Saturday, September 26, 2009
Beyond the hyperbole in this New Yorker cover, something as simple as projecting Michelle Obama's non-straightened, non european style hair, as radical, speaks the shortcomings of race relations in the US. Jimmy Carter may have been the worst president in recent times, but his words recently do hold some weight. Every pundit past the right of center has lambasted Carter. Foremost, just because Michael Steele is black, does not mean racism is gone in modern conservative America. Joe Scarbourough had a field day, with this idea, giggling while suggesting that according to Carter, Michael Steele must be racist for disagreeing with Obama. Joe, there are better ways to prove your not a racist, than to include someone who agrees with you into an argument, just because of his race. Talk about Token.
Jimmy Carter my be off base, but i look at it in this light: In 2004 the issue that was most important to voters and decided the election was not the economy or two wars, but "cultural issues"(gay marriage/ abortion etc.). Culture and ethics are based on identity, and if a political opponent has a different cultural identity, then it is only natural that some values voters will dislike Obama solely for this fact.
This is expected, there are 300 million people in the country and there will be fringe voters everywhere. The problem now is that there has been interaction and reinforcement of these fringe and indeed racist ideas, with media and political Figures.
The Media Matters
In the age of the 24 hour news-network and rampant internet conspiracy theories, the media has a special responsibility to filter out popular, yet baseless beliefs and report critically on substantiated events. The reality is that there is a lot of advocacy journalism that instead of putting to rest fears about Obama being a racial activist, the feed off them to gain viewership and a national voice. Is there any other reason Glenn Beck is on the cover of time. The problem with the media as related to the Obama-race issue is that Glenn Beck and Lou Dobbs have validated many peoples' suspicions and enforeced their biases simply by mentioning conspiracies on their credible network platforms. Critics are supposed to pick out what is the best, or has the most truth so that the less informed can gain insight. These guys are doing the exact opposite by playing to what the dissenting portion of the population wants to hear. Here Glenn Beck talk about how Obama, Must hate white culture.
This racial issue can't be over looked, recently Rush Limbaugh has suggest that the Public Option is really an effort at reparations, in effect racially charging the health care reform debate.
Blunt, Not so Subtle: Politics Race and Vote Getting...
Just recently at the voters value summit, congressman Roy Blunt opened with a joke about a money problem in colonial India, and then likened it to the problem faced in washington. Oh thats funny, but who exactly do you think he is comparing to a money, someone who likes bananas?
watch it for yourself: here
Days before the election for the chairmanship of the young republicans, the frontrunner Audra Sigler Shay was called out for seeming to support racist language. She later apologized for "lol"ing at Obama being among other things a "mad coon" and a terrorist. She passed off incident claiming she misread Eric S Piker's Comments, I think she just misjudged facebook as a forum where she could voice her personal opinions without ridicule. Oh, and guess what, event after this gaffe, she was voted in as chairman. See the story here: here
As for fringe protesters, we have all seen them, its not worth the post. I will mention that RI tea party president went on the radio saying all this talk about obama and race was misplaced because he is not african american because he had an African father and white mother. Some needs to tell her that race is a social construct, if you appear black than ipso facto your are. In fact breaking up the african american community into slivers is just another way to marginalize them. I don't particularly care about the race issue, just calling out dumb Rhode Islanders .
In 2006, doctors in the USA performed 60 million surgeries. No other developed country is even close to this figure. That's 'cause they are socialized right, people can't see there doctors right? Well if people couldn't see there doctors, you'd think they'd be sick, and dying, yet the health of patients in these countries is the same if not better that the USA. When you look at the trend nationally, it is the places with the highest health care costs,in which patients receive less preventive care and on average are less healthy than counterparts( of similar demographic slices). 100,000 people die from surgery complications each year, say two vietnams a year, and a lot of these surgeries are unnecessary and suspiciously profitable . In a country, were 1 in 6 dollars are spent on health care, there is a general overuse and abuse of medicine.
Lawsuits are the reason health care is so expensive, right?
A General surgeon at McAllen county hospital in texas remarked, "we all know these arguments are bullshit. There is an over-utilization here, pure and simple".
A 2003 study by Elliot Fisher examined the health care of 1 million older adults. The study found that patients in regions that spent more on health care received 60 percent more care and attention than the average. Did this produce healthier patients? No long lines, faster test results, quality analysis, healthier patients? No. Rather, as compared to those who spent less on healthcare, they did worse because of procedural complications. The invisible hand seems to be wielding the gavel at a real and current Death Panel, its also bankrupting the country. PS NOBAMA health care, we want the FREEDOM to spend more for tests we dont need that may be as unnecessary as they are dangerous. In a few years a quarter of the GDP will be spent on health care, this figure should at least scare people. Freedom isn't free, it will be one quarter of 13 trillion dollars.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
This Sunday, the Rep. minority leader from Ohio John Boehner, was on Meet the Press. See the interview here Short from calling President Obama a socialist, Boehner decried the Health reform initiative as a government takeover that would result in higher taxes and increased spending. Without a structural overhaul, a republican halfway reform would merely subsidize insurance companies, allowing them to continue their monopolies and price structures. That being said, this is not the place to debate the implications of potential plans. My issue is the PR campaign that is being waged by big insurance companies, their congressional contacts and protesting blowhards. Indeed, Human Inc., the second largest provider of medicare plans sent letters to beneficiaries, stating that "millions of seniors and disabled individuals could lose many of the important benefits and services that make Medicare Advantage health plans so valuable". The Center for Medicare and Medicaid services has launched an investigation into Humana's efforts to rally seniors with false information and for violating the terms of their provider status as a bully pulpit to effect legislation. Jonathan Blum, CMS's acting director said the agency "places strict limits and oversight on how plans communicate with beneficiaries. There's a potential violation of CMS's marketing rule." Is there any other explanation needed to explain the rise of angry old people at townhall meetings. The biggest tragedy of this whole debate are the working class protesters who have been moved by fear, bigotry and obtuse slogans to cheer against a reform that would benefit them.
Is Boehner principally against the public option? He may be, but the number trail tells of other incentives. This first figure from Open Secrets.org reveals that the number one contributor to Boehner's reelection bids are members of the Insurance idustry:
Our second figure shows his money as compared to the average house number. Is it any coincidence that his money, a plurality of which is from insurance companies, has astronomically peaked as the health care debate has heated up?
These last two figures show that on average, the Insurance industry has made the majority of their contributions to Republicans, with only an average of 32% given to Democrats. Lastly, the bar graph on the left shows that spending is trending uncharacteristically towards the democrats.(blue bar is dems, red is republicans). This is because there is no need for the industry to pay those Republicans already in their pockets, they are reaching out to the Blue Dog Democrats with cash in an effort to strike down reform from both angles. This is the only explanation for the break in the 18 year trend. DEATH PANNELS!!!
Sunday, September 20, 2009
On September 18, Wolf Blitzer was a contestant on the latest edition of Celebrity Jeopardy. He joked with the production crew that he was in it to win 1 million dollars, what happened could not have been any further from his prediction. I have always had suspicions that Wolf was an empty suit, or more like an empty exotic name. Wolf was oddly pompous and arrogant during the Pre-Jeopardy Introduction, this could have been atleast been in part excused if he was smart. He was not. Watch the highlights: Wolf's fail.
Blitzer it turns out was a reporter at the Jerusalem post from 1973 until 1990. As a middle east affairs expert, and having lived there for 17 years, you think Blitzer would have known where Jesus and King david were born. He did not. Wolf ended with -4600 dollars, to Andy Richter's 38,000. Alex had to enact the pitty rule so that he could participate in final Jeopardy.
Of course a trivia show shouldn't be used as a complete tool with which to judge someone's intellect, but in Wolf's case his lack of general knowledge is troubling. With a citizen journalist breaking the investigative ACORN stories, you have to wonder about the state of journalism with anchors like Wolf piloting corporate news.
Watch Wolf's Katrina comments: Katrina, "So Poor and So Black".
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
This is a stunning photograph, but even the most red blooded harley rider might slight this woman for riding a pansy underpowered british machine. For those who don't know, there is divide between pretty much everyone who rides a harley davidson and those who don't. As for me, the verdict on the classic American motorcycle is not out, as my negative thoughts about the bike, may be a repressed and hardened desire to in fact own one. One thing is certain though, there is a difference in the riders. Nationally, bikers have been getting older on average across the board, but nowhere is this more true than with harley riders. When you look at the numbers, and the demographics of people that own them, i figure a lot of reverse mortgages have been taken out. There seems to be this over fifty group who are new to biking, and replace an objective view about motorcycles with chrome. I know that the fat guy in a tank top, shorts, white new balance sneakers and smug sense of legitimacy that only hidden by
tacky sunglasses, thinks he is better than me when i ride by. They are everywhere in RI, its as if there is an aesthetic cannon. A 400 pound cannon.
My issue is that the idea of having a loud big flaming motorcycle with the predicable tattoos , is that this is the embodimentof what a child thinks a tough motorcycle guy is. Some of these guys like having a flame painted shiny bike as much they probably enjoy staying up really really late and eating as much ice cream as they can just because there are no rules. Nothing changed in their development since childhood. What happened to introspection and moderation. Please consider this "Paris Match" cover, from "The Return of the Cafe Racers and the picture below. This stunning woman's bike may have been new at the time, but its not 1500ccs nor does it look like it was pimped by MTV. A lot of the harley customizations are factory anyway so its a moot argument.
To the contrary, one shouldn't over think these things, or you could end up with a shameless haute couture cafe racer, like ol' charles channel chugger.................despicable
Who would of thought that the OUTBURST could have marred both sport, culture and politics in as little as one week. All that is needed now is a heckling Pope to round out the categorical completion of the outburst week. In seriousness, these events are independent and unrelated. Yet, they do hint at a broader lessening in the civility of discourse across the topical board. Kanye's head has exploded, Serena is too good to lose, and Joe Wilson is a irreverent populist, and the lot of us tend to scream rather than discuss (Tea party members, AKA Teabaggers).
To further discussion, I've always had a distaste for Kanye, a sunglasses display mannequin, I think his most recent outburst is a logical conclusion to his megalomaniacal behavior that record buyers ate up with a freaking spoon. Stehpen Colbert, a media sage, knew Kanye was an idiot from the beginning. Back in December, He pointed out in december that Kanye was certainly not the self proclaimed "voice of a generation of this decade", nor even the voice of his own records with all the autotunning he uses. See the foundation of the outbust, in operation humble Kanye.
See Kayne's baby like response here, maybe those shapes in his hair were
Sunday, September 13, 2009
The top version of this ad is a Microsoft Advert publicized in the US. The second one is the same picture of course, save one difference, circulated in Poland. While Poland my not be the most diverse, nor liberal and in eastern Europe, for all of the USA's klan reputation, it is in my opinion that Europeans hold an albeit more subtle, but more pervasive biases.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
A lot is lost in internet communication, but this problem is often worsened by the generational divide. There is an embarrassing and more explicit face-book accident circulating the web, but i feel this gem more fully captures the problem.
as Follows major lulz:
as Follows major lulz:
The Town Hall health care debate has created some conversation, but it has mostly inspired daft people to draw Hitler mustaches on Obama posters.(See Barney Franks Retort to a Nazi fearing questioner town hall )
I would think a man's transition from the leader of the free world into a genocidal maniac would take decades, but for many patriots it just takes a few pen strokes. How loaded, how powerful, how shallow, is the hitler stache? It certainly has metaphysical qualities and symbolic weight, and I've been known to doodle it errantly on newspapers.
While not specifically applicable to the infamous German Toothbrush look, On the projection power the Daily Beast notes, beast that Matthew McAllest said of mustaches in Saddam era Iraq: “In those days, as now, it was considered manly to have a large mustache.” There is even an old Iraqi saying, “This is a very strong man—an eagle could land on his mustache.”
Watch the following link, Colbert rounds out the discussion to a point
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
This Labor Day in West Virginia, there was a "Friends of America Rally" which was sponsored
primarily by local oil gas and coal companies. The premiss of the whole event was that global warming is a conspiracy dreamed up by alarmists and communists alike to gyp the American working man out a decent dayswage. In reality, it was corporate coal that was playing off
base divisions and certain people's angst over the direction of the country to secure there own ends. The kicker is that along with fringe and corporate groups, Verizon Wireless was one of the events sponsors.
In typical dual faced fashion, Verizon has marketed itself as environmentally conscious company nationally, but acts according to its corporate interest on the less visable local level. I I'm not particularly vocal about environmental issues, its the hypocrisy i find issue with.
As far as the cheering participants in support of coal go, a recent study has found that:
"The coal industry generates a little more than $8 billion a year in economic
benefits for the Appalachian region. But, they put the value of premature
deaths attributable to the mining industry across the Appalachian coalfields
at — by a most conservative estimate — $42 billion" source
The most exciting program on ESPN has to be the Annual Scripps National Spelling Bee. While a lot of people can be faulted for knowing only a little about most things, it seems Spelling Champs know everything about spelling and nothing more. If there was ever idiot savant, no one Tops Evan O'dorney. See his trying interview, a verifiable youtube sensation:
Eager for more, check out this O'dorney inspired Remix Rave, I could see this in the clubs, " is it latin, is it latin, is it latin"?
In conclusion, homeschooling and savant style focus should be banned.
Yesterday I rode my motorcycle back from Waterville ME. Accompanying my girlfriend and deeming it dumb to take two cars, we opted for the Transformers option. In a form popularized by Hess's Christmas time toys, we put the motorcycle in the back of her pickup for the ride up, and then wheeled it out when it was time for me to head home. http://www.hesstoytruck.com/
My recently fixed 1982 Honda cx500 is a beautifully working machine, but it doesn't belong on I95 where people are cruising at 80 mph. That being so i started down US RT1. Rt 1
is the oldest highway in the US, simply, from what i knew of it in Maine,
i thought the whole thing would be quaint. (RT. 1 is in red, i traveled from the center
of maine to RI).
To the contrary, it was most memorably dirty, congested and derelict,
(save for resort to
wns in maine and farms in northern mass.)
After slow traveling, I had to get over to the highway, I traveled some time to Newburryport Mass where i stopped at a Mobile station. Inside, the song "smile like you mean it was playing". I only mention it because there could not have been a starker difference to the pumping lyrics and the attendant's expression.
(Here i am at the mobile gas).
(Here i am at the mobile gas).
I after close to 6 hours of ridding, i stopped at a truck stop to stretch out. Diesel engines are extremely hard to start, but i hadn't realized that sleeping truckers keep their engines going at these stops. I did a whole series of exercises and stretches, i was beat. The cx 500 is all you never need, but it certainly isn't a lazy boy. In retrospect, I'm glad i wasn't accosted by a lonesome trucker who mistook my my aerobics for a rendition of the YMCA.
Here we are weeds among metal and retreating vacationers, Route I95, 30 miles north of providence.