Friday, May 28, 2010

Nobody Asked Me, But...

1) Serial killers dehumanize their victims. You see this most notably in "Silence of the Lambs" when Jame Gumb says the immortal line "It puts the lotion on." In times of war, psychologists recommend dehumanizing the enemy to repress compassion in order to kill another human being. So, all that said, what does it say when BP executives speak of their own employees as "little piggies"?
2) Remember that "record setting hurricane season" rumoured for the last two years? It's here. No. Really. El Nino has subsided and shows no signs of firing up again, and indeed, La Nina is already gathering strength, on top of record warm waters in the Gulf (probably aided by the fact that oil does not radiate energy easily, and absorbs more solar radiation that plain salt water). Folks, it will be a nasty season in the Gulf. Count on it.
3) Instead of Teabagging the US, maybe those knucklehead "libertarians" ought to fight the power?
4) Perhaps the single most anticipated regularly scheduled speech by steve Jobs is the keynote for the World Wide Developers Conference, this year to be held June 7-11. So, what does Apple do for a follow up to the iPad? iPhone for Verizon? The leaked iPhone 4G? Or something even bigger?
5) Of course, no sooner does speculation of a Verizon iPhone heat up than Verizon decides to change the game and make it harder for its customers. As odious as AT&T is, at least I know what I'm paying. My big complaint about Verizon is, you can get lost trying to comb thru their plans, and that confusion is designed to make you lazy and them fat and rich.
6) I suspect Simon Cowell is smarter than I give him credit for. The rats may be the first to abandon a sinking ship, but doesn't that make them the smart ones?
9) Sadly, he decided to do extra credit work for his Ph D. Three women are now dead.
10) I do not think this is the Cap'n Jack Sparrow kind of piracy.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Poor Little Rich Girl

You have to pity Sarah Palin.
OK, not, but the deep horizon of comedy that she provides has not even hoved into view yet, but look just this week so far:
1) The BP oil gusher is still a-gushing, despite what are likely her best efforts to pray them away. Among these prayers, no doubt, is a quick note to God to make people forget "Drill, baby, drill!".
2) She blows into South Carolina, eager to endorse a woman ethnic candidate, stamping her with the tramp stamp, I mean, endorsement of the Teabaggers, only to have that explode in her face as allegations of a torrid extramarital affair are slowly leaked to the press, truly putting her "family values" totem in the trash bin.
3) A Teabagger went down in a Latino named Labrador! Idaho! White potatoes! This happened just days after Palin made a frantic appearance to shore up his poll numbers. Ironically, she stands a chance for a twin killing as the Democratic opponent in the general election, walter Minnick, is the only Democrat formally endorsed by the Teabaggers. It couldn't have helped Vaughan Ward that he thought Puerto Rico was a sovereign state.
4) Next finds Sarah Palin lookin' out her front know, the one she sees Russia from, all the time?... and finding journalist Joe McGinniss has moved next door. McGinniss has announced his intention to write an unauthorized biography of Palin and her family. Her reaction? Smear McGinniss as a pedophile peeping Tom, and build a spite fence.
5) And finally, after Teabagger Rand Paul's ill-advised and flubbed appearance on Rachel Maddow's television program, Palin puts on her "kway kay ladee" hat again, and shrilly smears Maddow for having a "prejudice", as if taking the Devil's Advocate position on any issue is ever going to be objective. Rand Paul himself acknowledges indirectly the drubbing he's taken in the media for his outrageous comments. Sarah Palin might take a page out of his book, lest she herself be smeared with the tar of bigotry and racism, drops of which have already clung to her.
One imagines the family barbecue this weekend: moose steaks on the grill, kids joking around on the lawn, Joe McGinniss perched high in his new tree house...and Sarah Palin sitting on the porch, rocking back and forth, muttering to herself.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Speaking Truth To Power(less)

Points to Obama for engaging the Republican Senate caucus.
Megapoints from the GOPudwhustles for missing the point.

WASHINGTON — President Obama’s luncheon Tuesday with Senate Republicans was not televised like a similar session earlier this year with the House opposition, but evidently it would have made for captivating theater.

By nearly all accounts, pent-up frustrations boiled over as the president and the very lawmakers who have consistently opposed much of his agenda engaged in spirited and at times confrontational exchanges over immigration, spending, White House tactics and other issues during a private 75-minute session.

In particular, note this bit of idiocy from Bob "Put A" Corker "In It".

And Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee suggested that the administration had been less than sincere in trying to seek a bipartisan deal on the financial regulatory overhaul, which was passed last week with just four Republican votes.

“To come in on the Tuesday after it all occurred and to now talk about seven or eight items he wants to do in a bipartisan way, I just asked him how he could reconcile that duplicity,” Mr. Corker said. “I was very aware that we were props today as we move into an election cycle.”

I may be wrong, but it's incumbent upon the minority party, the loyal opposition as it were, to force compromise that can be accepted. Clearly, the Democrats have postured a little, but at the end of the day, if the Republicans want their voices heard, it's up to them to speak intelligibly.
The Democrats, Obama in particular, have signaled time and time again a willingness to roll up sleeves and work with the Party of No. For the Nyetskis to whine now that they aren't being heard, dammit! is not only silly, but a measure of payback for the ridiculous attitude they and their leadership took in the six years they held both the Congress and White House hostage while screwing the nation over and over again.
The hubris necessary now to complain about being shackled...and there's an ugly monumental.
Look, you want to sit on the sidelines and hope you can gain a few seats in Congress is a fine election strategy that will allow you to gain momentum and force a gradual evolution of control. I have no problem with that. The problem I have is, this nation is in a crisis, and as bad as most of the idiotic proposals you've put forth-- greed masquerading as policy, and solutions that offer no relief-- are not helping. If there was ever a time for forceful, vigorous debate in Congress over realistic and comprehensive solutions that not only correct past abuses and problems but address prevention, that time is now.
So shut up, man up, nut up, and play ball.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Korea The Problem

The recent flare-up between the Koreas has me pondering the probability of this being the flashpoint for World War III.
Hyperbolic? Perhaps, but sinking a naval vessel is a pretty outrageous act. China's response, or rather lack of, is interesting and I mean "interesting" in diplomatese: it's disturbing.
We've fought wars by proxy before. Indeed, last century was filled with passive-aggressive conflicts on our part, culminating in the decades-long "Cold War" with the Soviets (and China).
In those conflicts, the Communists were recovering from the brutality of World War II fought on their soil, and were ill-prepared to engage us in actual warfare. Neither had the economic stability of decades of peace behind them.
Those tables are now turned. It is the US which is in dire economic straits battling a war fought on its soil by private armies as well as two wars overseas, and Russia and China are both clicking along, at least better than we are. Neither has real troops on the ground fighting anywhere in the world, too.
The bully has become the victim.
For this and no other reason, for no reasons of world comity or any other diplomatic consideration of diminishing the appearance of American Exceptionalism demonstrated by the previous administration, it is incumbent upon President Obama to engage these two nations in dialogue and cooperation in Iran and North Korea. Forget what the right-wing nimrods who would have us go it alone will tell you: we can't bully anymore. We could conceivably unilaterally wage limited naval war with North Korea, but from a military/domestic standpoint, we can't afford to get into a full-on battle to protect Seoul.
Seoul knows it. Kim knows it. And Hu and Medvedev know it. A war with North Korea would probably engage China in open conflict. So that's off the table.
Add to this that China has deliberately remained a blank slate in its dealings over Korea (as well as Iran, Nigeria, Venezuela, and any number of other nations). This means we can either project the best or the worst of motives on their actions, and behave accordingly. We can infer their intentions as best we can, entice them to reveal more, but at the end of the day, China will remain a cypher (Russia less so).
We can't afford to make mistakes now. Unfortunately, we will.

An Appeal

Spiked to the top until 5/25

I consider myself fortunate, in that I can pay my own way through life. I don't need to borrow much money, and when I do, I can pay it back easily. So I don't need friends for that, and my friendships are based on mutual attraction and emotional support.

I consider myself doubly blessed to have access to information on a scale that my forefathers and foremothers could never have imagined. It's easy in any organized society to lose track of what's going on around you and when your interest encompass the world, it is infinitely harder to sort out truth from rumour and fiction.

This is why I consider alternative media to be among the most critical resources an American citizen can have. We get spoonfed our CNN, and have FOX News' point of view injected under our skins from our encounters with the great unwashed and disintellectuals that surround us.

The past twelve months saw the demise of Air America Radio, one of the biggest progressive media outlets available. AAR served its purpose: it let liberals in red states know they are not alone, that the radios glued to Rush and Hannity did not mean that America was against them. As Barack Obama said, there are no red state or blue states, just United States. But you'd never know that from commercial, for-profit media.

Indeed, when Erick Erickson becomes a pundit on CNN, well, you can only count the weeks before the braodcast news from mainstream media sources yet again turns incrementally fascist.

This is why I feel lucky to have DISH Network for my television viewing needs. There's a reason the competition between cable and satellite providers is heating up: people are growing tired of having corporate America rammed down their throats anytime they want to watch TV. The only lifeline on cable for an interested populace is public access, which sometimes broadcasts true progressive programming like Free Speech TV and LinkTV.

On DISH, these are twenty four hour networks. DISH provides progressive programming that no cable outlet, and not even DirecTV, provides.

But I'm not here to sell you a dish. I'm here to sell you on information.

Free Speech TV is a true progressive network that survives solely on viewer donations: no commercials, no grants from the government. You make it work, which means you have a voice, and it means you get to make decisions about what you see.

Here's the good news: while FSTV is available (for now) on DISH only 24/7, you can view it streaming on the Internet. So there's really no excuse for missing programming like Democracy, Now!, GRITtv, or Greg Palast's important reports from troubled areas like Haiti or New Orleans or the Amazon basin. He's currently following an interesting story of American and western "vulture" capitalists preying on Liberia in the wake of world debt forgiveness, and he's doing this for BBC News.

So it's not like he's got no street cred. Why he's not on American television is reprehensible.

LinkTV is just what the name implies and what its slogan says: "Television without borders." Not only do you get full documentaries on a variety of subjects from the comparison of the human and gorilla genomes to the battle for the soul of the Anglican Church worldwide, you get hours of world music videos, scads of news programs from Al Jazeera and Middle Eastern sources from like Israel, Egypt, and the Palestinian Authority, Deutsche Welle from Germany, and movies from around the world like 35 Shots Of Rum, an engaging look at five relationships, set against the backdrop and involving the Paris Metro.

LinkTV is available on DISH, of course, but also on DirecTV, so if you feel uncomfortable throwing off your quilt of corporate media dominance, you can upgrade to Murdoch's finest.

Either way, both of these networks provide important and informative programming, most of which is available on-line for free. What is that kind of programming worth to you each year? You pay $10.99 each month for the HBO multiplex, and still won't learn as much as you learn here. Yet, that same $10.99, just once, will make you feel like you've got a voice in the world around you.

I urge you to give now. I know I have.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Dumb And Dumberest

This latest FOX News, Sarah "Failin'" Palin trope annoys me:

Sarah Palin, who popularized the "drill, baby, drill" slogan as the GOP vice presidential candidate, criticized President Obama's efforts to clean up the Gulf oil spill.

The former Alaska governor, speaking on "Fox News Sunday," questioned whether there's "any connection" between Obama's campaign donations from oil companies and him "taking so doggone long to get in there, to dive in there, and grasp the complexity and the potential tragedy that we are seeing here in the Gulf of Mexico," the Los Angeles Times reports.

Palin said she remains a "big supporter" of oil drilling but "these oil companies have got to be held accountable."

First, a small digression: Obama accepted $900,000 in donations from Big Oil. Palin accepted $2.8 million. So if she's pointing that finger, then maybe she ought to realize that precisely three more of her own fingers are pointing right back at her.

Next, if you choose to believe in the freedom of an oil company to explore and drill for oil with minimal government oversight, as her former President George W. Bush believed AND as Sarah Palin obviously believes, then you have to also believe, hand in hand with this idea, that when the shit hits the fan, it's up to the corporation you've allowed to rape the environment to clean it up themselves, without governmental assistance.

You can't privatize profits and socialize costs, in other words.

Sarah Palin is running scared, desperately scared, to the Nanny Statist position in order to distance herself from her own whorish attitudes.

Accidents happen. The problem is, there's a big difference between me falling over a turned-up carpet in my home and a large, wealthy (there's the keyword here) multinational petroleum producing country, one especially that has attached itself so closely with trying to be "green" (Beyond Petroleum, indeed!) admitting it was underqualified to attempt such a well in the first place, as it had zero experience with a spill at those depths.

That's not an accident, that's criminal negligence! It's a little like letting your kid have the car to drive to the mall, and finding out later he crashed it into a building 1,000 miles away. There's a deliberate, almost malicious, hubris involved.

The economy of the Gulf, so badly battered by Hurricane Katrina, and so crippled by the recent housing bubble burst, is now officially dead. There is no coming back from this. Homes that cost a million dollars or even a hundred thousand dollars just six years ago will be worth pennies on the dollar. Tourism, dead. Fishing, dead for the foreseeable future. The wetlands that protect the coast from hurricanes will not recover in time for the hurricane season, creating enormous devastation if even a small hurricane or tropical storm slams into that coast.

If you're going to focus on governmental responsibility, focus on the "oil men" who ran this country for the past decade or so, the ones who rubber stamped nearly every drill permit request.

The idiots who somehow believed that drilling in the Gulf would demonstrably lower the prices of oil in the United States. The same idiots who either somehow blindly missed the truth of commodity markets-- that all crude goes onto the exchange, unless you nationalize the oil industry like Venezuela has, which is socialist, and skim your needs first, then try to sell the rest on the markets-- or decided to hoodwink the entire nation, especially the low-normals of the Republican party who swallowed their shit, hook line and sinker.

The fuckheads who approved this license for BP. Those are the people you should be pointing fingers at. They ought to be strung up.