The judge is crazier than the defendant. Wondering whether the cow was confused because the defendant's penis didn't produce milk is inexcusable. The defendant is a deviant and should be forced to get professional help. And the judge shouldn't anthropomorphize.
If I was Michael Steele I would be careful about calling anyone a nutjob and most certainly not when they are speaking the truth. While I wanted Bush tried for his crimes against humanity it never would have occurred to me to advocate his death, something that cannot be said of those on the right when they talk about Obama or Clinton. Or did he miss the now famous Facebook poll asking if Obama should be killed or John L. Perry's article (now removed) stating that a "bloodless military coup" might be necessary to restore the Constitution. That wouldn't be the same Constitution that Bush regarded as just a piece of paper is it? And my mind is not tiny. Because Mr. Perry once worked for Jimmy Carter doesn't make him any less of a conservative. Or has everyone forgotten that Dick Morris used to work for Bill Clinton?
Are some personality traits present at birth? I used to worry a lot, mainly about aches and pains and an irrational fear of the dark, but I grew out of it in my twenties. According to mom, and she should know, even though I was sickly (asthma), I wasn't a fussy baby. She says I used to sit in a corner and watch people while laughing to myself. And I'm not that much different now according to a former classmate. I've always been an observer. I used to wonder about it as a child, why didn't I like to participate? I don't mind speaking in front of lots of people but I enjoy being alone even more, especially after being surrounded by excess stimulation. When I was in high school I was known as the girl with the book because I always had one with me and would read it in a crowd of people while peeping over the top. As an adult I prefer my iPod because most people won't bother me when I have the headphones on and I can watch them in peace. Very weird.
Speaking of reading books, the banned book list is out. I've read two of the Philip Pullman novels but I got bored and didn't even start the third. I hated Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer for the same reasons. As a child I was allowed to read anything I wanted, I read On The Beach and A Summer Place in the fifth grade and Playboy for most of my adolescence and the only influence they had was to was to increase my reading skills and to keep an open mind. Trying to pull books from the library in an effort to protect kids from something you don't approve of is likely to lead to children who don't read at all and automatically distrust anything new to their existence. Sort of like their parents.
Sometimes, I turn from the darkness and see the extraordinary light and shadows that were once a day of bright colors. In its final bow before evening, the world can be at its most beautiful.
This photograph was taken with a Nikon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S DX Nikkor lens on a Nikon D60. It sees what I see. I don't think it feels what I feel; but then again, none of us can do that very well.
Still, we can tell our stories of what we saw, even if what we saw was just before the fall of night.
What has happened to this country? People seem to have lost their freaking minds. The state of Michigan would rather have kids wait outside in the rain and snow (give them an umbrella was one suggestion) for a bus than let them wait inside a neighbor's house. They have a law on the books that says if a child who isn't related to you is in your house more than 28 days a year while their parents aren't at home you are running an unlicensed daycare center even if you aren't being paid. It doesn't matter if the kids are there five minutes or five hours. As one commenter pointed out, if one of those kids was abducted there would be a completely different attitude and people would be wailing about how neighbors don't watch out for each other anymore. Once again no good deed goes unpunished.
Who's doing the economic projections now? Condoleeza Rice? It's not unexpected to me or anyone else I know that consumer confidence would drop. Money doesn't go as far as it used to and opportunities to increase one's income have become almost nonexistent. It's only if you live in a bubble that you think things are getting better for the average consumer. You know people aren't dealing with a full deck when they think that a few hundred people on Wall Street raking in dough is an indicator of a bogus recovery than the reality that hundreds of thousands of people who can't play the stock market, don't have jobs, are losing their homes and dying for lack of health care. Nobody could have seen that coming.
Many years ago I worked for Home Savings in their signature verify department. There were three of us whose job it was to match suspicious check signatures to their enrollment card on file. The other fifteen people in the department had the responsibility of authorizing which checks would be paid from flagged accounts. They would spend the morning ordering the checks so the bank would make more money on overdraft fees. That was 1983 and not much has changed other than the fees have been increased. Like any other business they want more of your money and aren't ashamed to use any means to get it. Debit card transactions and are one more way to accomplish this. The mistake most people make with banks is thinking that it's your money. It was until you put it in the bank, now it's theirs and they decide how you can spend it.
Not that the stunningly uninformed Neanderthal oaf and diminished capacity Right-wing meathead creature featured in the video posted below by Dark Wraith has a clue as to what he's ranting about, here is some information that he is lacking:
On July 22, 2009, President Obama signed H.R. 1256, a bill that had culminated a more than decade-long effort by members of Congress to give the FDA regulatory power over tobacco.
Here's a truly heartwarming story about the bond formed between a little
5-year-old girl and some construction workers that will make you believe that we all can make a difference when we give a child the gift of our time.
A young family moved into a house, next to a vacant lot. One day, a construction crew turned up to start building a house on the empty lot.
The young family's 5-year-old daughter naturally took an interest in all the activity going on next door and spent much of each day observing the workers.
Eventually the construction crew, all of them "gems-in-the-rough," more or less, adopted her as a kind of project mascot. They chatted with her, let her sit with them while they had coffee and lunch breaks, and gave her little jobs to do here and there to make her feel important.
At the end of the first week, they even presented her with a pay envelope containing ten dollars. The little girl took this home to her mother who suggested that she take her ten dollars "pay" she'd received to the bank the next day to start a savings account.
When the girl and her mom got to the bank, the teller was equally impressed and asked the little girl how she had come by her very own pay check at such a young age. The little girl proudly replied, "I worked last week with a real construction crew building the new house next door to us."
"Oh my goodness gracious," said the teller, "and will you be working on the house again this week?"
The little girl replied, "I will, if those assholes at Home Depot ever deliver the fuckin' sheet rock..."
Just before the Senate Finance Committee wrapped up for the long weekend, members debated one of Sen. Jon Kyl's (R-AZ) amendments, which would strike language defining which benefits employers are required to cover.
From Carnal Nation: Fire Dept Cuts Dumbbell Collar Off Dumb Man's Penis
By Chris Hall
File this under: Worst. Cockring. Ever. We've been trying to figure out whether or not the guy in this story merits a Darwin Award. On the one hand, he didn't wind up killing himself, which is the usual criterion for "winning" a Darwin; on the other, he may have removed all possibility of reproduction, which is just as good in the long run. It seems that the Hoag Memorial Hospital in Newport Beach, California, had to call in a Search and Rescue squad from the local fire department to cut through a steel dumbbell collar—the thing you put on the end of the bar to keep the weights from sliding off—that had been stuck on a man's penis for two to three days. By the time he got to the hospital, the man's penis had blackened and swelled to five times its normal size.
Most incredibly, the man at first refused to have the ring removed, saying cryptically, "This will make me the chief of my tribe." He apparently believed that the weight from the steel collar would make his penis longer. Instead, it blocked the flow of the blood out of his penis so that it swelled so large he couldn't take the collar off. It took two hours of careful sawing through the ring for firefighters to cut through the inch of steel. A watering system had to be constructed so that sparks from the blade didn't fly across the room as it cut through the one-inch steel ring.
Costa Mesa Battalion Chief Scott Broussard said that the operation proved the skill of the city firefighters' skills: "If we're cutting people out of some kind of building, or if we're cutting right up next to somebody's flesh and don't damage his flesh, then it's a good day," he said. No word yet on the patient's condition, or his chances for adding to the gene pool. If nothing else, he at least deserves an honorable mention in the next round of Darwins.
For more Things Not to Do With Your Penis (or that of someone you love—or just don't intensely hate)... See more here.
As long as the Republican party continues with it's current teabagging ways, as long as the GOP continues to eliminate or prevent programs that increase the educational and social opportunities of minorities, there will be few minorities who will run for or win political office by identifying themselves as Republicans.
How can you not know that you're fat? When your clothing consist of flowered prints and the size is followed by at least one X, you're fat. If you're walking and stop to look at an item and parts of your body are still moving, you're fat. If you sit in a chair and any part of you spills over the sides, you're fat. The people around you shouldn't determine whether you are overweight or not, common sense and a mirror should be all you need.
Have you seen the McDonald's map? The furthest away you will ever be in the contiguous 48 states is 107 miles. No wonder we're plumping up at an ever increasing rate.
Stephen, Stephen, Stephen. "Since Aunt Jemima stuck her tongue right in Mrs. Butterworth's flapjack", priceless, absolutely priceless. Watching you try not to crack up brought back fond memories of Tim Conway and Harvey Korman.
I have recently opened my blog up to a guest contributor by the name of Wilf who lives in central Arkansas but is a native of Winnipeg, Manitoba. I know him only through Facebook where I friended a person I have known since childhood, and subsequently was introduced virtually to another friend of hers. Wilf is this friend of a friend's husband. I had the opportunity to view some of his opinions through pieces he wrote and published locally there in the Faulkner County area of greater Little Rock.
I like his viewpoints and his philosophy regarding what is going on the world around us. Here is what he posted today on my blog. I'm not sure how to precisely tag this so I'm going with "energy politics."
I noticed the other day that Condi Rice chipped in her two cents on the strategy being employed by Barack Obama in Afghanistan. Specifically she said “The last time we left Afghanistan, and we abandoned Pakistan," she said, "that territory became the very territory on which Al Qaeda trained and attacked us on September 11th. So our national security interests are very much tied up in not letting Afghanistan fail again and become a safe haven for terrorists. It's that simple," she declared, "if you want another terrorist attack in the U.S., abandon Afghanistan." Sounds pretty ominous. Stay and continue to fight in Afghanistan or be attacked. Scary stuff.
We were told by W in 2001 that the Afghan invasion purpose was to find Osama Bin Laden, remove the Taliban from power, and bring freedom to the Afghan people. Like many times during the Baby Bush years, we were lied to. Unfortunately though the real reasons for the invasion, and the continued presence of the US in Afghanistan are based more on greed than some noble crusade to free the Afghan people and bring to justice the man who masterminded 9/11. Ask yourself, “ Why is it, long after Bin Laden stopped being hunted, and instead became Bush’s Emmanuel Goldstein, a scary underground enemy, occasionally issuing video taped threats, the Muslim boogeyman extraordinaire, that we continue to spend lives and money fighting in this country that for 2000 years no one has been able to conquer”? The very simple answer is natural gas, and lots of it.
There are vast reserves of natural gas in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, countries north of Afghanistan on the Caspian Sea. Unocal, a huge oil and gas company that later was acquired by Chevron, wanted a way to get these massive reserves to market. The answer was to build a gas pipeline from the Caspian Sea, through Afghanistan, through Pakistan, to the Indian Ocean, and then transport it by tanker to their many gas hungry customers.
Unocal was good friends with the then US backed Taliban and there is speculation that they even helped finance the Taliban in their war with the Soviets. Up until 1999, Unocal were such great friends with the Taliban leaders that they hosted delegations of Taliban leaders to the USA; Texas to be exact (while W was governor), in 1997 and 1999.
After Taliban guest in Afghanistan Osama Bin Laden attacked two US embassies in 1998, things started to go sour. Negotiations broke down for good as late as 2001, and as Toronto's Globe and Mail columnist Lawrence Martin put it, "Washington was furious, leading to speculation it might take out the Taliban. After 9/11, the Taliban, with good reason, were removed -- and pipeline planning continued with the Karzai government. U.S. forces installed bases near Kandahar, where the pipeline was to run. A key motivation for the pipeline was to block a competing bid involving Iran, a charter member of the 'axis of evil.'"
In April of 2008, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India signed a Gas Pipeline Framework Agreement to build a U.S.-backed $7.6 billion pipeline. It would, of course, bypass Iran and new energy giant Russia, carrying Turkmeni natural gas and oil to Pakistan and India. Construction would, theoretically, begin in 2010. Put the emphasis on "theoretically," because the pipeline is, once again, to run straight through Kandahar and so directly into the heartland of the Taliban insurgency. Queue the renewed interest in the Afghan war. Queue the increase in troop levels, and subsequent increase in troop deaths. Sorry Condi, this war has nothing to do with preventing terror attacks, and you know it. It has everything to do with making a lot of money and being willing to sacrifice lives to do it. It has everything to do with building a fucking pipeline. And Barack Obama is far from innocent; he suggested increased troop levels in Afghanistan before the election, and will in all likelihood continue the escalation he has already begun. Like his predecessor he continues to lie about why we are still in Afghanistan.
Just a couple more facts to note: Condi Rice was a former employee of Chevron, who as you recall, acquired Unocal and are partners in the pipeline deal. She even, inexplicably, had an oil tanker named after her Marinucci, Carla (2001-05-05). From the San Francisco Chronicle, "Chevron redubs ship named for Bush aide." DTL which soon after she became the Bush Secretary of State, was wisely re-named Altair Voyager. Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who was installed by the US as interim president and then “elected” by the Afghan people, is a former consultant for Unocal. The connections here are by no means tenuous.
There has been a flurry of reportage on the revived pipeline plan in Canada, where -- bizarrely enough -- journalists and columnists actually worry about such ephemeral possibilities as Canadian troops spending the next half century protecting Turkmeni energy. If you happen to live in the U.S., though, you would really have no way of knowing about such developments, no less their backstory, unless you were wandering the foreign press online. The BBC, the CBC, and English Al Jezeera are all good places to start.
My goodness. Newt Gingrich, champion of The Contract On America (isn't that what it should be called?) tells us this morning:
The Founding Fathers designed the Constitution and our government to guard against political power grabs by slowing down the process of making laws.
They insisted that the Senate had to be a deliberative body to slow down the passions of the House and stop mob rule from destroying freedom. ~letter via Human Events
(The email also carries an ad suggesting we buy gold. The Gary North solution.)
And recent Republican talking points are all about the Democrats having the 60 seat majoriy, both houses of Congress, and -- of course -- the liberal press. That's why the Dems are passing things left an right. Right.
Some Republicans are working to delay votes on President Obama's healthcare reform until after November's off-year elections in Virginia and New Jersey, but not just because they want time to amend the plan. GOP strategists are hopeful that Republicans will upset Democrats in the gubernatorial races there, scaring moderate Democrats away from the Obama plan as they worry about their own re-election in 2010. Republican victories "will send a powerful signal, especially to 'blue dog' Democrats," GOP pollster Whit Ayres says of the moderate Democrats.
The noise machine is a minority opposed to whatever Obama does (read their signs). The simple fact is that 80% Americans favor health care reform. Why can't we move this process forward? Have real debate, real facts. Instead, we have diversions. People calling names. Even in Newt's Founding Fathers hallowed chambers.
To whose advantage does this work? I always ask that. It's sort of like the old "follow the money." In fact, it IS follow the money.
More than one of every five requests for medical claims for insured patients, even when recommended by a patient's physician, are rejected by California's largest private insurers, amounting to very real death panels in practice daily in the nation's biggest state, according to data released today [September 2, 2009] by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee.
CNA/NNOC researchers analyzed data reported by the insurers to the California Department of Managed Care. From 2002 through June 30, 2009, the six largest insurers operating in California rejected 31.2 million claims for care – 21 percent of all claims. [snip]
With all the dishonest claims made by some politicians about alleged 'death panels' in proposed national legislation, the reality for patients today is a daily, cold-hearted rejection of desperately needed medical care by the nation's biggest and wealthiest insurance companies simply because they don't want to pay for it," said Deborah Burger, RN, CNA/NNOC co-president. [snip]
"Every claim that is denied represents a real patient enduring pain and suffering. Every denial has real, sometimes fatal consequences," said Burger. [snip]
Rejection of care is a very lucrative business for the insurance giants. The top 18 insurance giants racked up $15.9 billion in profits last year.
The California Nurses Association just sent out a press release highlighting new report from the Commonwealth Fund that projects a 94% increase in health insurance premiums by 2020, if effective reforms aren't enacted. From the e-mailed release:
Private insurance premiums for employer-sponsored coverage will rise by 94 percent by 2010, on top of the 119 percent increase since 1999, according to the Commonwealth Fund report. The increases in premiums from 1999 to 2008 were four times greater than the rise in family incomes, even prior to the current recession.
"These findings are merely the shocking state of premiums, not even including a concurrent jump in out-of-pocket costs for deductibles, co-pays, and other fees. It's no wonder that medical bills now are the leading factor in 62 percent of bankruptcies, and half of American families are rationing medical care because they can't afford it," noted Deborah Burger, RN, co-president of the 86,000-member California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee.
Los Angeles - Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today [September 3, 2009] announced that deputies in his office are launching an independent inquiry into how Health Maintenance Organizations review and pay insurance claims submitted by doctors, hospitals and other medical providers.
This investigation is prompted by reports that California's five largest health-insurance providers are denying insurance claims at rates of up to 39.6 percent.
"These high denial rates suggest a system that is dysfunctional, and the public is entitled to know whether wrongful business practices are involved," Brown said.
Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds reveals another name -- the congresswoman who was a potential target for Turkish government blackmail -- and alleges massive corruption among Congressmembers over nuclear secrets.
Exclusive: Upcoming Cover Story on Edmonds 'Outs' Video-taped, 'Blackmailed' Dem Congresswoman; Alleges State Dept. Mole at NYTimes; MUCH MORE...
American Conservative' mag's description of interview with previously-gagged FBI whistleblower as 'explosive' may prove to be a gross understatement
Blackmail, bribery, infiltration, theft and sale of nuke secrets by Turkey, Israel explained in clearer detail than ever before...
On Friday, we reported on the coming exclusive American Conservative cover story interview with formerly-gagged FBI translator turned whistleblower Sibel Edmonds by quoting the magazine's own teaser description of the piece as "explosive". Over the weekend, we received an embargoed look at the final version of the AmCon interview by former CIA officer Phil Giraldi, and yes, "explosive", may be a vast understatement. At least if the U.S. corporate media bothers to notice it this time.
It seems it may be difficult to not notice it, given that Edmonds finally names, on the record, for the first time, in a right-leaning periodical founded by Pat Buchanan, the identity of the currently-serving Democratic Congresswoman she has previously described as married with grown children and having been "hooked" into participating in a lesbian affair with a Turkish foreign agent, as she was secretly video-taped for blackmail purposes.
Edmonds has alluded to the Congresswoman, without naming her, in the past, most notably in her recent sworn and video-taped deposition in the Schmidt v. Krikorian case now pending before the Ohio Election Commission. In that testimony, she did manage to name the names of other Congress members she had previously identified publicly. At the time, we (and virtually no other media outlets) reported on her disclosures that Dennis Hastert (R-IL), Bob Livingston (R-LA), Dan Burton (R-IN), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Stephen Solarz (D-NY) and Tom Lantos (D-CA, deceased), were all participants in blackmail and/or bribery schemes by and with agents of the Turkish government, as she became aware while translating wiretaps in the FBI's counterintelligence division after 9/11. Some of those crimes are said to have resulted in the theft and sale of nuclear weapons technology to allies and enemies alike.
In her 8/8/09 D.C. deposition, she discussed, for the first time on the public record since being previously gagged by the Bush Administration's use of so-called "State Secrets Privilege" (twice), details of what she heard while reviewing and translating wiretaps of Turkish agents who were targets of a long-running FBI investigation centered out of Chicago, but extending far beyond.
In addition to specific details on allegations of serious wrongdoing by the Congress members mentioned above, as well as State and Defense Department officials such as Marc Grossman, Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle, Edmonds had offered details, during the deposition, about a Democratic Congresswoman who is "married with...grown children, but she is bisexual."
"So they have sent Turkish female agents," she testified, in her sometimes-broken English, according to the transcript [PDF]. "And that Turkish female agents work for Turkish government, and have sexual relationship with this Congresswoman in her townhouse actually in this area, and the entire episodes of their sexual conduct was being filmed because the entire house, this Congressional woman's house was bugged."
She went on to add that she hadn't used her name in the past because she left the FBI before knowing whether or not the information was actually used against the Congresswoman to blackmail her, or if the woman had even been made aware of it. "I don't know if she did anything illegal afterwards," Edmonds said.
In Giraldi's AmCon interview, Edmonds again repeats that she doesn't know if the Congresswoman "ever was actually blackmailed or did anything for the Turkish woman", but she does name her name this time...
The Congresswoman in question, according to Edmonds, is Illinois' 9th-district Rep. Jan Schakowsky.
If Jesus came back today, and saw what was going on in his name, he'd never stop throwing up.
~Max von Sydow
Pass the buckets.
There are those who, while ignoring separation of church and state, cloak themselves in a flag of false patriotism, claim to be "Christians" and seem to deliberately ignore the lessons of Christ, corrupt His teachings, and aim to turn this country into a theocracy by taking over the judicial system, Congress and the White House in order to inflict their ironically hypocritical views into a government where their version of religion makes all the rules. In that, they are not much different from the Taliban.
"Republican Gomorrah" is a 365-page exposé into the ironic fact that those who wrap themselves in the flag fear freedom the most because of their own personal demons and insecurities, making them pathologically supportive of an authoritarian state that can provide them with the emotional security of being a cog in a machine of a white Christian hierarchical machine.
This is a fascinating, incisive and groundbreaking book that explores the needy and fractured psyhological drive that propels so many wingers into a sort of mad need for tyranny, while claiming they are defending freedom.
It's an irony that could prove fatal to America, if we don't understand it as Max Blumenthal has revealed it.
The G.O.P. of the 21st century bears scant resemblance to the Party of Eisenhower. It has been coopted by authoritarians like James Dobson and Tom DeLay, people who, as predicted by psychologist Erich Fromm nearly 70 years earlier, in an attempt to deny their own human flaws, have risen to power by donning the armor of religious, bullying self-righteousness and imposing their misdirected anger on others.
Certainly, the Left has been quick to point out each example of blatantly hypocritical behavior of these conservative politicians drunk on sanctimony, and religious leaders on the Right who rarely, if ever, practice what they preach. But there's more to the story than just these acts themselves. Why have these particular actors' personal psychopathologies of sadism and domination struck a nerve with a sizable portion of the country and had such a major impact on politics?
Picking up from where John Dean's Conservatives Without Conscience and Jeff Sharlet's The Family have left off, Max Blumenthal's Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement That Shattered the Party continues the conversation by offering a psychohistorial analysis of the authoritarianism of the Religious Right and the damage it has wrought on the Republican Party as a whole. Republican Gomorrah is more than an exposé of the salacious, outrageous scandals of the "Family Values" party; it is a withering dissertation on the underlying psychological and ideological dysfunction that serves as the emotional foundation for the Mike Huckabees, Sarah Palins and Ted Haggards of this world.
What's more, Republican Gomorrah is an implicit indictment of a compliant national media that has eagerly rolled over for these über-Christian, homophobic, xenophobic, misogynistic, racist chest-beaters and provided them with a megaphone from which to blast their messages of hate, intolerance, and self-immolation.
Republican Gomorrah is a frightening book because it is clear to all of us on the outside that the various Republican operatives who surround James Dobson and his ilk have no consciences and will stop at nothing. They invoke the name of God for purposes that shame God absolutely -- hurting, destroying, maiming, and damning others who either don't accept their beliefs or don't acknowledge their power and righteousness. Of course that is frightening.
But Blumenthal's cast of characters, beginning with Dobson and his prodigal son, Ryan, and including John Hagee, Sarah Palin, Ralph Reed, Charles Colson, Judith Reisman, Christina Regnery, Donald Wildmon, et al. strike the reader as above all else very small -- egocentric, narrow minded, uneducated, selfish, and resentful. Each of these qualities is destructive in and of itself. The combination is turning out to be coercive. Even those of us who are immune to the emotions these people play upon are getting more and more nervous about the power that they wish to exert.
Blumenthal does two things that no one else I have read manages to do -- the first of these is that he organizes the network. He shows how Ted Bundy is connected to James Dobson is connected to Gary Bauer is connected to Erik Prince is connected to Ralph Reed is connected to Jack Abramoff is connected to Tom Delay is connected to Tony Perkins is connected to David Duke is connected to Mel Gibson, and so forth, and in the course of tracing these connections, he informs us, or reminds us, of the crimes and misdemeanors these people have committed. [...]
That's where your freedom and mine come in.
Many of the Evangelicals Blumenthal discusses are Christian Dominionists -- that is, they differ from the Taliban only in their choice of doctrine. Their uses of that doctrine (to dehumanize women and other groups, to never share power, to control every aspect of every life within their power, and to create society as a steeply hierarchical structure with them at the top) are those of the Taliban.
The following link will take you to an excerpt from Max Blumenthal's new book, Republican Gomorah: Inside the Movement That Shattered the Party:
For thogh we slepe or wake, or rome, or ryde,
Ay fleeth the tyme; it nil no [will no] man abyde
--Chaucer, The Clerk's Tale
What I am looking for is not out there,
it is in me
They have eyes but cannot see
Contented with little,
yet wishing for more
It was reported this morning that some people died at a group therapy session in Berlin after ingesting unknown substances (Two People Die in Poisoning at German therapy Group.) Which brings me to a provide both a PSA and our Sunday homily: Know what you know.
First, you should know Lisa is not a druggie. But she's not a Carrie Nation, either. Her mother participated in one of the early psychotherapeutic studies involving the drug LSD with Dr. Wolf in the early 1960's, so when two friends within the span of a month suggested she might try the hallucinogen Ayahuasca, It was compelling. It is not a suggestion one receives every day. Other than going stark raving mad like an outcast from Reefer Madness, there seemed no harm.
One friend had ordered some online from Denmark, but had no idea how to mix it; the other offered a group setting under the observation of a local therapist, which seemed preferable.
Mine is a little story of a short, perfect trip led by curandero Raul of the Peruvian jungles. I will not do it again, as it is not necessary. The denizens assure me it is always different, but there is nothing more I need from this.
The stuff itself tasted vile -- like a cross between Haley's M.O. and Elmer's white school paste, with some small bits of wood thrown in. Having never tripped before, I had no preconceptions. Nothing happened for what seemed the longest time, and I began to think I'd been had, the wood bits thrown in much like the Army chef who crushed two eggshells and added it to the powdered eggs so the recruits could feel like they were eating something fresh. But then, my cells began their decay.
Not a pretty sight, as the flakes were seen hopping off my legs, and I was treated to a microscopic view of cellular decay. Crepey and greenish, it disgusted me. My best efforts at slathering on skin creams were foiled. I smiled, as the trip had begun.
There's nothing that unpleasant about ayahuasca, unless you're not into vomiting, which is why you come equipped with a "vomit bucket," an item you hold dear during the process. For me, that part was staved off for a very long time. In fact, the sounds of other's wretching disgusted me, until I joined them.
Then I was disgusted by my own weakness, but was able to pass through that phase fairly quickly. I smiled at my arrogance in thinking I could avoid vomiting, and quickly passed into a deep sorrow, followed by euphoria.
In the sorrow, there were small blocks of ice cube tears flowing down my face into the bucket. Can a person have that much sorrow? Was I tapping into some sort of Emersonian Oversoul -- a collective unconscious? Whatever the answer to the latter, the answer to the former was clearly, yes.
The most uncomfortable part of the trip was the unending patterns in which I would find myself -- labyrinthine, Escher-like mazes. Would they never end? I was living Walther Benjamin's Repetitions. The only way to make the tedious madness cease was to put myself in another grid square, to extricate myself. It worked every time, but the learning curve was no quicker on each repetition; I had to reach the point of total frustration before I would make the move to leave.
My mind was forested by thick impenetrable trees, cartoonish in their massiveness. They were hulking, crossed brambles of my own design, the realization of which made me smile, however ruefully.
My trip even had it's own soundtrack. Nothing that exalted -- Dan Fogelberg's Part of the Plan: "And one day we’ll all understand," which drew me perfectly to the culmination, which most of the others didn't get, IMHO.
In short, Lisa found she was a prideful, vomiting, miserably sad and insanely happy mess of a human. She came out of it on cue, at the two hour mark. Not to be flip, but many of the others were still languishing. For some reason, there was a lot of consternation all 'round. I was not smug, but quite content. I slept like a baby.
Before leaving the next morning was a sharing ritual. One one of the women near me said I was silent for the duration. To me, my laughter was raucous, and my wailing, inconsolable. But it was all inside. Except for the vomiting. And that's how I am. I watched while others shook and screamed and moaned, but I was the silent watcher.
My vision that morning was sobering: Almost everyone was planted behind a tombstone, to one depth or another. One well-dressed man shared how he could not surmount his father's death, and I could see him planted behind a concrete image of his father. I chose not to share what I saw. There were about 40 in the group, ranging from old potheads to the curious very wealthy, most in their 50's and 60's. Most were trying too hard. They wanted divine intervention, revelation, salvation, and they didn't get it and were disappointed. I just don't think it's there.
My lesson from the trip was rather humble: "Do not lie to yourself." Again, I had to smile. This was my big insight? We already know that, but it was my Chinese fortune cookie, so I took it to heart.
I am very good at warping the truth to fit an expected or worked for paradigm. And if I squint and turn my head just so, viola! But the harder challenge is strip away my clever analysis, and just observe . . . to tell myself the truth. To leave an unbearable scenario if it will not budge.
Did you see Wolf Blitzer on Jeopardy! Thursday night? What an idiot and I say that because he didn't know anything.
I've watched Jeopardy! since it was Art James and Don Pardo and this was one of the worst performances I've ever seen by anybody. When they do a Celebrity Jeopardy the answers aren't as difficult as they are during regular play and nowhere near as difficult as Tournament play. More along the lines of the Kids Tournament whose contestants are between ten and twelve years old.
It was Wolf, Dana Delaney and Andy Richter. After the first five questions, Andy took off and never looked back. 32 questions correct and 2 wrong. Dana was pretty accurate, 11 correct and 2 wrong, but Andy was quicker on the trigger and she didn't get much of a chance to give the correct question. And Wolf? 5 right and 6 wrong. William Hurt's character in Broadcast News would probably have done better. Try and convince me the news isn't scripted.
Wolf was negative going in to Final Jeopardy, they gave him a $1000 dollars because it's for charity and he still missed the final question. Category was Famous Actors and the answer was:
Ironically, he lost the leading role in the 1960 play "The Best Man" because he didn't look presidential.
That has to be the easiest Final Jeopardy answer they've ever had. And he missed it. Seriously. How could anybody over the age of fifteen not know that it was Ronnie Raygun? Wolfie, did you even bring your thinking cap to the show? I guess not knowing the definition of irony and being incapable of remembering that only one actor has been elected president would preclude one from using logic to figure out the question. Plus, he proved he couldn't spell and he didn't know where Jesus was born.
It looks like actors and comedians have as much right to voice their opinions on politics as the newscasters do and with a little more knowledge to back them up. No wonder the Daily Show and the Colbert Report are considered trusted sources for news. They may be comedians but at least they know something besides reading from a teleprompter. I wonder how many people sent Wolfie this.
Sometime between being thoroughly smacked down by a federal judge and threatened with sanctions Wednesday, then denouncing said judge to TPM as a corrupt puppet, then having a formal complaint filed against her by a fellow member of the California bar for her comments, self-appointed Birther leader Taitz filed a motion in the U.S. District Court of the Middle District of Georgia challenging the judge's order tossing her most recent case.
Judge Clay Land -- who on Wednesday penned the scathing and widely-praised 14-page order denouncing Taitz and Birtherism and warning her against further frivolous suits -- was not pleased.
As he puts it in his latest colorful order, denying Taitz's motion: "It was deja vu all over again. [Attributed to New York Yankees baseball legend and philosopher, Yogi Berra.]"
Instead of seriously addressing the substance of the Court's order, counsel repeats her political diatribe against the President, complains that she did not have time to address dismissal of the action (although she sought expedited consideration), accuses the undersigned of treason, and maintains that "the United States District Courts in the 11th Circuit are subject to political pressure, external control, and . . . subservience to the same illegitimate chain of command which Plaintiff has previously protested."
We count nine uses of "frivolous" in the seven-page document.
This filing contemptuously ignores the Court's previous admonition that Plaintiff's counsel discontinue her illegitimate use of the federal judiciary to further her political agenda. The Court finds that the claims and legal contentions asserted in the present motion are not warranted by existing law and that no reasonable basis exists to conclude that Plaintiff's arguments would be accepted as an extension, modification, or reversal of existing law. Simply put the motion is frivolous. Moreover, the Court further finds that Plaintiff's motion is being presented for the improper purpose of using the federal judiciary as a platform to espouse controversial political beliefs rather than as a legitimate forum for hearing legal claims. Counsel's conduct violates Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and sanctions are warranted. Accordingly, Plaintiff's motion for reconsideration (Doc. 15) is denied, and counsel for Plaintiff is ordered to show cause why the Court should not impose a monetary penalty of $10,000.00 upon Plaintiff's counsel for her misconduct. Counsel shall file her response to this show cause order within 14 days of today's order.
It also appears that Taitz filed the motion to stay the deployment of her client, Connie Rhodes, without even bothering to ask Rhodes' permission to file the motion. Rhodes fired off an angry letter stating she did not authorize the motion, wants to fire Orly Taitz, and is threatening to report her to the California state bar.
The absolute cluelessness of the GOP continues to either reach new heights or plumb deeper depths, I can't decide which. Rep. Sue Myrick of North Carolina used the GOP radio address to tar and feather government run health care by claiming that it would cause delays in treatment that would threaten our health. Using her own breast cancer as an example she complains that it took "took six doctors, three mammograms and one ultrasound before they finally they found my cancer. This process took only a few weeks." Most citizens only have one doctor and the uninsured have none. Crystal Lee Sutton, also from North Carolina and known to the rest of the world as Norma Rae, had health insurance and died of brain cancer. Her insurance company withheld authorization for chemotherapy medication for two months and the normally slow growing cancer spread at a rapid pace. I'm sure she would have rather had Rep. Myrick's government run access to treatment, but I'm not so sure Ms. Sutton would complain about it saving her life on national radio.
With the right determined to occupy the outer fringe, the center has become the new right. Obama was already right of center and that he is acquiescing to pressure and moving further right is not much of a surprise. It's tough to balance when everything is on one end, eventually things tip over. At what point will the issues of the people who elected him be addressed?
According to a gentleman on the Texas Board of Education, that august body responsible for influencing what's in the textbooks of tomorrow, as a minority female I should be grateful to white men for the rights I currently have. Wow, it's nice to know that being human isn't enough to qualify for basic civil rights. No wonder we can't have a rational discussion on health care.
But here we run into a terrible problem. The health care debate cannot be understood in historic context because many Americans have never heard of Thomas Jefferson. Extrapolating from state surveys, only 14% of American high school students can name who wrote the Declaration of Independence. Nearly 75% do not know that George Washington was our first president. More than 90% could not pass the exam given to immigrants who wish to become citizens. No wonder that Jay Leno has so much material for his Jay Walking segment. We can say that our educational system has failed when the vast majority of American students do not know enough to pass an exam to qualify as American citizens
On my last few trips to California I had the misfortune to eat at both a Denny's and a Marie Callender's. They both had a laminated sheet with the nutritional information of the menu and they are going to have to change their menus if people start reading them on a regular basis. While Marie's had a more appetizing breakfast menu, you know you're in trouble when the healthiest item on the menu are in the pancake section. I settled on the breakfast quiche special because it had less sodium and that was still one third of my daily requirement. Healthy options? It would take more time to find the one or two relatively healthy items than the server is likely to give you.
While quickly perusing news stories, I made the mistake of clicking on the title of an article that I thought would amuse me. Being a buyer and seller on Craigslist, this one could not be ignored. From the telegraph.co.uk comes this September 8, 2009, gem of an article: "20 most bizarre Craigslist adverts of all time."
By the time I finished the article, I was somewhat out of sorts about what these ads have to say about the state of Western Civilization and where it is headed.
Some guy in Atlanta was selling an over-the-head, full-sized, duck mask (picture included); another person in Phoenix was selling pope hats apparently too small for most people, but possibly suitable for a "nice dog" or "maybe a large cat"; a deeply weird guy in Pittsburgh needed a woman to sit in a bathtub full of noodles (while he was not there) so he could come home later, season them properly, then eat them; and yet another individual, apparently quite the bibliophile, was selling a "1st edition of [Plato's] The Republic signed by its author."
I wish I had seen that last ad before it expired.
Ditto for the Pope hats.
Anyway, one of the ads caught my attention because I did not immediately understand the unwritten subtext, so I shall share it with you, dear readers. From Craigslist Los Angeles, dated December 13, 2008, (as filed on Best of Craigslist) comes this troubling plea:
I left my Dentures in your Silverado last night. I gave you my number but did not get yours. Please call me asap. I need my teeth. We met in the parking lot of Margarita Jones. Get back to me asap please. Thank you.
I should have known better than to keep reading after the tormented fellow's ad looking for a woman to flavor his noodles.
The Dark Wraith will probably go back to trolling eBay for bargains, at least for a while.
A formal complaint against Orly Taitz over her conduct has now been filed with the California bar association by Subodh Chandra, who said Taitz "is an embarrassment to the profession."
Taitz's comments to TPM going after U.S. District Court Judge Clay Land violate section 6068(b) of the California Business & Professions Code, the complaint charges. That section of the law requires attorneys to "maintain the respect due to the courts of justice and judicial officers." [snip]
The complaint further charges Taitz is violating the code by filing frivolous suits and pursuing actions based on "corrupt motive of passion of interest, namely, discriminatory and political motives." [snip]
If a violation is found to have occurred, Taitz could face actions ranging from "private reproval to disbarment."
Yes, Glenn Beck is mad. As in crazy. Beck's overly histrionic behavior is deeply indicative of a man with a tenuous hold on reality and in Chinese Medicine he would be diagnosed as shen disturbed. We use the tongue as a diagnostic tool along with appearance, smell and actions and his tongue has a longitudinal crack down the center and is considered a telltale sign. It isn't as deep as Marshall Applewhite's but it reveals quite a bit about Beck's personality. They say the eyes are the window to the soul and Beck's are pretty glassy even without the tears on demand, another sign of mental derangement. Thinking that he makes sense and has America's best interests at heart is the equivalent of thinking that a spaceship is hiding behind a comet and has come to take you away to a better place.
Speaking of a better place, that would not be Oklahoma. For a state that is so fond of the only Second Amendment 75 percent of their high school students not only don't know who the first President of the United States was, but only three percent of those surveyed could pass the citizenship test that all those immigrants they love to hate must take to prove they are worthy to become Americans by choice instead of by birth. Eight years of the No Child Left Behind initiative and these kids would probably be lucky if they could find their state on a map. Exactly how would the rest of us suffer if the south was to secede? Other than lowering our national ignorance score to tolerable levels and reducing the public monies that flow into those states and not out of them, how would we know the difference?
Limbaugh wants to return to segregated busing and feels that racism is normal. All righty then. The White House can pretend that racism doesn't exist but it doesn't get much more blatant than that. Actually, segregated busing sounds like a good idea. Put all the crazies on the bus and drive them to the nearest institution, lock them up and throw away the key. We wouldn't have to provide healthcare or any other societal benefits they object to and they wouldn't have to pay taxes that they hate. It's a win win for everyone.
I knew this was practically inevitable in the near future, and here it is. The fact that it's Florida isn't exactly a shocker, either. The agenda of the "Personhood Amendment" is to create a de facto ban on oral contraceptives. "The pill" is widely seen as an abortifacient by anti-choice activists, meaning that birth control pills interfere with the implantation of a blastocyst. Since the proposed amendment defines human life as starting the moment an egg is fertilized, any contraceptive that interferes with implantation would then be criminalized.
As the following Alternet article mentions, one of the groups behind the ballot initiative, American Life League, is working on similar measures in other states. The A.L.L. website explains why the pill is a murder weapon: "The pill will irritate the lining of the uterus so that the newly formed human being cannot attach to his/her mother's womb and dies....This is called a chemical abortion."
Aside from the fact that a blastocyst is not a "formed human being", let's imagine that by some remote chance, such a measure passes by referendum. What's the next logical conclusion? The state has to operate yet another law enforcement division, the Fetal Protection Agency. Any ovulating female using Rx's or herbs known to be abortifacients has to be investigated, to insure that potential blastocysts or zygotes aren't being harmed. That segues into mandatory monthly pregnancy tests; the lucrative testing center contracts going to the special friends of the GOP. Women who are believed to have caused an implantation failure or miscarriage will face potential prosecution. I think you get the picture.
If you don't think this could actually happen, then please consider the possibility that you may be mired in wishful thinking. I would be willing to wager that we're going to see Roe go down in the next three years. With the Supreme Court we have now, you can almost count on it.
From Alternet: Anti-Choice Floridians Peddling Constitutional Amendment to Criminalize Birth Control Pill
Posted by Liliana Segura
This post originally appeared in PEEK.
Florida has done it again, folks.
Yes, the state that brought you Bush v. Gore, the sex offender colony under the bridge, and the shoot-first-ask-questions-later legislation known as the "Stand Your Ground Law" has another idea up its sleeve. And this one's for the ladies.
Tampa Bay Online reports:
TALLAHASSEE - Anti-abortion conservatives are proposing a new constitutional amendment that critics claim would make it a crime to take birth control pills in Florida. The "Personhood Amendment" that conservative activists are filing today in Tallahassee would add language to the state constitution that defines someone as a "person," regardless of age or health status, "from the beginning of the biological development of that human being."
This, of course, is just another twist on the conventional argument by anti-choice groups that birth control pills are basically murder weapons. "The pill will irritate the lining of the uterus so that the newly formed human being cannot attach to his/her mother's womb and dies," reads an explanation on the website of the American Life League, which is supporting similar efforts in other states. "This is called a chemical abortion." This is the same group that runs thepillkills.com, a site that "focuses on blood clots and other health risks that birth control pills pose to women."
Even if these people manage to collect the 676,811 signatures they need to get by Feb. 1 in order for this idea to be considered by Florida residents, even anti-choice politicians seem to be a bit ambivalent about the idea of criminalizing birth control.
"Even candidates who call themselves 'pro-life' stopped short of fully embracing the 'Personhood' proposal," according to Tampa Bay Online....Read the rest.
Many things should be done to change the student loan situation and foremost should be making sure that the jobs you are able to get after graduating are worth the cost of the loan.
Before I went to acupuncture school the dean said that it would cost approximately $28K to receive my degree. He lied. Tuition increased every year, from $128 per unit when I started to $185 a unit when I graduated and they kept increasing the amount of units required to graduate. Sometimes books were more than a $1K per semester. We had to pay to work in the clinic. The patients paid for their treatment and herbs, we paid for the privilege of treating them. Quite a nice little racket for the school. Every 18 weeks our schedule changed. One semester would be day classes, the next might be nights and weekends (I was in class on Easter three out of the four years I was in school), and the following would be a mixture of the two. Employers don't like that which made holding down a job to cover living expenses very difficult.
I graduated with $68K in debt and no way to pay it off. Despite having done shifts at the San Diego Hospice and some classmates had worked in UCSD clinics, there were no jobs in our profession which meant you had to start a business. And that is a completely different mindset from being a doctor and was only covered in one three unit class. Treating patients was no longer the point, paying for office space, advertising, phones and equipment was. Coming up with $845 a month for my student loan, wasn't. So, I deferred and consolidated and am now income contingent. Instead of having the loan paid off it is over $100K and still growing. I will never earn enough to pay it off.
Was I stupid? You betcha! Halfway through school I realized it was a con (not acupuncture but the school itself), but I had already borrowed so much that I couldn't pay it off unless I graduated. And then I had to hope that I was going to be wildly successful, which I sort of was until Silicon Valley crashed.
I had been in business about a year and was finally making enough to keep a roof over my head and able to budget a loan payment. In less than a month that thought went the way of the dodo. Patients disappeared as fast as their jobs did. Cash patients could no longer afford to come in on a regular basis because they had become the sole breadwinner in their family. Jobs with insurance benefits became nonexistent and then the great Arnold decided to revamp the worker's compensation system, mainly to the workers detriment. This was followed by some idiot changing insurance codes to make acupuncture the equivalent of physical therapy and reduced our payments to a little over $20 a treatment, unless you lied to pad your bill or performed unnecessary prcedures. Which many were forced to do if they wanted to stay in business.
A treatment typically takes about 45 minutes. We do an intake which is at least ten minutes longer than the 18 seconds you normally get at a doctor's office, and we leave the room so the patient can remove one or two items of clothing and lay down on the table. We insert the needles and if we've been in practice for twenty years or don't care about needle location or the comfort of the patient this can be done in two to three minutes but it usually takes five or six. Then the patient rests for 10 to 20 minutes before you remove the needles.
Most acupuncturists have a single room office when they start out which means that if they are completely booked in an eight hour day (don't they wish) and if the patients have insurance they aren't going to make more than $200 a day unless they aren't honest. This might sound like a good wage to some people but they forget about the expenses since that isn't a salary. You still have two rents to pay, two electric bills, telephone, required schooling to keep your license, food, transportation, advertising, needles and other equipment and other assorted living expenses. Like health insurance that you really can't afford. You do your own reports and billing since you obviously can't afford a secretary or billing service. Very few acupuncturists see forty patients a week and certainly not ones who are starting their own business. I lasted almost two years before I quit practicing. And I still have the loan but it's much larger now.
I never wanted to run a business, I wanted to be a doctor. Technical schools count on this. People want to be fashion designers, medical or computer technicians, auto mechanics, acupuncturists, chiropractors, etc. and these schools promise you that it's possible. They take the money that you have to borrow to attend their school (if you had money or skills you wouldn't consider them a viable option but you're desperate to change your situation) and in return you get a degree that isn't worth the paper it's printed on. And a huge loan that you can't pay back.
I understand why traditional doctors are frustrated with the insurance system as it currently stands. They may graduate with more debt than I did but most of them have jobs waiting when they're eligible.
As long as they stay in a hospital environment they don't have to deal with the majority of the insurance issues but heaven forbid if they go into private practice. In order to survive they have to see so many patients that they can't give any of them quality time, then they spend hours charting and justifying their decisions to people who may never have attended medical school or whose personality precludes them from seeing actual patients. Why would anyone ever want to be a primary practitioner when they spend less time treating their patients than they do filling out the paperwork to justify their treatment decisions?
Both our education and medical systems are broken. One is expensive and rarely prepares you for the real world, the other is even more expensive and prevents you from receiving quality healthcare. Both of them cost money that those who aren't rich don't have. And requiring people to purchase health insurance that they can't afford and won't cover them when they need it won't solve the health care problem just like bogus technical schools won't produce an educated populace capable of repaying those loans on a consistent basis.
I love music. While classic rock is my favorite I enjoy all kinds with the exception of opera, country and rap. Some guy named Jay-Z, who I have only seen in commercials or in the tabloids, has more number one albums than Elvis. Mariah Carey has almost as many singles as the Beatles, but I couldn't sing or tell you one song that they have done whereas with Elvis and the Fab Four I can think of quite a few. Word for word. And Madonna? She may be a brilliant businesswoman but I honestly don't think I've listened to a complete song of hers more than once. Elvis and the Beatles have had their music covered by many bands in many cultures, Weird Al becoming famous as he makes fun of you isn't quite the same.
Orly Taitz has had her latest "birther" case tossed by U.S. District Court Judge Clay D. Land, who put her on notice that she could face sanctions if she ever files a similar "frivolous" lawsuit in his court. In his decision Judge Land also said:
"Finally, in a remarkable shifting of the traditional legal burden of proof, plaintiff unashamedly alleges that defendant has the burden to prove his ‘natural born’ status," Land states. "Any middle school civics student would readily recognize the irony of abandoning fundamental principles upon which our country was founded in order to purportedly ‘protect and preserve’ those very principles.
"Unlike in ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ simply saying something is so does not make it so," Land says.
Would that be lesson enough for her to stop her crazy nonsense? No! Now she thinks that Judge Land should be tried for treason.
Citing increased competition as its reason, small life insurance company, “You Betcha Life and Casualty” of Wasilla, Alaska, today announced that the pre-existing condition known as “life” was sufficient reason to deny insurance benefits to its 25,000 insurees.
A spokesman for the company, who claimed anonymity for security reasons, said that You Betcha Life was just trying to stay competitive with the big insurance companies and if they were forced to pay off every time one of their clients died, they wouldn’t have enough money for corporate parties in Montana, vacations in Malibu or decent retirement bonuses for their executives.
Fenster Rocktilder told our reporter that while it wasn’t fair to most Alaskans, he thought there would be no problem for certain people. He particularly noted Sarah Palin and the First Dude would probably be able to collect, …”since we all know they been dead from the neck up fer years.”
CIGNA Chairman and CEO H. Edward Hanway, who just received the Marco Polo Award for his work microscopically hiding certain clauses from the public said that he felt this could usher in a new era of profitability for struggling companies like his.
A spokeswoman for Cigna President David Cordani said, “We always value the good work of our employees in finding ways to reduce costs. This is certainly no different from any other cost cutting measures we’ve introduced.”
Karen S. Rohan, President, CIGNA Group Insurance and President, CIGNA Dental & Vision Care said they are looking into the “exciting possibility” of increasing profits by denying Dental and Vision Coverage to anyone who had pre-existing teeth or eyes! "There may never be a need to pay for dentures or glasses ever again," she bubbled. Spokesmen for the Ear, Fingers, Feet and Hair Insurance Divisions didn’t return our calls.
In a related note, insurance stocks were up over 20 points on Wall Street today with release of this news. However, a spokesman for Forest Lawn said he thought this could severely hurt the mortuary and funeral industry because nearly all Americans now wouldn’t be able to afford the incredible fees charged by his group. He called on President Obama to take steps to forbid outsourcing of the recently deceased by relatives or friends to foreign countries where unscrupulous Americans might try to take advantage of less expensive funerals. He claimed this could be the death of the mortuary industry in America if the President did nothing. Supporting his concerns for those employed in the mortuary business, Johnny Walker Diggum of the Embalmers Union said,“No one wants to suffer the consequences of trying to ship an unembalmed body clear to India for cremation. Sometimes things get bogged down in red tape and it wouldn’t do to have a loved one resting in a cheap, non-airtight box that might sit on a hot dock or in a warehouse for weeks at a time.”
There is a rumor that Max Baucus and Chuck Grassley are planning to introduce a bill making this new provision retroactive to the start of the George W. Bush Administration allowing You Betcha Life and other Life Insurance Companies to legally recover fees they already paid to millions of Americans. “We can’t allow people to take advantage of our insurance industry”, said Max. Grassley added,"If we can recover money paid to families of deceased soldiers involved in recent Democratically sponsored illegal wars, it would go a long way toward helping out people who really suffer, like those affected on Wall Street." The bill appears to have the support of all Republicans in Congress, the Blue Dogs and a number of other, apparently already brain dead Democrats.
Although it's a few years late, the Department of Labor finally released their report on goods worldwide that are made from child labor or slave labor. A law requiring that this information be tracked and published passed back in 2005 - but as you'd expect, during the Cheney-BushCo years the mandate was delayed. The list it contains will generally help consumers by acquainting them with the most exploitative industries, but it's hardly all-inclusive.
The biggest drawback to the list appears to be the lack of detailed, specific analysis of the data - for instance, what corporations are purchasing these products, and shipping them to retail markets the U.S? After all this time, it seems like they could have produced something a little more comprehensive. But at least it's a start.
Amanda Kloer of Change.org, summarizes some of the highlights:
*The most common goods which have significant incidence of forced and/or child labor are cotton, sugarcane, tobacco, coffee, rice, and cocoa in agriculture; bricks, garments, carpets, and footwear in manufacturing; and gold and coal in mined or quarried goods.
*122 goods in 58 countries are produced with a significant incidence of forced labor, child labor, or both. More goods were found to be made with child labor than forced labor.
*It indicates whether goods in a certain country are made with child labor, forced labor, or both.
It's important to keep in mind this doesn't mean all goods from that sector in that country were produced with exploitation. Here are some of the worst offenders for forced labor or slavery specifically:
Bolivia: nuts, cattle, corn, and sugar
Burma: bamboo, beans, bricks, jade, nuts, rice rubber, rubies, sesame, shrimp, sugarcane, sunflowers, and teak
China: artificial flowers, bricks, Christmas decorations, coal, cotton, electronics, garments, footwear, fireworks, nails, and toys
India: bricks, carpets, cottonseed, textiles, and garments
Nepal: bricks, carpets, textiles, and stones
North Korea: bricks, cement, coal, gold, iron, and textiles
Pakistan: bricks, carpet, coal, cotton, sugar, and wheat
First butter was bad for you, then it was better than margarine with its transfats. Eggs were bad for you, then they weren't. Fish was good for you, now it has too much mercury. Today's new health scare? Showers are bad for you. Next thing you know swallowing saliva over a long period of time will cause cancer. George Carlin always was ahead of his time. Meanwhile, some guy in Texas is serving up Deep-Fried Butter.
Shai Shai and Shadow have me well trained. Oh, they sit when I want them to, come when they are called but I'm under no illusions as to who is really in charge. Those kisses they give me are because they want something. or they're my reward for doing something right. They get fed before I have my tea, they go to the park or I have to put up with a lot of sneezing and shaking of the head, followed by a single authoritative bark if I don't get up from the computer. The Geico eyeballs will blink long before they do. I cook lamb and rice to add to their lamb and rice kibble because they expect demand people food of some sort and I won't feed them table scraps. When fresh vegetables are chopped they hang around waiting for oopsies. And they get them. Shadow is happy with carrots but Shai prefers asparagus and broccoli. Do I need to know the secrets of my dog's mind? Not necessarily but I would like to think I'm not disappointing them.
Government may be one toxic asset, but it pays your salary and ensures you have health care Mr. Paul. I agree that the economic recovery has not included the people, but one shouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Government has its place, I wish we could all agree on what it is.
Dark Wraith Publishing presents The Dark Wraith Audio Lecture Series, specially edited, streaming audio versions of academic lectures in economics and business offered as a public service to visitors at this Website.
Click on the link above to launch the lecture in your computer's default media player or use the shockwave player below to play the lecture.
This is a light-weight lecture that first qualitatively covers how employment and unemployment rates are determined and then analyzes problems with the official methods of determining unemployment in the U.S. The lecture concludes by separating unemployment into three types: cyclical, frictional, and structural, with commentary on the meaning and significance of each.
This lecture does not focus on the formulas and calculations, but instead lays the foundation by which students and other interested constituencies can think about what statistics released by the government tell us and do not tell us about the working life of the nation's people and the forces affecting us as individuals, households, and communities, both in the short run and in the long run.
Wow, just wow. As much as I disliked Bush and am not that fond of his replacement, it would never have occurred to me to call either of them a"lying, mealy mouthed pimp" as commenter #13 did. A liar (isn't that one of the requirements to be a successful politician?), yes. But mealy mouthed pimp? What a racist statement. Minds like that are closed and padlocked with emotions that logic will never penetrate and with attitudes and thought processes like the above you are fooling yourself if you think they aren't going to get more vocal or violent. Obama and his mouthpiece Robert Gibbs may believe that people are angry over Lehman Brothers but if you read the signs and listen to what the teabaggers are saying you can see that the anger has become extremely personal and doesn't have a whole lot to do with politics.
Representative Joe Wilson made a mistake and knew he was making a mistake when he accused the president of lying during his speech. The first thing they teach you in the military is to respect the Commander in Chief and if you can't do that then you should remember to respect the office. I attended basic training at Ft. Jackson, SC which is part of Mr. Wilson's district so I know that concept is not foreign to him. Mr. Wilson needs to understand that while he may have apologized to the President's chief of staff, he has not apologized to his fellow Congress critters and he should be a gentleman first and a politician second. But I won't hold my breath.
I'm sorry that people are so angry over something they can't control. The world is becoming more homogenized and nothing is going to stop it at this point. Unfortunately too many people didn't pay attention in biology and they definitely didn't pay attention to Gregor Mendel and his theory of genetics. Probably because they got stuck on Darwin but whatever the reason, the United States will continue to become less melanin impaired as the younger generation starts reproducing. Thomas Jefferson and Strom Thurmond (another Wilson foot in mouth moment) are good examples of why even with the worst best intentions you can't keep people from mingling with someone they are attracted to. Even if it goes against everything they were taught or believe in.
Thousands of Americans with no sense of irony, history, or hypocrisy marched in Washington, D.C. today.
The protests, "self" organized by Fox News and FreedomWorks.org (Dick Armey's lobbying firm) focused on how U.S. taxes should be cut to increase the deficit by even more than the $5,000,000,000,000 added during the last eight years.
"The government should be concentrating on cutting spending on all the programs, not thinking of new, wonderful ways of spending more. ... I've voted my whole life. This is the first time in my life I've gotten off the couch and said, 'I'm sick of this. It's only three hours away, and I'm going to be there.'"
Translation, "I loved it when Reagan and Bush ran up the deficits, but now that it's a Democrat doing so, I finally got off my couch to yell at him." [snip]
I've mentioned this before, but I find the entire "Tea Party" movement to completely lack any sense of their own irony. From the 'pedia.
To make matters worse, none of these folks had any problems with George W. Bush cutting taxes (and increasing the deficit) by $2,500,000,000,000 (nearly 40% of which went to richest 1% of Americans, many of whom are now running these latest protests). This simple fact exposes the hypocrisy and partisan nature of these protests. What, you folks *just* realized that Bush doubled the national deficit....now it's all Obama's fault?
The Tea Party Express went out with a fizzle, as a smaller than anticipated crowd gathered In Washington DC. The motley crew of marchers attending the event reflected a small misinformed minority feeling fear and anger over the more liberal direction the country began taking since the 2008 election. [snip]
The event was Astroturf in large part, a Glenn Beck publicity stunt shamelessly plugged by Fox News. In addition, right wing extremists and corporate-backed groups, (in particular a large showing by the health insurance industry), were also involved in sponsoring the de facto anti-Obama march.
In hindsight, the nation is lucky the event was a harmless goof for the tin foil hat crowd. Beck and Fox News have been constantly pandering to a dangerous right wing fringe.
Beck's rhetoric is schizophrenic, at one moment crying and asking if we can all get along, and at the next moment warning of black helicopters, government plans to steal children and a coming civil war. Beck likes to tell his audience: "We surround them" - which is in itself an incitement to violence, and but one example of Beck's reckless disregard for civility, decency and mutual respect.
The Tea Party attracted all sorts of crazies. Libertarians, White Supremacists, Birchers, Patriot Movement devotees and radical Anti-Abortion Movement supporters were all there. The National Association of Rural Land Owners (NARLO) a group that preaches a coming civil war, and seems to advocate violent insurrection, was a major sponsor of the event.
The Tea Party Express, was in the end, an attempt to make crazy main stream.
We had lunch at Chipotle today and I had a rare sighting there of a guy in a dark blue business suit. It got me thinking about how happy I am that I never had to get into that kind of career move, simply because it's sooooo not me. It would be torture for me.
And he might be raking in tons more cash than I am (or not, you never know), but cash isn't king.
Here's my 10-point definition of success as it pertains to me.
1. I wear what I want to work.
2. I love my work and am passionate about it. Lack of "professional attire" has no impact whatsoever on my professionalism.
3. I do not own a suit or a necktie.
4. I can pay my mortgage and pretty much buy what I want, short of a yacht, a 2nd home in the Hamptons, a Maserati, and the like.
5. I work at home.
6. With any luck (and it might require a lot of luck in this day and age), I might never need to prepare a resume again.
7. There is nothing for sale in the supermarket that I cannot afford to buy, and yet I still prefer to grow my own.
8. If #6 holds true, I will have my house paid for within 3 years and will lose that interest deduction, and therefore will forfeit my income tax refund. And I don't care. I'll be better off without it.
9. My car is over 6 years old and has less than 40,000 miles on the odometer and I love it as much as the day I bought it. And it's paid for. And I plan to drive it another decade or so. Maybe longer.
10. I'm real. I'm who I am. I'm honest. I have managed to maintain a moral structure in the absence of organized religion. I don't need a membership in the Country Club to prove I have "arrived." And I'm thankful I managed to get this far without sacrificing too much of who I am. In fact, I think I have received back anything I ever did give up in an effort to fit a mold created by someone else.
Economists Suggest Mind-Reading as a Way to Determine Public Good
By Annalee Newitz
A bizarre experiment carried out at CalTech has led economists to an even more bizarre assertion. Governments allocating spending for public goods like education should use "neurotechnology" - mind-reading via fMRI brain scans - to determine who should be taxed.
The problem that CalTech economist Antonio Rangel and his team were grappling with was the "free-rider" problem. This occurs because people want public goods, but don't want to pay for them. So they lie about how much they value a given good such as health care or public parks. So, for example, a swimmer might benefit a great deal from a public pool. But she wants to pay as little as possible for it, so she lies about how much it will benefit her. This may not affect the public's decision to build the pool, but it could affect how much she pays for it.
Economists have long believed this is an unsolvable problem. But Rangel says fMRIs can actually force people to tell the truth about what their values are when it comes to public goods.
A release from CalTech explains the researchers' methods: As part of this experiment, volunteers were divided up into groups. "The entire group had to decide whether or not to spend their money purchasing a good from us," [economics professor Antonio] Rangel explains. "The good would cost a fixed amount of money to the group, but everybody would have a different benefit from it."
The subjects were asked to reveal how much they valued the good. The twist? Their brains were being imaged via fMRI as they made their decision. If there was a match between their decision and the value detected by the fMRI, they paid a lower tax than if there was a mismatch. It was, therefore, in all subjects' best interest to reveal how they truly valued a good; by doing so, they would on average pay a lower tax than if they lied.
"The rules of the experiment are such that if you tell the truth," notes Krajbich, who is the first author on the Science paper, "your expected tax will never exceed your benefit from the good."
In fact, the more cooperative subjects are when undergoing this entirely voluntary scanning procedure, "the more accurate the signal is," Krajbich says. "And that means the less likely they are to pay an inappropriate tax."
This changes the whole free-rider scenario, notes Rangel. "Now, given what we can do with the fMRI," he says, "everybody's best strategy in assigning value to a public good is to tell the truth, regardless of what you think everyone else in the group is doing."
And tell the truth they did-98 percent of the time, once the rules of the game had been established and participants realized what would happen if they lied. In this experiment, there is no free ride, and thus no free-rider problem.
"If I know something about your values, I can give you an incentive to be truthful by penalizing you when I think you are lying," says Rangel.
While the readings do give the researchers insight into the value subjects might assign to a particular public good, thus allowing them to know when those subjects are being dishonest about the amount they'd be willing to pay toward that good, Krajbich emphasizes that this is not actually a lie-detector test.
"It's not about detecting lies," he says. "It's about detecting values-and then comparing them to what the subjects say their values are."
"It's a socially desirable arrangement," adds Rangel. "No one is hurt by it, and we give people an incentive to cooperate with it and reveal the truth."
"There is mind reading going on here that can be put to good use," he says. "In the end, you get a good produced that has a high value for you."
From a scientific point of view, says Rangel, these experiments break new ground. "This is a powerful proof of concept of this technology; it shows that this is feasible and that it could have significant social gains." And this is only the beginning. "The application of neural technologies to these sorts of problems can generate a quantum leap improvement in the solutions we can bring to them," he says.
Indeed, Rangel says, it is possible to imagine a future in which, instead of a vote on a proposition to fund a new highway, this technology is used to scan a random sample of the people who would benefit from the highway to see whether it's really worth the investment. "It would be an interesting alternative way to decide where to spend the government's money," he notes.
Wait, what? The government is going to do brain scans on the public to determine what we "really" value and then tax us accordingly? Or possibly even choose which public works projects to undertake? The only place this can lead is some kind of terrifying, dystopian welfare state where the government spends more money on fMRI machines than anything else.
California has tumbled into the sea. Of stupidity. Yesterday while everyone was occupied with former state senator Mike Duvall and his drippy mistress, the Governor/Dictator threatened to veto everything that crosses his desk unless he gets exactly what he wants. This includes such things as a welcome home Vietnam Veteran's Day and health and dental insurance for children. Nothing like making your bones on the backs of innocent children or veterans who served the country faithfully.
The Senate withdrew all of its 43 bills from the Republican governor's desk for temporary safekeeping. But in an act of defiance, the Assembly left on his desk a bill that would designate March 30 as "Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day."
"I dare the governor to veto this bill," said Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico, D-Newark, before the close of Tuesday's session.
Shortly afterward, Schwarzenegger accepted the dare and vetoed Assembly Bill 264.
"Our state is facing significant challenges, including the need for comprehensive changes in our policies on water, energy, and corrections and the need to take meaningful steps to stimulate the economy and rein in the rising levels of unemployment," Schwarzenegger wrote in his veto message. "This bill does nothing to address any of these issues. I look forward to considering this measure when these other major issues are addressed."
A good portion of the deficit wouldn't exist if Arnold hadn't revoked the vehicle license fee and given large corporations tax breaks that they didn't need and won't pass the savings on to the consumers. Waiting until the infrastructure falls down or forest fires are blazing out of control is penny wise and pound foolish. But that's how legislatures roll nowadays. Take from the poor and give to the rich. I loved this comment that went with the article in the Sacramento Bee and it should become the rallying cry for all taxpayers.
It's not about the person that happens to occupy the position of governor in this state, and people need to stop doing the right versus left b.s.. You're all part of a game if you come on here and talk about how bad the folks are with the D's or the R's by their name. Ya'll need to wake up and realize that there is a group of people running our government and our lives, that don't give a rat's patootie about us, as long as we keep paying taxes and filling up their coffers. Folks on the left side and the right side need to STOP playing the game and realize that we're all getting screwed by "them". Stop fighting the other side and DEMAND and that your representatives in government do what is best for the people that pay their salaries.
Like that's going to happen. Meanwhile, the poverty train is adding new cars. The more jobs that are cut the less people there are to spend money and more jobs get cut. Don't you just love merry-go-rounds?
The poor people of South Carolina. On the one hand they have the magnificent Stephen Colbert and on the other they have a governor who committed adultery on the taxpayer's dime and doesn't have the decency to resign even though he has been asked by his own party to vacate the premises. In addition to that they also have a representative who can't observe the rules of decorum during a president's speech and feels comfortable calling the President a liar on national television in the midst of his speech. Mr. Wilson was an Army Reserve Officer and has four children serving in the military and he knows that he is supposed to respect the office if he can't respect the person. Genteel he is not.
Feeling sorry for the victims in the wrong way driving deaths in New York is natural and wanting some type of closure is also natural. Michael Bastardi is justified to feel anger but he needs to direct it at the person who caused the accident, not who she was married to. Mr. Shuler lost his wife, daughter and three nieces while also worrying about whether his son would survive. Accusing him of involvement or implying that he had a role in the accident is cruel, mean spirited and evil. It also shows that Mr. Bastardi (it's hard to put that "i" on the end) wants to profit monetarily from his father and brother's death. This is a no win situation and trying to get revenge by ruining one more person's life by making blanket statements and accusations of a cover-up from someone who was miles away when the accident happened, is foolish. Ever since 9/11 Americans have been determined to make someone pay, even if it isn't the someone who caused the tragedy.
Good FSM, I just love English! Innuendo English,that is.
“I’m a uniter, not a divider.” Yep. He united the radical right.
“Mission accomplished.” Which mission was that? The one to invade Iraq in the first place?
“You’re doin’ a heck of a job, Brownie.” Was that to make sure New Orleans died?
“Things are working out the way we wanted in Iraq.” I guess we wanted dead Americans and a divided homeland.
“I am not the first President to take up this cause, but I am determined to be the last.” Could that mean 44 and done? Next up…a king, Sultan, tribal chief?
I’m sure there are more. But listen for yourself to not what’s said, but what said might mean.
“Change we can believe in.” Who you talkin’ ‘bout, Willis, Rahm and Timmy?”
Instead of opening up a giant can of Whoopass all over the frothing, hysterical nut-jobs of wingnut media, democratic operatives chose their usual course of action: Rolling over and displaying their vulnerable underbelly.
"If Jones left under pressure from Obama then we are in for a very long and painful four years."
That's not even open to interpretation, is it? Beck screamed, Obama heard him, and Jones is gone.
"I would hate to think that Glenn Beck can simply shout down any member of the administration he chooses to target."
-- Melissa Harris Lacewell, a political science professor at Princeton, Link
"I'm heartbroken over Van’s departure. You get folks all riled up about change. You empower a man who embodies that change. And they let him be run out of office by fucking Glenn Beck? So Glenn Beck is running the White House now? Did I knock on all those doors for nothing? When will Obama learn that you can't negotiate with terrorists?"
-- Baratunde Thurston, Link
Somehow, we need to get word to Obama that constant surrender is a bad thing.
(Links found at Bartcop.Com.)
Why do Republicans feel that our current so-called liberal President should only appoint conservatives to posts while a conservative president does not need to appoint any liberals while in office. Why is their point of view so much more important than mine? I'm an American citizen and I deserve representation also. Why does it always have to be a one way street with these guys?
Stand and deliver? From the Democrats? Have you started inhaling? I love ya Bill, but the spineless toads we have as representatives are more like run and hide. The Republicans may be the party of no, but the Democrats have become the party of no balls. Except for that Barney Frank guy.
And while I am also loathe to have a discussion with a dining room table, to Saxby Chambliss I say "Fuck you!" I hardly ever cuss on my blog and I'm not an Obama supporter per se, but Mr. Chambliss really has gone one step over the line. Whether you like it or not, Obama is the president and deserves the respect due that office. The President doesn't have to express humility any more than Mr. Chambliss has to express intelligence. And since Chambliss hasn't expressed any intelligence (but his racist freak flag is flying), I hope Obama doesn't express any humility during his speech to those who are supposedly our elected representatives but in actuality are highly paid goons sponsored by so many lobbyists and special interest groups that they have become the death panels that some nitwitted politician has so helpfully brought to our attention.
The American people have become expendable and it is the corporations über alles. The minute healthcare reform became about health insurance reform the battle was lost. Debtor's prisons are going to have to be built for the people who won't be able to pay for the mandates or the thirty five percent of their medical costs that won't be covered because they can't afford the top tier plan. I want Medicare and I don't want to wait until I'm sixty five. Medical care is a right, not a privilege. The emergency room isn't treatment, it's a fall back position. Oh yeah, when people can't afford car insurance or a car, they take public transportation.
Farrah Fawcett dies and Schwarzenegger cuts spending for victims of domestic violence. The two probably have nothing to do with each other but the timing worked so I threw it in there. Whatever the reason, domestic violence shelters are beginning to close their doors during an economic downturn when violence typically increases. It takes real arrogance for an overbuilt man to think that women and children who are beaten and abused will be able to change their situation without help and a safe place to stay. Even in this day and age the police are not always willing to help victims of domestic violence, otherwise they would enforce protective orders a little more vigilantly.
It's interesting how the right wing thinks that every life is sacred. At least until it's born, then it's every man for themselves. Women are only supposed to do what they're told and have lots of babies that neither they or the planet can afford. And if kids reach eighteen in one piece the right wing is all too willing to send them off to war or put them to death for an increasing number of crimes. Education, housing, food, economic security and health care are for the peasants to provide for themselves. If the kids do make it to old age the right wing is suddenly interested in them all over again to ensure that the elderly suffer until their last painful breath because nobody should interfere with God's will. The right wing call themselves Christians because they say they believe in Jesus but they want the world to operate by way of the Old Testament. What's up with that?
Early today, Big Brass Blog contributing writer and good friend Anna Van Z published an article entitled, "Wait, Summer - Don't Go!" lamenting the passing of yet another season of warm weather, beaches, and flip-flop sandals.
The pleasantly balmy weather we are now having induced me to write the following comment just before my first class:
Good morning, Anna Van Z.
As I prepare for today's classes, I must assure you that my students are of a like mind: Summer was too short. Adding to the assault on their sensibilities, classes are too long, and the lectures are too grueling, especially when the weather outside is still nice, which it will be this week.
For me, that means ensuring that my lectures are sufficiently interesting to keep the students engaged.
Yes, I teach economics and finance.
The Dark Wraith has his work cut out this week.
As a follow-on, Anna asked me in a subsequent comment if my students wear flip-flops in the Winter, to which I replied in a rather long-winded, if somewhat off-point, manner:
[T]oday it has been a constant current of flip-flops everywhere on campus, along with tattered T-shirts worn by the boys and ridiculously short shorts on the girls.
I don't notice any of that nonsense, of course. I just stride across the quad like I own the place.
I'm teaching classes in one of the old buildings, which is known to be nice and warm all Winter but also not-so-nicely hot when the weather is still summer-like outside. Today, it was beastly. I almost removed my tie. I didn't, though. Students get to see enough professors dressed like slobs. Eventually, given that I am teaching business students, those kids will have to dress well and properly unless they want to be professors or truckers. Those kids — those prospective future leaders, movers, and shakers — may dress in one of three ways once they graduate: to their comfort, to their role, or to their potential. I tell them that.
Today, however, they get to dress in tattered T-shirts and ridiculously short shorts.
After all, they're still kids.
Soon enough, my students will be business people. I'll miss them.
Next year, I'll see new campus kids wearing tattered T-shirts and ridiculously short shorts; and I'll miss them, too, someday.
Adulthood has its downside: not only do you have to dress better, but you also have to say goodbye too often.
The Dark Wraith has homework to grade, now.
I must herewith stipulate that the repeated reference to "ridiculously short shorts" was intended to annoy indeed, perhaps to incite the older gentlemen, Father Tyme and Peter of Lone Tree, who are also contributing writers here at Big Brass Blog. Sadly, neither of those two astute fellows took the bait, but my comment did lead to another follow-up comment by Anna:
DW, I can't recall even one of my professors ever showing up in a suit or a tie! I seem to remember that pretty much everyone on campus was schlepping around in the same kind of Salvation Army Drop-box clothing...
I am glad she wrote that; she has given me the rare opportunity to explain why I, of all people, would consistently wear a crisp shirt and tie in the classes I teach. Given that my hair is long, my economics lectures are at times hard-core conservative and at other times downright progressive, and my competencies in teaching range all the way from math and economics to English grammar and computer skills, one might think I would dress like some fossilized Hippie who had found storage space for my bones in the cloistered halls of academia.
My students have asked me why I wear a tie to class, and now the question has been posed by Anna, so I should put my answer in writing. That way, instead of growling to get people off my case, I can hand them a hyperlink, instead, and be done with the matter. That which follows is my answer.
Times have changed, and even I have, at least on the outside. In my first years of teaching, I dressed wildly: black, survivalist-type pants; large, puffy-sleeved shirts; chains on my Dingo boots; a calculator lashed to my belt; bushy, mangy, curly hair; and a thick beard across my whole face.
In that time, I fit right in at the academy, which was still stuck in the post-'60s thrall of victory over the fascists (even though Reagan had just been elected), victory over sexual hang-ups (even though AIDS was right over the horizon), and academic freedom as far as the eye could see (even though the conservative political and religious forces were already mustering a noticeable and sometimes intimidating presence on campuses like mine).
In that time, I was the hero for my alternative lifestyle of daring clothes, public romps with several hot girls at a time, and powerful, innovative delivery of lectures.
Times change. Once I was no longer the hero, anything I did was wrong. It mattered not one bit whether I was conservative or liberal, brilliant teacher or boring lecturer, genius of high-powered mathematics applied to finance and economics or dullard of arcane tripe.
I was finally on my own. It took me a long time many years, in fact to figure that out. I know when I did: it was a winter night when I broke into the apartment of an old friend who was out of town. I so desperately needed food and a warm place to sleep for a while. I'd had too many nights of getting knocked around by nasty cops, shoved for money by drug-addled Black guys, or chased by filthy White boys calling me "faggot." Save your Right-wing or Leftist holier-than-thou breath for someone else; I got in, got some dinner, a pack of cigarettes, and a hard night of sleep by a heater grate.
I became radicalized in the strangest ways, but the predicates to what I now am go way back, clear to the days of my late childhood in the time after my father died, when my mother and I were homeless and broken by the bills for his "treatment." Again, save your Right-wing or Leftist holier-than-thou breath for someone else; your cult of healthcare, as it is or with "reform" and some "public option" thrown in, can go straight to Hell.
I have finally chosen, in this act of my waning dinner theatre circuit, to mock the dominant, old-guard culture that gave purpose to the failed person I am of my choices, my past, and my blood.
The dinner that comes with the show is simply delicious in all its nuances of conservatism, progressivism, traditionalism, anarchism, false piety, frightful bravado, and unrelenting failure masquerading as unrealized potential.
The purpose is so worthy, though; and the effect, if there be one, is so richly iconoclastic.
In higher education, we still have quite a few professors who think that part of their "academic freedom" is the exercised right to look like the janitors (even though the janitors often dress better).
I am not impressed, even when the indignant response is that slovenly appearance is an expression of humility or some other noble but wholly disingenuous motive. To the very last one of my ostensible colleagues to paraphrase the late, former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir they are not nearly valuable enough to the world to be humble.
Neither am I. I am nothing but a teacher. My very low pay as an untenurable professor reflects my value to the academy, and my value reflects my worth to the economy. Save the vapid bleatings to the contrary for someone else remember: I am an economist, and a damned good one, at that. I haven't been right all along about what was going to happen to this economy by being maudlin, stupid, or prone to bias. (And, by the way, neither will I be wrong about where the current Administration's economic policies are going to take us.)
Here's how I teach. If I could carry a lake to class, I would, just so I could walk across it.
When I went to the bottom, I would resurface on the other shore and, with as much bearing as my soggy state could muster, I would say to the disturbed onlookers, "Let's see Jesus do that."
No, I am not quite that arrogant (almost, but not quite); but the point is that the world has many, many more followers than leaders. The leaders will find their own way, and morally rightful inspiration (no, not "ethical" this or that) helps them lead justly, smartly, and bravely.
The followers, for their part and role, will turn to the fiercest leaders, which is why the Left is completely baffled by the power of Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, O'Reilly, Coulter, Malkin, Robertson, Falwell, and hundreds of others of hateful hearts and ignorant rhetoric.
If the Left would stop dancing and chanting to a cacophony of self-written tunes and whiny, dumb wannabes, its legion would find that far greater power exists in the heart of good than in the gut of evil; but that power will never be enduring so long as leadership is the master craftman's tool of the Right.
I will let other professors dress as clowns, run PowerPoints instead of lecturing, and gladly sink into the good night, collecting their tenure, accepting their silly honors, and giving their students the latest pitch in the descent of higher education into nothing more than technical training on the latest fads of technology, pedagogy, and whorish corporate sponsorships.
I have work to do before I die.
It's important work, so I'll wear a tie while I do it.
... that the notorious No Child Left Behind Act includes a sneaky section that requires high schools to turn over private information on students to military recruiters?
And that the Pentagon has created an illegal database of 30 million 16-25 year-olds, including names, addresses, email addresses, cell phone numbers, ethnicities, social security numbers, extracurricular activities, and areas of study?
The Pentagon has used the No Child Left Behind Act as a Trojan Horse to propagandize vulnerable teenage students, invade their privacy, harass them, and get them to enlist.
Passage of the NCLB in 2001 has given Pentagon recruiters “unprecedented access to public high schools and to students’ personal information” and has “changed the landscape of military recruitment in public high schools across the U.S.,” the American Civil Liberties Union(ACLU) charges.
Section 9528 of NCLB not only permits recruiters to obtain students’ personal information without prior parental consent but guarantees them access to public high schools without parental consent, ACLU says.
As such, NCLB violates Article 3 of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, a treaty ratified by the Senate.
“Recruiters use the lists of students’ names and contact information provided pursuant to the NCLB to cold-call students for hours each day,” ACLU has found, adding the military is targeting “poor students and students of color.”
School districts that want to get Federal funds under Section 9528 of NCLB must provide recruiters with student information such as names, addresses, and phone numbers.
And while NCLB allows parents to “opt out” of providing the information, "many school districts do not have a clear process in place by which to do this," ACLU says and don't inform parents of this option.
In violation of its pledge to the United Nations not to recruit children into the military, the Pentagon “regularly target(s) children under 17,” the American Civil Liberties Union(ACLU) finds.
The Pentagon “heavily recruits on high school campuses, targeting students for recruitment as early as possible and generally without limits on the age of students they contact,” the ACLU states in a 46-page report titled “Soldiers of Misfortune.”
This is in violation of the U.S. Senate's 2002 ratification of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Pentagon recruiters are enrolling children as young as 14 in the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps(JROTC) in 3,000 middle-, junior-, and high schools nationwide, causing about 45 percent of the quarter of million students so enrolled to enlist, a rate much higher than in the general student population. Clearly, this is the outcome of underage exposure. [snip]
The Pentagon also spends about $6 million a year to flog an online video game called “America’s Army” to attract children as young as 13, “train them to use weapons, and engage in virtual combat and other military missions…learn how to fire realistic Army weapons such as automatic rifles and grenade launchers and learn how to jump from airplanes,” the ACLU reports. As of Sept., 2006, 7.5 million users were registered on the game’s website, which is linked to the Army’s main recruiting website.
And when Pentagon recruiters sign 17-year-olds into the inactive reserves under the Future Soldiers Training Program, (the idea being to let them earn their high school diploma), they frequently don’t tell the children they can withdraw with no penalty.
“Over the years, we have had reports from students who were told that if they change their minds, they would be considered deserters in war time and could be hunted down and shot,” the New York City-based Youth Activists-Youth Allies said.
David Goodman, contributing writer for Mother Jones. His most recent article is titled “A Few Good Kids?: How the No Child Left Behind Act Allowed Military Recruiters to Collect Info on Millions of Unsuspecting Teens.”
Ari Rosmarin, Senior Advocacy Coordinator at the New York Civil Liberties Union, where he works on the organization’s Project on Military Recruitment and Students’ Rights.
JUAN GONZALEZ: As millions of students prepare for the start of another school year, we turn to an issue that concerns many parents: the increasing presence of military recruiters in the nation’s high schools and the military’s ability to gather information about students.
Journalist David Goodman writes in the new issue of Mother Jones, quote, “Using data mining, stealth websites, career tests, and sophisticated marketing software, the Pentagon is harvesting and analyzing information on everything from high school students’ GPAs and SAT scores to which video games they play. Before an Army recruiter even picks up the phone to call a prospect, the soldier may know more about the kid’s habits than do his own parents.”
In honor of Labor Day, and submitted for reader satisfaction, comes the story of Michelle Duggar, a 42-year-old woman who is now pregnant with her 19th baby. That's right: she's already produced 18 with her 44-year-old husband, Jim Bob. The Tonitown, Arkansas, couple have their own reality TV show set in their 7,000 square foot house, where their home-schooled children serve as caretakers for their younger siblings and helpers for Michelle and Jim Bob to keep the household running smoothly.
Although stunningly fertile by modern Western standards, Mrs. Duggar is far from holding any kind of record for live births; that honor belongs to Mrs. Feodor Vassilyev, an 18th Century Russian peasant who gave birth to 69 babies, most in sets of twos and threes, with four sets of quadruplets.
Nevertheless, Mrs. Duggar and her husband are modern-day pioneers in prolific procreation. While the particulars of their religious affiliation are the subject of some debate, they are not Mormons, but instead are Baptists affiliated with a cult known as Gothardism (otherwise sometimes called "Quiverful"), so named for the founder of the movement, Bill Gothard, whose ministry and teachings have been criticized even by mainstream fundamentalist Baptist leaders. Gothard's followers, however, generally dismiss the complex and nuanced issues more mainstream Christian theologians have with the movement's patriarchal, Old Testament-based dogmatism. For their part, the Duggars are delivering for their spiritual leader a new battalion for his desired army of followers, who may, themselves, produce large numbers of children and thereby, after only a few generations, have enough troops to take over the world (or, at the very least, the reality TV genre, which could use a renewal of its dedication to tedium masquerading as story arcs).
Provided, of course, that the men of this army of Gothardites can get off their women long enough to do something useful for a change.
The Dark Wraith will now entertain comments and suggestions on what to do about the extraordinarily difficult problem of dealing with an army of religious zombies who simply cannot keep their loins under control.
New claims for jobless aid fell less than expected last week, and the number of Americans continuing to receive unemployment benefits rose — further signs that any economic recovery will be hindered by a weak job market and flat incomes.
Most economists think the recession is over, but they say the jobless rate will keep rising until at least next summer as the economy struggles to mount a sustained recovery. That means household incomes will remain depressed and consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of the economy, will continue to lag.
"Firms are still not hiring, and that reflects deep pessimism about the sustainability of the economic recovery once government stimulus programs wear off," said Sal Guatieri, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets. "The lack of job creation remains a big headwind for cash-starved and credit-constrained consumers."
New unemployment data show why it will take years for the labor market to recover from one of its fastest and deepest declines since World War II, even if an economic recovery is around the corner.
The Department of Labor report released Friday showed job cuts in August were lower than they've been in recent months. But a deeper look at the data shows why it will take millions of new jobs to dig American workers out of this recession's deep pit.
To the extent that housing led the economy into recession it’s hard to see how we get out of it without a recovery in housing. When that recovery comes, it will be from one of the deepest slumps in decades. [snip]
Even when we start to see healthy percent gains in housing construction, the industry has a long way to go to get back to where it was even before the mid-decade building boom. After peaking in January 2007, roughly one in five construction jobs has been lost to the housing bust. The ongoing pullback in commercial building continues to weigh on the construction job market. And the housing slump has sidelined millions more workers in related fields — like real estate sales and mortgage lending. Unless that trend can be reversed, it’s hard to see how the housing industry can lead the economy back out of the recession it created.
According to analysts, both long- and short-term forecasts showed signs of recovery between the third and fourth beer, but the fifth alcoholic beverage was the point at which the employment rate began to close in on 100 percent. [snip]
Joblessness was not the only domestic problem that began to appear eminently solvable after the rapid downing of five beers. Also substantially improved were projections for the housing crisis, the affordability of health care, getting hot wings later, and being able to drive home just fine.
That's right: people with thin thighs may be at risk for earlier death than people with thick ham hocks. Strikingly, this result holds up regardless of other early-death lifestyle factors such as smoking.
What does this mean?
Not much until researchers get around to studying the effect of thick skulls, which leads to such perilous dangers as neo-conservatism; Right-wing extremism; and, indeed, even Republicanism.
The impervious skull, untreated, is a health care tragedy, and no known treatment is available, save for controversial alternate therapies like repeated head-lock noogies, which have documented, severe side effects on Right-wing Authoritarian Followers. Studies have indicated that vigorous rubbing action on the cranial walls of Glenn Beck followers causes destructive vibrations inside the empty cranial cavity, producing powerful oscillatory waves into the bowel, producing gaseous discharge often heard by observers as loopy town hall protest chants.
The results are obvious: thick thighs, more life; thick skulls, more Republicans.
Until the Obamacare proposal now before Congress addresses compelling issues like ample loins and impenetrable skulls, the hope for comprehensive healthcare reform will remain nothing more than a socialist dream, and millions of Americans will have to buy their own trans fat-laden potato chips to embolden their hind quarters to sustain themselves from the unending onslaught of thick-skulled Republican cuckoo clocks banging their heads on anything they can just to take away the pain of being too dumb for their own good or the good of this fine Republic.
As scientific advancements warrant, the Dark Wraith will report further on developments in thigh-enhancement procedures and skull-penetrating enlightenment therapies.
We all know that Barry is going to brainwash our kids to his socialist way of thinking this week. To counter that, your Republican Party presents a paperback (so it's affordable to everyone) that tells the real history of America in condensed form.
Get yours today and learn the truth.
The Real America
America’s Republican Party, copyright the year of our Lord, 2009
Fox Publications, a division of News Corps.
$49.95 available at all Town Hall Meetings
A synopsis of the contents.
Man and Dinosaurs co-existed:
Fossils were buried on purpose by our Lord.
Evolution is a socialist plot.
Noah saved the DNA of all species and God reconstructed them.
Oil was formed magically by our Lord and buried miles below the surface for us to find.
FDR caused the Great Depression.
We could have won Vietnam had it not been for the Democrats and hippies.
Ronald Reagan destroyed the Soviet Union.
George Bush, Sr. cut taxes for Americans.
The reason we had some prosperity during the Clinton Administration was because of the Republican Congress and George Bush’s tax cuts.
Bill Clinton is responsible for a recession in 2001.
Democrats are responsible for forcing Republicans into alleged sex crimes.
George Bush, Jr. kept America safe from all attacks during his presidency.
9/11 happened because Bill Clinton never apprehended Osama bin Laden.
Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. And he was responsible for 9/11.
The surge worked.
The oil crisis was caused by too much American demand for fuel.
Alaska has more oil than the Middle East.
Offshore drilling will save American jobs.
Global warming is a myth started by the Democrats and environmentalists.
Clean coal can happen if the Democrats and environmentalists stop interfering.
Nuclear Energy is safe.
America’s drinking water is the best in the world.
Wind and Solar energy are too expensive right now and would cost American jobs.
Summers are hotter and winters are colder because the sun goes through cycles not because of greenhouse gases.
Cows produce more greenhouse gas than anything.
The Wall Street fiasco happened because Bill Clinton twisted the arms of minorities and the poor in the 90s to accept sub prime loans.
CEOs don’t really make that much money.
The estate tax hurts all Americans.
There’s no hunger in America.
Homeless numbers are greatly exaggerated.
The media is totally liberal biased.
Americans are the most productive workers in the world.
Illegal immigrants are the main cause of unemployment in America.
Forcing American business to only hire Americans will lead to inflation and unemployment.
Unions cause inflation.
The unemployed are unemployed because they’re too lazy to want to work.
Teenagers want $100,000 jobs for the summer and would rather surf.
The wealthy carry the tax burden of America.
Tax cuts help the poor.
Bankruptcy is caused by people trying to get out of paying what they owe.
Americans have the best schools in the world and the Democrats want to change that.
American colleges and universities are staffed by liberal instructors who want to indoctrinate students to their way of thinking.
The internet is a liberal contrivance filled with lies designed to subvert conservative thinking.
America has the best health care system in the world.
Everyone in America has access to health care.
Government run health care would cause death panels, long wait times for help and rationed care.
Surprise, surprise, surprise. Not. Our ignorance, and mind boggling arrogance, has killed quite a few of our own soldiers and now it seems that we, the taxpayer, footed the bill and installed the mines before some of these poor kids were even born. How's that for irony?
In the article, British journalist Kate Clark quoted an unnamed Taliban commander as saying, "There's a kind of landmine called a Dragon. Iran's sending it. It's directional and it causes heavy casualties." The commander said the new mine would "destroy" large tanks "completely", whereas "ordinary" anti-tank mines had only caused "minor damage."
If true, the revelation that an improved Iranian anti-tank weapon had been killing US and NATO troops in larger numbers would have been a major development in the war in Afghanistan. Roadside bomb attacks are acknowledged by US and NATO officials to be the cause of most of the casualties and deaths of foreign troops in the country.
The rapid rise in casualties over the past two years is attributed in part to the increased lethality of the Taliban mines.
But according to the Pentagon agency responsible for combating roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan, the increased Taliban threat to US and NATO vehicles comes not from any new technology from Iran but from Italian-made mines left over from the US Central Intelligence Agency's military assistance to the anti-Soviet jihadists in the 1980s. (Emphasis mine)
Ah yes, the mujahideen and the Reagan Doctrine. Can't say that worked out real well for us. Now our soldiers are paying the price for a policy most people have forgotten. That still doesn't give us the right to burst into hospitals, tie up staff and visitors, and force patients from their beds.
As tragic as Corporal Bernard's death is, the highly disputed AP photo is only showing the consequences, the true reality (he died on the operating table) of war. Soldiers are real people and they are really dying and in horrible ways. Being outraged over a photo, instead of how the young man came to be in that condition, is the real travesty. And as sorry as I am for the family, I am even sorrier for his teammates who have those moments and many more like them seared into their brains forever. If we can't handle looking at a photo then how do we expect our troops to function after seeing people die violently on an all too frequent basis?
I'm against the death penalty on principle, several of them if you want to be picky. One of the principles is that it isn't uniformly applied. In Kentucky Steven Green gets five life sentences for raping a teenage girl he and his friends had been stalking, killing her, her parents and her six year old sister, then setting fire to the lower half of her body to cover it up. Meanwhile in Florida, the death penalty is being recommended for Michael King who killed a young mother of two. If one crime is more heinous than the other wouldn't you think that what Steven King did was the most evil? Hopefully there is a no pizza provision as part of his sentence.
Sometimes you hear things that are so funny they are referred to as knee slappers. Nothing had ever struck me like that until I read this. I must have snickered for half an hour. Webster's is going to have to redefine the definition of crazy. It should be pretty easy, all they need is Bachmann's picture and a link to any news article that quotes her. She almost makes Palin sound sane. In Chinese Medicine the unnatural sheen to her eyes would make a practitioner refer to her as "shen disturbed" or as it's known in western medicine "bat-shit crazy". Malkin also has that glassy eyed look when she's ranting, ma belle they are not.
Joining them in the bat-shit crazy department is GOP Congressman Paul Broun. He thinks the President is on his way to enacting a dictatorship. Warrantless wiretapping, imprisoning people for years without a trial, torture and the destruction of civil liberties didn't bother him during the Bush administration but a civilian disaster response team, nonexistent gun control, and a national press corp that consistently reports and repeats the Rushpublican mantra as gospel give him the vapors. The devil really did go down to Georgia and after he lost the golden fiddle he stayed once he realized that the politicians would sell their soul to keep their fellow man in poverty and despair while pretending it in the little people's best interests.
So the President wants the liberals to be good soldiers about abandoning the public option. The country would be better served if he would man up and support the public option that two thirds of this country wants instead of pandering to lunatics, lobbyists and legislators who don't have a clue what it's like to try and survive during the jobless recovery. First of all I already have been a good soldier but I'm not eligible for Veteran's healthcare. Secondly, while I do have preexisting conditions (asthma and kidney problems) and have been turned down several times for insurance in the past, who cares if insurance companies will cover me when I can't afford the premiums, the out of pocket expenses or the co-pays? If by some misfortune I develop a disease that requires more expensive medication what makes anyone think $300 a month for drugs is feasible? Instead of the liberals compromising why don't you do what we want and what you promised during the election? I barely voted for Obama in the first place, I will be more than happy to vote against him in a primary.
Interesting how bankers and economists are worried about consumers not contributing to the economic recovery and gloss over the fact that more employed people have to use food stamps in order to survive. They seem to have missed the point that it's awfully hard to buy stuff when you don't have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of. 9.7% unemployment and that doesn't take into account the underemployed or people who have dropped off the grid completely. Remember, it's always dark before it goes completely black and any light you see at the end of the tunnel is likely to be the headlamp of an oncoming train.
Some people in this country have lost their feeble minds. One speech is not an indoctrination and if someone besides the parent or siblings can influence a child as much as these people fear, then the parents haven't done a very good job at raising them. The contrived brouhaha over the president giving a speech to school kids is so insane, not to mention disrespectful, that I can't believe it's happening in America. Some backwards country on the other side of the globe, but not in America.
I am 53 and out of the eleven presidents in my lifetime, six have been Republicans who served for a total of 33 of those years and I remember all of them except Eisenhower. My interest in politics started Halloween night 1964 when I overheard two parents vehemently discussing the difference between Goldwater and Johnson. In 1968 we students held a school wide mock election at Vandenberg Junior High. We had the same choices the adults had and even though I voted for Pat Paulsen (his campaign slogan was "I've upped my standards. Now, up yours."), Nixon won. It was the first of many political disappointments for me. I survived.
The school is still located across the road from the front gate of Vandenberg AFB. Back in the sixties and seventies it was a high security base, now you can walk on anytime you like. I attended base schools until we moved to California and then I attended schools that were technically public but three fourths of the students were military brats. As you can imagine, all of the schools were pretty conservative. Never would one of them ever have considered blocking a president's speech to the students. That was then.
Forty years have passed and the nation that eagerly looked forward to the future has become one believing in a history that doesn't exist. Four years ago if you criticized the president you were branded a traitor by the right wing and now it is the patriotic thing to do at every opportunity, no matter how ridiculous. For the previous eight years students were taught that they should listen respectfully to their president, now a few lunatics have determined that no children should listen to the president. Why is that?
I am not a fan of President Obama, he's lived down to my expectations, but he is still the President. As we were taught in the military, if you can't respect the man you can still respect the office. School districts deciding that students don't need to hear what the President wishes to express to them because a few people object is not in the best interests of the students. They go to school to learn and the only way they can do that is to be exposed to different points of view (who would have thought?). After the speech they should be able to ask, and have their questions answered, by their teachers and their parents. That is how you raise good citizens. Now if the end goal is to produce mindless drones instead, then we are well on our way to being a nation of uninformed, unquestioning dummies. And we will all be left behind.
Isn’t it just soooo Republican of our government…that the G20 summit scheduled for September 24th and 25th in Pittsburgh has the officials so worried they are literally banning “peaceful” protest groups? The mayor of Pittsburgh, the dis-honorable Luke “Skywalker” Ravenstahl has decided that peaceful protestors can rally blocks away from the summit and in enforced quantities BEFORE the summit but evidently not during the summit. To make sure these peaceful protestors "stay the course", there’s talk of using tear gas to control any riots or even gathered groups of people protesting what the G20 and by implication, Obama and his Administration stand for. And the stuff could be really nasty to innocent bystanders (but anyone standing by wouldn't be considered innocent!)
The dis-honorable mayor and city council want a ban on assault weapons for the summit, which makes sense, so naturally the NRA is going to sue and pull their 2011 convention from Pittsburgh if the ban is enacted. What’s the use of a good gathering if you can’t bring assault weapons to it? Hell, pretty soon they won’t even let our grade school kids carry hand guns (which someone’s constitution is interpreted to prevent bullying by allowing 8 year olds to have the inalienable right to protect themselves from other 8 year olds)!
So, we can’t allow peaceful protestors at the summit (even though it’s their right under the First Amendment). Now the NRA wants those who aren’t actual protestors but “observers” to be allowed to carry assault weapons (because it’s their right under the Second Amendment) AT the summit (with the blessing of the Secretion Service who thinks its ok to allow any Right Winger to carry guns at Democratic Presidential meetings), but they an arrest any liberal who wears a “No Bush” or Bush Sucks” tee-shirt at any Republican Meeting.
On a side note: Does anyone remember the New York City protests in 2004 at the Republican Convention where Americans were also not allowed to protest, yet ignore what the SS allowed in Arizona this year? Remember what department runs the Secretion Service? None other than the Treasury Department!
By the way, who IS in charge of the Treasury Department (and really the boss of Mark Sullivan at the Secretion Service) and why is he allowing this to happen and isn’t he a good friend of the guy who hired him and does he really, really care? Oh yeah! It’s none other than Timmy Geithner, the man who is doing a heckuvajob on the Wall Street mess! (What? None of the Gotti’s was available?) I guess that’s why Timmy allows assault weapons at his buddy Barry's open meetings! Great job, Timmy! I can’t wait until the brokers on the floor of the exchange get permission to carry weapons, too…for their own protection, of course. Now there’s a Kodak moment you’ll want to “Treasure!” Waddaya say Timmy? Good idea? Gotta be a Medal of Freedom in Timmy’s future...probably presented by Joe!
I guess the higher the number of the amendment, the more important it is…up to two.
Is this a great country or what?
The National Center for Constitutional Studies (NCCS) is a conservative constitutionalist organization founded by Cleon Skousen. It was formerly known as The Freemen Institute. The center ran conferences in the 1980s and 1990s through a non-profit it controlled, "The Making of America Conferences, Inc." Board members of this non-profit included Skousen, William H. Doughty, Donald N. Sills, and Glenn Kimber. Impeached Arizona governor Evan Mecham was a regular donor to the center.
In 1987, controversy erupted in California over the NCCS-published and Cleon Skousen-authored textbook The Making Of America, which described black children as "pickaninnies", stated that life for white Southerners was "a nightmare" due to "the constant fear of slave rebellion", and claimed that white slave owners were "the worst victims of slavery". The state's bicentennial commission had approved the sale of the book as a fundraising device to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the United States Constitution.
Gary K. Hart and Willie Brown demanded that then-Governor George Deukmejian fire the three members of the Bicentennial Commission who had cast "yes" votes on the sale of the book. The controversy was resolved after the commission issued an apology, stating that it had made a "serious error in judgment" by approving the sale of the book.
The teabaggers have special links for "pastors" to join up.
Who are the teabaggers, really?
If we fail to stand up to a media that has let us down by giving a disproportionate voice to the the loud-shouts of a distinct minority -- determined to be (most of all) divisive -- democracy is lost. Americans want health care reform and the public option to drive it. Keep on your representatives. Keep coming. Just keep coming.
Toyota is being sued by one of its own former in-house defense attorneys. The fellow alleges that the company deliberately withheld lots of damaging information from discovery requests during lawsuits involving injuries resulting from accidents involving its trucks and SUVs. Now, Toyota wants the judge in the case to seal the complaint because Toyota says private, proprietary information is contained in the document. (While the judge is considering the request, you can still read the complaint here.)
Okay, Toyota is accused of withholding damaging information from plaintiffs in wrongful injury and death lawsuits; so, when Toyota gets sued for what it was doing, the first thing that comes to its mind is to demand that a court hide the lawsuit because the complaint has inside information that might be damaging to the company. That sounds vaguely like a murder defendant declaring, "I cannot tell the court where I hid the body, your honor, because doing so would prejudice the jury against me!"
Toyota might want to think about rehiring the lawyer who's suing, considering the ones the company has right now seem a little on the dense side.
And this is a surprise? To whom? The political landscape has become a pressure cooker with no release valve and some nut will take the opportunity to do what the voices tell him to do. Unfortunately those voices belong to pundits and preachers who influence millions of people and that makes it increasingly likely that more than one person will decided to take matters into their own hands. When you talk about someone as if they aren't human, as if they are the devil in disguise, the hate factor is ratcheted up into the stratosphere and logical thought flies out the window. It won't occur to the perpetrators that they have lost the moral high ground, listening to the right justify killing someone at church is proof of that, and that the repercussions of their actions will bring about almost everything they fear. Martial law, restrictions on what few civil liberties we have left and confiscation of as many weapons as possible. But that won't stop them because their hatred knows no bounds.
My issue is with the Secret Service and the cavalier way they seem to be doing their job. There is never, and I mean never, a good reason for people without a badge to have weapons around the President. It has been almost 46 years since the last successful attempt to take the life of a President and there have been unsuccessful attempts since then. Squeaky Fromme, Sara Jane Moore and John Hinckley spring to mind and you would think that the Secret Service would do everything in their power to prevent another attempt. Especially since they were so good at making sure that people who were wearing tee shirts protesting the war or the administration and who were exercising the right of free speech, weren't allowed into events where Bush and Cheney were speaking. Why does the Secret Service hold the Second Amendment in higher regard than the First? But then I remember, the Secret Service has members that are comfortable hanging ropes that look like nooses in training facilities.
In October 2000 there was a television show named Freedom whose premise was a coup that started with the killing of the President by flying a plane into the White House. It wasn't on long but as I think back it doesn't seem to be that far fetched. No matter how many times the previous administration and their cheerleaders repeat the opposite, somebody did foresee using an airplane to attack the United States and it isn't that far of a stretch to think that someone will use the diatribes of Cheney and the encouragement of "pastors" to set the country back on the "right" course.
A while ago, on another blog, I posted a rant about Meghan McCain after she claimed that no one (presumably in America) knows war like her family. I can’t describe my outrage at the time and I expressed myself the way I felt. I also spoke with a number of Vets before I posted. ALL agreed with me that Meghan was talking through her ass.
Since then, a few people have expressed a differing opinion, which is fine. They’re entitled to theirs whether they do it from a moral, religious or partisan position. However, it should be noted that none who expressed an opposing position (to me) experienced war first hand. Therefore, I simply accept their comments with reservation.
However, based on a recent revelation by Cindy McCain, I once again feel the need for a rant. But this time I'm more understanding. You see, it’s been revealed that poor Cindy suffers from migraines. I’ve had migraines. I know many people including Vets who have them in varying degrees.
So what makes Mother McCain’s migraines of such interest? Only the fact -
“She compared the condition [migraines] to her husband's torture as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.”
The reason I’m not as upset as my original post is now I understand Meghan’s delusional statement. It comes from a genetic malfeasance. Exaggerations, distortions and lies seem to be inherent in the McCain Family (possibly from association with others with similar delusions such as Sarah Palin, George Bush and Family, the Cheneys...I could go on). While I can understand John McCain's attitude (not accept, but understand), there’s no earthly reason for the utterly mindless statements Meghan and Cindy made.
Of course, screaming, swearing and ranting won’t do any good because it’s ok to lie that way if you are a Republican, I guess.
Maybe I missed something. Maybe Cindy spent time in somebody's service during some war, excuse me, some conflict. Possibly Meghan stood up for her country in one of those unpublicized wars I and you never heard about (the attack by Freedonia, perhaps?)
My rage is lessened at this latest bit of moronic “I suffer as badly as or worse than you” tantrum for publicity only because for the first unalterably definitive time I realize that with statements such as theirs, Cindy and Meghan McCain are truly batshit crazy.
Any day now I expect to hear Liz Cheney tell me that getting waxed is worse than waterboarding – based on “The Dick’s” experience. It might even be worse than being shot in the face.That makes it all understandable.
Hell yes. A point which seems to escape most commenters and contributors on other, so-called progressive blogs...
From The Rude Pundit:
Here's a fun little story from about ten years ago: the Rude Pundit was once sitting around with a group of professors, and the subject got around to how one defines "white trash." It's one of those charming theoretical discussions you get to have when you're overeducated and proud of it. He sat there for a moment while this circle of Northerners trotted out every trailer-living, tobacco-chewing, hick-talking stereotype (which, to be clear, exists in numbers far too large). And, of course, there was the defining element of these awful people from the South - their racism. Finally, the Rude Pundit spoke up and said, "As the only person here who has actually lived in a trailer in the South, I've gotta say that there's neighborhoods in Brooklyn or Boston where you'll find white trash racists who make the residents of Backwards Ass, Alabama, look like hippies." This was met with blinking and agreement and a change of subject.
It hardly needs to be said, but every once in a while, as all the redneck townhall protesters from the south, the midwest, and the west are paraded out on the airwaves like a barn beauty pageant, we need to be reminded that violent, stupid white people exist all over this devolving nation of ours.
Suffolk County, New York, out on Long Island, is the place where the wealthiest of the wealthy have homes (like, you know, Steven Spielberg), where the Hamptons are, as well as a bunch of towns whose name ends with "gue." Wherever there's a clusterfuck of rich people, there's gonna need to be people who serve them, who build their pools, who make their food, who wipe the sweat off their balls. And in contemporary America, that's gonna be Latinos, many of whom will be illegals, who will live as close to their jobs as they can afford, generally gathering in a few towns. And in contemporary America, whenever there's an influx of cheap labor in that particular demographic group, there will be asshole white people who will do what asshole white people have always done. See the rest.
It is the goal of Americans United for Health Care and Insurance Reform to let congress know that all Americans need health care and insurance. Over 47 million Americans are uninsured and millions more are underinsured or at risk of losing their health insurance.
The rally/march will begin at the Lincoln Memorial and march to the steps of the Capitol Building via the National Mall. This rally/march will be peaceful.
Contact your Congress Critters in the Senate and the House.
It's past time to ignore the lies, distortions, fearmongering and BS being spewed by those who think the "status quo" with its ever-increasing costs, ridiculous CEO salaries, and insurance company "death panels" that decide who gets treatment and who doesn't should continue as is. It's time stand up as honest, caring human beings who believe in the founding value of "the common good" for each and every American.