Saturday, December 31, 2011

Onward to 2012: "We're all in this together, kid!"

Very well, I'll say it: Terry Gilliam's Brazil is simply my favorite movie of all time. I'll often say things like "Brazil is in my top five favorite films", just to give myself a little wiggle room, because I also adore Gilliam's 12 Monkeys. And a number of other cinematic masterpieces by a number of other brilliant, visionary men and women. Okay, so maybe there are more than five on my list of favorite movies--let's say ten.

Still: Brazil. Good Lord, what an amazing and crystalline metaphor it is, from start to finish; what a chillingly prescient story; what a visually stunning, emotionally affective, and politically damning work of art.

Every time I watch this film, I come away with more to think about. Have you ever seen an actual terrorist?

I absolutely love the scene in the above clip, as it gives face and form (with no small amount of dark humor) to my hope for the coming months and years: that we can join together--and tackle and overcome in ways that are truly fitting and just--the monster that is any society so riven with fear and controlled by bureaucracy, its very fibers and ducts and veins and brains threaten to deliver it to its own doom.

So perhaps I am a dreamer. But I'm not, as Lennon said, the only one.

Never give in, never give in, never give in. Me, I'm not giving in to this fascistic shit, and I'm not going down without a fight. Are you? Didn't think so.

Long may we fight, and dream, together.

Also at Litbrit.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Caption it!


Dancing through the news on Iraq

[Cross-posted from The Middle Everything]

The Guardian:

A wave of at least 14 bombings ripped across Baghdad on Thursday morning, killing at least 60 people in the worst violence Iraq has seen for months.

Radio Free Europe:

The fear now is that today’s attacks, which have occurred amid a rapidly unraveling political situation and the withdrawal of U.S. military support, could signal a return to that sectarian strife.

How pervasive is this sectarian strife?

Russia Today:

Tariq al-Hashemi [Iraqi Vice President] is accused of paying his bodyguards to target government officials in 2006-2007, and was banned from leaving the country on Sunday. But by Monday, when the warrant was issued, Al-Hashemi had already moved to Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region. The move provided the VP with significant immunity to the arrest warrant, given the region’s special status.

Let’s backtrack for a second to put this into perspective. Tariq al-Hashemi is a leading Sunni politician in Iraq’s central government that seeks to bring together the country’s majority Shia Muslim population with the minority Sunni Muslims and Kurds.

Before World War I, “Iraq” was three provinces within the Ottoman Empire: Sunni, Shia, and Kurd. After becoming a country and being forced to live together, a strongman Sunni ruler named Sadaam Hussein came to power and committed massacres against both the Shia and Kurd populations. The Kurd’s still want their own country (hence the “semi-autonomous Kurdish region” in northern Iraq); the Shia and Sunni always seem to have trouble living together.

Iraq’s current Prime Minister, Nouri al-Malki, is a Shiite. And the Sunni VP al-Hashemi apparently contracted out hits on Shia politicians. After al-Malki issued an arrested warrant for the country’s vice president, al-Hashemi fled for safe haven in Kurdistan, which is supposed to be part of Iraq and, BTW, is also part of Iraq’s central government in Baghdad.

So, besides issuing an arrest warrant for a sitting member of that government, what else is happening with Iraq’s central government? Glad you asked.

The Guardian:

The claims about Hashimi, made on state television, which aired the alleged confessions of three of his guards, have inflamed already high tensions between Sunni politicians and the Shia-led government of Maliki, which last week ordered a second prominent Sunni figure, deputy prime minister Saleh al-Mutlaq, to stay away from parliament.

The Sunni-dominated Iraqiya bloc, which has 91 seats in the 325-seat parliament, has flagged a boycott from the legislature by many of its members. Three Sunni provinces have made unilateral declarations of autonomy.

And, of course, massive bombings — right after the last US troops pulled out of Iraq. The timing of all this is peculiar, because…

Russia Today:

The scandal follows the departure of the last remaining US troops from the country, leaving behind what US President Barack Obama called a “sovereign, stable, and self-reliant Iraq.

Looks like that $808 billion spent on the Iraq war — instead of infrastructure repairs, improving the US economy, and social services — was a complete and total waste.

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Monday, December 19, 2011

New Radiohead & Guided By Voices

NPR is streaming the new Guided By Voices album Let's Go Eat the Factory. The new GBV record comes out January 1, 2012.

Radiohead has released two new songs on their web site. The new songs are Daily Mail and Staircase. I am really loving Daily Mail.

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Quote of the Day

But here's my point, the point I was making earlier is that if he is, if Christopher Hitchens is, in fact, in Hell, he's there because God loves him. Not because God hates him but because God loves him. And I explained what I mean by that. What I mean by that is that God loves us enough to, in the end, give us what he insist on having. If we are determined to have our own way then God, in the end, is going to give us what we insist on having, because that's what you do for people you love."

Bryan Fischer, of the American Family Association.

The God that Fischer and many Christian conservatives wants atheists, gays, minorities and liberals to go to hell. This is why we hear tea party Christian cheer executions at Republican debates. Fischer wouldn't know what God's love is since he has no love in his heart.

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John Boehner is William Wallace

Imagine John Boehner screaming "freedom at the end of the (highly overrated) Braveheart.

Republican Rep. Phil Gingrey wants Americans to imagine Boehner as a sword-wielding kilt clad warrior.

“I’ve got a flight out of [Georgia] in about two hours. We’re all coming back, that’s what everybody told Speaker Boehner on the conference call Saturday when we heard about this fiasco of a two-month extension voted on by the Senate,” Gingrey said. “We were literally shocked.”

“Out of 75 responses, there may have been one person that thought it was OK that we would put the fight off until two months from now,” he continued. “Everybody else said, 'Look, this is a 'Braveheart' moment. You, Mr. Speaker, are our William Wallace. Let’s rush to the fight. Get us back to Washington, let’s get to our work and we’re doing that.' "

Last week, Republicans and Democrats brokered a deal that overwhelmingly passed the Senate; it would extend the payroll tax cut two months. Lawmakers had been unable to agree on how to pay for a yearlong extension.

House Republican based their economic decision-making on the debt ceiling by watching a violent scene in the Ben Affleck movie The Town. Senate Republicans are less than thrilled about House Republicans rejected the payroll tax cut. Scott Brown is behind to Elizabeth Warren in the polls. Brown called the House Republicans rejection of the payroll tax increase "irresponsible and wrong." Sen. Richard Lugar is another Republican up for re-election who has spoken out against the House Republicans payroll tax vote down. Republicans are getting blamed for the gridlock in Washington. Voting against a tax cut for working class people is political suicide.

House Speaker John Boehner has lost control of his caucus. This was evident during the debt ceiling. Many of these tea party Republicans have more interest in being seat warmers than actually passing legislation. Boehner's 112th Congress has passed only 62 bills. Most of the bills either have no chance in the Senate are merely pointless. One bill was to move a post office. Another bill was to amend a section of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act. Boehner and his caucus aren't less government. They are lazy government.

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Wingnut of Day: Judson Phillips

Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips is found of conspiracy theories that have no basis in reality. Phillips contends that President Obama 2009 presidential campaign was funded by Hamas. From a Phillips post on Tea Party Nation web site.

The party of treason has never been shy about taking foreign cash, even though it’s illegal. In 2008, Obama even received campaign contributions from Gaza (I.e. Hamas). So where does a corrupt, unpopular President from the party of treason go for reelection cash? China, of course.

Phillips provides no proof. The wonderful thing about being a conspiracy theorist is that proof is never ended. When a conspiracy theorist like Phillips is challenged, he will demand that you prove that Obama did not receive campaign contributions from Hamas.

Phillips is a member of the birther movement that claim President Obama was not born in the United States.

After Obama released his long form birth certificate, Phillips wrote a post on how the American Bar Association should give Orly Taitz an award.

The American Bar Association frequently gives awards to lawyers who show a commitment to justice. Unfortunately, the ABA is about as far left as the Communist Party, so those who usually get those awards are lawyers committed to socialism, not freedom.

Orly Taitz has waged an almost one-woman war on the eligibility issue. She is absolutely convinced that Barack Obama is not legally qualified to be President. She had endured insults, threats, some from Judges, fines and every roadblock the Obama regime could throw her way. Had she been as tenacious on a similar issue with George W. Bush, she would be the toast of the legal community.

Orly probably does not want an ABA award, but she may be getting closer to something of great importance to her. It is the “holy grail” of the eligibility movement.

Taitz is one of the cartoonishly hysterical conservatives. There are several Youtube clips of Taitz going batshit insane on cable news programs. Taitz is the living version of a character in a Saturday Night Live sketch.

This is the woman that Phillips think should get an ABA award.

Phillips sent out an email for a post on his web site written written by anonymous Ayn Rand fan Jane Galt. This less than clear-headed blogger claims that Obama faked the assassination of Osama bin Laden.

This incident with Iran getting one of our top secret military drones, has been puzzling me since it happened. It's vaguely reminiscent of the alleged killing of Osama Bin Laden, with no evidence shown to the American people. ( Personally, I think he's been dead since around 2003, have seen no evidence otherwise, and think Obama staged the incident just so he could take credit. People prove they're alive by showing up, and he hadn't shown up in any way, in years. )

Phillips actually felt this post merited sending out to his readership. I am not shocked that Phillips is not acquainted with reality. What is sad is the Republican Party takes Phillips seriously.

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To those who muse about "Spreading Democracy", revisited (Kim Jong-il version)

During an acute famine in the 1990's, starving North Korean refugees--often accompanied by human traffickers--attempted to cross the Tumen River into China; death by freezing was commonplace
And who, while decrying the dictatorial splinter in the collective cornea of yet another palm-tree-lined nation* doing us no harm, all the while ignoring the beam lodged in their own myopic eye; and who, to this day, and despite mounting evidence to the contrary, tell the citizenry that promoting freedom is what they've been doing all this time, even as the blood and treasure belonging to their own people continue to spill unabated while those occupied but not yet dead face an uncertain (but certainly violent) present and future; and who persist, inexplicably and without remorse or fear of reproof, in sanctioning further curtailment of that selfsame freedom with the suspension of habeas corpus and with every presidentially-approved, unconstitutional wiretap and illegal invasion of citizens' privacy, I offer the words of another notable Latin American:


By Pablo Neruda

An odor has remained among the sugarcane:
a mixture of blood and body, a penetrating
petal that brings nausea.
Between the coconut palms the graves are full
of ruined bones, of speechless death-rattles.
The delicate dictator is talking
with top hats, gold braid, and collars.
The tiny palace gleams like a watch
and the rapid laughs with gloves on
cross the corridors at times
and join the dead voices
and the blue mouths freshly buried.
The weeping cannot be seen, like a plant
whose seeds fall endlessly on the earth,
whose large blind leaves grow even without light.
Hatred has grown scale on scale,
blow on blow, in the ghastly water of the swamp,
with a snout full of ooze and silence.

[* Upon learning that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il had died, my thoughts returned to Pablo Neruda's poem, to its vital and crystalline truths and how they live on. I had a similar reaction to the one shared above when Cuban dictator Fidel Castro stepped down in 2008. Plus ça change...]

Also at Litbrit.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Quote of the Day

"That's one of the things that I like about him -- because he's been consistent since he changed his mind."

Christine O'Donnell, stating her reason for endorsing Mitt Romney.

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Blasters - Just Another Sunday

Just Another Sunday by The Blasters on Grooveshark

The Blasters were arguably the band that started the L.A. cowpunk scene that spawned X, Lone Justice and the Divine Horsemen.

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The Tax Shift is Back

Florida satae Sen. Paula Dockery pressed Sen. Stephen Wise on how the teacher Merit Pay plan was going to be paid for. Wise stumbled and eventually admitted that the Florida legislature wasn't going to budget a penny for merit pay.

Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland, pressed Wise on where the money would come from, and if the $700 million the state is receiving as part of federal stimulus money and part of the Race to the Top program would leave the state's education funding in the lurch after the federal money dries up.

"We need to be accountable to taxpayers. How far will the $700 million go?" Dockery asked.

Wise said that state statutes already require school districts to create their own year-end tests, and that money for the creation of new tests and for raises included in the bill would come from state's traditional funding mechanism for local school districts, the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP).

What Wise did with his bill is what I have called in the past a tax shift. Here is what I wrote about how former Gov. Jeb Bush forced local communities to raise property taxes to make up for the state's education cuts.

Wayne Garcia has noted that Floridians are displeased with higher taxes (see here and here.) Voters have reason to be. What Garcia fails to mention is this is a tax shift. By that, I mean local communities are forced to make up the money they would have gotten from the state. In 2005, Florida adjusted spending to $6,492 a year for each student. That was $1,200 less than the national average.

Jeb Bush has refused to adjust taxes to properly deal with growth and inflation. This had more to do with electability than ideology. Bush saw his father not get re-elected by breaking his "no new taxes" pledge. Sure Jeb has a distain for teachers' unions and public education. He's not honest enough to admit it. He knows he would have never done a second term. His vouchers program is so unpopular that only 700 students paticipate. He believes in the FCAT so much that he refused to have private schools tested. Bush has also manipulated graduation rates (see here and here.)

The Palm Beach Post also noted this in an op-ed.

In other words, school districts that already face budget cuts for next year - about $53 million, in Palm Beach County's case - will have to find money for a program they didn't want. If the districts don't find the money, the Legislature will blame them for failing to support good teachers, blocking education reform and undermining Florida's economic future. Or worse.

It's typical Tallahassee, which supports public education right up the point of paying for it.

Republicans in the Florida legislature force counties to raise property taxes and then tell voters what fiscal conservatives they are. It is disgusting.

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Why the Occupy Wall Street Movement Exists

CNN Money reported this staggering figure on the bonuses of Standard & Poor 500 companies.

After two years of lower pay packages, chief executives at the nation's major companies enjoyed a 36.5% jump in pay last year, according to a leading survey of CEO compensation.

In the other America, census data reports more Americans are no longer middle class.

About 97.3 million Americans fall into a low-income category. Together with the 49.1 million who fall below the poverty line, they number 146.4 million, or 48 percent of the U.S. population.

The majority of Americans live below the poverty line. Meanwhile, CEO bonuses are getting bigger. This is why the Occupy Wall Street movement exists. Both political parties and the conservative base want to protect the status quo. The tea party movement claims to be founded to protest the bailout. The truth is they love corporate power. Cue Tim Nerenz, Ph.D.

You can’t be for the poor and against the things that end poverty.

You can’t be against the corporations who create the jobs they need to care for themselves. You can’t be against the Walmarts and Targets who sell quality goods at prices they can afford. You can’t be against the drug companies who treat their chronic diseases.

You aren't for the poor if you support government handouts for corporations and are against a safety net for the poor. Nerenz's libertarian heart would love nothing more than to end Medicare and Social Security. However, Nerenz goes on about how awesome the rich are. Never mind that the rich don't create the jobs he claims they do.

You can’t hate the rich and be for the poor. It is not your place to tell another how many steps forward out of poverty you will allow before you punish the next - nobody made you Simon. Each person decides for himself/herself how much is enough, how much to give back, who to give it back to, and in exchange for what. If you are unhappy with how your sister spends her millions, make millions of your own and do with them as you see fit.

Don't go hating Goldman Sachs for selling their investors garbage and then betting on their investors to lose. Goldman Sachs is creating jobs by laying off their own employees.

Side note: Nerenz got his PH.D from the online school Athabasca University. If I was Nerenz, I wouldn't brag about that PH.D.

Update: a comment says that Nerenz got his PH.D from Northcentral University. I will note that Northcentral University is also an online school with a worse reputation.

In 2011 the US Department of Education determined Northcentral was one of 75 institutions that had failed its 2009-2010 financial responsibility test, and would be required to post a letter of credit in order to for students to receive federal financial aid.

Along with Northcentral University, other schools that failed were Academy for Five Element Acupuncture, Biblical Theological Seminary, Florida Christian College and a host of other Christian schools. Remember this when Republicans say intelligent design should be taught in K-12 school.

Short answer: Nerenz is posing as a conservative intellectual with a garbage education.

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Patrick Murphy Statement On Allen West

Congressional candidate Patrick Erin Murphy released this statement on Allen West's comments comparing Democratic messaging to Joseph Goebbels.

Statement by Patrick Erin Murphy:

My opponent, Allen West, said today that Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels would be "very proud" of the Democrats. These remarks belittle the Holocaust, insult the Jewish community and the millions of American veterans who fought the Nazis in WWII.

Unfortunately, it is only the latest example of how Allen West is simply out of control.

Equating Democrats and the media to Nazis inflames an already hostile environment for political solutions to develop.

West must apologize immediately.

This is the statement West made.

"If Joseph Goebbels was around, he’d be very proud of the Democrat Party, because they have an incredible propaganda machine."

West reiterated the comparison in a letter to Congressman John Conyers.

“Mr. Conyers, The Democrat Party does indeed have a vicious propaganda machine. It espouses lies and deceit and the Master of deceptive information would truly be proud,” West said, referring to Goebbels. “I have been personally attacked and denigrated on countless occasions. I do not appreciate your letter … Truth is Powerful Sir! Steadfast & Loyal, Allen.”

West then accused the media of falsely reported that he compared the Democratic Party to Hitler's Minister of Propaganda. West isn't interested in governing. West is interested in playing to his tea party base.

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Friday, December 16, 2011

The Twilight Singers - Number Nine

Mark Lanegan and Petra Haden perform live with the Twilight Singers. Lanegan and Haden sang on the studio version of Number Nine.

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Friday Cat Blogging

House cat and bobcat meet. House cat makes it known that he doesn't want to be friends with the bobcat.

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Rick Perry's Bogus Retirement Raise

Gov. Rick Perry officially retires as a Texas state employee. The catch is that Perry will remain as the governor. Someone should explain the definition of "retiring" to Perry. If this seems unseemly that is because Perry receives a raise for his retirement.

“Perry makes a $150,000 gross salary as Texas governor. Now, thanks to his early retirement, Perry, 61, gets a monthly retirement annuity of $7,698 before taxes, or $6,588 net. That raises his gross salary to more than $240,000.”

Perry is one of the few politicians whose net worth went up while in office.


Occupy Tampa Protesting the National Defense Authorization Act

Sen Carl Levin said on the floor of the Senate that President Barack Obama asked Congress to write language into the National Defense Authorization Act that would give the President the power to detain people indefinitely without a trial. The military will have the power to detain United State citizens on American soil.

In the video, Levin says that the President asked that the language to exclude United States citizens from detention by the military on U.S. soil.

LEVIN: The administration asked us to remove the language which says U.S. citizens and lawful residents would not be subject to this section. Is the Senator familiar with the fact that it was the administration asked us to remove the very language which we had in the bill? Which passed the committee, and that we removed it at the request of the administration...

How much clearer can Levin be?

Here is the language in the bill that allows for indefinite detention of U.S. citizens.

The language in the bill says "indefinite detention." According to Levin, the Obama administration objected to the language that would have legally protected the Fifth amendment rights of American citizens.

Amendment 5

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

The Iraq war is officially over. We have a timetable to leave Afghanistan. Exactly how does President Obama and Congress justify holding U.S citizens without due process?

Update: Occupy Tampa will protest in Ybor City at 5 o’clock at Centro Ybor today. WMNF has a report on the upcoming protest.

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Quote of the Day

"If Joseph Goebbels was around, he’d be very proud of the Democrat Party, because they have an incredible propaganda machine."

Rep. Allen West

West was condemned by Democrats for comparing the party to Adolf Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda. Hitler was responsible for the Jews murdered during the Holocaust and the deaths of millions of American soldiers.

West then attacked the media was quoting him.

"Once again, you guys will take whatever I say and you will spin it to try to demonize me or demagogue me,” West added. “What I'm talking about is a person that was the minister of propaganda. And I'm talking about propaganda. So please. I'll be prepared to wake up tomorrow and you guys make up some crazy story. Whatever."

For someone who like portraying himself as a tough guy, West does a lot of crying. If West want to get better press than he can start by using less inflammatory rhetoric. Remember West's attack on Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.

"You are the most vile, unprofessional ,and despicable member of the US House of Representatives.

West's reason for calling Wasserman-Schultz names was because the DNC chairwoman correctly pointed out that West support Medicare cuts. It wasn't like Wasserman-Schultz said something about West's Mama. West's idea of being a tough guy is picking a pointless fight with a breast cancer survivor. What a big man.

Update: West cries to the media about how he was not comparing the Democratic Party to Joseph Goebbels. West then sends a letter to Rep. John Conyers comparing Democrats to Goebbels. West just can't help himself.

“Mr. Conyers, The Democrat Party does indeed have a vicious propaganda machine. It espouses lies and deceit and the Master of deceptive information would truly be proud,” West said, referring to Goebbels. “I have been personally attacked and denigrated on countless occasions. I do not appreciate your letter … Truth is Powerful Sir! Steadfast & Loyal, Allen.”

I guarantee that West will go to Fox News and cry about how Democrats and the media are picking on him for correctly quoting his words. West will not point out to Fox News that a study by Fairleigh Dickinson University found that viewers less informed after watching the conservative news network. West doesn't mind "deceptive information" from a news network, if the network in question gives him positive coverage.

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Write A Caption: Callista Gingrich

People are already going photoshop happy with this photo of Callista Gingrich.

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'Progressive' Mitt Romney

An old video surfaced of Mitt Romney labeling himself his "views as progressive." Romney labeled himself a moderate/progressive. Romney gave this interview when he ran against the late Ted Kennedy. The last candidate who tried running as a moderate/progressive was Kendrick Meek. If you ever hear a candidate label himself a moderate/progressive that is a sure sign the person is full of shit.

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Thursday, December 08, 2011

Parodies of Rick Perry's 'Strong' Ad

Rabbi Jason Miller does a parody of Rick Perry's gay bashing campaign ad.

Second City takes the atheist point of view to skew Perry.

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The song remains the same

Whenever you read a good piece of liberal journalism, or watch a liberal documentary, the facts are always pristine, but the classic conclusion is a call to action that is just left dangling out there, with nothing following it. A summary of most conclusions is “We must rise up and fight against this!”, but there is hardly ever an activist organization formed that can follow through, continuing to work against the problems detailed. Sometimes the authors will make a half-heartered attempt and give a link to a website where you can continue the discussion, but that’s not organizing a movement.

I wrote that when I finished reading Barbara Ehrenreich's book “Bait and Switch”, which coincidentally coincided with the beginning of the Occupy movement. Subconsciously, as a veteran of liberal/socialist protest movements that went nowhere, I think I reviewed Ehrenreich's book so -- when Occupy was inevitably shut down by our freedom-lubbing gubermint -- I could compare and contrast Occupy with past movements.

And I hate to be negative, especially when standing in the still smoldering embers of a movement that did more to change the national conversation about greed and inequality that the Democrat Party has done in a generation, but I'm still left with that familiar sour taste in my mouth.

I tasted this sourness after Nader and the Green Party didn't get 5% of the national popular vote in 2000 (which would have given the Greens access to federal funding in the 2004 election) and Bush blatantly stole the election.

I tasted this sourness after the anti-globalization protesters shifted their focus to anti-war protests in 2002 and 2003, yet we didn't stop the still ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

I tasted this sourness in 2004 when nearly half a million people marched in the streets of midtown Manhattan to protest the Republican National Convention.

I tasted this sourness when I took my activism to blogging from 2003 - 2006, ending my run feeling like I was just uselessly wanking about politics to an ever-decreasing audience after my popularity had peaked.

And now that the Occupy movement has all but concluded at this point, that familiar feeling is welling up in the back of my throat.

"A summary of most conclusions is 'We must rise up and fight against this!', but there is hardly ever an activist organization formed that can follow through..."

Where do we go from here? What's the plan? What, exactly, are we going to do?

Will anyone ever answer these questions?

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Occupy Tampa March

Occupy Tampa will have a march in downtown this Saturday.

When: Dec 10, 2011 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Where: Curtis Hixon Park
600 N Ashley Dr
Tampa,FL 33602

The march starts at Curtis Hixon Park.

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GOP Foreign Policy Attacks Won't Work On Obama

President Barack Obama was questioned during a press conference about Republicans attacking his foreign policy as "appeasement." Obama's answer was too the point.

Obama: Ask Osama bin Laden and the 22 other out of 30 top al-Qaeda leaders who have been taken off the field whether I engage in appeasement.

If this was basket ball this would be Obama slam-dunking on the Republican presidential candidates. Michele Bachmann thinks we have an embassy in Iran. Herman Cain had no idea about Obama's Libya military policy. Rick Perry has the unqualified Liz Cheney as a foreign policy adviser. It will be hysterical for the Republican nominee to attack Obama on appeasement.

Update: Rick Santorum is attacking Obama on not keeping the death of Osama bin Laden classified. I would love for nothing more than for the Republicans to use that attack in the general election.

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Joe Walsh Runs From OWS

Tea Party-supported Congressman Joe Walsh ran for office claiming to be anti-establishment and for the people. Occupy Wall Street protesters from Walsh's district came to talk to the first term Congressman. Walsh's response was to run out the back door. What a man of the people.

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Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Black Flag - Slip it in

A blast from the past. The video for the Black Flage classic Slip It In. Mainstream radio in the 80s would not touch Black Flag with a ten foot pole.

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Occupy Tampa Facing the Cold Weather

Occupy Tampa needs blankets and tarps. They are in Curtis Hixon Park tonight. The best thing to do is bring any blankets or tarps you may have to the park. I have no idea if anyone is on blanket duty. I seriously doubt. The occupy movements have no leadership structure.

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Conpassionate Conservatism: Rick Santorum Edition

This stupidity of Rick Santorum knows no bounds.

“If hunger is a problem in America, then why do we have an obesity problem among the people who we say have a hunger program?” Santorum asked.

People that cannot afford food because of poverty and unemployment aren't hitting all-you-can-eat buffets. Obesity is a separate issue. One thing I can guarantee is Santorum won't pay for a national exercise program if he is president. Santorum is following the Republican narrative of attacking the poor. Republicans will tell voters that the poor are Lucky Duckies and poverty has blessed them with great wealth. The Wall Street Journal took this argument to its extreme.

Who are these lucky duckies? They are the beneficiaries of tax policies that have expanded the personal exemption and standard deduction and targeted certain voter groups by introducing a welter of tax credits for things like child care and education. When these escape hatches are figured against income, the result is either a zero liability or a liability that represents a tiny percentage of income.

The Wall Street Journal took the Lucky duckies op-ed offline. Santorum attacking poor people trying to survive by eating won't fly far politically.

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Dennis Baxley Stands Up Florida's Horrible Voting Laws

I wish Republicans such as state Rep. Dennis Baxley would justify the new restrictive Florida voting laws by claiming that Mickey Mouse was registered to vote. Politifact check the allegations of Florida's favorite rodent being being a voter and found the claim to be false. The entire Florida GOP argument for making voting more restrictive for the poor, minorities and young people is a bogus claim that a fictional character was registered to vote.

Al Sharpton took Baxley to task for the lack of voter fraud cases. Baxley claimed that the new voting laws are to combat voting fraud.

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“You didn’t have laws after hanging chads and other means disrupted this country in 2000…Is it really because young people and minorities started voting and registering in big numbers and this is the new way that you’re going to try and restrict people’s voting rights?” an incensed Sharpton demanded.

“I don’t see why you have to impugn other people’s motives. You may not like some of the content…but I think it makes…people more secure,” a relaxed Baxley, R-Ocala, said. (Baxley later corrected Sharpton – Florida lawmakers enacted a slew of new voting laws in the aftermath of the protracted 2000 election.)

“If it wasn’t broke why are you fixing it other than this is some political game?” Sharpton persisted.

Baxley said the new laws will protect elections from “from mishap and mischief” and pointed out that “Mickey Mouse” had registered to vote in Florida.

That only provoked Sharpton.

“If you’ve got to get Mickey Mouse to make your case…then believe me you’re trying to take all of us to Disney World for a ride,” he said.

Baxley is being disingenuous. Early voting has been cut down by hours. County supervisors of elections have said they do not have the money to stay open on later hours due to to moving from 14 days to 8 days. Baxley failed to provide extra funding to the county election offices. Imagine that.

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Quote of the Day

"The only way to explain the White House position on the Plan B pill is that Plan A is getting reelected."

Andy Borowitz

The politics is actually bad. Voters rejected bans on abortion in Mississippi and South Dakota. Abortion isn't the winning issue for Republicans that the Democratic establishment have told themselves. If Republicans can't get Republican voters to ban abortion then you know Democrats are handling this wrong. The Obama administration is making a decision on women health issues based on faulty political thinking.

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Wingnut of the Day

Next time the Right-wing media cries about liberal media bias, remember Les Kinsolving of World Net Daily asking White House Press Secretary Jay Carney the repeal of DADT legalizes bestiality. This is the utter conspiracy nonsense that WWD thrives in. Remember that this web site contends that President Barack Obama is not an American citizen. Jake Tapper and other members of the media are literally laughing at the stupidity of the question.

[MR. CARNEY]: Let’s go to the back. Lester.

Kinsolving: Oh, my goodness.

MR. CARNEY: Can you believe it? (Laughter.) I’m in the holiday spirit.

Kinsolving: In the holiday spirit. The family research –

MR. CARNEY: Is everyone okay? (Laughter.)

Kinsolving: The Family Research Council and CNS News both reported a 93-to-7 U.S. Senate vote to approve a defense authorization bill that, quote, “includes a provision which not only repeals the military law on sodomy, but also repeals the military ban on sex with animals, or bestiality.” Does the Commander-in-Chief approve or disapprove of bestiality in our armed forces?

MR. CARNEY: I don’t have any comment on — I don’t have any comment on that.
Let me go to another question.

Kinsolving: Does the President believe this will be approved by all animal support groups, such as –

MR. CARNEY: Let’s get to something more serious. Yes, Jake.

Jake Tapper: You sure you don’t want to ask Lester another question? Give him another opportunity? (Laughter.)

MR. CARNEY: I’ve learned my lesson, Jake. (Laughter.)

Tapper: Just one –

MR. CARNEY: Lester, I think we’ll — we’ll let everybody get a chance here. Go ahead, Jake.

Tapper: Are you sure you don’t want to take any more questions on bestiality? (Laughter.) You don’t want to comment on that?

To show just how ridiculous Kinsolving is, here is video of him asking former Press Sec. Robert Gibbs a birther question.

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Universal Orlando Tries to Get Lower Property Taxes

This is rather amusing. Universal Orlando was to go in front of the Orange County Value Adjustment Board to ask for a reduction in their property taxes. Representatives for Universal Orlando bailed when they found out that a reporter from the Orlando Sentinel would sit in on the hearing. The representative for Universal Orlando and Loews Hotels told the magistrate they did not want to discuss their "business data" in front of a journalist. The was magistrate unswayed and turned down the request to lower the property taxes.

After the hearing, Universal Orlando and Loews Hotels refused to provide a comment for the Orlando Sentinel. What is clear is that profits have increased from the Universal Orlando and Loews Hotels partnership.

The three hotels are owned by a joint venture between Universal and Loews, which then pays ground rent to Universal Orlando based on a percentage of hotel revenue. The joint venture paid Universal approximately $13.3 million in 2010, according to regulatory filings — an increase of more than 600 percent from $1.9 million in 2009 and a 10.7 percent increase from $13.2 million in 2008. (The payments plummeted in 2009 because the hotels did not meet a contractual cash-flow threshold.)

Anyone know know Loews cash flow problems in 2009?

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Obama's War On Reproductive Rights

President Barack Obama signed an executive order strengthening the federal restrictions on federal funding for abortions. The Hyde amendment already prohibited federal funds for abortions. The Obama administration went one step further in restricting reproductive rights. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius overruled the FDA on the morning after pill.

NARAL sent out a press release.

NEW YORK—Today the FDA announced the Secretary of Health and Human Services – for the first time ever – has invoked her authority to overrule the agency’s decision to approve the emergency contraceptive pill Plan B One-Step for full over-the-counter sale, which would have removed what was widely recognized to be a politically motivated age restriction on its access. This is the first time in history the Health Secretary has ever used this power to overrule an FDA decision. Had the FDA decision gone into effect, women of all ages would have been able to purchase this back-up birth control method without a prescription and without delays at the pharmacy counter.

“This is a deeply disappointing betrayal from an Administration that had pledged to promote the health and well-being of women and families and be guided by science and medicine,” said Andrea Miller, President of NARAL Pro-Choice New York. “The evidence is clear, the FDA has done more than its due diligence, and women across the nation deserve ready access to a safe, effective second chance to prevent an unintended pregnancy. The decision to overrule the FDA is reminiscent of a troubling era, when the Bush Administration routinely allowed politics to trump science, especially in its interference with the FDA’s deliberations over this product.”

The FDA first approved Plan B as a prescription product in 1999. Seven years later, in 2006, the FDA approved over-the-counter access to Plan B for those eighteen and older – an age restriction later deemed by the Government Accountability Office and federal courts to be politically, not scientifically, motivated. In response, the age restriction on the over-the-counter product was lowered to seventeen the following year.

Does the Obama political team think that the Tea Party and the Christian Right (which is one and the same) is suddenly going to vote for Democrats because of restrictions on Plan B? This is a political decision that does nothing to win the mythical middle.

Obama apologists will defend this as part of the President's 3D chess game with Republicans. The debt ceiling disaster proves that Obama isn't that politically astute. What we do know by Obama's actions is that he is not passionate about protecting the reproductive rights of women. People can write commentary about how Obama actually cares about women. These same people will ignore Obama's actions on reproductive rights. Tell a woman after she has been sexually violated that the reason she can't get the the Plan B pill is because Obama cares. I dare you to try it. I will be suprised if the woman doesn't slap you in the face.

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Rick Scott Meets The Daily Show

This is awesome. The Daily Show correspondent Aasif Mandvi asked Gov. Rick Scott to pee in a cup during a press conference. Scott signed legislation requiring drug tests for unemployment compensation, welfare recipients and state employees.

The reporter, Aasif Mandvi, stood up in the middle of the governor’s questioning, and asked Scott if he would be willing to take the test since he too was using hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars” in carrying out his job.

“I’ve done it hundreds of times,” the governor responded.

Encouraged by the answer, Mandvi then tried to get other reporters to pass a pee-cup up to the governor, drawing a few complaints from executive staff.

“I hate to keep harping on this, but would you pee into the cup?” he asked repeatedly.

Scott then returned to questions from other reporters, and never took the cup.

It is not a surprise that Scott isn't willing to live by the standard he sets for others. To be fair, Scott was asked to pee in a room a media people.

The testing of people applying for unemployment compensation has been temporarily blocked by Judge Mary Scriven. The drug testing of state employees has been suspended after the ACLU issued a legal challenge. Drug testing people without probable cause has been shot down by the court. In 2008, the Washington Supreme Court ruled that Wahkiakum School District could not require all students participating in extracurricular athletic activities to take a drug test. The Supreme Court decision Chandler v. Miller found that candidate for state Georgia state office cannot be required to take a drug test. The Supreme Court found that testing candidates violated their Fourth amendment rights. Scott should be happy that the Supreme Court ruled he isn't required to pee in a cup.

Update: Here is video of the press conference.

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Sunday, December 04, 2011

Mule - Mississippi Breaks

There is no doubt that PW Long's band Mule influenced fellow Detroit native Jack White. The White Stripes sound almost exactly like Mule.

Side note: Mule formed and released the albums before the White Stripes released their first record.

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Cain to Endorse Gingrich

FOX 5 Atlanta reports that Herman Cain will endorse Newt Gingrich on Monday. That should seal up the adultery demographic. The other Republican candidates better have an affair ASAP to compete with the Gingrich-Cain combo.

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Cracking Up

A handy guide to street terms relating to crack cocaine. I used to live in Suitcase City. So I know the terminology well.

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Lara Logan Wins the Whole Truth Award

The Women Media Center bestowed the the 2011 Whole Truth award to journalist Lara Logan. WMC President Carol Jenkins interviews Logan about the award and the sexual assault she survived.

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John Danforth on Crowds at Republican Debates

Former Sen. John Danforth points out the obvious. It isn't very Christian for the crowds at Republican debates to cheer torture, the execution of inmates in Texas and Mexicans being fried by Herman Cain's imaginary electric fence.

DANFORTH: What have been the big applause lines in these debates? Well, a statement that the governor of Texas is responsible for killing 234 people on death row. Or that we favor torture. Or that we’re creating a fence on the Mexican border that electrocutes people when they try to cross it. Or when people show up at the emergency room at hospitals and they’re not insured don’t treat them. And that, I mean these are the big applause lines, people just hoop and holler when they hear all that. [...]

It doesn’t have anything to do with the republican party that I was a part of. This is just totally different. And all of these people who are saying this, y’know, and claiming that, y’know, they’re for all this stuff, they also sort of ostentatiously say, “Oh, we’re very religious people. We really, we’re just very pious, Christian people.” They were for torture, and electrocution of the people on along the border and all of that. That doesn’t have anything to do with, is contrary to the Christianity that I understand.

The crowds going to the debates aren't New Testament Christian. These people are Old Testament "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" Christians. You aren't going to see these so-called Christians volunteering in soup kitchens. Ever.

GottaLaff has a shorter version of the Danforth interview with the segment about the debate crowds.

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Saturday, December 03, 2011

Quote of the Day

"I’m going to be the nominee."

Newt Gingrich

Does Newt realize that Democrats are hoping that Newt and his self-destructive impulses will win the GOP nomination?

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