Daily Archive: 01/21/2015

Jan 21 2015

Dispatches From Hellpeckersville- Undone

You know how I made a resolution to start finishing my projects? Yeah, not only did I break it, but it seems I can’t finish anything. I’ve started two books. I’m half-way through the first, and about three chapters into the second, I don’t know why I stopped. They weren’t bad, I just put them down and that was it.

I have about four sketches started, some of them are fairly well along, I don’t know if I’ll finish. I have one sketch that’s ready for ink. Will it get any? I can’t say. I hope so, I really do. It’s an owl, and I really like it. I know it would be something I’d want to add color to as well, but…shit.

Actually, I kind of know why I stop; I get interrupted. But, I should be able to pick back up, shouldn’t I? I mean, I used to be able to do that. My kids, when they were babies and toddlers, used to interrupt me plenty, but that never really stopped me from finishing anything.

Lately, I feel like one of those bugs suspended in amber. This is not a good sign for me. It’s a precursor of something worse, and I can’t have that. I’m trying to fight against it. I’m doing things with my boys that I can’t bail on, I started coloring a picture in a book, just to try to jump start a spark of creative something, but it reeks of desperation to me, and I don’t know if it’s working, but it has to. I need it to.

I knew this would be hard, being Mom’s caretaker, but no matter how prepared you think you are, you really aren’t. Even if it ain’t your first time at the rodeo, every time is different. I watched my Gram, who I loved more than anything in the world, be taken by a series of strokes, over the course of several years. We cared for her at home as she lost the ability to walk, feed herself, move, speak, and finally to eat or drink. That was a slice of hell I wouldn’t wish on anyone, but I’m here to tell you dementia is worse.

She loves me, but she has no idea who I am. She hugs me, she clings to me, she turns to me, and I will always take care of her, I made her that promise. I made it when we both took care of Gram, and then again, much later, when she suspected this future. At the time she told me she’d rather be dead than have Alzheimer’s. Knowing her, who she was, and who she is now, I am grateful she has no concept of what’s been lost, because what she said was true, she wouldn’t want to be this, she would hate this.

I’m down to not watching movies or teevee shows that might make me cry, because I may not stop. I’m starting to be careful who I want to even talk to about this, because I’m afraid of talking too much about it, afraid of being a drag, and worst of all, I’m afraid they’ll say something horribly ignorant and insensitive, and I’ll think they should know better.

So, I’m treading water in the sea of life, trying to figure out how to proceed. My mind flits from thought to thought, restless and uneasy with the circumstances I find myself in, and those are not going to change any time soon, so the change has to be in me. How I deal.

Wish me luck~

Jan 21 2015

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

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Trevor Timm: Don’t be fooled by clichés: Obama will shape the future of the internet

The president will have to address net neutrality, the Patriot Act and cybersecurity this year. The platitudes in the State of the Union aren’t reassuring

Perhaps more than any other, the internet was the backdrop for much of President Obama’s State of the Union on Tuesday night – from healthcare to hackers, and from infrastructure to education. By and large, however, Obama stuck to empty platitudes that no one could disagree with (“we need to … protect our children’s information” and “I intend to protect a free and open internet”) rather than offering concrete new proposals.

But don’t let the president’s standard State of the Union clichés fool you: in 2015, the Obama administration will almost certainly re-shape the law around net neutrality, cybersecurity and the NSA. In doing so, the president will carve out the rules of the internet for the coming decade, and his choices over the next few months will significantly affect hundreds of millions of Internet users, along with his lasting legacy.

David Cay Johnston: Obama launches tax ploy against GOP

State of the Union address pushes tax reforms to set stage for 2016 electoral fight

The most political law in America is the federal tax code. Far from being grounded in sound economics and the Constitutional duty to promote the general welfare, it’s shaped by influence won with campaign contributions and lobbying. We are about to see just how political tax law is thanks to a savvy move by President Barack Obama to frame the 2016 election in ways that will help Democrats keep the White House.

In his State of the Union address, the president proposed a host of tax ideas Republicans have long advocated in order to force them to choose between Main Street and Wall Street. He believes they will side with the rich, whose campaign donations are increasingly significant in elections and whose companies provide jobs for friends and family of politicians.

But the president’s strategy is not foolproof. There is a clever way for congressional Republicans to turn his proposal into a trap for the Democrats.

Sen. Bernie Sanders and Tobert Weissman: Five Years After Citizens United, Billionaires Are Buying Democracy

Five years after the Supreme Court’s disastrous 5-4 decision in Citizens United, there’s a lot to be angry about.

With election spending out of control, and super PACs empowering giant corporations and billionaires like no time since the Gilded Age, Big Money is not just influencing who’s elected to office in this country, but what elected officials do.

Consider how the new Congress has opened: A House of Representatives leadership effort to skirt normal procedure and rush through a repeal of key Dodd-Frank provisions to rein in Wall Street speculative activities. A House of Representatives vote to authorize construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. A House vote to handcuff consumer, health, safety, environmental and other regulatory agencies so that they cannot issue new rules to address corporate abuse and protect the American public. Another House vote to repeal the Dodd-Frank measure, after the initial rush effort failed to garner a needed two-thirds majority. Meanwhile, in the slower-moving Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has decided Keystone legislation will be the first significant matter taken up.

Joanna Moorehead: So Catholics needn’t breed like rabbits. Then let’s drop the contraception con

Whatever the pope says, the vast majority of us have already voted with our gonads and ignored the church’s nonsense

Clarity has never been a strong point at the Vatican. This is, after all, an institution that has chosen for centuries to communicate with its followers via erudite documents written in Latin, which must be first translated and then interpreted for us, the faithful in the pew.

But even by its own standards, this week’s papal pronouncements have been bewildering. We thought that, whatever else wasn’t clear, one thing we did know was that the church doesn’t approve of contraception. But during his in-flight press conference en route home from his Philippines trip, we hear Pope Francis telling us that we don’t after all have to breed “like rabbits”.

[..]

The truth is that the pope – a charismatic and decent-seeming guy whose finger is a good deal closer to the people’s pulse than his predecessor’s was – is tying himself in knots trying to appear “modern” at the same time as adhering to official teaching. And it simply won’t wash. The church has been peddling a nonsense on contraception for almost 50 years. The vast majority of us church-going, “faithful” Catholics have voted with our gonads and ignored it, and at some point (soon, please!) Rome is going to have to admit it has been wrong, and that the “contraceptive culture” is not about a lack of respect for human life, it’s quite simply about a sensible realisation that most couples can raise two, three or four children better, in every way, than they can raise 10, 11 or 12.

Richard Zombeck: Obama Opens Door for GOP to Blow It

President Obama announced some radically redistributive measures during the State of the Union on Tuesday. The Robin-Hood-esque plan proposes raising the taxes and cutting tax breaks on the super-rich and easing the burden on poorer Americans. Needless to say, members of the GOP are not pleased and haven’t been since the plan was announced last Saturday night.

Republicans, as a rule, hate tax increases, especially when they have an adverse effect on the very rich and corporations – such as making them slightly less rich. They also apparently hate tax cuts, especially when it would improve the lives of working families and the poor. [..]

The GOP could see the president’s proposals as an opportunity to work with him to improve the lives of regular Americans and make a real difference in people’s lives. They would get and most likely take credit for all of it.

If the last six years are any indication of what the next two will look like, however, the more likely scenario is that this severely divided and dysfunctional party that is the GOP will spin off into separate camps, subjecting the rest of us to a clown-car demolition derby rife with inane rants about socialism, anti-capitalism, and class warfare. In the meantime, the rich will get richer, the working class will continue to struggle, the middle class will disappear, and more people will be pushed into poverty.

Jan 21 2015

On This Day In History January 21

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

January 21 is the 21st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 344 days remaining until the end of the year (345 in leap years).

On this day in 1911, the first Monte Carlo Rally takes place.

The Monte Carlo Rally (officially Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo) is a rallying event organised each year by the Automobile Club de Monaco who also organises the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix and the Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique . The rally takes place along the French Riviera in the Principality of Monaco and southeast France.

From its inception in 1911 by Prince Albert I, this rally, under difficult and demanding conditions, was an important means of testing the latest improvements and innovations to automobiles. Winning the rally gave the car a great deal of credibility and publicity. The 1966 event was the most controversial in the history of the Rally. The first four finishers driving three Mini-Coopers, Timo Makinen, Rauno Aaltonen and Paddy Hopkirk, and Roger Clark‘s 4th-placed Ford Cortina “were excluded for having iodine vapour, single filament bulbs in their standard headlamps instead of double-filament dipping bulbs.”  This elevated Pauli Toivonen (Citroen ID) into first place overall. The controversy that followed damaged the credibility of the event. The headline in Motor Sport: “The Monte Carlo Fiasco.”

From 1973 to 2008 the rally was held in January as the first event of the FIA World Rally Championship, but since 2009 it has been the opening round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) programme. As recently as 1991, competitors were able to choose their starting points from approximately five venues roughly equidistant from Monte Carlo (one of Monaco’s administrative areas) itself. With often varying conditions at each starting point, typically comprising dry tarmac, wet tarmac, snow, and ice, sometimes all in a single stage of the rally. This places a big emphasis on tyre choices, as a driver has to balance the need for grip on ice and snow with the need for grip on dry tarmac. For the driver, this is often a difficult choice as the tyres that work well on snow and ice normally perform badly on dry tarmac.

The Automobile Club de Monaco confirmed on 19 July 2010 that the 79th Monte-Carlo Rally would form the opening round of the new Intercontinental Rally Challenge season. To mark the centenary event, the Automobile Club de Monaco have also confirmed that Glasgow, Barcelona, Warsaw and Marrakesh has been selected as start points for the rally.

Jan 21 2015

Do You Want Fries With That?

Transcript

Transcript

The BBC and the Economist Combine to Try to Defeat Syriza

by William Black, New Economic Perspectives

Posted on January 20, 2015

The article abounds in unintentional self-parody. First, the article admits austerity is a major driver of the “political earthquakes.” For reasons that pass all understanding the BBC hired the Economist’s “Intelligence Unit” to write what any right-wing BBC columnist would have written for no additional fee. Given that the Economist is one of the entities most culpable for the economic malpractice of inflicting austerity on the eurozone the idea that it is good journalism for them to opine about their opponents is sad or laughable depending on how one responds to absurdity.

The Economist criticized the Prime Minister Papandreou for proposing a referendum on whether the Greek people wished to agree to austerity. How dare Greece engage in democracy! The BBC compounded the self-parody by hiring the Economist to criticize the Greek Party Syriza because it enjoys (according to polls) the plurality support of the Greek people in the upcoming elections – in a column supposedly celebrating “Democracy Day.”

Democracy, the will of the Greek people, and Syriza are the Economist’s great fear.



Unsurprisingly, the Economist does not say a word about what the “establishment parties'” insistence on inflicting the economic malpractice of austerity has done to the peoples of the eurozone’s periphery. It is the establishment parties’ insane and inhumane austerity policies and the war on workers’ wages on the peoples of Europe that forced Spain, Italy, and Greece into Great Depression levels of unemployment. The economically rational, and humane, party of Greece, Syriza, is described as “far left, populist.” What does this make the “establishment parties?” “Ultra-right wing parties of the plutocrats” would have to be the answer.

It isn’t Syriza that is “destabilising” – it is the troika’s insistence on forcing Greece into a Great Depression that is more severe and longer-lasting than the Great Depression of 80 years ago that is “destabilising.” It was the Washington Consensus’ demands for austerity and the resultant lost decade in Latin America that was “destabilising.”

Jan 21 2015

The Daily/Nightly Show (Froo, Froo, Froofy The Dog)

What do we know now?

Shenaz Treasury is a regular.  We’re going to get a monologue followed by an extended panel discussion (in addition to Treasury, last night we had Talib Kweli, Bill Burr, and Corey Booker).

The Boston Globe says, “Comedy Central appears to have come up with a worthy partner to “The Daily Show,” with Stewart and Wilmore as the salt and pepper shakers of late-night TV.”

I have mixed feelings about that kind of praise.  The Nightly Show should not be judged on ‘diversity’ criteria as if it were a Short Bus special needs collection of tribal integration but on whether it is funny and enlightening.  My verdict is more enlightening than funny.  It moves very quickly indeed and the panel is intelligent and respectful.  This is not Three Stooges slapstick (not that there is anything wrong with that).

Brian Moylan at The Guardian loves that.

I wish The Nightly Show would get rid of the monologue altogether (or shorten it considerably) so that Wilmore could do what no one else is doing in late night and talk to other people well and intelligently. It’s hard enough for adults to squeeze a meaningful conversation about complex topics into 30 minutes and it’s even harder when the show is only devoted to the panel about half the time.

His favorite part is the ending segment, ‘Keeping It 100’, as in 100% Real.  In the premier Wilmore and his staff picked the questions for the panel members and his question was picked only by the staff- ‘What’s the last racist thought you had?’

Viewers are invited to submit our own questions in the future via Twitter.  Tonight’s topic is Bill Cosby.  Since we are nothing but slaves to media culture, of course we had to submit our own-

Is it true Cosby and Culp had a sexual affair while filming I Spy?

We expect we’ll be doing this every night so if you have a strong suggestion, post it and we’ll pass it along.

Continuity

What does your cat do all day?

This week’s guests-

The Daily Show

Jennifer Lopez will be on to whore The Boy Next Door which will be released Friday.  The film was shot in 23 days and probably looks like every minute of it.

The real news and Elmer Gantry’s web exclusive extended interview below.

Jan 21 2015

State Of The Union 2015 Open Thread

If you must.  I’ll be watching Moonshiners and Big Giant Swords on Discovery.

Remember, it’s not what you say, it’s what you do.