Friday, May 02, 2008

Chump Change

This sort of stuff is exactly why Hillary Clinton pisses me off, to put it bluntly. Yeah, I'll vote for her come November if my "choice" is between New Coke and Pepsi/she and Johnny Mac are the last two standing (and if her clock isn't getting cleaned in the Gret Stet), but this sort of pandering/cynically stooping to lowest common denominator stuff bites.

If she knows better, well then goddamn her for being such a cynic. If she honestly believes a drop-in-the-chump-change bucket will somehow be a net benefit--even as the tax burden simply shifts elsewhere, and even as people who get paid with receipts from gas taxes (like road crews) lose their jobs--then she's not qualified...

Now, of course I think it's the former--Clinton is a highly qualified and highly talented individual. But every day Clinton demonstrates that she'd say or do anything to get elected... literally anything. And if she's willing to proffer an essentially empty gesture to hard-working individuals in exchange for votes, imagine how willing she'd be to sell out their interests when the pro quo for her quid is money and/or power.
Flat, Corked

I'm no expert, but I think one can reasonably assume whining about a supposedly "unfair attack" is a pretty strong indication that it's having an effect.

And it's a good idea to stick with something that works...
"Cazayoux." "Gesundheit."

Interesting article in Pravda about the tomorrow's special election here the Gret Stet's Sixth District.

This one's definitely a lesser-of-evils vote for me--I managed to vote for the losing candidate in both the Democratic primary and the runoff--but geez it'd be depressing if Woody "Behold My Plastic Fetus" Jenkins somehow slithered into Baker's former seat.
Busy Morning

Yes, that's a (rather quickly) photoshopped Mr. Ed logo, and it's a visual to go with a small project that took up my morning...long story, won't bore you with the details, but I took a ride just beyond the burbs horse feed. Yes, horse feed.

I suppose it's good every once in a while to see what's out there--the good, the bad, and the ugly of the outlying areas of the Parish...but I'll tell you one thing: I'm sure glad I don't have to drive that far on any regular basis...Sartre was only partly right. Hell isn't other people. It's other people driving SUVs.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

What Democracy Looks Like

West Coast longshoremen held a one day strike to protest the war in Iraq:

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union said more than 25,000 members in 29 ports stayed off the job. The action came despite an order issued Wednesday by an arbitrator directing the union to tell its members to report for work as usual in response to a request from employers.

"Longshore workers are standing down on the job and standing up for America," Bob McEllrath, the union’s president, said in a statement. "We’re supporting the troops and telling politicians in Washington that it’s time to end the war in Iraq."

And today news came that a soldier killed in Afghanistan was on his SEVENTH tour of duty.

I can't imagine the hell his family went through for each separation...and now they've been given the absolute worst news.
The Jed and Jethro of the Alternate Universe *

In the alternate universe, they "star" in a lowbrow, downmarket television "comedy" entitled "The Beverly Warmongers."

In this universe, they're the leaders of the "free world."

The Party High School has a Thousand Eyes

Unbelievable. A principal outing a high school student. Even worse, it looks like the kid has an long and solid record of community service, and had successfully advocated for a school trip to New Orleans to help with the recovery...which he's been banned from, thanks to Principal Stasi.

I can't speak for anyone but myself; however, as a Gret Stet resident, I'd be proud to host a young person with such a commitment to public service. I'm sorry to hear his principal is such an intolerant idiot...

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Return of Tinkershrub

Last seen spinning fairy tales about his manly warrior attitude, Tink now rues his lack of a "magic wand" when it comes to rising gasoline prices.

Wonder if he wishes he could likewise take back the profoundly tragic events he's ultimately responsible for, both here and abroad.
McCain to the Troops: "It's Raining" *

The man would would do anything or say anything to be president is willing to shortchange US soldiers in exchange for presumably a few votes and maybe campaign donations from equally penurious skinflints.

Call it the Larry King method:

"The trick is to care, but not too much. Give a shit--but not really."

Sounds like yer GOP distilled to its essence.
It is Easier for an Aircraft Carrier to Pass Through the Eye of a Needle...

...than to make sense of Dana Perino's pretzel logic. To be fair, I believe Peroxide was recycling. I remember Laura Bush also suggesting that the "Mission Accomplished" banner should be narrowly and strictly interpreted.

But even then, you've got a bit of a problem--just today, the USS Abraham Lincoln returned to the Persian Gulf.

What motivates Big Time?

Dead whales:

Four years ago, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) "started a rulemaking process to protect the North Atlantic right whale" -- there are only about 300 still alive — from collisions with ships. The threat to the species’ population is so serious that the NMFS says that "the death of even a single whale, particularly of a breeding female, may contribute to the extinction of the species." But according to a letter sent by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), efforts to protect the whales are being undermined by Vice President Dick Cheney’s office.

He's probably proud of himself.

Meanwhile, KBR (a former Halliburton subsidiary) shows that they've taken Dick's values to heart--his shriveled, diseased heart.

John McCain and, if I remember right, Karl Rove, praise the miracle of eBay as the very model of our entrepreneurial future.

Some future: will auction my stuff off for food...

Struggling with mounting debt and rising prices, faced with the toughest economic times since the early 1990s, Americans are selling prized possessions online and at flea markets at alarming rates.

To meet higher gas, food and prescription drug bills, they are selling off grandmother's dishes and their own belongings. Some of the household purging has been extremely painful -- families forced to part with heirlooms.

"This is not about downsizing. It's about needing gas money," said Nancy Baughman, founder of eBizAuctions, an online auction service she runs out of her garage in Raleigh, N.C. One former affluent customer is now unemployed and had to unload Hermes leather jackets and Versace jeans and silk shirts.

At Craigslist, which has become a kind of online flea market for the world, the number of for-sale listings has soared 70 percent since last July. In March, the number of listings more than doubled to almost 15 million from the year-ago period.

Craigslist CEO Jeff Buckmaster acknowledged the increasing popularity of selling all sort of items on the Web, but said the rate of growth is "moving above the usual trend line." He said he was amazed at the desperate tone in some ads.

The only thing remaining is for the chorus of wingnuts to loudly blame the victims...

...hey, I wonder if anyone's trying to sell flag pins.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Show Business for Nerdy People Too, I Guess

He might be angling for Veep, but, at least to me, his personality is more appointee, not electee.

And I know it's just Leno, but they didn't bring up anything really controversial beyond a veiled reference to Eddie's philandering, which is so old-news that it dates back to when Jay was almost funny. I wonder if the larger public would be comfortable with things like covenant marriage, exorcism, reference to civil rights demonstrators as "outside agitators," and so on...

Nonetheless, Bobby as Veep would be very, very interesting...out of the loop in the Gret Stet and saddled with McCain (who, if elected, would almost certainly vie closely with Dubya and James Buchanan as "worst ever").
Now That We've Gone Through the Ritual...

And now that the media's derived whatever smug satisfaction they can obtain--and their requisite pound of flesh--from Barack Obama throwing Jeremiah Wright under the bus, maybe, just maybe, we can get back to real issues--like the war in Iraq, or gasoline prices going through the roof, or--imagine--the Gulf Coast and/or the ACOE "newspaper recycling" effort in New Orleans, or full laundry list of serious things that need to be addressed...

Yeah, I know: wishful thinking in a media ruled by Heathers Matt Drudge. But you've gotta hope sometimes.

Besides, it's still all a heaping, steaming pile--Reverend Wright said nothing that you wouldn't hear in a holy roller church on any given Sunday. Sin, confession, redemption...or damnation, a massive scale, are as normal as high school football on Friday night in the fall...particularly when Old Testament scriptures are being interpreted.

And NONE of that compares to the most horrific of scandals...the one in the Catholic Church. Pat Buchanan, practicing Catholic and regular critic of Reverend Wright, ought to smacked silly upside the head until he, to paraphrase scripture he should be familiar with, notices the log in his own eye before criticizing the mote in someone else's.
Can an Emergency be an Ongoing Thing?

Yes, it can. First, though, how can you thank people like Nonna Bullock, Sharon Walters, and Cheryl Tucker, who commute each week from Hattiesburg to New Orleans to work the night shift at Tulane Medical Center? That dedication to the city is precisely what's so sorely lacking from the Bush administration.

Yet, despite their efforts, the city still has a healthcare crisis that, if it were a patient, would have to be described as critical at best:

CNN spoke to a 71-year-old man in a hospital waiting room who said he had been there for more than 14 hours. Hospital officials say the wait was closer to 10 hours.

"When I walk into the emergency department at any time, there are probably at least 10 to 15 patients waiting to be seen," [Dr. James] Moises said. He added that while they try to treat patients as quickly as possible, they are constantly juggling beds to make room.

More patients, fewer hospitals -- it is a challenge that local emergency medical services workers see daily. "Since we've lost so many hospitals in the area, we don't have a lot of choices of were to bring patients to. The hospitals are overloaded," paramedic Davis Renois said. "The worst [thing] that ever happened was I waited five hours for a bed with a patient with a stroke."

And, it's not like the rest of the country is one disaster, natural or not, from sharing this and other New Orleans' experiences...
Wayne's Shrub's World--Babble On

He makes Mr. Irrelevant look like the number one pick.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Irish Texas Hurling

Matt Taibbi gets a good look at Hagee and his flock. It ain't pretty.
His Master's Voice

The conclusion of Krugman's latest, entitled Bush Made Permanent:

More and more, Mr. McCain sounds like a man who will say anything to become president.

And if that's how far he'll go to become president, imagine what he'd do if he got elected...
Barack Obama: The Wrong Jesus

Just like Rumsfeld mastered the crucial distinction between "old" and new Europe (is that at all like old and new Coke?), so too have the wingnuts and their pundit stooges mastered the distinction between old God--you know, all that Bible/fire and brimstone nonsense that no one has time to read these days anyway--and the new, who merely dutifully supports the troops and never forgets proper Pledge posture...a distinction lost on "radical" ministers like Reverend Jeremiah Wright, who must actually read scripture (radical, but somehow quaint) and realize that the Bible is FULL of invective. God damn America? Hell, God actually damned pretty much the whole of humanity once, along with most of the flora and fauna (and that's not even the half of it).

But that's "old" God--wingnuts know that "new" Jesus would never question the wisdom of the marketplace...and his foreknowledge can really net him some great deals, going either long or short.

"Get me out of dollars and into Euros ASAP."

From Rising Hegemon.

Must be You Tube Monday

Not that it's likely to get the attention it should--after all, people cling to myths with a stunning ferocity, and no myth is clung to more than "lazy government employees"--but this story blows a big old hole right through the concept of innate "private sector superiority:"

"The competitive sourcing initiative did little to improve management, produced a ton of worthless paper, demoralized thousands of workers and cost a bundle, all to prove that federal employees are pretty good after all," said Paul C. Light, a professor of government at New York University's Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

Duh. Despite incessant wingnut shrieking, the plain truth is that some things are best handled by the private sector, others are best dealt with on the public side, and yet more goods, services, or whatnot are best handled in partnership...well, provided there's some degree of accountability.
Speaking Truth to Power

This is footage of a demonstration in the general vicinity of Shrub's fundraiser visit here in Red Stick (a "free speech zone," presumably). His motorcade caused a massive traffic jam as he flew in from New Orleans to Baton Rouge--a distance of not quite 90 miles--before backtracking almost a fifth of the way in a variety of gas guzzlers (armored, making them even less efficient), plus a personal ambulance...and an actual armored vehicle, which you'll see near the end of the video.

Wow, what a man of the people, eh? And while $2,000 a plate dinner was consumed, and $5,000 photos were taken, Red Stick citizens were treated to gridlock..."let 'em eat cake burn fuel."