Monday, November 30, 2009

Irony--and 13 People at Fort Hood--Is Dead

As reported by BuzzFlash, today, the alleged Ft. Hood killer bought the alleged murder weapon and the alleged murder bullets at "Guns Galore" in Killeen (No, REALLY! You can't make this shit up), TX, USA. KILLeen, Texas? Sad that Kurt Vonnegut didn't live, to let us have his wit with which to appreciate the poignancy.
Did you know that the shooter at Fort Hood did not use an army issued gun? No, he bought his weapon legally at a firearms store with the name of "Guns Galore":
Law enforcement officials say a 5.7-millimeter pistol used in the Fort Hood shooting rampage was purchased legally at a Texas gun store.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case.

Records indicate Hasan bought the FN 5.7 at store called “Guns Galore” in Killeen, Texas, well before the attack that left 13 people dead. The pistol has been dubbed a “cop killer” by those who have tried to stop its use.

The most powerful type of ammunition for the gun is available only to law enforcement and military personnel. Gun control advocates call it a “cop killer” weapon because that ammo can pierce bulletproof vests, and its use by Mexican drug cartels worries police.
There's no apparent evidence that the alleged shooter used the alleged 'cop-killer' rounds, afaik. But a bigger point could be that, if the Ft. Hood shootings are an "act of terror"--as the demagogues on the right would have us believe, to further justify their anti-Muslim crusades--then perhaps it would behoove us to pay much more attention to the sale and copmmerce in these weapons than we are doing now, if it was so easy for an alleged "domestic terrorist" to acquire his weapons.

Which would--or at least should--entail making it more difficult for just anybody to walk in off the street and purchase such weapons? To become MORE strict in regulating access, rather than less, to require MORE in the way of information about gun purchasers rather than less? You'd think anyone really worried about 'domestic terrorism' would be supportive measures, wouldn't you?

Or am I missing something?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Why Obama Isn't Getting Anything Done...And Won't...

"Hyar com' de new bahss, jis lahk de o' bahss."

All that vaunted and hyped and spun "hopery-changery" is sheerest, purest de/illusion, the vague assurance of some kind of "corpoRate" brand quality.

It has to do with the calculations of the Owners and the fact that even WHITE people were developing a deep dislike and distrust for the Chimp and his cheneyed minions. A change was definitely needed. Folks--even white folks--were becoming restive.

SO, in a year when, literally, ANYBODY could have beaten the Pukes at the polls, when the Party suffered the lowest approval numbers in 50 years, with the Puke candidate pool either cancerous or carcinogenic, the Dims put up "novelty" candidates--the first woman, the first non-white, both, simultaneously--either one of which would have faced exactly the same problems with governing, but both of which would emboss the "Dim" brand with "cred" for the 'lower orders' whom the Party is supposed to represent. (One reason why the Dims anymore have so little authority is that their constituency, while numerous, is also economically and socially powerless: i.e., the "losers." It's like high school, and the Pukes are the BMW-driving jocks and their retinues, whole the Dims are the nose-pickers. Revenge of the nerds? It is to laugh!)

In the event, Obama was "preferable" to the owners--whence, Rupert Murdoch's entirely sensible personal endorsement of him; Obama's been the BEST thing for Faux Gnuz since 9/11 and terrorism)--mainly because there is already a greater cultural predisposition to hate a "colored" person than a 'white' woman. And, since the job of this president--whomsoever it turned out to have been--was to be someone onto whom 'angry white' voters could displace their fear and loathing of the Bushies, thereby paving the way for their return in the next cycle, a male PoC is a more viable--a mopre 'acceptable'--object of hatred and derision than a 'white' woman would have been.

So as president, Obama is probably going to preside over a devastating series of apparent and real failures, festooned with a couple of symbolic, but nevertheless Pyrrhic "victories"--probably they'll give him a basically meaningless health-care-insurance-reform-savings bill to sign.

But, he cannot abandon Central Asia. That's where his owners' and paymasters' real interests lie: in and under the mud of the Caspian Sea. To have any say in the disposition of the undeveloped riches there, "we" must be able to "extend influence" in the region: that is, bring under the bomb- and gun-sights of USer tactical aircraft--indusputably and unopposably the best in the world--every person, place and thing in a thousand-mile radius. So we're not leaving Central Asia.

And despite the best evidence of many thousands of studies, charts, and cores, nobody--including "thePrez"--is going to get serious about the imminent collapse of the world climate system, the poisoning of the oceans, the eliimination of fish stocks, the poisoning of more forests, the mining of more 'blood-minerals.'

And he's turned Wall Street right back to the venal mendacities of the criminals and cretins who nearly brought the whole thing down in the first place. And he's restored their perqs, and he hasn't restored any meaningful regulation.

It is symptomatic of just how weak he is in really practical matters that it took until last week to get his FIRST appellate judicial nominee confirmed, and there were at LEAST 70 former Bushevik US attorneys still mucking up the works in the DoJ, which is still and probably irremediably now a sump of politicization and obstruction.

It was a set-up. Anyway, that has seemed obvious to me for some time, since the primaries.

Now, with the renewed "official/bipartisan" attention to "fixing"--that is, "gutting"--Social Security to "pay for" limited, preferential, expensive health insurance, it seems another part of his job may be to preside over the final coup de gras to the New Deal. Like it took a Puke--Nixon--to go to China, it needs a Dim to eviscerate the social safety net. Obama's the designated hitter here (but the job would have fallen to--and been gladly assumed by--Hillary, too, if she'd been selected instead.).

Between bouts of fellating the ghost of Ronald Reagan and dissing the movements of the 60s and 70s which paved the way for his eventual emergence onto the national stage, Obama did say, during the campaign, that SS 'reform' would be on the table.

How easy to forget, because the voice is mellifluous, and the discourse articulate, that once on there, nothing ever leaves whole...

Saturday, November 28, 2009

If You've Got A Boss, You Need A Union!

Didja ever wonder how Bosses work to thwart organizing? Via Alternet, this day, here's a story of one reporter's journey from hopeful organization, to cynical retaliation, and ending with the usual hopelessness in the face of deep pockets, dishonesty and managerial intransigence: Sara Steffens tried to organize a small node of a coprpoRat giant (the Contra Costa Times (at which, a long time ago I also labored as a reporter), lost her job, and was (predicatbly) defeated by corpoRat power and influence. The take-away lesson? USer Labor Law is fucked..well, the piece says "Broken":
Steffens' employment experience "shows both the best of EFCA and its limitations." Take the card check option. It offers employees the option to check a card to show their support to unionize versus the NLRB secret-ballot election process. If a majority elects to sign cards, talks between the union and the company begin. That change to card check would help workers by "allowing the union to avoid the worst of the employer opposition," said Bronfenbrenner. Further, "the stiffer penalties for all employer violations could have a restraining effect on the opposition" to unionizing.

However, big companies such as MediaNews, which owns daily papers, radio and TV stations across America, have deep pockets. Thus, "the EFCA penalties probably are not large enough to be any disincentive at all and they (companies) may play hard ball through the entire election and first contract campaign taking every penalty they get, still doing the lay off, and forcing an imposed first contract," according to Bronfenbrenner.

Against this backdrop, Steffens and her fellow laid off journalists have had another reality check. Consider this. Their Guild filed three NLRB unfair labor practice charges at the regional and national levels against MediaNews for the post-election layoffs of July 2008. The Guild lost each time and lost a request for reconsideration, Steffens said. According to her, the NLRB rulings show that, short of written evidence from MediaNews of her and co-workers' layoffs being due to union activity, the Guild has no case.
"When I started losing the NLRB cases, I realized that the system of labor law is broken," Steffens said. "It doesn't work. The law says that you have the right to organize a union and can't be fired for it. The law prohibits employers from threatening or intimidating employees during an organizing campaign. But all of those things are routine. The recourse you have through the NLRB isn't very efficient and it doesn't really work for most people."
Hello, understatement. USer labor law rewards Bosses for exercising all the power and might in their CorpoRat quivver, up to and including firing, but it (and really ALL USer laws) punish as criminal the only actions at the workers' disposal to combat the CorpoRat advantages.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Aerial Ballet (Organic Information Processing)

(Just so all y'all don't think I am unremittingly gloomy!)

DOTOF™ to Joanne Cannata-Kelly (FB) for the vid...

Whatever else they may be doing, they're exchanging information about local conditions they've explored during the daylight hours.

You're a bird. Y ou don't have a lot of reserves. You cooperate...

25 or so years ago (and still today, for all I know), you could have witnessed the same phenomenon nightly as the flocks of starlings reassembled and regrouped from their day's foraging, and got ready to roost in the timbers of the docks in the harbor of Bellingham, WA. There was a tavern nearby, with a view of the scene, where the members of the Western Washington Space Patrol (WWSP) would fore-gather for the view and our evening's refreshment...


Cdr. Woody, Sector Prefect, WWSP

Will No One Make these Predatory Fux Pay?

One of the hundreds of thousands of dirty secrets of the recent, lamented housaing boom: There was a lot more of this going around than anybody--the media, the banks, the oversight officials, the mortgage brokers, the developers--would like you know about. Via Calculated Risk:
WaPo: A Liar Loan Example
by CalculatedRisk on 11/27/2009 10:53:00 AM

From Donna St. George at the WaPo: The $698,000 mistake
[A]ll of this began in the heady days of the mortgage boom ... [Ms. White] only knew that there seemed to be possibilities, even to those with little means such as herself, which is how a woman who had never paid more than $700 a month in rent and who had relied in recent years on Section 8 housing vouchers suddenly owned a house.

A four-bedroom house.

With 3 1/2 bathrooms. And walk-in closets, black granite countertops and a fireplace.

You can already tell how this story will end.
On settlement day, reality bore down.
Papers were read and presented, most of which White did not try to decipher. ... White's papers cited income of $163,320 a year, even though she says her 2005 income-tax earnings were less than $15,000 and she relied at times on food stamps.
White signed papers while waiting for the one she cared most about: her monthly payment. ... "Please let this be something I can afford," she said to herself. She was pretty sure she could afford $2,000. She told herself that if her day-care business did well, perhaps she could afford $2,500. If it was $2,800, she would struggle. Here, now, came reality: $5,635 a month
.To get White to sign, the sellers - who were real estate agents - agreed to make the first two mortgage payments for Ms. White. According to the article, White received $40,000 in cash out at closing - and the seller made over $200,000 on the house. Naturally it went into foreclosure and Ms. White is back living in an apartment.
Now, attend to the reality of this. These mother-fucking parasites grossed $200 THOUSAND dollars by ruining this poor woman's life, and it won't cost 'em a fucking thing...

Me? I would be happy to stuff each one of the individual bills up their asses with a hot poker...


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Teh Stoopit, It Burrrrrnnnns!!! Daddy, Make It STOPPP....Oh, Please

Back in the late 60's, the proto-cons around Nixon looked out from their bunkers to the streets and the millions of students who were demonstrating furiously, and in some cases violently, against the Vietnam war Nixon had promised during his campaign to end, along with an array of social and political injustices the majority of which are still unresolved, 40 years later, and what they saw was "the future" without them if they didn't do something. They figured there were just too many people with time, intelligence and resources enough to go college, and they resolved not to let that happen again. So they torpedoed the economy and raised tuitions, and put the middle class on notice that the gravy-train had come to the terminus.

This is the result:

DOTOF™ to personal AND blog-pal, Peter Moulson who had this on his FB page today...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Would you supply a prospective employer with a DNA sample?

If it were a condition of employment?

Think not? Likely, you're not gonna have a choice.

More and more, employers have begun demanding employees supply DNA samples along with information for "background" checks.

Last month, the University of Akron demanded DNA samples from both new applicants and already employed personnel.

A new law (GINA--Genetic Infomation Non-discrimination Act) imaginarily protects personal DNA data from being used as a screen for employment or benefits. It "prohibits" the use of dna information as a tool of personnel discipline and control, "prohibits" using dna information in decisions about hiring, promotion and benefits.

Yeah, right...

Here's some of the ways the data is proposed to be used by 'officials' in Britain:
Here are some ways DNA from job applicants, including police recruits, can be used:
To predict current and future health status as it affects fitness for the job.

To determine insurance liability both for the job candidates and their families (since genes are inherited).

To assess personality traits, such as the MAOA gene which is associated with violent behavior, the D4-7 gene variant associated with risk taking, the stathmin gene associated with fear, and the CHRM2 gene associated with performance IQ, so that candidates can be matched with the appropriate job.

To make sure the candidate isn’t a crime suspect by comparing his/her DNA with DNA databases. According to another interview with Noel Perry, Assistant Commissioner of the Ethical Standards Commissioner in 2003, gang leaders and members of organized crime have joined police forces before (remember that horrible movie starring Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio, The Departed?).
In the case of police recruits, DNA can be keep on file for comparison to samples taken at crime scenes as a safeguard against police involvement in criminal activity.
Because, of course, corpoRats will always use whatever levers they can extort. They will do EXACTLY whatever they want with the data, will use it in any way that seems to the corpoRat systemic "mind" will redound to the financial advantage of the CorpoRats. They will lie, falsify records, bribe, buy or destroy, and do whatever the fuck they want with the data, will use it in any way that will abet the bottom line: unfairly, dishonestly, adversarily. It's how they roll... It will NEVER happen any other way. In a couple of years, there will be a "scandal" about it. Gay-Ron-FUCKING-TEED, chers...

I mean, who's gonna stop 'em? You? Me?


Sunday, November 22, 2009

November 22: Two Tragic Anniversaries

1) The assassination of JFK by unknown assailants in Dallas, which I regard as the "opening shots" (pun intended) of the overt stage of the Rightwing coup to take over the USofA, and to eliminate everything EXCEPT the empty forms--voting, i.e.-- by which popular, republican democracy can retain its legitimacy, and

2) The Brooks' Brothers 'riot,' by which GOPuke operatives attacked the official Miami-Dade County election offices, intimidated the vote counters, closed the office, and paved the way for installing "the Chimp" in the ShiteHouse.
The controversial incident was set in motion by John E. Sweeney, a New York Republican who was nicknamed "Congressman Kick-Ass" by President Bush for his work in Florida. Sweeney defended his actions by arguing that his aim was not to stop the hand recount but to restore the process to public view. Some Bush supporters did acknowledge they hoped the recount would end. "We were trying to stop the recount; Bush had already won," said Evilio Cepero, a reporter for Radio Mambi. "We were urging people to come downtown and support and protest this injustice." A Republican lawyer commented, "People were pounding on the doors, but they had an absolute right to get in."

Friday, November 20, 2009

I Don't Say "The Pledge." I Just Don't/Won't! So I Admire This Young Man

Asked by a seemingly hostile interviewer what it means to be an American, 10-year-old Will Phillips said: "Freedom of speech. Freedom to disagree." I hope this is symptomatic of the rest of his generation, though I seriously doubt it is.

Arkansas 10-Year-Old Won’t Pledge Allegiance Until Gays Gain Equality
A 10-year-old Arkansas boy name(d) Will Phillips has decided that he cannot in good conscience pledge allegiance to the flag as long as the country for which it stands refuses legal equality to its GLBT citizens.

That stand has brought young Mr. Phillips anti-gay taunts in the lunch room, but admiration from around the country, reports a Nov. 5 Arkansas Times article. The West Fork School District fifth grader clashed with a substitute teacher for his refusal to stand for the pledge, prompting a call to Will’s mother, Laura Phillips. When the principal acknowledged that Will has the right to refuse to say the pledge, Ms. Phillips asked that her son receive an apology--a request that the principal declined to honor.

A 1943 Supreme Court decision found that schools may not punish students for refusing to recite the pledge. Objections to compulsory recitation of the pledge arose from the Jehovah’s Witnesses on the basis that their religion does not permit expressions of allegiance to anything other than their own religion and to God. The Jehovah’s Witnesses lost their first case before the Court in 1940, and reportedly suffered from bias-motivated violence in the aftermath of that case. The Court’s 1943 decision reversed the earlier finding, and students have had the right to decline saying the pledge since then, although socially such refusal is often met with disapproval.

Such has been the case with Will Phillips’ stand, but he hasn’t backed down. Laura Phillips told the Arkansas Times that her 10-year-old is "probably more aware of the meaning of the pledge than a lot of adults. He’s not just doing it rote recitation. We raised him to be aware of what’s right, what’s wrong, and what’s fair."

Fairness in this case is more than a mere abstraction, since the family has a number of openly gay friends and has participated in GLBT equality events such as Pride parades. Will, who told the newspaper that he would like to pursue a career in law when he’s older, could not square the tenets of the pledge with the political realities faced by his family’s GLBT friends, whose family and individual rights are under constant challenge. "I really don’t feel that there’s currently liberty and justice for all," said Will.

That led the young man to his decision not to pledge his allegiance due to the injustice he perceived to prevail against gays and lesbians. He discussed the matter with his family and then took his stand--or rather, refused to stand with the rest of the kids when the time for the pledge came around each morning. The first week of the young man’s protest happened to be a week when a substitute teacher, a friend of Will’s grandparents, was in charge of the class; as days went by, the teacher grew more aggravated, until finally she took Will to task.

"She got a lot more angry and raised her voice and brought my mom and my grandma up," Will told the Arkansas Times. "I was fuming and was too furious to really pay attention to what she was saying. After a few minutes, I said, ’With all due respect, ma’am, you can go jump off a bridge.’"

That was enough to get Will sent to the principal’s office, which was when his mother received a call. The principal "said we have to talk about Will, because he told a sub to jump off a bridge," recounted Will’s mother. "My first response was: Why? He’s not just going to say this because he doesn’t want to do his math work." Upon learning the specifics of the exchange, Laura Phillips requested an apology for her son. "She said, ’Well I don’t think that’s necessary at this point,’" Laura Phillips told the Arkansas Times.

Will’s mother tweeted about the incident, and family friends informed the media. Support has poured in from around the country, and some of Will’s classmates have also been supportive.

But not everyone, said Laura Phillips, has been supportive, and those who oppose Will’s stand "are much more crazy, and out of control and vocal about it than supporters are."

Moreover, Will’s stand for equal rights for gays has led those who disagree to attack him personally with anti-gay epithets: "In the lunchroom and in the hallway, they’ve been making comments and doing pranks, and calling me gay," Will said. "It’s always the same people, walking up and calling me a gaywad."

That hasn’t been easy for Will, who skipped fourth grade but seems older than his age, especially in contrast to some of his peers. Said Laura Phillips, "It’s really frustrating to him that people are being so immature."

The interviewer from The Arkansas Times asked Will what it means to be an American. The answer: "Freedom of speech. The freedom to disagree. That’s what I think pretty much being an American represents."

Thursday, November 19, 2009

"And The Slimy, Shiftless Fuckers Aren't Gonna Try To Fix The Planet, Either"

Susie Madrak (Suburban Guerilla)-- with what under her circumstances seems to me to be quite an admirable display of sang froid--quotes, at some length, from "the Clenis'" former Labor czar and persistent gadfly, Robert Reich's analysis of the rather staggering array of missed chances and unfinished compromises that's going to come out of Congress as a "health insurance reform."

He says he still has hope.

But he's paid to have hope.

Not me.

That slimy, slippery Obama as much as told 'em ALL, right from the jump that all he wanted was a bill he could claim was 'reform.' That's all that we're gonna get...

Will he sign it at half-time at the Superbowl?
What (TF--W) Happened?
Nov 19th, 2009 at 4:53 pm by Susie
Robert Reich on Harry Reid and the public option:
First there was Medicare for all 300 million of us. But that was a non-starter because private insurers and Big Pharma wouldn’t hear of it, and Republicans and “centrists” thought it was too much like what they have up in Canada — which, by the way, cost Canadians only 10 percent of their GDP and covers every Canadian. (Our current system of private for-profit insurers costs 16 percent of GDP and leaves out 45 million people.)

So the compromise was to give all Americans the option of buying into a “Medicare-like plan” that competed with private insurers. Who could be against freedom of choice? Fully 70 percent of Americans polled supported the idea. Open to all Americans, such a plan would have the scale and authority to negotiate low prices with drug companies and other providers, and force private insurers to provide better service at lower costs. But private insurers and Big Pharma wouldn’t hear of it, and Republicans and “centrists” thought it would end up too much like what they have up in Canada.

So the compromise was to give the public option only to Americans who wouldn’t be covered either by their employers or by Medicaid. And give them coverage pegged to Medicare rates. But private insurers and … you know the rest.

So the compromise that ended up in the House bill is to have a mere public option, open only to the 6 million Americans not otherwise covered. The Congressional Budget Office warns this shrunken public option will have no real bargaining leverage and would attract mainly people who need lots of medical care to begin with. So it will actually cost more than it saves.

But even the House’s shrunken and costly little public option is too much private insurers, Big Pharma, Republicans, and “centrists” in the Senate. So Harry Reid has proposed an even tinier public option, which states can decide not to offer their citizens. According to the CBO, it would attract no more than 4 million Americans.

It’s a token public option, an ersatz public option, a fleeting gesture toward the idea of a public option, so small and desiccated as to be barely worth mentioning except for the fact that it still (gasp) contains the word “public.”

And yet Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson mumble darkly that they may not even vote to allow debate on the floor of the Senate about the bill if it contains this paltry public option. And Republicans predict a “holy war.”

But what more can possibly be compromised? Take away the word “public?” Make it available to only twelve people?

Our private, for-profit health insurance system, designed to fatten the profits of private health insurers and Big Pharma, is about to be turned over to … our private, for-profit health care system. Except that now private health insurers and Big Pharma will be getting some 30 million additional customers, paid for by the rest of us.

Upbeat policy wonks and political spinners who tend to see only portions of cups that are full will point out some good things: no pre-existing conditions, insurance exchanges, 30 million more Americans covered. But in reality, the cup is 90 percent empty. Most of us will remain stuck with little or no choice — dependent on private insurers who care only about the bottom line, who deny our claims, who charge us more and more for co-payments and deductibles, who bury us in forms, who don’t take our calls.

I’m still not giving up. I want every Senator who’s not in the pocket of the private insurers or Big Pharma to introduce and vote for a “Ted Kennedy Medicare for All” amendment to whatever bill Reid takes to the floor. And if this fails, a “Ted Kennedy Real Public Option for All” amendment. Let every Senate Democratic who doesn’t have the guts to vote for either of them be known and counted.
(Boldface Emphases, Susies; others supplied--W)
This was never NOT gonna turn out this way, was it?

No, it wasn’t. There was NEVER the least, slightest scintilla of a chance that it would eventuate in any way other than it has proven to go.

And, may I say that, though I am not happy to report it, this was exactly what I have long said anyone with more cognitive competence than a mollusk should have anticipated?

The grip of the enormous financial interests is just too tight.

"thePrez" is not the one to loosen their stranglehold. If he posed even the slightest threat to the established order, he would NOT be in the exalted position he now occupies. He'll never nip a finger--much less take a chunk out of--the hands that curried and cosseted and carried him to this present pre-eminence. Are you 'Ucking kidding me?

It mighta been different if, like the auto industry, the Health Insurance parasites had had a well-cared-for, grateful unionized work-force the Owners needed to bust. But the cubicle drones a re passive, compliant, unresisting, grateful for any suck-ass job.

And here's the thing all this tells me, loudly: The 'uther'uckers aren’t gonna try to fix the climate, either.


Hide and watch…

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My Obligatory "Palin, the Parvenu," Post

I knew the moment her name was announced to accompany McCumstain's on the Puke ticket that they had decided to throw the election to the Dims.


Innit obvious? To escape and displace their responsibility for --and public anger over-- the fantastical array of spectacular Bushevik clusterfux: the climate, the economy, the wars, health care, environmental degradation, and increasing fascist proclivities of the electorate, etc, etc, etc.

So the Pukes arranged it so that the Dims would (gleefully) take control of, and absorb the national vitriol for, the worst collection of effectively insoluble crises, castrophes and the aforesaid clusterfux ever to be assembled under one Government in the history of the WORLD.

By the end, Bush/Cheney was hated. Nobody claims they weren't almost universally loathed. Bush claimed the lowest approval rating on record. Even WHITE people hated them.

So the idea, of course, of giving the angry white people somebody other than another white guy to hate (if only for a while) was brilliant!

Obligingly, the Dims complied, by making the contest about "novelty": the first woman nominee or the first PoC nominee. Either Hillary or Obama would have sufficed. Hillary wouldn't have had it any easier. Instead of racism, misogyny would have been the dominant meme, is all...

But in Murka, it's just easier to gin up racial hatred than gender resentment.

Mission: Obama'd...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Whoi Gnu?: Anti-Immigrant Fucktard Teabaggers Lack A Sense of Humor

A very courageous young man in pulled off some pretty outrageous guerilla theatre at the expense of a band of nativist rightards in Minneapolis last weekend.
This weekend, the nativist right-wingers at ALIPAC and the National Policy Institute organized a series of "Tea Parties Against Amnesty."

However, at the rally in Minneapolis, the anti-immigrant demonstrators got punk'd by a young man who called himself "Robert Erickson".

"Erickson" got up and delivered a rant against European immigration. At first the crowd was whooping and hollering as he talked about the rights of "real Americans" -- but then it gradually tapered off as he went on and they realized they'd been had.

There was apparently a bit of good ol' boy violence after the truth had eventually penetrated the clouds of "stooooopid" that fill the heads of such folk, and they apparently beat up some of "Erickson's" accomplices, all within view of the 'pigs' who were there for security...

Now For Something Completely Different

Sometimes, it's just too depressing to pay enough attention to the events of the day to make fun of them. So just enjoy some echt Python...

DOTOF™ to the estimable blog-scourer, Eli Cates on Facebook.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

SCROTUS Justice Kennedy Disses 1st Amendment

Is it, actually, any wonder that the Capital Hill press corpse lay, limply supine, at the feet of the "authoritarian" Busheviks and willingly fellated them for 8 long years, given the training to which they were subjected in the schools?

This was the NYTimes hed:

From Justice Kennedy, a Lesson in Journalism

The story under the hed is a paradigmatic case of how the unspoken but unappealable structures of undemocratic power saturate even such enclaves of privilege as "The Dalton School" in Manhattan:
Published: November 10, 2009
WASHINGTON — The school newspaper at Dalton, (an elite) private school in Manhattan, contained a cryptic note from its editors last Friday.

"We are not able to cover the recent visit by a Supreme Court justice due to numerous publication constraints,” the note said. It promised “an explanation of the regrettable delay” in the next issue.

It turns out that Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, widely regarded as one of the court’s most vigilant defenders of First Amendment values, had provided the newspaper, The Daltonian, with a lesson about journalistic independence. Justice Kennedy’s office had insisted on approving any article about a talk he gave to an assembly of Dalton high school students on Oct. 28.

Kathleen Arberg, the court’s public information officer, said Justice Kennedy’s office had made the request to make sure the quotations attributed to him were accurate.

The justice’s office received a draft of the proposed article on Monday and returned it to the newspaper the same day with “a couple of minor tweaks,” Ms. Arberg said. Quotations were “tidied up” to better reflect the meaning the justice had intended to convey, she said.

Ms. Arberg indicated that what had happened at Dalton was unusual. “Justice Kennedy does not have a general policy for making such requests,” she said. “The request was most likely made by a member of his staff in an effort to be helpful.” Justice Kennedy declined a request for an interview.

Ellen Stein, Dalton’s head of school, defended the practice in a telephone interview. “This allows student publications to be correct,” she said. “I think fact checking is a good thing.”

But Frank D. LoMonte, the executive director of the Student Press Law Center, questioned the school’s approach. “Obviously, in the professional world, it would be a nonstarter if a source demanded prior approval of coverage of a speech,” he said. Even at a high school publication, Mr. LoMonte said, the request for prepublication review sent the wrong message and failed to appreciate the sophistication of high school seniors.

“These are people who are old enough to vote,” he said. “If you’re old enough to drive a tank, you’re old enough to write a headline.”...

But Mr. LoMonte said the demand from Justice Kennedy’s office crossed a line.

“It’s a request that shouldn’t have been made,” he said. “That’s not the teaching of journalism. That’s an exercise in image control.”
Not journalism, perhaps, but then journalism mostly today is just managing the outflow of public relations from monied interests, and being careful to offend as few of them as possible with allusions to truth or fairness.

This story illustrates a larger problem, to me, and I do not give a ragged rat's rosy red ass if Red Sonia did the same thing a month before: Official muzzling the press. Exclusion is the primary form of censorship.

Where is written that public officials, occupying public offices, often for life, are ENTITLED to control what is said about them in response to their public utterances? Every public utterance they make is legitimate evidence to be used in interpreting such positions as they take in written opinions (for the Courts) or their legislative deliberations. Especially in front of an audience, and ESPECIALLY if that audience paid admission, the speech of Justices, et al, cannot legitimately be withheld from the public eye and ear. How may "the Press" be excluded from a speech by a Justice on the Supreme Court?

Oh, yeah, now I remember: "DON'T TASE ME, Bro!!!!!@

No one with any more acuity than a sand-dollar would trust Kennedy to uphold the rights of the People in any contest with CorpoRat power/

Friday, November 13, 2009

Colo Puke Schultheiss: "Worst Person In the WORLD"

Beck and Dobbs would qualify any day, any time they opened their feculent, reeking gobs. Schultheiss is probably basking in his 15 minutes.

I would consider myself in abrogation of the social contract if I didn't try to put a boot up this motherfuckler's ass, were our paths to cross on the street someday...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Colo GOPuke Pol Implies Obama Hijacked WhiteHouse

It was this fellow, here, to the left.

Smiling, avuncular (probably a former insurance seller who would have been much happier in the Church; he has that smarmy, priestly smile, nest paw?), Colorado State Senator David Schultheis twittered this opinion to his tweeties the other day. Now he's backing and filling like the motherfucker he most assuredly and undeniably revealed himself to be.

Is it significant that he represents Colorado Springs?

John Cole on Balloon Juice linked to THIS DPost story:
State Sen. David Schultheis said he didn’t intend for a Twitter post accusing President Barack Obama of “flying the U.S. plane right into the ground” and ending with “let’s roll” as a threat or a reference to United Flight 93, which crashed during the 2001 terrorist attacks.

“Let’s roll” reportedly were the last words of Todd Beamer before he and other passengers tried to gain control of their hijacked jet. The plane crashed into a Pennsylvania field short of its intended target.

The tweet stirred ire and some support for the Colorado Springs Republican, whose standard eschewal of political correctness has earned him criticism in the past.

Schultheis’ full tweet Tuesday was: “Don’t for a second think Obama wants what is best for U.S. He is flying the U.S. plane right into the ground at full speed. Let’s roll.”
I have a cherished sib who moved to The Springs area about 5 years ago, fleeing New Mexico, where she had lived her entire adult life and most of her childhood. She and her husband have gotten to the point that they cannot stand it anymore. They had put their house--which is stunning, both of itself and considering the vistas and the proximity to the forest--on the market only a week before the collapse of the markets last year. When we speak, she wistfully reminds me that I did warn them, before they bought, back in '04, about the political climate there. In fact, they actually asked me if I had any knowledge of it. So I told 'em what I knew. In Cole's comments, someone put it this way:
“It’s the buzzard capital of the world, a sink of blunt trauma symptoms, sun-starers, and a sort of gray, bourbon-addled dirt-dumb wealth, the last mostly around the preposterously snooty has-been glam-trash B________ hotel.”
“I haven’t once been surprised to learn that the deep-stupid Christianist garbage that converts dumb people’s souls into worldly power comes from Colorado Springs.”
Tidy summation, imho...Elsewhere, this same paragon of conservative virtue was recorded saying he was "hoping" was that children of HIV-positive mothers would become infected and survive as a lesson in consequences of profligacy. This asshole is a piece of work:
What I’m hoping is that yes, that person may have AIDS, have it seriously as a baby and when they grow up, but the mother will begin to feel guilt as a result of that. The family will see the negative consequences of that promiscuity and it may make a number of people over the coming years … begin to realize that there are negative consequences and maybe they should adjust their behavior. We can’t keep people from being raped. We can’t keep people from shooting each other. We can’t keep people from jumping off bridges. People drink and drive, and they crash and kill people. Poor behavior has its consequences.
I believe if I saw that punitive, judgmental asswipe on the street, I would not be able to live with myself if I did not at least try to plant a pointy-toed, corral-soaked, shit-encrusted, high-heeled boot in his goddam nutsack. This shitwhistle gives "arrogant fucktard" a whole different meaning...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Murdoch, Inc...

There's another media tempest churning up the sick chop of the Internetsea this week as it emerged that (is he "Sir"?) Rupert Murdoch, president and CEO of NewsCorp, which owns Fox properties, the NY Post, and the WSJ, the Fleet Street magnate, owner of all the significant media in Australia (much on trhe order of Berlusconi's empire in Italy), and recently coined "American citizen" owner of a vast, mostly scurrilous network of hatred and disinformation in the US, apparenly regards Barack Obama as a "racist" particularly from his conduct over and during Henry-Louis-Gates-gate.

The webosphere is on tenterhooks, some say, awaiting the reaction of the WhiteHouse, but so they've been studiously mum on it, thus generating whole bytes of speculation from the virtual pundit-o-sphere, and of course those poor creatures chained to the 24-hour news-cycle must use everything they can lay their hands on to fill those 44 min/hr. (Which is why this is the age of the apotheosis of the "Big Lie.")

Leaving aside the fact that the white man accusing the African-American man of "racism" was (at least once, before he switched over here--but he may have dual citizenship?) a powerful member of the dominant majority in a country wherin, until the beginning of WW II, some of the dominant majority organized hparties of sportsmen whi went hunting the animals in the indigenous population--the "abos"-- for sport...

No, really you cannot leave that aside, really. It really IS a bit much, frankly.

All part an parecel of the package.

Remember, when Murdoch endorsed Obama? Everyone wondered why. But it occurred to Y'r Ob'd't S'v't at the time, and seems still true to him today:

Barack Obama will turn out to be the best thing EVER for Murdoch, Inc.

Better, even, than titties on p.3! Really!

Y'naow, Rupe's jist troyin t'gin up a buck'er two, myt. Nuttin t'see heaah.

'E knows it's schtick, and Obamer knows it's schtick, 'n' all's fayha in luv 'n' war, innit, myt?

Ol' Rupe's got him a troupe of hucksters, and a load of reeking shit to sell, and an eager, stupid, fearful, wrothful audience craving to suck it up. wholesale. And 'is audience is growin', ain't it, myt?

It's a fuukin'circus. And while we're frothing over Beck's latest outrage or O'Reilly's most recent affront, or Hannity's errant ignorance as they repeat the Owner's talking points back and forth among the trained seals that are shills for the owners, the cut-purses are out in the crowd passing legislation and making policies, and starting wars under our very (entertained, distracted) eyes.

You can read Alternet's version of events here.

Heayuh, shove 'nother shrimp up yer barby?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Alan Grayson Tolls the Numbers of the Dead Per GOPuke Obstructor

I have just one question: "Why is it an unknown, first-term Dim Congresscritter from Florida the only one calling out the Pukes?

Well, two questions, cuz you gotta wonder: Where the FUCK is the "President?"

Monday, November 09, 2009

What "Debate"?: For This, Dims Toss Women's Health Under the Bus?

Arthur Silber agrees with and repeats Chris Floyd's analysis, and offered this observation late last week:
"...(W)hatever happens, certain already immensely powerful and wealthy corporations closely allied with the State will become still more powerful and wealthy. Given the nature of the corporatist system that now throttles every aspect of life in the U.S., that is how the system works. That's how it's set up, and that's its purpose. The fact that insurance companies will reap huge rewards on the backs of "ordinary" taxpaying Americans is not a regrettable byproduct of an allegedly good but imperfect effort at reform, or a flaw that will be fixed at some unspecified future date. And as already powerful and wealthy interests become more powerful and wealthy, the State will also increase its already massive power over all our lives still more. None of that is incidental: it's the point.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Re: The Ft. Hood Shootings & The Myth of Peace Through Arms

It has been reported --I think I heard a brief reference on NPR yesterday morning--that some of the victims at Ft. Hood were NOT shot by the alleged shooter but were shot by the people shooting AT the shooter…

Irony, nest paw? First, that such a disaster would occur on an Army base where there is tight security and everybody has weapons' training, and many walk around fully armed.

If this proves to be true–and I don’t expect to learn the truth anytime soon–then it is ammunition (you should forgive the metaphor…) with which to rebut the claims by the gun-loons that a well-armed society is a safe society…

A long time ago, I proposed an idea to placate the gun-loons: Every one should be armed at all times, and under the injunction that if an armed citizen observes another armed citizen "pull" his/her weapon, the observing citizen was required by law to "pull" her/his own weapon and point it at the person previously brandishing a weapon. If one fires the weapon, then present all must also fire.

Solves a couple of problems, as you can see.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

"It's The Curriculum Stupid!": Why The "Race-To-The-Top" Won't Be Won, or Even Very Much Run, Under "the Dal-Obama"

"ThePrez" could almost fool folks into believing his tony, fony, fatuous "Race-To-The-Top" rhetoric about being an advocate of public education--unless of course you actually listened to him, read his proposals, or you regard his appointment of the vile, criminal, coopted, corpoRat, fascist bully, Arne Duncan to EdSec.

Whatsoever either one of 'em says, their bottom-line is: they want to break up teachers' unions and turn the "education" of Murka's youth over to the CorpoRats and Militarists. There are too many reasons to count, for such a program to be resisted, but here is one good one. Via Susan Ohanian's vital (if you are a teacher, or teacher educator, or a concerned, crirical parent) blog:
(By Marion Brady, special guest on Valerie Strauss' NYTimes, "The Answer Sheet," 11/04/09)
When "Race to the Top" fails, as it will, the main reason won’t be any of those currently being advanced by the corporate interests and politicians now running the education show.

It won't fail because of lack of academic rigor, poor teaching, weak administrators, too-short school year, union resistance, differing state standards, insufficient performance incentives, sorry teacher training, or lingering traces of the early-20th Century Progressive movement.

It will fail primarily for a reason not even being mentioned by leaders of today’s reform effort: A curriculum adopted in 1893 that grows more dysfunctional with each passing year. Imagine a car being driven down a winding rural road with all the passengers, including the driver,
peering intently out the back window.

The familiar, traditional curriculum is so at odds with the natural desire to learn that laws, threats and other extrinsic motivators are necessary to keep kids in their seats and on task. (This is because the "traditional curriculum was developed as a tool for installing and maintaining social control of, and imposing 'discipline' upon the unruly, 'teeming masses" of undeserving poor, and training students to become interchangeable parts for the Imperial military/industrial machine--W)

It has no built-in mechanisms forcing it to adapt to change. Ignoring solid research about their importance in intellectual development, it treats art, music, dance, and play as "frills."

It isolates educators in specialized fields, discouraging their interest in and professional dialog about the whole of which their specializations are parts. It fails to explore questions essential to ethical and moral development.

It neglects important fields of study, and has no system for determining the relative importance of those fields it doesn’t neglect.

Its failure to reflect the integrated nature of reality and the seamless way the brain perceives it makes it difficult to apply what’s being taught to real-world experience.
And that barely begins a list of the problems.
There's no easy, quick fix, but one thing is certain.

Doing with greater diligence and determination what brought America's schools to their present state will simply move forward the day when failure becomes obvious to all. There are, however, some things Congress and the administration could do.

First, they could stop basing education policy on the opinions of business leaders, syndicated columnists, mayors, lawyers, and assorted other education "experts" who haven’t passed the 10,000-hour test-10,000 hours of face-to-face dialog with real students in real classrooms, all the while thinking analytically about what they’re doing, and why.

"Experts" who see more rigor, more tests, more international comparisons, more "data-driven decision-making," more math and science, more school closings, more Washington-initiated, top-down reform policy as the primary cure for education’s ills, are amateurs. And policymakers who can’t see the perversity of simultaneously spending billions on innovation and billions on standardization should consider finding other work.

Second, Congress and the administration could accept the fact that, in formal schooling, the curriculum is where the rubber meets the road.

No matter school type-public, charter, private, parochial, magnet, virtual, home, whatever; no matter the level-elementary, secondary, college, or graduate school; no matter first-rate physical facilities, highly qualified faculty, enlightened administrators, sophisticated technology, generous funding, caring parents, supportive communities, disciplined, motivated students, no matter anything else affecting school performance, if the curriculum is lousy, the education will be lousy.

Third, Congress and the administration could stop for a moment, think, then acknowledge what they surely must know, that the key to humankind's survival is, at it has always been, human variability.

Trying to standardize kids by forcing them all through the same minimum standards hoops isn’t just child abuse. It’s a sure-fire way to squeeze out what little life is left in America’s public schools after decades of appallingly simplistic, misguided, patchwork policy. Maximum performance, not the minimum standards measured by tests, should be the institution’s aim.

Anything less invites societal catastrophe.

If Congress and the administration are wise, they'll use their levers of power not to tighten but to loosen the rigor screws and end the innovation-stifling role of Carnegie Units, course distribution requirements, mandated instructional programs, and other curriculum-standardizing measures. (Yeah, like THAT'S gonna happen, as the widening gap between rich and poor expands the range of potential complaints--W)

They'll do what enlightened school boards have always done and say to educators, "We want you to unleash creativity, ingenuity, resourcefulness, imagination, and enthusiasm, and send the young off with a lasting love of learning. Tell us what you need in order to make that happen, and we'll do our best to provide the necessary support." ("Enlightened" being a euphemism for mainly upper-class, haute bourgeois institutions catering to the get of the wealthy and privileged--W)

Even the suggestion of such a policy will appall many.

We say we're big on freedom, democracy, individualism, autonomy, choice, and so on, but advocating aligning our schools with our political rhetoric invites being labeled as too radical to be taken seriously.

Such a policy, most are likely to believe, would trigger chaos, pandemonium, anarchy.

Not so. Two things would happen.

In most schools, institutional inertia, entrenched bureaucracy, and pressure from powerful corporate interests, would maintain the status quo.

In most schools, but not all. A few would point the way to a better-than-world-class education by demonstrating what experienced teachers have always known, that the traditional curriculum barely scratches the surface of kids' intellectual potential. (Emphases supplied-W)
I love educators like Mr. Brady. They're so obstinately, obsoletely optimistic about changing Murkin Education. "Loosening the screws" in the Murkin classroom ain't gonna happen. This has been an objective of critical educators for almost a century. So, as long as schools are known and treated as Institutional State Apparati (cf., Althusser, e.g.), they will serve the purposes of indoctrination and socialization to the CorpoRat State...

But nobody with any real power wants to see anything about USers' schools changed a jot, unless it is to deliver the kids to the CorpoRats before they are old enough to mount serious resistance.

Anyone who regards the USer school system as a 'failure' utterly misapprehends the true purpose of that institution.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Answer: "For The Money"?

Question: Why is Holocaust Industry promoter/camp survivor Elie Wiesel hanging around with notorious Xian/Apocalyptoid 'minister' John Hagee, some of whose message you may appreciate in the vid, above??? This guy's an ALLY of Israel?

Could the fact that Wiesel lost most of his foundation's resources by investing them with trusted 'landsman' Bernie Madoff have anything to do with it?

I don't know, but Max Blumenthal, at HuffPost, has a few opinions about it, some of which have resulted Max's being accused (as usual, in these matters) of being an 'anti-Semitic' Jew:
On October 25, while an overflow crowd of 1,500 poured into the first convention of the progressive-leaning, Israel-oriented lobbying organization J Street, Elie Wiesel addressed a crowd of 6,000 Christian Zionists at Pastor John Hagee's "Night To Honor Israel." According to the San Antonio Express News, while Wiesel sat by his side, Hagee trashed President Barack Obama, baselessly accusing him of "being tougher on Israel than on Russia, Iran, China and North Korea."

Meanwhile, Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren, who appeared at Hagee's Christians United for Israel summit earlier this year, rejected J Street's request to speak at their convention, instead dispatching a low-level embassy official to "observe" the event. Oren then accused J Street of "impair[ing] Israel's interests."

In blessing Hagee while damning J Street, Wiesel and Oren chose an anti-Semitic group led by a far-right End Times theology preacher over a fledgling progressive organization that bills itself as "pro-Israel, pro-peace." And both Wiesel and Oren seem to be embroiled in yet another controversy over involvement with the extremist preacher.
Hagee's support was avidly sought out by GOPuke candidates during the last campaign.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Senator John McCain avidly sought Hagee's endorsement, appearing by the pastor's side during a widely publicized press conference to announce it. McCain was intent on winning a seal of approval from a figure of the Christian right, especially since he had lambasted Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson in the 2000 Republican presidential primaries.
Here's Hagee again, telling Jews Hitler was God's way of testing them:

Jews DO understand, don't they--educated, sophisticated, worldly people that they are--that the Christo-Zionists only support Israel because they purport to believe that only after all the Jews are rounded up and safely deposited in Israel will Xian/Fascist "Redeemer" return and assume 'the faithful' (NOT Jews) into Heaven, don't they?

But I guess it's just business; we all know it's nothing personal: business is business.

There's more at HuffPost (including another Hagee vid; I can stand only so much); of particular interest should be Max's replies to his hyper-Jewish critics.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Droning On And On

A piece up at Jno Schwarz' lapidary A Tiny Revolution today examines the difference in potential outcomes between growing opium for the Taliban and to support the puppet oligarchy. It's life and death.

It elicited the following response from Oarwell:
With the use of drones we seem to be slipping over the event horizon, falling into some black hole of soullessness. The descent will accelerate, gravity's rainbow the gleam in Moloch's unblinking eye.
The Sound of Empire

Raindrops on poppies and pay-offs to puppets
Bright copper pipelines exploding like muppets
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

Cream colored phonies and crisp'd wedding parties
Death bells and gut smells and robotic sorties
Wild drones that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things

Girls in white dresses all blown to high heaven
Phosphorus that stays on their nose like hell's leaven
Silver white people that melt into goo
These are a few of my favorites, too.

When The Hague bites
When the blogs sting
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad.
Attend to A Tiny Revolution every chance you get...