Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy 11.11.11 Day

Las Vegas knows how to celebrate everything in style, or at least with lots of feathers and rhinestones!

And of course, giant dice.

The Real Outrage of Penn State

What would you do if you walked into a shower area of a team locker room and saw a coach having sex with a 10 year old boy?  If your answer does not include either, try to stop it, call the police or both, then this rant is not for you.

That horrifying scenario is exactly what happened at Penn State when Mike McQueary, grad student at the time, saw Jerry Sandusky, defensive coordinator, having sex with what appeared to be a 10 year old boy.  The only difference is, he didn't try to stop it, or report it to police.  He merely told Tim Curley, the athletic director who then told Joe Paterno.

And then they went to the police? 

Nope.  He just barred Sandusky from bringing children onto campus and that he advised school president of the matter.

And then they wnet to the police?


So now years later when this whole thing has blown wide open, Joe Paterno has been booted, Sandusky finally charged and the whole cast of characters has been sidelined until the mess is sorted out in the courts.

Meanwhile, the students at Penn State are outraged.  Not by the allegations of child abuse, cover up or just plain lackadaisical response, but because their coach won't be at the big game.  Say what?

I guess child abuse just doesn't stack up to the great god-football.  Sad state of affairs indeed.

Happy Veteran's Day

Contrary to what a lot of folks think, I am not a veteran. I grew up in the Vietnam Era, but my draft number was too high, and I was an asthmatic out-of-shape kid in college at the time.  I did protest the war, and went to rallies against it.  I did speak out against what I considered and still consider American intervention in the politics of another country with no strategic or compelling reason to be there.

What I never did was disrespect the young men and women who were put in harms way by our government at the time.  I have a profound respect for our military and since several of my family members have served in the armed forces I understand how much courage and dedication it takes for both the soldiers and the families at home.

So on this Veteran's Day, I want to thank all the men and women who have fought or wars, defended our country and given so much when asked by our country.  Especially now, with an all volunteer Armed Forces, the dedication and patriotism of these people amazes me. I sincerely wish them all the best and hope you will remember them today and everyday. 

Just to help make this day more special , go up to the next man or woman in the military you see and thank them for their service to our country.  It will make them feel appreciated and will make you a little more humble in the presence of such sacrifice.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Police Beat Students at UC Berkley

This is happening in America, just 4.5 miles away from Occupy Oakland demonstrations. What the hell is going on with the police?

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Rick Perry Screws Up Again!

If he isn't drunk he's just a clown and his political career is over.  Hard to watch he's so bad in the debate tonight.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Occupy Wall Street - TV Ad, Finally!

A group of film makers made this and it is designed to run on Fox News.  Not sure if that will happen but it deserves all the views it can get!


Ellen DeGeneres named as a Special Envoy for Global AIDS Awareness.

From the White House PR Feed:

During a major address on November 8, 2011 on HIV/AIDS at the National Institutes of Health, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced that Ellen DeGeneres has been named as a Special Envoy for Global AIDS Awareness.

In this role, Ms. DeGeneres will use her celebrity platform to raise awareness about the global fight against AIDS.  In a letter to Ms. DeGeneres, Secretary Clinton stated, “By lending us your energy, compassion, and star power to serve as our Special Envoy for Global AIDS Awareness, your words will encourage Americans in joining you to make their voices heard in our campaign to achieve an AIDS-free generation. The enormous platform of your television show and your social media channels will enable you to reach millions of people with the strong and hopeful message that we can win this fight.”

"I’m honored to have been chosen by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton as Special Envoy for Global AIDS awareness.  The fight against AIDS is something that has always been close to my heart.  And I’m happy that I can use my platform to educate people and spread hope. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go look up what “envoy” means," said talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.

Ambassador Eric Goosby, head of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), said “At this historic moment in our global fight against AIDS, we are thrilled that we have someone like Ellen DeGeneres on our team to raise awareness that we are on the path to beating this devastating disease.  We at PEPFAR look forward to working with her to deliver a positive and hopeful message that we can work together to put an end to AIDS.”

Through “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” Ms. DeGeneres reaches millions of people every day, including 8 million followers on Twitter and 5.8 million Facebook fans.  On and off screen, the Emmy award-winning entertainer is involved in several humanitarian causes including anti-bullying; animal rescue and rehabilitation; and breast cancer awareness.  Ellen has previously worked with the advocacy organization ONE to raise awareness about the fight against AIDS.

GOP Backed Measures Fall Flat

The good news about the very off-year electonthat happened yesterday was that not only did a lot of Democrats get elected or re-elected, but the ultra-conservative agenda of the GOP/Teaparty was soundly defeated nationwide in most cases. 

Most notable was the bat guano crazy "personhood" amendment in Mississippi.  It would have given fertilized eggs full rights as people.  I am pretty sure there were already lawyers booking flights to Mississippi for the tsunami of lawsuits that would be spawned by that lame-brained idea.

New York Times has lots more.

Wednesday Bible Verse - Amos 5:10 - 5:14

OK, I rarely haul out Bible verses, but while reading this morning I was struck by the words of the Prophet Amos who was writing about the sins of Israel. These words ended a long rebuke against them but they resonate with me today.
10 They hate the one who reproves in the gate,
and they abhor the one who speaks the truth.
11 Therefore, because you trample on the poor
and take from them levies of grain,
you have built houses of hewn stone,
but you shall not live in them;
you have planted pleasant vineyards,
but you shall not drink their wine.
12 For I know how many are your transgressions,
and how great are your sins—
you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe,
and push aside the needy in the gate.
13 Therefore the prudent will keep silent in such a time;
for it is an evil time.
14Seek good and not evil,
that you may live;
and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you,
just as you have said.
I have found that reading the Prophets can be very inspiring.  Their words, though meant for another time, still ring true to our present condition.  I remind myself that Prophets are not fortune tellers, predicting the future through supernatural means, they were truth-tellers, speaking truth to the power of the day. Because of that, I can still find truths in these words today.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Meet Your New Robot Overloads

This gets spookier every day.

Distribution of Wealth & the Imperial Society in the United States

Though we consider ourselves a democracy our country has fallen into a pattern of wealth distribution that more aptly resembles a monarchy.  The whole 1% vs. 99% protest which has it's most visible element as the Occupy Wall Street movement is nothing new.  This has been the critical mass that has tipped societies into major change for many centuries.  The most obvious example dates to Biblical stories.

Consider the whole Israel captive in Egypt story of Exodus.  The power structure in Egypt at the time was marked with three distinct characteristics.

1. Economic Exploitation - 66% of the wealth of the kingdom which was produced mainly from agriculture by peasants ended up in the hands of the ruling class.  Their wealth was acquired primarily through taxation and direct ownership of the land.

2. Political Oppression - The majority of the populate had no voice in the structuring of society.  They were servants of the elite.

3. Religious Legitimization - The religion of the time affirmed that the ruling elite were ordained by God.

Consider the structure of our society today.

1. Economic Exploitation - Here are the figures from the Federal Reserve report, "Changes in the Distribution of Wealth, 1989–2004" published in  2006. In the United States 20% of the population owns 84% of the wealth. The next 20 % holds 11%, the third 20 % 4 %.     When you get down to the 4th 20% (0.2%) and the bottom 20% (0.1%) the amounts are in the decimal points.

2. Political Oppression - As of the Supreme Court ruling "Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission", corporations and big business have unlimited spending power to sway elections.  This means the folks with the most money can effectively install whoever they want in power. It was a landmark ruling and it fundamentally changed the way our government functions.    Add to this the continuous campaign to limit voter participation by the GOP and the problem becomes crystal clear.

3. Religious Legitimization - The growing "Prosperity Gospel" movement points to the idea that those who have wealth somehow deserve it, either through their own hard work or through God's reward.  The idea that our country is a meritocracy is a myth being continuously reenforced by politicians and more recently, fundamentalist church leadersThis is not to say the ruling elite believes this, but the doctrine does constantly remind it's followers that God blesses those who deserve it, and that works almost exactly like that infamous "opiate for the masses" noted by Karl Marx. 

Now before you go calling me a Marxist and dismissing my argument out of hand, consider this.  I will be the first to tell you that Marxism was a utopian ideal that does not work.  Communism is it's failed child and the evidence of it's failure is the whole Soviet Union collapse.  The vestigaes of communism that remaiin in China, are nothing more than the same thing we have in this country with the exception that the vast number of Chinese know that have no vote or political power.  We on the other hand still labor under that illusion that we are a democracy.

So how do we change this disturbing situation?  Good question.  Don't look to the Occupy Wall Street movement for answers, all they have done is raise the question.  They have brought to prominence the issue and now they are squandering their moment in the sun by failing to deliver a concise solution, or even a suggestion of a solution.  Because of this, I fear they will become footnotes to the 21st century.

The only way to stop the runaway greed that is gutting our economy is through re-establishing regulations that prevented it from happening before.  That will take political power and lots of detailed work to un-weave the tangle of laws and regulations that are rigged to benefit those who already have power and money.

That will take the 99% to band together and change the system politically at the polls and through the courts. For that to happen, we need to start spreading a clear simple message that everyone can understand.

The System Has Been Rigged!

It's time to un-rig it.  Fox News, the Right-Wing the Tea Party, Conservative Democrats are all tools of the Corporate owners of or country.  We the people have to demand that our elected officials actually do something to restore the real promise of democracy.  We cannot wait on another Moses to lead us to the promise land.