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Showing posts from August, 2011

Jace Everett

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Been neglecting my music a lot lately.









Reasons

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One important reason why our economy is fucked up.

One very important reason why our political system is fucked up.


What's A Church For?

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We always hear what a great place it is - I find it oddly reassuring to discover there are hard-ass Christian jagoffs in Canada too.

From Friendly Atheist:

Political Labels

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More like Content Labeling, but I think it's a reasonable expectation.  Politicians are  packaged and sold to us like any other commodity - we should know what we're getting.

The New Apostolic Reformation

If you believe in the need to "get back to that old time religion" because God lost control of the world when Adam and Eve discovered knowledge, then I must quote St George of Carlin (with not so much as a pro forma apology): "What're ya, fuckin' stupid?"

Posted at Little Green Footballs:
The New Apostolic Reformation: Evangelicals Engaged In Spiritual Warfare

A Little Impulse Control, Please

People like Steve Chabot are just too typical.  Their instincts are always paternalistic; always leaning towards the authoritarian and anti-democracy mindset of the autocrat.
Less than three days after Chabot prohibited the use of cameras at a supposed “town hall” meeting in North Avondale and used the services of a Cincinnati police officer to stop offenders, the congressman is rescinding the rule for future sessions.CityBeat reported on Chabot's Big Brother-style tactics in this week's issue, even though the Chabot staffer who enforced the rule never responded to our request for comment. We also criticized the congressman for not letting residents directly ask him questions, instead only accepting queries that were written in advance on paper.

Step Up Or Step Aside

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There's lots to be disappointed in and frustrated about when considering Obama's first term. That said, I think It's still a "better the devil you know" proposition - at least for now.

It bugs the shit outa me tho', when it looks like Obama is switching from Governance Mode (Mr Reasonable, giving away an awful lot in the name of compromise and pragmatism) over to Campaign Mode (yes we can; fired up ready to go rah rah).  If that's what it ends up being, then I'll be holding my nose and heading to my polling place in disguise.


Reconstruction Update

Outa jail today.  Yesterday was a really good day, with the PT lady telling me I'm good to go for outpatient treatment now, and then the doc lifted my driving restriction, and finally my visiting nurse person called to tell me I can stop taking Warfarin.  All excellent news, and a full 2 weeks ahead of schedule.  Further evidence (as if any was needed) that I ain't normal.

Dry cleaning, groceries, pick up Sadie and Luke (at friends' for a last hurrah before school starts), gas, last minute school-related shopping.  Ah, the freedom of Parental Servitude.  Ain't it grand?

Reconstruction Update

I graduated from a single crutch to a cane last week (Thursday was day 21 post op), and there's a good part of the day that I can move around fairly well with no help and just a bit of a weird limp.

I made a jail break last week too, and drove to the grocery store - got yelled at pretty good for that one.  I'm gonna ask for the driving restriction to be lifted.  With Nick back at school, there's nobody to help Irene until I can get back up on my hind legs.

Not much pain on the operative hip unless I push things too much.  Still have to be conscientious about the joint restrictions for another 2 1/2 weeks.  I tried sleeping on my left side, but putting the weight on the incision site is still really uncomfortable.  It'll be a big relief when I can sleep in my normal position again

My main complaint now is that the right hip gets pretty sore.  Huge probability that I'm headed for a replacement on that one two, but I'm trying to push it back by working the muscles…

Today's Cartoons

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Fellow Travelers

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Can you say Strange Bedfellows? Both are from public appearances in 1964. It just makes me wonder about coincidence, and how two people we would assume are diametrically opposed might have something very important in common.

Starting at 5:30


And then this:


The Tax Swindle

Middle Class Americans have to be distracted while the Ownership Class continues to pick their pockets.

A good way to keep them from noticing how badly you're fucking them is to scapegoat some other group (in this case the poor and the working poor), which makes them think you're actually on their side, which enlists their help in your efforts to fuck them over even more.

It's classic.  People of a particular authoritarian bent, who are in positions of privilege and power are always advocating the most severe remedies "for the good of the country"; and those remedies somehow always end up being imposed on (and to the detriment of) the very people who should benefit from those remedies the most.  And lately, all this self-sacrifice for the common good is being sold to us under the guise of Ayn Rand-type philosophy.  Guess what?  Rand HATED the notion of self sacrifice; and she especially HATED the rationale of sacrifice in service to the collective.  Rejection of …

Logic Will Out

(with a hat tip to Balloon Juice)

There is a sick feeling of perverted satisfaction in stories like this.  I guess it comes from thinking that this is where all their Free Market shit ends up.
So far this year, at least 180 drugs that are crucial for treating childhood leukemia, breast and colon cancer, infections and other diseases have been declared in short supply — a record number.-snip-
Executives at Premier, a hospital buying cooperative, said that in April and May its members received hundreds of offers from obscure drug wholesalers to sell drugs in short supply at vastly inflated prices. Of the 636 offers that included a price, 45 percent were at least 10 times the normal rate and 27 percent were at least 20 times normal.Such sales offers are legal as long as suppliers prove that they bought the drugs appropriately. Some wholesalers buy certain drugs in large quantities because they are betting there will be a shortage. The excessive buying can help make their predictions come t…

We Are So Fucked

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...with our pants on.

First, Matt Taibbi talking about Too Big To Jail




Then, from Democracy Now, talking with Dean Baker about the Super Congress, and the continuing all-out assault on the middle class.

What They Wished For

I think the conversation inside the Republican Party is getting pretty heated, and grows more public all the time.

Here's Michael Tanner (Cato Inst), asking 5 questions, which I think betray a real fear among the old guard that the Tea Partiers represent nothing less than the disintegration of the GOP.


Money = Speech

Why is it that a comedy show is where we get the best reporting and analysis?

(see the full episode here)

Two ridiculously important takeaways:
1) When people's votes are counted straight up, you get one result, but when you add in the multiplying effect of money, the result is entirely different.

2) People like Frank Luntz manipulate the language in an attempt to fog up the issues, making some of the most atrociously harmful policy proposals sound reasonable &/or beneficial* - and then topping it all off by referring to this process of obfuscation as "clarification", and calling the practitioners "Plain Speaking".

(*see Overton Window)

The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Political Humor & Satire Blog,Video Archive

Seasteading

Lurching towards the logical extreme, this is not unexpected:
PayPal-founder Peter Thiel was so inspired by Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand's novel about free-market capitalism - that he's trying to make its title a reality.So we'll have a colony of wealthy residents living outside the territorial limits of the US. They're not subject to our laws and regulations, and they get to "live free" in this Randian paradise.

Makes me wonder about a few things - not the least of which is piracy.  I think if I were an enterprising individual who was already involved in something illegal like the drug trade, I might deem it worth the risk to raid one of these little settlements now and then, just to see what's available.  Better yet, some kind of protection racket might be quite profitable for me.

Just wonderin'.

Contradiction

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A big chunk of "the right" loves to claim Ayn Rand as a patron saint while ignoring one of her main points, ie: contradictions exist, but cannot prevail.

By way of example:

Reconstruction

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Yikes.  Got the main bill for the Hospital side of things for my Total Hip Replacement.  The bill from the surgeon should be following shortly.

Previously, I had an XRay for diagnosis, and then another XRay Study to measure for the device itself.  Those two totaled close to $1400.00.

Right now, I'm getting two visits per week from a nurse who checks me over and tests my Coumadin level, plus two visits per week from the Physical Therapist.  Once they turn me loose and I'm no longer considered "house-bound", I switch to Out-Patient status, and I go to a rehab center twice a week

Thank God for good insurance coverage. 














Fun Fact

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This represents exactly one dollar more than what ExxonMobil paid in taxes last year.

Caption Contest

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1) "Bachmann reveals truth about what it takes to get a Republican nomination."

2) "And now, my impression of my husband - the girls at the club love this one."


Super Congress

I've decided not to piss and moan about the ridiculous level of self aggrandizement and ego-petting when it comes to naming the gimmick these guys have come up with to try to deal with the petty politics of the Budget and the Debt.

I don't know about the legalities of the thing because I don't think it matters, because I think it's wired to fail anyway.  The Repubs have stacked their side with people who are dead set against any tax increases.  They're all on the record, or they've signed one of Grover Norquist's stupid pledges.  And the Dem Leadership (making what looks like a deliberate attempt to prop up the "both sides do it / they're all the same" meme), have appointed members who are party loyalists and apparatchiks - but Harry Reid made one pick that I think absolutely ensures an outcome favorable to the Repubs, and his name is Max Baucus.

First, of course, we have to ignore the irony of a government setting up a brand new piece of bur…

Corporate Personage

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Here's Willard employing a Debate Stopper as he tries to make the point for lowering Corporate Tax rates.
(A Debate Stopper is a meme; a statement of "political fact" - usually in simplistic terms - intended to require agreement on the speaker's basic premise, allowing the speaker to go on to make a conclusive statement of policy).



The problem, as always, is that if your basic premise is false, then your conclusion cannot be true.

And here's the fallacy: If a corporation is a person; and it is entitled to the same rights and privileges of all other people, then it must be subject to the same responsibilities and liabilities as any other person.

A corporation is allowed to own another corporation, but a person is not allowed to own another person.

A corporation is not - cannot be - a person.

Both Sides

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The centrist meme starts with a perfectly reasonable assumption that there're at least two sides of the story; that we need to be sure we're addressing questions from as wide a perspective as possible. All well and good, but it starts to fall apart when you take that next step and assume that ALL issues MUST have at least two sides (they don't), and that both points of view are ALWAYS valid (they aren't).

While Centrism has its uses, as a political philosophy, it's just intellectually lazy. It's a product of our need not to feel embarrassed because we supported the wrong candidates and causes; or because we aren't willing to do the work required of every good citizen in a democracy; or that we were just following a fashionable trend; or whatever.

To take just a piece of the argument, here's Bill Maher exposing the lie of "both sides do it".



Go, Dylan

Some Not-So-Good Signs

There was once quite a buzz surrounding the recall attempts in Wisconsin, but somehow, because the Repubs held on to four out the six seats in question, the Press Poodles decided it was no longer much of a story - suddenly, it got kinda hard to find any in-depth coverage or analysis of the results. (see the numbers here)

By winning 2 seats and trimming the Repub majority to 17-16, the Dems are claiming they've changed the dynamics of Wisconsin's State Senate to some degree, but I'm betting the lesson the Repubs are taking away is that the combination of gerrymandering, advertising and dirty tricks is the key;  that as long as they can apply the Big Money Propaganda, then they can maintain the "50% plus 1", which means they can still just bull their way thru.

Put that election news together with this, and we've got an overall outlook that remains pretty bleak.
In fact, they said, America was composed of two distinct groups: the rich and the rest. And for the pu…

TIme For Change

In abbreviated form: The natural flow of events, as any civilization evolves, is for more and more of the power and money to be concentrated in fewer and fewer hands.  Conversely, as power and money shift upwards, the number of people who are left with with less and less grows almost geometrically.  Eventually, you have way too many people who feel they have nothing more to lose, and you get a kind of spontaneous combustion as they come together, form into a mob and go about taking what they believe should be theirs.  Usually, it amounts to some smash-and-grab looting and car-burning, and it goes on for a relatively short period of time (a few days to a few weeks).

What's happened in Greece and now what's been going on in The UK looks to me like this random form of protest so far; people venting their frustrations and trying to get somebody to acknowledge their plight.  And even tho' the official version is that the riots are in reaction to the death of a young man at the …

A Confluence Of Many Things Financial

Kinda looks like S&P just can't help themselves.  They went after Freddie and Fanny today, and they downgraded 10 out the 12 banks that make up a kind of plumbing system for the mortgage market too.  S&P could be on very dangerous ground now, as some of this starts to look very much more like politics than strictly business.  The editorial attacks from the press and from some of the big finance players are very huffy (FT, CSM), and if they're coupled with political counterattacks, it could prove fatal.  So I wonder: what are they up to?  Is S&P the one good guy who at long last has decided he'll try telling the truth?  Or is this Caesar crossing the Rubicon?

Also, AIG's filing suit against Bank of America.

Verizon phone workers are out on strike in the US Northeast.

Street riots in London.

And, oh yeah - the Dow is down another 630 points at the close today.

Who's Is It?

I posted the other day: "Obama owns it now".  Well, as usual, the spin competition ramped up in a hurry, with one of Washington's all-time great gaffemeisters (John Kerry) calling S&P's decision to downgrade US Debt "the Tea Party Downgrade".

The Repubs and the wingnut bloggers jumped on it and started the usual whine-a-thon about those mean old Dems calling people names and shit, blah blah blah.  But a coupla things here:  First, it's kinda cool that Kerry was finally able to make a point without fuckin' up the delivery.  Second, there was a significant number of Tea Partiers who said out loud that they thought default might be a good thing, so why are they pouting now when people are identifying them with the downgrade?  And third, how long before the Dems get tired of reminding everybody about all the bad shit the Repubs have gotten us into and decide not to use any of it as a campaign issue?

S&P's Downgrade

There's a paragraph in their reasoning saying basically that S&P doesn't feel comfortable with a high rating for US Government Debt because of their concern for the politics of the Debt Ceiling debate we just went thru.

If I can take as a given my thinking that Wall St is moving away from the GOP because of the Tea Party nutbags, then it makes a lot of sense that the downgrade is actually S&P sending a signal to the GOP that they need to get their shit together.

If your interest burden goes up because of the S&P downgrade, and S&P says it's because they don't trust the political process, and it's the Tea Baggers making the political problems, then who ya gonna blame?

It's possible the Tea Baggers kinda fucked up in reverse tho'.  Imagine how popular they'll get when somebody figures out how to spin it back and say the Tea Party was absolutely right about everything because look - we scared Wall St half outa their socks.

The grand shift i…

Gotcha

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The Day-Trader phenomenon is a part of the big myth - all it really takes is a little common sense and you can make anything work. No need for training or experience or intellectual rigor; just jump in and do it.

Intentionally Stupid

Better access to contraception = lower demand for abortion. It's a measurable and obvious cause-and-effect thing going on. If you're against preventing the pregnancy, then you simply are in favor of keeping the demand for abortion high.

So how can these guys be in favor of sustaining the demand for abortion? Well, first and foremost, it gives them a way to keep abortion as a political weapon; but the kicker is that they can hide their cynicism in the fog of being "against ObamaCare". The politics of fear requires the maintenance of as many perceived threats as possible. If you allow any real progress towards solving even small parts of any problem, then you have to concede that government is in fact good for something; and you start to lose an important way to motivate your contributors and your voters.

There's also a pronounced element of their outright fear of sexuality in general, and the sheer terror they feel when they have to contemplate female sexual…

Hang Onto Yer Hats

This shit just makes me sick to my stomach.
"The conventional wisdom on Wall Street was that the economy was growing -- that the worst was behind us," said Peter Schiff, president of Euro Pacific Capital. "Now what people are realizing is the stimulus didn't work, and we may be headed back to recession." --CNNMoney"Conventional wisdom..."?  That's Corp Code for happy talk.  They've been sittin' there in their Executive Suites jackin' each other off, collecting nice fat checks at taxpayer expense, pretending that what they tell the Press Poodles to say has some actual relation to the truth.

And the crap about "the stimulus hasn't worked..."?  What exactly do they think was holding this shit up in the air this whole time?  The stimulus is gone, and now there's nothing to supplement what little demand there was.

I imagine right now, Geithner et al are having lots of phone conversations in very blunt language and urgent to…

Reconstruction - In All Its Gnarly Glory

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I couldn't figure out how to get a ruler in the shot to show scale - the scar's about 7 1/2 inches.
The dressing came off Monday, and it can stay off as long as the wound stays closed and doesn't start to leak. Shower tomorrow (post-op day 7).  Swabbing myself down every day with a sponge and baby wipes is a drag.

And BTW, Dammit

If anybody (particularly anybody who self-identifies as a conservative) really wants to do something that might actually prevent another Debt Crisis, one thing to do is pretty simple: Amend the War Powers Resolution to require real-world financing proposals be enacted before the 90-day Freebie Period lapses.

Double Dip

I'm tryin' hard to figure out how the Debt Deal doesn't make things worse.  An awful lot of people are stuck in this kind of economic limbo, where treading water is about all they can hope for in the near and mid term; and when the average age of the American worker is close to 52, "middle term" can easily mean the remainder of your working life when the economy is stuck in the doldrums.  So while there's a fair stack of good news for households in the $200K+ category, that leaves a huge number of "middle classers" at risk of losing buoyancy and slipping under.

Here's the thing:  There's no substitute for demand.  The law is the law, and no combination of ideology and happy talk is going to change the simple fact that demand drives inflation and inflation is what makes capitalism work in the first place.  You can argue all you want about regulating the thing appropriately, but that's a different conversation.  If your premise is false, y…

Reconstruction (update)

Pretty good day yesterday and a good night last night.  Up at about 5 this AM.

I had the first of what will be several home visits from Lee (nurse) and Laurie (PT) yesterday.  They both told me I'm doing a lot better than most of the people they see.  This is one of those things that you can't possibly take any credit for, but find it hard to say anything other than thank you.  Kinda like when somebody says you have beautiful kids:  "Why thank you - I made them myself, you know; and I don't mind telling you how hard it is to get all that genetic sequencing just right..."  Anyway, it's nice having a winning ticket on that little slice of Life's Grand Lottery.  Pain levels have been very reasonable so far, and the pain is what they worry most about.  If you can't knock down the pain, then you can't do the exercises, and it'll take longer to get back to a healthy state; and many times, you never get back to where you need to be.  So they send you…

Reconstruction (update)

Day 4 Post-Op:
OK night.  Still pretty stiff, and I've gotten some noticeable swelling going now in my left leg.

I came home with:
Coumadin (blood thinner)
Oxycodone (pain killer)
Tramdol (non-narcotic pain killer)
Colase (stool softener - to counteract constipation due to the pain killers)

Avoiding the oxycodone in favor of tramadol, just trying to stay as drug-free (and as uncomplicated) as possible.

Expecting first visits from Nursing and Physical Therapy this PM.

Debt Deal

The headlines are all saying a deal's been worked out; and of course, "the lefties" are up in arms because they see it as Obama caving to the demands of the Tea Partiers, while the wingnuts on the radical right say they hate it because it requires compromise and lacks the kind of purity they say God sent their guys to Washington to establish.

So I don't wanna be too centrist about all this, but when everybody makes a big show of being upset with something happening in DC, you can be certain of a couple of things:
1) Some very important constituencies are making loud noises about losing some of their clout.
2) Somehow, the really good politicians manage to stay in power through all this "upheaval and change".

Cutting to the chase, while not meaning to oversimplify: First, remind yourself that contributors are the ones who get a politician elected - voters are the people who go to the polls and confirm the results that the contributors have paid for in advan…