"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality." --Bishop Desmond Tutu

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

My favorite video from election night!

I know people are quite amused by Tweety's attempts to get Michelle Bachmann to answer a simple question only to be thwarted by her zombie answers from the GOP talking-points manual.  But I think this exchange between Lawrence O'Donnell and Eric Cantor is so much more telling.  This guy will be the 2nd most powerful person in the House come January and he lacks even the most rudimentary understanding of economics.  These are our leaders.

H.P. Lovecraft on Republicans (1936)

“As for the Republicans—how can one regard seriously a frightened, greedy, nostalgic huddle of tradesmen and lucky idlers who shut their eyes to history and science, steel their emotions against decent human sympathy, cling to sordid and provincial ideals exalting sheer acquisitiveness and condoning artificial hardship for the non-materially-shrewd, dwell smugly and sentimentally in a distorted dream-cosmos of outmoded phrases and principles and attitudes based on the bygone agricultural-handicraft world, and revel in (consciously or unconsciously) mendacious assumptions (such as the notion that real liberty is synonymous with the single detail of unrestricted economic license or that a rational planning of resource-distribution would contravene some vague and mystical ‘American heritage’…) utterly contrary to fact and without the slightest foundation in human experience? Intellectually, the Republican idea deserves the tolerance and respect one gives to the dead.”

Monday, November 01, 2010

Politics in the ADHD Age

Americans, as a group, appear to suffer from extreme ADHD.  We run back and forth between political parties, swinging the country left and right, left and right, never allowing one party or the other enough time to solve the complex problems our world presents.  We want quick fixes and easy answers to problems that cannot be resolved with a Tweet.  Look at this chart

The nation is set to swing back to a party that, for the 8 years preceding 2008, managed to run up enourmous debt, get us into two unwinnable wars and divide the nation into haves and have-nots the likes of which we haven't seen since the 1890s.  And yet, in our ADHD frenzy, because Obama and the Democrats weren't able to solve these nearly insoluble problems in 2 years, we're on the verge of handing the wheel back to the party that trashed the nation in the first place.  WTF???

Friday, October 29, 2010

And another thing...

Here's a good set of reasons to show up at the polls on Tuesday... So moronic jackwagon teabaggers don't get elected.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Don't worry, you're not alone

A majority of Americans would flunk a Climate Science test if forced to take one.  This is not surprising considering the volume of anti-information out there about climate change.  But a new study published by Yale University lays bare the extent that this propaganda campaign has succeeded in obfuscating the realities of global climate change for Americans.
The study found that 63 percent of Americans believe that global warming is happening, but many do not understand why. In this assessment, only 8 percent of Americans have knowledge equivalent to an A or B, 40 percent would receive a C or D, and 52 percent would get an F. The study also found important gaps in knowledge and common misconceptions about climate change and the earth system. These misconceptions lead some people to doubt that global warming is happening or that human activities are a major contributor, to misunderstand the causes and therefore the solutions, and to be unaware of the risks. Thus many Americans lack some of the knowledge needed for informed decision-making in a democratic society. For example, only:

  • 57% know that the greenhouse effect refers to gases in the atmosphere that trap heat;
  • 50% of Americans understand that global warming is caused mostly by human activities;
  • 45% understand that carbon dioxide traps heat from the Earth’s surface;
  • 25% have ever heard of coral bleaching or ocean acidification.

Meanwhile, large majorities incorrectly think that the hole in the ozone layer and aerosol spray cans contribute to global warming, leading many to incorrectly conclude that banning aerosol spray cans or stopping rockets from punching holes in the ozone layer are viable solutions.
Fully 52% of Americans would fail a test of climate science facts.  Frankly, I'm not surprised.  And I guarantee that this number is not evenly distributed.  Given you start with a core base of 26% of the population who identify themselves as "Republicans" who are likely to all fail, it's not surprising that the balance would come from the remaining 74% of the population.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What if...

If we stopped paying attention to this

and this
and this
and this
and especially this

would the world stop spinning on it's axis?  Would the moon crash into the Earth?  Would the vey fabric of space and time unravel?  Probably not.  But we all get a little dumber when we elevate these people to celebrity status for doing nothing.

Facts are stubborn things

For 650,000 years, the CO2 levels in Earth's atmosphere have remained below 300ppm.  That's a long time...  and now?  Where are CO2 levels?  How about 390ppm.

And there's no sign that it's going to reverse anytime soon.  Basically, we're fucked.

This data, provided by NASA, indicates without a shadow of a doubt that humans are having a strong impact on the CO2 levels in the atmosphere.  There is no point in denying or arguing about it.
The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is very likely human-induced and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented in the past 1,300 years.
Denying the impact of humans on the atmosphere is like denying that the Earth is round or that we live in a Heliocentric universe.

Judo CHOP!!!

Jerry Brown kicks Meg Whitman in the nuts...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Dems shrink deficit

Here's a story you won't hear from the horse-race-obsessed MSM.  The Democrats shrank the deficit in 2010 by nearly $122 billion.  Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, GOPers.
For the 2010 fiscal year that ended on September 30, the government had a budget shortfall of 1.294 trillion dollars, down 122 billion dollars from the previous year's record-setting high.
Revenue rose and spending fell amid recovery from recession and as President Barack Obama's Democratic administration wound down some of the emergency measures taken to restore growth.
Suck on that, Rethuglicans!

Remembering Feingold and the War - Wikileaks Exposes the Horror of Iraq

There is more than enough guilt to go around here, but the revelations on Wikileaks about the US and UK prosecution of the war in Iraq are horrifying.  How Bush and his cronies along with the bulk of the Democratic party currently in power (with Senator Russ Feingold a critical exception) dragged our nation, our flag and our lives through the blood and mud of Iraq is revolting.
Key figures in the British Army and Government must have been privy to this information. They held their tongues and presumably sidestepped any ethical niggles. The Americans were in command and you don't get to lick the arse of the world's only superpower and then turn round and kick it. That, you understand, is the pact, the unbreakable deal behind our special relationship.
The British and the United States conspired to keep quiet the ongoing criminal conspiracy of our ongoing occupation of Iraq.  Is it any wonder that the Iraqi's want us gone?

But Russ saw this coming.  He knew that the invasion of subsequent occupation that would be required to control Iraq in the vacuum created by the elimination of Saddam would have horrible consequences for our nation.
I wonder if some staunch supporters of the Iraq war will now think again about the purpose and execution of that illegal and vainglorious expedition. The sanctions and war killed, maimed and destroyed more civilians than Saddam did, even during the most diabolical periods of his rule. Blair, Bush and their armies have never had to face proper, international judicial interrogations. Now imagine good Muslims worldwide, who know all about universal rights, but can see that there is no universal accountability, that Third World despots are made to pay while others earn millions writing autobiographies and lecturing the world on good leadership and governance.
I wonder...

Friday, October 22, 2010

For Sale: 2010 Midterm Election, cheap!

The GOP are busy this election cycle.  Busy buying the election from us all.  But I guess that's just the FreeMarket(tm) in action.

7 of the top 10 big spenders in politics this cycle are supporting the GOP in one way or another.  And the biggest non-party contributor to the noise?  The US Chamber of Horrors Commerce with a whopping $21.1 million spend so far.  Of that $21.1 million spend, $13.2 million went towards attack ads against Democrats (of a total of $15 million in attack ad spending of which $0 went to attack Rethuglicans).  A mere $2.5 million went to support candidates.

This is where we are kids, and it's only going to get worse.  Just wait until the 2012 Presidential election cycle.  I've already set my phone to block calls from all but 18 trusted phone numbers (we were getting 3 robo-calls every night!), and we live in a non-contested Congressional district (WI-5, home of Senslessbrainer Sensenbrenner).  I can't imagine what 2012 is going to be like.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Dumber than a bag of hammers

Is Christine O'Donnell the stupidest person to run for public office ever? And among the GOP, she faces some seriously stiff competition. She makes Sarahcuda (aka The Quitter) seem like a Rhodes Scholar by comparison.  And that's no mean feat.

She is unable to name a single Democratic Senator. Not one. I'm not kidding.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A brief history of stimulus

'Nuff said.

Defense Cuts in the UK

The British government (a Conservative government, BTW) is poised to cut defense spending 8% over the next 4 years. That's amazing!  British Conservatives have the ability to launch cuts in their defense spending.  What would that look like in America, you ask?  Let's do the math.

America currently spends $510 billion on defense.  If we were to assume a straight-line decrease of 2%/year cumulative, that would look something like this:

  • Year 1: $10.2 billion cut
  • Year 2: $20.4 billion cut
  • Year 3: $30.6 billion cut
  • Year 4: $40.8 billion cut
This would represent a savings of $102 billion over the course of 4 years.  That's not chump change.  That would keep social security, medicare AND every other social program known to man afloat forever.

But of course that will never happen...  Corporate welfare queens, especially those in the defense industry would never let something like that get through.  Remember, kids, we live in the age of the Military-Industrial complex!

Another "Dirty Little Secret" for America

It's hard to come to terms with the ignorance and stupidity of the American public.  So many times have I heard it said "trust in the voters, they'll know what to do."  But time and again, people are convinced by the blathering spew coming from our right-wing media that America is doomed because of the debt / the deficit / the terrorists / the Communists / the Negroes / etc. / etc. / etc.

Well, another editorial attempts to spit into that wind and sums things up quite nicely.
The dirty little secret is that most Americans don't really know what they think about the issues that so animate the political conversation in Washington, and what they think they know about them is often wrong.
Most Americans still think that the bailouts of the banks, the auto companies and American International Group will wind up costing taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars. In fact, the latest guess is that the government will come out even on the deal, and may even turn a profit. 

Shocking, isn't it. American's aren't blessed with native intelligence, certainly not intelligence sufficient enough to grapple with the complex nature of today's problems.  In fact, it doesn't take a rocket surgeon to figure this one out.  The constant inundation of falsehoods from the right-wing noisemakers ensures that American's cannot separate the wheat from the chaff.  That, combined with the continued decline in our nation's educational achievements point to the fact that we are heading straight for Idiocracy.
The years passed, mankind became stupider at a frightening rate. Some had high hopes that genetic engineering would correct this trend in evolution, but sadly the greatest minds and resources where focused on conquering hair loss and prolonging erections.
Perhaps it's time to rethink this whole media deregulation thing...

Review: Poisoning the Press: Richard Nixon, Jack Anderson, and the Rise of Washington's Scandal Culture

Poisoning the Press: Richard Nixon, Jack Anderson, and the Rise of Washington's Scandal CulturePoisoning the Press: Richard Nixon, Jack Anderson, and the Rise of Washington's Scandal Culture by Mark Feldstein

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you want to see the antecedents of the Bush crime family, look no further than the pages of this book. Tracing a line from Nixon in the 1940s and the Alger Hiss case through to the corruption of ex-military officers parroting the talking points of the Pentagon on Faux News, this book covers the history of the corrupting influence of that virulent strain of political slime that is Conservatism. The dirty tricks, the bribery, scandal, backstabbing and even murder (almost).

A wonderfully researched and very well written history of the relationship between the press and politicians, it reads like a thriller. It is quite the page-turner and you'll have trouble putting it down.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Now with Bubble Action!

Remember this iconic image from 1969?

Well, the 21st century has a new take on the "flowers in the rifles" meme.  Bubbles.  Yes, that's right.  Bubbles.

The large police officer on the receiving end of this stream of bubbles told the young woman, "If the bubble touches me, you're going to be arrested for assault.."  Yes, folks, the hulking police officer was going to arrest her for assault with a bubble.  Seriously.  What a joke...  Welcome to the new world order!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

ACORN vindicated (again)

Once again we see the bloviation, gyrations and racism of the right brought to light in the dry prose of a GAO report on the whole ACORN affair.  To summarize, Wingnuttia went, well, nuts that ACORN was registering "colored" people (you know, black, brown and yellow) to vote.  And in Wingnuttia, the only people who should be eligible to vote are white Christian landowners.  We can't have enfranchisement for these undesirable Outsiders.  No, that cannot be permitted.  So the zombie legions of Wingnuttia rose as one to smite the leaders of ACORN accusing them of all number of heinous crimes including voter registration fraud and defrauding the government.

Well low and behold, it turns out to have been all one big lie.  How surprising...  How remarkable... How predictable.
DOJ and the FBI identified six investigations, generally involving allegations of voter registration fraud on the part of ACORN employees, all of which were closed without action due to insufficient evidence and lack of evidence.
 Remember, in Wingnuttia facts are secondary to perceptions and politics!

Monday, June 14, 2010

We are all responsible

We are all responsible for this...

and this

and this

every time we do this

Not just BP and the lax oversight of the government agency that was supposed to keep the greedy bastards at BP and the other carbon extractors honest, but all of us who vote for politicians who take money from these pricks and then vote to preserve the status quo.  We are all responsible.  Each and every one of us who allow this to happen.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Scott Walker's plans...

Don't say he didn't tell us what he'd do if he got elected.

  • He will end the high-speed train program between Milwaukee, Madison and Minneapolis
  • He want's an RTA but doesn't want to pay for it
  • Promote global climate change denial
  • Cut, cut, cut
So if he gets elected, don't be surprised.  Do what you can to ensure that this troglodyte doesn't make it to the governor's office.  Support Tom Barrett for Governor

In a sentimental mood - Duke Ellington and John Coltrane

This one really gets me... Duke Ellington and John Coltrane together. Pure magic!

Blog Reboot

Well kids, I think I'll give it a whirl again. Time to reboot the blog and get my ass in gear to get stuff posted. I let the blog languish because, honestly, I need to be riled up to post here. My friends, I'm riled up again. This whole BP spill in the gulf and this government's response has me fit to be tied. I cannot believe the way this whole affair is being handled by the Obama administration.

So I'm back to rant with you, this time not against the usual rogues gallery of Rethuglican losers (and you know who you are, darlings!), but against an administration that I whole-heartedly supported and endorsed to friends and family. My feelings of betrayal run deep and I hope this is a one-term-and-out President. As a nation, I guess we need another 4 years of Rethuglican mismanagement to get it into our thick skulls that a party that claims that government is the problem, has no business running government!!!

Watch this space for more posts.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Your daily dose of jazz...

With Chet Baker Live in Belgium in 1964... A truly wonderful performance, both as a singer and a horn player.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Racism at the NRO? Surely NOT! Mark Krikorian

In an article at the NRO entitled What to Do About Haiti?, Mark Krikorian posits that the primary reason that Haiti is so screwed up is that they weren't colonized long enough.

"But, unlike Jamaicans and Bajans and Guadeloupeans, et al., after experiencing
the worst of tropical colonial slavery, the Haitians didn't stick around long
enough to benefit from it. (Haiti became independent in 1804.). And by benefit I
mean develop a local culture significantly shaped by the more-advanced
civilization of the colonizers. Sure, their creole language is influenced by
French, but they never became black Frenchmen, like the Martiniquais, or
'Afro-Saxons,' like the Barbadians. Where a similar creolization took place in
Africa, you saw a similar thing — the Cape Coloureds, who are basically black
Afrikaaners, and even the Swahili peoples of the east African coast, who are
Arabized blacks. A major indicator of how superficial is the overlay of French
culture in Haiti is the strength of paganism, in the form of voodoo — the French
just weren't around long enough to suppress it, to the detriment of Haitians."
Let me suggest another alternative. Haiti owes much of it's poverty to exactly the opposite of what Kirkorian asserts: a long-standing racist approach to the 2nd oldest republic in the western hemisphere. In our arrogance we think we're the only people with a history to remember. We think that our revolution and our position in the world grants us special status to judge the lives of others.

Haiti has a history and a story of her own. And it's a story written, more often than not, in the blood of her people.

Between 1849 and 1913, US Navy ships entered Haitian waters 24 times to "protect
American lives and property." Haiti's independence was scarcely given even "token recognition," Schmidt observes in his standard history, and there was little consideration for the rights of its people. They are "an inferior
people," unable "to maintain the degree of civilization left them by the French or to develop any capacity of self government entitling them to international respect and confidence,"
Assistant Secretary of State William Phillips wrote, recommending the policy of invasion and US military government that President Woodrow Wilson soon adopted. Few words need be wasted on the civilization left to 90 percent of the population by the French, who, as an ex-slave related, "hung up men with heads downward, drowned them in sacks, crucified them on planks, buried them alive, crushed them in mortars..., forced them to eat shit,
... cast them alive to be devoured by worms, or onto anthills, or lashed them to
stakes in the swamp to be devoured by mosquitos, ...threw them into boiling cauldrons of cane syrup" -- when not "flaying them with the lash" to extract the
wealth that helped give France its entry ticket to the rich men's club.
The French did more to fuck up the world than any other colonial power (with the possible exception of the Belgians who destroyed the Congo). To assert that Haiti was somehow better off under the rule of the French is racist, imperialist and just fucking stupid.

Note: For a decent short history of the Haitian revolution, read this.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pat Robertson: Total Douche Lord!

It's rare that you see douchebaggery at this level. It takes an extraordinarily delusional and degraded mind to come up with this:
Something happened a long time ago in Haiti and people might not want to talk about," Robertson said Tuesday.

"They were under the heel of the French, you know Napoleon the third and whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said 'We will serve you if you will get us free from the prince.' True story. And so the devil said, 'Ok it’s a deal.' And they kicked the French out. The Haitians revolted and got something themselves free. But ever since they have been cursed by one thing after another," Robertson said.
Are you fucking kidding me you wretched sack of bloody bile? The bodies aren't even cold yet and you're blaming the fucking victims of this horrible natural disaster for their plight??? Doesn't Hati have enough troubles without you whoring for the cameras you steaming pile of pig feces? How do you sleep at night?

Haiti earthquake: How to help

Haiti earthquake: How to help

The U.S. State Department Operations Center said Americans seeking information about family members in Haiti should call . Due to heavy volume, some callers may receive a recording. "Our embassy is still in the early stages of contacting American citizens through our Warden Network," the U.S. State Department said in a statement. "Communications are very difficult within Haiti at this time."

For those interesting in helping immediately, simply text "HAITI" to "90999" and a donation of $10 will be given automatically to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts, charged to your cell phone bill.

What the "Eurabia" Authors Get Wrong About Islam in Europe - By Justin Vaïsse | Foreign Policy

This is a facinating article on the phony warcry from the wingnuts that Europe is becoming a Muslim entity. It's shocking how stupid these people can be.

By 2050, Europe will be unrecognizable. Instead of romantic cafes, Paris's Boulevard Saint-Germain will be lined with halal butcheries and hookah bars; the street signs in Berlin will be written in Turkish. School-children from Oslo to Naples will read Quranic verses in class, and women will be veiled.

Not even close. The authors of these books are trying to scare Americans into fearing all things Islamic (as if we needed any help with that). Remember, these are the same people who demonized the Soviet Union even as it became abundantly clear in the 1980s that the USSR was a hollow shell ready to collapse in on itself.
Clichés are not the only reason why the foundations of the Eurabia literature are shaky. By relying chiefly on anecdotes rather than data, these books misrepresent the complex evolving picture of Islam in Europe. They also eliminate social and economic conditions, including discrimination, from the picture.
In fact, these books basically lie about the demographics!

Beyond all the sloppy anecdotal evidence, the Eurabia literature relies on two major false assumptions. The first is demographic. The literature holds that Europe will be Islamic at the end of the century "at the very latest," with Muslim majorities in some European countries "in the foreseeable future," in the words of Bernard Lewis in his 2007 pamphlet, "Europe and Islam." That's because "native populations are aging and fading and being supplanted remorselessly by a young Muslim demographic," Steyn explains in America Alone (2006). "Europe will be semi-Islamic in its politico-cultural character within a generation."

If these books insist so much on the future, it is because current figures are unimpressive. According to the higher range of estimates by the U.S. National Intelligence Council (NIC), there are already as many as 18 million Muslims in Western Europe, or 4.5 percent of the population. The percentage is even lower for the 27-country European Union as a whole. The future will certainly see an increase, but it's hard to imagine that Europe will even reach the 10 percent mark (except in some countries or cities). For one thing, as the same NIC study indicates and demographers agree, fertility rates among Muslims are sharply declining as children of immigrants gradually conform to prevailing social and economic norms. Nor is immigration still a major source of newly minted European Muslims. Only about 500,000 people a year come legally to Europe from Muslim-majority countries, with an even smaller number coming illegally -- meaning that the annual influx is a fraction of a percent of the European population.

Give me a break...

Blog Reboot

I'm going to be rebooting this blog over the next few days... New Year's Resolution and all.