Saturday, July 05, 2003

Moontaxi - Tour the Universe of Music

Nicholas Lanier - 8th g-grandfather

Moontaxi - Tour the Universe of Music

The Republican Handicap

[in progress]

It is time for the Republican Party to shed the training wheels, refuse the outrageous handicap, and see what they can do by ideas alone. No more paying people to cast their votes for you. No more financial favors and promises. No more blackmail, deceit, corruption, extortiion. No more shoehorning the president into office using friends in high courts. No more fake addresses in Florida and energy warfare on California.

What if both parties had exactly the same advantages? Not necessarily mandated, but just as a gentlemanly thing to do. Would not the Republicans then have to come up with something other than war, tax cuts, and religious rhetoric? I say it would be a good thing if both parties broke out of their mold, and began to act as free agents guided by their highest angels. Such angels would only accept a fair challenge. And would consider anything less to be, well, ungentlemanly at best.

The editors at The Nation have written a memorable editorial about the Billionaire Bush Club, where Bush himself hopes to be one day, once he clears this little hurdle of sitting in as leader of the free world. Why settle for a free world when a world of paying customers would be much better. And besides, "free" is so much like "french", and we wouldn't want a french world.
Incompatible with BushWorld Inc. Wouldn't be prudient.

And so Mr. Bush continues in his work of enabling "Big Cookie" to know and determine all our future purchases...

But there is hope. And it comes from those ever-clever folks over to the Media Lab at MIT...who have put the consumer, the common man, the smelly one, back in the proverbial driver's seat. And this time he doesn't need to wear the hat.
zhr, or in fact, she, can turn the telescopes and microscopes on the government...who is, by now, just an arm of business, as you will see:

Government Information Awareness

turning the tables on our prying government

Wired's take

Here, for example, are some contributions to Republican Kay Bailey Hutchinson:
Campaign Contribution : Corporation
» Enron Corp $35,500.00 [s][c]
» Goldman Sachs Group (GS) $27,500.00 [s][c]
» Texas Instruments (TXN) $25,000.00 [s][c]
» TXU Corp $24,250.00 [s][c]
» El Paso Corp $23,000.00 [s][c]
» MBNA (KRB) $19,000.00 [s][c]
» SBC Communications (SBC) $17,750.00 [s][c]
» Verizon Communications (VZ) $17,750.00 [s][c]
» American International Group (AIG) $17,250.00 [s][c]
» Marathon Oil (MRO) $16,500.00 [s][c]
» Bank One Corp. (ONE) $16,000.00 [s][c]
» Valero Energy (VLO) $14,000.00 [s][c]
» Dell Computer (DELL) $13,750.00 [s][c]

...and how it breaks down by industry:

Industry Support : Industry
» Oil & Gas $484,362.00 [s][c]
» Lawyers / Law Firms $328,902.00 [s][c]
» Finance / Credit Companies $220,301.00 [s][c]
» Commercial Banks $182,964.00 [s][c]
» Real Estate $157,649.00 [s][c]
» Health Professionals $155,590.00 [s][c]
» Securities & Investment $148,150.00 [s][c]
» Insurance $111,947.00 [s][c]
» Livestock $81,750.00 [s][c]
» General Contractors $74,600.00 [s][c]
» Misc Manufacturing & Distributing $74,114.00 [s][c]
» Computer Equipment & Services $72,150.00 [s][c]
» Food & Beverage $66,796.00 [s][c]
» Republican/Conservative $65,267.00 [s][c]
» Automotive $63,050.00 [s][c]
» Electric Utilities $62,000.00 [s][c]
» Business Services $59,661.00 [s][c]
» Chemical & Related Manufacturing $53,472.00 [s][c]
» Telephone Utilities $48,250.00 [s][c]

Now look at the paltry numbers behind a Democrat. In this case, Joseph Lieberman:
Campaign Contribution : Corporation
» Pfizer Inc (PFE) $20,000.00 [s][c]
» General Electric (GE) $12,000.00 [s][c]
» GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) $12,000.00 [s][c]
» Verizon Communications (VZ) $11,000.00 [s][c]
» Independent Insurance Agents of America $10,999.00 [s][c]
» Aetna Inc (AET) $10,000.00 [s][c]
» American International Group (AIG) $10,000.00 [s][c]
» Cigna Corp (CI) $10,000.00 [s][c]
» FedEx (FDX) $10,000.00 [s][c]
» General Dynamics (GD) $10,000.00 [s][c]
» Hartford Financial Services (HIG) $10,000.00 [s][c]
» Koch Industries $10,000.00 [s][c]
» United Parcel Service (UPS) $10,000.00 [s][c]
» United Technologies (UTX) $10,000.00 [s][c]

Industry Support : Industry
» Real Estate $9,318.00 [s][c]
» Computer Equipment & Services $8,000.00 [s][c]
» Lawyers / Law Firms $8,000.00 [s][c]
» Pharmaceuticals / Health Products $7,000.00 [s][c]
» Chemical & Related Manufacturing $6,750.00 [s][c]
» Public Sector Unions $5,000.00 [s][c]
» Education $4,900.00 [s][c]
» Hospitals & Nursing Homes $4,750.00 [s][c]
» Misc Manufacturing & Distributing $4,250.00 [s][c]
» Securities & Investment $4,250.00 [s][c]
» Printing & Publishing $4,000.00 [s][c]
» Retail Sales $3,250.00 [s][c]
» TV / Movies / Music $2,000.00 [s][c]
» Health Services/HMOs $2,000.00 [s][c]
» Insurance $1,900.00 [s][c]
» Health Professionals $1,810.00 [s][c]
» Telecom Services & Equipment $1,500.00 [s][c]
» Business Services $1,250.00 [s][c]
» Civil Servants/Public Officials $1,250.00 [s][c]
» Defense Aerospace $1,250.00 [s][c]

Not a pretty site, is it? But it is revealing, on many levels. For example, look at the pharms and GE at the top of Lieberman's list. Is this why he has become such a Russert? Joe Lieberman: The Tim Russert of Politics. Hmm...

Only Tim is paid quite handsomely. More than his own handsomeness merits, and way more than his impartial service to humankind --which is nonexistent -- merits. But then again, why should GE want a philosopher? Most counter-productive. Better to have a locker-room clown snapping towels at privates of Democrats in front of millions.
The shame has not sunk in. His third eye has glazed green.


BlogChatter - Realtime Weblog Aggregation

BlogChatter - Realtime Weblog Aggregation
BlogChatter is a window into weblog activity right now, at this moment. It is a real-time event stream of weblog updates, similar to the data provided by, without polling or a static data format. Pings to BlogChatter are displayed instantly the moment they are received, and only persisted in memory for no longer than 30 seconds. *HOT*

Democracy Now! | A Look At Why The Carlyle Group Wanted to Drop George W. Bush From Its Board A Decade Ago

Democracy Now! | A Look At Why The Carlyle Group Wanted to Drop George W. Bush From Its Board A Decade Ago

This one is a scream...

David Rubenstein, the head of the Carlyle Group, in a candid, and unbeknownst to him, taped, interview, talks about how he was urged to give a fellow a break by granting him a place on the board. Boorish and useless, the fellow was eventually told to take a hike, to which he responded that he didn't need the stinking job so many words.

This useless boor is now in the White House. Can you guess his name?


But when we were putting the board together, somebody came to me and said, look there is a guy who would like to be on the board. He's kind of down on his luck a bit. Needs a job. Needs a board position. Needs some board positions. Could you put him on the board? Pay him a salary and he'll be a good board member and be a loyal vote for the management and so forth.

I said well we're not usually in that business. But okay, let me meet the guy. I met the guy. I said I don't think he adds that much value. We'll put him on the board because - you know - we'll do a favor for this guy; he's done a favor for us. We put him on the board and spent three years. Came to all the meetings. Told a lot of jokes. Not that many clean ones. And after a while I kind of said to him, after about three years - you know, I'm not sure this is really for you. Maybe you should do something else. Because I don't think you're adding that much value to the board. You don't know that much about the company.

He said, well I think I'm getting out of this business anyway. And I don't really like it that much. So I'm probably going to resign from the board.

And I said, thanks - didn't think I'd ever see him again. His name is George W. Bush. He became President of the United States. So you know if you said to me, name 25 million people who would maybe be President of the United States, he wouldn't have been in that category. So you never know. Anyway, I haven't been invited to the White House for any things.

The Fifth of July: Why Consequences Matter

Understanding the War After the War

One thing we have learned: There is always a day after. That is why we need to consider one of the tricks in envisioning...
Envision the consequences.

Oops! Nobody ever told me that!

Anyway, now that you know...I feel safer already. Now if we can only make you a good person, I might sleep better still. For as Surreal McCoy once said: "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't lead a swan." And what are we if, if not trumpeter swans...signalling from the flames, fruit from this ill-dealt hand.

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Dennis Miller: The Ted Nugent of Comedy

Journey FROM the Center of the Mind

Money has a funny way of luring the weak from their minds and principles. Pay them enough and they will say anything. It's all about the money. Who cares if hell awaits. This is about me, me, me...

Over the past failures, Dennis Miller has finally landed at the last place where people will accept him. And this only because he says what he is told to say, the "official story", the lie of the day. Only his job is to make it sound funny.
Not a bad idea when you consider that if people felt the gravity of Bush's having put America into a nosedive, they would be jumping out of buildings.
Sheesh. Jumping out of buildings. Where have I seen that before? Oh yes, it was while visiting New York a couple of years ago in early September...

So your comedy, Mr. Miller. But know that you are now the Ted Nugent of Comedy. And that Ted Nugent was the Millard Fillmore of Rock.
And no...he's not the one from whom the Fillmore East and West got their name. You could have been a contender. A Clapton, a Santana, a Fripp, a Beck. A member of the Beatles or Radiohead. So many who completely overwhelm Ted Nugentski. Come and listen to a story 'bout a man named Ted...

Let me explain something to you though. TV has experienced a brain-drain, ever since the Internet captured the sharper minds. That your attempts at liberality were met with disdain should not have been unexpected. Liberals don't watch Bravo, PBS, NOW, movie channels, and the more edifying and instructive shows. Certainly not least not in great numbers. For liberals, winning isn't everything. The truth and fair play are also important.

In other words, you should have moved once you found that you were in a bad neighborhood. Instead, you merged with the audience...who themselves had merged with Rush, O'Reilly, and the other would-be fuhrers of our Bush-initiated dark age. Hope you enjoy their company! BWAHAHAHAHAAA!

Sorry, but I have been there, and it is not a pretty sight. I consider Ann Coulter or Lisa Myers a babe! My God! Have you no shame? No standards?

But look. You were hilarious during the Comic Relief segments. Sure, you were surrounded by a bunch of damn liberals, but did you not feel the love? Does the love not count for anything? Why turn your back on the love, and join the camp of fear, it's opposite?

I'm afraid that, like Mr. Heston, you have alienated half of your original client-base. And the ones you now have will turn on you at the slightest gesture of liberality. Fear is as fear does. The rice paper upon which you walk is beginning to weaken from your clumsiness.

Humor, like the love, has the power to heal, and yet lies and fear do not. They destroy health and lives. Surely you have kept up with the casualty toll already exacted upon the Bushwatch... Thousands! Thousands whose families would much rather have a tryst in the White House than an empty place at the dinner table.

I know you think Bush is a killer President.
At least you're half right.

Time to come home, young man.
Time for all our young men, and women, to come home...


Now...enjoy some excellent satire from Buzzflash reader and contributor, David Monroe, MD:

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

"Get our asses out of here..."

"U.S. officials need to get our [expletive] out of here," said the 43-year-old reservist from Pittsburgh, who arrived in Iraq with the 307th Military Police Company on May 24. "I say that seriously. We have no business being here. We will not change the culture they have in Iraq, in Baghdad. Baghdad is so corrupted. All we are here is potential people to be killed and sitting ducks."


Ann Coulter, janatrix of the reich, would accuse this brave soldier of treason...

Gas-Hungry SUVs

Gas-Hungry SUVs "Fuel" Iraq War
It wasn't about oil. It was about gas too...

BLOGGER :: Recently Updated Blogs

Fresh blogs, hot off the presses.

Monday, June 30, 2003

Parts of the U.S. Near Financial Collapse

Parts of the U.S. Near Financial Collapse

Bush Fiddles While LA Burns

Where was George?
He was nowhere to be found when California, and other states under his watch, drown in a sea of red ink. But then again, it was Bush's friends at Enron and other energy bilknesses, that set them on their spiral downward.

Remember the blackouts?
Remember the cause?

Sure Governor Davis is a little weenie-man. But the world is full of weenie-men, and they have to work somewhere! Why not as governor of California? I mean, look at the king weenie in the White House. We have lost all standards. There are no Sir Roberts left.

Where are the Sir Roberts?

Remember Sir Robert? He was the gentleman and MP in the play and film, An Ideal Husband, who, through the help of ill-gotten gains, finally achieves an honorable position in society.

Now don't get me wrong. There are plenty of people who have gotten where they are through ill-gotten gains. The difference here is that, like Jean Valjean, Sir Robert actually evolves into an honorable man of rejecting a scheme that would require his reactivating, for lack of better words, his ancient prejudice toward money, and against goodness and honesty.

How nice it would be if leaders in America, although tainted, would raise themselves to the honorificabilitude of a Sir Robert.

But perhaps I am wrong. There already is a Sir Robert. And this Sir Robert hails from, of all places, West Virginia.

Sir Robert Byrd was once a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
But look at how he has achieved that which is beyond the scope of some...he has evolved. And is even allowed to believe in such evolution! Not only has he shunned his errant past, and shady connections...he has risen to become the outspoken voice of the people on the Senate floor.

It is sad to realize that his age all but guarantees that we will not have that voice much longer.

Long live Sir Robert Byrd! Champion of the People...


Sample context: ".... longer. Long live Sir Robert Byrd! Champion of the People... MORE ON THE COLLAPSE FROM THE WASHINGTON POST: HTTP://WWW.WASHINGTONPOST.COM/WP-DYN/ARTICLES/A48925-2003JUN29.HTML 10:19 PM ...."
Citations (10 of 16) :

Wired News: Bloggers Gain Libel Protection

Bloggers Gain Libel Protection,1283,59424,00.html/wn_ascii

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last Tuesday that Web loggers, website operators and e-mail list editors can't be held responsible for libel for information they republish, extending crucial First Amendment protections to do-it-yourself online publishers.

Online free speech advocates praised the decision as a victory. The ruling effectively differentiates conventional news media, which can be sued relatively easily for libel, from certain forms of online communication such as moderated e-mail lists. One implication is that DIY publishers like bloggers cannot be sued as easily.

"One-way news publications have editors and fact-checkers, and they're not just selling information -- they're selling reliability," said Cindy Cohn, legal director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "But on blogs or e-mail lists, people aren't necessarily selling anything, they're just engaging in speech. That freedom of speech wouldn't exist if you were held liable for every piece of information you cut, paste and forward."


Sunday, June 29, 2003

Conservatives Burn Beatles Albums


Before there were Dixie Chicks, there were The Beatles...

Reactionaries Burning Music

It was 40 years ago today...(well, thereabouts)...and Klansmen and their families, fearing an assault on their precious "values", gathered in fasces to set flame to those ungodly and unpatriot Beatles. And since they were too poor to actually go to England...they set fire to their albums instead.

Flash-forward 40 years...and similarly-minded folk are destroying Dixie Chicks CDs. They are putting people like Susan Sarandon, Alec Baldwin, Tim Robbins, Sean Penn, George Michael, and other outspoken opponents onto graven images, and trying their damndest to anti-worship them to death. Unfortunately, as cyberphilosopher and clicheist, Surreal McCoy, has noted...the problem with hatred is that half the people don't know they are hated, and the the other half don't care. And the strange third half will sick Guido on you. Hating is also bad for the health, manifesting all manner of halitoticities and malolfactions.

The upside of all this daft reactionism is that the really good artists never appear on their screens. You will never see a Ricky Skaggs CD in the same home of an Arvo Part or Radiohead CD. Nor will you see Phillip Glass, Lisa Gerrard, Gorecki, or Ginestera. And that's just the G's. Also safe are David Hykes, Dave Brubeck, John Coltrane (largely due to death), King Crimson, Messaien, Stockhausen, Cage, Beth Orton or Bigger Than the Beetles. Most of MP3 is also safe.

So let the reactionaries burn their CDs. The music ain't that good anyway. And besides, it makes them look foolish and petty. And how fun that people like Sir Tim Russert have to lick their low-taste boots...

Bush Administration Embraces Fascism

Bush Administration Embraces Fascism

Bats 14 For 14

by Lawrence Britt

Dr. Britt studied the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia), and Pinochet (Chile), and found they all had 14 elements in common.

The 14 characteristics are:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

"Oh I'm proud to be an American..."

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights
Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

What is Guantanamo, Alex?

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause
The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4. Supremacy of the Military
Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5. Rampant Sexism
The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.

6. Controlled Mass Media
Sometimes the media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

7. Obsession with National Security
Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined
Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.

9. 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.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed
Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed .

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts
Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment
Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption
Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent Elections
Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

Jeez! 14 our of 14! He finally made a hundred.

And just when we lost our hundred billion! What a coincidence!

Look. I'm no happier about this than you are. Americans are more than just customers. Indeed, we are more than just employees and employers.

Bush's business model for how to run America and the world is very short-sighted and bereft of historical wisdom.

We needn't allow it to continue. The next election must send an overwhelming message. Close is not good enough. We see what happens in such cases.

America, and indeed, the world requires that we return to more sensible people and policies, based more on human rights and age-old wisdom, than on making the quick buck.

It is completely okay to sit on your hands at election time, ye Republican readers...if you think you really cannot put your stamp, your signature, your vote on continuing in this backward and even deadly direction. But speaking out against it would be even better. Sins of omission are still sins.