Saturday Catchup 2010-08-28

Capitalism, Threat or Menace: "Now, anyone can look at China's rapid economic growth and react with wonderment and awe. They have surpassed Japan, and are outranked only by the U.S. -- for now. Plus, they are the largest owner of American debt at the better part of a trillion dollars. China shows what you can do with a little industrial planning, policy and guidance from the government. But then again, many things are possible when you don't have those annoyances, those minor nuisances like environmental regulations, workplace safety, worker's rights, and democratic government. Chinese-style capitalism seems to be a purer form than its U.S. counterpart, and therefore a Republican nirvana, minus the part about government planning. And for now, we wait for a nascent labor movement to kick into gear and transform a country that responds to massive public unrest with military crackdowns. While Chinese workers jump out of windows, Americans are dying as well. In the U.S., workers die on exploding oil rigs and in deathtrap coalmines because their regulation-hating employers want to maximize profits. And besides, they say, regulations are dumb. Consumers die from unsafe food because food companies want to cut corners. Just like the Great Depression days when people lacked a safety net, the unemployed, foreclosed and student debtor-prisoners of today are turning to suicide at an alarming rate, with an increase of calls to suicide prevention hotlines." -- Capitalism Is Killing Us by David A. Love (Huffington Post 2010-08-25).

Hey, Glenn Beck: Here's how Martin Luther King described Jesus at the end of an essay published eight months after the civil rights leader was assassinated: "A voice out of Bethlehem two thousand years ago said that all men are equal.... Jesus of Nazareth wrote no books; he owned no property to endow him with influence. He had no friends in the courts of the powerful. But he changed the course of mankind with only the poor and the despised." King concluded this final essay, titled "A Testament of Hope," with a strikingly radical claim, indicating his strong identification with society's most disadvantaged and outcast persons. "Naive and unsophisticated though we may be," King said, "the poor and despised of the twentieth century will revolutionize this era. In our 'arrogance, lawlessness, and ingratitude,' we will fight for human justice, brotherhood, secure peace, and abundance for all." -- Martin Luther King, Democratic Socialist by Paul Street (The Black Commentator 2006-02-02).

And btw, Beck, it's not like we haven't seen your likes before:

The Tea Party is no joke: "There’s nothing in the world more tired than a progressive blogger like me flipping out over the latest idiocies emanating from the Fox News crowd. But this summer’s media hate-fest is different than anything we’ve seen before. What we’re watching is a calculated campaign to demonize blacks, Mexicans, and gays and convince a plurality of economically-depressed white voters that they are under imminent legal and perhaps even physical attack by a conspiracy of leftist nonwhites. They’re telling these people that their government is illegitimate and criminal and unironically urging secession and revolution." -- Tea Party Rocks Primaries by Matt Taibbi (Rolling Stone 2010-08-26).

The legendary Budd Schulberg told the Glenn Beck Story more than half a century ago:

In the end, though, you reap what you sow.

A step back for the security state: The New York state law mandating the removal from NYPD computerized databases of personal information of many thousands of entirely innocent citizens stopped and frisked wholly without reasonable suspicion, is a clear refutation not only of the policies of mayor Mike Bloomberg and NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly, but also of the Bush-Cheney-Obama insistence that national security and public safety trump individual constitutional liberties. If any civics classes still remain in public schools, NY governor David Paterson's signing statement is especially worth hearing and discussing in the context of a 22-page July 29 ACLU report card: "Obama Administration in Danger of Establishing 'New Normal' With Worst Bush-Era Policies." In office, Barack Obama has not only continued but expanded the disabling of the Bill of Rights begun by George W. Bush. "In a democracy," Governor Paterson said, "there are times when safety and liberty find themselves in conflict. From the Alien and Sedition Acts [opposition to which gave Thomas Jefferson the presidency] to the Patriot Act, we have experienced moments where liberty took a back seat."  As president, Barack Obama has not done anything to rein in the excesses of the USA PATRIOT Act ("Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001" -- got to admire the Right's knack for clever marketing of bad ideas) . Indeed, when Democrats on the Judiciary Committee tried, once Obama was in the Oval Office, to enact a few reforms, the president helped the Republicans block most of them. -- What Obama Could Learn From Paterson: Lame-duck governor's inspiring words in defense of liberty by Nat Hentoff (Village Voice 2010-08-25).

Some very mean bugs are looking for you: The era of antibiotics is coming to a close. In just a couple of generations, what once appeared to be miracle medicines have been beaten into ineffectiveness by the bacteria they were designed to knock out. Once, scientists hailed the end of infectious diseases. Now, the post-antibiotic apocalypse is within sight. -- Are you ready for a world without antibiotics? by Sarah Boseley (Guardian UK 2010-08-12).

All your PowerPoint are belong to us: "I have been assigned as a staff officer to a headquarters in Afghanistan for about two months. During that time, I have not done anything productive. Fortunately little of substance is really done here, but that is a task we do well. We are part of the operational arm of the International Security Assistance Force commanded by U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus. It is composed of military representatives from all the NATO countries, several of which I cannot pronounce. Officially, IJC was founded in late 2009 to coordinate operations among all the regional commands in Afghanistan. More likely it was founded to provide some general a three-star command. Starting with a small group of dedicated and intelligent officers, IJC has successfully grown into a stove-piped and bloated organization, top-heavy in rank. Around here you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a colonel. For headquarters staff, war consists largely of the endless tinkering with PowerPoint slides to conform with the idiosyncrasies of cognitively challenged generals in order to spoon-feed them information. Even one tiny flaw in a slide can halt a general's thought processes as abruptly as a computer system's blue screen of death." -- PowerPoints 'R' Us by Col. Lawrence Sellin, U.S. Army Reserves (Breitbart/UPI "Outside View" 2010-08-24). See, also: Colonel Kicked Out of Afghanistan for Anti-PowerPoint Rant by Spencer Ackerman (Wired/Danger Room 2010-08-27).

Our adventure in Afghanistan, as seen by the other side in Kunar Province:

Aw, how can we leave now?: Gitmo, the next Galapagos? It's a mighty ill wind that blows absolutely no good. Guantánamo Bay may be best known for its U.S. military base on Cuban soil and its unconstitutional prison, but to scientists at New York Botanical Garden's Caribbean Biodiversity Program it's a prime spot for ecological research. -- Guantánamo Bay, Site of Important Ecological Research by Julie Schwietert Collazo (Discover 2010-08-06).

Bon voyage: Perhaps you've had a good laugh over seasteading, the scheme hatched by rich libertarians to escape the clutches of democracy by living on giant metal platforms in the middle of the ocean. But as it turns out, seasteading is something of a wet dry run for some libertarians’ ultimate escape plan of uploading their brains into robot bodies and blasting off into space. This is also known as “transhumanism,” which is (very) loosely defined as a movement of people/future androids who are promoting the adoption of technologies that will eventually help “humans transcend biology,” in the words of Objectivist futurist Ray Kurzweil. -- The Ultimate Escape: The Bizarre Libertarian Plan of Uploading Brains into Robots to Escape Society by Brad Reed (AlterNet 2010-08-27).

Hey, they're cartoons anyway: A roundup of GOP candidates in the midterm elections as animated by NMA World Edition in Taiwan:

Can't help it. Love these guys. 美國反伊斯蘭情緒太超過?

Norman Rockwell's America was real: During World War II, the women in the small town of North Platte, Nebraska touched the lives of thousands of young soldiers on their way to war. It's not a bad model to keep before us now, as so many Americans deal with economic anxiety by demonizing their fellow citizens. -- Simple Gestures, Lifelong Memories by Abigail R. Esman (Forbes 2010-08-09).

Milestones: "Elizabeth Sargent, a poet, answered an advertisement to 'live and work in Carnegie Hall' 46 years ago and moved in with a recommendation from the literary critic Malcolm Cowley. Half a lifetime later, on Thursday, she was the last resident to move out of the 116-year-old studio apartments in Carnegie Hall Towers, which once percolated with creativity and personality Mark Twain used to smoke his pipe in the author’s club across the hall from Ms. Sargent’s studio; Marlon Brando entertained guests in the apartment directly below; and Leonard Bernstein read scores on the same floor. Norman Mailer penned works in her apartment, and Isadora Duncan danced down the hallway. 'This was a magical place,' Ms. Sargent said. 'Artists really had a freedom here; they developed here.'” -- In Apartments Above Carnegie Hall, a Coda for Longtime Residents by Liz Robbins (New York Times 2010-08-27).

George David Weiss, composer of Elvis' "Can't Help Falling in Love," "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" by The Tokens and "What a Wonderful World," Louis Armstrong's greatest hit, has died.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Taliban are murderous thugs.

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