Friday, September 29, 2006

A nation of fools

The current Reuters/Zogby poll shows that President "Dim-Son" Bush's approval rating has slithered back upward to 42% after a dip to 31% in June. Who thinks this Harvard School of Business MBA recepient isn't fucking up as much as he did this summer?
The Reuters/Zogby survey shows that members of the President’s political base are giving him better marks than they did a few months ago, as 44% of men, 44% of Catholics, 46% of married respondents, and 52% of regular WalMart shoppers(my emphasis) rated his work well.
A sorry commentary on the state of education and collective intelligence in the United States.

Now, I have to go and puke.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

MBA candidates cheat

Like that's news. Really I saw this the other day and I want to save it for future reference:
Sept. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Students pursuing a master's degree in business administration cheat more than other U.S. graduate students, according to a study for the Center for Academic Integrity at Duke University.

The study found 56 percent of MBA students acknowledged cheating, compared with 54 percent in engineering, 48 percent in education and 45 percent in law school.

Earlier studies have found a high incidence of cheating among undergraduate business students. In 1997, McCabe, a professor of management and global business who is regarded by ethics professors as a leading researcher on cheating and plagiarism, found 84 percent of undergraduate business students said they cheated at least once, compared with 72 percent of engineering students and 66 percent of all students.
Here's the real laugher
Officials at top business schools said they didn't see much cheating. Honor codes that require students to sign a statement on each test saying they had not cheated -- and some requiring students to report cheating by others -- are a powerful deterrent, as are frequent classroom discussions about ethical behavior, they said.
Coincidence, we now have the first president who holds a Master's of Business Administration from the Harvard School of Business. We have a president who has never really had to think his way out of any situation. And we have a president form whom a democratically structured system is anathema, corporate management structures are hierarchical, everything flows from the top down. I've heard many people over the years ask "why can't the government be run like a business?" Well those idiots got their wish. This government is being run like a business, a badly managed business. And for all their talk about "thinking outside the box" once these business school morons get an idea fixed in their tiny minds, they'll run with it, and the company, or in this case the government, right into the ditch.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Pot police state

Now what the fuck's wrong with this?!
by Mark Bruggom, KICD, Spencer

Someone who knew or cared for a northwest Iowa child has turned the child's parents in for smoking pot.

Spencer couple's been arrested on drug charges after they consented to a search of their home. Jerry and Samatha Wise are both 35 years old and both face charges of posession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

The Iowa Department of Human Services had received a tip drugs were being used in the Wise home, in front of a child. Both were booked at the Clay County Jail and then released.
O', my fuckin' gawd, the parents were smoking pot in front of the kid. The fuckin' kid's going to get hooked on marijuana if some one don't intervene. Take the little bastard out of the house and throw the parents in jail and throw away the key!!

Y'know, what kind of sick society do we live in where a child can be taken out of her home, because the parents partake of a recrational drug that does no one any harm, soothes, relaxes and only documented side-effect is weight gain, on hearsay. The poor kid's probably more traumatized by seeing mommy and daddy in handcuffs than from knowing they smoke pot.

The view from Olympus

Alexander Cockburn,at both his web site and at The writes:

Outrage burns in many an American breast, but there's scant outlet for it in the political arena. A friend of mine took his family to the annual Puyallup Fair near Tacoma, Washington. There was a CNN booth, in which a mini "Democracy Wall", an 8-by-4-foot sheet of butcher paper, was available for people to scrawl their sentiments in felt-tip. Fast as the CNN staffers changed the paper, scores more hastened forward to scribble their views, almost all of them harsh in language toward both CNN and the President. Families photographed each other in postures vulgarly disrespectful to the life-size cutout of Wolf Blitzer. When an older man -- he turned out to be the retired commander of a nuclear submarine -- rebuked the crowd and called for loyalty to Bush, the mood turned ugly, and for reasons of his personal safety he was advised to leave. "And yet," said my friend, the anthropologist David Price, "try getting these people to an antiwar rally."
This is the jumping off point for a Cockburnian diatribe on the looniness of the 9/11 conspiracy aficionados. He simply dismisses them all as nuts, there is no bin Laden-Bush 9/11 conspiracy, end of discussion.

All this nuttiness, continues Cockburn, is merely a distraction:
I'm sure that the Bush gang, and all the conspirators of capital, are delighted at the obsessions of the 9/11 cultists. It's a distraction from the 1,001 real plots of capitalism that demand exposure and political challenge.
This is easy for him to say. Cockburn, after all, whether he likes or even wants to admit, is the product of privilege though his official biographies are very coy about his family and education, it's as if he burst forth on the journalistic stage fully-grown, as Athene from Zeus' head.

Yet for all of Cockburn's outrage and all his sarcasm and condescension he never once, at least from the little I've read of his works over the years, offers up any perscription for what ails us. And this is precisely why I have a love/hate relationship with Cockburn's writing: While many of his columns are spot on and I wholeheartedly agree with his conclusions, when it comes to shaking the grimy hands of the working class, Cockburn instinctively recoils. Socialist son of a Communist he maybe, but please don't mistake Mr. Cockburn for an eight-hour-a-day man.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Jesus Christ, lighten up Muslims

I vacillate between which of the three major monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, is the sickest. Mostly it's a toss-up. Practitioners of the three get their tits in an uproar over the most trivial of things, seemingly at the drop of a hat.

Anyway, this morning we have another instance of endless Muslim outrage.
CINCINNATI, Sept 24 (Reuters) - A car commercial proclaiming a jihad on the U.S. auto market and offering "Fatwa Fridays" with free swords for the kids is offensive and should not be aired, Muslim leaders said on Sunday.

"They are planning on launching a jihad on the automotive market and their representatives would be wearing burqas ... ," Mirza said. "They mentioned the pope in there and also about giving rubber swords out to the kiddies -- really just reprehensible-type comments."

Details of the radio ad, which has not yet been broadcast, have been reported in the local media, but officials at the dealership declined to comment about the content of the radio spot.

He also said the Council on American-Islamic Relations would likely contact the dealer to "offer some kind of cultural or sensitivity awareness training."
Actually, it sounds kind of funny, like something out of the old movie Used Cars. But, nooooo. Like the current uproar by the world's Catholics over Madonna's mock crucifixion during her stage show, Ohio's Muslim community is offended, offended they tell you! by radio commercials which haven't even been aired as of this time. I know, I'm sounding like your average white American reactionary, you know the kind of idiot who says something like, "We called the one black kid on our high school football team "N_____" all the time and he didn't seem to care."

But that's not it at all. I am just fed up with religion in general and monotheism in particular. And I have a simple solution for bringing about harmony among all the adherents of the world's three great monotheistic traditions, three nuclear bombs: one for Jerusalem, one for Mecca and one for Vatican City. We could also do with smaller conventional bombs on the Thomas Road Baptist Chruch in Lynchburg, VA and Pat Robertson's home in Virginia Beach, VA for starters. Maybe a nuke on Salt Lake City for good measure.

My message to all the world's religious leaders: Grow the fuck up.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

An article every American should read

Counterpunch has an article by Jonathan Cook that every American, at least those who consider themselves somewhat left of center, should read. Here's a sample:
The fresh claims about a new anti-Semitism began life in the spring of 2002, with the English-language website of Israel's respected liberal daily newspaper, Haaretz, flagging for many months a special online supplement of articles on the "New anti-Semitism", warning that the "age-old hatred" was being revived in Europe and America. The refrain was soon taken up the Jerusalem Post, a rightwing English-language newspaper regularly used by the Israeli establishment to shore up support for its policies among Diaspora Jews.

But, as ever, the main target of the new anti-Semitism campaign were audiences in the US, Israel's generous patron. There, members of the Israel lobby were turning into a chorus of doom.

The third goal, however, had not seen before. It tied the rise of a new anti-Semitism with the increase of Islamic fundamentalism in the West, implying that Muslim extremists were asserting an ideological control over Western thinking. It chimed well with the post 9-11 atmosphere.

This final goal of the proponents of "the new anti-Semitism" was so successful because it could be easily conflated with other ideas associated with America's war on terror, such as the clash of civilisations. If it was "us" versus "them", then the new anti-Semitism posited from the outset that the Jews were on the side of the angels. It fell to the Christian West to decide whether to make a pact with good (Judaism, Israel, civilisation) or evil (Islam, Osama bin Laden, Londonistan).
The Holocaust is real. It happened. On the implied orders of Adolf Hitler six million European Jews were exterminated, this is fact no one can deny. That being said, however, since the end of World War II the American Israel Political Action Public Affairs Committee and the Israeli government, be it Labor or Likud, has used the Holocaust as a tool to manipulate American public opinion. No public person, be they politician or actor or journalist, in this country dares critisize any action by the Israeli government without running the risk of being labeld an anti-Semite.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Speaking about phony f*cks

It amazes me that telling the public what a bastard Bush is, both U.S. Representative and Democratic House leader, Nancy Pelosi and Jon Stewart rise to defend him after Venezualean President Hugo Chavez calls him the devil, "diablo," in a speech before the United Nations yesterday.

Wayne Madsen reported yesterday that Pelosi said Chavez was a "thug" for calling Bush "diablo." Stewart, on the other hand, after running a snippet of Chavez's speech with the offending word, pronounced the Venezualean president "batshit crazy." I mean, what's wrong here? Stewart, especially, and Pelosi, to a more limited extent, castigate Bush at ever turn but let a foreign leader cast aspersions about Fearless Leader, it's time to circle the wagons!

But Senator Tom Harkin had this to say:“Let me put it this way: I can understand the frustration and the anger of certain people around the world because of George Bush’s policies.” But of course, it is taken out of context and now Harkin's covering his ass.

Pantomime fight over, Bush, GOP kiss and make up

These Republicans are phonier fucks than even I could imagine. Take for instance this "deal" over Bush's intention to tear up the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and torture prisoners in CIA custody.

After a week of drama between the White House and Senator John McCain, who supposedly suffered at the hands of the North Vietnamese during five years of captivity, over wheter or not the above mentioned Geneva Conventions apply to "evil doers" swept up in the "war on terror" are to be accorded the same rights as prisoners of war. McCain, who is widely touted as the front-runner for the GOP '08 presidential nomination, was joined by John Warner and Lindsey Graham in supposedly opposing Bush's announced plan to throw out said Conventions in regard to prisoners held at Guantanamo.

Well, we know how Bush treats legal documents. He simply attachs a "signing statement" and does what he wants. He's the decider, see.
He will do so by issuing his own interpretation of the Geneva Conventions in an executive order and by relying on questionable Justice Department opinions that authorize such practices as exposing prisoners to hypothermia and prolonged sleep deprivation. Under the compromise agreed to yesterday, Congress would recognize his authority to take these steps and prevent prisoners from appealing them to U.S. courts. The bill would also immunize CIA personnel from prosecution for all but the most serious abuses and protect those who in the past violated U.S. law against war crimes.
As for that phony fuck McCain. he was on the Today show spouting and blowing about the great, big fucking deal he'd worked out with Bush. Then he started in with "the ACLU doesn't want us to interrogate terrorists" bullshit. You'd think that a guy who supposedly suffered torture at the hands of his North Vietnamese captors would say something like, "I went through this and I don't think anyone should have to suffer torture." But he didn't. He started in the attacks on the ACLU and "liberals" and sounded just like every other asshole Republican politician.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The next Zell Lieberman?

The jerk on the right here has been spending a lot of time in Iowa recently.
Seems he has aspirations to the White House.He was the governor of some Southern state or other for awhile, but other than that he offers little to qualify himself for higher office. I guess you could say he's kind of handsome in a sort of non-descript, salesman sort of way. He probably listens to a lot of Carpenters, ABBA, and Loggins and Messina CDs, maybe a little John Denver when he wants to get in touch and get down with the common folk, the little people (I don't know this for fact, I'm just speculating.) So anyway this ja'moke's poking 'round Ioway, lookin' to pick up votes for the '08 Caucus. He's thrown a lot of money young Chester Culver's way, say $25,000 or so. And, yet, he remains an enigma.

A little of the mystery surrounding this faceless politician lifted at a speech he gave before Greater Des Moines Partnership, a group of business types bent on "improving" the tri-county "metro" area for their own benefit while framing it as "for the good of all." Suffice it to say GDMP is a cesspool of real estate buyers, sellers and developers. But back to my nameless, faceless "Democratic" politician's words of inspiration before the above neamed organization.
Former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner said in Iowa on Monday that Democrats have taken the wrong approach in arguing against tax cuts enacted under President Bush, singling out former Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry's campaign as a reason the message did not resonate in 2004.

In order to appeal to more voters, the party ought to avoid alienating wealthier Americans, Warner told members of the Greater Des Moines Partnership in Des Moines at the outset of a day of meetings in the lead-off caucus state.

"Even though the Bush tax cuts only applied to the top 2 percent of Americans, what I think the Kerry campaign missed was that the other 98 percent of Americans still aspired to get to the point in their life where they could qualify for the tax cuts."

Warner said wealthier Americans may be willing to support what would essentially be an income-tax increase, but only if it is portrayed as part of a fiscal strategy that includes trimming government waste and curbing spending.
THOMAS BEAUMONT, The Des Moines Register
This guy's a Democrat? Sounds like elephantshit to me. And it looks like the Democratic Party's got another Republican mole à la Zell Lieberman.

Monday, September 18, 2006

More High Schoolers Supporting First Amendment

From Editor &

NEW YORK A large-scale survey by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has found that while high school students in the U.S. are more knowledgable about the First Amendment than they were two years ago, they are increasingly divided on whether they think it goes too far in protecting the right to free speech.

In general, today's high school students are more likely to take classes that teach about the First Amendment than they were two years ago, and more students now support protections for journalists. Students also increasingly support the right of student publications to report without oversight from school officials.

The survey also found, however, that students today also think that the First Amendment guarantees too many rights,(emphasis added) and there is a growing polarization between students who support the fundamental principle of the law and those who do not.

Yes, in some small way this is good news. But the clause in the sentense beginning "The survey also found..." which I have emphasized does cause one to pause. What kind of concept is guarantees too many rights? And where did these kids come up with such nonsense? Do these little assholes want to do away let's see what does the First Amendment guarentee?
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
So which of these guarenteed rights do some of the little assholes in the story want to delineate? Freedom of religion? That's my quess. Or how about "...petition the government for a redress of grievances"? What rights should be eliminated, you moronic little twerps?

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Back from Cass Lake, Minnesota

Got back from the big Cass Lake, MN fishing trip yesterday afternoon about four. My 81-year-old dad and I fished and fished and fished all week for walleye but caught nothing but perch, little perch at that, a too small walleye and a northern pike. Now don't get me wrong some of the perch were sizable, big enough to keep, but not what we were there for. We finally hired a kid who worked for the resort, Friday, and he took us to a couple of hot walleye spots. So we came home with five nice filleted-out walleyes.

Even more interesting though was our cabin mates, Dick and Tom H______, father and son respectivly, from West Des Moines, IA. They werre nice guys and my dad got along with Dick famously. Dick evidently wholesaled grocery items of some kind of other during his working life. Son Tom did something or other in real estate or insurance, I forget just what but suffice it to say it was some overpaid, sit-on-yer-ass whitecollar position.

Anyway, the most interesting conversation I heard between Dick and Tom concerned Tom's son's $300 aluminum baseball bat. Dad Dick, who is justifiably proud of his grandson's athletic accomplishments, registered mild shock and surprise that son Tom spent that amount on one baseball bat. I interjected, I thought the reason they, meaning little league leagues, and high school and college baseball programs, went too aluminum bats was to hold the cost down. Tom rejoined that high tech more or less took care of that promise.

Now here, in the conversation, is where generational differentiation rears its ugly head: Dad Dick wondered aloud about the poor kid who loves to play the game but whose parents can't afford hundreds of dollars for an individualized aluminum baseball bat could ever get his hands on such a thing. Tom nonchalantly replied that little league organizations or high school programs with large populations of unprivileged kids can simply have fund raisers, and that was that, leaving dad Dick shaking his head.

Tom H_______ is about ten years my junior but his attitude is very illustrative of an attitude prevalent among too many white, suburban upper-middle class Americans: They don't care. They don't care about those in the economic rungs below them. They don't care about fairness and equality of opportunity. This is a sad commentary on the prevailing moral climate of the United States. But in a nutshell Tom's attitude toward some poor kid whose family can't afford $300 for a fucking aluminum baseball bat is indicitive of 40-something white, suburban America; we have, we got it, fuck everybody else.

Now I'm sure Tom doesnot think of himself as an immoral man, I'm sure he's in church as I type this. But how can a nation's of Tom's consider themselves "Christian" when they just don't care?

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Nothing new until after September 16.

Vilsack reaches out to unions

As much as I think Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack has his head up his ass most of the time a Jane Norman story in this morning's edition of The Des Moines Register relates that once in awhile he pulls it out for a breath of fresh air.
Washington, D.C. - Leaders of the labor movement and the centrist Democratic Leadership Council on Wednesday put aside historic differences and pledged to push for federal legislation that would allow workers to sign up for unions without a formal election.

The labor leaders said the breakthrough was spearheaded by Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, the chairman of the council who's exploring a bid for the Democratic nomination for the presidency.

The bill backed by Vilsack is called the Employee Free Choice Act, which is co-sponsored by 43 members of the Senate, led by Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and 215 members of the House, led by Rep. George Miller, D-Calif.

Under the proposal that labor leaders and the council favors, once a majority of employees have signed cards asking to organize, the National Labor Relations Board would investigate and allow the workers to be represented by a union.

Unions have been certified exclusively by "secret" ballot since the 1947 the Taft-Hartley, or right-to-scab, Act went into effect. Prior to that under the Wagner Act card checking as a recognized form of union certification. So, in effect, with the Employee Free Choice Act labor law in the U.S. is going back to the future.

This is a plus for Vilsack, but he's still the DLC kingpin so he is still not to be trusted.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

GOP tax-sugar designed to ensnare the unwary

There's a little item I stumbled across on the Web site of Georgia U.S. Representative John Linder, Reactionary

I am the primary sponsor of the FairTax, legislation that will repeal all corporate and individual income taxes, payroll taxes, self-employment taxes, capital gains taxes, estate taxes and gift taxes - and replace it with a revenue-neutral personal consumption tax.
The FairTax Act:

  • Repeals all corporate and individual income taxes, payroll taxes, self-employment taxes, capital gains taxes, estate taxes and gift taxes.Imposes a revenue-neutral personal consumption tax on all new goods and services at the point of final purchase. Business-to-business transactions and used products (which have already been taxed) are not subject to the sales tax.
  • Rebates the sales tax on all spending up to the poverty level.

  • Results of the FairTax:

  • Dramatically reduce the costs of goods and services by 20 to 30 percent.Allows you to keep 100 percent of your paycheck, pension, and Social Security payments.
  • Gross Domestic Product will increase by almost 10.5 percent in the first year after enactment.
  • Compliance costs would decrease by 90 percent.
  • Real investment would initially increase by 76 percent relative to the investment that would be made under present law. While this increase would gradually decline, it remains 15 percent higher than under the existing tax structure.
  • Exports would increase by 26 percent initially and would remain more than 13 percent above the level under the current tax system.
  • Real wages will increase.
  • Increases incentives to work by as much as 20 percent in many households, leading to higher economic growth and efficiency.
  • Interest rates will fall 25 to 35 percent.

  • I'm no economist but every one I've read says that these kinds of tax schemes are no good. It's essentially desigend to forever shift the tax burden of the country off the nation's wealthiest and onto the backs of the poor. I mean, just look at that list! Exports increase, keep more take-home pay, weages increase. Where does this Linder come up with this bullshit?

    From his own Fair Tax Web site. And from the looks of it, it is a very professionally designed site indeed. You can bet this cracker has plently of corporate dough behind this little charade.

    As early as 1998 Citizens for Tax director Robert McIntyre pointed out that Linder's "facts" were sheer fantasy. A study the CTJ did in 2004 concluded:
    # In virtually every state in the union, the bottom 80 percent of taxpayers would face much higher taxes under a sales tax. Nationwide, these tax increases would
    average about $3,200 a year.
    # Put another way, on average the 80 percent of Americans in the middle- and lowerincome ranges would pay 51 percent more in sales taxes than they now pay in the federal taxes that the proposed national sales tax would replace.
    # In contrast, the best-off one percent of all taxpayers nationwide would get average tax reductions of about $225,000 each per year.
    Besides shifting the tax burden away from the well off and onto low- and middle income taxpayers, a national sales tax would also shift aggregate taxes away from better off states and onto poorer states and states with a high proportion of elderly residents.
    # Overall, we calculate that 13 states and the District of Columbia would pay less in
    aggregate taxes under a national sales tax, while the remaining 37 states would
    pay more.
    # Of the total amount that is shifted among states, just over half of the total
    winnings would go to California and New York (even though most Californians and
    New Yorkers would nevertheless pay considerably higher taxes.)
    But this chimera won't go away. It sounds so simple and that's what makes it attractive to simple minds.

    Democrats ignore GOP "immigration" meme at own peril

    Yesterday I posted a comment on, a decidedly mainstream Democratic blog, pretty much posting some I'd already posted here that the Republicans had no intention of doing anything about "illegal immigration" but they would keep it around as future wedge issue. A reply to my post said Jonathan Singer's "point seems to be that by not passing a bill they are failing to make the wedge issue out of immigration." To which I can only sigh, "How naive."

    So this morning Mr. Singer's back with this observation, in of criticism of a New York Times story by Carl Hulse:
    Perhaps more importantly, polling from individual races show that the issue of immigration is not the force many believe it to be. The survey Joel Wright conducted for this site and the Courage Campaign looking into why Francine Busby lost in the special election in California's 50th congressional district found that "contrary to many pundits, both moderates and Independents were far more drawn to progressive immigration messaging of the sort Busby gave rather than the harsh, punitive rhetoric from conservatives in the district."

    Given the relatively small number of voters who plan to base their vote this fall on immigration above all issues, the underwhelming track record of the issue and the fact that there are serious questions about the efficacy of the GOP's political strategy on the issue, I am just not sold on this notion that immigration will decide control of the House in the next Congress.
    This is the same sort of Democratic hubris that doomed the Democrats in the abortion debate: The Supreme Court has decided, we don't need to address the issue poltically to strenghten the ruling, the opposition is small, weak, on the radical fringe and easily ignored. When Roe v. Wade was handed down by the Burger Court in 1973, essentially legalizing abortion, the so-called pro-life movement limited to a handful of Catholics. How times have changed.

    The Republicans plan for the long haul, and just because "illegal immigration" doesn't resonate with your average white voter just yet doesn't necessarily preclude that it won't be back. And back. And back. That is, if the Democrats gain the majority in the US House and Senate and do nothing or appear to do nothing or, worst possible scenario, take the president's plan and run with it. That's a minefield. And Democrats should look at Europe's experience with guest-worker programs, a salient feature of the Bush immigration dereform plan.

    An immigrantion reform law that does not address the depressed economic conditions of Mexico and Central America is doomed to failure. This, I am sure, is what Republican strategists are counting on.

    Administration betting that Americans can't tell the differece between ficition and reality

    I'm lifting this from AMERICAblog
    Disney/ABC's spokesman now admits that at least one key scene from its 9/11 "documentary" was simply made up.

    Berger, portrayed as a pasty-faced time-server by Kevin Dunn (Col. Hicks in “Godzilla”) freezes in dithering apprehension when a manly and virtuous CIA agent played by Donnie Wahlberg radios in from the wilds of Afghanistan to say that he and his noble band of local tribesmen have Osama bin Laden within sight and begs for the green light to terminate him with extreme prejudice. In the film, the line goes dead before Berger offers any reply.....

    So when the post-screening question-and-answer session began, Ben-Veniste stood to say that the Berger-bashing scene didn’t square with the research he and the other commissioners conducted. “There was no incident like that in the film that we came across. I am disturbed by that aspect of it,” Ben-Veniste, a loyal Democrat, told the panel, which included both the producer and the commission’s GOP chairman, former Gov. Thomas H. Kean of New Jersey.

    Berger, reached by phone after the screening, seconded Ben-Veniste’s criticism. “It’s a total fabrication,” he said tersely. “It did not happen.”

    That is not likely to prevent the film from being embraced far and wide among Bush supporters. Even before its airdate, the show is being hailed as a breakthrough in the conservative blogosphere. One blogger marveled in an interview with scriptwriter Cyrus Nowrasteh that “one unbelievable sequence shows how . . . Sandy Berger . . . actually hung up the phone on the CIA agent on the ground.”
    Ah yes, Disney/ABC's misinformation is already spreading. And now, it seems, the standard Disney/ABC is applying to their tv show is to strive for "reasonable accuracy" when educating American schoolkids about what happened on September 11 and how it happened.

    Reasonably accurate?

    Is that like saying Saddam Hussein had something to do with September 11, and Iraq had WMD? Hasn't America had enough hedging about accuracy regarding September 11 and the war on terror?

    But hey, so what if Disney/ABC makes the after-school-special version of the largest mass murder of Americans in decades, if not ever? What counts to Disney/ABC isn't the truth, it's that the murder of 3,000 Americans be good entertainment.
    ABC, owned by Disney, is working hand in glove with the Bush administration on this one. As the Republicans ramp up "the war on terror" as a bullshit election theme, ABC offers up this "docu/drama," a bastardized subgenre of mellowdrama mixed with a tint of fact, portraying Bush as the unqualified leader and hero parexellence.

    Karl Rove, Karne Hughes and company know what they're doing with this peice of television dross. They're playing to the base, a very uncritical base and uninquisative base. The Republican base, after all, believes that John Wayne was actually a World War II hero.

    Tuesday, September 05, 2006

    John Edwards sounds pro-labor note

    The former North Carolina senator stopped in the river community of Hampton, Ill., as part of the 39th annual Quad Cities Salute to Labor Picnic, sponsored by the Rock Island County Democratic Party and Quad City Federation of Labor. It was Edwards' second stop of the day, coming from New Hampshire before heading to Springfield, Mo.

    While there have been divisions among competing unions and a decline in the percentage of the work force that is organized, Edwards said there are 15 million service sector jobs in the nation and another 10 million likely to be added over the next few years.

    While Edwards said there is potential for growth in the service sector, he admitted that the labor movement faces significant challenges because of strong resistance from employers.

    "Whether those jobs pay the minimum wage or a strong middle-class salary depends on whether they are organized or not," he said.
    The Des Moines

    Monday, September 04, 2006

    New scumbag union busting tactic

    The Toledo (OH) Blade newspaper has come up with a new tactic to bust, or at least sway public sympathy management's way: publishing the salaries of every union member on strike against the paper.
    NEW YORK The Toledo Blade, in the midst of a six-month labor dispute with several unions locked out, on Sunday published the salaries of most of their union workers -- in a full-page ad in the Sunday paper.

    The full-page also listed benefits for everyone from reporters to sales people.

    According to a report on local TV station WTOL, "The Blade said it wanted to show readers how 'generous' the newspaper has been to its employees."

    The ad related that top scale salaries ranged from $33, 576 for a customer service rep to $59,561 for a copy editor. It also described the benefits package, including pension plan and vacation time.
    Editor &
    How fucking generous, $59,561 for a copy editor per year plus benefits. Wow. Of course, no mention of seniority and level of education. I'll bet there are auto mechanics making more than this! But the economy and the current Zeitgeist of the country are so fucked up that Blade management probably scored points with the pinheads slaving at Wal Mart.

    A little more about Wal Mart

    I want to post this while it's still fresh in my memory.

    Friday a friend retold his Wal Mart experience. He's working there now but not for much longer. He had a well paying job at the local university but got laid-off several months ago, he had some savings and played with penny-stocks for awhile, he just needed something to do and get a little income.

    So he applied at Wal Mart.

    He says that after he put in his application he was interviewed by a manager. When she finished with him he asked what was the job and how much was he going to be paid. She said he'd find out at the end of the interviewing process. He says he went through two other lower-level managers before interviewing with the store's big cheese, asking the same questions at each step--what job and what pay.

    Finally the Lord of Wal Mart No._____, said he was a shopping cart retreiver and handed him a document. If my friend rejected the job he would have to sign the document stating he would never apply at any Wal mart, anywhere in the world, for the next year.

    He took the job, thinking that retreiving shopping carts would be an easy gig. And it was, except Wal Mart expects shopping cart retreivers to do other things besides, like stock shelves etc. He said they even make the little old guys who greet you at the front door responsible for keeping that area clean. He was part time, and that didn't bother him, but Wal Mart management tended to schedule him for 39 1/2 hours working a week, to keep him from going into full-time and getting benefits.

    He added that Wal Mart is has a practice of hiring people with mental disabilities and/or psychological disorders, people really vulnerable to management intimidation.

    He starts a new job in a couple of weeks and couldn't be happier.

    Will DLC leadership read these op-eds?

    Two editorials from two newspapers on the same Labor Day subject. First from The Des Moines Register concerning the "Change Wal-Mart, Change America" bus tour protest a couple of weeks ago

    That is another feature of today's economy — a decline in union membership in the private sector and a loss of bargaining power by workers generally, whether unionized or not.

    They can change the laws to make it easier for workers to organize and perhaps to give employers incentives to recognize unions.

    They can create disincentives for corporations to overcompensate their CEOs, so that gains in worker productivity might translate into better wages instead of fatter executive bonuses.
    Want change? Target leaders, not Wal-Mart
    I actually thought about going, I was e-mail invited by the organization putting together the "protest." But I ususally don't do those sorts of thing because I feel it does no good. How can you shame a company, Wal Mart, that has no shame? You might as well piss in the ocean to protest the tide. But here was Evan Bayh and a gaggle of local union officials getting wheeled around Des Moines saying, "Shame on you, Wal Mart." Pathetic.

    Next, a quote from St. Petersburg (FL) Times op-ed columnist Robyn Blumner.

    The Industrial Age moved workers into the manufacturing sector, where, thanks to the combined strength of unions and the progressive policies of the federal government, employees shared in the nation's prosperity

    After a tumultuous beginning in which big business, often with the assistance of government, colluded to break the back of organized labor, unions finally established themselves, helping to guarantee workers a fair share of productivity gains. Under the New Deal, federal labor laws secured base-line wages and overtime pay for more than a 40-hour work week, among many other vital protections.

    The authors of Nine Shift: Work, Life and Education in the 21st Century, say people will work at home with intranets replacing physical offices. They see the collapse of the traditional organizational pyramid and a shrinking inequality between rich and poor.

    I don't know if these scenarios are likely. They certainly are not in the short run. But I know one thing for certain. If organized labor doesn't start to reassert itself and if the federal government doesn't start looking out for workers again, an economically secure middle class will become a relic of 20th century utopianism. The slide has already begun.
    Workers feel the squeeze
    What's the common theme here? I think it's pretty fucking obvious! The Democratic Party has done nothing, nothing! for organized labor for waaaay to long.

    And it should be obvious to union officials too. But they are seemingly blind. Maybe it's because those still working under union contracts, both officials and rank and file, are relatively well-off, compared to the average Wal Mart schmuck, and can't see the decay creeping toward them, or, worse, don't care. Perhaps they are so scared to losing what they have they think it better to act as a supplicant than make demands.

    Knowing my jaundiced view of hman nature I opt for the worse case scenario; rank and file union members just don't care. I remember from my working days all the asshole Republicans in my union, that's one of the reasons I stopped attending meetings. In fact I recall a conversation I had with my steward in 1988, he was voting for George HW Bush.

    I said, "But he wants to take our jobs!"

    "Yeah," R____ sappily retorted, "but the Democrats want to take my guns."

    "And if you're out of work," I said,"what good are your guns going to do you?"

    "I can hunt for my family's food," he answered, pleased with his ironclad logic.

    It is obvious that unions at this time in American history are as powerless as they ever were. It is past time for a change. Toward that end unions themselves should not lend support to any Democratic candidate who does not support repeal of the Taft-Hartley Act. A symbolic and largely meaningless gesture but a start nonetheless.

    Letter: September 3, 2006

    Yeah, yeah, I know it's the fourth. But I sent the e-mail below to The Des Moines Register in response to their editorial " Health-care cost spiral: Time for change." Being that The Register doesn't staff the newsroom on Sunday, there's nothing to link to for reference in case you didn't read the editorial.
    I was surprised, reading the editorial “Health-care cost spiral: Time of change, September 3, 2006, that The Register advocates expanding Medicare to more Americans, not just the elderly.

    This is the same solution to the country’s health-care woes that macroeconomist, and Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, Dean Baker proposes in “The Conservative Nanny State”, downloadable free at

    Medicare enrolment should be open to all adult working individuals and families whose income level falls above the poverty limit but below $300,000 per year. And administrative costs being a fraction of privately owned health-care plans, the accrued savings could be passed along to businesses and their employees alike. In addition Medicare’s size gives it enormous bargaining power to both hold down the cost of health-care providers and medications while lending an element of certainty for employers and employees, as premiums could never capriciously be raised or revoked or benefits denied.

    Yet neither the Republican Party, with scary-stories of a “big government bureaucracy,” nor the Democratic Leadership Council, whose health-care reform plans look like a “crazy” quilt, want their health-care industry bankrollers to compete in a market economy where they might fail.
    I'll know if they're going to publish it if they call.

    Sunday, September 03, 2006

    Ahhhhh....just smell that clean Iowa country air

    Iowa's biggest hog confinement operators are given carte blanche by the Bush "Environmental" "Protection" Agency to pollute the air.
    Pay the government $200 and [hog confinement owners are] protected from much bigger fines for possible violations of federal air-pollution laws.

    In exchange for the liability protection, farms agreed to pay $200 to $100,000 in what are classified as civil penalties. The size of the penalties varied according to the size of the operation.The Sunday Des Moines
    I won't dignify calling the owners of such hog confinement "farmers," because they're not. They are, however, businessmen, many of whom are in the habit of hiring undocumented workers at bargain basement wages to tend their operations. So now big hog confinement operations will legally pollute, since, as the story relates, the majority of hog producers ignored EPA regulations until being sued by neighbors. In federal courts the neighbors and environmental groups tended to win.

    So to keep good Republican hog confinement operators in the GOP fold the Bush EPA, an inside joke, has come up with this remedy to "frivolous" lawsuits by neighbors and environmentalists.

    Saturday, September 02, 2006

    Country's more powerful man working behind scene in Iraq

    James Baker III, advisor to presidents and anointer of same, is on a "fact finding" mission in Iraq.
    James Baker, the former U.S. secretary of state who is heading a group looking into U.S. policy in Iraq, met with Iraq's deputy prime minister Friday in Baghdad.

    Baker sat down with Salam al-Zubaie to discuss protection of Iraq's borders, national reconciliation, peace chances and international donations, Iraqi authorities said.

    Baker, a Republican, co-chairs the bipartisan Iraq Study Group with Lee Hamilton, a former Democratic congressman. They are carrying out an independent analysis of the situation in Iraq.

    Several members of Congress urged that such a report be done. A final report will be issued to Congress, the White House and the public.

    Bullshit roadshow comes to end

    Anyone with an ounce of intelligence, or at least some one who reads anything besides his local newspaper, NewsMax, DrudgeReport etc., figured out that the recent Republican hew and cry about "illegal" immigration is bullshit.
    But five members of the U.S. House of Representatives indicated Friday that real legislative reform of the nation's immigration laws likely will have to wait at least until after the November midterm elections and possibly until a new president takes office in 2009.

    "It is probably doubtful that anything will happen between now and November," said Iowa's 5th District congressman Steve King, a Republican. "Unless something dramatic happens that would cause some kind of major shift, I wouldn't be surprised if there won't be any change until a new president is elected."

    U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, a Texas Democrat, also predicted that immigration legislation is likely to be addressed well after the current Congress ceases to exist.

    "I have seen no evidence that the Republican leadership wants this to be resolved anytime soon," Jackson-Lee said. "That is not what they are interested in achieving with this roadshow."
    The Des Moines Register
    Truer words by a U.S. Representative were never spoken. And Jackson-Lee is correct, the Republican leadership wants to keep the "illegal" immigrant pot boiling like the abortion pot, gay marriage and Second Amendment "rights."

    Friday, September 01, 2006


    I'll be kind of glad when Labor Day, a rip-off of a holiday, is over and the real action begins again.

    Nothing much going on.

    Ann Coulter's being Ann Coulter, supporting a wack job of a wing nut in the Rhode Island Republican senatorial primary.

    What else, Iraq, Bush, Iran.

    Not much here today, citizens. Move along.