Tuesday, May 29, 2007

February 2007

Feb. 27

Why People Vote Third Party or Why Ralph Nader May Run Again: Its the bought off dems, stupid.

From David Sirota, DNC insider. Read the whole depressing thing:

The Associated Press today tells the story of how Democrats in Washington clearly do not want to end the Iraq War. This story includes all of the tell-tale signs of both a party that disdains the will of voters and a media unwilling to report even the most basic facts: Nancy Pelosi reading Fox News talking points that claim conditioning funding on American troops’ training is supposedly not supporting our troops; Harry Reid nonchalantly saying in the face of mounting casualties that there’s no real urgency to do anything on the war because "Iraq is going to be there"; and the AP writer refusing to acknowledge consistent public opinion polls by CNN and the Washington Post that show the public strongly supports Congress cutting off funding for Bush’s military escalation and conditioning funding on adequate troop training, respectively.

Make no mistake about it: The renewed refusal by Democrats to use their majority in even the most basic way to stop the war is a declaration that the new majority is not close to using even the most basic powers afforded to it to stop or slow down the war. In other words, in backing off, the Democrats have just weeks after the 2006 anti-war election mandate effectively declared themselves as supportive of the Bush administration’s stay-the-course policy - a truly sickening act of cowardice.

This is all the more reason for folks to head over to the Progressive States Network’s Anti-Iraq Escalation Campaign and use our website to demand your state legislature tell Congress that its behavior on Iraq is absolutely unacceptable. Clearly, the folks in Washington are so drunk off power they have decided to ignore the majority of Americans who want an end to the madness in Iraq. They need to hear from our states - and they need to hear from our states right now.

Short view of the 21st century. I'm sure Skynet will do the right thing when it becomes conscious.

Why Richard Dawkins is a mean ol' atheist.

And get well Steve Gilliard. Look, I'm no doctor but when the phrase "open heart surgery" pops up...this would be a tremendous loss.

Feb. 26

I spent all day working on this. This happens to be the future. I just programmed my own one hour music and politics show. I think its pretty good. No fluff. No reality programming. Just good music and selected ideology. Quake in your boots Reginald Hudlin and BET on about another six months. This is just the first of these kinds of services. They'll get better. Bugs: Doesn't work with explorer. In fact, it sabotages my entire jazropo page. Only works with Firefox. I can't figure that out. His code is buggy.

Feb 25

World Record Average Around the Internets or Stories I Need to Read More Carefully

I liked the interview that 2 Political Junkies snagged with Mike Doyle. I didn't agree with one point he made as to why he wouldn't impeach the president. He said he didn't want to make Cheney the President. I suggested, in the comments, that you could impeach both the President and the Vice President at the same time. You could even go after Cheney first. And right on time, here's Raw Story offering up six articles of impeachment for our favorite vp hunter. That would mean President Pelosi, which I could live with. Just to review: impeachment would be popular, would show the dems have spine, work politically (monicagate cost the dems the 2000 presidency among other things) and put the republicans on the defensive. Finally, and not least, it might be the only way to save up to a million Iranian lives.

Yet another place to download youtube videos.

Here's a place to create your own playlists that looks good. My first effort is here. I think the way to sell politics is the same way you sell other products. Repetition, repetition, repetition. Just like the Geico ads.

While I think its a good thing that Walmart will take the long deserted East Hills area and turn it into one of their superstores, it should be noted that Walmart pays its workers just about nothing and for its factories abroad those workers are living in Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle". You know, and maybe I should go over to Bill Peduto's site and say something about this, there is a store called Costco. They pay their workers a living wage, provide great benefits and their leadership gives most of its money to the Democratic Party. I wish someone would give Costco a call, either downtown or elsewhere.

Car sharing program comes to Pittsburgh and costs 9 dollars an hour. I'd be better off renting a uhaul van for a day.

A long time ago I was the only guy on the Better Humans staff who thought that people who were worried about GM foods had a point. I was of the opinion that while those foods shouldn't be banned you should at least know what you're eating and it should be labeled. I believe all of those initiatives were defeated so your every meal is a surprise. Turns out that one company knew that their GM potatoes caused cancer six years ago, but they didn't tell anybody. I think Chris Mooney owes us all an apology. And for this.

Feb. 21st

Stolen from My Left Wing Because its Cool

"The media's the most powerful entity on earth.
They have the power to make the innocent guilty
and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power.
Because they control the minds of the masses."

-- Malcolm X
Assassinated February 21, 1965

(approximation of the Evil One or the Instapundit.)

I see that the Instapundit is getting a much deserved beatdown. How can I put this? Glenn Reynolds is a crazy person. A right wing extremist. He's that blonde guy in that first Matt Damon Bourne movie who clenches his teeth and jumps out a window as opposed to being interrogated. Keep in mind whenever you hear how Al Gore couldn't win Tennessee that radical extremist Glenn Reynolds was "helping" him in that state. And why is hot Boing Boing girl Xeni Jardin linking to a guy who likes death squads? He supports them in Iran, certainly Iraq (a half million Iraqi civilians gone and he knows no shame) and he probably supported them in Latin America. Its who he is. He's an evil little man. If he were a Marvel villain he'd be too over the top...

(approximation of Senator Joe Leiberman)

Apparently, another evil man, the independent senator from Conn. Joe Leiberman, is holding the entire Democratic Party hostage, according to the Booman Tribune. Here's the whole thing:

Lieberman's Blackmail on Iraq

by BooMan
Thu Feb 22nd, 2007 at 06:11:06 PM EST

Joe Lieberman is holding the entire Democratic Party hostage to his position on the war in Iraq. We cut funding for the war and he bolts and hands all the Senate committee chairs to the Republicans.

Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut told the Politico on Thursday that he has no immediate plans to switch parties but suggested that Democratic opposition to funding the war in Iraq might change his mind...

"I have no desire to change parties," Lieberman said in a telephone interview. "If that ever happens, it is because I feel the majority of Democrats have gone in a direction that I don't feel comfortable with."

Asked whether that hasn't already happened with Iraq, Lieberman said: "We will see how that plays out in the coming months," specifically how the party approaches the issue of continued funding for the war.

He suggested, however, that the forthcoming showdown over new funding could be a deciding factor that would lure him to the Republican Party.

"I hope we don't get to that point," Lieberman said. "That's about all I will say on it today. That would hurt."

Leiberman, by the way, is Exhibit One as to why some of us think that the Jewish delegation in congress supports the Iraq War--and will probably be the first to support an Iranian war. He certainly is the most obvious exhibit. Its certainly a question that a real press should be asking: are you more loyal to Israel--not unlike fighting for the white South Africans--than you are to the United States? Are you willing to invest American troops and treasure in a war that you think will protect Israel (Mistakenly, as even a number of Jewish and Israeli thinkers have pointed out.)? I think in Leiberman's case the answer is clearly yes. And you can't write about it and politicians can't talk about it. Jewish American money, which is a different thing than the majority of Jewish American voters who voted with the wave and realize that the Iraq War makes the world a much more dangerous place for Jews everywhere, seems to support the war and punishes people who criticize it.

And when I talk about the influence of "Jewish Money" (please read the link) I mean things like this (from Undernews):

JEWISH WEEK - The Brandeis campus is reeling in the wake of former President Jimmy Carter's visit. Major donors to Brandeis University have informed the school they will no longer give it money in retaliation for its decision last month to host former President Jimmy Carter, a strong critic of Israel. The donors have notified the school in writing of their decisions รข€” and specified Carter as the reason, said Stuart Eizenstat, a former aide to Carter during his presidency and a current trustee of Brandeis, one of the nation's premier Jewish institutions of higher learning. . . Brandeis history professor Jonathan Sarna, who maintains close ties with the administration, told The Jewish Week, "These were not people who send $5 to the university. These were major donors, and major potential donors. "I hope they'll calm down and change their views," Sarna said. . .

This kind of thing affects parties, blogs and newspapers, in case you're wondering why you're not getting a full debate on this issue on your "news" outlets. You can read about such things on the Internets, which is why some people love the Internets. Of course, I imagine, there might be lots of people who hate the Internets for the very same reasons.

Short 30 word reviews of cable movies that I have watched:

I believe I also saw this Woody Allen movie ("Match Point") when it was called "Crimes and Misdemeanors", one of the strongest of his post Annie Hall period. It wasn't bad it just felt like I had seen it before except without British accents. I should look more into the history of the film. Allen might acknowledge that. One major problem and a spoiler: He never would have gotten away with it because of all those cameras they have in Britain. He wouldn't have been "lucky" so to speak. Meanwhile, "The Squid and the Whale" is the kind of striking and shocking movie that Woody Allen used to make. If you're married, I highly recommend that you watch this film and Allen's "Husbands and Wives" and then just get about the business of slitting your wrists. Very painful yet funny. Great performances from both Linney and Daniels. I swear I could read every evil thought from Daniels just by his expression. Disturbing insights into writers and failure. Anna Paquin was hot too...

Unspace, or Mullah Rob, wrote a review of "Black Snake Moan" which I hadn't even heard of. It apparently features a black man (Samuel Jackson) who finds a beaten up Christina Ricci on the road. She wakes up and then finds that she's chained to his house in her underwear. The Sam Jackson character won't release her until he's cured her of her "wickedness" far, this sounds like a completely logical movie. I would do the same. I would have to use rope because I can't afford chains and I would be fine with her "wickedness" but I understand the motivation. I guess I'm hoping it has no redeeming religious values attached to it but then why is Mullah Rob reviewing it as he scratches his Spock goatee ever so suspiciously? Trailer here:

Feb. 19

In this month's The Humanist:

It's not a war over democracy and freedom. If you didn't know that already...You can also care about human life even if you're not being threatened with eternal Hellfire to do so. Related: This post over at Max Sawicky's site about how we're stealing their oil.

Mark Crispin Miller gives us the rundown on the Voter Reform movement after the election. He criticizes these nonbinding resolutions so he won't be invited on the Daily Kos Blogroll anymore, not that he ever made that blogroll.

I'm going to repeat the whole thing here:

The Senate unanimously punks out

If the Senate Democrats weren't suffering from a severe collective case of battered spouse syndrome, they would be all fired up about the sorry state of our election system, and doing everything they could to make it better. By "better," I mean, basically, "more honest," which, in this case, could work only to the Democrats' advantage. After all, the party's top dogs tend to care far more about (a) their own careers and (b) the party's welfare than they do about the state of the Republic.

Such short-sightedness is all too human, and so there's little point in our decrying it. In any case, such self-interest would at least help save us from the looming fascist order--if (again) the Democrats would only act out of self-interest, rather than continuing to acquiesce so masochistically in BushCo's grand subversion of American democracy, or what's now left of it. They cannot, will not, face the truth about the nature of BushCo's regime. Thus they keep rubber-stamping Bush's steps toward absolute control of the election system, as they just did last night, approving the appointment of an outright Bushevik to Bush's EAC.

This cave-in--and the current rush to pass Rush Holt's bill’ which will finally do more harm than good--make clear that the Democrats feel much assured by their big "victory" in November. They tell themselves that they gave Bush the "thumpin'" that he so quaintly mentioned in his first press conference after E-Day. They tell themselves that their big win of 29 House seats was a sort of proof that things can't really be so bad, or they would not have been permitted to perform so well.

What they cannot, will not, face is the unpleasant truth about that last election: that there was vast election fraud from coast to coast again; that the volume of complaints from the grass roots (remember them?) was evidently greater than it was two years before; that the Dems arguably won not a mere 29 states but at least 50 (and probably did better in the Senate than they think). In short, they will not, cannot, face the fact that Bush did not just get a "thumpin'," but was routed--and that it was not Rahm Emanuel/Chuck Schumer who deserve our praises for the (actual) devastation of the Bush Republicans, but the people, who turned out in record numbers, and with a new doggedness, to vote against the Bush regime and all its works. The Democratic party will not give them any credit for that action, or help those who were disenfranchised once again.

There are currently four Democrats, all of them in Florida, challenging the outcome of the 2006 election, and collecting evidence of election fraud in every case; and they're doing it with no help from the party, which also pressed a number of other "losing" Democratic candidates to do the "gracious" thing and shut their mouths--as if it were "ungracious" to assert, and to defend, the right to vote.

Before Election Day, Republicans refused to talk about election fraud because it would hurt their interests, they having lately "won." Now it's the Democrats who play the issue down, or keep ignoring it, for the very same reason. Thus both parties seem inclined to sell the voters out.

This is not about affixing printers to the DRE machines, or any other trivial (and useless) technical adjustment. It's about confronting those who can't and won't confront the enemies of what was once was the world's most promising democracy. We must confront them now, and force them to confront and overwhelm those enemies, or we can kiss the Constitution, and the Planet Earth, goodbye.

Let me add a few thoughts to this: One of the advantages of controlling the ballot isn't just controlling when you win, but controlling when you lose. In a chess game sometimes its to your advantage to sacrifice a queen or a rook or even a mid term election (What better way to quiet the critics? See Steve Gilliard.) in order to better position yourself for a long term win. Right now it looks as if the dems retook the congress in order to continue the war. Long range that sucks for the dems. It was great knocking on doors against the republicans last fall. It won't be so great in 2008 when you're the party that did nothing to stop the war, an evil unjustified war of imperialist greed at that. True, there's hope on the Murtha front but he won't even get help from the more powerful blogs and he'll get killed by the Corporate Press. Murtha will need all the help he can get.

One more thing: there is vast disagreement about the merits of the Holt bill as its currently authored. People for the American Way supports it. Here's the best critique I've read so far from Josh Mittledorf.

I think the argument that this is "achievable" doesn't carry much weight, when it is likely we will get only one bite at the apple this legislative session. The threshold for support has to be higher than simply "doesn't hurt" or even "better than what we've got".

Consequently, I hold any election legislation accountable for making a significant improvement in the situation. I don't think the Holt bill rises to this standard because

  1. Effective legislation must be explicit about consequences and remedies when, inevitably, their mandates are violated. There are already ample rules, especially at the state level - some might say more than ample rules - that are not being enforced. For example, tens of thousands of precincts have suffered violations and corrupted vote counts, while the only prosecutions of which I am aware are the two Democratic officials recently convicted in Ohio. Another example: Pennsylvania, like many other states, provides that computer code for electronic voting machines must be certified by the state; but in practice, the code is routinely altered by manufacturers up to the day of the election, with no possibility of state supervision. Whom do we sue? What are the appropriate remedies?

  2. There is a huge loophole in Sec 327, providing that when states recount an election because it is close, they don't have to use the very paper trail that the bill works so hard to provide! So when exactly are the paper trails counted?

  3. The bill is likely to entrench both DREs and the EAC as albatrosses on our voting system for years to come.

Meanwhile, from the Post Gazette, here's a profile on our local voter reform activist hero, Marybeth Kuznik. There doesn't seem to be any mention of the Holt bill or the split in the voter reform community about that bill's worth. If you want that, you have to read the Internets...

Feb. 18

So, Reginald Hudlin is kinda of a dick. I got banned (I seem to have a talent for that, at least when I make an effort...) from that web forum of his. Luckily I saved the page and you can read it here. Its fair use and all and its news when a Ted Turner type doesn't answer questions on his own web forum. He doesn't address any of my arguments. What this means: BET on J will turn into yet another Viacom music channel that has nothing to do with good music. Its almost like Viacom hates music. It just feels that way. One more note to Reggie: Why is your forum moderator 10 years old? Is that the audience you're aiming for? Wait. Don't answer that.

Then again, we're very close to being able to create our own channels and saying fuck viacom and probably cable tv. All you need are playlists and somebody that won't yank your vids after two minutes. French Daily Motion would be perfect if they did real playlists. But they don't offer playlists, yet. Now, there is Mania TV, which allows you to create channels. The embeds are shaky plus they're windows media only. That doesn't bode well. I can't get it to work with mozilla. It sure would be nice if the Pirate Bay people offered a video service...Oh, here's a channel: it only has three vids so far because the service seems to be buggy and slow (Yep. Definitely a Microsoft product...) but there might be more later from the Steely Dan Channel. Guaranteed to be better than BET on J. It also has a zoom function.

Feb. 17

A tale of two flowcharts. Here's science:

And here's the one for faith.

Feb. 14

ET TU Booman?

As people may or may not know, I have been banned from both the Daily Kos, for writing this and having the nerve to defend myself and also the Booman Tribune, even though I think Booman is actually a real progressive. I thought in both cases that the bannings were unwarranted and not the actions of people that you call "progressive" or even "liberal".

So imagine my quiet satisfaction when it turns out that Saint Markos kicked Booman--and a lot of other prog blogs (hint: they're independent and more likely to criticize the dems if they do nothing except offer symbolic opposition to the war, although I think Booman got banned because he touched the fifth rail and wrote about Israel and their role in this awful war..(hint two: The Iraq war is a proxy war for oil and israeli security amongst yourselves....)--off of his blogroll. I believe Booman has renounced his past evil and offered rules on bannings, as opposed to the many arbitrary down the memory hole bannings that Chairman Markos engages in. I reenlisted at the Booman Tribune using my real name and will test out these new rules.

I did write this:

I think those are all fairly good rules. Hey, at least you have them. I kind of wonder what brought them on. I'm sure there was a lengthy and fair process going on when Markos dropped you from his blogroll. Well, if it takes experience to make you better...

Philip Shropshire

PS: I think you were dropped because you wrote about AIPAC and whether members of the jewish delegation of a certain house committee were objective when it came to Israel...perfectly appropriate questions by the way that a vigorous online press should be asking. And I'm sure, in an alt universe, where there were 10 Iraqi sunnis sitting on a US house committee you would be asking the same questions.

More on the purges from the Daily Kos blogroll here and here.

Related: Max Sawicky, unlike me and my lazy ass, has gotten the Scoop software and bills one of his first antiwar projects as the UnKos.

Note to Fester: Remember how inevitable the Bill Bradley campaign turned out not to be. More realistic Pro Hillary scenario: Obama and Edwards split the progressive vote/bloc and Hillary gets everything else and wins.

If you're a normal person or a couple on Valentine's Day then I recommend "Michelle" by the Beatles. If you're a serial killer in training, then I highly recommend Vincent Gallo's "Honey Bunny", also featured over at the Red Light District. I don't think I've ever seen Paris Hilton so...appealing.

Yet another edition of "I Love You Steve Gilliard/Gawd I Hate You Steve Gilliard". Agree with Steve that appealing to racist white evangelicals is not the way to go. Agree with Steve that we really don't know a lot about Obama and that black voters are all distrustful that he's a trojan horse for NAFTA Two or eliminating Headstart. Or a black republican who represents the whims of the powerful and not the interests of the black community. Agree with Steve that if you keep calling him uppity Salon you'll push me into his camp out of rage. But Gawd I Hate Steve for not recognizing that the blogroll stuff matters. I suppose I would feel better about his position as the lone black on the blogroll who doesn't care about being on the Daily Kos blogroll if he wasn't at the very tippy top of the Daily Kos blogroll, which, according to people who have been purged can cut your traffic by up to a third. Of course, like Chairman Markos, Steve does hate those dirty fucking hippies like Max Sawicky...

Feb. 13

New Stickers from the EFF. (from Boing Boing)

Feb. 12

Other posters like this here.

I haven't chosen a presidential nominee yet. For me its between Obama and Edwards. I was leaning toward Edwards until his statements on Iran (probably won't immediately withdraw if Bush starts yet another ill conceived war...)and this blogger controversy. I definitely am hostile toward religion--for good reasons--and probably wouldn't make for a blogger that should be hired by the Edwards campaign, although I'll probably end up knocking on doors for whoever the presidential nominee is for the dems unless its an uninspiring choice. I can understand the politics of respecting religion, but I can't understand letting your enemies determine who your friends are let alone your employees and that apology thing...I would have tendered my resignation. So Obama is going up and Edwards down but I still can't make a call....

Feb. 9

I see someone else has used the newspaper generator for hilarious effect. Note to self: Tell the Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents that I'm black no matter what whitey sez.

Aaron McGruder is coming to Pittsburgh. I probably won't be able to afford to see him but I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Feb. 6

Read all about it. You can create your own snark headlines/stories here if you're interested. Meanwhile, all's quiet on the Mullah Rob front. Since he didn't answer my challenge of what is the evil atheist agenda I will answer it for him, karate chop and muay thai knee included. There is no evil atheist agenda. We're just the people at Jonestown who say "Let's not drink the koolaid." We're the ones at the Branch Davidian ranch saying "You know, I never thought Koresh was the messiah." We're the ones who don't commit suicide in order to catch the interstellar ride on the comet. And we're the ones who don't believe in fairy tales no matter how nice they make us feel. Its an honorable way to see the world and to live.

(Great toon by Stephanie McMillan, who I will never eat with. "Yes that's right I don't think I can vote Green Stephanie... and this is delicious! What do you call it? Garlic Oleander stew? That's got a kick...and, hey, I don't feel so good...")

I see Ralph Nader is considering another run. I have never voted for Ralph Nader because we live under a terrible gawdawful winner take all system. Terrible for democracy. And, now, of course there are hit teams aimed against Third Party candidates. Ask Carl Romanelli. When we run off to Mars I say let's all use proportional representation and auditable ballots. The democracy would be refreshing.

But I do know why Nader is running. The Republicans gave us a gift today in that they voted down even a worthless bill condeming the war, but the dems really have to go further. They have the power to cut off the funds, but simply won't use it. They're just not that much of an opposition party are they? Just look at how they handled the filibuster issue. Let me get this straight: the dems can't use the filibuster when they're in the minority but the republicans can. How nice. They really are the Washington Generals Party. The Republicans can play hardball and do everything within their power to destroy the dems. The Dems want to "work" with the Republicans, the most evil party on the face of the planet. The party that could teach Emperor Palpitine a thing or two. A party, that by all rights, shouldn't exist. There shouldn't be a party that just represents the oil and insurance industries and works against the long term public interest at every turn. Right? But that's what we got. The Ruthless Dark Side Bidness Party and the less ruthless Joe Biden/Leiberman business party that enables them, and, oh look, Unity 08 is right between them giving me a "choice".

The odd thing is that I really think that a well funded Third Party effort could work well in 2008. I still think if you had 30 million to blow the Greens should shoot for five Senate seats and 10 to 15 house seats. That way they would hold, in theory, swing vote say on just about every issue. That's why I wasn't happy that a progressive guy like Craig Newmark won't improve his net worth by taking google ads. The American Left needs money to create infrastructure and to work year round. Hey we're not all rich white kids doncha know. (See "My Brilliant Career at ACORN.")

There's also a real opportunity for a well funded progressive Third Party presidential candidate but he has to play to win. Well funded means 25 to 30 million in at least 17 states..Perhaps Ralph will win the lottery or that famed Hollywood Left will do something besides give money to Dems...

Related thought I couldn't fit in above: Our democracy sucks. Four and six year time spans to choose between the candidates of two mostly worthless parties. Direct Democracy is the way to go. We should get a vote on every bill. That would solve a lot of the graft or at least more of us would get a cut. I also like the premise behind the Free Nation Foundation:

"We believe our current societies are fundamentally flawed and based on wealth accumulation, and wish to create a model nation based on what we believe are the most important ideals."

I'm going to join the message boards and recommend seven large cruising ships and space space I say Mars and/or orbital habitat or bust. I'm also rejoining the message boards...

Feb. 4

I think this is my favorite blasphemy vid. If someone ever gives the Richard Dawkins foundation 10 million and we could run public service ads... Of course then the question would be: who would run them? Out here on the Internets, though, there are men and women of free will that can post this:

And did you know that they now have trailers for comic books? Welp, they really do.

I guess I'm rooting for the Colts. I think they deserve it, not just for this season but for last.