Thursday, May 7, 2009

Health Insurance Denied

Still waiting to hear back from Blue Cross on why they deemed me unworthy of health insurance.
I'm reminded highly of this post by Miriam on Feministing:
The bottom line is that we have no protections against the arbitrary and discriminatory policies of the health insurance companies.
I wonder when President Obama will live up to his many promises on health care reform, and work to require Health Insurance Companies to cover pre-existing conditions.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Why are Democrats Supporting Arlen Specter?

Arlen Specter, in his own words (emphasis mine):

At several other points, Specter did lay out areas in which he had "diverged materially from the Republican line," including raising the minimum wage, the stimulus package and abortion rights. But he went to great lengths to insist that he did not, as reported, tell Democratic leadership or the White House that he would be a loyal party member.

"I did not say," he told host David Gregory, "I would be a loyal Democrat. I did not say that."

The Democratic Party should not support this man's run for office. We should all support a challenger. Perhaps Joe Sestak?

Pet Issues and Condescending Centrists: The Third Way

Matt Bennet, Vice President of tact for the centrist group The Third Way, has a zinger of a quote in this AP article (emphasis mine):

But the process to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter could pump new oxygen into national debates over abortion, immigration, minority rights, limits to privacy and other matters that often animate large grassroots organizations, which have been comparatively quiet in recent months.

"There's no doubt these debates are coming back," said Matt Bennett, vice president of the centrist Democratic group Third Way. They might create more noise than suspense, he said, because there is little doubt that the Democratic-dominated Senate will confirm Obama's eventual choice. Liberal activists will "fall in line" even if they are not entirely satisfied with the administration's progress on their pet issues, Bennett said.

Fuck that! We are not "falling in line" if Obama replaces a liberal judge with a mushy centrist who will collapse on essential issues such as consumer rights, gay rights, women's rights or human rights. The President will find that as he continues to adopt Bush administraiton positions, he will begin adopting the popularity of the former President as well.

Iran Executes Innocent Woman Convicted as a Child

Iran hung a 23 year old girl for murder. A few facts stand out about this case (Huffpost, emphasis mine):
Authorities executed the 23-year-old woman Friday in northern Iran without informing her lawyer or allowing the family to be present, said the lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaei. She was 17 at the time the crime was committed, in 2003.


The prisoner executed Friday, Delara Darabi, initially pleaded guilty to killing her father's cousin, but later retracted her confession and said her boyfriend carried out the killing. She told a judge that she had initially confessed because her boyfriend told her that, as a minor, she would not be executed and she could save him from being put to death, her lawyer said.

Her boyfriend, who was 19 at the time of the killing, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for complicity in murder.


Mostafaei said the court did not seriously consider his arguments in the woman's defense.

For example, he said, Darabi was left-handed, while all the evidence suggests the crime was committed by someone who was right-handed.

An innocent girl took the fall for her boyfriend. He gets 10 years, she is killed.
The lawyer said Darabi called her parents just moments before the execution. He quoted her as saying, "Oh, Mother, I see the hangman's noose in front of me. They are going to execute me. Please save me."
This is murder, plain, simple, brutal. The US State Department (contact info) should call Iran out on this. Iran deserves to be shamed in front of the international community.


I find the practice of framing to be a bit annoying, so I've instituted a small script to close frames automatically. Hopefully this makes reading this blog a more enjoyable experience.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Some Justices Think Systemic Racism is Gone

Justices are weighing whether or not to throw out the 2006 renewal of the Voting Rights Act. Its come down to liberals vs conservatives. I'm stuck wondering if our highest court really is as predictable as the political leanings of its membership. Does empirical evidence still have a place in modern law?

Let's check in with the liberals:
Justice David Souter, who was among the most active questioners in defense of the Voting Rights Act, said Coleman's claim seemed "to deny the empirical reality" of the contemporary instances of bias Congress documented in the states.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg suggested by her questions that she, too, believed the law was necessary to prevent backsliding in voting rights. Similar sentiment was expressed by the two other liberal justices, John Paul Stevens and Stephen Breyer.
And quite the empirical reality there is. Take Voter ID laws, for example:
Texas is considering such a law. Unfortunately, these types of laws typically adversely affect the poor, people of color, people with disabilities and the elderly. Some estimates suggest that the number of eligible voters without acceptable identification is as high as 12 percent.
Note that Coleman, the attorney arguing against the Voting Rights Act, is representing a district in Texas. Voter ID legislation is one of many scurrilous tactics employed by the right wing to suppress votes. And this is done precisely because a legal avenue opened up:

The U.S. Supreme Court has said that states may require identification other than a voter registration card. That doesn't mean Texas should. It would be wrong to make voting more difficult for law-abiding citizens without good reason. Having enough votes to do it isn't a good reason.

So what do the conservative judges say?
The more conservative justices appeared to strongly believe the law has run its course. Chief Justice John Roberts said of Congress' repeated renewal of the 1965 act: "At some point, it begins to look like it's going to go on forever."

Justice Antonin Scalia said that much of the evidence of government bias against black people and other minorities was documented "a long time ago."
Just what universe does Justice Scalia live in?
Look, I understand the value of healthy debate and differences of opinion. But when some show flagrant disregard for the truth and remain impervious to evidence to the contrary, are they still qualified to act as judges? Its not as if the evidence presented was easily dismissable (emphasis mine):
Defending the law were Deputy U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal and Debo Adegbile of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

Both lawyers emphasized the difficulty of bringing individual voting bias cases and said Congress wanted to ensure that unfair policies could be caught before they took effect.

Katyal said Congress compiled 16,000 pages of testimony and determined that its work in this area was not done.
16 thousand pages of testimony!

Respect for the truth and empirical evidence is central to a functioning judiciary. The conservative judges on our highest court, especially Scalia, are doing a fine job of undermining our confidence in the stability of the institution.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Best Description of Republicans Ever

August Pollack is a genius (emphasis mine):
this insane "we've got them right where we want them" whining from the right and the pseudo-libertarians sems desperate to imply that Democrats are inherently just as big a pile of screw-ups as Republicans, so naturally they're going to crash and burn just as badly as... umm... they did.

It's like a bunch of arsonists telling firemen as they rush into a building "you guys suck. That building is totally on fire."


PUMA Tea Parties

Remember when, during the primaries, speculation began that the PUMA (Party Unity My Ass) crowd were really Republicans? When during the general election their widespread defection to the McCain/Palin ticket showed how their respect for Democratic ideals (including a women's right to choose and separation of church and state) were beyond flimsy?

Apparently they've joined the extreme fringe of the Republican party, the proud tea-baggers alliance. And boy, is their crazy chock full of irony:
Obama is so obsessed with batting down his domestic “enemies” that it doesn’t matter if America’s real enemies are strengthened in the process. What was Obama’s goal in releasing the CIA torture memos, against the advice of his top terrorism and intelligence advisors?
There isn't even a trace of self-awareness or accuracy to be found. While Bush did attack political enemies domestically (and enemies of choice internationally) at the documented expense of our national security, Obama has focused his energy on solving problems directly and at their source. The CIA torture memos were already public.

PUMA bloggers are essentially concern trolls attempting to fustigate meaningful analysis of fringe Republican activity with deliberately false and misleading statements.
Citizens engaged in a grassroots Tea Party movement clearly are perceived as a bigger threat to Obama than evil forces intent on destroying America.
The Tea Party "movement" has been funded and organized by all the usual players intent on using astroturfing strategies to fake grassroots support for an otherwise unsustainable politics. It is clear that the so called PUMA movement is a part of that right wing strategy.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Reconsidering Pork: Factory Farming and Swine Flu

After reading this excellent Rolling Stone article (via Mike@C&L), I'm reconsidering pork, and I think you might want to as well. Here are some choice quotes:
The floors are slatted to allow excrement to fall into a catchment pit under the pens, but many things besides excrement can wind up in the pits: afterbirths, piglets accidentally crushed by their mothers, old batteries, broken bottles of insecticide, antibiotic syringes, stillborn pigs -- anything small enough to fit through the foot-wide pipes that drain the pits.

Taken together, the immobility, poisonous air and terror of confinement badly damage the pigs' immune systems.

When a pig nearly ready to be slaughtered grows ill, workers sometimes shoot it up with as many drugs as necessary to get it to the slaughterhouse under its own power. As long as the pig remains ambulatory, it can be legally killed and sold as meat.
The cruelty towards these animals and alarming lack of health concerns are quite apparent. But how they treat the refuse from these pigs is nothing less than startling (emphasis mine):

Smithfield's holding ponds -- the company calls them lagoons -- cover as much as 120,000 square feet. The area around a single slaughterhouse can contain hundreds of lagoons, some of which run thirty feet deep. The liquid in them is not brown. The interactions between the bacteria and blood and afterbirths and stillborn piglets and urine and excrement and chemicals and drugs turn the lagoons pink.

Even light rains can cause lagoons to overflow; major floods have transformed entire counties into pig-shit bayous. To alleviate swelling lagoons, workers sometimes pump the shit out of them and spray the waste on surrounding fields, which results in what the industry daintily refers to as "overapplication." This can turn hundreds of acres -- thousands of football fields -- into shallow mud puddles of pig shit. Tree branches drip with pig shit.

Just how toxic is this stuff? Fucking scary as hell, you go in you don't come out toxic (emphasis mine):
The lagoons themselves are so viscous and venomous that if someone falls in it is foolish to try to save him. A few years ago, a truck driver in Oklahoma was transferring pig shit to a lagoon when he and his truck went over the side. It took almost three weeks to recover his body. In 1992, when a worker making repairs to a lagoon in Minnesota began to choke to death on the fumes, another worker dived in after him, and they died the same death. In another instance, a worker who was repairing a lagoon in Michigan was overcome by the fumes and fell in. His fifteen-year-old nephew dived in to save him but was overcome, the worker's cousin went in to save the teenager but was overcome, the worker's older brother dived in to save them but was overcome, and then the worker's father dived in. They all died in pig shit.
That can't be good for the people stuck living nearby, can it?
People who breathe the shit-infused air suffer from bronchitis, asthma, heart palpitations, headaches, diarrhea, nosebleeds and brain damage. In 1995, a woman downwind from a corporate hog farm in Olivia, Minnesota, called a poison-control center and described her symptoms. "Ma'am," the poison-control officer told her, "the only symptoms of hydrogen-sulfide poisoning you're not experiencing are seizures, convulsions and death. Leave the area immediately." When you fly over eastern North Carolina, you realize that virtually everyone in this part of the state lives close to a lagoon.
At least they aren't feeding pigs dead pigs:
Millions of factory-farm hogs -- one study puts it at ten percent -- die before they make it to the killing floor. Some are taken to rendering plants, where they are propelled through meat grinders and then fed cannibalistically back to other living hogs.
That's just begging for prions to spread.

The whole article, a stinging takedown of factory farming and Smithfield Foods specifically. Is worth a read. Smithfield Foods is worth a visit too, if only to see their cynical slogan "Good food. Responsibly" with a whole section devoted to their supposed responsibility.

Given the people stuck living next to these farms where the smell of concentrated chemical-infused pig shit can literally knock you unconscious, Smithfield Food's claim of a commitment to food safety is a cruel joke. It is an even harsher joke in the light of their lobbying efforts.

It looks like that joke could cost us all. Smithfield Foods might be linked to the recent outbreak of swine flu.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Idea! Moon Resolution for Texas

Texas, boldly showing tea-bagging patriots the way forward, has run into yet another tricky liberal commie .. trick: Reality! Bill Nye made some Texans upset by claiming that the moon wasn't a "lesser light", but rather, a reflector (Hat Tip Jesus' Very Own General).

Well, if Illinois can declarify Pluto a planet, why not can has Texas legalize the Moon as a lesser light?!

Brilliant, you say?

I bet Texas Republicans would luv the chance to help Church and State snuggle just a lil bit closer.

Associated Press: Irresponsible Journalism?

Making every effort to report the recent swine flu outbreak responsibly, the Associated Press has a piece titled: "Is swine flu 'the big one' or a flu that fizzles?":
Is this the novel virus that will kill millions around the world, as pandemics did in 1918, 1957 and 1968?

The short answer is it's too soon to tell.

Is this an example of irresponsible fear-mongering on the part of the AP? Can we get away with sweeping statements as long as they are framed as questions?

The short answer is it's too soon to tell. The really short answer is yes.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Obama/Reid Fail: Justice vs Retribution

President Obama and top Democrats lead by Harry Reid have shown a complete failure to understand the importance of justice in our country. Aside from our national identity as a moral beacon for the world, we are a nation of laws. Bush's administration, members of the CIA and those under their command broke the law of our nation. Allowing them to escape punishment for their crimes is unconscionable. According to the NY Times:

At a meeting of top Democrats at the White House Wednesday night, President Obama told Congressional leaders that he did not want a special inquiry, which he said would potentially steal time and energy from his ambitious policy priorities, and could mushroom into a wider distraction by looking back at other aspects of the Bush years.

The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, and other top Senate Democrats endorsed Mr. Obama’s view on Thursday, telling reporters that they preferred to wait for the results of an investigation by the Senate intelligence committee expected sometime “late this year.”
This is a cruel joke at the expense of the American people. We voted - heavily - for change. We voted in people we expected to uphold the law, human rights, and our constitution. Instead we've gotten mollycoddled fopdoodles with all the bravery of an icterine soaked whelp with its belly up and throat exposed. Spineless just doesn't begin to describe the kind of people who abandon respect for the rule of law and the people literally tortured through it for the sake of respect from an opposition so entrenched against you they speak of revolution at a moderate tax increase for the wealthiest Americans. You may was well succor a brick wall in hopes it will bend out of the way when you attempt to run through it.

Bravo to Patrick J. Leahy and Nancy Pelosi for taking a stand in the face of Obama and Reid's stupidity:

“I don’t think there is a division among Democrats,” Mr. Reid said. “Justice must be served. Retribution should not be a part of what we’re talking about.” He said that it was premature to act without facts to be provided by the intelligence committee. “They will make a public report,” he said. “I hope that it will come toward the end of this year.”

But Ms. Pelosi, at a news conference attended by many youngsters visiting the Capitol for Take Your Child to Work Day, reiterated her position – shared by many of the more liberal Democrats in the House – that a panel should be named to investigate the Bush administration legal memos that allowed waterboarding and other harsh techniques.

The division between top Democrats threatened to open up a debate that would distract from Mr. Obama’s agenda one way or another.
Mr. Obama's agenda should be derailed if this is the true face and heart of it. The President would do well to find the courage to take to heart the words of Fox News anchor Shep Smith:
We are America! We do not fucking torture!

Trying to Find God

Older versions of Firefox on Windows were much more fun.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Republican's Huge Boehner About Torture

To sum up Boehner and his spokeman Michael Steel (via HuffPost):

Boehner: Yes its torture, but letting people know we broke a host of laws and trampled on human rights is a political decision, not a legal or ethical one. I'm sure you've read our talking points? Now that terrorists know for sure no backsies that we use waterboarding, they can practice drowning and stay one watery step ahead of us! (Innocent people will just have to suck it).

Reporter: Hey we all know this will never be prosecuted, but shouldn't we at least know what crimes won't be prosecuted.

Boehner: OMG 9/11 9/11 9/11. Plus these techniques toootally worked scouts honor (tru patriots won't read the shitload of studies that prove otherwise).

Michael Steel: Right honorable Senator Lord Boehner used the word torture cause them there dirty liberals use it to, but he didn't mean it!

And there's the funny thing about Republicans and Democrats.
When Republicans say we don't torture, they mean "uh that stuff is a-ok".
When Democrats say we don't torture, they actually mean it.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ron Paul Understands Secession

Ron Paul (CNN):

We as a nation have endorsed secession all along. Think of all of the secession of the countries and the republics from the Soviet system. We were delighted. We love it.
Right. Especially during the civil war. We endorsed secession heartily.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Zazzle and Fox News

Apparently using the words "Fox News", even in Fair Use, is enough to get your product removed from Zazzle.

I've considered switching, (and still may), but for the moment am content to change my design and see how things go moving forward.

Stimulus Money for Virginia: Sign the Petition

Stand Up for Virginia:

Real Virginians are hurting. Instead of providing relief to families and businesses, the Republican-dominated House of Delegates turned their backs on us. Last week, following the lead of gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell, they rejected $125 million in federal money aimed at stimulating our economy and helping struggling Virginians. Stand up for displaced workers and our tax money: Tell lawmakers to go back to Richmond and do the right thing.

Sign the Petition here.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Ana Marie Cox: Abolish the White House Press

Ana Marie Cox thinks the White House Press is useless:

Name a major political story broken by a White House correspondent. A thorough debunking of the Bush case for Iraqi WMD? McClatchy Newspapers' State Department and national security correspondents. Bush's abuse of signing statements? The Boston Globe's legal affairs correspondent. Even Watergate came off The Washington Post's Metro desk.

Here are some stories that reporters working the White House beat have produced in the past few months: Pocket squares are back! The president is popular in Europe. Vegetable garden! Joe Biden occasionally says things he probably regrets. Puppy!

Where was this criticism when Bush was in office?

Cox's argument falls apart pretty quickly as soon as you consider the administration using press briefings to release new information (which Cox naturally omits from her article). Look, the White House Press is basically a PR opportunity for the White House. That doesn't make it un-newsworthy.

The right argument to make would be to start discouraging fluff articles, and focusing on substance. To expect the press to use conferences to ask hard questions of the administration.

Instead Ana Marie Cox simply argues, in essence, against press access.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Bank Lobbyists and Apologists: Step the Hell Off Warren

Elizabeth Warren is an honest reformer with the expertise needed to see us out of the financial crises started by the unregulated greed of the banking industry.

Big surprise, the banking industry's paid shills are in a proper tizzy:
While the bubbly and brilliant 69-year-old professor is a darling of Democrats, Warren has become the scourge of conservative Republicans, who question her panel’s exploration of more-liberal approaches such as nationalization and bank liquidation.

Financial services lobbyists, who’ve long disliked Warren for highlighting predatory lending and abusive credit card fees, argue that she’s using her post to push her own, anti-industry agenda.

“A number of people wonder if this is the new Warren commission or the congressional oversight panel,” said Wayne Abernathy, executive director for financial institutions policy at the American Bankers Association. “It’s looking more like the former than the latter.”
They better step the hell off. Do these fuckers honestly think we are going to take their word over Warren's? She's the definition of a political outsider:
Warren, who proudly calls herself an “outsider’s outsider,” is comfortable announcing those kinds of very uncomfortable figures, even if that means taking some political punches.

“I’ve never held a government job, and I’m not looking for a government job after this,” she said. “I’m not out there trying to go and find my next landing spot.”
While they represent the epitome of corruption, greed, and insiders consolidating power and wealth in the hands of the few at the expense of all. Republicans and Clinton-style new-Democrats de-regulated like bunnies, and the banks stepped in with irresponsible levels of greed and fiscal blindness. And now we have the current financial crises.

Their criticism fails to distract from either their culpability or their continued obstruction in the face of successful reform:
Since then, Democrats have jumped on an idea that Warren first proposed two years ago, introducing legislation that would create a Financial Product Safety Commission charged with overseeing new consumer lending and investment products. Warren argues that a commission modeled after the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which oversees the security of toys and small appliances, would have kept the subprime mortgages that sparked the current recession off the market in the first place.

“It is impossible to buy a toaster that has a one-in-five chance of bursting into flames and burning down your house,” Warren wrote in Harvard Magazine last May. “But it is possible to refinance your home with a mortgage that has the same one-in-five chance of putting your family out on the street — and the mortgage won’t even carry a disclosure of that fact.”

President Obama backed the proposal on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” last month, using the toaster analogy to explain the idea.

The commission idea is opposed by conservatives and financial services firms, who argue it would prohibit innovation and impose unnecessary additional regulations on financial services companies.

“We wouldn’t be able to invest in anything the commission didn’t decide was absolutely safe for us,” said Peter Wallison, co-director of the American Enterprise Institute’s program on financial policy studies. “There wouldn’t be any innovation and there wouldn’t be any new ideas.”
Because in Wallison's view, innovation only comes with predatory financial products.

Warren's proposal is a solid one. Her criticism of the crisis and the bailout is central to keeping the process and its result viable. We need to do more than fix the crisis. We need to take steps to prevent it from happening again. Otherwise we are condemning Americans 10-15 years down the line to go through the same meltdown we are currently enjoying.

In this context listening to banking lobbyists and de-regulation cheerleaders makes all the sense of listening to the medical advice of a drug addict with a needle already in his arm. We need a doctor, and in Dr Elizabeth Warren we have one.

Making Firefox Livable: Secure Login

Firefox is my primary browser.
It's also the one that frustrates me the most (obviously, I don't even bother with IE).

A few interface bugs persist, and I doubt they will ever be fixed. One such annoyance is how firefox handles multiple saved logins for the same site. Load that site and the logins take a while to load. Plus, you have to click (or start typing and auto-complete) to select the login you want.

The Secure Login plugin fixes this, by gifting Firefox with Opera's superior password handling. Now there is always a single path to login (use the keyboard shortcut you select, or click the key icon next to the address bar). Multiple logins are ready right when the page loads, and there is no fuss about getting to the login you want.

Dear Honest Teabaggers

I'm sure, somewhere amidst the Fox News organizers, the racists, bigots and nutjobs, and the idiots who equate returning taxes for the wealthiest Americans to pre Bush levels with oppression, there are those who legitimately want to protest the waste and corruption of the bailout.

So I read snarky posts like this with disdain. Not just because the author apparently got brutally thwacked with the fail whale. But because they miss the point.

Organize (real grassroots, not astroturf like those joke tea parties) a protest against the waste and corruption of the bailout. Leave out taxes (for most Americans, we are getting tax cuts, only the very wealthy are returning to paying what they were before Bush's fiscally irresponsible tax cuts). Get over the bigotry, racism and petty poltics of whining about a legitimate loss (question" if people protesting the corrupt and stolen 2000 elections were sore losers, what does that make someone who protests the legimate Republican thrashing in 2008?).

I had no idea the bailout was so corrupt until watching this Daily Show segment:
The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Clusterfu#@k to the Poor House - Goldman Sachs' Connections
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic CrisisPolitical Humor

When you realize just how hard we were hit during the bailout process (Elizabeth Warren Interview Parts 1 and 2):
The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Elizabeth Warren Pt. 1
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic CrisisPolitical Humor

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Elizabeth Warren Pt. 2
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic CrisisPolitical Humor

It really puts things in perspective.

To be fair, the early corruption of the bailout process occurred under Bush (who's administration exhibited corrupt practices in Iraq via Haliburton). That said, Obama should be fighting this corruption with every ounce of his strength. It threatens to undermine our financial security and political stability over the long term.

I realize writing a letter to honest, sane tea party-goers is bound to reach a small audience. But a left-right coalition is always going to be needed to address systemic problems, and the corruption of the bailout process is one hell of a problem.

We need to agree on bringing back the regulations discarded over the past several decades, and make fiscal stability a priority. On the economy, we need to adopt Obama's pragmatic approach of putting success ahead of partisanship for partisanship's sake. Given the past few years, this is going to involve far more sacrifice from the principals of conservatism. It means allowing the government to resume the role and powers that have been chipped away in the name of the free market.

So, conservative readers, are you up to it?

What Does America Stand For?

Jesus's General points to a depressing post on torture by Ian Welsh:

I don’t think America stands for anything particularly noble at this point. I’d be happy to be convinced otherwise, so if commenters have ideas, I’d like to hear them.

I should add, on the original question I’m willing to bet that within a couple years we’ll find out that whatever he may have said about stopping torture, torture has continued and will continue under the Obama administration. Less of it, doubtless, but still torture.

Ian is absolutely right. The title of his post is "Obama’s Refusal to investigate torture tells us that America is a land of men, not laws". I'd go further. Obama, in refusing to prosecute the anyone from the former administration for the laws they clearly broke, is actively assisting in the breakdown of the rule of law.

This is a bitter disappointment from a man who inspired and moved me during the election. Now that he's in office, he's lost his spine and his vision.

Jackie Chan on the Chinese People

Jackie Chan has said the Chinese People need to be controlled:
"I'm not sure if it's good to have freedom or not," Chan said. "I'm really confused now. If you're too free, you're like the way Hong Kong is now. It's very chaotic. Taiwan is also chaotic."

Chan added: "I'm gradually beginning to feel that we Chinese need to be controlled. If we're not being controlled, we'll just do what we want."

Reaction has been mixed, with his audience going wild:
Chan's comments drew applause from a predominantly Chinese audience of business leaders in China's southern island province of Hainan.

Either they are thinking "better applaud or our wonderful government will have us tortured" or "oooh, he means us! We get to control the Chinese people". If its the latter, it'd be deliciously ironic. Chan's argument is a decidedly colonialist one. Unless mainland China's communist government is outsourcing all of its leadership positions to people deemed by the aging action star as able to rule the Chinese people, his statement is a bit of a conundrum.

Reaction from Hong Kong
has been cutting:
"He's insulted the Chinese people. Chinese people aren't pets," Hong Kong pro-democracy legislator Leung Kwok-hung told The Associated Press. "Chinese society needs a democratic system to protect human rights and rule of law."

Another lawmaker, Albert Ho, called the comments "racist," adding: "People around the world are running their own countries. Why can't Chinese do the same?"

I hope Jackie Chan issues an apology, this was a remarkably bone headed thing to say, and I've lost respect for the actor as a person.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

teh bailout in lolspeak

Bankz: We can haz Billionz?

Ex Bankerz Now In Govtz: LULZ TAKEZ SUMZ.

Oversite Comitee: HalP! Iz Tied UP!!!

Against Religious Homophobia

This is a question worth looking at seriously. After all, homophobia fomented by religious fundamentalism is having a measurable and deadly effect on our youth:
In less than two years there have been four brutal teenage deaths resulting from homophobic bullying. Just last week Carl Walker, an eleven year old in Springfield, Massachusetts , who never actually identified as gay, hung himself with an extension cord from the 3rd floor landing of his home. This was after his mother repeatedly implored his school to do something about the homophobic bullying he experienced. Last summer a transgendered teenager, Angie Zapata, was brutally murdered in Greeley, Colorado. Last February Eric Mohat, a 17-year old student from Ohio, who also never identified as gay, committed suicide after being repeatedly harassed with anti-gay epithets such as "fag" and "homo." His school went to trial last month as a lawsuit was filed by his parents, not because they want the school's money, but because they want to know why the school didn't respond to several requests for action. Also, last year, Lawrence King, a fifteen year old who identified as gay, was shot in the head twice in his English class. He died a few days later.
This homophobia isn't just appearing out of nowhere, and we need to stop dancing around the issue. When nutjobs proclaim you cannot follow your faith, that you are going to hell, that you are a crime against nature, how the fuck will that not have an impact? How will the flocks of these so called houses of God (who is supposed to be LOVING) treat gay people when they view them as satanic aberrations?

When the bigots are National Organization for Marriage suggest they are coming together in love it is the worst kind of doublespeak. They are working out of fear. Fear of the different. Fear of losing power of people. After all, why do they care whether or not homosexual couples can get married? Will it hit them directly? Via the Colbert Nation:
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Colbert Coalition's Anti-Gay Marriage Ad
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorNASA Name Contest

We need to start talking about homosexuality and religion honestly, and that means criticizing those who use their pulpits to incite violence unto others. Free speech should always, always be protected from censorship, no matter how vile. But it is also always open to criticism and social pressure. Homophobic rhetoric simply has no place in a civilized society, and is utterly undeserving of the reverence afforded by its implicit "off limits" nature. Its open season baby, and I'll start with the first volley:

If you dehumanize homosexuals, you are to blame before God for the violence that befalls them. To follow God is to be compassionate, not hateful, and you are not living up to your own potential as the beautiful, innately holy being that you are. So cut that out. Stop hitting your gay brother and sister, and maybe do something nice for them. You'll feel better about yourself and your place in the world.

Rightwing Extremists Have Rightwing Positions (Who Knew?)

Rightwing extremists with conservative positions? Extremists who target military members for recruitment because of their formidable combat skills? You might be thinking no shit Sherlock:
The report makes no claim that veterans at large would seek out extremist groups, or would cause violence. It just makes the fairly logical conclusion that extremist groups who might be seeking to cause violence, but don't have the skills, may seek out those who do have military training in addition to the usual profile of the types of people they seek out.
Of course violent conservative extremists are trying to recruit from the military, they are after their skills.

But that doesn't stop the nutjobs from declaring "Outrage!" and fainting. Look, first of all, quoting a single Democrat noted for his conservatism does not magically render criticism "both sides of the aisle". Second, would you honestly expect rightwing extremists to hold leftwing positions?

With a growing number of far right fringe conservatives feeling angsty about losing so soundly in 2008, and right wing pundits stoking the flames of paranoia about fascism (who clearly do not understand the meaning of the word nor its vile history), of the course the government is going to pay attenion. Its our governments job to protect ALL of its citizens, and that includes those you do not agree with, you jackasses.

So stop the act and drop the fake outrage. Maybe put yourself to good use by getting the crazies in your party to put that energy to work productively.

Blogger vs Wordpress

So far I'm liking blogger just a little more, in terms of how customizable it is.

The editor is buggy, but then, wordpress has the same problem.  Its just a matter of choosing which quirk you want to encounter.  Either way, you'll be going into html mode sooner or later.

That is, if you rock out with formatting.

Oh no I am quoting myself, is that poor form?

So the blockquote button in the editor utterly failed. Is it because I'm using Opera?

Nice Parking Champ

I've wanted these for forever.  Postcards I can leave on the windsheilds of people who park their cars in my way.  So I made them on zazzle.  (For the rest of my gallery, click here).  Now I can walk away from pure frustration with the knowledge I pissed some asshole off without resorting to heavy machinery.  Win.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Hello Cruel World

The earth is one long day of playing in the dirt and then you die. In other words, AWESOME town USA (until you kick the bucket).

Super Thought: Kick the Bucket is an unpleasantly named children's game.

This is my new blog, and a hearty welcome! I will write awful things, dark terribly possibly smelly things. Also kittens, maybe probably.