|Blog Noir. An interplay of cultural references, snark, the occasional smutty joke, Dadaism, Mamaism, and a genuine outrage at the horrors of The Situation.
--to paraphrase Freddy el Desfibradddoro
Sunday, January 09, 2011
NEW! Improved! GOP Now even Softer on Terror
Yes, Spot, the Republicans are totally soft on terror. I know it's a little confusing. These are the same people who go around stomping their feet and shouting about how the government should be tougher on terrorism. They sound so tough, so John Wayne-ly, but it's really just the sound of their own disorganized thinking and paranoia. If you ignore the noise and watch what what they actually do you will see something rather different. Whenever they hear the word 'terrorist' they tend to pee their pants and run blubbering for the protection of an all-knowing, all-powerful, Daddy-state. That's not about being tough on terror. Blowing pathetic little snot bubbles while you exchange basic civil liberties for the promise of security is just being your basic gutless, spineless, yellow-bellied cry-baby. OTOH, when confronted with a political assasination, which is legally defined as Domestic Terrorism, Republicans just avoid the "T-word". They wander around aimlessly, issuing platitudes, and speculating about the mental status of the terrorist. Being tough on terror would mean going after not only the terrorist himself, but those who incited the terrorism with violent rhetoric or extreme ideology. As a matter of fact, the President has the unrestricted authority to have those suspected of aiding or inciting the terrorism kidnapped and killed or imprisoned indefinitely. If the Republicans had the cojones to live up to their own speechifying they would be demanding that the President do so immediately. But they won't - because they are just gutless opportunistic paranoids who are soft on terror.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Journalism: Old School
As you say, Spot, people usually do their best when they know that somebody important is probably watching. So maybe, like you said, the cleansing sunlight of Truth is necessary to burn out the pockets of evil eating into our System like gangrene. Or maybe it's just that people up-to-no-gooding don't wanna be caught, and like most all vermin problems, you can limit the damage by depriving them of safe places to feed and breed. You know, good old fashioned habitat destruction. And you are correct, that's what the good old fashioned journalists did. But the good old fashioned journalist habitat has been seriously degraded by the fact that nowadays the billionaires own all the best printing presses. Nowadays prospective journalists need to choose between doing their job and having one. That's why it's kinda cool when somebody like this Assange guy builds his own printing press and then cranks it up to eleven.
Wednesday, December 08, 2010
No, Virginia, The Rich Do Not Steal From The Poor
My friend says that the rich steal from the poor. My Daddy says, "It's only 'stealing' if it's illegal and that the rich can afford their own laws." Then Mommy says, "Do NOT let Daddy talk politics!" I am confused. Can you help?
Many questions in politics and economics are very complicated and require long complicated answers. Fortunately, yours is not one of them. No, Virginia, the very rich do not steal from the poor - they hire others to do that for them.
When you see someone on TV saying that they won't work as hard if taxes go up, that person is telling the truth. You are listening to one of the people hired to make sure the rich keep getting richer. If they don't do that, they will be fired and forced to survive on the paltry millions they have accumulated for themselves.
Monday, July 05, 2010
The "Qu" cube counts as two letters
Now that I'm done teaching my summer course, some days I find myself at loose ends. I'm at home this week with Lady C., our hound, and we spend our days reading and playing Boggle™. The problem is, of course, she has trouble using words of more than one syllable, let alone spelling them. So it gets boring, and when things get boring the conversation inevitably turns to politics.
Even my hound is disgusted by the Tea Party farce. And that's because although she cannot spell, she has an instinctive quantitative sense. And she realizes that anyone who takes the Tea Party movement seriously is just not understanding the math.
When "grassroots" organizers such as Russo, Marsh, and Associates (founders of Tea Party Express™), Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform™, and the notoriously insipid Family Research Council™ (among the co-founders of the National Tea Party Federation™) set this thing up, I'll bet they never dreamed it would succeed like it has.
That's because most if us have yet to adjust to how complicit the media has become in treating astroturf as "news." Despite the fact that the commercial news outlets by and large wouldn't mention torture, and have conveniently forgotten that we were lied into starting a devastating war, they fawn over the Tea Partiers, follow every move of their Pageanteer-in-Chief, and lavish attention on any illogical argument that is offered. Network news broadcasts and NPR have been all over the FoxNews™-orchestrated rallies and their re-warmed anti-tax slogans. Eight years ago, I remember I would come home and watch in vain for coverage of huge anti-war marches -- and admit to having naïvely expected something like the coverage the tiny Tea Party has routinely received.
Of course, Lady C. now lives in California, which is where the anti-tax contagion started, back in those days of Governor Reagan and Howard Jarvis. She doesn't remember them, but occasionally when we are walking in the park, she will sniff the wind, make a face and put her tail between her legs as she tries to turn around and go home. Could it be?
In any case, the dog understands that since the budgetary cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is around $1.05 trillion, what the Tea Party is screaming about is chump change. As the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities chart above shows, war costs dwarf the things that they are complaining about like TARP ($151 billion in 2009), or even Medicare and Medicaid ($676 billion in 2009). To say nothing of the Minerals Management Service at the Department of the Interior ($0.348 billion in 2010) or the National Endowment for the Arts ($0.155 billion in 2009). Which all, of course, are smaller than regular Defense spending ($782 billion in 2009).
So what these people should really be doing is protesting is the size of the Defense budget and the additional spending on two wars through annual "Emergency Supplementals" and "Emergency Budget Amendments." And yet...
It would be silly to say that my dog was smarter than those Tea Party members, the equivalent of saying an actor is stupid for speaking like an Elizabethan nobleman. Still, in this case, I prefer my dog's inarticulacy to their theatrical protests, and those of the "deficit hawks" who have forgotten that their troubles came from being such "hawks" eight years ago.
She smelled something bad this morning, and I barely got her to cross the street into the park. I don't know what it was, but when we got home she clobbered me at Boggle™. She got 29 points alone for the words "economic" "muscle" "masquerading" and "protest."
Saturday, June 26, 2010
While things seem to be otherwise moribund around here, I just thought I'd share a detail of an image taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA’s Terra satellite. For some reason when I come across these images they stop me cold. If there were an attack on the country in which we live we would be inundated with images about it constantly. And yet, the profound environmental threats that we are facing are for the most part swept under the rug of discussions of short-term economic harm to people along the coast and how to compensate them.
I suppose reading everything in terms of short-term economic impact shouldn't surprise me -- these days, nothing is more important than daily stock prices, and we've begun to worry more about those than those obsolete concerns like life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. But there is still something deeply disconcerting about a moment when we've just added poison to the cup we're drinking from, as we are turning up the thermostat to make the room we're in even more uncomfortable, and somehow manage to keep acting as if we know what we're doing.
We don't know what we're doing, though. And I think there is a reason that we still act as if we do. I've long thought that people often make fundamental errors in assessing risks because they apply models based on interactions with other people to how they deal with the natural world. It is understandable, but it leads to bad decisions.
With people, intent is very important. If a person pushes you, your assessment of the risk is crucial to your reaction. You look up, read their body language, and judge whether it was accidental or on purpose. Your response entirely hinges on this assessment. If it is accidental you smile or growl or whatever your personality dictates, but you don't mark down the person as someone to be avoided, or the location where it happened as a dangerous area. If it was on purpose, it is an entirely different story -- you kick into fight or flight mode, and afterwards change your habits in order to avoid getting into this situation.
Some threats fit into this intent model. I read the old Cold War novel Failsafe when I was a teen, about a detachment of bombers accidentally sent to drop nuclear missiles on Moscow. The novel hinged on the USSR's trying to discern the US intent. The moral quandary that faced the US President faced was the result of the need to prove that the missile launch was accidental. And indeed, a threat is a real threat if the person who bumped you did it on purpose, and just like your body's peripheral nervous system and switches into high gear if people perceive the media go berserk when someone means to do us harm. Hopeless shoe bomber, wall-to-wall coverage, and shoes become public enemy number one at airports across the world. BP spills 200,000 gallons of oil on Alaska's North Slope, and no one mentions it until they spill some 30,000,000 gallons (and counting) into the Gulf of Mexico.
Taking risks when driving at high speeds, though, doesn't fit that model. Contexts where we're "in control" don't worry us, even as consequences of a minute risk get more and more dire. Stockpiling weapons of mass destruction, working in hazardous environments, extracting natural resources deep underwater? We're in control, so any mishap would simply be an accident, and doesn't require us to change our habits. If we get pushed, but don't see bad intentions, we don't change our behavior. As a result we assess risk in situations like deepwater oil extraction particularly badly. The intention of the oil companies is to limit environmental damage and maximize profit, and that trumps the "blind luck" involved in using inherently risky technology.
It also doesn't help that questioning the importance of the producing oil is a taboo subject. Despite the prospect of long-term damage to the ecosystem of large part of the Gulf and even the Atlantic Ocean, with all the long-term damage to animals and people that will result, the majority of the policy debate about the response has to do with economic factors: compensating fishermen for lost income, BP's payouts and stock prices, the effect of a moratorium on other companies, and the impact on tourism. As long as the currency of the debate is dollars, long-term damage and more complex injuries to environment, health, ways of life, and the suffering of animals don't actually count.
Daniel Quinn's novel Ishmael points to the importance of the story that we tell ourselves in dealing with Nature: "given a story to enact in which the world is a foe to be conquered, they will conquer it like a foe, and one day, inevitably, their foe will lie bleeding to death at their feet, as the world is now." This analogy is made more accurate by the fact that, generally, in the media it is the deaths of Americans that "count" and are reported in foreign conflicts. Generally, it is only the economic impacts on people and corporations that "count" in BP's attack on the Gulf.
Which sucks for us, because our appetites for energy, in addition to causing us to engage in unnecessary wars, will keep us doing risky activities like deepwater oil extraction. We're not assessing the risk properly because we've stopped caring about anything in life but the dollars we stand to win in the game. And, like an addict, as long as we keep rolling the dice, we'll keep losing to the house.
Thursday, April 08, 2010
Humane Society Threatens Homeland
At first, I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw US Rep. King's press release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Matt Lahr
April 7, 2010
King Informs 4-H Leaders of Real Agenda of Humane Society
SIOUX CITY - Congressman Steve King (R-IA) today released a statement objecting to the presence of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) at a recent National 4-H Conference. King’s purpose is to inform 4-H leaders and members of the extreme anti-animal agriculture agenda of HSUS.At first I thought, "anti-animal"? That's fine. But then I realized it said "anti-animal agriculture." And "agenda." It might just have been all that alliteration, but I was starting to feel queasy. By "animal agriculture" did he mean "killing animals"? And the Humane Society is against it?
Not on my watch!
That's why I'm writing this diary, because I believe:
Off MY TABLE?
Then Steve King lowered his proverbial boom:
"HSUS is run by vegetarians with an agenda whose goal is to take meat off everyone’s table in America.”
At first, I thought it couldn't be true. I went to the Humane Society's website and couldn't find anything like that.
But then I did some searching around the internet, and found the following document:
There you have it. In black and white.
Animal rights wackos planning to destroy our way of life: Kids. Economy. Pets. Meat.
And people are worried because rightwing militias like Hutaree plan to kill police officers! I give the true threat to the homeland: animal lovers.
Thank you, Steve King. Thank you.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
A Tiny Suggestion, Mr Zealot
Let's say that you've just put up a big fight over some issue, and you still got your butt kicked. Perhaps it would be better if you didn't call it an Apocalypse. Unless, of course, you really truly mean to claim that your side is the force of Ultimate Evil and that it was just defeated by the forces of Ultimate Good.
P.S. I only mention this for your own good. I know you have been very worried lately about the fate of Democratic candidates this fall and I want you to know how much I appreciate that.
Monday, March 22, 2010
RE: Whiny Tin Fascists = WTF ?
Well, Spot, you are correct again. But consider this, being without health insurance does strongly correlate with being without health care. I suppose you are right about what you call the DC Tautology - ie solving the the problem of uninsured Americans by passing a law saying that all Americans have to buy insurance. But I don't think it's necessarily a bad idea. In the first place; prisoners receive medical services, so people in prison for being uninsured will have health care. In the second place, I think the DC Tautology has great potential. Just think, we could solve unemployment by simply passing a law requiring everybody to be employed. And we could stop 99% of illegal immigration by simply passing a law extending US citizenship to everyone born in Mexico.
I know it didn't work so well when they tried to solve drug addiction by outlawing drugs, but maybe they just weren't tautological enough. Probably it would have worked better if they outlawed being addicted instead.
Labels: health care
Monday, March 01, 2010
Memoirs of a Part-time Zombie
Our ranks spread across the room. We are all facing the same direction, some are a little more coordinated than others and some are dripping a little body fluid. Technically this is the cardio room at Clyde's Gym of Resolve and we are all here proving that Americans are not afraid of hard sweaty work. At least not as long as it take place in a climate controlled room and there is parking space available conveniently near the front door. But there isn't any sense of common purpose or even much interaction between us, mostly people just dully pursue their own private goals without acknowledging those around them. And from where I'm sitting, on this stationary bike, I say, "Zombie is as Zombie does."
Thursday, January 21, 2010
The Illusion that wasn't there.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Is the amount Common Cause reports Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman received in health industry campaign contributions from 2000-2008.
A year is how much his wife Hadassah received from a lobbying firm to consult on health care in just one year during that period. Prior to this, she also ran PR for drug companies like Hoffman-LaRoche and Pfizer, according to Salon.
Is my forlorn hope that somehow the founders designed a system that can weather the craven cash-for-obstruction breach of the public trust that has paralyzed the national legislature:
Another effect of public instability is the unreasonable advantage it gives to the sagacious, the enterprising, and the moneyed few over the industrious and uniformed mass of the people. Every new regulation concerning commerce or revenue, or in any way affecting the value of the different species of property, presents a new harvest to those who watch the change, and can trace its consequences; a harvest, reared not by themselves, but by the toils and cares of the great body of their fellow-citizens. This is a state of things in which it may be said with some truth that laws are made for the FEW, not for the MANY.- Federalist Papers, No. 62
Free Market Squirrel:
Nice try, Cappy. That was how Madison and Hamilton justified the creation of a deliberative body called the "Senate" that would be isolated from the winds of public instability that buffet the House. What they don't seem to have predicted was that lawmakers like Joe Lieberman have a vested interest in maintaining the imbalance between rich corporate interests and poor people too busy scrambling to pay their medical bills. As George Bush put it, "Some people call you the elite. I call you my base." Which means that as dollars replace votes as the currency used to buy political influence in government, actual governing becomes increasingly impossible. As the forces of obstruction grow ever more dominant, the private sector emerges as the only agent of change. And that's when everyone will learn to love and accept the efficiencies of the market. Bwah-hah-hah-hah. Enjoy your last few years of freedom before you too learn to love your squirrelly capitalist overlords!
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Making the “Bill of Rights” Cost Efficient
By Free Market Squirrel
We on the right know that the market is the most efficient way to deliver Health Care.1 Sure, people don’t deserve to die because they don’t have enough money to be cured – we acknowledged that when we complained about “death panels.” The only reason they do now is because of market distortions.
By this logic, the market should also be the best way to guarantee other basic things people need at the lowest cost. Not many Republicans have the political courage to acknowledge this argument in public. But here at the Cato Institute, Free Market Squirrel has never lacked the courage of his convictions.
For these reasons, I propose the following revision to the Bill of Rights, with more liberty than before – I've added Naming Rights!
The New and Improved Yahoo! Bill of Rights
1. The Western Union First Amendment
1. The Western Union First Amendment
Congress shall make no law respecting those establishments of religion able to purchase one of five “speech indulgences” auctioned off at the annual First Amendment Auction; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, as long as individuals or news organizations restrict themselves to using only the vowels they have bought at the Wheel of Fortune event at the annual First Amendment Auction; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble on land they own, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances using telegrams purchased at participating Western Union outlets.
2. The Remington Second Amendment
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed, with the definition of Militia provided by the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action.
3. The Ramada Inn Third Amendment
3. The Ramada Inn Third Amendment
No Soldier shall, in time of peace or war be quartered in any house, provided the owner pays the Soldier a “Freedom Isn’t Free” indemnity equal to the price of a single room at a nearby Ramada Inn.
4. The Xe Services Fourth Amendment
The right of the corporations to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated. People not so much. Warrants have probable cause if and only they are attached to the barrel of a gun owned or leased by Xe Services.
5. Liz Claiborne’s Fifth Amendment
On the first day of every month, each county shall auction off twelve places on its Grand Jury. No person shall be held to answer for any capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of that Grand Jury; nor shall any person who grants one wish to each member of that Grand Jury be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb. No one shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without at least some minimal process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, unless the Grand Jury deems the person a “fashion victim.”
6. The Orbitz Sixth Amendment
In all criminal prosecutions, judges will be allowed to use a “tiered service” model to charge the accused a graduated fee that determines the speed of their public trial, the distance of the trial from the place where the crime was committed, and the amount of information the accused receives about the nature and cause of the accusation. The accused has the right to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense, as long as each is transported to the trial using the best fare obtained through Orbitz’s “Low Fare Promise.”
7. The Kelly Services Seventh Amendment
7. The Kelly Services Seventh Amendment
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by a jury shall be preserved. Anyone summoned by a jury shall have the right to hire a temporary “Kelly Services Temp Juror” to take their place. No fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law, barring a Warrant of the kind described in the Fourth Amendment (see above).
8. The ABC/Disney Eighth Amendment
Bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed in excess of the value of the defendant’s home and car. Cruel and unusual punishments shall not be inflicted, except when demanded by a plurality of telephone voters who are watching it on television.
9. The Church of the Latter Day Saints Ninth Amendment
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people, except for teh gay.
10. The Goldman Sachs Tenth Amendment
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve.
I'm off to run up Milton Friedman's leg and see if I can find a nut. Seriously, though, this is what's coming, so if you don't like it, move to North Korea. Love, Free Market Squirrel.
I'm off to run up Milton Friedman's leg and see if I can find a nut. Seriously, though, this is what's coming, so if you don't like it, move to North Korea. Love, Free Market Squirrel.
1. “The central purpose of President Bush's health policy, and John McCain's, is to reduce the role of insurance and make Americans pay a larger part of their health care bills out of pocket. Their embrace of market forces, fierce antagonism toward government, and determination to force individuals to have more "skin in the game" are overriding — all other goals are subsidiary. Indeed, the Republican commitment to market-oriented reforms is so strong that, to attain their vision, Bush and McCain seem willing to take huge risks with the efficiency, equity, and stability of our health care system… A side effect of the McCain plan would be to threaten access to adequate insurance for millions of America's sickest citizens.” Dr. David Blumenthal, “Primum Non Nocere — The McCain Plan for Health Insecurity”
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Lessons to be Drawn from the Fort Hood Massacre
… of 1991
• “Remember Fort Hood” says the Colorado billboard implying President Obama is a dangerous Muslim.
"Since Fort Hood, I've had it," owner Phil West told FOX 31 News Friday. "You can't suggest things. You can't profile. You gotta call a spade a spade."• “The man who did that shooting in Texas…” muttered the woman shopping in the Jewel grocery store before assaulting another shopper, a Palestinian-American woman in the hijab.
A suburban Chicago woman has been charged with a hate crime for allegedly yanking the head scarf of a Muslim woman in Tinley Park two days after the shootings at Fort Hood, Texas.Where were these bigots when, in 1991, the worst massacre in Texas was committed in the town of Killeen, next to Fort Hood? George Hennard killed 23 people in a local restaurant.
George Hennard didn’t look like Barack Obama or Amal Abusumayah. His father, Dr. Georges Marcel Hennard, was actually not from the Middle East, but from Europe – Switzerland, to be exact. What was the agenda of George Hennard? We know this about him:
"He hated blacks, Hispanics, gays. He said women were snakes," recalls Jamie Dunlap, who briefly shared an apartment with Hennard in Temple, Texas, that year.Let’s for a moment accept the idea of these bigots who think that the more recent shootings at Fort Hood tell us something bad about people who share the shooter’s ethnic background or belief system.
If that is true, then the 1991 shootings there tell us something twice as bad about them!
Of course, both propositions are false – but it is sad how people generalize when the perpetrator is from a minority group, but completely fail to do so when they are from the dominant group.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Blackwater Massacre Legal Services
At Blackwater Massacre Legal Services (BMLS) we’re here to help.
Once we, too, were in your position. Our guys had just massacred 17 Iraqi civilians because… well, we don’t really know why. There were cars in the way, and they didn’t move fast enough – you know the drill. It has been reported that:
At 12:08 p.m., at least one guard began to fire in the direction of a car, killing its driver. A traffic policeman said he walked toward the car, but more shots were fired, killing a woman holding an infant sitting in the passenger seat.
But honestly, who the hell knows? Despite the fact that there have been five investigations launched, not one American contractor has been punished.
That’s where BMLS comes in. We’ve taken our experiences with the Nisour Square killing spree and turned it into a proven method to evade justice.
The key here is to realize that justice is a relative concept. If our guys had been real soldiers, do you think they would have avoided discipline? If this happened to American civilians, do you think this wouldn’t have been the trial of the century? Not bloody likely.
We have distilled our experience to two core principles:
1) Justice isn’t blind. To money.
In 2007, we spent over a million dollars to bribe Iraqi officials “to silence their criticism and buy their support”. And we can do it for you.
However, we’ve found that principle number one works best when the government is a client state of our own. So we invented principle number two.
2) Outsource your atrocity.
Let’s say you just got fired from your job in a canning factory. Iraq has canning factories! We can fly you out, put you up in deluxe accommodations, and drive you out to the canning factory in a well-appointed SUV with a wet bar. As we approach it in a heavily-armed convoy, you can sit at the window and fire away. Alternatively, Afghanistan has numerous high schools, and Haiti has many post offices.
Here at BMLS, our motto is: Immunity from prosecution isn’t cheap. But aren’t you worth it?
Monday, October 12, 2009
I Hate Mr. Popular
I am sooooooooooo tired of BHO being Mr. Popular Guy! My daddy RBC taught me that being true to yourself means never giving an inch, and that nothing is worth having if someone else gives it up voluntarily. So I know BHO is doing something wrong if people like him so much and give him free stuff.
If people give you something, it can only be because they think you’re a patsy. Sure, not having any friends was difficult growing up, but I persevered because I knew having friends shows you don’t believe in your own dominance. Besides, I had my broom-puppet Ayn and my mechanical-puppy Pacemaker to keep me company. Have you ever heard the expression “a friend in need is a friend indeed?” Well, between injections, my mother LAVC always said that the logical extension of this was that the only reason people want to be your friend is that they want something from you.
Awards are only worth something if they are pried out someone else’s cold, dead hands. Like Saddam’s pistol. Would you rather have something given you for “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples” or something that damn well demonstrated your superior strength to said international peoples? At SMU they know which one they’d rather have. If this isn’t a no-brainer to you, then, frankly, you’re toast because I live on your planet, and I’m freaking going be Queen of the Freaking Galaxy.
But the joke is on him. I’m going to tell everyone that BHO has friends, and LOTS of them. That will embarrass him and force him to act selfishly to dispel the rumor. Then he’ll be really lonely, and people will think he is really selfish, and I won’t look nearly as creepily spiteful and sanctimoniously self-interested.
Memo to self: Need a tiara that shoots freaking laser beams.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Bush Cheney GOP named in class action suit
A law firm acting on on behalf of the citizens of the United States filed suit earlier today seeking to recover nearly 10 trillion dollars that was lost during a single presidential administration. The suit cites criminal negligence, gross incompetence, and "acts deliberately contrary to the oath of office," among other things and includes a 937 page list of specific events ranging from the 1999 election irregularities to the 2008 transference of public funds to Wall Street.
A spokesperson for the defendants told reporters that the suit was clearly politically motivated and, further, that United States citizens had not taken advantage of opportunities to research the facts for themselves and thereby acquire an informed opinion.
The suit alleges that citizens unable to think clearly because they were enticed by Nationalistic Glory and driven by blatant fear mongering.
Friday, September 11, 2009
And a Very Merry Ethiopian New Year to You, to You
It's September 11 again, and you know what that means. That's right - it's the Ethiopian New Year bringing in the year 2002. It's a day of hope and joy because, in the alternate reality of the Ethiopian Calendar; there is still time to shut off the TV, pry our butts out of the LaZBoy, and stop all the invading, torturing and illegal wiretapping. Not to mention using Borrow 'n' Squander as economic policy. Matter of fact I think I'll go do that now, you know, right after this football game is over.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
You say 'Potahto', and I say, 'Public Option'
You know how I told you that we'd be able to get you that hip replacement just as soon as the Preznit got this health care mess all sorted out?
Well, maybe not... on account of I'm reading in the Blogtubes that the Preznit is about to sell us out and let the Republicans kill the public option in exchange for 0 votes. I know, it's a pretty steep bargain there, but hopefully all those Republican ideas that get worked into the legislation will make it so great that it will TOTALLY ROCK and we will forget all about that poor public option in the woozy aftermath of realizing how awesome tiny little toothless co-ops are. They sure are cute, especially when they try to gum an acorn. Squee!
But I got to thinking, Spot -- oh yes, I know I've been told not to do that but it sometimes still happens... sort of like ghost limb pain after an amputation, except in this case my head is still mostly there. But anyway, with a head full of hurt and a heart full of sadness, I thought this:
Back before Obama was a Senator, he said we needed single payer health care in this country. Said it wouldn't be easy, and might take place in small steps over a couple of decades, but that's what we really need to fix us up. Single Payer, baby. It's what's for dinner. In 2027.
Well later, after being a Senator and all, when he was a Prez-o-dential candidate -- he said that any meaningful health care reform must contain a public option large and big and huge enough to have sufficient clout to bargain down costs and keep the insurance industry honest -- otherwise the whole dang thing wouldn't work. Sure did. You can look it up.
Nowadays, Preznit Obama is telling us that a public option is important, but not that important.... except that it is, but it's really just a sliver, and definitely isn't the thing we should be focused on to the exclusion of all others in our debate -- like, for instance, the 'Don't Eat So Much' provisions that will help us not eat so much, and the 'Death Panels', which actually look pretty great when you tack them to the side of an Econoline van -- on account of they are all Heironymus Bosch type of spooky! Then Obama says, "Wait -- this isn't even the public option you were looking for!" while kind of wiggling his hand around. And we go, "Wait, what? Yes it is, it's exactly the one we were looking for." Then he starts talking about how good the soup is.
Well, even though the soup really is pretty dang good, the poor public option has clearly now fallen on hard times, status wise. It's sort of lying on the ground right now, not moving at all. Kind of like a potato. Or that ball lying there, which has a bell inside and is pink and smells like peanut butter.
I have another wave of painful thought, and say, "We must ask ourselves a few questions about this potato, Spot. For the good of the country, and for potato(e)s everywhere. First, let me ask you one:
Me: Why would a prezit want to turn the public option into a pink ball... potato?
Spot Licks his chops and whines a little bit.
Me: Right. He could just be hungry.
Spot: Growls at the floor, and picks up the ball in his mouth and thrashes his head side to side for a little bit, and drools on my shoe.
Me: Right again. He might just hate that potato now! Er, public option. Maybe it tastes bad?
Spot: Lies on floor and ogles the ball wistfully with dreamy eyes, every so often nudging it a bit closer to me.
Me: Reaches down and picks up the ball.
Spot: Howls a keening cry of loss and woe!
Me Oh. Oh right. I squint and my mouth moves a little. Hey! Maybe he loves it so much, he's afraid to lose it. Hmm. So maybe by not being all handsy and kissyface with it in public he's hoping nobody else will want to pick it up one night when he pops out for a burrito, or something. Maybe he was hoping that by the time everything needed to be put all together nobody would even know that ball... er, potato was even there. I mean look at it! It's small and pink and round and it has a bell in. Plus it smells like Skippy. Who would be afraid of that?
Spot: Makes a complicated series of facial gestures that I take to mean, 'Well, either that or he sold out all of his principles for a couple of votes!
Me: That is ridiculous! He has a filibuster proof majority in the Senate, and a huge majority in the House!
Spot: Grabs a pen, and writes this:
"Rahm says we still don't have the votes."
Us, in unison: Rahm is going to steal the potato!!!
Later on, after I beat Spot repeatedly at UNO, Spot writes a final note:
"Hip still hurts"
Me: There, there, Spot. I'll just sell some more plasma. Only 223 pints to go! I pass out.
Spot hides the ball... potato... public option under the sofa, then limps out to find a torpid squirrel.
Meanwhile.... I dream. I dream of pie. Sweet potato pie. And there's plenty for everybody.
The potato under the couch that is actually a ball but is really the public option is oddly quiet. But under the couch is a pretty safe place to be around here, as places go. Maybe it'll be safe there. Who knows?
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
Sky Eye on the White Peril
Well, Spot, the magnitude of the real terrorist threat has finally been revealed. Turns out it was the Great White Peril all along. Seems the sea ice has just been pretending to be all innocent and inanimate. It all makes sense now. I guess the Titanic was sank by an anarchist suicide ice berg, an unacknowledged victim of Ice Terror. And those semiliterate sons a the south with their Iced Tea. Yeah, now I get it, Ice T - obviously a recognition code for the Klans of Ice Terror. An the 'Tee Shirts' Hah. Tee for Terrorist, you mean. An' the sweaty hordes of global warming deniers? Oh yeah, all clapping they hands together an chantin "I do believe, I do, I do" to bring back Tinkerbelle the Ice Fairy to freeze the Arctic Ocean solid, just so swarthy hordes a Afghani Mongols can ride they camels right across the Pole, stoppin only for free medical care in Canada, to rape pillage and burn these United States of America. Why? Oh, why do conservatives want to be raped and pillaged so bad?
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Horizontally Mobility Only
Of course there is little social mobility in a classless society like the United States. If there are no class differences then, by definition, it is not possible to move to a different class. In the United States, there do exist large differences in personal wealth and opportunity but these are based entirely on personal worthiness rather than social class. The point is well made in the following clip taken from The Ayn Rand Institute's annual presentation of, "Them that have - deserve more, and them that have little - deserve nothing."
ABOVE: A group of the most privileged, and therefore most virtuous, political elite meet to work out details of new social legislation.
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