Blog Catalog

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Entertainment overnight

If you don't understand French, does it really matter?

Do have a great weekend, folks.

American foreign policy, explained

This week's KAL's cartoon

And/but it's "their" fault.

With thanks to The Economist  for the cartoon.

When your only tool is a hammer...

...every problem looks like a nail:

America, the world's warmonger.

Link to watch "War Made Easy" (2007):

Let the second-guessing and criticism begin...

Obama Will Seek Syria Vote in Congress

As has already been said elsewhere, President Obama should come out for air and oxygen.

Republicans would suffocate.

Doesn't this seem true?

I reading Fox for comments on the President's announcement today. It seems like a shifting school of fish over there. Or is that sheep?
Meanwhile, out of all this?  Good news:
#Syria #NBCNews
This, then, is nothing, if not a "win" for this President, the US, the American people, the world and peace. No, it's not a solution, by any means but it's great for nearly all concerned. Well, except the people being killed by Assad.
Maybe that "peace and love" thing has something to it after all.
The Rethuglicans are gonna' be pissed.
Again, some more.
And ain't 'dat just a dang shame?

Someone needs to point out, however, that the message, the resounding message now, since President Obama has come out for debating this strike and so many Americans are against it, rightly or wrongly (face it, if he's for something, many, many are going to be against it, just because), the message to the Syrians, being killed by their leader, is "F*CK YOU, YOU'RE SCREWED."

But have a nice weekend.
Additional link: 
The Familiar Beat of War Drums

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Entertainment overnight

Think how antithetical this is to the way we view prisons and prisoners in this country:

And then there's the acutely appropriate lyrics:

"All I really wanna' say is they don't really care about us."

Finally, keeping in mind this is from the Phillipines, how ironic that they'd use a quote and portrait of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., from right here in our good old USA.

Oddly poignant and still effective.

On the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington

Things that need to be remembered today, on this anniversary:

The Right Wing and Republicans who wrap their arms so squarely around Martin Luther King now--or, at least, his legacy--seem to be doing so extremely conveniently given that so many of them and their political party are now fighting for voter ID laws which disenfranchise, largely, minorities, including and especially black Americans, Hispanics, the poor and elderly in this nation.

It's also so contradictory and hypocritical of them because they and their political party have come out against continuing the Voting Rights Act and because they have, time and again, come out squarely, oh-so-strongly and vehemently against affirmative action.

And now, today, on the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, so many years ago, Rachel Maddow so rightly points out the following on her blog and Facebook page:

Why didn't we hear more Republican voices at today's event on civil rights?

It's because GOP leaders didn't accept the invitations to speak.

A partisan advantage at the Lincoln Memorial

Former President Bill Clinton, First Lady Michelle Obama, former President Jimmy Carter, and President Barack Obama

From the article:

If you've spent any part of the afternoon watching the event honoring the 50th anniversary of the March of Washington, you may have noticed something most of the political speakers had in common. They were, well, Democrats -- and I don't just mean those who celebrate democracy.
Viewers and attendees heard from Democratic presidents, lawmakers, governors, and even mayors. So where were the Republicans? Drudge whined, for example, that the King family "blew it" by "allowing no one with different political beliefs on stage."
And while I suspect this will soon become the conventional wisdom on the right, it's worth noting that many Republicans were invited, but declined for a variety reasons.
Republican congressional leaders were absent from Wednesday's 50th anniversary event commemorating the March on Washington.
The offices of Majority Leader Eric Cantor and House Speaker John Boehner both said they were invited to the event, but were unable to attend due to previous scheduling commitments.
Boehner participated in a July congressional ceremony in the Capitol to mark the anniversary and Cantor participated in a pilgrimage earlier in the year to Selma Alabama with civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis. Cantor's office says they only received an invitation 12 days ago, and his calendar was already full.
Boehner, for the record, is on a 15-state bus tour, raising money for conservative Republican lawmakers. It's not clear what Cantor had scheduled for this afternoon.
The Wall Street Journal added that both Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush were invited, but both declined citing poor health. (The younger Bush, you'll recall, is recovering from a heart procedure.)
It's not that the King family "allowed no one with different political beliefs on stage"; it's that Democrats were better able to accept the invitations to participate.
I say again, why any woman, black American, Hispanic, gay person or elderly in America would vote Republican--unless they're already wealthy--is beyond me.

So don't be too quick to pat yourself on your back, America. We still have a long, long way to go for anything remotely close to equality of any kind, let alone social, economic or socio-economic.

Bill Maher, President Obama, the NFL and Socialism

Yes, the NFL:

In remembrance

In case you don't know the story:  Emmett Till - Wikipedia

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Entertainment overnight

Loved that movie:

And if you have the time:

Here's your guns, America

(click on picture to enlarge)

And that's just one weekend.

As if that's not enough, more here:  

Lots more.

Quote of the day--on war. And peace

Kansas City, Fort Riley, Jackie Robinson, racism and American history

Interesting things I ran into last evening on a friend's FB page:

In 1942, before he was a baseball legend, Jackie Robinson was drafted and assigned to a segregated Army cavalry unit in Fort Riley, Kansas. Having the requisite qualifications, Robinson and several other black soldiers applied for admission to an Officer Candidate School (OCS) then located at Fort Riley. 

Although the Army's initial July 1941 guidelines for OCS had been drafted as race-neutral, practically speaking few black applicants were admitted into OCS until after subsequent directives by Army leadership. After protests by heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis (then stationed at Fort Riley) and the help of Truman Gibson (then an assistant civilian aide to the Secretary of War),the men were finally accepted into OCS.

After receiving his commission, Robinson was reassigned to Fort Hood, Texas, where he joined the 761st "Black Panthers" Tank Battalion.

However, an event on 6 July 1944, derailed Robinson's military career. While awaiting results of hospital tests on the ankle he had injured in junior college, Robinson boarded an Army bus with a fellow officer's wife; although the Army had commissioned its own unsegregated bus line, the bus driver ordered Robinson to move to the back of the bus. Robinson refused. The driver backed down, but after reaching the end of the line, summoned the military police, who took Robinson into custody. When Robinson later confronted the investigating duty officer about racist questioning by the officer and his assistant, the officer recommended Robinson be court-martialed.

After Robinson's commander in the 761st, Paul L. Bates, refused to authorize the legal action, Robinson was summarily transferred to the 758th Battalion—where the commander quickly consented to charge Robinson with multiple offenses, including, among other charges, public drunkenness, even though Robinson did not drink.

By the time of the court-martial in August 1944, the charges against Robinson had been reduced to two counts of insubordination during questioning. Robinson was acquitted by an all-white panel of nine officers.

Although his former unit, the 761st Tank Battalion, became the first black tank unit to see combat in World War II, Robinson's court-martial proceedings prohibited him from being deployed overseas, thus he never saw combat action.

After his acquittal, he was transferred to Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky, where he served as a coach for army athletics until receiving an honorable discharge in November 1944. While there, Robinson met a former player for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro American League, who encouraged Robinson to write the Monarchs and ask for a tryout -- Robinson took his advice and went on to become one of the greatest players to play the game.

Jackie Robinson, clearly so important to American's development then and history now, in at least a few ways.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The God of nothing...

...if that's all that you can see

People -- what have you done --
Locked Him in His golden cage.
Made Him bend to your religion --
Him resurrected from the grave.
He is the god of nothing --
If that's all that you can see.
You are the god of everything --
He's inside you and me.
So lean upon Him gently
And don't call on Him to save you
From your social graces
And the sins you used to waive.
The bloody Church of England --
In chains of history --
Requests your earthly presence at
The vicarage for tea.
And the graven image you-know-who --
With His plastic crucifix --
He's got him fixed --
Confuses me as to who and where and why --
As to how he gets his kicks.
Confessing to the endless sin --
The endless whining sounds.
You'll be praying till next Thursday to
All the gods that you can count.

--Ian Anderson, Jethro Tull

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Entertainment overnight

Goodness Gracious is there nothing left to say?
When the ones that get to keep looking
are the ones that look away
It's pabulum for the sleepers
in the cult of brighter days

Goodness Gracious at the mercy of the crooks
We're broke and stroking vegetables
and there's way too many cooks
In every pot a pink slip, In every mouth a hook

Goodness Gracious I'm not listening anymore
Cause the spooks are in the White House
and they've justified a war
So wake me when they notify
we're gonna fight some more

Goodness Gracious not many people care
Concern is getting scarcer
true compassion really rare
I can see it on our faces. I can feel it in the air
Goodness Gracious me.

Goodness Gracious my generation's lost
They burned down all our bridges
before we had a chance to cross
Is it the winter of our discontent or just an early frost?

Goodness Gracious of apathy I sing
The baby boomers had it all and wasted everything
Now recess is almost over
and they won't get off the swing

Goodness Gracious we came in at the end
No sex that isn't dangerous, no money left to spend
We're the cleanup crew for parties
we were too young to attend
Goodness Gracious me.

Goodness Gracious my grandma used to say
The world's a scary place now,
things were different in her day
What horrors will be commonplace
when my hair starts to grey?

Why "wealth distribution" matters

The wealthy are pocketing the benefits of all of our working our tails off, folks.

More here:

Just a few of the findings:

  • According to every major data source, the vast majority of U.S. workers—including white-collar and blue-collar workers and those with and without a college degree—have endured more than a decade of wage stagnation. Wage growth has significantly underperformed productivity growth regardless of occupation, gender, race/ethnicity, or education level.
  • During the Great Recession and its aftermath (i.e., between 2007 and 2012), wages fell for the entire bottom 70 percent of the wage distribution, despite productivity growth of 7.7 percent.
  • Weak wage growth predates the Great Recession. Between 2000 and 2007, the median worker saw wage growth of just 2.6 percent, despite productivity growth of 16.0 percent, while the 20th percentile worker saw wage growth of just 1.0 percent and the 80th percentile worker saw wage growth of just 4.6 percent.
  • The weak wage growth over 2000–2007, combined with the wage losses for most workers from 2007 to 2012, mean that between 2000 and 2012, wages were flat or declined for the entire bottom 60 percent of the wage distribution (despite productivity growing by nearly 25 percent over this period).
  • Wage growth in the very early part of the 2000–2012 period, between 2000 and 2002, was still being bolstered by momentum from the strong wage growth of the late 1990s. Between 2002 and 2012, wages were stagnant or declined for the entire bottom 70 percent of the wage distribution. In other words, the vast majority of wage earners have already experienced a lost decade, one where real wages were either flat or in decline.
  • This lost decade for wages comes on the heels of decades of inadequate wage growth. For virtually the entire period since 1979 (with the one exception being the strong wage growth of the late 1990s), wage growth for most workers has been weak. The median worker saw an increase of just 5.0 percent between 1979 and 2012, despite productivity growth of 74.5 percent—while the 20th percentile worker saw wage erosion of 0.4 percent and the 80th percentile worker saw wage growth of just 17.5 percent.

Quote of the day--on the nation, the economy, the world economy the corporatization of the world and what it means for us

Men in suits chasing a dollar symbol at the end of a fishing rod

The economy, if you hadn't noticed, is slowing -- and not just in the U.S. China and India, two of the world's major economic engines in recent years, are slowing dramatically. Other emerging markets are in trouble. Some blame property bubbles and corruption in China and India; others blame the impending end of the Fed's easy money; others think the trouble started with austerity in Europe; others blame global finance, still prone to speculative excesses; others, point to the quagmire of the Middle East.

But I want to suggest a more basic problem: 

Inadequate global demand for all the goods and services the world economy is now capable of creating. 

A technological revolution has increased productivity while also displacing millions of workers in developed nations, whose jobs have disappeared or whose wages have stagnated and declined. 

Their incomes are dropping. (The median household income in the U.S. is now 4.4 percent below what it was at the start of the so-called recovery.) 

Meanwhile, inequality is widening all over the world, as global elites amass fortunes but poor populations continue to grow. (The much-vaunted global middle class hasn't turned out to be as large or as important a source of demand as was predicted.) And governments are unwilling or unable to pick up the slack. 

The result: growing unemployment, especially among the young, tipsy stock and bond markets, and economic fragility. The United States -- the world's largest economy -- exemplifies all of this. If the fall brings a government shutdown and a too-abrupt end to the Fed's bond-buying, we're all in deep trouble.

--Robert ReichAmerican political economist, professor, author, and political commentator

Links:  Robert Reich

Robert Reich | Facebook

Robert Reich - Wikipedia

Friday, August 23, 2013

Entertainment overnight

The beauty of the human voice:

The warming, even hot, drying Earth

It's not just the ice caps and glaciers shrinking that are the problem, as we keep learning.

51 uncontained wildfires in the US right now.

And if you remember last Summer, you know we had wildfires from our Southern, Mexican border, in every US State in the West, all the way to the Northern, Canadian border.

But there's no global warming.

Oh, hell no.

Current Wildfire Map & Satellite Images - Wildfire Disaster Interactive Map - View a continuously updated map of US wildfire locations, perimeters, fire potential areas, burn areas, precipitation, and social media: 

Wildfire Map & Satellite Images | Wildfire Disaster Interactive Map

You can back that map off, too, and look at Alaska. They have wildfires raging, too.

And then there's this:

Try and have a nice weekend.

Observations, August, 2013

Observation No. 1

People punish honesty.

Observation No. 2:

Our machines, our computers, our pocket phones, more than anything, are turning us into a nation of cowards.

We don't face situations we've created or people that we ought to otherwise face. Instead, we ignore them if they call or we text back, if/when forced into a "conversation."

Hope, straight from the very "Red", Right Wing, Republican Southwest Missouri

Straight from the local newspaper who must try to keep these people happy and/or reading:

In the short term, we Republicans need to wake up and support implementation of Obamacare in so far as it expands coverage of insurance to our low-income citizens at little cost to the state. The first three years of the expansion would be paid for 100 percent by the feds. After that, there would be a gradual tapering down to 90 percent federal support.

Expanding Medicaid also makes economic sense. Adding coverage for a more people means more economic activity in the health sector. This equates to thousands of jobs being created, both directly and indirectly. With unemployment still high, there is a need for more jobs in Missouri...

He goes on to finish with this:

It is time for us to face the facts. We do not have the best health care system in the world. Our expenses are out of control and our outcomes are much worse than nations with a single payer system, like Canada.

If we really want to change America for the better while turning around electoral losses in Congress and the presidency, we Republicans should propose something that can actually get the votes needed for passage. That something is Medicare for all.

That one, above, was followed, in the same paper, by this one, too:

It is time for ideas.

Good start. And long, long overdue. He goes on:

In my opinion, we have three major problems to overcome — cheap, reliable energy (our economy depends on it); delivery of health care; and education.

If we solve these three huge areas, our economy booms and unemployment falls, as an educated and healthy workforce fills the created jobs.

As unemployment falls so do a host of social ills, including drug use, divorce, spousal and child abuse and use of government safety nets.

If the above is true, then where are our ideas?

It seems our ideas have been — drill for energy, open up the market for health care and school vouchers. While all have a place and can fit into a sound bite, they are simplistic and only partial solutions.

He closes:

Nature abhors a vacuum and so does politics. If we resolve as a party to cease to worry about elections we will lead. We will fight for ideas, not political power. We will show the same sacrifice for our ideas that our founders did for theirs and win or lose, not abandon them for political expediency or gain.

If they--the Republicans and Right Wing and whomever--could work more--far more--on ideas and benefits for America, all of America and Americans and the middle-class and lower-class and working class instead of singularly the wealthy and corporations (from where they get their "campaign contributions"), maybe they wouldn't fail so miserably (wonderfully?) and repeatedly in the last 13 years.

And maybe more of America would be employed and the entire nation would function better and in nearly all aspects.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Entertainment overnight

So beautiful.  Nothing more to say.

Statistics you won't believe about our American health care system

It's worth your time:

God, we're stupid.

We're stupid to have let this develop.

We're stupid to let this continue to take place.

We're stupid to let this go on.

Quote of the day--on man, and nature

Is this that complicated?

Whatever happened to being moral in business?

How long until we realize how stupid our defense spending is?

There's so much that's morally wrong and just bankrupt about it, it's actually obscene.

So let me get this straight...

People are against competition in the marketplace for healthcare so we get lower, more fair, more realistic and affordable costs?

Isn't that being against Capitalism?

For that matter, isn't that being against your own pocketbook? Isn't that being against saving yourself money?

Does that make ANY sense?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Entertainment overnight

This is fun, I thought:

Entertainment overnight

Two favorite entertainers:

At the end of this presidency

With the last few years of President Obama's tenure in the White House, I'm hoping--big time--that he'll take at least a few important, rather monumental moments and make big, important, forward-thinking stances and speeches, taking on issues of peace and education and committing to people.

They should be times and places that commit the nation to, if anything, fighting the corporatization of nations and the world and a re-commitment to people and health care and education and everything good the people need, not just the wealthy and corporations.

He should propose, first, that the US cut its national, federal spending on the Department of Defense greatly and then further propose that the world recommit itself to helping people, instead of fighting wars, for one. It would be a terrific way to both lead as well as earn that Nobel Peace Prize he already won at the beginning of his Presidency.

Let's hope he seizes these last moments he has on the world stage.

This date, above, is, I think, one such time and place.

The problem--and a solution--of our health care system

I've written here many times on how our American health care system is, insanely and without morals, the most expensive health care system in the world.  I think it too important not to keep repeating and writing on until we do something about this ugly, gross, inhumane injustice.  So here's another. I'll keep it brief.

It was spawned by an excellent, even important and enlightening article from Sunday's New York Times:

Here is a basic fact of health care in the United States: Doctors and hospitals know what they charge, but patients don’t know what they pay. As in any market, when one side has no information, that side loses: price secrecy is a major reason medical bills are so high. In my previous column, I wrote about the effect of this lack of transparency on the bills patients pay out of pocket.

We know about these bills, which hit us directly. What most people don’t know, because the costs are hidden, is that the same imbalance exists with insurance. The employers and employees who buy health coverage have delegated vigilance over health care costs to insurers — but insurers, for the most part, have gone AWOL...

Fortunately, but by necessity, a company in Texas found a bit of a solution to the obscenely high costs of our health care system by sourcing it out themselves.  As it turned out, they saved many, many thousands of dollars in expenses and were then able to offer even better care and at a far lower cost to their employees and the company:

Under Blue Cross’s P.P.O., the company had been paying $10,000 per visit for dialysis patients. Now it was paying $975. Other costs dropped commensurately. After the first year, the company lowered premiums by 3 percent and increased coverage, providing free vision, dental and life insurance to all its employees, including part-timers. “We saved so much money we were able to hire a third-party contractor to establish a medical clinic in our office,” said Marrs. “We provide a free primary care physician in our office to all employees and their dependents.”

So, basically, now we're getting to the end of our financial ropes regarding health care, some good, old fashioned communication and yes, even some Capitalism and competition is bringing prices and costs down, drastically.

And thank goodness.

It's long, long overdue.

It's not a "big picture", long term, widespread answer and solution but it's a good start.

Quote of the day--on another inequality

The churches should be screaming bloody murder.

And coordinating and organizing protests.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

People on food stamps are the problem?

Some facts and one moral truth:

It's not the poor man that's the problem with our nation or debt or deficits, ladies and gentlemen.

Quote of the day--on fairness and morality in America

And plenty of us concur.

Another Republican, this one from Missouri, no less, making us so proud

The stupid.

It burns.

Rep. Paul Wieland

Missouri legislator files suit to be exempted from contraception mandate in state health plan

Said another, better way, at the same paper:

Male Legislator Seeks Personal Exemption from Contraceptive 

Check out this little beauty:

ST. LOUIS • A Missouri legislator asked the federal court on Wednesday to exempt his family from contraception coverage through the state insurance plan, saying it violates his religious beliefs as a Catholic.
Rep. Paul Wieland, R-Imperial, and his wife, Teresa, filed suit in U.S. District Court downtown against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and two other federal agencies. It asks the court to declare that the mandate for contraception coverage in the federal health-insurance law, known as Obamacare, violates their First Amendment freedom of religion.
Fortunately, this blogger pointed out the ignorance and even stupidity of his move:

You Know Your Religion Isn't the Only ReligionRight?

So just because this law goes against HIS religion, the legislator's, he thinks it should also not be allowed for any other person or religion in the entire state of Missouri.

And again, keep in mind, this is the political party of "small", unobtrusive government.



Got it.

The ACA for Seniors

Still more facts on "Obamacare" and who it's for:

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Walking in another's shoes

I saw this earlier this week and thought it extremely appropriate any day and for everyone but especially apppropo on a Western Sunday.

Enjoy your Sunday, y'all.

And empathize today.

How about it?

Quote of the day--on this life, living and this world

“It’s just an accident that we happen to be on earth, enjoying our silly little moments, distracting ourselves as often as possible so we don’t have to really face up to the fact that, you know, we’re just temporary people with a very short time in a universe that will eventually be completely gone. And everything that you value, whether it’s Shakespeare, Beethoven, da Vinci, or whatever, will be gone. The earth will be gone. The sun will be gone. There’ll be nothing. The best you can do to get through life is distraction. Love works as a distraction. And work works as a distraction. You can distract yourself a billion different ways. But the key is to distract yourself.”

--Woody Allen

With thanks and a hat tip to Matt Payton's Tumble-o-rama from whom I lifted this quote, earlier this week.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Entertainment overnight

"People Who Are Ruining America"

Thank you, Stephen Colbert and Colbert Nation:

Something the Pope and Catholic Church did so rightly, back in 1839

But that was totally, utterly ignored by the rest of the world:

In 1839, Gregory wrote that:
[W]e have judged that it belonged to Our pastoral solicitude to exert Ourselves to turn away the Faithful from the inhuman slave trade in Negroes and all other men. [...] [D]esiring to remove such a shame from all the Christian nations, having fully reflected over the whole question and having taken the advice of many of Our Venerable Brothers the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, and walking in the footsteps of Our Predecessors, We warn and adjure earnestly in the Lord faithful Christians of every condition that no one in the future dare to vex anyone, despoil him of his possessions, reduce to servitude, or lend aid and favour to those who give themselves up to these practices, or exercise that inhuman traffic by which the Blacks, as if they were not men but rather animals, having been brought into servitude, in no matter what way, are, without any distinction, in contempt of the rights of justice and humanity, bought, sold, and devoted sometimes to the hardest labour. Further, in the hope of gain, propositions of purchase being made to the first owners of the Blacks, dissensions and almost perpetual conflicts are aroused in these regions. We reprove, then, by virtue of Our Apostolic Authority, all the practices above mentioned as absolutely unworthy of the Christian name. By the same Authority We prohibit and strictly forbid any Ecclesiastic or lay person from presuming to defend as permissible this traffic in Blacks under no matter what pretext or excuse, or from publishing or teaching in any manner whatsoever, in public or privately, opinions contrary to what We have set forth in this Apostolic Letter. 

The Roman Catholic Church, in 1839, came out squarely against slavery.

Can you even imagine if the world listened and followed?