Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Investigating With Humor (in a governmental sort of way)

The CIA has a new task force, the WikiLeaks Task Force. Which they are calling by its acronym, WTF.


How appropriate.

Here in Seattle, we have our own acronymical error, the South Lake Union Trolley. (which they renamed, but not before a whole bunch of people capitalized on the error, and had t-shirts printed with the slogan, "Ride the S.L.U.T.!" And I have to wonder, does the Tourism Federation of Wisconsin mind that the CIA stole their original acronym, Wisconsin Tourist Federation?

The CIA is, of course, telling us that WikiLeaks has proved (by virtue of these massive file piles they've been leaking) that it's a bad idea to share information, even when everyone already knows it - but they just don't like to talk about it. Things like, "Boy, Putin's a dick." Who knew?

But I think it's just about time that the CIA got a tiny sense of humor.

The entire WikiLeaks brouhaha has left me interested but cold-ish. I haven't read everything out of these archives, since I have a life doing other things, and I'm sure there are plenty of people who are smarter than I, who do have the time and the inclination to read a lot of dry data, and/or truly bass-ackwards opinions about Latin American leaders (what is this, the 19th Century?). But what Julian Assange is doing, along with all the WikiLeaks crew, is finally showing America what its government is doing, and even at the most superficial levels, what they're seeing is a bunch of frat-boy types acting like they know better than everyone else (because information is power, and having power requires you to use it in wasteful, indiscriminate and criminally stupid ways). The Tea Party folks are right about the government, but then the progressives are, too. Strangely enough, they're right about the same things at the same time, but for totally different reasons. For example: the government involves itself in too many foreign intrigues (Tea Party: bad; Progressives: bad). Now, the Tea Party is all for going after bad actors in the world, so long as the corporate media tells them which ones to go after. Progressives are also for going after bad actors in the world, but only if we're doing it for totally altruistic reasons, and not because the country we're invading or attacking or whatever has resources we might need. Reality may lie somewhere in the middle, or is perhaps nowhere to be found at all. Remember, the Afghan war was a "good" war in the beginning...

(don't talk about the TAPI pipeline)

So, while Assange is getting himself arrested for the alleged sexual assault of a couple of Swedish ladies (and feminists debate whether or not they were actually raped), the digital dump continues. Assange is threatening to release a bunch of documentation about Bank of America should he be threatened with anything resembling jail time. I wonder if there's a correlation there: Assange is threatening to blow the whistle on a bank (a really BIG bank), should the Americans get their hooks into him, or the Swedes actually put him on trial. Is that actually a threat with merit? Does outing BofA constitute a threat to national security? For Sweden? I have to wonder what's on the BofA docs...

The CIA is bothered by the whole "digital" thing, because, you know, once the document is available digitally, no amount of encryption or protection or "security" can guarantee that it won't get into foreign hands, or worse - onto the NEWS. Perhaps that's what makes all of this a very good thing indeed. If the CIA and the State Department don't want to be arrested (or interviewed on the telly), maybe they'll start acting in a way that actually helps people rather than just doing what will keep them employed till next fiscal year. Or what will keep them politically viable ("Invade Iraq? OK!").

Unfortunately, I doubt (unless the legislative arm of the US Government actually cared what other countries thought of the United States) these people will change their behavior. So long as it's "America - Fuck Yeah!", no one has to do anything different. We're number one, right?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Why Can't We Call Them Assholes?

While Limbaugh, Malkin, Coulter & Beck are obviously assholes, what about their followers? When someone says straight-faced that unemployment benefits makes someone lazy, doesn't that make them an idiot? Or that Social Security makes everyone just another calf needing the government teat - isn't that the thought process of a total dickhead?

Cheney defends the torture we practiced upon our prisoners as "moral", and many Republicans agree. Besides unAmerican, doesn't that make them assholes?

While, in the spirit of compromise, we try to get things passed that will benefit the maximum number of people while not offending the assholes amongst us, we compromise our way into some sort of weird political limbo, where the above statements (made by people that a lot of other people take seriously) actually drive the compromise backwards towards asshole land. Meanwhile, everyone tells the so-called liberal politicians that they're wimps. Which is, on the whole, mostly true. For which they're very, very sorry. Really. So sorry.

Fuck. Me.

I think it's time that we stopped playing nice, and stopped acting like the uninformed, misinformed, self-induced ignoramuses should be given ear. Just because someone is trying to have a "reasonable" argument on a topic that they obviously know nothing about, doesn't give them the right to be treated well or politely. Polite doesn't work. Agreeing to disagree means that nothing gets done, and no one has to change.

If no one has to change, then the status quo wins, and we continue on with an underemployed, increasingly desperate, demoralized populace. I've got my cushy corner of the world pretty much taped off, and I'm pretty sure it will stay that way for the forseeable future. Other people aren't so lucky. I contribute to local charities, I volunteer to do what I can within the community and the world at large, but my individual contributions "don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world." I think, as my New Year's Resolution, that I'm going to tell people who I think are wrong, that they're wrong. I'm probably not going to be nice about it anymore.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Money Pit Of Hell

There are some who say, this deal with the Senate Republicans and so-called Democrats, that gives tax breaks for millionaires and hundred-thousandaires is the best of a bad situation, and I'd have to agree. It will give unemployment benefits to millions of Americans. It will continue tax breaks to the rest of us. And it will lower the Social Security obligation we all have to deal with in every paycheck. The country will manage to limp along a little longer, and the problems that we face will be a little easier to bear.

For now.

Then again, the debt ceiling will have to be raised in February. Will the Republicans allow it? Maybe, since if they don't and have to shut down the government, they will have to explain their backing of the tax break everyone signed onto back in December. Or, they'll have to explain, after pushing long and hard for tax breaks to the millionaires that revenue would flow into the Fed because, of course, all these millionaires would suddenly be creating jobs all over the place, why they didn't.

Here's the horrible alternative: let all the tax breaks die, the unemployment benefits die - everything. Let it go. What could possibly happen?

Why, the Republicans would have to explain why the economy cratered even further. My house price will sink like a rock into quicksand, and I might get laid off from a company that never lays anyone off. In two years, America might devolve into horrifying anarchy and pain, with armed bands of the unemployed running around the country robbing banks and what-not in order to pay for groceries. The educational system will fall even further behind, and China and India will start outsourcing manufacturing to us. We will become the Third World nation that only rich people visit because "everything's so much cheaper there." Only problem is, our beaches will be fouled with oil, the food is pretty terrible (unless you're willing pay through the roof in New York or San Francisco for a decent meal), and the infrastructure barely functions.

Life will suck. A lot.

And then it comes down to a simple question for us progressives: do we think the country will be smart enough to realize that Republicans want it that way? Or are our fellow citizens so completely stupid that they think this is somehow their fault for not working harder, for not giving rich people enough money so they can be the "engines of job creation."

You know, at yacht-building companies.

People will have the choice of either realizing the Republicans are terrible, and vote in a slate of nothing but lefty-leaning Democrats, or they will continue listening to the likes of Glenn Beck, Michelle Malkin and Fox News in general, and vote for more Tea Party types - or at least more Republicans.

That's the rub. I think people are stupid. Because I talk to them all the time, and they are perfectly willing to swallow the kool-aid that the rich are "taxed enough," that the unemployed are "lazy bums," and that welfare is just another word for "picking my pocket to pay for your crack habit." They also believe that Muslims hate us for our freedoms, and that God wouldn't let us destroy the world because he already did it once, and said he wouldn't do it again. So global warming is a myth that's designed to give money to lazy people (what?).

Chaos may be the result if bankers get any more greedy, if enough people die from no insurance coverage, and if enough fire departments start charging for emergency services rendered. Or chaos won't ensue, because enough people will be too busy just trying to make ends meet, and will be willing to give up a little bit more of their security, their freedom, and their ability to fight back. America will devolve. We will get worse, and we may not get better. We may not even be capable of getting better.

Free enterprise is a bitch.

Friday, November 26, 2010

So Die Already

Corporate profits are up. Wall Street is doing well. Black Friday sales are humming along nicely. Happy days are here again.

Unless you're one of the unemployed millions. Especially if you're one of the discouraged unemployed millions (whom we don't even bother to count anymore - once you've been been unemployed for long enough, you're no longer unemployed - you're just "discouraged").

Perhaps what we really need to learn from this is that growth is, in fact, unsustainable. That the ten percent of the nation we can safely call unemployed is, in fact, the "surplus population" that Scrooge spoke of in Dickens' Christmas Carol. We don't need you.

So die already.

If you used to build cars in or near Detroit, Michigan, well, we don't do that sort of thing as much anymore. So stop whining, and either get a job at a Burger King (too much competition? Too bad!) or die. Or maybe you could start your own business, and sell some sort of cheap imported crap to your neighbors.

They're unemployed, too? How do you people live? What the hell is wrong with you?

Remember, we have to keep up with the Chinese in terms of wages and so on, otherwise American businesses won't be competitive. Look at what happened to the Maquiladora factories in Mexico, after all - unaffordable labor closed more than half of those plants down. So, let's raise the retirement age, privatize Social Security and Medicare (businesses are SO much more efficient in doing large, complex tasks - just look at Enron), and lower everyone's tax rates. We'll get the whole country working again, but we have to remember the cardinal rule - corporations are the important thing here, not the people. Much better for corporations live on and prosper than people. Without corporations you don't need people, right?

So die already.

Here's the deal - we'll give you credit cards as soon as you enter college (because you have parents who will co-sign student loans to make the payments), get you on the fast track to some sort of middle-wage paying tech or finance job that you'll have to work at for at least twenty years to pay off your student loan debt, and you'll want to have all the things your folks had when they were your age (or better, if possible) so you can go deeper into debt, getting a used car on credit because local public transportation isn't that great and you need your freedom, man, and by the time you hit thirty you start thinking that you'd like a family (if you haven't already started one, and thus put yourself into some SERIOUS debt), so you get married and have a kid or two, and by the time you're forty you realize that the job you got based on your degree isn't really what you wanted out of life, but it pays the bills, and if you quit now, how will you pay the mortgage and keep the kids and your wife healthy, and gee, the anti-depressants you're taking will cost a lot more if you lose your health insurance.

So die already.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Midterms and Report Cards

LOTS of goodies in the bag after the midterms. First off, here in Washington state, we still managed to maintain the Prohibition-era law that gives the government of Olympia the power to decide what kind of booze I can buy within the state. And their taste in alcohol is both limited, and kinda crappy. They've chosen a wider variety of flavored Schnapps drinks over a wider variety of Single-Malt Scotch - I mean, come ON - we're not all fraternity dudes, are we?

On the plus side of things, neither Sharron Angle ("Latinos look Asian to me"), nor Christine O'Donnell ("I am not Hermione Granger") got to be Senators. On the minus, 60 seats in the house went to Conservatives, some of them entirely nuts. The folks who retained their seats are talking about compromise, as is the Pres, and the Senate leadership.

Rand Paul has already made several statements that either contradict his own viewpoints during his run, or will piss off his base almost immediately - what was that about getting money for your state? Isn't that the delicious political meat called "pork"? And the suggestion that we could somehow cut military spending, well, I'm pretty sure he didn't mention that during the campaign (TEA Party folks luvs their military spending, for some reason).

Obama has been on the "apologise, appease and appeal" train this last week, first running out of the country to India and Southeast Asia to talk trade agreements and exports, while our dear Fed contemplates a bit of currency fudging that will likely annoy the crap out of the Chinese (and probably everyone else as well). While I get what the Fed is trying to do to some extent, they've led themselves into this hole by continually lowering the prime down til they reached rock bottom at 0-.25% during the Bush administration.

And now, we have what has become known as the "Cat Food Commission" report on the deficit. Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles worked very hard to look at every single possible option for reducing the deficit, and what they came up with is totally baffling, while being completely predictable. Neither of these guys likes Social Security or Medicare very much (Alan Simpson referred to Social Security as a cow with 310  million teats), so a lot of their big ideas have to do with making us work longer and pay people less from the SS trust fund. Great. Rich people get lower taxes, working people have to work until they die.

Of course, the irony here is they're both on the government pension payroll with lifetime bennies.

We're truly heading towards the abyss. America elected a bunch of nitwits who think government is bad, that social programs all suck, who think the Defense Department can constantly grow no matter how few wars we're actually fighting (except maybe Rand Paul - we'll see), and who think that anyone who's on welfare or social security or medicare are leeches. Cut taxes, lower spending, de-regulate, and privatize. And Obama is talking about compromise, compromise, compromise. Un-fucking-believable.

If Obama does turn into a one-term President, it will be because he spent so much time trying not to get into a fight with people who totally hate him, and want him to fail. And they will continue to say that he never wanted to talk to them, and that he's all the bad things they said, and we can blame all the economic problems this country has been living through on him, and not on George Bush and the policies of the Republican party that have been pushed on us since Nixon.

And we'll deserve what has happened to the Left in this country, because we've never had the balls to work out our puny differences and deal with the bullshit the Right has been spewing for decades, letting them get more and more strident, get more and more power, until, like the frog in the pan of water, we've allowed ourselves to be cooked because we didn't notice someone had turned on the heat. We let it happen, and we let petty differences divide us.

And we keep re-electing zombies like Harry Reid.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Gimme a Minute...

I'm waiting for all the results to be final. Here in WA state that means that we are either going to send the "Mom in tennis shoes" (Patty Murray) or the "Land Shark" (Dino Rossi) to the Senate. Patty's been there a while, and has done some notable things for the state, but has occasionally voted for a few boneheaded things.

Anyway, still waiting to hear Rand Paul's first speech as Junior Senator from Idiotville.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Ant, The Grasshopper, & a Big Steaming Pile of Manure

The Ant and the Grasshopper - a Fable from Aesop

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed.

The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.


Work hard and save for the future!


The ant works hard in the withering heat and the rain all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while he is cold and starving.

CBS, NBC, MSNBC, PBS, CNN, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food. America is stunned by the sharp contrast.

How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper and everybody cries when they sing, It's Not Easy Being Green...

ACORN stages a demonstration in front of the ant's house where the news stations film the group singing, We Shall Overcome.

Then Rev. Jeremiah Wright has the group kneel down to pray for the grasshopper's sake.

President Obama condemns the ant and blames President Bush, President Reagan, Christopher Columbus, and the Pope for the grasshopper's plight.

Nancy Pelosi & Harry Reid exclaim in an interview with Larry King that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share.

Finally, the EEOC drafts the Economic Equity & Anti-Grasshopper Act retroactive to the beginning of the summer.

The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the Government GreenCzar and given to the grasshopper.

The story ends as we see the grasshopper and his free-loading friends finishing up the last bits of the ant's food while the government house he is in, which, as you recall, just happens to be the ant's old house, crumbles around them because the grasshopper doesn't maintain it.

The ant has disappeared in the snow, never to be seen again.

The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident, and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the ramshackle, once prosperous and peaceful, neighborhood.

The entire Nation collapses bringing the rest of the free world with it.


Be careful how you vote in 2010.


The ant works hard to sell the grasshopper (whom the ant knows is unemployed) a mortgage the grasshopper will not be able to afford, and falsifies the documents so that the bank will fund the loan. He then sells the loan to a different bank, which combines and sells packages of mortgages to investment bankers who then slice up these securities into manageable instruments, which are then insured by other companies, who then sell shares in the insurance policies.

The grasshopper finally gets a low-paying job, works hard and pays his mortgage on time, thinking that he’ll be able to re-negotiate the interest rate or the loan terms when the loan comes due in the winter. Meanwhile, the ant thinks the grasshopper is a fool, and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the housing market has collapsed (based on the bubble created by so many home sales based on falsified documents), and the grasshopper is about to be foreclosed on. The ant calls a press conference to decry the lazy, foolish, and (possibly) criminal behavior by the grasshopper.

CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, and FOX all show up to the ant’s palatial home and kiss his ass. America is not stunned at all by the toadying.

No one asks why one person who works hard and pays his mortgage on time should be evicted, when the crook who set the whole thing up gets to stay in his mansion.

Newt Gingrich appears on Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, and Glenn Beck, and blames Obama, Clinton, and Woodrow Wilson, respectively.

ACORN does not exist anymore, so they cannot come and help the grasshopper.

Pat Robertson and Franklin Graham ask their followers to pray for the ant, and hint that the grasshopper is probably a Muslim.

President Obama condemns the ant and tries to pass legislation that will prevent other ants from perpetrating such fraud in the future, but only a small fraction of his own party is willing to pass legislation that might deny them election funds in the future.

Mitch McConnell and John Boehner exclaim in an interview with Chris Wallace that the ant got wealthy by putting in long hours of hard work, and should not be taxed any more than the grasshopper.

The US Chamber of Commerce spends millions of dollars on attack ads aimed primarily at any Congressperson who would dare to investigate mortgage fraud in any meaningful way.

The grasshopper is evicted, and forced to move into low-income, subsidized housing, rather than having his interest rate renegotiated to something he could afford to pay. He is laid off from work, as the economy has collapsed. His home is confiscated by the ant, who has received insurance for losing the mortgage payments, and can sell the house for less money on higher interest rates to another grasshopper.

The story ends, but we don’t see the grasshopper at all. Later, the ant writes a memoir, for which he is paid a handsome advance, and which joins many other books about how to succeed at business without really trying.

Ultimately, the ant disappears to Antigua, taking all of his money with him, and never paying another dime in taxes.

The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident, and the house, remaining unsold on the market until the bank can get a better price for it, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the ramshackle, once prosperous and peaceful, neighborhood.

The entire nation, except for a few pockets of extreme wealth, collapses, while the rest of the world looks on in wonder at how stupid we got to be. Surprisingly, the rest of the world does just fine without us.


Stop letting corporations run the damn country.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Atlas Stank

I got into a verbal fistfight with an objectivist on the local newspaper forums here in Seattle. To quote the Spleen, "BIG. MISTAKE." I keep forgetting what a cult Objectivism is for some people.

I pointed out something that has come up in a lot of scholarly works about her of late, that she admired William Edward Hickman, a pretty horrible murderer, thief and kidnapper. At the same time, she derided the society that was so up in arms about what he'd done. I won't go into all those details right now, since I don't need to rehash what other folks have done better. Be warned, if you follow the link, you will possibly end up reading about the man's worst crime. It's beyond revolting.

However, this particular Rand acolyte directed everyone to not read anything I was commenting on (as it was based on Rand's less "mature" thought), and to go the website of the Ayn Rand Institute. As with my previous post on the Koran burner, I'm not giving out a website for a group that has more than enough publicity. You wanna read this stuff, go look it up.

The things I find amusing about Objectivists: it's all about Reason, Rational behavior, Rational emotions ("rational" emotions? I was under the impresstion that rational and emotional were kind of at odds with each other), and Capitalism - unregulated, unfettered capitalism - would set everyone free. Financial market meltdowns, depressions, etc., are all caused solely by unwarranted government regulation and interference - not greed, not poor planning, not due to anything that a Capitalist would have done, no, they're all too smart to screw themselves or the economy or the whole world over for a few extra bucks. And Religion, all religion is bad and stupid and wrong and misguided.

Not totally disagreeing with the last thought, but it's not up to me to judge what other people believe, unless their beliefs directly impinge upon my rights and freedoms. Rand thought all religion is inherently evil. She liked that word a lot. So do a lot of objectivists.


Charity: Evil.

Public Education: Evil.

Environmental Protection: Evil.

While I understand the basic premise, that government should only be there to protect us from the violence done by others (physical violence, that is), and to enforce contracts, and to defend the nation against enemies, I think the problem resides in the idea that if everyone just behaved, the world would be fine.

I mean, how naiive can you get?

But the Ayn Rand Institute is carrying water for a lot of large corporate interests, and I wonder how Rand's followers would feel if they really looked at what these shmucks write, and who they like to play with. Michael Berliner, one of the board co-chairs, works for a government-subsidized university, Cal State Northridge. Arline Mann, the other board co-chair, is a lawyer who works as Managing Director and General Counsel of Goldman Sachs. The President, Yaron Brook, regularly appears on Glenn Beck's shows to talk about why government regulation and monetary policies are all bad.

First of all, public education, according to Ayn Rand, is eeeeeevil. So what is Berliner doing, working at a State University, living off the public teat?

And don't get me started on Ms. Mann. Ayn Rand and Goldman Sachs. How absolutely fucking perfect.

Glenn Beck is a practicing Mormon, who promotes the writings of Cleon Skousen, famous for defending the Mormon church against charges of racism (they wouldn't ordain black ministers), by accusing his accusers of being Communists (pretty much anyone who disagreed with Mr. Skousen was accused of Communism - it's an easy out, after all). Beck, of course, regularly promotes religion in his TV and Radio programs, and his Event on August 28th was pretty much a big revival meeting with bits of Sarah Palin thrown in. So, does Brook go on Beck's show and argue theology with him? Of course not. As long as Glenn Beck promotes the idea that income tax is bad, and government regulation is bad, Mr. Brook is perfectly willing to overlook Beck's little pecadilloes regarding the nature of the entire Universe and whether or not there's even a God. Personally, I think Ayn Rand would be spinning in her grave.

One of the "Fellows" of the Institute, Alex Epstein, has written extensively on environmental issues, how we'll never run out of oil if we just keep looking, how all those folks advocating solar, wind and waves are idiots, because it's never been proven to really work that well (except, of course, where it does), and environmentalism is just another form of evil. An Analyst in the Policy Division, Thomas Bowden, writes about Culture (which I thought meant art and music), and at least one of his articles is about how Columbus helped bring enlightenment and prosperity to the American Indian. Never mind about that whole syphilis thing. Mostly he writes about Christmas not being commercial enough (isn't Christmas a relgious holiday?), and at Thanksgiving, we should be thanking ourselves.

The fatal flaw of Objectivism and Libertarianism (which isn't the same, there's no philosophical foundation for Libertarianism - according to the Objectivists I've talked to) is that, given the chance, everyone will behave in a strict, moral fashion, and everyone will have the opportunity to succeed, most especially if government gets out of the way, and lets everyone just do their thing.

Must be nice in that bubble.

All in all, Objectivism is a philosophical wonderland populated by would-be aristocrats who've been kept down by the Man, man, self-deluded, both historically and morally untenable. And I won't fall into the trap of treating one of Rand's followers as rational, ever again.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Burning Down Your House*

*with apologies to David Byrne and the Talking Heads

South Fulton, Tennessee probably has a lot to be proud for. I have no idea what (since I can't seem to find an on-line version of their local newspaper - assuming they have a local newspaper anymore), but I'm sure they must think of themselves as a good, old-fashioned, blue-collar community.

Gene Cranick, on the other hand, has learned a valuable lesson this last week: pay the firefighter fee!

See, Mr. Cranick didn't pay the fee, or forgot to pay the fee, or something, and when his house caught fire and got a little too out of control for him to put out the fire himself, he called 911.

The firemen didn't show. He called again.

Still nothing. He called one more time, offering to pay "whatever it'll take" to put out the fire.

The firemen came! He was so grateful. They pulled out hoses, hooked up gear, got ready.

And stood there like statues. The house burned to the ground. The fee? $75, annually.

Cranick offered them money directly. No go. They were there to protect his neighbor's house, in case the fire spread (which, eventually, it did). The neighbor had paid his seventy-five bucks, and by God, he was going to get his money's worth.

Libertarians I have read are saying, well, the guy offered to pay - take his money or his written agreement to pay and put out the fire. On the other hand, if there's only the one fire truck and two fires at the same time (rare occurrence, but who knows?), and only one has paid, well, put out the fire for the guy that paid.

I'm waiting to see firemen walking around with clipboards stuffed with legal contracts that authorize them to fight a fire, and hold harmless the City, that requires multiple initials and signatures before they can put out your house, save your kids, etc. Probably a credit check involved somehere, since, if you can't be relied on to make the payments, you'll have to cough up a cashier's check on the spot.

(off in the distance, you hear the crackling sound of your dog burning, and, on the breeze, the smell of roasted flesh)

I'm waiting for the first pay-to-solve-the-crime police department, myself. Pay the fee, the cops show up and solve a crime, otherwise, you're on your own. It'll make murdering your spouse that much easier - just don't pay the fee!

I'm not going to use this as a metaphor for health insurance and health care, even though it's a really easy shot.

Are we truly this insane, this regressive? I'm reminded of Boss Tweed and Gangs of New York, paying for protection, and the firefighters only putting out fires if the folks have a little brass plate on the front of their building, saying they've paid their "fee". I begin to wonder if this is the future the hardcore libertarians/tea partiers have in mind for us.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Platonic Bullshit

Plato had an idea that somewhere in the universe, on some spiritual plane, every single thing that ever existed either had a mate that it was trying to reconnect with, or a perfect form of itself that the object would like to become. Something like teacup-ness, or white-sidewall-tire-ness.

Does that make sense?

Well, here's Plato's bullshit-ness, and it's awesome:

This is a news website article about a scientific paper

Couldn't resist passing this along. Hope you like.

Terrorists Are Everywhere - Turn 'Em In!!!

In what appears to be another edition of "you're not paranoid enough", the Justice Department has kicked off the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative. Suspicious Activity Reporting is its own thing, of course, simply the idea that if someone buys fertilizer, or a lot of hydrogen peroxide, or takes pictures of a building, that that person might be doing those things for nefarious purposes. If they do all three, they might very well be doing those things for nefarious purposes.

The question is, how many things do you report, and who do you report them to?

But now there's an Initiative. Time to get enthusiastic about turning in your fellow citizens!

We've had these sort of concepts before, most recently as the "If You See Something, Say Something!" campaign. How very "Leave It To Beaver" of them.

Now, I'm not a big fan of terrorism. The attacks on 9/11 were horrible, and probably preventable. But since the system we had in place prevented a lot of information from being shared between various parties, and even if they could have shared, they didn't want to, since information is power, and if you own it, you don't just give it away. There was, of course, a certain amount of high-level complacency in the administration at that time as well. While I don't believe the towers were brought down by pre-planted explosives, I'm afraid I have no problem believing that Cheney and others in the Bush administration wanted something to happen, in order to galvanize/terrify the American public into letting them have their way with the country.

This initiative worries me. It essentially sounds like we should all be checking up on anything new or out of the ordinary at all times. If someone does something that's not criminal, but just suspicious, we should report them? I think the worst thing about there not being pay phones anymore is that you can't anonymously turn someone in for buying too much hair gel. Perhaps if I were to buy a cheap pay-as-you-go cellphone, I could have a little fun; but then, of course, it becomes like the Boy Who Cried Terrorist: if I actually saw someone doing something, would the authorities take me seriously?

If you watch Burn Notice long enough, you realize that there are many things you can make with household items that are probably not good for most people to know about. And of course, Fight Club. Gasoline and certain other ingredients in equal quantities is basically napalm.

(no - I'm not going to say what)

So if I see someone going to the Safeway to fill up a gallon can of gas, and then going in and buying a whole bunch of the other thing (a truly innocuous item), do I automatically assume "firebomb"? And what about the old classic, Drano and aluminum foil? Is someone roasting a chicken and unclogging their sink, or are they planning on screwing up the toilets of a bunch of government buildings?

I think Bloom County had one of the best ideas:

I think it's going to be a sad day when eccentric behavior, or photography, or chemical/mechanical experiments in your own home might suddenly become a reason to investigate someone. I've already had the experience where, while taking photos of various objects on one of our local ferries, a guy with no visible signs of authority (except for the gun on his hip) started asking me what I was doing, why I was taking photos, etc. Here I was, being Mr. Eccentric Photographer, and I was suspected of potential terrorism, and if I couldn't come up with a reasonable explanation, they might haul me off to jail and interrogate me further.

I have to wonder, would that be fun? Interesting? Terrifying? If there's a way to document it all without the documentation being compromised, I'd be all over it. Hmmm....

Monday, September 20, 2010

Secks Is BAAAAAD. Really.

There are some folks out in politicoland that create such a sense of WTF that I have to go backwards out on a limb with a saw in my hand to just to comprehend them.

First off, I should clarify my own views on the subject of sex: I'm for it.

I'm not a big fan of prostitution, but it does serve a purpose in mature societies.

Sex trafficking (the purposeful deception and entrapment of young ladies into a life of unwilling prostitution), THAT I'm really, really opposed to. And not just because I hate waking up at three in the morning to the sounds of
- BOOM -
a house being battered in so loudly it sounds like they're busting down the door next door to me. Ever heard a shotgun firing a shock-lock round? Like friggin' cannon fire.

It was up the street a block and a half, but the whole neighborhood suddenly knew that the cute young Asian couple with the stack of mattresses in the garage were being busted, and it wasn't until later that we found out why...   eeewww...

Anyway, two related stories that have come up in the last couple of weeks, and a friend of mine prodded me a little to write a blog post about this one.

After much cannon fire from various law enforcement agencies, Craigslist has removed the "erotic services" from their websites in the United States. But nowhere else. Not even Kuwait. So, apparently, erotic services are acceptable everywhere but in the good old Puritannical US of A.

By the way, on Craigslist, you can still get a "massage."

And, to add insult to injury, we have this new TEA Party candidate that is running for Senator in Delaware, Christine O'Donnell. Who does not approve of sex outside of marriage, and who does not approve of masturbation in any way, shape or form, and who thinks that only by teaching our teenagers the wonders of abstinence will we save them from STDs and other things that we actually had a handle on back in the seventies. She got here, of course, after doing quite a bit of sexual experimentation back in college, which, she said, left her feeling "empty."

Perhaps she needed to pick a, ahem, bigger partner for her meaningless sexual escapades.

Then there are her stories of consorting with witches. Which is why she is now opposed to Halloween. You have to wonder how she feels about celebrating Easter with bunnies and dyed eggs and all that, since that's based on a pagan ritual that we celebrate at about the time when (supposedly) Jesus died for her sins. Perhaps it would be more acceptable if we explained that Jesus hid the eggs just before he was crucified. Since he was the son of God, and could therefor do anything he wanted to, he might even have laid the eggs himself.

I wonder if she'd feel better about the whole easter-egg thing if we were to simply build a crucifix with a dummy Jesus and pelt him with eggs, to remind us of how naughty the Jews Romans were.

(sorry, blaspheming again, I know)

I get the feeling that if she ever becomes lactose-intolerant, she'll go after Cheese festivals in Wisconsin for not being Godly, since God wouldn't have made her hate something so much if it wasn't some sort of sin.

So, remember, anything you personally think is fun/bad is probably a sin. Which is why you should try to enjoy it more. You know, like murder.

No, wait...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Incredible Shrinking Me

The more I write about politics, the less it appears that I understand what the hell people are thinking. While I do have a few followers, and I do occasionally stray into the land of unabashed angryville (see the Bible Burn post below), I'm becoming unutterably sad for our nation and our leaders.

The Left (for want of a better word) seems to be composed of a combination of the overly politically correct, the slightly embarrasedly religious, and the completely cynical and misanthropic. I put myself partially in the first and third categories, while skirting around the middle category altogether. I'm pretty much certain there are no deities either watching over us, or even just letting us do our thing while the world They gave us collapses and dies. If there was a God, he/she left a while ago. Probably between the end of the Brady Bunch and the beginning of Beverly Hills 90210. And I'm pretty sure the Star Wars Christmas Special had something to do with it.

Meanwhile, in political LaLa-Land, while freaks like Sharron Angle and Michelle Bachmann get to be heard loud and clear by whomever will give them a hearing, we throw folks like Harry Reid up against them, who still sounds like he's apologising even when he's on the attack. Ms. Angle can talk about doing away with Social Security and Medicare, while Reid promptly comes back with a nuanced, truthful precis of the situation, but no one wants to listen to him, because, well, complicated explanations are boooring, duh!

So, fine, we'll go elect some clown who promises to fix everything for free, no one will feel pain, and everything will be fine again, our children will grow up safe, and well-educated, because the Department of Education won't be filling their little heads with leftist thought, and all those black people will stay in their neighborhoods and not blight the landscape, and the only drugs you'll hear about are the good drugs, drugs that are properly prescribed, or, even better, over the counter meds like cigarettes and alcohol, because those (in moderation) are good for you - just look at Mad Men, wasn't that a great time?

Oh, yes, and by the way, all government is bad.

Except the military.

Here's why the military is so great. It's a nice little chart.

I mean... Holy shit...

Meanwhile, you have David Brooks telling everyone that America isn't in decline, that it's just a state of mind, people aren't doing all the saving they used to, so they feel desperate, and it's time for everyone to get back to work, and not whine about crappy wages or working conditions, because you know, get back to fucking work you lazy slobs.

This isn't fun anymore, and I can't express in words how foolish I feel, nor how foolish I think we have become, as a nation. We've gone past the point of no return. And I'll keep doing the day job, paying my mortgage, paying my bills, and voting for the appropriate D when the time comes. But I understand why people don't want to vote. Facts don't win arguments. Only emotions win arguments.

We make speeches for each other. We reinforce our own ideas. We do well at saying how dumb the other side always seems, or how intolerant, or how wilfully blind, while ignoring our own weaknesses of pedantry, condescension, and an overarching sense of smug superiority.

And I include myself in there, so there...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Re-Announcing: Bible Burn!!!

For something this nuts, I'm not going to provide links back to the Temple of Crazy, AKA Dove World Outreach Center. They don't need the publicity.

Pastor Terry Jones (absolutely not to be confused with Monty Python's Terry Jones, a man with great respect for the teachings of Christ) has planned to gather his flock on September 11th of this year, and make a bonfire of Qur'ans on his church's front lawn. He does this "out of love for Jesus" he claims. Also, to prove that we still have freedom of speech in this country.


Then I recommend we prove to him right back, that freedom of speech is a two-way street. I'd like to see an event where we wrap a whole bunch of bibles in American flags, throw in a couple of apple pies (and anyone's dead Mom who wants to be cremated), and start a fire of our own.

(actually, only licensed crematoria are allowed to burn the bodies of the dead, so I guess we'll have to leave our dead Moms at home for this one)

Survival Research Laboratories had a planned event back in the 1980s called Bible Burn. Everyone was supposed to bring a bible and throw it on a nice big bonfire (in a semi-controlled environment - if you've ever been to an SRL show, you know what I mean). Right before it was set to take place, the organizers called it off, in what I would call a moment of cowardice. They claimed death threats. I say, let's start it up again, and see what happens.

I know, fomenting hatred and fear and making people think stupid thoughts about a dead guy nailed to a cross who professed love of everyone, which has brought about a wave of people who say his name as they prepare to unleash hatred on people who don't think quite like they do.

Some of their reasons for burning the Qur'an? (they have a LOT of them)
  • "Islam denies Jesus' divinity" - just like the Jews and George Washington! Let's burn the Talmud and a bunch of dollar bills, too. IDOLATRY!
  • The Qur'an is not "recorded in heaven" the way the Bible is. How they know this I'm not sure I get.
  • Islam teaches "Arabian" idolatry and rituals. The code word here is "Arabian", i.e., non-white, therefor Satanic.
  • They say the Qur'an wasn't written until years after Muhammed's death, and is full of contradictions. Not unlike the Bible, actually.
  • "Islamic law is totalitarian in nature", they say. Really? So, the Pope isn't totalitarian? Would they themselves not basically be telling everyone how to live if they had a shot at being in charge?
  • "Islam is not about democracy or human rights". Hmmm.. Like Guantanamo or Bagram?
  • Muslims cannot change their faith, because it's punishable by death. Interesting, because Pastor Jones says there are a bunch of ex-Muslims that support what he's doing. If they've changed their religion, why aren't they dead? Someone's asleep at the switch! Christians can, of course, change, but not without their pastor telling them they'll burn in hell. What's the big difference there?
  • "Deep in the Islamic teaching and culture is the irrational fear and loathing of the West." And deep in Christian teaching (these days) is the irrational fear and loathing of the East.
Yes, I'm an asshole. And an agnostic (at least I'm honest enough to say I'm really not sure about many many things). But I try not to be a hypocrite.

Oh, and a great, non-violent way to see all things Satanic (as far as these twits are concerned), I highly recommend you see this movie: "Unmistaken Child". Makes me think hard about the idea of old souls...

The Post-Modern Corporation (that eats people)

I've been reading a book on my lunch hour called False Dawn by John Gray, formerly the School Professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics. And I've come to the conclusion that Republicans really don't know anything, read anything, or care about their own futures. Because what they seem to be arguing for is not just a return to the good old days of the robber-baron capitalists of the 19th century, they seem to want to become the coal that fired the engines.

The Glenn Beck rally on Saturday, in which Beck attempted to resurrect the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. (without actually knowing what it was King was for), had a variety of Tea Party folks, nice old white people (here and there were tiny pockets of nice), and gun nuts who must have felt naked without their concealed-carry pieces. Beck had asked everyone to please leave their guns and signs at home, since this wasn't a political event, but some kind of moral lecture, religious revival, or possibly, The Plan, as Beck had called it a couple of months back when he announced this event.

As it happens, he didn't reveal The Plan, unless you count the folks in the Puritan outfits that are supposed to go out and evangelize for... something or other. He did, however, reveal The Palin, who was her usual incomprehensible self, sounding like a combination of Yoda and Hooked on Phonics played backwards.

Turnout was in the high-seventy- to low-eighty-thousand range. So of course, Fox says half a million showed up. "We report, you decide not to think."

One woman was quoted as saying that if she wanted to buy a gas guzzler, she should be able to, and she wanted to use any kind of damn light bulb she wanted. To which I say, fine, if you can afford the gas it takes to fill up a HumVee, be my guest. If you want to burn lightbulbs that die every six months and cost ten times what a CFL does to power, fine. We won't credit you for much in the way of brains, but go ahead, waste your money.

False Dawn argues that the politicians of the United States, and some in Europe, have decided somewhere along the way that a market-driven economy (what the Right calls Free Markets), now equals a system in which the societal costs of running a factory or driving a car are being absorbed by the society at large, and that big corporations and their owners are not responsible to the society at all. The point of operating a business has nothing to do with enriching the community or benefitting the country in which the business resides - no, it's all about enriching the corporation, making sure that there are as few impediments to the ability of the corporation to do what it needs to do to maximise profits.

If this is the way we're going than I suggest a Swiftian response: if someone is unemployed for too long, and they can no longer get benefits or welfare or food stamps, then I suggest we use them for either fuel for power stations (like coal, only not quite as clean burning), or fertiliser for ethanol corn. If they can't serve any other useful function, let them die and reduce the surplus population.

While I recognize that that was a very mean-spirited paragraph, it wouldn't surprise me if that's what a lot of the Tea Party thinks, simmering just under the surface.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Fred Phelps Hates Superman!

And Aquaman, Spiderman, Batman, and all the other *****men and *****women in the land of the comic book. San Diego ComicCon was the recipient of a Fred Phelps/Westboro Basptist Church visitation to let them know that what they're doing makes God hate them, and America, and everything else out there. Because God is, after all, really about hating your fellow human being for, well - being, I think.

WBC likes to protest a lot of things. They like to protest funerals of AIDS victims because "God Hates Fags." They like to protest the funerals of soldiers, because "God Hates America" apparently for tolerating "fags" in the first place.

But ComicCon? Is it because of all the Thor references? Perhaps because a lot of folks really like the idea of the Force (without, you know, starting a religion about it, but just thinking it's really neat).

Now for the fun part.

ComicCon attendees knew they were coming. A large group of nerds discovered that they were going to be protested by a bunch of drooling idiots, who haven't managed to work up a new sign design in over fifteen years. So they came up with some classics, posted here.

My two faves: "Is this thing on?", and "Magnets: How the %$&* do they work???"

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Defusing Hysterical Puffery, or Making Glenn Beck Cry

Glenn Beck (whom I try not to talk about for fear of receiving the wrath of his imbecilic followers - yes, they scare me more than the dittoheads) is planning an event of monumental proportions that (with any luck) will be a flaming ball of self-destruction. He's planning on making a speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on the anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech. He's told his followers not to bring signs, but that they should bring their children.

Hmm. I'm thinking. Perhaps we should have something that looks like a child stuck on a pole, so you can get the best of both worlds?

No, truly, here's what I would propose. Get as many people as you can to surround the folks who will no doubt barely fill the steps at the Washington Mall, and laugh your asses off the entire time. Non-stop. Eerily like a bad episode of the Twilight Zone or Outer Limits, but with the appropriate effect. Laugh at him. It's what he deserves. He really is a rodeo clown, who either doesn't read the history books he promotes, or he's a rabid anti-semite. Who can cry on cue, to prove that he "really, really cares about America." Just like all the other crocodiles.

I would also recommend carrying signs that have as little meaning attributable to them as possible. One of the early Rev. Phelps counter-protest signs read "I Have A Sign", which I think is just about the right level of total absurdity. Just so long as we're not calling him names or being mean to his followers. The best way to get them to show their true colors is to be as inane as possible.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Save The Gay Whales!!!

Wow. I think my brain just imploded slightly.

Sir Elton John sang at Rush Limbaugh's fourth wedding.

I'll say that again.

Sir Elton John (gay as all get-out) sang at Rush Limbaugh's fourth wedding.

He's so family values, Rush has gotten married and divorced three times before marrying the latest bit o' crumpet. Of course, he's been married before. And, like Richard Gere's movie partners, they keep gettin' younger 'n' younger with every wedding. And this time, he's being serenaded by an openly gay entertainer.

I don't know how to feel about this one. Is Rush truly that open-minded (or misinformed?) Does he just ignore the fact that his wedding singer is a gay man who is married to another gay man, which is something Rush is (publicly) opposed to? As for Sir Elton, does he not know about the guy who he's singing at? I was under the impression that Rush is a well-known a-list a-hole, even on the far distant shores of our former owners.

Sir Elton, when asked for comment, said something like "oh, leave me effing alone, can't you see I have another million bucks to shove up me Khyber*?" Or "thanks for the bangers**, 'omophobes!"

Ah well, the more things change, the more they stay the same. After all, Rock Hudson was well-known as a pouf in Hollywood in the fifties, but still managed to get work as a leading man all the way through the seventies. And I can't imagine that people didn't know that that other famous piano player, Liberace, wasn't gay. We've never minded that our entertainers were gay, so long as they stayed up there on stage or screen. Even better when they died well out of sight.

*Khyber = Khyber Pass = Ass

**bangers = bangers and mash = cash

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Dark Green Future

We make cars, washing machines, clothes, plastic water bottles, houses, concrete. We fabricate the very building blocks of what we do out of what nature created, or out of things nature never imagined. We are rapidly running out of things to create with, and we continuously find new ways to destroy the sources of the things that sustain our lives on this planet.

And this may be a good thing. The planet may not survive us, but hopefully the planet will survive if we don't. Our society can go from status quo to madness in less than forty-eight hours, and no amount of television coverage can make people behave rationally when they think their little slice of heaven is threatened.

But make sure you buy the latest 3D TV, because you'll want to see the latest oil well rupture in the clearest possible detail, or the skin texture of the burned, twisted corpses dragged out of the latest mining disaster.

When will we learn that what we think civilization is supposed to be is wrong?

Yes, dear readers, I have found a new thing to read, a new place to look, and weirdly enough, while what I've just written sounds unbearably depressing, it's actually a look over the edge. If our civilization is actually not meant to succeed, what does the next thing look like? The good people at The Dark Mountain Project are asking that very question, and they're not entirely afraid. I'm with them. Hoping to look, unafraid, at the next turn our species makes, and what might be the result.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Thoughts Or Not

So, with the massive collapse (and nearly intantaneous rebound) of Wall Street last week, many people turned to God to tell them what to do next. Since no one can fathom what the hell happened in the first place.

Ignoring, of course, the evidence that God is pretty much done with us, or at least He certainly doesn't seem to care that we're pretty much as vapid a species that ever plumbed the depths of philosophy. To wit, the Transocean/BP oil rig disaster that they tried to fix by dropping a lid on it (which didn't work because it both iced up and "wouldn't stay still" or some such excuse). Next up: "we're gonna stuff it full of shredded tires and golfballs!"

There's furious activity in no particular direction for ya...

I believe it was the Rude Pundit, speaking as a guest on the Stephanie Miller Show who suggested they stuff a whale into the opening to plug the leak, under the heading of "taking one for the team."

Chris Hedges has a great piece on the failure of religion in TruthDig this week, and it's one of his finer downers. In my mind (admittedly a twisted, rotting place) the best companion piece is here. Read Chris first. Then read the other one. Really. You have to take them in that order or it loses its impact.

To quote Dennis Hopper in Speed, "In two hundred years we've gone from 'I regret but I have one life to give for my country' to 'Fuck you!'?"

It's very important to kneel before the altar of Stuff I Must Have while praying to the Celebrities I Wish I Was.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Drill, Baby, Dr--- Oops!

So, let's dig for more "clean" coal.

Oh, darn. Dead miners. That'll scotch that up. Oh, yeah, and the Christmas disaster of 2008. Whatever happened there?

So let's drill for oil off the coast of Florida.

Dangit. Oil well blew up in the Gulf. A billion dollars to clean it up.

Let's build more nuclear reactors.

The Chernobyl death toll has now roamed from less than fifty actual deaths up to a quarter million projected deaths from cancer. And the GAO has said that the likelihood of a nuclear plant defaulting on its investors in around fifty percent. So, kills people, and can't pay for itself. The old Catskills joke: "The food here is terrible." "Yes, and such small portions." And the Pres has decided not to use Yucca Mountain as a spent fuel repository due to the earthquake fault-line that someone finally (oops) discovered was right underneath it.

Find natural gas through fracturing!

Really interesting concept - you pump water down into stratified slate deep underground and find pockets of natural gas, which you then capture as it tries to come up out of the ground. Most of it, anyway. The stuff you don't capture somehow ends up in the groundwater, and folks have been lighting their tap water on fire - in their bathrooms and kitchens. Neat!

How about other technologies?

The good people of Hyannis Port, Mass., have been fighting against a huge windfarm that some commie-loving power company wants to install off the coast of Massachusetts (due to the high winds one tends to get on open ocean, vs. the not-so-high winds one gets inland), and they lost. Windfarm is going up, and everyone in this nice, little quiet seaport of multimillionaires is going to have to look at windmills instead of, well, the weather, I guess. 130 turbines on 24 acres of big huge windmills. I understand that the windmuills one can build out at sea are larger than the ones you can build on land.

The fights are over the view, the impact on the ocean floor (why do we never worry about such things when it's a monster oil rig, or a sunken ship? how do fish deal with a massive, sunken ship? do they get lost inside?), and that seabirds might not see the spinning tubines and get chopped into fish bait. This was the same argument used in Livermore, CA when they put up a huge linear windfarm on the hills to the east. Birds managed to fly around, with the occasional far-sighted bird getting mulched into a flying Seagull McNugget.

There are proposals to turn huge swaths of various desert-y areas into solar collection stations (big solar panels or big steam-driven plants using focused solar energy to heat the water - big mirrors sure are cool looking), and all anyone is worried about is whether this will unfairly impact gila monsters, endangered varieties of toads and plants - and off-road vehicles, which, of course, have no effect on gila monsters, toads, or plants.

There's also a cool-looking system that is essentially a buoy that uses waves to generate power. A piston moves up and down inside the buoy and generates electricity, which then must be carried back to shore via some system they've pretty much worked out, but I'm not smart enough to explain.

Plenty of alternatives, but is the political will there to push them forward? Ted Kennedy opposed the windfarm in Hyannis Port, even though he was considered something of a commie by the opposition. If a hardline Democrat can be opposed to something on the basis of ruining someone's view (not even his own view), how long will we be waiting to begin to fix this problem? When it becomes a necessity, and we can't adapt fast enough?

Great. Looking forward to Waterworld...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Tea Party Platform?

I'm asking a simple question of my own hometown newspaper this week, and I would have thought I could have gotten an answer sooner. So here it is:

"Is there a Tea Party Platform? Where is it, and how can I get a look at it?"

I get lots of hits when I look 'em up on the web, but they're all over the map - some are simply pro-gun; others are anti-abortion; some are both; others are inexplicable. I'm trying to find a definitive one.

Since all of the comments on Letters to the Editor in the Seattle Times have a little "Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down" symbol, I get a lot of thumbs down. Not too many responses, but plenty of "NO."

Which, to my mind, is the biggest problem currently facing the Tea Party: they're the Party of "We don't like this!"

As for what they're for, I'm only certain of the "low taxes, small government" nonsense they keep spouting. But platitudes do not a political philosophy make. (unless you're Rush Limbaugh)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tea Party to Supporters: Stay Away!!!

It's fairly simple, really - if the Tea Party, um, Party wants to be taken seriously, they have to put a lid on the folks who were immediately drawn to the original messages. A lot of bombast about "death panels", "socialism", "government takeover of health care" and so on, dragged in a bunch of folks who were essentially believing any conspiracy theory about the Obama administration that folks like Dick Armey and Sarah Palin could come up with. The more the Obama administration would deny this stuff, the deeper they dug in their heels. Once you got past that bunch, then there's the "lower taxes, smaller government" group. Which, I suppose, didn't notice that their taxes were lower this year.

The problem with the Tea Party movement is not it's underlying ideology (which I'm still trying to discover, by the way - anyone know where to look?), so much as the disparate groups it attracts. All of these "live free or die" folks probably wouldn't want to work in the coal mines owned by Massey Energy, even though that company does "live free or die" as pretty much its mantra. Unfortunately, it has also attracted a lot of "birthers" who look more and more like closeted (or slightly less than closeted) racists every day, gun rights advocates who don't just talk about having guns, they bring 'em, and the folks who think Obama somehow "stole" the election by getting a lot of people to "vote" for him, as if that's not how it works to begin with.

If you think Tea Partiers are being treated badly, remember that anti-war protesters were herded into "free speech zones" during the last administration (by the police, no less), so that none of the folks they were protesting would have their pretty little ears hurt by having to listen to people saying that what they were doing was wrong.

Also, does it bother anyone that any Senator or Congresscritter that appears at these events is getting there on taxpayer money?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Of Two Minds

Jason Levin is working to undo the Tea Party from the inside out, by making them appear crazier than they are.

I'm not sure that's possible, but I think it would be fun to find out. Perhaps one needs to dress and act like a Tea Party person, and carry a video camera with one all the time, just to find out what they're really like.

Anyway, Mr. Levin has created a group called Crash The Tea Party, and says he has 66 affiliated groups around the country, ready to do battle, simply by exaggeration. Join them, show up at meetings, and become more insane than the folks who are protesting. He suggested in an interview that if you see someone in a Nazi uniform with a misspelled sign, that might be one of his. If they're throwing a rock, that won't be one of his. The message board has already been taken over by a bunch of right-wing angry folks, and Mr. Levin has received threats. So, a minor success.

This reminds me of the famous "Ladies Against Women", a protest group that would show up at Phyllis Schlafly rallies in the 80s, and scream things like "You're no one until you're Mrs. Someone." Or "Procreation, not recreation." The best part is, the other folks at these rallies agreed with them.

So, can we use humor against the humorless? Or at least the humor impaired? It apparently worked against Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist ministry (the "God Hates Fags" group - brilliantly parodied on this little website). Someone essentially showed up to one of these protests and waved placards that had more ridiculous rhetoric ("I Have A Sign" on a big pink placard), and the real folks dried up and blew away. I think to be truly effective you have to be able to do this wherever these nutjobs show up, and that might be logistically difficult. And why would Westboro Baptist protest "Fiddler on the Roof"?

While I think this has the potential for all kinds of wonderfulness, I also wonder about giving them more airtime than they currently deserve. It's not as if there isn't enough evidence that these folks come off as a bit unhinged, but by doing these little counter-protests (and worse still, telling everyone you're doing it) gives them the ammo to say, "well, look the Liberal Elite thinks we're stupid, and is plotting our downfall." I mean, what a recruitment pitch. "We were the underdogs, but now they're coming after us, we're actually persecuted!" Not sure that will decrease their ranks.
On the other hand, I'd love to see the kind of signs that might sprout up.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Where We're All Jose Padilla

John McCain, in his dotage, has proffered a bill that should have either a laugh track or horror movie music attached to it. It's called: ‘‘Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention, and Prosecution Act of 2010’’.

And it's a doozy. A good, old-fashioned, lock-you-up-and-throw-away-the-key kind of law.

Essentially, if the President determines that someone is, or may be a, or might help some terrorists, the military gets to take them into custody, no Miranda provided, no habeus corpus, no lawyer, and no need for a trial. A whole new category of un-person is designed with this bill, an "Unprivileged Enemy Belligerent." Our thanks go out to Jose Padilla, who beta-tested this program back in 2002.

While there is a lot of high-minded nonsense, with the inclusion of Al Qaeda as the primary boogeyman, what it boils down to is that if the President so chooses, bang, you're busted by the military, sent off to a place like Gitmo, interrogated by a specific interrogation team created by this new law, imprisoned for potentially the rest of your life, and no one can utter a peep against the system. It specifically denies the Federal Courts any jurisdiction over these poor bastards, and denies funding to the Justice Department to do any prosecution. So no matter what, you will never enter the Federal judicial system once this label has been applied, and the only person who can legally let you go is the President.

Yeah. Right.

I really, really hope that Obama is not the kind of President who would sign a bill like this. But I'm not sure any more. If Congress and the Senate pass this thing, and Obama signs it, it might be time to move away from The United States of Detentionland.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Loudest Name In Left-Wing Diatriabes (TM)

There, now it's official. I am The Loudest Name in Left-Wing Diatribes(TM), and no one can use that phrase to describe themselves without paying me a royalty fee. To be determined later. Like The Most Trusted Name In News (CNN) or Fair & Balanced (FOX), my tagline is just as valid.

Even if I'm lying.

Cable news is stupid. All of it. I don't care who we're talking about, but very, very few cable shows actually bother to analyze much of anything in depth. Even if they talk about it all day. I remember Walter Cronkite spending an entire hour laying out Watergate (of course, waiting until the Post had finally gotten all of its shots in) in excruciating detail. The kind of thing that would get turned off by a homeowner who was more interested in playing their new Wii than watching political news.

I know, I'm supposed to be better than that, but I'm just NOT.

The only cable network that's worth watching this stuff on is CSPAN, and somehow they manage to find the most boring events taking place in Washington. I need more angry questions from the folks on the (choose your favorite) Subcomittee.

And even though it was a fairly historic event, the big Health Care Debate between Republicans, Democrats and the President, managed to be so friggin' polite that there was just barely enough fire to keep me interested. One sound bite after another, and fortunately, a President who could at least counter some of the most egregiously wrong-headed claims with actual facts.

But how about a full and complete explanation of something? How about a long lecture, based entirely on fact, about any given topic? You've got time. Hell, you've got a twenty-four hour news cycle. Waste some of it on something other than Britney's bald head, or screaming Tea Partiers who not only can't spell, but who also can't explain exactly what it is they're upset about.

Who Pays For Climate Change Denial?

Well, besides us, especially the folks who used to live on Lohachara island in the Sundarbans. It's gone, and they all had to move off. All 11,000 of them.  Interestingly, this territory was in dispute between India and Bangladesh; I wonder who will claim it now?

And, of course, the lovely owners of Koch Industries. These two brothers have contributed more to the cause of denying global climate change is happening even than Exxon Mobil. The link is to a report about them by Greenpeace, and it's pretty impressive.

Two Brief Rants

Let's Have A Party

The Tea Party is generally at war with itself, but the members may not know it yet. Some of them are calling themselves strict Constitutionalists or Libertarians, and they simply want the two-party system to either go away or make way for more parties. I think they see the whole system as corrupted and unworkable, at least the way things are run now. They're not far wrong. However...

A large part of the "leadership" of the Tea Party is actually hard-core Conservative, self-proclaimed Christians (I'm not saying they're really Christians, that's just what they call themselves), who are hard-line immigrant haters, homophobes, and several of whom used to be part of the government they now claim to despise. Folks like Dick Armey, whose own marketing/lobbying firm is one of the groups that instigated the original Tea Party protests, caught a wave of anger in the populace and has ridden it to prominence. Or Michelle Bachmann, who talked about the Census being part of a conspiracy to round certain people into camps, until she found out that if people don't fill out the Census, her district might disappear, and she might be out of a job. Then - miraculously - the Census is just fine.

This is known as astroturf organizing - spend millions of corporate dollars and shape an easy-to-swallow message that will ultimately benefit the existing power structures. All while telling the folks they speak for "the little guy".

They talk about wanting to go back to "Constitutional" principles, but they claim that that would include prayer in public school, and even literacy tests for voting. Neither of those items were in the Constitution, but these folks claim to "know" the Founders' thinking.

Anyone who thinks they can mind-read the dead, yeah, that's who I'm going to follow...

Rove In Cuffs

One thing about Code Pink - they disapprove of the wars we're in, not the troops that are fighting them. The one thing that I keep coming back to: the difference between Iraq/Afghanistan and Vietnam is that back then the protesters went (mostly) after the troops coming home, as if being drafted was somehow their fault. We who are opposed to these wars are going after the architects, not the troops. If some of those troops commit crimes, then fine, punish them for their crimes, but I would also allow for mitigating circumstances, as well as incredibly unclear orders from the nut jobs at the top that started this whole mess.

I don't see the Tea Partiers getting angry with Bush for putting this country $4 trillion more in debt than when he started, nor leaving it with a $1.3 trillion deficit, nor for the millions of jobs lost. But yeah, let's take on Obama for trying (where no Republican has ever even bothered) to give more people access to health care.

Monday, March 22, 2010

It's Time to Beat the Reaper!!!*

*with apologies to the Firesign Theatre.

A little story that lets us all know that, given a chance to say "no" to killing someone, eighty percent of us will probably follow orders and kill someone anyway because someone in authority tells us to.

Ain't humanity grand?

A French TV show (leave it to the French) copied Stanley Milgram's experiments at Yale from the 60s in the guise of a reality TV show, wherein the participants were ordered to push a button, shocking the contestant in the booth when he or she got a question wrong. While the button-pusher couldn't see the contestant, they could certainly hear them. The shocks escalated in strength to a maximum of 460 volts. The poor contestant would scream louder and louder, until finally they stopped responding to the shocks, indicating they were either comatose or dead.

If this seems unbelievable, it's because it was faked, and no one actually died.

The button pushers didn't know that, however. As far as they knew, they were probably killing someone, but because they're on TV, and someone wearing a really nice suit says, go ahead, punish the person in the booth, they do it. Sixty-four out of eighty contestants kept going past the point of no return, including a holocaust survivor.

The reasoning behind all of this is that we are conditioned from birth to obey authority figures, no matter how wrong they may be. Some countries do it better than others. America may think that we're all wild-west, free-thinking, anti-authoritarian types who'd never fall for such a thing, but in reality, in the 60s at least, Milgram's experiments showed us to be at least as complacent as the French are now. Given the chance, most of us are capable of killing another human being, so long as we don't see it happening. We might not be able to shoot someone, but we can certainly ignore the pain of others, as long as we don't have to see it directly.

This is possibly why it's so easy for us as a nation to dimiss the suffering of people in Haiti or New Orleans, as long as the TV news doesn't show us the awfulness. We'll certainly contribute to a fund to help, and heck, we'll even have a bake sale, or something. But as long as no one shows us the consequences of inaction, we'll remain inactive. Plus, we all have our own little hells we live in that we've carefully built, year after year, brick by brick, that only give us a few hours a week to come down from the job, and the last thing we want to do is look at someone else who has it worse off than we do (unless it's a James Cameron movie).

So do a little something...

Stop Digging

So the Repugs and Tea Partiers and former Klansmen and Palinites and other forms of Conservative so-called life have lost the big battle (so far). Health Reform (CAPS indicate that it's the title, not the substance) is going to pass by the weekend. And they HATE that. They want it stopped. NOW. And no Goddamned n***er, f***ot, Nazi Socialist Kenyan is gonna do this to us. Them. Whoever.

Ms. Pelosi pointed out that much of what's in this bill was what the Repugs had proposed to counter Hillary's "socialist" ideas back in '93-'94. Pelosi didn't use the word Socialist, of course. Might have frightened the horses. This, of course, is why I'm not so fond of what little I have read about this particular bill. But still. It's something.

We're probably going to get whatever is in this bill (haven't read it, only intend to read the bits that Repugs object to, since they usually misinterpret the language) by Saturday. And the Repugs, in their desire to make everyone bow down to the twin gods of free enterprise and social Darwinism, have basically shot themselves in the feet, repeatedly, and with progressively larger and larger guns.

Right now, I think they're up to about a 60mm mortar. (That's about 2-1/2")

With every placard calling Obama a Kenyan, a socialist, communist, Nazi, etc., with the Hitler moustache, or the Joker makeup or whatever else they could come up with, and with every gun brought to a rally that had nothing to do with guns (along with the public death threats), the Tea Partiers essentially rewrote the political dialog in this country to be composed almost entirely of fear, rancor and spite. No one, least of all a black, Harvard-educated Constitutional lawyer is gonna be able to persuade them of anything factual. But mostly black. For facts, they turn to Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin, or Michelle Bachmann.

And all of that is too bad, because it might take a generation before they can calm down. During which, thanks to the level of anger generated by idiot talk show hosts, uninformed ex-Mayors of small Alaskan towns, and certifiably crazy Congresscritters, no one will be able to have a reasoned argument. It's become a nation of shouters against folks who know stuff. The shouters are going to buy more guns, fantasize about the coming jackboot through the door, and blame everyone in power for their ills, which might include being laid off from a factory job that had its workforce transferred to Kenya "because the labor's cheaper there" by the guy who funds the Repugs they love to support.

In some ways, this has been a blessing for Dems, since the Repugs are now fractured into the mildly reasonable and the completely nuts. And the completely nuts faction is bigger (or at least they get the most press).

Perhaps they will calm down sooner. I can only hope. There should always be a loyal opposition to whomever is in power. Tamping down the excesses of one party has always been the job of the opposing party, no matter who is running things. It's better to have two parties than one, that's for certain. By allowing themselves to be split into smaller and smaller factions, the Repugs may have sealed their own doom, and brought about that which they fear most: Democrats running the show for decades.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Isn't It Moronic?

Caution - Snark Ahead...

I feel happy, I feel {thunk}

Two stories are resonating with me, and the first one happened this morning on NPR. Lawrence Reynolds, an inmate on Ohio's Death Row, tried to kill himself less then a day before his scheduled execution, didn't succeed, and they had to wait until he was healthy (or at least conscious) before they could kill him.


They already postponed his execution once, as the previous drug cocktail was shown to leave the person a little too conscious that they were dying while they were dying. How you can tell this I have no idea - they hook up an EEG and watch as your brain waves go from active to really pissed off to just off?

So there's your dose of irony for the day. It's so nice that we're spreading freedom and the American Way around the globe, and this is but one example of American democracy, one we share with countries such as Saudi Arabia and Communist China.

As Texas Goes, So Goes The Nation - Right Off A F**KING Cliff

Texas is the largest market for school textbooks, so once the Texas State Board of Education decides what schoolbooks Texas schoolchildren should have, it pretty much sets in stone what schoolbook publishers can print, because doing different books for different states is expensive. And guess what - the Texas State Board of Education is stocked with a bunch of stupid f**ks that want to rewrite history in their own thought process.

Thomas Jefferson is apparently a little too liberal to be allowed in. He was the one advocating for no state-sponsored religion. As philosophers that one could say were the formative influences of the great American experiment, they are now going to put in St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, and William Blackstone. I'm sure you've heard of the first two, but you may not know what they really think, and I'd only heard of Blackstone - I've no idea what he thinks at all. So let's look 'em up, shall we?

St. Thomas Aquinas
Basically, believed that heretics should be seperated from both the church (excommunication) and from their mortal bodies (execution). This would probably include most modern people. On the other hand, he argued against price-gouging, which would make him a lousy capitalist. A Catholic saint.

John Calvin
I read of Calvinistic tendencies in Sarah Vowell's wonderful book, The Wordy Shipmates, an epic essay on the thoughts, actions, and indiosyncracies of the Puritans who got here first-ish. One story she recounts is a woman so frazzled by her inability to discern whether or not she was a sinner, she killed all her children to be certain. Calvin was a great believer in maximizing self-control (he didn't think much of sex, apparently). And though he spoke well of Jews who happened to appear in the Bible, he didn't like any he'd met personally. At all. An anti-Catholic.

William Blackstone
A famous judge and jurist, who's influence ranges from Abraham Lincoln to Perry Mason, and is thought to be responsible for the phrase "Pursuit of Happiness". Jefferson didn't like him. To me that's almost enough to disqualify him. Another anti-Catholic.

Lots of other nonsense, such as emphasis on the Republican resurgence in politics during the 80s and 90s, but all mentions of the bad old days of the 60s would be relegated to being, well, the bad old days of the sixties. Any good public law that was passed at that time would be brought up only to show why it was a bad idea (Medicare, Affirmative Action, Title IX, etc.). How wonderful Joe McCarthy was. The deletion of words like "imperialism" and "capitalism" and the addition of "expansionism" and "free enterprise". Like, we "expanded right over all those Native Americans." I guess...

Remember Stephen Colbert's extraordinary speech at the Washington Correspondents' Dinner? Where he pointed out that reality has a well-known Liberal bias?

Interesting. The folks who are quite well known for their hatred of Communism are doing exactly what the Communists have been known for: rewriting history to favor your own political perspective. And you thought the Supreme Soviet was dead.

It's just moved to the Texas Board of Education.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Larger Pictures Ahead

I've been reading (horrors!) a lot in the press about the financial meltdown we're currently in the middle of (if you think it's over - gee, you're dumb), and a couple of different writers have gotten me with ideas that I think were in my brain, but hadn't found the right voice.

Still looking for it, but bear with me.

Joe Bageant, in his latest post playing on The Smirking Chimp (wonderful clearinghouse for all kinds of left-wing wackiness), talks about a particular fellow who runs a garage and has views on, well, pretty much everything. And if you want your car fixed, listen to him first.

But what Mr. Bageant is saying overall is what got me: we're not the economy. We may have been part of the economy at some point in our history (back when most people were farmers and the folks that supported farming), but now we're consumers. Very few of us are part of a manufacturing trade. Most of us are part of selling things to other people, or making decisions about how to sell things to other people, or tech-supporting people for the things we sold them, or serving food, or making the food. And I think I've been pushing this mantra for a while already, but he said it better. All we do now is service an economy that is in the hands of a very few people, and they're all just gambling. And they can afford for us to lose our homes.

The other article, by Cameron Salisbury, makes a different, yet somehow oddly similar point: we the people have no control of anything anymore. Not our own lives, not our jobs, and certainly not our politicians. Certainly, we can vote. The choices we are given are sold as totally different from one another, two vastly different viewpoints about the way things are, and the way they ought to be. And yet, we elect someone wholly new to an office that is mired in horrible sameness, and what do we get? A lot of the same. Not all, fortunately, but more same than different, and I remember voting for 100% opposite of what we had. At least, that's what I was told I was voting for.

One concept from the Salisbury post I thought could really work well is to decentralize government by moving all US government pols back to their home states, and make them use Go To Meeting (dot com) to have meetings and votes and perhaps we let them all hang out together whenever they're grilling someone in committees. Lobbyists would have a hell of a time trying to track them down (though, knowing the lobbying industy, I suspect we'd see a lot of job-combining - butler/health insurance lobbyist or chauffeur/defense industry shill - you get the idea).

But if your congresscritter is never home, why the hell not? If my congresscritter votes badly on something, I reserve the right to egg their house, TP their trees, and shaving cream their Caddy.

Then, of course, there's that whole social media thing. If lobbying companies had to use FaceBook to do their lobbying, it would all be out in the open, and if not, why not? What is Dick Durbin talking to that Northrop Grumman lobbyist about in their private chat room, anyway? Should we be worried about an Eric Massa problem, or a "let's bomb Iran" problem?

(and no, I don't know if Richard talks to NG a lot, I'm just throwing names in a blender here)

But wouldn't that make a certain amount of sense? Everything needs to be committed to (virtual) paper, and it can be available to anyone with an internet connection. Video conferencing would all be archived for anyone to retrieve at any time. How much would it cost to give every living human in the United States with the right to vote an internet connection and a Netbook or an iPad? We could also (heaven forfend) vote via these wonderful tools, so long as someone can make us secure against, say, Chinese Trojan Horses.

It's about time we gave ourselves a say in government and the economy. And the only way to do it is to vote every single one of them out, and replace them with people we can count on to change things...


never mind...

Friday, March 12, 2010



So. Health care reform. Or, more properly, health insurance reform.

It might pass. Ms. Pelosi is even threatening us with a Public Option (which Durbin says he'll whip if it's in - I think that's a good thing). With a Public Option, we might see changes in the health insurance industry. And it won't be let in later, either, if they don't do it now.

So, for now, what we have to look forward to is a new revitalized health insurance industry, with everyone on the rolls, paying whether they can afford to or not, into a system that may or may not be regulated. That may or may not be de-monopolized.



We don't know. Up or down vote maybe next week. At which time, I will cease to hold my breath (as I have been doing since the Clintons promised this back in 1993).

Air America is Dead (long live Air America)

I know, old news. However, I've decided to talk about their radio show hosts, past & present, because I feel like it, and because I have nothing useful to say about the topic above. I am only going to comment about hosts I've heard more than once. Bill Press - sorry, buddy, I've only listened to you once or twice, and that's because you're on late, and when I'm driving late, I usually have the iPod cranked up.

In order of time slots:

Stephanie Miller
Pros: Cute, funny, pretty well-informed about the topics of the day (though she fell for the "John Roberts Retiring" hoo-ha). With her two co-hosts Chris Lavoie and Jim Ward (voice actor extraordinaire), and with, nowadays, constant special guests, including Carlos Alazraqui, and Hal Sparks, as well as regular input from several folks working at Media Matters. Generally balanced and intelligent, though perhaps a little too happy clappy (as she puts it)
Cons: No longer doing Stand-Up News (or at least, not when I'm listening). Not enough fart jokes. Too many jokes about hot dogs and hallways (you figure it out).

Thom Hartman
Pros: Currently the smartest one of the bunch. Prior to Rachel Maddow defecting to the TV Machine, Thom and Rachel were running neck-and-neck for the smartest people on radio (sorry Rush). Thom brings on people who are guaranteed to get argumentative on his show, and he lets them speak their peace. No matter how dumb they might actually be.
Cons: Occasionally a little too lecture-y and dry. I like facts as much as the next guy, more, maybe, but sometimes, Thom, one needs a little zip with the brain dump.

Ed Schultz
Pros: Now also on the TV machine is a fellow from the American heartland. Ed lets people talk to him, he listens, and sometimes they agree, and sometimes they don't. I don't think you can ask for much more than that.
Cons: Occasionally a little too shouty for my tastes. If I want shouting, I can always head over to Randi Rhodes (more on her later).

Norman Goldman
Pros: Smart legal person who has occasionally talked up the legal issues when it comes to actions by both the previous adminisatraion, and the current one.
Cons: Very shouty. Gets all up in folks' grilles about their viewpoints on things. If a right-wing fool comes on, he calls them a right-wing fool, and all other kinds of bad names. Being insulting is not necessarily a debating point. Don't like it when Rush calls someone a pinhead, nor do I like it when you do (even if they deserve it).

who replaced

Ron Reagan
Pros: Again, a very smart individual with excellent credentials and a long history of commentary. A pretty respectful host to folks who called in.
Cons: Any and all stories got played on this segment. Please, can we stick to simple political info, and not stories about the balloon boy or other tabloid fodder?

who replaced

Rachel Maddow
Pros: Funny, smarter than heck, is the ghey, Rhodes scholar, former AIDS-in-prison protester from back in the 80s (totally imagine her listening to a variety of Grrlpower punk bands - which may be sterotyping, but I don't care). Knows political science like the back of her hand. Oh, and Kent Jones, for his innate ability to find joy in the sublimely silly stuff people do. Oh, and cocktail recipes!
Cons: no longer on the radio, and I don't get MSNBC. Occasional clips via the interwebs ain't enough.

Randi Rhodes
Pros: former Air Force lady, so she knows her stuff about the military. "BS News" is a great segment. Pretty darn smart.
Cons: too quick to shout callers down when they come up with a slightly different slant than she does on the topic she's discussing. Way too quick. And lots of yelling. Plus, "Bounce Yer Boobies" every stinkin' Friday? Just not that funny anymore.

Those are the ones I mostly listen to. When they're being annoying, I flip over to NPR. Oh, and AM radio has what, 10 minutes of programming per fifteen minutes of ads?


NYLefty has pointed out to me that several of these personalities were never actually part of the whole Air America thing, specifically Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz, Norman Goldman, and Bill Press. If it offends them that I've included them in the AA roster, I apologize.

I should also point out, that, unless I've specified otherwise, all of these people are still on the radio, at least in my market. (AM radio voice) "Seattle's AM 1090!"

Stephanie 6-9 am
Thom 9-noon
Ed noon-3
Norman 3-6
Randi 6-9

After that, I leave it to others to fill in the blanks, as I neither know nor care.