I don’t even know where to begin this morning. I wish I could write a coherent diatribe like the one Dakinikat wrote yesterday, but I can’t do it. I have a sense that things are very wrong, but I can’t explain the feeling in any rational way.
As we head into the holiday season, I feel as if the country is leaderless. The public focus of the Obama administration and the media is on the glitches in a website; and yet in the background are terrible problems that are building and growing more and more intractable as our political “leadership” fiddles with nonsensical issues like Obamacare and Benghazi.
As Dakinikat noted yesterday, there is a problem of growing poverty and income inequality become institutionalized and normalized. There is the issue of gun violence and our total failure to respond to it with any kind of rational regulations on guns. There is the devolution of education in the U.S., and of course there is the continuing attack on women’s autonomy and Democratic politicians seeming willingness to use women’s bodies as bargaining chips. Finally there are the already institutionalized problems of racism and hatred of immigrants. What have I missed?
As our real problem grow, it seems the American political and media classes, either don’t notice because as part of the wealthy 1% they simply aren’t affected, or because they’ve got theirs and they just don’t care about the mass of people who are struggling to survive in a poisonous system. And because of the obsessive focus on the end-of-year holidays, nothing will happen in Washington until we hit the next debt limit and our “leaders” mobilize briefly to kick the can of our economic and social problems down the road once again and so they can return to their focus on minutiae.
Is there any solution to the political and economic stagnation we find ourselves in? Is the situation really as surreal as it feels to me on this Tuesday morning? Am I nuts?
Anyway, here a some of the stories leading the news at the moment.
Jeff Bezos tells Amazon customers to expect home delivery by drones. NBC News reports:
Amazon.com hopes to deliver small packages to your home in just 30 minutes by unmanned drones within five years, chief executive Jeff Bezos said Sunday.
In an interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” Bezos was actually less optimistic than what his company said in its online announcement, which declared that tiny robot aircraft could be landing on front porches as soon as 2015.
Bezos said Amazon already had the technology in place and had even flown a working prototype, which he showed off in a video the company published Sunday:
He promised “half-hour delivery, and we can carry objects, we think, up to five pounds, which covers 86 percent of the items that we deliver.”
The rest of the work, Bezos said, is in quality control and getting the plan OK’d by the Federal Aviation Administration — something technology experts said was unlikely on Bezos’ time frame.
So basically, this is just a silly idea that has no chance of actually happening anytime soon. But the media sees it as more urgent than poverty, income inequality, and people getting killed with guns day in and day out.
From the Washington Post: U.S. students lag around average on international science, math and reading test.
Scores in math, reading and science posted by 15-year-olds in the United States were flat while their counterparts elsewhere — particularly in Shanghai, Singapore and other Asian provinces or countries — soared ahead, according to results of a well-regarded international exam released Tuesday.
While U.S. teenagers scored slightly above average in reading, their scores were average in science and below average in math, compared to 64 other countries and economies that participated in the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, which was administered last fall. That pattern has not changed much since PISA was first administered in 2000.
Gee, I wonder why this is happening? It seems like something that should concern our “leaders.”
The test scores offer fresh evidence for those who argue that the United States is losing ground to competitors in the global market and others who say a decade’s worth of school reform has done little to improve educational outcomes.
“While the intentions may have been good, a decade of top-down, test-based schooling created by No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top — focused on hyper-testing students, sanctioning teachers and closing schools — has failed to improve the quality of American public education,” Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said in a statement. The AFT released a video on Monday in which it implored the public not to blame teachers, the unions, parents or students for poor PISA results.
But were intentions really good? Check out these years-old headlines on profiteers (including the Bush family) who cleaned up after passage of the Orwellianly titled “No Child Left Behind” law was passed.
Bush Profiteers Collect Billions from No Child Left Behind (Project Censored: The News That Didn’t Make The News, March 30, 2007)
Bush’s Family Profits From `No Child’ Act (LA Times, Oct. 22, 2006)
No Bush Left Behind (Bloomerg Businessweek, Oct. 15, 2006)
There are plenty more headlines where those came from.
And yet, nearly a decade later, we’re stuck with that awful law and the damage it has done to our public education system. Why have Democrats done nothing to reverse it? Most likely because they too profit from the continuing privatization of education.
What about the latest media narrative on Obama care?
From the Washington Post: Health-care enrollment on Web plagued by bugs:
The enrollment records for a significant portion of the Americans who have chosen health plans through the online federal insurance marketplace contain errors — generated by the computer system — that mean they might not get the coverage they’re expecting next month.
The errors cumulatively have affected roughly one-third of the people who have signed up for health plans since Oct. 1, according to two government and health-care industry officials. The White House disputed the figure but declined to provide its own.
The mistakes include failure to notify insurers about new customers, duplicate enrollments or cancellation notices for the same person, incorrect information about family members, and mistakes involving federal subsidies. The errors have been accumulating since HealthCare.gov opened two months ago, even as the Obama administration has been working to make it easier for consumers to sign up for coverage, the government and industry officials said.
Figuring out how to clean up the backlog of errors and prevent similar ones in the future is emerging as the new imperative if the federal insurance exchange is to work as intended. The problems were the subject of a meeting Monday between administration officials and a new “Payer Exchange Performance Team” made up of insurance industry leaders.
Okay, but what is with the bizarre impatience about some computer glitches from a media that couldn’t care less about institutionalized poverty, racism, and gun violence? And then there’s the Obama administration’s defensive response, as reported by USA Today: Obama to launch new health care law campaign
President Obama and his aides will seek to rally public support for his embattled health care plan in the coming weeks, starting with a White House event Tuesday.
Obama will promote the effort in a speech while surrounded by people who have benefited from the new law, according to an addition to the White House schedule.
The Affordable Care Act has come under heavy political attack since its rollout in October. Problems have included a malfunctioning website and the cancellations of polices that do not meet new federal standards.
In the coming days, Obama and aides will highlight what they call successful aspects of the law. They include provisions that prevent insurance companies from discriminating against people with pre-existing health conditions, and allow young people to stay on their parents’ insurance policies until age 26.
A few writers have tried to look at the “Obamacare crisis” slightly more rationally than the mainstream corporate media.
Here’s Bob Cesca at The Daily Banter: As Healthcare.gov Bugs Are Fixed, the ‘Obama’s Katrina’ Script Continues To Be Shredded.
It’s been 11 days since The National Journal‘s Ron Fournier wrote that Obamacare is President Obama’s Katrina. Oh, and it’s also his Iraq, Fournier wrote. Obama’s Katrina and Iraq. Both.
Since then, however, the Healthcare.gov website has been vastly improved and many of the bugs initially reported have been fixed, according to the administration late Sunday.
Back on November 20, Fournier made sure to provide himself with an escape hatch, though, noting that Healthcare.gov isn’t the same in terms of the actual events during and after Katrina, or throughout the Iraq War. Instead, Fournier wrote, the similarities had more to do with incompetence in the execution of a major policy initiative.
Yeah, so incompetence that lasted literally for years in both Iraq and New Orleans, leading to massive body counts on both fronts, is the same as a glitchy website launch. Okeedokee. Roger that. In reality, yes, both administrations made mistakes, but those mistakes were vastly different in terms of magnitude — not to mention that the Bush administration’s response to its mistakes was to, well, make even more mistakes. Again, foryears.
On the other hand, the Obama administration realized there were problems with the website and rushed to address those errors. Within two months most of those problems have been resolved, and, bonus, no one died.
For more rational perspective, read the rest of the post at the link.
I particularly like this uncharacteristically long post by TBogg at Raw Story: Are-We-There-Yet?-American [sic] just wants to go home because we aren’t there yet. Here’s just a taste:
You may remember that about a month ago, which is four score and seven years ago to the iPhone generation for whom a Japandroids download that takes over 20 seconds is an eternity times infinity, that the Great Socialism Project That Will Stomp America Flat (aka Obamacareor Communism) had some internet user problems which is why there are absolutely no healthcare services available in America right now so you should just rub some dirt on your burst appendix, suck it up, and quit yer bellyaching. In an effort to fix what wasn’t working, the Obama White House brought in some better quality nerds who, fortified with 5 Hour Energy IV drips, promised to get it up and working by Dec 1 or GTFO.
Please go read the rest.
Charles Pierce also had a few choice words for Ron Fournier and the rest of the Obama-hating press.
Ace reporter Ron Fournier of the Associated Press has another scoop for y’all. There is absolutely no fking way on god’s green and pleasant earth that this Obama fellow will be elected president again. He has blown his chance for that third term, and probably the fourth and fifth as well. Ron would like the Pulitzer committee to leave the medallion on the doorstep. Watch out, Obama. The Horsemen ride at daybreak! [....]
I heard my friend Eric Boehlert on the radio this morning, warning us that the traditional end-of-the-year retrospectives are likely to sing in close harmony on the theme of the collapsing Obama administration, even though his poll numbers are pretty much where they’ve been for a couple of years now, and even though the Republicans in Congress continue to have the approval ratings of skin disease. I think he’s right, and I think Fournier, who’s been a tool so long they ought to sell him at Home Depot, is just trying to get a jump on things here.
More hilarity at the link.
And what’s with the efforts to deny that racism exists? From Raw Story: Black female professor reprimanded for pointing out existence of structural racism to white male students.
A faculty member at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, Shannon Gibney, received a formal reprimand for her handling of a discussion about structural racism in her Introduction to Mass Communication course.
According to Gibney in an interview with City College News, a white male student asked her, “Why do we have to talk about this in every class? Why do we have to talk about this?”
She claims she was shocked, because “[h]is whole demeanor was very defensive. He was taking it personally. I tried to explain, of course, in a reasonable manner — as reasonable as I could given the fact that I was being interrupted and put on the spot in the middle of class — that this is unfortunately the context of 21st century America.”
Gibney says another white male student followed the first, saying “Yeah, I don’t get this either. It’s like people are trying to say that white men are always the villains, the bad guys. Why do we have to say this?”
When Gibney attempted, again, to inform the students that they were mistaking a systemic critique for a personal attack, the students continued to argue. Eventually, she told them that “if you’re really upset, feel free to go down to legal affairs and file a racial harassment discrimination complaint.” This is exactly what they did.
This probably has something to do with our f’d up education system too . . . . As far as I can tell, critical thinking has been banned.
Okay, I’ve ranted long enough. What interesting news have you been reading? Let us know in the comment thread.
Oh…what a crappy week it has been.
I constantly feel like I have woken up in a Twilight Zone episode, half expecting Ted Cruz will wish all the poor people in America to the cornfield.
You know what? I bet he would do it if he could!
Seriously, I feel like those people being held hostage by the little monster child who will do anything to get what he wants.
That is exactly what the actions of Cruz and the rest of the nutcases are doing…and I lump all the assholes in that pile by the way, Boehner, Reid and Obama too.
All these GOP nitwits complaining about Cruz and the rest of the tea party batshit crazies have nothing to bitch about really. They are the ones who allowed their party to become the circus it has become, and as far as I can tell, why couldn’t Obama take care of this budget crisis when he had both houses backing him up. Instead he had to push through a healthcare plan that is shit. Oh wait, let me call it what it is…GOP/Heritage/big insurance company approved shit. (Am I wrong? These days I don’t know if I’m going or coming…but please tell me if I am remember that right or not.) Ugh. I am so sick of all of them. Why can’t we just send the Tea Party, GOP and stale-ass, do-nothing Democrats to the cornfield and put Hillary in the White House already! (With Samuel L Jackson there as VP to help her kick some muthafukken ass!)
Well, here are the cartoons for this Friday night…enjoy them!
I’ll start with my favorite of the bunch, probably because Horton Hears a Who! is my favorite Dr. Seuss book.
Only thing bout that…what “Moderate” GOP?
Okay, I love that one…with a nod to Breaking Bad.
This is an open thread. Y’all have a good and pleasant night.
As Boston Boomer discussed yesterday, perhaps we all are suffering from severe cases of PAD…I know that mine happens to be exacerbated by lack of sleep and loss of brain cells from years and years of the ridiculous shit that never seems to stop flowing from politicians mouths. I am so sick of all of them.
Funny, I am sitting here watching one of the best films ever made, Jean Renoir’s Grand Illuision, as it depicts the end of the aristocracy…the rise and survival of the Marechals and Rosenthals of the world. The three social classes examined…aristocratic, working class and the bourgeoisie, and here we are stuck in this never-ending hell of repeal Obamacare votes, food stamp cuts, war on women’s rights, ridiculous assaults on science and rich ass jerks who take more and more from those with none to give. I could go on listing the horrors, but it will only make me more depressed.
So, I will just give you the links for this morning, in dump fashion because my daughter is due for her pain meds soon and I need to get her something to eat before she takes it.
There was a big gold heist in Europe: Gold shipment disappears from Air France flight to Zurich — RT News
Some 44 kilograms of gold bars from an overall cargo of 300 kg of precious metal have mysteriously disappeared from a flight bound to Zurich. An insider operation could be to blame for a €1.5 million heist at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport.
France’s national aviation police (GTA) is now investigating how and by whom the gold was stolen from the aircraft, after Air France said it had filed a complaint with police.
“We hope the investigations will allow us to quickly determine the sequence of events and identify those responsible,” a spokesman for Air France was quoted by the Local.
Only seven of nine cases handled by the American secure transportation company Brink’s reached the final destination in Switzerland onboard the Air France flight last Thursday.
“We are investigating the matter, and especially the possibility that this was an inside job,” a source familiar with the investigation told the British Daily Mail.
And if you have followed the America’s Cup…it has come down to the last race: After Comeback for the Ages, a Last Dash for America’s Cup – NYTimes.com
The America’s Cup has produced no shortage of strange scenes in its 162 years. There have been capsizings, shattered masts and shattered spirits, but it has never produced a reversal of fortune quite like this year.
A week ago, the defender of the trophy, Oracle Team USA, bankrolled by the American billionaire Larry Ellison, trailed by eight races to one and was just one defeat from losing the most prestigious prize in yachting to the challenger, Emirates Team New Zealand.
But by winning seven races in succession, including two on Tuesday, Oracle has tied the series at 8-8. Winds permitting, the rivals from different hemispheres will contest one final race Wednesday, winner take all.
I seriously thought that the New Zealand team was going to take the cup…but this has been one hell of a come back.
More speculation on a serial murder case that has haunted London for decades: Jack The Ripper Mystery Solved? Cold Case Investigation Implicates German Sailor Carl Feigenbaum
…after years of investigation, a retired detective is confident he has finally found the culprit behind some, if not all, of the killings attributed to the infamous “Jack.”
Past attempts to identify the man who supposedly terrorized London in the late 19th century have implicated artist Vincent Van Gogh, Alice in Wonderland author Lewis Carroll and even relatives of Queen Victoria. But retired homicide detective Trevor Marriott says that after 11 years of investigation, he believes German merchant sailor Carl Feigenbaum committed an unknown number of the murders.
Marriott, who hails from Bedfordshire, England, told British site Express that he came to his conclusion via old-school document analysis and high-tech forensic science. He also said he found that Hollywood and myth have “distorted” many facts of the case over the years.
Take a look at that article for more information and links to Marriott’s new book.
Here are some nice pictures of The 20 Most Stylish Men of Hollywood’s Golden Age – Best Dressed Men of All Time – Esquire
And when you are finished looking at them, you can take a look at this image from 1937: Full Service: 1937 | Shorpy Historical Photo Archive
July 1937. “Georgia road signs.” Photo by Dorothea Lange, evidently a connoisseur of juxtapositional humor. View full size.
Hot air…and it is free!
Okay, now a bit of links that touch on the things I mentioned in the top of the post:
A 430 lb gorilla named Patrick has been sent away from the Dallas Zoo to a special therapy camp for, I don’t know, jerk gorillas, because he just can’t seem to get along with anyone. Especially females. The Daily Mail reports,
Dallas Zoo officials said Patrick gets along fine with humans but not with other gorillas.
They said they have tried repeatedly to socialise him with the other gorillas, particularly the females, in the hopes that he might get along and even breed.
Instead, he bit one female and sneered and nipped at others.
What a fucking elitist prick. Reminds me of a guy I knew in college… named Patrick.
Patrick has long been a “problem gorilla;” he was hand raised by people and only really connected with one other gorilla, an old penmate named Jabari who was shot dead by Dallas police after escaping from his enclosure and mauling someone in 2004.
Friendless and terrible with women. Something tells me Patrick would be a big hit on the Gorilla Internet.
My guess is that Patrick is a card-carrying member of the NRA and a big supporter of Ted Cruz.
Now this is something really funny and pathetic: Popular Science Is Shutting Down Its Comments Section Because Comments Are Bad for Science | Geekosystem
Today Popular Science announced that there will be no more comments section on any of their online articles. Why? Because according to a whole bunch of studies, reading polarizing comments in relation to a scientifically factual topic will dramatically skew the way a person feels about that topic.
They explain their reasoning thusly:
It wasn’t a decision we made lightly. As the news arm of a 141-year-old science and technology magazine, we are as committed to fostering lively, intellectual debate as we are to spreading the word of science far and wide. The problem is when trolls and spambots overwhelm the former, diminishingour ability to do the latter.
Specifically they cite a study led by University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Dominique Brossard, in which over 1,000 people were made to read a fake survey of nanotechnology with or without derisive comments underneath. This study found that regardless of whether or not people agreed with the survey’s findings, their opinions become much more polarized when subjected to rudeness (although the comments didn’t even have to be rude, per se — just very firm-handed), and they themselves were more likely to be rude about it later. That kind of extreme mentality can be dangerous on something everyone can agree on, but when it comes to more contentious matters like climate change or vaccination efficacy? It can overpower the actual scientific facts completely.
Yup…scientific facts? What the fuck are those? WWJD?
A politically motivated, decades-long war on expertise has eroded the popular consensus on a wide variety of scientifically validated topics. Everything, from evolution to the origins of climate change, is mistakenly up for grabs again. Scientific certainty is just another thing for two people to “debate” on television. And because comments sections tend to be a grotesque reflection of the media culture surrounding them, the cynical work of undermining bedrock scientific doctrine is now being done beneath our own stories, within a website devoted to championing science.
At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone on the right started a drive to change the name of the publication to Unpopular Science.
It is so disgusting.
I will end with this soundbite from Samuel L Jackson: Sam Jackson on Obama, Republicans and Civil Disobedience
In a new Playboy interview, the highest-grossing actor of all time, who has made an art of the f-bomb, says Barack Obama should “be fucking presidential,” and, on GOP obstruction, “there was a time we would be in the streets about this shit.”
PLAYBOY: Or a society that views graduating from college or grad school as elitist, or one in which President Obama or other highly educated Americans consciously drop gs off the ends of words to sound like Joe Average?
JACKSON: First of all, we know it ain’t because of his blackness, so I say stop trying to “relate.” Be a leader. Be fucking presidential. Look, I grew up in a society where I could say “It ain’t” or “What it be” to my friends. But when I’m out presenting myself to the world as me, who graduated from college, who had family who cared about me, who has a well-read background, I fucking conjugate.
PLAYBOY: With your and your wife’s militant revolutionary background, how political are you today, especially having told Ebony magazine in 2012 that you wanted President Obama to “get scary”?
JACKSON: He got a little heated about the kids getting killed in Newtown and about the gun law. He’s still a safe dude. But with those Republicans, we’re now in a situation where even if he said, “I want to give you motherfuckers a raise,” they’d go, “Fuck you! We don’t want a raise!” I don’t know how we fix this bullshit. How do we fix the fact that politicians aren’t trying to serve the people, they’re just trying to serve their party and their closed ideals? How do we find a way to say, “You motherfuckers are fired because you’re not doing shit about taking care of the country”? If Hillary Clinton decides to run, she’s going to kick their fucking asses, and those motherfuckers would rather see the country go down in flames than let the times change. But as I tell my daughter, there was a time we would be in the streets about this shit.
PLAYBOY: You mean instead of signing petitions on Facebook and Twitter?
JACKSON: You need to have your physical body out there in the streets and let these people—and the rest of the world—know. When our antiwar movement led the world, it was because people could see us in the streets, see our faces, hear the protest music. You can’t do that shit blogging in a room. I can’t see you on your keyboard. I can’t see you sitting there in the dark. Things happen when people get out in the street.
Oh if only Sammy would run for President! But I do agree with him…Hillary will kick their fucking asses!
Y’all use this as an open thread. In the words of Patsy Stone, “Cheers…thanks a lot…”
Hey…she still has tiny ankles! And I am sure his beer gut isn’t much to look at either.
I guess you all know my quirks, the above image is one of them. Yes, I save pictures of midgets* and women with big asses. (Not just big asses, but high ones, like that one up top. Just like the one my Nana had, and all my great-aunts had…and I have…it has a name in my family, the “Centinaro Rear.”) I’ve been saving that picture, waiting for a time to use it. Today I just don’t really give a damn, so there it is. If it offended anyone, I’m sorry. I am not in the mood to feel anything but disgust right now…I’ve gone beyond PAD (Political Affective Disorder) and have moved into a far worse state of mental condition.
Mona, you gotta term for the next “worse” state of mind?
Here are the cartoons for tonight:
Makes me think of Blades of Glory:
I swear I thought that Jobs used to pronounce his name like Jobs…(But who cares anyway.)
Here is a news link for the next cartoon: Anti-LGBT pundit Pat Buchanan backs Putin’s anti-LGBT law | The Raw Story
This is an open thread…enjoy it!
Go to bed crying…
…and wake up screaming?
Well, it isn’t that bad…yet.
However there are times that I do go to bed so angry and frustrated lately at the state of “things” these days you could almost say I go to bed screaming.
North Carolina’s Gov. Pat McCrory has giving the final fuck you to the women of his state…let’s see if this next Moral Monday will have the power of orange behind it.
Alrighty then, here are your cartoons for this first Friday of August…in no particular order by the way…let’s be carefree tonight.
(In other words, I’m being a bit of a lazy ass and don’t feel like going the extra effort to organize the funnies for you.)
Perhaps this little Peanuts cartoon fits my mood best:
(And considering the fact that I am writing this post at 8 am this morning…that sure as hell is a damn perfect cartoon for me, don’t you agree?)
Okay, on with the funnies:
This next one by Slowpoke is a good one: Blind by Political Cartoonist Jen Sorensen
(Love the sheep in that poster!)
Ya, Grease is the Word!
This is an open thread.