Forbidden Weekend Around the Internets
GOP Icon shows Cthulhu influence.
I wish I could say that I was watching Sicko as a completely disinterested party. Unfortunately, I'm one of those 50 million Americans who doesn't have health insurance--
--quick aside: I indirectly work part time for UPMC. I even have an UPMC identification card. But part timers don't get health care benefits for the smaller company that I work for and apparently UPMC, with only 400 million in profits last time I checked, can't afford to cover me as well. Quick note to all you folks who spout AMA propaganda about the "long waits" whenever single payer comes up: I would prefer long waits to never seeing a doctor at all--
--True, I'm in good health (I think. Nothing has fallen off, so far....) and I walk a lot but it would be nice to talk to a doctor other than in an emergency room. The main thing I took away from the movie is that other people in other countries live much better than we do, period. They get better health care, better education, and probably better lives. And yes there are other reasons why they want us to hate France as Mike Moore makes clear in this clip. I guess this is why your usual corporate media outlets don't do more journalism about How People Live abroad. One: They rather you didn't know and two: you might notice that where people have the six week vacations and unemployment insurance that pays better than our minimum wage they tend to have real opposition/labor parties, as opposed to pretend ones that think NAFTA is going great. I guess, and this could be the theme of all of Mike Moore's movies: I live in a country that really doesn't give a fuck about me. Hail America and so forth....
Moore also offers a number of solutions at his website. I'm definitely printing out that Sicko health care card above. Its the only health card I'll have. There's also this:
Moore also points out that there is a House Bill that would simply expand Medicare to everybody. Sounds good. I'm sure the insurance lobbies and the AMA will take a break on this and let it pass without objection or outcry or multimillion scary ad campaigns. Yes I like to openly amuse myself. Related: there was a big debate recently between Nathan Newman and Ezra Klein about whether the states should take the lead on providing health care or the feds. I found myself on the Nathan Newman side of things here. Let the states take a crack at it. The federal Republican only filibuster will kill all meaningful change in health care policy and other issues of meaning as well.
Two vids I like: here's Ron Paul and David Cross vs Rudy G:
And Eric Alterman tells us the truth behind the "New York" money men and their plans for Iran.
More Richard Corben. You just can't get enough of Richard Corben.
I'm still on the beat on the voting reform bills that are in the US Congress. As far as I can tell, I'm the only person on this beat here in Pittsburgh. Still waiting for that cute Samantha Bennett to give it a shot but no such luck. Just for the record, there is some evidence that both the 2000 and 2004 elections were stolen. There are at least four books and one prominent article, written by heavyweight reporters and PhDs with math degrees and one of the smarter Kennedys, which can lay it out for you here, here, here, here, and here. These books went largely unreported on by both the Republican (Fox and Scaife and radio talk ilk) and corporate mainstream press. In fact, most of the hostility has come from Salon's Farhad Manjoo who was destroyed not only by the public but by Mark Crispin Miller here.
The story so far: The voter reform movement is bitterly split over the Holt Bill in the US House. After looking at this for a long time with puzzlement I have decided that the people (Bradblog and Mark Miller and Bob Fitrakis) against the Holt bill were right. I base my final opinion on this article by Mark Crispin Miller, where he points out that machine lobbyists and Microsoft essentially got the house committee to roll over on open source provisions in the bill. (Quick aside: if you can look at and observe the code you could in theory prevent the Hursti hack during an election. Proprietary code prevents you from looking. See related evil judicial decision here.)
The second reason has to do with the Senate voting reform bill, which everyone hates and which seems to have been written by machine lobbyists. That bill is being sponsored by Diane Feinstein. Now, it turns out that Feinstein is also pushing to make sure that the bill doesn't take effect until 2010 thus ruining the only good reason to pass some changes now for the 2008 presidential election even if they're not all favorable to transparency. Feinstein, according to what I've read, doesn't think the voter theft issue is real.
There is a shot that the bills could be revived this session but at this point perhaps we should let it die. We do have other options. It would seem to be that the major thing to do would be is to notice when someone like Ken Blackwell purges 300000 mostly black democratic voters from the voting rolls. I have to be honest I really thought the Democratic Party was doing something like that back in 2004 now I realize that they weren't. And with people like Feinstein at the helm I'm pretty sure the dems won't be looking again. Why bother after all only two presidential elections stolen and a million Iraqis dead. Such minor things...
Related: Not only are DREs not as transparent as paper ballots, they're much more expensive.
Last year Luzerne County, PA spent $2.4M on 750 ES&S iVotronic DREs and a one-year warranty. Now that the first warranty is to expire ES&S wants $300,000 for a three-year warranty. The county Director of Elections has written the state and told them, in part, “In addition to not being able to meet the financial burden that ES&S is asking us to meet, we cannot individually deal with such a large, multi-national corporation and the mix of deception this company promulgates.” And he asked the state to ensure “that voting-system vendors doing business here do not have the opportunity to threaten the democratic process with such unsavory business practices that vendors, such as ES&S, seemingly have a deep commitment to employing.”...
I openly support Cindy Sheehan's run for congress. It would be better though if she got 25 to 40 people to run with her in the senate and the house and create a viable third party in the US but that's just me. There needs to be another option than just the dems and repubs. It would actually make the two parties better.
I also support Google's bid to create open access broadband. That would create a new boom and all kinds of jobs. Expect the Bush administration to find a way to turn it down because they're just so so fucking evil.
Gel that stops HIV and Herpes and which the Bush administration and Ales Rarus (as soon as the Pope tells him what to think...) will probably oppose.
My video channel now has almost a thousand vids. There are several profiles of comic book heroes and tons of comic related stuff, which include but are not limited to a very funny story about jazz addiction from Harvey Pekar, a five minute story about why Jack Kirby is cool with a Harlan Ellison intro no less, and something done in Europe about Heavy Metal alum Richard Corben. The above is from Richard Corben's website. What's remarkable about Richard's work is that it always looked three dimensional even before computer graphic enhancements.
I had heard that the Holt bill has been pulled from the schedule but I can't find a site that confirms this. Meanwhile, Mark Crispin Miller claims that machine lobbyists and Microsoft essentially rolled over the open source provisions in the bill when it was in committee. You combine this with this equally disturbing Florida ruling and you get a situation where trade secrecy trumps democracy. This isn't the way democracy is supposed to work.
More things I need to read more closely:
Coverage of John Edwards here and surprisingly from Mullah Rob, who probably approves of Edwards firing atheist bloggers. No I didn't attend but I still think its between Edwards and Obama. Would be nice if these guys were on the same ticket in any order, although considering the reality of changing demographics Richardson would seem to be the best vp choice.
Japanese nuclear accident underplayed. I don't understand why anybody supports nuclear. Related: Possible organic solar cell breakthrough where you could produce solar cells by way of a printer. More info here and here. Possibly related:The CEO of Steorn, whose video I feature on my channel above and whose demo several weeks ago was a complete bust, talks about their recent troubles. I still think there might be something to this free energy device of theirs, but why they simply couldn't film the working prototype back at the plant troubles me...I guess I'm just being hopeful and I also think there may be dimensional properties to magnetism and gravity that we simply don't get yet. Still, we need to see that prototype fellas...
As some people may or may not know, I believe in the
religion wacky techno geek cult very sensible and optimistic philosophy of Transhumanism or "The I'd Like To Be An XMan Movement". I found this interesting transhumanist statement of purpose which I suppose could double as a kind of a secular transhumanist prayer. It's very cool. Here it is:
transhumanism Michael Anissimov 12:03 pm
I have seen a world where death and disease have been defeated by science…
where food, shelter, and clothing is manufactured quickly, and without waste…
where transparency makes violent crime impossible, and authorities accountable…
where people walk on other planets and in endless virtual worlds…
where intelligence and empathy are magnified far beyond present levels…
where the diversity of sentient beings has expanded to unimaginable proportions…
where the risk of human extinction has been reduced to near zero.
I will endeavor to take the fastest safe route to such a future, and direct my present-day energies towards its realization. I will be polite and understanding to skeptics and naysayers. I will thoroughly enjoy my daily life while simultaneously working for a better future. I will work towards that future for the good of all, not just myself, and try my best to maintain an altruistic point of view at all times.
And after this the William Shatner voiceover kicks in talking about "and Boldly going where no MAN..."
And I'm back.
I could have been back Saturday or Sunday but it turns out that while Comcast can quickly turn off your internets service when you haven't paid your bill it takes them at least three days for them to turn it back on when you have paid your bill. Real cute fellas. Looking into alternatives as I write this.
I also found out that internet services at the public libraries suck. Downtown, at the Carnegie Library, if you log out because your crappy 200 dollar mini comp won't access pages anymore you can't get back on for another half hour. But at least they sell you ear plugs so you can do this wild thing where you listen to things on the Internets. That's something that you can't do at my neighborhood Wilkinsburg public library. That's right. You're not allowed to use your ear phones at the public library in Wilkinsburg. Now I can see why they would ban speakers. I'm no fan of the hippity hop at public libraries. And many people would find my fave band the Mahavishnu Orchestra equally offensive. Fair enough. I don't understand why I can't listen to things on earphones. I guess I'm a wild man. Next I'll demand my federally funded heroin after finishing up "listening" to something at the Wilkinsburg public library. Call me a scofflaw and a rebel.
I did ask as to what was behind such an insanely hideous and backwards policy, although perhaps not in those exact words even though I like to think my expression told a thousand tales of incredulity.
I was told that people listening with their headphones--which I assumed was a private act which I would recklessly describe as private and contemplative--was "disruptive". Really. When I asked the kindly white haired gentleman how is it the Carnegie Library--a slightly bigger library with more possibly "disruptive" patrons by about a factor of 1000--could sell earplugs and yet you won't even let me listen to stuff he proudly exclaimed that the Wilkinsburg library was a separate library not at all operated by the anarchist bomb throwing emma goldman scum who run the Carnegie Library who let you "listen" to things on the Internets heaven forbid. I mean, if you let people listen to things then dancing might break out, or experimental open marriages between adults. Gotta nip this thing in the bud the librarian thought to himself while he gave me the evil eye for daring to question Big Brother. That librarian loved Big Brother. I kept on thinking: "You know if I strangled you where you stood I bet that would be disruptive...hmmm."
I might ask one of the librarians for a more thorough explanation of the policy, probably the cute girl with red flower tattoos on her forearms. Hey, its all for the "mission".
Posting here may be light this week as I take care of some personal business. But my video channel will be here. Lots of good stuff if you like alt jazz and left wing propaganda. I recommend all Jaga Jazzist vids if you can find them. There's also a beautiful jazz tune by Keith Jarrett and Jan Garbarek called "Country" If you listen carefully you can catch Keith Jarrett's trademarked humming. Above: One of my fave tunes ever by Mr. Frank Zappa.
Hey they posted my letter on Elwin Green's PG blog. It has a glaring grammatical error (should have said: "Why ACORN only held an event with DNC presidential candidates..." Double Sigh. That's what I get for typing too fast.). On the other hand, Brave corporate media blogger Elwin has yet to offer his opinion as to what the RNC can do for the black working classes, other than ship their jobs off to Chinese slave labor, which most black folk should find ironic. Quiz time: who has more power? The broke ass black blogger who runs this site or the corporate media African American blogger who can't answer a simple question unless "massa" tells him he can. I'm going to go with the former, although I wouldn't mind making 40 grand a year.
Make your own Simpsons likeness. And I must say that I am one handsome fella.
Agent Ska's brother goes to Ireland so you don't have to. Some good writing here as well.
Not feeling depressed? Here's the latest from Juan Cole:
Readers sometimes ask me if analyzing the news from Iraq every day doesn't get me down.
It got me down today. Sunni Arab guerrillas, unable to operate as effectively in Baghdad because of the US troop surge, had a suicide bomber drive a truck loaded with explosives into a market in a village on the fringes of the northern city of Tuz Khurmato and detonate his payload. As I write, authorities had counted 130 dead bodies, many of them women and children, and relatives reported another 20 dead. Another 250 or so were wounded, some of them badly, according to the Arabic daily al-Hayat. The latter says Iraqis are referring to the bombing as "the Turkmen massacre." Some 40 homes, 20 shops, and a dozen automobiles were also destroyed.
Like the detonation of the minarets at the al-Askariya shrine in Samarra recently, this act of terrorism had a strategic purpose. First, even 160,000 US troops cannot provide security to the whole country. The guerrillas are announcing that if they are prevented from operating in the Karrada neighborhood of Baghdad, they will just shift operations to Samarra (an hour's drive due north of Baghdad) or Tuz Khurmato.
Moreover, they are saying that they are just as capable of waving a read flag in front of the Shiite bull even if they aren't in Baghdad. Thus, they hit a sacred Shiite shrine again at Samarra. And Tuz Khurmato is a largely Shiite Turkmen city of some 63,000, surrounded by villages with a similar composition, like the one that was blown up Saturday. Although Turkmen Shiites had in earlier decades been removed from the formal, clerically-dominated Shiism of Najaf, practicing instead a folk religion, in the 1990s Ayatollah Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr reached out to them and brought many of them into orthodox Twelver Shiism. Arab Shiites now feel solidarity with them, and on occasion young cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has sent Mahdi Army fighters up to protect them. The Badr Corps of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council has also attempted to attract their loyalty. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki denounced the bombing as the work of Sunni extremists who declare that Shiite Muslims are actually infidels.
Meanwhile, it looks as if the Iraqi parliament is going to reject the oil deal--or as it should be known "The Legalized Plunder" deal--that's been foisted upon the puppet regime. Looks like the puppet isn't dancing like evil Uncle Sam wanted. Good for the Iraqis.
I criticized ACORN in my letter to the Post Gazette. My history with ACORN goes way back and I detail their many many problems here. I occasionally still get feedback from people who have worked or have tried to work for ACORN. Elwin should read it with links.
Thank You so much for this very informative article. I was in the process for being hired for an organizer position in ACORN. I was very excited about the prospect of being part of working for fair labor rights, but after I learned about the hypocricy and expliotation that comes along with working for ACORN, I withdrew my application. Thank you for the advice. Just for fun... here is the email Im sending to their Director of Recruiting hopefully it will strike a chord:
I regret to inform you that I am no longer interested in the
activist/organizer position. After doing further research into your
organization I was educated on the hypocricy and mismanagement that is rampant
in ACORN. I refuse to work 55 hours a week and not be paid overtime. I refuse
to be denied lunch breaks and 15 minute breaks that are required by law in
several states. I refuse to work for an organization that insists on putting
young unexperienced workers into possibly dangerous neighborhoods without at
least a buddy system for security. Most importantly, I refuse to work for an
organization that tauts the necessity of fair labor practices and then
blatantly DENIES THEM TO THEIR OWN WORKERS. I am very passionate about the
fighting oppression that ACORN works against, but I will not become a victim
of it myself. Thank you for your time, and I hope these problems can be
rectified within the ACORN community.
Well, all in a day's work for Bicycle Repairman.
Jaco Pastorius, voted greatest bassist of all time, does his version of America (catch the early wiz of oz riffs...).
And now a few words from Frederick Douglas, a badass in any time. And yes I was surprised to see that at the Great Orange Satan's left side or his virtual frontpage. Perhaps he's getting smarter.
What, to the American slave, is your Fourth of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass-fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy-a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States at this very hour.
Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms- of the Old World, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.
Datajunkie also has a very cool logo:
There were two prominent black american bloggers of prominence who you could reliably trust to fill the "token" slot in most liberal blogs over the last few years. One of them, Steve Gilliard, just passed away and while I sometimes disagreed with him (Steve never got the vote theft issue right or figured out that this was kind of a black issue...not a problem with, say, the Black Agenda Report, which arguably has the best black writers on the net. They never say stupid things.) he knew stuff. Oliver Willis is the other who guy who usually fills the token spot on most liberal white blogs. I have come to the conclusion that Oliver Willis just isn't a very talented guy. Certainly not a guy who represents black intellectual thought at its best and brightest. Today, for example, he recently called Howard Zinn an "idiot".
Go ahead and gasp.
Even if its true that Howard Zinn--who actually served in ww2 when its clear that the only thing the Original O Dub has ever served is on the menu and its large portions--doesn't love America sufficiently enough for Oliver's tastes I don't understand someone who's African American putting this guy down. Here's just a partial rundown of Mr. Zinn's civil rights pedigree from Wikipedia:
In 1956, Zinn was appointed chairman of the department of history and social sciences at Spelman College, where he participated in the Civil Rights movement. Zinn served as an adviser to the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
While at Spelman, Zinn collaborated with historian Staughton Lynd and mentored young student activists, among them writer Alice Walker and Marian Wright Edelman. Although Zinn was a tenured professor, he was dismissed, in June 1963, after siding with students in their desire to challenge Spelman's traditional emphasis of turning out "young ladies" when, as Zinn described in an article in The Nation, Spelman students were likely to be found on the picket line, or in jail for participating in the greater effort to break down segregation in public places in Atlanta. Zinn's years at Spelman are recounted in his autobiography You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times. His seven years at Spelman College, Zinn said, "are probably the most interesting, exciting, most educational years for me. I learned more from my students than my students learned from me." 
Zinn said that while at Spelman, he observed thirty violations of the First and Fourteenth amendments to the United States Constitution in Albany, Georgia, including the rights to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and equal protection of the laws. In an article on the civil rights movement in Albany, Zinn describes the people who participated in the Freedom Rides to end segregation, and of the reluctance of President John F. Kennedy to enforce the law. Zinn has also pointed out that the Justice Department under Robert F. Kennedy and the Federal Bureau of Investigation headed by J. Edgar Hoover, did little to nothing to stop the segregationists from brutalizing the civil rights workers.
Zinn wrote frequently about the struggle for civil rights, both as a participant and historian  and in 1960-61, he took a year off from teaching to write SNCC: The New Abolitionists and The Southern Mystique.  In his book on SNCC, Zinn describes how the sit-ins against segregation were initiated by students and, in that sense, independent of the older, more established civil rights organizations.
This is the guy that Oliver Willis calls an "idiot". Astonishing. Beyond contempt. So beside Oliver's name on my linkroll I've added a whole list of African American bloggers who are probably better and brighter than Oliver Willis and who know who their friends are. Oh, he adds: "I hate people like Howard Zinn". Unreal. Un fucking real.
Speaking of the vote theft issue, there are a number of voter reform bills moving through the congress right now. This is actually a really important debate that you would know about if the media concentrated on real issues and not bullshit car wreck and fire stories that you can do nothing about for the most part.
It's actually a fairly complicated issue. Voting activists that I respect are split on the Holt Bill in the house. Everybody agrees that the Feinstein bill is terrible and seems to have been written by voting machine lobbyists. I would think that if any of the senate bill makes it into the final package this bill shouldn't pass.
There has finally been a debate between the pros and cons of this issue and you can listen to it here. Unlike Paris Hilton going to jail this issue may determine who wins or gets away with stealing the 2008 election.
A Special "I Link Therefore I Am" Version of Around the Internets
Some art by Paul Pope. Pic of Ravi Shankar, father of Norah Jones.
Horrible supreme court decision commentary here and here. I agree that the high court has become a tool of evil. I will also remember that the dems didn't filibuster a single Bush II court nominee. Related "racism is dead" news here. Also related: Pitt study documenting that life in Pittsburgh not great for African Americans.
Digital indexing sites sued by movie industry. For the record, that's kind of of what my music channel actually is. Its also what google is. Related: How not to get busted for file sharing. Update from techdirt:
It's amazing how badly the entertainment industry wants people to believe that anything they don't like must be illegal. There's already a long history of them suing the easiest party for them to find rather than the party actually breaking the law, so it shouldn't be much of a surprise to see them doing so again. Apparently the MPAA has sued some sites that create a directory of online videos, mainly TV shows and movies. These sites do not host the files. They simply point people to where they are online. Effectively, it's the same thing that a search engine like Google does. There are plenty of Google searches that will lead you to unauthorized content, but for some reason, the entertainment industry believes that if you make a specialized search engine or directory you're somehow liable. These sites have come under attack before, and the MPAA may be hoping that by creating a specialized search engine they'll be able to show "inducement" under the Supreme Court's Grokster standard. It will definitely be worth watching how these court cases go, because if the MPAA succeeds, it effectively means that they'll have the right to sue anyone who links to infringing content by claiming inducement. That would be a horrible precedent to set.
In important fanboy news:
Mark Millar says that he's seen the initial shots of Wanted and that they've done the first two issues pretty much word for word, which means that it should be sensational. This is one comics property that I always thought would make a really good movie. Wikipedia info on the film here.
Late Night Weekend Around the Internets
One of my fave online comics has concluded. The inks are very Steranko.
Agent Ska's brother is blogging. Are there any underachievers in this family? Related: She's also involved in this group ladies (with a title font right out of Jane Austen) blog that I had better permalink and soon...
I decided to check out my fave impartial corporate media blogger (because when I read something from corporate media bloggers I just KNOW I'll learn something dangerous and whatnot..) Elwin Green, who apparently is quite the impartial one. Don't ask who he backed in the civil war. He won't know or can't tell or something. Anyway, he wrote about how ACORN (not my favorite organization but they do some good) wrote about who how they were going to meet Obama and then he mentioned this:
"No word yet on whether the organization will offer a similar trip to see and hear Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani or any of the other Republican presidential candidates."
So I wrote him this:
Well, first, I think the reason why ACORN, run by mostly unaccountable white folks by the way last time I checked, is that the Republican Party is thought to be, quite correctly, kind of a racist party. Why did white supremacist David Duke choose the GOP? Because that's where he felt comfortable and I agree with him. I know that there's a tactical reason not to lay your eggs in one party but why help the other people that's clearly a racist party and against any significant widestream effort that would actually improve the lot of the black underclass for example: direct federal funding of education as opposed to property taxes or amending these top down trade deals to protect the bulk of african american blue collar workers or investing more in education than prisons or not waging imperialistic war against mostly brown skinned people and the list goes on. What benefit would there be to hearing Fred Thompson speak? I mean, even white americans are soured on the GOP...why should African Americans embrace them? Wouldn't building the Green Party into a viable second party make more sense. Your opinion please.
So far no response from Elwin. Hey, he said he wanted feedback...I also forgot to mention the republicans are really really bad because they've stolen the last two presidential elections by purging mostly african americans from the polls. I know Elwin is impartial but sometimes a grudge is a healthy thing...
I actually caught the last day of the Three Rivers arts fest thing and I caught two interesting artists. The above work was drawn by Monique Luck, who also has a mural in Squirrel Hill. I like all the murals I've seen in the city so far. And below there are two pieces by Mark Traughber. There were
more other interesting artists at the fair--the couple who built modded broomsticks and the black wood carver come to mind--but they didn't have websites so...
Down below I linked to a site called The Real News. This is an attempt to create a completely publicly funded press. They don't want government subsidies or corporate money. They need your donations. I guess it would be like NPR except that the republicans wouldn't work relentlessly to either destroy it or convert it to fox news. The founder talks more about the project below.
Quick links I need to read more carefully:
New Google Public Policy Blog
33 Ways to Watch TV Online
10 web operating systems reviewed
Locus Magazine Reviews Ken MacLeod's New Novel (it sounds cool because it features a channel similar to the one at the top of the page that features executions as opposed to songs.) Cory Doctorow also gave it a rave review.
Interesting Site Called Fleen that Reviews Online Comics