Saturday, January 10, 2004
The Texas Cyanide Bomb Plot is still alive -- thanks in no small part to Dave Neiwert himself -- and making more headlines in the "Liberal" press.
No Child Left Behind My Pimpled, White Ass.
60 minutes II reports on the "stunning success" that is the Texas example. Schools are lying about dropouts, pushing the dropout rate from more than 25% -- and as high as fifty -- down to 1.5%.
They're also holding students back unnecessarily, sometimes for several years and then double promoting them past the grade where the tests are taken.
This is some pretty sick shit. I can barely contain my rage here. The worthless fuckers turn education into a goddamn political bludgeon and the kids are the ones that get beat senseless.
Thanks to Iggi at Genfoods.net for the heads-up.
Weapons of Mass Deception.
From What's New:
The New York Times reported yesterday that a 400-member team of military weapons hunters has been quietly withdrawn from Iraq, to be replaced by a force trained to deal with homemade bombs. This must be "the imminent threat" we were told about before the war. On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that, "Iraq's arsenal exists only on paper." In fact, plans for a long-range missile consisted of a hand drawn sketch on two sheets of notebook paper. The 1,400 member Iraq Survey Group has searched Iraq for more than seven months at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars. Citing "unauthorized" interviews with Survey Group members, the Post report says the Group now sees no prospect of finding banned weapons or production facilities. Also on Wednesday, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace released a report on WMD in Iraq. In the months before the war, it says, "the intelligence community began to be unduly influenced by policymakers views"
UPDATE! -- Also check out Hammerdown's post on this topic.
[Baghdad U. nuclear physicist Ali Mentari says] "We not try to fool Americans. You got no idea of what we must do to survive under homicidal maniac. Saddam say 'build atomic bomb,' but we got no stuff to make bomb. So we drink tea and send reports to Saddam about great progress. We are truly sorry your CIA intercept them."
No End In Sight.
Max has the a new report on the state of employment in the Bush economy:
For jobs it was a very bad year, no matter what numbers you look at. We began this exercise in July after the tax cuts were passed, partly on the strength of promises from the White House that 5.5 million jobs would be added by the end of 2004, 1.8 million of them by the end of 2003. Today the Bureau of Labor Statistics issued its employment report for December. So where do we stand?
Tell me again how the economy is doing so wonderful.....
UPDATE! - Also see EPI's JobWatch. I espesially like the graphics. One compares third and fourth quarter numbers for Employment, GDP and Real Wages (while GDP was booming, employment and wages were stagnant -- the bosses obviously have never heard of sharing the wealth, fuckers. It was our high-productivity that caused the growth too.) Two others compare Bush's projected job growth to actual job growth. Someone needs to put these up on billboards.
UPDATE! II -- And more from Teddy at It's Still The Eonomy, Stupid, who talks about the unemployment rate:
Unemployment fell to 5.7%. The recent decline has been entirely due to a lack of growth in the labor force. In June, when unemployment peaked at 6.3%, the labor force was 146.917 million. Last month the labor force was estimated at 146.878 million. A constant labor force participation rate would have meant unemployment at 6.2%. The unemployment rate assuming a constant labor force participation rate is somewhere between 7-7.5%. About 1.6 million more people have been classified as "not in the labor force" in the past six months.
Which is why I hate the fucking unemployment statistic: our unemployment rate is not five point seven percent -- hell, they don't even count everyone who is unemployed. Wanna know how I calculate unemployment? Well, too bad, I'm gonna tell you anyway: The Labor force is 146.878 million strong. Employment is at 130.124 million. That means there are 16.754 million people who are able to work but aren't working. 16.754 is a little more than 11.4% of 146.878.
Of course, I'm no economist, so what-the-fuck do I know about anything? [Edit: I really don't know anything, ha. I forgot that that employment number doesn't count farm employment. Why is that anyway? I forget.]
(And I'm sure quite a few of these people are working under the table -- as I have on a few occassions in the past -- but I don't call that working. I call that surviving until you can work.)
Yet Another Update! -- From the AFL-CIO:
While BLS pegs the official number of unemployed workers at 8.4 million, some 15 million workers are unemployed, underemployed or too discouraged to look for work, [AFL-IO President John] Sweeney says.
Read the Rest.
Friday, January 09, 2004
Morons In The News.
Man says he's addicted to cable and wants to sue Charter for making his wife fat and his kids lazy.
No, really, I think he has a case. I might try sueing my internet provider for giving me this blubber-gut. Or maybe I'll just eat less and exercise more.
Thanks to Freespace for the link.
Stupid Country Bumpkin.
Pat Boone verifies that he knows abolutely nothing about the Constitution or the Bill or Rights. Excerpt:
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the Pledge of Allegiance may violate the First Amendment's "separation of church and state." Yet, the First Amendment never mentions the words "church," "state" or "separation."
Dumbass. The first amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Sure, I guess they could have made that a bit more clear -- "No fucking religion in our government or public institutions" -- but they weren't as blunt as I like to be, and they probably had a bit more faith in the intelligence of The People.
Pat also likes to justify the changes to the Pledge by saying, "Eisenhower didn't say which God or whose God guides America," but the 1st amendment never said anything about Christianity either. It says religion. Any religion. It doesn't matter how many people believe in a personal deity, the 1st amendment is meant to protect not only the minority of non-Christian believers but also the minority of non-believers. It would be an equal violation of the Bill of Rights if the words were "Under My Personal Deity."
Or how about this: "A belief in God is still central to the lives of most Americans -- 86 percent, according to one recent poll." That would be nice, if the Bill of Rights weren't written as protection for the minority against the will of the majority. That's what it is. That is a part of Democracy too, protection for the rest of us against simple minded fucks like this. Rights and freedoms have nothing to do with polls and popularity, they are human fucking rights.
Pat Boone: Brain-dead Fundy Asshole. The American Taliban: alive and well.
Levi Sweatshop Jeans.
Via Subversity, Levi Jeans has closed its last two US factories. All Levi's will henceforth be manufactured in China by workers earning a tiny fraction of the wages that their US counterparts made. Your jeans will not be cheaper.
In order to reduce the impact of sweatshops, I suggest you do what I do and wear hand-me-down clothes whenever possible. Yard sales are great for this, though I usually get them from my friends. Every pair of jeans counts.
Thursday, January 08, 2004
[Edit -- Say hello to my nephew. Little Brat.]
The New Oppressors.
The Baghdad headquarters of the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions is still closed after the US raid on the organization over a month ago. Why?
No need to answer that.
Nathan Newman has the skinny on Shrub's new immigration policy. I knew there was something fishy about it. Fucking cheap labor conservatives.
UPDATE! -- Max is a bit more optimistic. I think he's got a point.
Nine More Reasons To Get Rid Of Bu$hCo.
A US Helicopter was apparently shot down near Fallujah killing all nine American soldiers inside.
the fact remains that there is an element within this country which very much admires and seeks to emulate the idealogy presented by fascism - they believe foremost in the sanctification of a national identity with one language spoken by all, the supremacy of one ethnic group over all others, one religion, and a one-party system. they believe that war is a sacred initiation into manhood and praise the government for seeking it out wherever it can be found. they believe that women's holy duty is to bear children, and that for women to choose their own time and place to do so to be criminal. they do not believe in history except as it reflects their idealogy, and promote censorship, revisionism and propaganda. they seek to close the borders to "undesirable aliens", and that god decreed they should use not only the natural resources within our own borders, but any elsewhere they choose to lay claim to, without regard for detriment to the ecosystem. they reject science when it conflicts with their propaganda, particularly when it is promulgated in the form of state religion [a centerpiece to their plan for social dominance]; but they sanctify it when it is manipulable for those same ends [to prove, for example, the natural superiority of their identity group]. finally, they gladly recruit street-level shock troops made up of ignorant, disenfranchised, and angry thugs who express the violence against those extraneous to their program which might not be, in the moment, politically expedient for them to execute themselves. their love of the flag of their country supersedes their love for the human beings, their fellow citizens born or naturalized, that it is intended to represent. they love authority figures and will flock slavishly to the side of the one who speaks the loudest and most stirringly in words that set the heart ablaze but leave the mind in a fog.
Quite a good post.
Traditional Marriage In The Episcopal Church.
"The consecration of Gene Robinson as bishop of the New Hampshire Diocese of the Episcopal Church is an affront to Christians everywhere. I am just thankful that the church's founder, Henry VIII, and his wife Catherine of Aragon, and his wife Anne Boleyn, and his wife Jane Seymour, and his wife Anne of Cleves, and his wife Katherine Howard, and his wife Catherine Parr are no longer here to suffer through this assault on traditional Christian marriage.'' -- Fr. LARRY N. LORENZONI, S.D.B.
Thanks to Not for Sheep (via Lean Left again.)
Take Your Pill.
As always, head on over to Confined Space for you're dose of worker safety and health. There's a good picture of what not to do when working in a hole surrounded by dirt.
Wednesday, January 07, 2004
"May We Live Long And Die Out."
I meant to link to this awhile ago -- I was reminded of it by a thread over at MaxSpeak:
The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement
A very interesting site. Sensible too (or maybe not, I don't know.)
Clark Can Really Be An Asshole Sometimes.
[Note: In my limited involvement in electoral politics -- anarchists struggle with this issue a great deal -- I am a hesitant Kucinich supporter (though I also like Sharpton and Braun.) My main concern is dumping the trash currently stinking up 1600 Penn. Ave.]
Pessimist of To The Barricades rips Gen. Clark for his refusal -- strong refusal -- to accept a nomination for VP. Right on, what an egomaniac. If he thinks he can do some good in the White House and he loses the dem nomination, what kinda "patriot" is he to refuse the second most important post in the executive branch? If he thinks he can help us as a nation, what kind of selfish power-hungry prick is he to refuse such a chance?
All this talk about electablity is nothing. Look, either Dean or Clark is gonna win the nomination. Both of them have strong popular support. Both of them are good speakers. Both are Dem Darlings (yitijctp!*) Can you imagine Karl's nightmare if they ran together on the same ticket? A Dean-Clark or Clark-Dean campaign would grind Shrub-a-dub's war machine into dust.
The VP is supposed to be someone who is capable of assuming the post of President if necessary, so any man running for the highest office is equally suited for the second highest and should accept that position with pride. Clark's words are an insult to his supporters and to the rest of us who just want to get Bu$hCo out of office.
*Yes, I think I just coined that phrase.
Fred Phelphs -- [More]Real Jackass.
Via Lean Left, in Topeka, Kansas, citizens who pay for park benches or picnic tables are allowed to have "brief memorials" engraved on the product of their graciousness. Sounds nice doesn't it? "In remembrance of Regina Adams -- Loving Wife and Mother." Sweet.
Well, Fred Phelps, the notorious neo-Nazi hatemongering preacher-man, has anted up his $250 check and would like to have his memorial bench. His inscription?
Matt Shepard in Hell.
Matthew Shepard was beaten to death with a pistol (popularly known as pistol-whipping) for being... *gasp* ...gay. Matt was just an innocent kid murdered by hateful little shits just like the "blessed" Rev. Phelps. This is a fucking disgusting display of "christian" values.
There's still some question as to whether or not the anti-memorial will be allowed. Director of Parks and Recreation Rogers Brazier said he will return the check and block the hate-monument unless he is forced to relent by the city attorney's office. City attorney Brenden Long hasn't yet dealt with the matter.
Phelps, however, sounds as if he's going to go the whole 9 yards to get his little park bench. And I hate to say it, I think he's probably got a pretty damn good case. If you let people put messages on public property, you have to let everyone put their messages on public property. Legally, Constitutionally, they're gonna have to let him have his hate-bench.
So, when that happens, as I assume it will eventually, I have a very simple solution: destroy the fucking thing. The bench is just made out of wood, a little gasoline -- or, my preference, homemade napalm -- will remedy the problem expeditiously. It's not legal, but in this case it is definitely righteous. Direct Action my friends -- I hope someone has the balls to take the fight to the fuckers. I would if I were in a position to.
UPDATE! - Oops, here's the original article that tgirsch linked.
The HMO FAQ -- A tragic laugh.
The Capture Of Saddam.
Free Speech? Not Hardly.
Activist Brett Bursey was found guilty of violating an SS imposed "free speech zone" and as a result successfully delivering a message to pResident Smirky McFukhed about O.I.L. (Operation Iraqi Liberation.) Bursey was fined $500 dollars. More Info.
Victories And Updates.
Don't let anyone ever tell you that Activism doesn't work. Your voice counts. Check out Act For Change's Victories of 2003.
Tuesday, January 06, 2004
Some links from Morons.Org:
Shut The Fuck Up Rush Limbaugh.
See anything interesting?
Living On Less found this really cool and amusing site called Anxiety Culture. Lots of interesting content including the Family Values Generator and, like, articles and stuff that you have to actually, you know, read.
10 THINGS NOT TO SAY TO A POLICE OFFICER:
Which is twice as funny if you consider I've asked that last one before. No, seriously. Long story, short version: Alcohol (lots of liquor.) Public Intox. Blood. Resisting arrest. Handcuffs. Hospital. More alcohol (I have very sneaky friends.) Attempted Escape in boxer shorts. More Handcuffs. Kanawha County Mental Health Commission. And there were some rubber gloves in there somewhere -- right before the resisting arrest I think. The circumstances of my release are a personal matter, I'm afraid, and might damage my impeccable reputation (haha) if I talk about them.
From The Nation:
The best labor studies programs like to think of themselves as activist-oriented--firmly grounded in the gritty world of workers. They don't usually find themselves at the center of high-profile political disputes. But in Sacramento cloakrooms, where lobbyists normally whisper blandishments into legislators' ears, the University of California's labor studies program is now being discussed in language once reserved for reds, and worse. The program, lobbyists say, not only organized meetings to stop the recall of then-Governor Gray Davis, but last summer "union thugs" supposedly even left those meetings to beat up recall petition circulators.
Read the rest, it's pretty fucking disturbing.
Monday, January 05, 2004
Via Demagogue, the AP has finally reported on the DoL advising employers how to pay their workers less. Longtime readers may remember when I wrote about this four months ago.
The advice was actually a part of the DoL's proposal to "update" the Fair Labor Standards Act which will make over a million salaried employees eligible for overtime (which was the only good part of the proposed changes -- other changes will cost 8 million workers their overtime protections.) The DoL, however, came right out and told employers how they could get around this change in eligibility. Straight form page 15,576 of the Federal Registry:
Affected employers would have four choices concerning potential payroll costs: (1) Adhering to a 40 hour work week; (2) paying statutory overtime premiums for affected workers' hours worked beyond 40 per week; (3) raising employees' salaries to levels required for exempt status by the proposed rule; or (4) converting salaried employees' basis of pay to an hourly rate (no less than the federal minimum wage) that results in virtually no (or only a minimal) changes to the total compensation paid to those workers. Employers could also change the duties of currently exempt and nonexempt workers to comply with the proposed rule.
The DoL still plans to go through with the changes, which will probably take effect in March.
Save Our Overtime! -- Sign the Petition.
Tell Congress To Protect Our Overtime.
RIAA Bully Tactics Working.
According to the Financial Times 14% of the population downloads music online, down from 29% before the lawsuits against children, seniors and college kids started. Warped fuckers.
Doesn't everyone know that they can't sue you for downloading, they can only get you for sharing. And there are programs like PeerGuardian -- which comes built into Kazaa Lite 2.4.3* -- to stop the RIAA snoops from getting into your computer. [edit note: you need to remember to update PeerGuardian regularly or it won't work.]
*For some odd reason you can't get Kazaa Lite on the web anymore, but you can still get it off the P2P network if you already have the regular Kazaa (which contains spyware, so download K-Lite and get rid of the old software,) or one of the other programs linked to P2P.
Court Rules RIAA Lawsuit Tactics Illegal.
RIAA Planning For Future Lawsuits.
Worker Safety And Health.
Lots of good reading at Confined Space, as always. Just start at the top and work your way down the page.
A Non-Evil Record Label!
I'll let them explain it:
We call it "try before you buy." It's the shareware model applied to music.
Magnatune -- Try Before You Buy MP3 Music.
Thanks to Mr. Ellis for the info.
UPDATE! -- And there's some pretty good stuff over there too. I recommend you do some browsing.
This is Interesting:
Israel will inform the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague that it rejects its authority to deliberate on the building of the separation fence, senior political sources in Jerusalem said Sunday.
Related article: Fence could lead to South African style boycott of Israel.
Ha'aretz is a great source of news about Israel. They actually manage to be fair and balanced about the issues.
Sunday, January 04, 2004
Bush in 41.2 Seconds.
Check out the Anti-Bush Ad over at Liberal Oasis.
Words of wisdom: "Don't be an asshole, vote Democrat in 2004."
Fucking Religious Fanatics.
They're trying to make the bible a grade 1-12 textbook in California:
The proposal makes the case that the King James Bible of 1611 is "one of the supreme achievements of the English Renaissance, and is rightly regarded as one of the most influential books in the history of English civilization, which has served as a model of writing for generations of English-speaking people, and is an acclaimed literary work of great historic importance." [Link]
These people will say anything to force their religion into our public institutions.
Look, you want your kid to learn about the bible, fine: Take them to church on Sunday and read the bible after dinner instead of watching whatever family crap you people watch. Religion is a personal, family affair -- it is not a matter for public institutions. Your religion has no place in our schools.
Fucking American Taliban muthafuckas.
You're Going To Jail Mister DeLay!
This makes me happy:
AUSTIN, Texas -- Authorities are conducting a criminal investigation into whether corporate money, including hundreds of thousands of dollars linked to U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, improperly financed the Republican Party's takeover of the Texas Capitol.
I almost reprinted the whole article it's so fucking good. I love it when politicians get their comeuppance. You gotta read the rest.
Mucho thanks to Maru at WTF Is It Now? for the info.
The Ephedra Ban.
Kevin over at Lean Left is getting pissed at me. We've been debating in the comments to this post about the ban on the stimulant ephedra. Quite interesting.
I love Kevin's blog, but he's not leaning too left on this one. [edit -- I cut out a little part here cause I realized it was rude. It's 4:20 in the morning now though, so I doubt anyone got a chance to read it.]
Anyway, if you want my opinion you can go over there and read it -- I don't feel like typing out a whole post on the subject now. Feel free to bring the conversation over here though, I think it will make Kevin immensely happy if all my time on this argument were spent somewhere else.
Oh, there's also been a good conversation on this subject over at Blah3.
Stop Watching TV And You'll Feel Safer.
Prof. Marston talks about how TV increases our anxiety and contributes to the presence of Draconian -- and ineffective -- policies to deal with crime and terrorism. Worth a read.
Living Wage Laws Are A Good Thing!
*Gasp* No way, you gotta be kidding me:
Living Wage Laws & Communities: Smarter Economic Development, Lower Than Expected Cost by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law finds that for most cities, contract costs rose less than 0.1 percent.
This reminds me of when I worked at Cell-Tech and they gave everyone a two dollar raise because another company had sucked up a half dozen guys from us. So, I went from making 8 bucks an hour to 10 (Woo-Hoo!) They still charged Sprint and Teligent -- who contracted us to build their telecom sites -- the same $64 an hour for our labor.
See, that's what these anti-worker, cheap-labor conservatives don't tell people: Contractors charge the client a hell of a lot more for the hourly work than they give to the worker. A two dollar raise is a fucking drop in the bucket.