Ninety-Nine Percent

Loving the Occupy Wall Street thing that is going on.  Several hundred people protesting the kleptocracy, as some call it, that controls much of this nation.  Absolutely love it. These fine people are standing and fighting for the rest of us, the other 99% that DON’T own America

Thing is, almost no one knows about it.  It goes completely uncovered by any mainstream news outlet.  Not even left leaning MSNBC has touched it.  Current TV has, but Mr. Olbermann and his network seem alone in wanting to cover this.  I understand there are other things going on in the world, but what do 1,000 people fighting the system have to do to get noticed by CNN or MSNBC?  The New York Times, whose people have to walk through it to get to their offices, ignored it for a week.  Why?

Simple.  They don’t give a shit about hundreds, perhaps up to 1,000 kids screaming in protest if they aren’t members of the bigoted, twisted un-American group known as the tea party. Because that’s what the media conglomerates think of them as.  Kids.  Not voters.  People they don’t have to take seriously.  The media is forgetting of course that these kids, who are anything but children are representative of a much larger group of people, most of whom couldn’t get to the protest for one reason or another. Like living thousands of miles away… or their being kept completely in the dark about it.

There would be more if more people knew about it.

Millions of us are disenfranchised and looking for a way to express that disenfranchisement, disillusionment and anger at what has been done to us. Occupy Wall Street is being blacked out by the media for a reason.  They don’t want that nerve struck here in America, they don’t want that anger, that disenfranchisement tapped. They’re uncertain as to what would happen and therefore afraid of the results of letting the entire nation know that there are people on the ground protesting their corporate masters.

Millions of us are disgusted with the way things are being done.  We bailed these billionaires out, and how do they thank us?  Withholding  boatloads of money that this economy could sorely use, and then making seem like it’s America’s fault for not making taxes low enough for them to bring the money back.

Fuck them.

These fine outstanding citizens at Occupy Wall Street deserve our attention and our praise, but most of all, they deserve to hear the outrage that all of us feel at the things these billionaires have done to us.  They deserve to see us stand with them, to see our faces in their midst, hear our voices join their chorus, and stand with them and against those on wall street who have made this world the unholy mess that it is.

I’ll get there when I can, I’ve been busy.  Keep a spot open for me.

___________________________

That’s it from here, America.  G’night.

I’m Clearly In A Good Mood Today

Am I allowed to laugh?

If assholes could fly, this place would be an airport

Laugh at all the crazy people in the media who tossed the words “possible terrorist attacks” around on the most recent go of 9/11?  Seems to me that a whole lotta nothing went on.  Doesn’t mean the people who actually NEEDED to know this stuff didn’t have reason to be on alert and on guard, they did, it’s their jobs to be on alert for this stuff.  But… look… I don’t mean to trivialize potential terrorist activity.  Nasty shit happens all over the world, but… ya  know… it gets old, this “little boy who cried wolf” bullshit the media and government agencies pulled this weekend.

If the people who need to know this stuff, the police and those with police powers (too damn many for my liking but that is another article) then why am I hearing about this?   I cannot see that the media attention does anything at all for anyone.  Except maybe give Ray Kelly a reason to get more beat cops out on the street to get a few hours of overtime.  Not against OT, but do I need a press conference to alert me of it?

But maybe I should point a finger of shame at myself here.  I don’t know that the simple act of alerting the world they know someone may be coming didn’t scare them off…

Wait… These people want to die as martyrs, and want us to die with them, or at the very least want to kill us.  That is something of an attention getter, and these people want attention for their causes, for their beliefs.  No organization with a media arm, and Al-Qaeda has one, can be said to be in any other business than that of getting attention.

Doesn’t fit the terrorist M.O. that they’d be scared off by a little attention, when attention seems to be exactly what they crave.  People don’t strap bombs to their asses to avoid attention.  This coverage, this press attention on the “potential terrorist attack” should have brought any of these nuts that want to die and/or want us dead out of the woodwork.   Fact that nothing happened should stand as mute testimony to the lack of any seriousness to the  “little boy who cried wolf” bullshit that was pulled on us this weekend.

_____________________________________

Viddy of the day:  Potential 9/11 anniversary terror plot details

_____________________________________

Man is the only Patriot. He sets himself apart in his own country, under his own flag, and sneers at the other nations, and keeps multitudinous uniformed assassins on hand at heavy expense to grab slices of other people’s countries, and keep them from grabbing slices of his. And in the intervals between campaigns he washes the blood off his hands and works for “the universal brotherhood of man” — with his mouth.

Mark Twain, Letters from the Earth, “The Damned Human Race,” v: The Lowest Animal.

_____________________________________

This man says "NO BATHROOM BREAK FOR YOU!"

And while I’m giggling mirthlessly at those jackasses and their terror alerts, can I laugh just a little at the people who lost their tiny little minds over the whole ” ZOMG THERE ARE PEOPLE IN THE BATHROOM ON MY AIRPLANE”  freakout?  Now, again I understand.  It was 9/11.  You Americans are an easily scared people.  If you weren’t you would not have reacted this way to events that in any other time in history would be considered normal.

One person who got ill, and a couple making out had the U.S. military breaking out fighter escorts.

Srsly.

The people who freaked out, and got the military involved here should be made to pay for fuel and take off and landing and any other costs of scrambling those jets for no readily apparent reason.

“But Mike!!! It was 9/11!!! We were scared!!!”

Good for you.  Now pay up.  Next time, knock on the bathroom door, talk to the people who are pissing like racehorses and find out what’s going yourself, instead of getting fighter pilots in fighter jets involved.

Have we become a nation of pussies? WTF?

____________________________________

I’m clearly in a good mood today.  🙂

Srsly I am, but this kind of stuff just drives me nuts.

____________________________________

That’s it from here, America.  Have a good one.

Teachers Make Too Much Money?

Teachers make too much money! is the title of a wonderful note I found floating on teh intarwebs(thanks for posting it Ed) about teachers salaries and how much they deserve for the job they do.  It is very àpropos with the complaints from the right-wing main stream media machine about how these teachers and others in Wisconsin are somehow stealing money from the public because they are in a union.  The text of the note follows:

Are you sick of high paid teachers? Teachers’ hefty salaries are driving up taxes, and they only work 9 or 10 months a year! It’s time we put things in perspective and pay them for what they do – baby sit! We can get that for less than minimum wage.

That’s right. Let’s give them $3.00 an hour and only the hours they worked; not any of that silly planning time, or any time they spend before or after school. That would be $19.50 a day (7:45 to 3:00 PM with 45 min. off for lunch and plan — that equals 6 1/2 hours).

Each parent should pay $19.50 a day for these teachers to baby-sit their children.

Now how many do they teach in day…maybe 30? So that’s $19.50 x 30 = $585.00 a day. However, remember they only work 180 days a year!!! I am not going to pay them for any vacations.

LET’S SEE…. That’s $585 X 180= $105,300 per year.

(Hold on! My calculator needs new batteries).

What about those special education teachers and the ones with Master’s degrees? Well, we could pay them minimum wage ($7.75), and just to be fair, round it off to $8.00 an hour. That would be $8 X 6 1/2 hours X 30 children

X 180 days = $280,800 per year.

Wait a minute — there’s something wrong here!

There sure is!

The average teacher’s salary (nation wide) is $50,000. $50,000/180 days = $277.77/per day/30 students=$9.25/6.5 hours = $1.42 per hour per student–a very inexpensive baby-sitter and they even EDUCATE your kids!)

WHAT A DEAL!!!!

END OF NOTE

You are damn right you’re getting a deal.  These teachers bust their asses to make sure YOUR kids get the education they need. If your kids are successful, whether it is in school or in a career, thank those teachers, those union teachers, who busted their asses to make sure YOUR kid got the tools and the training they needed to succeed.

You could make a similar argument for most of the other union workers affected by the events in Wisconsin. 

___________________________________

In a slightly different vein…

“We The People”, union and non-union alike, don’t get paid enough to live in a society that is as expensive as this one is. I’ve gone over in an earlier post the high cost of living in the United States. I won’t hit you with all the numbers in this argument.  Suffice it to say that, between mortgage payments, homeowner/ car/ life/ medical/dental insurance, food, gas for the car, heat/ hot water/ taxes/ other incidental expenses, all of which are necessary to the smooth functioning of life in this society right now, most of the money we make disappears.  Any cut in salary would inhibit the people who make our society as strong as it is. 

With that said, the unions, teachers unions and all the others, have said they WILL accept pay cuts.

The unions, all the unions involved, have made one simple point, and the point is this.

UNIONS WILL ACCEPT PAY CUTS, WILL TAKE WHATEVER INCREASES IN PAYMENTS OR DECREASES IN SALARY OR BENEFITS THAT ARE NECESSARY TO MAKE SURE THE STATE STAYS AFLOAT FINANCIALLY, BUT WILL NOT ACCEPT HAVING THE RIGHT TO BARGAIN TAKEN AWAY.

I think that pretty much sums up the point the fine people of Wisconsin are trying to make to Governor asshat and his selfish, uncaring, deficit creating republican minions

The unions aren’t trying to make more than you, this isn’t a competition.  They aren’t trying to do anything unfair to the state of Wisconsin or taxpayers, and it’s cute if you think otherwise.  They are not trying to steal from the poor and give to themselves (Republican lawmakers have that market covered)

They are trying to make sure that all that is good in this society stays that way, and get paid a fair wage, negotiated in a fair way .

And one more thing.  Who are these tea party people who are calling teachers lazy? What is that? Who are you to call anyone lazy? These teachers are instructing YOUR kids.  YOU AREN’T, and until YOU do, you have no right to call ANYONE who does that job anything… except maybe sir or ma’am. They make our future brighter for the work they do, and any harm to them is harm to our society, direct harm, and in any context harm of that nature should be considered a criminal offense.

Standing against the job these fine people do is wrong no matter how you slice it. 

___________________________

That’s it from here, America.  Have a good one.

Easily Distracted

I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.

Isaac Newton

________________________________

I am easily distracted some days.  I have been telling myself that I was going to start writing as soon as I got home.  Didn’t happen.  I told myself last week that I would begin working out daily again so I would not get fat just sitting on my ass, not running, and working at a job that requires only minimal use of physical strength.  Didn’t happen. 

I had been thinking about finding something to write, to no avail. For the better part of 45 minutes I racked my brain, trying to work out something to write about.  Then I thought why not just blurb it?  One or two paragraphs per subject, kinda like my random thoughts page, just a few short pieces, instead of one longer article.  Works for me!

___________________________________

How about the stock market?  it’s doing well, amazingly well for all that people are now, and have been saying since before Barack Obama became President how much of a mess the economy is.  Well, with the DJIA over 12000 points,things are looking up.  Even with the market fretting over the events in Egypt, there has been nary a hiccup in the upward climb of the markets.  The rich are still getting richer, which is nice for them, but the poor are still poor, and the rich, whose tax cuts, it was claimed, help spur job growth, even though all evidence points to that as being incorrect, still don’t seem to be hiring many people, even though that tax rate has been in effect for a looooooooooong time.   The economy is really looking up… except for that.  9.0% unemployment, and yes I know it fell .4% last month, but the amount of people hired was a not exactly whopping  36,000.  Numbers are still bad, and will continue to be for a while as far as that is concerned.

And I still need a full time job.  If you have any leads, drop me a line.

___________________________________

How about Keith Olbermann?  He signed a deal to work over at Current TV. I don’t know the details, the money and length of contract, i’m sure they’ll leak out soon enough, that kinda thing always does.  This is actually very good news for current TV.  I am one of the few people who can say they actually watch Current TV semi regularly.  It is a pretty damn good network, lots of hard hitting, first person documentary type of television, but not the kind of thing that is normally made by big tv stations, but with a much more personal feel, made by interested citizen journalists with webcams and the like.  Along with a fair bit of personal interest stories put together in the same manner.

Something bothers me though.   Is the man pigeon-holing himself here going on this unknown a network?  This is a small network, even if it is owned by Al Gore, and the network runs on 25% or so sets of TV sets in the U.S. of A.,they don’t get huge market share.   If he brings 10% of the audience with him from MSNBC, he will probably increase that stations ratings by 500% for that time slot.  I read somewhere that they average about 23,000 viewers a day.  That’s gonna change, tell you that.   But will it do anything for positive for Keith? For his (and my) political agenda?  Will he be able to do for Current what he did for MSNBC? It would be nice.  Time will tell.

One other thing.  HEY KEITH!  I NEED A JOB!  I’M A WRITER!  DO YA NEED ANY HELP BRO?  DROP ME A LINE, I NEED THE WORK!  I WORK CHEAP!  

Caps lock, boldface and italics are all wonderful things when used in moderation.  Luckily for me, I’m not in moderation 😛

___________________________________

Viddy of the day:  Bush-era act of war on terror to stay in force for US fear factory. This story came out before the Patriot act was voted down today. 

___________________________________

How about the… wait…a portion of the Patriot act got voted down?  Wait…  I have to read about this.  This sounds good, but I’m not 100% up on this, this is worthy of a full article if it is what I think it is.  3 provisions of the Patriot act which were up for extension in the house of representatives today under suspension of the rules, which means a 2/3rd’s majority to pass the bill, and it came up 7 votes short. 

So, what I think this is, if I’m reading this right, and I may not be, is an end, at least temporarily, of roving wiretaps, and the records seizure with no probable cause.  That is good news, very good news for those of us who are deeply interested in civil liberties.

I’m not going to weigh in on this fully until I have all the facts straightened out, like I said, I only heard about this a few minutes ago.

__________________________________

That’s it from here, America.  I’ll write to you tomorrow.

A Lack Of Basic Fairness

So much for Objective Journalism. Don’t bother to look for it here—not under any byline of mine; or anyone else I can think of. With the possible exception of things like box scores, race results, and stock market tabulations, there is no such thing as Objective Journalism. The phrase itself is a pompous contradiction in terms.

Hunter S Thompson, Fear and Loathing; On the Campaign Trail ’72

_____________________________

Viddy of the day: Dan Gillmor: We the Media, Grassroots Journalism for the People

_____________________________

Spent much of my short  and relaxed morning commute reading about Journalism, and what it is exactly.  I saw that two words were not there, that, had I read the story a few years ago, would probably have surprised me.  Those two words being fair and balanced.  I used to think that those two would be high on the list of things that a journalist, and by extension writers in general, should have in their arsenal.   But, being the writer that I am,  I have no real need for them, so it isn’t surprising that journalists don’t need them either.  

I’m not a journalist, but I am a writer, and I like to think of myself as independent.  And from experience, I can say that independence in writing, true independence does not have to be fair to anyone or anything. Balance?  Please, balance is something you need when you are standing on your head, not when writing.  Whether tilting at windmills or fighting the demons that inhabit and inhibit this world, one does not need to be fair or balanced.  Attacking those who do wrong on one side of a fight, be it political or an actual one actually requires at the least a bit of a lean towards one side or the other in telling the story, and to be honest the more the better.

Would the story of , for example, John Dillinger have been as compelling if the story was only told from an impartial stance?  Clearly not, part of what made that early 20th century story of cops and robbers compelling was the rebel fighting authority/criminal against society paradigm that leant itself so well to not just plain news, simple telling of facts, but storytelling, real journalism, and much other good writing is storytelling.  

If all the stories ever told of them was simple facts, like “John Dillinger and 3 accomplices robbed the first national bank at gunpoint at 4:00pm…” It would have been a very dry story, and no one would have read the damn thing. 

The writers, the journalists made it juicy, looked for angles, not just facts, but told the story of Dillinger, his amazing escapes, the raids of police stations, his killing policemen, alternately making him a pariah and a hero to those who hated authority.  No need for balance, the bad guy was a bad guy, and he was fighting the cops, both resonated, and they still do.  The writers who wrote about him are the reason why his name is still so recognizable, 76 years after his death.

Now THAT is some powerful writing, when it can do that. 

So long as the truth is told, and verified, as long as the story is kept interesting, you are keeping to the integrity that is necessary to be a journalist, whether you are one or not.  Save fair and balanced for your critiques of news organizations that claim they are important, when they are clearly not.

One of these days, I’m going to be a journalist, until then, I’ll just be a writer.  It’s a start.

_________________________________

That’s it from here, America.  I’ll write to you tomorrow.

Thanks, Keith

I have been watching MSNBC for several years, I came upon it by accident. Once upon a time, Time Warner changed up their channel lineup for Staten Island Cable. I was searching around for… some channel or other. I don’t remember which one, but I, while surfing, found the network.

The News was on, I don’t recall exactly what was going on, it was sometime in the afternoon, sometime in 2007 as I recall. I wasn’t impressed. I turned off the network.

I don’t remember exactly when I started watching Keith Olbermann. But once I started watching, I was hooked. He spoke like I wanted to, said the things I wanted to say. He was critical of the wrongs of the world in a way that I liked very much. He was about as anti-Bush, and anti abuse of the people by the government as one could get, and I really liked that.

I became a fan overnight.

__________________________

Viddy of the day:  Keith Olbermann Special Comment On Gabrielle Giffords Shooting.

__________________________

Without humor, a sports fan is a religious fanatic. Without humor, a newscast is a terrible, depressing, unpalatable thing.

Without [hatred] Michelle Malkin would just be a big mashed up bag of meat with lipstick on it.

Keith Olbermann

__________________________

Worst Persons in the world was an absolute blast. He lit up O’Reilly and the rest of the foxies with an acerbic ferocity that was at once delightful and damning.   He was insanely hard on the people on the right who were making a mess of the nation. He hit Bush & Cheney, the war in Iraq, Washington doublespeak, the hypocrisy and the ugliness that is modern politics, and made it interesting for everyone.  He wanted goodness and justice for everyone who got none.  

His special comments were moments to cherish, glimpses into the heart of a man who fights desperately to make the world a better place, and who was going to use his voice, his pulpit to make sure the world saw the wrongs that he saw, and that something was done about it, if he had anything to do with it. 

He fought the hypocrisy of the health care system, and brought it to people, and got people to give millions of dollars to help get poor people get the help they needed.  He wanted to make the world a better place, and he did. 

He was the voice I will remember most from the 2008 Presidential campaign. It was his voice that announced at 11:00pm on election day in 2008 that an African American named Barack Obama was elected President.

____________________________

It was a shock, one helluva shock to hear that Keith was leaving MSNBC, and that Countdown is no more. I knew there were issues between MSNBC President Phil Griffin, management and Keith, but honestly didn’t think it would end this abruptly. One looks at his leaving (firing? mutual agreement?) and wonders how much the Comcast/NBC deal has to do with this.

I wish Mr. Olbermann the best. I thought he was great on ESPN. I thought he was a breath of fresh air, and a critical voice of reason in a burgeoning age of illogical and mindless anger and even more mindless politics on television when watching him on MSNBC. He challenged the hegemony of Fox, and had the number one rated show on MSNBC. The liberal left will miss him. And if my sense of what people like and think on the left is at all intact, MSNBC will miss him for a long time to come.  I expect after a day or two, MSNBC’s numbers will drop without Keith there.

Lawrence O’Donnell is slated to take the 8:00pm spot on MSNBC. The 10:00pm spot that Lawrence now holds will go to Ed Schultz. Ed’s 6:00pm show will be taken over by Ceng Uyger. But it matters not who fills that space, no one will really be able to fill Keith’s shoes. Keith was this generations Edward R. Murrow, and you just don’t replace that.  You can fill the time slot, but you cannot replace him. 

___________________________

Thanks, Keith.  Thanks for everything.  Can’t wait to see what you do next.

A Quick Aside

The first week in the house of representatives is going to be a hoot!  An absolute laugh riot! Let’s go over, very quickly, the first two major pieces of business, at least the first two that are being spoken of publicly.  The symbolic vote by the Republican majority to repeal health care reform, and the raising of the Debt ceiling.

The health care repeal is exactly as is stated above, a symbolic vote.  The health care bill brings to millions of Americans medical insurance coverage they would otherwise not have, cuts the deficit, makes possible coverage dependents who are up to 26 years of age, among other things.  Even symbolically cutting that will grate a large portion of the American people the wrong way.  At least people who get the message clearly.

Ya, it’ll get past the house.  The tea party runs that house now.  The senate?  Highly unlikely.  The people there have this stuff, it’s called sense.  They’ll use it.  But even in the incredibly unlikely event of it passing the senate, do you think it’ll get past the President?  Please.

Some symbols show how little the people who use them know.  This is one such case.

A Quick Aside:

My advice for those who want to follow this stuff.  Forget Cnn.  Leave FoxNews behind.  Don’t look at MSNBC.  The only network to watch is the one with the actual coverage, C-Span.  Watch the actual floor debates, don’t watch edited highlights, with added spin so you can hear exactly what you want to hear.   I watch MSNBC normally, but when I want to learn about legislation, I don’t go there.  That is not what they or the other networks are there for.

Watch them for entertainment, not for knowledge of actual legislation. 

__________________________________

Viddy of the day:  Face the Nation with Harry Smith.  Here Rep. Weiner, along with Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz discuss both subjects, Health care and the debt ceiling.  Draw your own conclusions.

This is a television show a full week before the festivities begin.  This week in congress is going to be fun!

__________________________________

As a people, we have become obsessed with Health. There is something fundamentally, radically unhealthy about all this. We do not seem to be seeking more exuberance in living as much as staving off failure, putting off dying. We have lost all confidence in the human body.

Lewis Thomas

_________________________________

Now, the debt ceiling, that should be more fun than a barrel of drunken coked up monkeys. The republicans are, at least those who I have heard talk,against raising the debt ceiling. They are at least against it without getting some concessions from the Dems on government spending.  It would be really difficult for the Dems here to do anything, seeing how the Republicans run the house.  So they are essentially asking concessions from people who have no power. 

Now the President can give concessions, but they would still have to run through the Republican controlled house, regardless of any deal they try to work.  Meaning they can ask for the moon here, and it would push the President to move to meet them no matter what they asked for. And they can ask for anything.  They have much power here, and are already showing a propensity, at least a rhetorical propensity, towards abusing that power. I don’t expect the President to cave.  He caught hell for the tax cuts from his base, he’ll catch hell 10x for giving the Tea party the moon here.

Can you say government shutdown? Don’t be surprised if it happens. 

_______________________________

A quick aside:

These tea party poopers aren’t exactly the sharpest tools in the shed, we all know that.  Example? Mike Kelly, incoming Rep. from Pennsylvania said, in the above viddy that “Tax revenue comes from people who are working, people who are profitable. It does not come from raising tax rates.”

Umm…  increased tax revenues DO in fact come from raising tax rates.  Higher taxes, more money in the coffers.  Duh. 

Mike Kelly, sharp like a bowling ball.

______________________________

Welly well.  The time has come for me to go America.  I’ll write to you tomorrow.  Either sports or 12 notes tomorrow, I’m not sure at this point.