Monday, May 31, 2010

Israeli commandos kill up to 19 aid workers

Israel has killed as many as 19 humanitarian aid workers attempting to deliver food to Gaza by boat. The flotilla of boats was boarded by Israeli commandos although the reason for the murders of the aid workers is unknown at this point. Some of the members of the group Free Gaza have asserted that the flotilla was attacked in international waters. Israel has claimed that the waters off the Gaza coast are "Israeli territorial waters" but they actually have no legal claim to the Gaza coast, having been in contravention of international law on Israeli/Palestinian borders since 1967.

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

McCain, Reagan, and bankers, oh my!

Just an assemblage of fuckery from right-wingers...that is to say, another day.

  • And you think George W. Bush's Vietnam evasion was shameful. Well, Joe Conason highlights the insanity that was Saint Ronald of Reagan's belief that he was actually present at the liberation of Auschwitz when in fact he had been in Hollywood FOR THE DURATION of the Second World War. And yet this man is venerated by prominent Repubs. This is so completely delusional, as was his belief that he didn't trade arms for hostages and his belief not only in astrology but also in the occult.

  • There's good ol' John McCain always wrong about everything. Here he says that we should crack down on the flow of illegal immigrants into the US-as he did in his goofy ad-but apparently once they've breached the border, well, I guess ol' Johnny thinks it's OK for employers to milk immigrants illegally for every penny they can get out of them. So to re-cap: illegal immigration=bad, illegal exploitation of Mexicans=meh. And now, ol' Johnny is soliciting comments from anti-gay groups condemning and fear-mongering the possible repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell. Really, he's just wrong about everything.

  • Dean Baker on how there's one standard for most employees, but a totally different onefor the banksters. Dean Baker has been right about everything economically for the last 10 or so years-and perhaps longer, that's just as long as I've been reading his work, so if you're more interested in what he does, check out his Center for Economic Policy and Research.

  • And just to cheer things up a bit, before you go off on BP too hard, just remember that there have been many seconds during the company's existence when oil has not been gushing into the ocean from one of their oil wells.

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Thoughts on a great playoff game

Well this was a great one for hoops fans, even if you aren't partial to either team. It seemed like the Lakers were much the better team, but Steve Nash had a great game to keep the Suns in it. Here are some more thoughts on what was a great game and also on the outlook for game 6.
  • Derek Fisher is the forgotten man on the Lakers and showed his veteran poise when the Lakers needed it greatly-22 points on a very efficient 12 shots.
  • Kobe nearly with a triple double (31, 11 boards and 9 helpers)-what can you say about the guy? You have to watch him every game to appreciate his consistent excellence.
  • Lamar very aggressive and active (17 pts, 13 boards, 4 assists in 36 minutes).
  • Pau had a quieter game, but the game's ultimate hero, Ron Ron, also played some fantastic defense on the guys he was guarding. That said, the Lakers let the Suns get back into it, losing a very big lead and nearly letting the game slide into overtime.
  • Channing Frye is back and Jared Dudley continues his excellent playoff play.
  • Dragic was stymied very well by Sasha Vujacic who it was good to see getting some burn.
  • Amar'e Stoudamire had 19 points, but only four boards. He should really stay down low more in order to use his athleticism to more effect.
  • Robin Lopez seemed tentative after some early misfires. Andrew Bynum played some nice defense against Amar'e but it was cancelled out by Lopez' good D against Pau. Robin Lopez is going to be a very good NBA center. He's only 22 and it's obviously he's starting to feel his oats and recognize he can play in the league. The frontline of he and Amar'e is going to be a nightmare for all teams except perhaps the Celtics and Lakers.

Again, this was a great game and very nerve-racking for this Laker fan, but the Lakers pulled it out. If they can be more aggressive in guarding their men and remain aggressive, I think they should be able to pull out Game 6 in PHX.

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George W. Bush, economist

Investment? We don't need no stinkin' investment!.

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

stereotype much Bill?

Bill tells Columbia African-American studies professor Lamont Hil that he looks like a cocaine dealer. Well Bill, you look like a sleazy, douchebaggy, sexual harasser. Oh wait, you are!

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Monday, May 24, 2010

It's Getting Better Every Day

This is why I'm-well, I say I'm only responding to circumstances-but others say I'm a pessimist. It's because, given the higher rates at which black folks are incarcerated, given the greater, and growing, income differences between the rich and poor in America, given the bleak job market, and the fact that black folks have been fighting an uphill battle ever since they were brought to the American continent, this is not a surprise. Don't believe the hopey changey hype. The numbers don't lie.

Meet the new boss...

same as the old boss.

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SB 1070 cartoon

Really, really funny cartoon mocking the racism of SB 1070.

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

don't use the Force blue

This has really gotten out of control. Here's video of Marquis Daniel's step-father tased at Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals in Orlando. Apparently this man, Willie Buie, had been arguing with fans who didn't take kindly to his support for his step-son's team. He had been escorted out of his seat before because he had argued with them. Apparently he told a reporter who called his home that his rights were those which had been abused and that police responded with excessive force. Even if he had gotten into a disagreement, it's ridiculous that a taser is required to be used. Cops should be better at actually resolving conflicts rather than having to always use force. That confrontation could have been dissipated if cops could actually resolve differences.

One blogger, Digby, has been documenting the violence and deaths caused by tasers for several years. Some of the posts, such as this one about a man named Jarred Massey seems to have been tased for no good reason, are really disturbing. Officer Jon Gardner tells him to get out of the car and Massey does so. Massey then points out to Gardner the speed limit and again asks what he (Massey) has done wrong. He asks Gardner what is wrong with him (Gardner), and having turned around as the officer had asked him to, he's shot up with 50,000 volts. Later on in the video, Gardner is caught lying to an associate about having warned the man that he would be tased. Massey won a $40,000 settlement against the state of Utah after filing suit but really, why should things need to get to that point? If the officer could simply have explained to the man why he was stopping him, or, finding insufficient evidence, letting him go, there would have been no need for such violence. There's this one wherein a plaintiff IN COURT, upon claiming that what a judge has said is "bullshit", is subdued by five cops. The judge orders the man taken into custody and then, being held by five cops, he's tasered. Yes, perhaps he should be charged with contempt of court, but when five cops have you under control, there's no need to use a taser.

There's the horrific case of Robert Dziekanski, a man who had just emigrated to Canada from Poland. He had just arrived at the Vancouver airport and had picked up office chairs and put them in front of the security doors. He had also thrown a computer to the ground. However, when he is approached by police, they ask him to stand against a wall and he does so, without resisting. However, at that point, they tase him. He moans and writhes for about 90 seconds and then stops moving. The video ends shortly thereafter and emergency services were unable to bring him back to life. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police recently apologized to his mother and she was granted financial compensation for her son's death, but I'm sure whatever the amount of money was, his mother would gladly return every penny in return for her son.

These sorts of deaths should not happen. That more people do not find the incidents such as those I have highlighted above, and myriad others, worrying, is what is most worrying to me. The widespread use of tasers is a symptom of a failure to appropriately rein in excessive police power.

Update: fixed link to Marquis Daniels' player profile and re-phrased how William Buie interacted with Orlando fans. Re-stated the sequence of events prior to Dziekanski's death.

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At least Rand Paul is honest

Rand Paul is saying some crazy shit at the moment and I certainly don't agree with his opinions. I think that should be nearly self-evident-but what I do appreciate is his honesty. His ideology is SO insane that I think it might make for a teachable moment about the completely unsustainable model of the supposed conservative world view. It's not really conservative. These guys are enamored of too much power invested in a president-as they themselves have said, they are fans of a strong executive branch (the strong Unitary Executive theory) and I'd argue that some of them veer toward Fascist, but we are seeing what happens when there is no regulation. We have the BP oil spill, we have an SEC in which the watchdogs are watching porn instead of the financial industry, we have astronomically expensive wars. And yet even Rand Paul, this supposed laissez-faire Tea Bagger, isn't so loyal to his ideology when it comes to ensuring the money stream keeps flowing into his medical practice. He's a doctor and although he's fervently anti-government, when it comes to ensuring that he doesn't lose any of his precious income, he's a bleeding heart liberal. So again, can so-called conservatives ever be intellectually honest? If they would, well, perhaps we could evolve....but no, I guess there are too many political points to be made.

Perhaps a few people will think about the insanity of his beliefs and realize that government is not all that bad. Yeah, sometimes government makes poor decisions, but who would you rather have leading you? The esteemed Senator from BP? Yeah, they're geniuses. The honorable gentleman from Halliburton? I'm sure they'd NEVER lie to you. The distinguished representative from Goldman Sachs? Just don't let your wallet out of your sight. When I ask my supposedly-conservative friends this, they have no answer. They hem and haw and it's obvious they don't want to have that discussion. This is why the world is in trouble.

Some might say Rand Paul might have exposed himself as a lunatic, but to me, it's really not that surprising. He's just a more honest Teabagger. Rand Paul is not the exception to the rule, he is just a more candid expression of it.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

the hypocrisy of supposed small-government "tea partiers"

I have no problems with conservatives. However, I don't believe the vast majority of Tea Partiers have much connection to lower-case "c" conservatism. Eisenhower, a Republican, warned the country about the dangers of the military-industrial complex, not about the threat posed to America by brown people, in his final speech as President in 1961. However, Tea Partiers have shown themselves not at all concerned with the expansion of the American empire-itself the elephant in the room regarding the ballooning debt which these so-called patriots claim to be concerned. Tea Partiers have a positive opinion of George W. Bush-a leader who had very little concern for keeping government's footprint small.

Regarding government regulation-we haven't heard much Tea Party criticism of the absence of regulation which allowed for the mining accident in West Virginia last month in which 29 people died. Indeed, the CEO of that company, completely not coincidentally, was recently at a rally in which he, Sean Hannity, Ted Nugent, and others railed at Obama, cap-and-trade legislation, supposed green "extremists", and regulation. Indeed, his company sponsored the rally. But apparently, hoping that workers don't die in industrial accidents is not a Tea Party value.

It just points out again, the absurdity of claiming that Tea Partiers are conservatives. Conservatives who truly believe in limited government would have an issue with the bill in Arizona which privileges state government over federal government on the issue of immigration. The fact that the Association of Arizona Police Chiefs opposes the bill on the grounds that immigration is better dealt with at the national than at the state level does not restrict Tea Partiers from offering empty praise to police.

As one pundit put it, Tea Partiers have an issue with small government until it interferes with "warring, wiretapping, or waterboarding."

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

ooh the crazy

Step right up kids, see the bearded lady, the Elephant Man, the midgets, the carnies.......and caged off in a strait jacket-remember kids, don't put your hands inside the cage-and please don't encourage the wingnuts- the wackiness of Daniel Pipes and Debbie Schlussel. OK folks, that's enough now. We're a little concerned that you are not subjected too much to their crazy rantings. Watch out! They just threw some feces against the wall! Oh wait, those are their column. OK, take your kids home now, read them a story, and tuck them in.

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Friday, May 14, 2010

No one could have predicted the breaking of the levees

And imagine that, President Obama authorizes off-shore drilling but yet then rants at oil industry execs. What did he expect they would do? President Obama has got to stop playing nice with his political opponents. These people are not his friends and they are not going to behave in any sort of ethical way. Really? You're surprised by bad behavior on the part of oil companies? Really? If he nominated Jesus to the Supreme Court, they'd ask what judicial experience he had. The Republicans-while their policies are nightmarish, approach the realization of those policies with a single-mindedness that Democrats need. If Dems had Republican zeal and determination, this world would be very different.

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Well since you put it that way...

BP's chief puts it all in perspective for us. Yeah, there's so much more water in the Gulf than there is oil that all those little animals really need to just swim hard and try and get away from the oil. They'll find there's lots of water if they just swim far enough. Hey, if they just buy little animal cars, there's all that gas available for free-that's a pretty good deal for them!


Thursday, May 13, 2010


People need to back off LeBron. Yeah, his TEAM lost to the Celtics' TEAM. LeBron's numbers were typically fantastic. What else is the man supposed to do? It ain't his fault. If they haven't got the supporting cast this year, well, perhaps they need a bit more patience with the squad they have. I don't think that blowing up the team is the answer. But certainly, blaming LeBron is WAY out of line. Is there a better player in the league outside of #24 for the Los Angeles Lakers? I don't think anyone would claim there is. So leave LeBron alone. You wanna clown Jamison, Mo Williams, Delonte West? Fine. Clown Shaq, Anthony Parker, Big Z, JJ Hickson, but what else can LeBron do, short of physically putting Quicken Loans Arena on his back? Also, just because you lose to a team, doesn't mean your team is crap.

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George Rekers

Rachel Maddow pwns self-hating gay man George Rekers. She points out the hypocrisy of his claims-refuted by pictures-that the companion he took with him to Europe was there because he needed help with his luggage. She also points out that a letter from an organization with which he is affiliated claiming that homosexuality can be cured was sent the day before he went on his trip to Europe with his escort hired from Rentboy. Not sure how Rekers could look any more hypocritical. Rekers is a total fraud and he has been, cough, outed as such. Stephen Colbert also completely takes him down.

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

tax levels in the US at their lowest since 1950.

Not that this is news to those of us who live in the reality-based community, but still an' all. No Virginia, the sky is not falling. No Virginia, the Kenyan President is not a socialist, or a Communist, or a Fascist. He's not coming for your guns or your apple pie or your white children. Relaaaaaaaaaaaaax.

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Sunday, May 09, 2010


Rajon Rondo, Tim Duncan (yeah-Tim Duncan, mm-hmm), at the moment NOT the Atlanta Hawks.

George W. Bush-man of the people

George W. Bush visits Haiti and his disdain for Haitians is symbolic of how he treated the world for 8 years.

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Saturday, May 08, 2010

Sean Hannity has some nerve

Well, I'll give him that. In spite of the two million internally displaced people in Iraq, in spite of over a million Iraqi deaths, in spite of the looting of some of the world's most important historic relics, in spite of the prohibition of the exclusion from Iraq government jobs of Ba'ath party members, in spite of a unilateral disbanding of the Iraqi army, Sean Hannity thinks that Iraq should be grateful to the point that they should re-pay the US for their "liberation." If that's liberation, I think I want to be in solitary in the hole for the rest of my life.

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conference semis

Orlando is absolutely destroying Atlanta. Van Gundy has them dudes playing the same game. Dwight Howard is playing like a man driven. Jameer Nelson, Matt Barnes, Vince Carter, Michael Pietrus, Rashard Lewis, Marcin Gortat, JJ Redick, Jason Williams, Ryan Anderson-they all know their roles. This team is scary. Yeah, as individuals, they do not particularly sound intimidating, but this is a team. This is why we watch. It was embarrassing watching for Atlanta. I can't think of a worse performance this deep into the playoffs. The fans were nearly too embarrassed to boo. No one could do much of anything. Goodness-to watch as good a team as Atlanta get so completely pwned as that, one knows that Orlando is REALLY good. I'm impressed by Phoenix too. Channing Frye, Goran Dragic, Jared Dudley, Leandro Barbosa have been big off the bench and Grant Hill-well, what can you say about the guy? I appreciate guys who are quietly good for lengthy periods of time but I have to admit even I've been a it taken aback by the level at which the consummate pro continues to do it. I don't think, however, that if the Lakers get through to the Conference finals that they should have too much trouble with the Suns.

Cavs/Celtics. Cavs are deep but I still like the Celtics experience. Celtics in 7. I love the Jazz too. They are always ready and that's a tribute to Jerry Sloan. They just don't have the size though, to beat the Lakers. It's no knock on the Jazz-the Lakers are an excellent team. I just don't see the Jazz with enough to beat the Lakers. I'd say Lakers in 6, and if they show a bit of intensity maybe in 5.

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Friday, May 07, 2010

false equivalence from President Obama

President Obama attempts to claim that Republicans and Democrats engage in the politics of self-destruction. Robert Parry notes that the President only ensures that Republicans will continue to attack him because it hasn't mattered whether policies were some that might garner Republican support. They have no desire to support Democratic policies. If it were a policy asserting that kittens are adorable, Republicans would claim that kittens are a lot of work and grow up to be pesky, troublesome animals. As Parry notes, until President Obama responds to fire with fire, he will continue to get hammered by Republicans acting in bad faith.

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Thursday, May 06, 2010

how funny it that Danny Ainge has now been involved in two news-making incidents regarding towel throwing? Robert Horry was traded from the Suns to the Lakers (thanks Suns!) after Horry was angered by his then-coach Ainge during a time out and threw a towel at him. Ainge was a nuisance as a player and once so angered Tree Rollins that Rollins bit him.

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Robert Reich on the similarities between Goldman Sachs, Halliburton, and Massey Energy

What do Massey Energy, Goldman Sachs, and Halliburton have in common? They're all the beneficiaries of a insufficient regulation. Halliburton, in spite of being responsible for multiple breaches of laws-from the deaths of at least 16 troops, from electrocution owing to KBR's faulty wiring, from the detention of Jamie Jones after Jones had been raped, to the inability to account for $1.4 billion in Iraq to which Halliburton was entrusted, to the very process by which Halliburton was awarded multiple contracts which had not been exposed to public bidding.

Goldman Sachs has benefitted from a close relationship with the federal government (quite apart from the political party in the ascendance in Washington). They are bailed out, in spite of their bundling almost indecipherable, and typically worthless financial products. Their sway, and the tendency of the SEC to watch porn rather than regulate Goldman Sachs, facilitated the ascendance of Goldman Sachs and the other large banks largely responsible for sending the world's economy into the toilet.

Massey Energy has a lengthy record of breaking laws and not being punished. Its CEO, Don Blankenship spent over $3 million to elect a member of the West Virginia Supreme Court who subsequently voted to repeal a fine imposed on Massey Energy over a conviction reached in West Virginia ruling that Massey had engaged in fraud in order to put a competitor, Harman Energy, out of business. His company was fined $1.5 million over the deaths of two miners who the regulatory agency ruled had died because of safety violations in a Massey mine in January 2006. Massey Energy, via its' CEO claims to believe that regulation would comprise us needing to learn Chinese and he also is quite alright with elementary school aged children breathing coal-laced air.

All these companies have been the beneficiaries of a Wild West of commerce over the last 30 years, in which business has largely been untethered from rules that would significantly motivate them not to do damage to the communities in which they do business. Reich nails this dynamic much better than I can.

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Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Troubletown on the Arizona law

There are gradations of what is acceptable suspicious behavior in Arizona, according to Lloyd Dangle. Great stuff.

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Facebook switch

Why would Facebook switch from allowing you to become a fan of something to simply telling you to "like" it? It limits our range of expressing how we like something. Incredibly counterproductive. Then again, I suppose if Facebook really doesn't respect our privacy, it's not really surprising.

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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

AZ law and conservatives

I SO love my libertarian/conservative friends supporting the Arizona monstrosity. The same people who claim that Obama is taking their freedom are endorsing a law that abridges fourth amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures. Hypocrisy much?

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