The Watering Hole February 28th 2011 The Oscar

Another Mainbleat Media morning after.

Best acting by a politician not living up to campaign promises goes to President Obama for his role in The Wisconsin Affair.

Best example of a US supported dictator being hung out to dry goes to Hosni Mubarak for his whiney exit from power as The Ghoul of the Nile.

Best portrayal of a victim goes to Japan in their cry for international action against Sea Shepherd; after being routed from the Antarctic in Killing Willy.

British Petroleum produced  the best film with Islands in the Sheen.

This our Daily Open Thread. Your comments on topics other than who wore what are welcome!

Sunday Roast: And now for something completely different…

I don’t know about you, but I really need a laugh…

David Mitchell is a British comedian and writer, and in my humble opinion, one of the best ranters in the world.

First up, David rants about the art of giving flowers:

Next, a follow-up regarding the awkwardness of giving compliments:

HT: Gary Herstein

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to rant on whatever tickles your fancy!

The Watering Hole: Saturday, February 26, 2011: We are All Cheeseheads!

There are supposed to be Pro-Union rallies across the nation today.

In fact, this is what MainStream Media websites had to say about it on Friday afternoon:

As Madison impasse continues, schools eye layoffs

Tensions flare in Wisconsin after Assembly passes bill on union rights

Obama’s Promised March With Union Workers Fails to Materialize

Wisconsin Assembly Approves Bill Stripping Away Union Rights

Wis. Assembly passes anti-union bill

Wis. Assembly passes bill taking away union rights

Judging by all media sites, there are no rallies planned for today. In fact, other than Fox using this as another opportunity to bash President Obama, the rest of the media seems focused on the Wisconsin Assembly’s middle of the night passage of the anti-union bill.

If you want to find out more about today’s rallies you’ll have to look to a non mainstream source.

Unions made the Middle Class. But with a consistent voter turnout in the 30% range, ‘evangelical christians’ learned they could dominate elections by voting in blocks. Their church has become a powerful political machine, operating in shadows, electing “stealth” candidates, and now, they are coming into their own. Candidates espousing the ‘evangelical christian’ ideology are holding majority positions in State Legislatures across the country.

The Middle Class will pay a price for its complacency: a struggle for its very existence.

This is our daily open thread — as always, your thoughts on this, or any other subject, are welcome.

The nation-wide protests did make the AP Press:

Protestors across US decry Wis. anti-union efforts

Time Machine Music Night, February 25, 2011

Only one video to post tonight, but it is my time machine band–the one band that I would definitely travel through time to see perform. Again. This excellent video is apparently from the extras on the Blu-Ray Woodstock video and beautiful quality, catching them at their prime. I wore this LP out, twice, and worshipped the ground they walked on for years. I would probably not use the time machine to attend Woodstock, for a number of reasons, but it would be the best opportunity to explain that, yes, my hair is short and gray but I was only there (not a nark!) because I missed it the first time around. “Time machine? Cool. Want a  hit?”

Sony won’t let us play the video directly, which sucks, but this one time I’m going to ask you to watch it on YouTube. I can’t find anything of this quality to replace it with. You can even watch in high-def, widescreen. There are a lot of high-quality Woodstock videos out now, including White Rabbit (and, yes, Grace Slick really was that gorgeous and yes, she always did that thing with her hand); lots of great bands on stage there.

Nothing below the fold tonight, except what you contribute in the comment section. Your time machine band?


The Watering Hole: Friday, February 25, 2011

Don’t it Turn My Red States, Blue?

Unions, the Middle Class, the American Economy and the American Dream were dealt a fatal blow under President Clinton. To be sure, the mortal wound was not immediately fatal, nor even noticed. We were too busy investigating cigars and stained dresses. It went through both houses of Congress with over a 90% vote, so a veto was out of the question. And besides, Clinton was balancing the budget and paying off the national debt.

But there it was, festering in the background, leading to factory closures and job losses that never made the national scene: NAFTA. North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement.

With a “Free Trade” Agreement, manufacturing moves to the least regulated environment, taking jobs with it. That is exactly what happened, and continues to happen. In a global economy without any protective tarrifs, American workers compete for wages against the labor pool of third world countries. They lose, and will continue to lose, until the standard of living, and wages, of workers in third world countries equals that of the American Worker. That means the American Worker’s standard of living must necessarily decline, while that of his or her third world counterpart increases.

The rich, on the other hand, increase their holdings no matter what.

The assault on the American Worker begain in earnest theses past few days, in Wisconsin. The only voices getting press time in the national media are those blaming unions for the decline of the middle class. They’re right, but for the wrong reason. Unions created the middle class. Their wage and hour demands didn’t break corporations, nor “force” corporations to ship jobs overseas.

No, it is the fault of Unions that they did not fight the fight they had to, years ago, to see to it that, while any Corporation may set up shop wherever it wants, Unions should have insisted that Corporations pay prevailing U.S. wages and abide by U.S. regulations regarding wages, hours, working conditions, benefits, and environmental protections, unless, of course, local regulations were more stringent.

By not fighting, to the point of national strikes, Unions have allowed their own downfall. The current protestations in Wisconsin notwithstanding, unless people go on a national strike, Unions and unionism will lose.

This is our daily open thread — as always, your thoughts on this, or any other subject, are welcome.

The Watering Hole: February 24 — Punking the Imperial Walker

Part 1:

Part 2:

I listened to the entire twenty minutes of this conversation — the things I suffer through for my Zoosters — and I am not going to ask the same of you.  Here’s a brief run-down:

Scott “Imperial” Walker, who is apparently notoriously unavailable to the phone, readily takes a call from “David Koch,” who is actually Ian Murphy of the BuffaloBeast.  I admit it, I was astonished to hear Scott Walker begin to report to “David Koch” as if it were nothing new or unusual.  It was absolutely mundane, run-of-the-mill ‘here’s what’s going down in Wisconsin’ reporting to his loathsome corporate over-lord.


Can an Imperial Walker get some walkies?

Ian Murphy as “David Koch” just allows Scott Walker (sorry, I won’t call him Governor) to ramble on and on, talking about his cleverness in stopping the paychecks of the Democratic members of his legislature, by a devilishly clever plan to lock the checks in their desks in the statehouse; blathering on about ‘agreeing’ to talk to the minority leader if all fourteen runaway members come back to the state, but it’s all a ruse to get a quorum, and dammit if those Democrats are too stupid to figure it out; and gushing one and on about how tough he is, and how he’s like Reagan dealing with PATCO and the Berlin Wall all rolled into one super-fabulous package.  Damn, the public sector union members in Wisconsin really don’t know what they’re dealing with, do they?

Walker is a guy who says Andrew Breitbart does “good stuff” and Joe Scarborough is “one of us,” so are we really surprised that he gleefully planned for his little union killing “bomb” to drop immediately after the totally awesome Super Bowl win by the Green Bay Packers?  It’s in the phone call with “David Koch,” people, I listened to the whole thing.

Here’s a gem, spoken by Walker himself:

This is about public sector unions.  You are actually having taxpayers money being used to pay to lobby for spending more of taxpayer’s money.  It’s absolutely ridiculous.

That’s rich, isn’t it?  Walker is funneling millions of taxpayer dollars — money Wisconsin apparently can’t afford to spend because of the looming “budget crisis” — to the very rich and big business, in the form of tax cuts.  But that’s A-okay, because as long as wealth is being re-distributed UPWARD, it’s not a fucking problem in Rightwing Fucktard World.

Bottom line:  What’s happening in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, and elsewhere is a coordinated effort by Republican governors to do the bidding of self-interested billionaires, who couldn’t care less about the “small people” in this country, and crush the unions and the middle/working classes in the United States, in order to wring the very last dollar out of our pockets and leave us a destitute Third World country.

What!?  Isn’t that a bit over the top?  No, not at all.  People like the Koch brothers no longer need customers to buy their wares.  They are too rich to care.  If their portfolios drop by a fraction or two because Americans are too poor to buy what they’re selling, they will simply pull up stakes and move to another country — and start all over again.

I’d say the Koch brothers et al are trying to kill us, but to do that they’d have to care.   They won’t actually kill us.  They’d rather leave us in poverty, to suffer like the scum they believe us to be — and that includes you, Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin.

Image source

This is our daily open thread, got anything to add?

The Watering Hole February 23rd, 2011 Hump Day

“I don’t think you can do that…”

This is a common auto-response I get from a particular person in my environment when I offer a suggestion or idea. It’s an immediate reaction, before they look aside; and then begin to think. Usually what follows is all the reasons why it can’t be done. A root of this behavior is, I believe, control issues.

Beyond that, it is an interesting example of neuro linguistic programming . Simply put, our language reflects how we act, think and feel, and how a person’s vocabulary reinforces their behavior.

Listening closely to most of the verbal garbage in the political discourse, I hear a lot of “I can’t”, “You can’t”, “We can’t”, etc. I also hear “I don’t think”...etc. , often as a preface to attacking the actions of others. I tend to tune these people out very quickly. They are not thinking, they are not problem solving and they are not acting. They are simply re-acting out of fear and a perceived threat to their control dramas.

Next time I hear “I don’t think you can do that”, I’m mentally inserting a period after the word think ….and, internally at least, say “Thank you!

This is our Daily Open Thread, feel free to comment upon this or any other topic you may think of…

Inequality — in graph form


Image from Mother Jones

Looks like most of us are flat-lining in the income department, or worse.  I wonder where the teabaggers (who support tax cuts for the rich and big business) would find themselves on these graphs?

Visit It’s the Inequality, Stupid to see more graphs of our sorry-assed economy.

HT: Gary Herstein

The Watering Hole: February 22 – Stéphane Hessel


Europe, especially France is seeing a phenomenon in political literature. Stephane Hessel a German born French man, who actively fought in the Résistance against the Nazi regime and their puppets during World War II, has written a booklet, rather a pamphlet which calls the young to cry out and show their indignation at the state of the world. He, 93 years old, ist by now a hero of the young in France and his booklet is the surprise best seller in France. By now it has been published in Germany as of this week and in England, too. I do not believe it is a coincidence the French title “Indignez-Vous” and the format so closely resemble Emile Zola’s “J’Accuse…” it is again a moment in history where many people are suffering through a mixture of rage and grief and a feeling of helplessness which justly outrages any thinking human being. The primacy of economic interests and the effect of limitless, unregulated capitalism has  yet again turned us into slaves (I admit well fed slaves) and reduced what people like Stephane Hessel and union leaders of former times have risked their livelyhood and even their lives for to a mere disturbance in the rise of the markets to world supremacy. This is not the only outrage he addresses, but you know me, pinko commie that I am, this of course outrages me most. Stéphane Hessel’s book is not expensive is quickly read and definitely worth a read.

More on Stephane Hessels Life and this book.

This is our open thread. What outrages you?

The Watering Hole February 21 2011 Presidents Day

George Washington … John Adams … Thomas Jefferson … James Madison …  James Monroe … John Quincy Adams  … Andrew Jackson … Martin Van Buren  … William Henry Harrison … John Tyler … James K. Polk  … Zachary Taylor  … Millard Fillmore  … Franklin Pierce  … James Buchanan  … Abraham Lincoln  … Andrew Johnson  … Ulysses S. Grant … Rutherford B. Hayes  … James A. Garfield  … Chester A. Arthur  … Grover Cleveland  … Benjamin Harrison  … Grover Cleveland  … William McKinley  … Theodore Roosevelt  … William Howard Taft  … Woodrow Wilson  … Warren G. Harding  … Calvin Coolidge  … Herbert Hoover  … Franklin D. Roosevelt  … Harry S. Truman  … Dwight D. Eisenhower  .. John F. Kennedy  … Lyndon B. Johnson  … Richard M. Nixon  … Gerald R. Ford  … Jimmy Carter … Ronald Reagan  … George Bush  … Bill Clinton  … George W. Bush  … Barack Obama

In order of their appearance, re-appearance in the case of Mr. Cleveland, and disappearance;       here are the 44 Presidents of the United States. From the first reluctant yet highly qualified, to the present as yet to be determined; many along the way were suited and capable of the office and a few were not. Regardless, your legacy of service to this nation is acknowledged.

On this national day of recognition, we the Citizens of the United States of America salute you. Understanding that salutes range from 21 guns and high acclaim to single fingers and general disdain, you shall receive that which you have earned.

This is our Daily Open Thread, your comments on this topic or any other are welcome.

Sunday Roast: Rebooting the American Dream, Chapter 12

Chapter Twelve, the final chapter of Thom Hartmann’s book, Rebooting the American Dream: 11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country, is called “Conclusion: Tag, You’re It!”

As bad as things are in this country now, we’ve been here before — in the time of the Robber Barons in 19th century America, and during the Great Depression of the 20th century — and we

endured even tougher times before and during our quest for independence from England.


Our economy is in tatters, the result of more than 30 years of Reaganomics and Clintonomics. Our democracy is hanging by a thread, the result of 40 years of radical Supreme Court decisions steadily advancing the powers of corporations and suppressing the rights of individuals and their government. And our environment is trembling under the combined assault of the Industrial Revolution and nearly 7 billion bundles of human flesh.

It’s the perfect time. We are clearly at a nexus, a threshold, a tipping point. If the past is any indicator, things will get worse before they get better, but in that tragedy will be both the catalyst and the seeds for a very positive future.

If we’ve learned anything in the last ten years, it’s that we can’t keep doing the same old thing while expecting a different result.  We need to be shaken out of our complacency and learned helplessness, and I think the protests in Wisconsin just might be a starting point.  What do you think?

I know one thing for sure:  When President Obama can stand behind his podium and say to the giant corporations and the top 2%,  “I welcome their hatred,” we will be on our way to being a great nation once again, and he will be remembered as one of the greatest Presidents this country has ever had.

The big question now is, will he…?

Actually, we can’t leave it up to President Obama to act.  He is our leader, and we must DEMAND that he lead.  You can send him an email here.  In fact, bookmark the site and email him often — to give him kudos as well as asking for what we want.  It can’t hurt, and it certainly might help.

This is our daily open thread — Discuss!!

It’s out… the Final Report of Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission!!!

Following the near collapse of the US and world economies in the wake of the 2007 subprime mortgage financial crisis, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission was created by section 5 of the (Federal) Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009 to look into the causes of the crisis.

After more than a year’s worth of hearings, interviews with 700 plus witnesses, and reviews of millions of pages of related documents, the Commission has released its Final Report. I have to admit, I DO look forward to reading it in its entirety.

If you don’t feel like paying $29.00 for a hard copy, you can get a free pdf of the report here

I’d suggest just downloading it onto your desktop, so you’ll have it handy…

The Watering Hole – February 19- Evolution

Creationists have used the argument that Real time evolution has never been demonstrated. In fact, I watched an online video that rebuked the creationists.

Now, we have a recent event that should put the creationists into the dustbin of history. The common Atlantic tomcod has shown a resistance to PCB’s in the Hudson River that is isolated to individuals who inhabit that water system. No where else in the world is that trait observed.

What is even more dramatic is that the release of PCB’s into that water system has been isolated to the last 64 years. PCB’s were not released into that watershed nor any other watershed before then. No other populations of that species exhibit that resistance.

For the full story, look here.

This is our Open Thread. Please feel free to present your thoughts on any topic that comes to mind.

Music Night, Feb. 18 2011 – In solidarity with union members and activists

I chose the videos for tonight early in the week, and now I don’t have time to find a more appropriate selection. On the other hand, I think it’s always time for do-wop. It may no have arisen in Madison, but it was and is the music from the streets.

More below the fold and, as always, your contributions are requested.

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