Monday, January 31, 2011
Labels: Pop Culture
Saturday, January 29, 2011
To understand just how big the events taking place in Egypt are on a global scale, examine Google the News. Normally a leading news event of the day: Elizabeth Edwards passing, the 25th anniversary of the Challenger disaster to give but a few recent examples, has five-thousand or six-thousand articles about them as a Google News feed topic. A really big story like the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords might crest at 10,000 or 11,000 articles. Egypt might be the single largest Google the News story we have seen since the Asian tsunami seven years ago. There are currently 19,000 articles on the Google the News thread for Egypt.
America switched sides in the battles between autocrats and revolutionaries somewhere in Southeast Asia between 1944 and 1953.
Today in Egypt, there is no nuance that can deny America is supporting the dictator in contravention to the will of the people. Just as we did with Musharraf, just as we are doing with Karzai. Real Americans should loathe this fundamental compromise of who we are.
Friday, January 28, 2011
Mubarak and Condi yuk it up...
Remember the heady days in the middle of the reign of King George II, when a moment of calm, a lull, an eye in the maelstrom of Iraq's civil war, allowed the mad king to dream of democratic contagion. It was argued for a moment that like so many of Kissinger's dominoes the dictatorships of the Middle East were going to morph into peaceful bucolic multi-party democracies. There was the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, that; that is going well. There was also the full-court press on Egyptian President Hosni Murbarak who made just enough of the right noises to pass the muster of Condi Rice. A sad sack herself, she will go down in history as a world-class dupe.
Sadly, the Obama Administration represents continuity within the American Empire rather than fundamental change, as things stand, Veep Joe Biden is now playing the Condi role. Unfortunately, the fire brigades brought in during the mad reign of King George the II, as they did in so many other places, threw fuel, rather than water, on the fire. Egypt has gone from smoldering to smoking. Faux moves toward democracy gave Murbarak what he thought was cover to attempt to squash and imprison leading voices of dissent and plurality. There were no real changes or democratic accommodations. Mubarak, and more importantly the people of Egypt, fully expect his son to succeed him under the status quo ante. America has ignored, to its detriment, any moderates within the powerful Muslim Brotherhood.
Today a full-fledged uprising grips Egypt. Stock market worldwide are tumbling in response. Gold and crude oil prices are soaring.
What a wonderful world.
The New York Mets sent a letter to their fans base today that one supposes was meant to be reassuring. The Mets, as we have covered here, were caught up in the massive fraud perpetrated by Bernie Madoff. Since Madoff's scheme collapsed and the dollars disappeared along with it, there have been concerns about the Mets budgetary ability to compete. The new ballpark has not ameliorated those worries. The Mets do not print money like their crosstown rivals, the Yanks. Can the Mets afford the payroll to compete, especially in a division with the newly minted powerhouse ninety miles down the Delaware River...
The letter said:
"January 28, 2011
Dear Mets Fans:
As Sterling Equities announced in December, we are engaged in discussions to settle a lawsuit brought against us and other Sterling partners and members of our families by the Trustee in the Madoff bankruptcy. We are not permitted to comment on these confidential negotiations while they are ongoing.
However, to address the air of uncertainty created by this lawsuit, and to provide additional assurance that the New York Mets will continue to have the necessary resources to fully compete and win, we are looking at a number of potential options including the addition of one or more strategic partners. To explore this, we have retained Steve Greenberg, a Managing Director at Allen & Company, as our advisor.
Regardless of the outcome of this exploration, Sterling will remain the principal ownership group of the Mets and continue to control and manage the team's operations. The Mets have been a major part of our families for more than 30 years and that is not going to change.
As we have said before, we are totally committed to having the Mets again become a World Series winner. You deserve nothing less.
We wanted to share this information with you concurrent with sharing it with all Mets employees and the media. Thank you for your ongoing support.
Huh. If you were a Mets fan, dear readers, would you feel reassured?
The sports editor's dearly departed grandmother was a one of those fatalistic Mets fans who endured the drought between 1973 and 1986 when the Mets were a laughingstock. Right now, Mets fans aren't there. Despite the collapses and the disaster that was last year, Mets fans can still say, 'At least we don't root for the Pirates'.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Watch closely. This video is pretty funny.
Police refused to share the police cruiser's dashboard video saying it was evidence in the case. The pedestrian will be charged with impeding the flow of traffic.
Labels: Pop Culture
Cowboy Stadium, home of this year's Super Bowl
Just when you thought, dear readers, that the $200 Dallas officials want to charge fans to stand outside the Super Bowl and watch the game on large screen television was the most outrageous rip-off you were going to hear about it; it has been trumped.
Because, your $200, or for that matter if you paid way more for tickets inside the building, does not include parking. Now the locals wouldn't attempt to gouge you for parking, would they?
ESPN reports that some lots are charging as much as $900.
That's right, $900!!! For the f*cking parking!!! At least you can tailgate and there is a porta-potty included at the $990/per North Collins spot which is only a tenth of a mile from Cowboys Stadium.
Willing to park a little further away? NFL sponsored parking a little over a mile away from the stadium will only run you at $71.40 Six Flags over Texas, but bear in mind, you cannot tailgate there.
Hmmmm, why do they call it the No Fun League?
Reportedly, Ducks officials downplayed the allegations and had the Condors coaches write letters of apology. Both Condors coaches were suspended in 2009. The Bakersfield Californian reported that the reason was related to Bailey, who has now been traded out of the organization.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
It is a new season and Tiger is playing this week in the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament at Torrey Pines. Tiger is playing Thursday and Friday with Rocco Mediate, the man who famously battled the limping Woods, at this same course during 2008 U.S. Open, through regulation and then an extra 18 holes, plus a sudden-death hole before Woods won. Rising young star Anthony Kim completes the trio.
What do you think, dear readers, time for Tiger to begin the comeback?
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Is another governor from Arkansas headed to the White House?
One of our older readers, a stalwart Republican since the AUH2O campaign of Barry Goldwater, made a point of telling us this past weekend that he thinks the Republican Presidential nominee will be Mike Huckabee.
The case he made, in brief, goes something like this. Huckabee has campaigned once and learned the nuances of the primaries. He has tight ties with Republican base, especially the evangelicals. Our wise old Republican says that Sarah Palin is too volatile, too much of a lightning rod. He believes that much like the Dems rejected Hillary, her negatives were too high, the Republicans know that Palin is viewed as toxic by too many.
He discounts Mitt Romney as too liberal too win the nomination. The man who presaged Obamacare in Tax-achusetts is not winning the Republican nomination. Newt Gingrich is ruled out for having too much baggage. He is Gary Hart, there is no way the media isn't digging up dirt on old Newt that will rule him out. He may be the powerbroker who decides who will be king.
The rest of the legions of unknowns John Thune, Lindsey Graham et al. are not coming from out of nowhere. Though many of our liberal friends disagree, our old Republican hand says there is no way Jeb Bush gets drafted off of the bench for this run. The Bush name still has too many negative connotations.
Ironically, for all that, this stalwart Republican is not an unabashed Huckabee supporter. In fact, he would prefer to see one of the unknowns, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, become a household name as he emerges to the steal the nomination from more famous contenders, ala Obama. Perhaps the only thing ala Obama this diehard Republican has ever wished for.
Monday, January 24, 2011
Wait, what? You didn't hear?
Well- it is not because Eric Cantor and the young guns aren't putting out the press releases. Less than three weeks after taking control of the House of Representatives, Eric and the Egomaniacs sent out a press release this morning trumpeting,
"THERE ARE THE JOBS: Republicans Prevent Massive Tax Increase, Economy Begins to Improve: U.S. companies plan to hire more workers in the coming months amid growing optimism over the economy, a quarterly survey released Monday showed, providing further evidence that the jobs market is turning around. In the fourth-quarter poll of 84 companies by the National Association for Business Economics found 42% of companies interviewed, ranging from manufacturing to finance, expect to boost jobs in the six months ahead..."No need to let the facts get in the way of your version of reality, Representative Cantor. No matter that Republicans did not actually control the House of Representatives when this survey took place, that much of the surveying was done before the November election or that even after the November election Republicans only control one of the three branches of government, the branch with the least direct impact on the economy, the Supreme Court. Pish-posh, facts. Blech. How dull. Facts don't play in the Real America.
In Real America, they just repealed the Health Care Law. Or was that Never-Never land, Representative Cantor? Even the always fair and balanced Fox News admitted, "Many House Republicans ran on repealing the health care law last fall. But after the vote, there was no GOP victory lap or celebratory press conference. The debate was muted. The outcome anti-climactic. And at the end of Wednesday, most just packed up and went home for the night." Their own salary, health insurance and pensions, safe and secure.
Bob Hope knew people...
The prize money in golf is unbelievable. We were once again reminded of that this weekend when they played the Bob Hope Classic in the desert near Palm Springs. As the Los Angeles Times reports, "The Hope was once a tour flagship event. Movie stars and celebrities showed up in droves. TV loved the blue skies and palm trees, and so did large TV audiences, much of them watching from snow piles back East..."
Nowadays, Bob Hope, himself, has long since slipped off the national radar. The event's tradition of playing with amateurs is not highly regarded by the touring pros, who can collect fat appearances fees for showing up at events on other continents. Which brings us back to the money, the obscene gobs of money. The Bob Hope Classic pays the winner $900,000. 900 large, 900 grand, that would be nine thousand $100 bills, but in this glistening era of recovery the purse size is among the smaller on the tour. Only seven PGA events offer less prize money, four of them are in late Fall, played after the Tour Championship when the season is all but over.
Where is the resentment at the disconnect between California's economic masses and these elites? Burbling.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
This afternoon we have a piece from someone near and dear to the heart of the editor. (Does not imply we automatically agree.) This article is from a North Jersey teacher and thinker, a person who has inhabited the front lines of their topic. Without further ado, we present Charles Phillips.
Lately, due in large part to the desperate fiscal condition of many states, there has been a national focus on the cost of public education. The cost per pupil has grown over the last half century, as the mandate of the public schools has grown, and politicians would like education to cost less than it does. What worries me most about this is that many of the people making decisions about public education know nothing about education. This has been made abundantly clear by the comments of Cathie Black, the new school Chancellor of New York City. Just this month, she has said two alarming things. In response to rapidly growing enrollment, she quipped to parents and reporters that “birth control would help us.” When detailing her thoughts on cutting costs in the schools, she said “What we need to do is hire good teachers and train them to handle bigger classes.” These two statements betray a thorough ignorance of the realities of public education.
In the reality of public education in America, you must take all comers, regardless of their abilities or their home life, and you must educate them, not warehouse them. This means that you will have to assign meaningful work to students that will teach them real skills. You will have to grade their work thoughtfully, and help them understand where they are deficient and how to improve. Teachers do not just “handle” bigger classes, they also have to manage that additional load of grading that those students produce, the increased parent phone calls and emails, and the added mandatory paperwork that must be done for each student.
As a New Jersey high school English teacher, I am already working 60 – 75 hours per week. My student load has grown this year to 115 students, as we have lost faculty due to budget cuts. We have also been forced to lay off a librarian, computer tech staff, and all security personnel. I have read about schools with class sizes of 40 or 45. If this was to happen in NJ, I would feel sorry for my students. More students will not mean more work for me, because I am already doing everything I can. That is the nature of the job – it expands to fill your life. If I have 30% more students, they will be assigned 30% less work. I will stop allowing them to rewrite essays, even though I consider this the best way to improve writing. I will not want to do this, but I will have no choice. I have to sleep. During the school year that is how nearly all of my free time is spent, and I sleep about six hours a night on weeknights. I am doing everything I can. As far as I can tell, we all are.
American students are often compared unfavorably to students in other countries. This comparison is absurd for many reasons. When it comes to expenditure, public schools in other countries have no sports programs, many have no special education programs, and in some countries students rely entirely on existing public transportation – no yellow busses with their expensive fuel. With regard to test scores, by the time foreign students are taking the standardized tests used for comparison, many have been weeded out, sent to trade schools or the military. This does not happen in America. All of these factors combine to make American schools look quite expensive and ineffective. Try to remove sports or special education programs from American schools, however, and you will face a harsh backlash. Tell parents that their child will not be able to attend college, that he or she is not smart enough, and they will tell you that it is their right to do so. Vilify teachers and attack their pay and pensions, as New Jersey’s governor Chris Christie has, and you will apparently meet only scant resistance.
Governor Christie has attacked teachers on numerous fronts. He has said that we do not care about children, as he cuts funding for public schools while his own children attend expensive private schools. He has attacked tenure, as has Cathie Black in NYC, saying that it amounts to a “job for life,” and that teachers “can’t be fired.” This is absolutely false. In the school where I teach, two tenured teachers have been fired in the last five years. Neither of them did anything criminal, they just weren’t doing their jobs well. This is rare, perhaps because those of us who become teachers do it not because we are looking for an easy or a “guaranteed” job (and certainly not because we are looking to make easy money), but because we care about children and we love what we teach. It is rare that a tenured teacher needs to be fired, but sometimes it has to happen. When it has to, it does. Take tenure away and it will be very easy to focus on the bottom line, fire all experienced teachers, and staff schools entirely with new and inexperienced (though cheap) faculty.
My son graduated from college two years ago, with a bachelor’s degree, and landed a job in retail management with a “big box” store. He is now, after two years on the job, making what I earn after eleven years of teaching. I am not complaining about my income, but I am comforted by the idea that if I was to get truly fed up with my job and its endless demands (as I often am before a holiday or in June) I can leave and make more elsewhere, probably. I do not want to do this, as I love my job, but if I my income continues to erode, as it has this year, or the demands continue to grow, as they have every year since I began teaching, I may be driven out of the occupation entirely. And this is what I fear.
I have often heard the argument made that if you want competent doctors, you have to pay them well, yet when one makes this argument with regard to teachers it is dismissed out of hand. People say “That’s not why people get into teaching!” This is true, because teaching has never been known as a high-paying profession, like medicine. Instead teaching has been a secure job with a pension and health benefits. You won’t get rich, but you’ll make a decent living, have health insurance, and someday be able to retire with a pension. All that is under attack, and I fear that this could have devastating effects on education. I am afraid that competent, passionate teachers will be driven out of the profession because they simply will not work this hard for less and less each year, watching their hard work being diluted by increased demands. What we will be left with will be overworked teachers who are forced to warehouse students during the school day because class sizes have exploded. They will be chronically disgruntled because of their poor income, and many will have to have second jobs, virtually eliminating their time to prepare lessons and grade assignments – tasks that extend long beyond the school day.
These educators will still be taken to task for not raising the skill level of children who grow up in houses that contain not a single book, where the parents tell them that reading and school are a waste of time, where they are free to play video games until three or four in the morning, where the parents are alcoholics, drug addicts, mentally ill or also working two jobs to try to make ends meet. Businesses will also complain that high school graduates lack the communication and problem-solving skills required by business. It will be assumed that this is entirely the schools’ fault since, after all, they are in charge of educating them. Let’s hope that the same rounds of budget cuts are being executed in Europe, China and India.
How badly did Michael Douglas want to be in this picture?
Many thanks to Clarion Content fave Kelly Oxford for the steer to the shot.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
You may, dear readers, remember this author and Clarion Content guest columnist, one of Durham's own, from his on-going work of meta-fiction. The hilarious and wildly popular, The Unauthorized Autobiography of G.Ia.M'Rock. Read the old chapters here. Today he muses on memory and fame. Check out this piece and accompanying clip from the old television show, "What's My Line?"
It's a curious thing, fame. How someone who is well known to the nation or even the world at one time can be completely anonymous at another time, or vice versa. I doubt many of my compatriots could identify Humphrey Bogart, even in his trademark fedora and trenchcoat. And yet my grandfather would be at a loss to pick out Justin Bieber from any sort of lineup.
I don't know if you're familiar with the old panel show "What's my Line", but it's a guessing game where a panel of four famous contestants try to identify the occupation of someone of less renown. When the guest has a famous face, the panelists are blind folded, but in this particularly amusing section, someone whose face is now legendary, sits calmly in front of a group of people who have no idea who he is. At the end of the clip, he describes how big his fame has spread, and it makes you sort of wonder about the effects of advertising on our consciousness.
Monday, January 17, 2011
King quoted John F. Kennedy, "Let us begin anew, remember on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate."
Kennedy was thinking arms control, but the spirit still resonates.
King is a talented writer with a big heart.
"What are the differences between Mark Zuckerberg and me? I give private information on corporations to you for free, and I’m a villain. Zuckerberg gives your private information to corporations for money and he’s Man of the Year." – Julian Assange
Who dictates to the masses who the "Man of the Year" is? Why a company worth in excess of $100 billion dollars...Funny how that works.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Twitter took a stand for the little guy. According to Wired.com, Twitter successfully challenged the gag order in court, and then told the targets their data was being requested, giving them the time to try to fight the court order themselves.
"Twitter and other companies, notably Google, have a policy of notifying a user before responding to a subpoena, or a similar request for records. That gives the user a fair chance to go to court and try and quash the subpoena. That’s a great policy. But it has one fatal flaw. If the records request comes with a gag order, the company can’t notify anyone. And it’s quite routine for law enforcement to staple a gag order to a records request.
That’s what makes Twitter’s move so important. It briefly carried the torch for its users during that crucial period when, because of the gag order, its users couldn’t carry it themselves. The company’s action in asking for the gag order to be overturned sets a new precedent that we can only hope that other companies begin to follow."
As you know, dear readers, the Clarion Content always welcomes guest columnists with open arms. Whether we agree or disagree, we want to hear what you have to say, and we will defend your right to say it all the way to the guillotine. We gratefully accept your submissions and we are happy to publish your content. Today, we have a piece from one of those closest to the heart of the editor. This article is from a North Jersey thinker who wants to weigh-in on Sarah Palin's controversial use of the term, "Blood Libel," in response to those connecting her with the tragic mass murders and attempted assassination in Tuscon, Arizona last week.
True or False:
"Jews use the blood of Christian children to make their Passover matzos?"
What scares me about this question is not the few crazies who will answer "True," but the fact that the question exists at all.
Why was it necessary, around 1984 in the Hebrew school of the Lake Hiawatha Jewish Center, to teach me and my fellow young Jews about an outright lie? "This is called the 'Blood Libel,'" they said. I think they were trying to teach us something along the lines of, "There are hateful people out there who will say crazy anti-Semitic things with no basis in reality, so you'd better be vigilant. Now, let's all watch Exodus."
There was a broader lesson, of course, one that you don't need to have read 1984 to know about: Repeat a lie often enough, people will start to believe it. No matter how ludicrous the lie. But there is more to it than that. The greatest danger of such a lie isn't the few who believe it. It is that the lie, if repeated often enough, becomes part of the discussion, even among totally reasonable people who don't believe it at all.
"The healthcare bill creates 'death panels' of bureaucrats that will decide if you live or die." This is an example of a very popular lie from 2010. A complete fabrication that was repeated often enough to become part of the discussion. Even though it was a false accusation of murder, no one called it a "Blood Libel." To do so would have trivialized the plight of the Jewish people over centuries. It would have meant hijacking the mantle of persecution from the true victims.
Saturday, in Arizona, six murders and fourteen attempted murders took place. Leading up to the 2010 elections, the congressional district where these murders took place was marked by a cross-hairs like a rifle sight on Sarah Palin's Facebook page. I have not read any articles or editorials attempting to make a connection, but apparently Sarah Palin did.
On Wednesday, she had this to say, "Journalists and pundits should not manufacture a Blood Libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence that they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible."
In other words, the true victim here is Palin. She is being persecuted by those pointing out that her political rhetoric and imagery are strikingly similar to the actions of a madman. She is the one who bravely stands behind (well... sits in front of) the flag, and the Liberal Media are the ones inciting hatred and violence.
I'm sad to say, I bet this one will get repeated often enough to become part of the discussion.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
One of our favorite Tweeters, Kelly Oxford, put a lovely little post on her blog the other day about buying a gun in Canada. Or as she put it, "Do ...people realize that in Canada you also have the right to own a gun and ammo?"
Yep, it is true, but according to Ms. Oxford..."You can’t just decide you want to go the the local shop and pick one up like an Xbox game rental."
1. Pass a gun safety course (crazy people HATE tests! they hate a day long course! SCHOOL SUCKS!!!!)
2. Provide three references of character (crazy people are crazy! BILL IS CRAZY AND WANTS TO BUY A GUN!!! DON’T SIGN IT HAROLD!)
3. Provide information on your love life and financial affairs (have abuse charges against your lady/boy friends?? bankrupt? SORRY GUIDO!!)
***note: when husbands/wives get a license to buy a weapon, the spouse must sign a form indicating they feel safe with him/her buying a weapon.
Now mail this all in, get a license back in the mail (4-6 weeks later) and go and BUY YOUR GUNS AND ALL THE AMMO YOU NEED.
If you don’t like those rules, you are too stupid to own a weapon that can kill people when you move your finger.
Ahhh, Kelly Oxford. If you think that is great, you should read her thoughts about family.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
We ran across an article in the San Francisco Chronicle that cited a wonderful little piece of investigative journalism by The Sports Business Journal. Did you know, dear readers, that twenty-three of the college bowls are ostensibly non-profit foundations? Nonprofit organizations like those that operate the bowls are not allowed under the federal tax code to give excessive salaries or perks could be seen as using charitable funds to enrich private individuals.
Yet The Sports Business Journal found that:
the Outback Bowl paid Jim McVay $808,032
the Sugar Bowl paid Paul Hoolahan $645,386
the Sugar Bowl also paid Jeff Hundley $398,023
the Chick-fil-A Bowl paid Gary Stokan $504,444
the Chick-fil-A Bowl also paid David Epps $210,013
the Cotton Bowl paid Rick Baker $419,873
the Alamo Bowl paid Derrick Fox $419,045
the Fiesta Bowl paid John Junker $415,118
the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl paid Gary Cavalli $377,475
the Orange Bowl paid Eric Poms $357,722
These bowls are all ostensibly non-profit organizations!
And the Obama administration just agreed to extend all these guys tax breaks.
The societal train has jumped the tracks.
AEG football stadium project, artist's conceptual drawing
If you are a fan of the Minnesota Vikings, this note from Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback column in Sports Illustrated has got to make you very nervous. "I hear the new AEG football stadium project in Los Angeles is very close to a stadium naming rights deal with Farmers Insurance, and the insurance company will pay at least $400 million over 20 years if the deal is consummated. Which I expect to happen."
The Vikings and the Jacksonville Jaguars are the two franchises most likely to move to Los Angeles. It has been sixteen years since the NFL has had a team in L.A., that is a long time. There are definitely powerful forces at work trying to get Los Angeles a team, even if they do not agree on where to put it. The Clarion Content hates to be cynical, but it is worth noting that a time of labor strife, like the looming potential NFL lockout, might offer just the cover a franchise needed to ditch its existing fanbase.
Commissioner Roger Goodell weighed-in at the league's owner's meetings, "The No. 1 thing for us to make the economics work in Los Angeles is going to be a new collective bargaining agreement. I don’t think it is a coincidence that we have not had a new stadium built since we had an end to this collective bargaining agreement in 2006."
Look for follow-ups on how this story plays out in the coming months.
A candid photo of Ashley Turton...
More tragedy. The inside the Beltway community suffered a third blow this morning when Ashley Turton, the wife of a key Obama staffer and a prominent lobbyist herself, was found dead today inside her burning BMW SUV at her Washington, D.C. home. A police investigation is still underway.
The story has immediately triggered speculation, Turton's SUV was found halfway in-and-out of her garage when fire officials responded to 911 calls from neighbors at 4:50am. Metropolitan Police Lt. Nicholas Breul said, "This could be just a tragic freak accident. And that is why we're crossing our t's and dotting our i's, because it is a little freaky."
She was the mother of three young children and a lobbyist for Progress Energy, which is in the middle of a $13 billion merger. From North Carolina, Ashley Turton graduated North Carolina State and first worked on Capitol Hill for Congressman Mike McIntyre from North Carolina's 7th congressional district. Her husband, Dan Turton, has worked as liaison between the Obama administration and the House of Representatives.
Our condolences and prayers to her family and friends.
Check out the photos of the very odd circumstances here.
Monday, January 10, 2011
Sunday, January 09, 2011
Czesław Miłosz won the 1980 Nobel Prize in Literature.
Saturday, January 08, 2011
Representative to the United States Congress Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona was shot in the head during a public event in Tucson this morning. Tragic. We never want American politics to be conducted this way. This way lies madness.
Representative Giffords was holding an event outside a grocery store in Tucson, AZ when a man ran up and started shooting. The Pima County sheriff has told MSNBC that five other people were killed and six were wounded, including some members of her staff.
AOL reports, "Giffords has represented Arizona's 8th Congressional district since 2007 and is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition of conservative Democrats. She narrowly defeated tea party-backed Republican Jesse Kelly to win a third House term in November."
Domestic terrorism tends to be wildly underplayed and underreported by America's corporatist media. Bear this in mind as the story unfolds this week.
Thursday, January 06, 2011
Just how big a disaster was the reign of King George the II and his offensive wars?
Here is a statistic to chew on for a second.
As of the third quarter of 2010 America's real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was still below its level of December 2007. During that same time, China's GDP grew by 28%.
Many thanks to our friends at the Economist for that meme.
Tuesday, January 04, 2011
Ahhh, change. Despite the lofty rhetoric of the man named Barry, institutional change is mighty hard to effect. Institutions inherently resist change in an effort to cling to power. In Washington, D.C. the military is front and center.
The military, with its own rules and its own code of justice, does not have to respect little niceties like the Bill of Rights. This is why King George the II used military tribunals to give the gloss of the rule of law to his locking-up "enemy combatants" and throwing away the key. The Geneva Convention be damned, eh, old boy?
The more things change...fill-in the blank.
The United States Air Force has blocked its personnel from using military computers to view the websites of the New York Times and other major publications that have published diplomatic cables from Wikileaks trove.
What's their motto, "Nothing can stop the U.S. Air Force!!!"
Apparently, not even the Constitution.
Air Force users who try to view the websites of America's New York Times, Britain's Guardian, Spain's El Pais, France's Le Monde or German magazine Der Spiegel instead get a page that says, "ACCESS DENIED. Internet Usage is Logged & Monitored," according to a screen shot reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The notice warns that anyone who accesses unauthorized sites from military computers could be punished.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the move was ordered by the 24th Air Force, which is responsible for maintaining Air Force computer networks.
Saturday, January 01, 2011
May this be the year that brings Peace on Earth!