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Friday, December 31

Smile!

One of the most incredible Astrophotos I've seen.
From Astrosurf

via Bad Astronomy

That's the ISS (International Space Station) transiting the full moon. Extraordinarily difficult to get! The quality of the picture is remarkable. What makes it even more impressive is the duration of the ISS in front of the moon from the guy's location is just 0.55 seconds! He had to get it just right first time!

Click on the image to enlarge.
And to see a REALLY big image, check out Astrosurf.





Let the Wheel Turn

(Note: Image in public domain.)


Well. 2010 will be over soon, and in some parts of the world it already has.

Let's recap a bit.

We've seen horrible things: The seemingly endless March of Ignorance and Superstition, inhumanity, scandal, crime. We've seen our nation's economy teeter a bit, and while we are nowhere near out of the woods yet, we can at least see some sunlight through the leaves.

Just remember, gentle readers, that no matter what happens, recall these words of Gandhi's:

"You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty. "

And when things get tough, as we know they will ... Keep Calm, and Carry On.

Let the Wheel Turn, and welcome 2011.

Saturday, December 25

The Night the Deliveries Stopped

(in appropriate voices)
Late Night: December 24th, 2013: Washington D.C. The Oval Office: The White House

White House Chief of Staff John McCain briefing the President:
John McCain: I know it’s late and I’m sorry to interrupt your watching reruns of Dancing With the Stars. Our men at NORAD have confirmed a bogey flying south across the North Slope on a track heading toward the Aleutians then to Guam. I must emphasize, Madam President that we don’t know the intentions of this unidentified object or whether it is a potential threat.
President Palin: Thank you John. As you know, we can’t take any chances with possible unfriendlies. It’s possible this was a diversionary tactic from inside the Soviet Union with the intent of a surprise nukyular attack on America from Cuba.
John McCain: Russia! It’s now called Russia, Madam President.
President Palin: Since when did they change the name?
John McCain: It happened in the early 90s, Madam President.
President Palin: Why wasn’t I informed?
John McCain: It was in all the papers and on the news, Madam President. But of course that was before you became president.
President Palin: Is Russia part of the Old Soviet Union?
John McCain: (sigh) After the Berlin Wall fell, the Old Soviet Union ceased to exist and they unified into what is now present day Russia.
President Palin: Then that’s why I said that I could see Russia from my porch. Frank. See that explanation gets into our media so they understand I stay well informed. (Press Secretary Frank Luntz nearly trips over himself getting to a phone to have Roger Ailes set the story for National Fox News). Well, do we have any intel that it could be the Sovi—er, Russians?
John McCain: No, Madam President. All we know is an unidentified object is speeding south toward the Pacific.
President Palin: Well, that’s a frightening thought. Something like that could scare our Asian Allies and jeopardize the wonderful trade agreements President Obama set in motion. This could have a really bad effect on business!
John McCain: Madam President. I’ve already consulted with the CEOs of the corporations involved and may I tell you, they ARE concerned. This could affect their profits for days to come!
President Palin: Has there been any new information?
John McCain: Vice President Beck has just informed us that the object has passed over Japan and is heading for Australia via Southeast Asia.
President Palin: This is too serious. I think we need to go to Depcon 9.
John McCain: Madam President, it’s DEF-CON and they only go from 1 to 5.
President Palin: Gotcha. I knew that. I was just testing you. Who do you think you are, Katie Couric?
John McCain: No, Madam President.
President Palin: Well, we can’t have this…this intruder cause havoc to our business allies. Is our National Guard ready?
John McCain: For what, Madam President?
President Palin: To go into action to stop this obvious Rooski threat!
John McCain: We don’t know if it’s the Rooskis…er Russians, Madam President. No, the National Guard doesn’t handle this sort of thing. Besides, most of the Guard is still in Afghanistan, Yemen and South America following your orders.
President Palin: They would have when I was governor. Well, we can’t take a chance. Do we have any boats in the area that can intercept that thing?
John McCain: Ships, Madam President. We have the Pacific Fleet there as always and they are ready.
President Palin: That’s…good? Can you have the Yorktown or Lexington move into position? See? I can too speak about things I know.
John McCain: Madam President. The Yorktown and Lexington are no longer with us.
President Palin: What? Did that peace-nik Clinton decommission them?
John McCain: Madam President. The Yorktown and Lexington were sunk during World War II.
President Palin: I suppose that was in all the papers, too?
John McCain: Yes Madam President. Again, that was before your time. Probably why you don’t recall.
President Palin: Ok, then. So do we have anything newer that could handle this situation?
John McCain: I’m almost certain we have newer equipment to handle almost anything.
President Palin: Well, Ok then. It’s time for major decision making. That’s what American Business elected me for. Have this bogey brought down at all costs.
John McCain: Madam President, isn’t that a little drastic? We still don’t know its intentions. It could be a Sov- er, Russian aircraft with communication problems. We also…
President Palin: Don’t dally, Johnny Boy. We can’t take a chance on something this dangerous threatening this great nation. And after all, we ARE the only ones who care enough to protect the world.
John McCain: But Madam President…
President Palin: Not another word! I want this threat removed immediately. Shoot it down…NOW!
John McCain: (Sigh) Yes Madam President.
John leaves the Oval office and phones the Joint Chief of Staff:
John McCain: Rush, The President wants this unidentified thing shot down immediately.
Joint Chief of Staff Limbaugh: You got it.
Twenty minutes later, back in the Oval Office:
John McCain: Madam President, I’ve been informed that the unidentified object has been destroyed but…
President Palin: Great work John. See to it that everyone gets a bonus for this. Yep. You betcha. No one screws around and threatens good ol’ U.S. of A. business ventures and gets away with it.
John McCain: Madam President. The USS Nimitz found the wreckage scattered over a wide area of the Pacific and…
President Palin: Good! Is any of it identifiable?
John McCain: Madam President. I have the unfortunate duty to inform you that you just shot down Santa Claus! Toys and games destined for good little boys and girls all over the world are now heading to the bottom of the Pacific.
President Palin: (Stunned disbelief) You mean to tell me that there really is a Santa Claus? You mean the First Dude and I have been spending our own money to buy stuff for our own kids all these years? And it’s not a liberal conspiracy?
John McCain: Madam President. I mean to tell you there WAS a Santa Claus until you had him shot down and all the toys and gifts for everyone are now…gone.
An agonizing cry emanates from the couch in the oval office. Vice President Beck sits up and cries out,” What happened to the Gold Santa was bringing me?” and promptly faints.
President Palin slumps in her chair, head in hands, “My God. What have I done?”, she cries. "I understand a couple of Wolves from helicopters and maybe a Moose or two or even a Bear…but SANTA?"
John McCain:It’s ok Madam President. We’ll just claim it was a socialist plot by a gay man who lives and works with lots of small men year round to undermine the American Business System. They’ll believe that.
President Palin: Thank you John. I don’t, I don’t know what I’d do without you.

As John McCain leaves the Oval Office he mutters to himself, ”I should have voted for Obama!”

Thursday, December 23

HELD CAPTIVE: CHILD POVERTY IN AMERICA

by blondesense liz
Long Island, NY

Read HELD CAPTIVE: CHILD POVERTY IN AMERICA

Now Long Island is up there with Louisiana and Mississippi when it comes to reporting on poor and hungry children. We can't even get a halfway intelligent, halfway sane or decent person who can do basic math to run for any office here either.

Congress Passes 9/11 Responders Bill- about time



FROM NPR
Congress Passes 9/11 Responders Bill
December 22, 2010
by MARK MEMMOTT

Update at 5:40 p.m. ET: The House has now passed the bill by a vote of 206-60, sending it to the president.

Update at 5:25 p.m. ET: The House is now voting on the 9/11 first responders bill and at this moment it's close to passing — 204 "aye" votes have been cast, there have been 60 "no" votes, and 170 members have yet to declare themselves.

Update at 2:32 p.m. ET: By a voice vote, the Senate just approved a measure to help 9/11 first responders pay health care costs related to diseases they developed from exposure to harmful elements at ground zero.

Our original post:

"Senators have struck a deal to approve the James Zadroga 9/11 health bill, New York's Daily News says it "has learned."

CNN and the Associated Press are also saying it has heard that a deal's been struck.

We reported yesterday that Sen. Tom Coburn, R-0K, was planning to block a vote on the measure because he wanted to see its paid for by spending cuts from other parts of the federal budget.

According to the Daily News: "The initial Zadroga bill called for a 10-year, $7.4 billion treatment and compensation package. To win GOP support, the proposal was trimmed down to 5 years at $4.3 billion."

Named for a New York City police detective who went to ground zero after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and died five years later of respiratory disease, the measure aims to help first responders and their survivors cope with the costs of medical bills related to illnesses suffered because of their exposure to the toxins at the scene.


And my 2¢
by blondesense liz

The stinking hypocrites of the GOP can kiss my big fat ass. How the hell dare they think they can own 9/11 and not take care of those who rescued so many people on that fateful day 9 years ago? I am just furious. This blog has been following the nonsense for nearly 7 years now... and I just can't believe this is even a political issue.... well yes I can. If you can come up with money to engage in neverending wars and occupation of other countries, you can afford to take care of those who defend our homeland in an emergency. There is no excuse.

So how do we make it that congress doesn't retain their healthcare bennies after their service has expired and how do we force term limits on them? It's time to make a huge stink.

Tuesday, December 21

Nominees for the "F the Public" Awards

Nothing and no one says "The public doesn't count" like politicians and corporations today.
You've heard of the "A" List of Hollywood Stars? And the "D" List of Kathy Griffin?

Well, here's the "F" List of politicians and corporate America.
Add your nominee to the list. Let's see who gets the most votes as the biggest "F'er" of the American Public!
Print it out and send it to whomever.
Feel free to add your own names (use the back side to add more!)
For everything they've done to us...


FUCK THEM ALL


Click to enlarge!

Monday, December 20

Money talks... But it don't sing and dance and it don't walk

Monday, December 20, 2010
Report: Karl Rove assisting in Assange prosecution attempt



Rove has advised Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt for the past two years after resigning as Bush White House political advisor in mid-2007.

Kinda makes you wonder, with all the dissent that started around the world these last few years, what other NeoCons have been doing with their spare time and the 2 trillion stolen from the Pentagon September 11, 2001.

Racism rearing its head in Europe. Religious persecution. The Pope playing Fuhrer. Guess who gains financially from turmoil and strife run rampant in the world? Hint: It ain't the people!

And to all of those who took egocentric, narcissistic satisfaction in pooh-poohing those few prescient "nabobs of negativism" the last few years who claimed things conspiratorial by the Bushies and America's Reich...enjoy the fruits of your hubris.

Gore Vidal appeared on the Johnny Carson Show in the early 70s, vilified Richard Nixon and the audience and general population jeered him (before Watergate). Then, after Nixon resigned, Vidal again appeared on Johnny Carson and told the people they were still basically idiots. His comment was roughly; "If Nixon were to stand on stage in front of the American people and, with his hands around her throat, choke Pat, he could tell the people she was merely falling down and he was trying to hold her up...and the Americans would believe him." That's not an exact quote. Memory fails after years of political and media lies leave no room for remembrance. It seems we have the same apathetic idiocy today with Americans.
Oh, by the way, Tuesday the FCC will in all likelihood, for once and for all time, bury the internet on Barry's way to State-Run News. No more free and open dissension. No more ability to vent anger and frustration about the wealthy getting everything. No more bad comments about traitorous Blue-Dogs and craven Democrats and other people-elected politicians. No more openly sharing thoughts with others. No more independent information. But "The Simpsons" and "American Idol" and Oprah will still be on...along with daily soaps...and corporate news!
What a country this is! What a throng of morons occupying this country!

I'm sure someday, not to soon, we'll learn the truth about 9/11...right after they reveal who killed JFK, the wealthy leave this planet on special starships and just before Herr Benny opens the Seventh Seal!

By the way, for those of you not paying attention Wall Street, the Bankers and most politicians have screwed and are screwing us all. How does it feel to be political concubines? So much for that holier-than-thou, anti-gay, Right Wing Abstinence, eh?

Agnew's Silent Majority is the current fad again, uh huh.


Saturday, December 18

It was the Dark of the Moon...

Lunar Eclipse the morning of December 21, 2010.
It's the last one we get to see (from what is currently America) for 4 years...unless of course, the Republicans block it!


BOROWITZ REPORT: Julian Assange to Launch Social Network for Diplomats, Twofacebook

(Loved Colbert's response to Time's person of the year...Colbert: "TIME's person of the year is Mark Zuckerberg. Sorry Julian Assange, I guess you didn't violate enough peoples privacy.")


LONDON (The Borowitz Report)

Moments after being released on bail, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was already making plans for his next venture, a social network for diplomats called Twofacebook.

Mr. Assange said he came up with the idea for the new site while combing through hundreds of thousands of pages of WikiLeaks documents: “I realized that diplomats didn’t have a way to reconnect with old colleagues so they could lie to them.”

Saying that he hopes to build the site into a “portal of deceit,” Mr. Assange said, “This will be a must-visit destination on the Internet for sworn enemies to friend each other.”

The WikiLeaks founder said that Twofacebook would also enable members of the diplomatic community to share information about music, movies and TV shows “that they say they like but actually detest.”

Additionally, he said he had high hopes for the site’s first online game, Harmville, in which diplomats can kill or maim each other’s sheep.

Elsewhere, President Obama said he was “delighted” by his new deal with Republicans, in which he agreed to give them his lunch money.

¡Viva WikiLeaks!

What will the mainstream media in the US do with this story?
Spread the word.

December 18th, 2010 4:47 AM
¡Viva WikiLeaks! SiCKO Was Not Banned in Cuba

By Michael Moore

Yesterday WikiLeaks did an amazing thing and released a classified State Department cable that dealt, in part, with me and my film, 'Sicko.'

It is a stunning look at the Orwellian nature of how bureaucrats for the State spin their lies and try to recreate reality (I assume to placate their bosses and tell them what they want to hear).

The date is January 31, 2008. It is just days after 'Sicko' has been nominated for an Oscar as Best Documentary. This must have sent someone reeling in Bush's State Department (his Treasury Department had already notified me they were investigating what laws I might have broken in taking three 9/11 first responders to Cuba to get them the health care they had been denied in the United States).

Former health insurance executive Wendell Potter recently revealed that the insurance industry -- which had decided to spend millions to go after me and, if necessary, "push Michael Moore off a cliff" -- had begun working with anti-Castro Cubans in Miami in order to have them speak out and smear my film.

So, on January 31, 2008, a State Department official stationed in Havana took a made up story and sent it back to his HQ in Washington. Here's what they came up with:

XXXXXXXXXXXX stated that Cuban authorities have banned Michael Moore's documentary, "Sicko," as being subversive. Although the film's intent is to discredit the U.S. healthcare system by highlighting the excellence of the Cuban system, he said the regime knows the film is a myth and does not want to risk a popular backlash by showing to Cubans facilities that are clearly not available to the vast majority of them.

Sounds convincing, eh?! There's only one problem -- the entire nation of Cuba was shown the film on national television on April 25, 2008! The Cubans embraced the film so much so it became one of those rare American movies that received a theatrical distribution in Cuba. I personally ensured that a 35mm print got to the Film Institute in Havana. Screenings of 'Sicko' were set up in towns all across the country. In Havana, 'Sicko' screened at the famed Yara Theater.

But the secret cable said Cubans were banned from seeing my movie. Hmmm.

We also know from another secret U.S. document that "the disenchantment of the masses [in Cuba] has spread through all the provinces," and that "all of Oriente Province is seething with hate" for the Castro regime. There's a huge active underground rebellion, and "workers there readily give all the support they can," with everyone involved in "subtle sabotage" against the government. Morale is terrible throughout all the branches of the armed forces, and in the event of war the army "will not fight." Wow -- this cable is hot!

Of course, this secret U.S. cable is from March 31, 1961, three weeks before Cuba kicked our asses at the Bay of Pigs.

The U.S. government has been passing around these "secret" documents to itself for the past fifty years, explaining in painstaking detail how horrible things are in Cuba and how Cubans are quietly aching for us to come back and take over. I don't know why we write these cables, I guess it just makes us feel better about ourselves. (Anyone curious can find an entire museum of U.S. wish fulfillment cables on the website of the National Security Archive.)

So what do you do with about a false "secret" cable, especially one that involves you and your movie? Well, you wait for a responsible newspaper to investigate and shout what it discovers from the rooftops.

But yesterday WikiLeaks gave the 'Sicko' Cuba cable to the media -- and what did they do with it? They ran it as if it were true! Here's the headline in the Guardian:

WikiLeaks: Cuba banned Sicko for depicting 'mythical' healthcare system

Authorities feared footage of gleaming hospital in Michael Moore's Oscar-nominated film would provoke a popular backlash

And not one scintilla of digging to see if Cuba had actually banned the movie! In fact, just the opposite. The right wing press started to have a field day reporting a lie (Andy Levy of Fox -- twice -- Reason Magazine and Hot Air, plus a slew of blogs). Sadly, even BoingBoing and my friends at the Nation wrote about it without skepticism. So here you have WikiLeaks, who have put themselves on the line to find and release these cables to the press -- and traditional journalists are once again just too lazy to lift a finger, point and click their mouse to log into Nexis or search via Google, and look to see if Cuba really did "ban the film." Had just ONE reporter done that, here's they would have found:

June 16, 2007 Saturday 1:41 AM GMT [that's 7 months before the false cable]

HEADLINE: Cuban health minister says Moore's 'Sicko' shows 'human values' of communist system

BYLINE: By ANDREA RODRIGUEZ, Associated Press Writer

DATELINE: HAVANA

Cuba's health minister Jose Ramon Balaguer said Friday that American filmmaker Michael Moore's documentary 'Sicko' highlights the human values of the island's communist-run government... "There can be no doubt this documentary by a personality like Mr. Michael Moore helps promote the profoundly human principles of Cuban society."

Or, how 'bout this little April 25, 2008 notice from CubaSi.Cu (translation by Google):

Sicko premiere in Cuba
25/04/2008

The documentary Sicko, the U.S. filmmaker Michael Moore, which deals about the deplorable state of American health care system will be released today at 5:50 pm, for the space Cubavision Roundtable and the Education Channel.

Then there's this from Juventudrebelde.cu (translation by Google). Or this Cuban editorial (translation by Google). There's even a long clip of the Cuba section of 'Sicko' on the homepage of Media Roundtable on the CubaSi.cu website!

OK, so we know the media is lazy and sucks most of the time. But the bigger issue here is how our government seemed to be colluding with the health insurance industry to destroy a film that might have a hand in bringing about what the Cubans already have in their poverty-ridden third world country: free, universal health care. And because they have it and we don't, Cuba has a better infant mortality rate than we do, their life expectancy is just 7 months shorter than ours, and, according to the WHO, they rank just two places behind the richest country on earth in terms of the quality of their health care.

That's the story, mainstream media and right-wing haters.

Now that you've been presented with the facts, what are you going to do about it? Are you gonna attack me for having my movie played on Cuban state television? Or are you gonna attack me for not having my movie played on Cuban state television?

You have to choose one, it can't be both.

And since the facts show that the movie played on state TV and in theaters, I think you're better off attacking me for having my films played in Cuba.

¡Viva WikiLeaks!

Thursday, December 16

Even without their rose-colored glasses...

"Bad in Plaid" -- Crummy Christmas Photo Contest Winner

from 11alive ATLANTA: A photo tagged "Bad in Plaid" has been named Metro Atlanta area's crummiest Christmas Photo by voters on the social networking site, atlanta.momslikeme.com



"The children were clearly offended by the lime green and fuchsia back drop. This is what happens when you fail to make your Phipps appointment."

Tuesday, December 14

When one falls, another must continue his quest...

Talk about prognostication...
This is from Buzzflash, 2004. But might just as well have been written last week.


"Karl Rove's Master Plan: A One-Party America," for BuzzFlash.com by James Moore, Co-Author of "Bush's Brain"

A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
by James C. Moore, Co-Author of "Bush's Brain"

BuzzFlash Editor's Note: If you caught the admission by former Texas Lt. Governor Ben Barnes (revealed on the Internet this weekend) that he got George W. Bush in the Texas Air National Guard because he was a rich kid, jumping his name over hundreds of other applicants, some of whom died in Vietnam, you can thank Jim Moore who uncovered the video on a website.

Moore is a long-time Texas journalist and Karl Rove watcher. He co-wrote "Bush's Brain," the seminal book on Bush's Machiavelli, a truly evil man, with Wayne Slater. The book, now a movie, leaves little doubt, from his past Lee Atwater style dirty tricks, that Rove designed the Bush GOP Swift Liars strategy and the most recent outbreak of unpatriotic, anti-Veteran sophomoric demagoguery on the floor of the GOP convention: delegates wearing band-aids to mock recipients of the purple heart.

As for the admission of Ben Barnes that he was ashamed of enabling Bush to avoid service in Vietnam while other young men died whose place Bush took in the Air National Guard, the mainstream press virtually ignored it, except for a lone Associated Press story that appeared in the back pages of the pro-GOP news section of the New York Times. Yes, the American media feasted on the lies of the Karl Rove Swift Boat prevaricators, but they couldn't handle the truth about America's man in the White House being a coward and a liar. The guy wouldn't even take his medical exam as a pilot because he was allegedly doing drugs and was grounded. But why let the facts get in the way of Rove-orchestrated lies about Kerry'

In the following commentary, written exclusively for BuzzFlash, Jim Moore, who apologized in a previous BuzzFlash piece for voting for Bush in 2000, reveals what Rove has in store for America.

For more background on Rove, we urge you to read "Bush's Brain" or see the movie now playing at selected theaters.

Here is Moore's commentary:
* * *
While everyone analyzes and complains about his tactics, Karl Rove has his eyes on a grand strategy.

The Swift Boat Veterans for Lies is but a tiny piece of a schematic Rove has been carrying in his head since his salad days in Texas. Bush's Brain will die happy the day he achieves his two greatest goals. The first of these is to turn the U.S. into what is fundamentally a one-party system. Secondly, he wants the federal government to have so little money that it can do nothing to get in the way of business interests; nor will it be able to sustain any kind of socially progressive assistance for disadvantaged Americans.

His desire to destroy the Democratic Party is not about fair play politics. Rove sees a country where there is only symbolic opposition and democracy is more of a "Potemkin Village" show than an actually tallying of votes and a discussion of issues. He and the Republicans believe they know what is best for America. They do not consider ideas from the left or the center. Those people are simply wrong to them.

Of course, the irony is lost on Rove and his henchmen that a one-party nation, at the worst, turns us into something akin to a communist country or, as a minimum, the pseudo-democracy maintained for decades by Mexico.

But Karl doesn't care. America is not important. Political victory is what matters, the control of power, and the economy. This isn't conspiracy theory nonsense. He's taking the steps. And they are working. During his interview with Brit Hume on Fox News last week, the network played a video clip of an interview with me and I said, 'I truly believe that the policy and politics of Karl Rove are a threat to our republic.' The senior presidential advisor dismissed me as 'a far left-winger who has been drinking too much swamp water.' Rove obviously doesn't realize that 99 percent of America is to the left of him politically and the remaining one percent is likely holed up in a compound in Montana.

So what is he doing' Why do I believe one guy is ruining our political system' Because I know his three-step plan.

It began here in Texas when Rove was rebuilding the Republican Party in the Lone Star State. Rich people were asked to contribute to an organization called the Civil Justice League. They were billed as a grass roots political action committee that wanted to elect judges more sympathetic to the business community. And they did. They also carried the message that trial lawyers are bad people who are ruining our civil justice system. Eventually, sweeping tort reform was enacted in Texas and trial lawyers discovered there was no money in taking most cases because the size of settlements had been limited.

It is not a coincidence that trial lawyers contribute mightily to Democratic Party causes. And tort reform in Texas was not about bringing more justice to the courtroom. It was a step in taking away the ability of trial lawyers to make contributions to Democrats. And it worked. Rove has taken the 'lawyers are bad people' campaign onto the national stage and he is winning there, too. Trial lawyers are getting hammered on issues like asbestos and mercury poisoning and every other case they bring against corporate America. If President Bush is re-elected, we will see sweeping reforms that drastically limit the amount of
money any lawyer can earn in a liability lawsuit. Trial lawyers will discover, as they already are, that they cannot afford to take most contingency cases. Damage caps generally will not cover costs of preparing for trial. This accomplishes Rove's first step: Lawyers without money mean the Democratic Party has lost a critical source of funding.

Step two is to destroy unions. They, too, give greatly to Democrats. Every chance he gets, Rove has a Republican member of congress drop a provision into a bill that weakens collective bargaining rights. This was the Democrats' main complaint against the Bush-backed version of the Homeland Security Bill. A key provision reduced the ability of federal workers to negotiate for better pay. Every time an industry is on its knees, Rove sees a chance to get government to help them, but only if its workers will make concessions to get the company going again. These are always about the strength of unions. If he can destroy unions, Rove will take away another critical source of money for Democrats. If Mr. Bush wins another term, there will be draconian measures enacted reducing the negotiating power of unions in this country and their right to organize and negotiate.

The third ingredient in Mr. Rove's political stew is Israel. Through the years, Jewish voters in America have contributed as much as 40 percent of the funds for the Democratic Party on an annualized basis. This is an astounding figure given the fact that people who identify their faith as Jewish in census forms amount to only about two percent of the U.S. population. Their money is critical to Democratic issues and Rove wants to get as much of it over to Republicans as possible. To do this, he has simply had the president step back from criticizing Israel. Bush Administration policy regarding Ariel Sharon has been strictly laissez faire. Sharon can do no wrong. 'Israel has a right to protect itself,' White House spokesman Scott McClellan says ad infinitum. There is little, if any, pressure for Sharon to make concessions for peace.

America's interests are Israel's interests and since our sworn enemy is Arab Muslim, this calculus is easy for Rove. The Bush White House has been the most disengaged on the question of Israel and Mideast peace of any in the past half century. And don't think the Arab world does not further resent us for this policy. While Rove and company rattle their sabers at Iran for building a nuclear reactor, Israel has not even formally acknowledged to the world that it has a nuclear program, even though its arsenal is estimated to be the world's third largest. Israel has not signed the non-proliferation treaty nor has it ever undergone nuclear inspections by an international team. Many Democratic Jewish voters (who tend to be more sympathetic to the Israeli Labor Party) are angry about Sharon's policies and the Bush administration's tolerance of them, but others are
beginning to send money to the Republicans. I interviewed a Jewish industrialist in the south last summer while doing research for a book and he told me he had been a Democrat his entire life until Bush came along. When I asked why the switch he said simply, 'He cares about Israel.' This man is now a Bush Pioneer and has raised $100,000 on three occasions for the president.*

When Rove has finally dried up the lifeblood of the Democratic Party, he will guide the president and congress in a direction that begins to bleed the federal government of its money.

Eventually, the Washington bureaucracy will be a vestigial organ, a government that cannot govern because it has no money. There will be no social programs to help the poor. Businesses will develop risky products without the risk of liability and the great institutions, which have nurtured the growth of our nation, will begin to falter and fail.

This, of course, has already begun to happen. We move closer each day to an imperial presidency and a one party nation while Section 8 Housing for the poor is reduced and more homeless are created and state governments are given the option to bail out of Head Start funding, a program the president promised to protect when he was campaigning. As we reduce assistance for the poor, we still manage to send our troops into combat without bulletproof vests or armored plating on their outdated vehicles. But the president smiles and says things are getting better. And we believe him because Americans choose to believe their president.

Rove knows that, too. He knows that we are all too busy worrying about our jobs and retirement and health care or paying for our children's college education that we don't have time to pay attention to the details of issues. Few of us read the three thousand word stories in the newspaper. We read the headlines. We watch the news with the sound turned down. We're too busy. But citizenship is a job, too. And while we're worrying about the mortgage, Karl Rove is busy stealing our democracy.

The plan is working perfectly.

Friday, December 10

It's come to this?






Maybe this was one of the reasons she left...
Ray Stevens from 1968...
I thought all this business greed was just recent!
Huh? Who knew? LOL!

Obligatory Friday Sex Post

I figured we might raise the tone a tad this week.

So it's haiku time!

If you wish to participate, please post your haiku in the comments.

Just to get started, here's mine:

My beloved sleeps
Entangled in her bedclothes;
Air perfumed with musk.


Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 9

Christmas Unwrapped...from the History Channel

In response to Liz's post about Christmas and CD's comment on it, here's somehting that may be of interest.
I don't know how many of you have seen this but it's rather interesting...and probably blasphemous to some!
It's about 45 minutes of possible eye-opening information that you'll NEVER see on the MSM.

Enjoy!










Half Empty Glass

by blondesense liz

I think this story below beautifully illustrates what we're up against... ie: what sane people are up against in a world where Faux News rules supreme. Commenter Wonkadelica posted a link to this story in the comments of the post below this one. Thank you W

Edmond Oklahoma: Protesters cut short Edmond sustainability forum

EDMOND — A City Council Workshop to share ideas about sustainability was abandoned midstream Monday night amid protests about the City of Edmond’s involvement in sustainable conservation efforts.

The Edmond Sustainability Forum was created by the Planning Department and designed for Edmond residents to share their ideas and priorities for sustainable conservation efforts in their community, said Shannon Entz, community development manager. Police at the event estimated the audience to number about 200 people.

“It’s about saving money, saving energy, reducing waste, which the City of Edmond and many of you have been doing for many, many years,” Entz said.

Sounds good right? I'd join that in a NY minute. Civic minded citizens united to discuss what to do about the environment and how to reduce waste. Wonderful!! But nooo... some conspiracy theorists theorized that this somehow has something to do with the UN taking over the world and passed out leaflets to further confuse participants.

The Edmonton planning board didn't know what they were talking about... the conversation switched to a conspiracy theory about "sustainability" which is probably some code word for something subversive to the PTB that broadcast on Faux News. So nothing at all was accomplished at the meeting. 200 people showed up for nothing. How sad.

It's almost like how the Republicans in congress who are in the minority at this point, still manage to muck everything up that might be good for the country. How is it that a squeaky minority keep ruining things? When will it end?

Reading stories like this makes me more cynical if that's possible and makes me glad I'm old and gonna die soon. On the other hand, I fear for our children and their children. My advice to my beloved son is to learn a skill and get the hell out of the US... or find another country that will train you for a skill since ours won't. The crazies are ruining it and I don't see a light on the horizon. Sorry about that.

Tuesday, December 7

The War on Christmas in the NY Metropolitan Area Part II

by blondesense liz

This atheist billboard is on one side of the hallowed Jersey Tunnel

This is the Catholic League's answer on the other side


I saw the story on the news and chuckled. Oh the irony. I wonder if anyone at the Catholic League ever studied in a Catholic Seminary...

One of the first things I learned when I studied the synoptic gospels in the Catholic Seminary where I earned my masters degree in theology was that the Christmas story is a recycled myth. Didn't happen. Let me tell you.... I pouted when I heard that. We made the professor repeat it. Most of the class pouted come to think of it. But then again, the story is pretty far fetched when you stop and think about it, isn't it? But we humans like fairy tales. They make life more palatable. They give a reason to the unreasonable.

I never did get a proper answer from any of the professors or theologians as to why this information hadn't been released to the sheep... I just assumed that it would cause a crisis of faith worldwide. Waddaya mean baby Jesus wasn't born in a manger to a virgin? Oh man. Bummer. I'm not buying any more presents on the day after Thanksgiving.

Roman Catholics understand that the book of Genesis is a myth and it didn't cause a crisis of faith for them to accept that the ridiculousness of the creation story was just to convey the point that the universe was somehow created by a supreme being. But then again, there is no shopping season associated with the creation of the world. Religion means big business... especially at the end of the fiscal year.

I wonder if the earliest Christians understood that it was a myth. I wonder if they believed in angels. I was always curious as to exactly what kind of angel supposedly came down and told the virgin that she was to conceive a child without having sex. Was it an alien? Why did Joseph believe her? Would you believe your pregnant girlfriend whom you didn't have sex with that she was miraculously impregnated by god? Why did anyone reading the narratives believe it? Was the bright star actually the mother ship that sent telepathic messages to astrologers from other lands? Maybe there really are sky gods! What is an angel or a son of god exactly and why did they all go away when Jesus and Mary were assumed into heaven? Was the Holy Ghost a hologram? Hmmm? Oh wait. That's right. It's all made up... but I still wonder why people believed it.

Getting back to the news story.... the atheist spokesman said that he wanted the billboard to be a reminder to closeted atheists that they can come out now. Perhaps it was political posturing because confessed atheists only make up 16% of our US population and word on the street is that there are tons more of us out there afraid to come clean. That's a pretty formidable lobby though, if you ask me. Think about this- Jews do pretty well for themselves in DC and they only represent 2% of the population. Economically speaking, it's fiscally irresponsible to bring up the Christmas myth during the time of year that can make or break our economy. We also like our Christmas parties, our bonuses (well we used to when they used to give them out), the decorations, getting presents, Santa Claus, our Christmas vacations, and so on... maybe it's not such a good idea to try to get closeted atheists on board this month. But that's just my opinion and of course, I'm probably wrong...

What do you all think? I'm open to any and all opinions.


Be sure to scroll down to Jersey Cynic's post "Colbert's "Blitzkrieg on Grinchitude" ....The war on the war on Christmas" for the details of the billboard wars in NYC/NJ on either side of the Lincoln Tunnel

And Happy Holidays to you!

Monday, December 6

Every 3.6 seconds someone starves to death and three-quarters of them are children under the age of 5.

Economic Collapse Blog

OH! MR!! FISH!!!

via truthdig





BIO

Mr. Fish lives in Philadelphia, PA. He never asked to be born.

Occasionally, he laughs his head off. His mother has no idea what he’s up to. She cries very easily. For more information, date him.

Awards

In 2010, the Society of Professional Journalists granted Mr. Fish the Sigma Delta Chi Award for Editorial Cartooning for work published on Truthdig.

Saturday, December 4

It's so pretty...until you have to shovel it!


Enjoy it now...before you get too much!



Colbert's "Blitzkrieg on Grinchitude" ....The war on the war on Christmas

I coughed up a lung watching this one -- a 10 on my loogieometer!!

www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionMarch to Keep Fear Alive


Colbert: "Those athiests are kicking us in the jingleballs"

Their new billboard at the entrance of the Lincoln Tunnel:



Colbert" "What part of three kings following a star through a desert to bring presents to an immaculately conceived baby God they dreamed about sounds like a myth to you?"


The Catholic League has "counter-punched" with their own billboard as you exit the tunnel:

"...and just like Jesus says, if someone slaps you on the cheek, COUNTER-PUNCH!"



Colbert: "These billboards have prompted the Tunnel Authority to put up their own billboard: Jesus Christ, Watch where you're driving!"



LET THE BILLBOARD WARS BEGIN!!


****UPDATE: 9:10 a.m.

just finished watching the rest of the Colbert Report. OUTSTANDING! David Stockman interview is a must see!! Deficits REALLY DO MATTER -- on ALL levels. ( Is that why he left blackstone -- because he finally found the truth (or did he?) mebe...



via, nofactzone: Mr. Stockman likened the last 30 years in America to a party, “…like none other in history,” further saying that it is time for the country to, “…sober up.” It never ceases to amaze me that in the past 30 years, we have grown our National debt from $1 trillion dollars to $14 trillion. This type of growth is great if you’re talking about a Sequoia tree, but not a debt for our country. That is alarming! In Stockman’s words, “We are burying our children and our grandchildren in this debt, and it needs to stop.”


www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionMarch to Keep Fear Alive


So, in 1980 the PRIME RATE was 21.50% and the debt was 1 trillionish?

Now, 2010, the PRIME RATE is 3.25% and the debt is 14 trillionish?

Deja voodoo economics?



Friday, December 3

Obligatory Friday Sex Post

Yep, that time of the week again, and it's time for the Perpetual War on Christmas over in Fundie-Land. Here's a little tune, definitely NSFW, but guaranteed to give Bill O'Reilly conniptions:

WTF Quote of the Day RE: WikiLeaks

From Charles Krauthammer's Opinion piece this morning...

"The problem is not that the purloined cables exposed U.S. hypocrisy or double-dealing. Good God, that's the essence of diplomacy. That's what we do; that's what everyone does. Hence the famous aphorism that a diplomat is an honest man sent abroad to lie for his country."

It appeared in this context:

"...First, blah blah, blah...

Second, we've suffered a major blow to our ability to collect information. Talking candidly to a U.S. diplomat can now earn you headlines around the world, reprisals at home, or worse. Success in the war on terrorism depends on being trusted with other countries' secrets. Who's going to trust us now?

Third, this makes us look bad, very bad. But not in the way Secretary of State Hillary Clinton implied in her cringe-inducing apology speech in which she scolded these awful leakers for having done a disservice to "the international community," and plaintively deplored how this hampers U.S. attempts to bring about a better world.

The problem is not that the purloined cables exposed U.S. hypocrisy or double-dealing. Good God, that's the essence of diplomacy. That's what we do; that's what everyone does. Hence the famous aphorism that a diplomat is an honest man sent abroad to lie for his country.


"...blah, blah, blah

And where are the intelligence agencies on which we lavish $80 billion a year? Assange has gone missing. Well, he's no cave-dwelling jihadi ascetic. Find him. Start with every five-star hotel in England and work your way down.


I have to agree with poorrichard here:

"If Assange were a real activist, he would not be getting any coverage from the mainstream media, let alone so headlines every day in every well known corporate media outlet. The alleged hide and seek between Assange and the US government as well as Interpol is played out on the theatrical stage of the world’s media when it is well known the US government and Interpol can arrest anyone they want virtually any time they want given their immense resources."


I'm not going to post about this anymore. It's concert season at school and MUCH! TO! DO! I've taken my own precautionary steps around this nonsense, so there is nothing more to do or say on the subject matter.

I haven't even started on my Holiday Playlist CD's that I give out to my nearest and dearest. It's always a challenge deciding on who gets the first slot and who closes out the playlist.

I'm thinkin' I must go with ARETHA! -- she just had some surgery and I hear she is doing well. I can't imagine my world without ARETHA!

#1. ARETHA FRANKLIN


and to close it out this year, I think we need a little Billy Squire and the MTV year 1981.... oh the good old days!!!

Thursday, December 2

The following is pure, adulterated fiction...

Johnny Boy McCain
1 Imaginary Rd.
Over the Rainbow, Az.


Father Tyme
169 Maple Drive
Somewhere, Here-on-earth


Dear, dear Johnny Boy,

I feel the patriotic need to congratulate you on flipping on your convictions concerning DADT. It’s not every day that someone of your stature can change his mind so readily after years of supporting something, but you took to that change like Rene Richards deciding on a new Tennis Outfit.
Like you, Johnny Boy, I too, am a manly man! Got no time for “those” who insult our manhood! Why, even during my all-expense paid vacation (courtesy of your good buddy Tricky Dick), I never saw one of “those” types there. And I’m sure during your service "those" types just never existed!
Now you want to study this thing everyone is talking about, this DADT repeal. Good for you. If there’s one thing we need, it’s a lot more studying…of everything, especially before these “snap” decisions are made (like repealing DADT) by people who never served.
Heck, that edict has been in effect for nearly 20 years and has worked out just fine; why change things now?
So, yep, you betcha, Johnny Boy. We need to re-study this DADT thing even if it takes a couple of years. It’s better to be sure of something, like that Iraq thing you supported, than to rush into it head-first (so to speak!) just because some unpatriotic Americans make a fuss.
But I’m writing this to you because something else bothers me, Johnny Boy. I’ve heard rumors “those” kind may be in other places, too. Mostly that doesn’t bother me too much (because I can avoid “them” and "their kind"), but what if there are some of “them” in Congress? Do you think “they” could have some kind of affect on the American way of life by being representatives or even senators? And I’m really concerned, not about you of course, because you’re a manly man too and wouldn’t be affected by “them.” But what happens if “they” can influence some of the younger members of Congress to pass or, Heaven forbid, repeal some of the laws we all know make us Red-Blooded Americans? Can we manly men allow “them” to start making laws? What will “they” pass next, maybe a law that allows them to teach our children, work in our hospitals, on Wall Street or the Movie Industry or even sneak into our churches to influence patriotic Americans (we all know what the really One, True Supreme Commander thinks of that!)?
I think you should chair a hearing to get more information on this. Maybe you could get Senator Lindsey Graham to co-chair it with you. You seem to work well with him. And over in the house, you have a number of friends who would love to help you out, bipartisan-wise. I understand you’re friends with Representative Barney Frank. I’m sure you would enjoy his input.
This isn’t a trivial matter, Johnny Boy. I certainly wouldn't waste your time when there are other pressing matters to worry about too..like the deficit and unemployment and Social Security. And thanks for your stand against those wasteful entitlements, too!
I hope you understand the need to look into this before some of our American Boys in uniform are subject to those “others” trying to corrupt them on what you and I both know is just plain wrong.
I’m sure you’ll agree that if we shouldn't have “those kind” in the service fighting alongside our Blonde, Blue-Eyed, All-American Guys what would it say if “they” infiltrated our political system? And what better man to look for “them” than you? A man who makes his mind up and sticks to his convictions!

Thanks for the time, Johnny Boy. Here’s to “straightening out” Congress, hopefully starting with you!

Affectionately yours,

Father Tyme

Wednesday, December 1

Alien Life? Tomorrow we will find out!

From NASA website:


MEDIA ADVISORY : M10-167


NASA Sets News Conference on Astrobiology Discovery; Science Journal Has Embargoed Details Until 2 p.m. EST On Dec. 2


WASHINGTON -- NASA will hold a news conference at 2 p.m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 2, to discuss an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life. Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe.



From what I can gather, it appears that this announcement will probably be about discovering methane-based life forms on Titan.

I'm sure many of our male readers might have a comment or two on the subject of methane gas?

Let 'em rip folks -- I can hear the rimshots already!



But it really doesn't matter at all,
No it really doesn't matter at all, life's a gas,
I hope it's gonna last.

"The Gulf of Mexico is Dying"

"A Special Report on the BP Gulf Oil Spill"

By Dr. Tom Termotto

"It is with deep regret that we file this report. We do not take this responsibility lightly, as the consequences of the following observations are of such great import and have such far-reaching ramifications for the entire planet. Truly, the fate of the oceans of the world hangs in the balance, as does the future of humankind."

http://phoenixrisingfromthegulf.wordpress.com/2010/12/01/the-gulf-of-mexico-is-dying/

Mmmm... Catfood. It's what's for dinner.

Firedoglake has a copy of the Catfood Commission final report. Here's the PDF

Ooh, there's a pledge to reform SS for "its own sake."

Oh and a novel way to reduce the deficit is by cutting taxes across the board... for everyone including corporate persons.

WikiLeaks, Manufacturing Consent, and THE MIGHTY WURLITZER

I just wanted to get one more post in before they pull the plug and declare an "internet patriot act".

It appears to me that our government's response to wikileaks actually says more than wikileaks. Up until now, I've pretty much avoided this wikileak topic on the net. Lately, I have to pick and choose what news stories I delve into. It really is overwhelming. Thanks to Noam Chomsky I am getting pretty good at picking out the headline stories that are attempts at manufacturing consent amongst the populace. The recent TSA and their body scanning bullshit is a prime example. Here are some more examples of how we fall for this propaganda. (I never knew this was how they got all us women to start smoking)

Here is a must read interview with Amy Goodman and Noam Chomsky from yesterday:
Noam Chomsky: WikiLeaks Cables Reveal "Profound Hatred for Democracy on the Part of Our Political Leadership

"Forty years ago, Noam and Howard Zinn helped government whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg edit and release the Pentagon Papers that top-secret internal U.S. history of the Vietnam War....

AMY GOODMAN: What are your thoughts today? For example, we just played this clip of New York republican congress member Peter King who says WikiLeaks should be declared a foreign terrorist organization.

NOAM CHOMSKY: I think that is outlandish. We should understand- and the Pentagon Papers is another case in point- that one of the major reasons for government secrecy is to protect the government from its own population. In the Pentagon Papers, for example, there was one volume- the negotiations volume- which might have had a bearing on ongoing activities and Daniel Ellsberg withheld that. That came out a little bit later. If you look at the papers themselves, there are things Americans should have known that others did not want them to know. And as far as I can tell, from what I’ve seen here, pretty much the same is true. In fact, the current leaks are- what I’ve seen, at least- primarily interesting because of what they tell us about how the diplomatic service works.


Continuing along here, I must insert this interesting headline that I came across over at WRH:
Wikileaks "Cablegate" Psychological Operation Justifies Zionist War Propaganda

And now the latest wiki-tease -- an 'announcement about an announcement' concerning a major US bank (?BOA?). WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR W$K$??? Open than Pandora's Box NOW!

In addition to Chomsky's interview, here is another must read that will help to understand what is going on here:

WikiLeaks and the Mighty Wurlitzer, by Zahir Ebrahim


What is the ‘Mighty Wurlitzer’?

It used to be the honorific of Frank Wisner, the first chief of political warfare for the Central Intelligence Agency, used to describe the C.I.A.’s plethora of front organizations and newsmedia stooges that he was capable of playing (like a great organ with many keyboards) for synthesizing any propaganda tune that was needed for the day. See Operation Mockingbird

The fact that such an omnipresent Message-Machine is not ancient history but very much current affairs, is underscored by this NYT headline “Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon’s Hidden Hand”, Sunday, April 20, 2008

Therefore, today, I use the term ‘Mighty Wurlitzer’ as a metaphor to pluralistically refer to the same message-machine, i.e., the intelligence apparatus for manufacturing consent and controlling dissent, and its concomitant conscious manipulation of peoples’ thoughts, feelings, actions and in-actions, in order to serve the primacy interests of the ruling-elite. The latter are, invariably, also the de facto owners of the complete messaging-system now even more globally ubiquitous than when Frank Wisner played the world for a fool.

This ‘grand organ’ is now able to even more effectively synthesize, implant, and reinforce, all the right set of beliefs (myths) among the entire world’s public – by suitably combining ‘events’ with imaginative ‘expos’ writing – which appropriately primes the world populations to acquiesce to the oligarchic agendas. While playing this orchestra is now an integral part of all state-craft, its major musical themes are entirely determined by the behind the scenes owners of the system. While some might refer to the underlying techniques as propaganda and psy-ops, ‘Mighty Wurlitzer’ singularly captures the messaging-system controlled under a unified purpose of command which is both highly compartmentalized and cellularized. Only the Mighty Wurlitzer knows the entire tune.

What this means is that not all who willingly cooperate with the Mighty Wurlitzer in synchronistically humming its themes are knowingly being purveyors of its myths and deception. Many of its most shrill echoers are often well intentioned functionaries who are fed different motivating myths at different levels in the hierarchy – sometimes the lie is different at every level – such that it suitably motivates each according to their own predilection, professional station, and mission statement.

That is the real import of the craftsmanship of the Mighty Wurlitzer! To engineer a fait accompli by manufacturing consent among the gullible masses and dissent among the rabble rousers, leaving future scholars, historians, and the odd malcontent to laudingly study the ashes left behind by “history’s actors”. A diabolical modus operandi of democratic statecraft which the Mighty Wurlitzer’s operators even brazenly brag about: ‘“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”’ (Ron Suskind, New York Times, Oct. 17, 2004)