Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Ah, they're just fighting for 'fairness and balance' ...

Fair and Balanced? The corporate and Republican buzz words for lying.

An appeal court, in the US -just like the ol' USSR- gave Fox News the right to lie. Fox's right to lie to the public was supported by five major media outlets

... that filed briefs of Amici Curiae- or friend of FOX – to support FOX’s position: Belo Corporation, Cox Television, Inc., Gannett Co., Inc., Media General Operations, Inc., and Post-Newsweek Stations, Inc. These are major media players! Their statement, “The station argued that it simply wanted to ensure that a news story about a scientific controversy regarding a commercial product was present with fairness and balance, and to ensure that it had a sound defense to any potential defamation claim.”

“Fairness and balance?” Monsanto hardly demonstrated “fairness and balance” when it threatened a lawsuit and demanded the elimination of important, verifiable information!

The Amici position was “If upheld by this court, the decision would convert personnel actions arising from disagreements over editorial policy into litigation battles in which state courts would interpret and apply federal policies that raise significant and delicate constitutional and statutory issues.” After all, Amici argued, 40 states now have Whistleblower laws, imagine what would happen if employees in those 40 states followed the same course of action?

The position implies that First Amendment rights belong to the employers – in this case the five power media groups. And when convenient, the First Amendment becomes a broad shield to hide behind. Let’s not forget, however; the airwaves belong to the people. Is there no public interest left—while these media giants make their private fortunes using the public airwaves? Can corporations have the power to influence the media reporting, even at the expense of the truth? Apparently so.

Via DailyKos

Monday, July 30, 2007

The world has not changed ...

Rick Perlstein writes:
Different America than the one all of us grew up in, this. Tell your kids to pay close attention. They're living through history.
I'll say this is a different America. But it's not a different world.

In my youth I disdained the crimes of the Germans. Now we are the Germans.

In my youth I respected the courage and tenacity and understanding of the Jews. Now Israel is carrying out the same kind of injustices against Moslems that were carried out against them.

No, the world has not changed. The players have just changed sides.

Friday, July 27, 2007

In Arizona the Constitution is holding on by it's toenails ...

Az court ruling limits warrantless car searches
But don't expect the souless robed life forms on the US Supreme Court to care about the US Constitution when this gets to them ...

Can't quite pin us down?

Apparently, try as they might, the internet tracking companies, don't yet have a complete handle on us.
Tracking Internet usage proving to be a tangled web

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Believe it or not ...

Tucson and Marana are fighting over sewage ... not to push it off on the other but to get/keep control of it.
City enters sewer plant dispute --Threatens cutoff of fresh water going to Marana

The greed principle continued ...

Our health care system isn't designed to make people healthier: It is designed for extracting money from the vulnerable and putting it into the pockets of the rich
Consider the private, profit-making, insurance industry that Bush is so determined to defend. What "innovations" has it produced? The deductible, the co-pay, and the pre-existing condition are the only ones that leap to mind. In general, the great accomplishment of the private health insurance industry has been to overturn the very meaning of "insurance," which is risk-sharing: We all put in some money, though only some of us will need to draw on the common pool by using expensive health care. And the insurance companies have overturned it by refusing to insure the people who need care the most - those who are already, or are likely to become, sick.

Gratitude Journal ...

Tongue in cheek ... or not.
"The actions in my day-to-day life are actually quite pleasant," I wrote on January 21st, in a moment of insight. "It's anxieties that get me derailed."

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The USA, just like the old USSR ...

This article at Crooks and Liars (Nonny Mouse Goes Down Under) brought up old memories of flying from Iran to I don't remember where and having an unplanned stop in the USSR. Scary stuff. I was young and American at a time when it was very pleasant to be so, but there were some on that plane who were very, very worried.

In the end nothing happened to that flight or anyone on it, that I know of. Now the US is the ogre of the world, not Russia or even China, as we has surpassed them all in stupidity.

What's that old saying? The more things change the more they stay the same. A most depressing truism.

(NOTE: Minor corrections made to this post.)

Monday, July 23, 2007

Maybe Homo sapiens come with a self destruct gene ...

Theocrats Deny ‘End Times’ Theology Is Cause of Their Push for War with Iran by Sarah Posner.

One would think Christ was a warrior instead of a hippie priest.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

A very disappointing side of our so called 'Christian' America ...

Crooks and Liars is having a conversation with Michael Moore.

Comment 365 Michael Moore Says:

George @ 300:

The amazing thing about how our economic system is how expensive it is to be poor. I have been on both sides of the door, and it is really amazing how much more efficient it is to be on the better side. About the only counter example to this are the expensive hotels, which don’t tend to provide free breakfast or phone service.

If you can’t pay your credit card debt, they raise your rates (on everything.) If you don’t have insurance the procedures cost more. If you don’t have transportation be prepared to pay outrageous rates at the inner city store. If you don’t have your own home, you will pay more in rent, and if you can’t afford rent you will pay even more at flop hotels. If you don’t have a bank account, you have to go to a rip-off check cashing place.

Once I retired I relied on catastrophic medical coverage, so I never bothered to turn my bills in to the insurance company. Then my much smarter wife suggested that we do so, and in most cases our bills were halved! One expensive procedure was reduced from somewhere around $5000 to less than $800.

That is the difference between solvancy and bankruptcy for many people.

Let me be blunt. We Americans get some pathological kick out of beating up those who are less fortunate than ourselves. We do indeed punish the poor for being poor. We have structures in place that guarantee that they will never climb out of their poverty. It’s not an accident. And it is a very black mark on our soul.

A very black mark indeed perpetuated by all those wonderful 'Christian' politicians of ours.

Arizona's Child Protective Services (CPS) on par with Bush Administration ...

It appears that CPS is either as incompetent or as obtuse about their responsibilities as is the Bush Administration.
CPS seems to shrug off questions about its role in their deaths, saying caseworkers didn't hand Chris Payne his kids and had no reason to believe he would hurt them. "At no time," the summary says, "did CPS award custody of the children to Mr. Payne nor does CPS have authority to award custody."

No, they just told Payne to keep them, stopped police from taking them and then walked away, leaving them to die.
Two children are dead but just like with Bush and his fanatical mafia, CPS has no responsibility. None at all. They just stand around telling people what to do and not do, don't bother to investigate or follow through but it is definitely NOT THEIR FAULT. I'm surprised they haven't blamed the children.
CPS closed the neglect case on Hallam [the mother] in April 2006, calling it "unsubstantiated." Caseworkers never again checked on the children [who CPS, against a judge's order told police to leave with the father].

Ariana's decomposing body was found earlier this year, stuffed in a plastic tub left inside a storage locker. She had been beaten over a period of time. Tyler's body was never found. Police believe they were killed last summer.

Payne [the father] and his girlfriend, Reina Gonzales, are in jail, charged with first-degree murder. Meanwhile, CPS officials have re-engaged their cone of silence, holding on tight to the records that might explain why they just walked away.

Of taxes and explosions ...

I'm copying an entire post from Rick Perlstein's blog. I hope he does not mind but this juxtaposition of quotes is the kind that may break a mental log jam in someone's mind. And because that theoretical someone may theoretically read this post but theoretically not follow a link I have copied the entire post. I will remove it, of course if requested to do so. The following is posted at Rick Perlstein's blog, a blog that all should read.

We've referred to this document frequently, and will do so much more in the future. It's the skeleton key to understanding the Manhattan steam pipe explosion and its meaning for America's declining greatness. For now, let's strike, as it were, while the steam is still hot (200 degrees, in case you haven't heard). Scroll down and watch the CBS News report on yesterday's rush hour explosion in midtown Manhattan.

Here's what they say:

"...The explosion was so massive, so powerful, almost the entire East Side of Manhattan had to be shut down and evacuated...."

"...Ruptured steam pipes are a common occurence in New York. Mayor Mike Bloomberg blamed the gigantic incident on his city's aging infrastructure...."

To contextualize, here's what the previous mayor of New York has been saying:

“I’ve lowered taxes 23 times as mayor”

—at the May 15 Republican candidate debate, before pledging across-the-board federal budget cuts of five to 20 percent.

"You know why you have one of the best economies in the country? Because you have no taxes.'"

—to New Hampshire Republican activists on April 3.

"Every year - in good times or bad - I required city commissioners to propose cuts in their own budgets.... Fiscal conservatives understand the value of controlling the size and cost of -government. Controlling spending makes -government more efficient and more effective in achieving its core responsibilities."

—in an April 11 op-ed entitled "My Four Pillars of American Prosperity."

We don't endorse or dis-endorse candidates here at The Big Con. What we do is document an ideology and its failure. What Rudy Giuliani says is what every Republican candidate says. What he has provided us here—and the reason we single him out—is an illustrative tale. Put more conservatives in charge of your country; send your country down the road to wrack and ruin.

Republicans are bad for your health and dangerous to your welfare and disastrous for our democracy!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Jet Blue decides Ann Coulter OK but not DailyKos ...

Update: Oh, and JetBlue advertises with Fox. You see, it's okay to support the likes of Ann Coulter.

Maybe I'm getting sensitive ...

... but is it my imagination that Democratic politicians, as well as Republicans, refer to 'the American people' as if they were some entity very separate from themselves? As if they are not part of this messy and contrary mass of humanity that makes up the United States.

I understand that George Bush the bush-whacker thinks he is so exalted and above all others in the United States as to be perhaps just one step below (or is it one step above) God. But why do, apparently, all politicians talk about all of us who make up this country as separate from them. It's as if they are buying into the Bush fantasy that the entire country is comprised of individuals with sub-Bush IQ who must be 'taken care of' as if we are children.

We place them in office to represent us. We don't elect them to be our parents.

This is even more insulting than the court system's propaganda about how important the jury system and each individual juror is followed by the judge making sure you understand you are not to use your own reason and the lawyers, with the judge's help, manipulate what evidence is available with which to make your 'decision.' (I won't even get into the Bush's Attorney General scam, the US Attorney Scam and Bush's Scooter Libby slap in the face of anyone who thought there was some justice left in the US.)

The press is worried about alienation of Republicans by Democrats?

DailyKos in Busting through GOP obstructionism on lobbying and ethics reform links to this post at CQPolitics.com the last sentence of which is
This move, known as “ping-pong” strategy because the bill quickly bounces from one chamber to another, could represent the breakthrough Democrats are hoping for but it risks further alienating Republicans who are frustrated by how the new majority is handling congressional procedure
I'm continually flabbergasted by the media's concern for the feelings of the Republicans, now that they are the minority in Congress, as they gang together to flout, stymie and piss on the will of the American voter. When the Republican majority was pissing on the Democratic minority the media was jumping up and down with glee ...

Spy or chemical detector? What about nanoscopic WMD's?

Talk about a surveillance society. Not only surveillance blimps in the sky near and not so near the southern border. Not only cameras to record (and mis-record) a vehicle license plate for a traffic infraction. Not only camera's increasingly recording when one scratches or blows one's nose in public ...

Now we literally have a Fly-On-The-Wall robot.
Robotic Insect Takes Off for the First Time --Researchers at Harvard have created a robotic fly that could one day be used for covert surveillance and detecting toxic chemicals.

One little video can be worth a million words ...

How to create an Angry American

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Barney Frank has a very good grasp of the problem ...

Too bad the greed of many of this country's legislators and media corporations are helping our country's slide into a new Dark Age.

Financial Services Hearing on Monetary Policy and the Economy

Nicholas Johnston of Bloomberg News and the Filibuster ...

Nicholas Johnston covers the Republican use of the filibuster as a strategy to avoid any vote on continuing or phasing out of the Iraq War as follows:
Democrats and Republicans are at odds over how to consider amendments to defense legislation, including the troop withdrawal measure. Reid wants amendments related to Iraq to be able to pass with a simple majority, while Republicans want 60 votes for passage, a demand that Senate rules sometimes allow.
Amazing. "Senate rules sometimes allow." It must seem that haphazard given the press' apparent lack of knowledge of the filibuster. Nowhere in this article does it inform the reader that the Republicans threatened to eliminate the filibuster from the Senators repertoire if the Democrats deigned to use it when the Repugs were in charge of the Senate.

The filibuster is still available. The Republicans can use it. [Added: By the way, the Democrats can use it also.] But Heaven Forbid that the press would report on which party is making sure the Senate does not vote on the aspects of the war that the country wants handled. No, no. Just blame Democrats for playing politics. And Heaven Forbid that the press would point out that some Repug Senators who are speaking out against the war are also using the threat of a filibuster to keep legislation from reaching the floor for a vote. Why because then there would be a very public record of their hypocrisy. While they will speak out against Bush's war they do not want to vote against Bush's war. Remember when all those Repugs (when they were in charge of the Senate) were calling for an 'up or down' vote. Has the press noticed that on some issues about Iraq they not only do not want an up or down vote, they want no vote at all.

What worthless pablum presented as news from individuals who either don't understand or deliberately obscure their purported reporting.

But taking steps to get the information the public needs to the public about what the Republicans in the Senate are doing (since the media is incompetent or malfeasant) is called a publicity stunt.

Secret Hold Kyl ...

Now I've heard everything. Jon Kyl, Arizona's own warmonger and secret hold pseudo senator guy, is accusing someone else of playing politics.
Up All Night
My Democratic colleagues are playing politics with the war.

Don't stop now Harry ...

Is Ron Elving at www.npr.org as much of a dunce as he seems in this article (All-Nighter Focuses Media Attention on War Pullout)?

Of course, this aggressive strategy is the worst way to make friends and influence people in the Senate. If you really want to romance senators into voting your way, you don't start by forcing them up against the wall. Reid may well find his efforts causing the GOP to circle its wagons more closely than ever, and to become more protective of its president. That may well make it more difficult to bring the war to a swift conclusion.

But the fact is that many in the Senate have already despaired of a swift conclusion to this war. They now expect the September report of Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, to be inconclusive. They expect the president to press on into 2008. And they expect the real crunch to come when, sometime around March of next year, Defense Secretary Robert Gates tells the president there are no more troops available and qualified to rotate into Iraq. At that point, many now believe, meaningful reductions in U.S. troop strength will be unavoidable.

In the first paragraph above Elving criticizes Harry Reid's "aggressive strategy" and parrots the usual media idiocy suggesting that Democratic aggressiveness will just make the GOP Bush kissing Republican Senators worse. Worse than treasonous, lying, cheating, thieving hypocrites? Well, I suppose it's possible, but is that a legitimate reason for the head of the Senate to avoid doing his job? It's certainly the one that's been most in use til now.

Sometimes one must stand up to the bully. And THAT is Harry Reid's job. And I say it's about time and keep is up, dammit, Harry!

Hopefully the Democrats do not plan to go back to non-business as usual tomorrow ...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Corruption R Us ...


I know it just too much to expect but, I would like to read some good news for a change ... not news put out by FauxNews or BushBaby or any of the corporate media because if it comes from them we will know it's a lie. And by good news, I mean stories about situations where our elected and appointed officials as well as powerful and influential corporations did the 'right' thing, the 'integrity' thing, a real Christ-like thing, actions that respect and uphold the Constitution, our representative Democracy, justice, fairness etc, etc.

Now that I think of it we have some of those people around. If someone is being attacked by the fair-and-balance he-said/she-said media, look closer because that person just might have some integrity and even may qualify as a patriot.

Unlike the old Soviet Union, the US does not, yet, put its good and concerned people in the insane assalum. No, the US government and media, instead go into full out 24-hour attack mode in order to discredit and destroy integrity and truth.

Better hold onto your wallet ...

AARP and Walgreens want to 'educate' you ...
Walgreens Sings AARP's Praises by Jean Luo

A frustrated pharmacist ...

So why did they cancel her AARP Medicare Prescription Plan retroactively? And why is the cancellation date so fluid?
I am a pharmacist and if anyone ever tells you that market forces are the solution to our health care mess --- please give them a fat lip for me, because it is crap.

I have a customer... we will call her Jane Doe. She used to be on Minnesota Medical Assistance but when our "President" came up with that "wonderful" Medicare Part D pile of bull, this woman's prescription program was shifted to that program. She didn't have a choice about switching to Medicare Part D, but she did have a few choices of carriers within the system.

She decided to use a program sponsored by AARP. Seemed like a good idea....AARP works with seniors all the time. However, AARP does not administer the program. No, they farm that out to a Pharmacy Benefit Manager... in this case it was RX Solutions.

Will we every hear the end of the story?

Ah, the one true church?

Clergy abuse victims here to get $7.5M
Five will evenly split sum as part of big L.A. archdiocese settlement
Christ's message seems to have gotten lost somewhere along the way. One wonders if the powers-that-be in 'the one true church' believe in Christ's message any more than the GOP believes in the Constitution, Separation of Powers or Justice for All.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The American Corporate Motto for the 21st Century ...

Take the good and turn it into bad.
Read The Dark Side of Soy by Mary Vance and learn how soy, a potentially beneficial part of one's diet, has been turned into a ubuquitous monstrosity invading almost every processed food product.
The highest risk population is infants. "The reason," says Daniel, "is because it's the only thing they're eating, they're a very small size, and they're at a key stage developmentally. The estrogens in soy will affect the hormonal development of these children, and it will certainly affect their growing brains, reproductive systems, and thyroids." Soy formula also contains large amounts of manganese, which has been linked to ADD and neurotoxicity in infants. Such effects prompted an investigation by the Israeli Health Ministry that resulted in an advisory stating that infants should avoid soy formula altogether.

Is it my imagination ...

... or is it Larry King's purpose (see video clip) to inhibit any real discussion between Michael Moore and Sanjay Gupta?

Monday, July 9, 2007

A Marketing Truism ...
It's cheaper to keep customers than get new ones.
How times change. The communication mafias think otherwise. Watch what you say and do or Ma Bell's replacements may cut you off with out a phone.
Sprint ditches customers who complain too much
Sprint Nextel Corp, which recently launched an advertising campaign to attract new customers, is disconnecting more than 1,000 subscribers for calling its customer service lines too often and making what the company called unreasonable requests.
Unreasonable requests? Mmmm, I guess they couldn't 'just say no?'
Americans are getting shorter ...

Maybe this will get Americans off their ego-trip to destruction and back on a reality kick ...
Are You One of the Shrinking Americans? by Joshua Holland

Researchers say a population's average height is a "mirror" reflecting the socioeconomic health of a society, and speculate that Americans' worship of "market-based" social policies may explain why we're now looking up to the Germans and Swedes.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Worse than I thought ...

UPDATE (July 7, 2007): Here's an article with some basic information about genetic engineering (ge) and/or genetically modified organisms (gmo): The ABC's of GMO's

And if you are not already more terrified of your government than 'the terists' then you are not paying attention: Farm Bill Could Hamstring State Food Safety Agencies (via Pacific Views).

"Nearly three quarters of all processed foods contain genetically engineered ingredients, but you'd never know it by reading package labels."

Monday, July 2, 2007

Fired US Attorney Paul Charlton gets award ...

BorderReporter.com: AN AWKWARD MOMENT
According the release, the award, “recognizes a criminal law prosecutor who during his or her career has worked tirelessly to advance the principles of criminal justice by representing the public’s interest with integrity, fairness, tenacity, creativity, brilliance and, above all, professionalism.”
Charlton is one of the US Attorneys who were fired for believing in the law as apposed to Gonzo and his hacks.

Under Bush and Gonzo, perhaps, the best integrity check is to get fired.

A microscopic, or is that nonoscopic, army ...

How long before your diseases and infirmities will be attacked, corralled and corrected by little nano soldiers that wage war inside your body?
New Nano Weapon against Cancer --Gold nanoparticles with branching polymers could attack tumors in multiple ways.
Evidently every thing is a 'war' to us for which we must construct 'weapons.' I really would be more comfortable thinking of those areas we would like to change or control (if we can) as situations, problems or even the business-speak opportunity. The solutions to problems may be identical or similar to the 'weapons' we devise for our 'wars' but then again, perhaps not.

As a country we have achieved much 'collateral' damage in our wars (e.g. War on Drugs, War on Iraq). Damage that we sometimes ignore and sometimes escalate. But rarely address, reverse or correct. [Added: Or even admit]

This is the mindset we bring to medical problems? And the cancer patient is supposed to be nobly cooperative, compliant and grateful.