Town Hall Meeting

07 Jul 2014

Mayday!

Filed under: — Al @ 9:05 am

A call for help, because our democracy is dying. Check this out and see if it doesn’t inspire you to do something…

https://mayday.us/

30 Jun 2014

Warfare Queens

Filed under: — Al @ 8:53 am

I first heard this term the other night on The Daily Show. Hilarious and true. That segment was mostly about politicians who make their career on the advice of invading any and every country who is having a problem. If people only would pay attention to the waste and fraud going on right in front of them in the “Defense” industry. Since more than half of the annual federal budget goes only to this, it is so ripe for reform it is uncanny.

02 Jun 2014

Talk About the Future

Filed under: — Al @ 12:14 pm

Check out this article about forced scarcity. It’s a thought provoking take on how companies are clinging to their old business model when technology has changed to the point where people can easily get their product for free.

“In the last few decades, thousands of babies in Third World countries have died from contaminated baby formula. What happens is the mothers mix the baby formula with contaminated water, because sanitation is poor. So why the hell do the mothers feed their infants poison formula when they can just produce milk, for free, from their own bodies? The answer is that they do it because the manufacturer of the formula, Nestle, ran lots of ads telling them to.

If you want to know what the future looks like, there it is. The future is going to hang on whether or not businesses will be able to convince you to pay money for things you can otherwise get for free.

Futurists and sci-fi writers talk about a “post-scarcity” society, meaning it’s like Star Trek, where matter replicators and fusion reactors have ended all shortages. On one hand, that now looks like a ridiculous pipe dream, but in a lot of areas of our life, we’re already there.”

Read more: http://www.cracked.com/article_18817_5-reasons-future-will-be-ruled-by-b.s..html

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Thanks Mike for the link!

20 Jan 2014

The Wealth of Congress

Filed under: — Al @ 3:56 pm

Wealth Distribution of Congress

Me thinks this is a problem. The overall income distribution problem is laid out nicely here with all the stats you could possibly want. I have a feeling all those poor saps who are only in the 1-9% wealth bracket are the ones who immediately become a lobbyist after leaving in order to gain the money to be in the really exclusive top 1%!

http://www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html

16 Dec 2013

Federal Judge Rules on NSA Spying Program Today…

Filed under: — Al @ 1:20 pm

…shocker, it’s likely illegal! Nice to see someone with power do the right thing.

Judge: NSA spying ‘almost Orwellian,’ likely unconstitutional

In a stinging rebuke to President Barack Obama’s surveillance policies, a federal judge on Monday branded the National Security Agency’s mass collection of Americans’ telephone data “almost Orwellian” and likely a violation of the Constitution.

Appeals Court Judge Richard Leon invoked Founding Father James Madison and the Beatles in a frequently scathing ruling. Leon, appointed by then-President George W. Bush, ordered the government to halt bulk collection of so-called telephony metadata and destroy information already collected through that program. But he suspended his order as the case works its way through the courts.

“I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval,” Leon wrote.

The judge also dealt a blow to the government’s argument that such surveillance programs — a source of controversy ever since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed their reach in a series of unauthorized disclosures — are necessary to thwarting terrorist plots.

“The Government does not cite a single instance in which analysis of the NSA’s bulk metadata collection actually stopped an imminent attack, or otherwise aided the Government in achieving any objective that was time-sensitive in nature,” he wrote.

Read the rest here.

21 Nov 2013

Good Ol Samantha Power

Filed under: — Al @ 4:49 pm

The 2003 version of Samantha Power excoriates the 2013 version of Samantha Power…

http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/mike-friends-blog/wow-2013-samantha-power-was-just-excoriated-2003-samantha-power

It’s a similar course for lots of partisan Democrats. And occasionally the reverse for partisan Republicans. It really is amazing to see Michelle Bachmann and her ilk have bipartisan agreement with President Obama and Senator Feinstein on issues like Afghanistan and NSA spying.

12 Nov 2013

From the It’s-Very-Doable-Department

Filed under: — Al @ 11:47 am

The problem is crappy private contractors, and there are tons of them, and most of them make their money in the “defense” industry (feel safer?). 3 folks in the Bay Area decided to just write their own health care exchange website using publicly available data built by the healthcare.gov folks. Try it out, it’s amazingly quick and easy.

http://www.thehealthsherpa.com/

‘We were surprised to see that it was actually fairly difficult to use HealthCare.gov to find and understand our options,’ says George Kalogeropoulos, who created the site along with Ning Liang and Michael Wasser. ‘Given that the data was publicly available, we thought that it made a lot of sense to take the data that was on there and just make it easy to search through and view available plans.’ Of course, it’s not fair to compare the creation of Health Sherpa to the rollout of the more complicated government ACA site, which even President Obama has acknowledged as a horribly botched affair. ‘It isn’t a fair apples-to-apples comparison,’ says Kalogeropoulos. ‘Unlike Healthcare.gov, our site doesn’t connect to the IRS, DHS, and various state exchanges and authorities. Furthermore, we’re using the government’s data, so our site is only possible because of the hard work that the Healthcare.gov team has done.’ “The Health Sherpa makes it ridiculously easy for anyone to compare health care plans covered under Obamacare in 34 states,” writes Connor Simpson at Atlantic Wire. “The result is a simple, beautiful, remarkably responsive website that anyone could use.’”

Read more on Slashdot.

-Al

10 Oct 2013

“The Suicide Caucus”

Filed under: — Administrator @ 8:22 am

Where the G.O.P.’s Suicide Caucus Lives

Where the Suicide Caucus Lives

“North Carolina’s Eleventh District had been gerrymandered after the 2010 census to become the most Republican district in his state….While the big story of the 2012 election was about demographics and a growing non-white population that is increasingly Democratic, that was not the story in the Meadows race. His district is eighty-seven per cent white, five per cent Latino, and three per cent black.”

Read The Full Article Here

Thanks JM for the link!

03 Oct 2013

Humanitarian Intervention

Filed under: — Al @ 2:35 pm

I say that tongue-in-cheek, I’m not a big fan of “humanitarian intervention” which is usually just an excuse for more bombing of “the others.” Check out this short article, makes some great points.

American gun use is out of control. Shouldn’t the world intervene?

“There have been fewer than 20 terror-related deaths on American soil since 9/11 and about 364,000 deaths caused by privately owned firearms.”

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/21/american-gun-out-control-porter

14 Aug 2013

“The Wire” Creator on “Stand Your Ground”

Filed under: — Al @ 11:18 am

“You can stand your ground if you’re white, and you can use a gun to do it. But if you stand your ground with your fists and you’re black, you’re dead.”

http://davidsimon.com/trayvon/

27 Feb 2013

Too Big to Jail

Filed under: — Al @ 3:27 pm

This article is a must read. I will give you the biggest shocker which is in the title, if you thought “Too Big to Fail” was bad, how about we can’t prosecute banks for helping drug dealers and suspected terrorists launder money because putting executives in jail could destabilize the company and therefore the economy. Oh that holy fucking economy reasoning. Taibbi is an amazing journalist and this piece is possibly his most important.

Too Big To Jail by Matt Taibbi

02 Jan 2013

3 Maps Over Time

Filed under: — Al @ 5:24 pm

Some things are just blatant!

Slave states to segregation states to republican states

I must note that the “northern states” are not a utopia of diversity either, the racism there is more subtle and just institutionalized. To paraphrase Chris Rock, racism isn’t over when exceptional black people advance into jobs like Jackie Robinson, Oprah or Barack Obama, it’s when substandard black folks get these jobs too (like a black George W. Bush!).

-Thanks Jeffe for the image

12 Nov 2012

Asshole Banks

Filed under: — Al @ 5:27 pm

I loved this “New Rule” from one of Bill Maher’s recent shows.

“New Rule: The big banks have to stop figuring out ways for us to hate them more. [slide of Wells Fargo ad] This new Wells Fargo ad asks, “What is Wells Fargo doing to help the local economy? Answer: They’ve loaned money to small businesses.” Which sounds great until you remember, they’re a bank. That’s what banks do.

“It’s like Charmin running an ad that says, “We’re helping the local community by selling you something to wipe your a** with.”

I still see these ads all the time and every one reminds me of Maher’s joke. These banks stoop so low I wonder how much longer we will keep them in business.

06 Aug 2012

Facebook CIA Project

Filed under: — Al @ 4:13 pm

Funny and true. Very very true.

25 Jun 2012

Condemning the U.S.

Filed under: — Al @ 12:42 pm

I wanted to share this quote by Noam Chomsky about condemning the actions of the United States:

My own concern is primarily the terror and violence carried out by my own state, for two reasons. For one thing, because it happens to be the larger component of international violence. But also for a much more important reason than that; namely, I can do something about it. So even if the U.S. was responsible for 2 percent of the violence in the world instead of the majority of it, it would be that 2 percent I would be primarily responsible for. And that is a simple ethical judgment. That is, the ethical value of one’s actions depends on their anticipated and predictable consequences. It is very easy to denounce the atrocities of someone else. That has about as much ethical value as denouncing atrocities that took place in the 18th century.

This is cited in Glenn Greenwald’s latest post and I wanted to highlight it here – it takes real courage to face up to people right in front of you.

This goes to all the loyal Democrats who think that because Obama is President that atrocities and war crimes are now okay. We need to confront crimes when we see them. Spying without warrants is still bad, kill lists are bad, bombing civilians is still bad, indefinite detention without criminal charge is still a crime, prosecuting whistle blowers remains bad, invading or occupying countries that never attacked you is still really, really bad.

21 Jun 2012

People of Earth

Filed under: — Al @ 9:27 am

Inspirational video posted on youtube using Charlie Chaplin’s speech from the film The Great Dictator.

The only thing I might change about the video is to include how American’s are doing the brutality and torture and are also a victim of it. The images in the video portray the problems in the speech as only belonging to other countries or peoples. Yet it appears Americans (or English speaking folks) are the intended audience.

27 Apr 2012

Your Tax Dollars At Work

Filed under: — Al @ 9:50 am

When it comes to who wins the massive federal spending competition, it’s not even close. Most of your money goes to one thing: the very loosely named “Defense.” In 2012, under a “socialist, anti business, pacifist” (yeah, right) President, “Defense” was given $707 billion. Remember, that is for 1 year! For a little context, spending on housing was $67 billion, and education was $73 billion.

Some people like to confuse the issue of federal spending by bringing up Medicare and Social Security. Those are paid for separately, and should never be part of this conversation. That’s why in your paycheck, you have one line for “Federal Tax” and one for “Medicare” and “FICA” (aka Social Security). The pie chart shows how the “Federal Tax” is divided. And this is the tax that everyone gets so upset about, such as when people say lets raise the top federal tax rate from 35% to 38% on income above $250k (another annoying thing is people don’t realize that income up to $249k isn’t effected at all).

2013 Budget Pie Chart

And even worse, if you count other reasonable things as “Defense,” such as veterans affairs, homeland security, and veterans health and pensions, the total number becomes over $1 trillion, again for just 1 year! Isn’t this how countries fail? While people are homeless, unemployed, underemployed and sick, the elites are polishing their fancy new toys.

03 Mar 2012

U.S. Navy “Disposes” of Old Ships by Sinking Them at Bottom of Ocean

Filed under: — Al @ 3:09 pm

Wow, this is unbelievable. They call it “SinkEx” for Sink Exercise. The U.S. Navy blows up old warships with missiles and torpedoes, including an aircraft carrier, off the coast of California and Florida. Obviously this could cause lots of problems for the environment.

Check out the AP article here:
http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2012/03/03/ap_enterprise_navy_sinkex_raises_pollution_fear/

In the past 12 years, this has been done 109 times. Again, UNBELIEVABLE. While people struggle to meet their basic needs, the military shines its billion dollar toys, and blows up the old ones with million dollar missiles. The whole thing is repugnant. The Navy says its okay what they are doing because it gives them useful testing of their weapons. So…what is more important: sustaining life through a clean environment, or they possibly/maybe/could improve at blowing shit up?

Some reports I read just make my head spin in disbelief. Thanks to the reporters for exposing this story.

08 Feb 2012

2011 Inflation is 3.0%

Filed under: — Al @ 10:01 pm

CPI is double what it was in 2010. Remember to keep the inflation rate in mind when negotiating wage increases at work, or returns on investments.

2011 Consumer Price Index: 3.0%
http://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/cpi_01192012.htm

2011 Producer Price Index: 4.8%
http://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/ppi_01182012.htm

30 Jan 2012

Miss Piggy Slams Fox News

Filed under: — Al @ 7:05 pm

You know when the Muppets are against you, you are in need of some serious soul searching.

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