Sunday, July 31, 2011

Reconstruction (predate)

I remember nothing from the time they came to get me in the Pre-Op room and when they installed me in my regular bed.  I was of course hoping to remember having said something witty and brave, but there's literally nothing there.  I must be incredibly susceptible to the affects of the narcotics they're using these days.

The original plan was to get to the room and try to get up and around that afternoon.  But that didn't work out, so they came in the next day.  I don't mind telling you I was shocked at the level of pain the first time I got out of that bed.  I don't think I managed my morphine very well.

Reconstruction (update)

Got here at about 8am Thur, 7-28; going home today (Sun 7-31) at about 11am.  It's weird because I don't feel that much different in some respects.  eg: It hurts a lot when I move in certain ways.   I have to remember that Dr Browne has fixed the main dysfunctions, and so the main causes of pain in my hip are gone now, replaced by new causes of pain, but ones which will heal and improve, and cause less pain as time passes.

There's a subtle shift in mindset that actually flips me over from entropy and disintegration, to  an outlook considerably more in keeping with my general expectations for improvement and advancement.

I think a lot of people see me as cynical, but I believe my outlook is pretty optimistic.  I think you have to work pretty hard to maintain an appropriate level of skepticism, so I'm sure that gets misperceived as cynicism.  What I'm talking about is pushing things forward, gently or aggressively, according to what the facts dictate is possible to achieve.  For the first time in a good stretch of years, I have the feeling that on a personal level, I have a real shot at making things better.  I'm enough of a Randian to understand that as I make myself better for myself, I have a better shot at making the rest of my little corner of the world better for everybody who shares it with me.  That's how it's always worked before anyway, so here's hopin'.

Reconstruction (update)

Prob'ly going home today.  2 pretty good nights in a row.  Mostly headaches are the big problem, because (I think) when I sleep on my back, slightly elevated, I end up with some tension in my neck that gives me the headache.  Dunno - could also be caffeine withdrawal - just guessing.  Nobody else seems to know much either.

It always amazes me that the hospital is where you go to get better, but for whatever reason, you feel bad the whole time you're there.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Reconstruction (update)

Day 2 Post-Op.  Difficult night, mostly because everything's uncomfortable.  There's no position - sitting or lying down - that works for any real length of time.  I feel hung over.  Kinda light headed and shaky and with a low-level headache, no appetite and mild nausea.

It makes some sense that discontinuing the morphine will make a big diference.  They were concerned enough to send me down for xrays a couple of hours ago to make sure there's no obstructions,  Waiting  to hear.

But, last nite and this AM, I was able to negotiate 3 trips to the bathroom to pee.  Much rejoicing.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Reconstruction

Here's an approximation of what my left hip looks like, compared with normal:



























By this time tomorrow, I should be chillin' in the recovery room under the influence of heavy sedation, with my brand new, store-bought hip joint in place.

Not looking forward to 3 days in the hospital, and 6 weeks of nuthin' but rehab before I can start doing what I wanna do, but if I get to walk around like a normal human again, I'll take whatever they're offering.

I hope to be able to do some updates while I'm stuck in bed over the weekend.  If nothing else, I'll see y'all on the other side.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Thought

It's never about what they say it's about.

What if the GOP crazies are willing to default on the debt because they think it's a clever way to fuck the Chinese?

Just wonderin'.

Elizabeth Warren And Today's Quote

Ask a smart and qualified woman what it means to her when somebody calls her a "know-it-all", and I'm guessing you'll hear back something like, "It means I kept using my brain even after no one wanted to fuck me anymore" -- to bastardize a line from Tina Fey (via Jason Linkens).

I think we're missing a huge opportunity to straighten out some serious shit by not getting Elizabeth Warren confirmed to head up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  But now there's talk of running her for senate.  Could be interesting.


Rupertgate

Standard play - claim victimhood and blame "the media".

In one way, I just gotta give 'em props. The bottom of the shit-hole I like to call DumFux News will simply never be reached.


Read this From James Fallows at the Atlantic.

Balanced Budget Nonsense

Bruce Bartlett is becoming a real hero for me.
Historically, those supporting a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution were only interested in balance per se. That is, requiring that revenues and expenditures be as close to equal as possible. The view was that if the states – almost all of which are required to balance their budgets annually – could do it then so could the federal government.
One problem is that the states don’t really balance their budgets. All have separate operating and capital budgets and only the operating budget is required to be balanced. By contrast, the federal budget lumps together operating and capital expenses, such as roads and buildings that will last for decades. Moreover, the states are notorious for using gimmicks to give the appearance of budget balance even though they run deficits.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

TIme Out

I've been in Vacation Mode since Thursday.  I plan on being back around the 25th.

Shortly after that, I'll be getting my first bionic hip.  If I'm up to it, and the hospital allows it, I'll start posting again right after surgery - as soon as I can anyway.

See ya'll on the other side.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Some Not So Revoltin' Developments?

Recent developments in the "debate" over raising the debt ceiling seem to confirm that the Repubs are really struggling with some serious structural problems. I think it's possible that Obama has pulled off an amazing thing, even if all he did was to let the Repubs dance at Center Stage long enough for people to see how crass and cynical they've become.

I doubt any of the Repubs changed their minds about the debt ceiling. In fact, I doubt most Repubs have any real objection to raising the limit at all, even tho' an awful lot of people have to have been worrying about the deficits and the debt for a good long while. If anything's actually changed, it's just that McConnell and Boehner and Cantor have taken such a public beating, they have to put up some bullshit strategy that makes them look a little less stupid and lets them believe for a while that they can get back out in front of their own party before it evaporates. Right now, this looks like nothing less than a complete breakdown. And it's prob'ly because the Repub Leadership got an attitude adjustment from the mega-donors who aren't gonna sit by and let the PseudoCons fuck up what's left of a good thing. (Obama's fund-raising numbers indicate something significant is happening, so maybe he's managed to strip off some of the big money providers - of course we won't find much info on that because the Citizens United thing means most of the money can stay incognito)

So now (for once) Obama doesn't have to beat the Repubs, because the Repubs are beating the Repubs. I think the indicator to watch is Michelle Bachmann's campaign. She's the Queen of the PseudoCons; the leader of the Radical Rowdies. We'll hafta wait and see what DumFux News comes up with, but so far, they've seemed reluctant to promote her in a big way. And it's possible that Fox has to divert too much energy to defending itself because of the whole Rupertgate thing, and so they'll be less of a factor. Dunno, but I'll bet the big donors are slappin' Roger Ailes around now too. It promises to get funner and funner.

Finally, here's a question: Why has the DNC/Obama Campaign quietly released this little commercial now? First, it's always a good idea to hit 'em with the hard sell right after some good news. But mainly, if I'm right in thinking a bunch of the big donors are shifting away from the Repubs, and if the Dems wanna re-assert their brand as "The Party of the Little Guys" in order to keep us from recognizing them as the same kind of Coin-Operated Politicos as anybody else, then they need something to demonstrate that they have "huge numbers of regular folk, sending in their nickels and dimes".

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Michelle And The Debt Ceiling

Michelle Bachmann says she has a titanium spine.  Yeah - that and a reinforced concrete skull.

btw: Bill O'Reilly snickers at a Republican populist in this clip. Did anybody else just feel the earth shift on its axis?

Isn't It Interesting?

The biggest deal in the last 20 years of Rupert Murdoch's media empire (his attempt to buy BskyB in the UK) is stalled and may be dead because Murdoch has to prop up the share value of News Corp by accelerating his buy-back program - and of course the reason he has a stock price problem is because he had to shut down his single most profitable daily newspaper in his UK operation because of his suddenly revealed trouble concerning illegal wiretapping (and maybe fraud and obstruction and official bribery too) and gosh - not a single word of any of that is to be found anywhere on foxnews.com or Fox Business or Fox Nation; and there's been no ink all in The Wall Street Journal.

A multi-billion dollar deal that may go in the tank, and a major scandal involving one of the biggest media players in the world - and WSJ... uh...what?  They missed it?  It just slipped by unnoticed?

The good news is that maybe this finally rips the bandaid off and we wake up to what these assholes have been doing to us.

The bad news is that maybe this is how the real collapse starts.

Watch out for what happens in Italy in the next few months. (read this at The Agonist)

Tabloid Politics

Or maybe we could call it Pin-up Politicians; or Political Porn.  Whatever it is, it is not a development that I can call serious.

Here's a look at what Newsweek thinks is journalism.





 

My Dear Mr Boehner

For 2 years, and now especially during the big debate about whether or not to raise the Debt Ceiling, and what the US budget should look like, I've heard John Boehner say that his party just couldn't possibly abide imposing any kind of tax increase on the "job creators" in this country.  (I ranted in some detail yesterday on the "tax-cuts-equals-jobs" malarkey)

Question:  Exactly who are these job creators?  They've gotten practically nothing but tax breaks for the last ten fucking years, and we've seen a net job increase of a little over 17,000 per month for that whole period.  Seems to me they've gotten about everything they've wanted - so where's the payoff?  What the fuck are they waiting for?

No wait; I keep forgetting that Boehner doesn't say that crap thinking he'll persuade me and change my mind.  He says that because when the Rubes hear anything that hints at contradicting what they're being spoon fed by DumFux News, they tend to get a little nervous; so guys like Boehner need to rush around puttin' that big Republican cock back in their mouths to calm 'em down.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Made In China

(Anticipating the standard response to this revoltin' development): Let's be sure we figure out a way to make "the unions" out to be the bad guys here. We have to remember that no matter what happens; if it's bad and it's something the "Libruls" don't like, then we need to Blame America First. And if it's bad and it's something the PseudoCons don't like, then we Blame Americans.

Whatever it is, we must never be allowed to look past our own biases to see a problem resulting from a policy or a law or a regulation or the lack of regulation that was put in place at least at the behest of a lobbying effort - if not something that was bought and paid for outright as the result of the decisions of some sliver-spoon fuck in the executive suite of some very large and very wealthy corporation.

We must be kept distracted. While we're busy bickering on a level that's really nothing more than Red Team vs Blue Team, these Dons of Corporatopia are free to continue bleeding us dry.

Today's Campaign Button

Beating A Dead Horse

Sometimes you just have to keep going over the same ground, and revisiting the same arguments ad nauseum just to stay even with the epidemic of ignorance in the American Body Politic.

Repubs in general, and their PseudoCon wing in particular, just refuse to let go of their fairy tales.  Especially the one about "Tax Cuts Generate More Tax Revenue By Creating More Tax Payers".

Simply put, this is total bunkum.  I know this because while I generally kinda suck at Math, I can manage some basic arithmetic, which is what the TeaBaggers (eg) like to believe is all they need to make their "common sense" judgements on tax policy.

So here it is:
Bush Tax Cuts 2001 - 2011 (remembering that Obama agreed to extend them thru 2012)
Conservative estimates say these cost us about $800,000,000,000.00; or about $80 Billion/Year.

If each job created by the Bush Tax Cuts pays an average of $30k per year, then the Feds collect about $6,000.00 in taxes.

So, if we divide $80 Billion (cost) by $6,000 (revenue), we need to have created more than 13,000,000 jobs per year, which means we needed to have added over 1,000,000 jobs per month in the last 10 years.  When was the last time this economy showed a net increase of a million jobs in any month in the last 10 years?  When was the last time we showed an increase of a million jobs in any quarter?

But, let's back up a little and say that I'm using wacky numbers and that my calculations are just way off the mark.  OK; for grins and giggles, let's say I'm off by huge margins.  Let's say the cost is only half of what I'm citing, and that the jobs created are paying 50% better than $30,000 a year.

Now we've got a cost of $40 Billion per year divided by revenues of $9,000, which means we only needed 370,000 new jobs per month over the last 10 years.  Again, when was the last time we had a string of jobs reports that said we'd added 370,000 new jobs for any number of months in a row?

Reality: In the 118 months of W Bush and Obama, we've averaged a net increase of 17,144 jobs per month.  I don't care how you look at it, a decade of deep tax cuts has failed to produce what the proponents of this policy promised us.  We have to find it in ourselves to admit that it's a failure and that it belongs in the dumpster with The Great Society and The Domino Theory and a whole host of others that sounded good, but turned out to be little more than political flim-flam.

Fair warning: From here on out, if you try to float this shit by me, I will not preface my remarks by starting off with, "I'm sorry but..."  I will straight-up call you stupid to your face, and I really don't care what else happens.

Coup de Bankster

Can you say, "Fucked with our pants on?"

More at The Real News

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Grief And The Media

It's been a while since Gil Scott Heron died, and it's been a while since I first saw this video from Jay Smooth. I'm putting it up now because I think I'm kinda starting to get what Jay's talking about when he criticizes some of the affects that all of this new technology is having on our ability to relate to the world and to each other.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Simple Truth

Or rather, there's at least one simple truth about the big flap over the Debt Ceiling.  So, to put it simply, what the Repubs are saying is that they ran up the bills all thru W's time in office (when they controlled the purse strings for 75% of that period), but now that it's time to raise the money to pay for all that spending, they're balking - they wanna renege on the obligation to pay for what they did.  And, of course, they're pretty sure they can get the rubes to blame Obama for it, because he's the guy in charge now.  And, of course the rubes will eat it up because that's what they do - the elephant shits on their heads, and they all say, "Thanks for the hat, boss".

And btw: Obama played much the same game when he was on the other side of the fence.  Nobody comes outa this smellin' fresh.

Take a look at Bruce Bartlett's 5 Myths About The Debt Ceiling.

Put this together with the crappy jobs reports for May and June, and I don't see anything but shit storms coming over the horizon.  The stimulus is pretty much all tapped out, the PseudoCons are yankin' the Repubs around like they had tails, and the Dems seem intent on missing yet another opportunity to grow some balls.

One last thing:  I think The Repubs actually believe that no matter what happens, they'll be able to make a case that Obama has broken the law, or is taking some outrageous action that's outside the bounds of the Constitution - so what's really happening here is that they're trying to set him up for impeachment.

Ya heard it here first.

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Christian Freaks Out

The lady seems pretty calm at first - and the recording has nothing about what leads up to her tantrum - but then she gets just a little nuts.

I do wonder about the affects of all this constant exposure of our behavior to millions of people via the inter-tubes.  Seems like everybody has a camera, and there's an awful lot of casual surveillance going on.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Taxation

"We have a spending problem, not a revenue problem."
"Taxes are too high in the US."
"No wonder companies are trying to shelter their income; corporate taxes are sky high."

All of that is bullshit.  To wit (Citizens For Tax Justice):

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Today's Brain Lesson

Try not to think about Frank Luntz or DumFux News.



I may have posted this before - dunno; don't care. It's enlightening and bears repeating.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Told Ya So

From Ed Pilkington, Guardian:
Gibbs is the first woman in Mississippi to be charged with murder relating to the loss of her unborn baby. But her case is by no means isolated. Across the US more and more prosecutions are being brought that seek to turn pregnant women into criminals.
For a country supposedly filled with smart people, some of the things we do are just fuckin' stupid.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

What To Call 'Em

What do you call somebody who can't stop deifying Ronald Reagan, but who also says they would never vote for anybody who raises taxes, compromises with Democrats, and negotiates with America's enemies?

What do you call somebody who says he hates government intrusion, but insists on making the government the final arbiter of morality and propriety in cases of entertainment and radio and TV and print material and internet content?

What do you call somebody who says the government must prevent women from making their own decisions about child-bearing?

What do you call somebody who conveniently ignores the first 13 words (out of 27 total) while trying to make a case in favor of "a strictly constructionist interpretation" of the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution?

What do you call somebody enjoying a nice long career at Northrup Grumman who states flatly that the government never creates any jobs?

What do you call somebody who says illegal aliens are too lazy to work, and are at the same time, trying to steal their jobs?

You call these people PseudoCons.

(hat tip: The American Scholar)

Nuthin' But Amazing

And he got up and walked away.

Go And Sin No More

As always, the question is: what are they not telling us?
Over 100 detainees died during U.S. interrogations, dozens due directly to interrogation abuse. Gen. Barry McCaffrey said: "We tortured people unmercifully. We probably murdered dozens of them during the course of that, both the armed forces and the C.I.A." Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, who oversaw the official investigation into detainee abuse, wrote: "there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account."
I think Obama may have made the right call by allowing a whitewash - as shitty as that seems, and as thoroughly depressing as it is.  The Bushies knew how to play it.  They made sure practically everybody shared the guilt - not just the bosses and the party apparatchiks, but the career bureaucrats as well.  Obama couldn't just go after a few at the top because that'd look too politically motivated.  And if he tried to let the thing go wherever it needed to go, then he'd have to spend every waking moment riding herd on it.  Once you start that kind of thing, it quickly turns into a witch hunt, and then the careerists and the cynical manipulators are about the only ones who really benefit.  Obama had to be thinking the costs of that level of disruption outweigh the benefits.

I'm hoping big time that Obama's working behind the scenes (thru the IG Offices maybe?) to root out the bad guys and cut 'em loose.  Unfortunately, I think once somebody gets around to writing The Decline And Fall Of The American Empire, this episode will be cited as a signal event.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

About DumFux News

From Cynthia Boaz at truthout:
There is nothing more sacred to the maintenance of democracy than a free press. Access to comprehensive, accurate and quality information is essential to the manifestation of Socratic citizenship - the society characterized by a civically engaged, well-informed and socially invested populace. Thus, to the degree that access to quality information is willfully or unintentionally obstructed, democracy itself is degraded.
-snip-

The basics:
Panic Mongering
Ad Hominem
Projection
Revision of History
Scapegoating
Violence = Power, Opposition to Violence = Weakness
Bullying
Confusion
Populism
Invoking the Christian God
Saturation
Disparaging Education
Guilt By Association
Diversion
    In debating some of these tactics with colleagues and friends, I have also noticed that the Fox viewership seems to be marked by a sort of collective personality disorder whereby the viewer feels almost as though they've been let into a secret society. Something about their affiliation with the network makes them feel privileged and this affinity is likely what drives the viewers to defend the network so vehemently. They seem to identify with it at a core level, because it tells them they are special and privy to something the rest of us don't have. It's akin to the loyalty one feels by being let into a private club or a gang. That effect is also likely to make the propaganda more powerful, because it goes mostly unquestioned.

    Friday, July 1, 2011

    A Word From Mr Carnegie

    “Take away my people, but leave my factories, and soon grass will grow on the factory floors. Take away my factories, but leave my people, and soon we will have a new and better factory.” --Andrew Carnegie
    I think Carnegie understood there are ways to get what you want and still be a human being about it.

    Also, by retiring and spending his last 18 years disposing of his wealth (about $4.3 Billion adjusted), he ended up turning his fortune back to the people who helped him amass it in the first place.

    Kind Of A Dick

    I've said many times that whatever the issue is, and whatever the politician says about the issue, we're never hearing the full story.  There's always something they're not telling us.  And so, it's the first priority of a properly functioning free press to find out what we're not being told.

    Unfortunately, the Corporate Press has been almost completely co-opted, and serves more of a PR role than anything else.  But they still need to believe they're doing something; and they need to make it look like they're doing something other than simply repeating what they're told at the "news conference".

    That's what gives us the Horse Race style of "reporting".  There's very little actual substance they can get from the politicians, and if they get too pushy, or they snoop too much, they'll start to lose their access to the politician and to the staffers, etc.  So what we get is a variation on Yakov Smirnoff's line:  The politicians pretend to do the people's business, and the Press Poodles pretend to tell us about it.

    What's crazy, tho', is that when we do get some real news about some pretty amazing fucked-up-ed-ness, it feels like nothing is done about it for fear that it'll look too much like political retaliation - which is (usually) exactly how the Press Poodles present it to us.  (example): By rights, half of the people in the last Bush Administration should be doin' hard time in federal prisons, but all we hear about is how this horrendous official behavior will affect the turnout for the next election.

    And so it evolves into a game of Beat The Scandal.  Politicians and power brokers need to make sure we don't realize how thoroughly mangled and corrupt the system is, so they throw us a nice juicy story of some Brand Name politico's misdeeds.  It has to be sexual tho'; official misconduct attracts too much of the wrong kind of attention, and since practically everybody's crooked, then everybody gets roasted if the public knows too much.  The Press Poodles, knowing they're part of the power-and-money problem, tend to play it up in order to give us the illusion that they're digging for the truth and "keepin' 'em honest".

    Instead of learning anything at all from Mark Halperin about what prompted him to say Obama was "kind of a dick", we get nothing but the standard package of phony outrage for 2 solid days.  And the thing ran out of steam so fast, they had to shift the focus to the failures of the technology and/or production process that allowed the comment to make it out over the air.

    We know Bush lied about Iraq
    We know about torture and extra-legal prisons
    We know Scalia and Thomas are as crooked as the day is long
    We know Big Banking put a thirty-year hole in the world economy
    We know Big Corporate buys politicians
    We know Obama is outside the War Powers Resolution in Libya
    We know Obama signs orders to assassinate people he deems "enemies"
    We know there's a storm coming because of the budget hassles

    We know all of this - and a lot more - but nobody's being held to account for their fuckups in the past - and nobody's being asked about how we prevent more fuckups in the future.