Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Well, it seems like the GOP is well on their way to blowing it, with not even taking over in the House and Senate yet. If there was any doubt that this set up of our government won't last past the next two years (baring a war threat that the GOP can capitalize on, which is possible I fear). Again, I'm totally digging Timothy Noah. He's gotta be my favorite Slate.com writer, pulling no punches. From his most recent article;

Rep. William Jennings Bryan cited the greater benefit government bestowed on the wealthy as a reason to make the tax progressive. "Who is it most needs a navy?" Bryan said. "Is it the farmer who plods along behind the plow upon his farm, or is it the man whose property is situated in some great seaport where it could be reached by an enemy's guns?"

I have frequently had very similar thoughts, and it is nice to see some historical perspective. We spend what? A trillion dollars on defense every year (that's a very rough and very round number, so excuse the miscalculation) Not to mention the tax money we send to DC every year that is spent on our justice system among other things, which is supposed to protect private property. Who needs that protection more? The average citizen or Bill Gates? Who cares where the property is, be it seaside or inland. Our Defenses and Judicial system protect all of this land ( and even some abroad, but that's for another day) and the people who own the most land have a responsibility to pay the most for it's protection.

The article moves and touches me, and makes me angry. It's just sad that demonizing the poor has become this acceptable in our society. It's embarrasing. I saw Michael Moore's "Bowling for Columbine" - The story of the welfare to work mother who could no longer be home with her son, working 70 hours a week and still not have enough money to pay for her housing so that she had to be evicted, it was depressing. What wound up happening was the mother left her son with her brother. Her brother had a gun in the house, the son brought it to school and shot another kid. This isn't 14 or 15 year old kid mind you, this was a first grader. Just see the movie, it's very depressing. Here's a quote for you to think about for the holiday season;

"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power." — Benito Mussolini.

Try to enjoy your thanksgiving.....

Friday, November 22, 2002

An elevator to space? Is this for real?

A Military General as a Democratic candidate? Is that for real?

Our Governement will now be maintaining a database to monitor it's citizens and the press ignored it? I hope it's not for real, but it seems like the most plausible of the aforementioned stories. (Click here if the previous link doesn't work)

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Read this, it's important! It's about the 2002 election and Homeland security, and how an issue the White House initially didn't give a crap about became the road to vitory for the GOP.

the Department of Homeland Security was first proposed by Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman and rejected by the White House. So how did the GOP adopt the idea as its own and then use it against Democrats? "Only in Washington," sighs Louisiana Sen. John Breaux, "could someone like the president be dragged to an issue kicking and screaming and then become the father of it, using it against those who first proposed it."

Linked from US News and World Report.

Sunday, November 17, 2002

Disturbing statistic, via Harper's;

Total expenditure of American Dollars for protecting Oil in the Middle East - $50,000,000,000.00 (50 Billion)

Total Value of all the Oil they have protected - $19,000,000,000.00 (19 Billion)

Cringe at your own discretion.

As if you needed any real proof, here's a link copied verbatim -

Fox News Roger Ailes has been moonlighting

"We report, you decide."
--Fox News Channel slogan.

"Roger E. Ailes, a media coach for Bush's father and now chairman of the Fox News Channel, sent a confidential communication to the White House in the weeks after the terrorist attacks. [Chief political aide Karl] Rove took the Ailes communication to the president. 'His back-channel message: The American public would tolerate waiting and would be patient, but only as long as they were convinced that Bush was using the harshest measures possible,' Woodward wrote. He added that Ailes, who has angrily challenged reports that his news channel has a conservative bias, added a warning: 'Support would dissipate if the public did not see Bush acting harshly.'"
--Washington Post news story summarizing scoops in Bob Woodward's new book, Bush At War.

Friday, November 15, 2002

Is this the key to Democrats retaking the White House and/or Congress? Demanding equity for all instead of letting welfare for the rich continue? It's practically Nader-ific. From the Slate article by Timothy Noah;

How has this shift been achieved? By switching spending from programs that benefit Democratic constituencies to programs that benefit Republican ones. Thus, the AP reports,

spending on child care food programs was slashed 80 percent; public and Indian housing grants were virtually eliminated; rental housing loans for rural areas and special benefits for disabled coal miners were cut by two-thirds; and the food stamp program was cut by a third.

At the same time,

Direct payments to farmers increased sevenfold during the six years of GOP rule; business and industrial loans quadrupled; home mortgage insurance went up 150 percent; and crop insurance assistance jumped by two-thirds.

What the AP is describing, then, appears to represent not only a spending shift from Democratic congressional districts to Republican ones, but also, and more significant, a spending shift from low-income people to middle- and upper-income people. The GOP, it seems, is every bit as bent as the Democrats on redistributing income; the only difference is that while Democrats want to redistribute income downward, to the poor, Republicans want to redistribute it upward, to the rich.

The article closes on this note;

Alas, you probably won't hear many Democrats saying this because Bill Clinton, who was president for most of that period, let it happen.

That may be true now, but 2004 the GOP will have been in power and let this go on for 4 years, and there will be no excuse. It'll sound kinda silly to blame Clinton when he's been out of office for four years by then. If the Dems know whats good for them they'll make this the centerpiece of 2004 election.

Thursday, November 14, 2002

Not enough time to post anything in depth, but these links are worth checking out;

Timothy Noah's take on the Emerging Democratic Majority book that I had my suspicions about previously. This is part three, I'd recommend checking out all three parts.

If I had any faith whatsoever in our current President I would say pushing the hydrogen solution for our energy crisis would be a great thing. It's just that I can't believe for even a second that Dubya would really want Hydrogen replacing Oil as our primary fuel source, being that it is the source of his power (gee that sounds like comic book superpower talk, don't it?) I'm guessing the whole thing is a delaying tactic, so the Big Three in Detroit and other auto manufacturers won't have to live up to the agreement made under Clinton, that being to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emmisions. Bush has never done anything positive for the environment in his entire life, so how can I believe he's starting now for something this potentially progressive and monumental?

Here's the Government's own website for the Hydrogen Map - (http://www.eren.doe.gov/hydrogen/).

Here's more debate on how to save the Dems. While the outcome was really bad for Dems this past election day, this was quitre frankly the most narrow margined rout in political history;
"A switch of roughly 29,000 votes in Minnesota, 11,500 in Missouri and 9,500 in New Hampshire would have produced a Democratic Senate and gobs of stories about how the White House blew it." - from this Howard Kurtz article

Maybe the Democrats will get some backbone after getting bitchslapped (don't hold your breathe) and they'd might be more successfull next time around, unless the next two years are a phenominal success for the GOP (don't count on it).

Monday, November 11, 2002

I previously mentioned the book "The Emerging Democratic Majority" when it was reviewed in Salon in another post. Seems pretty silly in light of the current political situation. Even I expressed my reservations about the whole thing, even if I haven't read the book yet. But the NYT this past Sunday had an article about how the ever expanding suburban sprawls generally lean towards the Republican party. (couldn't find the link on NYT)

from this slate article
Anyone who believes the resolution preserves the possibility of peace is "terribly wrong," says Washington Post military columnist William Arkin, because the resolution traps the Iraqis in their lies:

"To 'reveal' now that they have nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons, or forbidden missiles, is to just confirm to the Bush administration, if not the world, that they are in fact as evil as people say they are. To delay and obfuscate and cheat and play the U.N. for fools merely confirms that they have something to hide and are in fact as evil as people say they are."

Arkin predicts that we will be at war with Iraq by spring, at the latest.

Friday, November 08, 2002

Some new fish names to save the Patagonian Toothfish aka Chilean Sea Bass:

-The Norwegean Gangreen Grouper

-The Finnish Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Flounder

and this from Suzie Felber, sis of Adam Felber (Fanatical Apathy) and professional comedian (in other words she gets paid to do this kinda stuff so you know it's gonna be good)

-Polish Assfish

-Serbian Date Rape Fish

-Chelsea Coffeebarserverexpectsatip fish

-Hitlerfish (as in "I'll have the Hitlerfish prepared with the White Supremacy herb sauce" Suzie?)

and if you really want to scare people off, I find all you need to do is call it:
Gefilte fish

Amen to that!

Thursday, November 07, 2002

This post on Rosenberg's blog and the comments are well worth reading-

Same goes for Get Donkey's recent entry.

You can always count on a Felber to make you laugh, Fanatical Apathy still makes me chuckle considering how bad I was feeling.

Every silver lining has a grey cloud

On Monday it seemed like all the left leaning blogger I read (talking points memo was one) seemed that it was predicting some sort of victory to go to the Democrats, but for some reason I had the persistent nagging reason to believe that it would not be the case. I’m really upset that I was right. I thought maybe that the Democrats could somehow pull out CO, but I wasn't surprised if they lost it (they did). The only real shocker for me was Mondale losing in Minnesota. Even Garrison Keillor was flaberghasted. But other than that everything else went as I had expected. For Kyrk to pull out Texas would have been a minor miracle.

Keeping my expectations low in this race was a good thing. Well, it felt better than 2 years ago, where that horrible sinking feeling I got in my stomach set in. Watching Florida get called for Gore, then go neutral, then go Bush - that initial enthusiasm of seeing Michigan and Florida turn blue (the key states for Democrats) made that sickening feeling so much worse, just so overwhelmingly bad when I came down from that first high. This year it was more like the feeling I got when we received our 401K reports at work – you knew it would be bad and there was no use in hiding from it. The knowledge of just how the terrible the taste of the bitter medicine would be made it easier to stomach. Of course I hardly had anything in my 401K, so to lose 20% of my worth meant almost nothing. Can't say the same for cohorts less than 5 years from retirement! Which brings me to my next point;

Time recently ran an article called the coming job boom (click here if you can't get the article, this will send you to the first paragraph). Its based on the fact that older people, baby boomers, will be retiring leaving a huge gap in the talent pool for the working place in this country. The funny thing is that you can't seem to get away from stories on NPR and elsewhere about older Americans who've retired coming back to the workplace because of their failing 401k! There is NO JOB BOOM coming, not in the next two years.

I’ve never been an optimist, but I’m doing my best to see the positives based on the previous info and this whole situation;

For one thing, and this could be my imagination, for some reason I get the impression that many people in this country believe that recessions are just like venereal diseases, they can be avoided with proper protection. When I was in High School I was taught in economics that recessions are inevitable, just like growth periods. What goes up must come down.

The President is always blamed or hailed disproportionately for the status of our economy when the office probably has less than 25% influence on it. Either way Mr. President I have some bad news for you. The recession is not over, and unless you can pull off more than a couple of minor miracles it’s going to be worse by 2004. There is just no way (word I hope not to regret someday) that after nearly 10 years of growth our economy just going to right itself in an upward direction. And you'd think that all this good news for the GOP would boost the stock market but it isn't happening yet. It is still early, but I don't see it happening anytime soon. Maybe it's because liberals buy stocks just like conservatives, and if those liberals feel as sick as I do right now Wall Street can't just recover based on the good faith of one half of the country.

See! Being a pessimist has it's good points!

For some reason The GOP is known for fiscal responsibility, and yet were running deficits and not cutting spending! There is no way that this will improve with a GOP Congress. My favorite quote from this article is;
"it's likely that the disconnect between government income and spending will grow. More and more, the federal government is coming to resemble one of those little oil companies the president was involved with in the private sector. Every year, revenues go down and expenses go up. Under Bush, government spending has risen at a 6.05 percent annual compound rate, while receipts have fallen at a 4.34 percent annual rate."

Of course why should Congress be any different than the rest of the people in this county, most of whom are swimming deeply in debt. Unfortunately the US Gov can't afford to just pull a Chapter 13 and forfeit all it's debt. Then again, with the GOP sitting in all seat of the government, you too may not be able to declare bankruptcy for much longer either! Not after they pass that bill they've been bandying around for quite a while now! Now that's funny.

Of course I am seeing pessimistic optomists floating around too. I've seen more than a couple of posts by liberals worrying "What if the GOP succeeds?" Success meaning; the economy rebounds (I doubt it), the war in Iraq goes off without a hitch (it won't happen), oil prices fall thru the floor when we take over Iraq and starting pumping all their oil for our SUVs (hinges on previous point), there are no more corporate scandals, ther environment doesn't go straight to hell, the entire world doesn't alienate us.

This is already too long. The new fish names are coming in, next post they'll be up. Hope that'll cheer you up. You're gonna need some good vibes for the next 2 years!

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

The Genius of Marketing, The fear of extinction, and the The South Pacific Smega Skin Sardine.

It's still early, but I don’t have a good feeling about the Senate. NH and NC have gone GOP so far, CO and TX aren't looking so good. I've been trying to cheer myself up, and this little adage has seemed to do the trick.

On my way home I was listening to Marketplace on NPR and they were talking about organizations and individual restaurants trying to cut down on the consumption and illegal fishing of the Patagonian Toothfish. You may have not heard of it referred to by its original name, but since it's brilliant marketing by ways of a name change, the Chilean Sea Bass is supposedly in danger of extinction. There seems to be some debate on the extinction issue, but it is a fish that is being over fished from what I hear.

Well, I couldn't help but notice that no one cared about the fish all that much until after the name change. And the amazing thing is the Chilean Sea Bass is neither a proper Bass, nor is it from Chile. I was just so struck by the sheer genius of renaming the the fish without being encumbered in any way by any anthropological rules or language limations. I myself was so inspired by this brilliant American marketing know-how that I think that the best way to stop people from eating the Chilean Sea Bass is to demand that people call it by another name, something that is repulsive and disgusting. And the amazing thing is the name of the fish doesn’t have to do anything with what the fish really is! The fact that the Patagonian Toothfish is neither from Chile nor a Bass means we can rename it something totally different to repulse potential Chilean Sea Bass lovers. I’m still working on some names, but here are a few;

The South American Sphincter Mouth Salmon

The Pacific Greasy Gash Herring

The Coldwater Cockroach Catfish

The African Gonorreah Goldfish

The French Canadian Crack Whore Carp

The Argentinian Syphillis-infested Snapper

Anyway, if you have any strokes of genuis, please email me, and I'll post em. Save the Chilean Sea Bass! Start calling it the French Canadian Crack Whore Carp!!!!! I gotta get posting ability on this thing already.

Best name for the Chilean Sea Bass gets a free custom mix CD courtesy of me, Palmer Hass, and WZRD Chicago, 88.3FM.

Sunday, November 03, 2002

Quoted from Chicago Reader October 18th Section Three Spot Check;
I grew up listening to my Dad wonder why so many working class people consistently voted against what he considered their own interest. Now I wonder myself. Why on earth would anyone with an income below six figures , let alone someone with a precariouslivelihood, ever vote Republican? Is the symbolic power of the country hat and the Bible quote really strong enough to override national considerations about antilabor and procorporate policies?

It was in reference to The Waco Brothers, a Chicago based country band. I guess their new album has lots of WPA photos.

Slate had an interesting article on Harvey Pitt and his failures as SEC Chairman.

Salon a couple of days ago put out an article about how the Republican party supposedly has to fear the future and the "emerging Democratic majority". I couldn't help but feel while I was reading it that I was at a Cubs convention, a bunch of fans all saying "wait till next year!" Whether its fact, hope of a self fufilling prophecy, or some sorta marketing push leaing to potential Democratic voters to get on the bandwagon before it's too late and you won't be cool if you wait too long, so it's hard to tell.

Either way I am begining to question what being a Democrat means. I feel like the party has little focus anymore. I've taken up the habit of refering to myself as a Default Democrat, just because I have such great difficulty voting Republican. I'm planning on writing something more extensive in the future on this... Dont hold your breath though, it could be a while.