Monday, March 30, 2015

All I gotta do

Last week on Virtually Speaking Sundays: "Obama declaring he should have closed Gitmo on day one; Israel; Republican presidential candidates. Commentary from Susie Madrak (Managing Editor, Crooks and Liars) & Michael Brooks (contributor and producer for The Majority Report). Political satire from Culture of Truth. Jay Ackroyd moderates."
- This week, Digby and McJoan discussed how Democrats messed themselves up over Social Security, how Atrios changed the story, and victories that could reshape even the Democratic leadership with some effort on our part - Patty Murray for party leader?

"Analysis of Leaked Trans-Pacific Partnership Investment Text: After more than five years of negotiations under conditions of extreme secrecy, on March 25, 2015, a leaked copy of the investment chapter for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was posted. Public Citizen has verified that the text is authentic. Trade officials from the United States and 11 Pacific Rim nations - Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam - are in intensive, closed-door negotiations to finish the TPP in the next few months. The leaked text provides stark warnings about the dangers of 'trade' negotiations occurring without press, public or policymaker oversight. It reveals that TPP negotiators already have agreed to many radical terms that would give foreign investors expansive new substantive" (.pdf) This is what the original Boston Tea Party was really about, you know.

I don't usually lead with climate change, but "Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say" scared the hell out of me.

Paul Krugman on the GOP budget, "Trillion Dollar Fraudsters"

Doesn't it seem strange to see an actually sensible column like "The one sensible budget in Washington", about the Progressive Caucus' "People's Budget", in The Washington Post?

"Activist pulls out of Trinity College talk due to 'restrictions' aimed at not 'antagonising' Muslims [...] Iranian-born Maryam Namazie was due to give a talk to the Society for International Affairs on Monday on ‘Apostasy and the rise of Islam' but decided to withdraw from the event after college security imposed 'certain conditions'. 'I've just been informed... that college security (why security?) has claimed that the event would show the college is ‘one-sided' and would be ‘antagonising' to Muslim students,' she wrote on her blog." Which is interesting, since they did not do the same when someone who advocates killing apostates spoke there.
- Meanwhile, is it really safe to protect students from "offensive" debate? "'It's amazing to me that they can't distinguish between racist speech and speech about racist speech, between racism and discussions of racism,' Ms. Kaminer said in an email. "

At Naked Capitalism:
- "Bill Black: The DOJ and the SEC Spurn their Ace in the Hole - Richard Bowen." That would be because everyone wants to protect the banksters.
- "Epic Fail for the Postal Service: The Wrong Model and the Wrong Board"

"Waka Flocka Flame Didn't Make Anyone Say the N-Word [...] This is no defense of Waka, an awful rapper whose tracks sound like they come from a "Chappelle's Show" skit about awful rappers. But..."

What Atrios said: "If only there were some press outlets and television networks that would give some attention to Senator McCain in order to disprove his point. Oh, wait..."

Rahm needs Republicans. And it sounds like he may get them.

Erick Erickson of Red State notices a problem with his party: "What the hell does the GOP stand for anymore other than 'we're not Obama'? No kidding. He's more competent. The GOP, at this point, stands for nothing and the highest bidder at the same time." Now, if only Democrats can stop standing for nothing more than, "At least we're not the Republicans," not to mention the highest bidder....

Police who stand with big sticks

Falsely-imprisoned for 39 years, former death row inmate to receive $1,008,055.80 in compensation.

Oh, God, Sheila Jeffreys has written another hateful book. Roz Kaveney reports.

Taylor Mali: "What do teachers make?"

"Okay, but it's not just about getting paid to prance around in a princess costume."

New Alzheimer's treatment fully restores memory function in 75% of treated mice.

Massive Underground Ocean Discovered on Ganymede, Jupiters Largest Moon!

Cosplay made...different.

Dalek Relaxation Tape

Minutes of the March 2015 Ankh-Morpork Assembly Transport Committee

Fireworks in Glasgow

1928 England in color

Many years ago, I was sitting around chatting with Christopher Priest and Rob Hansen and somehow we ended up with Chris talking about being a baby accountant and going up to Liverpool and finding out about the Cavern Club and meeting some people who would change his life. And we made him write it all down for us so we could make a one-shot fanzine and get a few other of our favorite people to contribute to it, and that fanzine was Chuch and that article was "Thank You, Girls".

The Beatles

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

"THERE'S NO JUSTICE. THERE'S JUST ME."

Back in 2002 I talked about some authors who were in my pantheon of the Good Guys, and the gods know PTerry rated way up there with me. Like Jo Walton, I delighted in running into him at a party or convention, but I was often frankly awed by the way, in his books, he could hold up some of our ugliest traits and show us how silly and stupid we were when we expressed them - and still show us how good we can be, too. His light-hearted tone may have disguised the seriousness of his subject for some, but we weren't fooled into thinking they were just romps through fantasy's clichés. Terry Pratchett knew how awful we are, but he also knew about the rest, too: the good, the strong, the heroism of those who work in the background and know that their acts can never even be seen let alone rewarded, the heart that loves and believes. Terry made us laugh and made us love, and that is no small thing.

I chose some of these links for the pictures, because there are some great ones here. I'm mad at myself for never having thought to shoot a few of him when I was around him, but the moment never emerged, and that's life. (I am also, by the way, completely outraged that fate took Terry and Iain away from us so soon and so close together, and if I believed in "God" I would believe in giving him a good smack in the face, too.)

Obit at Tor.com

"Leaving Early to Avoid the Rush: Sir Terry Pratchett Has Passed Away at 66"

Andrew Brown at the Guardian, "Without Terry Pratchett, the world is less magical."

Tributes from some of his better known fans

"23 Of The Most Beautiful Terry Pratchett Quotes To Remember Him By"

Neil Gaiman on Thursday, 12 March, and Neil last September.

With video at the Guardian

And, of course, Roz Kaveney wrote a poem.

* * * * *

Panelists RJ Eskow and Andrew Jones talked about the Ferguson Report and the persistence of institutional vestiges of Jim Crow--and its manifestation in Oklahoma. Iran negotiations and Bibi's visit and the Republican modern Know Nothings' grasp of "foreign policy." Vanishing email and the implementation of government transparency laws, viewed through the prism of Hilary's, Jeb's, and the State Department email systems, on Virtually Speaking Sundays.

For a change I can agree with Kos without restraint: Hell yes! Donna Edwards for Senate! Stop that little weed Chris van Hollen in his tracks. And, while we're at it, we need someone to take van Hollen's Congressional seat, as well.

A social worker got fired for writing this article.

A dagger pointed at the heart of Texas, Chapter 2: "Obama absurdly declares Venezuela a security threat" - I wonder when Obama is going to start getting the Alzheimer's defense.

"Evidence the DEA Attempted to Alter Testimony on Drug War Massacre in Honduras"

William Greider, "Wrong-Way Obama? Disregard the happy talk from the Obama White House. The stagnant global economy remains at the precipice of something worse - full-blown deflation. And the so-called US recovery remains shaky, despite good employment numbers. Here and abroad, the governing authorities seem to have forgotten a key aspect of our situation: we live now in a globalized economy, in which one nation's cold can lead to another country's pneumonia. Their ignorance is shocking, but also dangerous." Well, I don't know about that - I think they re-wrote the laws that way on purpose.

Edroso unpacks Brooks: "David Brooks says he has "taken [my] column in a spiritual and moral direction of late" -- or rather he says people (presumably A-list guests at Brooks' Vast Entertainment Space) have noticed that he has -- and explains that he has seen how well rich kids behave and how badly poor kids behave and so he is convinced that America needs poor kids to have more of what the rich kids have, namely money. Ha ha, kidding! The poors must have "social repair," which is less expensive than money. His models are England's Second Great Awakening and the Great Depression, events which few of us beyond fundamentalist lunatics and Stanley Kurtz would care to live through" (via)

Will the "Congressman with Guts" become Senator Grayson? Stay tuned....

RAHM
- "Rahm Emanuel allegedly screams at mental health activists - after running ad admitting he 'can rub people the wrong way'"
- "Rahm Snaps at Mental-Health Advocates: ‘You're Gonna Respect Me!'"
- Chicago causing rear-end collisions for money
- Rahm Emanuel's Housing Agency Sitting On Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars With Massive Waitlist
- Just put a stake in him, Chicago.

"After Beating FBI Entrapment, Environmental Activist Eric McDavid Looks Forward"

Captives:
- "The Possibility of Escape" - This is Kathy Kelly writing from behind prison walls, where the prisoners are more human than the society that put them there.
- "Private Prison Companies Foresee Increased Profits as Ruling Limits Immigrant Detentions" - The Obama administration put that loophole right up front by saying they simply can't give the "deterrent" reason for treating people horribly.
- "Jails: Time to Wake Up to Mass Incarceration in Your Neighborhood"
- "Despite Uptick in Prisoner Release, Injustices Persist at Guantanamo

"How Many Minimum Wage Hours Does It Take To Afford A Two-Bedroom Apartment In Your State? "In no state can a minimum wage worker afford a two-bedroom unit at Fair Market Rent, working a 40-hour work week, without paying more than 30% of their income."

Will Cannabis be the new wonder drug?

Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk are doing a show about two actors who used to play a space captain and his pilot and one got really famous and the other didn't and goes to conventions instead. Also featuring Gina Torres and other actors from the Whedon stable.

"18 reasons Buffy The Vampire Slayer was the best show on TV" - Happy 18th birthday. And I still miss Xander.
- Joss Whedon's original movie script for Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Traffic - Live In Stockholm

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

All in time

Okay, since a few people know and a lot of other people have guessed, I'll admit that this medical crap is kind of suppressing a lot of my ability to focus on blogging. If my doctors are to be believed, I will be just fine, although there will be some period where I will likely be very short of enthusiasm for, well, moving.

RIP Leonard Nimoy, at 83. I never met him or anything like that, but everything I knew about him told me he was cool, kind, and fun. Lot of sadness in my world the moment the news broke. And here's Leonard Nimoy's last tweet.
William Shatner stole Leonard Nimoy's bike.

Appropriately, as a guests on Virtually Speaking Sundays, Spocko and Digby, both commentators on media, commemorated Leonard Nimoy and discussed his impact on our way of thinking in his most famous role.

"FCC overrules state laws to help cities build out municipal broadband: Before it tackles net neutrality, the FCC is setting a major precedent for municipal broadband: it's just voted to preempt state laws that were preventing two cities from building out their own locally run broadband networks. The decision was prompted by separate petitions from Wilson, North Carolina, and Chattanooga, Tennessee - both cities that've established high-speed, gigabit internet services, but have been barred from expanding to neighboring communities due to existing state laws. So far, 19 states have similar regulations to those that the FCC is overriding in Wilson and Chattanooga, but today's ruling affects only those two specific cases." We need to make this national.

If you heard that Obama vetoed the Keystone Pipeline, understand that that's not quite true. He vetoed a step of process, not the bill. But gee, it I'm sure it sounds good to uninformed Obama supporters.

Charlie is on A different cluetrain and lists the axioms of a paradigm shift in political reality as the Robber Barons once again take control of the terrain.

Google decides to do evil, then relents. Banning adult content was obviously a stupid idea. I can't imagine who came up with it in the first place. What were they drinking?

This is interesting: "Actress Emma Thompson and her husband refuse to pay 'a penny more' in taxes until HSBC tax evaders go to jail. [...] 'I want to stop paying tax, until everyone pays tax,' Wise told the Evening Standard. 'I have actively loved paying tax, because I am a profound fucking socialist and I believe we are all in it together. But I am disgusted with HMRC. I am disgusted with HSBC. And I'm not paying a penny more until those evil bastards go to prison.'"

Atrios has been keeping me up to date with Rahm Emanuel's problems (and also makes a side point about the reason something called "neighborhood schools" used to be universally regarded as a good thing) and why he's having them. And he really, really is a horrible person. And the revelation that the Chicago police have their very own black sites certainly didn't enhance his image as a man who stood for Truth, Justice, and The American Way. The possibility that Chicago could be getting rid of Rahm and replace him with someone who actually cares about citizens seems almost too good to be true.

"Israeli Claims About Iran Nuclear Program Denied By Own Spy Agency"

Debunking the Corporate Case For Fast Track Trade Authority

From the only official to go to prison in connection with torture: "CIA Torture Whistleblower: US Government Lacks 'the Guts' to Face Its Crimes: John Kiriakou's advice to future national security whistleblowers: 'Get a lawyer first.'"

No one could have predicted that Obama would support Rahm Emanuel's campaign.

An incomplete list of lies our news media told

Suppressing the Republican vote

Greg Benford has posted his Trapdoor article about the legendary Sidney Coleman online. There's a reason why some of our friends thought Terry Carr must have made him up, but I can testify that he was very real and just as cool and funny as the legends specified.

"Chocolate snorting offers new way to a cocoa high."

Wonder Woman with curves

If you can do Facebook, 365 days in 40 seconds

Trailer for Joss Whedon's In Your Eyes

The Motown Sound - 16 Big Hits Vol. 7 (1967)

Marvin Gaye, "Too Busy Thinking About My Baby"

The Fireflies