March 20, 2010 archive

30 Rock and the Arrival of Late Capitalism

Ordinarily I’ve avoided referencing pop culture in my posts, but forgive me again for doing so once more.  I’ve been inspired to write on this topic based on watching this past Thursday’s 30 Rock episode.  Its main idea implies that this naggingly persistent Great Recession was largely a result of those in big business who went for the easy, predictable sell and in so doing completely eliminated the idea of risk.  In the episode, a fictional company that has recently bought NBC’s parent company, General Election, has devised a scheme to generate an endless supply of guaranteed income–namely, hundreds of channels of pay-per-view internet pornography.  The revelation doesn’t sit well with Jack Donaghy, the Alec Baldwin character, a top ranking executive who is used to committing brainpower and elbow grease to creating innovations that sell, regardless of whether they are environmentally friendly, exploitative, gimmicky, or completely useless.  As he puts it, the new company has made his entire skill set obsolete and reduced making money to a robotic perpetual motion machine.

Many pertinent issues are raised in the episode.  Among the most notable is the suggestion as to whether or not consumerism and consumer capitalism ought to be viewed as some sort of necessary evil.  Jack Donaghy is frequently an unsympathetic character on the show, but he does represent the very American idea that buckets of money can be made for those clever and resourceful enough to come up with a product or concept the public will clamor for, regardless of how stupid, pointless, or wasteful it might be.  This has indeed been the criticism many of us on the Left have made over the years when we contemplate our obsession with the acquisition of possessions to no real positive end.   When played off the idea that even necessary evil has been corrupted by an unimaginative scheme which promises guaranteed rates of return and no possible margin for error, the larger question is whether our current economic downturn was, in part, caused by risk-averse thinking.  Have we exchanged necessary evil for unnecessary evil?

Instead of taking a chance and risking gaining either great wealth or a setback, it appears that some have ventured to circumvent the old ways.  Though I am certainly no fan of the capitalist system, it is my understanding that, based on its rules, anyone and everyone is given the opportunity to try their hand at making money.  Some efforts succeed and some efforts fail, certainly, but that’s just the nature of it.  Many have made fortunes and lost them outright and many have achieved much in the way of capital through the process of trial, error, and dogged determination.  But when that enterprising spirit and simultaneous revelation that one achieves when realizing that life itself is a series of ups and downs—when that become obscured by a desire to take the easy way out—then we all are simultaneously inhuman and poorer in the end.

Whether or not we believed that the American Dream was a dream deferred or a bad dream in the first place, it is interesting to ponder whether it has been royally short-circuited.  To be sure, there were certain economic theorists and historians who had long proposed that something like this was an inevitability.  Those in particular who espoused the theory of late capitalism would seem to be validated by the episode’s premise.  We who have long spoken out against the injustices and inequalities of the existing system have nonetheless learned to live with it, and the idea that a brand new enemy may have taken the place of the old is certainly worth contemplating.  Still, predicting the ultimate demise of capitalism is a bit like setting a date for the end of the world, if not the Second Coming.  As it is written, brothers and sisters, you don’t need anyone to write to you about times and dates.  For you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.  

Secretly Reaping the Spoils {Blood Wealth} of War!

Payback started early in this war, actually like others it started right after the invasion and then the ‘winning of hearts and minds’ as the billions flowed in and much were lost, just plain lost! They should make a movie or tv show about that, call it ‘lost’, make more sense then the one they got now.

Blair’s secret oil links to Mideast revealed

Jane v. Ezra


The thing I have learned above all else in this campaign is that the corporate control of government is much more extensive than I ever imagined, and the tools we have to fight its influence are ineffective.


This year, the Obama administration succeeded at neutralizing every single industry.

Compound F:

double face-palm.

Weekend News Digest

Happy Vernal Equinox. At 1332 hrs EDT, it will officially be Spring. Hurrah! A time when we start thinking about gardens, spring cleaning, Easter, Passover, barbecues, parks beached vacations…..The sun hovers directly over the equator and there is an equal amount of day and night. We Wiccans call this day Ostara and decorate with green candles, spring flowers and colored hard boiled eggs, symbols of fertility and the new growing season.

Democrats Have Joined the Choir Invisible

“Hello, DNC, I wish to register a complaint.”

“Sorry, we’re closing for lunch.”

“Never mind that.  I wish to complain about this Party you sold me.”  

“Oh yes . . . the . . . uh, the Democratic Party.  Uh . . . what’s wrong with it?”

“I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it.  It’s dead, that’s what’s wrong with it.”

“No, no, it’s . . .  uh . . . it’s resting.”

“Look, I know a dead Party when I see one, and I’m looking at one right now.”

“No, no, it’s not dead, it’s . . . it’s resting.  Remarkable Party, the Democratic Party, isn’t it?  Beautiful plumage!”

Obama: Change We Can Believe In Pictures, Images and Photos

“The plumage don’t enter into it.  It’s stone dead.”

“No, no, no.  It’s just resting.”

“All right then, if it’s resting, I’ll wake it up.   Hello, Democrats!  Hello!  I’ve got a lovely contribution for you if you–”

“There!  It moved!”

“No, it didn’t move.  That was Obamabots hitting the cage.”

This Week in Health and Fitness

Welcome to this week’s Health and Fitness. This is an Open Thread.

Women More Likely to Die After Heart Attack

Study Suggests Women Aren’t Treated as Aggressively as Men Who Have Heart Attacks

By Charlene Laino

WebMD Health News

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

March 16, 2010 (Atlanta) — Better heart treatment of women could help close the gender gap in heart deaths. Women would be more likely to survive a heart attack if they were treated more like men, French researchers say.

In a study of more than 3,500 people admitted to the hospital for a heart attack, women were far less likely than men to get angiography to visualize heart artery blockages or angioplasty to open up blocked arteries.

Women were about twice as likely to die within a month of having the heart attack, according to the study, presented at the American College of Cardiology’s annual meeting.

The higher death rate in women “is related to the fact that they don’t get the same treatments as men,” says Maria Rosa Costanzo, MD, an American Heart Association spokeswoman who was not involved with the study.

Women do not have the typical “chest pain” that is related to a heart attack. They often ignore the symptoms of tightness in the chest and indigestion that is not relieved with antacids are more typical symptoms in women.

Women’s Heart Attack Symptoms Different from Men’s

Symptoms may appear up to a month before attack

Research by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) indicates that women often experience new or different physical symptoms as long as a month or more before experiencing heart attacks.

Among the 515 women studied, 95-percent said they knew their symptoms were new or different a month or more before experiencing their heart attack, or Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI). The symptoms most commonly reported were unusual fatigue (70.6-percent), sleep disturbance (47.8-percent), and shortness of breath (42.1-percent).

Many women never had chest pains

Surprisingly, fewer than 30% reported having chest pain or discomfort prior to their heart attacks, and 43% reported have no chest pain during any phase of the attack. Most doctors, however, continue to consider chest pain as the most important heart attack symptom in both women and men.

The women’s major symptoms prior to their heart attack included:

# Unusual fatigue – 70%

# Sleep disturbance – 48%

# Shortness of breath – 42%

# Indigestion – 39%

# Anxiety – 35%

Major symptoms during the heart attack include:

# Shortness of breath – 58%

# Weakness – 55%

# Unusual fatigue – 43%

# Cold sweat – 39%

# Dizziness – 39%

As is now custom, I’ll try to include the more interesting and pertinent articles that will help the community awareness of their health and bodies. This essay will not be posted anywhere else due to constraints on my time. Please feel free to make suggestions for improvement and ask questions, I’ll answer as best I can.  

LGBT Aging: Still Out, Still Aging

It’s always encouraging to know that the insurance industry is looking out for our welfare.

In this case, the Metlife Mature Market Institute has done a study of GLBT boomers and our needs.  The study is called Still Out, Still Aging (pdf) and was done in conjunction with the American Society on Aging (ASA) and the LGBT Aging Issues Network (LAIN).  It is a follow-up to the 2006 study, Out and Aging (pdf).

Technical support was provided by Harris Interactive which sampled its GLBT Specialty Panel and as well as a general population online sample.  1206 LGBT 45-64 year olds were sampled and compared to approximately 1200 people of the same age drawn from the general population.  Four out of every five members of the comparison group knew at least one GLBT person.

A baby boomer was defined as someone born between 1946 and 1964.

Open Reassessment



If BlueDogs sink HCR I will put my foot so far up their a$$es they’ll be flossing with my shoelaces

Crossposted at Daily Kos

    The Republican wing of the Democratic party. The Blue Dogs. The ConservaDems. These assholes licked Bush’s fingers for a taste of his dinner and now they are biting Obama’s hand every time he reaches out to them. WHAT THE FUCK!!!!

    So here is the deal. I already despise the Corporatist sell out Blue Cross/ Blue Shield dogs. They undermine Democratic ideas and damage our brand, and if they stay quiet and out of the way I can suffer them, but mark my words . . . .

    If BlueDogs sink HCR I will put my foot so far up their a$$es they’ll be flossing with my shoelaces

    This will be a short diary, as what I have to say is fairly simple. Any politician who votes NO on this bill is officially my mortal enemy. They are rooting for my illness and poverty at best, and my death at worse. Why? Because they do not represent people, but instead they represent the greedy, bloodthirsty insurers, and the profit motive for a politician who does the insurers bidding is the bribe of campaign donations, all so the insurers can keep making their blood money profits. FUCK THAT AND FUCK THEM.

   With that being said, I can safely say that PeanutButterPAC will do it’s best to kick the ass of every NO vote on this Health Care Bill so hard their asses will be up near their armpits, and if you want to join up and help us, the more the better.

Rant continued below the fold . . .

DESERTEC gets serious — Teams up with First Solar




Within 6 hours deserts receive more energy from the sun than humankind consumes within a year.


Over 90% of the world’s population could be supplied with clean power from deserts by using technologies that are available today.

The Tech is Available TODAY.

Two Photos From Afghanistan

Afghan Children in Prison

Jamila, left, plays on a seesaw with children of other female inmates on the prison yard of Pul-e Charkhi prison in Kabul, Afghanistan April 17, 2008. Jamila, age 7, and her mother Najiba who is serving a seven year sentence for adultery, have been in prison for 10 months. There are 226 young children in Afghanistan’s prisons, including many who were born there. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

The little girl on the high end of the seesaw looks stranded, and you can almost imagine that even if the other children wandered away, she might still float there, three or four feet off the ground, immune to the law of gravity…

And why should any natural law apply in that goddamned place, any more than any natural law applies in a video-game, beside a Humvee-space-invader, at a forward operating base in Helmand, Afghanistan?

aptopix Afghanistan U.S. Marines

LCPL Jordan Mitchell of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit plays a hand held video game lying on his cot next to his humvee at a forward operating base in southern Afghanistan Friday, April 25, 2008. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

Docudharma Times Saturday March 20

Saturday’s Headlines:

Web produces new generation of China activists

Separating fact from fiction in Iraq war films


Acorn on Brink of Bankruptcy, Officials Say

North Dakota residents on tenterhooks, eyeing Red River’s rise


The Norway town that forgave and forgot its child killers

‘I was a victim of abuse. This is what the Pope must do to stop it’

Middle East

Netanyahu heads to US as settlement row rumbles on

In tight Iraq parliament vote, upsets point to future battles


Arabs throw in their lot with ‘global terrorists’ in war against the infidel

Former captive’s silence speaks volumes


Minister: Sierre Leone rattled by disaster hoax

Latin America

I am infected by the peace virus, says President Lula as he seeks UN job

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