Sunday, January 30, 2011

Thursday, January 27, 2011

David Harvey: The Crisis of Capitalism (RSA)

These are little bits of genius, friends. Concise, yet comprehensive; intelligent AND amusing.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Secret To USer Success: Make OTHERS Bear the Cost

One of the "best" things about being a planetary/hemispheric "super-power" is that you get to dump the pain, price, and pollution of your prosperity on the heads of less-powerful people and states. In pursuit of chep oil for USer consumers, Texaco (later bought by Chevron) has FUCKED UP the Ecuadorian Amazon by dumping, over the course of almost 30 years, more than SIXTEEN BILLION gallons of toxic, polluted waste/water into the back-country river systems. Aravosis' AMERICAblog has the details:
Ecuador and the 'world's worst oil-related disaster'
by Chris in Paris on 1/26/2011 06:29:00 AM

This time, it's not BP, but rather Chevron at the center of an oil disaster controversy. The final arguments against Chevron have been made in Ecuador where plaintiffs are asking for $113 billion in damages. Unlike the Gulf Coast, access to the rain forests of Ecuador made it more challenging to cover the story, but as the court case nears its end, photos related to the alleged disaster are available. (See below.) As we've seen around the world with other oil-related disasters, the human suffering is widespread and the oil industry is reluctant to accept their responsibilities.
This particular case started in 2003, though the legal challenges stretch back to 1992. The plaintiffs argue that Texaco dumped 16 billion gallons of heavily polluted waste water from their oil production operations into waterways in the Amazon between 1964 and 1990. Chevron acquired Texaco in 2001, and claims that its subsidiary "fully remediated its share of environmental impacts" before 1992.
Follow the link, here, for the rest of the piece. There are photographs--one set from Rainforest Action Network (RAN, and another set by a private citizen, which hint at but do NOT capture the devastation.

We have a LOT to answer for; luckily (for us, anyway), there's nobody around to ask the questions...

Friday, January 21, 2011

Three Blind Mice: The "Religions" Of Abraham

"The 'Ordinary' Faithful Are Who Give These Vicious, Tyrannical Thugs Their Power"

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Colbert Braces Mika Brzezinski For "Palin Fatigue"

After watching this, you will inevitably want to recapture that epiphanic catalogue of dispect which Colbert expertly delivered, and guess what? The guys where I copied this vid had a transcript. Vide, omnium:
"I know you think this story has no purpose other than keeping Sarah Palin’s name in the headlines for another news cycle. I know you think she has nothing to offer the national dialog and that her speeches are just coded talking points mixed in with words picked up at random from a Thesaurus.

I know you think Sarah Palin is at best a self-promoting ignoramus and at worst a shameless media troll who will abuse any platform to deliver dog-whistle encouragement to a far right base, that may include possible insurrectionists.

I know you think her reality show was pathetically unstatesmanlike and at the same time I know you believe it represents the pinnacle of her potential. And that her transparent desperation to be a celebrity so completely eclipsed her interest in public service so long ago that there would be more journalistic integrity on reporting on one of the lesser Kardashians’ ass implants.

I know, i know that when you arrive at the office each day you say a silent prayer that maybe, just maybe, Sarah Palin will at long last just shut up for just ten f*cking minutes. I know because I can see it in your eyes.

Well, guess what, Mika that’s the gig. And it’s only January of 2011, kiddo. And you have a minimum of two more years of this ahead of you. You want to stay in this game? You dig deep. You find another gear. You show up to work every day and get your hear and makeup done. You slap on a smile, get out there on TV and repeat what Sarah Palin said on Hannity last night right into the lens.
Mika, gotta Man UP!

Some Brief Notes On "Algebra"

A fellow F-Booker was bemoaning the amount of homework with which she was inundated by her teacher. I remarked, had she heard of Alfie Kohn who has written very fact-filled and fascinating rebuttal to "The Homework Myth." And this led me to further, probably useless, speculation and information:
Algebra is basically a puzzle-solving activity: you have a formula (one of the parts of the puzzle is determining which formula you need) and some values, and you have to figure out which values to plug in what slots in what formula, which is always the form "x = (Something). All the homework in the WORLD will not improve the facility of someone who does not have such a puzzle-solving aptitude to do the desired task.

It occurred to me one day that the only really practical application of algebra in 'everyday' life is in another mathematical activity: calculus. Algebra is the "grammar" of calculus. And calculus is the LANGUAGE of power. That's one reason why it's often taught as if the student were a supplicant before the "mysteries."

Another interestinjg factoid: The first time anyone in the English-speaking world would have encountered the word, it would have had the form "Algebrist," and it would have identified the party being referred to as a "bone-setter."

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Jeffrey Dahmer Vietnamese Cuisine Hour

These moments, from Sarah Palin's Alasks, demonstrate exactly why--in what was one of my BEST lines last year--was able to confidently predict that Palin would possess exactly the same appeal as a Jeffrey Dahmer Vietnamese Cooking show.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Allegedly YouTube Pulled This, Though It's Up Now

This satirical infomercial, which had been on YouTube for months, was pulled by Youtube, who deemed it "inappropriate content," only after it skyrocketed into the top three topics on & began accumulating tens of thousands of views.

Upset by the censorship & implications, several youtube users have re-uploaded or 'mirrored' the video in protest.

Monday, January 10, 2011

On "Civility"

I sorta had these sequential thoughts on a FBook "wall" of a friend in El Paso (DOTOF, Kathy Mc), all in all of which I am just another brick in. The issue was about whether 'civility' was, itself, a value or just a convention. I took the latter track:
Considers "Civility." Thinks that the effete fux are saying when they demand 'civility' is that they have the right NOT to be threatened by YOUR expressions of hostility, no matter how well deserved or earned, or what injury inflicted; while holding tightly to their own privilege to ruin you with a glance, beggar you with a letter: "Yerr never gonna work in THIS town again." "Kiss yer credit g'bye, big guy!"

When the oligarchs and their toadies demand civility of their opponents, what they are doing--and they know it--is depriving those opponents of the only weapon they have to oppose the velvet gloved power of the privilege.

The Owners inflict on us even worse injuries and insults, but because they do it mostly without a word, or symbolically in their captive "press," they 'win.'

If you've ever studied 'the press,' one trope absolutely LEAPS off the pages, for as long as the stories have been reported: In "Labor" news, or in ANY stories about labor action/negotiations, management is ALWAYS said to be "offering," while Labor is ALWAYS shown "DEMANDING!"

That's the whole rhetorical story, the entire dynamic of "civility," in microcosm.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

One of the Joys of Having Literate Friends

They send you things of such charm and complexity! The following was attached by Facebook friend and long-time correspondent Prof. Wombat to a discussion of the animal nature of mankind. I will confess my prior ignorance of it, and my pleasure at its discovery.

Were I (who to my cost already am
One of those strange, prodigious creatures, man)
A spirit free to choose, for my own share,
What case of flesh and blood I pleased to wear,
I'd be a dog, a monkey or a bear,
Or anything but that vain animal
Who is so proud of being rational.

The senses are too gross, and he'll contrive
A sixth, to contradict the other five,
And before certain instinct, will prefer
Reason, which fifty times for one does err;
Reason, an ignis fatuus in the mind,
Which, leaving light of nature, sense, behind,
Pathless and dangerous wandering ways it takes
Through error's fenny bogs and thorny brakes;
Whilst the misguided follower climbs with pain
Mountains of whimseys, heaped in his own brain;
Stumbling from thought to thought, falls headlong down
Into doubt's boundless sea, where, like to drown,
Books bear him up a while, and make him try
To swim with bladders of philosophy;
In hopes still to o'ertake th' escaping light,
The vapor dances in his dazzling sight
Till, spent, it leaves him to eternal night.
Then old age and experience, hand in hand,
Lead him to death, and make him understand,
After a search so painful and so long,
That all his life he has been in the wrong.
Huddled in dirt the reasoning engine lies,
Who was proud, so witty, and so wise.

John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester 'Satire Against Mankind'

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

What Digby Says: A Bad Meme Arising!

Dangerous Meme Alert

by digby

Listening to tea party congressmen on MSNBC right now defending cut-go and this keeps coming up whenever Mitchell asks why they refuse to pay for tax cuts if they are so concerned about the deficit. I discussed it before and it's really catching on now:
"We don't think tax cuts are something that we have to be "pay for" because it's the people's money to begin with, not the government's." Greg Walden (R) Lunatic.
Who does the government belong to, I wonder? And who's supposed to pay for it?

This is a very pernicious meme the Democrats need to refute quickly and decisively because these Republicans are squawking it in unison like a bunch of trained parrots. So far,the only reaction I've seen from them or the gasbags asking is slack-jawed stupefaction. I don't think that's sufficient.

Mitchell points out that Tea Partiers make up a third of the new House majority.
FEARLESS PREDICTION: The Dims will cave.

They'll concede the rhetorical ground. They ALWAYS do. So they'll lose here, as they lose everywhere.

The GOPukes have successfully delegitimized the very possibility of a Dim claim to the authority to govern.

And the Dims LET them, out of an ingrained sense--I believe--that their constituency (poor, marginalized, disadvantaged, minority people) really ARE actually INFERIORS to the GOPuke constituency (wealth & power), and therefore don't REALLY have the authority to DEMAND their needs be met, or to significantly OPPOSE the demands of the Pukes for concessions, breaks and give-aways.

Put it this way: Remember High School? The Pukes are the party of the cool, rich, hip, popular kids. The Dims are the party of the pizza-faced, sloppy, fat, ugly folks.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Lewis Lapham & Barbara Ehrenreich: Trailer for "The American Ruling Class"

Via (I have wondered why, when discussing the vaunted "Clinton Prosperity," nobody seems to mention that it was built upon and from the same shit that eventually brought down the whole economy a mere decade later...)