Gone To Since 1984

And now, they're coming for your Social Security money - they want your fucking retirement money - they want it back - so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They'll get it. They'll get it all from you sooner or later. Because they own this fucking place. It's a Big Club: and you're not in it.

George Carlin

  • December 7, 2011 11:42 am

    Basic Human Rights

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:

    Some have suggested that gay rights and human rights are separate and distinct; but, in fact, they are one and the same. […] Like being a woman, like being a racial, religious, tribal, or ethnic minority, being LGBT does not make you less human. And that is why gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights.

    It is violation of human rights when people are beaten or killed because of their sexual orientation, or because they do not conform to cultural norms about how men and women should look or behave. It is a violation of human rights when governments declare it illegal to be gay, or allow those who harm gay people to go unpunished. It is a violation of human rights when lesbian or transgendered women are subjected to so-called corrective rape, or forcibly subjected to hormone treatments, or when people are murdered after public calls for violence toward gays, or when they are forced to flee their nations and seek asylum in other lands to save their lives. And it is a violation of human rights when life-saving care is withheld from people because they are gay, or equal access to justice is denied to people because they are gay, or public spaces are out of bounds to people because they are gay. No matter what we look like, where we come from, or who we are, we are all equally entitled to our human rights and dignity.

    It is, however, a mortal certainty that a) Obama is no different than Bush —and— b) that the 2012 election will have no impact whatever on the policy of the country. A pox on both their houses, and all that. May as well not vote, or just vote for whomever makes me chuckle on the day and just learn to live with the GOP-tapped nominee as a result. Nothing will change anyway.

    Well, let’s just check in on what the GOP candidates are thinking re: the gays and their “rights”:

    Governor GoodHair:

    there is a troubling trend here beyond the national security nonsense inherent in this silly idea. This is just the most recent example of an administration at war with people of faith in this country. Investing tax dollars promoting a lifestyle many Americas of faith find so deeply objectionable is wrong.

    President Obama has again mistaken America’s tolerance for different lifestyles with an endorsement of those lifestyles. I will not make that mistake.

    Meh, he has no chance anyway. What about perennial frontrunner Rick Santorum?

    Obviously the administration is promoting their particular agenda in this country, and now they feel its their obligation to promote those values not just in the military, not just in our society, but now around the world with taxpayer dollars.

    He said he’s for traditional marriage, and now he’s promoting gay lifestyles and gay rights, and he’s fighting against traditional marriage within the courts, and I think he needs to be honest.

    I said “Meh;” show me somebody up front. How about Newt, on the horror of gay marriage:

    I believe that marriage is between a man and woman. It has been for all of recorded history and I think this is a temporary aberration that will dissipate. I think that it is just fundamentally goes against everything we know.

    Reminiscent of Cain’s “wash it off" approach.

    And, of course, Mittmentum holds the same basic view on most days:

    The story on same-sex marriage is that I have the same position on that, that I had from the very beginning. I’m in favor of traditional marriage, I oppose same-sex marriage. At the same time, I don’t believe in discriminating in employment or opportunity for gay individuals. So I favor gay rights, I do not favor same-sex marriage. That has been my position all along.

    Elections have consequences. There are major differences between the governing approach of the two major parties. You’re getting one or the other come 2012. Vote. Vote in primaries, especially. Show up to town halls. Occupy things. Yell and scream if you feel the need. But vote. Every time. It will make a difference. Maybe not a difference that’s immediately and tangibly Your Own Personal Heaven, but even the little ones add up. Just like this.

  • September 2, 2011 3:59 pm

    "We’re stupider now. We seem to care less. We embrace “austerity”—budget cuts for anything that suggests we owe a collective obligation to one another. In Park Slope, Brooklyn, that fire station we marched past so solemnly on Friday, September 14, is scheduled to close down due to budget cuts. The Bush-era tax cuts still survive. Military actions overseas, many of them secret, are like a squeezed balloon, expanding every time they contract somewhere else. September 11, it seems, delivered us unto permanent war. But solidarity is on strike for the duration."

    Rick Perlstein (via azspot)

  • August 30, 2011 11:04 am

    Perry's Millions

    Rick Perry has quite a nose for land speculation:

    Discharged from the Air Force in 1977 aged 27, he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives seven years later, in 1984. At that time, the Perry family reported income of $45,000, largely from Mrs. Perry’s work as a nurse.


    in 1993, there was a piece of ground that computer billionaire Michael Dell needed to connect his new house near Austin to city water mains. Dell neglected to appreciate the land’s importance. But Perry did discern it. He bought the land for less than $120,000 – then sold it to Dell two years later for a $343,000 profit. Uncanny.

    [in the 2000s] A Texas real estate developer sells land to a Texas state senator – the senator who happened to represent the development’s district. The state senator sold the land to Gov. Perry. Gov. Perry then sold then land – back to the real estate developer’s business partner. Perry scored a profit of $823,000.

    These are his real GOP bona fides: living the concept that political power is only to be used for enrichment of self and then, where possible, your richest and therefore most generous supporters, be they actual biological persons or the frequently GOP-personified corporate interests. The policy outcomes of this stance, whatever they may be, are entirely beside the point beyond their utility in enriching self or key supporters.
    After all, the GOP goes out of its way to prepare the populace for the repeated failure of government, it delights every time a corruption scandal comes to light, and it uses said failures and scandals to further weaken the operation of government, sand the legislative gears, and generally hamstring government oversight, all to better enable their preferred uses of political power: enrichment of self and key supporters. There is no third thing. Anybody not already in on the deal can kindly go die in the streets.

  • August 30, 2011 10:08 am

    "Results [matter]. If I were the one in charge of this pop stand, I’d direct my economics team to come up with the “If I were a prime minister instead of a president, this is what we would do” plan. And if all they came up with was minor tax breaks for hiring, “patent reform,” and “trade deals,” I’d, you know, fire them."

    Duncan Black, being exactly right. The key thing that needs to happen in the immediate future (e.g. the imminent “jobs speech”) is for Obama to set the stage such that the eventual legislative outcome makes very clear exactly who is obstructing economic growth and recovery efforts.
    The only way to do this is to swing for the fences and wait for the GOP to obstruct it. Not only does this paint the GOP as the party of economic obstruction, it also allows the eventual compromise to be closer to your “dream plan” than it is to whatever constitutes a GOP “go die in the streets” policy outcome. By taking the traditional “sensible Obama” defensive crouch approach and starting with the bar set at the lowest possible level (e.g. what they think might pass the House) all in the vain hopes that this time the GOP will suddenly start playing along for America, you’re actually only working to guarantee an outcome that favors the GOP in every way, politically, economically, and (most importantly for Obama) in 2012.
    Once again: This is why they fail.

  • April 18, 2011 8:35 am

    "The people most affected by [the drug war] are black and brown and poor. It’s the abandoned inner cores of our urban areas. As we said before, economically, we don’t need those people; the American economy doesn’t need them. So as long as they stay in their ghettos and they only kill each other, we’re willing to pay for a police presence to keep them out of our America. And to let them fight over scraps, which is what the drug war, effectively, is. Since we basically have become a market-based culture, that’s what we know, and it’s what’s led us to this sad dénouement. I think we’re going to follow market-based logic right to the bitter end."

    David Simon

  • March 31, 2011 10:43 am

    There Is No Third Thing

    Ezra Klein, on the tepid reaction to the President’s energy policy:

    This brings up one of the toughest questions in punditry: What is the right thing for the president to do on an issue that’s 1) morally urgent and 2) absolutely dead on arrival in Congress?

    He forgets one thing:

    3) and which his political opposition will be allowed to argue both sides of?

    Libya is only the latest example, but there are many, many others. As soon as the President is for it, the GOP is categorically and irrevocably against it regardless of where they stood in the millisecond before Obama made a decision. This is how Obama went from “dangerously disengaged” or “timid” on Libya and missing his big chance to remake the region to dangerously over-aggressive and missing his big chance for peace in our time in the course of approximately 36 hours.

    This is precisely why Obama needs to start inveighing against the perils of windpower, the tyranny of train-based transportation, and making demands that every US citizen above the age of 14 be required to carry at least one gun with its safety off at all times.
    I’m only half-joking here. Any rational policy decision will have to be couched in, at best, seeming disinterest on the part of Obama. And this is why many issues are currently hung with the “why isn’t Obama saying anything about…” rubric. Once he takes up a position, even if it is the GOP position, you’re going to face instant and intransigent opposition to whatever Obama says. Even if they were the ones promoting it yesterday. On really sticky issues like Libya, you’ll have the Serious Person dream situation: categorical GOP opposition coupled with strong attacks “from the President’s left.” And just how it’s possible to be “to the left” of a radical socialist community organizer is left as an exercise for the student, as these are questions that the MSM simply will not ask. Shrill.
    Progressives angry that their pet issue isn’t receiving enough facetime from Obama should frankly count their lucky stars. Once he weighs in, your issue is over. It is only in the face of Presidential disinterest that even incremental policy progress can actually be made in this environment.

    Until such time as the GOP gets significant push-back on this form of rampant and entirely political flip-floppery, it will remain the only game in town. Since such push-back would require research and preparation on the part of the MSM, I wouldn’t hold my breath. That this cycle happens to be a game that is measurably and inexorably killing the country is yet another of those facts that do not matter.

  • March 17, 2011 2:14 pm

    Earthquake 9.0

    According to recalibrations of old seismograms by the US Geological Survey (USGS), 11 “megathrust” earthquakes with an 8.5 magnitude or greater occurred worldwide in the twentieth century. Ten of these 11 earthquakes occurred offshore or near a coast, nearly all with tsunami damage. So far in the twenty-first century, five such megathrust earthquakes — with severe tsunami damage in four cases — have occurred offshore.

    Proper use of earthquake science advises against an overreaction to the Tohoku disaster, but also spotlights further dangers that policymakers must take into account.


    Aftershock patterns benefitted earthquake forecasting when Ross Stein and his USGS colleagues discovered that the stress increments of past large earthquakes were good predictors of where the next large earthquake would occur. Long after the aftershocks subsided — months, years, or decades after — another earthquake of similar size often broke within the next segment of the fault zone, where stresses had been increased only slightly in relative terms. How time-delayed stress-triggering occurs is a mystery, but it has been documented worldwide.

    An irregular series of large, damaging earthquakes shook the North Anatolian Fault in the twentieth century from east toward the west across modern-day Turkey, reaching the Sea of Marmara in 1999 with the Izmit earthquake. Stress increments from Izmit have loaded the fault segment next to Istanbul. The 6.6 magnitude San Fernando earthquake in 1971 loaded the nearby fault that caused the 6.7 Northridge earthquake in 1994. More germane to Japan, the 9.3 Sumatra-Andaman megathrust earthquake in December 2004 loaded the next subduction-zone segment to the south, and this segment generated an 8.6 megathrust event only three months later in March 2005. No prediction can be made today for Japan, but it is safe to forecast a sharply increased probability for a major earthquake on the broad, simple subduction-zone segments both north and south of the Tohoku rupture zone. The segment to the south lies offshore the Tokyo metropolitan area.