Recent News from People I follow...

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Cause I'm Proud to be Tall, where at least I know ...

If it weren't the norm, a headline like this would stand some chance of getting in the MSM, but frankly, they don't care, and if you believe in market ideology, the reason they don't care is because we don't care. The essence is that a CEO was sentenced to 40 months for stealing $3B in a mortgage fraud case in Oakton Va and a poor black man robbed $100 from a bank (the teller tried to give him more but he said he just needed $100 for food), feeling guilty he turned himself in the next day… and was subsequently sentenced to 15 years in prison.

It's stuff like this that has me thinking as we approach the 4th of July weekend and the ensuing flag waving... isn't blind adoration of your country just like being in love with yourself because your tall? or have blond hair? it's the place where your parents were born... you had nothing to do with it, if you work to correct injustices like this, then you can stake your claim, as long as they go on, you need to be pissed off and raising hell.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Gay Marriage

Congratulations to NY for passing the gay marriage bill... What I can't understand is why the Conservative Christian's would oppose - as I understand their argument, they are opposed to same-sex partners engaging in sexual activity. I can guarantee them that nothing will cut down on the amount of sex like marriage, thus by allowing homosexual's to marry, they will by definition be having less sex. It's frankly a big win for the conservatives. I believe it was the great Kinky Friedman who said, "They have every right to be as miserable as the rest of us..."

Friday, June 24, 2011

Something for the little people...

The Supreme Court has now said that those who can afford non generic drugs have the ability to sue should those drugs poison, harm, or kill, them or a loved one. Poor folks, who take the generic versions, will be given no such right. Tough luck, hope it didn't hurt too bad.

Earlier in the week, the Supreme Court ruled that WalMart would not have to answer claims of discrimination from 1.5M women, the women, apparently, did not have enough in common. Instead, if these women, who by working for WalMart are by definition poor, want to sue they have to take on the world's largest corporation individually. Nothing like a good fair fight in the eye's of Scalia and Thomas.

Big win's for Big Pharma and WalMart...

What if those 1.5M women, and everybody who uses generic drugs. marched on Washington? What if they demanded that the money changers, and the suits, give them the justice they have been denied? Doesn't matter, because it's not going to happen. We're a beaten, obedient people. We will slink away and be happy that 32" t.v.'s are on sale at Walmart for $297. We will be happy those of means give us what they "can", we'll be happy that the Republican's aren't going to raise taxes to build new roads, or pay for pell grants, or for workforce retraining. We'll be happy we live in the United States, because from what we hear on t.v., and in the schools, and at church... the United States is the best place to live, and by the grace of god, we are blessed to have been born here. So, poor folks, keep you yap shut and count your blessings that these big companies and the the supreme court are looking out for you.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Newsperson versus "Entertainer"

Rush Limbaugh has called himself an entertainer, but when Michael Steele called him one (HERE) Rush took offense. Jon Stewart appeared on Faux News on Sunday morning and said he was an entertainer first (actually he said Comedian) to which host Chris Wallace took exception.

But Stewart's point, I believe, is an important one... Fox News says they are in the News business, Stewart made the point that in the Fox News world you are either "with us, or against us" and they see Stewart as against them. Here's the quandary for Fox News - Are you suggesting Stewart is just like you, except on the opposite side of the isle? He's a comedian first, who makes fun of Democrats and Republican's, and he's a liberal. Faux News is conservative, but they claim to be "Fair and Balanced"... they don't adhere to the mission of news organizations - they don't present both sides fairly, they don't make the important interesting, nor do they don't comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable - they report news with a conservative bias, Stewart reports news with a liberal bias and looks for laughs -

Here's the Stewart/Wallace interview -

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Rachel is absolutely correct...

"Democrats have not only refused to hold Republicans accountable for the double standard, but they have joined with Republicans in piling on with the demands that Anthony Weiner had to resign even as David Vitter stays in the Senate," Maddow said.

"Anthony Weiner, who was not accused of corruption, who does not appear to have done anything illegal, who does not even appear to have had sex with any of the women with any of the people with whom he had scandalous talk and picture-taking, for him a line was drawn,"... "Congratulations, Democrats," she said. "In an era of unhinged, ideological, big money conservative media that is wholly and admittedly divorced from the precepts of journalism, in hounding Anthony Weiner into resigning ... you have just fed and unleashed this beast onto yourselves, probably for a generation."


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

"...Tranquilize themselves with the trivial..."

This blog is named after one of my favorite quotes in Becker's book, The Denial of Death, in which he says, "...the essence of normality is the refusal of reality." Another quote from the book is "...(people) tranquilize themselves with the trivial..."

Lebron James of the Miami Heat was channeling Becker this week when, after his team lost the NBA Championship Finals, he said:

“All the people that were rooting on me to fail, at the end of the day, they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had before they woke up today. They have the same personal problems they had today. I’m going to continue to live the way I want to live and continue to do the things that I want to do with me and my family and be happy with that. They can get a few days or a few months or whatever the case may be on being happy about not only myself, but the Miami Heat not accomplishing their goal. But they have to get back to the real world at some point.”

As this interesting piece in The Nation, by David Zirin points out... Lebron got way off scrip with that quote.

Zirin says, "We live in a crumbling nation with epic unemployment, 2 million people behind bars and vast wealth inequality, while being told that we inhabit the best country on earth and to think otherwise is heresy. In such a world, sports become more than an escape: it’s a refuge. It’s much easier—and emotionally manageable—to hate Lebron James than face our collective future."

It's much easier to scream at Lebron when he left Ohio* and for coming across as arrogant now, than it is to yell at City Council, much less protest those on Wall Street, and the others who actually have the power to make a difference in people's lives, yet who benefit from unemployment, wealth inequality, and cause all the real problems that actually have impact on the lives of average folks.

If you haven't read Becker... you must... click below to order - it can be a bit like pulling the curtains open and seeing the wizard in his boxer shorts -

* (the idea that we would scream at someone who had no say in where he was drafted, was not given any more $ in Cleveland than anywhere else who would have drafted him, and then exercised his right to live and work where he wants is beyond my understanding.  But goes to the point, easier to yell at the millionaire celebrities on TV, than the Billionaire's and power brokers who decide everything else)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

"...federal spending is up over 80 percent in two years"

While it's easy to pull the strings of the populace, you've got to wonder if it's even easier to pull the strings of the Congress. They get their talking points from conservative think-tanks, they repeat those talking points, they never check them for accuracy, but when called on the falsehood, blame the "liberal-media"... Just waiting on Southside VA's Congressman Hurt to do the same after the Richmond-Times Dispatch accurately reported that the Congressman is just factually wrong by saying that "...federal spending is up over 80 percent in two years"...

Story HERE As the great Paul Krugman pointed out, this talking point, which came from Ryan's budget plan, ""...is a complete fraud; it’s based on counting the same spending several times over," Krugman wrote."

I've written about the chart that should actually be used to explain the deficit HERE

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Too much credit...

Just when I give David Brooks some kudo's for his insight, he writes something completely idiotic... but, the beautiful thing is that the posters in the comments section absolutely destroy him. They set the record straight, answer all of his silly charges, and call him out for his party line piece.

Read the column by clicking here - Where Wisdom Lives -

And the peanut gallery by clicking - here

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Brooks: It's Not About You

David Brooks is a fascinating columnist and author. What interest me most, is that often he will offer some insightful look at a given issue, but then, he completely misses the mark when it comes to analyzing reason's and/or solutions. For example, in his May 30th column while talking about the world faced by current college graduates, he offers this great description of the problem -

"No one would design a system of extreme supervision to prepare people for a decade of extreme openness. But this is exactly what has emerged in modern America. College students are raised in an environment that demands one set of navigational skills, and they are then cast out into a different environment requiring a different set of skills, which they have to figure out on their own."

But, what does Brooks offer as the cause of this problem?

"Baby Boomer theology"... which encourages young people to find what they're passionate about... which Brook's argues, causes to much naval gazing.

What if we had an education system that encouraged students to find that intersection between their passions and skills? What if we had national columnist, like Brooks, that chastised our failing educational system that prides itself on nothing but conformity and test scores? What if Brooks had published this in the NYTimes, instead of Frank Donoghue, in the Chronicle of Higher Education?

"Nussbaum constantly extols critical thinking and independence as the virtues essential to a vibrant and compassionate democracy. But our current K-12 education system endorses exactly the opposite habits of mind. In the appendix to their classic book Schooling in Capitalist America, Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis present an extraordinary table correlating the grade point averages of high-school students with their various personality traits. Aside from “aggressiveness,” the two personality traits guaranteed to lower a student’s GPA are, you guessed it: creativity and independence. What are the traits that raise GPAs? The top 5 are “perseverant,” “dependable,” “consistent,” “identifies with school,” and “empathizes orders (that is, anticipates teachers’ instructions without needing to have them repeated).”

Thus, our nation’s schools are cultivating habits of mind that will turn students into docile, unimaginative young adults who are company men long before they ever become workers."

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Chairman... continued

Excellent 'Thing Again' column by Eric Alterman regarding recent exposes (including the Rolling Stone piece I referenced below) on "The Chairman" - Roger Ailes -

"Fox: Crazy Like... Ailes"

“Fox is something new—something for which we do not yet have a word. It provides almost no actual journalism. Instead it gives ideological guidance to the Republican Party and millions of its supporters, attacking its opponents and keeping its supporters in line. And it does so at a hefty profit, thereby turning itself into the political equivalent of a perpetual motion machine.”

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Good thing those Socialist aren't in charge...

The Socialist are the biggest boogie men/women in politics today... wonder what the deficit would be under those "evil" socialist... Bernie Sanders gives us a good idea:

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Chairman

Remarkable look at the man who has changed politics in this country - Fox News Chairman, Roger Ailes -

How Roger Ailes Built the Fox News Fear Factory
The onetime Nixon operative has created the most profitable propaganda machine in history. Inside America's Unfair and Imbalanced Network

click here
“To watch even a day of Fox News – the anger, the bombast, the virulent paranoid streak, the unending appeals to white resentment, the reporting that’s held to the same standard of evidence as a late-­October attack ad – is to see a refraction of its founder, one of the most skilled and fearsome operatives in the history of the Republican Party. As a political consultant, Ailes repackaged Richard Nixon for television in 1968, papered over Ronald Reagan’s budding Alzheimer’s in 1984, shamelessly stoked racial fears to elect George H.W. Bush in 1988, and waged a secret campaign on behalf of Big Tobacco to derail health care reform in 1993. "He was the premier guy in the business," says former Reagan campaign manager Ed Rollins. "He was our Michelangelo."