Thursday, January 25, 2007

Well, Then, How Could it Fail?

According to Nancy Pelosi, when she asked President Bush why a surge in troops would succeed this time when it has twice before failed, he replied, "Because I told them it had to."

For the good of the nation, to say nothing of the planet, this man has to be impeached.

No, That's Not it

Dick Cheney, being interviewed by Wolf Blitzer
,"Oh, I think in terms of mistakes, I think we underestimated the extent to which 30 years of Saddam's rule had really hammered the population, especially the Shia population, into submissiveness."
Yeah, I think that's pretty clearly the problem here; those Iraqis are just too damned submissive.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Who is it that Wants Tax Breaks?

This AP story on the failure to pass a minimum wage bill in the Senate with no strings attached is pretty good, except there is one important word missing. The first paragraph should have
readDemocrats' promise of a quick increase in the minimum wage ran aground Wednesday in the Senate, where Republican lawmakers are insisting it include new tax breaks for restaurants and other businesses that rely on low-pay workers.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Do You Detect the Scent of a Double Standard?

Last week a US Senator speaking to the Secretary of State about the war in Iraq said this
,"Who pays the price? I'm not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old, and my grandchild is too young. You're not going to pay a price, as I understand it, within immediate family. So who pays the price? The American military and their families."
Yesterday, on PBS, a newsman said this to the President of the United States
,"The people who are now sacrificing are, you know, the volunteer military - the Army and the U.S. Marines and their families. They're the only people who are actually sacrificing anything at this point."
In the first case, involving a woman speaking to a woman, the speaker, Barbara Boxer was castigated by the rightwing, from Sullivan to Saunders, for intemperate speech. Their twist was that she somehow called into question Rice's career and personal choices that lead her to have no children. There were a lot of suggestions that Boxer had a sexist agenda. A more rational reading probably would be that Boxer was pointing out to Rice that neither of them had a personal stake in the President's policies.

In the second incident, involving a man speaking to a man, and making the same point that Boxer made a week ago, there was no outcry from the right. I wonder who the sexist ones here are.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Police Reunion Tour in 2007?

I see I'm a little late picking up on this, but this could be the concert that would test just how much I'd be willing to pay for concert tix.

Update: For those of you looking for Police tickets who somehow ended up here, why don't you try this instead?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Spocko versus the Mouse

There's a bay area blogger going by the screen name of Spocko who about a year ago, disturbed by the hatemongering of Lee Rogers, Melanie Morgan, Brian Sussman, and "Officer Vic" of the KSFO morning radio show, started alerting advertisers on their program of the content of the show. Sending very politely worded emails, accompanied by audio clips of the program, he asked the advertisers if they were aware that they were advertising on programs with this kind of content and if they wanted their products to be associated with the views expressed on the program. What Spocko did not do was call for an advertiser boycott or file any complaints with the FCC.

Working with support of some of his readers he has had some success, leading to AT&T, Bank of America, and others to no longer advertise on the morning show. That success attracted the attention of KSFO's parent corporation, Radio Disney, whose corporate lawyers threatened to sue Spocko for copyright infringement and persuaded the ISP carrying Spocko's Brain to shut down his site. He has since set up shop elsewhere. After that happened Spocko drew support from Daily Kos and the story has since been picked up in the Bay Area by The San Francisco Chronicle and the local CBS television station, KPIX (a former employer of Sussman, back in his days as a weatherman). Oddly enough, the story hasn't yet been picked up by the local ABC affiliate.

With all this media attention, the KSFO crew has decided to strike back. This message has been at the top of the KSFO webpage since at least this morning
Lee Rodgers, Melanie Morgan, Officer Vic and Brian Sussman will address issues and concerns prompted by misleading information about the station on the Internet and in the mainstream media. The broadcast will air on KSFO Radio starting at 12 noon on Friday, January 12, 2007 and will continue as long as anyone has relevant questions of our hosts.

Both friends and critics of the station are invited to participate. Members of the news media and the blogging community will be encouraged to participate, as well.
Despite what sounds there like an attempt to engage the community in a constructive dialogue, the KSFO crew sounds anything but openminded or conciliatory (what a surprise, coming from conservative talk show hosts). As noted on Media Matters, this morning Melanie Morgan came out swinging, alleging the whole thing had been set up by Media Matters and that this was attempt to censor Rogers, Morgan, et al, and deprive them of their livelihood and that "are prepared to fight back against people who are trying to get us fired here at KSFO radio and who are trying to deprive us of a livelihood and who are trying to deprive us of our free speech rights."

In light of Morgan's tantrum, I want to emphasize again what Spocko has done and not done. He has only sought to alert advertisers of what it is they are paying for. He has not tried to or suggested that Morgan, Rogers, and their sidekicks be taken off the air. Nobody's required, however, to support speech that they disagree with or will harm their business. Aside from whatever Morgan, Rogers, Sussman, and OV might incite their followers to do, their words have consequences, and one of those consequences is that some of their erstwhile advertisers no longer wish to support them.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I Just Can't Stand Anymore of This Guy!

In his speech to the nation tonight, George Bush donned the cloak of courage and proclaimed, "Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me."

How bloody noble of him to so unequivocally accept the responsibility that everybody else has been aware for some time lies with him. What a little toad. Any decent human being would have used this occasion to proclaim that the job is far beyond his capabilities and it's past time for him to resign, but he made it clear years ago that that's a category he's never belonged to. When do the impeachment hearings start?
At Andrew Sullivan's "The Daily Dish" I came across this test to show where you show up on a political/ideological grid (Sullivan came up as a libertarian).My result:

No surprise there.


Via Doghouse Riley, I came across David Itzkoff's opening lines to a review in the New York Review of Books of Michael Crichton's new novel, "Next:"
Though the moment may lack the inherent gravitas of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s encounter with Abraham Lincoln, or even Elvis Presley’s private audience with Richard Nixon, surely history should reserve a special place for the day in 2005 when Michael Crichton was invited to the White House to meet with George W. Bush. Imagine: the modern era’s leading purveyor of alarmist fiction, seated side by side with Michael Crichton.

Itzkoff didn't like the book, about the evils of genetic research, and the chances seem good that I wouldn't either, as indications are that Crichton is still deep in his demagogue period. Some of Itzkoff's criticisms, though, seem pretty lame. For example,
Throughout “Next,” Crichton divides his competing plotlines — a trial lawyer fleeing a bounty hunter who wants to claim the lawyer’s valuable genetic material; a pedophiliac biotech worker beset by a 16-year-old girl savvy enough to fake her own rape — with chapter breaks that are meant to read like authentic newspaper articles and press releases. Some of these reports are based in reality, but they often play fast and loose with the facts: while it is true, for example, that the Australian performance artist Stelarc has sought to grow a quarter-scale replica of his own ear from living cells, it is not true, as Crichton suggests, that the project was successfully completed at M.I.T., or that hearing-aid companies were interested in licensing the technology. The author makes no attempt to distinguish his extrapolations from established fact, and even seems to relish the ambiguity.
Goodness me, how could any self-respecting author of fiction fail to telegraph to the reader which parts of the universe described in his book are real and which parts are made up?

Sunday, January 07, 2007

You Don't Need to Know

In the wake of the faulty Firestone tires that lead to up to 250 fatalities, most of them involving Ford Explorers, in 2000 the Congress passed and President Clinton signed the Transportation, Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation Act, which was intended to require vehicle and parts manufacturers to report all consumer complaints, warranty payments, and dealer's field reports that highlight injuries or deaths involving potentially defective products. The law, if implemented as Congress apparently intended, would require manufacturers to provide details of such incidents to the federal government, which would then make this information available to consumers, to the public. In the minds of many, that's a primary function of government.

Apparently that's a view not shared by the Bush Administration, which has spent six years now listening to objections from the auto industry and is now prepared to implement severely watered down regulation to "implement" the law. The watered down part is that, though government will continue to collect the data, it will not be released to the public because this information will be considered "trade secrets." There's nothing surprising about this, of course; it's just another maddening illustration of who Bush is in office to serve. It's not the people. It's the corporations.
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