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.