Friday, May 22, 2009

Nobody Asked Me, But...

1) I'm not sure if Californians realize this is the 21st century? On the other hand, it's fun watching the Armageddon of the conservative mantra of "tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts."

2) Once again, Americans prove they hate Teh Gay.

3) I don't follow Idol. I feel it is to the American psyche what McDonald's is to the American circulatory system: poison. However, every account I've read of this season's finale point out that Lambert was hands down the better performer, better singer, and bigger star. The second I heard that there were photos of Lambert kissing other men, I knew he was doomed, particularly against a married college student. Based on his reaction to the news, I suspect he knew it beforehand as well.

We Americans like our gays closeted, so we can refer to them as "flamboyant" (Lambert's nickname, indeed, was "Glambert"), like Liberace. Or we like them hidden behind an unquestionable veil of masculinity, like Rock Hudson. There are precious few gay men who don't fit either of these (Anderson Cooper comes to mind as the exception).

4) I don't often pray, but please, Lord, let Dick Cheney keep flapping his gums, reminding Americans that he was solely responsible for the quagmire we are in.

5) I don't know that this is such a good idea...

6) Bush's popularity was so bad that he dragged his entire party down with him.

7) Porn Day on YouTube?

8) Now this is Olympic training I can get behind. And in front of. And under. And sort of sideways lying across the bed.

9) Obstructive tactics be damned!

10) Have a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend, everyone!

Thursday, May 21, 2009


It feels good to write that after hearing about how for eight years, Bush kept us safe from terrorists, and then having it turn out that, was police work that saved the day, even if the threat was hardly credible to begin with:
Four men were arrested Wednesday night in what the authorities said was a plot to bomb two synagogues in the Bronx and shoot down military planes at an Air National Guard base in Newburgh, N.Y.

The men, all of whom live in Newburgh, about 60 miles north of New York City, were arrested around 9 p.m. after planting what they believed to be bombs in cars outside the Riverdale Temple and the nearby Riverdale Jewish Center, officials said. But the men did not know the bombs, obtained with the help of an informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, were fake.

The "informant" in question was a Sunni Muslim who was working with the FBI in exhcange.

I'm betting he was not tortured.

After the Sears Tower plot of 2006 was exposed, we were told time and time again about how effective the Bush administration had been in foiling terror attacks.

This time?
Around 9 p.m., a law enforcement official said an 18-wheel New York Police Department vehicle blocked the suspects’ black sport utility vehicle at 237th Street and Riverdale Avenue. Another armored vehicle arrived and officers from the department’s Emergency Service Unit took the men out of the truck and handcuffed them.

After the plot was broken up, the team of uniformed officers took the suspects away.

So it was good old fashioned police work...none of this military-industrial-covert espionage crap that Bush tried to ram down our throats. Identify a plot and work to uncover the breadth and depth of it, then shut it down and roll up the cells.

Reminds me of the good old safe days of the Clinton administration with Janet Reno!

And should serve as a reminder of the cynical gloating of the Bushies, who treated the most insignificant terror plot revelation as a two-year child who just took a dump would expose it to his mom.

"Lookit! Lookit what I did!"

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Fuel Me Once, Shame On You

This was the best they could do?
The Obama administration's sweeping fuel-economy and emissions initiative announced Tuesday reopens a fierce debate over tradeoffs between fuel economy and auto safety.

[...]The plan requires automakers to sell cars that average 35.5 miles-per-gallon by 2016, a little more and a lot sooner than current law. It has been heralded as a brilliant solution to the nettlesome mix of problems related to fuel consumption and greenhouse-gas emissions.

Oh brother!

So many problems in this nation could be solved if we actually broke our addiction to oil (perhaps the one truth Bush spoke in eight years). Right now, we are spending more in military aid and supporting troops in the Middle East than the net value of all the crude we are getting from there.

And the best step we could take at this time is to, you know, tweak things a little?

Here's what should have been done:

1) Raise the CAFE standards to 40 mpg. The 2016 time table is fine, for what it is, but at 35.5 mpg Detroit can meet that with minimal disruption. Since Detroit has been relying on the US government for twenty years as a bailout plan, perhaps a little discomfort for them will go a long way.

2) Remove the exemption for light trucks and SUVs. Factor them in as a fleet on their own right. In fact, I'd go one step further and insist these be reclassified as trucks, subject to the rules of the road and insurance and licensing requirements that truckers have to meet (including bonding).

We can, of course, offer some form of assistance to people whom this might impact adversely, like small farmers or poor people with large families who absolutely must have an SUV, minivan, or pickup truck, but lets face facts: any asshole who drives a Hummer to Starbucks because of that three degree incline on the entrance ramp at the mall parking lot will likely grasp with both hands the right to be called a "trucker". We can even throw in a hat.

This is a legtimate beef, by the way. SUVs and pickups use more gas, cause more wear and tear on the nation's infrastructure and are responsible for more fatalities and injuries than cars.

Yes, I'm aware of the apparent rise in fatalities when automakers increase their car fleet, but look at those accidents more closely.

First, automakers in an attempt to cut corners make vital safety components out of cheaper material, rather than re-engineer a car for safety. Second, many of those fatalities occured in accidents with an SUV or pick up!

Substantially reduce the number of those on the road, and auto fatalities will decline permanently. It's a simple matter of physics. When two masses collide, the smaller mass usually bears the brunt of the damage.

Of course, looking at how people who use four wheel drive vehicles behave, apparently, they believe the laws of physics no longer apply to them.

This is much like the steroids argument: if you want to make it a fair game, then take the supercharged ubersized vehicles off the road.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

On The Upswing

I feel pretty good today.

I look to the future, and while things could easily slip back into darkness, things are looking brighter.

The economy seems to have bottomed out, altho we'll still see disturbing numbers of lay-offs through the summer. Housing starts are trending down, but that's more because people are sitting tight and refinancing their existing homes. Remember, housing starts have been artificially inflated for almost a decade now. We're at levels we should have been historically.

Even the stock markets seem to have incorporated and digested the shitty news and are primed to tick upwards regularly.

On the political front, I see an evolution in America. Obama's election was supposed to herald change, and indeed, it will. Maybe not as fast as many of us would like, but here's the thing: we have to trust that he meant what he said when he said he would be an agent of change.

Sometimes, to make a change, you have to fix what's broken first, stabilize that, and then you can build.

But it's culturally I see the greatest and most positive changes to come. Incrementally, to be sure, but change has a funny way of evolving in fits and starts. If you plant a hundred seeds, maybe eighty of them germinate and maybe fifty of those outlast the birds and worms. You can't predict where you'll have flowers, only that they'll grow out of some of the dirt.

If a future me was to come back in time and report that we needed to endure the Bush administration in order to truly advance the cause of humanity, that the past eight years were the dying gasps of a failed philosophy and mind-set, it would hardly surprise me.

Life is like that: change happens over the entrenched ideologies and agendas of the powered few. They'll try to clamp it down, then when the top blows off the boiling pot, get more aggressive in effecting the status quo.

And then they end up fighting a rear guard action, trying to maintain scraps and scrapes of what their power structure was. I don't expect conservativism to go away, not even quietly, but I do expect the noise level to decrease significantly as the changes we make turn up the signal, wipe out the noise.

We'll hear echoes of them down the corridors of time. Hell, one day a conservative will be elected President yet again, but like Reagan and Bush before him, he or she will have to deal with a changed world. Reagan had to unlearn to hate Social Security. Bush had to unlearn to hate equality.

The next conservative President will have to unlearn his(her) hatred of national healthcare and gay rights.

Time moves forward, not backward, and it is in this vein that we see the triumph of progress.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Hat In Hand

No, not for me. I'm fine and doing well, and have enough.

No, I'm asking for a friend. Free Speech TV.

I'm always going on and on about the mainstream media and how we have to live with their filters.

Well, here's a station that is NOT filtered, that carries Amy Goodman and Laura Flanders AND Greg Palast. Free Speech carries programming about the weaponization of the space over your head to the tragedy of mining accidents in Kentucky.

You say you want a revolution? How about putting down a few bucks, doesn't have to be much, on that very thing? How about turning your back on CNN and MSNBC and especially Fox News, and spending some time with Free Speech TV, and you'll see why it is vitally important to bring this programming to the people.

Please. Give now.

And if you don't get the channel, call your cable provider and ask for it.

Or switch to DISH Network, one of the last surviving independent television providers on the planet.


The Twitterpated rabble on the right wing of this nation have suddenly decided that liberals are falling out of love with Barack Obama:
Barely four months into his presidency, Obama is confronting growing dissatisfaction among members of his liberal base, who feel spurned by a series of his early decisions on issues ranging from guns to torture to immigration to gay rights.

The list got longer last week as Obama reversed his earlier decision to release photos of detainees abused in U.S. military custody and announced plans to try some terror suspects before military commissions – though on the campaign trail he railed against earlier versions of the tribunals.

A few, like MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, have even hurled the left’s ultimate epithet – suggesting that Obama’s turning into George W. Bush.

Unlike, of course, conservatives who marched lockstep with Bush like lemmings until suddenly last November 5, they uncovered evidence that Bush was not really conservative and was in fact the pre-Obama Barack Obama.

We on the left are a cantankerous bunch, to be sure, which means, to periphrase Barnum, you can't fool all of the peoples all of the time. For the right, apparently you can not only fool all the of the peoples all of the time, but you can make them smile and ask for more.

After making a case that liberals will demand a "liberal Scalia" as payback for his backpedalling on issues like torture and troop withdrawal, Politico goes on to dump this load of shit on the blogosphere:
Brittain said such a [centrist] nominee would be confirmed – but liberal groups would probably be slow to respond to future calls for help from Obama. “When he went to press the button next time to rally up people, I think there would still be a lingering issue,” Brittain said.

Right. Because as we all know, liberal groups will shoot themselves to spite themselves.

If the past eight years have taught liberals, at least thinking liberals anything, it's that lockstep ideologues are unlikely to be satisfied with very much for very long and the Bush administration policy of appeasement might have won him a second term, but it did not win him a successful administration.

Obama himself said it best at Notre Dame, albeit it on a different topic:
“Each side will continue to make its case to the public with passion and conviction,” he said. “But surely we can do so without reducing those with differing views to caricature.”

Politico, please...stop characterizing us on the left. You think you know us, but you know nothing.