Archive for July, 2012

Elementary Election Protest Too Muchedness

July 31, 2012 | By | Reply More
Elementary Election Protest Too Muchedness

For the last few weeks I’d been receiving approximately daily post cards protesting the electric company considering a rate hike of more than a few percent in order to finance and build future power plants to replace some of the nearing dangerously obsolete ones. Some mailing came from a very liberal local politician with whom I generally agree. Someone is spending bales of money to encourage people to not-want to spend more for what they are already getting. Seems like sweeping the water downstream, to me.

But I’m a Tanstaafl skeptic: Rebuilding infrastructure without incurring crippling debt does not seem like such a bad idea, my knee jerks. Also, local electric rates are lower than when I was in college, when adjusted for inflation, so it seems about time for a rate hike, anyway.

Yesterday I finally got a rebuttal mailing that describes the finances behind this odd campaign: PAC affiliated with aluminum corporation at play in state Senate primaries. Yep, an aluminum company fears that it will have to raise prices, because a major part of the process of making it requires megawatts of electricity.

Here’s how aluminum is made, if you are at all curious:

So now we know who has the profitability to outspend a huge power company on a campaign to make people do what they want to do anyway, and things are making sense, again.

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Betty Bowers explains marriage according to the Bible

July 30, 2012 | By | Reply More

Mrs. Betty Bowers doesn’t mince words, and she is not dissuaded by inconvenient truth. In the following video, she explains traditional marriage, making many references to the Bible itself to back up her statements. Rarely, does it seem, that a Bible marriage is between one man and one woman:

Betty also comments on many other aspects of the Christian religions. Her credentials? She proclaims that she is “America’s Best Christian.”

If you want more quirky information about religion, also consider visiting the site of Landover Baptist Church. There is a special section on Mitt Romney, including a video featuring, in an earnest way, many of the beliefs of Mormonism.

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Corporate corruption of college

July 30, 2012 | By | Reply More

Chris Hedges at Truthdig:

Corporate culture, which now dominates higher education, shares the predatory culture of the military. These cultures are about subsuming the self into the herd. They are about the acquiring of technical, vocational skills to serve the system. And with the increasing budget cuts, and more craven obsequiousness to corporate donors, it will only get worse. These forces of conformity are hostile to the humanities that teach students to question assumptions and structures, that prod them to seek a life of meaning and an ethical code that challenges the blind, utilitarian obedience to power and profit that corporations and the military instill. We will, I fear, continue to turn out the intellectually stunted and maimed, those who know school football records but no philosophy, drama, art, music, theology, literature or history. The goal of an education is not, in the end, to tell students what to think but to teach them how to think.

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Let them eat insects

July 29, 2012 | By | 1 Reply More

According to the BBC: The price of meat will skyrocket and we might all be getting much of our protein from eating insects.

“Things like crickets and grasshoppers will be ground down and used as an ingredient in things like burgers.” . . . But insects will need an image overhaul if they are to become more palatable to the squeamish Europeans and North Americans, says Gaye. “They will become popular when we get away from the word insects and use something like mini-livestock.”

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Another day, another BS U.S. drone strike story

July 29, 2012 | By | 6 Replies More

Yesterday I spotted another one the many U.S. drone strike stories–the story I read was published by MSNBC. These stories are incredibly predictable: U.S. drones launched an attack that killed a group of people from the Middle East who are presumed to be bad people despite the fact that we have no idea who these victims were. The witnesses and the victims are unnamed. The source of the entire story could well be the U.S. military, which has no idea who the dead people are and, in fact, has been repeatedly caught claiming that the dead people were threats to America (through the use of the word “militant”) when many, if not all of them turned out to be innocent people, including children.

And, of course, there is no information about how the local people acted. They should be outraged, because, according to the story, unknown people were killed from the sky by the U.S., which has repeatedly outraged the government of Pakistan for such conduct in the past. For all we know, this attack, like so many other attacks, has angered the people, causing them to swear revenge against the United States. But you’d have no idea of whether this attack advanced the interests of the U.S. or hurt U.S. interests. This is a prototypical sterile story about the U.S. using its high tech weaponry to preserve freedom, or so this immensely obeisant and gappy story suggests. The U.S. doesn’t know who was killed, even long after the fact, because the U.S. doesn’t care. If they cared, they would quickly announce who the dead people were and tell U.S. citizens the “bad” things these people did to deserve to die such a fiery death, often in the presence of their children.

I’d like to give a lot of credit for what follows to Glenn Greenwald, who has repeatedly pointed out that these drone strikes are usually nothing but propaganda, and that the word “militant” is used as follows: Any person killed by a U.S. weapon. With Greenwald’s guidance, I decided to mark up the opening lines of the MSNBC story as if I were an editor reacting to the reporter’s first draft:

 

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Using the Internet to warn about home construction fraud

July 28, 2012 | By | Reply More

I used to work as an Assistant Attorney General in the area of consumer fraud. Back in the 1980’s there weren’t many ways to get the word out that you had been ripped off by a contractor. You would likely complain to your friends and family, and that is about it. That has certainly changed.

Here is a website created recently by Ray Gregory, a friend of mine who was ripped off by a contractor–this work isn’t even close to acceptable. Thanks to the Internet, anyone considering using this contractor will find the name Timothy W. Watson of Norfolk, Virginia prominently listed next to vivid photos and descriptions of his extremely crappy work. Perhaps this website will prevent other innocent people from getting ripped off.

We are ALL leaving indelible trails on the Internet these days, both innocent people, but also the scoundrels.

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Judge Baltasar Garzon to lead WikiLeaks legal strategy

July 28, 2012 | By | Reply More

The following update is from Justice for Assange:

The Spanish judge, lawyer, and international jurist, Baltasar Garzón, will lead the legal team representing Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. The jurist met with Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in the United Kingdom recently. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the new legal strategy which will defend both WikiLeaks and Julian Assange from the existing abuse of process; expose the arbitrary, extrajudicial actions by the international financial system which target Julian Assange and WikiLeaks specifically; and show how the secret US processes against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have compromised and contaminated other legal processes, including the extradition process against Mr Assange. Despite been imprisoned, fiscally blockaded, and placed under house arrest for over 650 days, Mr. Assange has not been charged with an offense in any country.

Baltasar Garzón revolutionized the international justice system two decades ago by issuing an international arrest warrant for the former Head of State of Chile, Augusto Pinochet. His actions spearheaded the fight against impunity in Latin America and in the rest of the world. The judge has expressed serious concerns regarding the lack of safeguards and transparency whith which actions are being taken against Julian Assange, and the harassment he is being subjected to which has irreparable effects on his physical and mental wellbeing. The threats against his person are further aggravated by the complicit behaviour of the Swedish and U.K. governments, who are wrongfully abrogating his rights.

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The gods don’t value the intellect

July 28, 2012 | By | 1 Reply More
The gods don’t value the intellect

Quote by Mark Twain:

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Cost of running for U.S. Senate: $782 per hour.

July 28, 2012 | By | Reply More

I already assumed that Senators need to raise a lot of money to run a campaign, but I didn’t know it was THIS MUCH: $782 per hour. Here’s the infographic from United Republic:

I can’t get over these numbers: To run a campaign for Senator, you need to raise $782 PER HOUR for six years. There is no mystery as to why the system is so corrupt. Even the consciences of most good-hearted people will wilt in this terrible environment.

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