Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Stupidity Squared plus Idiocy to the 50th power…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:38 PM Permalink

…added to a good bit of TINYB (This is not your business) and you have the Blogojevich matter in a universe-sized nutshell.

It has not been proven Blogojevich committed any crime. It has not been proven that he is in imminent danger of being convicted of a crime.

Having committed no crime and operating under the old American law, he is guilty of nothing, retains full rights of citizenship and the rights appurtenant thereto and is free to pursue his job until such time as circumstances change (If they do.)

Part of his duties includes the selection of a senator to fill the seat now open because Obama was elected, and, as that is the law, all the newsreaders crying in their coffee showing a lack of critical thinking skills, and those writhing in heavenly glory in their ignorance hoping to smear Democrats are, thusly, operating on baseless opinions that are even more worthless than the paper this is not printed upon.

Or they possess voo-doo skills unknown to the vast land mass of America.

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Monday, December 29, 2008

Ain't it weird that when interviewing "pundits" from differing school of thought…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:29 PM Permalink

…the Democratic representative almost always calls for unity of our country and offers several useful ideas about how things may be done with only a tiny bit of cooperation not the current Senate Republican policy of constant obstruction offered by Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority leader.

I am sure that Senator McConnell would hold a filibuster and stall any medical help that would be of direct help to his relatives, even if it were his own mother, if it was proposed or written by the Democratic Party.

The Democratic Senate will find a way around McConnell eventually as the RNC comes to realize with ever greater acuity that their very jobs count on helping the Democratic Party to pass much needed legislation and reforms.

I have always said the Republicans and their "yoyo" policies will insure the demise of the RNC (and possible America for good measure).

And for anyone not familiar with the "yoyo" policy it means this: The RNC has no inclination to help the unemployed (Let 'em go get a job!), the help needed by the infirm poor (Let them eat cake!), creation of universal medical care (Let 'em pay their own way, I've got mine!), and that if you were lying by the roadside, on fire, they could not be bothered to stop and p*ss on your face to put it out (Let him call the fire department with his cell phone). Hence the "you are on your own", yoyo, policies are so divisive and destructive

Ah, yes! Being a Republican while the country crumbles to insignificance around them, while they sip their champaign at a donor sponsored luncheon, where the RNC snatches up tens of thousands in monetary donations in their own self-interest while the rest of the country can go to hell.

I'm sick unto death with these RNC policies that have led directly to the demise of America as we used to know it.

Where does it stop? When will legislative become more than a card to be won at all costs, including burning any/all of the good cards in the deck you don't like?

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Friday, December 26, 2008

They're not random, they're chaotic!

posted by The Sailor @ 5:49 PM Permalink

Random thoughts:
If banks & corporations are 'too big to [let] fail' then why were they allowed to consolidate to begin with? [/rhetorical]

And why not bust them up (e.g. like Bell was) and make the smaller parts sink or swim on their own merits? [/simplistic]
If you give bailout money to institutions & rich people, they hoard the money. If you give it to people in financial crisis they spend the money. Why aren't we giving the money to individuals in this crisis? It's not like their economic record is worse than Wall Street's. (i.e. they lost thousands, Wall Street lost billions.)

Which reminds me of a Buddy Hackett joke: A couple on vacation in Las Vegas, is having an argument in their hotel room. "How could you lose $200 playing slots!" he yells.
"Why are you yelling at me," she says, "you lost $3,000 shooting craps!"
He says "Yeah, but I know how to gamble!"
I'm very fortunate this year, I still have my job and my 401k (FWIW!) and my health benefits. So I spent my xmas $$ at local businesses and matched it at a food bank & community kitchen.

I think my Community Kitchen has the best charity model I know of. They feed anyone who walks in the door. No bureaucratic hoops to jump thru, no invasive questions, just food. (They also do meals-on-wheels and take out for shut-ins.)

Does it get abused? Maybe. There are probably people who could afford food who take advantage of it, but at the cost per meal of less than $2/person that's a lot cheaper than a welfare program with hundreds of bureaucrats checking their lists and checking them twice.
Every time I hear folks say 'I survived because [insert your deity's name here] was looking out for me', I think that this is the most self-selected poll in existence. It's not like all the other devout folks who were praying to their god and still died had a say.
I've been seeing a lot debate this year in blogtopia about whether to continue the Santa Claus myth with toddlers or tell them the 'truth.'

Oddly enough the negative POV is presented by some christains & atheists. (See they do have common ground!) The christains don't want the competition and the atheists don't want the indoctrination to magical beings.

My take is that kids will be exposed to the myth regardless of what a parent does and kids want to believe. And since kids believe there are monsters-under-the-bed/in-the-closet regardless of what their parent say, this seems like at worst a harmless fantasy.

And fantasies die all too soon for most children. Entertaining your imaginary guests is part & parcel to being forever young. I regret that I lost that ability when I reached maturity (which only happened in the last couple of years.)

Happy holidays!

Cross posted at SteveAudio


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Does anyone else see the irony here?

posted by The Sailor @ 5:53 PM Permalink

Bump & Update:
Police to get training after head-scarf wearer's arrest

The Douglasville Police Department said Monday its officers will undergo "sensitivity and cultural diversity training" after a Muslim woman who refused to remove her head scarf at a courthouse was jailed.

"We never want this to happen again. It's not our intent to embarrass anybody," Police Chief Joe Whisenant said at a news conference.

The judge who had the woman jailed briefly for contempt of court will also take part in the training, Whisenant said.
Original post:
Ga. judge jails Muslim woman over head scarf

A Muslim woman arrested for refusing to take off her head scarf at a courthouse security checkpoint said Wednesday that she felt her human and civil rights were violated. A judge ordered Lisa Valentine, 40, to serve 10 days in jail for contempt of court, said police in Douglasville, a city of about 20,000 people on Atlanta's west suburban outskirts.
Kelley Jackson, a spokeswoman for Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker, said state law doesn't permit or prohibit head scarfs.
Valentine's husband, Omar Hall, said his wife was accompanying her nephew to a traffic citation hearing when officials stopped her at the metal detector and told her she would not be allowed in the courtroom with the head scarf, known as a hijab.

Hall said Valentine, an insurance underwriter, told the bailiff that she had been in courtrooms before with the scarf on and that removing it would be a religious violation. When she turned to leave and uttered an expletive, Hall said a bailiff handcuffed her and took her before the judge.
Hmm, I guess you can wear a scarf in his courtroom!

Cross posted at SteveAudio

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I haven't actually read yet the Obama report on Blagojevich…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 11:44 AM Permalink

…but from the way newsreaders are spittin' little green apples they aren't going to be happy to hear a report that will apparently say the governor has done nothing wrong, which leads me to ask this question, by way of example in this hypothetical situation:
I'm sitting in my home with my wife, talking on my wireless phone, which may by legally monitored as long at the content isn't spread in violation of my privacy. Jokingly, I tell my wife and the person with whom I am on the phone that it's time for me to go rob a bank so I can finish my shopping.

I hang up the phone, kiss me wifey good-bye, step outside my door and I am immediately arrested by jack-booted storm troopers in bullet proof vests with automatic weapons, thrown to the ground, brutally beaten, tasered a few times for good measure, handcuffed, promptly arrested, and taken away for the charge of bank robbery based upon the mindless, teasing chatter that had just taken place on my monitored phone.

Does that make me a bank robber, or just someone joking with a spouse and friend?

Blagojevich allegedly asked Rahm Emmanual that if he appointed someone recommended by Obama's team, all he would get is "gratitude," right?

No affirmative act in the commission of a crime, no conspiracy to violate the laws of the land, a governor with the absolute right to appoint Obama's replacement WITH OR WITHOUT any expectations of any future "favors," or based upon any other criteria at his discretion.
Talk about a railroad job! A modern day lynching! Tar and feathering on a national level without a single shred of evidence of any wrongdoing in a country where, except in certain rare cases, mere words do not form the basis for the leveling of criminal charges.

Boy, those damn, dirty, cheatin' dogs they call Republicans just couldn't wait to construct false accusations against a Democrat.

And Governor Blagojevich, if you're reading this, I'll take that senate seat for a mere $1.2295, in euros, of course.

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Happy Holidays

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:05 AM Permalink

I'll not be posting much since I'll be in New Orleans stuffing my pie hole with gumbo and jambalaya. So, have a good Hanakistmasanzawhatever and a safe and happy new year.

A holiday thought for the coming year from the Vidiots:

Make a lot of love
Make a lot of mayhem
Don't be a little fruitcake


Monday, December 22, 2008

Heroes of the week

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:54 AM Permalink

It may be a stretch to call them heroes, but I think these kids deserve a goddamned medal.
Originating from Wootton High School, the parent said, students duplicate the license plates by printing plate numbers on glossy photo paper, using fonts from certain websites that "mimic" those on Maryland license plates. They tape the duplicate plate over the existing plate on the back of their car and purposefully speed through a speed camera, the parent said. The victim then receives a citation in the mail days later.
And what is the result? The entire speed camera system is being de-legitimized. How awesome is that?


Sunday, December 21, 2008

There is no dark side of the moon really. Matter of fact it's all dark

posted by The Sailor @ 7:03 PM Permalink

40 years ago today Apollo 8 launched and became the first manned spacecraft to orbit the moon. 3 days later Mission Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot James Lovell, and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders became the first inhabitants of planet Earth to ever see the far side of our Moon.

Earthrise by William Anders
(BTW, this is the proper orientation as conceived by the photographer and the earth concept of North/South poles.)

Cross posted at SteveAudio

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Can't We All Just Get Along?

posted by The Sailor @ 8:39 PM Permalink

Can't We All Just Get Along? Short answer: NO!
A Chance for Consensus on Iraq
By John McCain, Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham
Now it's time for the unthinkable to take place in Washington. For the past several years, Iraq has divided and polarized our parties, our policymakers and our people. The debate over the war has often been disfigured by politics and partisanship, precluding the national consensus so important to American security in a dangerous world.
Consensus!? Freakin' CONSENSUS!? You dumb,lying,malevolent bastards! There's been a consensus for years! 60%+ Americans want us out and 70%+ Iraqis want us out, that's your consensus! The sovereign government of Iraq stated it quite clearly in the SOFA. Remember when Bush said we'd leave when they asked us to? They not only asked, they're telling us to get out!

The op-ed continues:
To achieve this, the president-elect, his national security team and all of us in Congress should seek the counsel of Gen. David Petraeus, the head of U.S. Central Command, and Gen. Ray Odierno, commander of coalition forces in Iraq.
Oh really!? Listen to those treasonous bastards?
US Military Defiant on Key Terms of Iraqi Pact

U.S. military leaders and Pentagon officials have made it clear through public statements and deliberately leaked stories in recent weeks that they plan to violate a central provision of the U.S.-Iraq withdrawal agreement requiring the complete withdrawal of all U.S. combat troops from Iraqi cities by mid-2009 by reclassifying combat troops as support troops.

The scheme to engage in chicanery in labeling U.S. troops represents both open defiance of an agreement which the U.S. military has never accepted and a way of blocking President-elect Barack Obama's proposed plan for withdrawal of all U.S. combat troops from Iraq within 16 months of his taking office.
Gen. David Petraeus, now commander of CENTCOM, and Gen. Ray Odierno, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, who opposed Obama's 16-month withdrawal plan during the election campaign, have drawn up their own alternative withdrawal plan rejecting that timeline
The first time one of them pulls this crap after the inauguration I hope Obama does a Truman to their MacArthurs!

Cross posted at SteveAudio

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Fox, meet henhouse

posted by The Sailor @ 8:24 PM Permalink

Despite Concerns, Pentagon Seeks Civilian Firm to Oversee Contractors

Shortly after an inspector general questioned the practice of the Pentagon issuing contracts to administer contracts, the U.S. Army began advertising this week for an American firm to manage oversight of private security companies in Afghanistan.
The Pentagon's inspector general reported last month that the Defense Department was increasingly relying on contractors "to fill the gap from the reduced acquisition and oversight workforce, bordering on inherently governmental functions, thereby potentially taking on decision-making roles."

One such contract was put out for bid Monday by the Joint Contracting Center in Bagram, Afghanistan, which wants an American company to establish and run the Armed Contractor Oversight Directorate "in support of the Combined Joint Task Forces' contractor management initiative." That directorate would be "responsible for administering oversight, policy and reviewing procedures in all matters" concerning private security companies in the region, according to the proposal.
Hiring a private contractor to oversee private contractors ... what could possibly go wrong with that!?

Cross posted at SteveAudio

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Sadly, an American Icon has passed away, and I…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 2:39 PM Permalink

…can't help but relive again that fabulous double feature, "Behind the Green Door," and "Deep Throat" at my local 28 screen porno-plex down in New Mexico…uh…what? The wrong Deep Throat! You sure?

Never mind.

Addendum by The Sailor: I don't mean to step on Bill's punchline, but sadly, and ironically, another American icon has passed away: 1950s pinup model Bettie Page dies in LA at 85

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Protest at the New School

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:16 AM Permalink

I've been monitoring the sit-in I mentioned in a previous post at the New School via their blog. While the tone of it all is rather cliche (signing their posts 'in solidarity'), I've been enjoying at least the illusion of revolutionary spirit in what is, for the most part, a school for the wealthy and over-privileged (As are most private universities these days). Now, not all the students are well-off. But most of the students, at least the grad students, come from other countries and they get money from their governments to attend the New School. Mr. Vidiot is one of the few working-class American students at the grad school and as such, will be paying of the loans for the rest of his life. (I can't speak for the undergrads. I don't know anything about them. They may be more working class than not. I haven't a clue.)

But that's not my reason for blogging it.

As I've been reading their postings throughout last night, I was struck by some of the comments on their blog and on others that posted about it (Namely on dKos and Gothamist. Gawker was covering it as well, but I didn't go there to check it out, but I can assume the comments are similar.) So many, and I mean A LOT of folks complained that the students 'weren't going about it the proper way' or that they should 'stop wasting their time' or if they really want a dialog with the administration, they should talk to Kerrey directly, never mind that they want him to resign and don't recognize him as legitimate. Many commentators mocked the protesters as spoiled little rich kids with too much free time on their hands.

It's like the spirit of protest and resistance has been sucked right out of people. It baffles them. They don't get it. To them, you have to work within the system, because working outside of it, to them, is non-productive and pointless. In order to quell their feelings of helplessness, they function solely within the confines and boundaries the system has created for them. It is the only way they feel like they have some sort of control over their lives because the system rewards them for playing by the rules. The hegemony of the system that is in place is so overwhelmingly powerful, the the people who live within it can't see outside of it. The system's power has permeated their imagination, dulling it, thereby ensuring compliance.

And I know I speak of the system like it's this separate entity with a life of its own, but it's not. Most people fail to realize is that THEY made the system. THEY created it and as its creators, only THEY can destroy it. (I think there's a fancy word for that; reification I think. But I'm not sure and Mr. Vidiot isn't here to confirm it for me.)

Yes, that's right. Only WE, THE PEOPLE can destroy the system, any system. We just have to all agree that it's possible. But the system, the institutions, whatever, have become so all-encompassing, so dominating, so god damned powerful, that it seems impossible to even think about challenging it. And that's where the commentators are coming from. They're warmly snuggled in the hegemonic cocoon. And anyone who tries to rip that cocoon open is either crazy or wasting their time or childish.

One must realize the following:

The system has taken on a life of its own.
It is a cancer that must be put down for our own good.
It is time.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Greek Riots

posted by The Vidiot @ 3:28 PM Permalink

I've posted my favorite image above, but here is the link to photos taken during the Greek riots. They're awesome. (The one above is my new computer wallpaper.)

Here in New York, the New School for Social Research has a comparatively calm sit-in going on. The New School used to have quite a ribald history. It was started by exiles and was a bastion of radical thought... that is until the Reagan era and now, with Bob Kerrey at the helm, it's been fully corporatised. A shame really. It's sooooo conservative now. Much like New York these days.

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Let me get this straight.

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:40 AM Permalink

If I stole $50 dollars from somebody, I'd go to jail. BUT, if I stole 50 BILLION dollars, I'd get to go back to my posh pad and watch cable.


Got it.

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posted by The Vidiot @ 7:35 AM Permalink

So long and thanks for all the fish.

If you've ever gone to a Latin dance club, you know that this is EXACTLY what it looks like.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Very cool article on Near Death Experiences.

posted by The Vidiot @ 5:04 PM Permalink

I like the approach.
The world, on the face of it, is made of two ingredients: thoughts and things. A brick, for example, is, on the one hand, a fact in the world and, on the other, a combination of all my feelings about bricks in general and this brick in particular. This is generally regarded as a very odd state of affairs. My thoughts and feelings are as real to me as the brick, but they don’t seem to be made of the same stuff. Indeed, they don’t seem to be made of any stuff. The belief that they aren’t, that the world is made of two different substances — bricks and thoughts of bricks — is called dualism. Dualism is the default human conviction, embraced by religions, philosophies and, in fact, by everybody in their lives — if we didn’t embrace some degree of it, we’d be constantly worried about crashing our cars into other people’s thoughts. Dualism means that the mind and the brain are not made of the same things and therefore in theory, they can be separated, as in NDEs.
When I had my brain surgery, right before I was woken up, I was in the most pleasant place. Mr. Vidiot and I were holding hands and we were looking at art and there was music and wow, it was awesome and soothing and there was a door that led to what must've been another room and it was so brightly lit that I couldn't see what was in it. I started to walk towards it when I was yanked back into my miserable body and the guy who was working on me was saying "Did you see that? Her heart went tachy for a bit there."

Was it a NDE? I don't know. But if I was that close to death, my brain sure was taking good care of me, making it so I wouldn't panic. If death is anything like that pleasantness, there's nothing to fear.

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Nobody bats an eye.

posted by The Vidiot @ 4:57 PM Permalink

Under the benign guise of helping the public's safety:
Marine Corps Air and Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC) Provost Marshal (head of a unit of military police) and the local California Highway Patrol office will begin working together 12/12 — and through the holiday season — in a joint effort to reduce accidents and drinking and driving.
Just get used to seeing those boys in military garb helping folks out. Get comfortable with it. Don't bristle at it. Just let it seep into your mind, normalize it. All will be well.

Go back to sleep.

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Another amazing medical breakthrough as U.S. performs first face transplant…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 12:22 PM Permalink

…from the headlines of the Washington Post.com:
Cleveland Clinic Performs First U.S. Face Transplant
As reported by the doctors there, led by surgeon Herr Doctor Mastercutter, the surgery was complicated, difficult, and not something that the team would necessarily undertake again as it was fraught with danger at every stage of the operation.

"It was difficult enough just to get the patient isolated without the world discovering his true identify as, in this case, the patient also happened to be a high-ranking government official who insisted upon absolute anonymity," said Herr Doctor.

And although the surgical procedure itself is not now new and ground-breaking as in previous cases, the introduction of dozens of security personnel into the operating theater caused all sorts of problems never before dealt with, such as the sterilization of the security staff and making available the attire necessary to enable that staff to remain in a position to constantly maintain security over the patient.

Each doctor and nurse involved were carefully vetted to insure that they posed no threat to the patient while the patient was under the influence of the powerful drugs that allowed the patient to feel no pain but remain conscious enough the keep the surgeon advised as to whether he was in pain or not.

"It was a grueling surgery, one such as I had never undertaken before and one I am ever likely to attempt again, but the surgery was, thankfully, 100% successful," continued the Her Doctor, " and I can now safely report the success we have enjoyed with replacing a face not out of medical need, but to forever conceal the identity of the operations recipient."

When posed with the query as to who would be willing to undergo such complicated surgery for a mere change of identity, Herr Doctor Mastercutter went completely off the record so that he could anonymously confirm, "…[T]hat it is completely confirmed that Dick Cheney has now been transformed into George W. Bush."

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A Cuban and his son.

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:44 AM Permalink

We cannot really say that Cuba suffers from underdevelopment as compared to many African and Latin American countries. Cuba's political and economic systems have actually de-developed the country. Cuba has actually regressed in its development course. Cuba's infrastructure is worse today than it was fifty years ago. Its people look impoverished, hopeless and hardened. And the embargo is not the main culprit. Cuba's leadership under Raúl has admitted that equal salaries, the lack of private property and social many safeguards have obstructed the path to modernization, economic development and rising standards of living. Of course, the leaders do not talk about the strangling political system Cuba's economic collapse. The background music is about a love and passion for an alienated woman. As I see pictures of my land and my people, I listen to the words of the song and think not only of my alienation from my love, but even more sadly, the alienation of my people from themselves and their land (patria). The hardships of the last fifty years show vividly in their bodies, faces, movements and expressions. The black and white tones of some pictures of Cuba bring out the contrasts between what Cuba is today and what it could have been if people like you and me had been given the chance to fix the wrongs of the past. I know I'll be too old for that. But maybe you will . . .

Always proud of you, your father.

I am Cuban but have been denied access into my own culture. We need revolution in Cuba and the complete overthrow of its present system. Yet, you are using some of your words rather carelessly. First among your list of culprits are equal salaries. Equal salaries are not necessarily the problem. This can be argued from two points. First, the problem of unequal salaries has helped place a ruling power elite at the center of control of our military, economic, and political institutions of power. These power elite have wreaked havoc on not only the people by denying them access to their abundance but spread war and death across the globe only to expand their concentration of wealth, power, and influence.

Second, the argument of equal wages suggests the old, worn out, tired, and disproved theory that human motivation to labor is based on financial incentive. I will defeat this argument any time and day of the week. The second point suggested is the problem of private property. We should strive as a human race that all people have equal access to the abundance that the capitalist means of production can create. This means that modernity has brought a situation that the capitalist means of production is capable of freeing up human labor, that is, severely reducing the amount of human labor needed to produce this abundance that satisfies human want and needs. People all over the world would become free to work as free men on their own human potential, capability, desires, and, in essence, their human drives.

In Cuba, as elsewhere, we continue to enslave that vast majority of people to produce the abundance that they are ultimately denied. This is due to private property---private property that is owned and controlled by the few ruling elite. How do you justify this? This must be resolved. And when we refer to private property we are not talking about your house, car, or even small business. What we are talking about is control and ownership of the material production of labor and the results of this labor---in short---the abundance that ninety-five percent of the population is denied.

You talk of the path of modernization. Just what does this mean? I know what the popular term means and how it is misused and abused by the mainstream media, and the irresponsibly directed academic departments around the country, but what do you mean? What has modernization brought and to who? Let us have a quick look.

Modernization has placed a few people at the center of control of the three most powerful institutions that shape history---political, economic, and military establishments---and though somewhat autonomous they are not independent---they are indeed intimately connected (At present the American nation-state is devaluing the dollar only to give trillions to the corporate elite). Modernization has created a capitalist system recklessly exploiting the globe. The Capitalist uses the nation-state to set policy and the military agenda to destroying everything in its path, rape people, extract land resources, rid opposition, drop bombs, vaporize people, starve-out noncompliant countries, create war, in short, control every possible resource that exists. These resources are stolen and will be controlled by the few power elite who only acts in accordance with the logic of their institutions. Disease, poverty, despair, death, destruction, misery, and suffering, follow this path. Poverty is increasing, so is disease and death. Let us not believe the ideologies that our corporate-controlled media feeds us. The rising standard of living for the majority is insignificant compared to the concentration of wealth accumulation of the rulers---it is not even close. It is the powerful who deny the rest a rising standard of living, who deny the masses of the abundance so that they can remain in control of our powerful institutions. I can go on.

It is my dream to take my PhD and bring it to my country, Cuba, and change the situation. But I will not make the mistakes of the failing American system. I will not help create a system of injustice, of capitalism, of war and misery. I will not deny people access to what the capitalist means of production can produce. Individuals should have complete access to private property---there is no limit to private property---all can live well and work not for a capitalist but according to the natural abilities and creative drives. I will denounce all remnants of the Castro regime; Communism, and all those other economic and political labels that we give. They are all corporate capitalists for undemocracy. I hope that one day I will return. I hope that one day I will give meaning to your kind words "Always proud of you." I have yet to earn those words and make them meaningful. I am working on it.

Love, your son.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

So, if you had a chance ...

posted by The Sailor @ 6:22 PM Permalink

... of finding love or a certainty of making money, what would you do?

What pissed me off today? Everything.

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:43 AM Permalink

So, if you are insurgent, you get tortured. If you're suspected of being a terrorist, you get tortured. If you throw a shoe at GW Bush? Tortured.
The Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at US President George W Bush has a broken arm and ribs after being struck by Iraqi security agents, his brother says.
Oh, and guess who said he approved all that torture in the first place.
When asked by ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl whether he approved of interrogation tactics used against a so-called "high value prisoner" at the controversial Guantanamo Bay prison, Mr. Cheney, in a break from his history of being press-shy, admitted to giving official sanctioning of torture.

"I supported it," he said regarding the practice known as "water-boarding," a form of simulated drowning. After World War II, Japanese soldiers were tried and convicted of war crimes in US courts for water-boarding, a practice which the outgoing Bush administration attempted to enshrine in policy.
"Officially sanctioned." Why would he admit such a thing? Is it the height of hubris? Does he figure his ticker is going to give out so he might as well take the blame? I haven't a clue.

(Please feel free to 'throw' your old shoes at GW via snail mail.)(Oh, and here are some fanciful animated gifs from boing boing. [link fixed])

In other news, dynasty politics continues in the United States.
A person close to the discussions says Caroline Kennedy will seek the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Hillary Clinton.
So I guess that just because your name ends in Clinton, Bush or Kennedy, you're qualified to hold political office. (Didn't Thomas Paine say something about monarchy and hereditary succession?)

Oh, and if you're a rich investor, and you invest in a risky fund and that fund fails, no worries.
A federal judge on Monday threw a lifesaver to investors who may have been duped in one of Wall Street's biggest alleged frauds, saying they need the protection of a special government reserve fund set up to help investors at failed brokerage firms.
Meanwhile, I can use my now worthless 401K for toilet paper. No bailout for me.

And Biden got a puppy. However, someone had to suck the red out of that lollipop, post haste.

Ok, that's enough bad news. How about some weird news:

A ghost was photographed in a hotel in Romania.

And a rock encrusted swiss ring watch was found in what was thought to be an undisturbed 400-year old tomb in China. (Shades of Micheal Crichton)

Update: The shoe throwing thing has become quite the meme. Boing Boing had to kill its jumping gif link and make an archival link because it cost them thousands of dollars in bandwidth. The thrower has been given a bravery award and a flash game has already been made. The entire Middle East knows his name and while we 'mericans have a hard time remembering Arabic names, we all know that there's a shoe throwing guy and that he is good.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Shoe-fling Show

posted by The Vidiot @ 1:52 PM Permalink

I don't need to post the video here because I know everyone and his brother has seen the clip of the Iraqi reporter lobbing his shoes at GW. (Though, credit to GW. Who knew he could dodge with such alacrity.) I am reminded of an old SNL skit with Chevy Chase 'reporting' that Gerald Ford had accidentally stabbed himself with a fork. Almost immediately, "secret service men quickly grabbed the fork and wrestled it to the ground."

While I laughed at the perfectly clear message the flying shoe sent, the poor guy might actually be in some serious trouble.
Journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi, who was kidnapped by militants last year, was being held by Iraqi security Monday and interrogated about whether anybody paid him to throw his shoes at Bush during a press conference the previous day in Baghdad, said an Iraqi official.

He was also being tested for alcohol and drugs, and his shoes were being held as evidence, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.
Of course they're testing for alcohol and drugs. Why else would anyone do anything like that. You'd have to be drunk or stoned. No sane person would do such a thing.

It's hard for anyone in that bubble to understand that he was just doing what we'd all like to do: voice our disgust with power.

The Arab world is totally behind the guy and many of them are working on getting him released. Hopefully, they will be successful and soon. They guy deserves a freakin' medal.

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Updated headline: "The Last Throws ... "*

posted by The Sailor @ 12:57 PM Permalink

*I totally stole this headline from WTF!?'s Undeniable Liberal. It was so much better & appropriate than mine:
Iraqi reporter throws shoes at Bush, calls him dog

An Iraqi reporter called visiting U.S. President George W. Bush a "dog" in Arabic on Sunday and threw his shoes at him during a news conference in Baghdad.

Iraqi security officers and U.S. secret service agents leapt at the man and dragged him struggling and screaming out of the room where Bush was giving a news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
When asked about the incident shortly after, Bush made light of it. "I didn't feel the least threatened by it," he said.

Other Iraqi journalists apologised on behalf of their colleague, a television journalist.
Of course he didn't feel threatened, his translator said he called him 'Dawg!'

Oh, and BTW, the "Other Iraqi journalists apologised on behalf of their colleague" statement? Yeah, not so much:
Iraq rally for Bush shoe attacker

Thousands of Iraqis have demanded the release of a local TV reporter who threw his shoes at US President George W Bush at a Baghdad news conference.

Crowds gathered in Baghdad's Sadr City district, calling for "hero" Muntadar al-Zaidi to be freed from custody.
I bet all the sole-less folks on the reichwing will have their tongues flapping about this heel.

Cross posted at SteveAudio


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Working hard or hardly working?

posted by The Sailor @ 11:53 AM Permalink

After Rescue, Bonuses Still Flow At AIG

Insurance giant AIG was given $152 billion in bailout money by the federal government since nearly collapsing in September. Now the company is planning to take millions of that money and hand it over to employees in a program that sounds a lot like bonuses.

AIG's new CEO is only taking a single dollar for his compensation this year and the top 60 executives won't be getting bonuses. But that hasn't stopped AIG from finding a creative way to keep some of their top employees in what they're calling "retention payments,"
Umm, when even lawyers and bankers are filing for unemployment, why do these executives need a 'bonus' to keep working? One would think just keeping the paycheck would be enough incentive.

In related news: The rethuglicans in the Senate trashed the auto bailout when Dems wouldn't give in to their demand that people making $28 per hour take a pay cut. When was the last time congress voted themselves a pay cut? [hint: NEVER!]

I did good work and good works this year and I make less than 10% of their salaries and less than 1% of Wall Street execs. I'm not getting a bonus this year and I'm not getting a raise this year and I didn't get $152 BILLION to bail out a predictably failed business model ... but I count myself lucky I still have a job.

Now excuse me while I comfort myself with bread and circuses (AKA the NFL.)

Cross posted at SteveAudio

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The continued annihilation of our Native People

posted by The Vidiot @ 11:17 AM Permalink

The assault continues. The American government still is encroaching upon Native lands.
With the racist hype of television news and hate crimes rising, Indigenous borderlands are being seized by the U.S. Homeland Security. The ancestors graves have been dug up on the Tohono O'odham Nation by Boeing during construction of the border wall. Lipan Apache in Texas are fighting the seizure of their land by Homeland Security.

The seizure of borderlands will result in a profitable corridor of land for the US, while the militarization of the border results in deaths, harassments and rape. US soldiers and US border agents are smuggling drugs and carrying out murders, assaults and rapes.

Across America, Native American sacred places, from San Francisco Peaks to Bear Butte, are being pillaged and desecrated. Indian lands, including the Lakota and Navajo lands, already strewn with unreclaimed radioactive tailings from the Cold War, poisoned water and massive cancers and deaths from uranium mining, are targeted in the United States and Canada for more uranium mining and nuclear waste dumping.
I can't understand how this sort of thing is allowed to happen. How, in this day and age, can Native people STILL be getting the raw end of the stick. Man, this story has really put a stick in my day.

Profit must be pursued. Damn the consequences.

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NYT Headline…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 10:10 AM Permalink

Bush Arrives in Iraq for a Final Visit

Question: Can they keep him? Can we PAY them to keep him? They can have him for the low, low cost of just $700 billion.

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Quotes of the Day

posted by The Sailor @ 6:39 PM Permalink

"He'd rather pay a prostitute than pay auto workers."
[Morgan Johnson, president of the United Auto Workers local representing General Motors workers in Shreveport, said] "I don't know what Sen. Vitter has against GM or the United Auto Workers or the entire domestic auto industry; whatever it is, whatever he thinks we've done, it's time for him to forgive us, just like Sen. Vitter has asked the citizens of Louisiana to forgive him," said Johnson, president of Local 2166. Otherwise, Johnson said of Vitter, it would appear, "He'd rather pay a prostitute than pay auto workers."
"It may just prove that when I have a lot of morphine in my system, I make the right decisions"
Ashcroft was confronted with a question about a March 2004 incident, in which the former AG was visited by his would-be successor as he lay sedated in a hospital bed.

Ashcroft was asked by Gonzales to re-authorize a controversial domestic spying program, over the objections of Ashcroft's deputy, James Comey. He refused to reverse the Justice Department's decision, sparking a power struggle which saw the White House re-authorize its own program without the approval of the Justice Department.

"So, I think the system worked. And I'm glad that it did. It may not prove a whole lot about a lot of things. It may just prove that when I have a lot of morphine in my system, I make the right decisions."
In honor of John Ashcroft, who still thinks illegal detention & torture are OK, but bare breasts are bad, I declare War!

Cross posted at SteveAudio

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Thought for the Day....

posted by The Vidiot @ 3:01 PM Permalink

How is what Blago did worse than what Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld et al did? Why is he being prosecuted for selling a Senate seat when those that lied us into war and approved torture are buying houses and setting themselves up for a comfortable retirement?


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posted by The Vidiot @ 7:44 AM Permalink

The lame-duck republicans managed to block the auto industry bailout. I did not think that would happen. I assumed that some sort of lame-assed compromise would be reached and everyone would be disappointed... just like always.

I had mixed feelings about the bailout. On one hand, I figured, let the f-ckers fail. They f-cked up. They made really bad decisions. They did a piss-poor job of keeping up with the technology. They're dinosaurs. They should be extinct. On the other hand though, there's all the people -- the employees, the suppliers, and the distributers -- that will lose their jobs.

What happens now? Well, short term, the market will probably tank today. I don't think that even the plunge protection team will be able to save today. Long term, who knows. A LOT of folks will be out of a job. If I had any advice to give, it would be for those workers to pull together, democratically come up with a newer and better business plan than those lame-assed corpororate monkeys, take over the factories and do it themselves. Kind of like they're doing in Argentina. That's the only way I see out of this mess; having the workers own the means of production.

May you live in interesting times...

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Thursday, December 11, 2008


posted by The Vidiot @ 1:46 PM Permalink

Greg Palast goes off on Obama's picks for Secretary of Education.

But here we go again. Trial balloons lofted in the Washington Post suggest President-elect Obama is about to select Joel Klein as Secretary of Education. If not Klein, then draft-choice number two is Arne Duncan, Obama's backyard basketball buddy in Chicago.

Say it ain't so, President O.

While I can't comment on the Chicago flunky, Joel Klein is well known, and well loathed, here in NYC. Just ask any teacher in the system what they think of the guy and you'd be hard-pressed to find anything positive about him. Under Klein, the contract the teachers ended up with took away more than it gave. The teachers in the NYC school system are powerless, their job security is threatened at every turn, and they are pressured to work in horrible conditions under horrible circumstances. Unless you're a teacher in one of the precious magnate schools, you're in a tough and unpleasant bind. I've heard it said that if your chosen profession was to be a teacher and you ended up in the NYC school system, you will fantasize about slashing your wrists in despair.


Recently, I read I read an article in the New Yorker about how they hire teachers and what should be done to make it better. But everything they suggested is ridiculous for NYC. For one thing, high schools that don't have competitive entrance exams end up getting all the kids that don't qualify for anything. So, all those underperforming kids end up crammed into a few schools. The teachers and administration have no choice but to enroll those kids. So what happens? The schools fail. Their test scores are dragged down by some of the most underperforming students in the system, making it look like the school is incapabable of educating anything. If you raise your students scores, it's in spite of the system, not because of it.

Additionally, the adminstrators have a tendency to read all sorts of 'academic' crap written by people with PhDs in Education and MAYBE a few were written by a psychologist or two. What you then get is all sort of politically correct posturing that is, quite frankly, meaningless in the real world. BUT in their ongoing effort to remain pertinent and to keep their jobs, these administrators will read that crap like it's the gospel and the tell the teachers, even ones who have been at it for 30 years, that whatever they've been doing is wrong and this is the new way to do it.

And what, pray tell, is that new way? It's called "group work" and that's where the teacher isn't called a teacher, but rather is called a facilitator and the students read and then teach each other the subject matter. This is all the rage in the NYC public school system right now. Lecturing is strictly verboten.

And in a nice, middle- or upper-class school, it MIGHT work.

But in a working-class school where most of the students can barely read, a majority of them have the attention span of a gnat and various and sundry outside stresses takes their toll on them emotionally and physically, well, you can well imagine that it doesn't work... at all.... not in the least bit. It only works in the feverish and inept minds of NYC administrators.

And NYC isn't the only place it's like that. NOLA, Chicago, LA, Cleveland, Detroit, you name it. Any decent sized city with a large working class and an unhealthy dose of poverty is going to suffer the same ills.

Obama's top two choices for Secretary of Education shows that he is clueless to any of this stuff, just like most folks I guess.



posted by The Vidiot @ 11:02 AM Permalink

TalkingPointsMemo.com is have a sort of back and forth with readers over which state is the most corrupt.

TPM Reader BB chimes in from the Big Easy ...

Look, if you want, the New Orleans bloggers can put together a comprehensive file for you. But you need to know it will be thick.

In the many categories that people argue for (cash involved, historical entrenchment, recent scandal, profile, fed/state/local), each of your wannabe states points out that the category they happen to be strongest in really matters the most. And that's why they're wannabes...they need special consideration.

Louisiana will let any state in the union pick the turf and the time. You want state level corruption? Local? Bring it. Historical tradition? Game on. Recent scandal? Easy money. You name the category, any category, and we'll have a big dog in that fight. And that is why Louisiana is the all time champ.

I have to tell you, the guy is right. I recently read a history of Louisiana from like the natives to now, and I can tell you, that state has a very deep, ingrained history of corruption. From the original dealings with the Spanish and the French all the way up to Rep. Jefferson's freezing wad 'o cash. There was even one time, for an election for governor, where it was David Duke, the known KKK guy and another guy I THINK was Edwin Edwards, who was so corrupt as to make your head spin, that the Edwards guy said, who are you going to vote for, a crook, or a racist?

And the crook won.

But I have to say, Louisiana is one of the freeist "feeling" states. I guess it's because everyone is so busy being corrupt that very little legislating ever gets done.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Listen, They're Playing my Song

posted by The Sailor @ 5:03 PM Permalink

Musicians Don’t Want Tunes Used for Torture

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba - Blaring from a speaker behind a metal grate in his tiny cell in Iraq, the blistering rock from Nine Inch Nails hit Prisoner No. 200343 like a sonic bludgeon.

The auditory assault went on for days, then weeks, then months at the U.S. military detention center in Iraq. Twenty hours a day. AC/DC. Queen. Pantera. The prisoner, military contractor Donald Vance of Chicago, told The Associated Press he was soon suicidal.

The tactic has been common in the U.S. war on terror, with forces systematically using loud music on hundreds of detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay. Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, then the U.S. military commander in Iraq, authorized it on Sept. 14, 2003, "to create fear, disorient ... and prolong capture shock."

Now the detainees aren't the only ones complaining. Musicians are banding together to demand the U.S. military stop using their songs as weapons.
According to an FBI memo, one interrogator at Guantanamo Bay bragged he needed only four days to "break" someone by alternating 16 hours of music and lights with four hours of silence and darkness.
Vance, in a telephone interview from Chicago, said the tactic can make innocent men go mad. According to a lawsuit he has filed, his jailers said he was being held because his employer was suspected of selling weapons to terrorists and insurgents. The U.S. military confirms Vance was jailed but won't elaborate because of the lawsuit.
There might be a temptation to make jokes about being subjected to loud music being a form of torture, but it isn't funny, and it is torture.

And there might be a temptation in some folks less evolved to OK torture for them foreign brownish folks, but as noted above, our government also tortures white, christain, veteran, FBI informant, Americans.

More here:
Former U.S. Detainee in Iraq Recalls Torment

and here:
A different kind of hell for one American in Iraq FBI informant imprisoned and treated like an insurgent for 97 days
When Bush said "we don't torture"? He lied.

And his enablers continue to lie over and over.

Cross posted at SteveAudio

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More thoughts on Blago

posted by The Vidiot @ 3:19 PM Permalink

There's been quite a broo-ha-ha, no? Parsing, teasing, examining, dissecting, the media is in a feeding frenzy. It's like when you throw some bread into a pond with starving carp.

The left is laughing at the right's attempts to tie Obama to Blago. Everyone is gnashing their teeth over the idea of corruption in government. Reports of how dumb or egomaniacal he is are being floated about. All this attention. So much fuss.

But, frankly, aren't ALL politicians corrupt? And I mean ALL. Surely, dirt can be found on any politician. You have to be dirty to BE a politician. Oh, I'm sure there's an honest one or two, but really, I'm not being cynical when I say that that it's safe to assume that for all intents and purposes, they are all corrupt.

Think about what they do. They talk to people to get money. They fundraise. Constantly. They press the flesh. They talk shit. They maintain the status quo, even though the status quo does not benefit the majority of the people. They have to be comfortable saying one thing and doing another. Indeed, to be a politician, you have to be AT LEAST a borderline sociopath.

So, why Blago? Well, in a nutshell, Blago's problem is he pissed off the wrong people. Whomever those people are is a matter of speculation, but you can assume they're powerful and feeling like wringing his neck would be a GOOD thing.

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The Automotive Kings are Dead - Long Live the Kings!

posted by Bill Arnett @ 12:57 PM Permalink

Well, while Senator Richard Shelby (R-Industrial Killer), waxes pontifical and lectures the country on the irredeemability of the American Automakers it should be remembered that he represents a state with three foreign car manufacturers, Hyundai, Honda and Mercedes-Benz, who no doubt will look favorably upon the Senator for the obstructionist position against a Big 3 American car bailout, and who are no doubt rejoicing and cracking open the champaign bottles to celebrate today. After all, how many times can you have an American Senator suckling the teat of Big Foreign Business as if his lips were superglued to that teat?

"Chapter 11, Chapter 11!" seems to be the only alternative offered by persons with vested interest in the failure of American businesses, the GOP. The GOP will do nothing that would even lend itself to the possibility of rescuing an American company while Democrats are in charge.

Just as the last year has proven, the GOP has a sufficient number of obstructionists to stop any progressive legislation in an attempt to make the Democratic Party look weak and ineffectual. And they are willing to cut off their noses to spite their faces, for I believe in the truth of Paul Krugman's assertion that people are not going to buy cars from a bankrupt manufacturer or one entering bankruptcy.

What incentive is there to buy a new car from a company that may no longer exist next year? Especially when a guy's senators and congressmen can get monstrous donations to their reelection campaigns for essentially sitting by and doing nothing other than speaking out against any bailout from our carmakers.

Granted, our Big 3 dug their own graves with gas guzzling SUV (no doubt built at the behest of Big Oil - you scratch my back and?) and their steadfast refusal to build the cars of the future, hybrids, electrical and hydrogen, for which they no doubt have many possible vehicles already on the drawing board. But why bother when Big Oil, which owns more politicians than anyone (Look at the Iraqi Oil Wars) can count on government bowing to it's control until it's too late to take any action, so once again it will be the foreign car companies that will lead the way on new innovations, both because the Americans won't, and because they will (and do) realize there is no long term success to be had building cars that continue to use oil.

But in the meantime Big Oil and foreign manufacturers will continue to make ever greater profits until a profitable business model can be had that will minimize those entities that will, as all cornered beast will do, fight tooth-and-nail for their survival.

Regardless of the costs of buying all those politicians.

Just think how much Hyundai, Honda and Mercedes-Benz will be able to jack up their prices to purchase and, more importantly, the exorbitant new charges for servicing those cars. And as the inventory of American cars and parts to service them the prices can only go up, for there will be ever more politicians awaiting their handout to continue their obstructionist ways.

Ah, what a wonderful time to be a member of the millionaire's club, the U.S. Senate where, by god, when you buy a politician that S.O.B. stays bought and can produce more lickspittle than is comfortable to contemplate.

NOTE: And let's not forget this golden opportunity for a handful of politicians to go against the better interests of the country and view this as a "union-busting" opportunity, despite the fact that it was the unions, after WWII, that set this country on course for its most profitable decades in American, and probably, human history and the spreading of wealth from the bottom going up and not the thoroughly discredited "trickle down theory" of republican economics that has bankrupted America and is close to completely destroying our financial health - or what's left of it.

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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Headline: Bush Memo To Officials: Say I Had "Honor And Dignity"…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 11:04 AM Permalink

…in other words continue the sickening lies that have been the hallmark of his administration and make yourself appear as an uniformed, stupid @sshole - A two-fer!

Headline from Huffingpost.com Main Page.

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Connect the dots?

posted by The Vidiot @ 10:01 AM Permalink

Did Bank of America call in it's globalist thugs? You be the judge.

Soon after the Governor of Illinois did this...
In a stinging note of support for the laid off workers that have taken up residency in Chicago's Republic Windows & Doors factory, the Governor of Illinois has suspended business with Bank of America until it reissues credit to the shuttered company.
... he was arrested.
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was unexpectedly taken into federal custody Tuesday morning.

It's unclear exactly why Blagojevich was detained at his Chicago home, although reports indicate it may be related to his alleged involvement in a pay-for-play corruption scheme.
Fascinating timing, no?

Update: Good point from Mike Rivero. Elliot Spizter got nailed soon after he started making noise about sub-prime mortgages and according to Rivero, Bank of America was the culprit then too.

Update 2: TPMMuckraker is going through the charges so I don't have to, but here's my guess (and it's only a guess, so don't quote me) but my gut says they probably could've actually GOTTEN him something worse, rather than solicitation if they'd waited. (Though, with what they did get him on, he's looking at 20 years or so. Yikes.) They chose not to wait, perhaps to send a message to anyone else daring to call out our banking overlords? Just a conspiratorial thought, brought to you by The Vidiot.

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Monday, December 08, 2008

Why do so many of the arrogant few feel so deserving…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 2:35 PM Permalink

…of massive bonuses after literally having ridden their companies into the ground and leaving them hanging on the precipice of bankruptcy?

Quoting an article from the Huffington Post:
From the Wall Street Journal:

Merrill Lynch & Co. chief John Thain has suggested to directors that he get a 2008 bonus of as much as $10 million, but the battered securities firm's compensation committee is resisting his request, according to people familiar with the situation.

The committee and full board are scheduled to meet Monday to hear Mr. Thain's formal bonus recommendations for himself and other senior executives of the New York company. No decision has been reached, and it isn't known what Mr. Thain will recommend, but the compensation committee is leaning toward denying the executives bonuses for this year, these people said.

Reuters points out that several other Wall Street firms, including Goldman Sachs, will not be giving out bonuses to top executives this year. Though Thain's company was sold to Bank of America after losing a net $11.67 billion this year, Thain argued that it could have been worse.

Thain has said he deserves a bonus because he helped avert what could have been a much larger crisis at the firm, people familiar with his thinking told the WSJ.

Members of Merrill's compensation committee agree with Thain that the takeover is in shareholders' best interest, but believe it would be foolish to ignore strong public sentiment against large compensation packages, the paper said, citing people familiar with their thinking.
Is this finally the blowback from our efforts to build self esteem in all our children by labeling the losers "winners", also? How can this loser realistically, laughably, ridiculously, and idiotically assert that after aiding, while in a position of trust and with the expectation of competency, and participating in the dramatic failures of his company he wants MORE than the ten million dollar bonus to which he certainly believes he is entitled?

What's he gonna do? Threaten to quit and take all that knowledge and skill with him to another company, the bankruptcy of which he could once again contribute to and expect a pat on the head, and millions in bonuses "…because he tries so hard and we mustn't discourage him by pointing out his failures, much less holding him accountable for them by affecting his exorbitant salary and bonuses - we mustn't run the risk of damaging his self-esteem, which he possesses in spades…"

America - where it's all about who you know and no longer a country that recognizes success and failures. If you know the right people, hell, it doesn't matter if you succeed or fail - those in power will see that you are rewarded with Midas-like bonuses either way, so if you want to totally screw up, screw your company and then thoroughly f*ck the poor workers and taxpayers and consumers you were supposed to serve, America is now the place for you.

You'll feel s-o-o-o much better.

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The Shortsightedness of Capitalism

posted by The Vidiot @ 9:34 AM Permalink

If we weren't living in a greed-based, errr, I mean profit-based system, then this wouldn't happen.
Just months after riding an incredible high, the recycling market has tanked almost in lockstep with the global economic meltdown. As consumer demand for autos, appliances and new homes dropped, so did the steel and pulp mills' demand for scrap, paper and other recyclables.
If we has a society-based economic system, then recycling would be stepped up, to create jobs AND to make sure as many raw materials are recycled as possible.

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Sunday, December 07, 2008

What needs to happen here.

posted by The Vidiot @ 12:05 PM Permalink

You may not have heard that factory workers in Chicago have decided to occupy their closing factory until they get assurances that they will get their severance and vacation pay.
"We're going to stay here until we win justice," said Blanca Funes, 55, of Chicago, after occupying the building for several hours. Speaking in Spanish, Funes said she fears losing her home without the wages she feels she's owed. A 13-year employee of Republic, she estimated her family can make do for three months without her paycheck. Most of the factory's workers are Hispanic.
Laudable, yes, but it falls short of what they REALLY need to do. They figured it out in Argentina though.
Almost entirely under the media radar, workers in Argentina have been responding to rampant unemployment and capital flight by taking over businesses that have gone bankrupt and reopening them under democratic worker management. It is an old idea reclaimed and retrofitted for a brutal new time. The principles are so simple, so elementally fair, that they seem more self-evident than radical when articulated by one of the workers: "We formed the co-operative with the criteria of equal wages and making basic decisions by assembly; we are against the separation of manual and intellectual work; we want a rotation of positions and, above all, the ability to recall our elected leaders."
Read the whole thing. It's worth it.

Once again, South America shows us the way when it comes to social movements.

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Saturday, December 06, 2008

Paralyzed by obsession

posted by The Sailor @ 11:30 AM Permalink

In the latest media version of the Kevin Bacon Game I bring you:
Clintons' ex-NY neighbor gets 25 years for murder

A man who lived a few doors down from Bill and Hillary Clinton was sentenced Tuesday to 25 years to life in prison for shooting and killing his wife.
In related news, my Dad was invited to a Clinton inaugural ball and now he's dead. Of course those last 2 facts have no more to do with each other than the linking of the Clintons to an ex-neighbor who committed murder, but such is the power of The Clenis to still derange our MSM scribblers & talking heads.

I actually remember the days when the print, television & radio news media reported facts that mattered and didn't concentrate mostly on meaningless salacious rumors and suppositions.
Cross posted at SteveAudio

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Friday, December 05, 2008


posted by The Sailor @ 4:32 PM Permalink

Ohh Noes!!! The War On Xmas escalates!

ABC alarmingly reports:
Gift Certificates for an Abortion?
But if you read the original article they quote the ChiTrib article:
Planned Parenthood offering gift certificates

What do you get the person who has everything—except adequate health insurance? If you live in Indiana, consider this offering from the state's Planned Parenthood affiliate: gift certificates in $25 increments.

The vouchers, available online and at 35 clinics statewide, can be used for health services or contraceptives. And yes, they can be used to pay for abortions.
Planned Parenthood provides a service that originally was exactly what the name says; the ability to plan parenthood and not be forced into a pregnancy you're not ready for. Whether it's condoms, pills, IUDs or [gasp!] an abortion, it makes for a better society.

Every day we read what happens to children in houses (these are not homes) that didn't want their children. Quality of life is better than quantity, for all involved.

That said; PP is so much more now. Pap smears, STD tests, prenatal care, cancer screening ... and it's not just for women. The fact is Planned Parenthood has stepped up and become the de facto community health care in many areas for folks who can't afford health insurance but still want to be responsible to/for their loved ones.

ABC should be ashamed of themselves for inflaming the already heated discourse with a headline that belongs in the Nat'l Enquirer. I guess adding a '?' at the end of the headline makes it OK to them.

It's the Xmas season, if you can buy some health care for a person who can't afford it? Now that's a gift that keeps on giving!

Cross posted at SteveAudio

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Mug Shot Metamorphosis

posted by The Vidiot @ 1:12 PM Permalink

This has been making it's rounds in the blogosphere today. I didn't think much of it. I mean, if a guy wants to deface himself, let him. But I noticed that he didn't take into consideration the fact that he was balding. Look at where the tattoo stops at the top of his head. Now that's funny.

See, it's noticing the little things that makes life interesting.


5,000 fingers are all pointing at Pakistan

posted by The Vidiot @ 12:08 PM Permalink

Pakistan just can't be made into any more of a bad guy, or can they?....
The bipartisan Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism reported earlier on Wednesday that if there was a WMD attack on the United States, it would originate in Pakistan.
Say it loud and say it often. That way, when it happens and they start talking about Pakistan, it will make total sense to us.

"Dear, did you hear about that awful thing Pakistan did?"
"Pakistan? Oh yeah, I heard that they're pretty bad. Doesn't surprise me one bit."
"Me neither. I'm sure our government will take care of it. They're so good with stuff like that."

And so it goes.

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Thursday, December 04, 2008


posted by The Vidiot @ 4:12 PM Permalink

My new favorite Brooklyn blog with tons of NSFW language. Specifically, it rags on one of the most pretentious Brooklyn nabes everrr. (The entry that clinched it for was this one. I can SO relate, being that I'm one of the few childless folks in my department.)

Is it going to rain?

Excellent PNAC graphic.

I'm a complete and utter hack when compared to these people.

Please stop trying to make mice cute. They are not cute.

A heart attack worth having. Mmmmm, bacon.

Not as satisfying as you might like, but slapping this guy is kinda' fun.

And I did not know you could train cats to do anything beyond using a litterbox.



posted by The Vidiot @ 8:25 AM Permalink

I have nothing in particular to link to regarding the Mumbai attacks. Only an observation on the media.

I just heard yet again (on BBC World) that the attacks are connected to Pakistan in some way. It's like they all mention it in passing like it's common knowledge. Brian Williams did it last night. The corporate-owned newspapers toss it around like candy. It's just repeated over and over like it's already a fact. Singing with one voice, they are.

Now, think back to when Georgia attacked S. Ossetia. Every single news outlet was saying Russia attacked Georgia. Russia invaded Georgia. As sure as the Earth is round, Russia was the aggressor against Georgia. But what happened? Even the New York Times had to eventually admit that wasn't the case.

Of course, Russia as the bad guy suited the media's anti-Putin narrative as well as fitted in nicely with the Bush administration's foreign policy choices in that region. So too does Pakistan as bad guy suit the media's anti-Pakistan rhetoric as well as fitting in with the administration's actions regarding that country.

So, it's obvious, Pakistan had nothing to do with it. Nothing. Nada. Niente. Null.

Who did do it? I have my ideas, but no proof. However, if you check off everyone the media is suggesting it could be, they're probably not the ones. It's the ones they're NOT mentioning that did it. I'd bet money on that.

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Nobody does irony like the Bush family.

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:35 AM Permalink

While pondering a run for the Senate, Jeb, an old white guy, said,
...the Republican Party needs to adapt in the wake of wide-ranging defeat in the election and move beyond its traditional position as the "old white guy party."
Meanwhile, his war-mongering brother got the International Medal of P.E.A.C.E.

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Somebody intends to get their share, and yours. too…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 12:08 PM Permalink

…with the TV screaming this morning the dire warnings that America is very likely to suffer a nuclear, biological or chemical attack within the next four to five years.

Hm. Let's see. Just what will be happening in four years that the effort to scare people spitless must start now? Oh, yeah! the 2012 elections when Mountain Mama Sarah Palin, much like the beloved bears she loves to kill for sport, will arise from hibernation and once again, wearing a moose-skin miniskirt, a beaver shirt complete with its own bib, and her coonskin cap, packing all the guns with which she shoots helpless animals from airplanes just to watch them writhe in agony and die, and with the help of the rnc attempt to war and fear-monger the masses into voting for a rethug since everybody ('cept 63 million Obama voters) knows only the righteous rnc and their right hand, the military-industrial-complex (which will probably still be being lead by General Petraeus) are the only people who may pray for the hand of god, filled with nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons to come down from the ether and smite all the bad guys dead.

Or people could instead remember that we are where we are in our current dire straits and facing many thousands of additional threats due to the actions of that same rnc, as lead by Mr. Incompetent himself, gw bush, who has done an amazing job of isolating us in the world, at least among civilized nations, and increasing the animosity others feel for America by a thousand-fold.

Is it time once again, as I remember from my youth, to start practicing "duck and cover", hiding under school desks for protection from the coming holocaust, and with the proviso that NO ONE, under any circumstances, eats the snow until it has been tested and found to have radiation levels within those guidelines established by the government? Ah, the good old days when a well-built school desk could protect you from being obliterated by nuclear weapons or the hand of god.

So it remains perfectly clear that the rnc wishes to continue its destructive ways to try and get ahead and win elections.

I marvel, and remain in awe, of the power of rethugs to utterly ignore reality and continue to exist in their own little fictional world where "yoyo" (your own your own) rules, the rich reign and prosper, and if you can't afford a home, medical care, or food it is obviously your fault for not being a putz loyal gop'er who will believe anything told them whether they are alone or with somebody.

So start getting scared folks. At this rate we'll be under attack (and therefore martial law) before Obama can even be inaugurated. And ain't it weird that the threat will grow ever more dire the closer the country comes to election time again?

But it must be true - the report comes from republican "think-tanks."

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Tagged. Really?

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:47 AM Permalink


1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.
I'm not sure how this works but since the Sailor tagged me, here goes:

1. I can't stand the smell of tripe, which my landlady insists on cooking at least once a month.
2. I had the coolest Grampa; Italian immigrant, worked on the B&O Railroad, could fix anything, loved to make and drink wine, played the mandolin and sang, and he had the most awesome smile everrrrr.
3. I miss riding my motorcycle a lot less than I thought I would.
4. At one point in my life, I had a world-music radio show at WBAI here in New York.
5. As a cater waiter, I waited on Christopher Reeves (before the accident). He was tall, had a nice smile and drank ginger ale.
6. I love to cook and, unfortunately, eat.

Now, I know I'm supposed to tag someone, but alas, I have nobody to tag. Can I tag Bill too?


Monday, December 01, 2008

I'm in the room without a light, The room without a view

posted by The Sailor @ 5:49 PM Permalink

I'm Still Tortured by What I Saw in Iraq

I should have felt triumphant when I returned from Iraq in August 2006. Instead, I was worried and exhausted. My team of interrogators had successfully hunted down one of the most notorious mass murderers of our generation, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq and the mastermind of the campaign of suicide bombings that had helped plunge Iraq into civil war. But instead of celebrating our success, my mind was consumed with the unfinished business of our mission: fixing the deeply flawed, ineffective and un-American way the U.S. military conducts interrogations in Iraq. I'm still alarmed about that today.

I'm not some ivory-tower type; I served for 14 years in the U.S. Air Force, began my career as a Special Operations pilot flying helicopters, saw combat in Bosnia and Kosovo, became an Air Force counterintelligence agent, then volunteered to go to Iraq to work as a senior interrogator. What I saw in Iraq still rattles me -- both because it betrays our traditions and because it just doesn't work.
Torture and abuse are against my moral fabric. The cliche still bears repeating: Such outrages are inconsistent with American principles. And then there's the pragmatic side: Torture and abuse cost American lives.

I learned in Iraq that the No. 1 reason foreign fighters flocked there to fight were the abuses carried out at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Our policy of torture was directly and swiftly recruiting fighters for al-Qaeda in Iraq. The large majority of suicide bombings in Iraq are still carried out by these foreigners. They are also involved in most of the attacks on U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq. It's no exaggeration to say that at least half of our losses and casualties in that country have come at the hands of foreigners who joined the fray because of our program of detainee abuse. The number of U.S. soldiers who have died because of our torture policy will never be definitively known, but it is fair to say that it is close to the number of lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001. How anyone can say that torture keeps Americans safe is beyond me -- unless you don't count American soldiers as Americans.
I urge you to read the whole article.

It confirms, once again, what all the experts say, torture is not an effective means of eliciting information.

Torture only works to get someone to say what you want them to say. e.g. John McCain wasn't tortured for information, he was tortured to confess to war crimes. And it worked.

The torture and callous disregard for human rights that our nation has openly displayed for the last 8 years has dimmed the shining beacon of liberty, but it has not doused it.

I leave you with the last paragraph of the article:
I'm actually quite optimistic these days, in no small measure because President-elect Barack Obama has promised to outlaw the practice of torture throughout our government. But until we renounce the sorts of abuses that have stained our national honor, al-Qaeda will be winning. Zarqawi is dead, but he has still forced us to show the world that we do not adhere to the principles we say we cherish. We're better than that. We're smarter, too.

Cross posted at SteveAudio


And the Catholic Church wonders why they are losing parishioners…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 2:13 PM Permalink

…when they are openly calling anyone who voted for Obama a sinner requiring communion to save their immortal soul.


It's no small wonder that I am an atheist when I read articles like this from McClatchy Washington Bureau:
Parishioners of St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Modesto have been told they should consider going to confession if they voted for Barack Obama, because of the president-elect's position condoning abortion.

"If you are one of the 54 percent of Catholics who voted for a pro-abortion candidate, you were clear on his position and you knew the gravity of the question, I urge you to go to confession before receiving communion. Don't risk losing your state of grace by receiving sacrilegiously," the Rev. Joseph Illo, pastor of St. Joseph's, wrote in a letter dated Nov. 21.

The letter was sent to more than 15,000 members of the St. Joseph's parish. It is one of 34 parishes in the Stockton Diocese, which has more than 200,000 members in Stanislaus, San Joaquin and four other counties.

Illo also delivered this message in a homily.

Obama's support of abortion rights angered many Catholics nationally during the campaign, and Illo's letter, while the first in Central California from a priest to his parishioners on the topic, is not the first nationally.

A Greenville, S.C., priest told parishioners earlier this month that those who voted for Obama risked placing themselves "outside of the full communion of Christ's church" by their vote.

That priest's action was supported by his diocese, the Diocese of Charleston, S.C., which said the priest was simply asserting church teaching.
Talk about an egocentric position to take, that the view of the church is the only one which counts, and if you don't agree you may go to hell.

This is precisely why I am an atheist. Who says, or more importantly, can PROVE that the Catholics are the only ones worshipping the real god? Why couldn't it be a Methodists, Baptists, Buddhists, Hindus, Taoists, or some lone man out in the desert worshipping a large red rock be the true acolyte of god? And if that guy worshipping the red rock IS the only one genuinely worshipping a god, boy are the rest of us in trouble.

And these bigoted people (Catholics) assume they are the only ones who speak for some mythical god and that you'll go to hell for not obeying their proscriptions? Where did this god leave a note or a letter declaring that the Catholic Church has the right to control what you do in your private life? Who appointed them the arbiters of all that is right, able to determine which act will get you condemned to hell or not?

I apologize if I have or do offend anyone who is religious, but I just have serious problems with a world managed by a god that allows pestilence, plagues, mass starvation, the aggrandizement of church leaders over regular church attendees, war, AIDS, mass destruction with ever more efficient weapons causing untold suffering, etc, etc, etc.

And I refuse to buy into that garbage that, "The Lord works in mysterious ways…" when there is no mystery to anything in the previous paragraph dealing with the suffering of man, inflicted by man, carried out in the name of one god or another.

It is no church's business how a parishioner voted and it is the very height of chutzpah to indicate some type of divine retribution may be levied against anyone for not following the proscriptions of the church.

The Catholic Church didn't hesitate to be some of the earliest users of germ warfare when they killed hundreds of thousands of South Americans, entire tribes, by distributing blankets and other items used by smallpox sufferers. They didn't care how many they slaughtered in the name of god during the Inquisitions or any other time they sought the expansion of the Church by force.

But, boy, vote for Obama and you're really in trouble.

What a crock, and no wonder the churches get smaller and smaller each year and the poor suffer while the Pope sits in his fairyland castles wearing robes with gold brocade, sipping from gold and silver chalices, eating from plates of gold, and hoarding billions and billions of dollars of artwork, most of it stolen with the collusion of the Nazis in WWII.

What a fine, refined, and cultured people to tell me or anyone else how to live their lives. And don't even get me started on the religious right evangelists attempting to co-opt our precious country by influencing those in power.

There have been gods to use as an attempt to explain things not understood by man for centuries: Zeus, Apollo, Athena, and a dozen other Greek gods, and Odin, Thor, Loki, and others were worshipped by the Norsemen.

None of them have done anything but supply amusing tales for the little chirrun', including the latest fad god who had the advantage of getting his book published and distributed by the Churches in what I believe is the grandest scam of all time.

By the time Johannes Gutenberg came along, invented the printing press, and wrested knowledge from the exclusive control of the churches and extremely wealthy the Bible was already the most published and widely distributed book in history. It was a done deal and I, for one, consider the Bible to be the most widely published and read piece of fiction in history. A scam.

I wonder if he is rotting in hell?

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