Saturday, April 9, 2005

We'll know better next time...

On April 9, 1865, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered his army to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia.

Swell. Now that the slavery issue has been settled, next time they wanta secede, let's let 'em. Not that it's ever gonna happen. They like our money too much. If they had to stand on their own, they'd starve. Hmmm.

Friday, April 8, 2005

Reality Bites, Don't It, Assholes?

The hardly-ever-right wing bloggers, aka "The 101st Fighting Keyboarders", have got their panties in a bunch over some Associated Press photojournalists getting the Pulitzer Prize for actual un-Bushified coverage of the war in Iraq. From Attytood:
The AP's crime? In so many words, they are guilty of showing the conflict in Iraq the way that it is, and not the way that the conservative blogosphere wishes that it were. The right wants those pictures of rose pedals and liberation parades that Dick Cheney promised them three years ago, and now they're mad they didn't get them.

There are two main objections. To sum them up, they claim the AP was aiding the enemy when one of its photographers, who has sources in the anti-U.S. insurgency, went to a rally and captured a shot of insurgents shooting two Iraqi election workers. The other is general, that too many of the pictures are "pro-insurgent" or that none of them depict "heroic" actions by American troops.

Athenae has a measured and understated response:
Freedom isn't free, you say, giving me the impression that whatever other xenophobic homophobic fundie whackjob tendencies you harbored, at least you understood that for your bravado somebody pays a price. I hope you got a receipt, because it sounds like freedom's a little more expensive than you counted on. In fact freedom's so fucking expensive you can't stand to be told what market price is these days.

Freedom isn't free, you miserable chickenshits. You cheer the war, you love the war, you love the troops, you support the troops. But to recognize their sacrifices would diminish your pleasure so you send the images away. You jackholes are the ones who are always bitching that the left "blames America first." You're the first to blame "the media," to blame "bias" when things don't look the way you saw them on the outside of the box. Why do you now blame the photographers who bring you images of the dead and wounded, of protest, conflict? Why don't you blame the terrorists? Why don't you go wave a little flag in the face all this carnage because certainly it's exactly the item you put your finger next to on the menu. THIS IS WHAT YOU WANTED. LOOK AT IT. Print out every single one of those photos and paper mama's basement with them, chickenhawks. Here's your war, in all its glory. Max your credit card out, because freedom isn't free.

You cocksuckers, if you didn't want to see the bill, you shouldn't have ordered the food. Quit taking out your anger on the waiter setting the check down in front of you. Schmucks.

Right fuckin' on. Couldn't have said it better myself. You like this war, assholes, and you don't have to go fight it and risk your worthless asses. Live with your wonderful Fuhrer's results. As far as I'm concerned, you're as guilty of war crimes as he is. Quit whining when someone shows the fucking truth.

Stole this from Cleek. Blame him. Geez, I sound like one of them!

Thursday, April 7, 2005

Der Rush

You deserve a break, so go enjoy a little light animated humor starring Rush Oxylimbaugh. Courtesy of A Mockingbird's Medley.

Lost Civil Liberties Mug

The Unemployed Philosopher's Guild (like, I can totally relate!) has a coffee mug:
Pour in a hot beverage and watch your civil liberties disappear! Mug features the complete text of the Bill of Rights, but pour in a hot beverage and see what remains thanks to the Patriot Act!

Check it out.

Drop the Hammer

There's a website called Drop the Hammer that is dedicated to getting corporate backers of Bugs DeLay to perform the titular act. There are links to many of the unethical things that scumbag has done, at least the ones that have oozed out from under the rocks. Many links. Go see. It's a little more polite than my idea of "dropping" DeLay.

Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Spare Change, Mister?

From Wolcott:
While I'm chugging to the finish line of a column, I want to pause and alert members of the enlightment that Steve Gilliard is holding a fund drive this week to raise money toward the purchase and construction of a souped-up desktop computer. Why should I help Steve Gilliard buy a desktop? I can hear some cheapskates asking. Because his blog blows more Swiss cheese holes through b.s. than almost any other blog on the internet, and Steve Gilliard posting from a desktop is a Gilliard as fully weaponized as Woody Guthrie with "This machine kills fascists" stenciled on his guitar.
I dropped all my change into my 'puter, but instead of an e-mail acknowledgment, all I got was some smoke, sparks, and a strange smell. You try it.

Widespread Panic

Relax. I'm referring to the band Widespread Panic. I ran across 'em while skiddin' the net and thought I'd share a story with you.

A few years ago**, these guys played at Truckee Regional Park which is a very nice park with a reasonably natural amphitheater* right on the bank of the Truckee River. There's a lot of music there in Spring and Summer, starting after the snow melts. Duh.

I had a gig that evening as Ticket Security. WP's fans were youthful and energetic, as well as cheap, so it kept this old hide a-hoppin'.

After the concert, the band called for help loading up. The amphitheater is located in such a way that they couldn't drive their big rig right up to it; instead, they had to offload tons o' equipment onto a smaller truck to get it to the stage. They wanted help going the other way, and a bunch of us locals volunteered. Two crews, one at the stage and one at the big rig. Their fans are youngsters, but there wasn't a guy in the loading crew under forty.

The road manager was an Israeli, and in between giving directions, while we were waiting for the truck to come back, he was quite a character with the views of a jaded world traveller. The band members were long gone of course.

This deal took from about 11pm, when all the concerts shut down because the park is near residential neighborhoods (I can hear them from my house), to almost 2am. They gave us a band T-shirt for our labors. We bitched about that, so they coughed up a $20 bill each as well. To their everlasting credit, they also kicked down some beer and all the weed we could smoke while we worked, which may have slowed things down a little bit. Ya think?

So, there I am, 3 hours late and stoned to the gills, trying to explain to Mrs. G why I'm home so late from a Security gig that was three blocks from home. It took me a while, but I'm sure the absence of the stink of cheap perfume kept me alive long enough. Ah, memories.

*Go to this site to see a graphic depiction of life in snow country when there's no snow!
**Time flies, don't it?

Right-wing Radio

I have my own ideas of what I like to listen to on the radio. My tastes are eclectic to the point of being downright subversive. I like NPR, but I particulary like low-power community radio stations like KVMR (Nevada City CA) and KNBA (Anchorage AK - thanks, Morrigan). You can listen to them on your computer while dispensing words of wisdom and rage. These generally low-key and perpetually under-funded outfits are, like nearly everything else these days, under assault from the Big Money Retardiligious Right. From Sarah Posner, via AlterNet. She is also a contributor to The Gadflyer.
The story of low-power radio is a cautionary tale on how a progressive victory can quickly be turned to conservative gain. Thanks to Rupert Murdoch, Clear Channel, and Sinclair Broadcasting, the right wing has long dominated corporate media. Now religious broadcasters are busy pushing community radio right off the FM dial.

For years, media reform activists have fought valiantly to force the FCC to issue licenses for low power radio stations. Their dream: to create a space on the radio dial for true locally produced community programming, untainted by the profit considerations of large media conglomerates. Low power radio would finally give voice to those who needed it most: people of color, low-income communities, local organizations.

Five years after their victory, community radio has become the bastion of Christian programming. LPFM is being squeezed off the radio dial by religious broadcasters who are gobbling up FM frequencies at an astonishing speed. Their weapon of choice: low power translators.

Translators, which range in power from 10 to 250 watts, were created by the FCC to help boost signals of existing stations in areas where the terrain can hamper their signals. Christian broadcasters use these translators to transmit programs from their bigger full-power stations. Unlike commercial stations which can only have a translator within the receivable range of the full-power "parent" station non-commercial groups such as religious broadcasters can place their translators at any distance and feed them via satellite or other means. As a result, one full-power station can be used to broadcast programming across a number of states, vastly extending its reach, especially in rural areas. And the more translators take up low power frequencies in a community, the less room for local radio stations on the FM dial. More importantly, Christian radio networks can gain access to small communities without having to produce any local programming -- since the FCC forbids translator stations from airing such programming.

The end result: community radio is literally being crowded off the radio by religious broadcasters.

This sprawling radio network has become a powerful means to disseminate the reactionary ideological agenda of the evangelical right and its leading organizations.

The absence of alternative views on the FM dial in remote communities makes this kind of ideological programming doubly effective, and the absence of alternative local programming all the more dangerous.

Despite these concerns, the FCC has done little to check the expansion of religious broadcasters or investigate its effects on community radio. While it did institute a freeze on granting additional construction permits for translators, it was prompted by allegations of fraud leveled against two companies with ties to Calvary Chapel, which are accused of applying for 4,200 translator permits for the sole purpose of selling them to other religious broadcasters (Trafficking in translator licenses is illegal.).

Yeah, like that bothers 'em. They have friends in high places. I don't know about you, well, that's a lie, of couse I do, but I'm getting damn, no, make that goddamn, sick and fucking tired of the christo-fascist bullshit being shoved at me even though I wouldn't be caught dead listening to any of it. What bothers me is that God, Inc. is threatening to displace good alternative music and viewpoints and replace them with the corporate don't-listen-to-the-voice-of-reason, we-know-what's-best-for-you-so-shut-up-and-do-what-we-tell-you, or-we'll-kill-you crap that's ruining America.

[I did a little editing. All those intact hyphens were fucking with the HTML-F-man]

Hightower on the SSI Swindle

Jim Hightower is a journalist from Texas. He bills himself as "America's No. 1 Populist" and I think he's at least in the top ten. He was the only liberal/progressive/lefty/realist radio commentator for a long time. Since he was usually squeezed in between hardly-ever-right-wing morons like Rush Oxylimbaugh and G. Gordon Liddy, it doesn't take a genius to figure out why he's not still on the air.

Here's his article in AlterNet about the Social Security swindle. I think he sums the whole attempted robbery up quite nicely. Read.
When George W. says he's going to "fix" our Social Security system, I feel like a dog that's just been told, "We're taking you to the vet to get you fixed."

Next came the political road map, again from a little noticed document prepared under the auspices of Cato. Written in 1983 (my emphasis), it laid out a five-point strategy for creating a political environment that would give privatization a chance:

Maintain constant criticism of Social Security to influence the media and to undermine public confidence in the soundness of the program;

Build a network of influential supporters of private accounts, including Wall Street brokers who would profit from them;

Divide and conquer the opposition by assuring retirees and those nearing retirement that their benefits would be fully paid;

Enact laws creating 401(k)s and other private accounts so people learn to accept them; and

Have a privatization plan waiting in the wings when a president came along who was willing to claim that Social Security's trust fund faces a shortfall.

Cato's planners called for protracted "guerrilla warfare" against the system and its supporters. "We must be prepared for a long campaign," the Cato document declared. "It could be many years before the conditions are such that a radical reform of Social Security is possible." Then, amazingly, it cited a Communist as a political guru: "As Lenin well knew, to be a successful revolutionary, one must also be patient and consistently plan for real reform."

Looks like they found their fool, huh?
Alliance for Worker Retirement Security (AWRS): Beware of any advocacy group that has "worker" in its name ... but no workers in its group. This outfit, created by the National Association of Manufacturers in 1998 solely to lobby for privatizing the public retirement system, has about 40 members, including the American Bankers Association, Business Roundtable (the CEOs of America's 200 largest corporations), Paine Webber, Charles Schwab, Securities Industry Association (Wall Street's official lobbying group), U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Wachovia Bank.

Surprise, George!

The ideologues, the corporations, the front groups, and the Bushites thought they had all of their ducks in a row to ram privatization into law, but they didn't count on one thing: You!

All across the country (and cutting across all party, racial, and age lines), people have risen up to give a resounding "No, uh-uh, forget it, go away" to this scheme. Especially bad for George is that he now has less support for privatization than he did before the White House's propaganda blitz. So far his campaign has included forcing the Social Security Administration to tout George's agenda, creating a Social Security "war room" in the Treasury Department, wheeling out the old political hack Alan Greenspan to shill for the plan, exploiting a few black Republicans as props for the false claim that Social Security is unfair to African Americans, and using the full bully pulpit of presidential PR tricks--but to no avail.

Folks are figuring out what George's proposal means: tossing out the guarantee of retirement security; slashing benefits and raising the retirement age; no spousal benefits or disability payments; promised stock gains that are iffy at best (check the decline in your own 401(k)); and Wall Street fees and fraud that will devour any gains. Many old folks recall that we tried privatized retirement in the past. It was called the Great Depression. And some folks already know what privatizing retirement means, because they've seen that future ... and recoiled from it.

Actually, the Bushites might have done us a favor by making this greedheaded and ideological lunge for our Social Security money. First, their audacious move has solidified and energized progressive forces to fight against it. Second, it rips away the "compassionate conservative" and "family values" masks that Bush has been wearing. Third, it opens up the big debate about what kind of country we want America to be. Will we be an I-got-mine, you're-on-your-own society, or a nation of people who continue striving for America's egalitarian ideal of the Common Good. This is more than a fight over our retirement (as big as that is). It's a fight for America's democratic soul. It's also a fight we can -- and must -- win.

Hear, hear. Those are some high spots. Go read the rest .

Tuesday, April 5, 2005

Watch Those Potholes

You know, I've been to two hog callin's and a county fair, but this is a new one. From Uggabugga:
More and more newspapers are reporting oral sex between children at school, during class, on school buses and at parties.

One of the comments:
I think we do need to warn our children that oral sex on school buses is dangerous. I mean the shocks on those things are awful and one wrong bump and...well things will get messy. And not in the good way.

Funny, that was my first thought as well. These kids today sure have a lot more to worry about than I did.