Monday, February 28, 2011

"The Supreme Law Of The Land" and Other Minor Matters

are incorrectly identified in the US Citizenship Test.

No. Really! I saw this on "the Book" the other day, and had thought I'd published something about it already, about how the HSA (which both administers the tests and guards our borders) had essentially begun to inculcate exogenes desirous of citizenship with the mythology, instead to the facts, about US civil life and culture.

Via Ed Brayton's "Despatches From the Culture Wars":
ProPublica has a really interesting article about a Canadian woman who just received American citizenship -- but only because she gave answers she knew to be wrong on the citizenship test.
"Friends told me I didn't need to study, the questions weren't that hard. But I wanted to and so for months I lugged around a set of government-issued flashcards [3], hoping to master the test. I pestered my family and friends to quiz me. Sometimes I quizzed my sources. I learned things (there are 27 amendments to the Constitution) and they learned things (there are 27 amendments to the Constitution). But then we began noticing errors in a number of the questions and answers.
Some examples:

Take Question 36. It asks applicants to name two members of the president's Cabinet. Among the correct answers is "Vice President." The vice president is a cabinet-level officer but he's not a Cabinet member. Cabinet members are unelected heads of executive departments [4], such as the Defense Department, or the State Department.
The official naturalization test booklet even hints as much: "The president may appoint other government officials to the cabinet but no elected official may serve on the cabinet while in office." Note to Homeland Security: The vice president is elected.

Still, a wonderful press officer in the New York immigration office noted that the White House's own website [5] lists the vice president as a member of the Cabinet. It's still wrong, I explained. I told her that my partner wrote an entire book about the vice president and won a Pulitzer Prize [6] for the stories. I was pretty sure about this one. A parade of constitutional scholars backed me up...

I also wasn't asked Question 1: "What is the supreme law of the land?"

The official answer: "the Constitution." A friend and legal scholar was aghast. That answer, he said, is "no more than one-third correct." He's right.

Article VI, clause 2 in the Constitution, known as the Supremacy Clause [9], explicitly says that three things -- the Constitution, federal laws, and treaties -- together "shall be the supreme law of the land."
Returning to that "Supreme Law Of the Land" shit:
Article VI, clause 2 in the Constitution, known as the Supremacy Clause [9], explicitly says that three things -- the Constitution, federal laws, and treaties -- together "shall be the supreme law of the land." Be handy to have this particular fragment on hand the next time some fucking Christard starts chapping about how the US is a "christian nation," given the express language in the treaty with the Barbary Coast Emirates in the 19th Century which utterly and absolutely DISCLAIMS ANY fealty to Christianity or any other religion.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Real "Monsters" Are Out On Wall Street!

Politics, from The Twilight Zone.

Read this amazingly acute and apposite essay by Marty Kaplan, from TruthOut today and THEN watch; or vice versa.
The game in Washington is to use the deficit as camouflage for destroying government's capacity to promote the general welfare. The game in Wisconsin and other states whose new Republican governors and legislative majorities are feeling their oats is to shelter the income of the wealthiest, and to balance the budget on the backs of the middle class.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Obama on Unions, 2007: "I'll Walk The Line With You!"

B HObama in 2oo7:
“And understand this: If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House, I’ll put on a put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself. I’ll walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States.”

Versus 2011: Compare & Contrast:

"(W)hat I've heard coming out of Wisconsin, where they're just making it harder for public employees to collectively bargain generally, seems like more of an assault on unions," Obama said. "I think everybody's got to make some adjustments, but I think it's also important to recognize that public employees make enormous contributions to our states and our citizens."

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Who Is Going To Tell The CorpoRats To Rebuild The USofA And, How?

There is much hand-wringing and wailing in DC and in the circles of the Wise elsewhere about the catastrophic, sustained problem of unemployment in the USer work-place. The common reply to the matter among the ones most distraught about it (the left-punditry, unions, workers' representatives, Bernie Sanders, etc.) is to "call for" the resurrection of the USer industrial/manufacturing State of yore. It was this capacity, in a war-desolated world, which permitted the erection of (relatively) the WEALTHIEST "middle-class" in history; the dissolution of which is the most important, most instructive story in the whole, developing narrative of "decline and fall" that is unfolding (or is "crumbling" a better word) around us even as we speak.

So this makes me wonder if I'm missing something in the popular, mediated rhetoric and hurrah about creating jobs, and restoring Murkin manufacturing, and international competitiveness, an' all shit like that.

Here's the elephant turd in the soup tureen:
Where is the money gonna come from to RESTORE the infrasructure that O'Bama relies upon to boost employment at home, but which the CorpoRats have spent the past 30 years up-rooting, off-shoring, destroying, dismantling, and selling off?

What makes anyone think the CorpoRats are gonna spend money to undo what they already MADE money destroying? They've sold off all the parts they could, long since. The bloody CorpoRats aren't gonna pony up. The USofA is a declining empire. It's expansive days are over. This market is topped out. The people are less important as consumers than hitherto.

The Global corpoRats owe and claim no allegiance to the American nation, except as the military arm and instrument of their policies. They have NO incentive to invest in the failing CIVIC enterprise that is this country's heritage and legacy.

In fact, the CorpoRats have EVERY incentive to undermine, rebuke, and/or ignore it.

No CorpoRat encourages democracy. Democracy, especially in the work-place, is almost literally anathema to the CorpoRat mind, which is autocratic and authoritarian. They exhibit these proclivities every and in every way that they work to diminish or prevent the unions from exercising their power as the democratic representatives of the workers. CorpoRations are FEUDAL freeholds, and the Owners wish ONLY to preserve their OWN power over their vassals. Unions in the work-place, and democracy in the civic culture, are active opponents of those Medieval pretensions, and as such are subject to attack, destruction if possible.

The minions and lackeys of the CorpoRat State are even now busily engaged, where they have "won" the power to do so, in reversing 150 years of workers' gains. Some are resisting. I wish them success. But I don't trust USer cops NOT to shoot demonstrators, and I was witness to and involved in an incident at which the National Guard advanced on a student demonstrators with bared, fixed bayonets (UNM, May, 1970), so I think skepticism is well-founded.

So then ask yourself, and your friends, but demand an answer from your "Leaders": When you've sold out your citizenship for the convenience of being a consumer, and they close the fucking stores, what have you got left? We, Americans, apparently are about to find out.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"What Have Unions EVER Done For US?"

Other than the 40-hour week, overtime compensation, health care, prohibitions against child labor, etc...

Woody's got a new hero in Oz: Manictimes
Here's another of their efforts...

Monday, February 14, 2011

With ANY Luck, Shirley Sherrod Will Own Breitbart's Children

By the time this all shakes out. Via an unsigned Huff-Post offering:
Shirley Sherrod has filed a lawsuit against Andrew Breitbart over a video released by the conservative personality that lead to her ouster as an official at the USDA.

Breitbart was served on Saturday at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), according to the New York Times: "In the suit, which was filed in Washington on Friday, Ms. Sherrod says the video has damaged her reputation and prevented her from continuing her work."

The video first gained widespread public attention when it was posted on Breitbart's The two-minute, 38-second clip was widely received as an admission by Sherrod, who is African American, that she had discriminated against a white farmer. Under immediate pressure from the Obama administration, Sherrod resigned from her position as the USDA's director of rural development in Georgia.

When a full 43-minute copy of the video surfaced, additional context turned the story into one of reconciliation. Sherrod had actually saved the man's farm and started a lifelong friendship. The NAACP, which publicly condemned Sherrod's speech shortly after it was posted on, soon issued a retraction and said that they were "snookered."

The White House also begged for forgiveness and offered her a "unique opportunity." Sherrod declined the offer to return to the Agriculture Department.

A statement issued on his website says Breitbart "categorically rejects the transparent effort to chill his constitutionally protected free speech and, to reiterate, looks forward to exercising his full and broad discovery rights." The statement also says that Larry O'Connor, the head of, was named in the suit.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Lingerie Football League Finals

Should be great Google bait, nest paw?

So, cynically, ya give 'em a link, (Great to know HuffPost isn't slipping in their coverage of the BIG stories, nest paw?), a hawt shawt, and turn 'em to the MAIN POINT:
The SUPER BOWL of Socialism
By David Sirota

The Super Bowl has become a true televisual non sequitur—a bizarre “Rocky”-style montage mashing together as many divergent strands of American culture as possible.

This year’s blockbuster was no exception. There was former President George W. Bush sitting next to coach John Madden, who was obsessively texting. There was actress Cameron Diaz feeding popcorn to baseball bad boy Alex Rodriguez. There was Christina Aguilera belting out a “Naked Gun”-worthy version of the national anthem. There was even a melding of hip-hop, hair metal and sci-fi, as the Black Eyed Peas joined Slash for a rendition of “Sweet Child o’ Mine”—all in front of neon “Tron” dancers.

This was a bewildering assault on the senses, to say the least—and nothing was more singularly mind-blowing than the NFL using a Ronald Reagan eulogy to kick off a sports-themed tribute to socialism.

Reagan, of course, made his political name regularly invoking the S-word to demonize government. For such bombast, he gained many followers, most of whom nonetheless cherished the doctrinaire socialism that undergirded their communities in the form of public infrastructure and services.

This Reagan-inspired paradox of cheering anti-socialist platitudes while supporting socialism in practice was the tale of Super Bowl XLV. The game began with a jubilant Reagan biopic that approvingly flaunted his red-baiting past, including his 1964 warning about America taking “the first step into a thousand years of darkness.” The game ended with victory for professional sports’ only publicly owned nonprofit organization, the Green Bay Packers—a team whose quasi-socialist structure allows Wisconsin’s proletariat to own the means of football production.

Green Bay’s win, though, doesn’t tell the Super Bowl’s entire socialist tale. The game was held in one of the NFL’s government-funded stadiums. Additionally, training for many Super Bowl players was subsidized by taxpayers when those players honed their skills at public high schools and universities. Meanwhile, fans arrived at the event on public roads, the contest was broadcast on public airwaves, and the Navy spent $450,000 of public monies flying jets over the game in order to stage a momentary TV image.

Except for The Nation magazine’s Dave Zirin, none of the major media examined any of this. The Super Bowl was presented as a seamless jaunt from Reagan hagiography to trophy ceremony with no mention of the socialist context. Why?

Some would argue that the sports commentariat was laser-focused on the game itself. Others might say that in trying to break the players’ union, NFL management intentionally trumpeted an anti-union president—and the management-worshiping media avoided highlighting the Reagan celebration’s underlying hypocrisy in order to avoid humiliating the owners.

Both theories are likely rooted in truth, but there was something reflexive at work, too—a deliberate self-censoring.

Yes, even though we clearly embrace socialism in everything from professional sports to telecommunications, the politicians and corporations who frame our public dialogue have long stifled honest discussions of our socialist reality because they know such discussions would show that America primarily champions a particular form of socialism—a corporate socialism leveraging public resources for private profit.

Like the few municipal services that still remain in today’s era of Reaganomics, the publicly owned Green Bay Packers are a rare exception to this norm. That’s why the story of the team’s organizational structure is suppressed—because it shows the most important question facing our nation isn’t about accepting or rejecting socialism. We’ve already accepted it. Instead, the real question is about what specific type of socialism we want: the current kind that works only for those in the luxury box, or the kind that starts working for the rest of us?

David Sirota is a best-selling author whose upcoming book “Back to Our Future” will be released in March of 2011. He hosts the morning show on AM760 in Colorado. E-mail him at, follow him on Twitter @davidsirota or visit his website at

Pique Oil -- The Nation, Chomsky, et al...

You are probably NOT going to find a more complete (or starker) evaluation of the emerging phenomenon of the "End of Oil" than this series, made by VideoNation (The Nation magazine's vid stream):

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

Part 6:

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Moar Eleven Dimensional Chess? Or Was It Checkers? Backgammon?

In a piece on the US News blog titled "Obama Tax Deal Left GOP Without Jobs and Unemployment Answers," Robert Schlessinger seems to be trying to argue that O'Bama is making one of those '11-dimensional chess' against the wily GOP, luring them deeper into his lair and snares, where they will HAVE soon to reflect on their misbehavior and change their delinquent ways.

This argument's designed to suggest that, by playing directly into the hands of the obstructionist GOP, O'Bama somehow deprives them of "moral" cover, by 'requiring' solutions of them commensurate with their regained 'power.'

Subtle, were it but true.

The facts of the case, til now, however, appear to suggest the Pukes are still on the previous all-obstructionism, all-the-time tack, and feel no compulsion to provide any more than cosmetic platitudes and time (and campaign)-tested nostrums to the queries O'Bama delivers.

The Pukes don't feel obliged to answer because they do not recognize the legitimacy of the Dims, or (and especially) the President, to ask, much less to to require them to produce any. Bill O'Reilly's demeanor toward "ThePrez" epitomized their disdain and disregard for him, as if he were an uppity house-boy who was trying to cover his ass after being caught in the pantry with the maid.

Schlessinger is only right to the extent that the Pukes have retreated from their avowed intention to destroy O'Bama and delegitimate the Dims as potential heirs to power ever again. This is the direst form of legislative/political civil war, and the Dims will emerge from it, if they lose, forever afterwards 'second-class citizens' and the party of "second-class citizens."

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

No! Really? Nobody Would EVER Imagine Such A Thing

The LATimes (building pictured at the right) has a real hard-on against the LA Unified School System and the teachers' unions (which latter obsession they share wit St. Barry, who wants to break them).

So much so that last year, the paper took the measure of spuriously and scurrilously publicizing, and willfully misinterpreting, student test scores for individual teachers' classes. One teacher ultimately killed himself from humiliation. That their analysis was based on a flawed, unreliable, and specious methodology they NEVER admitted, while slandering the teachers in the system.

Now the feculent rag is lying about its "mandate" to publish. Via FAIR:
LAT Invents Support for LAT Series on Teacher Testing
02/08/2011 by Peter Hart
The L.A. Times' controversial investigation last year that rated Los Angeles schoolteachers' effectiveness based on a value-added research method has faced a storm of criticism. (See Wayne Au's recent Rethinking Schools piece.)

Now the National Education Policy Center has weighed in, finding that the research "was demonstrably inadequate to support the published rankings."

The NEPC was covered in the Washington Post and, wouldn't you know it, the Los Angeles Times.

Below are the headlines. Go ahead and guess which one is which.
Researchers Fault L.A. Times Methods in Analysis of California Teachers

Separate Study Confirms Many Los Angeles Times Findings on Teacher Effectiveness
The LA Times: Once a Great Paper, now a bum-rag for the CorpoRats.

Monday, February 07, 2011

A Parting Volley Of Salient, Anti-Reagan Reminders

If any feelings for "The Gipper" other than revulsion and disgust, loathing and nausea at the mere mention of the name can survive this wonderfully complete catalog of castigation and condemnation for Ronald W. "Where's The Rest Of Me" Reagan, I disown thee, I disown thee, I disown thee....

More at The Real News

More at The Real News

More at The Real News

More at The Real News

Saturday, February 05, 2011


Via Digby:

Background (via Amato/BlueAmerica):
The Packers are the model sports franchise, because there are no greedy owners demanding profits over people and players above everything else. Check out this great article on ESPN, written by Patrick Hruby, called: "The right way? The Green Bay way Here's how to fix professional sports in one simple lesson: Use the Packers model"

Since 1923, Green Bay has been the only publicly owned, nonprofit major professional sports team in the nation. And that doesn't just make the franchise a charming anachronism, or the answer to a barstool trivia question.

It makes them an example. A case study. A working model for a better way to organize and administer pro sports.

Namely, through public ownership, a system that could mitigate some of the most irritating ills plaguing our games -- and with little downside, to boot.

Provided you're a fan, that is. And not, say, Jerry on

And here's follow-up from Cenk @ TYT:
P.S.: Jerry Jones, the Arkie bazillionaire who owns the Dallas Cowboys--in which stadium (built with public money) the contest will be palyed--is gonna charge folks $200 just to stand OUTSIDE the stadium, in the freezing fucking cold just to watch on huge monitors.

Probably charge to use the fucking porta-potties, too, the shitwhitsles.

(It will also surprise no one that three of the biggest crooks, scammers, and "anything-it-takes" bastards on the national sports stage over the last 30 years--Jimmy Johnson, Barry Switzer, and Jerry Jones--are all joined together at the Cowboy's wallet.)

Friday, February 04, 2011

Reagan Is Still Dead!

Via Real News: Just about anything at all to which you can point which signals the decline of the Nation, the3 weakening of the Polity, and the loss of sovereignty of the People you can lay at the feet of that fucking fucknozzle, Ronald Wilson Reagan, into whose mouth--live or dead--I would like to have delivered a drippy, running shit.

More at The Real News

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Mapping the Intransigence of USer Racial Separation

Despite almost half-a-century of social movement and struggle to ensure equal rights and equal opportunity for all citizens, there is still disturbing evidence that much of the progress may be illusory. The data assembled here suggests that there have been relatively small results, at least as measured as changes in housing/neighborhood diversity.
N.B.: The Mapping Tool is linked in the headline directly below
Mapping and analysis of new data documents still-segregated America

January 18, 2011 — In the first analysis of new 5-year data from the American Community Survey at the Census Block Group level, Remapping Debate has found that reports that a long-term trend towards greater integration "overall" has continued leave out fundamental aspects of current-day residential reality. Census Blocks Groups represent smaller geographic areas than do Census Tracts.

Working with tools provided by Social Explorer, Remapping Debate is also releasing interactive maps that can zoom down to the Census Block Group level anywhere in the United States, revealing high levels of segregation that are cloaked at larger geographic levels (see example in the box at the end of this article).

Key data findings

It turns out that these ACS data, covering the period 2005 to 2009 and released last month, reveal that:

In a country that is only 12.1 percent African-American, 30 percent of African-Americans live in Census Block Groups that are 75 percent African-American or more.

75 percent of African-Americans in the country live in only 16 percent of the Census Block Groups in the United States.

50 percent of African-Americans live in Census Block Groups that have a combined African-American and Latino population of 66.85 percent or more (nationally, the latino population is approximately 15.8 percent, so the combined African-American and Latino population is just shy of only 28 percent).
There is much more data, and explanatory methodology, as well as thorough instructions for reading and exploring the map here.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

It's A Fuukin' BIGGUN!

It's Climate-Change, friendz.

The global air-mass is warming, due to anthropogenic pollution.

Warm air absorbs more moisture water vapor than cold air does. When the saturated air encounters a wintry blast like this one, the moisture freezes and precipitates.

Hence: Snow.
NASA image release January 31, 2011. This visible image was captured by the GOES-13 satellite and shows the low pressure area bringing snowfall to the Midwest Jan. 31, 2011. Heavy snow is expected today in portions of northern Iowa, southern Minnesota and Wisconsin. Snowfall from the system extends from Michigan west to Montana, Idaho, Utah and Arizona. A mix of rain and snow also stretches into the Ohio and Tennessee valleys, and it is all moving east. This system appears to be as large as 1/3rd of the Continental U.S. The image was created on Jan. 31 at 12:45 p.m. EST (1745 UTC) by the NASA GOES Project, located at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. The GOES series of satellites are operated by NOAA. Image Credit: NOAA/NASA GOES Project.
One of the largest winter storms since the 1950s is affecting 30 U.S. states today with snow, sleet, freezing rain and rain. NASA satellites have gathering data on the storm that stretches from Texas and the Rockies to the New England states.

NASA's Aqua and Terra satellites have been providing visible, infrared and microwave looks at the storm system's clouds, precipitation, temperatures and extent.

Visible and infrared images and animations of the storm's clouds and movement are created every 15 minutes by the NASA GOES Project at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. using data from GOES-11 and GOES-13, the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites. The GOES-13 and GOES-11 satellites that cover the eastern and western U.S., respectively, are operated by NOAA.

A visible image captured by the GOES-13 satellite this morning, Feb. 1 at 1401 UTC (9:01 a.m. EST) showed the low pressure area stretching from the Colorado Rockies and Texas east to New England and a massive area of clouds over the Midwest. The image showed what appeared to be "tails" over Texas and the Gulf coast. Those "tails" are areas where severe thunderstorms are possible today. To see an animation of the last two days of GOES-13 satellite images that show the progression of the storm, go to:

Another amazing satellite image created at NASA Goddard involved data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) that flies aboard NASA's Terra satellite. Because of its massive size, three MODIS images were combined to create an image of the storm system. The images were captured each time the Terra satellite passed over the U.S. on January 31 at 10:30 a.m., 12:05 p.m., and 1:45 p.m. Eastern Time (15:30, 17:05, and 18:45 UTC). The image clearly shows snow on the ground from Pennsylvania into the New England states, while the large area of clouds associated with the storm lie to the west. The image has a resolution of one kilometer per pixel.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. supplied infrared data of the storm system. The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument that flies aboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured infrared imagery of the storm on Jan. 31, 2011 at 18:47 UTC (1:47 p.m. EST). The image showed the early stages of a developing storm in the plains and Midwestern states and highlighted a preponderance of cold air in Canada and the northern U.S. that set the stage for the snowfall today.

A visible image created from AIRS data on Jan. 31 showed thickening clouds along a developing intense front in the plains and Midwestern states that will produce excessive snow, freezing rain, sleet, and wind in those areas today. The associated low pressure area guiding the storm will slide from Texas through the Mississippi Valley, Ohio Valley and then into New England.

NOAA's National Weather Service noted in their discussion today that this winter storm could easily be "one of the worst this season with blizzard conditions throughout much of the Midwest states, severe ice accretion from the middle Mississippi River valley eastward through parts of the Ohio Valley and into southern New England and heavy rain and severe thunderstorms over the deep south."

Nine states are under blizzard warnings today and Chicago is expecting two feet of snow by the evening commute and overnight. Residents of Oklahoma City are experiencing snow and gusty winds and expecting up to one and a half feet of snow today. On the southern end of this storm system, severe storms moved through Texas this morning, while areas from Birmingham to Memphis and Atlanta may also receive severe weather and between 1 and 2 inches of heavy rainfall as the system continues move east today.

The U.S. northeast is expecting snow, sleet and rain. Some northeastern U.S. cities have already recorded record snowfall and more is expected from this storm. Philadelphia has already recorded 37 inches of snow and New York City has received 56 inches. Philadelphia is expecting freezing rain today while New York City is forecast to receive between 3 and 6 inches of snow and sleet and between a quarter to 4 tenths of an inch of ice accumulation by late Wednesday.

As the system continues east, the National Weather Service is forecasting a large snowfall for New England. Boston is forecast to receive between 8 and 18 inches of snow and Portland, Maine, is expected to receive between 11 and 17 inches. It has already been a long winter in the U.S. northeast and today is the first day of February, a month known to be the snowiest of the season.

Rob Gutro
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
These ferocious winter storms are both congruent and coordinate with the increased cyclonic activity this summer in the Southern Hemisphere, which further illustrates why we're dealing with a global CLIMACTIC phenomena, not merely a localized WEATHER events.