Bad News is Everywhere

Word out of Japan is not good. Meltdown remains a real possibility. I understand radiation levels are increasing even in Tokyo, though they are no way alarming at this time.

Still, this scenario must be horrifying to those living and present on the island. Historic memories are recalled, and this must heighten the fear.

I am nearly numb from the pictures and the numbers. Severe quakes still continue to come ever few hours. People are washing up on shore in numbers that sear the mind. One can but wonder how relief workers can carry on. I have no words, just prayers and agonized thoughts.

Meanwhile, things continue to be bleak for rebels forces in Libya. Qaddafi’s mercenaries are gaining ground at every turn it seems. Promises of amnesty are seen for what they are, mere lies. No one doubts that Qaddafi intends to destroy everyone connected with the rebel uprising. While everyone seems on board with a no-fly zone, none is so far implemented.

If Qaddafi gets away with this slaughter, they other tyrants will become emboldened that they too can simply murder opposition without concern for anything more than words from the International Community. This is simply immoral.

I have no doubt that there are no easy solutions, but we cannot merely sit back and watch this horror. The countries of the world must address this issue of rogue states and decide on a strategy and then implement it. Otherwise, these things will continue as they have so far decade after decade.

Pfc. Bradley Manning is incarcerated at Quantico, Va, for allegedly turning over WikiLeaks material. I have no opinion on that frankly, although I’m predisposed to think that the more we the public knows the better. The whole idea of “secret” smacks to me of convenience whereby leadership in any country can do all manner of things intolerable to average folks in the name of “national security.”

In any event, what is happening to Mr.Manning is unconscionable and immoral. He is being kept in solitary confinement, being allowed to “walk around a room in shackles for one hour per day.” His clothes are taken from him and night, and not returned until he is “inspected” the next day. I don’t know if he is allowed any media material, books, TV or the like.

What I can tell you is this. When I was a law student, I did an in-depth study of the death penalty in Michigan, my home state. I learned that the death penalty was deliberately avoided in favor of solitary confinement, for the precise reason that it was considered more cruel.

After using it for some years, the head of the penal system begged the legislature to allow some time in general population for those prisoners. Solitary confinement tended to produce death or insanity within about three years.

Efforts to see Manning by many, the latest I believe being Dennis Kucinich, have been rebuffed.

If we are a compassionate people, a moral people, we should be contacting our representatives in Congress.

It gets more and more painful to report how Republican legislators and their Rethug Governors are putting in place a world that is safe for corporate greed to have the day, and at the same time tax the poor.

In Michigan, the GOP passed legislation allowing the Governor to declare “economic states of emergency” in any town and move in, cancelling contracts (labor), seizing assets and selling them, and firing elected officials.

Further cuts are made against the poor and working class by cancelling a $500 child tax credit, credits for seniors and other such things, all the while cutting corporate taxes by 86%. Yes, you read that right. When added all up, the taxes fall most harshly on the poorest, while the richest people in the state suffer only 0.1% increase.

This is what you get from Republicans. They do the bidding of their corporate masters.  

And just because the news is so god-awful terrible today, this:

There: Now You Went and Did It

I know. I said yesterday that I had no opinion on Wikileaks. I still don’t. But I’m starting to lean. Like the Tower of Pisa, if I tip too far, it is inevitable that I will topple over.

Why am I leaning?

Because more and more this is starting to resemble the aftermath of 9/11. Remember when Congress was declaring  for “Freedom Fries” and everybody was stumbling over each other to be more patriotic than the next gal?

Remember the upshot of that: the Patriot Act?  Where we pretty much handed over our rights to the government to ignore them any time it chose in the name of “national security” and protecting the “homeland.” The name alone was reason enough to vote against it. But I think one person did. Everybody was afraid to be on the “wrong” side and not be a patriot.

Today, people are starting to fall all over each other to be on the right side of the Wikileaks affair. We are hearing calls for assassination of Julian Assange, new laws to make him a terrorist, and of course the usual chorus from the right–censor the news and if necessary prosecute! Meanwhile corporate entities who provide financial mechanisms to support Wikileaks are closing their doors. No doubt corporate America may have concerns itself over what may come out about them and government shenanigans.

” . . . I think that we also should be censoring the American news agencies which enabled him to do this and also supported him and applauding him [Julian Assenge] for the efforts. So that’s kind of aiding and abetting of a serious crime.” (quoted from Allen West, newly elected Rep. from Fl.)

Once one of these snowballs starts, they usually end up in a bad result. And then we all feel “safe” and everyone moves on to the next “crisis”. Except the laws remain and are ready to be used by exactly the sort of people we don’t want messing with our rights–the extreme right. With one foot now in the door, and salivating at the prospects of 2012, this is no meaningless concern.

Imagine (if you can stomach it) the power to censor the press in the hands of one Sarah, who is already on record as declaring that all media are lame, except for her Foxy supporters. Imagine. That’s an Imagine not the likes that John Lennon had in mind.

So, as I said, I’m leaning.

***

I’m thinking that Time, in making its decisions about who they will name “person of the year” is now rending it a contest sent out to high schools across America. Recall the “mirror” one? Well, in their INFINITE wisdom, infinitely small that is, they have chosen Mark Zuckerberg, the kid who started Facebook.

While no biggie, it seems that this is the best they could come up with? It just seems a lazy choice. Zuckerberg and his creation are of no serious import in the world it seems to me. While I laud his offering of much of his wealth to cure societal ills, well, what is new about that?

Who would you have liked to see get the nod?

***

Here are some things I read late yesterday without linkage:

  • Rush Limpaugh has taken to calling the First Lady, Michelle the Butt. Each time, he corrects himself to Michelle La Belle, but he’s don’t it in excess of six times and it’s clear it is deliberate. Rush has a thing for demeaning women, once claiming that Hillary Clinton couldn’t join the armed services because they didn’t have combat boots large enough to get over her thick ankles.  Rush is a piece of crap.
  • Somebody somewhere found a new planet and it’s very carbon rich, raising the possibility that it is full of diamonds. That should make Kays and Zales and all the rest giddy with anticipation!
  • Romney is against the parts of the tax bill that give aid to the unemployed and so forth because their raise the deficit by a few billion. But he is inexplicably for the parts that give tax cuts to the rich, when that deficit, over 10 years, figures to be in the trillions. Another case of assuming your base is too stupid to understand.
  • The House is re-introducing  a new DADT bill, alone. That allows the Senate to try again. We may just make it! That is, if we can explain to Sen. Manchin that his concerns were addressed by the Joint Chiefs and the report that emanated from the Pentagon. He’s new, he didn’t know any better.

***

You know when the GOP claimed it wouldn’t do a thing unless they got their precious rich people their tax break? Well, on the verge of getting it, they are (didn’t we know they would) still balking at doing a thing. And some of so darn angry at giving the Dems even a tiny benefit, they are willing to screw everyone.

Kyl, the other dingbat from Arizona, is claiming that Reid is “disrespecting” the Holiest of celebrations for Christians by threatening to keep the Senate in session over the holidays. DeMint is threatening to have the entire START Treaty read aloud, wasting a good day, in order to screw that up. And Colburn is threatening to do the same with appropriations bill.

What part of compromise don’t these people get? They will destroy America before they will stop this petulant game of politics first. Never in my life have I seem a group who has less concern with the public good than this bunch of asshats.

***

Foxy lies continue to be unearthed. Just last week or so, memos came to light that Fox had directed it’s reporters and commentators to use the term “government option” rather than public option in regards the health care bill because the former didn’t poll well. Now we see that Fox employees were ordered to not report anything about this being the “warmest decade” on record without “immediately” citing that there is data claiming this is untrue.

…we should refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question. It is not our place as journalists to assert such notions as facts, especially as this debate intensifies.

The directive, sent by Fox News Washington managing editor Bill Sammon, was issued less than 15 minutes after Fox correspondent Wendell Goler accurately reported on-air that the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization announced that 2000-2009 was “on track to be the warmest [decade] on record.”

What’s on the stove: homemade tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. Stay Warm!

Just a Little Off the Top?

I stopped after church yesterday to get my hair cut. It’s a fancy place, La Cost Cutters. French I think. They are intent on bringing high coiffure to the average jane, so they locate in Wal-Mart.

Now let me explain that my hair grows like the worst weed you’ve ever encountered. I imagine zillions of little guys on bicycles pedaling away, spinning out my hair.

For years I solved this problem by not getting it cut and wearing it loooooong. This finally grew tiresome and I started whacking it off around the shoulders and then just twisting it up and clipping it. I am tres chic.

Finally I grew tired of this, so I decided to get ‘er done in a short style, something most old women (which I’m now approaching) finally do. I wanted it short. The first stylist did a great job. That was several months ago. Since then, I’ve had a line of stylists who seem to have difficulty with the word “cut.” They nibble around at the edges.

“Go ahead and cut it. It grows so fast that no ‘to short’ will last more than two weeks,” I encourage.

But they don’t get it. They are afraid. Or, it’s a conspiracy to get more money out of me by getting me there more often.

But what gets me is the strange questions. “Cut it about one inch,” I order, while showing them with my fingers.

They cut the crown, and then ask, “Do you want any taken off the sides?”

“I dunno,” I want to say, “does it not all grow at the same time?”

I mean if it needs an inch cut off, wouldn’t that mean all over? Or from their perch above me, are they seeing something up there that I don’t? Am I a genetic abnormal?

I probably could solve all this by requesting the same stylist. But I go on Sunday after all, and they rotate those schedules. And further more, I really don’t give a flying floozy much about my hair, just want it presentable. I like the convenience of “walking in” and have no desire to make stupid appointments.

Perhaps I have the wrong insider language. You know, hair lingo. Help me here. Am I somehow saying things wrong?

Anyway, mostly I like my hair. A quick wash, a little “do” and let it dry, and brush it. And, well, it’s good to go. All this because the Contrarian assured me that he never was with a group of men who saw a great looking woman go by where anyone exclaimed, “look at that hair-do! wow, isn’t it great?” They seemed, he noted, to be more enamored of certain other features, mostly on the front end above the waist, if ya get my drift.

My hair thanks them for this.

***

I don’t have links to this but I read it over the weekend. Someone reported that John McCain is talking about “regime change” in North Korea. Now that sends a major chill down the spine doesn’t it? Thank God he is not the CIC.  And on the DADT front, John, who cannot get anyone in the military to agree with him, came out with this nasty mean remark:

There was never anything wrong with DADT. It was working fine, until an inexperienced” candidate for President decided to mess with it. (paraphrased)

John is just the worst sort of sore loser I’ve come across.

***

I’m not sure how I feel about the “wikileaks” thing. I guess my government is more incompetent than I thought. Generally I’m not in favor of secrets. But I recognize that sometimes very sensitive negotiations require it. In the end, I guess openness all the way around works best. But I’m persuadable on this issue. What say you?

***
Another thing I noted in reading over the weekend. STD’s are way up in Southern Alaska, home of “just say no” abstinence. HIV infection is up in the South where states embrace abstinence only and other tactics to make it difficult for people to get HIV inhibitor drugs. Doncha just love the compassion of the religious right? How’s that abstinency thing workin’ for ya Sarah, as someone noted.

***

A new Palinism:

I want to help clean up the state that is so sorry today of journalism. And I have a communications degree.”—To Sean Hannity, in a Fox News interview, Nov. 22, 2010.

***

Palin continues to demonstrate her complete lack of comprehension about much of anything. She apparently recently tweeted that since she was able to stop publication of parts of her latest ghostly written book, the government should be able to stop the wikileaks. To equate her silly book and government secrets in the same breath is breathtakingly stupid. The laws and court cases governing are NOT remotely the same. But of course, she doesn’t read so we can’t expect her to know that.

Okay, so my fascination with this train wreck continues. I find her laughable, but I also find her dangerous should she continue to manipulate the public for her own personal aggrandizement. AlterNet provides you with some provocative reactions to Sarah’s testing of the waters.

***

If it comes as a surprise that the GOP has so many women in the mix these days, think again. This doesn’t mean that women are finding their voice in the GOP. They are there because they assist in the Repucklian plan to reduce women to the stay at home little non-entities they think they really are. Read the Republican War Against Women.