Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Relation Between Climate Change & Bad Weather

Has anybody reminded you lately, just HOW fucked we are? Here's a brief reminder, encased in a very funny, very smart Sam Seder epistemological meteorology report.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Saturday, December 18, 2010

"Look! The Sun Is Coming BACK! Hooray!"

It's a celebration of some of the very first, truly scientific thought: the careful observation of the seasons!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

"The map is not the territory." Ct. Alfred Korsybski, founder of "General Semantics."

I just LOVE maps. I think I must have a cartographer's soul, given any soul at all. Here are a couple/few that have recently7 come to my attention:

1: This is a map representing the size of the area which some, perhaps many, subscribers to a theory of "Eretz Israel" claim as the 'biblical/Torahnic' territory of an historical "Israel."

2: This is a map of the relative sizes of the two claimant nations to the North American Continent in 1824. Mexico had become a State only in 1821, and laid claim to vast stretches of the western half of the Continent.

3: This is a map of the 'political States' of newly fragmented, 'devolved' North America, where the United States has fragmented into it's cultural pieces.
4: When, due to temporal dislocation, none of the maps are of any use, follow the signs:

Monday, December 13, 2010

Ex-CIA Officer Says Wikileaks Is Doing The Press' Job

Bob Alberti in comments thread on FB, where this vid prompted a brief discussion, wrote:
I really hoped McGovern was going to say "You're not a journalist, you're a spokesperson. You're a talking head. You'll say whatever rolls up on that teleprompter without questioning its veracity. That's your job and you do it well, but just because you're on the TV doesn't mean you're a journalist."


Ex-CIA Officer Says Wikileaks Is Doing The Press' Job

Bob Alberti in comments wrote:
I really hoped McGovern was going to say "You're not a journalist, you're a spokesperson. You're a talking head. You'll say whatever rolls up on that teleprompter without questioning its veracity. That's your job and you do it well, but just because you're on the TV doesn't mean you're a journalist."


Saturday, December 11, 2010

LBJ, Imagined: Some Lessons For The Current Incumbent

President Obama (aka, "Shamwow," and "ThePrez") has been having difficulties getting the Congress to take seriouly his agenda, and to act upon it "with all deliberate speed."

My more reasonable, more reflective, more moderate doppelganger, Prof Wombat, inscribed this report "overheard" from the ether:
Were Lyndon Johnson, say, pushing DADT repeal (or "the public option," for that matter), he'd have invited every Senator over to the WhiteHouse for lunch. The following colloquy might have ensued:
"Y'know, son, WE have the majority.

"You represent the good citizens of the State of (...), who'd like their bridges to remain safe to drive on, their farmers to be subsidised, their water to keep flowing, their airports and airlines still in service, their state's businesses the beneficiary of military contracts, and like that, I am sure you'd agree?

"I am equally certain they'd also like to be sure that, next time they vote for a Senator, they aren't voting for someone who fucks pigs and eats small, cute puppies.

"Senator, I'm the president of all the people, and I naturally care about your constituents too, and appreciate your desire to do well by them. I really do, and I'd like to help and your constituents, too continue to enjoy the benefits of Federal beneficence.

"So, now, let us come and reason together...And don't fucking forget who I am, you fucking asshole.
I'd guess they'd have eked it out...
I think what the folks who complained that BHO wasn't "experienced" enough for the job had something like this in mind, cuz on his BEST day, you cannot imagine the grinning, meliorating, negotiating, give-away artist having the STONES to lay down the law.

Monday, December 6, 2010

What's Your Credit Score, Little Girl?

Santa Fe's arch-satirist, Jim Terr, with over 300 vids on his hymie-hymie site, has one for just about ANY occasion.

Friday, December 3, 2010

I'm Gonna Miss This Guy: Alan Grayson on Bush Tax Cuts For The Rich

He is/was erudite, polished, funny, intellectual,combative, and now, sadly,

GONE...A casualty of the CU-decision juggernaut.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Is Shamwow Playing 11-D Chess Again?

A lot of folks have attributed near mystical powers to ThePrez' abilities to succeed. He has a lot of what's left of his prestige riding on using the Catfood (on Defecit Reduction) commission to placate the GOPukes and do the final bidding of the Masters: destroy the remainder of the New Deal.

Here's how it's set up for the Catfood Commission's recommendations, the 11-D Obamanauts believe: The ol' good cop/bad cop play. Simpson is the bad cop. He's making such outrageous noise that when Pres. Shazama comes back with cuts that aren't so extreme, looks reasonable, and while taking it up the ass, still, the people are grateful for the lube.

But the way the Commission is set up, Woody doesn't agree with that assessment.
AFAIK, the Catfood Commission will send up to Capital (stet) Hill on Wednesday a list of recommendations to which a minimum of 14 of the Commissioners will have agreed to (keeping in mind that there were only 4 commissioners named who were "pro" SS/Med, which number never COULD have blocked the final report).
The agreement by which the Commission was engaged stated that BOTH Houses of Congress must then pass the package, unamended, in an up/down vote. The result, if yea, goes to the pres to sign or veto.

So the good cop/bad cop scenario is both spurious and superfluous.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Follow the Spread of Poverty Through Food Stamps

A new time-lapse video illustrates the depressing rise of food stamp usage throughout the U.S.

The video's creator, Zero Hedge's John Lohman, points to the alarming levels -- food stamps now feed a record 43 million -- and warns that the program is the only thing keeping Americans from going "postal." Sinatra's upbeat tune "I've Got The World By A String" serves as an especially disturbing soundtrack.

According to a recent Wall Street Journal report, food stamp usage has increased almost 60 percent since 2007.

Click here to see states where usage increased the most.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

"Self-Defecating" Joins The Noteworthy Neo-Con Neologisms

Along with 'misunderestimate,' and 'refudiate," there is now "self-defecating."

Lord, I am not worthy that you should entertain me so:

Friday, November 12, 2010

Some Interesting Facts

It takes 7 seconds for food to pass from the mouth to the stomach.

A human hair can hold 7 pounds.

The length of the penis is three times the length of the thumb.

The femur is as hard as concrete.

Women blink twice as much as men. (Pictured: Blink 182)

A woman's heart beats faster than a mans.

We use 300 muscles just to keep our balance when we stand.

A woman has read this entire message.
A man is still looking at his thumb."

Friday, November 5, 2010

Would You REALLY Want Forrest Gump In Congress or the WhiteHouse?

Not me.

I couldn't imagine even being intimate with anyone whose favorite movie was "Forrest Gump."


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Religion Poisons Everything: Hitchens on Why He's ANTI-Theistic

Q: Why don't you just stay home?
A: Because aggressively theocratic stupidity threatens the whole fucking world, you moron! Yeah, you, baldy...Go grit your teeth at someone who cares.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

FLASH: Christine O'Donnell Is Dumb As A Shit-Soaked Rag

But while you've been directed by the SCUM to wonder in amazement at the spectacle of the trivialization of YOUR franchise, guess what HASN'T been being covered?

CorpoRat Fraud? No, really, there's been barely a PEEP. But fortunately Froomkin's still on the job:
Nine Stories The Press Is Underreporting -- Fraud, Fraud And More Fraud

If it wasn't already blindingly obvious that pervasive fraud was at the heart of the financial crisis and the ensuing foreclosure catastrophe, you would think that the latest news -- that banks have routinely been lying their heads off in the rush to kick homeowners off the properties they fraudulently induced them to buy in the first place -- would pretty much clinch it.

And yet the mainstream media still by and large hasn't connected the dots.

What we are seeing all around us are the continued effects of a vast criminal enterprise that has never been brought to account, employing a process that, as University of Texas economist James Galbraith explains, involved the equivalent of counterfeiting, laundering and fencing.

So the person with the right expertise to lead us here is a criminologist -- in particular William K. Black, one of the few effective regulators in recent history (during the savings and loan crisis of the late 1980s), a notorious knocker of heads and currently professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and author of the book, "The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One".

I first interviewed Black in April, and recently checked back in and asked him about this ongoing problem of the mainstream media's inability to properly cover this story. He responded with this breathless and breathtaking list of failings (slightly edited for publication):

The things I think are critical and badly underreported are:
1. The astonishing amount of mortgage fraud (literally, millions of cases annually) and how it hyperinflated the bubble and led to the Great Recession.

2. The fact that these mortgage frauds were overwhelmingly due to consciously fraudulent lending practices in which the CEOs of seemingly legitimate entities used accounting tricks as their “weapon of choice" to report higher profits and get bigger bonuses. (George A. Akerlof and Paul R. Romer got it right in the title to their 1993 article: Looting: The Economic Underworld of Bankruptcy for Profit.)

3. The disgraceful lack of prosecutions which has resulted from regulators virtually ending the practice of making criminal referrals and the pathetic March 2007 "partnership" that the FBI entered into with the Mortgage Bankers Association (the trade association of the "perps") that led the FBI and the Department of Justice to (implicitly) define out of existence fraud by the lenders (and to conceive of them as the "victim" -- which they are, but only of their controlling officers). Bush administration attorney general Michael Mukasey in June 2008 notoriously refused to create a national task force against mortgage fraud based on his claim that mortgage fraud was analogous to "white collar street crime."

4. The "echo" epidemics of fraud set off by the primary epidemic of accounting “control fraud". The fraud designed by CEOs in turn kicked off an epidemic of fraud among loan brokers and appraisers. Reporters should explore the concept of the Gresham's-style dynamic in which bad ethics were a competitive advantage and drove good ethics out of the marketplace.

5. The massive foreclosure fraud we are seeing now as another "echo" epidemic. To optimize their accounting control fraud, lenders gutted underwriting. That led to "fraud in the inducement" (vis a vis borrowers), endemic documentation problems, and an extraordinary numbers of defaults. The process required tens of thousands of real estate financing personnel to commit fraud on a daily basis as their core function. Some of these people are unemployed, but many are in the industry and are presently engaged in loan servicing. Now that their job is to foreclose on properties, there is no reason to expect that they would suddenly become honest, and they haven't.

6. The ongoing massive cover up of losses on bad assets, particularly by the “too big to fail” institutions, which I call “systemically dangerous institutions” (SDIs). Those institutions, along with Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke and Congress (at the behest of the Chamber of Commerce and with no opposition from the Obama administration) in April 2009 forced the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) to change the rules so that the banks do not have to recognize their losses unless and until they sell the bad assets. The implications of this cover up are large (and rarely reported). At the very least, it means that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's propaganda campaign about TARP saving the world at virtually no cost (perhaps even a "profit") is nonsense -- despite its success in influencing the Washington Post and Los Angeles Times. Consider:

A) The repayment of TARP funds does not mean the banks are healthy. Their asset values are often grossly inflated, which means their net worth is grossly inflated. That means that the claims that we have increased net worth requirements (and that Basel III will further increase net worth requirements) are false. Net worth requirements have meaning only if the accounting is honest

B) The repayment of TARP funds does mean that the banks are freed from any meaningful restraint on senior officer compensation. Note that absent the accounting lies the banks would often be reporting losses (and failure to meet required capital requirements, or outright insolvency) and could not pay their senior officers bonuses and would be subject to mandatory closure under the Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) law.

C) No commercial entity would have ever signed the TARP deals on the terms that the U.S. drafted for itself. The U.S. provided not only fresh money but an unlimited de facto guarantee (along with permitting phony accounting). If the U.S. had negotiated competently it would have owned virtually all the shares of every TARP recipient (which, of course, was a political impossibility).

D) The accounting lies are stalling the recovery. Markets cannot clear promptly when one creates an incentive to hold massively overvalued assets for years.

E) The losses are still there, but the taxpayers are on the hook via Fannie and Freddie and the Fed (which has taken over a trillion dollars in toxic collateral at grossly inflated values).

7. The continued absence of effective regulation. It should be scandalous that President Obama left in charge, or even promoted, the anti-regulators who permitted the Great Recession. The (failed) anti-regulator of Fannie and Freddie, for example, remains FHFA's acting director. This is significantly insane as a matter of both economics and politics. (The administration doesn't even seem to realize the issue of integrity.)

8. The crises of state and local government and the lack of a rational basis for Republican and Blue Dog opposition to the proposed revenue sharing component of the stimulus bill. The compounding insanity of the administration failing to fight for its concept and failing to make explicit how badly its removal would harm the recovery, employment, and vital government services.

9. The insanity of accepting mass, long-term unemployment rather than having the government provide productive jobs for everyone willing to work (as the employer of last resort).

I have nothing to add.
Nor do I.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Mirror On The Wall, What Is A "Curmudgeon," Really?

What is a Curmudgeon anyway? It is a question of some interest to me, because it is a label which has attached itself to me upon occasion. The answer provided by writer Jon Winokur, who just about owns the franchise rights on curmudgeonry (much more in keeping with the word than "curmudgeonliness," nest paw?) is not what you might expect.
A curmudgeon's reputation for malevolence is undeserved. They're neither warped nor evil at heart. They don't hate mankind, just mankind's absurdities.

They're just as sensitive and soft-hearted as the next guy, but they hide their vulnerability beneath a crust of misanthropy. They ease the pain by turning hurt into humor.

They attack maudlinism because it devalues genuine sentiment.

Nature, having failed to equip them with a servicable denial mechanism, has endowed them with astute perception and sly wit.

Curmudgeons are mockers and debunkers whose bitterness is a symptom rather than a disease. They can't compromise their standards and can't manage the suspension of disbelief necessary for feigned cheerfulness. Their awareness is a curse.

Perhaps curmudgeons have gotten a bad rap in the same way that the messenger is blamed for the message: They have the temerity to comment on the human condition without apology. They not only refuse to applaud mediocrity, they howl it down with morose glee. Their versions of the truth unsettle us, and we hold it against them, even though they soften it with humor.
Or other literary, dramatic and/or rhetorical tropes. On "humor," Winokur opines:
Funny people have a heightened sense of the absurd. They take life seriously, but not literally. They’re sometimes described as “twisted,” but it’s just the opposite: they’re the sane ones in an insane world. Funny people are also aware of the music of humor. They instinctively know that the stress and number of beats has to be just right and that a superfluous syllable can kill a laugh, whether written or spoken. That’s why copy editors are hazardous to humor manuscripts. They care about being grammatically correct, not funny.
Read more.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

FBFriend/Inspiration/Hero Michael Parenti, a Very Strident Person, Goes On About "Conspiracy Theories"

OF COURSE there are conspiracies! Big ones. Global ones. Fatal ones, even.

What on earth would lead anyone to believe that the wealthiest, post powerful, most influential people in the whole fucking world would NOT get together every once in a while to decide how best to preserve their interests, their riches, and their grip on power? Were I in their situation, I certainly would do.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Dawkins: "I am offended..."

And rightly, and correctly, so...(And what an accent! I'd kill for that accent, litereally!)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

I Bear St. Barry No Personal Animus.

In fact, I "like" him too.

He's smart, clever, funny, erudite, and witty, knowledgeable, accomplished, sophisticated: we're a lot alike.

I'm SURE I'd like to smoke a bowl with him (he could get the REAL GOOD weed, easily; the Secret Service guys know where to find "the KIND"), drink a beer--especially I'd like to play poker with him, the way he negotiates.

But he's no less the tool of the oiligarchs, of the Owners, than was the regime he replaced...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Jim Terr -- "Let's Take Our Gummint Back!"

Santa Fe's resident media-manipulator and sarcast presents his latest> You can be one of the first!

Monday, September 6, 2010

He DOES Give Good Speech

but tell me:
1) Will he veto a bill which restores or extends the expiring Bushevik tax cuts for the wealthy?

2) Will he sign Catfood Commission recommendations if they cut/reduce Social Security/Medicare and/or raise the retirement age?

Simple "Yes" or "No" answers will suffice...

And I still want my fucking Constitution back, you jug-eared charlatan...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Theater of the Absurd

K A B U K I : The figures in the foreground remain motionless. When action is reqquired, the sets and props and the characters are moved about the stage by black-clad eminences of great power and grace. Many of the dramas have very martial, bellicose themes, but the fighting characters stand in one place on platforms, and are moved around by "unseen" forces.

You're not supposed not to notice that you're not supposed to notice them.

Obama and the corpoRats are conducting a ritual performance of many similar attributes. His criticisms are poetically acute and pointed. The seem to reflect the vernacular of the 'left' which is (justifiably, if probably futilely) hyper-critical of the CorpoRat dominance of the machineries of the State. He wields a rhetorical flaming sword.

Meanwhile, his corpoRat 'refutiators' are obvious and bombastic. Caricatures, almost: slick/oily, like the corpoRat litigators they all are. They assail him as "hostile," and "unfriendly to business," and other affronts and disgraces.

It's a show, a political rhetorical exercise about as meaningful in a real sense as kabuki, or a passion play: a ritualized, instructive, didactic drama. Because the obvious, but elided truth of the whole drama is that the the deed is done. The deal is done gone DOWN! St. Barry didn't issue any threats, didn't throw down the glove in his "criticism"; he gave us a summary,--mayhap a running commentary--describing only what was already the case...


From any kind of an a-partisan, interstellar anthropologist stand-point, his signal accomplishments so far--HCR and FRR--upon closer examination appear mainly to have been aimed at reifying and strengthening the status quo, while sweetening the deal with some cosmetic/symbolic attachments. Both initiatives bear exactly the same spoor.

The C'Rats don't have ANYTHING to fear from St. Barry. Think about it: The market (which is for chumps anyway) is volatile, but corpoRat profits (where the REAL money is) are WAAAAAY up. They're coining money off reduced labor costs occasioned by the recession they caused, and by not hiring; personnel is the biggest chunk of ALL corpoRat expenses.

St. Barry knows, as does anyone with more intelligence than a bivalve, that it's too late for anything but rhetorical brickbats; so he's tossing red meat to the faithful, showing he RILLY RILLY IS one of US!!! The C'Rats gotta respond the way they do to make St. Barry look brave.

Why? Cuz it sustains the national fantasy, without which they'd have to resort more to overt means... which are soooo messy.

Weekly Address: No Corporate Takeover of Our Democracy from The White House on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Activist Judges: Be VERY Afraid!

See what those darn activist judges are up to lately. Messing up the will of the people, that's what! Learn about what happens when a few judges go against the majority vote in the United States. A Mark Fiore political animation.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


A short animated movie, in which a worker in a factory learns a lesson about life. When is enough?
Written and directed by Mark Osborne in 1998. Was nominated for an Oscar. Part of the "Best of Resfest: Resfest Shorts vol. 2" DVD, and featured in "Film-Fest DVD: Issue 2 - Cannes".

Monday, August 16, 2010



Christian Groups: Biblical Armageddon Must Be Taught Alongside Global Warming
The logic of it is invincible, even if it is one of the Onion's best ever "Poe" productions:
By their logic, trying to find ways to ameliorate global, climatic catastrophe is to resist --in effect, to deny--the will of their "god." It is, in fact, blasphemy.
Blasphemy, heresy, sacrilege, apostasy, the 'spiritual sins,' are all 'thought-crimes.'
FYEIEIO: A Poe is one of those InterTube truisms which states that, without some obvious tell (a "smiley"/emoticon, e.g.), it is often impossible to tell a true, fucktard/wackloon Xianism from a good parody of a fucktard/wackloon Xianism.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

One of the Secrets of Life: "The Nothing Box

This is very funny. And pretty accurate, too.
The guy's name is Mark Mungor, afaik...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

This Valedictorian Understood Her Journey!

Her name is Erica Goldson, and she is/was Valedictorian of Coxsackie-Athens High School last month. She decided that her graduation speech would have an interesting twist: she took the opportunity to criticize the very concept of a valedictorian and to tear apart her whole educational experience. I couldn’t agree more with her thoughts which can be seen in the video above or read in full here.

Everything that she detected as being "wrong" with her 'education' will be repeated, expanded, and exaggerated under the regime of Shamwow's feculent, fascistic (test nazi), privatizer, charter school exploiter, militarist, one-size-fits-all (dark people) Education Secretary Arne Duncan abd Shamwow's so-called "Race to the top," an even more cynical ploy for National Standards than even el Chimperor's NCLB.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Illegal Wars, Devastating Recession, Rampant Unemployment, $4 Gas?

C'mon, you tihadist motherfuckers! Now you get angry?

Why now?
  • You didnt get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President.
  • You didn't get mad when Busheviks allowed Energy company officials to dictate energy policy.
  • You didn't get mad when a covert CIA operative got outed and her whole network was exterminated.
  • You didn't get mad when the Patriot Act got passed..
  • You didn't get mad when the Busheviks illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us.
  • You didn't get mad when we spent over a trillon fucking dollars (and counting) on said illegal war.
  • You didn't get mad when over 10 billion dollars just disappeared in Iraq .
  • You didn't get mad when you found out the Busheviks were torturing people.
  • You didn't get mad when the Busheviks authorized illegally wiretapping Americans.
  • You didn't get mad when they didn't catch Bin Laden.
  • You didn't get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed.
  • You didn't get mad when the Busheviks let a major US city drown.
  • You didn't get mad when they gave a 900 billion tax break to the rich.
  • You didn't get mad when, using reconciliation; a trillion dollars of our tax dollars were redirected to insurance companies for Medicare Advantage which cost over 20 percent more for basically the same services that Medicare provides.
  • You didn't get mad when the deficit hit the trillion dollar mark, and our debt hit the thirteen trillion dollar mark.
You finally got mad when the Government decided that people in America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick.

Yes, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, stealing your tax dollars to make the rich richer, are all okay with you,

But helping other Americans... oh hell no.

But even that misses the point. What REALLY makes y'all mad is that there's a mixed-race individual in the WhiteHouse, and you have to take orders from him.

That's what REALLY pisses you off, innit?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been A "Linguistic Determinist?"

The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis postulates that the NATURE of a language --its syntax, semantic systems, grammar, and meta-linguistic components-- influences the habitual thought of its speakers. It is not an overstatement, under this theory, that such influence is ontologically and metaphysically determinative: Different language patterns yield different patterns of thought. (Example: In Hopi, the concept of "lightning" is expressed as a verb, a state of being, rather than as a noun, some named thing. Surely the universe is a different place when you and your whole culture regard "lightning" as a state of being.

The thesis is controversial because the idea challenges--actually, negates--the possibility of perfectly representing the world with language--such conceits as a univocal "meaning" to sacred religious or other community texts-- because it implies that the mechanisms of any language condition the thoughts of its speaker community. Call it the quantum theory of language. It is rather like the 'quantum theory' of linguistics.

From this thesis (along with several semesters of post-graduate work in socio-linguistics), I have extrapolated this dictum: You don't know what you cannot say. I say what I know in the terms available to me in my home language, American/English. I am frequently chided for my '$20 vocabulary, of which my use of the word 'anthropogenic' to describe climate change when a reader said I could have used man-made, is a perfectly legitimate example. In my vocabulary, 'anthropogenic' is a term whicvh encompasses "mad-made," modifies it, adds nuance and substance; hence my choice to employ it, even whn I knew I could have used a different word.
Just sayin...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Separated At Birth? Aleister Crowley and Barbara Bush

Via the blogsite, "Cannonfire":

Few people understand that one of the most notorious individuals in British history may have contributed to the lineage of our current president. Aleister Crowley, a.k.a., "The Great Beast 666" -- the infamous practitioner of "sex magick" whose motto was "Do What Thou Wilt" -- came to know a great many remarkable people, including the maternal grandmother of George W. Bush. "Know," in this case, may be taken in the Biblical sense. Evidence points to the disturbing possibility that he was the true father of Barbara Bush, the former First Lady and mother to George W. Bush.
You can see it in the nose, the eyes, the mouth, the jowls, everywhere: she's the living embodiment of her 'evil' father...

Friday, July 9, 2010

Neil DeGrasse Tyson: Separation of Church & State

Science teachers don't picket Sunday schools, no matter HOW fucked up the curriculum therein...

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Short-Term Memories, Long-Term Consequences

Does anyone remember 6 weeks ago when Nomi Prins (and I) predicted that the so-called "financial regulation reform" measure would be a shell, behind which the Banksters would get pretty much everything they wanted and the Prez, and Congress, after an appropriate amount of legislative kabuki, would tout it as "real reform?"


It has not gone COMPLETELY unnoticed in the blizzard of self-congratulatory, congressional and executive codswallop that the circus is STILL in town. The TAKE-AWAY: "(T)he legislation leaves largely untouched some of the biggest concerns about the financial industry that grew out of the mortgage meltdown and the resulting credit crisis. These include worries that banks have grown so powerful that they are "too big to fail," and that Wall Street's pay system — built on the annual bonus — has made short-term trading profits the primary focus."

The rest, via the LATimes:
Financial reform package wouldn't change Wall Street much

The legislation leaves largely untouched some of the biggest concerns about the financial industry that grew out of the mortgage meltdown and the resulting credit crisis.

By Nathaniel Popper and Walter Hamilton, Los Angeles Times

Reporting from Washington and Los Angeles — The financial reform legislation might change how Wall Street does business, but it would hardly put Wall Street out of business.

The measure that emerged from a House-Senate conference committee would push banks to make their trading in complex securities known as derivatives more transparent and to cut back on some of the risky trading that triggered the financial crisis. It would also give regulators new powers to oversee lightly regulated financial firms, including hedge funds and insurers.

But though the legislation would put new limits on Wall Street banks, it wouldn't outright bar many of their activities — including rapid-fire stock and bond trading and the packaging of complex securities to hedge their investment bets.

After the dust settles, and they've crossed all the Ts, there's probably not going to be much difference in how the banking industry looks — that's the long and short of it," said Raymond Stewart, chief investment officer of Rasara Strategies, which specializes in investing in the financial sector.

Moreover, the legislation leaves largely untouched some of the biggest concerns about the financial industry that grew out of the mortgage meltdown and the resulting credit crisis. These include worries that banks have grown so powerful that they are "too big to fail," and that Wall Street's pay system — built on the annual bonus — has made short-term trading profits the primary focus.

Sheila Bair, head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., said that many of the measures that most scared the banks — including provisions to restrict trading of derivatives — ended up being scaled back in the legislative scrum.

"I think they are breathing a sigh of relief today because the derivatives piece ended up being much less onerous than they originally expected," Bair said. "It could have been a lot worse."

Reflecting that sentiment, financial stock indexes jumped almost 3% after sinking about 15% in the last two months.

The country's giant banks do expect to feel bottom-line financial pain from the legislation, including from restrictions on so-called proprietary trading, in which a bank trades stocks, bonds and other securities for its own profit, not on behalf of a client.

Restrictions on proprietary trading and derivatives trading would affect Goldman Sachs Group Inc. the most of any Wall Street bank, according to one estimate, cutting its earning power by up to 23%.

"In the short run you're going to have some pressure on your revenues — and some pressure on costs," said Matthew Warren, a financial industry analyst at research firm Morningstar. "In the long run, though, it's just not going to be that different."

The legislation will go to the full House and Senate for floor votes next week, and President Obama has said he hopes to sign the bill by July 4.

In one major change, the legislation provides for a council of regulators that would have the ability to wind down financial institutions that end up in trouble and that are deemed "systemically significant" — such as insurance companies.

But the overhaul legislation wouldn't force big banks — the target of much public criticism during the crisis — to shrink.

In contrast, in the 1930s, the landmark Glass-Steagall Act forced banks to separate their riskier investment banking operations from their commercial banks, which predominantly take deposits and make loans. The idea was to protect commercial banks, which are backed by federal deposit insurance, from devastation during financial crises. The Glass-Steagall provision, however, was repealed in 1999.

Moving back in the direction of Glass-Steagall, the Obama administration proposed the so-called Volcker rule, developed by former Federal Reserve chief Paul Volcker. The rule was one of the most contentious elements of this week's negotiations. The final compromise limits banks to investing no more than 3% of their capital in hedge funds, private equity funds and proprietary trading desks.

On derivatives, the banks would be forced to move some particularly risky trading into separate entities. Virtually all derivatives would have to be traded through a clearinghouse, bringing down some of the profits from the private derivatives deals in which the banks currently engage.

Among the measures that reformers wanted to see — but that were not included in the bill — was an independent oversight board to address conflicts of interest in the debt-rating industry. Firms such as Standard & Poor's and Moody's have been blamed for bestowing bullish grades on mortgage-linked securities that subsequently plummeted in value during the housing bust.

The Senate bill would have created an oversight board, but congressional negotiators last week agreed to drop that provision, opting instead for a study by the Securities and Exchange Commission along with a slightly easier path for investors to sue the rating firms.

The legislation also doesn't deal with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored mortgage finance giants that have been blamed for contributing to the mortgage meltdown.

"The big hole here is that nothing is being done about Fannie and Freddie," said Robert Pozen, chairman of MFS Investment Management and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. "And that is a huge hole."
"It's a great moment. I'm proud to have been here," said a teary-eyed Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), who as chairman of the Senate Banking Committee led the effort in the Senate" --

...Who had, thereby, just consummated the deal that secured his future in the manner to which, as a senior member of the 'greatest deliberative body in the world,' he has become understandably attached. His career path ensured: first, to some cushy boards of directors for a couple of years, while he waits out the two-year "moratorium" on actively lobbying your former colleagues, and thence to a multi-million-dollar-per-year sinecure on K Street.

Mission (as they say): Accomplished.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Anti-immigration is White Nationalism

Here's a buried gem with a straight-forward message: Don't be in the least confused: Anti-immigration is White Nationalism

November 23, 2009 by Sarah Viets

After reading about the John Tanton Network’s relationship (PDF) to eugenics and possibly sterilization, I finally broke down in tears. As a researcher who studies white nationalism and anti-immigration for a civil rights organization, the majority of what I read is deeply offensive. It usually doesn’t bother me; I see my work as a necessary tool to educate people about white nationalism in a post-civil rights era. But as I re-read how eugenics scholars may have advocated for the forced sterilization of non-Christian people who weren’t white, I turned off my desk lamp and went home for the night.

As Barry Mehler points out in the video, Immigration and the White Nationalist Movement, modern day anti-immigration is rooted in the eugenics movement of the 1920s, similar to anti-immigration in the 20th century. Both fought, and are fighting, to preserve the idea of a white nation. However, unlike today, anti-immigration of the 1920’s openly fought to preserve white supremacy. Since it’s no longer socially acceptable to openly promote eugenics, modern anti-immigration hides its white nationalist roots.“The movement to restrict immigration, legal immigration and illegal immigration is a white nationalist movement. The concern is for white control of the United States”, says Mehler when addressing the links between the two movements.

The "intellectuals/thinkers" behind modern anti-immigration are some of the exact same leaders behind the current white nationalist movement. The creation of over two dozen anti-immigrant organizations, including the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), was driven by white nationalism. Both concur their believe (sic) that multi-racial societies are inherently unstable, and…that a preference for one’s own group is natural, normal, and healthy and that “the genetic make-up of “non-white” people is biologically and culturally inferior to white people.” In fact, anti-immigration is white nationalism.

For example, John Tanton, the founder of FAIR, the Center for Immigration Studies, and NumbersUSA, received over 1.2 million from a pro-eugenics foundation. The editor of Tanton’s quarterly journal, The Social Contract, is also a board member of the well-known anti-Semitic organization, The Charles Martel Society. The summer 2009 issue of The Social Contract asserts that “new research shows that evolutionarily driven genetic factors provide a powerful explanation of differences in both achievement and temperament.” According to the author, “Not only are we supposedly biologically different, immigration will threaten the intellectual development of our nation. “

As Rep. Luis Gutierrez lays the ground work for immigration reform, Americans must remember that the issue isn’t necessarily immigration.

It’s a debate about what America should look like.
This point is, of course, echoed in the developments around the school mural in Prescott, AZ., a couple of weeks ago.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Texas Oil Companies Bought A Ballot Place For An Initiative To CRIPPLE CA's Clean Air Law

Via DailyKos (retch)...Here's more of what Citizen's United portends for local and state-level politics. (The only surprise, to me, is that it seems to have taken the big money so long to fully exploit and co-opt this "progressive" initiative-system)

TX Oil Companies Try to Kill CA Clean Energy Legislation

As if the oil companies from Texas – and their allies in the corridors of power - hadn’t done enough harm to our country already (for more, see the late, great Gulf of Mexico), now they are at it once again. This time, it’s Valero and Tesoro, pouring money into a campaign this election season to undo California’s landmark, clean energy and climate law, AB 32. On Tuesday, the oil companies’ proposition was certified for the November ballot. The fight, as they say, is on!

Why should you care? Let us count the ways.

NRDCActionFund's diary :: ::

First and foremost, whether you’re a Californian or not, this campaign should concern you because if the oil companies succeed here, they will try this everywhere – in other states and at the federal level. Mark our words, that’s exactly what they’re up to here.

Second, let’s be absolutely clear about what this proposition says. As the Stop Dirty Energy website explains, "The Texas oil companies want you to believe it’s simply a "temporary" suspension. However, their deceptive proposition would repeal AB 32 until unemployment reached 5.5% for a full year – a market condition that has only occurred three times in the last 30 years." Which means that this proposition is nothing less than "an effective repeal of [California’s] clean energy and clean air laws." In sum, they want to kill this landmark law. Period. Don’t let their propaganda fool you into believing anything else.

Third, let’s also be clear who these people are and how utterly deceptive they’re willing to be. According to the Stop Dirty Energy Facebook page, oil companies including Valero and Tesoro recently "released yet another study bought, sold, and paid for by polluters on the impacts of AB 32." The study, for the California Manufacturers and Technology Association (CMTA) by the California Lutheran University's right-wing economics chief," is nothing more than "junk economics paid for by polluters that defies the reality that clean tech is the fastest-growing segment of the California economy." It gets even worse, with the author of a previous, fallacious study by CMTA attacking AB 32 affiliated with the global-warming-denying Heartland Institute, which receives heavy funding from our friends at Exxon Mobil. This institute also enjoys holding conferences to downplay and deny climate science. That’s who we’re dealing with here. That’s who we’re fighting.

Fourth, it’s important to emphasize what’s at stake here. Other than minor matters (ha) like the environment, public health and national security, this is about J-O-B-S. Specifically, the only sector of job growth in California has been in the clean energy technology development sector. For more, watch this video and hear how AB 32=Jobs (and, on the flip side, how killing AB 32 will kill those jobs).

Fifth, this proposition will not just hurt California jobs, it will also hurt Californians’ health and ability to breathe clean air. As the Stop Dirty Energy website points out, this proposition "would create more air pollution in California and threaten public health." Currently, "California’s air pollution crisis contributes to 19,000 premature deaths, 9,400 hospitalizations, and more than 300,000 respiratory illnesses for California families." Just imagine how much worse it will be if the Texas oil companies get their way and gut California’s clean air laws!

Finally, as NRDC wrote in a blog post entitled, "California Crossroads, "The oil companies have chosen California as their battleground to crush the progress the State’s made in moving away from fossil fuels and toward clean energy." NRDC reported from a media event (see photo above) at "Pier 7 on the city’s embarcadero, overlooking the bay that is the largest and most biologically productive estuary on the West Coast" (and also where "the tanker Cosco Buscan ran aground in 2007, spilling more than 53,000 gallons of heavy bunker oil, killing wildlife and providing a harbinger of the great environmental tragedy now unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico"). As the NRDC blog post puts it, "We can’t let Texas oil destroy California’s future simply for the purpose of stuffing more cash into their already bulging coffers."

Monday, June 21, 2010

March 22, 2010 — An animated interview of John Perkins, author of 'HoodWinked' and 'Confessions Of An Economic Hitman'--Copyright of the audio belongs to John Perkins.
For more visit

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Who airbrushes out the face of the interviewer?

Inquiring minds want to know why the "film-makers' obscured the face of the primary antagonist/interrogator, and why these 'plain students' refused to answer where they were student?.

No legit academic or journalistic aspirant would CAMOUFLAGE their affiliations. They'd be proud of it, would flaunt it. "Hello Congressman. I'm Woody, in a class at GWU. We're doing a project. Would you mind answering a couple of quick questions?"

This smacks of another thuggish, Andrew--asswhole-Breitbart, ACORN-entrapment stunt.

If such pasty-faced little gunsels had accosted me in like manner, one of 'em would have gone home with my pointy-toed boot up his ass.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

You Simply Cannot Take Such Rhetoric Seriously Anymore

Kennedy could ask this 50 years ago because by then the conquest of the State by the CorpoRats still hadn't yet been concluded (Kennedy's assassination only two years later was the first overt act of the Coup which eventualy overturned the possibility for such confidence). There was still a sense that, yes, America belonged to her people, and that the welfare of those people was the most important purpose of the country.

Nobody with half a brain can believe ANY of that today.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

"Something--EVERYTHING!--From Nothing?"

richarddawkinsdotnet — October 21, 2009 — Lawrence Krauss gives a talk on our current picture of the universe, how it will end, and how it could have come from nothing. Krauss is the author of many bestselling books on Physics and Cosmology, including "The Physics of Star Trek."

Books by Lawrence Krauss:

Friday, May 7, 2010

A L I E N S ! ! !

Via Down With Tyranny:

South Park jokes aside, how dangerous is the Morman agenda to basic American values and principles? Unless you've been on the receiving end of the Mormon all-consuming hatred and bigotry, you're probably not aware that such an insidious and totally alien force walks among us. Fox News loves to stir up Islamophobia and the threats from Moslem religious fanatics but Mormons aren't threatening America from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, but from Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and... California. Though this weekend, one far right Mormon politician, Utah Senator Robert Bennett (R) is likely to be politically euthanized for not being far right enough, Mormons operate inside-- and to the detriment of-- the American political system in far less visible ways. That said, I'd like to ask you to watch the trailer above for The Mormon Proposition.

And their next goal: Mitt Romney in the White House.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Jon Stewart & Wyatt Cenac Try To Figure Out Who Wants To Kill N'Awlins

This show marked the first time since the Chimperor departed the public stage that I hooted with laughter at TDSWJS.

Beyond Awful
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Friday, April 30, 2010

Mrs. Betty Bowers Explains Constitutional Awareness

TO: Furious Teabaggers Throughout America

FROM: Mrs. Betty Bowers, America’s Best Christian

RE: Are you doing your part to pretend to care about the US Constitution?

Why pretend to care about that Constitution all of a sudden?M

Because yelling, "I'm fixing to fire off a few rounds 'cause a damned Colored is in the White House!" lacks a certain charm and seems to rile the Socialists® who care about other people's feelings in the Lamestream™ media. HELPFUL HINT: Also sidestep expressly mentioning sedition, regicide or anything involving live ammunition, as these more candid remarks may result in your family’s Christian prayers for the violent deaths of Democrats being rudely interrupted by the busybodies at the Secret Service.

Does pretending to care about the Constitution entitle me to do more fun, Timothy-McVeigh-style antics than when I pretend to care about other stuff like, say, our troops -- or reality?

I'm glad you asked! The Constitution is as close to the Bible as the secular world gets: Full of persnickety rules, but without the gusty encouragements to murder people. As such, any time you purport to protect the Constitution, even your most crass, selfish remark is miraculously cloaked in civic selflessness. As any Christian (or Muslim) fundamentalists can tell you: The higher the calling you can claim, the lower the tactics you can use! Telling people you are compelled by the Constitution (or the Fatherland or the one True Faith®), leaves you free to ignore laws that get in your way -- or pesky elections that didn’t go your way! Glory!

Which parts of the Constitution should I pretend to care about most?

Frankly, the very question reeks of Intellectual Elite™ curiosity and its nefarious liberal-lovin’ cousin: facts. Let’s just say this: not the parts George W. Bush violated for 8 years (e.g., Search and Seizure, Fourth Amendment, and Habeas Corpus, Article One, Section 9) without even a decaf chamomile teabag being flung. If pressed, simply employ a time-tested GOP response to any inconvenient inquiry: Obfuscation by accusation! Try this: “You’re not familiar enough with the Constitution to IMMEDIATELY know what dang parts I’m out here screeching about instead of more candidly (and pettily) carping about losing an election? You ain’t no Real American™ -- libtard!” Pepper the sky with spittle bullets if the nosy liberal dares to ask a follow-up question.

Which parts of the Constitution should I not bother pretending to care about?

Ignoring articles and amendments to the Constitution is an enormous time-saver to the teabagger on the go! Since most Americans have never read the document (and most often confuse it with the Declaration of Independence or any number of bromides slapped on bumpers or needlepointed on pillows), you will enjoy great leeway in this regard. But every Sarah-Palin-loving, catchphrase-spouting True Christian™ will want to make a point of ignoring these really inconvenient parts:
Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
This thoroughly annoying passage “technically” prohibits Congress from requiring every man, woman and child in the land to flatter Jesus, as the poor, insecure thing has quite shamelessly demanded. As a constitutional scholar at Bob Jones University told me, “Unless it's the Second Amendment, where the Founding Fathers told us to take assault rifles to the movie theater, only an activist judge would enforce the Constitution, a pile of secular bullcrap written by a pack of Jesus-denying Theists! Betty, did you know that Thomas Jefferson called the Bible a 'dung hill'?” Honestly, if any clause of the Constitution calls out for a loud and hearty “la la la la la la I CAN’T HEAR YOU!,” it’s this one!

The Equal Protection Clause
The Fourteenth Amendment, rammed down America’s throat in fleeting post-war guilt over the alleged nuisance of having to be a slave, is now providing a toehold for pushy, rights-obsessed homosexuals to slip their expensive Italian shoes through the carefully guarded door to equal rights. Remember: When folks we don't like want the same rights we enjoy, we call them "special rights" -- because we are so darn special. Gals, save a few la-las for this Amendment!

“No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States” Article VI, Section 3.
Of course, asking “You ain’t no Muslamic are you, boy?” before administering an oath of office isn’t a test; it’s simply a pointed inquiry.

The appalling fact that Jesus isn’t mentioned in the entire Constitution -- not even once!
But, frankly, what do you expect from “men” who wrote books, wore wigs and enjoyed sliding on silk stockings? They can't all be Sean Hannity!

Sixteenth Amendment
The most anti-Tea Party garbage in the whole Constitution, this amendment allows Congress (technically, the "Representation" part in "No Taxation Without Representation!") to levy an income tax without apportioning it among the states or basing it on Census results. This Amendment is completely inconsistent with almost every Tea Party sign and, ispo facto, void. Give thanks for the miracles that are possible when you aren't fettered by so-called reality! Praise the Lord and pass the bullhorn!