actions. Hell, compare the small number of people who have been killed by sharks vs say texting & driving, natural disasters, maybe even in coal mines. Personally, I prefer PBS’ Nature programs to Shock shows. It just seems it’s more about ratings/ad revenue than information. And now Tracy Morgan wants a “tank” in his home for a shark. So it seems Morgan has learned that a shark would be a “cool pet.”

  2. Morning, here are some quick links to get you up to date:

    Japan arrests Chinese on disputed isle as friction rises | Reuters

    Sarah Palin: Boot Joe Biden off the ticket – Mackenzie Weinger –

    Wildfires rage in West, destroy 60 homes in Washington state | Reuters

    Cops: Tot left at NY beach after day care outing – Wire National News – The Sacramento Bee

    Police say a day care center left a 2-year-old girl behind on a New York beach after a group outing and called authorities three hours later to see if anyone had found her.

    State park police say a woman told them that the toddler had been playing with her child Tuesday at Heckscher State Park. When the woman wanted to leave at 3:30 p.m., she started wondering where the child’s mother was.

    • Pat Johnson says:

      Another question for mankind: why does the press continue to seek out and report every stupid utterance made by a half term governor of a state of only one million people, who resigned mid term, who makes her living doing reality tv, and who has yet to offer a coherent statement that shows any signs of intelligence?

      I don’t get it. She makes no sense, has zero foundation regarding history or current events, yet there seems to be a daily assault of her “renderings and opinions” that are covered as if there was something to be gleaned from her meanderings and butchering of the English language.

  3. Take a look at this: I wish my mother had aborted me | Lynn Beisner | Comment is free |

    If there is one thing that anti-choice activists do that makes me see red, it is when they parade out their poster children: men, women and children who were “targeted for abortion”. They tell us “these people would not be alive today if abortion had been legal or if their mothers had made a different choice”.

  4. Fannie says:

    I am reminded that Ryan who will slash veterans care programs, including Medicare that will surely affect them, did not use the word “VETERAN” once in his 100 page budget. You’d be thinking some republicans who be vocal about this, but we are not hearing a peek from them.

  5. quixote says:

    About that Israel – Iran sabre-rattling: It seems to me that in the past, when Israel wanted to attack a neighbor, the hallmark was a fast strike that came out of nowhere. This time they’ve been making noise for months. That makes it look like what they’re really trying is to get the US to spend blood and money instead, to do their dirty work for them. Who knows? Maybe there’s nobody gullible enough to believe a “Curveball’s” trumped up memos this time, unlike the lead-up to Iraq.

    When I have my tin foil hat firmly attached, I also think they could be doing this as a pre-election favor. The whole bit about people flocking to the Prez when war looms yadda yadda yadda that Shrub used to great effect. Of course, everyone has to be very careful because Middle East war looming also tends to spike the price of gas which makes people flock away from the Prez. So it’s a thin, fine line. If it’s the tinfoily scenario, we can expect more of these “leaks” in September and October.

  6. Pat Johnson says:

    Agreed. And what better way to underscore your intent then by having the US right there alongside you.

    Almost like a kid who offers “Johnny did it to” as an excuse to explain away behavior.

    The chaos this would cause is undefinable.

  7. janicen says:

    I’m going to weigh in as the cranky old mom regarding the sidewalk chalk. On private property? No problem. Even on a public street, as long as it’s okay with the people living on the street. But a public park? No. Parks are preserves of nature’s beauty and entitled moms and their spoiled kids don’t get to paint the landscape the way they want it just because the chalk will eventually wash off. I live in the Richmond VA area and without even being familiar with this story I bet I can guess exactly the area this woman and her family live. This is Eric Cantor territory where nouveau riche suburbanites demand strict laws and regulations on “those” people but any attempt to enforce traffic laws, zoning regulations, or any law at all that the entitled people break is “big gubment overreach”. Good for the judge. I’d like to park myself in a lawn chair with a nice cold iced tea and spend the day watching that woman work on the bridge.

  8. RalphB says:

    Brad Delong: Yes, the Affordable Care Act Matters

    In today’s email stream:

    Kevin’s Facebook Entry:

    Today is a great day – after six months of application forms and enormous amounts of time and paperwork, I just received Hana’s new medical coverage confirmation under President Obama’s federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act 2010 (“Obamacare”).

    Hana has been type 1 diabetic since 19 months old. She will always have this “pre-existing condition” until a cure for diabetes is found. As a self-employed parent, I was unable to obtain any private individual insurance coverage for her and her pre-existing condition, and so was faced with only one option, to set up a private group medical policy under my fledging little company. The monthly premium for her coverage under this last resort effort was a whopping $1,480 with OOE at over $10,000. Not cheap, but my only option.

    Obamacare’s newly formed Pre-Existing Conditions Plan (PCIP) program allows Hana to be enrolled in a comprehensive PPO plan, with her premiums being just $124.00 per month.

    Yes, the difference between $1500/mo and $124/mo would definitely say the ACA matters. I hope it will matter this way for you one day JJ.

  9. Jonathan Capehart Gives Joe Scarborough Brief History Of GOP Campaign Of Hate | Mediaite

    Have I said lately the GOP are assholes! All this crap about the chains comment is ridiculous .

  10. RalphB says:

    This polling and associated story are fucking depressing. We are a stupid society.

    Why 90 million Americans won’t vote in November

    • Pat Johnson says:

      Which is exactly why this nation is on the path that it is today: people too goddamned lazy to bother to educate themselves on the facts and the consequences it will have on their lives.

      Relying on soundbites or some other foolishness in calling themselves “informed” or just too turned off has left this nation in the hands of fools who are giving away our democracy for special interests and floundering around in apathy as a way to explain their disinterest is deplorable.

      When you look at the crisis ongoing in mid east nations who are dying for the opportunity to cast a vote as a means of determining their fate then listen to some of these jerks who may be “just too busy” to bother is a validation of the stupidity you refer to.

      Disgusting that voting is not made a requirement rather than a “maybe I will, maybe I won’t” answer.

      • RalphB says:

        In Australia everyone is required by law to vote. It’s true that a lot of people who couldn’t find their own ass with both hands, a flashlight, and a gps device would cast a ballot but those would be cancelled out by the well meaning. In the end, we would be a much better country for it and, if not, at least we’d get what we really deserved.

  11. RalphB says:

    What the hell was this guy planning anyway? Times-Picayune:

    Secret Service investigation leads to arrest of Houma man

    Authorities in Houma said they found weapons, phony law enforcement badges and fake bombs at a residence where a 61-year-old man was arrested. Monday’s discovery at an apartment complex led to a six-hour evacuation of about 40 people from four buildings.

    The Courier reports that the investigation was launched by the U.S. Secret Service after agents learned a man had bought counterfeit badges and credentials that represented him as a federal agent. The Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office said federal agents and deputies found several hundred counterfeit documents, badges and credentials.

    Michael Hebert, a resident of the complex, was booked with multiple charges including 19 counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and 10 counts of unlawful possession of fraudulent documents. Hebert was being held in the Terrebonne jail, awaiting a bond hearing, the Sheriff’s Office said. It was unclear when he would enter a plea or whether he had an attorney who could comment for him.

    Hebert had illegally acquired 19 firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition, which were confiscated along with the counterfeit documents, badges and credentials that falsely identified him as belonging to law-enforcement agencies, including the FBI, CIA and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Sheriff’s Office said.

    The Courier reported that Hebert was convicted in 1990 for possession and transfer of a machine gun and wire fraud. As a felon, Hebert is barred by law from possessing firearms, the Sheriff’s Office said.

  12. pdgrey says:

    Look out Sykdancers. I just got off work and have had another glass of wine!
    Check out “A Bad Romance”.

  13. yolanda says:

    Hooray for Shark Week! A pop-culture leviathan is the only way to describe it! I don’t know a single person that isn’t excited to see sharks chomp on things this week. Even my crotchety, old boss at Dish was spotted wearing a shark tie yesterday! I’m glad I can catch the whole event on my Hopper DVR, which has as many recording hours available as sharks have teeth. It’s safe to say that I will be glued to the TV this week!