Saturday, December 24, 2011
Anyway - here is my favorite Christmas Story, "A Wish for Wings that Work" by Berkley Breathed. In the 80's Bloom County was a staple of my daily comics page, bringing the Reagan years into a budding progressive's perspective - poking the bear from time to time. Then I saw this Charlie Brown style cartoon special which I think only aired once, not because it wasn't good, it was GREAT but it was too subtle for the general public and offended many with the adult nature of the art, dialogue and characters. Please take a few minutes and check it out and you'll see why it only aired once. I think the "cross-dressing cockroaches in crisis" line may have done the trick. Or it could have been Truffles the Pig who thinks he's a rinoceros accusing Bill the Cat of snorting "Little Friskies". Those are not lines that you will hear in many Christmas specials and there are many more excellent lines in there. One has to watch for the cool little effects like a guy in a picture yawning and listen for the subtle ironies that Breathed is so good at pointing out. Spoiler Alert: Opus the Penguin does indeed save Christmas. So sit back with the favorite beverage of your choice, maybe something leafy as well and enjoy. Seriously, this is very well done.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Monday, October 24, 2011
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Friday, October 14, 2011
As per KOS in response to this poor sucker's letter: [excerpt]
I understand your pride in what you’ve accomplished, but I want to ask you something.
Do you really want the bar set this high? Do you really want to live in a society where just getting by requires a person to hold down two jobs and work 60 to 70 hours a week? Is that your idea of the American Dream?
Do you really want to spend the rest of your life working two jobs and 60 to 70 hours a week? Do you think you can? Because, let me tell you, kid, that’s not going to be as easy when you’re 50 as it was when you were 20.
And what happens if you get sick? You say you don’t have health insurance, but since you’re a veteran I assume you have some government-provided health care through the VA system. I know my father, a Vietnam-era veteran of the Air Force, still gets most of his medical needs met through the VA, but I don’t know what your situation is. But even if you have access to health care, it doesn’t mean disease or injury might not interfere with your ability to put in those 60- to 70-hour work weeks.
Do you plan to get married, have kids? Do you think your wife is going to be happy with you working those long hours year after year without a vacation? Is it going to be fair to her? Is it going to be fair to your kids? Is it going to be fair to you?
[snip]And is this really your idea of what life should be like in the greatest country on Earth?
Well it sure as hell isn't mine, or over 200 million Americans who haven't been brainwashed to the point where they are working themselves to death and think they found a pony. Dumb Fucks all. Social engineering at the corporate and media level - very effective.
Here's to you the dumbfuck 53% - keep up the good work! Nose to the grindstone, those corporate yachts aren't going to buy themselves you know...
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
1. Tax cuts for the rich trickle down to everyone else.
2. Higher taxes on the rich would hurt the economy and slow job growth.
3. Shrinking government generates more jobs.
4. Cutting the budget deficit now is more important than boosting the economy.
5. Medicare and Medicaid are the major drivers of budget deficits.
6. Social Security is a Ponzi scheme.
7. It’s unfair that lower-income Americans don’t pay income tax.
Watch the Video and see Bob Reich shoot these lies down in flames, one by one in delicious slow-mo, Sam Peckinpah style. It is truly a thing of beauty.
Now, can we remember Bob's lessons when the Foxnewsican in the room starts to spout failed conservative dogma drilled into his/her lizard brain by corporate media?
The answer is a resounding YES! Practice... it'll get you to Carnegie Hall!
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Is Ben & Jerry's 'Schweddy Balls' R-rated ice cream?
"That's the assertion a group of mothers called One Million Moms is making after the ice cream company released a new seasonal flavor called "Schweddy Balls" earlier this month."
"The vulgar new flavor has turned something as innocent as ice cream into something repulsive," the group writes in a statement. "Not exactly what you want a child asking for in the supermarket."
"Fans of "Saturday Night Live" will recognize the phrase "Schweddy Balls" from a late '90s skit starring Alec Baldwin, Ana Gasteyer and Molly Shannon that parodied a monotonous public radio show out of the Midwest. The skit is rife with unsubtle double entendre and innuendo."
Here's the skit (sorry for the commercial):
So - fellow culture warriors, get out there and buy some Schweddy Balls and give some to your Fox News watching friends. To the most obnoxious, you may ask - "Would you like to lick my Schweddy Balls?". Endless opportunity for bridging the gap...
Years ago I taught my then young children about words, how words derive their meanings and the culture that tells us if it is right or wrong. How some words were considered "BAD" and anyone who said them was going to get in trouble if they said them in the wrong place or at the wrong time. Then, I taught them that words are only sound vibrations carried through the air to alight on someones eardrum and the only reason we recognize that sound as words is because that is what we are taught as language. I also taught them that the "BAD" words are only made so by people who make those decisions.
On that day, and subsequent days that I chose to reinforce this lesson, I would choose a word to be the "BAD" word of the day. I remember the first one like it was yesterday - "marshmallow". I told my then pre-teen kids that anyone who said the word "marshmallow" was saying a bad word and could face consequences.
The lesson took and they realized that words are only vibrations in the air given meaning by culture and censorship. Later they learned to respect that some words are really hateful and not to be used but I wanted them to not be afraid first, then learn about how some words can convey hate. That stands true today. I am proud of my good citizens.
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Friday, September 2, 2011
We need strong labor in this country. People need to make more money to drive the economy. This is a fact of American life that seems to escape FoxNewsicans and most politicians. Unfortunately, Multi-national corporations don't need us anymore with their expanding markets in China and in developing countries overseas. Are we to be discarded like a used bic lighter or will we fight for a living wage, for organized labor and the restoration of the middle class?
It is an uphill battle with the combined power of the corporate Media spewing anti-labor lies 24/7 powered by billionaires who see workers as just another commodity to be purchased at the least cost like another piece of equipment. How many dollars until the revolution?
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Friday, August 26, 2011
So, inland Maine dwellers... don't buy into the hype. Everyone else... good luck, seriously, and I hope everyone comes out ok when the sun comes back out.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Saturday, August 13, 2011
The right-wing radicals on the Supreme Court demonstrated this definitional two-step beautifully at the end of the Court's last term. In a pair of decisions that received very little attention, they managed to allow pharmaceutical companies the rights of personhood without the responsibilities. In Sorrell vs. IMS Health, the Court ruled that states couldn't stop drug companies from collecting prescription patterns for individual physicians and then using that data to encourage them to use more expensive drugs. Corporations are people, after all, and that's infringing on their freedom of speech.
But in a second decision, Pliva v. Mensing, the Court ruled that manufacturers of generic drugs had no obligation to tell people about the adverse reactions otherpeople have had to the drug they're selling. If the brand-name manufacturers didn't tell people about those reactions, then the Court said the generic manufacturers don't have to either - even if they know those reactions could lead to death, or to terrible reactions like tardive kinesis.
Corporations are the kind of people who get to say whatever they want to whomever they want - unless they don't want to say anything. People like you and me might not be allowed to collect data on our neighbors and then use it to sell them stuff. And people like you and me would get our butts sued if we sold you something we knew could hurt or kill you. But apparently some people are more equal than others.
If corporations are people, they're very special people. They're people who, thanks to the Supreme Court and Citizens United, have the unlimited ability to express their "free speech" with billions of dollars in campaign cash and lobbying loot. Pharmaceutical companies alone have spent more than $2 billion in lobbying since 1998, while insurance companies spent $1.5 billion. When it comes to free speech, these "people" are real chatterboxes.
When it comes to corporate rights, Citizens United is your Supreme Court. Those two pharmaceutical company rulings are your Supreme Court on drugs.
All this corporate cash is creating a wave of deregulation, tax cuts, and other laws that benefit the corporate "people" and are ruining life for the flesh-and-blood kind. They're hijacking democracy. As one of Sartre's characters said in No Exit, "Hell is other people."
They can't do it alone, of course. Our corporate personages need help. And they get it - from their servants in the Republican Party, and from the many Democrats who are also eager to pitch in. It's a good thing for the corporations that they have so many friends in Washington. In fact, it's just like that Barbra Streisand song, isn't it? People who need people really are the luckiest people in the world.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Take a few minutes and watch Dylan shut up the bullshit and lay it on the line. Well worth it.
If the video won't load - go here: Dylan Ratigan
Friday, August 5, 2011
[Is there an echo in here?]
Friday, August 5th, 2011
From time to time, someone under 30 will ask me, "When did this all begin, America's downward slide?" They say they've heard of a time when working people could raise a family and send the kids to college on just one parent's income (and that college in states like California and New York was almost free). That anyone who wanted a decent paying job could get one. That people only worked five days a week, eight hours a day, got the whole weekend off and had a paid vacation every summer. That many jobs were union jobs, from baggers at the grocery store to the guy painting your house, and this meant that no matter how "lowly" your job was you had guarantees of a pension, occasional raises, health insurance and someone to stick up for you if you were unfairly treated.
Young people have heard of this mythical time -- but it was no myth, it was real. And when they ask, "When did this all end?", I say, "It ended on this day: August 5th, 1981."
Beginning on this date, 30 years ago, Big Business and the Right Wing decided to "go for it" -- to see if they could actually destroy the middle class so that they could become richer themselves.
And they've succeeded.
On August 5, 1981, President Ronald Reagan fired every member of the air traffic controllers union (PATCO) who'd defied his order to return to work and declared their union illegal. They had been on strike for just two days.
It was a bold and brash move. No one had ever tried it. What made it even bolder was that PATCO was one of only three unions that had endorsed Reagan for president! It sent a shock wave through workers across the country. If he would do this to the people who were with him, what would he do to us?
Reagan had been backed by Wall Street in his run for the White House and they, along with right-wing Christians, wanted to restructure America and turn back the tide that President Franklin D. Roosevelt started -- a tide that was intended to make life better for the average working person. The rich hated paying better wages and providing benefits. They hated paying taxes even more. And they despised unions. The right-wing Christians hated anything that sounded like socialism or holding out a helping hand to minorities or women.
Reagan promised to end all that. So when the air traffic controllers went on strike, he seized the moment. In getting rid of every single last one of them and outlawing their union, he sent a clear and strong message: The days of everyone having a comfortable middle class life were over. America, from now on, would be run this way:
* The super-rich will make more, much much more, and the rest of you will scramble for the crumbs that are left.
* Everyone must work! Mom, Dad, the teenagers in the house! Dad, you work a second job! Kids, here's your latch-key! Your parents might be home in time to put you to bed.
* 50 million of you must go without health insurance! And health insurance companies: you go ahead and decide who you want to help -- or not.
* Unions are evil! You will not belong to a union! You do not need an advocate! Shut up and get back to work! No, you can't leave now, we're not done. Your kids can make their own dinner.
* You want to go to college? No problem -- just sign here and be in hock to a bank for the next 20 years!
* What's "a raise"? Get back to work and shut up!
And so it went. But Reagan could not have pulled this off by himself in 1981. He had some big help:
The biggest organization of unions in America told its members to cross the picket lines of the air traffic controllers and go to work. And that's just what these union members did. Union pilots, flight attendants, delivery truck drivers, baggage handlers -- they all crossed the line and helped to break the strike. And union members of all stripes crossed the picket lines and continued to fly.
Reagan and Wall Street could not believe their eyes! Hundreds of thousands of working people and union members endorsing the firing of fellow union members. It was Christmas in August for Corporate America.
And that was the beginning of the end. Reagan and the Republicans knew they could get away with anything -- and they did. They slashed taxes on the rich. They made it harder for you to start a union at your workplace. They eliminated safety regulations on the job. They ignored the monopoly laws and allowed thousands of companies to merge or be bought out and closed down. Corporations froze wages and threatened to move overseas if the workers didn't accept lower pay and less benefits. And when the workers agreed to work for less, they moved the jobs overseas anyway.
And at every step along the way, the majority of Americans went along with this. There was little opposition or fight-back. The "masses" did not rise up and protect their jobs, their homes, their schools (which used to be the best in the world). They just accepted their fate and took the beating.
I have often wondered what would have happened had we all just stopped flying, period, back in 1981. What if all the unions had said to Reagan, "Give those controllers their jobs back or we're shutting the country down!"? You know what would have happened. The corporate elite and their boy Reagan would have buckled.
But we didn't do it. And so, bit by bit, piece by piece, in the ensuing 30 years, those in power have destroyed the middle class of our country and, in turn, have wrecked the future for our young people. Wages have remained stagnant for 30 years. Take a look at the statistics and you can see that every decline we're now suffering with had its beginning in 1981 (here's a little scene to illustrate that from my last movie).
It all began on this day, 30 years ago. One of the darkest days in American history. And we let it happen to us. Yes, they had the money, and the media and the cops. But we had 200 million of us. Ever wonder what it would look like if 200 million got truly upset and wanted their country, their life, their job, their weekend, their time with their kids back?
Have we all just given up? What are we waiting for? Forget about the 20% who support the Tea Party -- we are the other 80%! This decline will only end when we demand it. And not through an online petition or a tweet. We are going to have to turn the TV and the computer and the video games off and get out in the streets (like they've done in Wisconsin). Some of you need to run for local office next year. We need to demand that the Democrats either get a spine and stop taking corporate money -- or step aside.
When is enough, enough? The middle class dream will not just magically reappear. Wall Street's plan is clear: America is to be a nation of Haves and Have Nothings. Is that OK for you?
Why not use today to pause and think about the little steps you can take to turn this around in your neighborhood, at your workplace, in your school? Is there any better day to start than today?
P.S. Here are a few places you can connect with to get the ball rolling:
Showdown in America
Occupy Wall Street
How to Join a Union, from the AFL-CIO (They've learned their lesson and have a good president now) or UE
Change to Win
High School Newspaper (Just because you're under 18 doesn't mean you can't do anything!)
More from Matt Damon
Remember the teachers that affected your life? Me Too.
Monday, August 1, 2011
The President Surrenders
By PAUL KRUGMAN
For the deal itself, given the available information, is a disaster, and not just for President Obama and his party. It will damage an already depressed economy; it will probably make America’s long-run deficit problem worse, not better; and most important, by demonstrating that raw extortion works and carries no political cost, it will take America a long way down the road to banana-republic status.
Start with the economics. We currently have a deeply depressed economy. We will almost certainly continue to have a depressed economy all through next year. And we will probably have a depressed economy through 2013 as well, if not beyond.The worst thing you can do in these circumstances is slash government spending, since that will depress the economy even further. Pay no attention to those who invoke the confidence fairy, claiming that tough action on the budget will reassure businesses and consumers, leading them to spend more. It doesn’t work that way, a fact confirmed by many studies of the historical record. Read the rest here.
The Four Big Problems With - And Four Silver Linings Around - The Debt Limit Deal
Progressives are furious. Conservatives aresomewhat less furious. And for the most part all anybody knows about the budget plan is that it cuts a lot of spending over 10 years, and includes no guarantees that anybody -- particularly the well-off -- will pay more in taxes. Thus, the anger: after huge tax cuts for the rich, two unfunded wars, and a financial crisis triggered by Wall Street greed exploded budget deficits, the people asked to narrow the gap are overwhelmingly regular folks.
All of this while the economy is still reeling. It might not be as bad as this, but there's certainly a lot missing here.
- Removes the cloud of uncertainty over our economy at this critical time, by ensuring that no one will be able to use the threat of the nation’s first default now, or in only a few months, for political gain;
- Locks in a down payment on significant deficit reduction, with savings from both domestic and Pentagon spending, and is designed to protect crucial investments like aid for college students;
- Establishes a bipartisan process to seek a balanced approach to larger deficit reduction through entitlement and tax reform;
- Deploys an enforcement mechanism that gives all sides an incentive to reach bipartisan compromise on historic deficit reduction, while protecting Social Security, Medicare beneficiaries and low-income programs;
- Stays true to the President’s commitment to shared sacrifice by preventing the middle class, seniors and those who are most vulnerable from shouldering the burden of deficit reduction. The President did not agree to any entitlement reforms outside of the context of a bipartisan committee process where tax reform will be on the table and the President will insist on shared sacrifice from the most well-off and those with the most indefensible tax breaks.
- Immediately enacted 10-year discretionary spending caps generating nearly $1 trillion in deficit reduction; balanced between defense and non-defense spending.
- President authorized to increase the debt limit by at least $2.1 trillion, eliminating the need for further increases until 2013.
- Bipartisan committee process tasked with identifying an additional $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction, including from entitlement and tax reform. Committee is required to report legislation by November 23, 2011, which receives fast-track protections. Congress is required to vote on Committee recommendations by December 23, 2011.
- Enforcement mechanism established to force all parties – Republican and Democrat – to agree to balanced deficit reduction. If Committee fails, enforcement mechanism will trigger spending reductions beginning in 2013 – split 50/50 between domestic and defense spending. Enforcement protects Social Security, Medicare beneficiaries, and low-income programs from any cuts. Details here.
Sunday, July 31, 2011
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Just pass a clean debt ceiling bill already? Just do it.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Thursday, July 14, 2011
So, America - it's time to stand up to these republican assclowns on the economy and be a dick. I know it goes against our liberal nature but why should they get their corporate agenda passed at the expense of the American People?
Here is the real deal from the President himself (sort-of) from Funny Or Die:
Monday, July 4, 2011
Grateful Dead US Blues
God, I'm Old
"That will disappoint the history-challenged right-wingers whose patriotic posturing is limited to speaking in their odd pseudo-military lingo, that echolalic Esperanto for fantasy revolutionaries. They don't realize that war is a tactic, not a system of values. And "independence"? Today's "Tea Party" wasn't named for the tea-dumping patriots of Boston, but for some self-entitled commodities traders shrieking "losers!" on cable television. They were sneering at struggling homeowners, mocking middle-class people like the Tea Partiers themselves. And they were enraged at the idea that ordinary families might be rescued the same way their own financier class had been rescued."
"We resisted Britain's state-sanctioned monopolies in 1776. Today's government-sanctioned corporations hang out on Wall Street, not by the chartered Thames. The spirit of the East India Company lives in the five banks which now control nearly 96% of the derivatives market in this country. Our financial oligarchs receive Treasury Department money, Federal Reserve giveaways, and get-out-of-jail-free cards for a corporate crime wave that would make Al Capone blush."
Read the rest here:
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
What the fuck is wrong with these CEO asshats? Are they so profit driven that they have no humanity left? It's their fucking fault that working people are broke. They took all the money from increased worker productivity over the last 30 years and kept it for themsleves. Now they want to cut services ( through their bought and paid for Republican House) that feed people who are suffering because no-one (except hedge fund managers) can earn a living wage anymore. No labor, no unions, no minimum wage. Do we really want to be China?
Thom Hartmann explains in a less graphic way.
"Liberal talk show host Thom Hartmann went on a tear yesterday about income disparity in America, suggesting as President Harry Truman did 60 years ago that the Republican party is a wholly owned subsidiary of wealthy special interests."
“These CEOs are not job creators,” he said. “They’re stealing from the people who are the actual job creators: people like you and me, who actually buy stuff.
”Please take 5 minutes and watch this film.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
This is Crazy! This is Bizzarro world! This is unacceptable language coming from an elected official like Mitch (the bitch) McConnell who took an oath to serve the public and the citizens of the United States. ALL of us, not just the rich. He should be thrilled that finally someone can be on the side of 'the little guy'. What a crock of shit that line is. As read on "Evil GOP Bastards":
"Since the New Deal, Republicans have been on the wrong side of every issue of concern to ordinary Americans; Social Security, the war in Vietnam, equal rights, civil liberties, church- state separation, consumer issues, public education, reproductive freedom, national health care, labor issues, gun policy, campaign-finance reform, the environment
and tax fairness. No political party could remain so consistently wrong by accident.
The only rational conclusion is that, despite their cynical "family values" propaganda, the Republican Party is a criminal conspiracy to betray the interests of the American people
in favor of plutocratic and corporate interests, and absolutist religious groups. "
What a sniveling weasel 'the Bitch' is. Watch this from Crook and Liars:
Typical Republican in the pockets of Wall Street, he could give a shit about the people being robbed by financial institutions EVERY DAY of millions of dollars in what should be illegal tricks, spin and obfuscation. I get so disgusted watching this ignorant fuck work his way around the shit-sandwich that is a lie from start to finish that we do not need a Consumer Financial Protection Agency or Elizabeth Warren. Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Hate Media AND the MSM all serve the Financial Industrial Complex very well by adding to the negative noise. This is all about the money. They love the money.
Republicans are all about the money. No Altruism, No sharing, no community all 'Atlas' all the time. This has been my experience for years and years. This focus on money is what makes a Republican a Republican in the 21st century. Sad.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Scott-Heron recorded "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" in the 1970s in Harlem.
He mixed minimalistic percussion and spoken-word performances tinged with politics in a style he sometimes referred to as bluesology. He recorded more than a dozen albums. An American poet, musician, and author known primarily for his late 1960s and early 1970s work as a spoken word soul performer and his collaborative work with musician Brian Jackson. His collaborative efforts with Jackson featured a musical fusion of jazz, blues and soul music, as well as lyrical content concerning social and political issues of the time.
As an impressionable young man in the mid-70's, I was impressed by the frank nature of his writing and song composition, edgy at the time with no fluff to be found. I hated fluff in the 70's.
Here are a couple of my favorites from Gil:
"Johannesburg" - a call to action against Apartheid.
"The Bottle" - this song hits a little too close to home for some people of all colors including white.
Thanks Gil for your work and your music. You will be missed.