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Showing posts from October, 2011

Slick Rick

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So what we really need is another drunk cowboy in the White House - but this time, instead of a drunk who doesn't drink, what we need is a drunk who does lotsa drinking?

(hat tip - John Gorman)

Let Herman Be Herman

Cain has spent some time trying to defend having 2 or 3 different stances on the abortion rights issue over the last coupla weeks. So Bob Schieffer brings him on CBS's version of the Sunday morning Wave-Your-Dick-At-America show, and plays at being a real journalist by pinning Cain down on his abortion position. And Cain nails himself to the Pro-Lifers' cross like a dutiful little Repub who feels the need to pander to the crazies, and ol' Bob just smiles and nods 'cuz that's all according to the script. But then Cain goes on to make the usual ridiculous assertions about Planned Parenthood, and about how Margaret Sanger's real intention was to launch a genocide against black people. Schieffer "challenges" him for proof, and Cain pulls the standard malarkey out of his ass - "If you look at the history..." And ol' Bob just smiles and nods - way to get tough there, Bob.


So fast forward to the question of that goofy campaign ad. Schieffe…

Anonymous - Expect Us

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OWS Today

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The cops really are just a lay-off or two away from joining the protesters.  The Politicos know this, of course, so it'll be interesting to see the how things begin sort themselves out.

Steve-O-Lanterns

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By way of old high school buddy, and wood carver extraordinaire, Steve Pancoast at Piece Of The Wind:

Brilliant

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Epidemiology Explained

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Koch Bros

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My main question is always something like: Why do I have to go to Al-Jazeera to get this perspective?

--or--

Where the fuck is this Left-leaning Mainstream American Media we keep hearing about?

Just In Case Ya Missed It

Climategate

Thank God For Matt Taibbi

Taibbi can get pretty far off into the weeds sometimes, but just as often, he comes thru for us with a gem like this:
STUPIDITY INSURANCE. Defenders of the banks like to talk a lot about how we shouldn't feel sorry for people who've been foreclosed upon, because it's they're own fault for borrowing more than they can pay back, buying more house than they can afford, etc. And critics of OWS have assailed protesters for complaining about things like foreclosure by claiming these folks want “something for nothing.”
This is ironic because, as one of the Rolling Stone editors put it last week, “something for nothing is Wall Street’s official policy." In fact, getting bailed out for bad investment decisions has been de rigeur on Wall Street not just since 2008, but for decades.--snip--
...When Joe Homeowner bought too much house, essentially betting that home prices would go up, and losing his bet when they dropped, he was an irresponsible putz who shouldn’t whine about be…

The Modern Republican Fantasy

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What Would Jesus Do?

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He'd find a stick or a whip or something, and he'd knock the crap out of a few bankers - that's what he'd do.

How To Speak Republican

(hat tip: John Gorman)
America (United States of): A country located in the Northern/Western Hemisphere that is #1.Bible: A sacred text that provides incontestable answers when thumped.Birth Certificate: An official birth record required of all US Presidents, regardless of race, since 2008.Capitalism: A system of economic organization that has never been attempted.Christmas: A holiday commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, now rarely celebrated due to persecution by atheists.Compromise: (uncommon) A form of political suicide.Coast (East): A very bad coast of the continental United States.Coast (West): Another really inexcusable coast.Communism: The belief that the government should ever do anything.Condescending: Accurately informed.Constitution (U.S.): The hallowed founding document of the United States, the text of which must be interpreted literally, adhered to strictly and amended immediately.Corporations: Large people who are overtaxed.Deficits (1): Fiscal shortfalls incurred by…

Stupid Dog

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Playing For Change

Operation Fox Hunt - Anonymous

Not sure I like this, but it could be both fun to watch, and hard not to join in.

Corporatizing The NYPD

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One puzzle has at least been solved. Wall Street’s criminals have not been indicted or sent to jail because they have effectively become the police.Wall Street Firms Spy on Protestors in Tax-Funded Center (truthout.org)

OWS

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Zappa Sez

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The Costs Of War

And another generation of Americans is forever changed.

When do we finally get it thru our heads that nobody wins a war? Whoever convinces themselves that they lost the least gets to declare themselves the victors; and then go about preparing for the next go 'round.

People Of The lie

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I listen to this podcast every Sunday instead of watching the morning bobblehead shows.  They've been evolving a general theme that's aimed at creating and distributing vocabulary and tactics that can be used to countervail the constant stream of nonsense that seems to dominate any random political discussion.

It all comes down to fighting the Conditioned Response and/or the Confirmation Bias and/or the Reflexive Reactions that we're all susceptible to - in order to move a little closer to the big-t Truth.  But just substituting one kind of knee-jerk response for another doesn't get us where we need to go either.

One suggestion: Everybody gets tired of trying to rebut the idiot emails they get from their "conservative" friends and in-laws. One solution is simply to stop rising to the bait, and instead demand the sender provide straight-up proof of whatever the email's about.  Let the facts tell the story.  And yeah, I know - some "conservatives"…

Turn That Shit Off

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OWS Statement

Shoulda done this a while ago.

Official Statement from Occupy Wall Street - this statement was voted on and approved by the general assembly of protesters at Liberty Square: Declaration of the Occupation of New York City"As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic po…

Money Talks

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Is it irony or satire or what?  (hat tip: Democratic Underground)

Biased Media

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The contention that "the mainstream media" is slanted toward the Liberal side of the spectrum is a myth that gets exposed on a pretty regular basis.

There's a good long post at Crooks and Liars:
As if to prove the truth of this study, The Hill ran with an amazing headline today:
Poll: Half of Americans believe Obama doesn't deserve reelectionHmmm. Let's see. If half of Americans believe he doesn't deserve re-election, then that means the other half does, right? Which means that headline could easily have been flipped around to read "Half of Americans believe Obama deserves re-election." And if that headline could have been flipped and wasn't, one might ask why? Here's another way they could have worded it: "Americans evenly split on whether Obama deserves re-election". That would have been neutral, at least.

Another Dead Dictator

Qaddafi is (apparently) dead as of this morning, so the question now is: How will DumFux News manage to give the Repubs most of the credit while still practically denying the very existence of Junior Bush?

Makes Me Wanna Holler

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It Takes A While

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From prototype to market in less than 20 years - wow.


Introduced at a trade show in Chicago in 1961, this thing featured a flat screen (4 inches thick) and a programmable recorder.
(hat tip The Atlantic)

Sheesh

It would be so good to get back to where we could count on the reporter being as smart as the subject of the interview.


My only recollection of anything even remotely to do with SDS: When I was a sophomore in high school in the fall of 1968, some of the senior footballers declared a random Friday "Chuck Taylor Day". This being in the time of strict dress codes, it was considered quite the rebellion to be wearing your low-cut black Converse tennies outside of gym class. The school administration was so paranoid about this turning into some kind of "SDS-style demonstration" (their words), they became alarmed enough to call the "instigators" into the office and grill them about their motives; wanting desperately to avoid any kind of potentially violent clash.

I can understand being worried over safety issues, and it was 1968 after all, but you can't superimpose today's sensibilities on it. The simplest fact is that they were scared witless by th…

A Poll Of One

There are good reasons not to vote for Obama (Gitmo, Drones, Death Warrants, Torture, etc).  But when I look at the alternatives, I can't justify voting against him.

He knows all that, btw.  He also knows that the Hard-Left Hippies are finally getting a little traction; pulling the whole thing back towards the center - and he knows this is a good thing for him.

I think he's having an FDR moment.  He's been constantly scolded for not doing "what we sent him up there to do", but until recently, all of the real pressure has come from the Repubs and Blue Dogs.  Now that Planet Occupy is kinda up and runnin', he can finally point at something tangible and tell John and Mitch, "See?  The people are making me do this - opposing me will cost you".

Next, I don't think the Repubs have any real chance to glom onto the Occupy thing.  They spent the first 3 weeks trashing it, which has had the effect of putting the Democrats' brand on it.  They know the…

Solution Seeks Problem

The need to fight rampant voter fraud is one of those really scary sounding memes the Repubs love to trot out as they try to beat back the tide of Youth and Minority voting that they fervently believe threatens to wash them away at any moment.

Rampant Voter Fraud is also - you guessed it - almost completely baseless.

Here's a good look at the "issue" in The Tennesseean (not exactly a bastion of liberal bias):
“They identified a lot of fraud, but very, very, very, very, very, very little of it could be prevented by identification at the polls,” Levitt said.
The remainder involved vote buying, ballot-box stuffing, problems with absentee ballots, or ex-convicts voting even though laws bar them from doing so. Over the same seven-year time period covered by the cases Levitt reviewed, 400 million votes were cast in general elections.“If there was evidence of this, we’d know about it,” said Elisabeth MacNamara, president of the League of Women Voters. Her organization, which has …

Get Rich By Running For Office

I'm not sure I have a huge problem with this, but there is definitely something about it that stinks just a little.
“All candidates publish books and they offer them as premiums to donors, but most candidates aren’t buying them from their own companies,” he said. “It raises the question of his campaign contributions ending up in his own pocket.”Read all about it over at Bloomburg.

Occupy Dylan Ratigan

Here's an old-ish rant from a Dylan Ratigan show that aired a few months ago.  I dunno if this is really what it's all about, but it's pretty close.  The corrosive influence of money has to be addressed.   And I love the passion - reminds me of what I get criticized for all the time.  I kinda like the overly dramatic soundtrack too.

Signage

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(From Occupy Wall Street) A couple of indications that this was definitely not a Tea Party rally:
1) The message is a bit long, so it requires some higher brain function to process the meaning.
2) All the words are spelled right.


Signage

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From Occupy Boulder - an important message from an important bunch of voters.  (hat tip to JR)

My Kinda Veteran

As long as the protesters fit the hippie/hipster stereotype, the police can function within a comfortable frame of reference. But throw 'em a curve, and they're lost - it blows their programming all to pieces.

Bunny Hitler

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It's a good idea to mock these assholes for a thousand eternities.  This is what hell is about for a nonbeliever like me.  If there's any possibility of an afterlife, then it's important to make sure that every time Adolf tunes in to find out what's happening, what he sees is many many people reiterating what a fuckin' jerk he was.


James Fallows - Again

The guy is fast becoming one of my faves.

Critical of a recent WaPo article, Mr Fallows writes:
- It reflects so thorough an absorption of the idea that the filibuster-threat is normal business that it describes the latest cloture vote as a vote on the bill itself: "Democratic Sens. Ben Nelson (Neb.) and Jon Tester (Mont.), who are both up for reelection next year, took to the Senate floor and delivered a sizeable blow to the bill's prospects by voting against it." No, they voted against the cloture measure, which they knew had zero chance of getting the necessary 60 votes. Several other Democrats with doubts about the bill itself nonetheless were persuaded to vote for cloture, so that it would end up with a symbolic but ineffective 51-vote majority.

Yay James Fallows

From The Atlantic:
'Enabler' problem: The reluctance of the mainstream media to call this what it is, and instead to talk about "partisanship" and "logjam" and "dysfunction." Yes, those are the results. But the cause is intentional, and it comes overwhelmingly from one side.I tend to read Fallows as a "goodguy conservative".  ie: He has a point of view that's generally "more right-of-center" than mine, but he understands (and has begun insisting) that policies have to be in line with facts and not ideology.

I think I see many more signs that a real shift could be taking place.

Yay David Frum - Kinda

From truthout:
This is not a moment for government to be cutting back. … Right now we’re watching state governments try to balance all of their budgets at the same time in the middle of this crisis. We’ve seen half a million public sector jobs disappear. Now, if these were good times, I would applaud that. We need to see a thinner public sector — especially at the state and local level. But we’re seeing what happens when you do that as an anti-recession measure and you make the recession worse. And even though we’re in a technical recovery, incomes and employment — all of that remains lagging for people — I think that we’ve rediscovered in this crisis something that I think we all knew. Which is, there’s a reason why the people of the 1930s built some kind of minimum guarantee — unemployment insurance, health care coverage and things like that. And it’s not because they wanted to be nice. It’s because in a crisis when people lose their jobs, if there is no social safety net they loose …

A Gentle Reminder

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The New Colossus By Emma Lazarus, 1883
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Victoria Jackson - Super Genius

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I remain unconvinced that she's not making a fairly lame attempt at satire.

Signage

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From my quick trip last Thursday up to DC to check on Occupy K Street.

Elizabeth Warren

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I'm a Capitalist because God's a Capitalist.  And I favor regulation because God favors regulation.

Signage

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The Jobs Bill

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Obama asked the Senate to put aside their rancor for a moment in order to try something that might help get a coupla million Americans a little help finding work.  And the Senate replied:

Tech Solutions For The Revolution

Whenever the rabble get a little riled up and start to do that icky and unsanitary thing called "a protest", the establishment (or powers that be, or whatever you choose to label them) always try to tamp the thing down by interfering with the crowd's ability to communicate.  In Iran and Egypt and practically every other arab state where protests sprang up, the governments took down the internet, or they suspended cellphone service or they blocked twitter - they did whatever they thought would be the most disruptive to the protestors' need to communicate and coordinate.  It's a primary tactic in every conflict, and every government does it whenever they feel threatened.  Remember that the USSR banned fax machines for years, and when they finally allowed them, each machine had to be registered and each transmission was monitored and recorded.  That's how threatening free and open communication is to any government, including here in the good ol' USofA.

Occu…

This Is What You Call A Recovery?

To go along with Bush's Jobless Recovery, now we get Obama's Wageless Recovery.  And it kinda makes sense in a weird, Compendium-of-Official-Horse-Shit kind of way.  We already have the Non-Denial Denial, and the Non-Apology Apology - now we can add the Non-Recovery Recovery.

NYT
Between June 2009, when the recession officially ended, and June 2011, inflation-adjusted median household income fell 6.7 percent, to $49,909, according to a study by two former Census Bureau officials. During the recession — from December 2007 to June 2009 — household income fell 3.2 percent.It gets harder and harder for me to justify voting for Obama again.  I'll probably stick with him because the alternative (so far) just seems too terrible to contemplate.  That could change tho'.  Everybody has to decide; at what point are you willing just to let the fuckin' thing burn?

OWS Statement

Oo-rah

And what would you like to say to Sean Hannity?

Megan And Me

Megan McArdle in The Atlantic:

I spent quite a lot of time on the "We are the 99%" website last night and this morning. There's been a considerable amount of carping about it from the conservative side, and to be sure, some of the stories strain plausibility (the percentage of people in the sample who have either taken up prostitution, or claim to have seriously considered doing so, seems rather high, for instance, and as far as I could tell, not a single person on the site had been fired for cause). Many of the people complaining made all sorts of bad decisions about having children, getting very expensive "fun" degrees, and so forth.

But quibbling rather misses the point. These are people who are terrified, and their terror is easy to understand. Jobs are hard to come by, and while you might well argue that any of these individuals could find a job if they did something different, in aggregate, there are not enough job openings to absorb our legion of unem…

Strategy Revealed

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It feels a little paranoid, but given the fact that beating Obama in 2012 has been identified in public and on the record by more than one prominent Repub as pretty much the only thing that matters, I think it's not unreasonable to put a couple of things together, and to reach a conclusion (or at least postulate) that Repubs are willing to fuck us all over just to have a shot at getting Obama out of office.


The simplest explanation is that while Obama's signature measure to boost the economy has had fairly significant positive results in terms of Net New Jobs, the Repubs (who control enough State Governments to make a difference) have been busy laying off enough public sector workers to make the gains in the private sector look far less impressive.

What Reagan Said

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USA USA USA

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A return to the bad old days of Protectionism, and of Unions that were too big and too powerful isn't a good idea either.  So don't try to play that binary bullshit on me.  What I'm talking about is making an effort to get some sanity and balance back into the system.

Legislative / Judicial / Executive Management / Labor / Government Company / Customer / Vendor

Ya gotta have balance.  If you let any part(s) of any system overwhelm the other(s), then the system becomes unstable.
The guiding principle is that when anything becomes too big and too powerful, it has to be beaten down and brought back into balance.  I'm pretty sure that's what American Exceptionalism is supposed to be.  All of history before the USA was about playing and replaying all that imperial crap; "we're God's chosen people"  Well shit, how many empires were "chosen by God" before us?  How many of them are still around?  Is God just really lousy at choosing empires?

I'…

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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I try never to be unaware of boobies, but I truly appreciate the concept of a whole month dedicated to them; when it's more or less OK to tell women how much you love those beautiful secondary gender characteristics.

Yo, Thumpers

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Art Of The Deal

Dad: I want you to marry a girl I've chosen for you.
Son: No way.
Dad: She's Bill Gates' daughter.
Son: Well, in that case, sure.

-- Dad goes to Bill Gates --
Dad: I want your daughter to marry my son.
Gates: Nope.
Dad: But my son is CEO of World Bank.
Gates: That's different - OK.

-- Dad goes to the Chairman of World Bank --
Dad: I want you to appoint my son CEO.
Pres: No way.
Dad: He's about to become Bill Gate's son-in-law.
Pres: By all means then.

And that's how shit gets done.

Corporate Media

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Things are changing pretty fast.  We're becoming more aware that some things we've been told over and over for the last 20 years are total bullshit.  Like the notion that we have a free press.  The press is not free - it's owned and operated by big corporate interests, just like practically everything else in this country.  Another one is the lie about "the liberal press".  Take a quick look at the utter contradiction at work here.  Corporations are anything but liberal (most of them anyway), so I'll bet you dollars to dog shit that the people who run those corporations aren't voting for a lot of "Lefties"; and they're going to use the very powerful tools at their disposal to shape a narrative that makes the political climate favorable to themselves and their Corporate Clients (ie: Cronies)

From Wonkette, via Balloon Juice:

Mainstream

Has anyone ever heard either Roger Ailes or Rush Limbaugh say that their organizations present a general viewpoint that ISN'T widely-held?  Don't they at least intimate that their political bent is in agreement with a big majority of the American people?

How do these bozos get away with bitchin' about "the mainstream media" when they ARE the mainstream media?

We Are So Fucked

Campaign Finance has to change if we're ever going to get anything that remotely resembles what American Democracy is supposed to be.

From The Atlantic:
"This may be the first presidential election where we really have no idea who's funding the campaigns until it's too late," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. "By January 31, the first five primaries will be done, the nomination process could be all but over, and we'll just be finding out where most of the money came from."

Payback's A Bitch

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Don't Let The Bastards Get Ya Down

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But Is It Real?

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We hear and see what want to hear and see.

It's A Problem

Part of the bigger problem of "they're all alike" and "both sides do it" is Obama's pursuit of the terrorist bad guys, and the use of drones to kill them.  Bush put the program together and now, under Obama, the operators seem to have refined it to a very sharp point.  And that's usually at the heart of this kind of problem.  We develop these deadly capabilities without regard for the legal ramifications, and then we find it almost impossible not to use them in the face of political pressures.

I think we can see the standard political calculation going on here too.  Obama kills terrorists (and sympathizers - and some innocents as well) while ignoring the niceties of due process because he figures he gains more against his political enemies than he loses among his friends.  It's cynical, and I don't like it, and I'm sitting here every day rationalizing it away because I support Obama on most other issues; plus I can't stand the thought of…

Exactly

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If they're not as deliberately ignorant as they seem to be, why are they constantly providing evidence that they are?