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Showing posts from March, 2011

The Shock Doctrine

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Continue The Bleed

Here's another example of Interstate Job Transfer.  As states continue to struggle to find the revenue necessary to provide services, company execs see great opportunities to leverage their positions to get somebody else to pay the bills.

From The Agonist this morning:
In the business of “let someone else pay for government services”, corporations are the hands-down winners. Corporations use the same roads as everyone else, fly out of airports, enjoy the services of the water, electric, and gas utilities, clog up the courts, get police and fire protection, and if necessary have their overseas interests secured by the military and the diplomatic corps. They just don’t want to pay for it. Fifty years ago corporate income taxes at the federal level generated about 6% of GDP; today the amount is less than 2% of GDP. The difference has been made up in increased taxes on individuals, and dramatically increased federal government borrowing.It's a free lunch for Corp Execs and Wealthy …

Right Radicals

The Repubs are just chock full of silliness.  Unfortunately, the rubes eat it up and keep going back for more.

per Andrew Sullivan, here's Newt Gingrich:
"I have two grandchildren — Maggie is 11, Robert is 9," Gingrich said at Cornerstone Church here. "I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they're my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American."Because, you know - Islam is known mainly for its atheism(?)  How, exactly, is it that Gingrich has the reputation for being the heavy thinker over there?

One of Sully's readers:
According to the hydra-headed GOP, Obama should have unilaterally attacked Libya weeks ago to help Al Qaeda sympathizers assassinate a terrorist tyrant who was recently courted by the Bush administration. Also he should have concluded the mission by now, sent the …

Free Fallin'

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Sometimes, somebody else has to cover your tune to get me to appreciate it.


About Libya

As usual, Juan Cole makes a lot of sense.
Many are crying hypocrisy, citing other places an intervention could be staged or worrying that Libya sets a precedent. I don’t find those arguments persuasive. Military intervention is always selective, depending on a constellation of political will, military ability, international legitimacy and practical constraints. The humanitarian situation in Libya was fairly unique. You had a set of tank brigades willing to attack dissidents, and responsible for thousands of casualties and with the prospect of more thousands to come, where aerial intervention by the world community could make a quick and effective difference.It just always seems so stupid that after a coupla or three million years of hominid evolution, we still can't find a better way to settle our differences than bashing each other over the head with sticks and rocks.

VCU Makes The Final Four

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And the riot is on in downtown Richmond for the second time in 3 days. The cops were out in force, but there were no arrests on either occasion, even tho' the kids did get a little destructive - mostly inadvertently.

You can see Nick in the bottom right foreground starting at about 0:18, for about 4 seconds. He's the devilishly handsome young cat with the curly brown hair wearing the black VCU hoodie.

Hippies!

Clay Bennett Cartoon

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I can get next to most of what Bennett has to say.  I'm wondering why this particular toon popped up right now.

Also, I wonder if having the "lying Politicians" sign next to the "lying Fox News" sign is coincidence.

Duly Noted

It's completely slipped by the attention of the Press Poodles, but at least WisconsinWatch and Crooks & Liars are alert enough to catch it for us.
“Currently, the media is painting the union protest as a democratic uprising and failing to mention the role of the DNC and umbrella union organizations in the protest. Employing a false flag operation would assist in undercutting any support that the media may be creating in favor of the unions. God bless, Carlos F. Lam.”Obviously, it's good that a putz like Carlos Lam is pushed out.  But his 'resignation' was a quiet thing, so I have to suspect his ouster was more a result of his being so open about his suggestion than it was about the dirty trick itself.

When assholes like Mr Lam are brought down loudly and publicly, then maybe we'll start to see a change in the way we do things.  Until then, we can probably expect more of the same.

The Costs Of War

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Beans, bullets and band-aids is just the beginning. We'll be paying for these wars for a very long time in ways we can scarcely imagine right now.

I Was For It Before I Was Against It

He's Back - Kinda

Muh man, Keith demonstrates again why "the left" is right and "the right" is wrong.

Today's Quote

"Destiny is a tyrant's justification for his crimes, and a fool's excuse for his failures."
--Ambrose Bierce

Political Science

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A longtime personal favorite. I played this in a tourist bar in BVI sometime in 2003 (we were there on vacation), not knowing of course, if the crowd would get it. Most did. Some didn't. Some things never change.

Hat tip to Steve P in Oregon. I had no idea anybody else even knew this tune existed.


The World Is A Battlefield

Wondering why Obama isn't following thru on what we all took as a pledge to change how we approach the "War On Terrorism"?  Simple answer = he can't.

It's possible that a lot of the turmoil and upheaval in Western Asia grew out of The Bush Doctrine (tho' it's more probable it was happening by itself anyway), but the main thing is that something very big and very dangerous is in motion, and is gathering a heavy inertia.

All Obama can do now is try to guide the thing on its path; to minimize the damage, and to position us to take advantage of whatever tiny crumbs of benefit might fall out of it along the way.

So here's the thing:  The massive cluster fuck we call The Arab World gets bigger and more complicated every day.

Jeremy Cahill on Democracy Now.
BTW: you know Cahill is probably onto something because our Corporate Government insists on ignoring what he reports.

God Needs Us

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Cain slew Abel, Seth knew not why
For if the children of Israel were to multiply
Why must any of the children die?
So he asked the Lord
And the Lord said:

"Man means nothing, he means less to me
than the lowiliest cactus flower
or the humblest yucca tree
he chases round this desert
cause he thinks that's where I'll be
that's why I love mankind"

"I recoil in horror from the foulness of thee
from the squalor and the filth and the misery
How we laugh up here in heaven at the prayers you offer me
That's why I love mankind"

The Christians and the Jews were having a jamboree
The Buddhists and the Hindus joined on satellite TV
They picked their four greatest priests
And they began to speak
They said, Lord a plague is on the world
Lord no man is free
The temples that we built to you
Have tumbled into the sea
Lord, if you won't take care of us
Won't you please please let us be?

And the Lord said
And the Lord said

"I burn down your cities--how b…

Super Moon

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An old high school buddy has become a right fine picture taker.

Find him at Larry Bollig Photography (www.larrybollig.com)

If It's March, This Must Be War

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It's like nobody even notices anymore. Somebody in the White House prints out a few pieces of paper, and people 5000 miles away start dying.
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron. ~Dwight D. Eisenhower, speech, American Society of Newspaper Editors, 16 April 1953I recoil with horror at the ferociousness of man. Will nations never devise a more rational umpire of differences than force? Are there no means of coercing injustice more gratifying to our nature than a waste of the blood of thousands and of the labor of millions of our fellow creatures? ~Thomas Jefferson

Blue Eyed Soul

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Sara Bareilles covering a great Beatles tune.

Upside Down And Backwards

Every time something happens that contradicts the conventional wisdom, we get a whole squad of spokesmodels who swarm to the airwaves trying to countervail the obvious.

The double whammy of earthquake and tsunami is causing a major problem at the Fukushima nuke plant that threatens to become a full-blown catastrophe. People look at what's going on there, and start to have some doubts about nuclear energy here in the US; which threatens the profitability of some very powerful commercial interests - and that simply won't do. The thinking of the citizenry must be brought back under control.

Here's Ann Coulter to argue that doses of radiation which are higher than the gubmint recommends are not only safe, but good for ya! And, of course, Baghdad Bill tries to play the roll of skeptical journalist, but that's just part of the show. He "resists" Coulter's claims just enough to give her lots of chances to make the points she's being paid to make.



One m…

The Descent Into Empire

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From The Festival of the Book here in Charlottesville yesterday:

PART 1


PART 2


PART 3


PART 4

The Shock Doctrine

FIght The Power

Hat Tip: Bill D via facebook.
Lifting the Veil from S DN on Vimeo.

Pi vs Tau

I'm OK for the first 90 seconds, but then it's just hopeless. But what really chaps my ass is that there's a couple of middle-schoolers living in my house right now who'll have a handle on this in a year or two, while I just get deeper into the fog.

Beyond Wisconsin

Hat Tip: JR in Boulder

I believe there are ways to get what you want in this world without being a complete asshole about it.  Took me a long time to figure that out, and to build the skills I needed to stay within that construct.  Unfortunately, hardly any of that matters anymore.

Case in point:  The guy who runs the joint where my wife works has said on more than one occasion (and out in the open for all to hear), "I have the power here.  If you want any kind of power, you'll have to take it away from me."  That's not quite a direct quote, but very close to it.

That's the dominant thinking in the executive suite now - actually it's been that way for a while.  For the guys who've clawed their way up over the last 12-15 years, it's become a zero sum game.  They believe with all their hearts that the only way they can win is for everybody else to lose - it's a binary universe where everything is either all one way or all the other way, so there are…

Meanwhile, Back In Madison

With everybody raptly gazing at all the glorious disaster porn from Japan and Libya, it's easy to forget that we still have a few little items here at home to address.

I'm sure this guy has plenty to do, but I hope he'd at least consider running for a local office of some kind.

Schools

"Is our children learning?"

I think they are (most of 'em, anyway).  Which kind of amazes me, because the school systems (and especially the teachers) don't get much help really.  The kids are criticized a lot for being lazy or self-centered or spoiled or distracted or whatever sound bite the politicians need today so they can use it at tonight's fundraiser.   The kids' parents get hammered - mostly for the same reason.  Everybody gets madder (at each other), the problems don't get addressed, and the schools just continue to circle the drain.

I don't know answers and I don't have solutions, but I know we don't "fix the schools" doing the things we've been trying for the last 20-30 years.  And really, guys, we're not gonna get anywhere without putting some serious money into the project.  Which is what a lot of people think we've been doing for a lot of years.  Unfortunately, we've been pouring all the money into just …

Peter King Is The Terrorist

I guess the Repubs thought we were getting to a place where we understood how phony "The Islamist Threat" is.  So, of course, they have to ramp up the fear again.  We won't be distracted enough from the strip mining of the economy, so we need something more to rail against.

I have an idea.  There are a few Dems on that committee, and they should call people to testify who'll say nothing but the this: "Why don't you guys just tell me what you want me to say, and I'll say it?"

BTW: here's a list I cribbed entirely from Crooks and Liars.  It might give us a slightly different perspective.


-- July 2008A gunman named Jim David Adkisson, agitated at how "liberals" are "destroying America," walks into a Unitarian Church and opens fire, killing two churchgoers and wounding four others.
-- October 2008Two neo-Nazis are arrested in Tennessee in a plot to murder dozens of African-Americans, culminating in the assassination of Presiden…

Planned Parenthood

Circus America

Lindsay Lohan is in court again, and of course, there's lots of press coverage to make sure we all have a good close look and a great chance to understand the ins and outs of the issues and nuances of Lindsay's difficulties.

Meanwhile, Bradley Manning is stripped naked every night; he's "interrogated" every day; he's allowed one phone call and to send one letter per month; he rarely gets to talk with his lawyer; and the Press Poodles do nothing, see nothing, report nothing.

This is what we call justice?

Late Winter

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Gray and rainy-looking. Colder than it oughta be.

Worth Remembering

A basic rule:
Every snarly complicated problem has a solution which is simple and elegant and wrong.

Common Sense Correlative:
It didn't suddenly get fucked up yesterday, and it's not going to get unfucked by tomorrow.

Infrastructure Issues

Small-c conservatives do in fact get it.  We did not build roads because we're a great nation - we became a great nation because we built roads.

From a report out of The New America Foundation:
Under-investing in infrastructure carries costs for households, businesses, and the government by increasing maintenance, wasting time, and allocating resources inefficiently.  These costs reduce efficiency and impede economic growth.Ya want your government to act more like a business?  Then insist on business-savvy investment in things like Physical Plant and Human Resource Development for starters.

Teachers' Pay (updated)

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Here's a look at what teachers get paid in various countries.  And, gosh, there seems to be a connection between higher pay and better school performance.  Hoodathunkit.

This chart can be easily (mis)interpreted to mean that we're paying more for teachers and getting less in return.  The problem with that assumption is that Finns have (on average) about $450/month more disposable income than the average here in the US.  And their bennies are better, primarily because their healthcare coverage costs a lot less.  Surprise, surprise.
The oddest thing tho' is that generally, the cost of living is quite a bit higher in FInland vs the US except for some very important items - Mortage Rates & Utilities - but they're eatin' our lunch on education. 
I wonder if we could possibly learn something from Finland.  They seem to be doing something very very right.

Nobody Tells Us

I was in a running battle on FaceBook last week with an old high school buddy who insists that Gubmint Workers are greedy and that the real problem is that their retirement bennies are causing the states to go broke.

When I'm talking politics or anything else, my training tells me to listen, process, deconstruct, reconstruct and then rebut.  I'm learning (gradually) that the talking points from Right Radicals need to be dismissed loudly as soon as they fall outa their little pie holes - no matter what it is, I'm trying to retrain myself to demand verification and backup.

Unfortunately, as Mr Churchill said, "A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to gets its pants on."

From McClatchy:

A close look at state and local pension plans across the nation, and a comparison of them to those in the private sector, reveals a more complicated story. However, the short answer is that there's simply no evidence that state pensions are the current b…

The Beauty Of Ugly Things

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From J Henry Fair via Gerald Peters Gallery in NYC

Great photos and some obvious talent at work, but I get the feeling that the net effect is to give us another way to rationalize the destruction of our habitat.


Refrigerant Manufacturing Waste

Hog Fecal Waste Lagoon

BP Oil Spill - Deep Water Horizon

Coal Ash Pond

Stupid Republican Tricks

I just copied and pasted all these in directly from NYT.  The 3rd one down is the one that really chaps my ass.  I was ridiculously lucky in my career, and got to work with a bunch of skilled and committed people who busted their humps night and day to make the world a little safer for humans.  This feels like somebody wants to throw all that away.
I plan on making some calls, to see if there's any kind of bright side to this, and put up an update later.
The Budget Fight ContinuesHouse Republicans’ efforts to slash federal spending could derail the economic recovery and would not address the real sources of budget deficits. February 27, 2011OPINIONEDITORIAL Slashing Community ServiceHouse Republicans voted to cut programs that encourage Americans to serve their communities and the country. A look at the possible fallout. March 2, 2011OPINIONEDITORIAL Cutting Poison ControlHouse Republicans’ request to cut nearly all the money for poison control centers perfectly illustrates the thoughtl…

Government Mule

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Louis CK

Takes some getting used to, and ya gotta stay with it to get where he's trying to go.


Wish You Were Here

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The Tribe Explained - update

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Here's a bit more on Agnotology from Wired Magazine.
"People always assume that if someone doesn't know something, it's because they haven't paid attention or haven't yet figured it out," Proctor says. "But ignorance also comes from people literally suppressing truth—or drowning it out—or trying to make it so confusing that people stop caring about what's true and what's not."I get into arguments all the time.  Usually online, but sometimes, I just can't let some random comment by some random acquaintance slide by unchallenged.  I also have a few drinkin' buddies and when we get together, it's time to play "What's Yer Fuckin' Problem?".  It gets pretty heated on occasion, but we're still good friends and at least nobody's ever hit anybody.  I've been trying to work on tempering my more aggressive impulses.  I wouldn't say that I have a short fuse for the most part, but there are definitely som…

The Tribe Explained

From David Roberts at Grist:
It's a numbingly familiar pattern in media coverage. The conservative movement that's been attacking climate science for 20 years has a storied history of demonstrable fabrications, distortions, personal attacks, and nothingburger faux-scandals -- not only on climate science, but going back to asbestos, ozone, leaded gasoline, tobacco, you name it. They don't follow the rigorous standards of professional science; they follow no intellectual or ethical standards whatsoever. Yet no matter how long their record of viciousness and farce, every time the skeptic blogosphere coughs up a new "ZOMG!" it's as though we start from zero again, like no one has a memory longer than five minutes.He starts off talking about how "Climategate" has triggered 5 separate investigations, and all 5 have come back in total agreement that there's nothing there to get excited about.  Then he gets to the good stuff about how it doesn't matt…

Wisconsin

There's a bunch of polling results coming out now, indicating Gov Walker is losing in the court of public opinion - most of them are running something like 60-40 against his attempt to bust the unions.

So here's what I'm wondering:  how long before his consultants tell him it's OK to claim victimhood at the hands of the big bad, all-powerful unions?  DumFux News has guys calling the protesters thugs, and the union workers freeloadin' losers.  It's gotta be getting close to the time they switch it around and try depicting the unions as the fat cats and the poor little ol' Guvner as besieged on all sides by the evil greedy proletarian commies.

Hey, Colorado

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Feeling a little sentimental I guess.  One of the favorites I used to sing to the kids at bedtime.


The Cost Of War

From WaPo
Without once referring to his son's death, the general delivered a passionate and at times angry speech about the military's sacrifices and its troops' growing sense of isolation from society."Their struggle is your struggle," he told the ballroom crowd of former Marines and local business people. "If anyone thinks you can somehow thank them for their service, and not support the cause for which they fight - our country - these people are lying to themselves. . . . More important, they are slighting our warriors and mocking their commitment to this nation."My first reaction is, "blow it out your ass, General."  I don't like that being my first reaction, but there it is.

There are lots of people losing their businesses, their jobs and their homes because when the military goes off to war, it leaves giant holes in local economies.  Do you think the people in towns like Fayetteville aren't aware of the cost?

Some dozens of peop…

The Turn Around

via Political Carnival:

Yes, it's class warfare alright.  It's the guy making $500k convincing the guy making 35 that the guy making 50 is fuckin' him over.

Classic.

The Take Away

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St George of Carlin

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