Saturday, April 23, 2011

US Rep. Paul Ryan, R-WI, above, and below, lower left, during his career as a child actor playing the character "Eddie Munster."

Paul Ryan, chair of the House budget committee, released a proposed budget that grants tax cuts to the wealthy and eliminates Medicare and Social Security for senior citizens and the disabled. Under Ryan's plan, which is nothing but the latest of many schemes put forth to realize the long held Republican dream of eliminating any government program that benefits working Americans, both agencies would be privatized and seniors, who have contributed to both programs through payroll deductions their entire working lives, would be forced to pay their own health insurance costs, and their retirement pensions, that is, the Social Security trust fund, would be turned over to Wall Street speculators.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


"Look, employment is basically when you walk up to the ruling class, bend over, grab your ankles and say 'enjoy me,'" I told this guy. "A union is just a prophylactic."

Oh, the look on his face. You could just see the images click into place, the significance of them. But actually I didn't really say that. I said that to myself afterward, when I thought of it, which is when I come up with my most clever lines, the ones that please me, anyway, when I'm in a perfect world where we sit around a campfire under the moonlight and roast jet fighters on a spit like you'd roast a duck or a pigeon or a wild goose.

But what is it with these people, the working class, this Middle Class they like to call themselves, I mean people who work for a living, where is the disconnect? These tea baggers being led around by the nose by big money Republican operatives? The rich are screwing us, so let's let them screw us better. Let's help them out. How is it that the working class in the United States buys this? I can think of only two reasons. Either they're stupid, or they're stupid.

This guy. He'd been giving me that standard line that Conservatism talk radio and Fox News provides for members of the working class who start to wake up, about how unions started out as a good idea but then this or that happened and then they plug in some anecdote about how unions came in and the factory closed down, and that finalizes it in their minds, or like the guy the other day who was ranting about Obamacare and then launched into an anecdote about the illegal immigrant he ran into in the waiting room who was going to have over $35,000 in bills after his wife got out of the hospital and he would just not pay it, and that one anecdote explains the whole thing. It had nothing to do with Obamacare but it explained Obamacare, to him. It gave him somewhere to direct his anger and his fear, and his stupidity.

My Mom is third generation German immigrant. Her grandparents came over in 1850. They were what are called 48ers, really. There was revolution in 1848, and a potato famine at the same time. She grew up in the countryside outside a small town in northern Indiana, around relatives who were all farmers. She still uses expletives that are German, like ach der lieber, which means oh my heavens, or says sayings that have German in them and have the kind of linguistic construct a non native speaker would use, like "Too soon old and too late smart." I like that saying. It explains a lot of things. It doesn't exactly explain why the working class supports this blood thirsty Capitalism that is consuming us day by day, but it gives me something do with my fear and my anger, and my stupidity.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Immigrant Bashing Fails
Except in Arizona and Georgia

The Georgia legislature has become the first state to pass a Copycat 1070 bill, one fashioned after Arizona's draconian anti Latino SB 1070, which, among other things, requires law enforcement to establish the status of anyone they "suspect" of being here illegally (read: racial profiling), which itself has been partly stuck down in the courts with the remainder yet to be implemented, according to a post at Leftists in the US South, first published in Colorlines.

The bill has already gone down in many states, as highlighted in black above, for two reasons, according to Colorlines. One is that coalitions of civil rights group came together to oppose it, and the other is that many states legislatures had their time occupied with budget battles. Some legislatures have already gone out of session without passing the bill. Many business owners also oppose the bills because of the burdens placed on them by requirements that they aid in enforcing the laws.

In Arizona, HB2281, a bill that has made it into law but gets little national attention, virtually outlaws Hispanic Studies programs by imposing harsh financial penalties on public schools that teach Latino history, Hispanic history Chicano studies, and anything that the schools might do to teach people about their history, identity, and culture that doesn't fall under the White supremacist narrative of US history. The law, which is also being challenged in the courts, does nothing to prevent the studying of history of other ethnic groups.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Hypocrite In Chief
Here Comes The Election Year Populism

President Obama took a look at the poll numbers this morning and then launched his 2012 re-election campaign with a budget speech he hopes will cause us to forget that he spent the last two years selling out the American working class.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Navajo 5 at New Mexico 371

Capitalism's Dead End

I learned today I am being changed from an employee to being a private contractor, sometimes called contract employee, or 1099 contract employee after the IRS form I'll be getting at the end of the year showing my wages, which are paid in bulk now -- no taxes are deducted. Those are my worry now. Everyone who works where I work faces the same thing.

A 1099 employee isn't eligible for unemployment benefits because they aren't an employee but a contractor, or Workman's Compensation, both of which the employer has to pay for, and the employer no longer has to pay anything into the Social Security trust fund. In other words, it's a win-lose proposition. It's Capitalism under the Republicans, who, as I wrote in the post before last, are in firm control of the US government despite controlling only one-third of the House-Senate-Presidency triumvirate.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Nuclear Radiation - No Need to Worry - We All Die Sometime Anyway

These are screen shots I have taken over the past couple of weeks from the website Radiation Network, where amateurs around the country have hooked their Geiger counters into one computer, which updates the readings about every minute (under 100 is OK, they say.) The yellow circles are where Geiger counters are running, the black icons represent known nuclear facilities.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Third World Blues

As President Obama and congressional Democrats try to put a good face on their latest defeat, their latest great sellout of the working class, their cave-in to $38 billion in cuts to social programs for the poor and struggling as part of a stop gap spending bill, cuts that will further devastate an American working class already on its knees and which may well halt the economic recovery along with Obama's and many Democrat's re-election chances, it is well to remember that Democrats control the White House and Senate. Republicans control only the House of Representatives, and yet from that minority position are in complete control of the American political process and the United States government.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Wait Until There's A Story About Frat Boys

 The above spelling error was in a news aggregator I sometimes look at and in fairness was not in the original story the summary refers to. But such errors are not rare any more in legitimate news stories. I have a file folder in my computer that I started about two years ago where, for awhile, I was saving examples I came across of mistakes in editing and writing like this one. The folder even has stories from the New York Times in it.

I say "for awhile" because such errors came to be so common that I just got tired of going through the process of saving the stories each time I saw them.

It was once very rare to see an error anywhere in a newspaper, and errors in headlines, like this one, were so uncommon that they were singled out and made fun of in columns in the same way that oddities like UFO sightings or potatoes in the shape of the Virgin Mary are.

This decline in editing and writing is one consequence of the decline of Journalism. Not the most serious one, of course, that being the danger to democracy as newspapers lay off reporters and editors and close foreign bureaus, or shut down altogether, and it becomes more and more difficult for us to know what those in power and their handmaidens in government are actually doing.

The decline in actual Journalism is accompanied by the rise of Republican talk radio and Rupert Murdoch's Fox News, both of which are rife with easily demonstrable inaccuracies, and at Fox News, news programming is gradually being replaced with programs featuring race baiting, Islamaphobia and conspiracy theories. Almost every serious Republican presidential contender, by the way, is on the Fox payroll.

The less we know, the less power we have to prevent the advance of Reaganomics and the decline of our living standards that is already showing up in government statistics. Statistics, by the way, that Republicans are trying to prevent from even being collected. In some localities, for example, notably California, it is unlawful now for the government to collect the kind of data that make it possible to prove systemic racial discrimination.

Such editorial sloppiness is also, I'd venture to say, the result of overworked and overwrought online editors, as workers in the new Reaganomics economy are expected to be ever more "productive," that is, work more for less pay.


Note: Having been a reporter, who was not particularly strong in spelling, I know how easy it is to make simple spelling errors like the one pictured above. You are concentrating first on factual accuracy, and on making sure the story is clearly worded and is constructed so as to get the point across unambiguously. Often you are under deadline pressure. No one appreciated copy editors more than I did, and they were all good at what they did. Nor does anyone appreciate computer spell checkers or use them more. But still, if you mean to say "solve" and there is such a word as "slove," you are up shot creek.