Friday, August 26, 2011
The laws most despised by libertarians, "conservatives" and tea party supporters seem to be not laws that created social justice reforms in the 20th Century. They seem to most despise laws and agencies connected to the environment. The Endangered Species Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Environmental Protection Agency are derided as examples of big government.
If the tea party movement ever gets any real power in Congress, you can say good-bye to those laws and agencies. No longer will the Blue Whale, Giant Panda, Snow Leopard, Green Sea Turtle, Goliath Frog, Lear's Macaw, Rothschild Giraffe, or Giant Otter get in the way of industry and the expansion of industry; because the regulation of industry, they tell us, kills jobs and overly burdens the citizenry.
As I like to say about tea party philosophy: "If Jesus and the Founding Fathers didn't put it in the Constitution, then it's Unconstitutional."
The long-suffering tea party supporters rely on Eighteenth Century imagery and socio-economic theories to define the future. They like to dress-up like Colonial Era citizens, wax poetically about the virtues of men who are known to have been slave-owners, and wave flags from times long past. It's all sort of quaint, until you realize these people are a front for the corporate rape of our nation, our land, our government, and our infrastructure.
Now comes the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake.
You think you don't know much about it, but you may have seen more pictures of this snake than any other. It is a snake whose image is burned into the memory of Americans.
It is the snake on the "Don't Tread On Me" flag.
The Center for Biological Diversity reports that its number are diminishing fast and only three percent (3%) of its natural habitat remains.
This has happened in America before. By 1967, we had hunted and encroached upon the American Bald Eagle to such a degree that it was threatened with extinction.
Imagine if a symbol of our nation was made extinct by our own hand.
We saved the American Bald Eagle! We showed the world that we were modern, thinking people with a plan to make the world a better place. We showed that we could stop for a moment, put our heads together, pool our resources and change the destructive course we are traveling.
In 1973, with the American Bald Eagle facing extinction, we passed the Endangered Species Act. Forty-three states have passed the Act. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service established the Endangered Species Program and we saved our bald eagle from extinction.
This federal agency, this Act of Congress, and this program were established to ensure that all of the things that make America great are cared for, not just its markets and industry. These are the things that make us a civilization, that separate us from the other animals, and place us ahead of other nations.
The people who fund the tea parties would abolish all three: the Act, the agency, and the program, and libertarians would claim victory against big government.
Before they get to do this however, we need that agency the tea party supporters hate so much to do something for us: we need them to save the snake that the tea party supporters like to put on flags and wave around.
That's right. We need the agency they hate so much to save their symbol.
And we can do it.
And we will.
Because we are America, and we are bigger than the tea party and its supporters, we are bigger than any other nation on the planet, we are a bigger people with bigger plans and a bigger future than anyone else, and we will save this rattlesnake from extinction, because of all those reasons and one more: it is the right thing to do. A big people with a big country and a big government do big things; like save the favorite symbol of those who would destroy us.
Report: Tea Party's Favorite Snake Needs Government Aid
Report from Center for Biological Diversity: As One Snake Is Saved, Scientists Identify Another Needing Protection
Scientific American: Endangered Species Status Sought for "Don't Tread on Me" Rattlesnakes
Thursday, August 25, 2011
People from all walks of life, from LGBT youth and their straight friends, to professional athletes, elected officials, and movie stars, have since recorded and posted "It Gets Better" videos.
Major League Soccer team D.C. United just released an "It Gets Better" video starring Josh Woolf and Clyde Simms:
D.C. United is celebrating the one year anniversary of "It Gets Better" during their match against Chivas USA, with "United Night Out" on Wednesday, September 21, 2011. Tickets cost $25 and are available at: United Night Out.
As a supporter of Red Bull New York, a team that does more than expected for the community, I wish my team had been the first MLS team to do the "It Gets Better" video. It's never too late, though, and I hope that RBNY finds the time to get this done soon. Perhaps it can be catalyst to get the team back on track.
It's also time for more professional athletes to come forward and add their voices to the hue and cry.
See the It Gets Better Project at youtube.com.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
In 1961, as he was leaving the White House, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a general and conservative Republican, spoke candidly about the danger of a military-industrial complex taking control of the United States government.
He was ignored, of course, as is anyone who speaks ill of the purchase and sale of the federal government by businessmen. Hawks who use the fear of invasion and the promotion of xenophobia to scare Americans into voting against their own best interests.
Otherwise intelligent people think it's a good idea to continue this course of America's development. They will argue that they are opposed to the federal government collecting too many taxes and creating too many regulations, but they then vote for candidates who have every intention of increasing taxes to give to industry (especially the armamnets industry), and have every intention of restricting personal freedom by creating laws designed to regulate social behavior while they eliminate laws that regulate industrial behavior.
These otherwise intelligent people generally register to vote as Republicans, call themselves "conservatives" or "fiscal conservatives," are very angry at President Obama, support political candidates who are some of the worst actors in the history of electoral politics promoting platforms that are an embarrassment to humanity, and join tea parties because they are taxed enough already.
If these people could look back a little further than Saint Ronald Reagan, they would see that real conservatives warn of exactly the type of govenrment promoted by today's so-called conservatives and their little tea parties.
Listen to President Eisenhower's speech, and he will illuminate for you the degree to which today's tea partiers and "conservatives" are off-track.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Jerry Leiber was half of the song-writing duo Leiber and Stoller who wrote many hits for many big names, and were influential in the development and marketing of the girl group sound.
They gave Phil Spector one of his first jobs, they unleashed The Shangri-Las and they wrote "Hound Dog," "Yakety Yak," "On Broadway," "Jailhouse Rock,"
"Love Potion No. 9," "Spanish Harlem," "Poison Ivy," "Charlie Brown," and "Stand By Me."
Although their fame diminished as the sixties progressed, they produced one final smash hit, "Stuck In The Middle," by Stealers Wheel.
Nick Ashford was half of the duo Ashford & Simpson, which teamed him with his wife, Valerie Simpson. They had two separate and distinct careers: first as song-writers and producers, and then as performers.
They wrote hit songs for The 5th Dimension, Ray Charles, and Diana Ross. In the mid-1960s they were signed by Motown where they wrote and produced almost all of the hits for Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell.
The list of artists with whom they worked and for whom they wrote is impressive and reads like the Who's Who of American Soul music.
In 1984 they had their biggest hit as performers with "Solid."
August 22, 2011 was a bad day for song-writing:
Jerry Leiber, 78, died in Los Angeles from cardio-pulmonary failure
Nick Ashford, 69, died in New York of complications from throat cancer
The world is lesser for it.
Nick Ashford, of Motown Writing Duo, Dies at 70
Ashford & Simpson at wikipedia
Jerry Leiber, Prolific Writer of 1950s Hits, Dies at 78
Leiber and Stoller site
Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
Monday, August 22, 2011
What's the easiest way to turn $300,000 into $4.75 million?
Well, donate that three hundred thousand to the political campaigns of Texas Republican, and presidential hopeful, Gov. Rick Perry.
James Leininger, John McHale and David Shanahan are all large-money donors to Gov. Perry's "Texans for Rick Perry" campaign group. All three men are connected to G-Con, a pharmaceutical start-up, based in Bryan, Texas, and associated with Texas A&M University, Gov. Perry's alma mater. Collectively, the men have donated about three-hundred thousand dollars to Gov. Perry
G-Con received a three million dollar state grant in May, 2010, and Gradalis Holdings (a 10% owner of G-Con) received a $1,75 million grant in February, 2009. Both grant awards include Gov. Perry's approval.
Republicans are always going on and on and on and on about the cost of government, but have absolutely no intention of letting that teat dry-up for them and their friends anytime soon. The cost of supporting Republican millionaires cots the taxpayer dramatically more than it costs to support the poor.
Sure, let's cut; but let's cut from the people at the top of the food chain. Then, when we are sure we aren't supporting millionaires, we can get around to cutting benefits for the poor, sick and elderly!
Rick Perry will make a perfect Republican president!
See, Tracking the Flow of Money, at nytimes.com
Friday, August 19, 2011
Born in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1946, Dorothy Moore started her professional career in 1965.
Misty Blue was released in 1976.
She still performs today, and has won 4 Grammy awards.
This is Dorothy Moore singing "Misty Blue" in a video made for television broadcasts.
Like many videos on the internet, all versions I find of this ends abruptly before the song ends, so I include an audio-only video below it.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Rock stars suffer many reputations.
Sometimes the reputation (good or bad) is earned and well-deserved, sometimes it is fabricated by writers and fans, sometimes it is fabricated by a management team. Whatever causes the reputation to spread, it is hard to combat it once it's out there. Like the proverbial horse out of the open barn door, it's almost impossible to undo what is done.
There are exceptions, of course. Drug-addicted and/or alcoholic rock stars who get clean and/or sober often enjoy a new reputation in recovery.
This reminds me of a conversation I had a few years ago.
I was making the statement you hear so often: that band's music was better before they got sober. My companion at the time said, well the such-and-such record was an excellent release and that was long after they got sober.
Then I realized that it wasn't their sobriety that changed my interest in the music or that made their music less engaging for me, it was the fact that I had out-grown that band's music. They had started releasing records when I was fourteen-years-old and I loved every record they released until I was in my early twenties, when I stopped listening to them. Some years later, on the verge of total collapse, they cleaned-up and re-formed and started making new records.
I listened to the new records and found them boring.
In reality, the music and songs were as good as, or better than, the records I'd loved as a teenager, but I just wasn't into that music anymore.
So, that band getting sober had no bearing whatsoever on me liking and disliking their music from one era or another: my tastes had changed.
That band's reputation had been of hard partying, crazy benders, loose women, piles of drugs, fast cars, and near-death experiences. They went from being really cool bad-boys to pathetic drug-addicts, and their reputation stayed in the gutter for sometime.
They managed, through hard work and serious spiritual recovery, to rescue their collective reputation and embark on a new career playing their brand of music to an audience that accepted them as recovering drug-addicts. They've made millions and they enjoy a good reputation today and are considered serious adults and active members of society.
Other rock stars have carefully crafted and managed their image and reputation.
David Bowie has managed a career that has taken him from glam god to rock god with so many stops in-between that casual listeners do not understand the breadth of his catalog.
He is also a very generous rock star who appears at benefit concerts, donates money to charities that are not always the most populist, and he seems to take good care of those around him.
I found this story heart-warming:
David Bowie helped Marc Bolan's son survive
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
When a politician is virulently anti-gay and sponsors anti-gay legislation, two things are almost always certain:
1. The elected official is a repressed and/or closeted homosexual; and
2. The elected official passes himself off as a "conservative" with strong "family values" and a love and fear of "God."
Indiana State Rep. Phillip Hinkle (R-92) is the latest god-fearing, homo-hating, family-values cocksucker to get caught-up in a sex scandal, when he offered to pay an 18-year-old boy for sex in a hotel.
The story is as bizarre and convoluted as you'd imagine, with everyone accusing the other of lies, lies, and more lies.
This was another craigslist.org romance where Hinkle is alleged to have contacted 18-year-old Camryn Gibson via email. Their communications were vague and cryptic enough that it's possible to conclude they weren't talking about sex. If you come to that conclusion, however, I question your mental faculties.
The alleged about-to-be tryst took place in a hotel room, and it seems Hinkle thought he could get the upper hand in negotiations by positioning himself as an authority figure. This frightened Gibson, who called his sister for help or guidance.
One thing led to another and nobody got sex and nobody got money, but Hinkle's family was informed of the mess, and it was delivered to the press.
Perhaps Hinkle had honorable reasons for needing "a couple hours of your time tonight" with a tip "for a really good time."
Break out the cribbage board, Helen, we're gonna have a humdinger of a really good time tonight down at the airport motel.
Hinkle maintains that he is being blackmailed. Given his need to denigrate homosexuals and keep them from enjoying the quality of life afforded all Americans, it appears that Hinkle is just one more in a long string of repressed cocksuckers clinging to the lies of "conservatism" so he doesn't have to accept reality.
There is nothing wrong with being a cocksucker, and there's nothing wrong with wanting to keep that information private; but, when you build a career on the backs and misery of other cocksuckers then you deserve to be treated as unfairly as you've treated them.
Next time you see a politician of any stripe promoting anti-gay legislation, just imagine him on his knees in a motel room serving his constituency the way he likes best.
Sorta sad; but, not really.
Email rendezvous entangles state Rep. Phillip Hinkle
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Taxes, as I've said many times before, buy us civilization; and gazillionaires are such because we have had a civilization. The rich didn't magically create everything that is good in the world nor did they accumulate all that wealth without massive assistance from the government (in the United States, the government is me and you - the taxpayers and citizens - we are a good government).
Those who think that government, civilization, and wealth all exist in separate vacuums, are the same people who believe God created the Universe in six days, then needed to chill for a minute before getting to work ensuring all the dinosaur bones were hidden and the 21st Century conservatives could promote 20th Century libertarianism as an actual structure on which to continue building civilization. It was good of God to plan all this!
Thirty years into the discipline that is the Chicago School of economic philosophy, also known as Reaganomics or Thatchernomics or the supply-side theory, our once-great government is crumbling, our once-great nation is crumbling, our society is mired in a morass of deceit about the roots of our nation and civilization; and none of the promises of a supply-side economic boom have ever come even remotely close to fruition. In fact, our economic and civil structures are in jeopardy due to thirty years of implementing this economic policy.
I have been scoffed-at by many because of my insistence that the rich do owe society something, as it was the entire society that built the civilization in which they have profited. Those of us who have done well have a responsibility to finance the civilization we have built.
The crux of the matter is taxes. People who've greatly benefited from the existence of an expensive society are no longer interested in paying for it. They have their pie, and there is no way they are paying for anymore pie for anymore people (especially immigrants).
I applaud people with strong conviction. Have the courage of those convictions.
Earlier this year, Stephen D. Foster Jr., published a list of 102 activities and benefits of civilization that cost money to fund and are funded by tax dollars. Those people who are taxed enough already and want to pay less tax and really believe in their philosophy, should stop participating in these activities, so we can reduce taxes. The list is linked below, but these are some of my faves:
- 5. Do not call 911 when you get hurt.
- 7. Do not summon the fire department to save your burning home.
- 14. Do not visit National Parks.
- 16. Do not eat or use FDA inspected food and medicines.
- 23. Do not use the judiciary system for any reason.
- 29. Do not watch the weather provided by the National Weather Service.
- 39. Do not buy firearms that wouldn't have been developed without the support of the US Government and military. That includes most of them.
- 45. Do not save your money in a bank that is FDIC insured.
- 47. Do not use the G.I. Bill to go to college.
- 48. Do not apply for unemployment benefits.
- 68. Do not use electricity generated by Hoover Dam.
- 69. Do not use electricity or any service provided by the Tennessee Valley Authority.
- 73. Do not visit historic landmarks.
- 76. Do not expect plows to clear roads of snow and ice so your kids can go to school and so you can get to work.
- 77. Do not hunt or camp on federal land.
- 82. Do not expect to own your home, car, or boat. Government organizes and keeps all titles.
- 95. Do not complain when millions more illegal immigrants cross the border because there are no more border patrol agents.
You get the picture.
102 Things NOT To Do If You Hate Taxes
You tea party people and "conservatives" stop using the government, then we'll talk about de-funding it; but have the courage of your convictions and show us that you will put your money where your mouth is.
In closing, most people who claim to be promoting conservatism and liberty are generally either grossly misinformed or lying. Conservatism needs to be ignored, and like the finest parts of the 20th Century, conservatives need to be marginalized and gotten out of the mainstream.
Monday, August 15, 2011
Warren Buffett is one of the richest Americans in the world.
Today he wrote a piece for the New York Times Op-Ed page, titled Stop Coddling the Super-Rich.
It's a brilliant use of verbs. Generally, "conservative" people only use the word "coddle" to refer to those they do not like who happen to be receiving the exact same benefits of government and taxes as they themselves receive. Sometimes these people who are accused of being "coddled" are getting and using far less government services than an upper middle-class or wealthy person.
To use the verb "coddle" in reference to the wealthiest Americans is anathema to the entire "conservative" agenda; but, its use by Buffett is perfectly accurate.
I wish so-called "conservatives" would read what Buffett says, because he is one of the people the "conservatives" is talking about when they say a reduced tax-burden will result in men like him investing more money and creating more jobs.
This is what he has to say about that:
Back in the 1980s and 1990s, tax rates for the rich were far higher, and my percentage rate was in the middle of the pack. According to a theory I sometimes hear, I should have thrown a fit and refused to invest because of the elevated tax rates on capital gains and dividends.
I didn’t refuse, nor did others. I have worked with investors for 60 years and I have yet to see anyone — not even when capital gains rates were 39.9 percent in 1976-77 — shy away from a sensible investment because of the tax rate on the potential gain. People invest to make money, and potential taxes have never scared them off. And to those who argue that higher rates hurt job creation, I would note that a net of nearly 40 million jobs were added between 1980 and 2000. You know what’s happened since then: lower tax rates and far lower job creation.
Yes, people on the far-right, fringe lunatics with lots of money who fund the tea party, have convinced millions (well, at least some thousands) of "conservatives" to support a movement that removes the tax burden from the rich and places it squarely on the backs of the working-class and middle-class.
The "conservative" idea seems to be that the long suffering gazillionaires need to be protected from the policies of the big bad federal government, and "conservatives" (most of whom are the middle-class hurt by these policies) are happy to help them do it.
It's refreshing to read that a gazillionaire is not interested in destroying America so he can pay one or two points less on his income, and to state unequivocally that he does not support the current set-up.
He uses IRS data to draw his conclusions:
But for those making more than $1 million — there were 236,883 such households in 2009 — I would raise rates immediately on taxable income in excess of $1 million, including, of course, dividends and capital gains. And for those who make $10 million or more — there were 8,274 in 2009 — I would suggest an additional increase in rate.
My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.
The rich have had a nice time enjoying the benefits of our government, a government that is funded primarily by the middle-class, and it's time they started paying as much as the rest of us.
It would be the patriotic thing to do.
Bigot-of-the-Day, Rose Marie Belforti, is the Town Clerk of Ledyard, NY, in Cayuga County. Here she is seen inappropriately groping a defenseless animal that is unable to give its consent to her touching. There are other pictures of her beastly practices all over the web. It's odd a woman who loves to touch animals that pay no taxes would deny a marriage certificate to taxpayers who fund her salary. Odd priorities: grope animals who pay nothing, abuse taxpayers who fund your job!
Belforti refuses to execute marriage licenses because her bigotry is rooted in religious belief and she is convinced that this means she does not have to enforce the laws of New York State.
What next? A Jewish health inspector shuts-down a restaurant because they are serving shrimp cocktail? A Muslim school board member closes-down a school because they are not keeping a fast during the holy month of Ramadan? No! Of course not; that would be ridiculous. In reality, those two incidents would be no more ridiculous than Belforti's actions.
Belforti does not have to "believe" in marriage, she only has to execute marriage licenses as outlined by the laws of the State of New York.
She is most certainly welcome to hate people, she is expected to put that hatred aside when she has a job to do; or, she should resign.
If Belforti is unable to do her job, perhaps she should step down.
Thanks to Joe.My.God for the tip: NEW YORK: Another Town Clerk Refuses To Sign Same-Sex Marriage Licenses
News story: Ledyard clerk won't sign gay marriage licenses
Friday, August 12, 2011
From September 11, 1971, through September 1, 1973, twenty-three episodes of the Ranking/Bass - Motown-produced animated show "The Jackson 5ive" aired on Saturday mornings.
Although none of the Jackson 5 band were involved with the show's production, each episode featured two J5 songs.
A few years later, in 1976, 12 episodes of the live-action show The Jacksons aired, and included the girls: Rebbie, LaToya and Janet, along with the more famous male members of the Jackson clan.
This is a low-quality, but very fun video of the J5 performing "I Want You Back" for the animated show:
Thursday, August 11, 2011
One of the few things that News Corp. has done consistently well is the delivery of soccer to its United States audience.
Through its Fox Soccer Channel, it has doggedly presented club football from all over the world as well as the more popular international matches played between nations, generally as a lead-up the the quadrennial World Cup.
Without fail, FSC has attempted to present matches live and in their entirety, along with high-quality commentary and analysis. Unlike its sibling Fox Sports, which has bastardized American professional sports with ridiculous gimmicks, the least intelligent talking heads available in the market, and intrusive advertising, FSC has maintained a quiet dignity that treats is product (soccer) with respect and reverence.
Major League Soccer, the franchise-based United States soccer league, has relied upon and enjoyed a strong relationship with FSC. More often than not, the broadcast of MLS matches on FSC have been far superior to broadcasts by local outlets and dramatically better than any broadcast by the Mickey Mouse operation over at Disney-owned Entertainment and Sports Programming Network.
Being an American consumer of soccer is challenging. Upon returning from life in England almost ten years ago, I struggled to find access to the matches I wanted to watch. Today, there are many options.
Disney has increased the number of matches they broadcast, even though they regularly interrupt, delay, or pre-empt them to broadcast children's events for which only they as the broadcaster are making any real money. News Corp. doubled its soccer capacity with introduction of Fox Soccer Plus (FSP), which I am fortunate to have access to. With local provider MSG Network contracting to broadcast my local team's matches, and Spanish-language network Univision contracting for other MLS matches, I have access to quite a bit of soccer. The matches are still treated as bastard children by half the broadcasters under contract, and it's just as likely my match will be pre-empted as not, but at least the access is there and progress is progress!
FSC is losing, or giving-up, its contract with MLS, and the domestic league has signed on with NBC starting with the 2012 season.
This is likely good news for MLS, which as a franchise-driven enterprise is not terribly interested in the quality of the product delivery but is required to focus on the profit-taking; so, if the broadcaster is paying the fee, then they can present the sport in any haphazard way they choose.
Looking at NBC's long history of sports production, one might think a quality product is forthcoming, but looking at NBC's recent history, and considering they are now owned by the less-than-prestigious Comcast Corporation, it is likely the integrity of the broadcasts, when compared to FSC, will deteriorate to Disney levels.
The forthcoming and current MLS television deals with Comcast, Disney and Univsion all expire at the end of 2014.
If Comcast (as NBC) can deliver quality broadcasts, and Disney drops out of the soccer business altogether because they are so very bad at it, it is likely that soccer in America might enjoy some more success. If, however, Comcast takes the Disney route (which is more likely than not), American soccer fans will experience a devolution of soccer in the United States, and will have to settle-in for more years of sub-standard treatment at the hands of anti-soccer broadcasters like Disney.
I hope that Comcast/NBC does a good job, and I hope MLS makes a lot of money.
M.L.S. and NBC Sports Announce New TV Deal
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Joe Bataan is performing tonight at Summerstage in Central Park.
Although I have always considered myself rather knowledgeable about popular music, I did not know about Joe Bataan until my early forties, when I moved to New York at the end of the last century.
I had heard "What Good Is A Castle" which is embedded below, but I knew nothing of this quintessentially New York sound and this amazing New York artist. The album "Riot!" was a gold selling release and his album "Subway Joe" (both released in 1968) is a classic.
At times called the King of Latin Soul, Bataan is actually African American and Filipino by birth; but he is all funky Latin soul by heritage.
If you purchase no other music this Summer, and you want to hear some solid New York soul, get some Joe Battan!
And if you're lucky enough to live in a city where he is performing during this current tour, get a ticket and have a blast!
Tuesday, August 09, 2011
I publish three statements below (two anonymous postings from Facebook, and a clip from Time magazine online) that make me realize we mostly see no connection between economic disenfranchisement and tinderbox uprisings.
At least in the Time article, there is mention that perhaps, just perhaps, there is a trail from bad economic policy to the London riots. That is quickly dismissed, however, because riots then happened in middle-class neighborhoods. Everyone knows things are hunky-dory for the middle class, and they have no need to riot.
For the past few years I have heard people say that things were going to end badly in Western nations with bad economic policies. Now that disenfranchised people have started rioting and other angry people have jumped onboard, there's no talk about us sacrificing our civilization for profits, it's all about the thugs who are taking advantage of a bad situation:
I do not agree that this uprising is solely connected to a single shooting and the opportunism of some yobs and thugs. We have destroyed civilization with economic policy that insists we push all the wealth to the top and watch it trickle-down to the hard-workers at the bottom. It has failed at every level and at every turn. It was always a fraud, and after thirty years of it, I think we are seeing only the beginning of the unrest.
I recommend this posting by Penny Red: Panic on the streets of London
Monday, August 08, 2011
Now that America's right-wing and their pals in Congress have finished their jack-off session about 9/11 and the amazing Americans who did so much to restore our country's hope in the aftermath of that attack on our sovereignty, now that the sperm has been wiped up off the floor of the Senate bathroom, and the pornographic pictures of President Bush and Mayor Giuliani humping Ground Zero have been folded up and filed away, and now that right-wing extremists have finished using 9/11 as a scare tactic to privatize more of our government security services, it's time to pay-off the poor suckers who did the dirty work: the first-responders who cared.
"They are heroes," declared every right-winger from the girl at the coffee shop, to the tea-party retiree, to the military hawk who never served a moment in the armed services, to the born-again Christian in Iowa who was so deeply hurt by the attack on the World Trade Center, to the Fox News talking heads, to the elected officials from Alaska and Nevada and Arizona who wouldn't know Greenwich Street from from Vesey Street from Liberty Street, and sadly to some actual New Yorkers who fly a flag of liberty for themselves as long as they don't have to pay any taxes. Yes, these brave first responders were the real Americans on September 12, 2001, and we are going to take care of them.
In 2006, New York City police officer James Zadroga died of respiratory illness that was attributed to his participation in rescue operations in the rubble of the World Trade Center. Less than five years after the WTC clean-up began, it became clear to non-conservative Americans that the people at and near that site who breathed-in the dust from the rubble were exposed to toxins that would likely compromise their health. Forever. On the other hand, "conservatives" aren't so convinced that first-responders are suffering long-term health problems as a result of their volunteerism.
"We must do something for them!" The same people who declared they were heroes shouted!
Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) introduced bills in their respective halls of Congress. It eventually passed the House in September 2010. In a Senate vote held in December, 2010, a Republican filibuster against the bill was eventually stopped but failed to get the sixty votes needed for the bill to proceed to an up-or-down vote. You see, the patriotic Republicans who'd won election after election on the back of 9/11 said that they would block any medical relief bill for 9/11 first responders unless tax cuts for families earning more than $250,000 were ensured.
Now, that's patriotism! That's showing love and concern for the first-responders: they can get health care as long as the top 5% of the population can have a tax cut. Maybe. Give us the tax-cuts and then we'll see.
Eventually, Congress managed to pass the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.
It doesn't cover cancer treatment.
You see, there is no proof that first-responders are liable to get cancer, so we better not cover cancer because we might help a first-responder who got cancer from bad diet, or from smoking, or from something other than the silica, talc, cellulose, calcium phosphate, and methacrylate plastic, etc., he breathed at Ground Zero, trying to save the lives of those who perished.
Nice job, Congress!
We seem to have protected those tax cuts for the top 5% of American citizens, but we can't figure out how to pay the medical bills for first-responders who get cancer.
You see, this is America: the only people who deserve health care are those who can afford it; and just because you risked your life digging holes trying to find cops and firefighters and fellow citizens buried in rubble on the days following a gruesome crime committed against our nation, that doesn't mean you deserve anything.
You're a fucking hero, now shut the fuck up, get back to work and vote "conservative" (they'll protect you from the fags, niggers and abortionists - the real problems in your life). And, sadly, many first-responders will vote "conservative."
Friday, August 05, 2011
The only clean and complete version of this video I can find is from VEVO, so it includes an advertisement at the beginning.
This is a wonderful post-punk cover of the American soul classic "Money (That's What I Want)" by avant-garde band The Flying Lizards, released in 1979.
They've also covered "Summertime Blues" and "Sex Machine" among others.
Remember: the best things in life are free, and if we continue with supply-side economic policy, most American will enjoy only things they get for free.
Thursday, August 04, 2011
One of the fundamental tenets of supply-side economic theory is that the government must be removed from the conduct of business.
All government intervention is detrimental to the development of the markets, and when the markets are left to their own devices, riches grow, manna falls from heaven, the sun shines, the grass grows, the forests become lush, the oceans thrive, the sky is clear and blue, poverty vanishes, everyone profits, the children are safe and happy, the streets flow with milk and honey, and it flows easily because said streets are paved in gold.
For the past thirty years, we have been systematically removing government from hindering business. Anyone who tells you that isn't true is either a liar or completely clueless. All of the Presidents since 1980 have helped de-fund regulatory agencies, including the IRS, and have appointed businessmen to head agencies previously headed by scientists, doctors and analysts.
We now have agencies that cost more than ever, are staffed at lower levels than ever, have had the teeth removed from their regulations, and are pretty much ineffective. This is the "conservative" way: cripple a service, then complain that it is ineffective, therefore it must be eliminated or privatized.
This is Reaganomics at its finest, and it is more alive this day than I think the Hunt family, Koch brothers, Rupert Murdoch, and Ronald Reagan himself ever thought possible.
Today's victory celebration for the supply-siders is taking place at the Cargill Meat Solutions processing plant in Arkansas. The table is set with the finest linens and silver, the creamer and sugar bowl are full, and the tea is steeping as we speak, because it is time for a little tea party!
Some of the ground turkey is bad. Salmonella has tainted it and a recall is taking place. Well . . . not just some ground turkey, but thirty-six million pounds of ground turkey.
Now, I don't know how long it takes to grind thirty-six million pounds of ground turkey, but I suspect it doesn't take place overnight.
At the Cargill website, they state that the facility in Springdale, Arkansas, processes two-hundred-fifty million turkey annually. According to news reports, the contamination fook place between February 20, 2011, and August 2, 2011 (that's about 160 days - give or take).
So, it appears that on a good day, with all the inspectors out of the way, and the staff working extra hours, perhaps a quarter-million pounds of turkey is ground.
It also appears that with all the inspectors out of the way and the staff working as hard as they can, that nobody is really paying attention to cleanliness; you know, like tracking bacteria that might kill somebody.
The reports of salmonella illness related to the ground turkey started March 1, 2011, and continued until the recall began August 1, 2011.
Now, using supply-side philosophy and tea party logic, if there was no government agency overseeing meat manufacturing, and there was no funding for the Centers for Disease Control, then the food industry would have plenty of resources to have discovered this problem and prevent something like this from happening.
If you really believe in Reaganomics, then you believe that Cargill itself would have found the salmonella and recalled the meat much faster than the five months it has taken. If only the evil United States government would get out of their way.
In the supply-side Utopia, there is no Food & Drug Administration, and no funding for the Centers for Disease Control. All industry inspection is handled by the industrialists themselves and all disease control is funded with the vast charitable contributions made by people like Donald Trump.
In reality, supply-side philosophy and the tea party movement benefit a very tiny number of people; likely a percentage so small that it can't be measured easily. Yet, millions and millions of Americans believe Ronald Reagan was a saint, did more for the middle-class than any President before him, and that the tea party movement is the only hope America has for its future.
If you want more poisoned meat, if you want less government oversight, if you want the industrialists to be the only people with a say in the development of American industry, then put on (or keep on) the blinders, vote Republican, and send a few dollars to the long-suffering billionaires who are trying to save the world with a tea party.
Investigation Announcement: Multistate Outbreak of Human Salmonella Heidelberg Infections, from the CDC site
Cargill recalls 36 million pounds of turkey in salmonella outbreak, from Quad City Times
Gargill recalling 36M pounds of ground turkey, from Bloomberg Businessweek
Wednesday, August 03, 2011
Attempting to simmer-up through the haze of bullshit that is the mainstream media's coverage of our government, is the huge success of the tea party: the shuttering, however temporary, of the Federal Aviation Administration.
The radical right has never hidden their desire to shutter the federal government, and their hero Grover Norquist has gone so far as to say he wants it so small he can "drown it in the bathtub."
Traitors all of them, there is much rejoicing among the tea party, the so-called "libertarians" and the so-called "conservatives" as four thousand employees are sent home without pay, and the entire 90,000-strong work force of the FAA faces potential dismissal.
The dismantling of our government, one agency at a time, has been the goal of supply-siders since their initial victory: electing Ronald Reagan in 1980.
The important story is the philosophical victory. The right-wing extremists now know they can shutter any agency and any branch of government, and the citizens have no way to stop it.
The side-story, which is of less importance than the philosophical victory in the "conservative" war against America, is the loss of over a hundred million dollars a week [ed.] in revenue the FAA cannot collect during its shut-down. This amount is nothing in today's economy, but the "conservatives" complain that we spend too much, and are now preventing an agency that collects funds to support it operations from collecting those funds. Why? Because the right-wing extremists ("libertarians" and "conservatives") don't want the government to collect any money: they want our government dead. They are traitors.
It is important to consider this notion: the Republicans don't care if there is a balanced budget, because most of the deficit is generated by putting money into the hands of the rich, they only want to eliminate government agencies that get in the way of making more money at any cost to the taxpayer.
This is a huge victory for the right-wing extremists, and the moderates are bickering over "who is to blame" and "who did what to whom" in the debt-ceiling debacle.
The right-wing is shutting down our government. They are the worse kind of traitors, and nobody is stopping them.
Tuesday, August 02, 2011
The building that housed the La Crosse, Wisconsin, offices of We Are Wisconsin was destroyed by fire this past Sunday.
With the recall election for the 32nd Senate District just ten days later, the loss is a blow to the campaign to unseat tea party politicians who have been gutting Wisconsin's once-proud and effective state government.
Wisconsin has been one of the proudest and most successful state governments in the entire nation, and the efforts of the tea party to destroy state services there and dismantle the government should be shocking to everyone.
As investigators complete their analysis of the fire, We Are Wisconsin has found a new home at the offices of the Plumbers & Steamfitters Union Local 434 Training Center, in La Crosse.
It is imperative that progressives and workers in Wisconsin not let this fire interrupt their hard work of saving America from the vagaries of tea party policy (policy that seems to be made-up as they go along, to inflict the most harm on those who do the most work).
Please consider a donation, however small, to We Are Wisconsin at this link to their donation page.
See, Fire destroys downtown buildings on Jay Street, LaCrosse Tribune
Monday, August 01, 2011
Apple Computer has been lauded lately not for their technology, for which they should always be lauded; but, because the have accumulated more cash on hand than the United States government. Now people, even liberals, are saying that the US government should run more like Apple.
The accumulation of personal wealth is a lifelong challenge, and the accumulation of corporate wealth is the sign of good things to come for a company's executives, management, staff, and shareholders.
I am baffled by America's penchant for confusing corporate wealth and function with government wealth and function. Since the late-1970s, there has been a teeny-tiny movement of people, with a big voice in the media, saying that our government should run more like a business. This has never been a good idea, of course, and will never be a good, because any government attempting to run like a business will either be a perfect fascist state (which America is not), or a dismal failure (which America might be).
There is a difference between a business and a government; and those who want the American government to run like Apple should realize that, philosophically, it already is attempting that using tea party philosophy: keep everything for the guys at the top and let the rest of us fend for ourselves.
When the rich guys drove the economy into the ground (then blamed the poor guys), I decided I was just as capable of losing my money in the stock market as the professionals. I didn't get a government bail-out, so I took some funds and opened a brokerage account.
I figured the stocks of major corporations weren't going to go down much further and only a knuckle-head would lose money buying GE at seven, PG at 45, or BAC and F at three. After all, Ford (F) did not declare bankruptcy and did not ask for welfare, so it was likely a safe bet under $3. I also gotten other companies. It hasn't make me rich, but I've managed to eek out some growth and maintain some decent holdings.
Not all companies pay dividends, but after enough years of success and a solid cash flow, shareholders are generally rewarded with quarterly paychecks. If a company pays $2.00 a year in dividends, you receive .50 per share per quarter. So, if you own a thousand shares of stock, you will get five-hundred bucks per quarter. I only buy companies that pay (or paid and plan to pay again) dividends. I want earnings. This is (or was) a capitalist economy and that's how the stock market works. You take my money and make some money and share the profits when the books are balanced.
Some companies had to suspend dividends during the Republican Depression of 2008, some only cut them, and some dividends are beginning to grow again. Banks that received bailouts are not allowed to increase dividends without permission, since the people who were receiving the big dividends from the banks were also the people who destroyed the banks and asked for (and received) welfare.
When a company, especially a technology or pharmaceutical company, is starting out, you can buy their stock cheap and it pays no dividend. You are taking a risk by supporting a start-up and the expectation is that if/when it hits, you will be rewarded with two forms of income: higher value of your shares and dividend income.
Apple (AAPL) was only $100 at the time of the Republican Depression of 2008, which was a good price, and I thought about getting some of that; but, then I learned that Apple does not pay a dividend to its shareholders. It used to pay a three-cent quarterly dividend, but that stopped in 1995. So, I passed.
I believe that a company as wealthy and successful and established as Apple should be paying its shareholders their due, in the form of dividends.
Apple, however, earns big money and keeps it all. They pay big salaries to the guys at the top, some of the people in the middle, wages to those at the bottom, and nothing to the shareholders.
Apple, like a smart business, uses some of it's money on R&D, but also disperses none of its remaining money to the shareholders.
This is how the tea party wants America to operate: send whatever funds we've got to the guys at the top and they will make certain that everything is handled. We've had three decades of this operation, and it's a dismal failure.
We are not a company, we are a government and we need to run like a government, not like Apple.
Now, if Apple wants to set a good example, it would change its ways to be more like the America that was once successful and less like a Tea Party.
There are about a billion shares of Apple stock in the market.
Apple has about seventy-six billion dollars in cash.
Keep half of the cash as a prudent reserve and to protect operating costs.
Apple now has about $38,000,000,000 in cash.
Let's say they keep about half of that for research and development.
Apple now has about twenty billion in cash.
If Apple started giving shareholders a very modest twenty-five cent quarterly dividend, it would have twenty years of future dividends on-hand today. This payout is so modest it is only about .005% return at today's share prices. This is insultingly low, but it would be a start.
Apple gives nothing. Apple wants to keep all that money for the guys at the top. Just like the tea party wants to do with our government.
Apple has great technology, but I don't want my government run like Apple any more than it already is!
When it is announced that Apple has more money than God, I will compare them with The Vatican. Until then, please enjoy a cup of tea.
See Google Finance for some fundamental information about Apple's stock.