Sunday, January 31, 2010

Noam Chomsky ON UC-TV's "Conversations With History"

In these lively and unedited video interviews, distinguished men and women from all over the world talk about their lives and their work. Guests include diplomats, statesmen, and soldiers; economists and political analysts; scientists and historians; writers and foreign correspondents; activists and artists. The interviews span the globe and include discussion of political, economic, military, legal, cultural, and social issues shaping our world. At the heart of each interview is a focus on individuals and ideas that make a difference.

This is a pretty great program, covering a wide range of topics and fields, and not limited to UC faculty. At this page, there is a collection of programs dealing with the global economics and politics of the climate crisis.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Betty Bowers, America's BEST Christian, Goes Cookin' With Jesus

Landover Baptist Church's Paragon of Xian Virtues goe into the kitchen to cook up a little SAL_VAY_SHUN!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Michael Pollan, "Good Food" Advocate, on Oprah.

I'm not usually fond of Oprah. I find her kind of pharisaical. But inviting Pollan onto the show is brave...

On her show recently, Oprah hosted Michael Pollan to chat about his new crowdsourced, how-to-eat book Food Rules and his role in the documentary Food, Inc.

When Pollan disses feedlot meat, Oprah jokes, “You’re not worried about saying bad things about beef?” alluding to the beef industry’s past lawsuit against her.

Watch the video, and then take Oprah’s Food 101 quiz to test your stomach brain on issues you already should know from reading Grist’s extensive food coverage.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Fucking "Spending Freeze"? In A Deep Recession?? WTF Izzat Negro Thinking?

The Left-Blogosphere checks in on the latest economic nostrums proposed by the brain-dead Shamwow regime designed to further damage and humiliate his erstwhile base--or play 11-dimension chess (?, what-ever)--with a three-year spending freeze on SOCIAL programs, while specifically excluding the huge expenses of "defense" (war-making on a planetary scale) from the calculus:
Atrios: "We are ruled by idiots."

Open Left's Rosenberg: "It's official: Obama is an idiot. [...] It's time to seriously start talking about primarying Obama in 2012. He's now officially the most conservative Democratic President since Grover Cleveland. And the dumbest one since James Buchanan."

MyDD's desmoinesdem: "Please tell me our president is smarter than this. [...] It's as if he wants Democrats to stay home this November."

The Reality-Based Community's Jonathan Zasloff: "I'm trying to think of what could possibly be a worse plan. Let's see: we might be entering a double-dip recession and unemployment is in double-digits, and you are going to freeze spending? What in God's name are they thinking? [...] Why exactly did I give money and make calls for this guy in 2008?"

The New York Times' Krugman: "A spending freeze? That's the brilliant response of the Obama team to their first serious political setback? It's appalling on every level. It's bad economics, depressing demand when the economy is still suffering from mass unemployment. [...] It's bad long-run fiscal policy, shifting attention away from the essential need to reform health care and focusing on small change instead. And it's a betrayal of everything Obama's supporters thought they were working for. Just like that, Obama has embraced and validated the Republican world-view -- and more specifically, he has embraced the policy ideas of the man he defeated in 2008."

Open Left's David Sirota: "This is actually worse -- way worse -- than John McCain's campaign proposal for across-the-board cuts, as across-the-board cuts would have hit the massive and bloated Pentagon budget. Instead, the Obama administration is specifically and exclusively targeting social safety-net spending for a budget freeze (read: cut in real, inflation-adjusted dollars)."

digby: "It's been my biggest complaint about Obama from the beginning. They always do this 'one from column A and one from column B' thinking they can please everyone. But to sound tough on bankers and then enact a spending freeze (on 'non-security' spending, natch) is too clever by half. Combined with the deficit fetishism, it will tie his hands at the time he needs the most flexibility on jobs --- and further destroy liberalism in the process."

Firedoglake's David Dayen: "Obama is basically saying that the stimulus fixed the economy, that there will be no further government support measures and that he'll govern like a hybrid of John McCain and Herbert Hoover for the rest of his term to curry favor with the deficit maniacs. And of course, the truly unbelievable thing about this is how it's framed as non-security discretionary spending, as if spending on the military is magic and somehow doesn't affect budgets."
Meanwhile, there are some on the left who regard the plan as a ploy, but are dismayed even so. And a fair number of GoPoPs (GoPoP = the VERY-Ri8ght Wing of the Party of Property--PoP). Go follow the conversation. I am of the opinion that he does, indeed, intend to try to salvage his waning credibility on the backs of the poor, the disadvantaged, the dispossessed, and the despised.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Obvious Racial Inequity, and Why Prez. Shamwow Is Handcuffed

A poster on the FB today put up this list of complaints in the Af/Am community against "the Prez."
..Ironically, even as an African-American man holds the highest office the country, African Americans remain twice as likely as whites to be unemployed, three times more likely to live in poverty and more than six times as likely to be incarcerated..."
It is actually the epitome of irony, both that such conditions would exist and prevail even under the leadership of the first non-White president, but also that that President would be so handcuffed as to be effectively prohibited fro addressint those particular issues.

Because, the truthe is that in the entirely unlikely, improbable event that Pres Shamwow somehow did, or tried to do, anything at all to try to ameliorate those particular statistics, he'd be instantaneously reviled by the ENTIRE "WHITE" Establishment as being only a "black" president, or for "not being the President to ALL the people," by the whole rightard media machine, and would likely be impeached (if not shot) for his effrontery. There is a whole new level of irony in his being pegged as the "liberal" without having the (apparent) liberty to act the part, even if he did so desire (which one may doubt, I think, at this point)...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Is Prez. Shamwow Walking Back From The "Pre-Existing Conditions" Protection Pledge?

Not for kids, maybe.

But this vid does seem to suggest that the promise to adults of coverage for pre-existing conditions without exorbitant penalties in insurance is becoming more and more ephemeral. From Aravosis' AmericaBlog, via Urban Guerilla Susie on C&L:
A day after former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe is elevated to a more senior adviser status at the White House and the DNC, Plouffe pens an op ed in the Washington Post in which he seems to suggest that much of President Obama's promise to ban pre-existing conditions is now being jettisoned. Plouffe wrote in the op ed, which was certainly cleared with the White House, if not written by them:
Parents won't have to worry their children will be denied coverage just because they have a preexisting condition.
Their children? The original promise - even the bad Senate bill - protects everyone, of any age, from being denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions. Now it's just children?

And before anyone argues that Plouffe was simply using children as an example - that the legislation could still cover everyone - look at what else happened in the last two days. CBS News reported that the pre-existing conditions promise was now looking unlikely. But even worse, the NYT talked to folks on the Hill and health policy experts, and
they were told the compromise package might just protect kids under the age of 19 from being denied for pre-existing conditions. No one else.

It would sure be one hell of a coincidence if Plouffe, on behalf of the White House, is now talking about kids being protected from pre-existing conditions when the growing chatter in town is that only kids may now be protected from pre-existing conditions - that the rest of us are about to get tossed under the Martha Coakley bus.

As Joe noted the other day, the pre-existing conditions promise, for "all Americans," was the top item on the Obama transition's health care reform page. So, in an effort to appease the masses, they're now considering gutting the one provision that everyone likes, the one provision that defines the legislation.
"But, but, but, Wooooody!" you protest. "Pres. Obama's a man of honor. He wouldn't do this to us, would he, Woody?"

Hide and watch, children. He'll do anything it takes to sign a bill, any bill, as I have ALWAYS said...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

In RE: "Citizens United v. FEC"

The proximal complaint which resulted in that most recent bit of Opus Dei Ass-wholery from the Roberts Court, the above-mentioned CU v. FEC excrescence, was a film about a candidate in the highest profile races run in the USofA, a presidential primary. The ruling effectively removes all limits upon the ability of deep pockets "interests" to reach out in support of (or to defeat) selected candidates for public, usually representative 'office.' The only thing apparently expressly forbidden is the direct donation of envelopes full of cash from corporate officers to candidates.

Pretty much everything else is "on the table" as they say.

Not just at the highest levels, where the machineries of such intervention are already plenty subtle and devious enough to withstand most scrutiny. No, it opens the vein of Murkin representative corruption all the way down to even the local, civic level. What if the Mormons or the Moonies had enough money and interst in your community to buy your city council, for example? Who ELSE in the local economy would have the resources (and the will) to oppose such a well-funded effort?

"They" always point out that the decision liberates both the Owners and the Unions, but c'mon. Unions represent fewer than 20% of workers, and the majority are in ill- and/or under-paid jobs. To paraphrase the Brit "lord" of a previous age, by this ruling the SCROTUS has merely affirmed the right of BOTH the Rich and the poor to buy off politicians and corrupt their influence.

Greg Palast raises one potential spectre: the influx of extra-national money fro9m States whose interests are antagonistic to our own: "Manchurian" candidates paid for and owing the PRC (or the Kuomintang, e.g.). And elsewhere (I forget now where), it was pointed out that the level of elections at which this new corpoRat largess might be expected would be at the level of State Supreme Courts, which typically rule on intra-State environmental challenges. "CU v. FEC" just delivered the entire anti-pollution edifice/climate change/clean environment movement into the hands of the ass-licking, rat-bastard motherfuckers of Exxon and Massey Coal...

I have long been of the opinion that 'democracy,' as anything other than a rhetorical device, is a dead issue in the USofA. The out-right theft of the vote in the 2004 Presidential contest was ample evidence, if any more had been needed, to convince me it was effectively over. Still, one of the greatest advantages of buying elections at local/state level is that they are so MUCH cheaper. You could buy a Supreme Court justice in New Mexico for about $250k, which is chickenfeed. You could buy the whole NM Court for less than the price of a single US Rep. This is GOOD news for the corpoRat rapists...

This decision merely cements the coup in place. We reside, officially, now, in the CorpoRat States of Murka.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Auction on E-Bay: Pat Robertson "Voo doo" Doll

Res Ipsa Loquitur
PAT ROBERTSON VOODOO DOLL! Proceeds Go To Haiti relief
Item condition: New
Time left: 8 days 6 hours (Jan 26, 201011:00:30 PST)
Bid history: 61 bids
Current bid: US $770.00 (@ 5 AM, MST, Jan 18, 2010--W)

My only objections are that the figure is not portly enough by half, and seems not to have the brace of squirrels that are attached to Pat's head at the temples...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

"Lantern-Jawed Lisa" Murkowski Sides With Polluters to Block Climate Lege...

(Note: You never see them together.)

Sierra Club blogger Bruce Niles raised the alarm on AlterNet earlier today, warning that GOPuke Senator "Lantern-jawed Lisa" Murkowski (C-AK/Big Coal) had joined with big polluters, producers, and industrial carbon consumers to block the advance of legislation designed to somewhat ameliorate the current deluge of pollutants and reactive gasses. If she ever leaves Congress, she can team with Amy Alkon in an earth-moving business. (I know, it's a gratuitous slam on Amy; she could move six yards at a time with that bucket, all alone).

Senator Murkowski Teams Up Wth Energy Lobbyists to Derail the Regulation of Global Warming PollutioN
Posted by Bruce Nilles, Sierra Club at 4:00 AM on January 16, 2010.

This is big, really, big.

I suppose it might be sad to say that we were and were not surprised to hear this week that two dirty energy lobbyists helped craft the effort to neuter the Clean Air Act, which could next appear as an amendment to the Senate’s debt ceiling vote next week.

If you missed it, the Washington Post confirmed on Tuesday that lobbyists from Bracewell Giuliani and Sidley Austin helped write an amendment from Senator Lisa Murkowski that will strip Clean Air Act and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) authority to regulate global warming pollution. Check out the Washington Post follow-up on it here, here and here.

Who are Bracewell Giuliani and Sidley Austin? Oh, only lobbying firms that represent Southern Company, Duke Energy, Progress Energy, and other major coal supporters. And the specific lobbyists who ghost-wrote this amendment, Jeffrey Holmstead and Roger Martella, held EPA positions during the Bush Administration. (Emhasis supplied--W)

If you recall, last month EPA declared that global warming pollution endangers human health and welfare and announced plans to limit emissions from big polluters. The decision is a long-time coming and is crucial in controlling the global warming pollution from the coal industry – which contributes 30% of total U.S. global warming emissions.

This amendment may come up for a vote on January 20th, and its passage would mean that big polluters will be bailed out by blocking President Obama and EPA from taking action to limit emissions.

After years of research, scientific debate, court cases, public hearings and comments, Senator Murkowski is suggesting that we simply choose to "un-learn" that global warming is happening and that it will be dangerous to human health and welfare.(Emphasis supplied--W)

But EPA is merely doing what the Clean Air Act already requires--and what it was ordered to do almost three years ago by the Supreme Court. And last month, more than 400,000 Americans submitted comments in favor of EPA's proposal to limit pollution from the biggest global warming polluters - among the highest number of comments ever submitted in favor of any proposal.

These big polluters – including the coal industry - are using the same tired old arguments, too. Suggestions that this EPA action means the agency plans to regulate farms, schools, hospitals, cows, and Dunkin' Donuts are simply false - EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has said as much on numerous occasions. In reality, EPA plans to limit the new common sense, economically feasible regulations to only the largest polluters. Those statements attempting to scare small businesses are merely misleading smears designed to derail any limits on polluters.

We cannot continue to let Big Coal push for loopholes and weakened pollution rules so they can keep making money.

Instead of looking for ways to delay action, senators need to finalize comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation as soon as soon possible - and more important in the short-term, they must say no to this amendment or any other attempt to weaken the Clean Air Act.

You can urge your senators to do as much - tell them to vote no on any amendment blocking EPA action on global warming emissions from the largest polluters.
Of course, as the recent HCR debacle demonstrated with clairvopyant clarity, "urgings" toward Senators that are not backed up with billions of dollars seem almost ALWAYS to fall on ears deafened with infusions of Lobbyists' cash...Money talks, shit walks, and we--the People--are shit strolling to these mendacious, venal, dishonorable slags like Lisa...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Yahweh Needs Him A New, Less Shit-headed Spokesperson

From John Cole's Balloon Juice, quoting John Cook's "Gawker":
Galactically vile Christian cleric Pat Robertson told his CBN viewers today that Haitians are “cursed” because their ancestors “swore a pact with the devil” to liberate themselves from the French in 1804. “True story.”

What else would he say? Robertson can’t let human suffering pass without finding a way to insinuate that God did it deliberately because he hates gay people, black people, Catholics, or whatever other poor dying sap he can find to cruelly mock and use to his own political and fundraising advantage…

Pat Robertson is as hateful and seized by superstition as any Taliban mullah with a knot in his forehead from obsessively banging it into a prayer mat. The motivation for this latest proclamation is no doubt the fact that about half the people in Haiti practice voodoo, an amalgam of Catholicism and African animism that dates to the importation of West African slaves there in the 16th century, and that was common to the slaves whose uprising against their French owners eventually became the Haitian Revolution…

So because the people of Haiti practice a different religion from Robertson—about which everything he knows he learned from watching The Serpent and the Rainbow—it follows that their historic liberation in a bloody war must have been the result of a negotiation with a malevolent supernatural being who intervenes in worldly affairs. And every tragedy that has befallen their ancestors since has been deliberately directed at them by an all-powerful and loving god who wants to kill them, repeatedly, because they gained freedom by striking a deal with his enemy.

Who’s the fucking witch doctor?
I was expelled and exiled from Eschaton for expressing the opinion that the demise of Jerry Falwell, three years or so ago, was not a matter for remorse but for celebration. Likely my expressed opinion of Pat Robertson would have occasioned the same response from the "serious" side of the Left-blogosphere:
I will be absolutely delighted when Pat Robertson dies, and I hope he dies in excruciating agony, extending over several days, with his skin flaying off in painful sheets, while his organs are oozing out his orifices, and beinjg gnawed by vermin...
Just die, you feculent motherfucker!

On the matter of how this fits with the rest of the rightard ideology, Balloon Juice poster Anne Laurie put it well:
Actually, I think Cook gives Robertson more credit than the old thug deserves. Forget the religious disagreement—the “Curse of the Revolution” fantasy has been passed down from bigot to bigot for two hundred years and counting because it’s simply impossible for them to believe that a bunch of African savages and half-breeds could win an actual war against the majesty, however tattered, of the extremely white French nobility. The people who came up with this bullshit were direct spiritual ancestors of the Birfers and Teabaggers who can’t believe that a Black president could be legitimately elected and seated in “their” White House.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Real News Interviews Danny Schechter, Re: The Banksters

"The thesis of the film is that what happened on Wall Street wasn't just some banking crash, that it was a crime. If it's criminal, why aren't they being charged? And what's criminal about it?"

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Elizabeth Warren: Our Economic Cassandra

This vid dated almost exactly two years ago. It is almost an hour long. After listening, you will never again be excused for sitting quietly by and listening to some moron complaining that "Nobody could have EVER seen that coming."

Warren is far and away smarter, more critical, more lucid a thinker, and more humane a person than anyone in ANY position of authority in Prez. Shamwow's regime. She is the ONLY one with NO POWER.

If Prez. S were serious about reforming the conditions that resulted in the recent melt-down, he'd give her a real job. That he doesn't/didn't/hasn't/won't speaks volumes.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

It's About Time Somebody Asked, "What If The President Were Black?"

The Real News Network's Paul Jay talks with Glen Ford, Executive Editor of Black Agenda Report, "The Journal of African American Political Thought and Action", who evaluates the first year of Barack Obama's presidency, who observes, for a variety of good reasons, that the first US black president "takes every opportunity available to spit in the faces of black people, and to do this quite ostentatiously, very dramatically..." More at The Real News

Monday, January 4, 2010

Move Your Money! Out of Citi, Wells-Fargo, JPMorgan, BoA, All the Trans-Nats

Via Move Your Money dot Info: Tell 'em to go fuck themselves...

There are a lot of banks in the region which are not arms of the Big Six.

But fuck'em, all the for-profit fuckers. Nobody should make money off YOUR money but you...

I recommend Credit Unions, myself...

Sunday, January 3, 2010

When the Last Stone From the Last Steeple Cracks Open The Skull of the Last Priest...

From the blog, Religion Clause comes the following report of the metastasis of stupid that commonly is to be found associated with "belief in" God.

You really could NOT invent more stupid in one single locale, the well is limitless, apparently, especially out in 'cracker-land':
Yesterday's Cumberland (MD) Times-News reports on a battle over monuments on public property that has a new twist.

Edward W. Taylor Jr., of the Cumberland Historic Cemetery Organization, is objecting to the decision by the Allegany County(MD) Board of Commissioners to allow a monument honoring the U.S. Constitution to be placed on the county court house lawn. It would join a statue of George Washington and a Ten Commandments monument already there. The problem, however, according to opponents is that the new monument will contain an engraving that it was donated by Citizens for a Secular Government.

Taylor says that the United States was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, and that the word "secular" should not be included on a monument on public property. He says that backers should place the monument on provate property if they want to put it up.

The person behind the new monument to the Constitution is Dr. Jeffrey Davis who, in 2004, led an unsuccessful effort to have the Ten Commandments monument removed from the court house lawn.
Stoopit like Mr. Taylor's does not come in a box. You gotta be born with it. I have always thought that if the 10Cs were to be displayed publicly, ALL the versions of it should be required to be shown simultaneously...

Saturday, January 2, 2010

"Homicide bomber" vs. "Suicide Bomber": What's the Difference?

MSOC, yesterday entered a musing on her blog (My Left Wing) and on theBook, concerning the nature of the rhetorical claims--differences and distinctions--made by identifying someone as a "suicide" bomber, v. a "homicide" bomber.

One difference, imhe--is "moral."

Remember that, inside the structure of military rhetoric, a 'suicide mission' occupies a place of honor: to sacrifice one's life for the cause is regarded as noble, by the partisans of 'war.' Think of the Alamo, or the 300...

A suicide bomber partakes in some of the "Lost Cause" nobility.

Whereas a "homicide" bomber may (must?) be regarded merely as a murderous psychopath. There is no chance that the act could be thought "noble." A "homicide" bomber cannot be a martyr...

Calling them 'homicide bombers' is a conscious effort to defuse the heroic, sacrificial aspect of such attacks.

Remember the crap Bill Maher caught for his remark that flying a jet plane into a sky-scraper, whatever else you want to call it, is not an act of an individual 'coward.'

It is precisely that 'secret' admiration that the appellation "homicide" bomber is designed to dispel...