Friday, December 23, 2005

What's your elf name?

Here's mine. Yes, too silly.




Your Elf Name Is...



Flakey Sticky Fingers


Sunday, December 18, 2005

Preview to Morning Sedition RIP

I just read Jonathan Larsen's posting on his blog Petty Larseny about the death of Air America's Morning Sedition. I still haven't been able to get my thoughts straight about this; I'm devastated and furious. But here's what I posted in response.
Thank you for telling us the sad, stupid truth. I cannot believe I will not be hearing Marc and Mark tomorrow morning. I, too, will be among the multitude downloading past episodes to play over again.

Danny Goldberg was a "suit" in the music business, riding on the talent of the artists, and is still a "suit," with no creativity, vision or, apparently, a sense of humor.

Morning Sedition was the future of progressive radio. The show talked about not only politics, but culture; its humor was not only intelligent but often silly and stupid. These guys had their fingers on the pulse of the liberal zeitgeist above and beyond politics.

I mourn its passing with not just sadness, but fury. How dare they keep the banal, insipid Jerry Springer?? How is he more worthy than Marc and Mark?

I urge all listeners to boycott AAR. Nothing against Rachel Maddow, but I want the ratings to plunge. That's the only way the suits in charge will realize their mistake.

Listen up, sheeple!!!


Friday, December 09, 2005

Letter to the FCC

SUBJECT
Request: Please stop Bill O'Reilly from inciting hate, intolerance and violence

I would very much appreciate it if the FCC would put a halt to the spreading of hate speech by Fox Broadcasting Co. and Bill O’Reilly. The FCC already lets Fox get away with calling itself a “news” channel, even though its talking heads blatantly and repeatedly violate the First Amendment (by deliberately spreading lies about public officials and public figures with reckless disregard for the truth) and the FCC’s own regulations against personal attacks, noted below.* The lies this station spouts nearly 24/7 are well documented on such sites as MediaMatters, FactCheck.org, and Newshounds, which all use transcripts and audio and video files to back up their research.

But to do nothing to stop Bill O’Reilly’s heinous, belligerent and callously vicious call for violent action against those he considers are waging a “war against Christmas” is just as good as condoning it. The FCC’s regulation against “Clear and Present Danger” allows the FCC to curtail such speech if it intends “to incite or produce dangerous activity.”

A typical quotation from one of O’Reilly’s rants clearly indicates such an intention:
“I am not going to let oppressive, totalitarian, anti-Christian forces in this country diminish and denigrate the holiday and the celebration. I am not going to let it happen. I'm gonna use all the power that I have on radio and television to bring horror into the world of people who are trying to do that.”

(source: mediamatters.org/items/200512070010)
I am a firm believer in free speech and a card-carrying member of the ACLU, but as a non-Christian I feel threatened and frightened by O’Reilly’s escalatingly aggressive hatred toward anyone who does not share his warped view of Jesus’ philosophies, which were peaceful, loving, and tolerant. O’Reilly’s crusade would violate any non-Christian’s rights to equal protection under the law.


(*Personal Attacks. Personal attacks occur when, during the presentation of views on a controversial issue of public importance, someone attacks the honesty, character, integrity, or like personal qualities of an identified person or group. No more than a week after a personal attack, the station must transmit the following three things to the person or group attacked: (1) notification of the date, time, and identification of the broadcast; (2) a tape, script or accurate summary of the attack; and (3) an offer of a reasonable opportunity to respond on the air.)

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Happy? Resentful?

OK, I know I should be happy that the American public is finally seeing the light, with Dubya's ratings lower than low, Dems winning back two gubernatorial seats, Ahnuld's four ballot measures resoundingly shot down. But part of me is really, really, really annoyed.

Really annoyed. As in:

WHERE the fuck have these people been LIVING for FIVE YEARS??!!??!!

The rampant cronyism, ignorant arrogance, stupid bloody-mindedness and rank fascistic tendencies of this administration were evident before Bushie was (s)elected. But he didn't win that election, so let's forward to 2004. By that time, the abyss of this regime's shortcomings was painfully obvious. And it was painful, painful, painful.

I'm still not convinced that Bushie won 2004, either, but the vote was certainly too close for comfort. But now people are finally on the bandwagon? I should embrace them and lead them happily into the light, but they've cost us. They've cost the United States. Their blinkered refusal to look reality in the eye has killed thousands of people, damaged--perhaps irreparably--the environment, and gutted the Constitution.

And now these people are unhappy. Well, D-UH!!!

Welcome to the bandwagon. You can start by cleaning up all the shit still remaining on your feet.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The "real" America


This about says it all, from the BeatBushGear Cafe Press store.

As the crypto-fascist NeoCon zombie brigade tries to circle their wagons, even Bush's trips to the Gulf to look concerned unravel to reveal the truth: nothing but callous blatant PR photo ops. The Salt Lake Tribune reported yesterday that the 1,400 firefighters gathered from around the country by FEMA, instead of using their firefighting, search-and-rescue, paramedic, or haz-mat skills, they were herded into a conference room in Atlanta, forced to sit through an eight-hour sensitivity training class, and told their were to be "community-relations officers for FEMA, shuffled throughout the Gulf Coast region to disseminate fliers and a phone number: 1-800-621-FEMA." This was on Monday, when their expertise might have been put to better use rescuing people and putting out fires.

To add insult to injury, a team of 50 of these firefighters were flown to Louisiana--so they could accompany Bush on his tour.
In addition, he apparently set up another photo op of the 17th Street levee being fixed, and yet another of an open air food distribution point. On top of that, rescue efforts had to be halted for hours while Bush was in the area, since the airways had to be kept clear.

Laura "It was an accident!" Bush did her part, as well. She commandeered the computer in Lafayette's Cajundome--the only room with phone and internet access for the evacuees--for eight hours, along with the food service rooms and the ladies showers, so she could manipulate a feel-good photo op "helping" seven evacuees.

The excellent Daily Kos blog expresses just the right eloquent outrage:
This is a clear signal of the depravity of this administration, were everything is political and nothing can be real. Nothing can be done simply because it's the right thing to do, or it's the best thing for America. There is a "real" America, and then there's Rove's America, where firemen serve the Republican Party and their leader, not people in distress. The Republican banner flies over the Stars and Stripes.
That the NeoCons are living in a different reality isn't such a surprise; it was admitted in an October 2004 New York Times Magazine article by Ron Suskind, where Suskind quotes a Bush aide:
The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''

I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read,
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed,
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

-- "Ozymandias," Percy Bysshe Shelley

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Barbara Bush: Things Working Out 'Very Well' for Poor Evacuees from New Orleans

In case anyone hasn't already read this absolutely revolting comment, now's your chance. This report from Editor & Publisher:
Published: September 05, 2005 7:25 PM ET updated 8:00 PM
NEW YORK
Accompanying her husband, former President George
H.W.Bush, on a tour of hurricane relief centers in
Houston, Barbara Bush said today, referring to the
poor who had lost everything back home and evacuated, "This is working very well for them."

The former First Lady's remarks were aired this
evening on American Public Media's "Marketplace"
program.

She was part of a group in Houston today at the
Astrodome that included her husband and former
President Bill Clinton, who were chosen by her son,
the current president, to head fundraising efforts for
the recovery. Sen. Hilary Clinton and Sen. Barack
Obama were also present.

In a segment at the top of the show on the surge of
evacuees to the Texas city, Barbara Bush said: "Almost
everyone I’ve talked to says we're going to move to
Houston."

Then she added: "What I’m hearing which is sort of
scary is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is
so overwhelmed by the hospitality.

"And so many of the people in the arena here, you
know, were underprivileged anyway, so this--this (she
chuckles slightly) is working very well for them."
Um, Mrs. Bush, Marie Antoinette called--she wants her disdain for the poor back.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Eloquent posts

A couple of eloquent blog postings:

Being Poor, on John Scalzi's Whatever blog:
Being poor is off-brand toys.
Being poor is a heater in only one room of the house.
Being poor is Goodwill underwear.
Being poor is not enough space for everyone who lives with you.
Being poor is thinking $8 an hour is a really good deal.
Being poor is relying on people who don't give a damn about you.
Being poor is an overnight shift under florescent lights.
Being poor is people angry at you just for walking around in the mall.
Being poor is people thinking they know something about you by the way you talk.
Being poor is knowing you work as hard as anyone, anywhere.
Being poor is people surprised to discover you're not actually stupid.
Being poor is people surprised to discover you're not actually lazy.
Being poor is never buying anything someone else hasn't bought first.
Being poor is getting tired of people wanting you to be grateful.
Being poor is knowing you're being judged.
Being poor is a box of crayons and a $1 coloring book from a community center Santa.
Being poor is people who have never been poor wondering why you choose to be so.
Being poor is knowing how hard it is to stop being poor.
Being poor is seeing how few options you have.
Being poor is running in place.
Being poor is people wondering why you didn't leave.


And Nick Mamatas' Nihilistic Kid journal has an entry from New Orleans resident Jordan Flaherty, Notes From Inside New Orleans. Excerpt:
I traveled throughout the camp and spoke to Red Cross workers, Salvation Army workers, National Guard, and state police, and although they were friendly, no one could give me any details on when buses would arrive, how many, where they would go to, or any other information. I spoke to the several teams of journalists nearby, and asked if any of them had been able to get any information from any federal or state officials on any of these questions, and all of them, from Australian tv to local Fox affiliates complained of an unorganized, non-communicative, mess. One cameraman told me “as someone who’s been here in this camp for two days, the only information I can give you is this: get out by nightfall. You don’t want to be here at night.”

While the rich escaped New Orleans, those with nowhere to go and no way to get there were left behind. Adding salt to the wound, the local and national media have spent the last week demonizing those left behind. As someone that loves New Orleans and the people in it, this is the part of this tragedy that hurts me the most, and it hurts me deeply.

Images of New Orleans’ hurricane-ravaged population were transformed into black, out-of-control, criminals. As if taking a stereo from a store that will clearly be insured against loss is a greater crime than the governmental neglect and incompetence that did billions of dollars of damage and destroyed a city. This media focus is a tactic . . . the hyper-exploited people of New Orleans are being used as a scapegoat to cover up much larger crimes.

City, state and national politicians are the real criminals here. Since at least the mid-1800s, its been widely known the danger faced by flooding to New Orleans . . . Yet government officials have consistently refused to spend the money to protect this poor, overwhelmingly black, city. While FEMA and others warned of the urgent impending danger to New Orleans and put forward proposals for funding to reinforce and protect the city, the Bush administration, in every year since 2001, has cut or refused to fund New Orleans flood control, and ignored scientists warnings of increased hurricanes as a result of global warming. And, as the dangers rose with the floodlines, the lack of coordinated response dramatized vividly the callous disregard of our elected leaders.

Thanks to lauramerle for the links!

Michael Chertoff is a puppet

Why do reporters keep asking Chertoff why the response was so slow? I mean, I know why they ask him, but do they really think he's just going to say, "oh, they're poor black people and we're not in any hurry"? Maybe they just like to see how many different lies and excuses he can come up with.

Sometimes I honestly think they want to wait until as many die as possible.

As Scrooge said about the poor in A Christmas Carol, "If they would rather die, they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population."

Halliburton hired for storm cleanup

get a load of this, buried in the business section:
HoustonChronicle.com

Sept. 1, 2005, 8:30PM

AROUND THE REGION

CONSTRUCTION

Halliburton hired for storm cleanup

The Navy has hired Houston-based Halliburton Co. to restore electric power, repair roofs and remove debris at three naval facilities in Mississippi damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

Halliburton subsidiary KBR will also perform damage assessments at other naval installations in New Orleans as soon as it is safe to do so.

KBR was assigned the work under a "construction capabilities" contract awarded in 2004 after a competitive bidding process. The company is not involved in the Army Corps of Engineers' effort to repair New Orleans' levees.
so dick cheney and his cronies are not just war profiteers but disaster profiteers. it's not enough they're CHEATING the us taxpayers with their inflated prices--and spoiled food--in iraq, and endangering soldiers, they're now going to do that in the gulf coast.

i'm speechless. but not terribly surprised, unfortunately.

The above news courtesy of the excellent folks at Citizens for Legitimate Government.

Friday, August 26, 2005

HANDSOME





Handsome
1994 - 2005
Rest in peace, my little Mr. Man, my little buddy

Sunday, July 10, 2005

The Bush lightbulb joke

How many members of the Bush Administration are needed to change a lightbulb?
  1. One to deny that a lightbulb needs to be changed.
  2. One to attack the patriotism of anyone who says the lightbulb needs to be changed.
  3. One to blame Clinton for burning out the lightbulb.
  4. One to tell the nations of the world that they are either for changing the lightbulb or for darkness.
  5. One to give a billion-dollar no-bid contract to Halliburton for the new lightbulb.
  6. One to set up a photograph of Bush dressed as a janitor, standing on a step ladder under the banner: "Lightbulb Change Accomplished!"
  7. One administration insider to resign and write a book documenting in detail how Bush was literally in the dark.
  8. One to viciously smear #7.
  9. One surrogate to campaign on TV and at rallies on how George Bush has had a strong lightbulb-changing policy all along.
  10. And finally, one to confuse Americans about the difference between screwing a lightbulb and screwing the country.

Thanks to Celia for this!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Bush's speech by the numbers

From the excellent site Think Progress

Bush Iraq Speech: By The Numbers
References to “September 11″: 5
References to “weapons of mass destruction”: 0
References to “freedom”: 21
References to “exit strategy”: 0
References to “Saddam Hussein”: 2
References to “Osama Bin Laden”: 2
References to “a mistake”: 1 (setting a timetable for withdrawal)
References to “mission”: 11
References to “mission accomplished”: 0

Friday, April 29, 2005

Bigotry rears ugly head in Lexington

The following is also an eye-rolling exercise in so-called journalism:

Here’s the story from the Associated Press, from the local NBC affiliate website:

Father Of 6-Year-Old Confronts School Over Book With Same-Sex Parents
 
LEXINGTON (AP) -- A dispute over a children's book that includes gay characters leads to the arrest of a father in Lexington.

David Parker refused to leave the Estabrook elementary school yesterday after a meeting with School Superintendent Bill Hurley. Parker confronted school officials after his six-year-old son brought home a book titled "Who's in a Family?" The book includes parents who are gay.

In a statement, Parker says he asked that he be notified in the future anytime his son is exposed to classroom discussion about same-sex households. Parker says the superintendent turned down the request.

When he refused to leave, Parker was arrested for trespassing on school property.


same story from the site 365gay.com:

Parent Arrested Protesting Gay Kids' Book
by Margo Williams 365Gay.com Boston Bureau

Posted: April 28, 2005  9:00 pm ET

(Boston, Massachusetts) Police arrested the father of a six year old boy after he refused to leave a Lexington, Mass. school where he was protesting against a children's' book with gay characters.

David Parker became enraged when he discovered his son had brought home the book "Who's in a Family.'

The book by Robert Skutch, and illustrated by Laura Nienhaus is aimed at children between three and seven. It catalogues a variety of multicultural contemporary family units, including those with single parents, lesbian and gay parents, mixed-race couples, grandparents and divorced parents.

But, it was the inclusion of same-sex parents that angered Parker. He confronted officials at the Joseph Estabrook School. 

Parker, who is a member of the Article 8 Alliance, which supports the ouster of four judges on the state's Supreme Judicial Court who ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, demanded that the book be removed from the school library and that his son be pulled from discussions about homosexuality whether they are in planned lessons or arise spontaneously, 

Lexington Schools Superintendent Bill Hurley rejected both demands. 

When Parker refused to leave the meeting police were called and he was charged with trespassing.

In court today Parker pleaded not guilty and was released on $100 cash bail and ordered to stay off school grounds.

After his release, Parker said teaching children about homosexuality should be left to parents not teachers.

"Because of the same-sex (marriage) law, people are treating it as a mandate to teach the youngest children," he said. "It is not a mandate to teach the youngest of children, particularly if parents say, 'Hold on, I want to be the gatekeeper of the information.'"


Worcester Telegram headline, with the AP story (and can you GET a WORSE headline?!?!):

Man arrested after dispute over gay lifestyle teachings pleads innocent

The Associated Press

CONCORD, Mass— A Lexington father who wouldn't leave school property after officials refused his demand to remove his 6-year-old son from discussions about homosexuality pleaded innocent to a trespassing charge Thursday.

David Parker, 42, of Lexington was released on $100 cash bail after his arraignment in Concord District Court and ordered to stay off school grounds.

After his release, Parker said he wanted to teach his son about gay lifestyles, not leave it to a teacher.

"Because of the same-sex (marriage) law, people are treating it as a mandate to teach the youngest children," he said. "It is not a mandate to teach the youngest of children, particularly if parents say, 'Hold on, I want to be the gatekeeper of the information.'"

Lexington school officials released a short statement dealing with the facts of the arrest and did not immediately return a request for comment.

Parker first complained to officials at Joseph Estabrook School in January, after his son brought home a book called "Who's in a Family?", which included pictures of same-sex households. He was arrested after a meeting Wednesday in which school officials refused to notify him whenever homosexuality was discussed and remove his son from class.

Parker spent the night in a cell at the Lexington police station.


And here’s the Christian extremist coverage, from the agape press:

Report: Christian Parent Arrested After Being Denied Say-So in Son's Education

By Jody Brown
April 28, 2005
(AgapePress) - A Massachusetts group battling judicial activism and the advancing homosexual agenda in their state is reporting that the father of a kindergarten student was arrested on Wednesday during a scheduled meeting with the principal of his son's school. Since January, the father of the six-year-old had been attempting to get his son opted-out from discussions portraying homosexuality as acceptable.

According to reports by the Article 8 Alliance, David Parker and his wife Tonia had been in e-mail contact with Joni Jay, principal of Estabrook Elementary School in Lexington regarding material brought home by their son from school. The "Diversity Book Bag" included a book titled Who's in a Family, which portrays same-sex parent families as morally equivalent to traditional families. The Parkers, over the course of several e-mails with Principal Jay, attempted to make it clear they wanted their son removed from the classroom any time discussions or displays dealt with homosexuality -- and they sought a commitment from the principal that their desires would be accommodated.

"You are not permitted to infringe upon our religious beliefs and parental rights or obviate our freedom of choice, to exclude our son from material that would expose him to beliefs contrary to the Word of God in our Christian faith," the Parkers wrote in a March 4 e-mail to Jay.

After attending an "anti-bias meeting" in early April, David Parker again requested a meeting with Jay, which occurred yesterday (Wednesday, April 27). Article 8 Alliance reports that during that meeting, Mr. Parker reiterated his demands: that the school inform him when the topic of homosexuality was to be discussed with his son, and that the school permit his son not be included in those discussions. Parker's requests were reportedly denied by the principal, the director of education, and the superintendent.

Parker refused to leave the school unless his requests were granted, says a press statement -- and then police were summoned, who informed the father he would be arrested if he did not leave the school. When he did not, school officials had Parker arrested for trespassing.

Article 8 Alliance says Parker spent the night in jail, and was scheduled for arraignment Thursday morning. Brian Camenker of the Alliance is a friend of Parkers. "This is an unbelievable outrage," Camenker states. "It's where last year's same-sex 'marriage' ruling has brought us."

Camenker's group is seeking to remove the four judges on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Council whose vote imposed homosexual marriage on the Bay State. The Alliance contends those four jurists unconstitutionally changed state law.

The group also is seeking to strengthen the state's "Parental Notification and Consent Law" so that parents would no longer have to "opt-out" their children in cases like the Parkers', but instead would have to choose to "opt-in." The Article 8 Alliance says homosexual activists are opposed to the move because they "know that this will stop the homosexual agenda in the public schools by giving parents the power."


and this guy has the unmitigated GALL to be on the anti-bias committee at the elementary school! i guess he just wants to make sure there’s no bias against intolerant ignorant stupid people.

Lexington Minuteman Online

Parents upset with silence day
By Bethan L. Jones
Thursday, April 28, 2005

The effects of the Day of Silence held at Lexington High School two weeks ago is anything but quiet.
     At the School Committee meeting Tuesday night, several parents and community members spoke out against what was called by one Lowell Street resident as the "homosexual agenda of Lexington High School."
     LHS was the location of adult protestng and students battling out agendas inside the school. The Day of Silence is a national effort to recognize those who feel disenfranchised because of the social bias against their sexual orientation.
     In the public comment section of Tuesday's meeting, several stood up to speak against the actions of school system.
     Parent David Parker of Bedford Street and a member of the anti-bias committee at Estabrook Elementary School said he was unhappy with the planned distribution of school books depicting homosexual parents.
     "[Schools] have unfettered ... access to children's psyches," he said, adding he resents being denied the role of gatekeeper of the information his son is exposed to.
     Parker said the accepting of homosexuality is inextricably linked to the sexual element of the lifestyle, something he felt the schools should not foster.
     Lorraine Fournier of Cedar Street said she finds "what's happening in the school system appalling," attributing the efforts to the "liberal agendas of the school system."
     She protested that words which demean students who are homosexual are banned from the schools but other words like "bigot" and "homophobe" are still used, making students who are exercising their rights feel threatened.
     "You have no right to do that to any student who walks through that door," she said.
     The School Committee and LHS Principal Michael Jones did not comment.


BTW, dontcha just LOVE that stupid woman’s comment in the last article, where she protests that it’s OK to use words like “bigot” and “homophobe” but it’s not OK to use demeaning words about homosexuals. This, of course, is an interesting First Amendment argument; theoretically maybe she has a point. Technically, realistically, and in context of creating an atmosphere of fear and fomenting hatred and perhaps violence, let’s just say we don’t see too many groups uniting to promote diversity and tolerance practicing HATRED and BIGOTRY in the name of religion or freedom. Hate speech is more likely to come under the 1st amendment exception of yelling “fire” in a crowded movie theatre for no reason.

All righty, this leads to the following, contacts for the school administrators if you feel like writing notes of support:

For the first story about the arrested bigot:
contact:
Estabrook Elementary

117 Grove Street
Lexington, MA 02420
(781) 861-2520
Joni Jay, Principal
jjay@sch.ci.lexington.ma.us


superintendent of schools
whurley@sch.ci.lexington.ma.us
William Hurley, Superintendent (781) 861-2550

for the second story about silence day:
Lexington High School

251 Waltham Street
Lexington, MA 02421
(781) 861-2320, ext. 1000
Dr. Michael Jones, Principal
mjones@sch.ci.lexington.ma.us

as for the lexington minuteman online, the only thing i could find for letters was a general “contact us” form for the herald, the parent company:
http://www.heraldinteractive.com/contactus/index.bg

there are pulldown menus to indicate where you would like your comment to be directed.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

I should be ranting about Time magazine's abhorrent neocon pandering . . .

. . . but it's too close to bedtime. Instead, another delightful news brief from The Onion.

New Tech-Support Caste Arises In India

NEW DELHI—Thanks to widespread outsourcing of telephone-service jobs, a sixth caste has blossomed in India: the Khidakayas, a mid-level jati made up of technical-support workers. "I am happy to be a Khidakaya," said technical-support agent Ranji Prasat, who speaks English with a flawless American accent and goes by the name "Ron" at work. "While we rank below members of the reigning order, those of us responsible for helping Americans track their online purchases and change their account PINs share many privileges not enjoyed by the merchant class below us." Prasat said he expects to marry another tech-support worker.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

EPA To Drop 'E,' 'P' From Name

March 23, 2005

WASHINGTON, DC—Days after unveiling new power-plant pollution regulations that rely on an industry-favored market-trading approach to cutting mercury emissions, EPA Acting Administrator Stephen Johnson announced that the agency will remove the "E" and "P" from its name. "We're notreally 'environmental' anymore, and we certainly aren't 'protecting' anything," Johnson said. "'The Agency' is a name that reflects our current agenda and encapsulates our new function as a government-funded body devoted to handling documents, scheduling meetings, and fielding phone calls." Thechange comes on the heels of the Department of Health and Human Services' January decision to shorten its name to the Department of Services.


No, not real. Just true -- a delightfully sarcastic news brief from The Onion.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Another reporter on the Neocon payroll

Reporter Accused of Producing Fake News for Florida Government

The South Florida Herald Tribune has exposed yet another case of a television reporter receiving public funds to produce PR news clips touting the work of state agencies. The newspaper said that while doing freelance reporting for Florida NBC stations and CNN, Mike Vasilinda had earned more than $100,000 over the past four years from contracts with the office of Gov. Jeb Bush and top state agencies. In an interview with the newspaper, Vasilinda maintained that he had put procedures in place to assure that there was no pro-agency bias reflected in his news reports. However, journalism ethics professor Bob Steele of the Poynter Institute told the Herald Tribune: "When journalists have loyalties to a government office or government agencies, those competing loyalties can undermine journalistic independence

From IMDb*'s Movie & TV News.

(*Internet Movie Database)

Monday, March 28, 2005

Some random thoughts about the media

While participating in a heated though civilized debate about the Schiavo debacle on a bulletin board I frequent, the subject of the media came up. And, invariably, the "liberal media" charge was dropped.

Lliberal media?? That's absolutely the most hysterical thing i've ever heard. There is no such thing as the liberal media--not the liberal media as portrayed by Fox "News" and all their ilk. The media is only as liberal as the people who own it--and who owns the media? International conglomerates, corporate robber barons like Rupert Murdoch.

Puh-leeze.

The Neocon Death Cult took over the government, they're wrecking the Consitution and eliminating the separation between church and state, and they won't stop whining and saying that they're victims.

Nope, the only "liberal" media--as in, the only media that tells the truth--can't be found in one place. Reuters is usually pretty good; The Guardian in the UK as well; and many many editorial and op-ed columnists in major papers--since news reporters apparently aren't allowed to cover things like Tom DeLay's criminal activities, or list the blatant hypocrisies and lies of this administration.

And when any stories like that manage to leak out, OMG, it's the LIBERAL media again! Hello??? Since when does the TRUTH have an agenda?? The TRUTH is neither liberal NOR fascist--excuse me, Neocon.

As for calling Fox anchors "commentators," that's certainly not how they present themselves. They present themselves as "Fair and Balanced." Yeah, right. If they called themselves the "Fox Opinion Channel" I'd have no problem with them.

So please, don't believe that liberal media crap. Ask yourself, instead, what the news outlet is actually reporting ON that makes them a target of that label. Ted Koppel wanting to read the names of the dead soldiers in Iraq as a tribute? Oh, horrible liberal media! Stories about people who have been kicked out of Bushie's Social Security dog-and-pony show across the country because they were wearing Democratic or anti-Bush paraphernalia--btw, not a campaign stop but meetings held with taxpayer's money that are supposed to be open to the public? What's that--haven't heard any of that? With all our liberal media? And what about all the war protests going on over the weekend--wait a minute, wasn't there something else that coincidentally happened this weekend?

We don't hear about HALF of the creepy stuff the administration is doing because editors/publishers avoid the stories. If we had a liberal media, Bush wouldn't be in the White House. He'd be in a big house, all right, but not the White House. And Al Gore would still be president.

Then someone said they never heard hate talk about Clinton the way they do about Bush.

Hate talk about Clinton is ongoing even now, into Bush's second term. Fox news and their ilk blame everything on Clinton. If they could find a way to blame Bush choking on a pretzel on Clinton they would have.

You don't think people hate Clinton the way they do Bush?? They accuse him of byzantine murder plots. They spent, oh, like $6 billion dollars of taxpayer money looking into something he allegedly did while governor of Arkansas--not while president--couldn't prove anything, all the while ruining people's lives with a McCarthy-like witch hunt, even driving one person to suicide?

That's a lot like hate.

Think about it--if Jeff Guckert/James Gannon had been given a press pass during Clinton's terms, honestly, what do you think the Neocon Death Cult would have done? Considering the viciousness with which they hounded him over something they couldn't prove that allegedly happened before he was president, I daresay drawing and quartering might have come up.

Yet where is the Ken Starr Gestapo to investigate this actual, proven breach of national security? And when anyone brought up what Bush allegedly did before he was president, they're jumped on.

One of the things that scares me the most is that this administration pays absolutely NO attention to what is going on outside their little boys' club. They want to do what they want to do, and facts don't matter.

That is truly dangerous.

And for the record, these people are not Conservatives. They're not even true Republicans. They are obsessed with power and money and greed, and it scares me that I don't know what they won't do to get it. I don't think they would stop at anything. Anything. Absolutely anything.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Words . . . not good . . . losing ability to think . . .

Can't understand. Makes no sense.

I'm finally overloaded. The Schiavo case has made me speechless with fury. The neocon death cult is the most monumentally arrogant, hypocritical, amoral, selfish, inconsiderate, repulsive, reprehensible, nausea-inducing group of so-called "people" that has probably ever existed. And how do they get away with it? Because they have been able to brainwash a large percentage of the population--the undereducated, the gullible, the self-righteous wackos, the greedy would-be robber barons and their brain-dead trust fund brats, the naively loyal. A vote for Bush was a vote for the death of democracy.

To use this tragic situation for political purposes--wait a sec, that's old hat for them. Just when their ability to use 9/11 as a political device might be getting a bit long in the tooth, here comes poor Terri Schiavo. And Bushit, the most-killingest-governor in the history of the U.S., has to hightail it back to the White House to sign a bill to not save a life, but prolong the misery of the family of a woman who has been in a persistent vegetative state for 15 years, whose brain is literally melting and is beyond medical care.

In one of the billions of cases of cynical hypocrisy that riddle Bushit's administration like prions through a Mad Cow-diseased brain, Dubya, while governor of Texas--killing mentally retarded people and prisoners whose lawyers fell asleep during trials--signed into law in 1999 the Texas Futile Care Act, which states that if a patient has not made a previous directive about life-prolonging care, the patient's spouse makes the call. And that was considered non-controversial.

Tom DeLay talking about ethics . . . Bill Frist making a medical decision based on a few minutes of a videotape (y'all remember him trying to say that AIDS can be transmitted through sweat? Yeah, he'd be my first choice of a doctor . . . ).

When are good old-fashioned Republicans going to grow some SPINES??? Doesn't this further example of government interference in not only a family's private tragedy, but the attempt to coopt the judicial branch--which has ruled in favor of Schiavo's husband, Michael, for many, many years--insult their supposed belief in non-invasive government?

My stomach hurts. The administration has been making me sicker and sicker since 2000. Anybody else feel that?

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Proposal to use abstinence funds in schools fails

Again, Massachusetts votes for facts, not fiction.



The Boston Globe

Proposal to use abstinence funds in schools fails

By Michael Levenson, Globe Correspondent | March 10, 2005

A proposal by Governor Mitt Romney that would have focused sex education programs on abstinence lessons in the schools was defeated by the Legislature yesterday, dealing the governor a setback on an issue dear to social conservatives.

The House voted 104-44 to continue the state's current policy of spending federal abstinence funds on television commercials and ads on subways and buses. The Senate also rejected his approach on a voice vote.

Romney and his allies in the abstinence education movement had hoped to send the money directly to classrooms, where they argued it would have been more effective in reaching teenagers.

The debate over how to spend a relatively minor grant of $740,000 from the federal government drew passionate lobbying from advocates on both sides of the issue and highlighted a simmering feud over how best to reach teenagers in a culture saturated with sex. Romney lost the battle, but succeeded in bringing the issue to the front of public debate.

''The governor believes the most effective abstinence education is done in the classroom, in a more personalized setting with young people," Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom said yesterday. ''It's really a question of how you can most effectively spend these limited dollars."

If Romney's measure had passed and the federal money had gone to schools, opponents say, it would have increased the focus on abstinence to the exclusion of other forms of sex education. It would have meant, for example, that educators receiving the funds could discuss only the failure rates of popular forms of contraception, without discussing their effectiveness in preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, opponents said.

''We don't think those programs are effective, and in fact they can be harmful because they're misleading, they're incomplete," said Melissa Kogut, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts. ''For young people who are already sexually active, they're not going to get the information they need to best take care of themselves or protect themselves."

Romney drew support from some Democrats, as well as the lobbying arm of the Catholic Church and the Massachusetts Family Institute. Opponents included the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, and other abortion rights groups, who argued the plan would limit what educators who receive the funds can discuss in the classroom.

Planned Parenthood was among the interest groups urging lawmakers to defeat Romney's proposal yesterday. Their advocates argued that condom use should be taught in the classroom and that abstinence funds are best spent on reaching a broader audience outside the schools.

''The big troubling question about these programs, is: are they actually causing disease transmission to go up because they discourage condom use," said Erin Rowland, a Planned Parenthood spokeswoman. ''That's really at the heart of this debate. It's the concern that they're putting teens at risk by spreading misleading information."

Since 1998, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health has spent its abstinence funds on radio and television ads for students ages 9 to 12 and 15 to 17 and to produce brochures and films in Spanish and English. The votes yesterday amounted to an endorsement of that policy and drew praise from abortion rights groups.

Abstinence education supporters expressed disappointment after the vote. They said that even if the measure had passed, schools would have been able to teach about contraception in other classes.

''The only foolproof way to prevent teen pregnancy is abstinence," said Maria C. Parker, associated director for public policy for the Massachusetts Catholic Conference, the church's policy arm. ''All the rest of them have a failure rate; someone has to get real about what's happening here."

The vote actually represented an about-face for the Legislature, which voted last year to spend the money on classroom lessons. Some lawmakers said they did not remember voting for the plan, and lawmakers repealed the measure several weeks ago. The back-and-forth spurred Romney, a Republican, to reintroduce the measure restricting the funds.

Representative Viriato Manuel deMacedo, a Plymouth Republican, spoke in favor of Romney's proposal on the House floor. ''The people that support the abstinence education programs believe it is best spent in the classroom, as opposed to pamphlets that sit on a table that never get used," deMacedo said.

Representative Eugene L. O'Flaherty, a Chelsea Democrat, crossed party lines to support Romney's classroom-based approach. ''This program is specifically designed to teach young men and young women about the values of abstinence," O'Flaherty said. ''Maybe one out of 10 will hear that message, but at least that one will."

Kristian Mineau -- president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, which also supported Romney's plan -- said he was worried that $740,000 would be completely ineffective if spent on a media campaign. Other supporters of abstinence education agreed.

''A television advertisement on MTV evaporates in seconds and costs millions of dollars," Mineau said. ''Births, [sexually transmitted diseases], abortion [are] linked to this, and these are all social issues that destroy the fiber of the family. So we believe abstinence is the most effective way to combat the social ills of the family."


© Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

'Morning Sedition' rules, Laurence Britt's "Fascism, Anyone?", Paul Krugman's sobering column

In case any of you out there are not listening to Air America's brilliant morning show, "Morning Sedition," I say this: WAKE UP, sheeple! You're drinking the Koolaid!
 
 
The hosts, Marc Maron and Mark Riley, have also been reading from Laurence Britt's article called "Fascism, Anyone?" (http://www.secularhumanism.org/library/fi/britt_23_2.htm). If you're not bone-chillingly frightened by this you're probably either dead or part of the neocon death cult.
 
Also today, Paul Krugman's column in the New York Times on "Debt-Peonage Society," the feudal/futile system of rule by the rich that the crypto-fascist zombies of the neocon death cult (brilliant Morning Sedition terms) are trying to push through (free registration required):
 
 
 
 
 
 

Friday, March 04, 2005

 'Dean Scream' Clip Was Media Fraud

From Truthout.org


 'Dean Scream' Clip Was Media Fraud
    By Edward Wasserman
    The Miami Herald

    Wednesday 23 February 2005

    The news media got an unusual bashing during last year's bitter electoral campaigns. They got slapped around from all sides, and everybody argued about how the media tried either to undermine Bush or discredit Kerry or both.
    Still, it's never clear why some media wrongs are made into a big deal while others slip by. Take the CBS "60 Minutes" report on Bush's military nonservice: The story itself was old, the dubious evidence was of dubious importance, and the broadcast had no discernible effect. It became a major scandal anyway.
    On the other end of the scale is an instance of clear-cut media wrongdoing that involved unquestionably fraudulent evidence and had dramatic consequences. This one, however, has gone largely unremarked. It is the famous incident involving Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean that is known as The Dean Scream.
    And with Dean's recent appointment as Democratic Party chairman it's being hauled out as constituting the ceiling on whatever political ambitions he might still have, proof that he's shaky, unstable, unfit to serve - Howard Dean's Chappaquiddick.
    You've seen the clip. After Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" at the Super Bowl, it's the most famous news video of 2004. Dean is addressing campaign supporters after he lost the Iowa party caucuses in January. He's screaming for no apparent reason, practically shrieking, ticking off the states where he's vowing to continue the race. His face is red, his voice breaking. He looks deranged. It's a portrait of a man out of control. It's documentary evidence that Dean lacks the temperament for high office.
    In fact the Dean Scream was a fraud, probably the clearest instance of media assassination in recent U.S. political history.
    Last year, a young cable news producer attended one of our twice-yearly Ethics Institutes at Washington and Lee University, in which students and journalists gather to discuss newsroom wrongdoing. He brought two clips.
    The first was the familiar pool footage of Dean in Iowa. The candidate filled the screen, no supporters were visible. Crowd noise was silenced by the microphone he held, which deadened ambient sounds. You saw only him and heard only his inexplicable screaming.
    The second clip was the same speech taped by a supporter on the floor of the hall. The difference was stunning. The place was packed. The noise was deafening. Dean was on the podium, but you couldn't hear him. The roar from his supporters was drowning him out.
    Dean was no longer scary, unhinged, volcanic, over the top. He was like the coach of a would-be championship NCAA football team at a pre-game rally, trying to be heard over a gym full of determined, wildly enthusiastic fans. I saw energy, not lunacy.
    The difference was context. As psychiatrist R.D. Laing once wrote: We see a woman on her knees, eyes closed, muttering to someone who isn't there. Of course, she's praying. But if we deny her that context, we naturally conclude she's insane.
    The Dean Scream footage that was repeatedly aired rests on a similar falsehood. It takes a man who in context was acting reasonably, and by stripping away that context transforms him into a lunatic.
    But that clip was aired an estimated 700 times on various cable and broadcast channels in the week after the Iowa caucus. The people who showed that clip are far more technically sophisticated than I and had to understand how tight visual framing and noise-suppression hardware can distort reality.
    True, some network news executives commented afterward that perhaps the footage was overplayed and offered the bureaucrat's favorite bromide, that hindsight is 20/20. But the media establishment has never acknowledged this as a burning matter of ethical harm.
    That's because the Dean Scream incriminates the entire professional mission of television news, which is built around the primacy of the picture. TV producers don't profess to offer meaning and context; they get you the visuals, unless they're gory or obscene. The notion that great footage would be not shown just because it's profoundly misleading - that's a possibility few TV news executives would entertain.
    That's why they're not eager to see the Dean Scream enter the canon of journalistic sin. And if that leaves Howard Dean's political future hobbled by a lie, so be it.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005