July 2009 Archives

Blue Balled Dogs

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...who need to be fucked over. Time for a little LBJ style arm breaking I'd say.

An Incoherent Truth

by Paul Krugman

Right now the fate of health care reform seems to rest in the hands of relatively conservative Democrats -- mainly members of the Blue Dog Coalition, created in 1995. And you might be tempted to say that President Obama needs to give those Democrats what they want.

But he can't -- because the Blue Dogs aren't making sense.

To grasp the problem, you need to understand the outline of the proposed reform (all of the Democratic plans on the table agree on the essentials.)

Reform, if it happens, will rest on four main pillars: regulation, mandates, subsidies and competition.

By regulation I mean the nationwide imposition of rules that would prevent insurance companies from denying coverage based on your medical history, or dropping your coverage when you get sick. This would stop insurers from gaming the system by covering only healthy people.

On the other side, individuals would also be prevented from gaming the system: Americans would be required to buy insurance even if they're currently healthy, rather than signing up only when they need care. And all but the smallest businesses would be required either to provide their employees with insurance, or to pay fees that help cover the cost of subsidies -- subsidies that would make insurance affordable for lower-income American families.

Finally, there would be a public option: a government-run insurance plan competing with private insurers, which would help hold down costs.

The subsidy portion of health reform would cost around a trillion dollars over the next decade. In all the plans currently on the table, this expense would be offset with a combination of cost savings elsewhere and additional taxes, so that there would be no overall effect on the federal deficit.

So what are the objections of the Blue Dogs?

Well, they talk a lot about fiscal responsibility, which basically boils down to worrying about the cost of those subsidies. And it's tempting to stop right there, and cry foul. After all, where were those concerns about fiscal responsibility back in 2001, when most conservative Democrats voted enthusiastically for that year's big Bush tax cut -- a tax cut that added $1.35 trillion to the deficit?

But it's actually much worse than that -- because even as they complain about the plan's cost, the Blue Dogs are making demands that would greatly increase that cost.

There has been a lot of publicity about Blue Dog opposition to the public option, and rightly so: a plan without a public option to hold down insurance premiums would cost taxpayers more than a plan with such an option.

But Blue Dogs have also been complaining about the employer mandate, which is even more at odds with their supposed concern about spending. The Congressional Budget Office has already weighed in on this issue: without an employer mandate, health care reform would be undermined as many companies dropped their existing insurance plans, forcing workers to seek federal aid -- and causing the cost of subsidies to balloon. It makes no sense at all to complain about the cost of subsidies and at the same time oppose an employer mandate.

So what do the Blue Dogs want?

Maybe they're just being complete hypocrites. It's worth remembering the history of one of the Blue Dog Coalition's founders: former Representative Billy Tauzin of Louisiana. Mr. Tauzin switched to the Republicans soon after the group's creation; eight years later he pushed through the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act, a deeply irresponsible bill that included huge giveaways to drug and insurance companies. And then he left Congress to become, yes, the lavishly paid president of PhRMA, the pharmaceutical industry lobby.

One interpretation, then, is that the Blue Dogs are basically following in Mr. Tauzin's footsteps: if their position is incoherent, it's because they're nothing but corporate tools, defending special interests. And as the Center for Responsive Politics pointed out in a recent report, drug and insurance companies have lately been pouring money into Blue Dog coffers.

But I guess I'm not quite that cynical. After all, today's Blue Dogs are politicians who didn't go the Tauzin route -- they didn't switch parties even when the G.O.P. seemed to hold all the cards and pundits were declaring the Republican majority permanent. So these are Democrats who, despite their relative conservatism, have shown some commitment to their party and its values.

Now, however, they face their moment of truth. For they can't extract major concessions on the shape of health care reform without dooming the whole project: knock away any of the four main pillars of reform, and the whole thing will collapse -- and probably take the Obama presidency down with it.

Is that what the Blue Dogs really want to see happen? We'll soon find out.

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Obama, Gates and the American Black Man

Glenn C Loury

In a speech delivered earlier this year, during Black History Month, Attorney General Eric Holder drew headlines by criticizing the tenor of public discourse on race. "Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot," Mr. Holder said, "in things racial we have always been and I believe continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards." The nation's leading law enforcement officer -- who happens also to be an African-American man -- was widely criticized for making this provocative comment.

Yet during this past week -- as I have watched the controversy unfold over the arrest of a black Harvard professor, Henry Louis Gates Jr., by a white Cambridge, Mass., police officer, James Crowley -- I have come to appreciate the prescience of Mr. Holder's remark. It is as though we are determined to prove him right -- as if our talk about race must be forced into a comfortable and familiar, if false, narrative where villains ("racists") and heroes ("victims of racism") are clear-cut, and where all one need do to stand on the right side of history is to engage in a bit of moral sanctimony.

This convenient story line is reflected in an all-too-familiar narrative: "Here we are, 45 years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, with a black man in the White House. And yet, it is still the case that a distinguished Harvard professor, standing on his own front step, can be treated like a common criminal simply because he's black. Obviously it is way too soon to declare that we have entered a post-racial era ... ."

As far as I am concerned, the ubiquity of this narrative shows that we are incapable of talking straight with one another about race. And this much-publicized incident is emblematic of precisely nothing at all. Rather, the Gates arrest is a made-for-cable-TV tempest in a teapot. It is the rough equivalent of a black man being thrown out of a restaurant after having berated an indifferent maître d' for showing him to a table by the kitchen door, all the while declaring what everybody is supposed to know: this is what happens to a black man in America.

Certainly, the contretemps shed no relevant light on the plight of the millions of black men on society's margins who bear the brunt of police scrutiny and government-sanctioned coercion. I find laughable, and sad, Professor Gates's declaration that he now plans to make a documentary film about racial profiling. Is that as far as his scholarship on the intersection of race and policing in America extends? Where has this eminent scholar of African-American affairs been these last 30 years, during which a historically unprecedented, politically popular, extraordinarily punitive and hugely racially disparate mobilization of resources for the policing, imprisonment and post-release supervision of those caught up in the criminal justice system has unfolded?

Moreover, it is a shame that it takes an incident like this to induce a (black!) president to address these issues forthrightly. President Obama spoke to the N.A.A.C.P. this month, reaffirming the standard racial narrative while lecturing the black community on the need for better family values. But he barely uttered a word about the ways in which public policies -- policies over which he might exert no small influence -- have resulted in the hyper-incarceration of poor black men.

Uppity Gates

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This is the closest to what I think about the whole fiasco.

Henry Louis Gates: Déjà Vu All Over Again

Stanley Fish

I'm Skip Gates's friend, too. That's probably the only thing I share with President Obama, so when he ended his press conference last Wednesday by answering a question about Gates's arrest after he was seen trying to get into his own house, my ears perked up.

As the story unfolded in the press and on the Internet, I flashed back 20 years or so to the time when Gates arrived in Durham, N.C., to take up the position I had offered him in my capacity as chairman of the English department of Duke University. One of the first things Gates did was buy the grandest house in town (owned previously by a movie director) and renovate it. During the renovation workers would often take Gates for a servant and ask to be pointed to the house's owner. The drivers of delivery trucks made the same mistake.

The message was unmistakable: What was a black man doing living in a place like this?

At the university (which in a past not distant at all did not admit African-Americans ), Gates's reception was in some ways no different. Doubts were expressed in letters written by senior professors about his scholarly credentials, which were vastly superior to those of his detractors. (He was already a recipient of a MacArthur fellowship, the so called "genius award.") There were wild speculations (again in print) about his salary, which in fact was quite respectable but not inordinate; when a list of the highest-paid members of the Duke faculty was published, he was nowhere on it.
DESCRIPTIONThe Associated Press Henry Louis Gates, Jr., during a book signing in 2006.

The unkindest cut of all was delivered by some members of the black faculty who had made their peace with Duke traditions and did not want an over-visible newcomer and upstart to trouble waters that had long been still. (The great historian John Hope Franklin was an exception.) When an offer came from Harvard, there wasn't much I could do. Gates accepted it, and when he left he was pursued by false reports about his tenure at what he had come to call "the plantation." (I became aware of his feelings when he and I and his father watched the N.C.A.A. championship game between Duke and U.N.L.V. at my house; they were rooting for U.N.L.V.)

Now, in 2009, it's a version of the same story. Gates is once again regarded with suspicion because, as the cultural critic Michael Eric Dyson put it in an interview, he has committed the crime of being H.W.B., Housed While Black.

He isn't the only one thought to be guilty of that crime. TV commentators, laboring to explain the unusual candor and vigor of Obama's initial comments on the Gates incident, speculated that he had probably been the victim of racial profiling himself. Speculation was unnecessary, for they didn't have to look any further than the story they were reporting in another segment, the story of the "birthers" -- the "wing-nuts," in Chris Matthews's phrase -- who insist that Obama was born in Kenya and cite as "proof" his failure to come up with an authenticated birth certificate. For several nights running, Matthews displayed a copy of the birth certificate and asked, What do you guys want? How can you keep saying these things in the face of all evidence?

He missed the point. No evidence would be sufficient, just as no evidence would have convinced some of my Duke colleagues that Gates was anything but a charlatan and a fraud. It isn't the legitimacy of Obama's birth certificate that's the problem for the birthers. The problem is again the legitimacy of a black man living in a big house, especially when it's the White House. Just as some in Durham and Cambridge couldn't believe that Gates belonged in the neighborhood, so does a vocal minority find it hard to believe that an African-American could possibly be the real president of the United States.

Gates and Obama are not only friends; they are in the same position, suspected of occupying a majestic residence under false pretenses. And Obama is a double offender. Not only is he guilty of being Housed While Black; he is the first in American history guilty of being P.W.B., President While Black.

And so the wedge was set.

There was no formal opposition to the effort, but some drug fighters say the tax sends the wrong message.

To whom?

Oakland, California, passes landmark marijuana tax


About 80 percent of voters chose to impose the tax on Oakland's medical marijuana facilities, according to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters.

Some celebrated the news at Oaksterdam University by hand-rolling large marijuana cigarettes or stuffing cannabis into pipes. The school trains students for work in the medical marijuana industry.

"It is important because the city of Oakland is facing a massive deficit like many jurisdictions in California," said Steve DeAngelo, a leader of one of the city's cannabis clubs. "And we decided to step up to the plate and make a contribution to the city in a time of need."

DeAngelo, one of the people who led the effort to get the tax approved, said his business will now have to pay more than $350,000 from the new tax next year

Oakland's City Council was also behind the move.

"Given that the medical cannabis dispensaries are something that was legalized in California, why not have revenue from it?" said councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan.

There was no formal opposition to the effort, but some drug fighters say the tax sends the wrong message.

"The taxation of a federally unlawful drug is just not something that the community should accept," said Paul Chabot of the Coalition for a Drug Free California. "With the state in dire straits in finances and the country looking for ways to pay down debt, looking at illegal drugs is the absolute wrong thing to do."

The measure, passed in special mail-in election Tuesday, imposes a 1.8 percent gross receipts tax on the four licensed medical cannabis dispensaries in Oakland.

These facilities would have to pay about $18 in taxes for every 1,000 in marijuana sales.

Bye Bye F-22

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YES!!! I was seriously worried about this one. Smarts prevailed.


"It really boils down to whether we're going to continue (the) business as usual of once a weapons system gets into full production it never dies, or whether we're going to take the necessary steps to really reform the acquisition process in this country."

Senate rejects additional F-22 funding

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Senate voted Tuesday to block expansion of one of the country's most controversial and expensive defense programs, the F-22 fighter jet program.

The vote gave the White House and Pentagon a key victory over congressional supporters of the F-22, many of whom represent states and districts where jobs are tied to the production of the jet.

The vote, which stripped $1.75 billion for an additional seven F-22s from the fiscal year 2010 budget, was a reversal of an earlier Senate committee decision to include money for the program. The change came in a response to strong pressure from President Obama, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and several key senators who argued that the additional planes are not needed or wanted by the military.

The 58-40 vote, which did not break down along typical partisan lines, was the culmination of a classic confrontation between the president and Congress over who is the best judge of the country's military needs.

"At a time when we're fighting two wars and facing a serious deficit, (expanding the F-22) would have been an inexcusable waste of money," Obama said shortly after the vote.

I'm Dreaming of a White SCOTUS

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Think Bing Crosby:

I'm dreaming of a white SCOTUS
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the bald heads glisten
And women listen
To hear all that men do know

I'm dreaming of a white SCOTUS
With every SCOTUS pick I fight
The day gays will marry brings fright
And may all
Your SCOTUSes be white

I'm dreaming of a white SCOTUS
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the bald heads glisten
And women listen
To hear all that men do know

I'm dreaming of a white SCOTUS
With every SCOTUS pick I fight
The day gays will marry brings fright
And may all your SCOTUSes
May all your SCOTUSes
May all your SCOTUSes
May all your SCOTUSes
May all your SCOTUSes be white

Daily KOS


I don't know about you, but I cannot hear the word SCOTUS without thinking SCROTUM.


Burn Notice

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I like this show.

And the Audience Sez!

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But we already knew that. I guess the good old white boy club hate having their noses rubbed in it.

Sicko Airs Tonight

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We are in a critical time regarding which direction the health care debate is going to go. Make your voice heard. And be armed with the facts

"Sicko" airs on The Movie Channel tonight at 8:00 PM.It's also scheduled to air on The Movie Channel on July 27th at 4:05 PM and on TMC Xtra on August 2nd at 10:45 PM and August 5th at 2:15 AM and 7:30 AM. Click here for showtimes.

Arguing in other places

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ME quoted:

Yes the PUBLIC broadcasting System is partially supported by tax money such as grants from the national Endowment for the Arts. PBS is non- profit, non-privately owned, as is the parent Public Broadcasting Corporation. But most funding comes through individual donations, private endowment funding, corporations, advertising and individual station dues.They produce much high quality and unique programming not available on regular commercial television. That is all bad how exactly?

Wild Won2:

Why should they use our tax monies to pay for television that is covered by other networks?

Any educational show is equalled on the various Discovery Networks, the only things not on those are the kids' shows, and those are on Nickelodeon, so why should we pay for it?


Wild Won2 quoted:
Why should they use our tax monies to pay for television that is covered by other networks?


ME again:

But much of what PBS broadcasts is NOT covered by other networks and anyone who watches it would know that...which indicates you do not.

Give a commercial broadcast parallels to "Frontline" or "American Experience" or "P.O.V." or "American Masters", or "Bill Moyers" for that matter.

Wild Won2:

ME quoted:

But much of what PBS broadcasts is NOT covered by other networks and anyone who watches it would know that...which indicates you do not.

Because it is unecessary and a waste of time/money, a great sign of government...WASTE!

Give a commercial broadcast parallels to "Frontline" or "American Experience" or "P.O.V." or "American Masters", or "Bill Moyers" for that matter.

If there was a true need for your programs mentioned, they would be on regular news channels making money, no one wants to tune in, so they're relgated to PBS and such.

Pretty simple stuff.


Having fun being politically incorrect since 1972!

ME:

What?!! That's totally lame. Profit and the commercial market is the only determinant of worthy endeavor? That's just nuts.

Being non-commercial and not beholding to corporate interests like commercial TV allows PBS to take on more controversial stances and a wider range of topics that might otherwise upset advertisers. The "arts" which comprises a lot of the PBS content is simply not going to be supported by the viewers of commercial, pop-culture, sports driven television. That's no reason not to have an avenue for it. Are you saying we should tear down the opera houses because most record sales are in rock or country? What kind of attitude is that?

And what's this thread about, again? Oh yeah,
"Why Passing Health Care Reform is Possible".

Wild Won2

ME quoted:

What?!! That's totally lame. Profit and the commercial market is the only determinant of worthy endeavor? That's just nuts.

When it is self sufficient, it can have a place in society, if not, let it go.

You libs LOVE Darwin with evolution, but not with social Darwinism. If it was so important to people, they'd have paid to keep it, it is not, so let it die, sort of like the 8-track player.

ME :
Being non-commercial and not beholding to corporate interests like commercial TV allows PBS to take on more controversial stances and a wider range of topics that might otherwise upset advertisers.Upset advertisers are what gets people to tune in, like the left always lambasts Limbaugh. Do you think he cares? Of course not, as long as you tune in. The "arts" which comprises a lot of the PBS content is simply not going to be supported by the viewers of commercial, pop-culture, sports driven television. That's no reason not to have an avenue for it.It must not be important enough, if they need taxpayer dollars to prop it up, let it die off, it is evolution, we used to do a lot of arts, not so much anymore, let it pass on into the past... Are you saying we should tear down the opera houses because most record sales are in rock or country? What kind of attitude is that?No, but if it is taxpayer funded, YES I DO!

ME quoted

And what's this thread about, again? Oh yeah,
"Why Passing Health Care Reform is Possible".

Why is it possible?

Because a bunch of *****s who want to spend OPM, that's why.

Single Dad:

Preaching the Gospel of "free" Capitalism, are you? I almost wish you could get what you want. What you would end up wih is exactly what you deserve.

One big Corporation running the entire world. Telling you what you will buy, because there is nothing else available. Of course they'll keep up the illusion of Competition. They'll produce four or five versions of the same thing, in different packages, under different names.

You'll love it!


ME:

SD quoted:

They'll produce four or five versions of the same thing, in different packages, under different names.

ME:

LOL ...Kind of like the variously named posters here all spewing the same failed capitalist ideology.

Oh, and there's no such thing as Social Darwinism, that's a complete misconstruction of what Darwin was talking about. The "natural selection" concept was misinterpreted and shaped into the idea of "survival of the fittest" which makes no sense in the context of social structures where mechanisms such as altruism ("the unselfish concern for the welfare of others") play as important a role in the stability of social organization as competitive ones do.

For instance its makes perfect sense that parents would be altruistic toward their children rather than competing with them for scarce resources. "Survival of the fittest" is a rationale of "the haves" for why they "naturally deserve" to have it and why others do not. Its a quasi-religious idea that led to all sorts of cool things like the N.a.z.i.s and eugenics. FAIL.

Using strictly economic reasons for the survival of given social activities like art is not only a bad idea but is also erroneous and internally inconsistent. The entire idea of art is to challenge the status quo and accepted views of the public. It is through those challenges that social progress is achieved. Art generates new ways of looking at things and prevents us from getting stuck in the past.

Often the most potent art, the kind that is eventually seen as genius, is generally either dismissed as garbage or actively attacked by those whose status quo it threatens by those who don't understand its message when it is originally produced. Of course such art will not find economic support from the culture it is attempting to change. That is why is it is essential to publicly finance works that would otherwise not "survive" in a culture that uses profit and economic viability as its sole criteria for determining value .

PBS and the PBC exist specifically as an alternative to that market driven ideology you are espousing. Economy is but one aspect of the human endeavor and is not supposed to be an end in itself, but rather a means to more important reasons for being alive.

Now I'm not religious, but Matthew 16:26 speaks to this.

Who do you think said:


"In this art of wealth-getting there is no limit of the end, which is riches of the spurious kind, and the acquisition of wealth. But the art of wealth getting which consists in household management, on the other hand, has a limit..."

There are two sorts of wealth-getting, as I have said; one is a part of household management, the other is retail trade: the former necessary and honorable, while that which consists in exchange is justly censured; for it is unnatural, and a mode by which men gain from one another. The most hated sort, and with the greatest reason, is usury, which makes a gain out of money itself, and not from the natural object of it. For money was intended to be used in exchange, but not to increase at interest. And this term interest, which means the birth of money from money, is applied to the breeding of money because the offspring resembles the parent. Wherefore of all modes of getting wealth this is the most unnatural."

Hint: He died in 322 BC...a wealthy man.

That in a nutshell is exactly what is wrong with the present obsession with our form of market economy. Its not based of production of value or even on exchange products of value, but rather on the making of money from money itself. Money itself has been turned into a commodity. We call that the Modern Banking System or Wall St. trading or the Credit Industry. The problem with capitalism is not the growth of capital per se, its the hording.

People realized it was a ruinous way to go about things 2400 years ago.

PBS in the business of creating value that the economic markets neither recognize nor support. Its a dirty job, but somebody's got to do it. And I, for one, really appreciate the alternative.

Now these same concepts can be applied to a health care system. In the same way that it is wrong to make money itself a commodity and economy an end itself, divorced from actual value and the improvement of life overall, health is vital to all equally and is essential to the "pursuit of happiness" and "promoting the general welfare" which are the founding principles and core values of the country.

To make health a mere commodity rather than a right flies in the face of the those principles. Health affects the entire community. The healthier the individual members of a society are, the healthier the society as a whole is. Using access to money as a means of rationing access to that right to health care is misguided at minimum. Health care is a collective right and we should support and distribute it in a collective manner as has been done by almost all of the rest of the developed world who have recognized and acted on those principles many Americans merely give lip service to.

hat tip to flickr

WASHINGTON--Pentagon officials announced Tuesday a new policy toward homosexuals in the armed services, the so-called "Don't Tell, Let Me Guess" system, which gives Pentagon brass the opportunity to state their opinion on a soldier's sexual orientation, provided it's followed by the phrase "Am I right?" "These new guidelines allow homosexuals to serve in the armed forces, as long as they don't show any outward traits that would tip us off and ruin all the fun of guessing," said Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who purports to have "excellent" gaydar. "When you make a game out of it, you're much more invested in the survival of your fellow serviceman--at least until you guess whether or not he or she enjoys sex with members of the same gender." Pentagon officials said soldiers who are correctly guessed to be homosexual will face immediate dishonorable discharge, unless they can prove they have killed at least 10 enemy combatants in a particularly brutal fashion

Must See Moyers Program on Health care

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Final post-script essay in the 3 part program which can be viewed on-line here :

Watch the programsingpayer.jpg


BILL MOYERS : Quality, affordable health care's on the critical list in America. And so is the newspaper business. So maybe it's not surprising that one of the most powerful papers in the country attempted an unholy alliance, trying to turn a profit from its newsroom's coverage of the fight for health care reform.

You may have missed the story because it broke on the eve of the July 4th weekend. The publisher of THE WASHINGTON POST, Katharine Weymouth -- one of the most powerful people in the nation's capital -- invited top officials from the White House, the Cabinet and Congress to her home for an intimate, off-the-record dinner to discuss health care reform with some of her reporters and editors covering the story.

But she then invited CEOs and lobbyists from the health care industry to come, too -- providing they fork over $25,000 a head, or a quarter of a million if they want to sponsor a whole series of these cozy little get-togethers. And what is the inducement she offers them? Nothing less than -- and I'm quoting the invitation verbatim -- "An exclusive opportunity to participate in the health care reform debate among the select few who will actually get it done." The invitation reminds the CEOs and lobbyists that they will be buying access to "those powerful few in business and policy making who are forwarding, legislating, and reporting on the issues."

Remember, the invitation promises this private, intimate, and off-the-record dinner is an extension "of THE WASHINGTON POST brand of journalistic inquiry into the issues, a unique opportunity for stakeholders to hear and be heard."

Let that sink in. The "stakeholders" in health care reform in this case do not include the rabble -- the folks across the country who actually need quality health care but can't afford it. If any of them showed up at the kitchen door on the night of this little soiree, a bouncer would drop kick them beyond the beltway.

In other words, before you can cross the threshold in Washington to reach "the select few who will actually get it done," you must first cross the palm of some outstretched hand. The dinner was canceled after the invite was leaked to the website politico.com -- by a health care lobbyist, of all people. But it was enough to give us a glimpse into how things really work in Washington. A clear insight into why there is such a great disconnect between democracy and government today, between Washington and the rest of the country.

According to one poll after another, a majority of Americans not only want a public option in health care, they also think that growing inequality is bad for the country, that corporations have too much power over policy, that money in politics is the root of all evil, and that working families and poor communities need and deserve public support when the market fails to generate shared prosperity. But when the insiders in Washington finish tearing worthy intentions apart and devouring flesh from bone, none of these reforms happen. Oh, they say, "it's all about compromise, all in the nature of the give-and-take of representative democracy." That, people, is bull -- the basic nutrient of Washington's high and mighty.

It's not about compromise. It's not about what the public wants. It's about money, the golden ticket to "the select few who actually get it done." And nothing will change. Nothing. Until the money-lenders are tossed out of the temple, and we tear down the sign they've placed on government -- the one that reads: "For sale."

Hey, Stuff Happens

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Nice revenge song dude...
I had it happen to me. its a major piss off.



HALIFAX, Nova Scotia | A Canadian musician has become an Internet sensation after posting a song on YouTube about United Airlines breaking his guitar.

Dave Carroll's video for the song "United Breaks Guitars" was posted on site earlier this week and has received more than 1.3 million hits by Friday morning.

"I was thinking I'd definitely get some action on (YouTube) because the song has been resonating so well with audiences as I've been performing it, but I didn't know it would take off like this," Carroll said.

Carroll, a guitarist for the pop-rock group Sons of Maxwell, has since been fielding calls for appearances around the world, including a call from the Oprah Winfrey show Thursday.

The song recounts Carroll's yearlong struggle to get compensation for what he calls "a vicious act of malice" at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago last year. Carroll was flying between Halifax and Nebraska when he switched planes in Chicago. The passenger next to him noticed baggage handlers tossing guitar cases outside the plane.

Carroll's Taylor guitar required 1,400 Canadian dollars (US$1,200) in repairs. He said it still doesn't play the way it used to but he keeps it for sentimental reasons. The 41-year-old songwriter spent the past year trying to get compensation from United Airlines. When the airline refused to take responsibility, the songwriter made the humorous music video and posted it online.

Taylor Guitars in California has said they'd be happy to see if they could repair the damaged guitar. They also promised a big discount on his next purchase.

United also called to say it wants to discuss the situation. Carroll said officials for the airline said they liked the video and want to use it as a textbook case on how to handle customer complaints in the future.

The video shows friends dressing up as flight attendants and musicians. Volunteer firefighters played the baggage handlers who are shown playing catch with the guitar case and tossing it like a hammer throw.

Carroll initially told United he would write three songs about his broken guitar. He plans to debut the second song soon but hasn't written the third one yet.

Checking the Menu

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uh uh uh uhh....

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hat tip to seestraight

Quote of the Day #4666

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I dream of a better tomorrow, where chickens can cross the road and not be questioned about their motives. - flummoxing1

Motivational

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On Traditional Marriage

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From Mrs. Betty Bowers, America's Best Christian

12:34:56 7.8.9

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At the tone, the time and date was the above.

Petition Time

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Go sign for single payer healthcare option here.

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Lynching Michael Jackson

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"I want his children to know there was nothing strange about your daddy, it was strange what your daddy had to deal with." - Al Sharpton to Michael Jackson's children at his memorial service


The Persecution of Michael Jackson

By Ishmael Reed

Last Thursday, while working on some writing deadlines, I was switching channels on cable. On CNN they were promoting "Black In America," an exercise meant to boost ratings by making whites feel good by making blacks look bad, the marketing strategy of the mass media since the 1830s, according to a useful book entitled "The Showman and the Slave," by Benjamin Reiss. The early penny press sold a "whiteness" upgrade to newly arriving immigrants by depicting blacks in illicit situations. By doing so they were marketing an early version of a self esteem boosting product. One of the initial sensational stories was about the autopsy of a black woman named Joice Heth, who claimed to be George Washington's nurse and over one hundred years old. It was the O. J. story of the time. Circus master, P. T. Barnum, charged admission to her autopsy, which attracted the perverted in droves.

And so, if the people broadcasting cable news appear to be inmates of a carnival, there is a connection since the early days of the mass media to that form of show business. According to Reiss, early newspapers were not only influenced by P. T. Barnum, but actually cooperated with him on some hoaxes and stunts.

I would classify CNN's "Black in America" as a stunt. In preparing for a sequel to the first "Black In America," which boosted the networks ratings (the O. J. trial saved CNN!), CNN rolled out the usual stereotypes about black Americans. Unmarried black mothers were exhibited, without mentioning that births to unmarried black women have plunged since 1976 more than that of any other ethnic group. Then we got some footage that implied that blacks as a group were homophobes even though Charles Blow, a statistician for The New York Times, recently published a chart showing that gays have the least to fear from blacks. Recently, the media perpetrated a hoax that blacks were responsible for the passage of Proposition 8, the California proposition that banned gay marriage. An academic study refuted this claim, but that didn't deter The New York Times from hiring Benjamin Schwarz to explain black homophobia. Schwarz is the writer who wrote in The Los Angeles Times that blacks who were victims of lynchings in the south were probably guilty.

In the last "Black in America," Soledad O'Brien, CNN's designated tough love agent against the brothers and sisters, scolded a black man for not attending his daughter's birthday party. The aim of this scene was meant to humiliate black men as neglectful fathers. Ms. O'Brien won't be permitted by her employees to mention that 75% of white children will live at one time or another in a single parent household and that the Gov. of South Carolina's not showing up for Father's Day isn't just a lone aberration in "White America."

How would CNN promote a "White in America?" The thousands of meth addicts who have abandoned their children? The California rural and suburban white women who do more dope than Latino and black youth? The suburban Dallas white teenagers who are overdosing on "cheese" heroin? Why not? Can't get State Farm, Ford and MacDonald's to sponsor such a program? All of these companies are sponsoring "Black in America," the aim of which is to cast collective blame on blacks for the country's social problems. For ratings.

During CNN's carnival act disguised as news, the scene of Zimbabwe's Prime Minster being urinated upon by a monkey while sitting in his garden drew snickers in the newsroom. This is what passes for coverage of the African continent by CNN.

When the bulletin that Michael Jackson had died flashed across the screen, I was prepared for TV at it's worst and I wasn't disappointed. The man wasn't cold before the familiar adjectives were rolled out. "Weird, bizarre, eccentric," the traditional language used to disparage artists by the bourgeoisie. Dan Abrams, who made his reputation by convicting O. J. Simpson before the opening arguments of his criminal trial, made a snarky comment about Jackson's weirdness. Mr. Abrams, a higher up at MSNBC, employs a Hitler admirer named Pat Buchanan. Given Abram's background, why isn't that considered weird?

Former Calfornia poet laureate Al Young called to inform me that CNN's Jeffrey Toobin, another O. J. alumni, and a man who said that blacks shouldn't be "patted on the head" or "patronized" for believing in O. J. Simpson's innocence, had made some ugly comments about Jackson. (A star who has had at least a dozen facelifts called into the "Larry King Show" to comment about MJ's altering his appearance).

Also weird was MSBC's Savanah Guthries' air-headed depiction of the trial. (For a list of Ms. Guthries' false reportings see MediaMatters.com). She said that the evidence against Jackson in the trial was "devastating." So devastating that some legal experts said that Jackson should never have been brought to trial and that the aim of the trial was to seek a pound of flesh from Jackson for being uppity and for putting the name of Thomas W. Sneddon Jr., a vindictive District Attorney, into a song. In my opinion it was the prosecution of Jackson by this District Attorney, who, among other things, violated Jackson's fourth amendment rights, and made disparaging remarks about the star during a press conference, and the side-show pro prosecution media coverage that killed Jackson.

In my lengthy examination of the trial printed in my book, "Mixing It Up, Taking on The Media Bullies," I concluded that though millions of Jackson's fans celebrated his acquittal, the District Attorney, who was allowed to squander the California taxpayers' money so that he might humiliate a rich black man, whom he felt had sassed him, was the victor. At the beginning of the trial, Jackson was dancing on top of a van. During the trial he had to be hospitalized. At the end, he was a frail emaciated wreck.

Because of the malicious prosecution of Jackson by Sneddon and Sneddon's claque in the media, Jackson will always be regarded as a pedophile. (When the trial opened, a USA Today / CNN / Gallup Poll found that 72% of whites and 51% of Blacks believed that the charges against Jackson were "Definitely" or "Probably" true.) Wherever "Mad Dog" Sneddon, this hateful man might be in his retirement, he can gloat over the death of the man against whom he waged a vendetta with all of the power of the state at his disposal. Sneddon even tried to introduce photos of Jackson's genitals during the 2005 trial, which proved too much even for the pro prosecution judge.

The Bible's Odd Idea of Marriage

By the Rev. Howard Bess


Editor's Note: In the battle over gay marriage, opponents often describe marriage as "a sacred institution" with the religious implication that one must follow God's dictates as expressed in the Bible or some other holy book.

But the Bible has some odd ideas about how marriage should work - including a requirement that a dead man's brother must procreate with the widow (if there was no son) or face having a sandal removed - as Baptist minister Howard Bess recalls:


"Marriage is a cultural thing." So began a very good sermon that I recently heard by the Rev. Diane O'Connell at Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Anchorage, Alaska.

My mind was set in rapid motion as I considered the raging arguments that are now taking place all over the country. What is marriage? How should we codify marriage in the laws of our land?

The discussions become very sticky when our gay friends enter the debate and ask for equal treatment under the law. The exchanges become very heated when a participant demands that we turn to the Bible for answers that will once and for all settle the issues.

Many well-meaning people want us to set aside the reality that the United States was built on a Declaration of Independence and a Constitution with a Bill of Rights. On the issue of marriage the Bible, so they say, should be our ultimate authority.

I remain unmoved from my historic Baptist roots, and I too give a special place to the messages that are found in the Bible. When I feel it is appropriate, I do not hesitate to quote generously from the Bible writings.

I treasure the contents of the Bible and honor those who authored its words. The writers were special people and typically wrote in difficult times that required strong opinions and vigorous debate. The wisdom found in the Bible has been fundamental in the development of western culture.

When vigorous debate develops in the public square, it is foolish to reject or ridicule the wisdom and teachings that are found in the Bible.

There is nothing stupid or un-American when people bring their Bibles to the public square where we discuss marriage and the challenge to include fully our gay brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews and neighbors in our legal family structures.

However, in the marriage debate I insist that not just isolated portions of the Bible be allowed in the debate, but that the whole Bible be brought to the table.

Since it is rare that Bible believers have read the whole Bible, I am taking space to quote an extended passage from Deuteronomy 25:5-10.

It drives me nuts of course that Americans are so ignorant as to allow their representatives to patently sell them out to the health care industries over the rights to universal single payer systems used world wide, but a public plan can at least act like the bow of an icebreaker and make room for eventual changes down the road.


HELP Is on the Way

Paul Krugman

The Congressional Budget Office has looked at the future of American health insurance, and it works.

A few weeks ago there was a furor when the budget office "scored" two incomplete Senate health reform proposals -- that is, estimated their costs and likely impacts over the next 10 years. One proposal came in more expensive than expected; the other didn't cover enough people. Health reform, it seemed, was in trouble.

But last week the budget office scored the full proposed legislation from the Senate committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP). And the news -- which got far less play in the media than the downbeat earlier analysis -- was very, very good. Yes, we can reform health care.

Let me start by pointing out something serious health economists have known all along: on general principles, universal health insurance should be eminently affordable.

After all, every other advanced country offers universal coverage, while spending much less on health care than we do. For example, the French health care system covers everyone, offers excellent care and costs barely more than half as much per person as our system.

And even if we didn't have this international evidence to reassure us, a look at the U.S. numbers makes it clear that insuring the uninsured shouldn't cost all that much, for two reasons.

First, the uninsured are disproportionately young adults, whose medical costs tend to be relatively low. The big spending is mainly on the elderly, who are already covered by Medicare.

Second, even now the uninsured receive a considerable (though inadequate) amount of "uncompensated" care, whose costs are passed on to the rest of the population. So the net cost of giving the uninsured explicit coverage is substantially less than it might seem.

Putting these observations together, what sounds at first like a daunting prospect -- extending coverage to most or all of the 45 million people in America without health insurance -- should, in the end, add only a few percent to our overall national health bill. And that's exactly what the budget office found when scoring the HELP proposal.

Now, about those specifics:

Michael Pissed Off

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God damn. And for good reason.


"They Don't Care About Us"

Skin head, dead head
Everybody gone bad
Situation, aggravation
Everybody allegation
In the suite, on the news
Everybody dog food
Bang bang, shot dead
Everybody's gone mad

All I wanna say is that
They don't really care about us
All I wanna say is that
They don't really care about us

Beat me, hate me
You can never break me
Will me, thrill me
You can never kill me
Jew me, sue me
Everybody do me
Kick me, kike me
Don't you black or white me

All I wanna say is that
They don't really care about us
All I wanna say is that
They don't really care about us

Tell me what has become of my life
I have a wife and two children who love me
I am the victim of police brutality, now
I'm tired of bein' the victim of hate
You're rapin' me of my pride
Oh, for God's sake
I look to heaven to fulfill its prophecy...
Set me free

Skin head, dead head
Everybody gone bad
trepidation, speculation
Everybody allegation
In the suite, on the news
Everybody dog food
black man, black male
Throw your brother in jail

All I wanna say is that
They don't really care about us
All I wanna say is that
They don't really care about us

Tell me what has become of my rights
Am I invisible because you ignore me?
Your proclamation promised me free liberty, now
I'm tired of bein' the victim of shame
They're throwing me in a class with a bad name
I can't believe this is the land from which I came
You know I do really hate to say it
The government don't wanna see
But if Roosevelt was livin'
He wouldn't let this be, no, no

Skin head, dead head
Everybody gone bad
Situation, speculation
Everybody litigation
Beat me, bash me
You can never trash me
Hit me, kick me
You can never get me

All I wanna say is that
They don't really care about us
All I wanna say is that
They don't really care about us

Some things in life they just don't wanna see
But if Martin Luther was livin'
He wouldn't let this be

Skin head, dead head
Everybody gone bad
Situation, segregation
Everybody allegation
In the suite, on the news
Everybody dog food
Kick me, strike me
Don't you wrong or right me

All I wanna say is that
They don't really care about us
All I wanna say is that
They don't really care about us

A Michael Jackson Tribute

Written and recorded within hours of his death.



thegame.jpg(CNN)Many fans will always remember where they were when they heard the "King of Pop" had died. The rapper The Game will always remember what he did afterward.

That same day, Thursday, June 25, he rounded up some famous friends, recorded a song, shot a music video and got a Michael Jackson tattoo etched on his upper arm. Actually, he got the tattoo while he was in the studio recording the track. Some people know how to multitask.

The tune, "Better on the Other Side," isn't available for sale yet -- although he's hoping it will hit iTunes very soon. Because the record company was caught off guard, it is still playing catch-up. Game says all proceeds from the sale of the single will be donated to Michael Jackson's family.

The companion music video is all over YouTube. In it, the 29-year-old shares the spotlight with Chris Brown, who sings the hook as a counterpoint to Game's rap. It's the first project Brown has appeared in since he pleaded guilty to assaulting his former girlfriend, Rihanna.

The video, in various forms, had received more than 750,000 views as of Thursday evening -- not bad for less than a week in release.

In the following interview, The Game (born Jayceon Taylor) recounts how the project came together -- with a little help from Lady Luck and the muse of Michael Jackson.

WTF?

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Just when you thought it was safe to explore the sewer system again comes this.

But a sewer monster, it is not.

The city of Raleigh says the video - of a 6-inch sanitary sewer line - was taken in April during an inspection of a privately maintained sewer line in Cameron Village.

Ed Buchan, an environmental coordinator with the city's Public Utilities Department, says the mass is believed to be tubifex worms, which form clusters or colonies of about a half-inch to 1-inch in diameter.

Also known as "sludge worms," they are normally found in sediment of ponds and are sold as fish food in both live and dried forms.

Thomas Kwak, a biology professor at North Carolina State University's Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, however, says the so-called monster is actually a cluster of invertebrates called byrozoan, which are commonly found in both the sea and fresh water environments.

It's unclear how they got into the sewer system, but Kwak said it isn't surprising. The byrozoan feed off bacteria and thrive in cold, dark environments. Those in the video are smaller than a fist, but could grow as large as a watermelon, he said.

"These organisms are completely harmless," Kwak said. "It's another interesting aspect of nature that we don't' get to see every day."

Buchan says that because the worm-like creatures don't pose a threat to the city's water quality, the city isn't requiring York Properties, which manages the system and Cameron Village, to remove them.

Oh yeah?...well I want to know why it pulses like that and think they'd better keep their eye on these things. What if the Republicans decide to run one for office in 2010?

from a local newspaper forum

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quote:

Originally posted by The Right Stuff:
RE: Link

Nancy Simmons falls into the same trap as many liberal loonies.

She confuses rhetoric with responsibility.

Limbaugh, O'Reilly, and many other people spoke out against Tiller the baby killer, as they are opposed to killing babies period.

Because someone murders another person, and has the same opinions as another person(priests/pastors, friends, someone across the nation they've never met, TV/movie personalities, etc), or that of an organization (Operation Rescue, Churches, etc) doesn't mean it's their fault or an organization's fault when an individual breaks the law.

It's that stupid guilt by association, regardless of the connection, stinkin thinkin.

It's as stupid as saying Sheriff Judd is responsible when someone kills a child molester.

There is a time when the rhetoric does equate to responsibility.

A good example was given when Thomas Beckett was murdered.

The common sense difference between the knights who killed Becket and the ONE individual who killed Tiller the baby killer is that King Henry had authority/control/leadership over those knights, whereas neither limbaugh or o'reilly have any authority over the guy who killed Tiller the baby killer.

Rhetoric doesn't equate responsibility. Unless one is in authority over, or in charge of, the perpetrator.
/end quote

My forum response:

Do you understand the term propaganda ?

quote:

Propaganda is communication aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause. As opposed to impartially providing information, propaganda in its most basic sense, often presents information primarily in order to influence its audience. Propaganda often presents facts selectively (thus lying by omission) to encourage a particular synthesis, or gives loaded messages in order to produce an emotional rather than rational response to the information presented. The desired result is a change of the attitude toward the subject in the target audience to further a political agenda.


Propaganda is the deliberate, systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct behavior to achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist.
/ end quote

me again:

Rhetoric is the use of language as a means to persuade an audience to accept certain ideas. When that rhetoric is laden with emotional rather than rational ideas it is turned into propaganda.

"Tiller the Baby Killer" is a propaganda slogan meant to convey the idea that Dr Tiller was a monster who went around "killing babies" for money. It made use of the propaganda technique mentioned above of " presents facts selectively (thus lying by omission) to encourage a particular synthesis, or gives loaded messages in order to produce an emotional rather than rational response to the information presented. The desired result is a change of the attitude toward the subject in the target audience to further a political agenda ."

People who use rhetorical propaganda are doing so with a conscious intent to shape the emotional climate or environment to which a listener is expected to respond. Using rhetoric as propaganda is a conscious act intended to cause a conscious response.

And that response is intended to be active, not passive. WWII Propaganda against the Jews was meant foment hate and fear based action against Jews, not a passive discomfort and dislike.

Phrases like "Tiller the Baby Killer" are an implicit, if not explicit, call to action . It is a means of demonizing Dr Tiller, reducing him to non-human status just as national propaganda does to its enemies, making an assault on him more likely and justified.

The fact that RS constantly labels homosexuals "perverts" is the same thing. Its an emotional appeal using non-rational Biblical authority to make homosexuals less than human and "unworthy" in the eyes of his God. The Biblical penalty for this sort of thing is of course death. He doesn't have to explicitly call for the death or punishment of homosexuals for this to be implicitly inferred by the text itself. So that RS can claim that he has never called for violence against gays. But in fact, that is exactly what his propaganda calls for because the authoritative basis of his rhetoric (the Bible) does it for him. He is simply hiding behind God's skirts as it were and creating a climate wherein homosexuals are more likely to be assaulted because it is emotionally justified; especially to those who are already predisposed to believe in and shape their real world actions according to Biblical authority.

For such people to claim that their rhetoric used as propaganda is somehow blameless for the active results of implicit calls to action is totally disingenuous at best and in my opinion, an act of cowardice.

Simply, words can be weapons and they can lead to injury and death. People who use them as such should be held accountable for that use.


....Unless one is in authority over, or in charge of, the perpetrator.

What do you think the purpose of propaganda is? It is to supplant the listeners rationality with emotional reactions. That IS its authority. How do you think the N.a.z.i.s got an entire nation to murder its Jews? It used rhetoric as propaganda to assert its authority over them and in turn to make them see Jews as vermin needing to be exterminated . The propaganda took over the German public's rational minds and replaced it with an emotional hatred and fear of Jews which served to justify the extermination which followed.

bush_propaganda.jpgO'Reilly had the "authority" of his mass media position and the means to disseminate his demonizing propaganda against Dr Tiller repeatedly. RS uses the forum threads and incessant appeals to Biblical authority.

That's exactly how it is done.

If the N.a.z.i's were held accountable for the lethal results of their propaganda why should the Bush administration or O'Reilly or even RS not be?



There is a reason that there are "hate speech" laws.
It is because it is well understood that speech can lead to action.

O Canada

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I miss you.

Have a Happy 1

canadaflag.jpg

Prayer Explained

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You see all God needs is to be reminded that his plan for you is wrong!


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