January 29, 2010 archive

Afternoon Edition

Afternoon Edition is an Open Thread

Now with 42 Top Stories.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Disease spreads in quake-hit Haiti

by Virginie Montet, AFP

29 mins ago

PORT-AU-PRINCE (AFP) – Haiti’s desperate earthquake survivors faced a new threat Friday as the United Nations reported a rise in cases of diarrhea, measles and tetanus in squalid tent camps for victims.

A vast foreign aid effort is struggling to meet survivors’ needs 17 days after the disaster, which killed around 170,000 people and left one million homeless and short of medicine, food and water.

Several medical teams reported increased cases of diarrhea in the last few days in Haiti, Paul Garwood, a spokesman for the UN World Health Organization, said in Geneva.

What do ya’ say

Just had a gold star couple come in the shop looking for a flagpole on which they want to fly a USMC flag along with the US flag.  Their son was killed two weeks ago in Afghanistan two months into his fifth tour.  

Man, what do ya say, what can ya say.  I offered our condolences professionally and personally but whats that really mean.  Sometimes even in a simple job like this, selling flags, reality strikes home.

It Doesn’t Matter

Another unpopular post, lol, buckle your seat belts!

It doesn’t matter if Obama is a liar.

It doesn’t matter if Obama is a Corporate sell out.

It doesn’t matter if he is a tool of the PTB.

It doesn’t matter WHAT he is.

And above a certain level that is needed to stir your activism, it doesn’t matter how outraged you are about that, it doesn’t matter how much disgust you have for people who just can’t see “it,” and it doesn’t matter how much you beat people over the head with your opinions on it, or facts to back them up, or even to a lesser extent, how much history you muster on exactly what the United States is and who it is really run by.

Why doesn’t it matter? (Except for those few rare cases where someone’s eyes are just opening and you can help them see) I will let Morpheus explain, lol, in my continuing overuse of the Matrix as metaphor…

Morpheus: The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you’re inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.

Now the ‘enemy’ part is a bit overstated in our context, the people who have not yet opened their eyes, those who still think The System can work are NOT our “enemy.” And treating them, at least the ones who CAN wake up, as such hurts more than it helps.

Moleeds: The Secret Secret Of The Universe

In a presentation that can only be described as epic, comedian Charles Fleischer delivers a hysterical send-up of a time-honored TED theme: the map. Geometry, numbers, charts and stamp art also factor in (somehow), as he weaves together a unique theory of everything called “Moleeds.”

Best known as the voice of Roger Rabbit, Charles Fleischer’s multi-decade career includes work on stage and on screen, and an online emporium of unusual observations called MonkeyDog.

TED.com – Charles Fleischer insists: All things are Moleeds

18 Minutes

Open Letter: Climate Crisis


Narrowing the Gap Between the Industrial Age and the Information Age

During the State of the Union address, President Obama noted what a slew of other previous Presidents have noted–that the United States of America needs to start exporting goods again.  Few people can disagree with a statement like this, but what Obama, nor any of his predecessors have ever discovered is precisely what one would need to trade with other countries and in what form this new invention would take.  If were wise enough to know, I’d probably be well on my way to being a very wealthy man, so I don’t underestimate the challenge in front of us.  However, though I believe that the capitalist system caters more to the selfish side of us more than the altruistic one, with selfishness does come innovation for the sake of maximum material gain, and in that regard, perhaps our basest instincts might come to everyone’s aid, at least for a time.

Careworn phrases like “good old fashioned American ingenuity” have been utilized over and over again for at least a century, insinuating strongly that there was no problem beyond our grasp which would not eventually render a solution.  And, honestly, I don’t think that this mode of thought nor of rhetorical framing has ever really gone away altogether.  But what I do think is that we don’t often look for these signs so much for where they are so much as where we think they ought to be.  Everyone can drive by and see the looming, titanic mass of buildings that house a paper processing plant or a textile mill, but the more subtle evidence of, say, a software design firm is much less visible to our senses and our psyches.  Even though we may be headed towards a purely service-based economy, other developing nations are only now in the process of beginning their industrial phase of growth.  Though our example might be the means by which they set their sights and chart their course, one must also crawl before one walks.  

If we were all more or less on the same page the whole world round regarding economic parity, then exporting commodities would be a much easier task.  Right now we do retain some residual elements of an earlier day, but often our products can’t compete globally because they cost more to produce and thus they cost more to purchase.  I honestly believe that we can be indebted to one of two stances in this instance, but not both.  Either we pay people more in line of a fair wage, granting them adequate benefits— recognizing that this will ensure that many countries can always buy what they need at a cheaper price from another source, or we slash costs to the bone and with them salaries and benefits.  It goes without saying that I would never advocate the second position, but for the future going forward that model might be the only option that makes our products look attractive and compelling to another country or region’s buyer, based on the current state of affairs as they exist today.

Speaking specifically about food, for example, I note that our own cultural attitudes are often to blame for much of the disparity.  The more affluent among us can afford to be socially conscious by means of pocketbook and pay two times as much for products at a Whole Foods or a locally-grown produce Farmer’s Market.  The poorest, of course, simply aren’t afforded this option.  Americans might cut corners or scrimp to buy a wide screen television or to save up to take a vacation, but never towards food.  Food is always supposed to be readily available, unquestionably cheap, and supremely varied.  Organic food is a kind of innovation of sorts, since though its stated purpose is to use older methods of cultivation, it still combines elements of more modern technological strategies with the tried-and-true methods of a different time.  Though it would never willfully adopt this label, organic food is itself a hybrid concept—one that seeks the middle ground between old and new.  

These, of course, are previously established channels and instances.  As for what product or products would find favor among the consumers of the globe, one assumes upon first thought that the most likely innovation would come in the form of some new technological breakthrough, one perhaps tied closely to the computer or the internet.  However, like organic food, perhaps it would be best to seek for something with a foot in old ways and a foot in newer formulations.  The most enterprising soul would be wise to recognize that products can be designed purely with the intention of always having a reliably steady stream of buyers and demand, or that they can be modified in the hopes of both making money and pulling in less developed countries and regions more economically in line with ours.  Straddling the gap between the way it has always been and they way it needs to be is partially why we are at the impasse in which we find ourselves.  While I do believe that the phrase “ethical capitalism” is a complete oxymoron, I do also recognize that if we are left with a system unable to be discarded for quite some time, it would be much easier if we limited as many disparities and points of difference between people as we could, since then it would be able for us to better address the remaining and still quite numerous problems left over.  

We are still in the middle of a shift between an industrial economy and an information-based one, but at times our benchmarks and guideposts are indebted to a by-gone epoch.  Nostalgia is strong and so is the resistance to the way things were always supposed to be.  For instance, I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, a city which was forced to completely reinvent itself after the collapse of its native steel industry in the 1970’s.  In so doing, it embraced banking and a world-class health care center based around a university, both of which are the two largest employers in the metro area.  We might be wise to emulate their example, which is far from the only instance that a city teetered on a knife’s edge between survival and disaster and managed to righted itself.

It is a short-sighted, short-term gain over long-term ultimate resolution means of thinking that got us into our current mess.  American must learn that delayed gratification provides temporarily discomfort but eventual, eternal satisfaction.  Greed drives humans to go for the quick cash-in and the gravy train, instead of a more modest, but still very satisfying profit.  I don’t ascribe to a theory of American exceptionalism because I am too aware of the times at which we fall short, though I also recognize that we are far from the only country, society, or culture which has a tendency to opt for the quick fix rather than engaging in the soul-searching and introspection which leads towards true resolution.  Lasting success is based on hard work and research, not the accidental score.  

Neither do I count myself among the numbers of those who adopt a cynical tact towards American identity and greater purpose that seeks fault first and rarely gives room for success.  Somewhere between those who believe that our best days are yet to come and those who assert that we are soon going the way of the UK into second-tier country status is something close to the reality of the situation.  Still, what we require right now is a new kind of skill set, one willing to work with existing trends, rather than fight them, build up native industry without seeking salvation in the form of a foreign company with an open checkbook, pay a bit more than usual for household staples with the understanding that increased cost doesn’t always mean money wasted, and recognize that in a truly fair world, it shouldn’t matter who is number 1 or number 500.  If money is what makes the world go round, we can’t begin to get any other unfair construct in check until we ensure that monetary policy levels the playing field.  Real equality does not trickle-down and it never will.  

Iraq War Inquiry Resumed: Tony’s Turn

Haven’t posted anything in about a week or so on the Inquiry as I’ve had some other issues I’ve been following and there wasn’t really much more coming out as to the tidbits of what was happening on this side of the pond, my interest in this as the Brits are holding these hearings and that’s up to them to sort out there own leaderships guilt or innocence in justification for Iraq.

Tony Blair’s turn to testify is today and that’s already started, you can tune in here as he will be testifying for some six hours, these live video’s are then archived.

Not much has been covered as to these hearings here in the states even when mention of our administration, and others, were talking about taking down Saddam before 9/11, on 9/11 and shortly after and more.

Wild Wild Left Radio #50: State of the Unions: Security and Spin

Tonight at 6PM Eastern Time, WWL Radio!!!!!

Gottlieb and I will be alive and in color (or is that off color?) on WWL radio tonight to guide you through Current Events taken from a Wildly Left Prospective.

Hear the Unreported & Under Reported Headlines stories you should be paying attention to, from US Politics, to the all of the Americas to our South, to the farthest reaches of the Earth.

After the News briefs, our Headline Stories this week are the Two State of the Unions: News of developments in the Security State, and news Of the Spin State… that being the SOTU Address.

Start your weekend off with brain food served with humor. So, grab a cocktail, pull a log up by the fire and join our conversation.

We welcome your calls, to add opinions or questions during any of our segments.

Join Gottlieb and Diane tonight at 6pm EDT on Wild Wild Left Radio, via BlogtalkRadio, for News from the Real Left. No hand-wringing, no PC, just straight talk from reality based politics.

WWL Radio: Free Speech in Practice.

The call in number is 646-929-1264

Listen to The Wild Wild Left on internet talk radio

The live chat link will go live around 5:20.




Docudharma Times Friday January 29

Friday’s Headlines:

Toyota recalls undermine Japanese confidence in an industrial titan

Johann Hari: This corruption in Washington is smothering America’s future

Of Teen Angst and an Author’s Alienation

After Obama speech, Democrats confused about path ahead

Villepin cleared of smearing Sarkozy – now he wants his job

Wartime PoW escape stories were irresistible to film and television

Iran hangs alleged dissidents to warn opposition

Tony Blair faces ‘pivotal day’ at Iraq inquiry

Afghan legislators hold tentative peace talks with insurgents

Dodging bombs for a good book in Pakistan

Zelaya goes into exile in Dominican Republic

Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning

Ghost in the Machine

(Click on image for larger view)

Late Night Karaoke

Open Thread

A Day in the Life: A Winter Nature Cartoon

This is actually a repost of a week old diary but the tip jar is from today.

Somehow I got mixed op and in my confusion I decided that political blogging and Flicka are the same thing. I do many sunsets at Dkos and very often focus on the parks of New York City. My favorite being Van Cortlandt Park that was named after the city’s first elected mayor.

So I’m going to repost this little photoplay and see how it goes over here. Starting off with a picture from last week that has become my new favorite photo. This is the Van Cortlandt Lake in the afternoon sun.

The softer weather that everyone has been enjoying broke today. Before this morning’s snow it was some great walking weather.  While I’m always taking walks on the nature trails of the Bronx and by the Van Cortlandt Lake, I’ve had some company lately.  Some days the trails were as crowded as they are in summer.

Last week I photographed a father and daughter enjoying themselves feeding swans and below the fold is what I watched last Thursday.  It was a very enjoyable sight and would have made a nice moving picture.

Do you remember William Marshall “Let…the cartoooon…begin!”


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