Dissolve into Evergreens
Obama At House Republican Retreat In Baltimore: FU...
AIG Loses Exec, Wins TARP Comp Ruling - Regulatory...
Man v. Nature
not why, but why not
Tea Party Zombies
Squishy Mice Pumpkin
Star Trek Pumpkin
Star Trek Follow Up
The Flaming Lips
The New Radicals
Death Cab for Cutie
Badly Drawn Boy
Coheed and Cambria
Atom Site Feed
not a Bush not a Photo not a Op
A conservative Bush apologist website I frequent recently felt that in order to prove the layover in Baghdad was NOT a photo op linked to...
umm... ok. I know when I've been proven wrong.
Do I think Hillary's visit to Afghanistan and Iraq were also Photo Ops?
Why.. yes, I do.
The Forward March
A political theory founded on the natural goodness of humans and the autonomy of the individual and favoring civil and political liberties, government by law with the consent of the governed, and protection from arbitrary authority.
Yeah, that's what I thought. For a while I was a bit confused by all the redefining of terms.
A political philosophy or attitude emphasizing respect for traditional institutions, distrust of government activism, and opposition to sudden change in the established order.
These are dictionary definitions people. Not from the New Limbaugh Dictionary of American Political Terms. So we can see that I am a liberal. I seek progress. I do not advocate for arbitrary change, but I do not reflexively oppose it either. Conservatism is an opposition movement. One that assumes the existing order is preferable to any possible new ones. With the irony being that today's conservatives will be arguing to maintain institutions built by yesterday's liberals; representative democracy, freedom of speech, equal protection under the law, and the idea of basic human rights, among others. All opposed by conservatives of yore.
Painting the Picture
"This is why all the talk about liberal incivility is such a joke. For the past decade liberals have been increasingly subjected to a brand of conservative ridicule that has explicitly blamed them for every one of society's ills, and it has come relentlessly and from every quarter of the increasingly politically dominant conservative sphere. Now that rhetoric is reaching a violent pitch -- and if Oklahoma City should have taught us anything, it was the consequences of spreading this kind of hate. Much as conservatives like to argue that liberals are guilty of the same thing, there really is no parallel to this on the left, at least not since the early 1970s. "
Wow.. this is part of a greater post that just floored me in its honesty and integrity, traits I admire in Mr. Neiwert.
He's right, there is a movement afoot that lives and breathes anti-liberalism. But the joke is that there is no liberal hegemony. They look upon benign culture and see fire breathing liberals; in the media, in the colleges, in the government, in the schools. They fail to recognize that what they see as liberalism is nothing more than modern society. A blossom of equality, freedom of speech and a dimunition of religious dogma. That the conservative movement consist of white middle aged men fails to suprise me. They are the one's losing their exulted position as society becomes more pluralistic. No priviledged minority likes to see their position undermined, so they fight to bring back the glory days. But we have rejected that age and time. They will lose as long as progress marches on. So they seek to stifle progress. Winning means cowing their opposition and fudging the rules of game. Crying foul at the slightest touch.
For the time being I have forsaken my self imposed moratorium on the use of the terms liberal and conservative. Mainly because I now have a definition of conservative that I can live with. Though I still believe that both terms have become poison.
Conservatism is anti-liberal. Liberalism is ill defined. It is a nebulous force that I recognize as free inquiry and honest debate. Conservatism, in this perverted form, exists as an opposition movement in response to a imaginary foe. It appeals to groups who are losing their positions of priviledge in society in favor of a more representative world. Liberalism erodes the status quo and seeks to remold the world in a form that favors a multitude of voices over a world that favors the shouting of a few well connected individuals.
To the conservative, liberalism represents all that is "wrong" with the world, namely, their lose of potency. So they have cast themselves in a drama depicting the revolt of "right, moral men" against the forces of evil.
While I was still studying (and I still do!) the dynamics of this movement I constantly wondered, "who are they talking about"? I might be a liberal, but I hardly felt that the picture of liberalism they painted was representative of my views. It wasn't, of course. It was a fantasyland. So I took the position that "there were no liberals". At least how they were depicted by this movement. I still believe this. The "enemy", as depicted, is indeed a monstrosity, but it doesn't actually have corporal form. Its a figment, created for the purpose of ridicule. The "liberal" is a crudley fashioned boogeyman crafted from out of context quotes and the stupidity of random individuals. Its nothing more than a carefully designed punching bag, in a fight you are guaranteed to win.
What individual, facing his lose of relevance wouldn't grasp at the chance to regain some status?
Quack Quack, the Which is Dead
Salon.com News | Texas adopts controversial biology books:
"Some religious and alternative science groups had argued that weaknesses in the theory of evolution weren't adequately presented in the books. But scientists and educators argued that the theory of evolution is widely believed and is a cornerstone of modern scientific research. "
Evolution is science, creationism is religion.
I studied Biology for four years, as well as Chemistry. Evolutionary theory actually provides tools to investgate the natural world. The wholesale rejection of creationism is based on the fundamental fact that it offers nothing to scientists to advance our quest for knowledge. It professes to have all the answers to unasked questions. Its a dead end.
Most people just don't understand the entire structure of evolutionary science. Its mostly mathematical. Almost to the point of frustration. By far one of the hardest courses I ever took, next to Calculus. But, evolution produces good results. Answers to the questions we are asking. When a practice succeeds at prediction we accept it as a scientific theory. The main opponents to teaching evolution can only suggest that its an imperfect theory. But that's the nature of the beast. Same with Quantum Mechanics, General Relativity, and even Gravity. We still have questions but we've got the basics nailed down. By suggesting we throw out the best working models and ideas because of their lack of perfection is nonsense.
The arguement of fair and equal treatment is one of weakness. Its a last ditch effort to keep creationsim from slipping into oblivion where it belongs. I could just as easily argue that the human race sprang from dinosaur turds. Should unanswered questions in evolution provide a good excuse to teach my theory?
Creationism is religion. Its not science. Throw it out. Horray for Texas, (never thought I'd say that) putting the fundamentalists in their place.
"To improve by alteration, correction of error, or removal of defects; put into a better form or condition"
Whew... that's what I thought.
A quick question: At what point does something actually cease to constitute a reform? Would tying up old people to chairs and redirecting their social security checks directly into pharmaceutical company bank accounts still qualify?
My problem isnt so much with this current bill, which is way too convoluted for me to really follow, but all this "reform" that is going on. The media seems content to call it "reform" which seems to be an endorsement of the measures.
So why not...
or, Tax Redemption!
Four Arguments for the Elimination of Commercials
I really hate those new Sonic commercials. I despise most commercials. They make too many assumptions about me. No, I am not some smiley white couple with a little munchkins and loads of disposable income. You are not talking to me!
In the case of the Sonic commercials you may even be talking away from me.
You see, when the two assholes pull up to the drive-thru window and start harassing the guy at the window, you know my first reaction?
"I hope they spit in your burritos".
Dude, that's not chili, that's recycled saliva.
And it goes without saying that those National Drug Control Policy ads are the biggest pile of steaming BS we've ever paid ourselves to watch. I could write for days about how much those things piss me off.
Another Person Gets It
George Lakoff tells how conservatives use language to dominate politics
Read this and you will understand. So do yourself a favor.
Also, within traditional liberalism you have a history of rational thought that was born out of the Enlightenment: all meanings should be literal, and everything should follow logically. So if you just tell people the facts, that should be enough — the truth shall set you free. All people are fully rational, so if you tell them the truth, they should reach the right conclusions. That, of course, has been a disaster.
As I have been learning. Truth is secondary, narrative is primary. People will discard truth if it doesn't fit with their narrative. Lakoff calls this a "frame".
This Sounds Like a Job For....
I used to enjoy walking over to some eating joint on my lunch break and picking up the latest copy of the Dallas Observer. I was always pleased by a new article from Jim Schutze. My second stop was always checking out the latest This Modern World.
Sure, we have the Urban Tulsa, but its just sad. Not solely their fault though. There just isn't as much stupidity going on here.
Dallas Observer | dallasobserver.com | News : Schutze Abusurd, How DISD tells teachers to teach, By Jim Schutze:
"Before I went to see the superintendent, I spoke with teachers who had contacted me at the Dallas Observer to complain about earlier columns I had written on schools. These were individuals who didn't know each other, to whom I spoke one-on-one. Maybe it was a small sample, but their complaints were stunningly consistent: It's a mountain of indecipherable crap churned out by a bureaucracy that prides itself on churning things out, all of it dumped on the shoulders of teachers in supreme disrespect for their personal gifts and prerogatives. It is spirit-numbing. "
Now I suppose we can all share in the experience of being over-managed; that point in time where doing nothing would have been preferable to doing anything at all. But we know that you should never admit that your job, at least temporarily, is not neccesary. In fact you should always assert that your job is more important than ever, no matter what the evidence would suggest.
So without further ado...
Without my blog, we would see the world flushed into a cesspool of poor reasoning.
danieldrezner.com :: Daniel W. Drezner :: Why James Lileks is flat-out wrong
After reading through the F-you fest, and wading through some comments it came to me...
For some... the U.S. military is a phallic symbol. A sign of our verility and manliness. Lileks makes the remark that Salam Pax and his Iraqis country-mates did have "the stones" to liberate themselves, so we had to do it for them.
.... thought process?
How can a guy typing away on a keyboard in the comfort of his home have the temerity to criticise the inaction of someone that actually lived under a repressive regime?
Truely a marvel. You first have to assume that you would have acted where Iraqis did not. You then have to assume you can claim such bravery because we used our overwhelming military force to do what Iraqis did not. You have to assume that other people dying for a cause you support somehow gives you the right to act indignant. You then have to ignore ALL historical responsibility we might have shared in creating or maintaining the regime in Baghdad.
I sorta feel the same way about this as I do when I see the massive display of OU stickers and flags around Tulsa when OU is winning. I wonder why we feel like we can share credit for the actions of others when they are succesful or strong? The credit belongs with the people that actually accomplished something. Showing up after the fact with a flag in hand doesn't mean jack.
Real support means showing up when people need you, not just when they're winning. It also means following through and doing right by people when your throw their country into anarchy. If that means letting other people share in the credit then...
But that would mean castration. A blow to our prowess. And for the cheerleaders of this war, a fate worse than terrorism.
(This post inspired by an overflowing inbox... and Burmese Days)
This is Class Warfare : Further Definition and Discussion
Calpundit: Help Out the Strikers
Supermarket chains in California are sharing revenue to break strikers. We should not be suprised that the owning class is working together against the working class. This is class warfare whether or not we realize it. Corporate entities, as the surrogate arm of the owning class only compete in certain realms. They are allied with each other to drive down labor costs. That is the nature of this conflict.
This comment caught my attention:
I find that I am usually the only actual current blue collar worker posting in comments around these blogs and the level of arrogance spouting from pompous jerks who are educated well beyond their level of intelligence never ceases to amaze me.
I agree. Most working class individuals are too busy trying to survive to spend time posting on the internet. I am an exception. I don't have a family, I live very frugally and I have made a conscious decision not to define my life by my spending habits. I am a bad consumer.
My response to this comment pleased me, so I will repeat it here. It sums up what this web page is about. For even if I don't always address this issue, you should know from where I come from.
I am working class. Which I define as such; all the money I have and make comes from my own labor, not from the labor of others. By that definition there are lots of us. However, we are constantly beguiled into thinking that we have some allegiance to the investor class, those that earn a majority of their income from other people's labor.
This should come as no suprise, since their voice is dominant in most media and governmental discussions of "economics". This is not a "zero sum" game as one person remarked. Class separation exists. A small group of very wealthy people own or control the vast majority of capital. The amount of ownership represented by the working classes is small, and most resides in large institutional investments (Mutual Funds, Pensions) which are managed by the fund managers, who work for the investor class. So ironically, we have our own money working against our primary interests, namely our wages.
A more representative ownership of capital by the workig class themselves would be better, with managers working FOR us, and not AGAINST us. But that is simply not the reality in America. Ownership is very concentrated. They have a very strong voice in our perception of reality.
I feel that class issues override simple idealogical left/right divisions. We are too often distracted by political forces, working for the investor class, to realize our common goals. Instead we focus on secondary issues pushed to the forefront to drive wedges between what should be shared interests. Meanwhile, corporate entities work across this political divide to drive their interests; maximizing investor wealth and undermining worker rights.
In general, the web is slanted towards people that have relatively middle of the road white collar positions. This will put them in close alliance with management. So its not uncommon for even "liberal" voices to be anti-worker in online forums. There has been a very dramitic shift though, as even skilled labor is now seeing layoffs, wage reductions and increases in health care costs. The tone of the debate is changing, to better reflect the decline in worker security that has been ongoing for more than two decade.
Every job should have dignity. We used to believe that if you worked hard, no matter what you did, then that meant you could support yourself and your family. Are we willing to accept that this is not true anymore? If we are, we should expect everybody's quality of life to suffer. We don't live in a vacuum, and we can only gate off so much of our world.
art of resistance - bush mosaic
You got a blank spot on your wall that needs a little dressing up? Want to try out that new poster printer you picked up at the thrift store? Or just wanting some wall art of everybody's favorite 43rd president?
Look no further. Just don't look to close.
Just Link It
Thom York + Howard Zinn Feature
Where have I heard this before?
Press Briefing by Index:
"The Department of Justice, the career officials of the Department of Justice are working to get to the bottom of this. And the White House is committed -- at the direction of the President, the White House is committed to cooperating fully and doing everything we can to assist the career officials get to the bottom of this. It is a very serious matter. "
Oct. 10, 2003, the Valarie Plame leak.
salon :: :: news :: feature :: Searching for the real killers, By Gary Kaufman :: Page 1:
" 'When things have settled down a bit I will pursue as my primary goal in life the killer or killers who slaughtered Nicole and Mr. Goldman. They are out there somewhere. Whatever it takes to identify them and bring them in, I will provide somehow.' "
When you heard this infamous statement from O.J., wasnt your first thought "Sure, you'll be 'pursuing' them till you die won't you? I know I did. Well, to my suprise I came across this amazing article.
O.J. Finds Nicole Simpson's Real Killer!
Well, not really. This was June 30th and O.J. was "just triple-checking some last-minute information re- garding the identity of the true killer before he notifies the press and the police". Uh, ok. I'll believe it when I see it.
I felt the same way when I heard the statement from the Whitehouse that they were turning over the investigation of the Plame leak to the Justic Department. Whooosh, down the Memory Hole. I have perverse images of Ashcroft and O.J. spending late nights on the phone exchanging information on their respective cases.
Maybe O.J. gave Ashcroft some advice on the new DOJ website Life and Liberty, a nifty little site promoting the pure virtues of the Patriot Act.
Unlike the O.J. case, in this incident I hope that there is someone looking to resolve this scandal.
Please God, Send More!
This morning, lying in bed, I hear the muffled sounds of female voices outside my window. I sleep in a front bedroom, my window faces the porch. Still half asleep I think I hear knocking noises but they sound too distance and muted to be my own door. Eventually I crawl across the bed to peer out through the blinds. I see two young beautifiul women just leaving the front step and heading out across the lawn to the next house over. I suspect they were Jehovah's Witness but I was thinking to myself "Too bad I was asleep..."
The Lord works in mysterious ways.
... or maybe it was just hormones.
Welcome to Blogging 101
In order to show that a proposition P is unacceptable, a sequence of increasingly unacceptable events is shown to follow from P. A slippery slope is an illegitimate use of the "if-then" operator.
I see lots of bad reasoning floating around on the web. One night a friend and I were sitting around talking about education and we decided that schools would be better off teaching more courses based on practical thinking.
With these tools you can educate yourself. Sure, reading and writing are essential as well but we seem to completely forsake these other "lesser" skills that I think are critical in their own right. How do people survive in this world without the basic tools of critical thinking? I wonder. When I watch those late night infomercials I think to myself "Who believes this crap?"
Another common fallacy?
Begging the Question.
The truth of the conclusion is assumed by the premises. Often, the conclusion is simply restated in the premises in a slightly different form. In more difficult cases, the premise is a consequence of the conclusion.
Some bloggers are simply content to make an assertion, throw out a few insults and restate their opinion and few more times without ever discussing the merits of the debate. This may work well for general preaching to the choir but it does nothing to enrich the discussion.
Because the parts of a whole have a certain property, it is argued that the whole has that property. That whole may be either an object composed of different parts, or it may be a collection or set of individual members.
This is the common "the left", "the liberals", "the right", "the conservatives" fallacy that is running rampant in the blogosphere. The group in question is smeared because some stupid fool does what he does best. This lone example is stood up to be representative of the whole spectrum. So I have to remind myself that George W. Bush does not represent all Republicans... :)
You should do yourself a favor, go look over this list of fallacies and ask yourself, "Do I do this?"
News Flash: Michael Jackson could be a Child Molesting Pervert!
Moonwalk to perp walk:
"Guilty or innocent on the charges before him, Jackson has had a long and very strange - no, make that very, very, very strange - relationship with children. No parents in their right mind would let their kid stay over at Michael's house were it not for his celebrity.
Attention your honor, I'd like to present exhibit A, the defendent.
Depressing Thought of the Day
Today at work I was talking to an older gentleman, recently retired that at one point looked at me and said:
"I don't know what people your age are going to do"
You see, he had retired early from a nice airline related job and was getting ready to enjoy his golden years. His job had been outsourced but he was going to be ok. He seemed concerned that the path he had taken was quickly closing for people of younger generations. He later advised me to that I should stick where I am.
I work low wage retail.
Another Christmas Present for ME
I want a full sized poster my wall.
What pisses me off?
The liberals prefer foreign oil over American oil.
But the Left thinks the military is populated by people too stupid to choose how to live their own lives.
Whatever... You're right. What could I have been thinking.
As if the Left actually gave a rat’s hairy behind about the average grunt doing the fighting and dying.
Wow, till now, I thought I did. Thanks again for telling me what I think.
The Left, with its continuous assertion that President Bush “dodged the draft” in the seventies, has this as its goal: to drive a wedge between the president and his natural constituency, the military.
Right again. We know that the military are a bunch of mindless lemmings that will vote for Bush so our only hope is to tell lies about him. So right, you have so found us out. We give up! UNCLE!!!
(sighs) Is this crap what passes for discourse these days? Remind me why I care. Is it really just easier to blow smoke out your ass than to actually think? Is it? Feed the chest beaters, thats the name of the game....
Non-Issue, Why is it an Issue?
Gay Marriage Is a Right, Massachusetts Court Rules (washingtonpost.com):
"A divided Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled yesterday that same-sex couples have a right to civil marriages under the nation's oldest state constitution, declaring that 'the right to marry means little if it does not include the right to marry the person of one's choice.' "
You know, I don't know why this is such a big deal. The Mass Supreme court merely stated that people (not divided by sexual preference) have the right to marry who they wish. As it stood, traditional male-female marriages have existed as a protected legal relationship that conferred certain rights and priviledges. That was wrong. Its as plain as night and day.
The secondary issue is that of religious status. I can sympathize if churches choose not to perform religious marriage ceremonies for gay couples. They have every right to say no to that. But as a legal institution marriage should be open to all.
If you want to give up the priviledged legal rights of marriage then this will be a non-issue.
The main arguement against this seems to be that the entire social order will collapse if we let gay people get married. I just don't see it. Its not gonna happen. Its not a big deal. Get over yourselves.
If If If
BBC NEWS | Business | US to limit China textile imports:
"The Commerce Department said it planned to set quotas limiting growth in Chinese textile imports to 7.5% a year. The move follows a sharp increase in shipments of Chinese clothing products over the past 14 months.US Commerce Undersecretary Grant Aldonas said the surge in imports had been helped by government subsidies. 'It's not just a question of a dramatic surge, but a heavily state-owned industry that's subsidised by state-owned banks,' he said. "
We should see this for what it is, an attempt to quell growing discontent by textile states that have watched their industry bleed to death from competition from China. Its a campaign move that will address what I see as the main weakness in the Bush armor, namely, growing frustration by small businesses that lack the influence of corporations to get special considerations from Washington.
David Neiwert of Orcinus thinks we should be wary of attempts to paint China as the economic hobgoblin. I agree but I have to wonder what we expected. We knew that China was non-democratic and that they exert lots of control over their industry. Should we really be suprised if they work to create an artificial advantage for their businesses? No, because we do it as well.
President Bush is working to promote the interests of American Business and so is China for their own. The ideas of global free trade seem to assume that governments would be content to sit on the sidelines and observe. Not true. We're only finding this out after shoving some third world governments off the playing field.
Energy Security, China Acts
China Set to Act on Fuel Economy
So China has decided to act on the issue of fuel efficiency. Not out of any concern for the environment or global warming. They did so for the glaringly obvious reason, energy security. Which we would also be addressing if not for the constant flow of money through Washington that makes sure that nothing gets done.
But Zhang Jianwei, the vice president and top technical official of the Chinese agency that writes vehicle standards, said in a telephone interview on Monday that energy security was the paramount concern in drafting the new automotive fuel economy rules, and that global warming had received little attention.
The upside is that American companies that seek to profit of the large and growing auto market in China will have work to develop more fuel efficient models. They will, of course, claim that they were going to do so anyways. But we know that without incentives they would rather maintain the sttus quo. We will benefit from this move by China, despite the efforts of automaker lobbyists.
Oh the irony....
Chinese strategists have expressed growing worry about depending on a lifeline of oil tankers stretching across the Indian Ocean, through the Strait of Malacca, a waterway plagued by piracy, and across the South China Sea, protected mainly by the United States Navy.
In other words they looked out there and said "You know this might be a bad way to do things, importing all our energy from other people that might not hold our best interests at heart".
The reaction, fix the problem. Also this struck me as funny:
.... the affluent urban consumer who can afford a new vehicle regards pickup trucks as unsophisticated and too reminiscent of the horse-drawn carts still used in some rural areas.
The Unofficial Paul Krugman Web Page:
"What's going on? Why, bait and switch, of course. Few politicians want to be seen opposing a bill that finally provides retirees with prescription drug coverage. That makes a prescription drug bill a perfect vehicle for smuggling in provisions that sound as if they have something to do with improving Medicare, yet are actually designed to undermine it."
Is there anyone that wants to stand up and say that some politicians want anything other than to eventually erode away Medicare and move that money into private hands?
Why do we Medicare anyways, there aren't sick and dying old people out on the streets? (sarcasm)
The Giant Sucking Sound, Part 2?
Forbes.com: US sugar, citrus groups want to escape FTAA talks:
"'If we negotiate away our sugar import tariff ... we are going to destroy the U.S. sugar industry. We'd be swamped with subsidized foreign sugar,' said Jack Roney, an economist for the American Sugar Alliance."
The sucking sound returns. No, I'm not talking about losing jobs to Mexico. What I'm refering to is the simple concept of vacuum.
Mr. Roney of the Sugar Alliance talks about subsidized sugar destroying American production. But what is subsidy? Can we really expect to have a system where there are no influencing factors. To do so would be to assume that there will never be any government intervention. And even the Republicans, the party that most wants to put this free trade system in place has to exist in the political ether where rule number one is pleasing your voters. Government tweaking of the economy are the tools of the trade for wannabe political candidates. What we are seeing is the immovable object meeting the object in motion. Free trade will lose this battle. What we might end up with is some compromised system of trade offs. Which in reality is all we can expect to get. Its a shame that we've already subjected some third world countries to the flawed system when there were clear indications that we would come to this point.
Will there be protests, probably. Will there be weird shenanigans by police and government? Yeah, listen up:
Civil rights groups are incensed about an ordinance the Miami City Commission passed last week barring a range of potential weapons from public gatherings that some civil liberty experts say violates free-speech rights.
That last part is a bit extreme, "any length of metal, plastic or other similer hard or stiff material" seems open to intepretation. They've already arrested a man who was acting as a witness and was not breaking any laws.
I always advocate non-violence, and so do most of the people who are involved in these protest movments. The violent factions are small but are given an undue amount of attention by media and police groups. Many times they are used as an excuse to attack and intimidate peaceful protestors. Its sad.
Peace in protest!
The Secularist Critique:
Wow, this post was a laugh-riot. I tried to pick out the most bone-headed part I could find just short of re-posting the whole darn thing. Here's what I got, enjoy.
"Promiscuity is an intrinsic part of the homosexual lifestyle, for if sex is all about 'my sensations', than whatever serves to magnify and satisfy those sensations is good. Consequently, it is perfectly natural that the homosexual will have as many partners as possible to maximize the novelty and scope of sensations. "
To which I respond: "Have you ever met a homosexual?"
This kind of writing where you set up a false premise based on a warped perception of reality reminds me of the classic anti-semitic writing about money grubbing Jews, who were naturally hardwired to screw everyone over. That prejudiced stereotype was untrue but still led to much unnecessary suffering. This stereoytpe of homosexuality is untrue and can and will be used to justify violence against gays.
This guy writes an anti-secular blog. To which I just say "bah". If secularism can get rid of this kind of narrow minded religious bigotry then I say "bring it on!"
long live secularism, path to peace.
Oh Lord, So True!
White T-Shirt > The Adventures of A Boy and His Computer | CafePress
I just did someone's christmas shopping for them.
Marvin the Martian?
World Magazine Blog: Good for India, good for America
You remember Marvin Olasky, one of the big honchos behind compassionate conservatism? Well, neither did George W. Bush, who upon reaching office handed the reigns of power to others not so interested in working across the aisle.
Well, his magazine has a blog now (thanks to batesline for the head's up!) and it looks to be another home for the liberal bashing we have all come to love. If the comments keep along the same lines they do now we are going to see yet another webblog filled with liberal haters wth nothing to say. Here's a sample from the comments:
Worldview is an inadequate perspective on the conclusions of many who occupy the "liberal left". These folks don't just have a different view of what is right for America the actually want to destroy the country.
Well, I've been found out. I want to destroy the country. (wrings hands) And step one of my plan is better pay for teachers and supporting the great public school system. It won't be long now...
But seriously, one of the most serious mistakes is to assume that whatever political agenda you are pursuing here at home should apply everywhere. Hence, private schools mean better education for kids in India. Do we know this? Does it matter? Not if you are trying to get the United States government to transfer money out of public schools and into private religious education. Private schools work best only when a good public alternative is also viable. In places like Pakistan the private schools are religiously funded and part of their education program is America Hating 101. The public system is in shambles and poor children are forced to go to these religious training camps in order to get the basics in education. Do we really want to support a similer system in India for the sake of pushing a domestic agenda of privitized schools? Ironically, a strong secular public school system in Pakistan would go far to stem the rising tide of religious extremism.
Do I think private schools are good. In some cases yes, in other cases no. The problem is quality control. For those that can afford it, you get a good education, for those that can't, you get worse education than under a public system. Right now, it only makes sense to have a good public school system while still allowing people to pay for something extra if they want it. It does not make sense to drain resources from that public system to fund those people that opt out, which is the by-product of voucher programs.
But that's just one man's opinion of how to destroy this country. My next step is engaging in various debates and arguing my view on the merits rather than just simply tarring my opponents with labels.
Dispatch From Tinfoil Central!
WorldNetDaily: Secret intelligence memo links Saddam, bin Laden:
"Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein had an operational relationship from the early 1990s to 2003 that involved training in explosives and weapons of mass destruction, as well as financial and logistical support, and may have included the bombing of the USS Cole and the Sept. 11 attacks. "
Well whaddaya know... old Osama and old Saddam, in bed together. Looks like the warbloggers have been vindicated. right all along.
You never thought I would admit being wrong huh?
I will... but somebody should tell the DOD that issued this statement:
News reports that the Defense Department recently confirmed new information with respect to contacts between al-Qaida and Iraq in a letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee are inaccurate.
They hate America don't they?
The classified annex was not an analysis of the substantive issue of the relationship between Iraq and al Qaida, and it drew no conclusions. Individuals who leak or purport to leak classified information are doing serious harm to national security; such activity is deplorable and may be illegal.
Aw.. man false alarm. No apologies? WND was full of sh*t again? Tell me it isn't so. Not Douglas Feith? Not the Weekly Standard? Who can you beleive these days if not these paragons of truth and honesty?
There's still Bush right?
It stands to reason that self-righteous, inflexible, single-minded, authoritarian true believers are politically organized. Open-minded, flexible, complex, ambiguous, anti-authoritarian people would just as soon be left to mind their own fucking business. -- R.U. Sirius
Your Tax Money at Work
Wired News: Mac Supercomputer Joins Elite
blah blah blah yadda yadda yadda... big fast computer, mega processing speed, wow, cool stuff!
IBM is due to deliver that machine and a 100-teraflop supercomputer, ASCI Purple, to Livermore by early 2005 as part of a deal with the Department of Energy costing up to $267 million.
That's right.. its for the big evil government, who is hard at work subsidizing your next ultimate gaming system through mass purchasing of cutting edge processing technology. That technology will no doubt be found in the next generation of products, sold by our very own tech companies for profit.
Tax subsidized market for new products in technology... IBM should send all taxpayers a thank you card.
That's the Spirit!
G.O.P. Leader Solicits Money for Charity Tied to Convention
Mr. Delay is getting in the spirit of the new campaign finance laws by finding new ways of raising money. The master plan involves needy kids, the Republican convention and lots of money. You are enticed to give money to this charity through celebrity events.. like.... ATTENDING THE REPUBLICAN CONVENTION WITH TOM DELAY!
The money goes to charity of course, tax deductible and not subject to disclosure. That's good right?
But aides to Mr. DeLay, the House majority leader from Texas, acknowledged that part of the money would go to pay for late-night convention parties, a luxury suite during President Bush's speech at Madison Square Garden and yacht cruises.
But you're really just hanging with the GOP and living it up at fancy parties. I have to wonder what kind of charity we're talking about here. Knowing Tom Delay we can expect "RepubliKids: Laptops for needy Ivy League kids of our wealthy donors".
But by holding events at the convention — and working under the auspices of a charity — Mr. DeLay has stepped into an ethical gray area, election law and tax law experts said.
Ethical Grey Area... some call it Washington D.C.
Does Not Follow
"I've seen people take the President to task for daring to say 'you're either with us or against us.' Well, it sounds pretty obvious to me. Al Queda wants the demise of America. They want to kill me, they want to kill you. Doesn't matter what your denomination, doesn't matter your skin color, doesn't matter what political party you belong to. They want to kill you. There is no middle ground. There is no compromising. You either stand on the side of freedom, or you stand by and do nothing while freedom comes under attack. "
.... therefore we must do what Bush says. Ok, I got it. Thanks Cam!
One question, how can I stand on the side of freedom when that side wants to take away my rights as a citizen?
Oh, and does occupying a country count as freedom or not?
Would you say Saudi Arabia is with us or against us?
... and just exactly who is us?
Your Mission, Should You Accept It....
Boston.com / News / Nation / GOP will trumpet preemption doctrine:
"The strategy will involve the dismissal of Democrats as the party of 'protests, pessimism and political hate speech,' Ed Gillespie, Republican National Committee chairman, wrote in a recent memo to party officials -- a move designed to shift attention toward Bush's broader foreign policy objectives rather than the accounts of bloodshed. Republicans hope to convince voters that Democrats are too indecisive and faint-hearted -- and perhaps unpatriotic -- to protect US interests, arguing that inaction during the Clinton years led to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001."
And no doubt this PR campaign will be well funded and the Mighty Wurlitzer will be blasting away again.
Its funny, I hung out an Barnes and Noble for a bit today to see if I wanted to get Krugman's book. I didn't. Not enough new content to make it worth the hefty price. But I was amused to see the sheer numbers of anti-clinton, anti-liberal books bankrolled by the deep pockets of the right. Add to that newspapers like the Washingon Times, the New York Post, television stations like Fox News and MSNBC and the thousands of repeata-bot bloggers and we have the makings of one fancy shmancy propaganda network.
All to convince us that dying soldiers, growing deficits, and high unemployment are an improvement over the days before Bush. If they suceed in that I will be absolutely amazed. It will be a feat talked about for centuries, when they write about the downfall of the great American civilization.
At least I got to read some great audio recording magazines...
Washingtonpost.com: Scaife: Funding Father of the Right:
"By compiling a computerized record of nearly all his contributions over the last four decades, The Washington Post found that Scaife and his family's charitable entities have given at least $340 million to conservative causes and institutions – about $620 million in current dollars, adjusted for inflation. The total of Scaife's giving – to conservatives as well as many other beneficiaries – exceeds $600 million, or $1.4 billion in current dollars, much more than any previous estimate. "
Just a quick reminder when you hear the endless prattling about Soros and his gift of $10 million dollars to Moveon.org.
This right wing movement is a sham. What movement has to have millions of dollars shoveled into it every year to survive? In my mind the Republican party is the marketing arm of a few wealthy corporatists that want to turn back the clock to the days when workers put in 16 hour days, kids worked in mines and women were second class citizens. Ahhhh... those were the days!
Followers of this movement have been conned nito think its legitimate because of the distorted amount of press they receive. Even though that press loses money it still stays in business? I wonder why? Well, we don't expect propaganda to make money do you. We can count the rewards in political payoffs. I wonder if right wing newsdogs can put recent republican wins on their balance sheet.
"You see we lost money but we won elections in Mississippi!"
"Okay, have another $3 million"
I agree with this assessment:
Conservatism is an employers' ideology. Every "conservative" organization is funded by large corporations or corporate foundations: Olin, Scaife, Coors, Mellon, Bradley, are among the biggest. No "left-wing" organization is so funded. "Conservatives" do ideological propaganda for corporate interests, and get paid very well to do it. If you mentally substitute the words "propagandist for employers' interests" for "conservative," you'll understand American political discourse much better.
I don't use the term conservative because many people that call themselves conservative don't support this corporate agenda and in my mind they should be honest and call themselves libertarians. I would substitute Republicanism for conservatism in the above quote.
Once the Democrats start to reflect the same structure as the Republicans then in effect we have two corporate funded parties dueling it out on idealogical lines. Where is the democracy in that? Any party that represents the interests of the working class will fail in a war of corporate giving. We see already that the Democrats have had to soften their message to win corporate support. That is the reason why many people are looking at the Greens as an alternative.
These Designs, They Are A Changin'
Still think the whole thing looks pretty nasty. At least I'm getting further away from those templates that are plaguing blogdom.
Jacksonville.com: Metro: Anti-Iraq war veterans pulled from parade 11/12/03:
"Members of Veterans For Peace and Vietnam Veterans Against the War were yanked off a downtown Tallahassee street, directly in front of the Old Capitol, while marching in the holiday parade they had legitimately registered in."
When I spent a MLK day out marching in a parade with Tulsa Peace Fellowship I met a great guy that had fought in the Gulf War. After the parade we each decided to walk back to the parking lot together. I was a little bit curious to see what his opinions were from his perspective as a former serviceman. I was fully prepared to have my opinions changed by his superior experience in this matter. I was relieved to find he shared many of the same beliefs that I did. He opposed the (then) coming war in Iraq and he didnt see any problem with supporting the troops while opposing the war.
In fact it always seemed a dereliction of duty as citizens to rubber stamp any war that the leaders want to promote without first demanding justification first. It seemed wrong to assume that support for a war should be our default position instead of opposition to that war. To proceed with that war before gaining the earned support seems foolish. The lessons from Vietnam seem to cut two ways; either you think that we should have unconditional support for all wars or you think that we should make sure each war is well understood, supported and planned before we decide to proceed. The former attitude promotes unconditional support for any and all wars as the best way of showing support for the troops. The latter promotes supporting the troops by only sending them to fight in a justified war.
link via atrios
Unix, Music, and Politics ... What was I thinking?:
This is an email that has been circulating around the freeper crowd. Jim at UM&P has the entire email posted at his site. Its a fascinating insight into the mind of the right wing fanatics.
"These 2 liberal actors have sided with Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden and against our own country, as demonstrated by Penn's going to Iraq prior to the war in protest of our pending attack to remove the terrorist regime of Saddam Hussein, saying that we have no right to attack innocent people and that it was the Bush administration that is starting this war. Let us not forget 9/11/2001. "
Two errors of thinking in this little snippet. First, Penn and Robbins did not oppose the war out of support of Saddam and Osama. They opposed the war for the same reason I did, it was a bad idea, executed poorly. Secondly, Saddam and Iraq were not responsible for 9/11. There are some tenuous links but not strong ones. There is however very strong links between Al Queda and 9/11. That group breathed a sigh of relief when we attacked Iraq, when we effectively reduced the amount of troops and effort spent chasing them down.
By all means, if you don't want to support this movie then you have that right, but please don't do so because you believe these lies.
In the Shuffling Madness!
Radio station calls for Jethro Tull boycott
"I hate to see the American flag hanging out of every bloody station wagon, out of every SUV, every little Midwestern house in some residential area," Anderson was quoted as saying. "It's easy to confuse patriotism with nationalism. Flag waving ain't gonna do it."
Symbols are funny things. I always remind people that the first thing they do for a seriel killer on his day in court is dress him up in a suit, give him a close shave and cut his hair nice and short, all visual symbols of respectibility. Of course he's still a seriel killer. The flag is a symbol of freedom, but like all symbols, it gets hijacked by those that want to promote an agenda. Put your money where you mouth is I say. Like Ian said. Either you support the ideals of America or you revert to a "my country take it or leave it" mentality.
... and boy, little did I know that when I started the list of artist speaking out against the current climate of jingoism in America and the Bush Administration's (brainless, dazed, deficient, dense, dim, dodo, doltish, dopy, dotterel, dull, dumb, dummy, foolish, futile, gullible, half-baked, half-witted, idiotic, ill-advised, imbecilic, inane, indiscreet, insensate, irrelevant, irresponsible, laughable, loser, ludicrous, meaningless, mindless, moronic, naive, nonsensical, obtuse, pointless, puerile, rash, senseless, short-sighted, simple, simple-minded, slow, sluggish, stolid, stupefied, thick, thickheaded, trivial, unintelligent, unthinking, witless) policies did I conceive that the list might grow to epic proportions. It hasn't yet.
But fer christ's sakes... Ian Anderson? Who would have thought?
Anyways... classic rock rules. Right now I got some King Crimson playing... right on!
They Stabbed It With Their Steely Knives...
U.S. Tariffs on Steel Are Illegal, World Trade Organization Says:
"Mr. Bush made no public reference Monday to the steel decision, and his aides defended the president's tariffs as perfectly legal, no matter what the highest court in international trade law ruled."
Bush will get it on all sides with this one. He's trying to act politically to win votes from both automakers and the steel industry. One will suffer. Bush can stand by the ruling and say he's only abiding by trade laws but by doing so he sends a clear message that his (and all president's) hands are tied. How does this effect how people will see the presidency if once elected they cannot act in the ways they promised because of binding obligations from the WTO?
Always Low Wages!
Wal-Mart Faces Class-Action Suit:
"In the suit, Wal-Mart and its contractors are also accused of failing to make required workers' compensation and Social Security payments and failing to withhold federal payroll taxes. Wal-Mart and its contractors are also accused of mail fraud, wire fraud, bringing in and harboring illegal immigrants and engaging in a 'pattern of racketeering activity' to prevent officials from enforcing wage and immigration laws."
Sorry about the title, the runner up was "In Hot Walton".
I'm sitting here trying to think of things to say about this, but my only thought is; "This shouldn't suprise anyone". Predictable Consequences.
Companies use contractors as a way of avoiding responsibility. They contract out their business, put pressure on the contractor to meet unreasonable demands, then plead ignorance when that contractor is caught breaking the law. Wal-Mart will no doubt use the innocent angel defense.
READ THIS READ THIS READ THIS READ THIS
Oh man..best read I've had in a long while, and to top it all off it skewers the "men as victims" rash that going around.
"But then comes the part where he enumerates the Heroes For Our time, which enumeration includes (a) John Wayne and (b) Bruce Willis and (c) Clint Eastwood but excludes (d) Sylvester Stalone and (e) Schwartzengropper, which would be sensible except for the fact that these guys are all just actors. They are not really tough, see? They are getting paid to pretend to be tough. They win all their fights because the other actors are paid to fall down. "
Pot Calling the Kettle Iraq
U.S. Ponders Alternatives to Iraq Governing Council (washingtonpost.com):
The Irony Quote....
"The United States is deeply frustrated with its hand-picked council members because they have spent more time on their own political or economic interests than in planning for Iraq's political future"
Word has it they are crossing the nation raising millions and writing letters to the local TV stations protesting an unflattering portrayal of Saddam.
What is Truth, What is Real?
Jessica Lynch Criticizes U.S. Accounts of Her Ordeal:
"Asked how she felt about the reports of her heroism, Ms. Lynch told Ms. Sawyer, 'It hurt in a way that people would make up stories that they had no truth about. Only I would have been able to know that, because the other four people on my vehicle aren't here to tell the story. So I would have been the only one able to say, yeah, I went down shooting. But I didn't.'"
We'll see what she says on tuesday. The actual account, now seemingly corroborated by Lynch herself, was always floating around but was downplayed in favor of the more heroic story that served a politically useful goal; building support for the war.
Sometimes I wonder, who do you believe? In this instance I'll stick with the actual firsthand account. That seems pretty safe, dont you think?
Democrat of Republican?
Diary Date: Democrat Or Republican
This story is funny, except when you remember that a mediocre legacy student that milked his family's wealth and connections is the Republican President. Kinda shoots a big, semi-truck wide hole in the meme that Republicans represent the hard working people of America. Bush looks alot like Mary.
Or should we forget the Bush Story...
But viewed in less sentimental terms, the history of George W. and his millions is a success story about a privileged young man who grew up in proximity to money and political power, appreciated the relationship between them, and so learned to live happily ever after with his wealth and his conscience.
Do I think people should get more than what they are willing to work for? No, but that applies equally to nepotists like Bush who feed off the corporate teat, making millions and holding political power without ever having to work an honest day in their lives.
They're Gonna Take Away My Blog!
Krugman: Flags Versus Dollars:
"But the right opened an increasingly effective counterattack, with a strategy that included using racially charged symbolism to get Southern whites to vote against their own economic interests. All Mr. Dean was saying was that Democrats need to understand and counter this strategy.
I don't know about the "South" so to speak since I'm not sure that OKlahoma has a typical southern mentality. At least not like Mississippi or Alabama or your other Deep South states. Here the big wedge issues are Guns, Taxes, and Religion. The theme revolves around a general fear that the government (aka The Liberals) are always looking for ways to take away the guns, ban religion and raid our homes with goon squads. And the only method to fight back is to cut taxes.
This attitude has been nurtured by an extreme polarization of issues, a world in which one step onto the slippery slope of compromise leads to utter oblivion, a nightmarish police state.
Examples include the NRA, who frame any attempt to regulate gun ownership as "taking away our guns". An objective look at the legislation proposed makes this claim look alarmist. But by equating attempts to restrict gun access to criminals as an assault on the rights of hunters to own firearms you mobilize a constituency to vote according to that issue despite its lack of real relavence. Nothing suprises me more than to have a group of hunters state that people like myself, who favor some form of gun control, want to take away their guns. I want nothing of the sort. They can keep their rifles and handguns for all I care. We have laws governing their use on other human beings. I would however support limits on who can own a gun (known criminals) and what types of firearms are considered too lethal for public consumption (assualt rifles).
Another example would be the so called ban on school prayer, often stated as "kids cannot pray at school". This is an overstatement of the reality. The issue has always been about government sponsorship. Some people overstep the bounds and push to impose religion on others. When they are stopped a cry ensues that "The liberals are trying to get rid of religion". Again, not true. But both cases serve to shore up political support. When Judge Moore attempted to place the ten commandments monument on government grounds he was clearly out of bounds. The issue was reframed to equate people that wanted the monument removed to people that wanted religion obliterated from the face of the earth. Again, not so. I have no problem with people building churches, putting crosses on their lawns, painting "Jesus Saves" in big red spray pain letters on their RV's. I would just rather not have the judge behind the bench judging me on anything other than my guilt or innocence. A compromise position has already been reached. Publicly owned institution should not promote any one religion, but then government should not try to restrict religious practice by individuals on their own private property. That was easy wasn't it?
There are of course some elements that want to see extreme positions taken and will support ideas that are outside of the mainstream. But the best solution to most of these issues is some form of compromise. What's standing in the way of good practical solutions is the political usefulness of a divided public. It becomes harder to identify your core constituents as they become less polarized. By building these stark groups of idealogically driven voters you make it easy to target your campaign messages. Also by doing so you can get people to vote against their interest in other matters by making them focus on the issues that have been designed to influence their voting behavior.
I don't want to make this seem like a strategy employed only by the right and the republicans. The left has their own issues that wedge voters into their camp, most notable among them, abortion. But the right has been more successful at defining their issues and delivering their message. I can't tell you how many times a debate has disintegrated to a repetitive litany of talk show platitudes.
What seems to have gotten Dean into hot water this past few days is his suggestion that people should look beyond these narrowly defined wedge issues (like the confederate flag) and think in broad terms about what would be best for themselves and their families. This strategy should seem counter-productive for Dean who has thus far been able to pump an issue (the Iraq War) for political gain. He seems to be suggesting that when we elect representatives along such narrow lines we don't always get politicains that reflect the needs of the broader public.
An idea that makes a lot of sense, even if it was so poorly stated.
Following the Paper Trail
National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice discovers the identity of the White House leak in the Valerie Plame affair. The leaker, Flat Stanley denies working with Karl Rove despite these incriminating photos of him talking to reporters
Welcome to Limbo, Population : Irrelavent
Tulsa's two 'Novel Idea' bookstores closing:
"A long-time Tulsa bookstore is closing, another victim of competition from the Internet and big discount stores.
Novel Idea was unique to Tulsa. Wal-Mart, K-Mart and Target are not. Tulsa, being a fairly mid-sized city is prone to homogenization, wherein all the stores here are the same stores as every other city. When you live here, you live nowhere. There is no identity for a city that has nothing unique to offer its citizens that they cannot get somewhere else.
More importantly, the money spent at national chains leaves your community. You still get the sales tax and the employee's salaries. But the revenues and profits leave. They can actually drain the vitality of your community by taking money out of the city cycle and siphoning it off to other communities.
So there you go. Welcome to Wal-City.
Indian Business Machines
IBM lays off some Tulsa employees: (link may die)
I have mentioned at least once the presence of IBM trainees from India here to learn accounting. Well, it looks like the ax has finally fallen. Layoffs.
"An IBM spokeswoman does confirm that about 40 workers were laid off. But one of those workers says it was the way they lost their jobs that has them doubly upset. The worker told us their jobs are being moved to India. What's more, the worker says employees here trained their Indian counterparts, in other words trained the people that are taking their jobs.
What's notable is the type of jobs that have been cut; white collar accounting jobs. These are good paying jobs that require schooling. These are the types of jobs we were supposed to get. Jobs safe from this type of overseas outsourcing. Not so. What happens to those student loans used to get that accounting degree?
The spokesperson won't say that the jobs moved to India, but let's look at the objective facts. IBM brings Indian workers to Tulsa to train in accounting. After training several groups of new accountants for months the accounting jobs here disappear. IBM wants to deny the obvious facts; that they used American workers to train their lower wage replacements. I once quit a job instead of training my new boss.
Juan Cole * Informed Comment *:
"The Christian Coalition and other rightwing religious groups supporting Reagan even had a 'biblical checklist' by which they wanted all senators and congressmen to be judged. And one of the items in the 'biblical checklist' was 'support for the Afghan 'freedom fighters.' The rightwing Christians were saying in the 1980s that if you didn't support al-Qaeda and its Mujahidin allies, you didn't deserve to be in Congress! They wanted representatives tossed out for this crime. And now the same groups are droning on about how the Prophet Muhammad was a terrorist, cashing in on Sept. 11 to spread religious bigotry. But the Prophet Muhammad opposed terrorism. Who promoted al-Qaeda and kindred groups? Jerry Falwell and Ronald Reagan."
History is so inconvenient when trying to build icons. So the question seems to be; will the right wing ever take responsibility for dragging us into that disasterous Cold War framework that lead to the creation of the Sept. 11th terrorists? Will we make the same mistakes again to placate their fears?
It doesn't look good. Right now I fully expect George W. Bush to be re-elected for of his willingness to engage in foolish policies in order to secure political favor. What was the war in Iraq if not an attempt to quell people's sense of helplessness? Will Bush be able to pump 9/11 all the way to a re-election?
The Daily Camera: Editorials:
"In both houses of Congress, there is still significant opposition to any curb on greenhouse gases. Sen. James M. Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican, summarized the opposition's views: 'The science underlying this bill has been repudiated; the economic costs are far too high, and the environmental benefits are nonexistent.'
Oh brother. How long until we can get rid of this guy?
[You may have noticed some changes around here. Its just our little way of trying to spice things up. Of course, if it looks bad for you, let me know.]
[Notice: There was going to be another post here critical of Ronald Reagan. But due to our new policy at this blog of making sure every post is sensitive to the wishes of the RNC we have decided, upon reviewing the post, pre-publication, that it did not contain enough Gipper glorification and have thus decided not to publish the post here.]
No Kidding? More Thoughts on Health Care
INDUSTRYWEEK DAILY PAGE:
"The most recent National Small Business Poll from the Washington, D.C.-based National Federation of Independent Business shows just 48% of small businesses offer health insurance. Of those employers not offering health care, 65% of those surveyed say high cost is the major reason they don't provide coverage. Another 31% of small business owners contend that setting up and funding a health insurance plan is too complicated. The poll involved 750 employers, with interviews being conducted between April 30 and May 29 of this year. "
My question: Where is the money going?
We have this tendency to think about money disappearing somewhere when it is spent. So when we think about the rising cost of health care, we have to ask a more relevant question: who is on the receiving end? If the money is going into the pockets of a few individuals who are using the system to amass vast personal fortunes we should be more worried than if that money is being used to employ thousands of workers needed to provide care, do research and file paperwork. Once we know that answer we can determine what to do next. The goal here is to make sure that every individual has access to quality care at a reasonable price. We can see that our goal is only compatible with one of the above scenarios. For while both will cause rising costs only the scenario that involves profiteering can be solved without a loss of quality care for people.
Which reminds me of some stock advice I once heard; go with pharmaceutical and health care.
"'As someone who served with President Reagan, and in the interest of historical accuracy, please allow me to share with you some of my recollections of the Reagan years that I hope will make it into the final cut of the mini-series: $640 Pentagon toilets seats; ketchup as a vegetable; union busting; firing striking air traffic controllers; Iran-Contra; selling arms to terrorist nations; trading arms for hostages; retreating from terrorists in Beirut; lying to Congress; financing an illegal war in Nicaragua; visiting Bitburg cemetery; a cozy relationship with Saddam Hussein; shredding documents; Ed Meese; Fawn Hall; Oliver North; James Watt; apartheid apologia; the savings and loan scandal; voodoo economics; record budget deficits; double digit unemployment; farm bankruptcies; trade deficits; astrologers in the White House; Star Wars; and influence peddling.'"
Thinking about it, Reagan does symbolically represent the Republican party. Neither can remember all the awful things he did as president.
Speech by Secretary Richard Cheney:
note: this is in response to people that said the US should have gone into Baghdad at the end of the first Gulf War.
"I think that the proposition of going to Baghdad is also fallacious. I think if we were going to remove Saddam Hussein we would have had to go all the way to Baghdad, we would have to commit a lot of force because I do not believe he would wait in the Presidential Palace for us to arrive. I think we'd have had to hunt him down. And once we'd done that and we'd gotten rid of Saddam Hussein and his government, then we'd have had to put another government in its place.
Now, however was a good time to get bogged (or is it slogged?) down in a quagmire in Iraq.
oh... and word out is that the Draft Board is getting a new coat of paint.
Comic Book Reality?
Poor Yar, a freak accident involving an issue of the National Review and the freakish Solar Flares has left him a neocon. We all pray for his speedy recovery. Right now it doesn't look good...
Anybody who opposes the coming war with Belarus is a scum-sucking anti-American French-loving sodomite traitor idiotarian fucktard asshat moonbat!
Things look bad... If this keeps up he might have no other vocational outlets but talk radio.
CBS Caves... Not Suprised.
CNN.com - CBS pulls Reagan miniseries - Nov. 4, 2003:
Right, it had nothing to do with pressure? They regularly decide to spend money on a project and scrap it because of lack of Reagan worship.
In related news, The Pope has sped up the beatification process for Ronald Reagan. Mother Theresa, despite being already dead has been put on the backburner. The Vatican has announced that within five minutes of the Reagan's death he would be officially, St. Gipper. The Miracles attributed to Reagan include his tax cuts and "everything good that has happened with the American economy in the last 20 years". This is a suprising move considering the Gipper himself was a Presbyterian. But, responds Rome "His father was a nominal Catolic, and we think that counts, especially when you consider that making Ronnie a saint significantly reduces the chances of a bombing raid on Vatican City".
Italics provided by the Institute for Sarcasm Impairment
What Happened to the Hippies?
This question has bothered me for some time. I look around, do a little mental math, and figure that all these 50-60 year olds walking around would have been part of the hippie countercultural movement and I wonder, if there were so many hippies running around as its been depicted then where did they all go? Surely some would have passed on their hippy ways to their children as well.
Instead I look around and see bland consumers...
"ALT-X: Hippies were these rich kids?
The leading theory, one supported by a little bit of poking around on the web is that Hippies were 1) not as significant a cultural movement as proported by popular media portrayals and 2) Hippies were actually nothing more than a consumer movement, one based on the new revelation that mass marketers could make a killing selling sex to young people. Liberation, while a legitimate lifestyle choice for some was for others nothing more than a reason to spend their parent's money and sow their oats before retreating to a more conservative lifestyle of work and child rearing. And while this meant a shift in the cultural makeup of society it didn't lead in the direction that some might have thought, namely, that we would all drop out of the rat race and live simple lives in harmonious communion with nature and each other. A quick look around shatters that illusion. What happened instead was a broad new avenue of marketing opened up, giving us the super sexed-up trends of today. Parents, once possibly hippies themselves, see their children's indulgence in various trends; punk, hip-hop, rave, goth, grunge, etc. as understandable, as long as their kiddies eventually grow up and get jobs. Most do. You have to in order to support your consumptive habits.
Some of the underlying ideals of the hippie culture, ones shared by movements that have followed, that individuality should not be subjugated by the corporate state were shelved on favor of creating a lifestyle image that could be marketed. In short, any anti-consumer component of any trend will be stripped out before it reaches the mainstream. By the time it reaches critical mass it must have evolved into a matter of purchase decisions; music, books, brands, clothes, hairstyles, location etc... Nothing that would affect you future lucrative career as a cog.
Well, that's my theory and I'm sticking to it. Until a better one comes along...
In Reagan We Trust?
CBS Is Reconsidering Mini-Series on Reagan:
"Under pressure from Republicans and conservative groups, CBS is weighing a decision to scrap a completed four-hour mini-series, 'The Reagans,' an unflattering portrait of former President Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy, according to a person involved in the production."
This idolizing of Reagan has gone to absurd lengths where the cult of personality (formerly know as the Republicans) don't even have the good sense to let the movie air, then trash it. That's the way everybody else does it.
Oh Sure.. When I say it....
"Those in Mexico, Indonesia, Brazil, India and other emerging markets should be told a quite different message: do not strive for a mythical free-market economy, which has never existed. Do not follow the encomiums of US special interests, whether in the corporate or financial arena, because, although they preach free markets, back home they rely on the US government to advance their aims.
Protectionism works, and if you don't beleive me, ask an American farmer. We have one of the most activist governments there are, and that is the reason for the continued success of the American system. There is a profitable balance between letting the maruaders have their way, and making sure that at the end of the day its not self destructive. We seem to want to deny other nations the same tools we use, why?
Google Search: %22fun+while+it+lasted%22
Economist.com | The next hot internet stock:
"For some time now, Google's board (which includes two of Silicon Valley's best-known venture capitalists, John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Michael Moritz of Sequoia Capital) has been deliberating how to translate that power into money. They appear to have decided to bring Google to the stockmarket next spring. Bankers have been overheard estimating Google's value at $15 billion or more. That could make Google Silicon Valley's first hot IPO since the dotcom bust, and perhaps its biggest ever."
Cash out, Kiss of Death, call it what you want. The VC's at Google think the fatted calf is ready for the slaughter.
To be worth the rumoured $15 billion for longer than it takes a bubble to burst, it will need to raise its profitability substantially.
Is that a eulogy or an epitaph?
The Three Point Jumper
Project Syndicate: Living Under Occupation by Ralf Dahrendorf :
"But the most important aspect of the German experience was the sense of where the occupation would lead. In the old Soviet zone, it soon became clear that it would lead to a totalitarian satellite regime. Those who could left the Soviet zone and settled in the West; those who could not faced the sullen existence of subjects rather than citizens. "
A disturbing undercurrent of the American occupation of Iraq can be felt in the inherent sense of opposition that some Americans feel about the Middle East. The feeling is that should we allow the people of Iraq to go about the business of building their own country they would inevitably create a monster Islamic state that would stand up against the U.S. and we would be no better off than during the Saddam days.
A dilemna arises. The success of the rebuilding of Iraq depends on the faith of the Iraqi people that the nation they create will be one of their own choosing. For the U.S. the measure of success will be the creation of an Iraqi nation that lives in peace and cooperation with us. The problem arises when there is little or no faith that an Iraq built by Iraqis will be what America desires. So the inclination is to try to exhert control over the process to produce the desired results. But by doing so you destroy the faith that is essential for success.
This is where faith in process comes into play. We must believe that once the principle ingredients are in place that a peaceful Iraq will result. And we must accept that the Iraqi state that comes about will not be everything we think it should be. It will have its own distinct style and flavor. A quick look around the world at the other free nations provides a variety of forms that democracies can take. The essential components are the same; representive rule and respect for human rights and freedoms, but the character and process can be varied.
Its like taking a shot in basketball. You line up with the goal, position your hands and go through the motion to send the ball on its way. Once you release the ball its out of your control. You have to have faith that the shot was executed properly, otherwise you never release the ball and no points are ever made. Obviously the process of rebuilding a nation is not one you can practice very often. We're a little bit like that guy who tries to win the million dollar Dr. Pepper shot from mid court. The stakes are high but our faith in our abilities is weak.
If we send a clear message to the Iraqis that we have no faith in their eventual self determination then their faith in the occupation will crumble. For this reason President Bush and his Iraqi team must not only put forth a public face of confidence, which to their credit they are trying to do, but they must also work very hard to quell any fears that American administrators will step in should an Iraqi government decide to represent what would be an Iraqi majority opinion but one counter to American wishes. I am specifically thinking in terms of the Isreali/Palestinian situation where its a good probability that a free Iraq, one which represents the opinions of its citizens would be pro-palestinian.
Will we tolerate democracy in the Middle East?
On This Side of the Scales...
Salon.com News | Fox News: The inside story:
"Yes, it is. Hearing the mantra, you know, 'Fair and balanced. We report, you decide.' I mean, come on. Don't make me laugh. "
Charlie Reina worked for Fox News for six years as a producer, copy editor and writer. The interview at Salon.com reminds me of work. No, I don't work at Fox News, or any other media giant. I do however work for a large corporate entity that uses it management layers as a way of promoting an unspoken agenda.
Its a simple system really. Upper management promotes a very public image and set of goals, something like, "customers first!" or "employees are our best assets". You know, the usual crapola. Meanwhile the second layer of management simmers with competition to prove their worth and loyalty to the big dawgs. Middle managers that produce results are promoted and others are left to languish. The message, even if unspoken is heard loud and clear. The upper levels usually maintain a plausible amount of deniability (unless they're stupid, a la Enron) and if anybody takes a fall for pushing the edges of legality or integrity its the second and third tiers that are given an easy way out with their resumes intact.
I'd Buy That for a Dollar!
Southern Business and Development:
"In addition to Oklahoma's cost-friendly status, the state offers a myriad of incentives to help you achieve your most productive bottom line. Tax exemptions, refunds, credits and exclusions all represent money in your corporate pocket. The establishment of both Enterprise Zones and an Empowerment Zone, support for transportation and distribution, and financing assistance are all reasons to take a closer look at Oklahoma City.
I like that... "Tax exemptions, refunds, credits and exclusions all represent money in your corporate pocket."
So, where did that money come from?
But, there's more. An ad from the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce
So if you can save up to $8 million in five years for a 100-employee operation, how much can you save for an 11,000-employee operation, such as the previously mentioned Lockheed Martin facility? We can't absolutely answer that since we have not done any case studies focusing on deals that large. But it's safe to say that after five years, Lockheed Martin would easily save hundreds of millions (about $300 to $400M in our estimation) if that large facility was operating in the South as opposed to Colorado.
Tax funded bribes for jobs? I wonder what the people who lost their jobs think about this system? And how much of those millions gets paid out to shareholders.
Dissolve into Evergreens