Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Brief History Of (Daylight Saving) Time

Also: No looters or moochers!!
This tinkering with clocks is our inheritance from a people obsessed with time. Clocks spread rapidly in early America. They were expensive imports, but popular among the Puritans, who despised idleness. Massachusetts passed a law in 1663 making the wasting of time a crime: “No person, householder or other shall spend his time idly or unprofitably, under pain of such punishment as the court shall think meet to inflict.” A century later, the Boston-born Benjamin Franklin (“time is money”) proposed a version of daylight saving time as a joke to stop slothful Parisians from sleeping in.
And other amusing factoids.

Gaffe-Prone Groupie

Naturally, the most egregious (As in: Dangerous to your well-being because a clearly deluded person was given a seat on the House Intelligence Committee.) of the recent "gaffes" Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann has shared w/ the nation is the one least reported, by which we mean we hadn't seen or heard thing one about it. (If Hellen Keller is in the forest & a tree falls, does it ...)
Then, in an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” last Sunday, Bachmann seemed to rely on outdated talking points in suggesting that President Barack Obama should defer to Gen. David Petraeus on how to approach the crisis in Libya.

Asked whether it’s in America’s vital interest to remove Muammar Qadhafi from power, the Minnesotan cited Defense Secretary Robert Gates’s recent admonition about avoiding future land wars in Asia. Then she added: “We are extended now in Afghanistan and Iraq, and I think for us to consider further penetration at this time, we need to listen to Gen. Petraeus and what he has to say.”

Bachmann, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, should know that Petraeus is the commander of American forces in Afghanistan and is not in the chain of command when it comes to military decisions about Libya.
"Outdated talking points?" Try the Daddy Party & a bit of the old Freudian father fixation. (Won't even touch "extended ... further penetration," as we don't have a degree or anything in this, & wouldn't want to leap to any conclusions.) Automatic default: Some guy whose name you've heard a lot from the others in group therapyThe Tea Party Caucus, usually near the phrase "saved Iraq w/ The Surge." There's the answer, no thought needed.

And never forget the Biggest Daddy of all, Ronald Wilson Reagan, & how they relate to him. Nor should we forget Rep. Bachmann's debut on our national stage. Remember?World's Oldest Groupie. Sad.

Good Spin, M.B.

Bonus Quote of the Day

"You're the state where the shot was heard around the world in Lexington and Concord."

-- Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), quoted by the Boston Herald, while speaking in New Hampshire.

She later admitted her error saying, "It was my mistake, Massachusetts is where they happened. New Hampshire is where they are still proud of it!"
Photo by AP
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., arrives with her husband, Marcus, to a state GOP fundraiser Saturday, March 12, 2011 in Nashua, N.H.
Listen carefully to Doc Bachmann. Protesting too much?

Class Warfare:
The Service/Professional Economy

We read pretty far into this before deeming it worthy (Other than the phrase "one of the most important and influential voices under 40 working in the conservative space." Stop, you fucking hippy.) of linking & some copying. And a better than 50% chance we'll finish reading it. (Partly because the "service/professional economy" does not have a good ring to it, & we're curious.)
These right-wing videos take this and amplify a particularly interesting part of the service/professionalized economy. When so much of our economy is driven by professionals there is a lot of work done in making sure that there are layers of people between the consumer and the professional. The professional’s time is valuable money, and so its usually beneficially to get layers of cheaper, less professional service staff on board as vetting intermediaries.  You don’t want the expensive brain surgeon making sure you’ve filled out your address and contact information correctly or taking your temperature – that’s why there’s a secretary and a nurse in-between these steps at the hospital.

What the right-wing videos do – the ACORN and the Planned Parenthood ones – is present the front-line staff as the actual decision making professionals. They make it seem like the first person you talk with in the door is the one who signs off on the actual decisions. Notice the Ryan Grim article on Planned Parenthood – the “scandal” occurs before the person in question is an actual patient. The front-line service staff’s job is to gather information in detail, whittle it down to appropriate and not appropriate, and then present it those who will make the actual decisions.

The scandal machine doesn’t actually make it to the actual professionals who would have made decisions.   Instead their scandal was at the level of service, front-line workers who couldn’t exercise judgement in a full way because it isn’t their job.  What the videos do is make it look like the secretary is the boss, as opposed to someone whose social script is to not make any of the cutting decisions.  What’s amazing is how much the front-line staff cuts the O’Keefe political stingers out at the knees or calls bullshit on their lies (examples they usually edit out), not how few.
Also: Borat as illustration.

BOOM!!

ABC has interrupted Jimmy Kimmel Live to report an explosion at a damaged nuclear power plant in Japan.

Fish Massing

ACAPULCO, Mexico (AP) — Something fishy is up in Acapulco.

Masses of sardines, anchovies, stripped bass and mackerel surged close to shore Friday on one beach in the Mexican resort city, packed so tightly near the surface they looked like an oil slick from above.

Delighted fishermen rushed out in wooden motor boats, abandoning their rods and nets and simply scooping the fish up with buckets.

“It was so much fun. There were about 20 or 30 fishermen and there were people who came with their kids to take advantage of it,” fisherman Carlos Morales said.

The fishermen attributed the strange phenomenon to the unusual currents unleashed by tsunami that followed the earthquake in Japan.

Experts couldn’t be sure.

“It would fall into that category where you would love to make the connection, but who knows?” said Rich Briggs, a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. “Tsunamis can change local currents, but it’s hard to make a firm connection.”
Linked to recent activity a bit to the north? Perhaps, & if so, the why may have been answered.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Question Of The Week

Deceived Again

Saw this in the reader & thought Wow, when did they run Pope Ratzi in?
Turns out it was a Welshman, although we're more than certain that he was working directly under the Pope, if you know what we mean.

Something else w/o which we can do just fine, thank you: Someone who could easily be mistaken for us in a police line-up being found to be one sick bastard in a court of law.
Note: We wouldn't be caught dead in a V-neck.
A former security guard who led a cult from a cul-de-sac in a Welsh seaside town was told he might spend life in jail for committing a series of sex attacks on boys and girls.

Colin Batley of Kidwelly, west Wales, presided over a quasi-religious sex cult that preyed on vulnerable youngsters, forced women into prostitution and indulged in occult rites.

Batley was given an indeterminate sentence for public protection with a recommendation that he spend at least 11 years in jail. Sentencing him at Swansea crown court, Judge Paul Thomas QC told him: "You may never be released."
adding
"It is likely that you have dedicated your life since you were 12 years old to satisfying your sexual urges by whatever means at your disposal."
Also: Aleister Effing Crowley made him do it or something. Get over it.

Please Encourage Her!

Run Shelley, run! You can make it. Don't be a quitter like that other woman.
Checking for lipstick, 2 November 2010.
Bachmann has already met with prominent interest groups and well-placed officials in early caucus and primary states of Iowa and South Carolina, where both Tea Partiers and Republican regulars have been impressed by her easy rapport with conservative crowds.

The trips are having an acute impact on Bachmann's thinking about the presidential race, those around her say.

"She is leaning more toward doing it," one Republican close to Bachmann told CNN. "The people she's meeting on the ground, they love her. She is definitely more encouraged when she makes these trips."

A Tune For Teatards:
"Get Rid Of The Income Tax"

Liberal Media Bias Dep't.

Pimping pimping pimping/Hard out there:
NOTE: David Sirota's new book Back to Our Future: How the 1980s Explain the World We Live In Now is out on 3/15. Read USA Today's new cover story about the book here and pre-order the book here.
Look, it ties into current events!
As I said, this hypocrisy isn't interesting because it's so utterly undeniable. However, what is interesting -- and profoundly telling -- is King's explanation for his behavior. He says simply that "It makes no sense to talk about other (read: non-Muslim) types of extremism."

The remark, of course, typifies a broader sentiment in America and raises the most important "why" question: Why do so many like King see extremist acts by non-Muslims as mere isolated incidents that "make no sense to talk about," yet see extremist acts by Muslims as a systemic problem worthy of military invasions and now congressional witch hunts?

The short answer is 9/11 -- but that's oversimplified. Anti-Muslim sentiment was embedded in American society well before that horrific attack stoked a bigoted backlash. The real answer, as I discovered in researching my upcoming new book, is connected to overwrought Reagan/Bush-era pop culture that first equated "terrorist" with "Muslim."
Fucking cultural reactionaries, longing for halcyon days of the '80s. As reactionaries, they're emotionally stuck in the decades of their pubescence/adolescence. So today's young conservative cultural firebrand (usually a middle-aged wretch just realizing that "middle-aged" is a lie & well over half his/her existence is in the rear view mirror & fading fast) misses the moral clarity of the '80s, w/o remembering the reactionary generation who hit puberty in the '50s, & were on about the cultural horrors of the '80s when they hit the downslope.

"Defective," every last one. Send 'em to Siberia.

Compare & contrast. You think he was paid for the Salon version?

Found A Mango, Mon!

Tree-Hugging Nature-Lover
Seizes Moral High Ground

69°F in here, at floor level.

NB: We are so fucking concerned about the planet that we put on pants rather than turn on the heater.

Waiting ... (UPDATING)

Bored limp already w/ the latest attempt by the planet to destroy your world of shit & pain. Come on, fair sister, more shake rattle & roll!UPDATE (1415PT 11 March 2011):
As it turns out, Jesus is coming back to slaughter the disbelievers. And he’s coming soon. How do we know? We heard it on the radio. “Family Radio” to be exact–an Oakland-based doomsday Christian cult run by 89-year-old Harold Camping that somehow has the cash to operate on 36 stations in California alone, including KFRN 1280 in Long Beach.

Aside from their radio enterprise and taking out billboards, a group of 10 Family Radio cultists is currently traveling around the country, spreading the “good news” in person. Their caravan will be coming to Los Angeles this coming Monday to tell us about the giant earthquake that’s going to kill the righteous and send them to heaven, while the rest will be stuck on Earth in the bloody aftermath for 153 days of ‘death and horror.’
Can’t wait!
Nor can we!!

Scary Up-Talker Report

Now The Sands Become A Crust
And Most Of You Have Gone Away

Hey! What happened to lat. & long.? 300°? =/-XX° from the equator?
Friday, March 11, 2011 at 05:46:23 (UTC) - Coordinated Universal Time
Friday, March 11, 2011 at 02:46:23 PM - Local Time at Epicenter
Guess we'll be safely asleep when the alligators come streaming out of the storm drains. We're only under an advisory anyway
SIGNIFICANT WIDESPREAD INUNDATION IS NOT EXPECTED FOR AREAS IN AN ADVISORY.

Another One

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lookist, Sexist, Low-Fi & Mis-Labeled

Luckiest Moron In The World Today

Not the jumping-off point, but too vertiginous to pass up. By George Steinmetz/Corbis ©2007 NG Society. All rights reversed.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A California high school student visiting the Golden Gate Bridge on a Thursday morning field trip climbed over a railing, jumped — possibly on a dare by fellow classmates — and somehow survived the 220-foot plunge into San Francisco Bay that kills dozens of people each year.

Most jumpers die a grisly death, with massive internal injuries, broken bones and skull fractures. Some die from internal bleeding, while others drown.

But the 17-year-old lived, suffering just a broken tailbone and torn lung. He was rescued by a surfer who paddled over and took him ashore, California Highway Patrol Officer Chris Rardin said.

“It’s a miracle in itself,” Rardin said. “The majority of folks do not survive this type of fall.”

Windsor Unified School District Superintendent Bill McDermott said he didn’t think the teen was trying to commit suicide, but instead jumped after other students from Windsor High School in Sonoma County urged him on. Students saw the teen go over the railing.

An ambulance rushed the teen to a San Francisco hospital. Officials couldn’t provide further details Thursday night on his condition.

Someone leaps off the iconic bridge an average of once every two weeks — last year, 32 jumpers died. About 98 percent of those plunges end up being fatal and authorities rule most of those deaths suicides.

The Marin County Coroner’s Office and the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District have said that up to 1,500 people have died after jumping off the bridge since it opened in 1937.

Last fall, transportation officials approved $5 million in federal funding to design a suicide barrier on the Golden Gate Bridge. Plans include a stainless steel net that would hang below the span.

The final design isn’t complete and installation is at least several years away, bridge district spokeswoman Mary Currie told the San Francisco Chronicle.
The secret, we've been told, is to hit the water feet first, 'though it's no guarantee. Also be young, flexible, limber & about as dumb as a box of rocks that has been turned to dust w/ a bag of hammers.

Late Morbidity Report

GARDEN GROVE, California (AP) — Songwriter Jean Dinning, who wrote the teen tragedy hit “Teen Angel,” has died. She was 86.

Daughter Cynthia Wygal tells the Orange County Register that her mother died Feb. 22 in Garden Grove.

Dinning’s brother Mark performed “Teen Angel,” which is about a girl who dies tragically. A couple’s car stalls on railroad tracks and they safely get out, but the girl runs back to get the boy’s high school class ring and a train hits the car.The song was released in October 1959 and it became an instant hit.

Dinning is survived by her sisters Ginger and Dolores; children Shay Edwards, Cynthia Wygal, Howard Mack, Ronald Surrey and David Surrey; eight grandchildren; and eight great grandchildren.

A memorial service is planned May 21 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Today's Moment of "Durrr!"

One more tidbit (Before we go away & watch telebision.) scoured from the PuffHo, which transcriptbed* it & others from a TIME interview.

Don't think of clicking! It's not merely a typed interaction w/ currently book-pimping Brooks (Expect to see the 21st century inheritor of the throne of Broder spreading himself thickly over the media universe in coming days.) but a moving picture & sound recording of him. No good could possibly come of it.

[But wait! Closer examination reveals embeddability. Suffer, then, as we have:
Though our suffering does not include watching that. — M.B.] We stayed w/ the text, which had this added value (And which we'd originally intended to post w/o video or anything but a portion of the first paragraph. Always complicating things.):
Haley Barbour: It's not included in the video, but the Reliable Source quotes Brooks as saying that Barbour looked "'too much like the guy Michael Moore would cast' as a Southern governor." Uhm ... not to nitpick, but Haley Barbour isn't just someone Michael Moore would cast as a Southern governor, that's literally what Haley Barbour is.

[...]

Brooks' new book, The Social Animal, is on the shelves now, along with his bracing anthropological studies of people who like granite countertops and artisanal cheese.

*There's a brain-freeze for you. We will not again mock Sarah Palin for her command of English. (Pretty much losing it here, but at least we're documenting it. And we did catch it. Next time, well, who knows?)

Skunks In Pissing Match

Skunk A & Skunk B.

For the sake of your own sanity & all that is un-holy, do not click either one. Although we'd usually refer to the two of them as media weasels, we really just like the headline.

Consumer Round-Up: Battling L.A.

If you're like us (Be happy you aren't!) & enjoy cinema that features humanity & its pathetic constructs being destroyed by merciless biological entities from another planet (See anything from 1953's non-Spielberg War of the Worlds through Independence Day.) especially the construct in which you've watched most of your existence dribble away, Los Angeles (See anything from 1953's non-Spielberg War of the Worlds through Independence Day, & above.) you might have been tempted, sometime this wknd., to plunk down US$15.00 or so to see this latest Hollywood wonder.(Believe us, if The Hollywood Reporter says it blows, it sucks! Hand that feeds you & all.)

Actually, if you're like us you'd just as soon stay safely indoors, w/ the soundtrack volume & bathroom breaks firmly under your control. This can't be much worse than the "only in theaters" version, can it?You'll have to wait until Sat. night, of course. Or.

Awkward Silences

It's viral!But we laughed anyway.

Reaganesque

Santorum & other poo missed while living in the dark ages.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

"Fell Into The Sack W/ Somebody ..."

It would be nice if Matthews would focus some of his energy on policy or something, although the argument that the proud dementia of these dangers to democracy is a large aspect of their bizarre & regressive policies & programs can't be ignored. Either way, enjoyable for the "worked far too hard" crap from Fig Newton.We're at the stage where we'd enjoy seeing Gingrich commit ritual suicide, Republican-stylee. Publicly. Followed by Wife Mark III throwing herself on his funeral pyre.

'It Begins ..."

Someone has to keep Arianna in whatever it is she likes to be kept in, & it may as well be the little people.

Exclusive: AOL Will Lay Off Several Hundred Employees, Starting Tomorrow

Weds. Washington Insider Re-Cap

Get used to it. We missed a lot of tee vee this afternoon, now we need to see what we missed. Here, Howard Fineman summarizes the continuing attempt to insure a "permanent Republican majority." If you remain unclear on the concept: Fascism plunging toward feudalism.And David Frum on Newtie & the "Real Americans."

Views from Our Window

Few things sadder than a telebision w/o electricity.
Natural
Illuminated

DAVID BRODER DEAD!
Media Village Mourns

Ahh, fuck him, he's dead, even if his evil lives on. We, meanwhile, have real problems: No damn electricity in the 'hood from sometime before noon (when we woke up) until 1735 or so.

Did get some cleaning done. Not much else one can do w/o juice. Or even light. (Northern exposure, & never any direct sunlight.)

And you see what happens? We're disconnected from the world, & centrism takes one on the chin.

P.S.: What took so fucking long, Union Brothers?

Lent Opens

You pigs had best be keeping your appetites in check & your zippers up.

Big Dig Getting Bigger


LOS ANGELES (AP) — With a dental pick in hand, Karin Rice delicately scraped off a clump of asphalt from a pelvic bone belonging to a horse that roamed Los Angeles tens of thousands of years ago.

Like many unsuspecting creatures of the last Ice Age, the horse probably stopped to take a sip of spring water only to be ensnared — and later preserved — in a pool of sticky asphalt that seeped from underground crude oil deposits.

“You’re opening up this ancient world and getting to look back in time,” Rice said during a recent dig at the La Brea Tar Pits in the heart of Los Angeles.

For the past three years, scientists have been sifting through a significant trove of bones and a nearly intact mammoth skeleton discovered in 2006 during the construction of an underground garage next to the tar pits.

It’s been slow going. To make room for the parking structure, researchers at the George C. Page Museum built wooden crates to house the cache and trucked them to the tar pits complex where excavators use power and hand tools to break up the soil.

Careful to avoid the mistakes of early diggers who only prized large mammals bones and little else, a small army of museum employees and volunteers painstakingly chisels away seven days a week, recovering not only animal bones, but also saving the dirt for later inspection for microfossils.

So far, scientists have unearthed five of the 23 boxed deposits, removing some 16,000 fossil bones. Among the finds: partial skulls and lower jaws of half a dozen saber-toothed kittens,
A saber-tooth, 'though not a kitten.
several ribs and skull of a camel, and assorted remains of a giant jaguar, ground sloth and baby mammoths.

While visitors are wowed by the larger fossils, scientists are equally interested in finding bits of plants, insects, rodents and microscopic organisms that can reveal a great deal about the past environment, said Page Museum chief curator John Harris.

“We’re still trying to piece everything together,” he said.

Harris estimated it will take five years to sort through the crates. The museum has placed a priority on getting the above-ground excavation done, so it temporarily halted work on Pit 91 where scientists have been pulling out bones since 1969.

The tar pits located 7 miles west of downtown Los Angeles are a paleontological gold mine. Asphalt bubbled upward through cracks and fissures over the millennia, trapping Ice Age beasts that later starved to death. Once a large mammal was bogged down, predators would approach, followed by scavengers and insects, which would also get stuck.

Before this latest dig, more than a million bones have been recovered from the sticky ponds.

In the new work being carried out just north of Pit 91, researchers hopscotch between two tarp-covered crates, which have been divided into grids to help pinpoint the exact position of fossils.

Digging in the larger box one recent morning as a group of schoolchildren peered through a fence, chief excavator Carrie Howard and colleague Rice scraped away dirt from a deposit containing a hodgepodge of specimens including horse, saber-toothed cat and dire wolf.

Unlike the underground excavations, the bones in the crates are encased in hard dirt as a result of sitting out in the sun for two years.

To get around the problem, Rice uses a dry cleaning solution to soften the asphalt mixture. Others improvise by using heat lamps.

Once fossils are extracted — a process that can take months — they are shipped to the museum lab where they are cleaned, identified and, in some cases, put on display. The current project is expected to double the museum’s Ice Age collection.

As excavators toiled outside, lab workers continued their examination of the skull of Zed, the Columbian mammoth skeleton that was found nearly complete.

Later in the week, the museum plans to open up another crate for study.
Interactive Bonus: Pick your own illustrations.

Whole Lotta Fish, Dead

Sign of The Apocalypse?
A couple trolls their boat through a mass of dead fish in the King Harbor marina in Redondo Beach. Don Bartletti/Los Angeles Times)
Authorities said it appeared that a massive, churning ball of sardines, and some mackerel and anchovies, was chased toward shore over the last few days, primarily from a spring storm that brought wind gusts of 45 miles per hour off the coast last weekend. Hungry, migrating whales spotted offshore in recent days may have added to the sardines' plight.

So the sardines did what anyone might — they headed for safe harbor, to a picturesque complex of four marinas home to 1,400 boats, mostly private fishing boats, sailboats and cruisers, a jewel of an easygoing town of surf shops, dive bars and tanning salons.

There, they suffocated.
Pretty much lifted from here. AP slideshow.

The Grass Is Not Necessarily Greener Norther

An apparently pink tree-hugger from the other side of the 49th parallel assures his fellow Norte Americanos we are not alone in our misery.
These morsels are, of course, just the appetizers of the meal from hell that Harper has been dishing up for five years. It gets depressing listing them all – over and over again – hoping that at some point there will be a critical mass of vicious, autocratic, hyper-partisan actions that will finally create the outrage which will liberate us from this man and his un-government.
Ooof! At least we're not Canada.

More Trouble About To Be Made

The House of Saud is not amused.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A group of citizens in the United Arab Emirates is petitioning the Gulf federation’s rulers for an elected parliament and more political freedoms.

The petition is the first public demand for leadership overhaul in the Emirates, a union of seven sheikdoms, since the wave of Mideast revolt reached its Gulf neighbor Bahrain. It was signed by 130 opposition supporters.

The Emirates’ parliament is based in the capital, Abu Dhabi. It has no legislative powers and all its 40 members are appointed by the ruling sheiks.

Abu Dhabi’s Al Nahyan family controls the Emirates’ vast oil riches and holds most government positions. Al Nahyans also have considerable influence over the other six city-states, including the deeply indebted boomtown of Dubai.
1990:
Sometime this millennium.
Photos from.

Warning From The Golden State

Real Americans, you can only push us so far.

Census shows population center moving out of Midwest

U.S. census shows growing populations in the West and South, which could shift the heartland out of the Midwest

--California, which failed to add a House seat for the first time in its history, would have lost population if it weren't for growth among Hispanics and other minorities, according to 2010 figures released Tuesday. Los Angeles posted a gain over the past decade of just under 100,000 people, its smallest numerical growth since 1890-1900, as many of its Hispanic residents moved elsewhere. The state, the nation's largest with 37.3 million, continues to grow primarily from immigration and births.
And, many of you having left the state already, we don't need more corn-fed honkies, thank you. It's been almost 80 yrs. & we've barely bred the Iowan & Okie out of the Dust Bowl refugees.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Exterior, Day: Local 47

Show Bidness, as it happens.
In front of the L.A. County Dep't. of Mental Health's Hollywood Office.

Simple Pleasures For Certain Minds

The scroll wheel on our mouse gave up after less than two-&-a-half yrs.; after Tom Sawyering an innocent into Googling the opening of it for us (did no good) we bought an improved model, & for about $11.00 less than we paid for the now semi-useless one in 2008. Best aspect beside the return of scrolling is the "nano-receiver,"
an aesthetic & functional improvement over the thing sticking out here
(That is sneeze residue — if not worse — on the devil-box, not "orbs.") which would occasionally catch an unbuttoned sleeve or loose elbow & stop working for several secs., obviously counter-indicated when a mind as flighty as ours is in the middle of polishing a turd for the fourth or fifth time.

On/off switch on the new mouse; no more pulling the dongle out & shoving it in the mouse every night to save battery power. Doesn't work any better on the glass-topped desk than the previous model did, but we didn't figure that was worth the added expense.

Made by slave-labor who will die horribly & young from exposure to gawd-knows-what in China.

Also enjoying dusting the shit out of everything w/ a can of air.

Statistical Truth

Clarifying where the stupid fucking hick moron losers congregate.

Blah & Yada, Gloom & Doom,
Over & Over

According to this Gloomy Gus, the party's over.
As food and water shortages expand across the globe, as mounting poverty and misery trigger street protests in the Middle East, Africa and Europe, the elites do what all elites do. They launch more wars, build grander monuments to themselves, plunge their nations deeper into debt, and as it all unravels they take it out on the backs of workers and the poor. The collapse of the global economy, which wiped out a staggering $40 trillion in wealth, was caused when our elites, after destroying our manufacturing base, sold massive quantities of fraudulent mortgage-backed securities to pension funds, small investors, banks, universities, state and foreign governments and shareholders. The elites, to cover the losses, then looted the public treasury to begin the speculation over again. They also, in the name of austerity, began dismantling basic social services, set out to break the last vestiges of unions, slashed jobs, froze wages, threw millions of people out of their homes, and stood by idly as we created a permanent underclass of unemployed and underemployed.

The Mayan elite became, at the end, as the anthropologist Ronald Wright notes in “A Short History of Progress,” “… extremists, or ultra-conservatives, squeezing the last drops of profit from nature and humanity.” This is how all civilizations, including our own, ossify and die. The signs of imminent death may be undeniable. Common sense may cry out for a radical new response. But the race toward self-immolation only accelerates because of intellectual and moral paralysis. As Sigmund Freud grasped in “Beyond the Pleasure Principle” and “Civilization and Its Discontents,” human societies are as intoxicated and blinded by their own headlong rush toward death and destruction as they are by the search for erotic fulfillment.
Examples are then given of previous collapses; only thing new is that he figures this time, human enterprise & accomplishment, having covered the globe, are about to suck most of the life from most of the planet, not just from an island or an isolated society on the other side of the world, the world being flat & all.

And at this point in human history we're rolling our eyes & saying "Yeah, big surprise, whatever."

'Cause, y'know?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Hello, Moon ... How Are You Moon?

In our continuing fetishization of stuff that happened before we were born (due mostly to our still being amazed that anything at all happened) here's some culture that happened even before we were conceived, from yesterday's birthday boy Will Eisner, Wally Wood & pinko Jules ("A Dance to Spring") Feiffer.

Trick Question?

Which one is more, more, um ... well, not smart, or intelligent, or slyly cunning, but, uh ... Ah! Who is the more trainable of these two?
DING! DING! DING! WINNER!QUITTER!

Bank Of America Branch Taken Over

In Washington, D.C.
National People’s Action, one of the more aggressive progressive advocacy groups, has been deeply involved in street protests against foreclosure fraud and corporate greed. And today, they escalated those actions. 600 activists with NPA took over a DC branch of Bank of America today, handing over a “tax bill” to the large banking institution that they believe has cost states billions through tax avoidance and reckless speculation
All well & good, but we set the BoA bar pretty high in the Golden State.
C'mon, effete Easterners, the gauntlet has been thrown. We're waiting.

The O.C.

Max Blumenthal has more on the Orange County hate squad.
Lugo has put herself forward as the official face of the hate rally, yet she has only been identified in the press as a “protester” or “demonstrator.” In fact, Lugo is a veteran right-wing operative and self-proclaimed constitutional law professor who dazzled the crowd with her knowledge of American’s founding documents: “The Constitution is not supposed to protect a tyranny of the minority,” she exclaimed. ”It is not discrimination to say no when a group is less than one percent of our population.”

According to Lugo, who appears to be obsessed with the Muslim menace, patriotic Americans need to save the culture of Disneyland. As she said, “It is a matter of importance to our culture and society to tell a corporation like Disneyland, ‘We support you in keeping your culture and in not allowing the hijab to be worn as part of an employee’s garb.’”

Despite holding such views and having presided over what basically amounted to a cross burning, Lugo’s bio indicates that she has managed to secure an appointment on the California Civil Rights Commission Advisory Committee, which reports directly to the US Civil Rights Commission. I’m not sure how Lugo’s appointment came about, but perhaps it was inspired by the UN Human Rights Council awarding a seat to Col. Moammar Gaddafi.
And, (59:48) of hate (Ms. Lugo speaks at (9:30):

One Word, Not Two

Over at The Guardian, a snoot w/ a stick in his ass (not, however, Dave Marsh of CREEM fame) moans about typing excess.
Who would have thought the humble old word "before" would become an endangered species? So far as I know, it has never done anyone any harm.

But the craze for writing "ahead of" , to describe any forthcoming event, whether far in the future or imminent, has made coming across "before" in a newspaper about as likely as bumping into a recent recruit to the Nick Clegg fan club. [We imagine that to be hilarious. In Britain. — M.B.]

Here are just a few recent examples:

"Ahead of the Christmas No 1 announcement on Sunday, readers define the perfect seasonal hit."

"Speaking at a press conference ahead of his 80th birthday, Gorbachev criticised Putin for manipulating elections."

"Talking to Simon Rattle ahead of his London residency with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra ... "

"University candidates are racing to submit their applications ahead of the tripling of tuition fees from autumn 2012."

"Ahead of his heavyweight title fight against Audley Harrison later this month, David Haye has said that he is 'going to be a movie star' … The WBA champion reckons that 'it would be crazy to try to mix the two' ahead of his big fights over the next 12 months."

"The wives and girlfriends … were flown in ahead of the third Test in Perth. Result: a couple of batting collapses."

"Everton's fourth successive win at Eastlands, achieved despite them having Victor Anichebe dismissed on the hour and Tevez handing City a huge fillip ahead of kick-off ... "

"Comolli, who resigned as sporting director at St Etienne ahead of yesterday's announcement ... "

"Instead of offensive claptrap being spouted ahead of David Haye's forthcoming dust-up with Audley Harrison ... "

"He's first and foremost a tough bloke," said Flower ahead of last year's tour of Bangladesh, when Cook stood in for the resting Strauss as captain."

"Ahead of the vote they face this evening, Liberal Democrat MPs will today be reflecting on the less-than-merry dance by which their leaders have come to ask them to walk 'through the fire'." (in a leading article)

"Why else would they hurriedly concoct their own 'Confucius peace prize', a day ahead of the ceremony in Oslo?" (in the second leading article, on the same day)

"That was how I found myself surrounded by the likes of Greg Dyke, Rob Brydon and Badly Drawn Boy at a BFI reception for Springsteen ahead of a screening of his new documentary The Promise."

These examples are all from the Guardian and, I assure you, were not hard to find. But "ahead of" mania has gripped all newspapers and is heard more and more frequently on the BBC and other broadcasters.

I'm all for what has been described as "elegant variation" in writing. I'm not saying that "ahead of" should never be used as a variant of "before" or "in advance of".

But I'd argue that in just about every example listed above, "before" would read better than "ahead of". In some cases, such as the two leading articles, "ahead of" sounds not just cliched and ugly, but plain wrong. It also seems particularly inappropriate for an event, such as the Springsteen reception, that took place immediately - how I shall I put this? - BEFORE the screening.

As for my colleagues in the sports department, they appear to have developed such an aversion to "before" that one can only conclude someone has removed the B and R from their keyboards.

Buzz words and phrases spread very quickly from writer to writer, probably unconsciously. They can fade away as quickly, although some ("iconic") can prove very resilient. So why use two words when one will do? It's time for "before" to make a comeback - before it disappears altogether.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Powerful Idea

Our currently fondest dream, inspired mere moments ago, is that the very next time thought leaders or business leaders or art leaders or whatever the fuck-tuck-tucking hell they consider themselves gather in some shit-hole like Aspen, Davos or (actual shit-hole) Long Beach to pat themselves on the back for being rich, white & oh-so-clever
Yes, we hope (No praying, 'though.) for these people to die.
that there is a terrorist incident & every last one of these people (& all their toadies & flunkies) dies in the counter-attack by gov't. forces. Or that the auditorium burns to the ground w/o survivors. At the least, someone could shout "Fire!" & hope they panic.

Because these people are not part of any solutions, they are part of the problems, & many of them are directly responsible for the problems.

Pretty Face Hell Bound!

DANGER: Loud as fuck, as it should be.Needs a lover w/ an alibi.

Son Of Basil

And Now For Something ...

We wanted to forget the political world & impending ecological & economic doom for an all too brief moment but realized that this will not be cheering for people stuck in colder climes under gray skies & snow/rain who will now feel worse because they didn't fly down to Rio, losers that they are.Non-Carnaval Mardi Gras Bonus: Queers destroy Sydney.Raw!

Every Cop Is A Criminal

Or, why they call them PIGS!
A Chicago Police commander who was found not guilty last year of misdemeanor telephone harassment is now the focus of an abuse investigation.

A spokesman for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services confirmed Saturday that the agency is looking into allegations of child abuse involving Harrison District Cmdr. Penelope Trahanas and her teenage daughter.

“DCFS is investigating allegations of abuse in this case,” said DCFS spokesman Jimmie Whitelow. He said the agency had “no prior contacts” with the family.

The Independent Police Review Authority — an outside agency that investigates officer misconduct — has an “open investigation” in connection with Trahanas, a source told the Chicago Sun-Times. The source didn’t have information about the specifics of the investigation.

Last March, Trahanas was charged with harassing Officer Matthew Jackson, a former boyfriend who sought her arrest, claiming that she left voice mails suggesting she could ruin his career and saying she wished he were dead.

At the time, Trahanas’ attorney, Thomas Needham, said the allegations were overblown and that Jackson went too far by getting an order of protection against Trahanas. “Regardless of whatever intemperate, unfortunate things she said in her voice mails to him, there is no need for an order of protection,” Needham said last March.

Trahanas, who was appointed commander of the Harrison District in 2009, was cleared of the misdemeanor charge in June.

Chicago Police spokeswoman Lt. Maureen Biggane said Saturday that Trahanas, “has requested to relinquish her command assignment and return to her rank of captain. She remains in a full duty status.”

Trahanas could not be reached for comment Saturday evening.
Although we've no idea what this fascist is alleged to have done to her daughter, we think a public whipping would be a good place to start the rehabilitation of this brute.

Sorry, Stupid Old Toad

They still let this sad old bastard out of his wife's houses w/o a minder?He couldn't fly planes w/o crashing them, why does anyone still pay attention?
McCain is hardly the expert that political shows should turn to when discussing technology. As former FCC chairman Reed Hundt told Amanda Terkel in 2008, “Basically, John is a technological troglodyte and proud of it.” McCain said during the campaign that he “never felt the particular need to e-mail.” McCain has admitted to being a computer “illiterate that has to rely on my wife for all the assistance I can get.”

New Sun Risin' Up Angry

We're here:
Saudi Arabia's worst nightmare – the arrival of the new Arab awakening of rebellion and insurrection in the kingdom – is now casting its long shadow over the House of Saud. Provoked by the Shia majority uprising in the neighbouring Sunni-dominated island of Bahrain, where protesters are calling for the overthrow of the ruling al-Khalifa family, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is widely reported to have told the Bahraini authorities that if they do not crush their Shia revolt, his own forces will.
So Friday we see how far all this may go. Can't wait. Off the pig.

Topical teensploitation from Roger Corman, via some teeny-bopper idols.Couldn't ignore this classic of the genre from an MSNBC.com commenter:
We'll keep looking West for him or her.

Weird Vibes, Charlie. Witchy, Even.

Mention has been made of some column or another by bow-tie daddy George Will, apparently establishing/narrowing the Republican entrants (totes wc;wr?) & mentioning lunacy. We haven't even bothered w/ the reactions, but Daniel Larison's response showed up, & we peeped.

Reason one not to read the other G.W.'s stuff:
Let us not mince words. There are at most five plausible Republican presidents on the horizon - Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, former Utah governor and departing ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, former Massachusetts governor Romney and former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty.
Sad if true. Mush-mouth Barbour? Plausible?

Larison:
As for the 2012 field, Will is engaged in some wishful thinking. He thinks highly of Mitch Daniels, so he includes him as one of the five plausible prospective candidates.
Number two includes jabs at all the loons, not just Will:
Will seems to take it for granted that Huckabee and Gingrich have disqualified themselves by saying false and stupid things. Evidently, Will has not been paying close enough attention to the quality of debate inside the GOP among its would-be leaders, including the “plausible” ones in Romney and Pawlenty. Will underestimates how much the primary candidates are going to have to accommodate themselves to the “vibrations of weirdness.” That doesn’t mean that Huckabee will run, and it doesn’t follow from this that Gingrich will be competitive, but we’re going to see the 2012 field trying to outdo one another in denouncing Obama and all his works with increasingly implausible, far-fetched claims.
Video Bonus: Rachel Maddow won't repeat Will calling Huck a vibrator.In previous book pimping, note that Huck advised people to look at p. 183 of his opus for his take on Kenya or Indonesia or something. But no. A complete fucking grifter. They must teach the grifting right in the Southern Babtiss seminaries.

Asimov Rates For Star Drek

Ninnies too.

Late Election Results

APIA, Samoa (AP) — The party that has ruled Samoa for 28 years has retained power in elections, according to preliminary results, despite criticism over the government’s handling of a deadly tsunami that struck the South Pacific island nation in 2009.

The Human Rights Protection Party of Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi went to Friday’s polls with 30 seats and the support of five independent lawmakers in the 49-seat parliament.

HRPP lost one seat but has the support of an additional two independents, giving Tuilaepa control over 36 seats, a single seat increase, according to preliminary results released Saturday by Samoan Electoral Commissioner Tanuvasa Meleisea Isitolo Lemisio.

The main opposition Tautua Samoa Party increased its representation by two seats, to 13. It had based its election campaign on accusations that the government mismanaged aid following the 2009 tsunami, which killed 183 people, and did not do enough to help victims of the disaster.

It was the first election test for the opposition party, which was formed by 11 independent lawmakers in 2008.

The Electoral Commission said 90 percent of the 76,000 registered voters in the island nation of 192,000 people voted, some lining up for hours before polling stations opened.

The final count may not be completed for two weeks.

Tuilaepa, 60, won his seat unopposed and will continue as prime minister. He would become Samoa’s longest-serving premier, at 18 years, if he holds the job for the entire five-year term.

Tuilaepa’s leadership team will be revamped, with three of his Cabinet ministers losing their seats in the election.
©2011 Associated Press
UPDATED (1557PST 8 November 2011): Here's one that works.

Awful & Horrid Phrase Of The Week
And The Most Horrid Humanoid

In the continuing vein of producerism we encountered this ugliness: "Business Leader." Not enough to be some schmuck w/ an M.B.A. who owns a company where wage-slaves do the work & the boss gets the surplus value. Nope, the boss has to be a fucking führer.

It's been in our face recently because inane droning Philistine David Bobo Brooks used it in his allegedly & apparently abominable new book (No doubt Brooks copped it somewhere, but researching exact origins would no doubt be a depressing affair.) which has been widely eviscerated across the Internet, mostly by P.Z. Myers.
For example, Erica makes a life-defining career decision: She meets a woman who runs a restaurant chain, who is thin and well-dressed in a conservative business suit, and Erica can imagine being like her someday, as Brooks tells us. And then, "Erica was suddenly consumed by a burning desire to be a business leader." What, how? Was it the suit? I don't know. We leapt from a superficial description of the appearance of a visitor to Erica's school to "Something had lit the furnace of the little engine of ambition, which from this day forth would know no rest," and on that train of stock phrases, a personality is fixed and launched unchangingly toward the end of the book.
So being thin, wearing a suit & running a restaurant chain makes one a business leader? A veritable Steve Jobs (Thin, 'though probably wouldn't be caught dead in a suit. But we digress.) except running Applebee's®? What is it w/ Brooks & restaurant chains? See also the gelato ordering in this selection.

Kill us now, please. We never learn. (How many ways can we say there is no hope, & we were fools ever to imagine there had been any?) What did we find when we decided to exercise journalistic responsibility? Someone always in the running for Asshole of Whatever Time Period, Deepak Chopra. (WARNING: Reading this act of corporate slurping may lead to bile being spewed on your devil-box.)
Right now, I’m working Frito Lay, the division of Pepsi. Frito-Lay’s CEO, Al Carey, is extraordinary. He is taking the company to carbon neutral manufacturing. They’ve cut their water consumption by six billion gallons. They are teaching leadership down the chain of the organization. They’re repackaging their foods and making them nutritious. They’re getting involved in health and well being, a goal you would normally not associate with Pepsi. But it’s good business, right now. Not only that: these days, it’s also a great news story. [NB: Business conditions may change at any moment, of course. Heh. — M.B.]
Vishnu on a stick, Deep-Packed, does ol' Al's shit taste like Fritos® or Doritos®? Of course, we can only imagine the kind of scratch Chopra hauls down for one of these suck-fests. Worth it?

And what keen spiritual insights does Dipstick bring to the corporate world? PR. Stories. Image. Mere surfaces. Bullshit.
It helps to regain control of your own story, and to do that, you have to ask two key questions. When I sit down with senior management, I say, “Who are you? What do you want?” Everything starts with those two fundamental questions, and then you move on to: “What’s your story? What’s the story you want to create?”
Who's w/ us on shoving those stupid glasses up Chopra's chute? Only question: Folded, or working them in open?

Crap, so distracted & disgusted by what we found we almost forgot the illustration & inscription.
They said
I had a head
for business.
They said
to get ahead
I had to lose
my head.
They said
be concrete
& I became
concrete.
They said
go, my son,
multiply,
divide, conquer.
I did my best.
— Philip Levine, 1990
And the musical take.