October 1, 2009 archive

noise. lots and lots of noise.

There’s too much going on. Too many issues. Too many fuck ups. Too many know-it-alls. Far too many experts. Too much of too little.

What am I left with? Huh. It was more fun fighting George W. Bush.

Cross-posted at Daily Kos

Answering a few questions

I do hope this is the only time I’ll have to address this meta. Over on Daily Kos, a user has stated that I, stormchaser, am both a Daily Kos user that goes by another nick and a sock of former Daily Kos user who was banned.    

I’m writing this both because I’ve been called out on that Daily Kos thread (which I shall not link) and to clear up an over two-year disinformation campaign against someone who is a dear friend.

More below the fold (please don’t jump if you’ve come to perpetuate strife…)

Four at Four

  1. The NY Tims reports the EPA moves to cut greenhouse gas emissions. “Unwilling to wait for Congress to act, the Obama administration announced on Wednesday that it was moving forward on new rules to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from hundreds of power plants and large industrial facilities.”

    “We are not going to continue with business as usual,” Lisa P. Jackson, the E.P.A. administrator, said Wednesday in a conference call with reporters. “We have the tools and the technology to move forward today, and we are using them.”

    The proposed rules, which could take effect as early as 2011, would place the greatest burden on 400 power plants, new ones and those undergoing substantial renovation, by requiring them to prove that they have applied the best available technology to reduce emissions or face penalties.

    The LA Times adds the New rules would force industrial plants to minimize emissions. The rules “would cover the sources responsible for 70% of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., the EPA said”.

    Meanwhile, The Guardian reports Senate Democrats unveil climate bill calling for a 20% cut in emissions. Senators John Kerry and Barbara Boxer unveiled on Wednesday legislation titled the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act. The bill “would push for a 20% reduction from 2005 levels by 2020 and an 83% reduction by 2050” which is “more ambitious” that the 17% cut passed by the House in June.

Four at Four continues with UN fires American diplomat in Afghanistan, Obama’s war in Afghanistan, and ‘homegrown’ terrorists.

If You Still Think That Fox News Is Not Racist…

This summer has seen an abundance of animosity directed at America’s new president. Town brawlers congregated at local Shriner’s clubs shouting to take “their” country back. Tea Baggers descended on Washington with posters of the President as an African witch doctor. When we weren’t marching toward Socialism we were euthanizing our grandparents. And through it all there was an overbearing stench of racism. It was stench that emanated most noticeably from Fox News, who went to extraordinary lengths to deny it. They complained that they were vilified as racist just for disagreeing with a black President – who himself was a racist according to Glenn Beck.

So if Fox News was not race-baiting, what would you say these folks have in common?

Pictured above (left to right) are Barack Obama (President), Van Jones (former White House Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation), Mark Lloyd (FCC General Counsel/Chief Diversity Officer), Valerie Jarrett (Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement), and Patrick Gaspard (Director of the White House Office of Political Affairs). And their obvious commonality is that they are all patriotic public servants with records of distinction and achievement, right?. Oh yeah…they are also all targets of Fox News conspiracy mongers like Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity.

Hmm…Any other similarities?

BrokenRoots: Heros for Homeless: Free Screenings of Michael Moore’s Movie Tonight

Movie marques in cities across America tonight showcase “free admission” to Michael Moore’s latest film,”Capitalism: A Love Story” for anyone who’s “fallen on hard times.”

“To kick off the national release of “Capitalism: A Love Story,” I’ve asked the studio to offer a number of screenings in the nation’s hardest hit cities — the ones with the highest unemployment rates and highest foreclosure rates — where those who’ve lost their jobs or who are in foreclosure (or have already been evicted) may attend my film free of charge,” Moore writes.  “They’ve agreed, and so tonight (Thursday), the night before our opening day, ten cities will grant you free admission if you have fallen on hard times. The list of theaters and cities is below. You don’t need to bring any proof of your situation — just show up — it’s the honor system, no questions asked. Link

The free 7:30 p.m. screenings are scheduled in Saginaw, Michigan; Elkhart Indiana;Peoria, Illinois; Las Vegas, Nevada, Fresno, California, Phoenix, Arizona, Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina;Baltimore, Maryland, Tampa/St. Pete/Florida and Cleveland, Ohio. For information on theater locations, click here.

“Capitalism, A Love Story” debuts tomorrow.

(from dmott9’s flickr photostream

Polanski: Too Many Men Just Don’t Get It.

In 1977 I was 14. I was one year older than Roman Polanski’s victim. That summer, I had my first ever viewing of a man’s penis. He had a knife against my neck.

I broke a bottle and held it against his, and told him he would certainly kill me, but he had better be ready to bleed first.

I cannot tell you how much weight that incident put on my young, Catholic schoolgirl, innocent shoulders. I cannot tell you how long it took for the fear of “any man may be a predator” took to recede. I cannot tell you how my own reaction, being capable of committing the most grievous “sin” of murder, hurt my soul. Until then I had a hard time even coming up with anything to tell the priest during weekly confessions. I lived my life trying to avoid sin at any cost. There was no such thing as sex ed in Catholic School. All I knew is that we weren’t supposed to think about it, and that it was holy and for marriage.

I do know there was a code of silence, and a tremendous feeling of guilt. It instilled in me a feeling that men were natural beasts, and that perhaps I had done something wrong, daring to ride my horse to a park with my friend, then laying out in the sun in our bathing suits, drinking Pepsi, eating pretzels and Reeses Cups and playing backgammon. Mentally, emotionally, I was a child. I was no sexual being. It threw me off sex until I was 19, and in love for over a year and a half, long after I had lost my religion, I finally lost my virginity.

That was not the last time I was victimized either. Later a rapist broke into my house, but thats a story for another day.

I still carry scars, from attempted rapes and domestic violence. My fear factor can still be triggered to where I cringe and run, or stand and fight. I will never be able to have casual sex, I need an extreme trust and love level. Tell me there is no baggage.

Would I have created this street chick, badass, cursing persona had I not needed armor? Who would I have been had this not happened to me? Is that person still inside me somewhere?

The backlash to Polanski’s arrest says three things to me, things that my own life has proven:

Entrenched elites and the fallacy of hope

America is bogged down in an economic and political crisis, but the overarching problem is that of a failure of elites. The people who have gained top leadership positions in business, government, and non profit institutions in the last two decades have demonstrated extremely poor performance. Why can’t we replace this generation of bad leadership? Because the elites have learned how to defend themselves through elaborate networks of personal alliances.

Any attempt to remove a top leader is checked by that leader’s allies. You can’t get rid of idiot NY Times columnists like Friedman or Brooks, because they are defended by incompetent chief editor Keller. You can’t get rid of Keller, because he is defended by irresponsible owner Sulzberger. You can’t get rid of Sulzberger because he is defended by investors who owe him favors.

The same problem exists in just about every large, dysfunctional institution. Nobody bucks authority, because authority has the power to crush dissent. In a short time, America has changed from a pragmatic and independent nation to an enfeebled society dominated by cronyism. Managing “relationships” is now the crucial career skill, and every other consideration, including the public welfare, is secondary.

There will never be incremental reform of these elites. They must be replaced wholesale, and unfortunately that will not happen without considerable social turmoil. America’s elites have decided to defend their rich franchises against the public interest, but the public interest will prevail. This harsh and difficult struggle will define the next decade.

The Polanski Case: Morality Play Aside, What are the Real Motives?

Roger Simon in The Politico writes today about the extradition drama surrounding the arrest of director Roman Polanski.  Simon’s greater point is, of course, that those who are blessed with great talent are not always those who are blessed with the greatest moral fiber.  When a person who has achieved great fame for high artistic achievement gets in trouble, he or she suddenly finds himself or herself with a multitude of apologists and sycophantic admirers.  And yet, I would be remiss if I neglected to add that until fame is achieved, however, society and the creative class views any unknown artist as merely another odd bird either unable or unwilling to conform and certainly worthy of no one’s pity.  

Beyond a simple argument regarding the nature of cult of celebrity or the brutality of childhood sexual abuse, Polanski’s case concerns our own yearnings for attention and desire and how quickly we sell into the lies and cheap attention of celebrity.  Not only that, this contentious issue promises great appeal to those wishing to use it to pad their own resumes, insert another feather into the cap, or use the topic as a bargaining chip to strengthen a hand at the diplomatic table.  We have been contemplating one side of the issue, but I’d like to know more than the superficial.  These instances where art and law intersect are much more interesting.

To begin, a friend of mine, then enrolled in art school, expressed constant frustration to me and to anyone who would listen that the professors encouraged a high degree of eccentricity in each student, feeling that being weird for weird’s sake was a conditioned and necessary virtue.  The famous Irish wit Oscar Wilde, himself of no small ego and put on trial for his part in a sex scandal, noted that “no great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did he would cease to be an artist.” Most of these students needed no encouragement in this area but I suppose the implication was that in a world where “starving artist” was a label frequently pinned to even the most talented at the craft, one needed to do something to stand out.  Those who adhere to this philosophy never require much in the way of introduction.  We know some of them by their first name alone.  

Simon’s column makes light of several less than stellar human beings who were championed by Hollywood, writers, actors, and other well-connected individuals for their talents but were dismal failures regarding ethical and legal conduct.  One could, I suppose, also add Charles Manson to the list, as several members of The Beach Boys believed him to have genuine musical skills and even were willing to pay for demo sessions to record his ramblings onto magnetic tape.  If one surveys poets, playwrights, recording artists, composers, sculptures, painters, and the like one can easily find example after example of misanthropic, borderline criminal behavior.  The Beat Poets, for example, were a rowdy bunch of social defectives and proud hell-raisers.  I believe there to be at least two reasons for this:  the prevalence of mental illness is high among the creative and those who perceive of the world around them so acutely and with such unyielding, high sensitivity have a tendency to be unable to know how to guard themselves properly against an unceasing stream of emotion.  Some manage to find healthy ways to control and channel this simultaneous blessing and curse and some do not.      

My point in all this is neither to defend nor to accuse Polanski for his actions.  While I agree that his directorial work has frequently been genius, I don’t feel much of a compulsion to let that fact whitewash the serious crime which he himself has admitted to taking a starring role.  The morality of the matter has already been talked to death by voices better connected and more eloquent than mine.  I am, however, much more interested in the reasons WHY this matter has come to trial now, after the passage of thirty years.  What are the motives this time behind bringing the French/Polish director back to the United States to serve out his sentence?  Who truly seeks to gain from this?  Whose reputation will be padded by having brought Polanski to justice?  Who are the major players, what are their names, and what is their compulsion to prosecute now?

The coverage thus far has been predicated on a very small focus of what could be an enormous matter.  That we have not yet been provided with the names of those driving extradition proceedings is telling and likely deliberate.  Aside from the diplomatic wrangling between France and United States, the politics and the ulterior motives of this drama have been obscured and unrevealed.  That the media seems content to let us talk to death one sole facet amongst ourselves and amongst itself is quite interesting.  This either means they have nothing further to go on themselves or are being instructed to not give light to a detailed, complex analysis of the case.  When matters of International Law are concerned, complications frequently arise and specific issues remain resolutely thorny.  It could also be that precise details of this case will be rolled out one by one over the coming weeks, at which point the media will hash them out to exhaustion, only to be presented latest batch of compelling information.      

I myself have grown tired of debating morality as regards Roman Polanski.  Polanski’s offense has highlighted how eager we are to forgive significant offenses in our heroes, especially those who have found their way into that small, elite club we call celebrity.  I honestly understand those in that tight circle who defends him, because their motives are a result of both self-preservation and sympathy.  They’re aware of the obscene pressure of living in a fishbowl and having any shred of privacy destroyed by the effects of a society desperate to poke into their personal business.  They understand how easy it is to break down, resort to drug addiction, or come completely unglued under the pressure of the omnipresent white hot spotlight.  Moreover, they know how easily reputations can be destroyed by spurious rumors and allegations of misdeed.  Even so, they also know that the “Get Out of Jail Free” card often extended to those who have the financial means loses its potency whenever any celebrity is sent to prison, no matter how open and shut the case may be.  Viewpoints such as these require us to rethink the idea of fame and acknowledge its impact upon our society and we ourselves.

What does 120 People a Day look like?

Finally a Democrat, willing to fight Fire with Fire — I mean extreme Rhetoric with Rhetoric!

Kudos to Alan Grayson who has the guts to dish back to the GOP, the same  “strong language”that they’ve been dishing out for months!!!

Whose Side Are You On?  by Alan Grayson by Alan Grayson:

Last night, I went onto the House floor and did something that the Republicans aren’t used to.  I told the truth about the Republican health care plan.  The plan is simple:

  1. Don’t get sick.

  2. If you do get sick…

  3. Die quickly.

Sounds about right! The Party of No, Knows one thing — How to say NO!

It’s not like Grayson didn’t use any Facts to back it up …

44789 / 365 = 122.7 people per day

Die for “Lack of health insurance” …

What does 120 People a Day look like, anyways?

That about what it takes to fill up 2 city buses …

US Generals denounce a Dick named Cheney and his spoiled brat daughter. About Damned Time!

Crossposted at Daily Kos

    Two weeks ago, on 9/15/09, a few good men, actual Marines, told chickenhawks Ex VP Daddy Cheney and his Brat Daughter, who have never served in the military, to STFU, cause your not helping.

    Former Marine commandant Charles Krulak and former Marine general Joseph Hoar, who succeeded Schwarzkopf at Central Command, dress(es) down former VP Cheney on the issue of torture.

    “… we never imagined that we would feel duty-bound to publicly denounce a vice president of the United States, a man who has served our country for many years. In light of the irresponsible statements recently made by former Vice President Dick Cheney, however, we feel we must repudiate his dangerous ideas — and his scare tactics.”


    “What leaders say matters. So when it comes to light, as it did recently, that U.S. interrogators staged mock executions and held a whirling electric drill close to the body of a naked, hooded detainee, and the former vice president winks and nods, it matters.”


Bold added by the diarist

      If you like that, it gets even better below the fold.

Docudharma Times Thursday October 1

Thursday’s Headlines:

Plan Outlines Removal of Four Dams on Klamath River

Supreme Court decision may open up other gun laws to challenges

China shows off military might at 60th anniversary parade

Sacked envoy Peter Galbraith accuses UN of ‘cover-up’ on Afghan vote fraud

Once more with feeling, Ireland

Georgia began war with Russia, but it was provoked, inquiry finds

Israel to free women for video proving Shalit is alive

Nuclear watchdog condemns Tehran as showdown looms over uranium facility

On War, Obama Could Turn to GOP

Democrats Oppose Larger Afghan Effort

By Scott Wilson

Washington Post Staff Writer

Thursday, October 1, 2009

With much of his party largely opposed to expanding military operations in Afghanistan, President Obama could be forced into the awkward political position of turning to congressional Republicans for support if he follows the recommendations of the commanding U.S. general there.

Congressional Democrats have begun promoting a compromise package of additional resources for Afghanistan that would emphasize training for Afghan security forces but deny Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal the additional combat troops he has indicated he needs to regain the initiative against the Taliban insurgency. The emerging Democratic consensus is likely to constrain the president as he considers how best to proceed with an increasingly unpopular war.

Samoa Islands and Indonesia quake death tolls continue to rise

Two powerful earthquakes struck Sumatra, Indonesia, leaving at least 467 dead. Less than a day earlier, a quake in the South Pacific spawned a tsunami that has claimed more than 120 lives.

By David Pierson

October 1, 2009

Reporting from Beijing – The death tolls from two powerful underwater earthquakes less than a day apart continued to climb today as residents of the islands of Samoa and the Indonesian island of Sumatra began to dig out from the natural disasters that tore through their cities and villages.

An earthquake that struck western Indonesia on Wednesday killed at least 467 people, most of them in the coastal Sumatran city of Padang, according to news reports. Thousands more were believed dead, said Indonesian Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari, including many trapped in an estimated 500 buildings that toppled or were damaged in the magnitude 7.6 quake.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

A Transition through Poetry XXVII

Art Link


The Questions

When people ask me

“Who are you?”

I answer honestly

“I am me.”

When they ask

“What are you?”

I say “An individual, one,

And I am whole.”

When I’m asked

“Which are you?”

I know that others decide

that for themselves.

When I hear

“Why are you?”

The why is not important

“Because I am.”

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–February, 1995

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