••can ye pass the acid test?••

ye who enter here be afraid, but do what ye must -- to defeat your fear ye must defy it.

& defeat it ye must, for only then can we begin to realize liberty & justice for all.

time bomb tick tock? nervous tic talk? war on war?

or just a blog crying in the wilderness, trying to make sense of it all, terror-fried by hate radio and FOX, the number of whose name is 666??? (coincidence?)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out --
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out --
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out --
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me -- and there was no one left to speak for me.

Martin Niemöller

Monday, August 30, 2010

first they stole our words
then they stole our history
now they steal our heroes

that's right, guys'n'gals, the right wing is taking it all. they claim the declaration of independence, the american revolution, and abe lincoln were all conservative.

then they said hitler was a leftist.

now they're taking martin luther king.

Backstage at the Restoring Honor event in Washington, Sarah Palin talks to reporters about the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“I hope that Dr. King would be so proud of us, as his niece Dr. Alveda King is very proud as a participant in this rally,” Palin says. “This is sacred ground where we feel his spirit and can appreciate all of his efforts. He who so believed in equality and may we live up to his challenge.”

from that glenn beck transcript i linked to the other day:

VOICE: There's a lot of emotions swirling over this issue. Remember it wasn't so long ago that Glenn Beck called President Obama a racist. So his choice of timing to hold his rally here tomorrow, a surprise to say the least.

PAT: For whom? First of all, it was almost a year ago.

STU: It was more than a year ago.

GLENN: More than a year ago.

PAT: More than a year ago. So it was quite a while ago, Hon, and it's been covered over and over.


PAT: A Hon or a Puddin'.

STU: Yeah.

PAT: It's been over a year, Puddin'. Seriously.

STU: Seriously.

PAT: Get over it.

GLENN: No, wait. We've already talked about it. We've addressed it.

PAT: We've addressed it a million times. Thousands of reasons.

GLENN: A million times.

STU: Thousands of hours of broadcast since that comment.

PAT: We've gone over the reasons for saying it then, you've changed your position a little bit now because you said

GLENN: Well, no, no.

PAT: You've learned more about him.

GLENN: I've learned more about him.

PAT: Yes.

GLENN: And it's not it's just not out of the hand race. That's not what he does. He sees America as an oppressor. It is his liberation theology that leads him to make the decision.

PAT: Where do you get that he's a liberation theologist?

GLENN: Definitely not from the Christian Science Monitor but from his own churches.

PAT: Like what? What evidence do you have that he's ever even heard liberation theology?

GLENN: The words that he said, the fact that he said in several speeches, the fact that he sat there for 20 years, that all of the preachers around him

PAT: His liberation theology church.

GLENN: Yeah. All the preachers that are around him and that have advised him are liberation theology guys. But other than that

PAT: Pfleger, Jeremiah Wright, we suspect Jim Wallis has some of that going on.

GLENN: Well, he's a Marxist.

PAT: Yeah.

GLENN: He's a Marxist. And by the way, Marxism and God don't usually go together. In fact, ever.

PAT: No.

GLENN: Anyway

PAT: So that's just the beginning.

GLENN: Okay.

PAT: But it's a surprise, to say the least.

this is hilarious! right wingers have always painted liberation theology red, but it started within the notoriously anti-communist roman catholic church and has been described as "an interpretation of Christian faith through the poor's suffering, their struggle and hope, and a critique of society and the Catholic faith and Christianity through the eyes of the poor".

look it up.

and if you really want to know something about obama's philosophy, check this out.

Glenn Beck kicked off Monday's radio show by thanking the many attendees at Saturday's "Restoring Honor" rally in front of the Lincoln Memorial — at least 500,000 by his count. Beck said he's "still waiting on the real number" and plans to look closely during his 5 p.m. Fox News show at photos of the large crowd assembled on the National Mall.
Even though Beck is still tabulating a crowd estimate, it can be expected to be significantly higher than the number CBS News reported over the weekend: 87,000.

CBS commissioned an estimate from AirPhotosLive, a company that provides crowd sizes based on aerial photos. CBS noted that there's a margin of error of plus or minus 9,000. So, by this estimate, there were as few as 78,000 attendees or as many as 96,000.
Without official estimates, any numbers published by reputable news organizations — like the 300,000 estimate — quickly got picked up and repeated enough to almost become fact. Domenico Montanaro, an NBC News off-air political reporter, tweeted Saturday that a Parks Service official said there were probably 300,000 to 325,000 in attendance (even though the Parks Service wasn't officially counting). The New York Times cited NBC News' estimate of 300,000, and the Drudge Report amplified the tally even more.

On Monday, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough repeated 500,000 several times during "Morning Joe." (That's the number organizers of the event gave to The Upshot on Saturday.) Beck said Monday that he didn't think there were a million people there as some have claimed.

It's doubtful there will be a consensus any time soon. Most likely, Beck fans will cite the organizer's numbers in the half-million-or-more range. Critics might go with CBS's estimate. But those who attended the rally, or who watched it on television, may simply go with their own personal, unscientific estimate rather than the numbers furnished by either media reports or organizers.

Republican U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann told supporters shortly after the rally that "we're not going to let anyone get away with saying there were less than a million here today — because we were witnesses."

Saturday, August 28, 2010

WASHINGTON – From the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, conservative broadcaster Glenn Beck told the tens of thousands of activists he drew from around the nation Saturday that the U.S. has too long "wandered in darkness."

At an event billed as nonpolitical but reflecting the mood of a sizable number in the country, the rally's marquee speaker, Sarah Palin, praised "patriots" in the audience for "knowing never to retreat."

The two champions of the tea party movement spoke from the very spot where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech 47 years ago. Some civil rights leaders who have denounced Beck's choice of a venue staged a rival rally to honor King.

Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee who may make a White House run in 2012, said activists must honor King's legacy* by paying tribute to the men and women who protect the United States in uniform.

Beck, pacing back and forth on the marble steps, said he was humbled by the size of the crowd, which stretched along the Washington Mall's long reflecting pool nearly all the way to the Washington Monument.

"Something beyond imagination is happening," he said. "America today begins to turn back to God."

"For too long, this country has wandered in darkness," said Beck, a Fox News host. He said it was now time to "concentrate on the good things in America, the things we have accomplished and the things we can do tomorrow."

Neither Beck nor Palin made overtly political comments.

Palin, greeted by chants of "USA, USA, USA" from many in the crowd, told the gathering, "It is so humbling to get to be here with you today, patriots. You who are motivated and engaged ... and knowing never to retreat."

"We must restore America and restore her honor," said the former Alaska governor, echoing the name of the rally, "Restoring Honor."

Palin told the crowd she wasn't speaking as a politician. "No, something more, something much more. I've been asked to speak as the mother of a soldier and I am proud of that distinction. Say what you want to say about me, but I raised a combat vet and you can't take that away from me." It was a reference to her son, Track, 20, who served a yearlong deployment in Iraq.

Palin honored military members in her speech. She likened the rally participants to the civil rights activists who came to the National Mall to hear King's historic speech. She said the same spirit that helped civil rights activists overcome oppression, discrimination and violence would help this group as well.

*war? militarism? whatever you think of our warriors, to say paying tribute to them is to "honor king's legacy" is absurd.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Thursday, August 26, 2010

fresh air

Chances are you've never heard of Charles and David Koch. The brothers own Koch Industries, a Kansas-based conglomerate that operates oil refineries in several states and is the company behind brands including Brawny paper towels, Dixie cups, Georgia-Pacific lumber, Lycra fibers and Stainmaster carpet. Forbes ranks Koch Industries as the second-largest privately held company in the U.S. — and the Koch brothers themselves? They're worth billions.

And in the past 30 years, they've funneled more than $100 million into dozens of political organizations, many of which are trying to steer the country in a more libertarian direction. Among the organizations they've backed are the Cato Institute, a Washington think tank that has recently raised questions about climate change, and the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Virginia — which one Democratic strategist called "ground zero for deregulation policy in Washington."

The brothers also have created several neutral-sounding groups like Citizens for a Sound Economy — which staged media events to oppose President Clinton's proposed Btu tax on energy — and Citizens for the Environment, which called many environmental problems, including acid rain, "myths."

David Koch founded the group Americans for Prosperity Foundation, which has been linked to the Tea Party — training hundreds of activists in Texas and hosting talking points for Tea Party activists on its website.

Jane Mayer, a staff writer at The New Yorker, profiles the brothers and their political connections in the Aug. 30 issue of the magazine. Her article "Covert Operations" describes how the brothers' political interests "dovetail with [their] corporate interests."
[full story, transcript, listen, download]

WASHINGTON – Glenn Beck says it's just a coincidence his Restoring Honor rally on Saturday at the Lincoln Memorial will take place on the anniversary and at the site of Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream" speech. But he's hardly apologizing for the connection.

"This is going to be a moment that you'll never be able to paint people as haters, racists, none of it," he says of the event featuring Sarah Palin and other conservative political and cultural figures. "This is a moment, quite honestly, that I think we reclaim the civil rights movement."

beck wants to take back the civil rights movement...back to 1857....

In an interview Wednesday, Sarah Palin told Fox Business that while it makes sense that Massachusetts might "put up with Scott Brown," the new Republican star senator wouldn't last in Alaska.

The news that former Bush-Cheney campaign manager Ken Mehlman is now openly gay and will raise funds and strategize for the campaign to legalize gay marriage is a stunning reversal. During Mehlman's tenure as head of the Republican National Committee and as an adviser to the 2004 Bush campaign, Mehlman helped spearhead some of the most aggressively anti-gay initiatives in American politics.

Though his sexuality was something of an open secret in Washington circles, in his public career Mehlman worked on numerous high-profile anti-gay efforts, beginning with the proposed 2004 constitutional amendment to outlaw gay marriage.

Back in 2004, gay marriage was still a very effective wedge issue that the Republican Party used to generate high voter turnout in a tough election year, despite Vice President Dick Cheney's public disagreement with the strategy.

Bush adviser Karl Rove's "active strategy was to divide and conquer by microtargeting religious conservatives...."
October 14, 2009

Combat climate change by pumping liquid sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere through nozzles in a hose lifted more than 15 miles into the atmosphere using helium-filled balloons. As described by Myhrvold in an interview this week, the idea behind this "Stratoshield" would be to dim the sun in critical areas of the world by just enough to reduce or reverse the effects of global warming.

"We think it's a simple, relatively cost-effective, pretty practical way that you could intervene and cool Earth off enough to present disaster," Myhrvold said.

No, this is not a joke, or a plot from a bad science-fiction movie. In fact, Myhrvold is talking about the idea now because the Stratoshield and hurricane-stopper ideas are both documented in the new book, "SuperFreakonomics," the follow-up to the hit "Freakonomics" by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner.

myhrvold must've taken some chem courses, but he needs to refresh his memory (& read up on acid rain at the same time):

October 22, 2009

The ideas may sound like science fiction, but some researchers are seriously considering what it would take to shoot sun-reflecting aerosols into the atmosphere to counter climate change. Fleets of small jet aircraft could fly into the lower stratosphere several times a day and release sulfur gas to produce planet-cooling sulfate aerosols. Or giant balloons made out of plastic could be equipped with long hoses and used to pump sulfur gas upwards into the atmosphere. As outlandish or downright laughable as these may sound, these schemes, or others very much like them, are currently the subject of vigorous debate among some of the world's leading researchers.

A serious take on the possibilities comes courtesy of a study published a few weeks ago in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. Its authors, led by Alan Robock of Rutgers University, weighed the costs, risks, and potential benefits associated with the injection of sulfate aerosols into the stratosphere using existing technologies. They found that, while stratospheric geoengineering would slow sea-level rise, keep global temperatures in check, and stop the melting of sea ice—at an annual cost of several billion dollars—it would also produce more droughts and worsen ozone depletion. And, crucially, it would do nothing to reverse ocean acidification.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

would you trust this tweeter to run your country?

[poll results]
here's another irony to add to those i cited earlier in reference to the "ground zero mosque":

it turns out feisal abdul rauf, the imam heading up the project, is a sufi!

sufis are mystics and about as benevolent a group of believers as you can find anywhere.

it's just more evidence of how absurd this controversy is.

NEW YORK – The planned mosque and Islamic center blocks from ground zero got a new boost Wednesday from a coalition of supporters that includes families of Sept. 11 victims.

New York Neighbors for American Values rallied for the first time at a municipal building near ground zero.

"I lost a 23-year-old son, a paramedic who gave his life saving Americans and their values," Talat Hamdani said, and supporting the Islamic center and mosque "has nothing to do with religion. It has to do with standing up for our human rights, including freedom of religion."

Among the nearly 2,800 people killed when the World Trade Center was attacked in 2001 were more than 30 Muslims, she noted.

Opponents of the Islamic center project argue it's insensitive to the families and memories of Sept. 11 victims to build a mosque so close. Supporters cite freedom of religion.

The new coalition was started by members of 40 civic and religious organizations that "spontaneously called each other, because we had the feeling that something very negative was happening," said Susan Lerner, executive director of the New York office of the watchdog group Common Cause.

The controversy was triggered by "irresponsible politicians" using it as an election issue, she said. Names mentioned at the rally included former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Republican, and the highest-ranking Democrat in the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Gingrich has suggested that building the mosque near ground zero is akin to putting a Nazi sign "next to the Holocaust Museum." Reid has broken ranks with President Barack Obama by saying he thinks the mosque should be built elsewhere.

Coalition members are now contacting officials, asking them to support the project as a reflection of religious freedom and diversity, and the rejection of "crude stereotypes meant to frighten and divide us."

a few short quotes:
...conservative evangelicals abroad can shape the perception of the West.

...a handful of evangelicals can misrepresent what the West is about and make Muslims feel very much under threat.

...missionaries who work what some people would call creative access, and this is Northern Sudan, as well, which means going into a country under other guises, right, as either maybe you're running a clinic, maybe you're running a fabric store, maybe you're teaching English.

...he had led a massacre on the island of Sulawesi, where Christians and Muslims had been fighting, among other things, over a local election, and their real grudge against each other was the cacao boom, money coming from the spiking prices of chocolate around the world.
& a longer one:
Yelwa has been the site of some of the bloodiest massacres between both Christians and Muslims of the past decade. In fact, some of the bloodiest happened around September 1, 2001, and because of the timing with 9/11, what would probably have been picked up by the foreign press just got lost.

Thousands killed eventually. Again, with the trouble with numbers, it's hard to know. In one case, Christians surrounding the town, encircling the town these are all reprisal attacks. So they begin in, you know, one begins the other counterattacks, Christians surrounding the town and killing every Muslim they found within the town.

On another attack, the church that you mentioned, this church which is in Yelwa was also surrounded, and Muslims surrounded the church and massacred everybody coming outside after morning devotions.

So the history of bloodshed is very, very deep, very, very painful, and both sides have mass graves very close to places of worship that are hard to believe when you see the numbers, you know, 100 men in this hole, 200 children in this hole. It's painful, and it's visceral, and it's a daily reality.

[full story, listen to fresh air interview, and transcript]

Friday, August 20, 2010

A citizens group conducting its own water samples in the Gulf of Mexico released results today showing dangerous levels of oil and chemicals in Naples and St. Petersberg Florida coastal waters.

They found 1 parts per million of oil and grease.

Other test results from Cotton Bayou, near Orange Beach, Alabama, near the Alabama-Florida state line, showed 13 parts per million of 2-butoxyethanol, the chemical BP supposedly stopped using in the new Corexit 9500 formula, according to Allison Helen Hendricks, a medical adviser with TestingTheWater.org.

“Where do the people think all the millions upon millions of gallons of oil have gone?..."


Are researchers being shut out of gathering valuable data in the wake of the Gulf oil disaster? Linda Hooper-Bui, an ecologist in the Gulf, says that BP and the federal government are hindering independent research into the effects of the oil spill. We'll also talk with Cary Nelson, head of the American Association of University Professors, about academic freedom and gulf oil research.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

i've got to admit the gops have an amazing capacity to keep coming up with wedge issues in their perpetual campaign to divide and conquer america.

here's how rupert murdoch's ny post puts it:

Feds funding Ground Zero imam's Mideast trip

The imam behind a plan to build a mosque near Ground Zero is set to depart on a multi-country jaunt to the Middle East funded by the State Department -- raising concerns that taxpayers may be helping him with the controversial project's $100 million fund-raising goal.

Feisal Abdul Rauf is taking the publicly funded trip to foster "greater understanding" about Islam and Muslim communities in the United States, the State Department confirmed yesterday.

& here's how huffington post responded:

'Ground Zero Mosque' Imam Helped FBI With Counterterrorism Efforts

In March 2003, federal officials were being criticized for disrespecting the rights of Arab-Americans in their efforts to crack down on domestic security threats in the post-9/11 environment. Hoping to calm the growing tempers, FBI officials in New York hosted a forum on ways to deal with Muslim and Arab-Americans without exacerbating social tensions. The bureau wanted to provide agents with "a clear picture," said Kevin Donovan, director of the FBI's New York office.

Brought in to speak that morning -- at the office building located just blocks from Ground Zero -- was one of the city's most respected Muslim voices: Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf. The imam offered what was for him a familiar sermon to those in attendance. "Islamic extremism for the majority of Muslims is an oxymoron," he said. "It is a fundamental contradiction in terms."

It was, by contemporaneous news accounts, a successful lecture.

Flash forward six-and-a-half years, and Feisal Abdul Rauf occupies a far different place in the political consciousness. The imam behind a controversial proposal to build an Islamic cultural center near those same FBI offices has been called "a radical Muslim," a "militant Islamist" and, simply, the "enemy" by conservative critics. His Cordoba House project, meanwhile, has been framed as a conduit for Hamas to funnel money to domestic terrorist operations.

For those who actually know or have worked with the imam, the descriptions are frighteningly -- indeed, depressingly -- unhinged from reality. The Feisal Abdul Rauf they know, spent the past decade fighting against the very same cultural divisiveness and religious-based paranoia that currently surrounds him.

& here's something earlier from salon:

Building Love at Ground Zero

Believers in Islam should not become America's whipping boys, nor should the guilt from the attacks on 9/11 be assigned as collective guilt to all Muslims. As an African-American Southerner, I live and work near monuments that celebrate the Confederate legacy, hailing as heroes and valiant soldiers men who died for states' rights to continue the cruel and inhuman practices of slavery, including the December 1864 massacre of men, women, and children at Ebenezer Creek, outside of Savannah in Newt Gingrich's Georgia. (The loss of life by some estimates may have exceeded the 9/11 attacks.)I attend church with the direct descendants of those who once owned slaves. But I assign no collective or historic guilt to those whose current wealth and status derived in large part from this abominable practice.


...conservative radio host Laura Ingraham interviewed the imam's wife on "O'Reilly Factor" and said: "I can't find many people who really have a problem with it.... I like what you're trying to do."

but then

...I say the terrorists have won....

yes, the terrorists have won if they've turned us into intolerant fools who trample freedom of religion into the ground.

that's only one irony.

another is, as far as i can tell, you can't even see ground zero from the controversial proposed community center at park51.

one more is that stirring up so much heat pressures the organizers of the project to keep going with it. how can they back down in the face of so much islamophobia? it's like in to kill a mockingbird:

Atticus Finch: There are some things that you're not old enough to understand just yet. There's been some high talk around town to the effect that I shouldn't do much about defending this man.

Scout: If you shouldn't be defending him, then why are you doing it?

Atticus Finch: For a number of reasons. The main one is that if I didn't, I couldn't hold my head up in town.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Emily's List, a group that works to elect pro-choice Democratic women, is going after Sarah Palin and her Mama Grizzlies. The group launched a new organizing effort today called "Sarah Doesn't Speak for Me," which will raise money to counter what they describe as Palin's "backward-looking agenda."

The effort includes a website that lists what the group describes as "extremist" positions held by Palin and the conservative female candidates she's endorsed. The site also solicits contributions, which the group says will go toward campaigns challenging Palin's roster of endorsed candidates, both men and women.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

August 10, 2010

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron has proposed some of the most sweeping changes to the country's National Health Service in its history. The government says the changes are designed to give doctors more say in running the NHS, and patients more freedom of choice. But critics point out that NHS doctors will be allowed to take more private patients, and some hospitals will be allowed to opt out of the NHS entirely -- raising the possibility that U.S. HMOs might come in to fill the vacuum.

MICHELE NORRIS, host: Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron has promised that his country's National Health Service will be exempt from the sweeping cuts he's making in the government budget. But he has proposed the most profound changes to the system in its 62-year history. Supporters say opening the NHS to market forces will save money and give doctors and patients more choice. Critics fear the five-year plan amounts to the dismantling of socialized medicine.

Vicki Barker reports from London.

VICKI BARKER: Britain's new conservative-led government took office this spring with a crowd-pleasing pledge to purge the bean counters and the paper pushers from the NHS. Andrew Lansley is Britain's health minister.

Mr. ANDREW LANSLEY (Health Minister, Great Britain): The dismantling of this bureaucracy will help the NHS realize up to 20 billion pound of efficiency savings by 2014, all of which will be reinvested into patient care.

BARKER: By 2014, the current government-funded management structure is to be dissolved, throwing as many as 30,000 administrators out of work. Eighty percent of the NHS budget will be turned over to doctors for them to spend as they see fit. Some of it will likely be spent on outsourcing clerical functions physicians can't or won't do, says Chris Ham. He's with the public health think-tank the King's Fund. Ham applauds the broad outline of the restructuring, but fears the devil is in the details.

Professor CHRIS HAM (Chief Executive, King's Fund): This is the biggest organizational upheaval in the health service probably since its inception. This will be quite destabilizing for two or three years.

BARKER: The British medical journal agrees. And a recent editorial argued that past reorganizations proved expensive failures. But others worry success could prove expensive, too. The number of private patients that doctors and hospitals can have will no longer be limited and both doctors and patients will have wider choice of health care providers.

(Soundbite of ad)
Unidentified Man: One day Emma felt fine. The next, she felt a lump. Being with Bupa, she didn't feel alone. A consultant...

BARKER: That could mean NHS practices will compete for patients with private insurance companies like the British health care giant Bupa.

Dr. Kambiz Boomla works in the deprived East End of London. He worries that Britain will end up with what supporters of universal health care fear most a two-tiered system like America's, he says.

Dr. KAMBIZ BOOMLA (Clinical Lead, Clinical Effectiveness Group): I think all markets in health care result in inequity with people who live in the better off parts of the country being able to purchase more health care than people who live in the poorer areas. So I don't think markets in health have any place at all.

BARKER: The former labor health minister Andy Burnham charges the government's real agenda is to break up the NHS. Why, he asks, is Britain's health service being thrown open to market forces in the depths of a recession?

Mr. ANDY BURNHAM (Former Labor Health Minister): This reorganization is the last thing the NHS needs right now. It needs stability, not upheaval. All of its energy must be focused on the financial challenge ahead.

BARKER: But if socialized medicine is under threat here, it's not clear how hard Burnham's fellow Brits will fight to defend it. A recent poll showed that most of the working class and middle class voters who deserted the Labour Party in the last election did so because they've become increasingly skeptical about the role of the state.

Already, the U.S. private health giants Humana, Aetna and United Health are looking to expand their operations in the U.K., now that they're no longer facing government-subsidized competition.

For NPR News, I'm Vicki Barker in London.
i can't believe the lib dems will let this happen.

...what they’re counting on in this election is amnesia. They’re counting on you not remembering the disastrous consequences of economic policies that, by the way, had caused problems for working-class families, for middle-class families, before the recession hit, before the crisis hit. We had had almost a decade of sluggish growth, sluggish job growth, and incomes and wages that had flat-lined even as the cost of health care, the cost of college tuition, the cost of energy had all skyrocketed.

And so they are not offering a single new idea. They are counting on you forgetting that it was a consequence of these policies that got us into this mess in the first place.

You know, I’ve been using the analogy of the folks who drove the car into the ditch. And so we decided, you know what, we’re going to do the responsible thing. We put on our boots, we got into the mud, we got into the ditch. We pushed, we shoved, we’re sweating. They’re standing on the sidelines sipping a Slurpee -- sort of watching us, saying, “Well, you’re not pushing hard enough,” or “Your shoulder is not positioned the right way,” giving us a whole bunch of advice on how to push -- not lifting a finger to help.

And finally we get this car up back on the road again, and finally we’re ready to move forward again. And these guys turn around and say, “Give us the keys.” Well, no, you can’t have the keys back -- you don’t know how to drive. You don’t know how to drive.

They don’t know how to drive. And I also want to point out, by the way, when you want to go forward in a car, what do you do? You put it in “D.” When you want to go backwards, you put it in “R.” We cannot go backwards -- we’ve got to move forwards. That’s what we’re fighting for in this election -- moving forwards.
& more

So that’s what we’ve got to offer, and we’re just getting started. Because we’ve got more work to do. The problem we’ve got right now is we’ve got folks on the other side of the aisle who have spent 20 months politicking while we’ve spent those 20 months governing. They’ve been thinking about the next election instead of the next generation.

I mean, think about it. When the leader of the Republicans on the House side was asked, “What’s your idea for job creation,” he said, “Repeal health care reform.” I don’t know what jobs that would create except maybe for the guys who are paid to deny you claims.

When they asked them about Wall Street reform, they said, no, we think actually the status quo is okay. Now, think about this. You have the worst financial crisis since the 1930s and they said no to reforming the system.

When we had a crisis down in the Gulf -- unprecedented oil spill -- and I went down there and I met with fishermen and small business owners who were being devastated economically and were seeing their way of life potentially threatened, and we made sure that BP was going to be accountable to those folks and put together a $20 billion fund to make sure they were getting paid off, what happened? The guy who would be in line to chair the Energy Committee on behalf of the Republicans apologized to BP. Said we are sorry about the President shaking you down. That’s how he characterized our efforts to make sure that people were treated fairly after a big oil company wrecked their livelihood.

So across the board, what you see is a governing philosophy on their part that basically comes down to we’re going to extend tax cuts for the wealthiest among us -- folks who don’t need those tax cuts and weren’t even asking for them, which would cost $700 billion -- these are the folks who say they’re concerned about the deficit but are willing to send $700 billion to those who are luckiest and least in need in our society.

Their agenda is we’re going to eliminate rules and regulations that rein in special interests, and then we’re going to cut the middle class loose, say you’re on your own. You can’t afford health care? Tough luck, you’re on your own. You can’t afford to send your kids to college? Tough luck, you’re on your own. You can’t afford to retire? Too bad, you’re on your own.

That is the philosophy that held sway in Washington for eight years before I came in, and that is what they want to go back to.

So I just want everybody here to understand very clearly, this is a sharp and clear choice. If you are interested in a clean energy future in which we continue to build our solar industry and wind power and biodiesel and natural gas and we are shaping a strategy to wean ourselves off our dependence on foreign oil, then you better go out there and support those Democratic members of Congress. Because the other side is just going to say no to that.

If you are interested in ending tax cuts for companies that ship jobs overseas, and instead want tax cuts to go to small businesses like the bill that we’ve got right now in the Senate that would eliminate capital gains for small businesses, would be additional tax cuts on top of the eight tax cuts we’ve already given to small businesses so far, then you’d better go out there and help some Democratic candidates. Because the other side is not interested in helping folks who are starting things up -- they’re interested in the special interests who can afford to hire lobbyist in Washington.
& later

So we’re going to have choice after choice on every single issue that you care deeply about. If you care about education, if you care about health care, if you care about civil rights and equal pay for equal work, if you care about consumer protections, if you care about jobs and growth in this economy -- if you care about building a new foundation so that we’re not just going back to the same tired, worn-out theories that didn’t work for the last decade but are instead instituting something that’s going to work for the 21st century -- then we’re going to need you to really step up and work hard in this election.

Now, that’s hard to do at a time when people are feeling like, boy, this is a polarized electorate and it makes people dispirited -- all the yelling and the shouting and the cable chatter and the punditry. And I’ll be honest with you, sometimes Democrats, we’re our own worst enemies, because we can do great stuff and somehow still feel depressed. You know, there’s -- sometimes we do a little too much handwringing. Say, well, you know, I don't know, I wish we had gotten that public option. Well, that’s great, but we got 31 million people health insurance and we’re reducing costs for people and we are [inaudible] consumer protections when it comes to the health insurance industry.

We have had an extraordinary record of accomplishment over the last 20 months, and we can continue those efforts but we’re going to need you in this election season. We’ve got to have you talking to your friends, we’ve got to have you talking to your neighbors, your coworkers. We’re going to need you to contribute to congressional candidates who are going to have very tough races out there.

Albion Fellows Bacon (1865–1933), U.S. social worker and housing reform advocate. Beauty for Ashes, ch. 6 (1914).

If, in all the cities, every house that is past repairing could be pulled down or burned up, how great would be the crash, how heaven-high the conflagration. It would be a veritable crack of Doom and glare of the Judgment.

When society comes to value one child more truly, we shall have, for every community, a country homestead where that child can go, who needs special encouragement. It will not be a penal place, nor even a place of reform, but it will be held out, rather, as a dear delight and a reward. But when society values the child enough, and realises what the child means to the State, and what the home means to the child, it will provide even better, for then the child will have, in its own home, all that a home should give.... There will be safety. There will be the chance to be well, to be pure; room to grow and breathe in; the sacred privacy of the home circle—all those things that are the birthright of every child. And there will be, in some way, beauty, to which the soul of the child naturally turns, as does a plant to the light.

... nothing seems completely to differentiate the poor but poverty. We find no adjectives to fit them, as a whole, only those of which Want is the mother. "Miserable" covers many; "shabby" most, and I am sadly aware that, in a large majority of minds, "disagreeable" includes them all.

... we can bear with great philosophy the sufferings of others, especially if we do not actually see them.

It hurts me to hear the tone in which the poor are condemned as "shiftless," or "having a pauper spirit," just as it would if a crowd mocked at a child for its weakness, or laughed at a lame man because he could not run, or a blind man because he stumbled.

One of the saddest sights of the slums is to see the thrifty wife of the working man, with her rosy brood of children, used to country air and sunshine, used to space, privacy, good surroundings, cleanliness, quiet, shut up amid the noise and dirt and confusion, in the gloom of the slum.

The daily lesson of slum life, visualised, reiterated, of low standards, vile living, obscenity, profanity, impurity, is bound to be dwarfing and debasing to the children who are in the midst of it.

... we see the poor as a mass of shadow, painted in one flat grey wash, at the remote edges of our sunshine.

...I remembered the rose bush that had reached a thorny branch out through the ragged fence, and caught my dress, detaining me when I would have passed on. And again the symbolism of it all came over me. These memories and visions of the poor—they were the clutch of the thorns. Social workers have all felt it. It holds them to their work, because the thorns curve backward, and one cannot pull away.

... several generations of slum environment will produce a slum heredity ...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

August 4, 2010

The vast majority of the oil from the BP oil spill has either evaporated or been burned, skimmed, recovered from the wellhead or dispersed much of which is in the process of being degraded. A significant amount of this is the direct result of the robust federal response efforts.
[noaa story]

why is everybody so happy that only 25% of the oil is left? that's well over a million barrels:

“When they say that there’s 25 percent of the oil remaining, that is almost five times the Exxon Valdez,” which spilled crude into Alaska’s Prince William Sound in 1989, said Ian MacDonald, a professor of oceanography at Florida State University in Tallahassee.
[bloomberg story]
Brings to three the number of female justices currently on the Supreme Court

She is President Barack Obama's second appointment to the US's most powerful court and only the fourth woman to serve on the nine-member panel.

The 50-year-old becomes the youngest serving Supreme Court judge. She will serve alongside President Obama's first appointment, Sonia Sotomayor.

it's funny, i heard this bbc story repeatedly on the radio for at least a day after kagan's installation, and every time the announcer said she was the youngest justice in supreme court history.

apparently they finally caught the error.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

can't say i enjoyed all of these, but...

Common Nonsense: Glenn Beck and the Triumph of Ignorance by Alexander Zaitchik
Over the Cliff: How Obama's Election Drove the American Right Insane by John Amato
Toxic Talk: How the Radical Right Has Poisoned America's Airwaves by Bill Press
Tears of a Clown: Glenn Beck and the Tea Bagging of America by Dana Milbank
Liars For Jesus: The Religious Right's Alternate Version of American History Vol. 1 by Chris Rodda
Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free by Charles P. Pierce
How to Win a Fight with a Conservative by Daniel Kurtzman
Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America by John Avlon
The Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right by David Neiwert
The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics, and Religion by Matt Taibbi
True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society by Farhad Manjoo
The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule by Thomas Frank
Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party by Max Blumenthal
American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America by Chris Hedges
Killer Politics: How Big Money and Bad Politics Are Destroying the Great American Middle Class by Ed Schultz
Great American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myths of Republican Politics by Glenn Greenwald
God and His Demons by Michael Parenti
How the Republicans Stole Religion: Why the Religious Right is Wrong about Faith & Politics and What We Can Do to Make it Right by Bill Press
Conservatives Without Conscience by John W. Dean
Fighting Words: A Toolkit for Combating the Religious Right by Robin Morgan
A Tragic Legacy: How a Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency by Glenn Greenwald
The Promise: President Obama, Year One by Jonathan Alter
Broken Government: How Republican Rule Destroyed the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches by John W. Dean
The Man Who Sold the World: Ronald Reagan and the Betrayal of Main Street America by William Kleinknecht
The Squandering of America: How the Failure of Our Politics Undermines Our Prosperity by Robert Kuttner
The Backlash: Right-Wing Radicals, High-Def Hucksters, and Paranoid Politics in the Age of Obama by Will Bunch
A Presidency in Peril: The Inside Story of Obama's Promise, Wall Street's Power, and the Struggle to Control our Economic Future by Robert Kuttner
The Progressive Revolution: How the Best in America Came to Be by Michael Lux
Trainwreck: The End of the Conservative Revolution (and Not a Moment Too Soon) by Bill Press
Glenn Beck: The Redemptive Story of America's Favorite Political Commentator by Xander Cricket
Anti-Intellectualism in American Life by Richard Hofstadter
God Hates You, Hate Him Back: Making Sense of The Bible by CJ Werleman
What Liberals Believe: Thousands of Quotes on Why America Needs to Be Rescued from Greedy Corporations, Homophobes, Racists, Imperialists, Xenophobes, and Religious Extremists by William Martin
Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream by Barbara Ehrenreich
Were You Born on the Wrong Continent?: How the European Model Can Help You Get a Life by Thomas Geoghegan
The Age of American Unreason by Susan Jacoby
Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War by Andrew Bacevich
Bad Sports: How Owners Are Ruining the Games We Love by Dave Zirin
The Evolution of Everything: How Selection Shapes Culture, Commerce, and Nature by Mark Sumner
Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism by Sheldon S. Wolin
The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails by John W. Loftus
Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle by Chris Hedges
Washington by Meg Greenfield
The Rise of the Fourth Reich: The Secret Societies That Threaten to Take Over America by Jim Marrs
Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism by Michelle Goldberg
Does God Get Diarrhea?: Flushing 4,000 Years Of Lies, Myths, And Fairy Tales Down The Toilet by Odin Zeus McGaffer
Unequal Protection: How Corporations Became "People" - And How You Can Fight Back by Thom Hartmann
Smells Like Dead Elephants: Dispatches from a Rotting Empire by Matt Taibbi
The Republican Noise Machine: Right-Wing Media and How It Corrupts Democracy by David Brock
What's the Matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America by Thomas Frank
The Real America: Messages from the Heart and Heartland by Glenn Beck
Hopes and Prospects by Noam Chomsky
Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism by Susan Jacoby
Truth and Consequences: Special Comments on the Bush Administration's War on American Values by Keith Olbermann
A New American Tea Party: The Counterrevolution Against Bailouts, Handouts, Reckless Spending, and More Taxes by John M. O'Hara
Dismantling the Empire: America's Last Best Hope by Chalmers Johnson
The Conservative Nanny State: How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer by Dean Baker
An Inconvenient Book: Real Solutions to the World's Biggest Problems by Glenn Beck
Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus by Rick Perlstein
The Bitter Pill of Truth: A Cure for Judeo-Christianity by J M Ladd
Fables for Our Time and Famous Poems Illustrated by James Thurber
The Atheist's Introduction to the New Testament: How the Bible Undermines the Basic Teachings of Christianity by Mike Davis
Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back by Frank Schaeffer
Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot by Al Franken
50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God by Guy P. Harrison
The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power by Jeff Sharlet
Revolutionaries: A New History of the Invention of America by Jack Rakove
Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition by Daniel Okrent
Jesus: Neither God Nor Man - The Case for a Mythical Jesus by Earl Doherty
The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr
Pinheads and Patriots: Where You Stand in the Age of Obama by Bill O'reilly
The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama by David Remnick
Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk by Massimo Pigliucci
Hitch-22: A Memoir by Christopher Hitchens
Helluva Town: The Story of New York City During World War II by Richard Goldstein
Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know--And Doesn't by Stephen Prothero
Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy by Joseph E. Stiglitz
The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger by Richard Wilkinson
Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 1 by Mark Twain
The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro
American Jesus: How the Son of God Became a National Icon by Stephen Prothero
A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam by Karen Armstrong
Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America's Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years by Russ Baker
Pandora's Seed: The Unforeseen Cost of Civilization by Spencer Wells
Scout, Atticus, and Boo: A Celebration of Fifty Years of To Kill a Mockingbird by Mary McDonagh Murphy
The Official CIA Manual of Trickery and Deception by H. Keith Melton
Glenn Beck's Common Sense: The Case Against an Out-of-Control Government, Inspired by Thomas Paine by Glenn Beck
Star Island by Carl Hiaasen
Thurber: Writings and Drawings by James Thurber
Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists by Dan Barker
WAR by Sebastian Junger
Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work by Paul Babiak
The History of White People by Nell Irvin Painter
Living in the End Times by Slavoj Zizek
Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Role Models by John Waters
Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error by Kathryn Schulz
Arguing with Idiots: How to Stop Small Minds and Big Government by Glenn Beck
How Pleasure Works: The New Science of Why We Like What We Like by Paul Bloom
Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime by John Heilemann
13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown by Simon Johnson & James Kwak
Anatomy of Fascism by Robert O. Paxton