Sunday, December 25, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Hannukah!

Happy Hannukah!  In the spirit of the holiday, enjoy some music.  Make some potato pancakes.  Drink some wine.  Light some candles!


p/s.  Taking a break from the political blogging during Hanukkah, the political outrage can't be good for my soul cranked up full like that.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Music Spotlight #1 - Eatliz

This will be my first "Music Spotlight" brought to you by RealityBytesPC.

This first band is called Eatliz.

Eatliz is an Israeli alternative/progressive rock supergroup formed as the serious outlet of Guy Ben Shetrit of punk rock band Infectzia in 2001. The band is known for its internationally awarded animation music videos and for reinventing itself in every live show, where the stage is a playground and every show is unique. The band members themselves describe their sound as "complicated pop".
 The following music video is both a great video and a great song.  I love it because its a really artistic and creative video.  Enjoy!



Saturday, December 17, 2011

Marriage Ninja to the Rescue!

Short blog post today... blogging energy low... must refill tank...

I love this video so much.

Reasons I love this video:

(1)  Ninja
(2)  3x Newtpower!!
(3)  Newt Gingrich
(4)  Ninja
(5)  Second City
(6)  Have I mentioned I love the ninja?

If you enjoy this, tell me so in the comments below!  Please, anybody, I'm desperate *sobs*


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Say No to Rape

A part of me cringes at the above title.  Simply for the fact that I have to say it.  That it even has to be said is a fucking shame.  But I'll say it again!  Say No to Rape!  And this goes out to guys, guys, GUYS!  SAY NO TO RAPE!  Say no to rape, sexual assault, and mistreatment of women.  It's NOT cool.  It's NOT funny.  And if you do it, there's a special place in hell for you (yea, again, I don't believe in hell).


An exhaustive government survey of rape and domestic violence released on Wednesday affirmed that sexual violence against women remains endemic in the United States and in some instances may be far more common than previously thought. 

Nearly one in five women surveyed said they had been raped or had experienced an attempted rape at some point, and one in four reported having been beaten by an intimate partner. One in six women have been stalked, according to the report. 

“That almost one in five women have been raped in their lifetime is very striking and, I think, will be surprising to a lot of people,” said Linda C. Degutis, director of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which conducted the survey.  “I don’t think we’ve really known that it was this prevalent in the population,” she said.

Wow.  Just wow.  Is this what we've come to as a country?  That our male population is subjugating the other half of the population?  And that we're doing it to the one's we're INTIMATE with?  What.... the... fuck?

Maybe I think this is crazy because I grew up in a unique situation.  I had only sisters.  All my cousins were girls.  I had no uncles.  I never met my grandfathers.  My families close friends had only daughters.  My best friend growing up had five older sisters.  I was surrounded by women and girls.  Is that why I think its important to respect and treat women well?  And NO, I won't accept the "biological reason" that we need to just fuck a woman, move on, and then fuck another woman.  Civilized?  Right.

So fellas... if you have a mother...
If you have a sister...
If you have a lover, girlfriend, or wife...
If you know somebody who is FEMALE...

Treat them with respect, treat them with dignity, treat them with kindness and love.

Because if the point of RAPE is to get FUCKED.... don't you think your woman will do it with you willingly if you instead treat her with respect, dignity, kindness, and love?

No women, no future, duh.



Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Let's Play with Donald Trump!

Oh boy!  This should be a fun game.  Here's how it works.  You watch the video below, and out of all three minutes of the video, you pick your favorite line and share it in the comments.  Oh boy, what will you say?

My favorite line?

"I owe it to myself, my family, and perhaps, most importantly, my country."

You know, I want him to win the nomination.



Who would you like to rape?

Yes, you read that right.  Why would that be the title of my blog for today?  Read this article to find out:

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — A University of Vermont fraternity suspended over a survey that asked members who they would like to rape is getting a visit from a representative of the fraternity's national headquarters.  The national Sigma Phi Epsilon organization says in a statement that is has instructed the chapter to cease all operation, pending further investigation. It says that any behavior that demeans women is not tolerated...

Officials say a student reported the survey to the university over the weekend. School officials contacted the national fraternity and police to determine if any crimes have been committed.

First off, people like this who think its acceptable to ask a question like this have a special place reserved in hell for them, even if I don't believe in hell.  This kind of bullshit is totally uncalled for and needs to stop.  Obviously rape and sexual assault is out of control and out of hand, but this sort of language needs to stop as well.  Now.

Second, this got me wondering if indeed any crime was committed.  The first amendment of the constitution does not protect language that incites violence.  Which makes me wonder, does this fraternity's survey language incite violence?  Or is it just idiotic but protected free speech?  What do you think?  I'm actually undecided on this one. 

Regardless of whether or not this is criminal speech, this students should be expelled and the fraternity needs to be shut down.

What are your thoughts on this matter?


Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Republican Racism Problem

It would seem that the Republican party may have a bit of a racist element to it (you think?).  To people on the left, it's a problem.  We don't see America as a place where racist views are mainstreamed and accepted.  We don't silence them because of that pesky constitution.  But we just don't see them as acceptable and even right.

To people on the right, about a quarter of the population of America, believe that they are right in their racist leanings.  Either that, or they refuse to believe/admit that being racist is wrong.  They refuse to admit that hating a group of people because they come from a different place or have a different skin color is very un-Christian of them.  Unfortunately, these people vote, and appear to be poised to vote for a racist.



A small eastern Kentucky church is making huge headlines after it banned interracial couples from becoming members.

The former pastor defended the recommendation, stating it's "not intended to judge the salvation of anyone, but is intended to promote greater unity among the church body and community."
According to The Washington Post, the current pastor of the church, Stacy Stepp, said he allowed the vote but didn't agree with the decision.
So you call for a vote to ban interracial couples.  Only 15 of the 40 members don't walk out (props must be given to those who do), but the remaining fifteen, or 37.5% of the congregation, remain to vote and PASS the resolution.  Now I understand democracy and democratic process, but when its used to infringe on the rights of a specific group of people based on their race, it ceases to be democratic.

What bothers me about this, is the current pastor is saying, "I think you are wrong to think this... but I'll let you do it anyways."  How about take a stance?  How about show some leadership?  Say NO!  And if you stand for something you believe in, and your congregation disagrees with you, at least you can leave saying you did the right thing and stood against racism.

Also, did you know that banning interracial married couples "promotes greater unity among the church body and community"?  *sigh*


 Story NUMBER TWO...

Wow.... just wow.  First, in rhetorical terms, just because you say something is a fact doesn't automatically make it one.  You actually have to follow up the statement "Let's start with the following two facts" with two actual facts.  Not anecdotes, not opinions, not generalizations, but actual facts!

Second, whenever anybody like that slimeball Newt talks about "poor children" in "poor communities" and how nobody there works, I want him to just come out and tell us how he really feels.  "Those poor little niggers, being where they belong in the ghetto, could be used as indentured servitude as a way to break up the unionized janitors.  And anyways, black folks are best on their hands and knees, scrubbing rich people's floors and toilets."  Oh and Newt, go drape a confederate flag around your shoulders while you say it.

Anytime, ANY white male Republican or conservative starts talking about "poor children" and "poor communities" and how they know best about how to improve their values, all they're doing is blowing on the racist dog whistle.  Because nowadays, its unacceptable to say nigger, black, etc. on tv or the radio.  Just ask Dr. Laura Schlessinger.  But they can still do it in subtle, euphemistic, double speak and that is even worse.  I wish he would just be open about his racism, make it easier for everyone to see it.  Did you know that this asshole is the current leader of the Republican presidential nomination?

By the way, it's a fact that his parents named him Newt because they knew he would be slimy like the animal.  Fact... because I say so...


*drumroll* *drumroll* *drumroll*


Sigh... this stuff tires me out and I don't have the patience to do any sort of insightful analysis about this... so as Jon Stewart did.

Rush Limbaugh, go fuck yourself.


Friday, December 9, 2011

More Heroic Youth Activism

This time at the Durban Climate summit.  Another one of those summits where important world leaders get together to make the appearance that they are doing something important only to delay real climate change. 

See what happens when youth are spurred into action by the inaction of the greed generation?  Here she is, 21 years old, on the stage with world leaders at a world wide summit.  And she stands up to interrupt a speech to make her point, one that is honestly more important than anything these imposters had to say.  If you missed it, it was a simple, beautiful message.

"I am speaking on behalf of the United States of America because my negotiators cannot. The obstructionist Congress has shackled justice and delayed ambition for far too long. I am scared for my future. 2020 is too late to wait. We need an urgent path to a fair, ambitious and legally binding treaty. We need leaders who will commit to real change, not empty rhetoric. Keep your promises. Keep our hope alive."

Bravo to her! 


Thursday, December 8, 2011

8-Year Old Stuns Michelle Bachmann

If you haven't seen it yet, here is your chance.  An eight year old activist stunned Michelle Bachmann on the campaign trail in South Carolina.  Not that its that hard to stun Michelle Bachmann.  I don't want to give away the punchline, but watch the video and you'll understand what makes this such an amazing thing.

In case you missed it, this activist whispered to Bachmann...

"My mommy's gay, but she doesn't need any fixing."
This little kid is my hero.  I don't care if mommy put him up to this, he still had the courage to tell this to a complete stranger, in front of a crowd, in a strange location.  This child's bravery is beyond words.

And apparently its beyond Bachmann's words as well, simply responding "Ba-Bye."  I don't think her campaign prepared her with a canned response, a soundbite, or a one-liner to respond to an eight year old activist who couldn't speak more true.

The Republican party ladies and gentlemen.

Pray the Gay Away (tm)


p.s.  I was thinking of including music in at the end of each of my posts in the form of a youtube video.  Its really just for fun and cause I like music.  Thoughts?  Should I do it?  Would it take away from the commentary?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

How Many Chances?

I wonder, how many chances do you give somebody to right their wrongs?  Do you believe that somebody should have infinite chances?  Or does there come a point where you lose faith in a person to do the right thing?

I have been thinking about this in two different situations.  The first has been with work.

I have a coworker who is in his forties.  He has been in the industry for over ten years.  He is a full-time employee, receives benefits, and has a regular schedule.  The guy is a complete fuck up.  I don't say that lightly either or with any humor.  This guy is completely incompetent and totally irresponsible.  Some things he has done:

- He was suspended five days but not fired for a case of sexual harassment against a female employee.
- He has had complaints filed against him for his interactions with female customers.
- He repeatedly finishes about 50% of the tasks expected of him, perhaps even less.
- He takes more breaks from work that he is allowed, and takes longer breaks than is accepted in our store policy.  He also does this without permission.
- He has walked off the job a number of times without permission to use the store computers for personal reasons.
- He has ignored and defied his supervisor, saying he was going to do what they said and then effectively not.
- He has left a seven inch work knife on the shelf where customers could have found it.  Luckily an employee found it and not a child.
- He consistently either clocks out early without permission or simply stops working and meanders around for forty five minutes or more before the end of his shift.

And beyond all that, he is constantly talking about the other employees behind their backs.  He says stuff about how they are slackers.  He says they are irresponsible.  How come they get more responsibilities than him?  How come he doesn't get to do the things they do?  The worst part is that I've brought up my grievances with him to my assistant manager, my manager, and shift manager.  All three have refused to do anything, either out of cowardice or simply using the excuse, "Don't let it get to you.  You just do what you need to do and don't worry about him."

Except its not that simple to me.  In a fair work environment, everybody is held to the same standards.  In a fair work environment, those who meet and exceed those expectations are rewarded.  That might be an increase in hours or an increase in pay.  And those who fail to meet even the basic minimum standards get a minimum number of chances before they're fired.  This guy has gotten so many chances and the bosses in power don't do anything about it.

Should I go to my store manager?  Should I give my department managers one more chance to fix the problem and deal with his incompetence?  Should I just go straight to this employee myself?  Actually wondering what to do here.


Why am I talking about this on my political blog?  It reminds me of a certain political party that starts with R... and ends with Cans.  No, not the Rhubarbicans party.  I'm talking about Republicans.

Republicans have been consistent on a couple of things for a long time now.

(1)  They have been consistently incompetent.
(2)  They have been consistently wrong.
(3)  They have been consistently irresponsible.
(4)  They have consistently accused their opponents of the same wrongdoings that they have done themselves.
(5)  They have consistently been hypocrites.

My question is, should Republicans get any more chances?  Ever again?  We've given them so many, but they just keep fucking up.  We've tried to give them a chance to be responsible, but they seem incapable of it.  They've dragged us into two worthless wars and gotten thousands killed.  They've stolen from the poor and given to the rich.  And worst of all they will never, ever admit they were wrong, instead accusing the other side of their own wrongs.

But what about the people that vote for Republicans?  The same people who won't admit that they've voted for the side that was wrong?  Keep voting for the incompetent, irresponsible, hypocritical side?  All because they can never admit they're wrong.

Should we give these voters a chance?  Should we even bother trying to convince them otherwise?  Even bother having those conservations with them anymore?  Or is it just time to accept that they are wrong, and completely irrelevant?

I always used to believe that someone should always get a chance.  But I think I've decided otherwise with Republicans and the people that vote for their incompetence, ignorance, and hypocrisy.  I think they need to be made irrelevant to the political debate in this country.

BUT, what do you think?  Should Republicans be given a chance anymore?  Should people who vote for them be taken seriously anymore?  Or should they be given another chance to change?

AND, what should I do about my awful fucking coworker?  Anything at all?


p.s.  I swear to God, working in the corporate retail world is like being in a Dilbert comic strip.... urgh

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The 1% Gone Wild!!!

No, there's no topless drunk chicks in this post.  That would be clean compared to the shit that the 1% has pulled off in these three stories.  Here we go!

Number THREE story...

Mortgage lender GMAC pulls a shit move on the people of Massachusetts (why can I never spell this state correctly on my first try?  sigh):

GMAC Mortgage, the mortgage lender of Ally Financial Inc., is exiting the vast majority of its lending in Massachusetts a day after the state sued it and other lenders over its allegedly improper foreclosure practices, a decision the state's attorney general called an admission. 

The nation's fifth-largest mortgage originator said it "has taken this action because recent developments have led mortgage lending in Massachusetts to no longer be viable."
So it must be something pretty bad to make Massachusetts "no longer viable" as a market to help people get homes.  It's got to be something really, really bad to destroy the mortgage market for GMAC to the point where there's just ZERO business for them anymore.

Actually, what happened was the state Attorney General filed a lawsuit against GMAC for illegal mortgage practices.  You know, the same practices that led to thousands of foreclosures and contributed to the crash of the economy.  So the state tries to hold this company accountable (which the taxpayers have a 74% stake in thanks to the bailout) for their crimes, and instead they retaliate.  Its very mafia of them... "You try and hold us responsible, and we'll blow up your house."


Number TWO  story...

In case you were wondering whether or not Republicans are just stooges of the 1%, here's what they do when they have power in the house:

The House on Thursday approved a bill ending the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) that was set up to ensure states meet certain standards at the voting booth, and ending the public financing of presidential campaigns. The bill passed in a mostly partisan 235-190 vote...

"There is no doubt that a voter suppression effort is underway in this nation," Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) charged on the House floor. "Abolishing the Election Assistance Commission, an agency charged with ensuring that the vote of each American counts, is just another step in the voter suppression effort and would completely remove oversight of the most important process in our democracy."

Republicans have said ending the EAC would save $33 million over the next five years. The GOP says the EAC has already served its purpose, and that any work it still does offering guidance to states can be transferred to the Federal Election Commission.
 Really?  REALLY?!?  WTF?  Suddenly you're concerned about $33 million over FIVE YEARS?  *ugh*  Makes me so stabby*.  What's more important to a democracy?  Saving chump change, or oversight of the voting process?  

The only reason the Republicans want to end oversight of the voting process is so they continue with their voting suppression efforts without any obstacle.  And while they do this, they scream about voter fraud, ACORN, etc.  All that is really just code for them to suppress the votes of minorities, the poor, women, and youth.  Don't want power to be taken away from the stooges of the 1% now.

Maybe they want to get rid of this commission because they're afraid their CRIMINAL actions might be found out.  Just saying...


And the Number ONE story...

In a move of dickishness that may rival the levels of Newt Gingrich, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the following:

In a speech at MIT last night to discuss the packed sweepstakes to build a tech campus in New York City, Mayor Bloomberg said he prefers City Hall to the White House. Almost immediately after Mayor Bloomberg dampened recent speculation he’s eyeing a White House bid, he added fuel to the fire by explaining why a mayor would be the best person for the job.

“I have my own army in the NYPD, which is the seventh biggest army in the world. I have my own State Department, much to Foggy Bottom’s annoyance. We have the United Nations in New York, and so we have an entree into the diplomatic world that Washington does not have,” Mayor Bloomberg said.
 "Whatchu talkin 'bout Bloomy?!?"

Uh, so let's get one thing straight Mr. Bloomberg.  The New York Police Department is NOT and will never be your own personal army.  The Police Department won't ever be an army.  I don't know what its like to live in your reality or your world, but I'm pretty sure I know what the police is all about.

The police, for example, are separate from the military.  The police are paid for by our tax dollars.  The police are there to protect our neighborhoods and communities.  The police are there to enforce the law and protect the citizens that pay for them from abuse.  The power of the police is limited, including in matters of arrest, search and seizure, and use of force.

What they are NOT is your own personal army.

For a view into Mr. Bloomberg's world where he has his own army, let's consider an interesting fact.  Bloomberg is the 12-richest person in the United States with a worth of $19.5 billion.  What can you do with that much money?  Own 88% of your own media company.  What else can you do with that much money?  Oh I don't know, maybe buy your own army...  *sigh*

But all this makes me wonder, does $19.5 billion put the mayor of NYC in the 1% that the Occupy movement is protesting against?  Tough question...


*((the "stabby" reference was from a wonderful podcast I listen to called the LiberalOasis.  Please check out their blog and weekly podcast, both very good))

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Bachmann's Bachmann Problem

This has been very hard for me to blog about because there's so much STOOPID in Michelle Bachmann's head that it hurts my head. 

Watch this first.  A Republican strategist speaks the truth, and not even on accident!  Which is a rare occasion in itself...

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Weathering Fights - Science: What's It Up To?
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

Then watch this.  What does Michelle Bachmann think about intelligent design in the classroom?  Should it be taught as science along side evolution in our public schools?  I think I'll let her answer!

It's almost as if Michelle Bachmann is doing comedy routine.  Except it would be funny if it wasn't for the pesky fact that Bachmann wants a theocracy.  You know, one of those places where the facts are up to debate.  Where people can choose what's right and what's wrong.  Where traditional Jesus-y thinking rules the day.  But only if you're one of those good, Republican, conservative, Jesus lovers.  Not if you're some left wing, progressive, socialist Christians.  Oh no, then you're even more disturbed than those science-y types.

Even if you are let down by Barack Obama, do you really want a Republican President who believes this kind of idea?

"What is the point of teaching children facts if it only confuses them?  It should be up to the American people to decide what's true!  Doesn't that make common sense?"
 Isn't choice great!  It's the "American Way"!  Yay Freedom!*


*((The "American Way" and freedom of choice only applies to white males.  Certain side effects may occur if you are a woman, African-American, brown skinned immigrant, liberal, senior citizen, active soldier, veteran, child, Jew, Muslim, Atheist, homosexual, student, home-owner, homeless, or union member.  Side effects may include imposed religious values in your personal life, lack of reproductive choice, restrictions of voting rights, and attacks on personal character.  The "American Way" is trademarked by the GOP and represents conservative, white, "traditional" values.))

**((and God Bless America))

p.s. Hat-tip to John Amato and CrooksandLiars where this clip of Bachmann was posted.  If anyone can help me with getting the full length clip from CrooksandLiars embedded into my blog that was great.  Otherwise you'll have to click the link to view it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Romney's Romney Problem

Oh my Gawd!  Two posts in one day!  Can it be?  What could be better than getting two posts in one day from the best new blog on the internet? 

Well, maybe an open faced hot turkey and gravy sandwich...

But after you eat that sandwich (with your eyes!), check out the following problem that Mitt Romney has.  And no, its not as bad as Santorum.... or is it?  That's for you to decide.

So not only is Mitt Romney a tool, he also thinks the voters are stupid and can't figure this shit out.  

Now... even if Obama isn't your cup of tea, or if you're a Democrat and Obama has let you down, do you REALLY want to see the words "President Romney"?  Yea...

Oh, and some definitions for "Romney":

- a tool
- blowhard
- flip-flopper
- Shape-shifting, cream-cheese LDS hustler with a spray-on tan.  (my favorite)


p.s.  Check out the link to the food blog I posted above.  You WON'T be disappointed.  Spread the blogger love people!

Santorum's Santorum Problem

Rick Santorum has a problem.  What problem is that you might ask?  No, it's not Red Leader from Star Wars silly!
It's when CNBC and Yahoo! publish an article about the homes (note, plural) of all the Republican candidates for president.

And I quote:

"In addition to his more modest house in Penn Hills, Pa., Rick Santorum also lived in this two-story residence on 3.76 acres in Leesburg, Va., until 2007. It was purchased new in 2001 for $643,361. The question of Santorum’s residency location was the catalyst for a frothy controversy spanning more than a decade, as detailed here."
Did you catch that?  Any time a presidential contender has a subtle comedic dig taken at him by the lame-stream media, I applaud!  Especially when its Santorum.

Thank you Dan Savage.


p.s.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, google "Santorum"... if you dare!  Mwaaa haaa haa

UPDATE:  From the following article, Santorum says the following rather creepy bit:

"I may not be the guy that the girls are initially attracted to when they walk into the dance hall, but ultimately once you get to know all the folks, I'm the one you want to take home to Mom," Santorum said.
 I'm pretty sure that there's not too many mother's who are into Santorum... *cough*.... either way.

Monday, November 28, 2011

They've Been Doing it for Years

You often hear from conservative voters and the media blah-blah-blah talking heads that the Republican party is only losing its way now.  As if they have completely forgotten everything during Bush.  But it goes back even farther than that!  What Republicans are doing now at an extreme pace, the obstructionism of the law making process, the political games with people's lives, and the burn-it-down mentality has been happening for years!

And I quote:

"The agenda [they] would impose on America — abortion on demand, a litmus test for the Supreme Court, homosexual rights, discrimination against religious schools, women in combat — that's change, all right. But it is not the kind of change America wants. It is not the kind of change America needs. And it is not the kind of change we can tolerate in a nation that we still call God's country."
 Let's play a little game.  (1) Who said this quote?  (2) When did they say this?  (3) Who were they talking about?

Wait for it...

Wait for it...

Almost there...

You guessed correctly!  If you said Red Leader from Star Wars.... oh wait....

In all seriousness, that quote above was from

(1)  Pat Buchannan, Republican running for president, current media figure for MSNBC (that liberal media station!)

(2)  Twenty years ago!  He said this in 1992, in his famous "Culture War" speech to the Republican convention.

(3)  Now that you know he's not talking about Obama or that other black guy (*cough* Vader *cough*), he was saying this about Bill and Hillary Clinton, those socialist Kenyan-usurpers.  What about Muslim?!?

So what they're saying now about Barack AND Michelle Obama really isn't a new thing.  Don't let anybody think it is either.  These are the same talking points they've been at for at least twenty years, but this time there's a hint of racism and an extra flutter of stoopid as well.


p.s.  If you haven't year, check out Driftglass blog.  It was the inspiration for this peace.  As was their podcast.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Airport Workers Making Less than Minimum Wage

This will be a brief story, but it will show you how in the new economy, low and ultra low paying jobs are becoming the norm.

CHICAGO, Ill. -- Every day she goes to work at O'Hare International Airport, Elda Burke faces the same dilemma. 

Burke, 30, works as a passenger attendant at the airport, escorting the elderly and disabled to and from their gates by wheelchair. Even though the airlines describe this as a free service, Burke's employer has her working partly for tips, which is why her base pay is a low $6.50 an hour, somewhat like a restaurant server's, rather than the typical Illinois minimum wage of $8.25. 

But unlike diners at a restaurant, many of the passengers Burke will be escorting on their holiday travels this week won't realize she's working for tips -- and by federal law, she won't be allowed to tell them.
"We cannot say anything," Burke says. "If we do that, they can fire us."

The company that has been hired for this airport work is Prospect Air Services Inc.   Of course they are claiming that this is just a "union ruse", and that they are paying their employees above the minimum wage.  Apparently those uppity low wage workers are just lying so they can get a bigger slice of that pie that they feel entitled to *snark*. 

Doing a little research shows that the average wage is $8.95 / hr at Prospect.  Even if that is true and its not as the employees claim above, with 4000 employees, this is still an example of the face of a low wage service economy. 

Darn uppity employees, wanting a living wage.  Socialists...


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Why Immigrate to the United States?

I view the "American Dream" to involve some of the following:

(1) Education - Part of the American Dream is the opportunity for you and your children to receive a quality education, starting with the public elementary education, quality high school, and high level colleges and universities. Education is affordable and accessible to all.

(2) Employment - Part of the American Dream is the opportunity for secure employment with respectable living pay.  Hard work, loyalty, and innovation are rewarded with respectable pay and job security.  Long term employment is a real and achievable goal.  A retirement with respect is attainable with hard work and loyalty.  Small business ownership is attainable and a goal of the business community.

(3) Home Ownership - Part of the American Dream is the opportunity to afford an appropriately sized home.  This is to both keep a permanent roof over your head, but also to have a permanent stake in this society.  Not just for yourself, but for your children and grandchildren.  It doesn't have to be an extravagant home by any stretch, but a permanent one that you can keep with security and get with financial responsibility.

(4) Health - Part of the American Dream is health and its many forms.  Its the personal health of your family.  Its health safety in the workplace.  Having a safe, clean hospital in your community or city.  It means access to health in all its shapes and forms, including access to a doctor.  It also means clean air, food, and water. 

(5) Freedom - Part of the American Dream for many outside of this country is the freedoms we offer.  It involves being able to speak your mind without fear of repercussion, including from the government.  It means being able to protest and assemble without fear for your own safety.  Its the freedom to practice your own religion safely and without fear.  It is the freedom to participate in the political system without fear for your own safety or even fear of losing your vote.

My parents immigrated to this country for most of if not all of the above reasons.  My own experience and their experiences lead me to believe that those are what the American Dream consists of.  They lived it.  They succeeded within the framework of the American Dream.  They left their home country for a better life and got it. 

My father got higher education and started his own small business which is still open over thirty years later.

My parents saved up money and own their own home.

They sent all three children to affordable colleges.

They had access to insurance and hospitals when they got ill and when my mother had to give birth to my siblings and I.

They worked hard to become naturalized American citizens and exercise their right to vote in every election, not just presidential ones.

They believe their children can live within this framework.  They believe that their children can still achieve their dreams within this framework.  They believe that the American Dream is alive for the society of the United States.  They are "minorities" (Jewish).

I am seeing cracks in their thinking.

For example...

They think its atrocious that not everybody has access to health care, even the poor.

They think its a shame the college education has become financially unattainable for so many compared to when they got their degrees.

They think that attacks on retirement, social security, and medicare are appalling.

They still worry about practicing their religion openly with representatives and presidential politicians speaking about the United States as a Christian Country.

Even they, the responsible homeowners who only bought within their means and extremely carefully, are beginning to wonder how it is that so many people are being foreclosed by Wall St. and the Banks.

My mother typically votes Republican, my father typically votes Democrat.  They are registered independents.

If they are having doubts, if there are chinks in the armor, what are people outside the country thinking?  What are potential immigrants thinking?

 Why should they consider moving to the United States and not elsewhere?  What do potential immigrants have left as reasons to move to this country anymore?

It seems that all of the aspects of the American Dream are under attack, being destroyed, or are close to being dead.  This comes from the super wealthy and corporate interests, who have no interest in watching the American Dream survive, for that comes at the expense of their own wealth.  And if you are a foreigner who is considering starting a new life in the United States, this is a frightening prospect.

So I wonder, from children of immigrants and children of non-immigrants, why would people want to move to the United States?

"The owners of this country know the truth.  Its called the American Dream, cause you have to be asleep to believe it." - George Carlin


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Newt Gingrich on Occupy Wall St.

Try to watch this without vomiting in disgust or sheer anger at his words.  And this is the current leader of the Republican primary field for president.

Transcript (with my commentary):

"Jefferson said that the people who want to be both free and ignorant are asking for something that has never been and will never be.  Captain John Smith said in 1607 in the first English speaking permanent colony to the aristocrats who paid their way and didn't want to work, if you don't work you don't eat.  There was a deep sense of responsibility.
This disgusts me.  This so called expert on moral values is saying that if you're not working you don't have a deep sense of responsibility.  Unemployed?  Go get a job you dirty hippie.  Laid off or fired?  You obviously didn't work hard enough to keep your job.

"Let me now take that and for a brief moment describe Occupy Wall St."
 Oh please do, since you apparently understand it so well...

 "All of the Occupy movement starts with the premise that we owe them everything."

 No fuck face.  Have you even paid an iota of attention to the protests?  Have you even dedicated one brain cell of what's left in that skull of yours to what the protesters have been demanding?  And by the way, when you say "we", sounds like you are saying that you are a part of the 1%, you know, that corrupt, crime riddled, corporate interest that the Occupy movement simply wants to pay their fair share.  That same 1% that the Occupy movement wants to pay for their crimes.
"They take over a public park they didn't pay for.  To go nearby to bathrooms they didn't pay for..."
Hey moron, if its PUBLIC it belongs to the PEOPLE.  Those same PEOPLE that are protesting PAID for it with their taxes.  Unless poor and middle class Americans don't count to you Newt...

" beg for food from places they they don’t want to pay for.  To obstruct those that are going to work to pay the taxes to sustain the bathrooms and to sustain the park so that they can self-righteously explain that they are the paragons of virtue to which we owe everything."
I've been to the protest and Chicago and fellow protesters are actually bringing food to the protest so people don't have to beg.  Bet you didn't know that Newt, but I guess you also didn't go down to the protest yourself.  And isn't one of the POINTS of the protest to Occupy Wall St; to obstruct those that are criminally destroying our country and stealing its wealth?  Oh I forgot, in your world, only the 1% (there's that "we" again) pay taxes that really count.
“Now, that is a pretty good symptom of how much the left has collapsed as a moral system in this country and why you need to reassert something as simple as saying to them, ‘Go get a job right after you take a bath.”
 Let's talk about YOUR moral values Newt (no, you don't get the respect from me to call you "Mr.").  

- You are the only Speaker of the House to be sanctioned for ethics violations.
- You had 84 ethics violations filed against you while in congress.
- You were paid $30,000 an hour for lobbying "work" with Fannie Mae (you know, that good ol' sense of responsibility Newt?)
- You owed $500,000 dollars to Tiffany's, you know, good ol' fiscal responsibility.
- You and your wife went on a luxury cruise during a crucial point in the primaries, you know, good ol' work responsibility.
- Your "charity" gave money to your for-profit businesses that you run.  Oh that's what charity is for Newt.
- You cheated on your first wife while she was in the hospital recovering from surgery, and then married your mistress.
- You cheated on your second wife with a woman 23 years younger than you DURING the Lewinsky Scandal, eventually marrying her.  You claimed you did this out of "love for your country".

And on, and on, and on.  Not to mention that you belong to the party of death, of torture, of war, of corporate crime, of greed, of environmental poisoning, of the death penalty, of secret prisons, of racism, of sexism, and on, and on, and on.

Take a look in the mirror Newt before you tell me the "left has collapsed as a moral system."


I'm not going try argue with his point about what he says Occupy Wall St. is about.  To truly know what the protest is about, go down to the protest yourself.  There are numerous protests occurring in hundreds of cities across all fifty states.  Turn off the fucking propaganda which is the corporate owned media and open your eyes for yourself.  Get to the ground, get your brain a little dirty, get your feet a little worn, and make a fucking decision for yourself.

If you can't agree to try turning off Fox News, then you're lost to me.


p.s. Newt Gingrich, go Fuck yourself.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Police Brutality at UC Davis

If you haven't seen this yet or heard about this story, watch the video below.  It is beyond words.

One would imagine this was filmed in Egypt, or Tunisia, Syria, or even Libya.  No folks, this is right here in the good ol' United States of America.  What did these students do to deserve this brutality?  Exercise their right to free speech and right to free assembly, that's all.

The best part?  You think that anything is going to happen to these police who broke the law?

(g) Any person who uses tear gas or tear gas weapons except in self-defense is guilty of a public offense and is punishable byimprisonment in a state prison for 16 months, or two or three years or in a county jail not to exceed one year or by a fine not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment, except that, if the use is against a peace officer, as defined in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2, engaged in the performance of his or her official duties and the person committing the offense knows or reasonably should know that the victim is a peace officer, the offense is punishable by imprisonment in a state prison for 16 months or two or three years or by a fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment.
 I wonder when the Federal Government will step in and say enough is enough, that these protesters have the right to do what they want and that no police force has the right to treat them that way.  In my last post I mentioned what happens when the corporate interests are protected over the rights of the people.  Think fascism can't happen here?  Watch that video again and then try answering that question.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Corporations and the F word

Oh my, what could I be talking about?  Do I dare mention it?  Could it be happening in this country?  No, it only happened in Germany, Italy, Spain, and elsewhere.  It could never happen here.  Corporations could never exert so much power in this country.  But...


Ah yes, the dreaded F word.  Up until now, most of the talk has been in this country of an oligarchy or a plutocracy.  Here is a perfect example of what I'm talking about from Bill Moyers.

It would seem that wealthy corporate interests and democracy don't mix too well.  Democracy is a system of government that looks out for the needs of the majority of its people and the benefits of all.  It is also a system of government that is run by the people.  A plutocracy is where the corporate interests run the show, where the wealthy make the decisions that help only the wealthy, not the people.  So it would seem pretty easy to see where these two don't mix.

But Fascism?  The slow erosion of our rights have made me think of this.  It's the slow erosion of our rights all to protect the corporate interests.

As the Occupy protests continue around the United States, it has been the police who have been cracking down on the people's right to freedom of speech under the first amendment.  With arrests at the protests surpassing 4000, what have these people done other than exercise their freedom of speech?  As far as I'm concerned, the Constitution doesn't say that freedom of speech ends when the sun goes down.

What other right has been suppressed?  The right to the freedom of the press.  Mayor Bloomberg blocked reporters from covering the crackdown on Zucotti park and when reporters tried to cover it, they were arrested.  Reporters all across America have been arrested for covering these protests.

“Sometimes they are arrested and then set free almost immediately. Sometimes they are arrested and, before being released, are charged with unlawful assembly, disorderly conduct or lack of press credentials.

Journalists covering the Occupy Wall Street movement’s protests and marches are not only exposed to police brutality but also to a sort of judicial lottery when detained. The situation varies from state to state, according to local laws, but the freedom to report news and information is being violated almost everywhere, not only for professional journalists but also for bloggers and for activists who want to cover the protests themselves."
What is the role of the police?  To protect the rights of the people?  Or to protect the rights of the corporation? 

That's why I bring up the dreaded F word.  Fascism.  In a 2003 study of fascist regimes around the world and in history, fourteen defining characteristics of fascism were found.  The following is one of them.

"Corporate Power is Protected - The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite."
Sound like something that might be happening here?  Even in NYC, Mayor Bloomberg is the 12 richest man in America with a net worth of 19.5 BILLION dollars.  It would seem that he has interests that need to be protected.

Or how about the fact that one of the largest multinational banking and investment firms in the world, also located on Wall St., gave a private donation of $4.6 million to the NYPD, the largest donation to a public police force ever?  Whose interests do you think they were looking out for?  The people?  Think they made this donation so that our first amendment rights to freedom of speech and freedom of the press could be protected?

I will close with the following words from a fellow blogger of mine TeacherKen:

"The use of sonic weapons, the use of massive police, the changing of the rules of access to the park after the fact in violation of the agreement by which the park was created, the refusal of the authorities to allow access to the press, the arresting of journalists, the continued incarceration of people including a city councilman without bringing them to the courts  -  all of these are indicators that basic rights apparently no longer matter to those in control of power.

How the people as a whole respond to what has happened, including the coordination across multiple cities and the inappropriate intervention of the Department of Homeland Security into this situation, may represent the last chance to prevent this nation from slipping into fascism -  corporate domination of the system without regard to the rights of persons ostensibly guaranteed by the Constitutions of the United States and the several states."
Don't think this can't happen here.  Don't think that fascism and corporate interests can't dominate the interests of the people.  We can either keep ignoring what's happening here, or speak out against it and act out against the corporate interests.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

"Real" Journalism

I went down to Occupy Chicago and was interviewing people for my podcast (which fell through, that's another story / post) and had some really good conversations.  I wanted to know why people were there at the protest, why or if they supported it, and how they related, among other points of conversation.  There were very rich conversations and I gave the people plenty of time to speak their minds without interrupting or leading them.

During one of my recorded interviews with one of the protesters, a man from the Chicago Tribune interrupted us and the conversation went like this.

Tribune Man:  "Hi, I was wondering if I could ask you some questions."
Protester:  "Who are you with?"
TM:  "I'm with the Chicago Tribune.  I'm a real journalist."
P: "Uh, ok..."
TM: "What is your name?"
P:  Gives name

At this point the reporter just walked away.  Didn't ask any questions.  Didn't ask a SINGLE question.  And he had the balls to mock me in the process.

This has gotten me thinking, what makes somebody a "real" journalist?  Or a "real" reporter?  What makes somebody more legitimate than someone else when it comes to reporting and journalism?

Nowadays most of the journalists on TV are either right wing corporate shills, OR right wing corporate shills masquerading as "centrists", a.k.a. David Brooks.  (thanks to The Professional Left for opening my eyes to this).  And yet they are the so called experts, the so called journalists.  They get to spew falsehoods, misstatements, and opinions masquerading as facts.

They mock bloggers or smaller, independent media outlets.  And when they're not mocking them, they're simply ignoring them because the message or facts that they communicate don't match up with their message.

So apart from the obvious reasons non corporate media is ignored, what makes a journalist or reporter legitimate?  What makes an individual a reporter or journalist?  Do you have to be a part of an accredited organization?  Can an ordinary citizen do reporting / journalism?



Thursday, November 10, 2011

Is "Austerity" the most Appropriate Word?

As governments around the world and in the United States cut back programs for the lower and middle classes while cutting taxes and bailing out the super wealthy, the word "austerity" is being used to describe the situation. 

Here is the definition of "austerity" from

(1) austere quality; severity of manner, life, etc; sternness
(2) strict economy
(3) reduced availability of luxuries and consumer goods, esp when brought about by government policy
 Is this really "austerity"?  Sure, the governments are cutting, cutting, cutting.  But is it more than that?  Can cutting to the 99% and giving to the 1% really be called "austerity"?  What's a better word for it?

I'm leaning towards thievery.  What do you think?  Share your thoughts!


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Make a Difference - All it Takes is One Person and a Camera

Seriously, that's all it takes sometimes.  One person using logic, facts, and knowledge can make a difference in the internet age.  See what happens when Joe Walsh (R-IL) has a meeting with his constituents and is confronted with a solid argument about the banks role in the economic crash.  Meltdown anyone? 

Amazing, its like turning over a bright shiny rock on the forest floor and finding a mud-caked, turd crusted, maggot infestation on the bottom.

This meltdown was brought to you by a dead beat dad who refuses to pay his child support.  Pathetic.


((tip of the hat to MinistryOfTruth for alerting me to this story))

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Pick a Side!

With the protests happening around the country and the lines being drawn pretty obviously, I think its time to challenge those who haven't picked a side yet.  Especially those who belong to the so called "middle" or the few remaining "independents".  Whose side are you on?

The lines seem pretty clearly drawn.  On one side you have the 99%, "We the People".  The people who are getting screwed by the system.  The poor, the elderly, the youth, the middle class, the small business owner, the student, so on, and so on and so on. 

On the other side, you have the 1%.  The Wall St. Bankers, the corporate interests, and the super-wealthy.  These are the ones who have committed fraud, lobbied our government representatives to the point of controlling them, received bailouts when they have fucked up, and stolen money from the people.

What side will YOU be on?

Will you stand with the 99% when you see that 49 million Americans live in poverty?
Will you stand with the 99% after you find out that the top 1% earning Americans saw their income increase by 275%?
Will you stand with the 99% after you find out that America ranks in the bottom third of how equitably family income is distributed within each nation?
Will you stand with the 99% after you hear this story and this story and this story?

Or will you stand with the 1% and their tax cuts, their bailouts, their crooks, and their destruction?

No standing in the middle.
No saying "I don't want to talk about Politics."
No more saying, "I need more time to make my decision."

This isn't about politics.
This is isn't about Republicans or Democrats.

This is about HUMANITY.

Humanity is suffering, in this country and around the world.  And the 1% continues to make off like kings.

Will you stand on the side of humanity?  Or will you stand on the side of wealth?

I know which side I stand on.  I challenge everyone to pick a side. 


Monday, November 7, 2011

Young Americans Suffering Disproportionately

This morning I found an article which discusses the record "wealth gap" between the young and the old in this country.  I have no problem with older Americans having wealth.  I have a problem with the youth of this country suffering like this.  

The following article from this morning's Associated Press:

"WASHINGTON (AP) — The wealth gap between younger and older Americans has stretched to the widest on record, worsened by a prolonged economic downturn that has wiped out job opportunities for young adults and saddled them with housing and college debt.

The typical U.S. household headed by a person age 65 or older has a net worth 47 times greater than a household headed by someone under 35, according to an analysis of census data released Monday.

While people typically accumulate assets as they age, this gap is now more than double what it was in 2005 and nearly five times the 10-to-1 disparity a quarter-century ago, after adjusting for inflation."
 First of all, lets not call it a "wealth gap".  Young people in this country are poor.  I have no shame saying it. 

It's the kind of poor where you can barely get a minimum wage job that forces you to live paycheck to paycheck. 

It's the kind of poor where you have to get two, maybe three jobs just so that you can pay rent, bills, and buy food because you don't want the internal shame of being on public assistance.

It's the kind of poor where you can't save for your future, because every cent is going to student loans that got you that college education that you were told would make your future.

It's the kind of poor that doesn't allow you to have any health insurance.  Hospital visits are out of the question.

It's the kind of poor that forces a young couple with a new kid to sell their home, thinking they were secure in their jobs until Wall St. destroyed the economy and any sense of your future with it.

Meanwhile, the old are being forced to stay in their jobs longer just so that they can keep their health insurance while politicians talk of raising the social security and medicare ages.  They are forced to delay a well deserved retirement just so they can remain in their homes for fear of foreclosure. 


The current state of affairs is no good.  High unemployment is crippling young people.  Student loans are making them slaves to the system.  Poverty is creeping in to their lives across the board at an alarming rate.  Meanwhile the government cuts education programs, public assistance programs, food stamps, child health insurance, and more.  They are coming for social security and medicare as well.  People are suffering and their suffering is increasing.  If you are young and experiencing this, it is frustrating, angering, but often just damn depressing.  If you are old, you are watching your life's work whittled away at while your children and grandchildren suffer needlessly. 

We're not leeches.  We don't expect much.  We just want a fair chance at achieving our dreams (you know, that "American Dream").  We want to have that chance without being saddled by crippling debt, whether student or medical.  We want to have that chance without having the corporate owned government putting obstacles in our way.  We want to have that chance without the corporate owned media belittling us at every turn.

We want a FAIR chance.  We deserve the same opportunity as the 1% is given.  The same opportunity to try, to succeed, and to fail without fear of death.  The same fair playing ground for everybody, not just the 1% or even just the 99%, but for ALL.

Isn't that what we used to say everyday to start the school day?  "Liberty and Justice for All"!



Sunday, November 6, 2011

Darth Vader vs. Jean-Luc Picard

Today's post looks at two leaders. 

In the red corner, the leader of the Galactic Empire, the master of the dark side of the force, and general all around evil-doer, Darth Vader! 

What is Darth Vader's leadership style like?  He rules through fear.  He achieves his goal through either terrifying his enemies or terrifying his team members.  People will follow his orders because they are afraid of how he will react, either belittling them, insulting them, hurting them emotionally, or even hurting them physically.  At worst, a mistake or failure with Darth Vader as your leader means you're often fired (or force choked to death).  More often than not he gets what he want, but his failures are massive, like when the Death Star was destroyed.  He is cunning, intelligent, and ruthless.  Often his expectations were so high they were unachievable.  There is nothing he won't do to achieve his goals, no matter how destructive they are.

In the Blue Corner!  The captain of the infamous Starship Enterprise, the master of diplomacy, and near-admiral of the Federation of Planets.  Captain Jean-Luc Picard!

Captain Picard commands through his respect.  He is highly moral, logical, and intelligent.  He makes his decisions with input from all of his trusted advisers and closest crew.  He considers their inputs and helps them to shape his opinions to make his ultimate decision.  People will follow his orders because they respect him and he respects them.  Picard will use his crew's mistakes as a learning experience and chance to improve.  More often than not Picard gets what he wants through diplomacy and debate, rather than war and violence.  He acknowledges good performance, builds confidence, and has high expectations for his crew.  He is cunning, intelligent, and extremely patient.  


So why am I blogging about this?  I have had bosses of both styles.  My last boss was a Darth Vader type.  She watched you constantly so that she could catch you making a mistake and harm you mentally for your mistakes.  People would get afraid when she was around.  She always got her way and never truly considered anybody's input.  She truly was ruthless and yet the failure of the organization is becoming steadily and painfully more obvious (a.k.a. the first Death Star). She was Darth Vader unmasked (minus the killing people part).

I've also had a Picard like Boss.  My first boss after graduating college was extremely patient, intelligent, and considered everybody's input, even if he did disagree with them.  His decisions were patiently made, calm, and rational.  I respected him, he respected me, and as a result we achieved great things.  He let me take the initiative and take on projects of my own idea, but if they were truly bad ideas and I didn't see it, he wouldn't hesitate to tell me.  He had high, achievable expectations for me, and would acknowledge my good performance, building up my confidence as a result. 

Who are these people?  

The first (Vader Boss) was the principal of a public school.  I was one of her teachers.

The second (Picard Boss) was the Manager of an AmeriCorps volunteer program.  I was one of his team members.

I find that most of the Vader bosses are driven by profit, money, and data driven results.  The principal?  All of her decisions were essentially, "How will MY decision increase test scores?", and "How can I save and make more money for this school.?"  Oh, and I almost forgot, but "How do I get more publicity for this school?".

I find the most of the Picard bosses are driven by their ideals, morals, and value driven results.  The volunteer manager?  All of his decisions were essentially, "How will OUR actions affect the recipients of our volunteer work?" and "How can WE stay true to our values?" and "How will the TEAM give these kids what it is they need?".

I would like to know (and if you are willing to share your profession as well), what type of boss do you have now?  What type of boss have you had more often?  If you are your own boss, what type of leader are you?


note:  Lets think of the 1% for a moment.  What type of leaders do you think they are?  Yea...