Is the Daily Show seriously the only news show out there with a research team, and video archives? Or even Google?

EDIT: Okay, the embed worked on preview, but not when posted, so here's the link: The Parent Company Trap
"No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices." - Edward R. Murrow

"We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men — not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular." - Also Edward R. Murrow

Okay then.

Aug. 12th, 2010 03:59 pm
So I heard this guy was pushing the "America was founded as a Christian Nation!" thing, by trying to say the Founding Fathers were his variety of Christian, but that wasn't what made me facepalm. No, he was trying (of course) to justify it by talking about the Founding Fathers, particularly Thomas Jefferson.

Um.

Has he ever read ANYTHING Thomas Jefferson wrote? (Even leaving aside the Jefferson Bible where he wrote out all the supernatural parts)

"But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg." Notes on Virginia, 1782

"Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because if there be one he must approve of the homage of reason more than that of blindfolded fear". lletter to Peter Carr, August 10, 1787

"Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting "Jesus Christ," so that it would read "A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;" the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination." Autobiography, in reference to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom

"I have sworn upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." - Jefferson memorial, from this letter, coming near the end of the third paragraph. The sentence before it is "They believe that any portion of power confided to me, will be exerted in opposition to their schemes." The "they" he's referring to is "the clergy", who "hope of obtaining an establishment of a particular form of Christianity thro' the U. S."

Hell, Thomas Jefferson was the one who came up with the phrase "Wall of separation of church and state" in this letter.

If he wanted to argue that some of the Founding Fathers were religious, that's fine and dandy, but still wouldn't prove that his religion now should be given legal preferences over others. But Thomas Jefferson? Seriously? Seriously?
A quote from a comment over at Obsidian Wings

"This came from a friend of a friend who was down in the trenches of the very early attempts to get sexual orientation added to the civil rights law in Maine. After the legislature voted and the bill was defeated, a group of proponents were sitting in a pizza joint licking their wounds. The leader of the opposition came over all hail fellow well met, slapped one of them on the back, and said, "Nothing personal folks, just politics.""

That, boys and girls, is the face of straight white male privilege, the kind that's unconscious and habitual. The kind that can justify making people second class citizens, and denying rights to others that they takes for granted, because they won't affect them. The privilege to wave all of that away as "just politics", when it impacts other people's lives in major ways.
I've been thinking lately, so many of our alleged political and corporate leaders call themselves the sane, sensible, smart ones, and then get up in fancy suits and tell us absolutely crazy things they expect us to believe. So the idea this is giving me is to run for office somewhere, as a mad scientist. Tell everybody front up I'm crazy. Because when you're crazy, not only can you get away with saying things, and get all sorts of fun media attention, you can also explain that you're crazy because you dare to question the craziness that everybody else takes for granted. Running from outside the asylum, in some sense.

In that vein, here's Dr. Steel's video about Building a Utopian Playland.
I really don't get the whole Tea Party thing. Two exceedingly expensive wars, torture, holding people, including American citizens without trial, not a peep.

Then, President Obama keeps the big banks from suffering from their own mistakes without punishing the CEOs or managers who still rake in huge salaries, rescues American car companies from decades of their own mistakes, and enacts a health care reform plan nearly identical to the one proposed by the Republicans in 1993, and enacted by Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Rommney in Mass. and suddenly SOCIALISM!

Seriously? Socialism? You're freaked out now because the government is trying to ensure people can afford health insurance, and isn't even nationalizing anything, and this is scary scary socialism? Not upset because we're still holding people without trials or evidence, not upset because the government is claiming the right to assassinate Americans who happen to be where a missile falls on people that might be terrorists, not upset because the guys who bet more money than exists in the world that house prices would never go down are still in charge. No, they're upset because of SOCIALISM.

I'm willing to bet these people have never met an actual socialist in their entire lives.

The government subsidizing poorish people buying insurance from private companies is socialism and scary and bad, but wars, torture, thousands of dead civilians, drug warriors killing pets on midnight raids on innocent people, and on and on and on is okey dokey.

... What the fuck happened to my country? Like Bruce says, "It's gonna be a long walk home."
Well, the Supreme Court ruled yesterday that "companies have a free-speech right to spend as much as they wish to persuade voters to elect or defeat candidates for Congress and the White House."

Which is, of course, sheerest bullshit, because a corporation is not a person, and has no "free speech rights". Nice to know bribery's legal now, though. This is a hell of a lot more important than some nut winning an election in Massachusetts. And bodes much much worse for our country.

The Worst Presidency Ever is a gift that just keeps on giving.
If we want to have a country to give out kids, we have to start investing in the country, not just the profits of companies like Enron and Halliburton. And we need to stop shifting taxes from people who make 230 times the average salary and onto the people who do the actual work.
My biggest gripe so far with the Obama administration, which is one I've had with politicians of all stripes, especially the alleged liberals for years, is their complete failures of imagination. There are times when incremental technocratic moderate change is important, necessary, or the only option. And there are times when the status quo has failed so badly that there's room for big imaginative changes. And if you let yourself get circumscribed by the "necessary", you ignore the possible.

But here, let me turn the mic over to my man Franklin Delano, and his four freedoms speech. (Wikipedia) in 1941. The Great Depression and the onset of World War II, and instead of aiming for small ideas circumscribed by the "necessary" or the "possible", he managed to still think big, and act big, and keep trying different things till they worked. Not half-assed bank bailouts without any oversight, not a maybe kinda half-assed possible public health option, but Social Security, no pandering about "glad to have jobs" (more from pundits than pols), but the National Labor Relations Act, Works Project Authority, Civilian Conservation Corps, and FDR directly took on the banksters and their bought minions in government.

It'd be nice if those we elected as leaders could show some leadership, the kind that won FDR landslide elections.

A Puzzle

Jul. 8th, 2009 09:34 pm
Why is that many of the people who talk the loudest and the longest about "bravery" and "toughness" and so on were the first people to completely panic about terrorists and demand, say, pointless and intrusive searches, wars with unrelated countries, and generally bombing the crap out of other people, just so they can feel safer from the Magical Supervillain Terrorists?

(And yes, I know several possible answers. I'm mostly being rhetorical here)

EPIC FAIL

May. 8th, 2009 03:36 pm
I've been trying to avoid blogging about politics lately, since I haven't had the time, and I'm trying to focus on school to get where I can help make actual fixes to problems.

But then sometimes something so ludicrous, so mind-boggling, so downright stupid happens, that I can't.

First, Texas governor Rick Perry said "We think it’s time to draw the line in the sand and tell Washington that no longer are we going to accept their oppressive hand in the state of Texas. That’s what this press conference, that’s what these Texans are standing up for." in a press conference, shortly after appearing at a "tea party" where outraged reactionaries were protesting having their taxes cut. And at that appearance, "Texas Gov. Rick Perry fired up an anti-tax "tea party" Wednesday with his stance against the federal government and for states' rights as some in his U.S. flag-waving audience shouted, "Secede!" ..."There's a lot of different scenarios," Perry said. "We've got a great union. There's absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we're a pretty independent lot to boot."

Yes, he's talking about seceding from the United States. Again. But hey, it's he's a Texas Republican, they've always been a little crazy, right?

It's not just Texas. Georgia, my current home state, passed a "sovereignty resolution" essentially affirming Georgia's right to ignore any federal laws they don't like.

Seriously.

No, seriously, and other politicians have been talking about it too. The governor in Oklahoma vetoed one.

Seriously. I could not make this shit up. I've joked about the "Confederate Party", but now they're talking secession. Because of... the stimulus? Or because they're not in control of government? Or... Hell, I don't know. I know some reasonable people who're Republicans, but large portions of the party have gone stark raving bonkers.

The same party that tarred anybody who disagreed with them as "anti-American" or "unpatriotic" is now talking about seceding from the United States because they lost an election. Seriously.

The Civil War is over. The South lost.

GET OVER IT.
There's a lot of people talking about why and how the economic crisis we're in started. Which is important, because we need to know what was wrong to know how to fix things and prevent this from happening again.

So here's my storyline, in the shortest short version. Short term thinking and greed led a lot of people to make bad decisions. Fraud and more short-term thinking and greed magnified these. And lax regulation let companies get so big and leveraged that the short-term thinking and greed was able to threaten the whole economy.

I'll go into more detail later, including why executives get paid in stock options and how that screws up their incentives, how companies suborned the ratings agencies which allowed the massive fraud of packaging risky loans as "AAA" bonds, why banks were able to get so big, how this is like the S&L crisis in the 80s that turned little building and loans like Jimmy Stewart's into centers for fraud and collapse, and other similar things that can be found with a couple checks of Google and Wikipedia that cable "news" shows are too lazy to do.

Ahem.

Nov. 4th, 2008 12:52 pm
In the United States, today is election day.

Get off your butts and vote.  NOW!

(election day should totally be a holiday, so people can vote.)

O RLY

Oct. 28th, 2008 12:15 pm
Apparently the latest gambit, a week before the election, is for John McCain and Sarah Palin to call Barak Obama a communist or socialist because he supports the progressive income tax.

I have known socialists, and Barak Obama is no socialist, for better and for worse.

(Progressive taxation I'm sure I explained before, but I'm not gonna dig up the link right now. Plus Obama's tax increase is all of three percent on the marginal income above $250K. Which means only your taxable income above $250K will be taxed at 39.something percent, rather than 36%ish it's at now.)

(And calling somebody a commie? Seriously, the hell? What is this, the 1950s?)
The Federal Reserve is stealing their MO from Dr. Evil. (The resemblance is uncanny.) Why do we need to give $700,000,000,000 to Wall Street "geniuses" who lost trillions of dollars already?  Why that particular amount? "It's not based on any particular data point," a Treasury spokeswoman told Forbes.com Tuesday. "We just wanted to choose a really large number." Dr. Henry Paulson will hold the world hostage with the threat of RECESSION NOW! (while last week the "fundamentals of our economy were sound" of course) unless we give him SEVEN HUNDRED BILLION DOLLARS!  MWAHAHAHAHAHA! No. Just, no.
All those Republicans in Congress who tell you that government can't run health insurance?

Have health insurance provided by the government.

(Also, they're all rich)
One of the biggest problems with our ridiculous health care system in the US? Besides the fact we spend much more than any other country for the same results, besides the millions of uninsured, besides how much of that gets siphoned off as profits straight to CEO pockets.

The problem is health care is tied to your job. So people keep jobs they hate just because they can't afford to lose health care. Or they might not get it because of "pre-existing conditions". Or they'd have a three month gap before it kicks in at their new job. Or they can't go start their own business because the health insurance costs would kill them. And companies are spending lots of money insuring their employees, when companies in other countries don't have to spend as much, because they have better universal systems.

This video has to do with that. I saw that a couple weeks ago but hadn't posted it. What set me off today was this report from the Kaiser Foundation about health care. Let me steal the section hilzoy quoted over on Obsidian Wings. I heard one piece of this, the 7% marriage part on the radio this morning.

"The poll also found that in the past year, 23% of U.S. residents said they or a member of their household had either decided to stay with a current employer, instead of accepting a new job, or had switched jobs because of health insurance coverage. In addition, 7% of respondents said that they, or someone in their household, had decided to get married to obtain health insurance through their spouse. (...)

According to the poll, 37% of U.S. residents reported at least one of six financial troubles over the past five years as a result of medical bills:

20% had difficulties paying other bills;

20% were contacted by a collection agency;

17% had used all or most of their savings;

12% were unable to pay for basic necessities, such as food, heat or housing;

10% had to borrow money; and

3% declared bankruptcy (Kaiser Family Foundation release, 4/29)."

But, y'know, universal health care will eat your babies and kicks puppies.

Choose

Apr. 29th, 2008 11:03 pm
Which is scarier?

A) An angry retired black preacher

B) Rich old white guys who started a war that has killed more Americans than September 11th, along with probably a million Iraqis? And ran the economy into the ground, spied on Americans without warrants, let the city of New Orleans drown, let Osama bin Laden get away, and want to start a war with Iran?

Apparently, judging by the media, it's A.

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