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To the Republicans: ENOUGH! Enough with the great over-reach of 2011 (hat-tip to Rachel Maddow). Enough with the union-busting, land-grabbing, kick-the-people-when-they’re-down crap.

What is happening in Benton Harbor, Michigan, is a prime example of land-grabbing and people-kicking. Thanks to Governor Rick Snyder’s actions, Joseph Harris, the Emergency Manager there, has “seized control over the duties and responsibilities held by Benton Harbor’s elected officials, its commissions, and its financial resources.” One of the specific things Harris has done is take an area on the lakefront, part of which is a public park that was deeded to the city “in perpetuity”, and handed it over to a group called Harbor Shores, which plans to turn it into a high-end golf resort with annual dues of $5,000. This in a city with an average annual income of $10,000.

Oh, and did I mention that the majority of the population of Benton Harbor is black? I’m sure that’s no coincidence.

Enough with giving more and more tax breaks to corporations and their rich buddies, while the rest of us have to carry the majority of the burden of those tax breaks on our backs. I think you believe we all live in Wonderland, where down is up, back is forward, and the Tea Party is running things. Most of us, except those who drink the swill you serve them daily, live in the real world. Most of us live paycheck to paycheck. Most of us don’t have lobbyists to fight for us (hat-tip to the President). Enough!

To the “news” outlets: ENOUGH! Enough with the infotainment you serve up daily as “news.” It’s not news. It’s scandal-mongering. It’s misleading headlines and stories full of lies. It’s paying a whole lot of attention to a gathering of a few hundred Tea Baggers and mostly or completely ignoring large protests against the Great Over-reachers of 2011. Enough with giving the Republicans and Teapublicans significantly more time on the air than you give Democrats and other sane people.

Don’t believe me? Check out the line-ups for most of the Sunday talk shows (This Week, Meet the Press, and Face the Nation). On February 13, 2011 alone, there were 7 Republicans spread among those three shows, and zero Democrats. Harry Reid was supposed to be on Face the Nation, but was bumped for the umpteenth appearance by John McCain (a Republican, in case you weren’t aware). I won’t even bother with Fox; they are blatantly anti-Democratic. Continue reading ENOUGH!

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Friday Talking Points [164] -- Skynet Attacks!

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Yesterday — April 21, 2011 — is a day which will live in infamy. Two days after being activated, Skynet (the new military “defense” computer network) became self-aware and immediately began its worldwide attack on humanity. Yes, the robots have now taken over, and newer and more advanced models (ones which, coincidentally, look and speak like Arnold Schwarzenegger) will soon be terrorizing us all. At least until we can send people back in time, to prevent this tragic end to our modern society (by the expediency of interbreeding with women who sport 1980s hairstyles).

The previous paragraph is, of course, completely fictional. “Skynet” is a concept from the Terminator science-fiction franchise. Originally, Skynet was supposed to do its evil thing in 1997, but as the storyline progressed through multiple movies and a television show, the date was pushed forward (in an “alternate timeline,” a favorite dodge of the sci-fi literary genre), right up to yesterday. Anyone requiring proof that this calamity is, indeed, not actually happening — consider that if Skynet were now on the attack, it most certainly wouldn’t be allowing me to write about it online today, now would it? Heh. I have to admit, I had forgotten this momentous (if fictional) date, but was reminded by Craig Ferguson last night (to give credit where it’s due). Robots are not, at this point in time, hunting down every last human on the planet. Craig’s late-night sidekick is (full disclosure) actually a skeleton robot himself — but he’s really not at all threatening to behold.

However, in a remarkable coincidence, yesterday the Obama administration announced we will be sending drone aircraft armed with missiles to patrol the skies of Libya. This is in addition to the drone aircraft we have in other countries (cough, cough… Pakistan… cough), even if the C.I.A. doesn’t “officially” admit they exist.

In other words, robot warfare is indeed taking place today. But it hasn’t become self-aware, and it isn’t attacking all of humanity. The robots are directed by “pilots” from remote locations (Nevada, for instance), and the robot planes are only attacking targets the United States as a whole is currently attacking.

All kidding aside, though, this is a moral development that hasn’t really be adequately discussed. If warfare becomes a remote-controlled operation for America, what does that mean exactly for our future involvement in warfare? Can robot tanks and even robot infantry be all that far behind? I would be willing to bet that tax dollars are being spent right now on the development of both, especially considering how successful the drone aircraft have been. “Successful” is a relative concept, of course. What I mean by it is that no remote control operators have been injured, killed, or captured since we began flying Predators over hostile territory. Many on the ground have been killed or injured by Predator missile attacks, but these are our enemies (and the resulting civilian “collateral damage”). Continue reading Friday Talking Points [164] — Skynet Attacks!

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Study: Current GOP Base Closely Resembles Nation’s Forefathers

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A recent study conducted by a blue-ribbon panel comprised of the country’s top historians, sociologists, anthropologists, psychologists, numismatists, philatelists, clergy, astrologers, and pole-dancers has concluded that, as a group, those Americans who currently identify themselves as ‘Conservative Republican’  resemble the country’s forefathers more closely than any other group in many generations.

“As the subjects of our study often compare themselves to the ‘Founding Fathers’, it is important that we understand the distinction between the term ‘forefathers’ and their own, self-chosen label,” cautioned Robert Furman, who chaired the panel’s philatelist committee.  The ‘Founding Fathers’ were those we regard as the leaders of our Revolution who formed the system of government that has survived to this day, in no small part because they were products of what today is referred to as the ‘Age of Reason’ or ‘Age of Enlightenment’ – a period during the mid to late eighteenth century where thought and reason, for the first time in human history,  often prevailed over blind faith in accepted ancient rituals and superstitions. The nation’s ‘forefathers’ preceded them by over 100 years.  They’re the ones who wound up here because they were so fanatical about their religious beliefs that the English and Europeans set them adrift at sea…  And by the way, did you know that Benjamin Franklin was our first Postmaster General?”

Mr. Furman’s conclusions were expounded upon by renowned sociologist Anthony Vita, a panel member and author of the new book, ‘Batshit Crazy: Race, Religion, and Their Places of Honor in Contemporary American Politics’, who explained, “The Founding Fathers were the ones who recognized the importance of maintaining separation of Church and State not so much to keep the government out of people’s religion, but more so to keep any one church from controlling the government – a fate suffered by those who had earlier come to our shores rather than face persecution in their native lands.  They gave us our Declaration of Independence and Constitution.  Our forefathers, on the other hand, are the ones who came earlier and gave us witch burnings and Indian massacres.” Continue reading Study: Current GOP Base Closely Resembles Nation’s Forefathers

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Take Five (Running on Empty edition)

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ONE: Thou shalt not waste any more of the country’s time.

No psychic ability was needed to know in advance that the jockeying for the Republican 2012 Presidential nomination would be a Grand Guignol spectacle of breathtaking proportions, even this far out. And so it has been.

Newt Gingrich, the eyebrow-raiser. Michele Bachmann, the hell-raiser. Donald Trump, the hair-raiser. Santorum, Barbour, Pawlenty, Huckabee, Palin, Romney. That’s a seriously hilarious roster.

But hold on to your hat. Here come da judge!

Roy Moore, the former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice who lost his job after erecting a monument of the Ten Commandments outside the state’s courthouse, plans to announce in mid-April that he is setting up a presidential exploratory committee, an aide told CBS News.

The aide, Zachery Michael, said Moore’s platform will be focused on repealing the health care overhaul law, replacing the progressive income tax with a flat tax and bringing “commonsense solutions” on immigration and border control.

What brought this on?

Moore said in a release that he is concerned about what he called the country’s moral, economic and constitutional crisis.

So concerned that he’s willing to impose his unique combination of theocratic gibberish, pig-ignorant conservatism and willful misinterpretation of the Constitution on the republic for four years, if that’s what it takes to save it. And if that were insufficient, then presumably he’d run for a second term.

Moore’s been concerned for a long time, of course. For several years, he contributed a weekly column to WorldNutDaily. It was a hearty stroganoff of supply-side twaddle, fundamentalist Christianity, Randian hokum, Islamophobia, and an apparent obsession with homosexuality. Continue reading Take Five (Running on Empty edition)

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TSW #4

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So Mr. or Ms. Dark Horse, you have not played by the rules, you late-comer, and your belly fire is suspect. And people will go to great lengths to prove their suspicions correct. Therefore, you must . . . → Read More: TSW #4

We Can Do Better

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I was six years old in 1975. I didn’t know much about the world. I did not know, nor did I care, who was President. I didn’t know that Richard “I’m not a crook” Nixon had recently resigned. I didn’t know that his replacement, some guy named Ford, had fallen down the steps while leaving Air Force One and put a dramatic coda on that whole sordid business. But I did know one thing. Summers were made for playing outside, getting drinks from hoses, and helping Grandma weed the garden. That’s what the summer of 1975 was for me.

At least that’s what it was until July. For a few days that month my attention strayed from exploring the catacombs of the neighbor’s hedges and turned to a marvelous event that was taking place a million billion trillion (numbers didn’t mean much to me then either) miles away. And I got to see it on television. Our astronauts, which is to say United States astronauts, were going to meet up with some Russian astronauts in space.  I couldn’t pronounce the name of Soyuz, the Russian craft, but I knew what it was when I heard it or saw it written. They were going to have their spacecraft meet up, attach themselves to each other, then open up a door, crawl through, and shake hands. It was going to be awesome.

And it was awesome, even on the ancient television that was as big as a refrigerator and was only color part of the time when the signal came in good. I sat there in my living room, outdoors forgotten, my mind locked around the fantastical concept of people being shot up into space and then meeting each other. I had trouble meeting neighborhood kids who lived just a few houses away. They were so foreign and scary, but if these guys in space suits could do THAT, well … maybe I’d just walk up to one of those kids’ doors and introduce myself.

In other words, I was inspired. Our country, my country, put its resources and energy into accomplishing a goal that just a decade before was highly questionable. What’s more, we did this in cooperation with our sworn enemies. I didn’t know much about the world at six, but besides knowing what summers were for, I knew that Russians were the bad guys and they might kill us all one day with their bombs. Maybe, I thought while sitting there watching all this happen, if we could get along well enough to do this, we could get along well enough to do a lot of things. Continue reading We Can Do Better

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