Monday, October 18, 2010

America's Real Enemy: The Banks

If there is any doubt about the sickening power the banks have over our country, this video and investigation should remove all doubt:

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

2010 Midterms: Brought to You by Foreign Countries

From Think Progess, yesterday:

"Last week, ThinkProgress published an exclusive story about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s foreign fundraising operation. We noted the Chamber raises money from foreign-owned businesses for its 501(c)(6) entity, the same account that finances its unprecedented $75 million dollar partisan attack ad campaign. While the Chamber is notoriously secretive, the thrust of our story involved the disclosure of fundraising documents U.S. Chamber staffers had been distributing to solicit foreign (even state-owned) companies to donate directly to the Chamber’s 501(c)(6).

We documented three different ways the Chamber fundraises from foreign corporations: (1) An internal fundraising program called “Business Councils” used to solicit direct, largely foreign contributions to the Chamber, (2) Direct contributions from foreign multinationals like BP, Siemens, and Shell Oil, and (3) From the Chamber’s network of AmCham affiliates, which are foreign chambers of the Chamber composed of American and foreign companies. The Chamber quickly acknowledged that it receives direct, foreign money, but simply replied, “We are not obligated to discuss our internal procedures.” Instead of providing any documentation or proof to demonstrate foreign money is not being used for electioneering purposes, the Chamber launched an aggressive media strategy to first, attack ThinkProgress with petty name-calling and second, to confuse the media by highlighting the Chamber’s relatively minor AmCham fundraising, which the Chamber says (also without documentation) totals “approximately $100,000” from all 115 international AmCham chapters. The Chamber and the media largely ignored ThinkProgress’ revelation about the Chamber’s direct foreign fundraising to its 501(c)(6) used for attack ads.



A new ThinkProgress investigation has identified at least 84 foreign companies that actively donate to the Chamber’s 501(c)(6). Below is a chart detailing the annual dues foreign corporations have indicated that they give directly to the Chamber (using information that is publicly available from the Business Council applications and the Chamber’s own websites):
Company Location Money/Level
4G Identity Solutions Hyderabad, India $7,500
A2Z Maintenance & Eng. Gurgaon, India $7,500
Amarchand Mangaldas Mumbai, India $15,000
Apollo Hospitals Chennai, India $7,500
Arshiya International Mumbai, India $15,000
Astonfield Management Mumbai, India $7,500
AXA Group Paris, France $7,500
Avantha Group India $7,500
Avasarala Technologies Bangalore, India $7,500
AZB & Partners Mumbai, India $15,000
Azure Power New Delhi, India $7,500
Bharat Forge Pune, India $15,000
Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP Toronto, Canada $7,500
Brookfield Asset Management Toronto, Canada $7,500
Cameco Corporation Saskatoon, Canada $7,500
Credit Suisse Z├╝rich, Switzerland $15,000
Devas Multimedia Bangalore, India $15,000
DSK Legal Bombay, India $7,500
Dua Associates Hyderabad, India $15,000
Educomp Solutions Ltd Delhi, India $7,500
Essar Group Mumbai, India $7,500
Fox Mandal Little India $7,500
GMR Bangalore, India $15,000
Hindalco Group, The Mumbai, India $15,000
Hinduja Group, The London, UK $15,000
Hindustan Construction Company Mumbai, India $15,000
HSBC London, UK $15,000
ICICI Bank Mumbia, India $7,500
Infosys Bangalore, India $15,000
Infotech Enterprises Hyderabad, India $7,500
International SOS Assistance Singapore $7,500
Ireo Management Gurgoan, India $15,000
ITC Group Kolkata, India $15,000
J. Sagar Associates Mumbai, India $15,000
J.B.Boda Insurance Mumbai, India $7,500
J.M. Baxi & Co. Mumbai, India $15,000
Jagran Prakashan Kanpur, India $7,500
Jindal Power New Delhi, India $15,000
Jubilant Organosys Noida, India $7,500
Kimaya Energy New Delhi, India $15,000
Kotak Mahindra Mumbai, India $7,500
KPIT Cummins Pune, India $7,500
KPMG Amstelveen, Netherlands $15,000
Lahmeyer International Frankfurt, Germany $7,500
Larsen & Toubro Mumbai, India $15,000
Leela Hotels Bengaluru, India $7,500
Linklaters LLP London, UK $7,500
Luthra & Luthra New Delhi, India $15,000
Macquarie Capital Sydney, Australia $15,000
Majmudar & Company Mumbai, India $7,500
NIIT Technologies Delhi, India $15,000
Nishith Desai Associates Mumbai, India $15,000
Novartis Basel, Switzerland $15,000
Oberoi Group Dehli,India $7,500
Patni Americas Mumbai, India $15,000
Punj Lloyd Gurgaon, India $15,000
QuEST Global Singapore $7,500
Ranbaxy, Inc. Gurgaon, India $7,500
Reliance Industries Mumbai, India $15,000
Reliance Communications Navi Mumbai, India $7,500
Rolta Mumbai, India $7,500
Sanofi-Aventis Paris, France $7,500
SKP Crossborder Consulting Mumbai, India $7,500
SNC Lavalin Montreal, Canada $7,500
State Bank of India Mumbai, India $15,000
Sun Life Financial Toronto, Canada $7,500
Tata Group Mumbai, India $15,000
Tatva Legal India $15,000
Urenco Investments Slough, UK $7,500
Trilegal India $7,500
Walchandnagar Industries Mumbai, India $7,500
Welspun Mumbai, India $7,500
Wipro Bangalore, India $15,000
TAIB Bank* Dubai $20,000
Aluminum Bahrain B.S.C Kingdom of Bahrain $10,000
Bahrain Financial Harbour Holding Company Kingdom of Bahrain $10,000
Gulf Air Kingdom of Bahrain $10,000
Midal Cables Kingdom of Bahrain $10,000
The Nass Group Kingdom of Bahrain $10,000
Bahrain Maritime & Mercantile International Kingdom of Bahrain $5,000
The Bahrain Petroleum Company Kingdom of Bahrain $5,000
First Leasing Bank Kingdom of Bahrain $5,000
Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company Kingdom of Bahrain $5,000
TOTAL
$885,000

Again, all of these annual dues are collected in the same 501(c)(6) the Chamber is using to run partisan attack ads. The data above reflects information from public sources, and the Chamber likely has many more foreign corporations as dues-paying members — but refuses to divulge any of the funders for their ad campaign. Unfortunately, many reporters in the traditional press covered the Chamber story, but missed the entire point of our reporting. Most reporters (from the New York Times, McClatchy, the Associated Press, etc.) never contacted ThinkProgress, instead opting to only interview Chamber officials."



I wonder what the founding fathers would have thought about England dumping money into 18th-early 19th century campaign coffers?

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Friday, October 1, 2010

Voter Anger


I keep hearing about voter anger this, voter anger that... and it got me thinking about a few things.

Who started this anger? The Tea Bag "movement" (and I must admit, I cannot call it a "movement" without an immature grin) started to gain more media attention after the election in November 2008. Can we all say a collective 'Thanks, Dick" to Dick Armey for lining his own pockets by preying on the most feeble-minded among us?

Make the GOP squirm by voting them out of office in two of three branches on government? NO way! We'll show you how mad... we can tell people... they should be.

We'll cook up some cockamamie story about how the gubment is going to put bar codes on your bullets, and lock you in internment camps for conservatives, and convince you that *you* are paying more taxes even tho' you are not (if you only knew how to read your paycheck), and that you need to be MAD! MAD! MAD! that a group of religious people would DARE! to build a cultural center with a basketball court within 5 million light years of lower Manhattan, and convince you that returning the income-tax to pre-Bush era levels will annihilate the smoldering cinder that is our economy.

Really? Most of those baggers don't even understand how the tax code works. First, those folks in the highest brackets pay taxes only on the amount *over* their first million dollars of income. See, if you make $1,000,001 only that extra *buck* is taxed at the higher rate. Second, most of those in the highest tax bracket haven't created significant jobs in years (I need to do some research on this and post a source, but my work impedes me from doing much more than observing at the moment). But, seriously. When was the last time someone like Paris Hilton created *a* job that didn't involve her hands, mouth, and her boyfriend's sex tool?

I am *almost* as sick of hearing how mad voters are as I am about how folks want their country back. Back from what, may I ask? From the previous administration (the threat of the almighty presidential veto) and the 109th and 110th Congress' crappy policies both domestic and foreign that have crippled our economy and hamstrung our ability to house, feed, educate, and employ a rather frightening percentage of Americans?

Really? Are you mad?

When I ask myself that question the answer is simple: Yup.

I am mad that the bankers on Wall Street are back sitting high on the hog while most Americans (read 98%) fret about their savings, mortgages, health insurance, and livelihoods. Have you seen the stock market lately? It's not a barometer of how healthy the *economy* is; it tells us peons how rich the rich are.

And I am mad that I keep hearing about really fucking stoopid people (see Paladino or O'Donnell or Angle or Palin ) and knowing that the sheeple in the scared 20% are going to once again fuck the rest of us come November if we don't keep off our asses and get to the polls in a few weeks.

In my opinion, it's a good idea to ask who is *profiting* from all of this pissed-offness... and the answer to that question will tell you who the real target for all of that misplaced voter anger should be.

*Post Script* October 2: Apparently, Tea Baggers are facing some backlash about their views from neighbors and friends. They liken it to "coming out" and say they have been "persecuted" for unpopular views. Karma is a bitch, huh?

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Beckerheads On Parade

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

All Politics, All the Time

It's a dreary fact about our 24-hour news channels: it's "All Politics, All the Time."

I know it's primary season, but does anyone out there in the blogosphere feel as though we *never* get a break from the "Dem said/GOP said" of the news? It's a non-stop election season and all of this garbage about the midterms is just about enough to make me hurl. I can't watch news anymore and am happy that a few years ago I took subscriptions to several online newspapers. At least there I can click on actual *news.*

I am sick. to. death. hearing what this or that politician said, did, thought...

I am sick to death of the constant back and forth, squabbling, and back-biting.

I feel jerked around, manipulated, exhausted by hearing "how upset Americans are" by Obama's vacation. By Michele's European trip. By imaginary stoked outrage over Muslims' freedom to practice religion in freakin' America.

I am an American and I don't give two shits about any of that stuff.

I care that people are out of work, need good health insurance,that we are still occupying foreign countries where Americans are *dying* overseas so we can have corporate "entities" buy our elections because their "First Amendment" rights need to be protected.

I care that a corporate oil giant is getting away with the environmental and economic rape of our Gulf Coast.

I care that thousands of teachers will not have jobs this fall and our nation's kids will suffer.

I care that it is getting hotter every summer and spring and fall are shrinking notably.

I care that it is fucking snowing in Atlanta in the winter months and that flooding and droughts are rampant worldwide.

I don't care about the petty bullshit of politics that keeps us from fixing the really fucked up shit that is wrong. And the 24 hour news media doesn't care that I don't care. Because they are pandering to some people's need to feel angry, at something, anything.

Let's blame the stupid politicians. Yeah, 'cuz we all know that their combined 535 congressional votes are the ones that really count amidst the tens of millions of Americans' votes ...

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Five Myths about Social Security

Don't believe the "hatriots" (people who call themselves "patriots" while spouting hate and lies).

From MoveOn.org (supported with actual facts and research):

"Top 5 Social Security Myths

Myth #1: Social Security is going broke.

Reality: There is no Social Security crisis. By 2023, Social Security will have a $4.6 trillion surplus (yes, trillion with a 'T'). It can pay out all scheduled benefits for the next quarter-century with no changes whatsoever (1). After 2037, it'll still be able to pay out 75% of scheduled benefits--and again, that's without any changes. The program started preparing for the Baby Boomers' retirement decades ago(2). Anyone who insists Social Security is broke probably wants to break it themselves.

Myth #2: We have to raise the retirement age because people are living longer.

Reality: This is a red-herring to trick you into agreeing to benefit cuts. Retirees are living about the same amount of time as they were in the 1930s. The reason average life expectancy is higher is mostly because many fewer people die as children than they did 70 years ago (3). What's more, what gains there have been are distributed very unevenly--since 1972, life expectancy increased by 6.5 years for workers in the top half of the income brackets, but by less than 2 years for those in the bottom half (4). But those intent on cutting Social Security love this argument because raising the retirement age is the same as an across-the-board benefit
cut.

Myth #3: Benefit cuts are the only way to fix Social Security.

Reality: Social Security doesn't need to be fixed. But if we want to strengthen it, here's a better way: Make the rich pay their fair share. If the very rich paid taxes on all of their income, Social Security would be sustainable for decades to come (5). Right now, high earners only pay Social Security taxes on the first $106,000 of their income (6). But conservatives insist benefit cuts are the only way because they want to protect the super-rich from paying their fair share.

Myth #4: The Social Security Trust Fund has been raided and is full of IOUs.

Reality: Not even close to true. The Social Security Trust Fund isn't full of IOUs, it's full of U.S. Treasury Bonds. And those bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States (7). The reason Social Security holds only treasury bonds is the same reason many Americans do: The federal government has never missed a single interest payment on its debts. President Bush wanted to put Social Security funds in the stock market--which would have been disastrous--but luckily, he failed. So the trillions of dollars in the Social Security Trust Fund, which are separate from the regular budget, are as safe as can be.

Myth #5: Social Security adds to the deficit.

Reality: It's not just wrong--it's impossible! By law, Social Security's funds are separate from the budget, and it must pay its own way. That means that Social Security can't add one penny to the deficit (8).

Defeating these myths is the first step to stopping Social Security cuts."


Sources:

1."To Deficit Hawks: We the People Know Best on Social Security," New Deal 2.0, June 14, 2010 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=89703&id=22141-6657076-4g9LN1x&t=15

2. "The Straight Facts on Social Security," Economic Opportunity Institute, September 2009
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=89704&id=22141-6657076-4g9LN1x&t=16

3. "Social Security and the Age of Retirement," Center for Economic and Policy Research, June 2010 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=89705&id=22141-6657076-4g9LN1x&t=17

4. "More on raising the retirement age," Washington Post, July 8, 2010
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=89706&id=22141-6657076-4g9LN1x&t=18

5. "Social Security is sustainable," Economic and Policy Institute, May 27, 2010
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=89707&id=22141-6657076-4g9LN1x&t=19

6. "Maximum wage contribution and the amount for a credit in 2010," Social Security Administration, April 23, 2010 http://ssa-custhelp.ssa.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/240

7. "Trust Fund FAQs," Social Security Administration, February 18, 2010
http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/ProgData/fundFAQ.html

8."To Deficit Hawks: We the People Know Best on Social Security," New Deal 2.0, June 14, 2010 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=89703&id=22141-6657076-4g9LN1x&t=2

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Monday, June 28, 2010

More GOP Hypocrisy


When a Liberal stands by her/his convictions she/he is labeled as an "activist" or "socialist."

When a Conservative stands by her/his convictions she/he is labeled as "principled" or "patriotic."

How are Scalia or Roberts to be considered any *less* activist than an appointee by a Democratic president?

So. sick. of the non-stop BS from the right in this country.

I see through it. And I think lots of smart Americans can, too.

It's called h-y-p-o-c-r-i-s-y. Don't evaluate or judge my causes because they disagree with your myopic "world view" (and I use that term *very* lightly and facetiously, since I am a firm believer that in conservatism the individual far outweighs the greater good of many).

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Mad-ness


We usually watch the national nightly news during dinner. I cannot watch because I cry.

Cry huge, throat closing tears for the suffering of our world, our seas, ourselves.

The ocean has always been a part of me. I was blessed to live on the Atlantic's untamed beaches in Montauk for three years. I feel so much pain right now that I cannot explain rationally.

So I will borrow words from a greater person, Chief Seathl (Seattle):
"The President in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land. But how can you buy or sell the sky? The land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?

Every part of the earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every meadow, every humming insect. All are holy in the memory and experience of my people.

We know the sap which courses through the trees as we know the blood that courses through our veins. We are part of the earth and it is part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters. The bear, the deer, the great eagle, these are our brothers. The rocky crests, the dew in the meadow, the body heat of the pony, and man all belong to the same family.

The shining water that moves in the streams and rivers is not just water, but the blood of our ancestors. If we sell you our land, you must remember that it is sacred. Each glossy reflection in the clear waters of the lakes tells of events and memories in the life of my people. The water's murmur is the voice of my father's father.

The rivers are our brothers. They quench our thirst. They carry our canoes and feed our children. So you must give the rivers the kindness that you would give any brother.

If we sell you our land, remember that the air is precious to us, that the air shares its spirit with all the life that it supports. The wind that gave our grandfather his first breath also received his last sigh. The wind also gives our children the spirit of life. So if we sell our land, you must keep it apart and sacred, as a place where man can go to taste the wind that is sweetened by the meadow flowers.

Will you teach your children what we have taught our children? That the earth is our mother? What befalls the earth befalls all the sons of the earth.

This we know: the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.

One thing we know: our God is also your God. The earth is precious to him and to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its creator.

Your destiny is a mystery to us. What will happen when the buffalo are all slaughtered? The wild horses tamed? What will happen when the secret corners of the forest are heavy with the scent of many men and the view of the ripe hills is blotted with talking wires? Where will the thicket be? Gone! Where will the eagle be? Gone! And what is to say goodbye to the swift pony and then hunt? The end of living and the beginning of survival.

When the last red man has vanished with this wilderness, and his memory is only the shadow of a cloud moving across the prairie, will these shores and forests still be here? Will there be any of the spirit of my people left?

We love this earth as a newborn loves its mother's heartbeat. So, if we sell you our land, love it as we have loved it. Care for it, as we have cared for it. Hold in your mind the memory of the land as it is when you receive it. Preserve the land for all children, and love it, as God loves us.

As we are part of the land, you too are part of the land. This earth is precious to us. It is also precious to you.

One thing we know - there is only one God. No man, be he Red man or White man, can be apart. We ARE all brothers after all."

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Illustrating First Amendment Rights: Truth, Widsom, and Dignity


*Muhammad receiving his first revelation from the angel Gabriel. Miniature illustration on vellum from the book Jami' al-Tawarikh (literally "Compendium of Chronicles" but often referred to as The Universal History or History of the World), by Rashid al-Din, published in Tabriz, Persia, 1307 A.D. Now in the collection of the Edinburgh University Library, Scotland. (See link for all photo credits.)

So, by now some of you may have heard about the dust-up from recent South Park episodes titled "200" and "201" respectively. If you click on the links or try to find the episodes, *they have been PULLED*.

The episodes were about a group of religious "friends" much like the "Superfriends" who help mere Colorado mortals stave off an attacks from egomaniacal celebrities and a mechanized megamachine affectionately known in the real world as Barbra Streisand.

In reaction to this censorship of our own sovereign country a Seattle cartoonist suggested a "Draw Muhammad Day" protest. She received many death threats, she back-tracked as have thousands of other Americans, Cartoon Network, and affiliates. The episodes at the center of this controversy aren't even being re-run.

Technically, I am not drawing anything, but have reproduced existing historical paintings. I am not condoning those who have drawn offensive and racist depictions of the Islamic figure, either. I know there are *millions* of people of the Muslim faith who are reasonable, passionate, and devoted to their culture and religion who are *not* hostile. To anyone of that disposition, please forgive the morons who cannot express themselves beyond insults.

"It comes as a surprise to find," writes scholar Alexandre Papadopoulo, "that there exists in [the Koran] not a single interdiction against images, paintings, or statues of living beings."

~And~

In 1999, Islamic art expert Wijdan Ali wrote a scholarly overview of the Muslim tradition of depicting Muhammad, which can be downloaded here in pdf format. In that essay, Ali demonstrates that the prohibition against depicting Muhammad did not arise until as late as the 16th or 17th century, despite the media's recent false claims that it has always been forbidden for Muslims to draw Muhammad. (Full text, click here.)

Museums and galleries *around the world* have been threatened, intimidated, and coerced into hiding images of the historical figure created by Muslims *themselves* throughout Persian history.

I mean no disrespect here to people of Islamic faith. But your own history, as written by your *own* scholars, attests to the inaccuracy of this visual ban.


*Muhammad's birth. Miniature illustration on vellum from the book Jami' al-TawarikhCompendium of Chronicles" but often referred to as The Universal History or History of the World), by Rashid al-Din, published in Tabriz, Persia, 1307 A.D. Now in the collection of the Edinburgh University Library, Scotland. (This image can be found online here.)

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Choking on Oil in the US


Please forgive this very malformed rant. I am all over the place, angry, pissed all shades of red, and generally cannot grasp the insanity of our legislators *constantly* siding with big business against the health, wealth, and welfare of common Americans.

I know at times my recovering Catholic shows here on my blog, but I cannot help but think of two major sins from catechism that relate closely to the oil disaster continuing to grow in America's Gulf region.

Gluttony and Greed.

Now, I am not equating oil prospecting with sin, because that would be:
A) Stupid, and

B) Stupid.

But the facts remain. The oil plume now threatens Florida and the southern Eastern US "Loop Current". Transocean Company which owns (well, owned) the rig paid its shareholders $1 BILLION today, leaving me with only a few simple (and rather emotional) thoughts.

American gluttony and greed for oil is going to choke our natural fisheries for decades. Lawyers are already being hired in Western Florida. Stan Fenner, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) director of conservation science, said Monday (May 3rd): "[...] oil leaking into the Gulf could affect generations of wildlife."

This does not even account for the unprecedented amount of "dispersants" being used to do whatever it is they do to the oil. "The dispersants themselves are toxic as well. [Organisms are] being exposed to a lot of toxic materials." Studies from 2007 indicate this, too.

As a cancer survivor, I cannot even imagine the impact on human health the spill and the chemicals being used to "disperse" the oil will have on generations of Americans.

What's the point? Our oil reserves are barely 1/12 what Saudi Arabia has; one-sixth of Iran (see previous link); barely a *third* of Nigeria (see previous link). And before any of you trolls start lecturing me about the purpose of the reserve, zip it. I know the difference between production and reserves.

Our reserves will never approach those of other countries in times of war.

Ever.

They win.

Poof.

Over.

Why are we kowtowing to other nations, watching our prices rise at the pump instead of developing new technologies and *creating JOBS* in our own energy sector? We 'Mer'cans have a strong appetite for energy. Seems like we could keep *a lot* of our own employed just on that greed and gluttony alone.

I am also trying to wrap my brain around this insanity of BP *not* letting outside scientists study the leak (I am looking for the source of that information Tom provided me with yesterday).

Is there any way we can move the Arizona legislature to the Gulf region? Seems like those who need a good old-fashioned Biblical smiting always get away with whatever ills they conduct...

Next post will be more coherent. Bear with me. I am out of practice and need to do more research. Perhaps next up, the cost of war (which is gargantuan compared to Healthcare Reform and I have the links to government reports to prove it).

*** To balance my insanity, I leave you with unadulterated cuteness; she looks *just* like our Bella (baby bear kitty) a mere seven months ago when we first got her (pic in link is at four months):

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Saturday, May 15, 2010

The "Scared" Twenty Percent

For those of the Scared-Twenty-Percent:

From Real Time with Bill Maher: May 14, 2010...

Favorite lines:
"I don't want my country back;
I want my country forward."

Hell to the yeah.
Happy Saturday, all.

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Liberals With Convictions=Godless, Power-Hungry Nazis

I can't recall what I was listening to the other day while doing something else, but I heard an astute observation that bears mention (and discussion).

When conservative candidates run for any type of office or go through a confirmation process, they are expected to wear their "activism" like a badges of honor: pro-life (big government), pro-gun, pro cutting-taxes, pro-Christian (big government), etc.

Please see this example:


~And the subsequent press release reassuring his supporters that he is "religious enough" to represent them.

Per The Constitution, Article VI, section three:
"...no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

Looks like a religious litmus test to me...

But when a liberal candidate goes up for *anything* he/she must divest him/herself completely of those same convictions, otherwise he/she is considered radical, progressive, and fascist (and/or socialist even tho' they inhabit *opposite* ends of the political spectrum).

As this flawed logic plays out, if you are conservative, only *your* convictions matter. If you are liberal, stuff those convictions where the sun does not shine and stop trying to be an activist.

Effing hypocrites.

Here's their biggest one, per Lewis Black and The Daily Show last PM:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Back in Black - Glenn Beck's Nazi Tourette's
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Cash, Candidates, and You


Americans need to realize that we have power over what our government does in two main ways: our votes and how we spend our own money.

Indeed, recent developments in immigration "reform" in AZ has proven that when people get pissed, they take their money elsewhere.

This got me thinking about the January 2010 SCOTUS decision on corporate donations for political campaigns.

Don't like the candidate a company is supporting in the midterms?

Stop buying their shit.

This could prove to be a bad business move for corporations.

Yes, we each have one vote that gets counted. But when it comes to the power of the almighty dollar, that street goes both ways. The midterm elections will be the first test of this new "1st Amendment" right for non-corporeal corporations.

Good luck with that... really. I'll keep you posted on what company supports who. I hope I am one of many who keeps companies' political contributions in mind when heading to the checkout, buying gas, or using financial services.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Behind the Bags

From Teabonics:

Apparently spelling is not in that repertoire either.

It's no shock to me that the Tea Party movement, however "pure" its origins, has become nothing more than meat puppetry for the Right Wing Money Making Machine.

You idiots deserve every lick of humiliation for your literal, ass-backwards, non-logical, mumbo-jumbo.

Hail Queen Palin! Queen of the Dipshits!

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Friday, April 2, 2010

"Tough Shit" = Party of No Answer to All American Problems

The GOP now can take responsibility (no worries; not holding my breath) for the expiration of flood insurance due to their own obstruction.

Please see the story here.

An excerpt:
"According to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, there are 5.5 million flood insurance policy holders in flood plains, and as of this week, homeowners were rendered unable to renew their policies. If any of those homeowners were victims of the current flooding, they will “face complications” filing claims. As Blain Rethmeier, spokesman for the American Insurance Association, put it, “it’s unfortunate that the NFIP has fallen victim to the political process”:

Ultimately the people who will suffer the most are property owners who need new coverage or who need to renew their flood insurance policies. One can only hope that Mother Nature is kind until April 12. Otherwise, there’s not much people can do."

Yes, and I hear from friends on the EC that shit is indeed flooding the streets. Too bad, says the GOP.

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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Recycled Post: Hate is Hate is Hate

... And I refuse to let shitheads like this and the *friends* they associate with online harass, bully, and otherwise insult me:

From April 15, 2009:

'The Welcome Mat Has Been Taken In"
To the unpleasant people who have parked on my blog's doorstep.

One of my favorite exchanges in a movie addresses the issue of saying what people want to hear.

"Do you see purple people?" the guy asks.

"No," answered the woman.

"I had a friend," the man began, "who said he saw purple people. They locked him up, but he got out."

"Yeah?" asked the woman. "Did they cure him?"

"Nope. He just stopped telling anyone about the purple people."

Yeah, I see the "purple people" but I rarely write about them.

They are bruised and scared by the changing times.

They just want someone, anyone, to listen to them.

They threaten because they feel that they have no real power.

They truly believe that they can offer nothing positive to helping their neighbors aside from "It's not my fault"-- a child's response.

Like all of you, I have been through my own set of unique challenges. One of the greatest has been to persevere in writing this blog. I had to start moderating comments a few months ago when a rather unstable mob of people descended on this webspace.

Then, I get abused and harassed here to my "face" and all over other websites by people who have spent exactly thirty seconds "reading" this blog.

All because I refuse to be bullied and I will not post comments in which people have written:

"You are a fucking retard. You commie shitheads don't know anything and if my guns get taken away, I am coming for you first"

"You think you know so much. You are a total fake. A liar. And you are the coward for not posting comments" (This one is from someone who had left me over twenty abusive comments over the course of 24 hours.)

~ Of course, here's my all time favorite~

"You are a fucking cunt and I hope someone figures out who you are and finds you and wipes you off the face of the earth"

I've been writing this blog for almost six months now.

This post marks 164 published in that time.

I've definitely covered a lot of ground and material. Most of it written believing that people are basically decent and at least have a whiff of social skills.

As a young professor, I have to believe that.

I have 15-20 people who read this little blog. Loyal and supportive blog friends that have stuck by me.

They prove to me that most people aren't like these purple ones.

So if you are here to tell me how stupid or fucked up or snobby or elitist I am you can take it somewhere else.

You were not invited here-- and you have long worn out your welcome.

One thing to take away from this commie-liberal-progressive blog: if you have safe drinking water, safe food, safe medication, clean air to breathe, medicare for elderly relatives, social security for those same folks, if you learned to read and write in a public school, enjoy having a local police station, a fire department, a federally run postal service to deliver your Mother's Day cards-- thank a liberal.

Despite your best attempts to shit all over them, you have a lot to be thankful for because of them.

****

Some things have changed. Some have not. I still have people who cannot read for comprehension trying to harass me via comments. If you do not condemn threats made against others, you may as well threaten others yourself. As I wrote in the comment thread on my last post, Delaware, back off. I am having conversations with a lawyer-relative (and another who is in law enforcement) about your harassing behavior... including *months* of comments, dates, IP addresses, etc. Back. the fuck. off.

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

A New Species Under Anthropological Study

Another poll (perhaps a bit more credible than Bloomberg) on the Teabaggers.

See it here.

Just as long as we don't start seeing information regarding their mating habits... but one thing is for sure, we know they are a new sub-culture among the nacirema.

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Interesting Blurb from _Bloomberg_

Hmmmm.

"Tea Party activists, who are becoming a force in U.S. politics, want the federal government out of their lives except when it comes to creating jobs. [A personal aside... also except when it comes to women's health issues.]

More than 90 percent of Tea Party backers interviewed in a new Bloomberg National Poll say the U.S. is verging more toward socialism than capitalism, the federal government is trying to control too many aspects of private life and more decisions should be made at the state level.

At the same time, 70 percent of those who sympathize with the Tea Party, which organized protests this week against President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul, want a federal government that fosters job creation."



~And~


"Tea Party supporters are likely to be older, white and male. Forty percent are age 55 and over, compared with 32 percent of all poll respondents; just 22 percent are under the age of 35, 79 percent are white, and 61 percent are men. Many are also Christian fundamentalists, with 44 percent identifying themselves as “born-again,” compared with 33 percent of all respondents.

The poll of 1,002 U.S. adults was conducted March 19-22 by Selzer & Co. of Des Moines, Iowa. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points."


~And~


"Fewer than 10 percent say the Veterans Administration is definitely socialist, 12 percent identify management of national parks and museums, and 36 percent say expanding Medicare for the elderly, Medicaid for the poor and Social Security amount to socialism.

Many more, 65 percent, say Social Security is either definitely or sort of socialism. Even so, almost half, 47 percent, want to keep it under government control or aren’t sure about privatization, with 53 percent in favor of privatizing Social Security and Medicare."



It has the word "social" in the name... that's their first literal thinking cue.

Here's a link to the poll for those who want to check out its methods and item wording.


PS: Sat, March 27: After having time to check out the poll, it is rather unclear *how* the pollsters consider this a survey to show information about Teabaggers. I design and research work on surveys for my scholarship and this one is too goofy to be able to draw these conclusions.



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Thursday, March 25, 2010

GOP: Violence Against Women Okay... Go for It!

From CNN:


Anyone should be outraged by any politician who makes slapping/smacking motions or threatening gestures toward photos of other politicians. The fact that King's not-so-random hand motions specifically targeted a woman is all the more disgusting and outrageous. How about we print some photos of his wife or daughters and smack those around in effigy for the hell of it?

King: "My goal is to inspire people to stand up for the Constitution, to stand up to fiscal responsibility and to stand up for the rule of law."

Yes, and the most obvious way to do that is to stand on a balcony (in the Ivory Tower) with a photograph of the first female speaker of the House and mime smacking her around... you know, instead of, say, holding a sign that reads: "Stand up for the Constitution" or "Stand up for Fiscal Responsibility" or "Stand up for the rule of law".

Nope, get videotaped making threatening assault gestures...

Also:
Check out this post from Seeing Eye Chick and the video, too.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

From Rachel Maddow, 3.23.10

Interesting and sad:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Sad more than anything because it is really nothing new from the extreme right. I keep trying to remember the last time a left-wing group threatened the lives of children and elected officials?

One more gem from that show:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy



So, let's just do away with representative government altogether, huh?

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Ten Question Census

We received our 2010 census two days ago.

Indeed, non-invasive questions:
How many living in household?
Phone number (used only to clarify unreadable responses)
Type of housing (own, rent, stay for free)?

Info for each person living in the aforementioned household:

  • Name
  • Sex (as in, Male or Female)
  • DOB
  • Age as of April 1, 2010
  • Hispanic or Latino?
  • Race
  • Does the person sometimes live or stay somewhere else (such as a college student)?

Yup. The GOP needs to be very afraid of knowing how many men and women are living together, how old they are and what their racial make-up is. Deadly information. Fatal. It's all over now...

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Debate: Palin Style

I feel icky just typing that name in the title of this post but I cannot stop myself from a wee comment.

Palin's favorite "dodge and parry" in terms of the limits of her debate style boil down to one simple move: a familiar retreat behind the vague "patriotism" she and her ilk are so loud at professing.

Problems with her nonsensical position:
1. She thinks that if people attack *her* they are attacking the U.S.

2. She equates her consistent ineptitude with "down-homeyness" instead of idiocy.

3. This country was founded by people who fought for the right to express their own ideals however they saw fit and that includes each's own definition of what it means to love one's country.

4. She presses the fanatic/panic button before a threat even arises. (Defensive much?)

Hope all have a happy and safe St. Patty's.

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Healthcare Summit: Ben Stein Style

Just watching the commentators on CNN discuss the core issues about the healthcare summit and this little gem popped out of the mouth of that nob Ben Stein:

[Paraphrasing here]
Republicans *pay* more in taxes than Democrats and therefore don't want their tax dollars to pay for something that *only* Democrats will benefit from.

So, let me get this straight.

The *minority* party (check for yourself in terms of people who identify themselves as (R)epublican) have more money to tax, own more stuff, therefore they should get to decide who gets to live and die in this country?

Rich vs. poor?

Who does he think does the work in this country to put food in the grocery stores, teach our kids, deliver our mail, put out our fires, and protect our citizens? The CEOs and CFOs? And that parties can be drawn upon purely economic lines?

Despite the fact that this is one of the most asinine claims I have ever heard, there's more than a few problems with this whitewash.

Sounds like a monarchy to me, Benny boy. King George would have really liked that one.

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Stoopid Valentine's Day

The women in my family have always had a weird relationship to undergarments.

I went through a stage where I wore only g-strings (now called thongs, which used to be what I called plastic open-toed shoes on my feet) when my tush was a twenty-year old's tush and I lived out of two suitcases and needed to travel light. In 1995, it was the day of my brother's wedding and my oldest sister saw my drawers in the dresser drawer of the hotel and with an index finger and a thumb, plucked one from the bureau and asked: "Ewwww. What is this? Do you actually wear this thing?" She has always been the responsible, good, oldest child who can, with a word, make you feel like there is something naughty about the most normal of things (like wearing cheap, portable panties when you are a nomadic single person without a washing machine and an actual piece of furniture in which to store said undergarments).

When I was getting married a couple of years ago, my mom tried to give me *her* negligee from *her* wedding night fifty some odd years prior (that's a really big 'eww'; add to that the fact they have been divorced for over 25 years now). I know I am safe writing this on the interwebs because my mom refuses internet access and has no idea what a blog even is. I have awful memories shopping for bras with her at that painful age of oh-so-embarrassed-by-everything-my-mom-does-says-breathes. She used to drag me to the department store where I would immediately flee into the relative safety of the racks of girdles and push ups and nylons and she, inevitably, would find me across the store and thousands of shoppers, yelling: "Who-hoo! What about this one?" while waving a rubber-band with two peanut shells on it.

The horror.

So today, I've been thinking about the "outfit" I bought for my husband for the Hallmarketday BS Valentine's Hoopla. We were out buying him boxers and socks a couple of weekends ago and walked past the ladies "foundations" department. I asked him if he was into that sort of thing (not a conversation we have had in the last almost six years we have been together; I just assumed my Fruits of the Loom were fine).

"Sure," he said with a grin.

Great, I thought.

So when I had three hours to kill a couple of days ago I went to the mall and spent a ridiculous amount of money on a red "bra" matchy thing. It's bejeweled and itchy and pinchy and totally impractical.

And I will feel totally stoopid wearing it.

But not nearly as stoopid as I felt buying it in the department named for the cement blocks that support most structures, after wandering around for an hour trying to find something tasteful, crotched, age appropriate, with actual fabric that would cover my cheeks and not give me an intentional wedgie (re: what is it with those "boy" shorts? If I want my ass to look ginormous, I don't need a pair of underwear to do it). The sale assistants were two of the youngest, thinnest, like, chicks in the world. I had to sheepishly ask for a bra in my size and they climbed on a ladder and stripped the three display torso mannequins to find the one that would fit me.

I bought a set in black, too. As I walked past the nekkid, plastic, headless boobs, I wondered when, exactly, did I turn into my oldest sister?

Hope you all have great weekends.

(And to my sissy, if you read this, I love you and get. it........ now.)

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Just Kill Me Now: Part Deux

So, it's the end of the third week of classes...

At this point, students should have it pretty much figured out by now.

"Should" being the operative word.

I make it a habit to ensure students have access to course materials in numerous places: Blackboard (online interface for those unfamiliar), course webpage, handouts. I provide them with *all* of the assignments for the whole semester the first week of class and continuously incorporate discussions about said assignments in relation to readings they are *supposed* to be reading. The calendar (hard copy handed out first week, read through with the class, and posted in BB, webpage, etc.) lists due dates; the classrooms and schedule of classes are in at least four different places. The syllabus has thorough directions for submitting writing assignments, checking email, online addresses for course resources (repeated in Blackboard).

This week I had at least a full third of my students *still* confused about where classes met; two asked if we were going to have any writing assignments...

At that point I almost tore my hair out.

Seriously?

Not only do they have assignments due all semester long, those assignments are posted everywhere but on my forehead and ass and one was due yesterday.

Oh, and did I mention that I have been repeating due dates, going over rough drafts, and um, even had, like, a peer review session and everything?

Are we going to have any writing assignments?

Just fucking kill me now...

K-cup number three on the way. Thank the whales it's Saturday.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

To My Knowledge: One Does Not Equal Fifty

Last time I checked, 1 in 100 equals 1%.

Not exactly revolutionary. Nor major. Just... you, know. One.

So why is the right collectively circle-jerking over *one* senate seat? One?

Really?

My dare to the GOP; go ahead and filibuster.

Do it.

Reconciliation has happened more often in recent history than the GOP cares to recall.

A big one that cut Medicaid funding: Bush's 2005 "Deficit Reduction" bill.

Yeah, when the going gets tough, cut off the poorest laborers in the nation.

Why not add a side of health care coverage denial with that? It's low-cal and oh-so-cost-effective.

When the flu season fires up and those who cannot afford to take sick days because they have no health care (or sick days) go to work sick and prepare food, or clean hotel rooms, or drive cabs, or harvest produce, and use public transportation... then will that *one* vote really matter?

I suppose when you are down, every scrap of a mote of a hint of a lint of a whiff of a win counts.

Go ahead.

Stick with that 1%... or 41%... still not a majority. But I suppose when you have a huge group of pusspusses like the Dems, one really does equal fifty.

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Keurig Rocks: Or; Why I Don't Go to Church


Preachers.

Preachy people.

Self-righteous people who think they are better than other people because they go to a building where they sit in pews and pray memorized prayers and look at a dead guy on a cross (is my post-traumatic-Catholic showing?).

I am currently hopped-up on decadent, brewed grounds easily accessed via pre-measured, self-contained K-cups of caffeinated bliss. Thank [insert external force of personal choice here] I did not try to blog on the second cup... it may have gotten ugly.

Despite the title of this post, I am not blogging today about church. For those readers who find solace and a sense of community and purpose in church: I am happy for you and mean no insult.

The focus of today's screed is preachy people.

The same types who go to blogs, or professional list-servs, snark, and post opinion and then complain that no one wants to *engage* them.

Fuck. NO, no one wants to engage you if you conduct yourself like this.

Why should they?

When people sense that a person's only purpose is to insult, disrupt, and belittle, they will not engage said person and back away.

Slowly.

As if from a wild, wounded animal that does not *want* help but merely wants to let you know how HURT! MAD! RIGHT! they are. There is no reasoning with someone whose only lines of thinking are "You are wrong because you suck" or "You are going to hell because this book says so" or "You atheists are the reason our country is suffering" or "Haitians are dying and suffering because they made a pact with the devil."

No. I am only interested in "conversing" with those who are respectful and have a modicum of social skills. I don't respond well to preachers. Those who claim to have the capital-T Truth figured out and no one else is entitled to an opinion or a point of view. People who cannot listen. They want to monologue.

Good luck with that.

And so I will close today's brief blogologue* (cuz that's really what a blog is unless you have faithful, good commenters like I do *hint, hint*) by simply saying:

People are a bag of contradictions. And if you haven't figured that out yet, you do not live in reality and/or have not reached maturity equal to a college freshman.

I am off to go have another cup 'o joe to which I recently became addicted after purchasing the evil Keurig. Or maybe a Chai Latte. Another bit of ammo for the trolls: I am a librul, chai-latte-drinkin', edumakated, eleetist who won't play with you. Go to church; those folks will be nice to you in order that they score metaphysical points for some collective delusion of an after-life. I'd rather go to hell; all the fun people are there.

* Copyrighted term by Tom, my patient, brilliant, and magnificent husband.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

OMFG: Or; Why Cats Can Make Even the Suckiest Day Better

Can't. resist. the. cuteness.

Must. post. kitten. video.

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Monday, January 4, 2010

At Least Watch the Video at the End

So I have been tuned out for quite some time now.

Sorry to have neglected you, dear reader. I find I either have too much to say or nothing at all and both at the most inconvenient of times.

As I gear up to start the new semester, I am looking forward to a year of monumental changes (again).

Tom is working on his last push toward his degree. We will both be on the national job market this coming fall... and we both want to be the spousal hire. (If you are in higher ed, the primary hire tends to have more pressure for tenure review, I believe. This means we are both scared shyteless about the whole prospect of academic and scholarly scrutiny.)

I will be teaching six classes (150 students roughly, give or take the ten or so I intend to scare off the first week of class; kidding [kind of]). (*UPDATE: In my pure insanity, I agreed to take on a 7th class in April; add 30 graduate students to that total.)

Plus, I landed a gig as a subject matter "expert"--I still cannot type that or say it without cackling-- for a university starting a Master's program in my area of "expertise".

It is colder than frozen hell here. Yet, our old chimney is leaking beneath the litter boxes in the laundry room. The plague continues to plague us (me, mostly). I am working up the strength to return to a workout routine after a couple of weeks of "bed rest" (read: sleeping until 10AM) and holiday "merriment" (read: gorging on everything naughty and fattening. Might as well just rub it on my ass, 'cuz that's where it goes...)

Thanks to all who sent holiday greetings: family, friends, bloggy companions. I would resolve to be better at keeping in touch this new year of the second decade of the second millennium but I am a terrible liar, even in print. I miss you all and miss this blog thing... I will try to post at least once a week. I will try. And I have been reading along with your blogs.

I leave you with a video sent to me by one of my students from last semester with Happy 2010 wishes to all:

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