Archive for March, 2010

Obama OK’s Offshore Oil Drilling?

March 31, 2010 1 comment

How does Eric Clapton play a guitar solo to that, man? C’mon, “Sunshine of your Love.” Since I started working in the solar electricity industry in 2006, Solar Electricity’s percentage of the Power Mix in California has not budged from 1 percent.

Because we just keep using more and more energy. Photovoltaics…Photovoltaics…Hammer-and-nail Jobs…Manufacturing back in the US…Localized Energy Independence…Stabilize the cost of running our homes and offices.

Photovoltaics means Light Voltage, energy derived from the Sun. Let’s double California’s Solar Electricity use in 2010! 2 percent! 2 percent!

Which is why we probably need to diversify our energy portfolio as a nation. So oil is 25%, natural gas is 25%, Solar is 25%, and Wind, Hydroelectric, Geothermal, et al. make up the remainder. We use the nuclear plants we have, but no more (reasons: radioactive waste, damage to ground water, cancer-causing, not enough Yucca Mountains to store it all). And we don’t use any coal…’cause that stuff is dirty, dirty!

* Coal can be our emergency stockpile of energy. That way we can also mitigate the defacing of mountains during strip-mining operations.

That is the future of America, what I just wrote above. In order to get there, we’re going to drill some offshore oil, while we diversify our energy portfolio and eventually comprise 50% of that energy-pie from CO2-free sources. We will probably have to appease the Coal States due to this F’n Great Recession. People will be in the right to defend their jobs, but it is not ok if your job endangers or weakens our country as a whole.

Eric Clapton is warming up his amp and doing soundcheck. All we gotta do is get a solar-electric system on every available roof! That will create jobs, jobs, jobs! Then Clapton can throw thunderbolts and electric sound waves from his guitar. After the show, we can take him for a spin around the neighborhood in the plug-in electric car charging off the Photovoltaics System.

Please spread the good words: Solar, PV, the Sun, Sol, Soleil,日
rì, الشمس., and many others. The big, burning ball of fire…that nuclear reactor in the sky…around which we rotate…the yellow star that wakes us up in the morning…is throwing off a lot of energy. We can use it to make electricity for our lights, cars, TVs, computers, air conditioning, and on and on.


Fox News is not News

March 31, 2010 Leave a comment

Open Letter to the Federal Communications Commission:


Fox News is not News. They should not be able to call themselves a News channel.

Please make sure Fox shows “COMMENTARY” as the biggest chyron on the screen during editorialized shows, such as Bill O’Reilly’s and Glenn Beck’s. If it’s not news, they shouldn’t be able to sell it as news. That’s false advertising, not to mention lack of journalistic integrity.

The opportunity to mislead the viewer begins with mislabeling. Please label Fox News what it is. On commentary shows, require a chyron that labels the show correctly as “commentary.” This is for proper advertising. Fox is a product. Also, if the news does not make up at least half of the content on screen, then Fox can not call itself “Fox News.” If the channel provides mostly commentary, call it that: “Fox Commentary.”
Thank you

News is objective and impartial.

This is some beautiful, old footage.

Stone-Cold F*ck Nuts!

March 31, 2010 Leave a comment
Categories: Comic Relief Tags:

Fox = Propaganda Machine for Conservatives and Republicans

March 31, 2010 Leave a comment

Glenn Beck is stone-cold f*ck-nuts!

By his own admission to Bill O’Reilly (minute 2:20): “I’m full-fledged crazy nuts. You know it and I know it.” And then Beck described his vision of Depression and Revolution, after telling the audience to buy his line of thinking by metaphorically buying a musket from him versus what O’Reilly was selling: doormats.

Here’s what the Columbia Journalism Review reported in its April/ March 2010 issue:

Dumb Like a Fox

Fox News isn’t part of the GOP; it has simply (and shamelessly) mastered the confines of cable

By Terry McDermott


But is it an arm of the GOP? Not unless you think Roger Ailes would actually work for Michael Steele. It is more likely the other way around. Steele, in some broader cultural sense, works for Ailes, who is without close contest the most powerful Republican in the country today. The national Republican Party has shrunk to a narrow base with no apparent agenda other than to oppose everything the Obama administration proposes. This extends even to opposing policies Republicans either created or once supported. In explaining these reversals, Republicans frequently say that their changes of position—for example, on deficit-reduction measures that they routinely dismissed when in the majority—owes mainly to changes in national circumstances. But the main circumstance that seems to have changed is their loss of formal power in Washington. This suits Fox perfectly, and gives heft to its self-definition as an insurgency….

Here are some more representative examples. They might seem chosen to make a point; they were not. They are admittedly impressionistic, but we think a fair sampling of what was on the air that day.

On the Senate compromise on health care reform:

MSNBC—Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon called it “a godsend.” Howard Dean said “the Senate bill really does advance the ball.”

CNN—Representative Barbara Lee, a California Democrat, called it “the type of coverage that they [her constituents] deserve.”

Fox—Neil Cavuto posed this question to independent Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut: “Senator, they just didn’t put lipstick on a pig? It’s still a pig, right?” Lieberman was noncommittal on the porcine nature of the compromise, but assured he would vote against it. Hayes of The Weekly Standard said, “it is absolutely insane.” Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee said, “It is the lump of coal in our Christmas stocking.”

On climate change:

MSNBC—Jonathan Alter of Newsweek, addressing Sarah Palin’s claim that climate change is not necessarily the result of human activity: “Her bigger problem, if she wants to be a candidate, is that she’s on the wrong side of history. She’s on the wrong side of science. She’s on the wrong side of politics here.”

CNN—Kitty Pilgrim, CNN correspondent: “The United States is falling behind the rest of the world in what some see as the cleanest energy option available, nuclear power.”

Fox —Amy Kellogg, Fox correspondent: “. . . stolen e-mails suggest the manipulation of trends, deleting and destroying of data, and attempts to prevent the publication of opposing views on climate change . . . .”

We could go on, but the pattern would not change….

A close look at Fox’s operations seemed an obvious way to examine the claims and counter-claims. When I approached Fox to gain access to their studios and staff for a story about the nature of their news operations, I was told that if I wanted to do a piece on Fox, I should do a profile of Shepard Smith, their main news anchorman. I should be careful, they told me, to distinguish between Smith, a newsman, and their bevy of more notorious personalities—Bill O’Reilly, Neil Cavuto, Glenn Beck, and Greta Van Susteren*. They aren’t really news people, I was told; they are editorialists and ought to be analyzed as such. They are analogous, Fox suggested, to the editorial and op-ed opinion pages of newspapers, which ought not be confused with the straight news coverage.

The proposal to do a story on Smith was fair enough, but would not in any way address the central issue: Was Fox a political operation? I declined. A Smith profile would be a wonderful story for another time, I told Fox, but it wasn’t the story we felt relevant at the moment. That being the case, Fox “declined to participate” in my reporting, which is another way of saying I should go do something to myself and possibly the horse I rode in on, too.

I’ve been told worse, so I wasn’t offended, but this put the story in a bind. I had thought a reported story on how Fox assembles its daily programming would be useful. Doing a story on Fox without access and cooperation necessarily changes the nature of the story. So in lieu of talking to Fox, the main thing I did was let Fox talk to me. That is, I watched a lot of Fox News, and I must report the Fox spokeswoman was absolutely correct. Shepard Smith is an interesting guy. He is far and away the most charming personality on Fox. Not that this takes special effort. Generally speaking, Fox doesn’t do charm. O’Reilly, for all of his considerable talents, blew a fuse in his charm machine years ago, and it’s not clear Beck ever had one to blow. Let’s not even start on Sean Hannity and Cavuto.

Smith’s show—or, rather, shows; he hosts two of them every weekday—are absent much of Fox’s usual cant. They are odd in Smith’s own ironic, idiosyncratic way, but not so unusual that you couldn’t imagine them appearing on one of the other cable news networks. In sum, they seem a perfect rebuttal to Dunn’s critique….

There is no shortage of people eager to comment on Fox and the nature of its news. We thought it simpler and potentially more valuable to just watch its programs and see what they said. We decided to examine and compare the prime time cable news programming of a single day, and we picked December 10, a Thursday. The newscasts that day and the programming that surrounded them offer some clear testimony on the question: What is Fox News?

If you talked all day every day you’d say some pretty stupid stuff and, no surprise, the cable talkers are no exceptions. Much of what gets said, in fact, is just barely above gibberish. On his December 10 show, O’Reilly led with an attack on Dick Wolf, the creator of the Law & Order television franchise, for allowing a character on one of his shows to criticize O’Reilly by name. To buttress his rebuttal of Wolf, O’Reilly quotes—who better?—himself. Later in the show, he interviews fellow host Glenn Beck about President Obama’s Peace Prize, which Beck says was given as a sort of affirmative action award.

Beck: I used to believe in a meritocracy. I used to believe you would. . . .

O’Reilly: Earn things?

Beck: You would earn things. I have no problem with the president winning a Nobel Peace Prize.

O’Reilly: No, I agree he didn’t earn it, but so what? It’s Norway. You know? It’s Norway. You know what I’m talking about?

Beck: Well, now that you put it in that context.

O’Reilly: Right. And I love Norway.

Beck: You’re exactly right. Who doesn’t love Norway?

O’Reilly: I love the fjords.

Beck: Sure.

O’Reilly: I’ve been to Oslo.

Beck: I have never.

O’Reilly: Right. I believe I have some Viking blood in me.

Beck: Do you? I think you do.

O’Reilly: OK. So. . . .

Beck: I want him to wear the hat with the horns. Don’t you? Seriously.

O’Reilly: It’s Norway.

Beck: Send him the hat with the horns. He’ll wear it. But [singing] la la la la. [speaking] He’d do it.

O’Reilly: Easy, Mr. Fascination. Calm down.

There’s a loopy self-absorption to this that is peculiar to Fox and that derives from its origin narrative as the network for the unrepresented, for the outsiders. There is a strain of resentment, of put-upon-ness that pervades almost everything Fox puts on the air. Beck, in particular, was born to play this part….

On his own show that night, Beck spent fully two-thirds of his time in an agitated defense of himself against charges few would ever had heard of had he not spent so much time defending them.

No reasonable person would sincerely deny that Fox has a distinct bias favoring Republicans, and conservative Republicans especially. Even Fox used to admit as much. When he started the network, Ailes was straightforward in talking about his desire to redress what he saw as ideological bias in the mainstream media. He wanted to address the same “silent majority” his old boss Richard Nixon had sought to serve. This is nowhere more apparent than in the guests who appear on the network. On the day in question, other than short video clips of news conferences or other public appearances, Fox didn’t put a single Democrat on the air except as a foil for Republican or Fox commentators….

Although cable news is a comparatively small market, it is a small market with a much larger mindshare, mainly because the media are self-reflective, creating a kind of virtual echo chamber. It is also lucrative. Advertisers want exactly the sort of educated, higher-disposable-income audience news programming tends to attract.

Ailes has proven an extraordinarily acute businessman who has, according to an excellent piece by David Carr and Tim Arango in the January 9 New York Times, turned a fledging news operation that barely existed a decade ago into the runaway market leader in cable news and a profit engine that turns out more than $500 million annually for Rupert Murdoch’s global News Corporation.

Ailes’s most valuable insight was that sharp opinions do not necessarily chase an audience away. In fact, they seem to have created one. There is no worry of offending a broad audience, because there is no broad audience to start with anymore.

It’s worth noting that MSNBC languished in the cable news ratings competition until becoming more sharply opinionated, in that way becoming a left-leaning analog to Fox. It’s highly doubtful this change was due to political considerations. In other ways, though, MSNBC is not a Fox analog at all. Although its overall operation is sharply to the left of Fox, it offers a wider array of guests and doesn’t completely shut out Republicans. Matthews, for example, on the day in question conducted a friendly interview with two Tea Party Republican activists. The existence of Morning Joe, starring outspoken conservative Joe Scarborough, on MSNBC’s morning air offers further evidence.

Ailes, by his programming choices, sees no need to have a liberal counterpart to Scarborough on Fox. Why should he? He’s got the ratings, the money, and a political operation that is nearly pure in its adherence to contemporary populist Republicanism.

Aristotle said…

March 31, 2010 Leave a comment

“It is absurd to hold that a man ought to be ashamed of being unable to defend himself with his limbs, but not of being unable to defend himself with speech and reason, when the use of rational speech is more distinctive of a human being than the use of his limbs.” –Aristotle

Categories: Literature & Art Tags:

Tea Party = Anger masking Fear…(which could mean) Absence of Rational Thought

March 29, 2010 Leave a comment

Anger is the easiest emotion to tap. Anger masks Fear. (I read this somewhere.)

Underneath all the Anger exhibited by conservatives is Fear. Anger and Fear do not lead to rational thought.


A new poll from Harris interactive finds that 40 percent of American adults think that Obama is a socialist; 25 percent believe that Obama was not born in the United States and is therefore not eligible to be president; 20 percent say Obama is doing many of the things that Hitler did; 14 percent say Obama “may be the Antichrist.”

“I hear a very scary situation developing,” says Potok. “The idea that people really have swallowed these stories in such enormous numbers is something remarkable. I covered, as a reporter, the militia movement in the 1990s, which really produced an extraordinary amount of criminal violence. And even back then, you did not hear this kind of talk so broadly spread through this society”….

“Even those who are sort of considered [to be] responsible Republicans have completely abstained from any kind of criticism of this talk. So even way back when, when Sarah Palin was talking about Obama setting up death panels and so on — what we heard was a deafening silence from the mainstream of the Republican Party”….

In the same way, you go to some of these Tea Party events and other similar kinds of configurations and you will hear people talking about FEMA — the Federal Emergency Management Agency — secretly building and constructing a series of concentration camps in which to throw good patriotic Americans who resist the coming martial law and so on. So it’s those kinds of ideas, and then more broadly, the idea that Obama is really a socialist, a Marxist. He is really setting up death panels to sort of murder our grandparents.”

On how some politicians are using the same rhetoric as the radical right

“After a man flew a plane into an IRS building in Austin, Texas, [Rep.] Steve King, who’s a Republican out of Iowa, basically excused the attacks. [He] said, ‘Well, basically the IRS is a terrible thing. If it had been gotten rid of as I thought it should some years ago, this never would have happened’ — which to me sounds an awful lot like saying, ‘If that person wasn’t standing in front of the murderer’s gun, they never would have died.’ ”

“In February we heard Tom Tancredo, a former congressman from Colorado. When he addressed the Tea Party convention in Nashville, Tenn., he made an incredibly off-color speech in which he talked about the problem: Obama was a socialist and so on. He was destroying the country. The problem was that fools had elected him and what we needed was a literacy test. And this, of course, in the context of attacking a black president. Given our history, where we had literacy tests for something like a century to keep black people from voting, I think that’s plainly an openly racist attack.”

On how some Republican leaders influence the rhetoric

“I think [fringe militia leaders] wouldn’t have much influence if not for the aiding and abetting that they are getting from so many mainstream figures. I’m talking about the Tom Tancredos and the Michelle Bachmanns, the Lou Dobbs[es and] the Glenn Becks of the world. … Glenn Beck of Fox News, of course, spent three shows speculating on whether or not it was so that FEMA had constructed a whole set of secret concentration camps. Ultimately, in his fourth show, he decided it was not true and quote-on-quote ‘debunked’ it. But the real point was that for three entire shows he hawked this point. And Glenn Beck has close to 3 million listeners, and a lot of those people follow him religiously — really believe that these things are true.”

The Rage Is Not About Health Care


Op-Ed Columnist

Published: March 27, 2010

A Quinnipiac poll last week found that 74 percent of Tea Party members identify themselves as Republicans or Republican-leaning independents, while only 16 percent are aligned with Democrats….

Boehner, having previously likened the health care bill to Armageddon, was now so apoplectic you had to wonder if he had just discovered one of its more obscure revenue-generating provisions, a tax on indoor tanning salons.

But the laughs evaporated soon enough. There’s nothing entertaining about watching goons hurl venomous slurs at congressmen like the civil rights hero John Lewis and the openly gay Barney Frank. And as the week dragged on, and reports of death threats and vandalism stretched from Arizona to Kansas to upstate New York, the F.B.I. and the local police had to get into the act to protect members of Congress and their families.

How curious that a mob fond of likening President Obama to Hitler knows so little about history that it doesn’t recognize its own small-scale mimicry of Kristallnacht. The weapon of choice for vigilante violence at Congressional offices has been a brick hurled through a window. So far.

No less curious is how disproportionate this red-hot anger is to its proximate cause. The historic Obama-Pelosi health care victory is a big deal, all right, so much so it doesn’t need Joe Biden’s adjective to hype it. But the bill does not erect a huge New Deal-Great Society-style government program. In lieu of a public option, it delivers 32 million newly insured Americans to private insurers. As no less a conservative authority than The Wall Street Journal editorial page observed last week, the bill’s prototype is the health care legislation Mitt Romney signed into law in Massachusetts. It contains what used to be considered Republican ideas.

Yet it’s this bill that inspired G.O.P. congressmen on the House floor to egg on disruptive protesters even as they were being evicted from the gallery by the Capitol Police last Sunday. It’s this bill that prompted a congressman to shout “baby killer” at Bart Stupak, a staunch anti-abortion Democrat. It’s this bill that drove a demonstrator to spit on Emanuel Cleaver, a black representative from Missouri. And it’s this “middle-of-the-road” bill, as Obama accurately calls it, that has incited an unglued firestorm of homicidal rhetoric, from “Kill the bill!” to Sarah Palin’s cry for her followers to “reload.” At least four of the House members hit with death threats or vandalism are among the 20 political targets Palin marks with rifle crosshairs on a map on her Facebook page.

In fact, the current surge of anger — and the accompanying rise in right-wing extremism — predates the entire health care debate. The first signs were the shrieks of “traitor” and “off with his head” at Palin rallies as Obama’s election became more likely in October 2008. Those passions have spiraled ever since — from Gov. Rick Perry’s kowtowing to secessionists at a Tea Party rally in Texas to the gratuitous brandishing of assault weapons at Obama health care rallies last summer to “You lie!” piercing the president’s address to Congress last fall like an ominous shot.

If Obama’s first legislative priority had been immigration or financial reform or climate change, we would have seen the same trajectory. The conjunction of a black president and a female speaker of the House — topped off by a wise Latina on the Supreme Court and a powerful gay Congressional committee chairman — would sow fears of disenfranchisement among a dwindling and threatened minority in the country no matter what policies were in play. It’s not happenstance that Frank, Lewis and Cleaver — none of them major Democratic players in the health care push — received a major share of last weekend’s abuse. When you hear demonstrators chant the slogan “Take our country back!,” these are the people they want to take the country back from.

They can’t. Demographics are avatars of a change bigger than any bill contemplated by Obama or Congress. The week before the health care vote, The Times reported that births to Asian, black and Hispanic women accounted for 48 percent of all births in America in the 12 months ending in July 2008. By 2012, the next presidential election year, non-Hispanic white births will be in the minority. The Tea Party movement is virtually all white. The Republicans haven’t had a single African-American in the Senate or the House since 2003 and have had only three in total since 1935. Their anxieties about a rapidly changing America are well-grounded.

Conservative = Bully

March 29, 2010 Leave a comment

* By “bully” I mean “a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people.”

Listen to Karl Rove talk over David Plouffe. Watch Rove continually butt in and interrupt any attempt at a civil exchange of ideas. Rove is rude, to say the least. Rove is also a propagandist and a bully; he doesn’t allow Plouffe to explain his position. By depriving the opposition a platform from which to speak, Rove accomplishes his objective to obfuscate the discussion of Universal Health Care, which will benefit the majority of Americans.

This is classic conservative behavior, at least the epitome of the behavior I have personally witnessed from hundreds of conservatives during the George W. Bush era (Janurary 2001-January 2009).

Remember, Bush called himself a “Compassionate Conservative”…who then started a false war in Iraq, which took $700 billion of taxpayers’ money to pad the pockets of politically connected military contractors, like Dick Cheney’s Halliburton; who then (along with the Republican majority Congress from 2001-2006) passed Tax Cuts for the rich that added almost $1 Trillion to our country’s deficit; and whose lack of leadership and (little to) no-regulation policies caused a cataclysmic meltdown of our economy that required another $700 billion from the taxpayers in order to bailout the Wall Street banks who were spreading the virus of Subprime-Mortgage-Backed Securities to other financial institutions all over the planet.

Don’t believe me? Here’s George W. Bush speaking for himself:

For those of you who still do not understand what caused the Financial Crisis, please watch at your leisure:

We have an intellectual deficit in this country because we, as a country, lack the ability for rational discussion and logical argument. We are in short supply of critical thinking skills. Wit and charm and humor are essential for human communication, but too often the person who makes the best cutting remark wins the argument.

For example, Jerry Falwell said to Christiane Amanpour that Chelsea Clinton asked a soldier if there was anything he was afraid of, and the soldier said “Osama, Obama and your mama.” Funny, but wicked sophistry! All of a sudden the Democratic nominees for the Presidency are lumped with the #1 bad guy in Americans’ eyes, and from the hypothetical mouth of one of our troops, too. Falwell admitted just after telling the joke that he made it up; the fictitious interview between Ms. Clinton and the soldier never happened.

Falwell created an ad hominem attack wrapped in a non-sequitur comment. Instead of debating the qualifications of Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, Falwell denigrated them with a one-liner. It’s funny, no doubt. I laughed at the time. It’s a gift men like Falwell, Karl Rove and Dick Cheney (hands down the best liar I have ever seen) had/ have for contorting and perverting the truth of the matter to benefit their own political ends.

We need to arm Americans with the brains to separate the wheat from the chaff in this age of instant messaging. This country needs to be provided a fork and a knife at chow time to slice the fat from the meat. We need to supply the people of this great country with nourishment for the mind and enlightenment for the soul, and help them do it for themselves by providing them the cutlery that is critical thinking skills.

Unfortunately, conservatives act as bullies by being the loudest person in the room and talking over others, so that by doing so they limit rational, logical and civil discourse.

Or, conservatives like Dick Cheney have no problem using a flat-out lie…

And here’s Bush lying…