Archived entries for politics

500x_netneut_01

What you are looking at here is a mock-up of a payment plan for Internet use if Net Neutrality fails. ISPs will be able to make individual deals with websites and charge for access to the most popular ones. The go-anywhere, do-anything Internet we have now will cease to exist overnight. If the thought of bandwidth capping and limiting transfer rates worried you, then the loss of NN should make you piss yourself in fear.

For those that aren’t aware, here’s a short primer on NN:

Right now, your ISP delivers access to all internet sites equally, or at least they are supposed to – Comcast and a few others are getting sued over some limiters they’ve implemented, but anyway. If Comcast is my ISP, then they’ll deliver my request to, say, ATT just as fast as they would to their own website. The ISP shows neutrality toward all connections their customers request. But, if they didn’t do this, then they could cherry pick what content they allowed through. For example if Microsoft were to buy an ISP, they could then block all access to any Apple-favored websites. Hell, they could probably just pay Comcast to do it. The content you receive over your ISP’s connection would be at their discretion, not yours.

Currently, the Obama administration and the FCC are trying to preserve NN, but the Republicans are doing everything they can to throw a monkey wrench into it. John McCain, that bastion of technological advancement, has introduced a bill called the Internet Freedom Act that would block the FCC from declaring NN as de jure law instead of de facto policy. Should I mention that McCain’s campaign is the single largest recipient of telecom money in political history? And that the telecom companies stand to make billions if this goes through?

If you want to support continued Net Neutrality, SaveTheInternet.com has all the information you need.

Graphic from Gizmodo.

[Ok the stupid embed isn't working, you can find the whole thing here at WMCTV5's website.]

The participants:

  • Charles Carpenter – Herenton’s old legal counsel. Crony. A non-figure.
  • Carol Chumney – White. Lawyer. Blinks a lot. Lost the last election in a split ticket.
  • Wanda Halbert – City Councilwoman. Playing this game to get some free press.
  • Robert Hodges – Prince Mongo. Insane. Brilliant. Took a  high priced lawyer threatening a lawsuit to even get him on TV.
  • Jerry Lawler – Former professional wrestler. But, this isn’t California. We’re not going to elect a D-list celebrity. Even if his ideas are good, if half-baked.
  • Myron Lowery – Mayor Pro-Temp. One of the two people up there who stands a chance of winning this. I got the distinct feeling he was a closeted ‘mo. He wasn’t making a total fool of himself until he said Memphis didn’t have any debt, which is both ignorance and a lie to curry political favor.
  • Sharon Webb – This woman is on the school board. She sounds like an uneducated hoodrat, which is telling of the Memphis City School System. She was either drugged, or drunk or both because the fucking man up there who gets government disability money for being crazy (Hodges/Mongo) sounded more coherent than her.
  • Kenneth Whalum, Jr. – I…I don’t even know who this guy is but he scared the shit out of me last night. Then I did some research on him this morning and he’s just a different kind of crazy Christian.
  • A C Wharton – Look, the tapioca comment was a fair one, but I’d rather have him and his pragmatism than one else up there. We’ve had insanity for 17 years. I think we deserve a little bit of a stable, steady hand, don’t you?

If you live in Memphis, or have lived in Memphis or have any interest in bizarre spectator politics, please for the love of all that is holy, watch this. Pour yourself a whiskey and enjoy the schadenfreude.

My primary political goal is to represent the ninth congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives. I have every intention of being a congressional candidate during the August 2010 election.

However, during the interim, recent events have compelled me to step forth to provide leadership and express my sincere feelings on how our city can continue to move forward, despite our current dilemma.

My recent retirement from the office of Mayor has created this situation and I feel obligated to seek alternatives to Myron Lowery and an ‘anyone can win’ mayoral race.

The city I love deserves better.

Therefore, I am also preparing a referendum resolution that would allow the citizens of Memphis to rescind the current charter amendment that elevated Myron Lowery to the office of Mayor Pro Tem. This resolution would prescribe limitations on the powers of a non-elected mayor.

It is clear to many citizens that my retirement from office created opportunities for Mayor Pro Tem Lowery and a puzzling list of mayoral candidates to turn our city backward. I am disappointed in Myron’s reckless style of leadership. He must be stopped.

We cannot allow Mayor Pro Tem Lowery to be elected mayor during the upcoming special election. Unfortunately, it is difficult to predict a clear winner with a complicated array of mayoral candidates in the race.

Therefore, I have pulled a petition to run in the upcoming mayoral special election.

- W. W. Herenton’s statement about pulling a petition to run for the office he just vacated, via the Commercial Appeal.

One thing you can say about Memphis. It is never boring here.

Here is the Parable of the Good Samaritan from Bible, specifically the New International Version.

“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead with no clothes. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, and he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, he too passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and looked after him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ “Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Now, I think we all know the message here: do good by your fellow man in need. What I’m not understanding, however, is how, in a nation founded on essentially Christian values, one of the simplest and most universal teachings of Jesus is completely lost on the population at large.

I am, of course, talking about the health care reform insanity that is flying around this country. For me, the problem is simple. Some one is broken, you fix them. This is common human decency. This is moral. This is right.

You don’t implement a stratified class system to separate the poor from the rich when it comes to some one’s life. You don’t let some one die in agony because they could not afford a mixture of chemicals, that in and of themselves, cost mere pennies. You don’t make people decide between food and shelter or doctors and medicine. These things are immoral. These things are human indecency. These things are wrong.

What really bothers me is how people are confusing the proposed healthcare changes with something that even comes close to nationalizing our health care system. Nearly all of the changes are targeted at people with either limited or no coverage. You know, people like me. There is also a push to invest in preventative care over emergency care, which has been shown across the board to improve quality of life and lessen medical costs. Not to mention the fact that a nation of in-shape people is far more attractive than a nation of obese whales. Absolutely NO PART of the medical reform package will affect people with high quality private health insurance in any negative way.

People are sick. People are dying. All because they didn’t meet a barrier to entry that is entirely economic. This is akin to a slow, but steady, class-based program of genocide. Something which, if I’m not mistake, Jesus would have a problem with.

And I’m not even Christian, but you can be damned sure that if I see some one needing help, I’ll give it to them. Now, we’ve just got to get the rest of the nation saying the same thing.


Oh, Christ. I haven’t laughed this hard at something that scared me so much since Sarah Palin.

Before we get into this, let’s set out a few points about me.

I’m a liberal. About as liberal as they come. If they suddenly nationalized health care, the banking system, the auto industry, re-instituted large scale public works and started mandating everyone be equally fluent in English and Spanish, I’d shrug my shoulders and go pick up an Idiot’s Guide to Spanish.

I hated Bush more than I’ve hated just about any other public figure in my life, and I hated his administration more than I’ve hated anything.

I vote and I work for and with causes that I believe in. I don’t think that sitting around and talking or yelling about things will change anything but the timbre of your voice.

Finally, just because I don’t agree with what you’re saying doesn’t mean that I believe you’re wrong.

So.

Keith Olbermann. Keith Fucking Olbermann. The guy who made MSNBC. Well, at least gave MSNBC it’s reason for existing in the free-for-all of 24 hour news stations.

MSNBC had always been the “slow” child of the 24 hour news networks. For years it languished with shitty hosts and no real bite. Headline News and CNN held the sway over the middle ground, with Fox News taking more and more of a right-leaning stance as they realized there was gold in them thar hills. MSNBC decided to take a page from Fox’s playbook, and in 2001 they consciously made the move toward “a brand, with a large dose of opinion and personality.”

(Yes, because that’s exactly what I want in my news. Opinion and personality. Because those two things are exactly what makes good, bias-free reporting.

Anyway.)

For a while MSNBC played both sides of the political fence, trying to coax an audience out of the right or the left. They found their biting angle in 2003 when they hired Keith Olbermann to take over a show that was titled Countdown: Iraq. Originally Countdown dealt with Bush’s deadline to for Saddam Hussein to leave Iraq. But, in thinking they’d established a brand with a show of that name in a prime time slot, they rolled the name over and gave it to Olbermann as a magazine show.

The show didn’t do a whole lot at first. Olbermann was smart, he knew enough to make the show funny and slip the editorial in with the humor. His only real press in the first few years came from his sparring with Bill O’Reilly. O’Reilly shared the same time slot as Olbermann, but on Fox News. He was also an ignorant, opinionated blow-hard, which made him easy pickings for Olbermann. Their feud is still going on to this day.

The real ratings break-through came with his Special Comments. These are directed editorial asides written by Olbermann and they are something to behold. They are eloquent, brilliant pieces of oration, and they are anything but news. His first was in August of 2006, but the break through one was on the fifth anniversary of 9/11, one month later. He railed against Bush for wasting the time since 2001 and not really doing anything with the national good faith he was given.

Exploding online, the 9/11 video was a game changer for Olbermann and Countdown. The Special Comments became the go-to segment when the show wanted to make an impact. Olbermann’s made forty of them in the three years since his first, with at least one a month, and spiking as high as three a month during key political events. Between the Special Comments and the strong showing of liberal candidates in the 2008 primary season, MSNBC’s audience started to grow dramatically. No longer was it the anemic also-ran of the 24 hour news cycle, Olbermann and the Special Comment had given the network an editorial voice, and that voice was as hardline liberal as Fox News was conservative.

And this is about the point where a red flag goes off in my brain and I start watching MSNBC with an uneasy gaze.

As Olbermann’s status as the liberal resurrection of Edward R, Murrow grew, the rest of the network started to pick up his bad habits. Chris Matthews over at Hardball gave up whatever pretensions he had of journalist integrity and started slamming his massive forehead into anyone who disagreed with him. MSNBC effectively extended Olbermann’s show by giving his guest-host, Rachel Maddow, her own hour-long magazine show immediately after his. This was as close as they could come to cloning Olbermann, since he and Maddow share everything from political views to presentation style to love of internal genitals.

(By the way, can I mention how fucked it is that Maddow was the first openly gay person to win a Rhodes Scholarship yet MSNBC goes mum whenever the question of her sexuality comes up? It’s like they only want her sexual orientation to be known if you’ll agree with it, but they don’t want to chase you off if you don’t.

Anyway.)

Today, Olbermann has firmly entrenched himself and his network as the ideological counter-point to Fox News. The farther left the network went, the higher their ratings, and thus their ad dollars, went. They’d fallen down the same slippery money slope that took Fox News, and they aren’t about to claw their way out of it. On the whole, MSNBC is no longer news. It is editorial and commentary wrapped under a gossamer thin news disguise. The problem with this is that people gravitate toward things that are they like. People don’t listen to music they don’t like, or watch TV they hate or pay for movies they don’t enjoy. And when you start masking entertainment as news, you polarize people.

“What that person said makes me feel bad, so that can’t be right because what this person said makes me happy” is a terrible, terrible, TERRIBLE way for people to decide what source to get their news from, because it flat out isn’t news. It is polarizing editorial entertainment that strokes the parts of your brain you want stroked without challenging any of your conceptions about the way things are.

To some one who watches only Fox News, liberals must seem like drug-crazed sex fiends who want to take all of your shit and use your children for medical experiments.

To some one who watches only MSNBC, conservatives must seem like uneducated rednecks who want nothing more than to kill brown people and make everyone pray to the same God at a mega-church in Texas.

And if you come close to either one of those opinions, please, for the love of God, hit your head against a brick wall until your already soft brain completely liquifies and is no longer in danger of doing harm to anyone else.

Networks like MSNBC and Fox News do nothing but widen a gulf between the two halves of America, a gulf they imagined, created and widened in their attempts to find an audience and MAKE A FUCKING BUCK. Some of my dearest friends are creationist Christians. They believe that the world is only six thousand years old and evolution is a lie. They also drink really good beer, believe the war in Iraq was morally and legally wrong, and that the financial fallout was the product of a corrupt system. Not all of us are going to agree on everything, but those things that we disagree on are not the be-all, end-all things.

So, I implore you, if you are one of those people out there who parrot the things that Olbermann and Maddow say, or repost their segments to your blogs or Facebook pages, please stop. You are hurting the American discourse. You are no longer making it about facts and debate, but instead turning it into a shouting match between stuffed shirts who are paid very, very well to have a certain opinion.

I do want to point out that there is one key difference between the political windbags on MSNBC and the political windbags on Fox News. The ones on MSNBC aren’t afraid to bite the hand that feeds them Olbermann, Maddow and Matthews have all been openly critical of their side of the aisle. But, really, what else did you expect? The only thing that can stop a Democrat with a mission is another Democrat with a mission. Self destruction is in our nature.

One final note. If you think I’m being too hard on Olbermann and that he’s right about everything he’s saying, keep this in mind – he doesn’t vote. He says he does it to stay “objective”, but I’ve never trusted anyone who doesn’t vote, no matter the reasons. Not voting means he doesn’t have his ass in the flames that he’s stoking, so he doesn’t care when it gets too hot. Nor does it show that he cares enough to hit a few buttons to make our country a better place.

Edward R Murrow voted.

Keith Olbermann doesn’t.

One man was probably the greatest newsman that’s ever lived.

One isn’t.

Watch this:

Then read this.

And then watch me rant.

Ahem.

Mister President, fuck you, you lying sack of shit.

Don’t you sell me on Hope and Change and all the rest of that shit if you are just going to use that good faith to tear the wounds wider.

You were supposed to be the one that brought us back from the edge of insanity, instead of gleefully jumping off of it. You were supposed to keep Americans from spying on Americans. You were supposed to close down our torture camps. You were supposed to bring my friends home from a hellish desert we never belonged in.

But, you’re not going to do any of that, are you? You’re going to hedge your bets, make your deals with devils, and fuck the morality of it all. Because, ultimately, the only thing that matters to politicians is re-election. In your fear of the headline “TERRORIST FREED BY OBAMA MASTERMINDED PLOT”, you are proving to us that you are exactly that – a politician.

If you are dead set on writing into law a system by which people who could potentially be a future danger to this nation are locked up indefinitely, then I humbly suggest you look no further than the mirror for the first person to be put behind bars.

George Stephanopoulos dropped this bomb on his ABC blog yesterday morning. Looks like the Edwards staffers weren’t about to let the man get elected if he was just going be another scandal-ridden Southern Democrat.

I’ve talked to a lot of former Edwards staffers about this. Up until December of 2007, most on Edwards’ staff didn’t believe rumors about the affair.

But by late December, early January of last year, several people in his inner circle began to think the rumors were true.

Several of them had gotten together and devised a “doomsday” strategy of sorts.

Basically, if it looked like Edwards was going to win the Democratic Party nomination, they were going to sabotage his campaign, several former Edwards’ staffers have told me.

They said they were Democrats first, and if it looked like Edwards was going to become the nominee, they were going to bring down the campaign.

You know, it’s funny. I used to really respect Edwards and the work he was doing, but the sleaze is really starting to rise up around the man. He’s descending into the realm of becoming a piece of political parody.

yb09p18

I love how Obama is looking off-panel at something shiny while his two security guards, both in lovely violet vintange 80s sunglasses, get capped in the head. Oh, and Rob? Last time I checked Obama’s eyes weren’t fucking yellow. He’s not some kind of feral cat, you know.

Newsarama via Chris Haley’s twitter.

Oh, if you care…the idiot on stage, Mark Skoda, has a Twitter….http://twitter.com/mark1matrix

There’s been this horrible, idiotic thing going around lately. Tea parties. And I don’t mean a bunch of whitehairs getting together and drinking chamomile. I mean a bunch of right wingers/tag-a-long idiots who don’t really know what this about/income tax is illegal people getting together and protesting the current economic policies of the government.

The whole thing is made to coincide with Tax Day today, but it has been going on for the last two months or so. People actually dressed up like Indians and dumped crates of tea into a river in Long Island a few weeks ago. (Most of those attendees make more in a year than I make in 10.) But today, there are literally protests everywhere. There is one in Audubon Park here in Memphis this afternoon, I’m told.

The literature around these things is what pisses me off the most. They are trying to point and scream at some unfair taxation policy and claim that the money that is being spent on stimulus is a terrible, world ending thing. Some pieces actually threaten revolution, and not in the fucking Ron Paul “rEVOLution” way.

Oh, and if you actually believed any of this shit, let me direct you to the fucking source of this drek – the American Family Association. One of the great moralist cesspools in America. There is no lofty agenda here. They are just trying to piss off enough mouth breathers to make them go somewhere, hold up a sign for the evening news, then go home and fart on a couch. The Right and the AFA don’t give a fuck about the taxation system. They give a fuck about not having their shiny play toy anymore, and they are going to do everything possible to slow down the gears of government that they can.

You know, between Glenn Beck’s insanity and this shit, I’m really wondering who’s doing to fall over dead from an aneurysm first, the Left or the Right.

Jesus Fuck, Obama’s only been in office three months.

I need to go back to drinking whiskey.

From The Washington Post:

Atheist Revival in Arkansas

Hard to say what was more remarkable about the resolution that was read into the record and referred to committee Wednesday by a member of the 87th Arkansas General Assembly.

The resolution itself: HJR 1009: AMENDING THE ARKANSAS CONSTITUTION TO REPEAL THE PROHIBITION AGAINST AN ATHEIST HOLDING ANY OFFICE IN THE CIVIL DEPARTMENTS OF THE STATE OF ARKANSAS OR TESTIFYING AS A WITNESS IN ANY COURT.

Or the fact that it was submitted by the Green Party’s highest-ranking elected official in America, state Rep. Richard Carroll of North Little Rock, who was elected in November winning more than 80 percent of the vote in his district.

In 2005, state Rep. Buddy Blair filed a resolution to affirm Arkansas’ support for the separation of church and state. The resolution lost 39-44 in the House.

Arkansas is one of half a dozen states that still exclude non-believers from public office. Article 19 Section 1 of the 1874 Arkansas Constitution states that “No person who denies the being of a God shall hold any office in the civil departments of this State, nor be competent to testify as a witness in any court.”

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled all such state provisions unconstitutional and unenforceable in a 1961 ruling in a Maryland case: “We repeat and again reaffirm that neither a State nor the Federal Government can constitutionally force a person ‘to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion.’”

Carroll is merely trying to do some symbolic constitutional housecleaning, but it won’t be easy.

The current list of states banning Atheists from serving in government are Arkansas, Maryland, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas, if you were wondering.

Iceland’s new PM is probably the first openly gay head of state in history.

From the BBC:

Johanna Sigurdardottir, named as Iceland’s prime minister on Sunday, is the first openly lesbian head of government in Europe, if not the world – at least in modern times.

The 66-year-old’s appointment as an interim leader, until elections in May, is seen by many as a milestone for the gay and lesbian movement.

Up until now, if a gay man or woman has been prime minister, they have done their best to conceal the fact.

In Iceland itself, however, the new prime minister’s sexual orientation appears to be causing less excitement than it is abroad.

What is really historic about this new cabinet, says Skuli Helgeson, the general secretary of Ms Sigurardottir’s Social Democratic Alliance, is not the fact that its leader is a lesbian, but that for the first time in Icelandic history it boasts an equal number of men and women.

“I don’t think her sexual orientation matters. Our voters are pretty liberal, they don’t care about any of that,” he told BBC News.

givebootthebush2

Taken by TheoGeo, who is in DC for the Inauguration.

I honestly can’t for the life of me think why that would be. He seems like such a sweet old man.

Everything I am about to tell you is false, and no such place or any place similar to Camp 22 exists.

And if such a place existed, it wouldn’t be home to tens of thousands of North Korean political dissidents and cover nearly the same square mileage as Washington, DC.

It wouldn’t be the site of gas chambers and medical experiments the likes of which would make Josef Mengele blanch.

It wouldn’t be a place where marriage was forced on prisoners to keep population of the camps up.

It wouldn’t be the sort of place where if a woman was found to be pregnant without the consent of the prison supervisor, either by guard or fellow prisoner, she would just disappear.

And since a place like that doesn’t exist, definitely these wouldn’t be the rules of the camp.

Camp Rules: The 10 Commandments

1. Do not attempt to escape. The punishment is death.

2. Never gather in groups of over three people or move around without the guard’s authorization. The punishment for unauthorized movement is death.

3. Do not steal. If one steals or possesses weapons, the punishment is death. The punishment for failure to report the theft or possession of weapons is death.

4. Obey your guards. If one rebels or hits a guard, the punishment is death.

5. If you see outsiders, or suspicious-looking people, report them immediately. The punishment for abetting in the hiding of outsiders is death.

6. Keep an eye on your fellow prisoners and report inappropriate behavior without delay. One should criticize others for inappropriate behavior, and also conduct thorough self-criticism in revolutionary ideology class.

7. Fulfill your assigned duties. The punishment for rebelling against one’s duties is death.

8. Men and women may not be together outside the workplace. The punishment for unauthorized physical contact between a man and a woman is death.

9. Admit and confess your wrongdoings. The punishment for disobedience and refusal to repent is death.

10. The punishment for violating camp laws and rules is death.

Because the camp doesn’t exist, then the book Shin Dong-hyuk published called ESCAPE TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD about his experiences being born in one of these camps, growing up and ultimately escaping to South Korean must be a complete work of fiction.

Just keep telling yourself that this is all a lie, because surely if we knew about a place like this, we would do something about it. And finding it wouldn’t be as easy as typing in a few numbers into a Google Maps search.

Oh, wait.


View Larger Map

Everything I just told you is true.

Good night, children. This is our world. These are the people we share it with.

I’m going to go drink.

Seen at the corner of University & 30th, above the Union Bank in San Diego, California.

From SanDiegoDialedIn.

California’s Proposition 8. A ballot entitled Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry. It was the dark lining on the cloud of liberal heaven that was the Nov 08 election. Passing with a 5% margin, the ballot enabled the Californian legislature to write laws that forbid the provision of equal rights to same-sex couples. The sad irony is that it would have passed had large numbers of African American voters turned out to vote for Barack Obama. On the whole, African Americans tend to be more church-centric than Caucasians, and thusly, more infavor of the definition of marriage as man/woman. As the Daily Show humerously pointed out, the oppressee had immediatley become the oppressor.

Today, on the opposite side of the continent, a Connecticut superior court judge cleared the way for the state to allow same sex couples to marry. And as the lines around courthouses will atest, people are taking full advantage of their rights. At least, they will until another judge over turns it.

And that’s how this is going to go, back and forth between the state legislatures and the courts, always dancing just shy of the Supreme Court. I fully expect a challenge to Prop 8 to be filed in before the year is out. And I fully expect groups on both side to push toward this case going before SCOTUS.

I’m thinking about this because a friend of mine is taking part in a nation wide protest against the outcome of Prop 8. He’s encouraging us to join him. And while I do appreciate why he’s feeling the way that he does, I don’t think protest of any kind will bring the resolution, or even begin to affect the outcome of this situation. This will be a protracted legal battle that will hopefully end in the SCOTUS acknowledging that any restrictions put on a legally recognized union between two humans is a violation of the First and Eighth Amendments.

Until that point, the two liberal coasts are going to keep putting ballots out there that are going to end up with legal challenges. It’ll be a process of uplift and heartbreak. One that I’d advise everyone to stay the hell away from until you see nine old fucks wearing black robes in Washington giving a shit. You’re just gonna end up with your hearts broken.

Oh, and if there is any confusion on the subject, I think that all of this crap regarding gay marriage is our modern segregation. In all of the arguments about gay rights, change the words “gay”, “lesbian”, and “homosexual” to “black” or “mixed-race” and you’ll sound like a racist out of the 50s. I’ve gone on record with the local news saying this back when they were trying to amend the Constitution during the last presidential election. Laws should be made to protect individuals and society, not to discriminate.

Addendum:
Adding this in case people think I’m a lazy fuck and want to go exercise their right to protest.

The group organizing their protest is called Join the Impact. Their national site is here, and their local Memphis protest page is here.

Tim pointed this out to me earlier today.



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