Friday, August 29, 2008

Well, here we are ...

Hiding in plain sight:
I must admit that these days I'm feeling much as I did in the weeks and months after 9/11, when it seemed the whole nation had gone mad -- and deaf as well, simply not hearing the crimes and atrocities and immoral, dishonorable actions that were being planned and promised in their names. For example, what in God's name did people think Dick Cheney was talking about when he announced on national television -- on Sept. 16, 2001, just five days after the attacks -- that "we will also have to work, though, sort of the dark side, if you will"? Or when George W. Bush declared on Aug. 7, 2002: "There's no telling how many wars it will take to secure freedom in the homeland." Or in the long, slow build-up to the act of aggression against Iraq, when the most transparent lies were told -- easily debunkable by the most ordinary person with an internet connection or the slightest acquaintance with recent history, as I used to demonstrate week after week in the Moscow Times -- much less by savvy "foreign policy experts" like Joe Biden?

To speak out against all this -- to simply point to plain facts and the obvious implications of what national leaders were actually saying, to take the very traditional and indeed conservative position that America should not wage aggressive war and should obey its own laws -- was in those days like shouting into a hurricane. Nobody listened, nobody cared, and any nay-sayer was denounced as a crank or a fool or a traitor, whose dangerous carping would give aid and comfort to the enemy, and help the bad guys win. Strange days indeed.

And here we are again. Joe Biden stood on a stage before the world Wednesday night and, echoing Barack Obama's own positions, clearly promised more hell on earth for us all. ...
[Read Tongue of Flame: A Speech Presaging Endless War]

Thursday, August 28, 2008

How can logical, reasoned arguments work ...

Democrats, progressives, liberals keep writing as if they were dealing with the rational, the legal, the Constitutional, the just:
The Many Costs of the New HHS Rule Privileging Conscience Over Patients

"It’s really quite astonishing that the Bush administration would seek to implement new regulations — to the costly tune of $44 million — to appease social conservatives during the final months of Bush’s presidency."
No, no. Haven't you been paying attention. This is not 'astonishing' at all. Where have you been for the last 7+ years?

You have to hand it to Glenn Greenwald. He sees, understands and writes accurately and lucidly about all manner of complicated issues:
What's missing from the Democratic convention?
But I think in this case Glenn has missed the critical issue. The US has already been taken over. By the corporate press. If the press can't turn an anti-Bush country into a pro-McSame country, and they are well on their way to doing so, then they will back up any attempts the Republicans make to steal the election.

Democrats don't control the message coming out of the convention. It's massaged, manipulated, ignored, lied about by the media who are in charge of what most US citizens see, read and know about the US and the world.

Would any sane organization let the opposition place their operatives right in their convention and control the information that flows out of it if they could (and wanted to) do otherwise?
Right wing TV Pundits destroy every segment on Democratic Convention
Where's The Hatred?

"So if the hatred isn't among the Democrats, then maybe it's among those who are reporting this crap?"
Those 'reporting this crap' control the message. It will take much effort and money to counter this 'crap' and even then most outlets are controlled by the other party and they have the power to refuse to air the democratic messages. And even when they do air them they have dedicated staff to talk 24/7 against the democrats.

Where the Bush campaigns and administration initially attempted to hide or downplay their flouting of the law and their installation of a system where laws only apply to those who oppose them politically, the double standard is now quite open and pervasive:
Protest Politics
The Obama Plotters: The Republican Double Standard In Law Enforcement Made Manifest
As Glenn Greenwald looks at what's missing from the Democratic Convention, I can't get away from the idea that, for years now, the Democrats have been ignoring the elephant in the room. (pun?) The elephant is the GOP control of the media. That control, and many others have written about this better than I can, that control is both direct and indirect. The Democrats have done absolutely nothing to counter this fact (that I can see).

Mostly what I see is a party that continues to act as if the country was working as it was intended to and 'hoping' that the Constitutional mechanisms will, in the end, work. Well, I hope so also, but I don't see how this will work, nor how the country can rally behind the effort, when the real problems remain unspoken by those who claim to lead us.

From the Gender Genie:
Words: 493

Female Score: 578
Male Score: 876

The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: male!

I'm not sure why it matters, but obviously it matter to some, enough to have programs that assign words feminine and masculine values.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Words fail ...

[This post edited after posting.]

The US Army is going to help h.s. dropouts get their GED's so it can use them as targets in the mideast.
Holden, 18, of Medford, Ore., is racing through her first week of practice tests before taking a formal GED exam soon. She left home at 16, one of nine children of a mill worker, and wants to be a military police officer.

"There's no jobs out there, nothing. It's just horrible. And it got hard just trying to support myself and go to school at the same time," Holden said.
Send enough US jobs overseas and it becomes much easier to recruit that all 'volunteer' army.

What I don't understand is why the irrational concern about those crossing US borders looking for low paid jobs? I'm surprised the Bush administration and their think-alikes have not conscripted them into the Army.

Given the Bush administration's propensity to invent (illogical and irrational) rationales for torture, kidnapping and imprisonment without trial there should be no barriers to stop them from sweeping illegal border crossers --many of whom come to the US looking for a better life, or maybe just survival, and end up working at low-paying and dangerous jobs-- into the US Army.

How does your brain know where you stop and a bicycle begins?

How to Disown a Body Part

Monday, August 25, 2008

Enhanced testing procedures?

In order to renew my vehicle's registration it must pass an emissions test. Waiting in line with the engine running I pass the time by reading whatever is posted:
Enhanced testing procedure are a direct result of federal law.
Enhanced? Where have I heard that word used by the federal government before? Oh yeah!
Enhanced interrogation techniques
Enhanced testing procedure? Information, warning, threat? I don't know. The only other, possibly related, bit of information was that IF your vehicle doesn't pass you are instructed to park and go to the office for 'help.'

Vehicle passed. Whew ...

Sir: I got your letter ...

Would that more modern day Americans had the courage and wit of ex-slave Jourdan Anderson as demonstrated in a letter he wrote to his former 'boss.' [via Feminist Law Profs]

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Organized around war and money, that us ...

Wars on drugs, sex, Iraqis, oil. Whatever you want. Don't like something. Let's have a war ...

If that doesn't work for you, take some of the most important functions of a working society (supporting one's self and one's family, one's health and one's family's health, one's overall well being and the well being one's family) and organize that society in such a way to cause the most harm for as many as possible and the most wealth for a very few. That is us, the US of A.

Not limited to draconian law enforcement, the US's societal sickness permeates even to groups that promise 'no harm.'
Fifteen days of blogging for health care reform: Burden of debt
The above link should be read not only for the documentation it contains on the amount of debt many physicians are burdened with in our society, but also for a vivid picture of how those who will be responsible for treating the rest of us when we are at our most needy and vulnerable have been treated themselves. Who among those who go through US medical training can possibly be unscarred human beings?

Friday, August 22, 2008

You know, this shouldn't really be such a surprise ...

Secretly stressed. Bears show deleterious effects from being captured and handled.

I'm somewhat confused by the 'secretly' stressed claim. As if the bears were attempting to hide the fact that attacking them, sedating them, pulling their teeth etc would have a negative effect on their bodies and their minds.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Let's 'avoid another housing crisis' by ...

... making more profit oriented instruments for mortgage lenders and insurance companies.
2 noted economists outline ways to avoid another housing crisis
One of the economists discussed is Robert J. Shiller, he of Irrational Exuberance, who is quoted elsewhere as saying:
Basically we’re in uncharted territory. It seems we have developed a speculative culture about housing that never existed on a national basis before.
Speculative culture? And just how did that happen? Those speculative devils who designed products, including credit cards and mortgages, to entice and entrap could not possibly have any responsibility in this situation? Is this really a speculative culture or a gang of wealth barons who encourage through financial product design the economic bondage of the populace? And don't forget that they get special help from our elected officials.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A country with a screw loose ...

That's us, the US and that's probably lots and lots of loose screws. From the very top, down the stem into the roots. Not to mention the soil.

California Medi-Cal Cuts

Primary care physicians can no longer afford to accept new Medi-Cal patients because it costs more to process the paperwork than the pittance that comes from the state. Note that the cost to process the paperwork is largely due to the private insurance industry.
Our elected officials at the behest of industry and corporations are destroying our country, bankrupting and killing our people. And the 'establishment' media is their partner and facilitator.

But not to worry, Ol' John McCain thinks you can pull yourself up by your bootstraps, like he did ... after all he traded a crippled wife in for a very rich wife. May we all be so mavericky!

Yesterday's QUOTES ...

Under the PATRIOT Act, Americans' rights of privacy, including their reading habits, could be scrutinized by the FBI. Protestors—even peaceful ones—can be charged with terrorism. Dissenters are often denied the right to fly on commercial airlines. In Bush's target have been Greenpeace and the Quakers. Like China's leaders, America's leaders say these restrictive measures only exist to protect the nation.

On John McCain's 'Tech Plan': ... This isn’t vision. It’s more like a wistful memoir about times gone by.

... The US has shown that its volunteer military, while valiant, is undermanned and overstretched, its intelligence services are willing servants of political manipulators and its leadership is dishonest, immoral and incompetent. It's understandable that somebody out there would think that now is the time to make a move. That it would be Bush's soul brother Pooty-poot was entirely predictable.”

The bottom line on all of these arguments is that men’s feelings are more important than women’s rights.

Now that's a surprise: ... What shocked her, she says, was Americans' ignorance of foreign affairs, obsession with money, and willingness to make long-haul commutes.

Per the top 'law' enforcement officer in the United States of America, formerly a nation of laws, Attorney General Michael Mukasey: ... But not every wrong, or even every violation of the law, is a crime.”

I guess I just don't think it's fear mongering or divide-and-conquer to tell the truth, which is that the Republicans have screwed things up royally and that the Democrats have a better idea. ...

Friday, August 15, 2008

Wherein I am introduced to Terry Pratchett and the Big Bang hypothesis ...

An alternative [theory about the A'Tuin Cosmos], favored by those of the religious persuasion, was that A'Tuin was crawling from the Birthplace to the Time of Mating, as were all the stars in the sky which were, obviously, also carried by giant turtles. When they arrived they would briefly and passionately mate, for the first and only time, and from that fiery union new turtles would be born to carry a new pattern of worlds. This was known as the Bing Bang hypothesis.

From The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett

Evidently these rules only apply to US women ...

Take a look at Olivera "Olja" Finn's life, and you can tick off the actions women are supposed to avoid if they want to advance in science. Get married fresh out of high school. Check. Interrupt your education for your husband's sake. Check. Allow his career to take precedence over yours. Check. Have children before you have a job and give birth at what seem like inopportune times, such as shortly before you start graduate school. Check.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Tucson had a storm last night ... 12,000 still w/o electricity at 9am this morning.

Thunder and lightening (heard the thunder and 'explosions,' did not see the lightening). Downed power lines and trees.

The Tucson Citizen has some remarkable photos of lightening in downtown Tucson.

Making inferences without understanding ...

Quantum Physics Gets "Spooky"

Of course, if they don't infer, and test their inferences, they will never understand.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Such a compliment for the FBI ...

Scientists say they need many more details to decide the merits of the case against Ivins. But despite the bureau's widely ridiculed mistakes--including an early focus on Ivins's former colleague Steven Hatfill--"the scientific evidence is probably really strong," says Steven Salzberg, a former TIGR researcher now at the University of Maryland (UMD), College Park. "They've got some very good people," Salzberg says. "The impression that they're not good may just come from their style. They never tell you anything."
They never tell you anything? Right. Except when they set out to destroy someone. Then they tell you all kinds of things. Like the person of interest has a messy desk. The person of interest looks at pornography. The person of interest had a thing about sororities. A similar technique is used in Republican campaigns for President.

Circumstantial evidence questions as well as science questions:

Armed with the four tests, the FBI examined more than 1000 anthrax isolates, collected from 16 labs that had the Ames strain in the United States and several more in Canada, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. In only eight of those samples, they found all four mutations seen in the envelope samples; and each of these eight, the affidavit says, was "directly related" to a "large flask" of spores, identified as RMR-1029, which Ivins had created in 1997 and of which he was the "sole custodian."

That still leaves many questions open, researchers say. ...
Of course, style and secrecy doesn't prove they aren't capable. I would think well documented investigations with cases based on evidence (rather than personalities) would help prove whether they are capable or not. But the impression that the FBI cannot be trusted is the result of a "style" of apparent single-minded fixation on a victim, using their power to wear down or destroy the person they have chosen to accuse, and apparently forcing the evidence to suit themselves while ignoring or obscuring evidence that doesn't fit their chosen story line.

Monday, August 11, 2008

From the offspring of Ma Bell ...

Verizon offers 'My Verizon' members the amazing ability to "keep a copy of your saved phone numbers on a secure website without a monthly fee so they're available if you lose or upgrade your phone."

Please be aware that that free service from the company that spies on you and shares your information with the government [unConstitutionally and without warrant], information that is ultimately shared with other non-governmental and unregulated organizations is offering you a special service to share that information with you also. And all that sharing is worth $1.99 per month (per month!) but they will just give it away because, you, the spied upon, are just so special.

Gall, thy name is Republican Business Models.

My umpteenth final notice ...

I just received another final notice about my vehicle's expired factory warranty. 2nd and final notices seem to be as numerous as sands on the beach or drops in the oceans. There is just no limit to the number of times one will receive that 2nd or final notice. They seem to be interchangeable. I will receive a final (but not 'the' final, evidently) notice and with the next phone call I will receive a 2nd notice.

I've been told by others that one does not even need to own a vehicle in order to be honored by 2nd and final notices.

This final notice was by way of the post office. And they have make, model, year. Though they do seem to be a little confused.

It seems that:
You purchased your _____ 19 months ago. The original in service date of the vehicle, which activates factory coverage, was over 38 months ago.
My that was a fast 19 months. In fact, I purchased the vehicle in 2004. Definitely over 38 months ago.

Obsidian Dawn, credit where credit is due ...

The design at the top of the page and the previous one (and other little designs here and there) were created using photoshop brushes from Obsidian Dawn. Obsidian Dawn has a varied collection of excellent PS brushes (and a few patterns and tutorials as well). They can be used free under certain very generous conditions.

I Obsidian Dawn.

Yesterday's QUOTES ...

"Disorder and diffusion crop up all the time and are mainly a nuisance," Pendry says. “But by understanding them, we can maybe use them to our advantage." ... So we discuss light through opaque objects. Politics should be as easy

... there is no place left for the kind of action that Thoreau advocated. His way – and that of Gandhi and King, who took so much from him – envisions a state opponent which one could hope to shame into honorable action by the superior moral force of principled civil disobedience. But the very hallmark of the present regime is its shamelessness, its utter lack of any sense of honor or principle, its bestial addiction to raw power.

A promise from Georgie-boy Bush, eight years ago: “So when I put my hand on the Bible, I will swear to not only uphold the laws of our land, I will swear to uphold the honor and dignity of the office to which I have been elected, so help me God.” -- One can see how important God and the Bible is to Georgie-boy as he began breaking his oath immediately, probably from second #1.

The great Digby of Hullabaloo has in instant answer to that riddle, the same answer as to why America has no single-payer health care, no trains, no daycare, slums of violent hell in every major city, and brutal working conditions: racism.

... the idea that the Rule of Law is only for common people, but not for our political leaders and Washington elite, is pervasive among the political and pundit class, in both parties. ...

Re: Caribbean Coral: "The take-home message seems to be that the most glaring problems--like bombing--might not be as serious in the long term as the quiet or silent problems, like runoff and development," says David Niebuhr, a marine biologist ...

Survey Finds Citations Growing Narrower as Journals Move Online "...Searching online is more efficient and following hyperlinks quickly puts researchers in touch with prevailing opinion, but this may accelerate consensus and narrow the range of findings and ideas built upon." --Interesting that what turns out to be a boon in access to information for the public may do further harm to 'journalistic' endeavors.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Really, is Obama naive?

So yesterday I see the clip showing Obama answering one of McCain's stupidities directly. Today I see this (via).

I don't begrudge Obama R&R, but can't he and the Democratic Party figure out a way for him to get his rest without setting himself up for an article such as this? Good grief!
Fortified by daily workouts at the gym, he looks fit. But his face seemed drawn as he addressed a town hall meeting here Wednesday, the toll of a week spent parrying Republican rival John McCain's charge that his antidote to the energy crisis is tire inflation.
Ever thought of pacing yourself, Senator, and getting some good managers?

Then there's this:
Arrangements are being made to accommodate reporters (at a cost of $11,500 each for the week), but the campaign is putting out word there probably will be no real news.
Right, the news is going to stop because Obama is on vacation? You could always throw a barbecue. The press just luv them some barbecue.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Obama: "It's like these guys take pride in being ignorant ."

Oh boy, does that encapsulate what it is to be a Republican these days. And out of the mouth of a candidate for President, no less.

Imagine a Democratic Presidential Candidate taking on the opposition party's idiocy directly. Talk about something to be proud of. Things are looking up ...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

To ignore or not to ignore, that is the question ...

... if you don't say anything will anyone notice? Or has the language of racism (or sexism) changed so much no one understands it anymore? Or don't bring any more attention to the issue and maybe no one will even notice!
It's Not Lost But....
Perhaps, they won't.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Uppity niggers got killed, for real ...

digby has a post (Smears R Us) discussing what she calls 'dog whistles' that call the racist to attention.

Some don't think certain words or images that the McCain campaign are using are racist. I think they are and I think the Republicans know they are. My father was from Georgia (and Alabama). Once he left he never went back except to visit family. I remember some of the conversations from some of those visits. My father's family referred to the former slaves as negroes or my negroes or the good negroes (which they 'took care of) or the bad negroes (who were at fault for whatever happened to them). Negroes were more or less invisible (good) except if they were 'out of their place (bad).' After one conversation I remarked to my mother that they (my grandmother and uncle, I think) talked about 'their negroes,' like I talk about my dog but I don't view my dog as a human being and that's the point. They didn't view those who did not qualify in their eyes as 'white' as full human beings. They really cared about some of them as I really care about my dog.

By invisible, I mean that in certain situations the white people really did not 'see' those classified as black. For example it was literally possible for a white person to look at a stretch of beach and say 'no one lives here.' There could be dozens of shacks on the beach with children running around etc. Point to the shacks and the children and say, 'but what about all those people?' The answer was who ya' talking about? Those blacks? They don't count.

Obama knows McCain's campaign is using racist messages.

Uppity niggers got killed, for real ... Being classified as uppity was not just a political dispute. It was a death sentence and McCain is playing with that message. I see no reason to pretend it's not happening just because Obama doesn't feel he can deal with it head on and the majority of the press is so rotten and corrupt that they let the GOP do their thinking for them.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Is this a joke?

When I read an excerpt from this article on Krugman's blog I was sure this had to be satire. There's nothing, however, on the webpage to indicate it might be satire. It appears to be a 'serious' article from an insane person who who gets published by an insane propaganda organization the WSJ?

Too Fit to Be President?

August 1, 2008; Page W1
The writer, if she was determined to write about the ridiculous, could just as easily have taken the tack --that is if one wasn't writing to the command of the character destroying artisans of the GOP to select what in most would be seen as the positive aspects of Obama and turning them into a liability-- taken the tack that Obama's fitness was something to inspire the populace. Really, I think it past time to get rid of all the news related propaganda media as start over. The result couldn't be worse than this.