Showing posts from November, 2011

Cuz God Made It So

I repeat - I'm a capitalist because God's a capitalist.

But we have to do it better; we have to get back to an understanding that the system has to serve the people, not the other way around; and we have to adjust the model so it's comprised of interlocking closed loops, rather than a series of disconnected linear dead ends.  Unfortunately, we've been suckered (again) into believing that the only way to make it work is to continue removing the controls.  Well, guess what you get when the free market system is completely unfettered - you get exactly what Americans had to fight a revolutionary war to throw off in the 18th century.  Aristocracy and entitlement, despotism and cronyism, inequality and slavery - any crappy thing you care to name that one human can do to another human.

Lastly, we have to remember that capitalism is a lousy substitute for democracy.

Today's Pix


When Newt Was Bullish On The Individual Mandate

Where did this Gingrich go? Well, he had to hide because the rubes who're running the GOP now drank the KoolAid that he insisted they drink on a constant basis thru the 90's. And he knows he doesn't stand a chance if he doesn't completely abandon even the appearance of the kind of rationality he used to talk about. He doesn't even try to sound reasonable any more - the rubes won't let him. (hat tip - Little Green Footballs)

Keeping Score

Anybody with a living, functioning brain knows DumFux News is a sham.  When was the last time they won any of the several awards for any kind of journalism?

From Loose Live Stock in 2007: (*)
CBS News: 154
ABC News: 122
NBC News: 114
PBS: 42
CNN: 33
BBC News: 15
Dumont: 1
Fox News Channel: 0 Fun Fact #1:  Dumont only survived for about 12 years, and has been off the air for 55 years - and they still have more awards than DumFux News.

Fun Fact #2: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is on Comedy Central for 30 minutes a night, 4 nights a week, about 40 weeks a year - Jon Stewart has won the Peabody more often than DumFux News.

Fun Fact #3: The only "awards" DumFux News has managed to win are the ones that have been made up by either former News Corp execs, or by the heavy hitters behind phony organizations like AEI and AFP.

(*) A quick turn thru Wiki and the awards sites indicates that the only thing that's changed is that everybody's won a couple of more times - e…

Stay On Message

When Newt Gingrich imparts his wit and wisdom to us regarding OWS, and Rush Limbaugh points to 'rape, and property damage' in Zuccotti Park, remember one thing: it's not about any of that, so there's no need to defend against any of that. That's a typical ploy of someone who's trying to argue from a weak position.  They try to change the focus of the debate, and it works too damned often.

Ignore this bullshit - you can say straight out that it's not about any of that if you feel the need, but you must avoid helping them prop up their straw man.  If you take that particular bait, you'll end up sounding like you're trying to justify or rationalize criminal activities on the part of OWS protesters.

So pick a few of the points that are most important to you - points you think OWS represents to you - and stick to your guns.  BTW: these things don't have to have anything to do with any "Official OWS Statement".  Whatever you'd be protest…

Tradition Addition Edition

My mother-in-law visits us every Thanksgiving for several days, and being full-blood Ukrainian (as is my lovely bride), she always helps us create some pysanky and we make a big (fully justified) fuss over the homemade perehe she brings us for dinner.

This year, a colleague who is married to a 1st generation Ukrainian beauty brought his family unit for a little visit, and introduced us to Medivka - a traditional concoction of vodka, spices and honey.  All I can say is "mighty fine".  And it's right next to spectacular when added to the morning coffee.

Medivka: 1-1/4 cups water Zest of 1 orange, tangerine and/or lemon 3 whole cloves 1 tsp. allspice 1/4 tsp. nutmeg 1 cup buckwheat honey 2-1/2 to 3 cups vodka (or grain alcohol)
Place the water, citrus zest, cloves, allspice, and nutmeg in a small saucepan. Cover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
Strain the water through a clean cotton cloth into another pan and add the honey.
Bring to a low simmer, skimming the foam from the top.

A Meme Is Born


And I saved the best (mine, of course) for last.

Best Guitar Player You Never Heard Of

Tommy Emmanuel - sorry about the sound quality; still looking for something better.

Meme Wildfire


OWS Meme

Officer Pike has won himself a place in Mike's American Liberties Hall Of Shame.
(hat tips: Balloon Juice, facebook)

OWS Anthem Nominee

"Too many hungry people losing weight"

This Is A Justice System?

Via Crooks and Liars, Matt Taibbi at Rolling Stone:
Apparently in this country you become ineligible to eat if you have a record of criminal drug offenses. States have the option of opting out of that federal ban, but Mississippi is not one of those states. Since McLemore had four drug convictions in her past, she was ineligible to receive food stamps, so she lied about her past in order to feed her two children.The total "cost" of her fraud was $4,367. She has paid the money back. But paying the money back was not enough for federal Judge Henry Wingate. To hear some people tell it, you'd think OWS was nothing but spoiled kids gripin' about their allowance.  Taibbi's story serves to point out a few things that really are just flat wrong with the way we've been doing things here in the USA for a good long time.  And it isn't only about "the rich get richer and the poor get children".  There are real problems with the basic structure of our system.…

And Jesus Wept

Another Good One

...From Mr Fallows at The Atlantic:
What is going on is a war of ideas, based in turn on moral standing. This engagement, which started in Minute 1 with police over-reaction and ended in Minute 8 with nervous police retreat, was a rout.

Not News

This cannot be considered any kind of news - not after almost 2 generations of constant and concerted efforts to chip away at every democratic tradition anybody cares to name.

I'm NOT saying CongressCritters haven't contributed greatly to their own crappy image by doing things that everybody thinks are stupid; and by not doing things that everybody thinks are smart.  What I'm saying is that on top of all that, you don't get to spend 35 years and a gajillion dollars trashing each other in very public ways and then wonder why everybody's looking at you like you've got scabs on your dick.

What's Up With OWS

A good re-cap, and some decent analysis from Garance Franke-Ruta at The Atlantic:

And yet it is all too American. America has a very long history of protests that meet with excessive or violent response, most vividly recorded in the second half of the 20th century. It is a common fantasy among people born in the years since the great protests movements -- and even some not so great ones -- that they would have stood on the bold side of history had they been alive at the time and been called to make a choice. But the truth is that American protest movements in real time -- and especially in their early days -- often appear controversial, politically difficult, out-of-the-mainstream, and dangerous. And they are met with fear.Even decades later, acts of protest can be the subject of heated debate and lead people to question (as well as celebrate) the moral standing of those who put their bodies on the line during moments of historic tumult -- as Sen. John Kerry, Vietnam veteran and former…

More Tim Wise

via GRITtv

On Things Authoritarian

One of the better bits from Theramin Trees. At about 11:00, there's a great parallel with how some city governments are trying to deal with OWS protests. Makes a lot of sense to me in that context.

d r i f t g l a s s Speaks

This is a link to a driftglass blog post:

d r i f t g l a s s: Professional Left Podcast -- Bonus Edition

One of the smartest guys you'll ever hear.

New Music

And the rush is on to claim the mantle: The Voice of Occupy

Too cynical? Maybe - the tune isn't available at Amazon, so there's that. It's just always a good idea to check for signs of commercialization. It's a good thing in a way, because when somebody starts making a few bucks off of OWS, we'll know it's gained some real support from a slice of the populace big enough to give it a real chance at being self-sustaining. And that should mean that the changes being sought by the movement are imminent (The Overton Window sez so anyway). It will also mean that OWS is being assimilated into the larger Body Politic, which means its power will begin to dissipate, which means the whole cycle starts over.

Occupy DC

(Hat tip to Crooks and Liars)
The Declaration of the Occupation of Washington, D.C.
Consented to in committee November 15th, 2011We have been captives of corrupt economic and political systems for far too long. The concentration of wealth and the purchase of political power stifle the voices of the increasingly disenfranchised 99%. Corporate dominance subverts democracy, intentionally sows division, destroys the environment, obstructs the just and equitable pursuit of happiness, and violates the rights and dignity of all life.Occupy D.C. is an open community of diverse individuals, founded on equality for the common good. We are peaceably assembled at McPherson Square, practicing direct democracy on the doorstep of K Street, the center of destructive corporate and governmental relationships. We insist that our political and economic systems serve the people’s interests. Now is the time to advance and complete the struggles of those who came before us.We are assembled because...
It is a…

Today's Pix

3 from Anthony Freda

And this one just for the hell of it.   Somebody at AP either has a very high regard for the Grants Administrator at NC State, or a very low IQ not to spot this as a Snopesworthy hoax.

Electoral College Silliness

I don't really know where I stand on this. I do know that we have these little leftovers from when the thing got set up in the first place. I also know that Electors casting their votes is seen as very much a formality unless an election turns out to be way too close, and then it just gets weirder because there're so few who actually understand it.

There Are No Accidents

Why does it seem like we always hear a lot about non-fossil energy, but never get anywhere with it? Hmmm.

A mashup from DumFux News (from Media Matters via Little Green Footballs):

It Just Never Fails

Every time a good number of people get together to express disagreement with their governments, those governments always seem to go into Hyper-Authoritarian Mode. Nothing new in that. We've seen a bunch of reminders in the last several months. It just comes as a little jolt when it happens here in the US, even tho' our history is filled with the repeating pattern of Unrest leading to Demonstration leading to Violent Authoritarian Reaction.

Now let's add a little wrinkle by considering the fact that Zuccotti Park is a privately owned public space. Say that out loud a coupla times and let the 1984-ish-ness of it wash over you while you watch this clip:
(hat tip: Crooks and Liars)

The cops in NYC have to identify themselves as The Government - they wear numbered badges and name tags and everything. But Free Market Security Forces apparently aren't similarly restricted. With the cops, we can at least pretend there's a little accountability - not so when you call …

What's It All About?

The Short answer is: Nobody knows what it's all about.  And that's pretty encouraging to me.

When the Tea Party thing first popped up, it had a kind of organic feel to it, but almost immediately, when Michelle Bachmann jumped in front of it - and then when Dick Armey slithered in - suddenly it was all about GOP talking points or some other templated 'conservative' nonsense.  The rallies had all the authenticity of an Up With People performance from 1970, and the original themes that grew out of a reasonable rejection of Tax Payer bailouts for the crooks on Wall Street morphed into the old familiar bits about Tax-and-Spend, Deficit Hawkery and National Debt Anxiety.  It was one of the slickest bamboozles anybody'd ever seen (and btw: it made Dick Armey a fuckload of money).

So along comes OWS.  Basically the same thing as the Tea Party (albeit without all the blue hair).  And while there have always been crazies of the type who always gravitate towards any kind of p…

Today's Shitty Little Fact

Of the 100 biggest economies in the world, 53 are corporations - which is up from 51 a year ago.

The Story Of Stuff

"Our enormously productive economy...demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our ego satisfaction, our ego satisfaction, in consumption. We need things consumed, burned up, replaced and discarded at an ever-accelerating rate." --Victor Lebow
Let's figure out how to move from a linear system to a circular one, but let's try to be careful about the disruption that must always accompany such great shifts.

We Are So Fucked

I'd like to think there was a time when this shit didn't go on.
The next national election is now less than a year away and congressmen and senators are expending much of their time and their energy raising the millions of dollars in campaign funds they'll need just to hold onto a job that pays $174,000 a year.Few of them are doing it for the salary and all of them will say they are doing it to serve the public. But there are other benefits: Power, prestige, and the opportunity to become a Washington insider with access to information and connections that no one else has, in an environment of privilege where rules that govern the rest of the country, don't always apply to them.
Watch the video from 60 Minutes at

Obama Meets The GOP Women's Caucus

Always looking to connect a few dots - even when they seem pretty far apart.

At about 30:00, talking about The Unibomber and Eric Rudolph - "As a side note, I have no idea what it is with white folks and the woods - but whatever it is probably explains why black folks don't do a lot of camping."

Verterans' Day

"We wear our widow's weeds like nuns, and perpetuate war by exalting its sacrifice"

Turd Blossom Rides Again

Elizabeth Warren scares the holy bejeebers outa some folks. Kinda like bleach scares a fungus.

Penn State Update

From Michael Collins at The Agonist:
The relentless deviate, former PSU defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, is accused of sexually assaulting children for years. According to the grand jury, he gained easy access to children and early adolescents through a foundation he founded in 1977, the Second Mile Foundation. He continued the assaults at his home and in the PSU showers on at least one occasion. The foundation serves over 100,000 at-risk youth. Sandusky started the foundation as a group home for "troubled boys" in 1977. Since hiring Jack Raykovitz, PhD, a licensed psychologist, as president, the foundation has grown into a multimillion (sic) enterprise serving over 100,000 children throughout the state.

I'm not advocating violence - don't kick him in the nuts and don't throw anything at him - but if you see this Sandusky guy out in public, he needs to be made to feel as small and unwelcome as it is humanly possible to feel.

Today's Pix


From Funny Or Die

Having It Both Ways


Art vs Life

One way to put it:
"Art is not a mirror to reflect the world, but a hammer with which to shape it." --Vladimir Mayakovsky

I don't know what that really has to do with anything right now, but I got to thinking (usually kinda dangerous for me) about parallels and coincidences and intersections, and I can't help but assume that there's no way I'm the only one in the world who wonders about the eerily converging similarities between the Duke brothers from the movie Trading Places and the Koch brothers.

Olbermann On Joe Pa

It's one of the saddest things ever. Joe Paterno has been a hero for a lot of us for a very long time. And while I think this is something that happened as much in spite of his management rather than because of it, I also think this is a good example of what can happen when somebody stays in a position of great power for way too long.

Word is that Paterno will resign at the end of the season. I have to agree with Keith on this one (fire his ass today), but I'd go one more step and say that Paterno should be in front of a judge right now, trying to make a case for why he should not be in jail.

NYT Late To The Party - Again

Some pretty decent analysis from Numerian at The Agonist, on the main reason our 4th estate is in the middle of an Epic FAIL.
As an ex-subscriber to The New York Times, I too have been outraged by such stories, but not because I read them in the paper of record, which is not simply very late to the game of reporting on this phenomenon - it is too late. I’ve been outraged by these stories because I have been reading about this for years on internet blogs. Some of the most persistent reporters and analysts who write about this problem include Glenn Greenwald at, Yves Smith at the Naked Capitalist blog, and Karl Denninger at the Market Ticker blog. All three of these writers have no doubt lost some readers over the years because they write about these stories over and over, and manage to maintain a sustained fury over the debasement of the rule of law that is evidenced by the way the big banks operate, and the inability or refusal of the government to do much about it.
These are…

Let Herman Be Herman

The allegations of sexual misconduct against Herman Cain will win him the nomination.

And here's the frame-up:  "It's just another instance of racist America's eagerness to condemn a black man for daring to approach a white woman.  The Democrats have a shameful history of this, you know.  All that Jim Crow stuff was because the Democrats were in charge of things in The South for way too long." (that's in quotes because it's what I expect to hear - not what anybody has actually said)

It doesn't matter what Limbaugh and all the others said about how Clinton's philandering exposed a character flaw that made him unfit to serve - this is the age of Confirmation Bias after all.  We can cherry pick the coverage and the analysis, and just choose what we wanna believe.

It just seems so fucking weirdly typical.  The leading lights for the Repubs and 'conservatives'  do, in fact, display a veiled racism on a pretty consistent basis.  Welfare Queens; …

Shocker In Ohio

From a local NPR affiliate:

Listening to this, I got the feeling that I was hearing the famous Left-Leaning Bias that 'conservatives' are always carping about.  But when I listen to the national shows on NPR (eg: All Things Considered), there's nothing even approaching this.  The Repubs have done such a thorough job of brow-beating CPB, nobody has the balls to say anything bold on the air. All we ever get is the notion that every side of every issue is perfectly valid, and oh yeah - "both sides do it".

Am I to understand that some random 3rd string nobody on public radio in Ohio is actually The Liberal Media?  And how long before the anti-media harpies swoop in to pluck out his eyes?

John Mayer And Herbie Hancock

I think this is what Weather Report and Brian Auger always had in mind, but could never really make work on a regular basis.  This album is a little spotty too, but when it's good, it's really good.

Professional Left Podcast 100


OWS With Triumph

The Late Great Washington Post

The only reasons I go to The Wa Po any more (other than the Sunday crossword - which is usually awesome) is to mock George Will, or to find new ways to call Marc Thiessen an asshole.

James Fallows at The Atlantic has by far the best reason to tell Wa Po to pound sand.
Headline: "Where job measures go to die"
Subhead: "Another bill fails in Senate"
What actually happened: The bill got a majority in the Senate, 51-49.

But because Mitch McConnell's GOP minority has resolved to filibuster everything the Administration proposes, the measure never came to a vote on the merits. The Democrats, with "only" 53 votes (including 2 Indeps), cannot get 60 votes to break a filibuster, since the Republicans with 47 always-unified pro-filibuster votes, can stop anything they choose.

American Taliban

This jackass is a sitting judge in Texas who presides over a court that hears a lot of cases involving child abuse. His name is William Adams.

The Daily Mail has a good report.

Elizabeth Warren Heckled

Everybody gets to say what's on his mind, even if he insists on being a complete asshole about it (speaking from experience here).

Two things I really like about this:
1) Warren quiets the crowd when they start to go after him for calling her "a socialist whore".  She's a fighter and as sweet as she sounds, I'm betting she can cut you to ribbons when she feels the need, but she keeps it cool and there's nothing the guy can push back against.  Conflict resolved.
2) As is usually the case, the heckler was prob'ly a little nervous about being kinda shitty in public, so he needed to make the statement and then stride purposefully from the room - for dramatic effect.  But the door at the front is locked.  He tries the opener a couple of times, and then has to walk past the crowd to get out.  His body language is defiant and proud, but nobody's paying any attention to him, so again he has nothing to fight.  He's just some random dick callin' people …

Random Shots

Today's pix:

Allow Me To Reiterate

Matt Taibbi has written a lot of this before, and practically nothing is being done about it.  An awful lot of the people who should be in jail are the ones who keep telling us to keep pushing forward; keep working at it; it'll take a huge effort, but we'll get there if we just keep pluggin' along.  I hate the feeling, but some of these pricks had better start gettin' some serious prison time before the OWS hippies lose out to the angry mob.

When enough people find out they have nothing left to lose, it only takes one good leader - somebody who can whip the crowd into a rich creamy lather - and then they simply come to your penthouse and take what they want.

It's a kind of social extortion that's been going on forever.  Most people don't begrudge rich people being rich.  It's being said more often in the press now, but most Americans are OK with unequal results; even when it's obvious you never worked a day in your life to earn it and you just got …

Say What?

This is what it looks like when you step on your dick wearin' track shoes.

These guys need us to blame government; to blame Fannie and Freddie; they know they've screwed the pooch in a huge way, and if we don't go along with their bullshit explanations, confidence goes out of the system; and since confidence is what holds up this kind of "modern economy", the whole thing craters in on itself.

One other point: Remembering that it's never about what they say it's about, if Bloomberg is out saying shitty things about Washington, it could mean that there are some very "candid discussions" going on behind the curtains.

Some More Pix

I wish these could be real, but of course then we'd lose an important part of Show Biz and the economy would just get worse.

Some Pix

Just some random junk I found floating around the web recently.