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Going Down Down

February 25, 2010

While those of us who still have a job continue to toil away, the support beams of the capitalist coalmine are looking awfully worm-eaten and rotten. The reassurances of the oligarchy that recovery is just around the corner ring hollow after decades of willful neglect. So just how long can this go on?

Ask Devo. Their first new album in 20 years is coming out soon, but not before the band tries out a new marketing strategy and has the music focus-group tested first.

…[Devo frontman] Casale said the band won’t be making the final decision on the songs and track-listing for its upcoming album. Instead, he said, the band will trust the consensus reached by those polled by an advertising agency. Casale said the new-wave pioneers have retained a company called Mother L.A. and that the firm will present focus groups with multiple mixes of new songs.

“It’s an art experiment,” Casale said. “The experiment is the business of art. It’s always there, but nobody ever talks about it.”

Doesn’t sound like this is an attempt to maximize profits or that Devo is taking themselves too seriously. Sounds more like an attempt at yanking peoples’ chains.

Mother L.A. is unlisted, and the company’s website is full of generic stock photos. Devo is the only client named on the firm’s roster, and Casale declined to answer how fans who want to take part in the focus groups would go about such a task.

So why are they doing all this after two decades?

“It’s just fun, to use business as part of the creative process, even if it’s satirical,” Casale said. “Devo is just real now. Devo is not ahead of its time. Devo is not scary or shocking. … We’re the house band on the Titanic, and we’re here to entertain as we all go down.”

Here’s one of the songs scheduled to be on the new release.

Wishin’ is for chumps, High hopin’ is for fools. Sounds like they haven’t lost their touch.

So when the ship of state does inevitably hit bottom, maybe the rest of us will finally get some satisfaction and a little time for having fun. Until then use what little freedom of choice you have left to resist the pricks, get organized, and do your duty now for the future.

61 Comments leave one →
  1. cometman permalink*
    February 25, 2010 1:39 pm

    I was surprised to find out that it’s only been 20 years since the last Devo album – I would have guessed twenty five. “Freedom of Choice” and “New Traditionalists” were among the first albums I ever owned and listed to extensively as a kid. When I was looking up the links for the post I noticed the last two albums they released which I’d never heard of before – Total Devo and Smooth Noodle Maps. They sound like they might be pretty interesting.

    About Total Devo:

    “The Shadow” has lyrics that contain numerous references to literary works (the chorus is partially lifted from T. S. Eliot’s poem The Hollow Men) and it incorporates the catchphrase from the serials following the character The Shadow (“Who knows what lurks in the hearts of men?/The shadow knows!”).

    And Smooth Noodle Maps:

    The title of the album is a reference to the theory of chaos[citation needed]. Scientists would create visual graphic representation of random events/sequences and describe the picture they had created as a ‘smooth noodle map’.

    Evidently wikipedia doesn’t know how to use a search engine since a citation regarding smooth noodle maps isn’t hard to find. Here’s one.

    By the mid-1980s, chaos was a buzzword for the fast-growing movement reshaping scientific establishments, and conferences and journals on the subject were on the rise. Universities sought chaos “specialists” for high-level positions. A Center for Nonlinear Studies was established at Los Alamos, as were other institutes devoted to the study of nonlinear dynamics and complex systems. A new language consisting of terms such as fractals, bifurcations, and smooth noodle maps was born. In 1987, James Gleick published his landmark work, Chaos: Making a New Science, chronicling the development of chaos theory, as well as the science and scientists fueling its progress.

    • Stemella permalink*
      February 25, 2010 4:11 pm

      This news of Devo revival makes me glad. What a treat! I loved the rattus mobile cars in that video too. Freedom from choice came out when I was in high school and inspired me to dye my hair navy blue. Talking Heads, Devo, B-52s, Roxy Music, the Cars, Elvis Costello, with a dash of the Dead and Bob Marley – those predominantly made up of the soundtrack of my senior year.

      • cometman permalink*
        February 26, 2010 8:12 am

        I thought you might like those rattuses :) For Dead fans, there was a cover of “Morning Dew” listed on that “Smooth Noodle Maps” album too.

        Your list made me think of one of my other first music purchases, a 45 single (do the kids know what a 45 is anymore?) of this:

        The video looked pretty new so it got me wondering what Thomas Dolby has been up to recently. Interestingly enough he is the music director for TED and on his blog he mentions that among other people he did some music with David Byrne at the latest conference. Doesn’t sound like there’s any video available for that yet but you can see one of his earlier TED collaborations here – La Vie en Rose.

        • Stemella permalink*
          February 26, 2010 9:52 am

          Very cool. What a blast from the past. I think I saw him playing one of these, which I also used to own. Wish I still had it. I love the idea of mixing the new tech with the old. The bells, though — maybe too old a tech for my tastes ;P

          • cometman permalink*
            February 26, 2010 10:37 am

            The tintinnabulation did give me some fundie church flashbacks since they used to have a handbell choir that played every so often at the one I attended.

            That 40’s era oscilloscope sounded pretty interesting. Not sure how it works exactly but judging by this video it looks like it provides added visuals which react to the music being played rather than actually producing sound.

  2. cometman permalink*
    February 25, 2010 1:45 pm

    Chris Floyd has a pretty simple solution for a better world – stop spending so goddamned much money on the military, close down all the foreign bases, stop the foreign wars, and use the money saved on something useful.

    ….it so happens that I do have a positive program to offer, a viable, workable, practical approach to many of our problems. This is what my program offers:

    Lower taxes
    Stronger national security
    More jobs
    Greater prosperity
    Higher wages
    Better schools, roads, and health care
    Less government
    Safer streets

    What’s more, this program requires no social upheaval, no political turmoil, no violence – no revolution from either Left or Right. It can be accomplished entirely within the existing political and economic system. It needs no new government powers, no new bureaucracies, no new taxes.

    All it requires is simply this: Bring America Home. End our worldwide military empire.


    Now, this is not some pie-in-the-sky dream. We all have our own ideas and beliefs about what consitutes the good life, or the best kind of society. And in a post-empire America, there would be plenty of scope for heated debate on all kinds of issues; ideological conflicts, ‘culture wars,’ partisan wrangling, would go on. And of course there would still be injustice, corruption, and much suffering in society. So we’re not talking about a utopia.

    But – it would be a better society than it is now. It would be more humane, more just, more secure, more peaceful, more sustainable, more prosperous than it is now. And all our culture wars and political conflicts would take place in a healthier context, in a freer land, where the focus is on “the pursuit of happiness,” not the “projection of dominance” around the world.

    Amen brother.

    • Stemella permalink*
      February 25, 2010 4:31 pm

      Bring America Home. Sounds like a good plan to me. Sounds like a winning platform, as he says. Only problem is that the MIC would never allow it. He says,

      “And the plain fact is that America’s military empire is unsustainable. It is going to be diminished, degraded and finally lost, one way or another, at some point or another. The only question is whether Americans want to control that process themselves — to dismantle their empire carefully, responsibly, and beneficially, on their own terms, in a way that would renew the nation’s prosperity and opportunity — or if they want to see it collapse around their ears, in blood and ruin, blighting their lives and the lives of their children for generations.

      I ask, how do we get back that level of control of the process that could dismantle the Empire without the violence? How do we get our country back? Through the existing election process, as corrupted as it is?

      We need more detailed plans

      • artemis54 permalink
        February 26, 2010 11:34 am

        Bravo. Unfortunately our side has exactly two votes: Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich.

  3. Stemella permalink*
    February 26, 2010 7:41 am

    This can’t be good news

    Vast Antarctic iceberg ‘threatens marine life’

  4. Stemella permalink*
    February 26, 2010 7:47 am

    Here’s a good one regarding Greece and the Eurozone from a former Labour MP

    Proud to be a Keynesian eurosceptic

    • cometman permalink*
      February 26, 2010 9:01 am

      That makes a lot of sense. I never could quite figure out how they were going to make a common currency work without a common government. When Greece was on the drachma it was relatively cheap compared to the rest of Europe and the US. I’ve always used the cost of a beer purchased in a bar as my unit of currency conversion and before the euro conversion you could get a 1/2 liter beer for about a buck in the small towns and maybe 2 or 3 bucks in the more urban areas depending on the bar. The Greeks didn’t make a whole lot but prices weren’t all that high either. Last time I went and they were on the euro prices had gone up quite a bit (based on the beer exchange system, so take this with a grain of salt). But it wasn’t just more expensive for me since Greeks aren’t really making any more either. I think the conversion hit the smaller economies a lot harder. This video was pretty good and explains the situation better than the somewhat lame analogy I used.

      • Stemella permalink*
        February 26, 2010 10:39 am

        Great video. I imagine many conditions described in the film are similar to those found in the other Southern European countries. The description of the pervasive corruption is what I expect we will only see more of here, at least regionally at first. I remember thinking last year with the Christmas time riots that Greece was going to be the harbinger. It may take longer than I originally thought, but the patterns are already clear and definable just about everywhere the squid tentacles have appeared around the world. The mark of the blood funnel.

  5. cometman permalink*
    February 26, 2010 8:30 am

    Looks like there is a new political movement afoot – The Coffee Party. I link to it not so much for the subject matter since it doesn’t seem to be much more than a facebook group at this point, but because of the utter vapidity of the article and the way the author seems to go out of their way to make sure the Tea Party people get more mention than the ostensible subject of the piece. Evidently not enough people are aware of Glenn beck’s lunacy yet. But what do you expect from a right wing rag like the WAPO?

    • Stemella permalink*
      February 26, 2010 10:17 am

      Check out their youtube promo

      What do you bet that Starbucks is going to become a big backer? ;)

      I’d rather join the Absinthe party myself, or maybe the McNaughtons Party, even if it is actually Un-American, eh?

      • cometman permalink*
        February 26, 2010 1:01 pm

        At this point the Molotov Cocktail Party might be fun.

        Two waves to Big Brother today! :P

  6. cometman permalink*
    February 26, 2010 8:35 am

    At least somebody is telling the truth about the latest Patriot Act renewal and getting it on the record. Thanks again Dennis.

    “Despite years of documentation evidencing abuse of these provisions during the Bush Administration, the Department of Justice has failed to hold Bush Administration officials accountable for illegal domestic spying by barring any lawsuits to be brought against those officials,” he said. “Months into this Administration, The New York Times reported that the National Security Agency had ‘intercepted private e-mail messages and phone calls of Americans in recent months on a scale that went beyond the broad legal limits,’ and that the practice was ‘significant and systematic.’ Passage of this legislation today continues to make Congress complicit in these violations of our basic constitutional rights.”

  7. cometman permalink*
    February 26, 2010 8:42 am

    If I had any extra money I’d give it to the EFF. But in the meantime a big EFF-you to the assholes who keep spying on US citizens.

    • Stemella permalink*
      February 26, 2010 10:50 am

      Fuck them is right.

      * Pg 98: A report that the Joint Forces Command, working with the FBI, improperly collected and disseminated intelligence on Planned Parenthood and a white supremacist group called the National Alliance, as part of preparations for the 2002 Olympics.

      * Pg 122-137″ A NORAD intelligence briefing improperly included intelligence on an anti-war group called Alaskans for Peace and Justice in 2005.

      * Pg 257-258: A 2006 report that NORAD had procedural problems relating to collecting information on U.S. Persons.

      Naked Capitalism has a link about how evil Bill Gates’ Microsoft Organization cooperates with the politcia giving out private data.
      Here’s what Microsoft will reveal to police about you

      Waves to Big Brother! Nothing but us sea creatures around here :)

      • cometman permalink*
        February 26, 2010 1:07 pm

        Glad I don’t use too many MS products unless I have to. Noticed recently that when I have Firefox going and I have to use explorer for some reason, Explorer often won’t load properly until I shut down Firefox and then it works right away. That’s reason enough to hate the bastards.

  8. cometman permalink*
    February 26, 2010 9:43 am

    Here’s an excerpt about orca attacks from a new book coming out later this year which may be of interest to people here – Fear of the Animal Planet: The Hidden History of Animal Resistance.

    Here’s the blurb from the AK Press website:

    “Until the lion has his historian,” the African proverb goes, “the hunter will always be a hero.” Jason Hribal fulfills this promise and turns the world upside down. Taking the reader deep inside the circus, the zoo, and similar operations, it provides a window into hidden struggle and resistance that occurs daily. Chimpanzees escape their cages. Elephants attack their trainers. Orcas demand more food. Tigers refuse to perform. Indeed, these animals are rebelling with intent and purpose. They become true heroes and our understanding of them will never be the same.

    • cometman permalink*
      February 26, 2010 10:25 am

      In a related story, here’s one about the policeman who was put in the position of having to shoot Travis the chimpanzee. It’s pretty gruesome but the officer sounds a lot more sensible than people who keep large wild animals with big teeth as pets.

      Travis dictated the events of that fatal day, but Officer Chiafari does not hold him responsible.

      “I consider him a victim,” he said. “He should have been in the jungle where he’s supposed to be. Not in a house drinking wine and taking Xanax.”

    • artemis54 permalink
      February 26, 2010 10:40 am

      Hmm. Definitely sounds worth a read. (Although the excerpt includes the word usage error that drives me insane: “incidences” where the word is “incidents” GOD DAMN IT!)

      From another angle, I would recommend Monster of God.

      Can’t get Temple Grandin out of my head either ever since seeing the film the other day. She thinks people cling to animals as a kind of talisman of all we lost in becoming human. I wasn’t going to bother with that film until I saw an interview with a highly excited Temple Grandin heaping praise on it. Beyond autism, there is a lot to recommend in her demand that we look at the individual and not the label.

      • cometman permalink*
        February 26, 2010 1:34 pm

        That book sounds pretty good. Do you know anything about the author? some of his other books at the link looked interesting too.

        Wasn’t familiar with Temple Grandin so I looked her up. Noticed there was an HBO bio about her that came out recently. Was that the film you were talking about? I just watched this first part of another bio about her –

        I’m a big fan of the cow so I think I’ll watch the rest of it later today. So far they also seem to be the squidlette’s favorite animal with ducks as a close second.

        • artemis54 permalink
          February 27, 2010 6:07 am

          Quammen? Yes, recommend virtually all of them but I would like to be his editor and tighten things up sometimes. He can run to the “variations without a theme” but it’s worth the ride any way. (imo)

          I haven’t read any of Grandin’s full books since the early one, can’t remember the name right now. But she is absolutely fascinating. She talks about her affinity with animals in connection to her struggle to become verbal. Yeah I was talking about the HBO one that just came out a week or two ago. In prep for the role Danes only met with Grandin for one afternoon, but Grandin sent her five hours of video tape, all the earliest tape of herself she could find.

          Grandin is not real big on theory and not real big on politics. She has often expressed impatience with anyone who can’t show her their experience on the ground, whether it’s animals or autistic kids. She is big on making things work. She talks about having to step back and try – with great difficulty – to understand what the hell people are talking about when they go on about their feelings being hurt and so on because it literally has no meaning for her. I love her matter-of-factness and can’t help feeling a little kin there. I’m not the kind to read medical books and come down with each disease, but I was a little off in the bushes in my own development.

          • cometman permalink*
            February 27, 2010 9:21 am

            I checked out Quammen some more and it turns out I’ve already read him a little bit since he’s published a few articles in Harper’s in recent years. He wrote the one about cancer in Tazmanian devils. Good stuff. Thanks for the recommendation.

            I watched the rest of that “Woman who Thinks Like a Cow” program last night and she really is fascinating. I really liked her personality and matter-of -factness is a great way of describing it. I got a kick out of how she basically dismissed questions about her feelings on women’s magazines as not worth her time. Also was struck by the way she went about her job. No discussion about the politics of slaughterhouses at all or if there might be a better way of raising animals- she just states flat out that since they exist it is proper to make sure the animals are treated as humanely as possible.

            And she’s definitely right about how cows notice small details. I brought the squidlette to the farm a few weeks ago and when I turned her loose in the aisles every single cow noticed immediately that there was some new small creature they hadn’t seen before running around and they all turned their eyes on her at once. One of them really wanted to figure out what she was all about and couldn’t stop sniffing her every time she walked by.

        • triv33 permalink
          February 27, 2010 8:19 am

          Yeah, I watched both, but having my little man, I would. It is a constant struggle to make sure he is only being measured or judged against where he is now vs. where he has been rather than against on some arbitrary scale or whatnot. The “experts” did not see what we saw and if we hadn’t been quite as stubborn as we were…I don’t know if he’d even be talking in sentences now.

          • artemis54 permalink
            February 27, 2010 12:30 pm

            The same with my nephew.

  9. cometman permalink*
    February 26, 2010 10:00 am

    Cindy Sheehan is aiming her protest at “<0" and taking it to DC. Good for her. She’s one of the few in the public eye who is willing to say it’s wrong when Obama does it too.

  10. cometman permalink*
    February 26, 2010 10:13 am

    Faces only Kafka could love in this photoessay of bureaucrats around the world. Wonder if the photographer asked them to all to make an expression that looks like they just ate a bowl of turds for breakfast or if that just comes with the territory?

    • Stemella permalink*
      February 26, 2010 10:57 am

      That one in the cowboy hat with the two buck heads on either side? I think he ate a bowl of dingleberries. ;)

      Excellent photo series.

  11. cometman permalink*
    February 26, 2010 1:11 pm

    Good article about ratfucker extraordinaire Stephen Friedman, the guy who served at the NY Fed and on the board of Golman Sax simultaneously as the AIG bailout was going on and proceeded to buy thousands of shares of Goldman stock at the same time. He claims he didn’t do anything wrong. Riiiiiight. Doesn’t appear that too many of his pals are willing to go on the record backing him up.

    Various spokespeople and others close to Friedman insist that everything he did was aboveboard and that he is a victim of a media frenzy and politicians with their own agendas. None of these people allowed their names to be used for this article.

  12. artemis54 permalink
    February 27, 2010 4:16 am

    We need a special media award for people like the dumb bitch on msnbc who just assured me that there would be minimal loss of life in Chile because the quake hit in the middle of the night, when people weren’t out driving around. In what passes for her mind, you are evidently safer in bed in a building than driving down the road.

    The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center reports nearby buoys recording waves of 3, 4, one over 7 feet. These are bouys some distance out, so who knows what is really happening on the beach. Warnings are now in effect Pacific wide.

    • artemis54 permalink
      February 27, 2010 6:13 am

      My god these people are pathetic. Now they’re trying to figure out if Chile is two or three hours behind New York, clock time. They are two hours ahead, you morons. It’s called the internet. Then there are these poor souls trying to explain tsunamis to them, and why it doesn’t happen everywhere at once. Unfuckingbelievable.

    • artemis54 permalink
      February 27, 2010 6:43 am

      And on it goes. Now the blonde one is arguing that “logically, you would think it would be the same as Mountain time, if you just drew a straight line down.”

      Has anyone at msnbc ever seen a map of the wester hemisphere?

      I really need to start a liveblog documenting how long it takes these morons to figure out what time it is.

      No excuse to be surprised I guess. Anything west of the Mississippi might as well be on Mars.

      • cometman permalink*
        March 1, 2010 8:56 am

        I heard one about this subject that gave me a similar reaction to yours. This was on a sports radio show and the guy was complaining about the media sensationalizing stories like this (which they do – I’ll never forget Windstorm ’98 or whenever it was in the Pacific NW where the local stations made it sound like Seattle would be blown into the ocean and all that happened was a few tree limbs came off). However this guy was blathering about how he didn’t think a 7′ tsunami wave was anything to get worried about because he’d seen surfers in Hawaii ride waves a lot bigger than that in surfing tournaments. felt like calling in and saying “They don’t ride those waves for several hundred miles you goddamned waste of grey matter”.

  13. cometman permalink*
    March 1, 2010 11:04 am

    Here’s that Harper’s article I’d mentioned previously about how German workers and unions have a lot of decision making power in the companies they work for and that has kept their manufacturing and exports strong- Consider the Germans. In it the author admits that this system which has a lot of good ideas is currently on the wane:

    This system is much in decline even in Germany…

    That article is a good contrast to this one about Greece and the EU – The Fall of Greece. This is one of the better article about the Greek situation I’ve come across. The author of this one touches on the same deteriorating German working class:

    There is discontent within the German working class at their country’s policies aimed at shrinking wages and social benefits for the sake of selling abroad.

    She discusses how the EU was supposed to bring solidarity to Europe but what that really meant is solidarity of the European oligarchs and the financial markets:

    Of course, European leaders got together to declare solidarity. But their speeches were designed not so much to reassure the increasingly angry and desperate Greek people as to soothe “the markets” – the real hidden almighty gods of the European Union. The markets, like the ancient gods, have a great old time tormenting mere mortals in trouble, so their response to the Greek problem was naturally to rush to profit from it. For instance, when Greece is obliged to issue new bonds this year, the markets can blithely demand that Greece double its interest rates, on grounds of increased “risk” that Greece won’t pay, thus making it that much harder for Greece to pay. Such is the logic of the free market.

    She also touches on a question I’ve had, namely that if the swaps Greece engaged in at the time were legal but later made illegal, why didn’t anybody start looking into which countries were involved in these dirty deals at the time they became illegal?

    There was no such supervision of the financial fiddling which caused this mess. The EU statistics agency Eurostat recently discovered and revealed that in 2001, Goldman Sachs secretly (“but legally”, protest its executive officers) helped the right-wing Greek government meet EU membership criteria by using a complicated “currency swap” that masked the extent of public deficit and national debt. Who understands how that worked? I think it is fair to guess that not even Angela Merkel, who is trained as a scientist, understands clearly what went on, much less the incompetent Greek politicians who accepted the Goldman Sachs trickery. It allowed them to create an illusion of success – for a while. Success meant being a “member of the club” of the rich, and it can be argued that this notion of success has actually favored bad government at the national level. Belonging to the EU gave a false sense of security that contributed to the irresponsibility of incompetent political leaders.

    Sounds to me like Germany and the other wealthier nations need to make sure there own houses are in order before blaming the smaller countries too much. Her conclusion was a nice rhetorical flourish.

    The smaller indebted countries within the EU are amiably designated by the English-speaking financial priesthood as the PIGS – Portugal, Italy (perhaps Ireland), Greece, Spain – an appropriate designation for an animal farm where some are so much more equal than others.

    Meanwhile douchebucket Jamie Dimon tells us it’s California we should be worried about .

    “Greece itself would not be an issue for this company, nor would any other country,” said Mr Dimon. “We don’t really foresee the European Union coming apart.” The senior banker said that JP Morgan Chase and other US rivals are largely immune from the European debt crisis, as the risks have largely been hedged.

    Of course Dimon doesn’t explain that those hedges are his bank and others taking short positions in the same rotten deals they helped put together and knew were likely to fail. If I were Ahnuld right now, I’d be watching my back to see how many knives Dimon and the other assholes have already stuck into it.

  14. cometman permalink*
    March 1, 2010 11:23 am

    Mike Whitney makes a list of those who warned about the mortgage crisis but were ignored and wonders why nobody is in the pokey yet – The Case Against Bernanke and Greenspan. Among others he draws on William Black and James K Galbraith for the article and comes to a very simple conclusion:

    The financial crisis was not caused by a system malfunction; it was caused by men perpetrating a crime.

  15. cometman permalink*
    March 1, 2010 11:35 am

    Good article from former Progressive Party candidate for VT AG Charlotte Dennett on the current debate about Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant which has been leaking radioactive crap but hasn’t been shut down.

    Some 1,300 people – most of them standing before live video coverage outside the small, overcrowded Senate chamber — listened to several hours of respectful debate that even included the proposition of building a new nuclear power plant in Vermont as per President Obama’s pro-nuclear agenda.

    But when it was all over, senators from both parties resoundingly voted against a last-minute amendment for a new plant to replace the old one, and similarly defeated re-licensure of Vermont Yankee in 2012 by a vote of 26 to 4.

    Unfortunately since the license isn’t up yet that still leaves two years for the plant’s owner Entergy to twist arms.

    Yet for all the euphoria felt by those who had waited for years for this outcome, questions linger over what will happen next as Vermont Yankee’s out-of-state owner, Entergy, vows to keep on fighting to keep the plant open beyond 2012.

    Here’s where the real problem is – Vermont (or any other state for that matter) is not allowed to address health and safety concerns even though the plant is currently leaking. That lies with the Feds:

    At the heart of this predicament is a 1983 U.S. Supreme Court decision that ruled that issues of health and safety fall under the jurisdiction of the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, not the states.

    So if it’s up to DC to decide whether this plant get shuts down as a safety concern, I wonder who friends of Entergy and the nuke industry “<0" and Rahmbo are going to side with?

  16. cometman permalink*
    March 1, 2010 11:56 am

    Goldman’s board of directors tells shareholders to fuck off.

    Do we need any more evidence as to who really calls the shots in this country? No accountability anywhere for these assholes. Hubris will be their undoing eventually but I’m getting real tired of waiting.

  17. cometman permalink*
    March 1, 2010 12:50 pm

    More signs of the Empire’s decline from Ken Silverstein – Defining Deviancy Down.

    …the House Ethics Committee ruled that members of Congress can statutorily direct government agencies to give federal money to their campaign contributors in the form of earmarks as long as they can provide a legitimate reason for spending the money. That standard is useless — every earmark request can be rationalized by the member of Congress who gets it as being for a company in his or her district, and that it will create jobs.


    Meanwhile, the Federal Election Commission last week released a notice of proposed rule-making that would essentially gut the existing tough ethical standards and replace them with significantly less rigorous ones.

    • Stemella permalink*
      March 2, 2010 10:13 am

      lowering ethical standards to the point where they are either meaningless or unenforceable

      Deregulating, Defining down, Dumbing down, around and around and down the drain we go. Except for when we peons break a rule or two or more, this is now a nation without accountability or law.

      What will be the final straw to break the mirror that reflects all the fog, haze and smoke?

  18. cometman permalink*
    March 1, 2010 1:12 pm

    Don’t particularly care for the Lakoff-type arguments about “framing”. Don’t particularly care the slow creep of stupidity that allows words that used to have a distinct meaning to be used for whatever purpose the user desires, thereby rendering them essentially meaningless. Don’t particularly care for debates about science vs. religion between people who apparently can’t grasp what one or both of those terms actually mean.

    So I really fucking hated this dilettantish piece of preposterous wrongheaded new age feelgood bushwa about “The Age of Empathy”. Not going to comment on it too much since I may try to turn it into a longer post, but it really sucked.

    • artemis54 permalink
      March 1, 2010 2:25 pm

      You could call your piece The Age of Bullshit.

      My friend’s daughter in law has taken her nine year old daughter and run off to join this David Hawkins nutcase in Sedona.

      • cometman permalink*
        March 1, 2010 2:45 pm

        I may just steal your title. I happen to have a copy of that little essay ‘On Bullshit’ on my bookshelf which probably has some good quotes speaking to the kind of foolishness in that article.

        Sorry about the kid. The Hawkins name rung a bell. Thought it was the guy PZ Meyers has been beating to a pulp in the last month or so but it turns out that he was defending a Michael Hawkins while beating the crap out of some homeopath.

  19. artemis54 permalink
    March 1, 2010 2:32 pm

    You know what’s sad? You know what’s really fucking pathetic?

    While the US refuses to do anything to save the jaguar or the vaquita, while the manatees and the florida panther slip away and the Obama refuses to even list the pika using the same absurd argument so beloved by the Bushies – “well it isn’t actually in trouble in the tiny little fragments where it still exists” – which is like saying I don’t need to call the fire department because there are parts of my house that still aren’t on fire

    while all this is going on, the government of Afghanistan – Afghanistan!!! – is doing what it can to save the snow leopard and the large-billed reed warbler.

    • cometman permalink*
      March 2, 2010 8:49 am

      I’d like to think that was very good news. But somehow I can’t get the thought out of my head that we’ll soon be seeing headlines that large reed billed warblers have gone extinct because the terrorists were using them as avian shields and the US had to kill them all. For freedom.

  20. cometman permalink*
    March 2, 2010 8:45 am

    Not sure yet whether to wholeheartedly condemn or surreptitiously cheer this one – Phony bridal show pitch defrauds thousands. Not particularly enamored with those who would willfully defraud the public and yet the thought that a few hundred people have a little less money to spend on wasteful overblown weddings makes me smile a little bit.

  21. cometman permalink*
    March 2, 2010 9:33 am

    Looks like researchers have pretty much figured out a primary cause of decreasing amphibian populations. So can we ban this shit yet?

    One of the most common weed killers in the world, atrazine, causes chemical castration in frogs and could be contributing to a worldwide decline in amphibian populations, a study published Monday showed.

    Researchers compared 40 male control frogs with 40 male frogs reared from hatchlings until full sexual maturity, in atrazine concentrations similar to those experienced year-round in areas where the chemical is found.

    Ninety percent of the male frogs exposed to atrazine had low testosterone levels, decreased breeding gland size, feminized laryngeal development, suppressed mating behavior, reduced sperm production and decreased fertility.

    And an alarming finding of the study was that the remaining 10 percent of atrazine-exposed male frogs developed into females that copulated with males and produced eggs.

    The larvae that developed from those eggs were all male, according to the study by researchers at the University of California at Berkeley, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

    I wanted to see if atrazine was an ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup. Found this little post about other dangers related to these chemicals and lo and behold there’s a comment even at this small site from a Monsanto rep defending that piece of shit company. Wonder how many glasses of Roundup this soulless asshole drinks on a daily basis?

    • Stemella permalink*
      March 2, 2010 9:52 am

      Europe banned it in 2004. Australian Greens are working on it down undah. The US? The corn lobby is all over this shit and won’t let us pry it out of their cold dead nuts. Someone needs to make an add campaign about it’s potential for causing chemical castration for men. Then it will get banned faster than you can say “go scratch” ;P

      According to Extension Toxicology Network in the U.S., “The oral LD50 for atrazine is 3090 mg/kg in rats, 1750 mg/kg in mice, 750 mg/kg in rabbits, and 1000 mg/kg in hamsters. The dermal LD50 in rabbits is 7500 mg/kg and greater than 3000 mg/kg in rats. The 1-hour inhalation LC50 is greater than 0.7 mg/L in rats. The 4-hour inhalation LC50 is 5.2 mg/L in rats.” [10]
      Atrazine use in pounds per square mile by county. Atrazine is one of the most commonly used herbicides in the United States.[11]

      Atrazine was banned in the European Union (EU) in 2004 because of its persistent groundwater contamination.[1] In the United States, however, atrazine is one of the most widely used herbicides, with 76 million pounds of it applied each year, in spite of the restriction that used to be imposed.[12], [13] It is probably the most commonly used herbicide in the world, and is used in about 80 countries worldwide.[14] Its endocrine disruptor effects, possible carcinogenic effect, and epidemiological connection to low sperm levels in men has led several researchers to call for banning it in the US.[1]


      • cometman permalink*
        March 2, 2010 10:18 am

        That may be about the only way to get people’s attention on the matter. I was a little surprised to learn recently when I was reading about some other toxic chemical that the vast majority of these toxics have never been tested and won’t be either as it stands now. Here’s a recent press release from US PIRG that describes the situation:

        The primary federal law governing chemical safety is the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which has never been significantly amended since its adoption in 1976. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has identified comprehensive reform of the toxics law as a key Obama Administration priority, stating that the law fails to provide EPA with the authority it needs to ensure chemicals are safe. Of the 80,000 chemicals used in the U.S., EPA has been able to require safety testing on only 200. And 60,000 chemicals – including bisphenol A – were grandfathered in for use without any testing for health safety. New legislation to bring the toxics law into the 21st century will be introduced by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) in early 2010.

        If it were me proposing the new toxics legislation I’d make an amendment requiring any of the troglodytes in our predominately male legislature who opposes it to guzzle atrazine until Steve turns into Eve, go fuck themselves, and then be forced to gay marry one of the all male children that result. That ought to make it unanimous.

    • artemis54 permalink
      March 2, 2010 12:42 pm

      No. Roundup is glyphosate, which itself is probably not nearly the problem atrazine is. In fact, some of the additives in roundup may be worse – like the surfactants that change viscosity etc.

      The worst problem imo is the casual over the counter use. Farmers are cheap and will use the minimum effective rate, for one thing. Not so all the suburban lawn owners splashing it all over the place and into the storm drains. A good place to start would be banning ornamental use in yards, golf courses, parks etc. Like Ontario is doing.

      • cometman permalink*
        March 2, 2010 1:11 pm

        Here’s a somewhat related question. The croci are sprouting on my lawn so the rest of the plants won’t be far behind. I have an azalea which I’ve discovered is infested with azalea sawflies. Last year before I tracked down exactly what they were I tried to spray the bush with DiPel which is a bacterial agent but i found out it is designed for moth and butterfly larvae and the sawfly larvae are a type of wasp so it didn’t seem to have any effect and I was stuck with squishing hundreds of the little bastards by hand and they still ate 2/3 of my azalea. This year I was going to try pyrethrum spray which is derived from chrysanthemums and is supposed to be non-toxic and get rid of all kinds of little buggers. Do you know anything about this stuff? I read up a little bit about it and it seems like there may be natural and manmade kinds and not all of them are necessarily harmless. This article talks about the differences but I want to make sure I know exactly what to ask for to make sure I get the right thing. I’ll squash the little bastards again if I have to but I’d rather not be seen in my front lawn again covered with green bug guts and cursing at a half-eaten bush if at all possible.

        • Stemella permalink*
          March 2, 2010 1:55 pm

          I’ve always had good success with these two pyrethrum based insecticides. Rotenone and Safer Spray You can also get the Safer spray liquid in concentrate and mix it up yourself, which is a bit cheaper if you have a lot of area to cover. Both of these are pyrethrin and not permethrin based. It is my understanding that it is the piperonyl butoxide, a major inert ingredient that acts as the carrier, is the more toxic of the chemicals, but is still relatively benign relative to Roundup. The pyrethrins to break down in sun and so have less residual hazard than the permethrins.

          • artemis54 permalink
            March 2, 2010 3:05 pm

            But you know that rotenone that’s in there? People like rotenone because it is completely organic in origin but nonetheless it is incredibly toxic to fish as well as amphibians.

        • artemis54 permalink
          March 2, 2010 3:02 pm

          It it’s pyrethrum, it the actual chemical extracted from the chrysanthemums. All the thrins (permethrin, resmethrin, a whole bunch) are chemical imitations of pyrethrum. Pyrethrum breaks down very quickly. Actually, so do all the thrins, so no real residual action, but the breakdown is a good thing. They are among the least harmful pesticides (I spent several years testing them on various things, aphids on wheat for instance).

          However, you most definitely don’t want any in your eyes, and you need to keep pets away for a couple days.

          For physical control, you could try blasting with soapy water, maybe with one of those bottles you attach onto a hose, like they use for spray on fertilizer. Some pressure behind some soap might work pretty well. The soap suffocates them.

          • cometman permalink*
            March 3, 2010 6:43 am

            Thanks for the advice from both of you. I just checked the site of the company I wanted to get some from. Looks like I might have to do it the real old fashioned way if I buy it there since they seem to expect you to grow the pyrethrum first ;)

  22. Stemella permalink*
    March 2, 2010 9:57 am

    I’m certain this has not gone unnoticed among those here, but just in case,

    Cern Nukers restart the Large Hadron on Sunday. Happy to know we are still here, unless of course we are really all some temporal residual tracer of a rapidly vibrating hologram or somesuch and don’t realize yet that we are ether. ;)

    • cometman permalink*
      March 2, 2010 10:31 am

      That had escaped my notice. Checked a few science blogs a couple days ago and didn’t see a mention of it so thanks for posting that.

      Just checked a couple again and I still didn’t see a mention but I did find some other cool stuff. Check out the picture of The Blood Falls.

      That is a part of Taylor Glacier, specifically the Blood Falls, located in the dry valleys of Antarctica. Apparently, a lake was covered by the glacier about 2 million years ago, trapping the microbial life inside. They have evolved independently of outside life for all that time, and were discovered due to a few leaks from under the glacier.

      The water coming out is red due to iron, and is incredibly salty with almost no oxygen in it. The microbes — 17 different kinds have been found there — must use sulfur as a catalyst instead of oxygen, which has never been seen before.

      Also found via bad Astronomy is this solar system simulator where you can create virtual heavenly bodies and watch them smash into each other. Neat-O.

      • Stemella permalink*
        March 2, 2010 11:52 am

        Iron + Water + Salt + microbes = pretty darn close to blood. I’m amazed the Jeebus crowd hasn’t made a shrine there.

        Fun planet smasher. I changed the mass and used 4 planets and ended up with a pink slinky!

  23. Stemella permalink*
    March 2, 2010 10:05 am

    A sad and not unsurprising side effect of the Greek debt crisis, Greece’s ancient treasures fall victim

    • cometman permalink*
      March 2, 2010 10:45 am

      That is sad but it’s encouraging to see the socialists at least trying to clean up the mess left by their conservative predecessors, unlike here in the US where the supposed liberals continue down the road to disaster.

      The article mentions crime ridden areas that can’t be controlled which have caused some of the closures. My own opinion is that this was caused at least in part by the US bombing the crap out of Eastern Europe on Clinton’s watch. That displaced a lot of people and many of those people went to Greece, yet somehow the consequences US wars don’t get mentioned in the US media. Just tell the rubes freedom was spread and call it good and wonder later why they hate us.

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