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Apolitical Blues

August 5, 2010

I don’t want to talk to them either, unless it’s to say “Your’e just fucking terrible”.

49 Comments leave one →
  1. cometman permalink*
    August 5, 2010 8:47 am

    Woo hoo! Federal judge strikes down Prop 8!

    And of course the wailing and gnashing of teeth from the troglodyte crowd began immediately, with accusations of tyranny and of threats to the entire society.

    Former House speaker Newt Gingrich called the decision “an outrageous disrespect for our Constitution” and used the opportunity to take aim at Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, whose nomination is being voted on by the Senate on Thursday.

    “Congress now has the responsibility to act immediately to reaffirm marriage as a union of one man and one woman as our national policy,” Gingrich said in a statement. “Today’s notorious decision also underscores the importance of the Senate vote tomorrow on the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court because judges who oppose the American people are a growing threat to our society.”

    The American Family Association went so far as to say that the judge should have recused himself because he was reported to be gay. I guess it follows that the only people who can properly decide what rights are suitable for uptight white Xtians would be black Muslims or maybe Asian Buddhists. Can’t imagine the AFA having a problem with that.

    • artemis54 permalink
      August 5, 2010 9:08 am

      Gay yes, and rejected when first nominated to the bench by Ronald Reagan because he was considered to conservative. Finally successfuly appointed by George H.W.

      As mentioned, his Findings of Fact leave a big gaping hole where their pathetic “argument” used to be.

    • artemis54 permalink
      August 5, 2010 9:11 am

      Note the dual barrelled argument, from the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the 14th amendment they so desperately want to pull apart. It ain’t about anchor babies, it’s about Loving v Virginia, Miranda v Arizona, Brown v Board of Ed, Roe v Wade, Lawrence v Texas, and all the other decisions where the 14th ruled.

      • cometman permalink*
        August 5, 2010 9:44 am

        Read through some of the judgment you posted and that judge really lets them have it. I really don’t see why you have to go much further than the Due Process Clause whereby no state shall deprive anybody of life, liberty, or property without due process. The institution of marriage, especially from a legal standpoint, is essentially about property. The Law doesn’t give two shits about whether people who marry are in love or not, it only cares about how property is dispensed with when a marriage dissolves through divorce or death. Depriving gay people the right to marry deprives them of property, pure and simple.

      • cometman permalink*
        August 5, 2010 11:27 am

        Meant to add that considering the current assault on the 14th Amendment, if these idiots are so intent on screwing with the Constitution maybe they can just abolish the Senate while they’re at it too. That would be the best political development in ages.

        • artemis54 permalink
          August 5, 2010 1:14 pm

          They read the constitution the same way they read the bible, seizing on a passage here and there and ignoring all the rest. Heaven help us if these nuts ever get organized enough to force a constitutional convention.

    • artemis54 permalink
      August 5, 2010 3:00 pm

      I think the front runner in over the top responses (so far – we’ve yet to hear from McCain etc) has to be Maggie Gallagher, NOM activist and all round bitch:

      Judge Walker’s view is truly a radical rejection of Americans’ rights, our history and our institutions that will only fuel a popular rebellion
      now taking place against elites who are more interested in remaking American institutions than respecting them.

      If this ruling is upheld, millions of Americans will face for the first time a legal system that is committed to the view that our deeply held moral views on sex and marriage are unacceptable in the public square, the fruit of bigotry that should be discredited, stigmatized and repressed. Parents will find that, almost Soviet-style, their own children will be re-educated using their own tax dollars to disrespect their parents’ views and values.

      Aux barricades!

      • cometman permalink*
        August 6, 2010 9:37 am

        What a dumbass.

        Did our Founding Fathers really create a right to gay marriage in the U.S. Constitution?

        Well actually Maggie, they did. Article XI from the Bill of Rights:

        The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

        I suppose if you’re a bigot and you get your fellow bigots in your state to vote to deny rights to certain people, then maybe you might think you had a right to do so from Amendment XII –

        The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

        That little “or” near the end might be confusing to the dimwitted crowd and make them think that if a state does deny a right then the people can’t have it. But that’s why we have a co-equal judicial branch (also created by the Founding Fathers, since the bigots seem to have forgotten that) to tell the dimwitted when they’re wrong.

  2. cometman permalink*
    August 5, 2010 12:06 pm

    Good one from Mike Whitney detailing how there is no economic ‘recovery” for the vast majority of Americans and if the oligarchs have their way, there never will be – An Avoidable Depression.

    He calls for greater economic stimulus to correct the problems but doesn’t seem very sanguine about it actually happening –

    The economy is slipping fast into deflation, but there’s still time to act. The bond market is telling us that the economy needs more fiscal stimulus. The labor market is telling us that the economy needs more fiscal stimulus. The housing market is telling us that the economy needs more fiscal stimulus. Manufacturing, consumer spending, consumer credit and bank lending are all telling us that the economy needs more fiscal stimulus. Every sector and data-point is telling us the economy needs more fiscal stimulus. But congress, the White House, and the myriad far-right think tanks and foundations won’t budge. They want debt consolidation, austerity measures, structural adjustment and belt-tightening. “That is what the market demands”, they opine.

    Mean while the the number of Americans on food stamps for the month hit a record high which might be bigger news if the prior 17 months hadn’t also been record highs.

  3. cometman permalink*
    August 5, 2010 12:11 pm

    In a follow up to his more alarmist column about the data mining Project Vigilant, Glenn Greenwald has changed his tune a bit and after further research decided that the Project is more likely just a bunch of self-promoting gasbags looking for some gubmint largesse by grossly overstating their actual capabilities – Re-visiting Project Vigilant.

    …over the past several days, I’ve become convinced that Uter’s claims about his group are wildly exaggerated, rendering my concerns about it largely misguided and unwarranted. In a follow-up post, Kerr points to and tentatively endorses this analysis from Richard Bejlitch, who makes a persuasive case that Project Vigilant is “largely a publicity stunt, meaning it was just invented and its so-called ‘history’ is an extension of someone’s imagination.” I also had several email exchanges with Cato’s Julian Sanchez, who spent the last several days investigating Project Vigilant and Uter’s claims and — for reasons he will detail in a piece he is writing — also concluded that concerns about this group are largely unwarranted. Numerous, knowledgeable readers — both in the comment section to that post and via email — have also offered compelling arguments as to why it’s far more likely than not that Uter is basically engaged in a self-aggrandizing, attention-seeking campaign (not unlike Adrian Lamo), and thus, to put it mildly, is seriously hyping the importance of his group and what it does.

    This story just gets curiouser and curiouser.

  4. cometman permalink*
    August 5, 2010 12:16 pm

    The link in the main post to Jon Stewart fuming about the recent 9-11 first responder healthcare bill that didn’t pass may be the best recent example of the utter uselessness of the US government, but this one comes in a close second. The Justice Department can’t spend any of it’s valuable resources looking into the crimes of those who have used the Constitution for toilet paper over the last several years, or those in the financial industry who have pillaged the nation, but they can put the fear of gawd into Lance Armstrong tout de suite.

  5. cometman permalink*
    August 5, 2010 1:10 pm

    Two posts well worth reading in full on ethics and the lack thereof.

    From Nassim Nicholas Taleb


    from Jesse’s Café Américain .

    Meanwhile financial fraud continues unabated.

    Backdated documents, according to a chorus of foreclosure experts, are typical of the sort of shenanigans practiced by a breed of law firms known as “foreclosure mills.” While far less scrutinized than subprime lenders or Wall Street banks, these firms undermine efforts by government and the mortgage industry to put struggling homeowners back on track at a time of record foreclosures. (There were 2.8 million foreclosures in 2009, and 3.8 million are projected for this year.) The mills think “they can just change things and make it up to get to the end result they want, because there’s no one holding them accountable,” says Prentiss Cox, a foreclosure expert at the University of Minnesota Law School. “We’ve got these people with incentives to go ahead with foreclosures and flood the real estate market.”

  6. artemis54 permalink
    August 6, 2010 3:15 am

    Missed this rather black quickie from McKibben: Duty Dodgers

    This was all supposed to actually change when Barack Obama took over, and indeed, he’s done more to fight climate change than all the presidents before him combined. Also, I’ve drunk more beer than my twelve-year-old niece.

    . . .

    I think we can all sympathize [with the horrendously overworked senators, McKibben means]. Most people’s work doesn’t involve doing more than one hard thing every couple of years — no, wait. Most people get up and do something relatively difficult every single day. If we didn’t, no one would pay us, because doing relatively difficult things is pretty much the definition of work. If you’re a senator, it would seem as if dealing with the Largest Problem Humans Have Ever Faced would fall within your job description — maybe not ahead of Hosting a Reception, or Going on TV in a Red Necktie, but still.

    • cometman permalink*
      August 6, 2010 9:39 am

      Wow, I’ve never seen McKibben so dripping with sarcasm. Between that one and the one I posted a few days ago from him, it sounds like he’s starting to get really pissed off, and justifiably so.

  7. cometman permalink*
    August 6, 2010 12:41 pm

    Some unrelated links of note –

    Greenwald – What Collapsing Empire Looks Like.

    Thought crime on the rise. After being overheard remarking that he understood the mindset of the guy who shot several people in Conn. the other day, Conn. police charged Francis Laskowski with breach of peace.

    Scientists get closer to creating quantum computers.

    Net neutrality in jeopardy after Verizon and Google cut an as yet undisclosed deal regarding internet traffic and the FCC calls off talks. Somebody better get a clue on this one in a hurry before Congress just bows before what the corporations have already decided amongst themselves.

    It now looks very likely that little brown bats are headed for extinction in the very short term.

    One more good measure the oligarchs forgot to cut out as they were watering down financial reform – big bounties for whistleblowers. The <O administration hasn't been kind to whistleblowers at all and has actually been prosecuting some of them so it remains to be seen whether this will actually encourage whistleblowers or simply serve as a way for the government to better indentify them.

    Ellen brown with some history of another successful state-run bank, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia – Escaping the Sovereign Debt Trap. Unfortunately, the bank did its job too well and cost the banksters some juice, so it was privatized.

    • cometman permalink*
      August 6, 2010 1:01 pm

      Speaking of whistleblowers being prosecuted, here’s a good one on Bradley Birkenfeld who blew the whistle on UBS for defrauding the US government and is now heading to jail for doing so – Telling Swiss secrets: A banker’s betrayal.

    • cometman permalink*
      August 6, 2010 1:26 pm

      And the latest from Taibbi – Wall Street’s Big Win. A sample:

      …Dodd-Frank was neither an FDR-style, paradigm-shifting reform, nor a historic assault on free enterprise. What it was, ultimately, was a cop-out, a Band-Aid on a severed artery. If it marks the end of anything at all, it represents the end of the best opportunity we had to do something real about the criminal hijacking of America’s financial-services industry. During the yearlong legislative battle that forged this bill, Congress took a long, hard look at the shape of the modern American economy – and then decided that it didn’t have the stones to wipe out our country’s one ­dependably thriving profit center: theft.

  8. cometman permalink*
    August 6, 2010 12:43 pm

    And some weekend levity – A Götterdämmerung of Kitsch . Worth reading just for the phrase “pop culture douche-scape”.

    A sample –

    But be warned, by eating of all that high caloric food, all of you Jesus-hungry Lard Asses of The Lord: If your clothes were to fall from you (as your prophecies claim) as you rise skyward, the sight of all your fat, sagging bodies, floating in air, will resemble anything but the dawning of eternal paradise — instead the event will more likely resemble an endless tape loop of a porno video for fat fetishists shot in a zero gravity chamber.
    The narrative of fundamentalist Christianity has become so encumbered with kitsch imagery that its followers hope for the destruction of the planet itself so that they can escape the soul-defying imprisonment of its creepy dogma.


    • artemis54 permalink
      August 7, 2010 9:46 am


  9. artemis54 permalink
    August 7, 2010 12:11 pm

    From one of the two or three people on tv I consistently find worth listening to, Fareed Zakaria:

    Letter to the ADL

    Five years ago, the ADL honored me with its Hubert Humphrey First Amendment Freedoms Prize. I was delighted and moved to have been chosen for it in good measure because of the high esteem in which I hold the ADL. I have always been impressed by the fact that your mission is broad – “to put an end forever to unjust and unfair discrimination against and ridicule of any sect or body of citizens” – and you have interpreted it broadly over the decades. You have fought discrimination against all religions, races, and creeds and have built a well-deserved reputation.

    That is why I was stunned at your decision to publicly side with those urging the relocation of the planned Islamic center in lower Manhattan. You are choosing to use your immense prestige to take a side that is utterly opposed to the animating purpose of your organization. Your own statements subsequently, asserting that we must honor the feelings of victims even if irrational or bigoted, made matters worse.

    This is not the place to debate the press release or your statements. Many have done this and I have written about it in Newsweek and on my television show – both of which will be out over the weekend. The purpose of this letter is more straightforward. I cannot in good conscience hold onto the award or the honorarium that came with it and am returning both. I hope that it might add to the many voices that have urged you to reconsider and reverse your position on this issue. This decision will haunt the ADL for years if not decades to come. Whether or not the center is built, what is at stake here is the integrity of the ADL and its fidelity to its mission. Admitting an error is a small price to pay to regain your reputation.

    • cometman permalink*
      August 9, 2010 8:09 am

      I’ve always been sort of ambivalent about Zakaria but he’s right on the money with that. Good for him. We’ll see if this results in him being invited to appear on TV less frequently now. I suspect the ADL will at least try to make it difficult for him.

  10. artemis54 permalink
    August 7, 2010 2:36 pm

    from A Rocha USA:

    • cometman permalink*
      August 9, 2010 8:11 am

      Don’t remember reading about that organization before. Thanks for pointing them out. Very encouraging. If Xtian organizations put as much time into doing those types of things as they do into promoting bad politicians, we might finally be getting somewhere.

      • artemis54 permalink
        August 9, 2010 8:24 am

        A Rocha is the one Xtian organization I wholeheartedly endorse. See their work restoring the Ammiq marsh in Lebanon even as the bombs fell all around them.

        They insist on working together with anyone and everyone, finding the common ground and ignoring the rest or saving it for discussions over coffee. They are motivated by their Xtian beliefs, but live very much in this world. As you say, if only there were more.

      • artemis54 permalink
        August 9, 2010 8:35 am

        Video introduction made by A Rocha itself:

  11. artemis54 permalink
    August 9, 2010 7:04 am

    Morning’s idiocy from Chuck Todd: he says the escaped convicts may be in Yellowstone Park, and that’s just a few hundred miles from the Canadian border!!!!!!!

    In other words, a little further from the border than NYC, Philadelphia, etc.

  12. artemis54 permalink
    August 9, 2010 8:09 am

    In two days a Russian court will decide whether to allow real estate developers to bulldoze the Pavlovsk Experiment Station and turn it into a fast buck.

    The PES is an arm of the Vavilov Institute, where two scientists starved to death guarding the quite edible seed repository during the Siege of Leningrad. How times have changed.

    This is a field gene bank. It harbors thousands of growing cultivars of fruits, berries, and other crops. 90% exist nowhere else. They have been painstakingly gathered, studied, and protected here since 1926. Given the bureaucratic reality of quarantines, etc. there is no time to move them elsewhere. Once they are gone, they are gone, and with them all the potential they represent for the future of northern latitude agriculture.

    This is the equivalent of bombing the Svalbard seed bank, or burning Kew Gardens. This is a crime against humanity, against history, against biodiversity, and against the future. For a few bucks.

    Note the argument: since the gene bank has been declared “priceless,” developers argue that there is no price on it, hence it is worthless in court.

    Roll over Franz Kafka, and tell Nick Gogol the news.

    • artemis54 permalink
      August 9, 2010 8:19 am

      email appeal to President Medvedev

    • cometman permalink*
      August 9, 2010 8:34 am

      Well thanks for the chuckle with your last sentence there, although the story is not funny at all. What the hell are these people thinking?

      Don’t know if you’ve got a hold of The Windup Girl yet, but the story revolves around protecting a priceless seed bank that is in danger. I’d really prefer it it the scifi scenarios I read didn’t start actually happening within weeks of completing the book. Or at least the bad scenarios. A stable society free from want might be nice.

      • artemis54 permalink
        August 10, 2010 3:29 am

        Not yet. My little hints – like leaving the title and amazon info on little scraps of paper all over town – don’t seem to have been noticed, and it isn’t on kindle. So I will have to buy the damn thing myself.

        btw, I don’t know what is up with amazon. I’ve noticed lately a number of books that are say ten bucks new and fourteen on kindle. What the . . . .?

        • cometman permalink*
          August 10, 2010 7:15 am

          Amazon has been having pricing wars with various publishers over book costs and the battles have picked out now that kindle has some competition from Apple with the iPad. Amazon has tried using the WalMart business model – forcing publishers to provide books at ever lower prices or face not being listed on Amazon at all. I read a pretty lengthy article about it that I can’t put my finger on right now, but IIRC some of the deals forced publishers to allow Amazon to sell the books cheaper than the publisher could sell them directly, making them pretty much dependent on amazon to sell any books and stay in business. Publisher’s have been fighting back and amazon blinked recently with Macmillan. Some details here in this NYT article I just found- Publisher Wins Fight With Amazon Over E-Books . This snippet explains why you may be seeing higher prices for kindle editions –

          Under Macmillan’s new terms, which take effect at the beginning of March, the publisher will set the consumer price of each book and the online retailer will serve as an agent and take a 30 percent commission. E-book editions of most newly released adult general fiction and nonfiction will cost $12.99 to $14.99.

  13. cometman permalink*
    August 9, 2010 8:46 am

    A Missouri ballot initiative to quash the federal requirement to purchase (crappy) heath care from private insurers passed overwhelmingly by nearly a 3-1 margin. I don’t think Dems can simply blame the Tea Bag crowd for this one since as many people voted “yes” for this as voted for the two Senatorial candidates on the ballot combined. Seems a pretty clear indication that it isn’t just the knuckle draggers who are pissed off at healthcare “reform”. The main reason I bothered to post this one is for this bit:

    Democrats and health care supporters, stung by the lopsided Prop C outcome, spent the week trying to regroup. A key part of their strategy: explaining health care reform to voters.

    Should this really come as a surprise after the Democrats were so busy removing all the parts of the reform bill that their constituents actually wanted, like cheaper health care through a public option? Should they really be surprised when the bill further entrenched the private insurers that people so despise while doing nothing to rein in costs? And wouldn’t the time to explain this “reform” have been before they passed the damn thing?

    You’d think the Dems might want to fast track the new “public option” legislation that’s currently being proposed in the House. But judging from that article, instead of actually doing something productive, they’re just going to count on the fact that the Missouri initiative can’t trump Federal law. Well that ought to keep the “states’ rights” nutjobs quiet.

  14. cometman permalink*
    August 9, 2010 12:23 pm

    Not satisfied with flooding elections with even more corporate dollars through the Citizens United decision, the rightwingers are going after Maine’s Clean Election laws which publicly fund candidates by giving all Clean Elections candidates a set amount and then adding to their campaign coffers if their opponents outspend them with private money. Here’s the rationale being put forth –

    Supporters claim the additional subsidies ensure a level playing field for publicly financed candidates. But Rep. Andre Cushing, a Hampden Republican who is a plaintiff in the suit, and other opponents contend the program has the opposite effect.

    Privately financed candidates or outside groups may actually curtail their spending to avoid triggering more matching funds to their opponent — which Cushing and the other plaintiffs argue is an infringement of their First Amendment rights.

    Cushing gave the hypothetical example of a “clean elections” candidate or an outside group running an attack ad against a privately financed candidate. But by purchasing an ad to respond to the attack, the privately funded candidate could end up giving his or her opponent more money with which to purchase additional ads, Cushing said.

    “I just feel like the system, and particularly the matching funds program, tends to favor the publicly financed candidates,” said Cushing, who privately financed his campaign in 2008 and this year.

    How in the fuck are this asshat’s 1st Amendment rights being infringed when he can still spend as much as he damn well pleases since there is no limit whatsoever on how much privately funded candidates can spend? Plus, the state doesn’t give unlimited amounts of money to Clean Election candidates – there is a maximum limit. And the initial amount given to candidates to the state House of Reps is somewhere in the $4-5000 range, not exactly a goldmine. If these clowns decide to use republican strategery and spend less then they could otherwise, that’s their own decision and nothing in any law is forcing them to do so.

    So your opponent gets a few extra bucks with which to counteract stupid commercials.

    Boo fucking hoo.

    Any judge who isn’t already bought and paid for by the rightwing and still has their faculties intact ought to throw this piece of trash right out of court. Not sure how many of those sorts of judges there are left though…

  15. cometman permalink*
    August 9, 2010 12:49 pm

    Some links.

    It appears that China may have some imminent financial woes after doing what the US did and basing their economy on a quote from a second rate 80s movie. If you build it they will come, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to move in.

    A blog moniker I like – Economists for Firing Larry Summers .

    Hugo Chavez tells the newly nominated US ambassador to Venezuela not to bother showing up. Ha!

    Despite claims to the contrary from the <O administration, all the talk of ending wars in the Middle east is more re-branding than any sort substantive change, and the US wont be leaning Iraq or Afghanistan any time soon, as “embassies” replace bases and mercenaries replace soldiers. Despite the change in semantics, I suspect the brown people will still wind up dead.

    Danny Schechter points out, since our “leaders” don’t seem to get it, that the problems facing the US economy and the nation as a whole are structural and need more than small tweaks here and there to fix. Some new info from Ralph Nader in there I wasn’t aware of that is well worth highlighting –

    Nader notes, “Low-moderate and middle-income New Yorkers already pay a higher percentage of family income in state and local taxes than do the richest one percent of New Yorkers!

    “Surprisingly, there is a simple way to eliminate the state deficit and prevent tens of thousands of layoffs and large service cutbacks.

    What most New Yorkers do not know is that for about a century there has been a state stock transfer tax on purchases of securities. This year, this tax, similar to ones imposed in 30 other countries, will amount to about $16 billion. Amazingly, since 1979, this tax has been instantly rebated by New York State back to the brokers or clearinghouses who paid it. A 100% rebate every year for the bailed out industry that caused the recession and its immense human damage.”

    I’d heard lots of proposals to institute such a tax (which were summarily ignored by the oligarchs) but I had no idea there was already such a tax and it was being given back every year. WTF?

    And David Michael Green tells us what can be done about those structural problems. He suggests massive campaign finance reform as the key. I agree (counting the votes accurately and not rigging elections would be nice too) and would love to see that happen, but as mentioned above the push for “campaign reform” is already going in the opposite direction.

  16. cometman permalink*
    August 9, 2010 1:04 pm

    Bwaaaahahahahaha! After an Ohio church protests a strip club for four years, the strip club has decided to protest the church. Evidently the holy rollers in Ohio didn’t take the hint after Gawd set their huge Touchdown Jeebus statue on fire a few weeks ago.

  17. artemis54 permalink
    August 10, 2010 10:31 am

    btw c-man it turns out something I wrote a long time ago is still there at dd: the saints of the ditches

    A couple months after posting that I received a fulsome email from one of A Rocha’s directors thanking me.

    • cometman permalink*
      August 10, 2010 11:10 am

      Very nice. After reading through some of the stuff you posted above, I got the same impression as the one you mentioned in your DD essay, which was very encouraging to see-

      There is sometimes an emphasis on the Christianity, but at other times one has the impression of an environmental movement infiltrating and evangelizing the Christian community. The group seems to embrace a strategy of bringing Christianity around to its green way of thinking, and reinvigorating the environmental movement with its Christian perspective.

      They definitely do seem to have a very welcome anti-Dominionist bent to their teaching.

  18. cometman permalink*
    August 10, 2010 11:19 am

    The latest statements from Robert Gibbs crapping all over liberals are exactly the reason I do not trust anything coming from the <O administration. Evidently anyone who thinks Barry isn't trying hard enough is in need of drug treatment. That ought to get the left out in droves to vote for the dithering Dems in November. Xrist almighty do these people want to lose? It certainly appears so.

    Greenwald fires back with both barrels blazing. This part bears repeating time and time again, especially to the cheerleaders who try to pooh-pooh any criticism of Barry.

    On September 9, 2008 — roughly two months before the election — Barack Obama addressed a large, enthusiastic crowd and said: “As president, I will lead a new era of accountability in education. But see, I don’t just want to hold our teachers accountable; I want to hold our government accountable. I want you to hold me accountable.” In 20 short months, we’ve gone from “hold me accountable” to “get drug tested,” you wretched ingrates.

    emphasis is Greenwald’s

    I believe he made similar statements on other occasions about not being able to change things alone, needing voters to push him, we’re all in this together, blah blah blah. But when pushed he responds with vitriol.

    Just another empty suit who doesn’t mean a damn thing he says and thinks the rest of us are too stupid to remember his contradictions.

    • artemis54 permalink
      August 10, 2010 11:52 am

      Besides, I would too be happy with President Kucinich.

      • cometman permalink*
        August 10, 2010 12:32 pm

        Based on the amount of applause he got at various campaign debates, caucuses, etc compared to all the rest of the usual suspects, I suspect a lot of others would be too. And yet somehow the beltway tries to convince us that “real americans” want more war, bailouts, and further erosion of their civil liberties and what we actually want just isn’t possible.

  19. cometman permalink*
    August 10, 2010 11:24 am

    More specific details on the Google/Verizon deal which threatens net neutrality.

    1. Under their proposal, there would be no Net Neutrality on wireless networks — meaning anything goes, from blocking websites and applications to pay-for-priority treatment.
    2. Their proposed standard for “non-discrimination” on wired networks is so weak that actions like Comcast’s widely denounced blocking of BitTorrent would be allowed.
    3. The deal would let ISPs like Verizon — instead of Internet users like you — decide which applications deserve the best quality of service. That’s not the way the Internet has ever worked, and it threatens to close the door on tomorrow’s innovative applications. (If RealPlayer had been favored a few years ago, would we ever have gotten YouTube?)
    4. The deal would allow ISPs to effectively split the Internet into “two pipes” — one of which would be reserved for “managed services,” a pay-for-play platform for content and applications. This is the proverbial toll road on the information superhighway, a fast lane reserved for the select few, while the rest of us are stuck on the cyber-equivalent of a winding dirt road.
    5. The pact proposes to turn the Federal Communications Commission into a toothless watchdog, left fruitlessly chasing consumer complaints but unable to make rules of its own. Instead, it would leave it up to unaccountable (and almost surely industry-controlled) third parties to decide what the rules should be.

    Only on wireless networks?!?!?!?! Um, pretty soon most people will be accessing the internet through a wireless service if they aren’t already doing so.

    Anybody in the FCC paying attention?

  20. cometman permalink*
    August 10, 2010 11:38 am

    More evidence that high frequency trading is continuing unabated allowing big financial companies to skim huge amounts from other investors trying to make a trade. Just a few pennies here and there but when you do it a few million times a day it starts to be very lucrative. From zerohedge here and here. It’s a bit technical but this article is a little easier to understand – Market Data Firm Spots the Tracks of Bizarre Robot Traders.

    The trading bots visualized in the stock charts in this story aren’t doing anything that could be construed to help the market. Unknown entities for unknown reasons are sending thousands of orders a second through the electronic stock exchanges with no intent to actually trade. Often, the buy or sell prices that they are offering are so far from the market price that there’s no way they’d ever be part of a trade. The bots sketch out odd patterns with their orders, leaving patterns in the data that are largely invisible to market participants.

    In fact, it’s hard to figure out exactly what they’re up to or gauge their impact. Are they doing something illicit? If so, what? Or do the patterns emerge spontaneously, a kind of mechanical accident? If so, why? No matter what the answers to these questions turn out to be, we’re witnessing a market phenomenon that is not easily explained. And it’s really bizarre.

    These particular items don’t seem to be doing the actual skimming of money. Jeffrey Donovan, a software engineer for Nanex, the company that uncovered the strange patterns, thinks all false orders may be an attempt to confuse other high frequency traders.

    Donovan thinks that the odd algorithms are just a way of introducing noise into the works. Other firms have to deal with that noise, but the originating entity can easily filter it out because they know what they did. Perhaps that gives them an advantage of some milliseconds. In the highly competitive and fast HFT world, where even one’s physical proximity to a stock exchange matters, market players could be looking for any advantage.

    Most of the volume in the stock market these days is coming not from individual investors but from high frequency trades. The little guy becomes a sheep waiting to be fleeced.

    Anybody in the SEC paying attention?

  21. artemis54 permalink
    August 10, 2010 12:09 pm

    Get Out Part Two – canoe boogaloo

    Paddle for Wild Salmon!

    Alex Morton is at it again, this time paddling down the Fraser from Hope to Vancouver with a variety of tribal leaders and sympathetic members of both the BC Legislative Assembly and the federal parliament. Their arrival in Vancouver will coincide with the opening of “evidentiary hearings” by the Cohen Commission investigating the collapse of the Fraser sockeye runs, hearings that will be closely scrutinized by Morton & Co. (I would not care to be in Cohen’s shoes).

    Morton on the celebrity she never wanted:

    I really am a hermit, but I need to capture people’s imagination so they will hear what I have to say.

    • cometman permalink*
      August 10, 2010 12:45 pm

      Go get ’em!

      On a related note here’s something I just heard about today I thought you might be interested in – the Veta la Palma fish farm in Spain. The Time article probably isn’t the best, just because it’s written for Time and the dumbed down audience they cater to (I don’t think any fish farm can take credit for “improving” on nature) but it does have a good description of what they do.

      ….most fish farms — even ones heralded as “sustainable” — create as many problems as they solve, from fecal contamination to the threat that escaped cultivated fish pose to the gene pool of their wild cousins.

      Veta la Palama [sic] is different. In 1982, the family that owns the Spanish food conglomerate Hisaparroz bought wetlands that had been drained for cattle-farming and reflooded them. “They used the same channels built originally to empty water into the Atlantic,” explains Medialdea. “Just reversed the flow.” Today, that neat little feat of engineering allows the tides to sweep in estuary water, which a pumping station distributes throughout the farm’s 45 ponds. Because it comes directly from the ocean, that water teems with microalgae and tiny translucent shrimp, which provide natural food for the fish that Veta la Palma raises.

      By hewing as closely as possible to nature, the farm avoids many of the problems that that plague other aquaculture projects. Low density — roughly 9 lb. (4 kg) of fish to every 35 cu. ft. (1 cu m) of water — helps keep the fish free of parasites (the farm loses only 0.5% of its annual yield to them). And the abundant plant life circling each pond acts as a filter, cleansing the water of nitrogen and phosphates.

      Sounds like a much better system that what’s been used in the past, but I’m no expert. Interested to see what you think of it.

      • artemis54 permalink
        August 10, 2010 1:53 pm

        Great. The only question is how reproducible it is.

        btw, technically this is more like ranching than farming, simply tweaking and amping up a natural system.

        This was the subject of a TED talk earlier in the year and a bizarre comment thread which took the speaker to task for not solving all the problems of the world.

        • cometman permalink*
          August 11, 2010 7:29 am

          Thanks for that. Very good talk. I wonder why others haven’t tried this method yet. Maybe it will catch on with some more publicity. Wouldn’t work for every species like the bigger predatory fish he mentions in the talk, but there are plenty where it would.

  22. artemis54 permalink
    August 10, 2010 3:41 pm

    new guilty pleasure: the Logo channel suddenly appeared on my tv for some reason. 99% dreck and more commercials than content, but there is this Big Gay Sketch Show that has one black guy who does Whoopi, Maya Angelou, etc. He does an amazing Maya Angelou in full fig, reading from porn ads on craigslist.

    • cometman permalink*
      August 11, 2010 7:33 am

      Ha! My guilty pleasure is Reno 911. Terry cracks me up.

      • artemis54 permalink
        August 11, 2010 9:30 am

        My kid has this whole Officer Dangle costume and persona that he goes into for Halloween.

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