Don’t drunk-dial Freedom Works! (h/t Dependable Renegade)
This brilliant fellow has his own channel. Here.
Don’t drunk-dial Freedom Works! (h/t Dependable Renegade)
This brilliant fellow has his own channel. Here.
Bernie Sanders is right. Again. He, the unlikely bedfellow of Ron Paul, was just on Dylan Ratigan’s show. Ratigan as usual was getting very worked up over the beating the American taxpayer has been taking from the ‘banksters’ and other corporations enjoying all sorts of corporate welfare.
They were talking about restoring usury laws (Imagine having to do that? Imagine a country that lifted those laws in the first place? How much do you think the credit cards industry spends on lobbying?)
And Bernie said important things: The middle class in this country is collapsing. We are no longer a democracy; we have become an oligarchy. Time to stop pretending that the million dollars or more a day spent lobbying JUST ONE BILL (of many) doesn’t profoundly affect the way we are governed.
Government is working all right – just not for the American nation. He’s right.
While in a correspondence with an acquaintance from long, long ago (about a dear old friend who is on his way to Hospice care), we discovered that we share an interest in campaign finance reform. I talk about it. He did something about it.
A 2004 citizens’ initiative of which Dewey was a part resulted in one of the best State law supporting public financing. Go read what they did. The group has wound down since their success, and the site is out of date but the story is here. A model perhaps.
Dewey said of their success, “Quite a good feeling.” I’ll bet. Good for him and his fellow Connecticut civic minded folks at CFER.
When posting earlier this morning, I didn’t know what the New York Times is reporting today. A tragic milestone was reached yesterday. American military in Afghanistan? We’ve reached a milestone: 1000 dead. Regular updates are here.
If the loop current brings the oil east and south to the Florida Straits, the damage would be tragic. The Everglades drain there and it’s also where our precious and already-threatened coral is. Coral reefs all over the world are threatened, and the ones here have been ‘bleaching out’, i.e., losing their brilliant colors, a sign of poor health.
The graphic above shows the overall projected path. But that doesn’t leave the beaches of southwest Florida off the hook. If that stuff moves east, we are in great danger – perhaps not from the majority of the oil, but some of it. And any oil is very bad thing for estuaries and wetlands.
Add the possibility of churning water and circular currents if there’s a hurricane – very worrisome. Damn them.
UPDATE: I got the graphic here. From the story:
“She is particularly concerned about corals because they are “under siege from multiple sources, including human sewage, metal pollution, and of course they are dealing with issues from global climate change including warming and ocean acidification.” See for instance, “Nature Geoscience study: Oceans are acidifying 10 times faster today than 55 million years ago when a mass extinction of marine species occurred.”
“We could be getting to the point that puts coral over the edge,” in terms of its long-term survival, she warned.”
Politicians seem to have frequent failures following marital rules. There’s an abundance of examples but my favorites are always the preachy types who exemplify “do as I say, not as I do”. Think Haggard.
Today’s ‘fallen one’ is a beaut: a serious proponent of Christian values and abstinence education.
From an update added to the post at Daily Kos by the Great Orange Satan himself! Right on.
Update II by kos: Anyone know which gay marriage destroyed Souder’s traditional straight marriage?
And the almost unbearable deliciousness?
(Update, 7:55AM: Tracy Jackson, the female staffer who interviewed Souder in this video, was his mistress.)
EVEN MORE UPDATE: From the Congressman’s website: “I believe that Congress must fight to uphold the traditional values that undergird the strength of our nation,” Souder says on his official website. “The family plays a fundamental role in our society… I am committed to preserving traditional marriage, the union of one man and one woman.”
Too bad he won’t be there any more to keep up that good fight to hold up the strength of our nation.
Before retiring, I visualized my life-to-come in various ways. All of them included devoting serious time to reading. I would do this in an orderly fashion – perhaps devoting one week to early American History and the next to environmental issues. Perhaps spend some time on the history of Persia/Iran which I find endlessly fascinating. It would be a civil life, a contemplative life. There would be order to it. I dreamed of a discipline I never had.
In the real world, I have twenty magazines at a time open to articles I’ve not yet finished – in the bathroom, on the bedside table, even here by my laptop so I can advance by mere minutes into the article while rebooting. There are five or six books open on the nightstand. Just shoot me.
There is no order, no theme at all. A few weeks ago, just to give myself a rest from chastisement for failure to follow the ‘plan’, I grabbed some mystery novels at the library and read them to the exclusion of all else for days. And it was FUN. Until I realized that my little R&R had not had the slightest impact on my reading habits at all. I went right back to where I was – complete disorder.
Such disconnect from what we want and what we do. I imagine – dear Elvis, I hope! – this is a shared experience.
I also hope things are okay for the guys and gals in Afghanistan, where it is the 222nd day of the ninth year of the War; 143 days until we are in the tenth year.
The pool is blue water! It’s still a bit murky – there are more chemicals to come. This morning, for the first time, I watched raindrops scattered across the water. It was quite beautiful.
A random thought about protesters – yesterday and today:
YESTERDAY: The marchers and screamers and sign makers of the Vietnam era were mostly young. It began as a student protest. For them it was about creating a future.
TODAY: The Tea Party is composed of people middle aged and older. For them, it’s about returning to a mythical past, some even to a 1950’s sitcom that never was. (caveat: the demographic appears to be changing as the movement grows although youth is still a very small segment.)
In both, the fringes make the most noise. Yesterday’s marchers changed the country. Will today’s do the same?
Also, today is the 219th day of the ninth year of the War in Afghanistan. Every day, it feels more like Vietnam.
Rick Eaton is an ardent evnironmentalist – and a neighbor! – running for the Democratic nomination to challenge current and somewhat slimey Congressman Vern Buchanan here in the 13th District of Florida. Vern has money, lots of it. So he’s not likely to be unseated, but it is possible. This traditionally Republican County missed going Democratic in the Presidential election by fewer than 200 votes in 2008.
A Gulf War veteran and recovered corporate marketeer, Rick – via his Facebook page – has become my primary source on the Gulf oil leak. He’s posting frequently and with very informative stuff. If you’re on Facebook, go friend him.
On his Facebook page today, he posted this video from the World Wildlife Fund showing Prince William Sound 20 years after the Exxon Valdez. It’s sobering. WWF has quite a few relevant videos at the link.
Yesterday I was given a new, hardcover copy of Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning.
The new pool is almost ready. There is a lot to learn yet about using all the equipment and maintaining the ‘right pH”. Last night I lay in bed listening to the running hose filling the pool for the first time.
And I worried; worried that the water might overflow while I slept; worried that the hose might twist itself as hoses do and drown the other areas of the lanai. Turning it off was not recommended since the water is untreated and still full of minerals – I was warned that standing water below the tiles could leaving a permanent line all around the inside of the pool. So I only turned it down – to a trickle.
Still I worried, waking every few hours to go have a look. Given the trickle, the change in water level wasn’t even discernable but the tossing and turning went on. I am a worrier.
But the sun came up! And the pool did not overflow! I turned the hose back to gush and just now have turned it OFF. The water level has reached the tiles and the body of the interior is safe from mineral stains.
My water is well water, drawn directly from the Florida Aquifer so water from the hose is untreated. The sulpher content is high; until the sunshine does its job – which it will in four to five hours – the scent of sulpher will prevail. And until the first ‘shock treatment’ is applied, the water will continue to look like well water, a little brown.
None of that has diminished my pleasure at seeing the pool there, imagining more pleasant summer days. And thinking about watching skies and stars from a quiet, safe place in the night.
Even as I think about Afghanistan, where it is the 218th day of the ninth year of the war.
Danny and the Juniors were right.
From Sekanblogger over at Kansas Mediocrity. He is remembering “Drill, Baby, Drill” and its author. Our own Sarah Palin:
“Say something to us, Sarah. Speak. Don’t just utter yet another cryptic tweet about “foreign oil co’s.”
“Your colleague Rush Limbaugh has already suggested a solution: Leave it alone. That was his solution. “The ocean will take care of this on its own if it was left alone out there,” he said. “It’s natural. It’s as natural as the ocean water.”
“You can do better than that, Sarah. Actually, my cocker spaniel could do better than that.”
“This is no different than what happens at the Skull and Bones initiation…I’m talking about people having a good time, these people, you ever heard of emotional release? You ever heard of the need to blow some steam off?” –on the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal
“The phony soldiers.” –on U.S. service members who support withdrawal from Iraq
“He is exaggerating the effects of the disease. He’s moving all around and shaking and it’s purely an act. … This is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn’t take his medication or he’s acting.” –on an ad by Michael J. Fox endorsing Claire McCaskill for Senate for supporting embryonic stem cell research
“This will play right into Obama’s hands. He’s humanitarian, compassionate. They’ll use this to burnish their, shall we say, ‘credibility’ with the black community — in the both light-skinned and dark-skinned black community in this country. It’s made-to-order for them. That’s why he couldn’t wait to get out there, could not wait to get out there.” –on Haiti earthquake relief, Jan. 13, 2010
That last one might be my favorite.
Some silly talking head on FOX (natch) was suggesting yesterday that the Gulf oil leak couldn’t be that bad, because fish weren’t washing up on the beach. There are no fish in that part of the Gulf. Nothing is living there. It’s called the Dead Zone.
Things don’t look particularly promising with efforts to cap the well. Everyone says “plan for the worst and hope for the best”. And here in my neighborhood, we’re planning. And praying (even deists pray – and I’m never sure if I’m a deist, an atheist or better described as simply secular).
In a comment thread at Drudge Retort, Vern Kaine just linked to this video. The scenario is conceivable. Science fiction writers have been describing this future for decades. (I’d love to have embedded the video here to save you the trouble of going to the link, but ACLU doesn’t seem to offer a way to do that. And I thought my people liked to share.)
When I buy products at my drug store, there are coupons from the manufacturer in my mail box a few days later. When I go to Amazon, they know what I like. Et-bloody-cetera.
Imagine that! Let me say it again – a billion dollars a day. That is how much your country is now spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
We’ve been in Iraq for over seven years and as any reader of this blog knows, we’ve been in Afghanistan for nine years. A trillion dollars is just days away. At this writing, the total is at $993 billion. (That’s $158 million for my own county. We are fewer than 300K people.)
Afghanistan is a war the American people wanted. Iraq is a war George Bush wanted. Iraq has cost us almost three times as much as Afghanistan, where we’re still engaged – and where troops numbers and fighting has escalated . Oh, it’s the 218th day of the ninth year there.
Iraq has been a disgrace for America, whatever the near term outcome. The fact of it violated everything we preach, every value we’ve ever fought for.
Even if Iraq ended up being the ‘Paris of the Middle East’, it wouldn’t last. Lebanon was once the “Paris of the Middle East”. Today it’s a ruin. The endless military actions and power struggles in that part of the world won’t go away because yet another country got into the fight.
In spite of what FOX News (owned by an Australian), The Weekly Standard (owned by the same Australian) or The Washington Times (owned by the Korean Blessed Father Sun Myung Moon) said in 2003, Iraq was always brought to you by Bill Kristol, The Project for A New American Century*, and all the neo-cons who hide behind the guns in young soldier’s hands.
* The PNAC was co-founded by William Kristol and Robert Kagan in 1997, with roots in the 1992 Pentagon. PNAC’s original 25 signatories were an eclectic mix of academics and conservative politicians, several of whom have subsequently found positions in the presidential administration of George Walker Bush. PNAC is noteworthy for its focus on Iraq, a preoccupation that began before Bush became president and predates the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. In 1998, the group wrote a letter to President Bill Clinton, Mississippi Senator Trent Lott (then Senate Majority Leader) and Newt Gingrich (then Speaker of the House of Representatives), demanding a harder line against Iraq. By then, the group had grown in numbers, adding individuals such as former Reagan-era U.N. Ambassador Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, and long-time Washington cold warrior/pro-Likud Richard N. Perle.
Oh, and Dick Cheney was a signatory as were Rumsfeld, Scooter Libby, Jeb Bush, Paul Wolfowitz, and Dan Quayle.
Well, it took two visits from the County inspector to get an approval on the door alarms required for the new pool. These work something like a home security system except for one big difference. You can NEVER turn them off. Which means you can NEVER leave a door open for more than 30 seconds, which is the grace period to get in and out and close the door behind you. Try doing that with a salad bowl in one hand and a bread basket in the other – and someone talking to you from inside.
It’s a nonsense system. In Florida, we leave the doors open most of the time. And I’ve no doubt the County knows this as do the legislators. They also must know that once all the inspections are over, the batteries operating the alarm system will come right out. Silly county code. Perhaps someone’s brother in law manufactures alarms.
Since my camera has not found its way home and no ransom demand has been received, my phone is my camera until I replace the lost one. Sending pix to another phone is easy; sending to an email address is not. So there is no picture to share pool progress.
A description then – the cage is in place, the doors work, plumbing and electric are complete. Today the interior walls of the pool are being finished and I’m told that this afternoon the hose is turned on. It should have reached the desired water level by tomorrow afternoon and on Monday someone will be here to instruct me on how to maintain it all.
Next week, the clean up begins. Heavy equipment has destroyed the landscaping such as it was. So it’s clean up, prune what survived and engage in a good deal of new planting. A theatre friend – Bill – is going to work with me; he is much younger, very strong and deeply conservative so we will have a wonderful time arguing and yelling and screaming at each other as we work. It’s an old tradition between us.
Late last night, when it was profoundly quiet I walked barefoot inside the new lanai. The end is far enough from the house to see the sky. And it’s all inside a cage where there are no fire ant and no mosquitoes. This is an unexpected surprise and one I will treasure.
(Don’t try to picture this unless you’re seated or incapacitated, but in future I shall enjoy my nocturnal visits to the dark quiet while stark nekkid. I’m allowed.)
Having this pool has been a dream for 15 years. Dreams do come true.
And too many others. They’re really old. And they know pretty much nothing of the contemporary world, its mores, its culture, its technology, it business practices. And they keep running. Why? And why do their constituents want to send them to the Senate so they can legislate this world of which they know nothing.
Senators – why do you keep running?
And now I loathe him even more. This most conflicted of ‘media critics’ and all around shallow man managed to tweet this today.
James Fallows, a fine reporter and writer if there ever was one, has a fascinating story today “How to Save the News” and it seems Google is a big part of the solution. It’s here. From the article:
Plummeting newspaper circulation, disappearing classified ads, “unbundling” of content—the list of what’s killing journalism is long. But high on that list, many would say, is Google, the biggest unbundler of them all. Now, having helped break the news business, the company wants to fix it—for commercial as well as civic reasons: if news organizations stop producing great journalism, says one Google executive, the search engine will no longer have interesting content to link to. So some of the smartest minds at the company are thinking about this, and working with publishers, and peering ahead to see what the future of journalism looks like. Guess what? It’s bright.
Something I read this morning set me to looking for info on the levels of US debt (modern day). Nothing comes close to the WWII levels. But the problem as I understand it is not today’s debt as much as where it’s projected to go.
There are a number of fixes floating out there*, but most of them involve taxes – it seems however, that while we weren’t looking an amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed saying “thou shalt never discuss taxes unless they are being lowered sayeth someone”.
But look at this. And look at the years – the only years – the debt went up. It’s so friggin’ obvious and yet rarely makes it into the conversation.
UPDATE: Re those ‘small fixes’. Just reading an article by Steven Pearlstein, business writer at The Washington Post, who addresses this very issue today. He proposes a partnership to address both tax increases and spending reductions.
One of his suggestions is also one of my favorite talking points on this subject:
– Raise the eligibility age for Social Security and Medicare by one month for each two-month increase in average life expectancy. At the same time, slowly reduce the cost of living increases on Social Security benefits for wealthy seniors (couples, say, with income over $100,000) while slowly increasing their Medicare premiums. Everyone else’s benefits would remain untouched.
Another of my favorites:
– Reduce the Social Security payroll tax slightly to 12 percent and over time impose it on wages and salary up to $150,000, up from the current cap of about $110,000. Raise the Medicare payroll tax slightly, to 3 percent, and apply it to all income.
Of course, he’s proposing other stuff I don’t like, but the whole thing is worth a read.
Since I stopped my daily Afghanistan post, I’m posting far less. And that is not good (for me!). So I’m going back to the morning routine and this blog again becomes the place to find out how far we are into this war – for all ten of you anyway. So . . . today is the 216th day of the ninth year.
( Further, in spite of the headline* on this post, it is in fact no longer morning here in southwest Florida. But it’s my blog and I do what I want.
Yesterday, I saw all three of the parties to the Gulf oil leak (BP, Transoceanic, Halliburton) blame each other in front of a Congressional Committee. That was fun and the committee found it amusing too.
Last night I sat in on a meeting at my local civic association – a committee is forming to coordinate with the county and the State and to recruit local volunteers so we have a plan and can act the minute oil starts moving toward our beaches. At present, word is that the oil is constituting itself as tar, which is a bit easier to clean up, depending on the amount.
I wonder if those three guys would like to put on their Orvis ‘Wellies’ and designer baseball hats and come down to give us a hand. We’ll supply the gloves and bags.
Wouldn’t the etiquette require the President to issue any invitation? Does the New York Post think Limbaugh is more important? Why, yes they apparently do. Or their syntax could use some work.
We must! Because hypothetical babies can hypothetically drown in real pools unless four ugly door alarms are installed. So sayeth the County in which I reside. I could bypass the required alarms were I to install about $4000 worth of fence; not a particularly difficult choice.
I’m told by the guys working on my pool – which is nearly done – that once the inspector confirms that alarms have been installed, it’s expected and well known that the homeowner will pull the batteries.
There’s an old saying that we always fight the last war. Another about closing the barn door after the horse has gotten out. Let us add that because a two-year old somewhere sometime drowned in a pool, all hypothetical two-year olds shall be protected in the future from a hypothetical drowning.
This is either what conservatives call overreach or perhaps a commissioner had a brother-in-law in the alarm business. Either way, it serves no apparent purpose. Negligence cannot be legislated away. And children don’t need to be protected from responsible adults.
So this is an annoyance which I will forget in the sheer pleasure of having a pool.
And since all things are not perfect, no picture accompanies this stage in pool construction because the camera seems to have wandered off. I will survive
Actually, this Kids in the Hall video was made before Glenn Beck took over the crazy seat. I’m sure he found it instructive.
Barry Goldwater was a conservative, but he was no racist. George Wallace was surprisingly liberal, but as a son of the South, he was deeply racist. Bill Buckley was an elite New Englander and, unlike the culture that raised him, famously racist although he is said to have changed his position in later years.
Nixon was a moderate Republican who happened to also be a racist in spite of being from California. Politically, he used Southern racism to bring the old Dixiecrats into the Republican Party. And when he did that, he began the process that changed the character of that once grand old party.
None of those men would fit comfortably into the party of John Boehner or Sarah Palin. None of them was religious, although Nixon is said to have prayed a lot in the last days before Goldwater walked over from the Senate to tell him it was time to go. All of them would have been stunned to see the political and cultural power that’s been granted the Religious Right.
Steve Frazier recently penned an article in The Huffington Post about our history of “Mad Hatters” in American politics. In it he notes:
Goldwater, the Arizona senator and 1964 Republican candidate for president, an “insurgent”? Yes, if you keep in mind his condemnation of the too-liberal elite running the Republican Party, who, in his eyes, represented a clubby world of Ivy League bankers, corrupt politicians, media lords, and “one-worlders.” Or consider the way he flirted with the freakish John Birch Society (which called President Dwight Eisenhower a “dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist Party” and warned of a Red plot to weaken the minds of Americans by fluoridating the water supply). Or the Senator’s alarming readiness to threaten to push the nuclear button in defense of “freedom,” which could be thought of as the Cold War version of “Don’t Tread on Me.” Above all, Goldwater was the avatar of today’s politics of limited government. In his opposition to civil rights legislation, he might be called the original “tenther” — that is, a serial quoter of the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution, which reserves for the states all powers not expressly granted to the Federal government, with which he justified hamstringing all efforts by Washington to rectify social or economic injustice. For Goldwater the outlawing of Jim Crow was an infringement on states’ rights. [MY NOTE: For Goldwater, state’s rights was a core belief; his position didn’t come out of racism.]
Wallace, Alabama governor and 1964 presidential candidate: Bellicose calls for law and order, states’ rights, and a muscular patriotism fueled the revanchist emotions that made Wallace into more than a regional figure. When he ran in the Democratic primaries in 1964 (with the support of the John Birch Society and the White Citizens Council), he won significant numbers of votes not only in the Deep South, but in states like Indiana, Wisconsin, and Maryland, a sign of the Southernization of American politics at a time when the spread of NASCAR, country music, and the blues were Southernizing its culture as well.
Both gentlemen fraternized with and sometimes embraced the fringe, and because of this were considered to be just too radical. But today we have an entire element of the population celebrating ignorance and racism, and that element has found a home in the Republican party.
(That wonderful image came via a blog called The Book Value. I don’t know where he got it.)
From Joe Pett of the Lexington Herald-Leader. Saw it on C-SPAN this morning. It reminds me that today is the 212th day of the ninth year of the War in Afghanistan.
A delicious moment from yesterday:
I was in the car and had tuned into my weekly ten minutes of Mr. Bouncy Bouncy. Wanted to see if he’d found anything else to talk about except the Democratic President of the United States and his nefarious plans to destroy the country. He hadn’t.
Because of my timing, I had the distinct thrill of hearing Mr. L respond to yesterday’s weird and sudden 900 point drop in the stock market. Poor Rush was teetering on the very edge; he could hardly keep up with his own voice. Nevertheless, he managed – through the spittle – to tell his millions of minions “remember folks, this is Obama’s economy! This is Obama’s economic policy!”
The delicious part was finding out an hour later that the market had come most of the way back just as quickly and that a human error in data entry had probably caused it.
Today I couldn’t resist. I tuned in for 60 seconds. Honest. No more than that. That one minute was a great minute. Rush had moved on. He was saying “Greece is what happens when people like Barack Obama run a country”.
Why is Betty White suddenly just the coolest hippest person still alive?
From Eric Alterman in his latest column at The Nation:
” . . . at least twenty Fox News personalities have endorsed, raised money for or campaigned for Republican candidates or causes, or against Democratic candidates or causes, in more than 300 instances and in at least 49 states”—and they have been routinely advertised as Fox News personalities while doing so”
Alterman and Bob Somersby at The Daily Howler – and, once upon a time a blog called Media Whores Online which went ‘out to pasture’ a few years ago – instructed me over the last decade on the nuances of observing our mainstream media at work. And it’s not pretty – because they neither understand their jobs nor do a credible job. Facts are scrambled and rarely corrected. Anchors are ignorant of the subjects on which they interview their guests. And always – always – they are more interested in themselves, in each other and in their narrow little media/beltway world than in informing their viewers.
In today’s column, we learn of a recent beltway party “in which “a couple hundred influentials gathered for a Mardi Gras-themed birthday party for Betsy Fischer, the executive producer of ‘Meet the Press.’ Held at the Washington home of the lobbyist Jack Quinn, the party was a classic Suck-Up City affair in which everyone seemed to be congratulating one another on some recent story, book deal, show or haircut.”
No wonder they haven’t the time to do any real reporting.
But, Alterman points out that it’s Fox News – with its public advocacy – that operates on an altogether different ‘journalistic’ planet. I’m reminded of a recent post here in which Rupert Murdoch, when asked to name a moderate or liberal on his network, thought a while and said “Greta! Greta VanSustren”. Whose husband works for Sarah Palin.