Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The dilemma of a civil libertarian

As a civil libertarian, I believe that everyone has the right to express their views. However, I also feel a strong urge not to legitimize those who promote racism, sexism, homophobia, or any other kind of overt bigotry. As the Oklahoma editor of BlogNetNews, that contradiction is causing me a real moral dilemma.

Several weeks ago, I removed a blogger from the Oklahoma BNN feed because of an anti-Semitic post. I informed the owner of BNN that I had done this, and he did not object. I have also discussed with the owner of BNN my desire to remove certain other bloggers for similar hateful remarks made about the GLBT community.

Recently, several of the same bloggers who had been on my radar for their rabid hatred of "the homosexuals" have been posting incredibly bigoted blog posts about Muslims.

Now, if I were to apply the standard I used to remove the blogger who posted an anti-Jewish slur, I would immediately have to remove these other bloggers for what they have repeatedly said about Muslims.

However, the civil libertarian in me has to ask the question, "What if the shoe were on the other foot?" What if a right-wing blog editor were to decide that what I write about evangelical Christians is hate speech and remove me on that basis? How would I react? Do I really want to set a precedent that the editor has the right to remove bloggers for posting material that the editor considers "objectionable?"

I also have to figure out what is in the best interest of Oklahoma blog readers. Is it better to shield them from the extremist views of the far right bloggers who seem to dominate the Oklahoma political scene? Or is it better to show the hatred and bigotry, and let readers make their own decisions?

Despite my revulsion at reading some of the hate speech on certain blogs that are a part of BNN, I have decided that the best course of action is not to censor. Therefore, I will reinstate Stan Geiger, the aforementioned blogger who posted an anti-Jewish slur, and I will not remove any other bloggers from the feed.

By the way, you far right hate bloggers, you can thank groups like the ACLU for influencing me to be a civil libertarian. And you can thank the ACLU for fighting to preserve your right to spew your filth freely in this country.

Am I objective? No. Will I be fair? Yes.

Hate leads to hate crimes

Of course, the local paper won't call this a hate crime, but that's clearly what it is.

What else would you call it?

After a right-wing organization tied to John McCain's campaign distributed an anti-Muslim hate film across the country as a free insert in local papers, somebody sprayed an irritating chemical into a room at a Mosque where children were being watched while their parents were involved in a Ramadan prayer service.

This kind of anti-Muslim hate is disturbing not only because all racism and religious hatred is disturbing. It's also disturbing in the way that such hatred has exploded since 9/11. Muslims have become the new Communists - they're "the other," the ones that "hate our freedom," the people who are trying to "destroy our way of life." It's almost as if we have some sick need for someone to blame - like we always have to have an enemy on which to focus all of our anger, to blame for the world's problems, to make us feel superior and holy, to separate the world into "us" and "them." After the fall of the Soviet Union, it only took us ten years to latch on to "Muslim extremists" as the new "evil empire." Yes, the perpetrators of 9/11 adhered to an extremist form of Islam - but the average Muslim in America or anywhere else in the world is not an adherent to the violent views of Al Qaeda and its allies.

Just like the average Christian doesn't subscribe to the views of hate groups like Focus on the Family and the 700 Club - groups who blame natural disasters on God's wrath against those who preach inclusion and tolerance.

Just like the average Jew doesn't subscribe to the views of the extremist settler movement in Israel, which calls for the extermination or mass explusion of the Palestinian people from "greater Israel."

Scapegoating a religious group to acheive a political end has a name, a symbol, and a brutal history. We fought a major war against it, and we won. Let's not let that kind of evil penetrate our own society, which we value for its love of freedom and diversity.

Update: Here's a link to another story about this incident.

*giggle*

Monday, September 29, 2008

This economic crisis represents the death of _____

A lot of people are trying to fill in the blank about this economic crisis. What is it that we're seeing here? Is something fundamental changing about the way our economy works? Are certain ideas being discredited? Will we see a major realignment of the relationship between capital and government?

I think the ____ should be filled with the phrase "laissez-faire capitalism." This financial crisis represents the death of the idea that markets, left to their own devices, will be able to create a stable and prosperous economy. There's a clear line of demarcation here. When markets are well-regulated by a competent and prudent government, capitalism is at its most stable. When regulations are stripped and markets are left to run rampant, we get into a system of hills and valleys - each hill smaller, and each valley deeper, until we witness a major crash such as this one.

If anyone has been proven wrong today, it is Ayn Rand. In some ways, it's even Adam Smith. Those economists who insist that leaving the market to its own devices is the best way to achieve the broadest measure of prosperity need to turn in their badges and go home.

If anyone has been proven right today, at least in part, it's actually Karl Marx. Shocking, isn't it? Yet Marx predicted exactly this kind of catastrophe as a natural consequence of the anarchy of the marketplace and the top-heavy structure it creates. With laissez-faire capitalism, as the rich get richer, and the wealth piles ever higher at the top, the workers at the bottom actually doing the work to produce the wealth find their incomes stagnant amid rising prices. Eventually, the workers can't hold the system up, and we have a crash.

In this case, the marketplace was housing. As housing prices went ever higher, and lending standards became ever more lax, the working class became less and less able to pay for the mortgages that they had purchased. Combine people buying too much house with unscrupulous and downright devious lending practices, along with traders buying these bad loans as "securities," and disaster became inevitable.

Traders suddenly realized that the "securities" that had been holding them up above the fray were worth nothing, and the structure of the housing market collapsed.

As in all of these crashes, the capitalist class will walk away with nary a scratch, often with millions of dollars in severance packages. Meanwhile, those of us at the bottom will find jobs gone, wages slashed, and credit markets closed to us. Prices will rise, unemployment will skyrocket, and we'll enter another one of the capitalist system's inevitable black holes.

Unfortunately, simply handing $700 billion to the people who caused this crash isn't a solution to this problem. Without major fundamental structural change to the way Wall Street does business, this kind of crash will happen again. The only way to prevent us falling into another black hole is for government to take an active role in shoring up the market, to create sensible regulations that set up a level and fair playing field.

The major consequence of a free market is that the market is free to fail, and without government regulation, it inevitably will. That's what happened in the Great Depression, with the Savings and Loan scandal in the 1980s, with the tech bubble in the 1990s, and that's what's happening today.

Thus, the idea whose death we are witnessing is the "Reagan Revolution" - the idea that if you drown government in a bathtub, the water will overflow and quench the thirst of the masses. To put it another way,

The era of "the era of Big Government is over" is over.

Andrew Rice comes out against bailout bill

This is what Rice had to say:


Rice said that, as U.S. Senator, he would only support a plan that includes: Meaningful oversight; a Stake for Taxpayers; and Hard Limits on Executive Compensation. Unfortunately, the final version of the bill that was released to the public Sunday does little to limit executive compensation for firms accepting a taxpayer bailout. In fact, the primary effect may be merely to decrease the amount such companies can deduct from their taxes for executive pay from $1 million to $500,000. Furthermore, the bill does nothing to fix the broken system that allowed abusive and reckless loans, an explosion of risky investments and poorly understood financial instruments, and other excesses.

*giggle*

Mission accomplished.

In response to my post in which I dared to suggest that America is not "the greatest country in the world," Mr. Tater had this to say:

Well then by all means feel free to first enlighten us as to which country is better and then please feel free to move there.

You liberal morons and your hatred for America is disgusting... and yet you present this holier than thou attitude while condemning those who love their country for the same.


I had hoped for exactly this kind of response to my post, so that I could make a point.

Saying that we're not the greatest country in the world is not the same thing as saying that we're not a great country. The far right seems to have lost the ability to see this distinction, and they bite the heads off of anyone who suggests that America doesn't shit gold bricks.

The truth is that our shit stinks just like anyone else's. America is a great country. It has a lot going for it. We have a lot of freedom that a lot of other countries don't have. That's something to applaud.

However, we also have a lot of problems - for example, income inequality, poverty, millions without health care, crime, discrimination, hate, bigotry, deteriorating protections for workers, and a belligerent foreign policy that isolates us in the world.

There are countries in the world where some of those problems do not exist. Sweden, for example, has a higher standard of living, universal health care, and a socially responsible capitalist economy.

If we want to talk about "greatness" in terms of economic strength, then I'm afraid we lose to, among others, China and the EU.

I guess my question to Mr. Tater and the rest of the "America is the greatest and if you don't agree you should leave" crew is this:

By what measure do you think America is the greatest country in the world? Can you point to some concrete thing that would give America the right to designate itself the greatest?

Or is it merely the same kind of nationalism that reared its ugly head after 9/11 and has metastasized into a diseased, ignorant, flag-waving, "wear a lapel pin or you hate America (unless you're a Republican)" attitude that contributes nothing to the struggle to make America better?

Monday loldog

In honor of my new nephew:

dog
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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Scary web ad drills home the point - if you don't vote, McCain wins.

Message to Jay Matlock

Mr. Matlock:

You seem pretty determined to cram my mailbox full of big one-page flyers demanding that I vote for you for State House. Alright then, here are a few questions:

1) I had to search really, really, really hard to find your party affiliation. Way down under the address label, it says "Paid for by the Republican State House Committee." Why are you so afraid of calling yourself a Republican?

2) On your website, your candidate photo shows you not wearing a flag pin. Why do you hate America?

3) One of the strengths that you trumpet on your flyer is your experience as a "financial advisor." Why did you destroy our economy?

Friday, September 26, 2008

CBS poll: Obama won, but there's something weird about the math...

Among the poll findings:

Forty-eight percent of these voters think Obama would make the right decisions about Iraq. Fifty-six percent think McCain would.


Do the math there. Unless there was a choice for "both," we have an opinion from 104% of the poll respondents.

Huh?

Initial post-debate impression

1) McCain: angry, petulant, often incoherent, spouting talking points seemingly at random.

2) Obama: Calm, cool, collected, hitting McCain where it hurts repeatedly and taking real command of the debate.

Verdict: This election was over 2 weeks ago. We're just going through the motions here, kicking the dead horse of McCain's campaign over and over again. Still, it was entertaining to watch Obama eat McCain's head.

When you've lost the racist right...

Prominent racist columnist Kathleen Parker, who was initially an enthusiastic supporter of Caribou Barbie, is now calling for Palin to "leave the GOP ticket for the good of the Party" because of Palin's comically incoherent performance in recent interviews.

Now, when you've lost someone who called McCain a better candidate because he's a "full-blooded American," you know you're in trouble.

lol - Stephanie Miller again

"John McCain is a Cadaverick." Because his campaign is dead.

My partner had an interesting idea.

Instead of giving $700 billion to Wall Street, why not give each and every American taxpayer $5,072.00? That'll stimulate the economy.

(The math works. $700 billion / 138 million taxpayers = $5072.46)

The fundamentals of our economy are....?

Largest bank failure in US history.

Not good.

Happy Friday

This seemed appropriate:

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thought for the day

Is Kid Rock aware that the song, "Sweet Home Alabama" is pro-segregationist?

Ich eine minuten bitte...Ich habe eine kleine problemo...avec dese...election...

(he was from everywhere).

Um, wasn't McCain supposed to have suspended his campaign?

Then why did I just walk into the break room at work and see a McCain campaign commercial on television?

Hmmmmm??

What a pile of discarded scrotum skin.

More brilliant insight from Caribou Barbie

Click the post title for a link to the video. Here's the transcript - to be aired tonight:

COURIC: You've cited Alaska's proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that?

PALIN: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and on our other side, the land-- boundary that we have with-- Canada. It-- it's funny that a comment like that was-- kind of made to-- cari-- I don't know, you know? Reporters--

COURIC: Mock?

PALIN: Yeah, mocked, I guess that's the word, yeah.

COURIC: Explain to me why that enhances your foreign policy credentials.

PALIN: Well, it certainly does because our-- our next door neighbors are foreign countries. They're in the state that I am the executive of. And there in Russia--

COURIC: Have you ever been involved with any negotiations, for example, with the Russians?

PALIN: We have trade missions back and forth. We-- we do-- it's very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where-- where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border. It is-- from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to-- to our state.


Wow.

A quick note to McCain.

You're familiar with Saran Wrap, right?

Imagine if someone took Saran Wrap, which is pretty much completely transparent, and somehow made it 100% more transparent.

That's what everything you're doing to try to stop your veep candidate from having to debate looks like.

Then again, if you saw Katie Couric's interview with Caribou Barbie yesterday (and I'm sure you did, since you lied to Letterman so you could ditch him and have your own interview with Couric), I guess you'd be doing anything you could to stop her from giving an answer like this:

“I personally believe, that U.S. Americans,
are unable to do so,
because uh,
some, people out there, in our nation don’t have maps.
and uh…
I believe that our education like such as in South Africa,
and the Iraq,
everywhere like such as…
and, I believe they should uh,
our education over here,
in the U.S. should help the U.S.
or should help South Africa,
and should help the Iraq and Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future,
for us.”

Wait, that wasn't Caribou Barbie.

This was, though:

COURIC: You've said, quote, "John McCain will reform the way Wall Street does business." Other than supporting stricter regulations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac two years ago, can you give us any more example of his leading the charge for more oversight?

PALIN: I think that the example that you just cited, with his warnings two years ago about Fannie and Freddie — that, that's paramount. That's more than a heck of a lot of other senators and representatives did for us.

COURIC: But he's been in Congress for 26 years. He's been chairman of the powerful Commerce Committee. And he has almost always sided with less regulation, not more.

PALIN: He's also known as the maverick, though. Taking shots from his own party, and certainly taking shots from the other party. Trying to get people to understand what he's been talking about — the need to reform government.

COURIC: I'm just going to ask you one more time, not to belabor the point. Specific examples in his 26 years of pushing for more regulation?

PALIN: I'll try to find you some, and I'll bring them to you.


I'll try to find you some, and I'll bring them to you?? This isn't Show and Tell, missy. You're as qualified to be Vice President as I am. No, wait, I'm more qualified. I lived in Mexico City when I was a baby and in France when I was a teenager. Compared to someone who claims foreign policy chops because she can see Russia from her home state, I'm a foreign policy GOD. Also, I took a couple of Economics courses in college. I think that also makes me more qualified - hell, by Caribou Barbie's logic, I should be Treasury Secretary.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

When you shoot yourself in the foot...

the last thing you want to do is to go ahead and shoot yourself in the other foot just to make things even. And then go ahead and shoot yourself in the elbow.

Those of you who missed David Letterman tonight may have missed what might turn out to be a pivotal moment in the campaign. McCain canceled on Dave "at the last minute," telling Dave in a phone call that he had to rush off to Washington to fix the economy. Dave spent most of the show just absolutely skewering McCain - saying something didn't "smell right" about McCain suspending his campaign, and asking why Sarah Palin couldn't have come on instead. It was a beautiful thing. Then, with Keith Olbermann on as pinch hitter, Dave learned that McCain had in fact ditched him to go get interviewed by Katie Couric - apparently he had a layover at CBS News on his way "rushing" to Washington. Dave showed the feed of McCain getting makeup before the interview, and shouted, "Do ya need a ride to the airport??"

Classic.

A lot of folks watch Dave. I generally don't, but I made a point to watch him tonight because I knew what was going to happen. Dave does his best comedy when he's pissed off. And he was seriously pissed at McCain tonight.

I'm pretty convinced at this point that the election is essentially over. McCain may as well just "suspend" his campaign until November 4th, and then throw the electoral votes he gets from winning just a handful of states (Oklahoma, Idaho, Utah) to Obama.

Nobody's buying his snake oil anymore. Not even the corporate media. And he just majorly dissed a huge figure in late night television. That was a really bad move.

The fundamentals of our economy are strong.

So strong, in fact, that McCain feels he has to drop EVERYTHING and RUN to Washington to...make them stronger??

Obama can do two things at once. Why can't McCain?

This is a desperate political stunt that will backfire.

ABC / WaPo poll: Obama 52, McCain 43 among "likely" voters

It's the economy, stupid.

Here's something that tickles my cockles:

"You have to go back to 1948 for the last time when a candidate having this kind of a lead in late September lost," Stephanopoulos said.


Now, I'm no fan of George Snuffalupugus, for a lot of reasons. But I'll take a nice bit of news like that any day.

Positive Religion

A soldier in Iraq is being granted conscientious objector status after he experienced a "religious awakening" and decided that he couldn't be a good Christian and a soldier at the same time.

"I have been trying to justify being a soldier and finding a way to do so while still being a Christian, because that is what I wanted to do since I was a kid," Barnes wrote in his request for conscientious objector status in December 2006.

"But I can no longer justify spending my short time in this world participating in or supporting war. ... I must try to save souls, not help take them."


When I talk about promoting "positive religion," this is what I'm talking about - a religious view that seeks to lift up society, bring people together, and promote peace. In Judaism, this is called Tikkun Olam, the moral obligation that we have to repair the world for future generations. This Christian soldier has decided that his own moral obligation to repair the world requires him not to participate in an unjust war.

That's positive religion.

Dear PETA: ...wait, I already told you to shut up. Well, shut up again.

Now PETA has ruined my chance to bottle feed a tiger cub at the Tulsa State Fair.

Dicks.

Seriously, PETA, you really, really, really need to get the hell over yourselves. People have the right to eat meat, to wear fur, to go to zoos and stare at wild animals, to go to the circus and go "ooh" and "aaah" over unicycle-riding bears, to have fucking cow milk in our ice cream. Sure, there are abuses, and sure, we can reform practices to make these things more humane. Your extremist views, PETA, are doing nothing but making people angry at you. Reel it in, folks. Join the SPCA or the Humane Society, both very good advocates for animal rights.

How long could YOU survive?

I could survive for 57 seconds chained to a bunk bed with a velociraptor

Dear PETA: Shut up. Seriously.

PETA wants Ben & Jerry's ice cream to start using human breast milk in its ice cream.

Ew.

Happily, Ben & Jerry's said, "um, no."

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sign Bernie's Bailout Petition!

Senator Bernie Sanders, who has always been a real fighter for working people, has some good ideas for the bailout package, and he has a petition he'd like you to sign.

Highlights:

Any plan to clean up the mess on Wall Street must:

Ensure that middle income and working families are not the ones who are paying for this bailout by

-Imposing a five-year, 10 percent surtax on income over $1 million a year for couples and over $500,000 for single taxpayers. That would raise more than $300 billion in revenue over five years;
-Ensuring that assets purchased from banks are realistically discounted so companies are not rewarded for their risky behavior and taxpayers can recover the amount they paid for them; and
-Requiring that taxpayers receive equity stakes in the bailed-out companies so that the taxpayers’ assumption of risk is rewarded when companies’ stock goes up.

Taken together these three provisions will substantially reduce the likelihood that this bailout will end up on the backs of average American taxpayers.

More Fundie family values.

Apparently, girls who reach puberty have reached the "age of consent."

So, let's review.

A girl who's reached puberty can "consent" to have sex with a man of any age, whether or not that's considered statutory rape. Said girl, who may be as young as 12, is then required to carry that baby to term.

Once that baby is born....wait, it seems "family values" kind of ends there, because Fundies and their allies in the Republican Party tend to like cutting funding for early childhood education, health care, and anything else that might help a teenage mother raise the baby she was forced to carry to term.

So, I guess fundie family values are this:

From conception to birth, protect the hell out of the blastocyst/embryo/fetus, even at the expense of the mother.

After birth...the mother is on her own. Pick yourself up by your bootstraps, missy, and go get a job!

Nice.

OKC, Tulsa rated last on eco-friendly cities list

Tulsa was rated 48th on the list of 50 "environmentally friendly" cities in a recent report.

Who was #1?

Portland, Oregon.

100 days
2413 hours
144804 minutes
8688278 seconds

till we head that way to look for jobs and apartments.

Can't come any sooner...

Which is scarier?

Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures
see Sarah Palin pictures

Obama sits down with Jed Bartlet

Aaron Sorkin envisions a meeting between Barack Obama and fictional President from "The West Wing," Jed Bartlet.

Highlights:

OBAMA The problem is we can’t appear angry. Bush called us the angry left. Did you see anyone in Denver who was angry?

BARTLET Well ... let me think. ...We went to war against the wrong country, Osama bin Laden just celebrated his seventh anniversary of not being caught either dead or alive, my family’s less safe than it was eight years ago, we’ve lost trillions of dollars, millions of jobs, thousands of lives and we lost an entire city due to bad weather. So, you know ... I’m a little angry.

OBAMA What would you do?

BARTLET GET ANGRIER! Call them liars, because that’s what they are. Sarah Palin didn’t say “thanks but no thanks” to the Bridge to Nowhere. She just said “Thanks.” You were raised by a single mother on food stamps — where does a guy with eight houses who was legacied into Annapolis get off calling you an elitist? And by the way, if you do nothing else, take that word back. Elite is a good word, it means well above average. I’d ask them what their problem is with excellence. While you’re at it, I want the word “patriot” back. McCain can say that the transcendent issue of our time is the spread of Islamic fanaticism or he can choose a running mate who doesn’t know the Bush doctrine from the Monroe Doctrine, but he can’t do both at the same time and call it patriotic. They have to lie — the truth isn’t their friend right now. Get angry. Mock them mercilessly; they’ve earned it. McCain decried agents of intolerance, then chose a running mate who had to ask if she was allowed to ban books from a public library. It’s not bad enough she thinks the planet Earth was created in six days 6,000 years ago complete with a man, a woman and a talking snake, she wants schools to teach the rest of our kids to deny geology, anthropology, archaeology and common sense too? It’s not bad enough she’s forcing her own daughter into a loveless marriage to a teenage hood, she wants the rest of us to guide our daughters in that direction too? It’s not enough that a woman shouldn’t have the right to choose, it should be the law of the land that she has to carry and deliver her rapist’s baby too? I don’t know whether or not Governor Palin has the tenacity of a pit bull, but I know for sure she’s got the qualifications of one. And you’re worried about seeming angry? You could eat their lunch, make them cry and tell their mamas about it and God himself would call it restrained. There are times when you are simply required to be impolite. There are times when condescension is called for!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Georgianna Oliver for CD-1

Georgianna Oliver's campaign sent me an e-mail fundraising solicitation this afternoon. I had been feeling pretty cynical about that race because I hadn't heard much of anything about it in quite some time, and I worried that we were in for another token race in which Sullivan would just cruise to victory.

I shot an e-mail back expressing my frustration that I hadn't heard anything from the campaign, basically saying that if I was going to give them my money, I had to be sure that it wasn't wasted.

To my very pleasant surprise, the candidate herself sent me back an e-mail explaining that while the campaign had had trouble getting media coverage, there are television commercials airing and volunteer activity is ramping up. Oliver's website has also been updated since I last looked at it - she has a blog that is updated fairly regularly.

Stay tuned for more news from Oliver's campaign. Now that I know that there is indeed life there, I'll be providing coverage of the race. I want to see Sullivan defeated, and this district has had too many bitter disappointments over the years.

Republican family values.

1) If a woman is raped, she must pay for the rape kit used to identify her rapist and check her for injuries.

2) If a woman gets pregnant as a result of that rape, she must carry her attacker's child to term.

Nice.

Poll: Do you support the government's bailout plan?

So, Sinister readers, what do you think? Do you support the bailout? Do you think it's the greatest thing since sliced bread, and the only way to fix our teetering economy? Or do you think it's a horrible giveaway to the rich and powerful capitalist bastards who created this mess in the first place?










Hey, it's autumn!

I love autumn. Happy equinox!

monday loldog

dog
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Friday, September 19, 2008

Socialism 101

A lot of folks this week seem to be throwing around the big scary "S" word as a reaction to all of these government bailouts, thinking that anytime anyone nationalizes something, that's the same thing as socialism.

First of all, if this is indeed socialism, then it's a twisted, through-the-looking glass version of socialism in which the only thing that is socialized is the risk, while profit remains privatized. In simple terms, companies get to keep the money they make in the good times, but they are assured that if anything goes wrong, we the taxpayer will pick up the tab.

That's not socialism.

In fact, if you think about it, what's happening now can be seen as a merger of government and corporate power. If you're going to put a label on that, it's fascism. But I think that's as ridiculous a label to put on the situation as calling it socialism.

Socialism is a concept that, broadly, calls for a total reinvention of economics. Socialism says that products and services should be provided for the benefit of all, not for the private profit of a few, and that we should all share in both the profits and the pitfalls of the production system.

Socialism doesn't mean nationalizing all of the country's businesses and continuing to run them as economic dictatorships, in which the public only gets input when we have to bail out a company due to bad decisions. Socialism calls for extending democracy into the economic sphere. Workers would run companies as cooperative enterprises. The concept of "profit," which is the excess money gained from paying workers less than the value of their labor, would be eliminated.

It's obviously a lot more complicated than that, but as you can plainly see, there is no socialism happening anywhere in America right now. To institute socialism in America, the working class would have to be actively organized into a revolutionary movement ready to take over the reins of the economy at a moment's notice. With a labor force currently at about 14% unionization, that isn't going to happen.

If indeed we do go into another Great Depression, as some pundits are predicting, then we may see some movement toward a new radicalization of the working class. FDR may have saved us from a socialist revolution in the '30s, by shoring up capitalism with his New Deal programs. The thing that I really fear is that instead of banding together and hoisting the red flag, the working class will instead gravitate toward a radicalization of a different sort - the kind that happened in Germany when the economy crashed in the 1930s. In times of economic crisis, people gravitate toward strong leaders and simple messages, lashing out and looking for someone to blame. If the fascist right, which is already quite well organized in this country, becomes even more organized and even more fascist as the result of a real economic catastrophe, then we could be in for a heap of trouble.

Global warming vs. Pirates




The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster offers proof that global warming is caused by a decline in the number of pirates.

Did Shrub just say

that the people responsible for this financial mess will be caught and persecuted?

Yeesh.

Pirates vs. Ninjas

ADD cat

cat
more animals

This is hilar-oh look, a chicken!

Happy Friday, ya landlubbers!

It's Talk Like a Pirate Day, mateys! Arrrrrrrr!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Right-wing blogger goes back in time to complain about something.

The rarely lucid far-right blogger known as Fried Green Onions has really outdone himself this time. He posted this article from WorldNetDaily, presenting it as something that just happened:

Protesters outside the California State Capitol yesterday urged Gov. Gray Davis to veto four bills that would provide for "tolerance" field trips and curricula.

The rally in Sacramento, which attracted about 350 people, is the last stop of Campaign for California Families' week-long "Stop the Insanity" Tour, which has made its way through several cities, including San Diego, Los Angeles and Fresno. Most of the rallies took place outside Davis's district offices.


Now, those who know something about recent California history will immediately see a problem here.

Jeopardy question:

This actor replaced Gray Davis as California governor in a recall election several years ago.

Who is....?

Arnold Schwarzenegger.

This article, that FGO is presenting as something that is happening "now," was published in 2000.

Nice one, FGO. Next you want to urge me to tell my legislators to punish those responsible for the recent riots at the Stonewall Inn?

This is getting really bad for McCain.

Apparently John McCain doesn't even know who the Prime Minister of Spain is.

So McCain is the candidate with the foreign policy experience ready to lead on day one. But he doesn't know who the leader of Spain is. He gets confused in an interview, apparently thinking Zapatero is someone from Latin America who is an enemy of the United States and manages to create a minor international incident.


Um, hi? This is a guy who wants to be the Commander in Chief, and he can't even identify the Prime Minister of a close European ally?

I mean, I've heard of a meltdown before, but McCain's campaign is suffering a Chernobyl-style chain reaction disaster of mega-gaffes.

This election is over.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The fundamentalists think our economy is strong.

Dow closes another 440 points down.

Margaret Cho has something to say.

All kinds of Christians are getting mad about my Sarah Palin comments, and it is pissing me off.

(snip)

Don’t fucking question my Christianity you fucking idiot assholes. If you continue to have a problem, then talk to God about it, not me, you fucking racist homophobic misogynist fake Christian shitheads. God thinks it is funny that I swear so much. He said I could use his name in vain or whatever. He just wants me to use it. He loves me. So fuck you. And I guess he loves you too. Even though you are fake Christian assholes. If you were truly Christians, you would let gays get married, and send them fucking presents from Bed Bath and Beyond!

If you truly believed in Jesus, you would try to be like him and love us, fags and dykes and feminists all. God bless you, even you. You fucking fuckers.

Hey Mr. Smith, lend me a hand.

With the markets plunging, and the economy in such chaos that the government is nationalizing one business after another, one has to wonder where exactly Adam Smith's invisible hand is pointing.

Down?

lol - caller on the Stephanie Miller show

on McPalin:

"They look like a million bucks. They're wrinkled and green!"

I think this might be what Obama was talking about.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Wow! Obama's related to a Rabbi!

Wow!

Barack Obama's cousin (once removed) is the Rabbi of a predominantly black synagogue on Chicago's southwest side. Who knew?

This is a fascinating examination of his cousin's congregation.

France and World War 2

Mr. Tater just said "you're welcome" for the fact that the Nazis didn't win World War 2, in response to a very non-political post I just did about tennis. Apparently, everyone in France has to grovel and suck the toes of America until the end of history because of the Allied victory in Europe, to such an extent that a completely non-political post about tennis isn't immune from this kind of irritating smugness.

I have several points to make here.

Yes, France surrendered quickly to the Nazis in World War 2. They made some tactical errors in the face of a very well organized Nazi attack. One reason that the French surrendered so quickly is that they didn't want their cities devastated. They were trying to save lives. You're free to judge that decision on its own merits.

Northern France became occupied territory, and Southern France became a Nazi collaborator regime. Several years later, starting with the Normandy invasion, the Allied armies, including American, British, and, yes, French soldiers, liberated Europe and defeated the Nazis.

That's the history of what happened to France in World War 2, in a nutshell.

This whole right-wing meme that the French should lick the boots of the Americans for all time because we saved them from the Nazis stems from a weird, jingoistic, skewed view of history. Again, it wasn't just the Americans who liberated Europe. The Allied forces were made up of troops from a lot of different countries. The French Resistance also had a lot to do with the success of the Allied victory.

Secondly, if the French have to lick the boots of the Americans because of World War 2, then we certainly have to do some significant boot-licking ourselves.

If it weren't for the intervention of the French in the American Revolution, we'd still be a British colony today.

So, as the French would say, de rien.

Thirdly, I'm well aware of the sacrifice made by the troops who liberated Europe. When I was a kid, my Boy Scout troop camped at the beaches of Normandy, in the American cemetery. We learned the bloody history of the battle in a very up close and personal way. We explored the German bunkers, walked on the beach, wandered through the cemetery looking at the names of those who sacrificed their lives to save Europe from fascism. We went to the Normandy Memorial Museum. We met Holocaust survivors. We met World War 2 veterans and thanked them for their service.

A few years ago, the American School of Paris, which my brother and I attended while we lived in France, had its 60th anniversary celebration, and my family and I flew to Paris for the occasion. During a dinner in honor of the anniversary, there was one speaker whom I will never forget. He was a World War 2 veteran who had fought at Normandy. Even in that space, when we were celebrating the 60th anniversary of a school, we set aside time to honor those without whose sacrifice that school would never have existed. After the dinner, I went up to the veteran, I shook his hand, and I thanked him for his service. I told him, "You helped win the war."

So, Mr. Tater. Don't insinuate to me that I don't understand the sacrifice that the Allied troops made to liberate Europe from fascism. To do so is offensive, ignorant, and pig-headed, and demonstrates a knee-jerk jingoism that is the cause of many of the problems we have in this country today.

Also, since you wish to say, "You're Welcome," for said liberation, my question to you is, with which battalion did you fight in World War 2, since you were clearly there?

A picture is worth....an election?



h/t to Kossack Al Rodgers.

Tennis.

When I was a kid, I took tennis lessons. I was living in France at the time, and I basically had a tennis court right outside my backyard.

I loved tennis, and I got pretty good at it. I played pretty regularly for a good 5 years. One year I went to summer camp in Texas and chose tennis as my major elective. We spent nearly every day in the Texas summer heat playing tennis for hours. It was awesome.

Then I moved back to the States, and I just stopped playing.

Part of it was that I was in my rebellious teenager phase, and I was much more interested in doing very unhealthy things to my lungs and liver. Also, I began to develop a very "anti-sports intellectual geek" persona, the vestiges of which I still carry with me.

So I stopped playing. I didn't join the tennis team at my high school. The $200 racket I had been given for my Bar Mitzvah sat in my bedroom closet.

For fifteen years.

Then, about three weeks ago, my partner decided he wanted to learn how to play tennis. I went over to my parents' house and found my old racket. It still had a label listing our old address in France, from when I had taken it to summer camp. After buying my partner a racket & ball set, we went to a local court to see what might happen.

I'll tell you something. Picking up that racket again made me remember why I loved tennis in the first place. I started looking for practice walls around town, and eventually I wanted to play against other people. I attended an "open drill" at a local park and found that while I was rusty, my old skills were coming back slowly but surely. The energy of those drills, the fast pace, the fun of it all was absolutely intoxicating.

Yesterday, I signed up for tennis lessons. Man, I'll tell you something. Tennis is one of the most intense ways to exercise. You're constantly running, stopping, swinging, backtracking, pivoting, and you're always tense, always ready to spring forward and hit the ball. And when you hit a ball just right, so that your opponent has absolutely no chance of hitting it, the feeling is amazing.

Now that I'm back to playing tennis regularly, I'm really pissed at myself for dropping it for fifteen years. I'm not as nimble on my feet as I used to be, and I'm also horribly out of shape. My joints hurt, my muscles ache, and overall I'm clearly not a kid anymore. But I know for a fact that playing tennis regularly will not only help me lose weight, it'll make me feel better in general. And, who knows? I might just end up on the tournament circuit once I get to Portland!

Stay tuned, sports fans.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Does this look familiar?

In Houston, tensions were rising among more than 1,000 who had spent several nights at the George R. Brown Convention Center because most of the city is still without power. They complained that they couldn’t get information about how to get food and clean clothes. The city’s mayor said only 1,300 people were inside, but those sleeping on cots said it felt like thousands.

Lines snaked down side streets at gas stations that had little fuel to sell. Some looked like parking lots. At sites distributing water, ice and prepackaged meals, people stood on foot for hours waiting for anything they could take home.


Heckuva job.

A Note to MSNBC.

So there I was on MSNBC's website, scanning the headlines. I saw this story that looked interesting. The headline:

Your walk may reveal more than you think


Ok, thought I, this is going to be an article about walking and personality. Perhaps it's a psychological profile of people who have certain kinds of distinctive walks. Perhaps they're going to tell me that walking a certain way might reveal health problems.

But no.

I clicked on the article, and I was confronted with:

A woman's stride indicates how easily she can orgasm, researchers claim


Well.

Alrighty then.

That wasn't really where I thought the article was going to go, based on the headline. Now, I'm no prude. But I do prefer it when the headline of an article describes adequately the content of the article. A more appropriate headline for this article might have been:

A Woman's Walk Might Reveal Orgasm Potential


Such a headline would serve two purposes:

1) It would adequately describe the contents of the article, and

2) It would alert me to the fact that I probably don't want to read it.

So thanks for the eye-opener, MSNBC.

Wow.

Mooselini



h/t to Starbuck on the Randi Rhodes Show message board.

Congratulations to George Takei and his new husband

George Takei married his longtime partner on Sunday in California. A hearty congratulations to the happy couple. May all Americans soon be able to enjoy the right to civil marriage equality.

"We have a relationship that's been stronger and longer-lived than some of our straight friends, and yet we were not equal," Takei told The Associated Press before the ceremony. "What this does is give us that dignity; (it's) being part of the American system and being whole. We're making the American system whole as well, as America is becoming more equal."

New blog links - "Progressive Radio"

I've added a new links category to the blog - "Progressive Radio." Check out Air America and Nova M, the two major progressive radio networks, along with several individual radio hosts that I like - Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz, and Randi Rhodes.

Caller on Stephanie Miller show nails it

"Wall Street is melting down but we shouldn't worry because Sarah Palin can see the Bank of Wasilla from her office."

The fundamentals of our economy are strong.

Except when they're not.

monday loldog

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Friday, September 12, 2008

lolz

dog
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Are anorexic models on the way out?

For years, models on fashion runways have exemplified a kind of "heroin chic" look of protruding rib cages and general twigginess. The natural curves of the female form were replaced by sharp angles and bones. This trend has in turn caused millions of teenage girls to starve themselves and develop eating disorders in an effort to reach a level of thin that is incredibly unhealthy.

According to this article, however, this week's Fashion Week runways featured models that had at least a little meat on their bones. Instead of size 0, many models featured were "size 2 or 4." While the article stresses that the difference was moderate, the trend is encouraging.

Models like Kate Moss who exemplify the anorexic look are not only endangering their own health, they are endangering the health of millions of teenagers. By trying to aspire to an impossible body mass index, these girls end up with major problems of malnutrition, stunted growth, low self-esteem, and other problems.

I haven't done a lot of research into this trend of super-thin models, so I don't know exactly when it caught fire. I know Twiggy had something to do with it back in the '60s, when curvaceous, realistically proportioned women like Marilyn Monroe and Betty Page were the hotties of the day. I know Kate Moss is responsible for a lot of this mess.

I suppose my point is that I'm glad to see that the fashion world might just be coming to its senses about rail-thin models. The female form is a beautiful thing, but not when it's reduced to a skeleton.

Happy Friday

Probably NSFW:




"The Origin of Love," from the movie "Hedwig and the Angry Inch." If you haven't seen the movie, I highly recommend it.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

For those of you who think Bush has made us "safer"

because there "haven't been any more attacks on US soil since 9/11,"

I have a rock that I'd like to sell you. It prevents tiger attacks. I have one, and I've never been attacked by a tiger. That must mean it works, right?

Ok, Mr. Tater, let's play "Who Am I?"

I was County Executive of Baltimore, Maryland for 4 years before I was elected Governor. As governor, I crossed party lines and passed tax and judicial reforms. Two years after I was elected governor, I was the Republican Vice Presidential nominee.

Who am I?

Questions

Kossack Bill in Portland Maine asks some very important questions:

Questions

When he was warned in the August 6, 2001 PDB, "Bin Laden Determined to Strike In US", why did the president do nothing except tell the guy who delivered it to him, "All right, you've covered your ass, now"?
Why did Rudy Giuliani put the anti-terrorism command center in the World Trade Center against the advice of experts who knew better?
Why did the president sit in that Florida classroom for several minutes after being told "America is under attack"?
Why were members of the bin Laden family allowed to fly out of the country when all planes were grounded?
Could there be any greater examples of heroism than the passengers who fought back on Flight 93, the rescue teams at the Pentagon, or the NYPD and NYFD responders who ran into the towers without hesitation?
Father Mychal Judge: Saint...or Supersaint?
-
Why did firefighters have faulty radios instead of dependable ones, Mr. Giuliani?
Was it really necessary for the president to tell us to go shopping?
Why were rescue workers at Ground Zero told by the EPA director that the air was safe to breathe when it wasn't?
When rescue workers got horribly sick from breathing contaminated air, why were so many given perfunctory treatment and then left to fend for themselves?
Why did Rudy Giuliani say he "was at the site as often, if not more, than most of the workers," when he only visited the site for 29 hours over a span of 41 visits?
-
When Glenn Beck---one of the most respected figures in the Republican party---said, "When I see a 9/11 victim family on television, or whatever, I'm just like, 'Oh shut up!' I'm so sick of them because they're always complaining," why wasn't he banished into obscurity?
-
When the president stressed the importance of safeguarding our ports and vital infrastructure, why did he take so long actually safeguarding them? Are they much safer today?
When the president called for greater security at airports, why was there such a lopsided focus on passengers and very little on cargo until recently?
When we found out that most of the hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, why did the president continue holding hands with their leaders?
Why were habeas corpus rights suspended years after the attacks of 9/11, when the country wasn't in a state of rebellion or invasion?
When Congress found out the president had broken the law before 9/11 by snooping on American citizens without warrants, why did they patch up the law to make his---and the phone companies'---illegal activities retroactively legal?
The president nominated Bernard Kerik to be the head of Homeland Security...and he wasn't joking???
-
When Ann Coulter---one of the most respected figures in the Republican party---said, "These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by grief-arazzis. I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much," why wasn't she banished into obscurity?
-
When Bush had bin Laden in his sights at Tora Bora, why didn’t he take the shot?
Why were we told repeatedly that Saddam Hussein was partly responsible for the attacks when he had nothing to do with them?
When we needed more troops to vanquish the Taliban in Afghanistan, why did we invade Iraq?
If we're winning the "War on terror," why hasn't the color-coded terror alert level changed from Yellow to Green or Blue in 2,382 days?
How unspeakably crude was it for the Republican party to exploit the 9/11 attacks in a promotional video during their convention in St. Paul?
Why hasn't the president caught Osama bin Laden?
-
When Jerry Falwell---one of the most respected figures in the Republican party---got on TV and said, "I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen'," why wasn't he defrocked and sent to work in soup kitchens for the rest of his life?
-
Why is there still a giant hole in the ground in Lower Manhattan?
-
Are terrorists pricks, or what?
-
Are politicians who use fear to scare citizens into submission pricks, or what?
-
Will the shock ever wear off?

Seven years later, why is there still a hole in the ground?

The daughter of a woman who died in the WTC attacks asks a very important question. Why, seven years after the attack, have we not built a memorial at Ground Zero? Why is it still a hole in the ground?

Republicans have hijacked 9/11



Keith Olbermann tells it like it is.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I knew the Bush regime was in bed with oil companies, but this is ridiculous...

Government officials handling billions of dollars in oil royalties engaged in illicit sex with employees of energy companies they were dealing with and received numerous gifts from them, federal investigators said Wednesday.

Message to OK-PNS: I'm not actually apologizing to you, per se.

I've already posted a couple of comments in response to the post by OK-PNS "accepting my apology."

It's interesting to me how the right wing can turn even a genuine attempt to give people a breather from angry politics into an opportunity to attack someone.

First of all, I will fully admit that there are things I've written on this blog that will offend people. Sometimes I use this blog as a place to vent. Sometimes in doing so I go over the line.

However, the line that OK-PNS pulled out of this blog from two years ago did not refer to all Christians, and even a casual reading of that post would show that. As I've repeatedly said, I don't hate Christians. I don't hate Christianity. The greatness of America lies in the fact that everyone has the right to worship as they wish.

What I hate are theofascists. I define that word as someone who seeks to impose a narrow, moralistic politics on the country based on extremist, exclusionary theology. The target of the post quoted by OK-PNS was Tony Perkins, who had made a horribly bigoted attack against the GLBT community in linking the very idea of tolerance to the Mark Foley page boy scandal. Surely we can all agree that Perkins crossed the line with that attack.

The Family Research Council, the AFA, and a lot of other groups on the hard Christian right, should be classified as hate groups. Even John McCain once called them "agents of intolerance" before he decided he needed them to win an election. Their ideology is one of exclusion, Christian superiority, and forcing a Christian-specific religious agenda into secular politics. That's the very definition of a hate group.

I've always said that religion should be used in a positive manner, to bring people together, to lift up society. Many Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, etcetera, practice this kind of positive religion. Groups like the AFA do the opposite. Their goal is to attack, to divide people, to oppress those who want nothing more than the right to live in peace.

As I said in my comment to the OK-PNS post, I don't hate Christians. I hate hate groups.

Howard Fineman, make up your mind!

Howard Fineman has just executed the rhetorical equivalent of a reverse double backflip within the course of an argument about Obama's supposed weaknesses on the stump. I quote (emphasis mine):

Failing to state a sweeping, but concrete, policy idea
It is not enough to be for change – everybody is, or is trying to be. To make it stick, Obama needed, and needs, to put forth an easy-to-grasp grand proposal, one that would encapsulate what his central message. That tagline? That he is dedicated, body and soul, to advancing the economic interests of hard-working, average Americans. He has the makings of such a proposal – his tax cuts for low and middle-income families. But he has yet to package that, or anything else, in an easy-to-grasp, hard-number plan for voters. Instead, he’s got more of a laundry list than an actual rallying cry.

Remaining trapped in professor-observer speak
When you listen to Obama, it sometimes feels like you’re hearing a smart but distant analysis of the political scene. He sounds like a writer or teacher, but not the leader of a political crusade. Obama has been far too “meta” – a detached commentator on his own situation and his own country. Voters want an action plan, not an exegesis.


Mr. Fineman seems to be a little bit confused about his own argument. In the first quoted paragraph, he wants Obama to present "an easy-to-grasp grand proposal," not just a "laundry list" of policy proposals. Yet, in the second paragraph, he insists Obama has been far too "meta," and calls for an "action plan, not an exegesis." The glaring contradictions between the two paragraphs should be evident to even a casual reader.

First of all, Obama has been very specific about his policy proposals on a number of issues that are critical to this election: the economy, education, health care, the war in Iraq. That should satisfy Mr. Fineman's request for an "action plan."

Secondly, Obama has been very forceful in pushing his "grand proposal." Did Mr. Fineman not hear Obama's acceptance speech? The "grand proposal" of Obama's campaign is simple, and it can be summed up in one word: "Enough!"

Thus, despite Mr. Fineman's contradictory arguments, Obama has managed to satisfy both criteria that Mr. Fineman seeks (and criticizes). Obama is presenting both a solid set of policy specifics and an overarching theme. What more would you like him to do, Mr. Fineman?

Enough!

Obama has had enough of McCain's lies and pointless accusations.

In a press conference today, Obama said the "phony outrage" over the "lipstick on a pig" line would be funny if it weren't the front page story. He asked incredulously - (paraphrasing), hey, we're dealing with some real problems in this country, our economy is in the tank, our health care system sucks, and this nonsense is what the McCain campaign wants to focus on? Enough!

Lipstick on a pig.

So I guess you're not ok with this quote, either?

McCain criticized Democratic contenders for offering what he called costly universal health care proposals that require too much government regulation. While he said he had not studied Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's health-care plan, he said it was "eerily reminiscent" of the failed plan she offered as first lady in the early 1990s.

"I think they put some lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig," he said of her proposal.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

'Doomsday' Machine Rap

The scientists behind the Hadron Collider give us the scoop:

Calculate your Obama tax cut

95% of Americans will get a tax cut when Obama is elected. How much will you get?

In the spirit of fairness

Here's a story from factcheck.org with a different take on the enigma that is Sarah Palin.

According to factcheck.org, several of the rumors out there about Palin are not true.

For example:

-Sarah Palin did not try to ban books from the library; she merely asked a "rhetorical question" of the librarian, fired her, and then rehired her the next day.

-Sarah Palin did not cut special needs education funding.

-Sarah Palin did not push for teaching creationism alongside evolution in Alaska schools; she merely said "teach both" in a debate and then clarified her remarks later by saying that creationism didn't have to be "part of the curriculum."

If factcheck.org's findings are accurate, then obviously those of us who spread these stories were mistaken.

However, there are still a lot of unanswered questions about Palin's record.

-Why did she charge the people of Alaska a per diem rate for living at her own house while she was governor?

-Why does she still insist on lying about being against the bridge to nowhere?

-Why did she lie about selling her plane on Ebay?

-Why does she insist that rape and incest victims should be forced to have their attacker's baby?

-Why did she not speak out when a guest speaker at her church said that Jews were the victims of terrorism because we refuse to accept Jesus?

-Why did she call the Iraq war a "task from God" and ask parishioners at her church to pray for a pipeline?

-Why was her husband a member of a political party whose leader has expressed hatred of America? Why did she speak to the same political party's convention on repeated occasions?

-What, exactly, qualifies her to be President of the United States, besides the proximity of Alaska to Russia, and being mayor of a town the size of a condo board, followed by 20 months of so-called executive experience governing a state with fewer people than Dallas, Texas?

James Burke

My partner has been watching this show called Connections, created by James Burke, a historian with a rather unique view of how historical events are all linked to one another. Instead of saying, "Mozart wrote the Magic Flute" and "Edgar Allan Poe wrote horror stories," James Burke will link the two, and then he'll connect them both to the development of the helicopter.

Here's an example from his website (linked above):

Q: How was Napoleon important to the development of the modern computer?

A: Napoleon’s troops in Egypt buy shawls and start a fashion craze.

In Europe the shawls get made on automated, perforated-paper control looms.

This gives an American engineer Herman Hollerith the idea to automate calculation using punch cards.

Which get used to control ENIAC, the first electronic computer.


Fascinating stuff.

The "Connections" shows were done in 3 series: one in the 1970s, one in the late 1980's, and one in the late 1990s. They're all available on Netflix, which you should all have.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Those who love each other shall become invincible.

It seems lately that we've all gotten a little bit nastier about our political differences, unable even to see the humanity in those with whom we disagree.

So here's a post that has nothing to do with politics. Let the polls, the analysis, the accusations, the stump speeches, and the partisan rancor rest for five minutes.

Instead, here are some nice photos.

We'll start with a nice picture of the Eiffel Tower:


Now, here's a cute beagle puppy:


Sunset on Mars:


The beautiful city of Portland, Oregon:


Salvador Dali's "The Rose"


The Provence region of France


Over the carnage rose prophetic a voice,
Be not dishearten'd, affection shall solve the problems of freedom yet,
Those who love each other shall become invincible,
They shall yet make Columbia victorious.

from "Over the Carnage Rose Prophetic a Voice" by Walt Whitman

Monday loldog

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Friday, September 5, 2008

So now community organizing = communism??

Red S Tater is shocked...SHOCKED...that the Communist Party has endorsed Barack Obama, and he's absolutely TERRIFIED about this particular tidbit:

The Obama campaign, drawing upon the candidate’s community organizing experience, is also looking toward the grassroots. Unity for Change house parties across the country on June 28 will bring neighbors together for voter registration and getting out the vote.


The emphasis is the original author's.

So, apparently, according to Mr. Stater, now community organizing = communism.

This attack on community organizers is just bizarre and insulting. Thousands of people spend countless hours every week working to bring their neighbors together to improve their communities, reduce crime, and empower citizens to take charge of their neighborhoods. These folks are not well paid, their jobs are difficult, thankless, and sometimes downright dangerous. But they do it because they care about serving their community. I would think that service to one's community would be a good thing.

How do I know this?

I used to be a community organizer.

I worked in run down neighborhoods in Minneapolis, Dallas, and Fort Worth. I knocked on doors, got neighbors together, and got them working to improve their neighborhoods. I helped people realize that together they had a better chance of making a real difference, even if it was something as simple as getting a stop sign installed at a dangerous intersection, or closing down a crack house.

None of us were calling for the overthrow of capitalism. Nobody cared about class struggle. Nobody wanted to establish a proletarian regime. The "c" word was never a part of any of it. Joseph McCarthy himself would have felt perfectly at home in these all-American neighborhoods.

All these folks wanted was to improve their neighborhoods - neighborhoods that had been overlooked and ignored by public officials and indifferent police departments for years. They had tried to raise their voices individually, only to have doors shut in their faces. But together, working as a community, as a neighborhood, they had a shot.

Conservatives seem to have a problem with the very idea that people would work together to do anything. The kind of radical individualism that conservatives favor would lead to a very cold, very harsh, very unpleasant society, made up of walls, guns, and suspicious looks.

Are conservatives now saying that programs like your local Neighborhood Watch are a step towards communism? Is that the level of ridiculousness that we've reached? Should we abolish community pools? Food banks? Church youth groups? Many of these things start out because of grassroots community organizing.

Community organizing also brought us a few other perks: the right of women to vote, the right to fair play in the workplace, the weekend, and civil rights, to name a few. Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chavez, and, in many ways, Jesus himself, were all community organizers.

Look, conservatives. I understand that what you'd really like is to live in a gated community, own a gun, drive a Hummer, and never have to interact with any of your neighbors. In my mind, that's a sad, empty, attitude toward life.

We all live in a community. It's called America. And since we all have to live in America together, let's try to get along and treat each other civilly, shall we? Sometimes that means that we have to work together to make our community better. That's community organizing.

Also, to address the issue of the Communist Party endorsing Barack Obama (which is not at all connected to community organizing).

The CPUSA has been endorsing Democrats for quite some time. It hasn't run a Presidential ticket on its own since 1984. In the last 20 years, it has really transformed itself from a party that runs candidates into an activist organization dedicated to improving conditions for American workers. Sure, it's still a Marxist-Leninist political party, and sure, it still calls for overthrowing capitalism. However, of the radical leftist parties, the CPUSA is probably the most reasonable and pragmatic.

Now, I will make a prediction.

Conservatives will take this post, which contains two separate and distinct subjects: community organizing and communism, and conflate them to make me look like a radical communist who hates America.

Classy.

Happy Friday

Lewis Black tells it like it is.

Hypocrisy from the "hypocrites"

Stan Geiger agrees with OK-PNS that we on the left are "intolerant" because we have the nerve to criticize Sarah Palin.

And I quote:

It’s amusing to us to witness the party of diversity, tolerance, smores and Kumbaya, stumbling all over themselves as they try and tear down Governor Palin and her family. Anyone with a semblance of objectivity could see that Palin hit a bases loaded, walk off home run last night with her acceptance speech at the Republican convention


Here's my response.

It's amusing to me to witness the party that would seek to impose a narrow, bigoted, and theocratic morality on everyone in America fall all over themselves demanding that Sarah Palin's family be granted the same freedom and privacy that these same right-wingers would deny me and my life partner - and that these same right-wingers consistently deny to the Obama family. If these wingnuts were at all consistent, they would judge Palin's family decisions with the same moralistic hammer they use to shatter everyone else's rights.

In simple terms, Bristol Palin had the right to make the same choice that her mother seeks to take away from every other woman in the country. If that's not the sickest definition of hypocrisy, then I don't know what is.

In addition, the right wing chose to attack Barack Obama's family background and upbringing in a vicious, despicable, racist, and libelous manner. To my mind, that means Sarah Palin's family and background is fair game.

Happy Friday post delayed again.

I overslept this morning. Bleah.

You'll get a video this evening.

The fundamentals of our economy are strong.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The unemployment rate soared to a nearly five-year high in August as employers trimmed jobs for the eighth straight month, the government reported Friday.

The unemployment rate rose to 6.1%, the highest level since September 2003. That's up from 5.7% in July and 4.7% a year ago.

In addition, the economy suffered a net loss of 84,000 jobs in August, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, compared to a revised reading of a 60,000 job loss in July.

The U.S. economy has lost 605,000 jobs so far this year.

Did McCain wear a flag pin?

I don't know if McCain wore a flag pin last night. The news website pictures certainly don't show one. Why does John McCain hate America?

Where were the American flags at McCain's speech?

Hey, I didn't see a whole slew of American flags all over the Republican convention last night. McCain was speaking in front of a glowing blue screen, not a field of flags. That must mean he hates America.

Why do the Republicans hate America?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

So McCain...zzzz...

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

what? oh, sorry I dozed off for a minute.

Yeah, I think I'm done with this speech.

Wow. It's over. And a half.

McCain is in front of a big blue screen. This speech sounds exactly like the one where he was in front of that big green screen. That isn't a good thing.

Compare this speech to Obama.

No contest.

Seriously.

Plus, football is on. Nobody is watching this geezer ramble on and on. I'm probably going to tune out in a minute anyway.

We are NOT watching the next President of the United States.

In other news, the Atlantic Ocean is moist.

Apparently Faux Noise is leading the ratings for the Repig convention.

Wow. Imagine that. The Bush propaganda network is leading the ratings during the Bush propaganda convention.

What's next? Water leads the ratings when it comes to quenching thirst?

C'moooonnnn....

Randi Rhodes has it right.

Unbelievable. When your philosophy and worldview has wrecked an economy, destroyed 60 years of global goodwill, started a useless war that has cost thousands of American lives, run up a trillion dollars in debt, made the dollar an also-ran in world markets, shipped a good chunk of the post-WW2 Middle Class to China, indebted your nation to Communists and Islamic Militants, turned an efficient government into one that can't even collect drowned bodies of its own citizens off battered streets...and you have zero left but tired, divisive ideas that will do NOTHING to get us out of this mess.........what do you do when you stand up in front of an angry country expecting answers from you?........

BLAME THE 'LIBERALS'.

Yeah, it was those damned liberals, wasn't it....????


George W. Bush inherited a $128 Billion Dollar Budget Surplus When He Took Office. REPUBLICANS have posted a deficit every year since. 2009? A RECORD $482 Billion Dollar Shortfall.
http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/07/28/2009.deficit/

It was REPUBLICANS who sat in a secret briefing on August 6th, 2001 we’re told in detail that Osama bin Laden planned to strike the United States with hijacked airplanes. AND DID NOTHING.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/03/AR2008090303210.html?hpid=artslot
It was REPUBLICAN ACTIVIST Supreme Court that somehow magically squeezed the termination of legal recount of votes in Florida out of the Fourteenth Amendment...
http://www.iefd.org/articles/rightwing_judicial_activism.php
A REPUBLICAN, not a liberal, has FAILED to kill or capture the man who was responsible for 9/11
http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/Bush-regrets-edict-to-get-Osama-dead-or-alive/323453/
It was REPUBLICANS who lusted for, planned, and executed the biggest military blunder in American history
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1181629,00.html
...lied about the justification for war...
http://www.alternet.org/story/16274/
..helped themselves to tens of billions of taxpayer dollars...
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/09/26/politics/main575356.shtml
..ordered our soldiers into harm's way disgustingly unprotected...
http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2004-03-26-body-armor_x.htm
..ignored the wounded who returned to squalid care...
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/17/AR2007021701172.html
..spent...over half a trillion dollars on this sad aventure....$2500...a second.
http://zfacts.com/p/447.html
We could go on....and on....and on......

It's all Barack Obama's fault, right Rudy? It's all Bill Clinton's fault, right Rush? It's Hillary, and Biden, and Dennis Kucinich and Randi Rhodes....they did it!

IT'S NOT JUST A RIVER IN EGYPT. IT'S RUNNING RIGHT THROUGH MINNESOTA.

So, I guess this is the image Sarah Palin is going for?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Yech.

Thoughts on Praline's speech.

1) Um, there was absolutely ZERO policy in that speech. The speech was all about fear - fear of the terrorist bogeyman, fear of Obama, fear of an untested Presidential candidate, fear of higher taxes under Obama (a lie), fear of bigger government under Obama (another lie). No mention of how to fix the economy, the war, health care, trade, international relations, not even a mention of how often the White House lawn will be mowed. Sheesh.

2) They actually brought the daughter's baby daddy out on stage? Isn't there a line between accepting the reality of an unfortunate situation and celebrating it - a line that someone who is so concerned with "family values" should recognize?

3) Oh, McCain, nice "surprise appearance" at the end there. Where have I seen that before?

4) The delegates cheered at everything Praline said. Especially the meaningless panders and nonsensical attacks on Obama.

5) We cannot elect this ticket to the White House. If we do, very bad things will happen. Praline is not ready to assume the Presidency, and McStain is too old and has too many health problems to take a chance on such an untested Veep.

6) I refuse to make an item number 6 out of protest over having wasted 30 minutes of my life listening to that drivel.

Why does Sarah Palin hate freedom?

Stein says that as mayor, Palin continued to inject religious beliefs into her policy at times. "She asked the library how she could go about banning books," he says, because some voters thought they had inappropriate language in them. "The librarian was aghast." That woman, Mary Ellen Baker, couldn't be reached for comment, but news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire Baker for not giving "full support" to the mayor.


Banning books? That goes against the 1st Amendment to the Constitution, doesn't it? Why does Sarah Palin hate the Constitution, and by extension, freedom?

(note to Republicans - these kinds of attacks piss you off, don't they? Well, if you can't take it, don't dish it out!)

More evidence Sarah Palin hates America

More from Alaska Independence Party founder Joe Vogler:

"The fires of hell are frozen glaciers compared to my hatred for the American government," Vogler said in the interview, in which he talked extensively about his desire for Alaskan secession, the key goal of the AIP.

"And I won't be buried under their damn flag," Vogler continued in the interview, which also touched on his disappointment with the American judicial system. "I'll be buried in Dawson. And when Alaska is an independent nation they can bring my bones home."

At another point, Volger advocated renouncing allegiance to the United States. In the course of denouncing Federal regulation over land, he said:

"And then you get mad. And you say, the hell with them. And you renounce allegiance, and you pledge your efforts, your effects, your honor, your life to Alaska."


I ask again, why does the Republican Party hate America?

Why does Sarah Palin hate Jews?

Sarah Palin has a preacher problem. Viz, this sermon given by a guest preacher at her church, the founder of the deceptive Christian cult known as "Jews for Jesus:"


“There I will meet with you, there I will hear your prayers, and there I will forgive your sin.”

And now Jesus in that temple, just before going to the cross, says, ‘From now on this place is desolate.’ And Jesus’ words have echoed down through the centuries. Not a generation after He uttered this promise, Titus and his Roman legions marched into that city and destroyed both the city and the temple. And from that day until this very present there has been no temple, and there is therefore no sacrifice in Judaism. Only we could sacrifice in...the only place was in the temple. And therefore there has been, and there is today, no confidence of atonement, no confidence of forgiveness. If you were to stand outside of a synagogue on the day of atonement and ask those leaving the service, “Did God hear your prayers? Were your sins forgiven on this most holy of all days?” the answer would be, “I hope. I hope, but who can know?” Who indeed but those of us who have come under the wings of the Almighty, who’ve entered into that place of grace where forgiveness is assured for the dilemma of human life. Judgment is very real and we see it played out on the pages of the newspapers and on the television. It’s very real.

When Isaac was in Jerusalem he was there to witness some of that judgment, some of that conflict, when a Palestinian from East Jerusalem took a bulldozer and went plowing through a score of cars, killing numbers of people. Judgment—you can’t miss it.


Terrorism is the result of Jews rejecting Jesus. That's antisemitism if I've ever heard it.

Combined with her support of anti-semite Pat Buchanan's Presidential campaigns in 1996 and 2000, one has to ask: Why does Sarah Palin hate Jews?

Oh, and yes, Palin was present for that sermon.

Stephanie Miller on Sarah Palin

"She governed the most tundra of anyone."

Ha!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Why does the Republican Party hate America?

The Alaskan Independence Party quotes [party founder Joe] Vogler as stating "I'm an Alaskan, not an American. I've got no use for America or her damned institutions."[3] [4]


Wait for it...

Lynnette Clark, the chair of the AIP, told ABC News that current Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, the presumptive 2008 Republican Party nominee for Vice President of the United States, attended the state party's 1994 convention, a year after party founder and would-be secessionist Joe Vogler died.[6][7] Palin recorded a message welcoming party members to its 2008 convention as part of her duties as Governor of Alaska.

On September 2, 2008, the political website Talking Points Memo reported that Palin's husband, Todd Palin, was a member from 1995 through 2002.[8]


Bearing those two things in mind, then, why does the Republican Party hate America?

The Complete (?) Sarah Palin

Randi Rhodes has a good summary of Governor Palin:

She knows nothing about Foreign Policy - YOU know more about Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, North Korea, Russia and Pakistan than she does!!

She thinks Alaska should [secede] from the “union”

She was FOR the Bridge to No Where until she was against it

She campaigned for indicted Senator Ted Stevens

She knows nothing the American Credit Crisis, Free Trade, Immigration, Economics, Foreign Policy, National Security, Education, Health Care, Iraq, Iran, Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, North Korea or China.

She is under investigation for abuse of power (she had her brother in law State Trooper Wooten fired during a custody battle with her sister)

She was a sportscaster, a city councilwoman and mayor of a town with less than 10,000 people before she was elected Governor almost by default

She now claims “13 years of Elected Experience”

She claims to have MORE experience than Barack Obama and Joe Biden

She has served less than 2 years as Governor

She did not campaign with John McCain

She did not know John McCain

She hunts from airplanes

She is a radical Christian Right Winger who obviously does believe in choice “Bristol CHOSE to have her baby”

She thinks the Pledge of Allegiance was written by the Founding Fathers Francis Bellamy (1855 - 1931), a Baptist minister, wrote the original Pledge in August 1892. He was a Christian Socialist

She brought the issue of ABORTION into the Wasilla’s “Mayor” race (a non partisan job that pays $68K/year)

Her mother in law won’t vote for her.

She doesn’t know what the Vice President “does all day”

She has a son who won’t take a photo with her, a 17 year old daughter who is pregnant

She stayed in Texas determined to “give a speech” at the Governors Conference AFTER her water broke prematurely with a high risk pregnancy

She is married to a guy who had a DUI

She doesn’t believe Global Warming is real

She doesn’t believe in Evolution

She would be a heartbeat away from being the Commander in Chief of the most awesome military and nuclear arsenal on the planet


I think there are some somewhat heated discussions happening somewhere in McCain land....

Statutory rape. Just another Republican family value.

Bristol Palin: 17.

Her boyfriend: 18.

That's statutory rape.

Current Palin scandal count: 12342345368942.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Monday loldog

Happy fake American "labor day."

dog
see more puppies

Here's some info on the real Labor Day, which we abandoned because it was too "communist."