June 8, 2006
eat the richFinally, some good news from the Yahoo! Wunnerful Magical Headline Box:
• Senate rejects GOP effort to cut estate tax
Rejects? How much longer must the ultra-wealthy continue to pay their fair share of the tax burden? It's not like the rich actually need anything that the taxes pay for, like infrastructure, for example. The rich don't use roads -- they float, on puffy clouds of kajillion dollar bills! And paying for the armed services? The rich don't serve in the armed services. Why should they pay for it?
Oh, the poor little ultra-rich.
I'm sure this issue will raise its ugly head again soon, but today we can take small solace.
Posted by mrbrent at 11:50 AM
June 7, 2006
jeffrey goldbergThis would mark the first time The New Yorker has pissed me off. I, like many people of similar circumstance, subscribe to The New Yorker. I think my mom got me hooked up in my teens when it became evident that Gotham had more interest for me than those silly Ivys. And at any given time, I've got a foot-high stack of New Yorkers that I need to sift through, or even, on those rainy days, power scan for the features worth plowing through.
Lately, I've been grabbing a random issue on my way out the door for subway reading. This morning I had an issue from two weeks ago, and it included an article that I'd heard about. It was an analysis piece from Jeffrey Goldberg about the fate of the Democrat party, it's apparent empty-cupboard strategy for big themes, etc.
I got a thousand or so words into it, and I hit this:
[Howard] Dean got his loudest applause when he suggested that Republicans were conniving with the manufacturers of electronic voting machines, and he singled out Diebold, a favorite target of bloggers whose rage against the Bush Administration seems limitless.
I know we've hit an age of equivalency, where facts are only one side of an argument, but give me a fucking break. To characterize Diebold as "a favorite target of bloggers whose rage against the Bush Administration seems limitless" is perhaps factually correct, but not without the requisite sucker-punch to progressives who a) suspect that Diebold is making no small portion of its profits by fixing elections, and b) believe that its not possible to reserve contempt for an administration hell-bent on destroying, if not the planet, then the lives of the least wealthy 99% of humans. You may smirk at us for feeling this way, but then that would make you a journalist with somewhat of a lapdog perspective, and perhaps your blowjobbery would be more appreciated elsewhere.
Yeah, maybe my rage is limitless, but I don't see a lot of ink wasted in the New Yorker a lot of ink on the ends-justifying lies and dirty tricks perpetrated in order to keep power where it is right now. Which is the source of the rage. What is the source of Goldberg's smirk?
The Administration is the bully that whines when the easy munch-money mark starts fighting back; Goldberg is the moron prig who wags a finger at the mark for kicking the bully's ass.
No, I didn't read anything in the article beyond that sentence.
Posted by mrbrent at 11:20 AM
corporations are wrongOne of these days, I'm gonna pick me a fist fight with some corporations. I'm just gonna call 'em out -- hey, you, you with the limited liability, how bout we step outside and discuss things mano a mano? I'm just sick of grumbling to myself, and it's about time I saved the world with my fists.
I know that my allergic reaction to corporations makes me un-American and all that, but the good news is that if I get called un-American only two more times, I get a free ice cream cone in either France or Canada.
Why am I all haterizing on innocent little corporations? Corporations are the embodiment of greed, and I don't mean metaphorically. They are a construct accorded the rights of a person under US law (nope, not kidding, though an admittedly complex issue), but they are not constrained by anything resembling an actual person's conscience. Instead, a corporate has one imperative: increase shareholder value. And as such, these entities achieve a sort of sentience, forever increasing shareholder value without scruple. To accuse a corporation of exploitation, say, is useless, as exploitation is pretty much the sole aim of the entity in the first place.
Corporations are Skynet. They are the singularity. Corporations have figured out that workforce and consumers are not necessary to increase shareholder profit and are therefor expendable. So sing yourself to sleep with this: corporations (and big business, by extension) does not care if you live or die, as long as they make a buck.
And that's on top of the corporate influence over the shitty social policy that Americans have to endure every day.
And if my words fail you, how about a long post about the economic realities of these modern times, complete with many graphs? Let me direct your attention to this DailyKos diary. Therein you will find many numbers and squiggles that go a long way to prove the assertion that corporations are taking a bigger bite of the aggregate wealth generated nationally, and they are dispersing this bigger bite to their executives.
Yeah, the rich get richer, so what, right? Unfortunately, the fantastic riches have to come from somewhere. They come from your generic employee, whose real wage has stagnated for the past ten years, and they come from the US Treasury in the form of the Bush tax cuts. Less money for us, less money for social programs, more money for multibillionaires.
Not the sexiest of arguments for a rainy day but it's filled with truth nuggets. And sure, there are many examples of corporations that ain't all that bad, but to a one you will discover tight control of these entities by good people, and, if you think about it, these good people might not be the best execs in the world, as there is nothing inherent in good and responsible behavior that increases shareholder value.
Which is why I offer to beat corporations like a rented, red-headed step-mule.
More haterizing on corporations here.
Posted by mrbrent at 10:11 AM
June 6, 2006
now go look up the third amendmentJust a quick link to some funny. And not what passes for funny in the circles of Atrios and DailyKos, because that stuff hurts my freakin fillings. I brushed up against this theme a few months ago, but Bob Harris takes it all the way home:
Constitutional law humor just gets my motor running, brah.
Posted by mrbrent at 1:57 PM
down with florid journalismI only kid the NYTimes because I love the NYTimes. Today's edition has a story [let's see how long the link works] from Adam Nagourney reporting on the looming '06 congressional races. It's not a bad story. It's fine. Unfortunately, it contains this sentence (italics mine):
But even for candidates who will not face the voters for five months, the campaign is shaping up as not only the most contested midterm election in over a decade, but also the most substantive.
Um this would be either the third or fourth (depending how much "over" the decade is) midterm election in the past "over a decade". I'm pretty sure that "most contested of the past three midterm elections" is not the sexy Nagourney was looking for.
Or maybe he's slipping quiet irony into the NYTimes.
That sounds a lot dirtier than intended.
Posted by mrbrent at 10:11 AM
June 5, 2006
privilege and its discontentsThis is a funny feeling. I remember back when you'd have a friend who had a friend (etc.) who worked somewhere adjacent to the television industry, and they'd have these bootlegged audio/videocassettes that they would dupe for you, and then you and your compatriots would sit back and enjoy the goodness, not a little bit smugly, as you had an access to the goodness that your average citizen did not enjoy.
What would be on these videos? Oh, stuff like William Shatner singing "Rocket Man". Yeah, welcome to the party, Double Viking. Wake me when you've posted the drunken Lewis and Martin radio promo outtakes.
I feel like kayfabe's been broken for the world. But I'm just a whiny geezer.
Posted by mrbrent at 10:52 AM
forecast: partly bloggyOn some days, everybody on the Internet writes posts about the same thing. Today is one of those days. This afternoon, the President will conduct a large-ish dog and pony show devoted to the codification of hating gays. Then everyone will write about it. People like us will wring hands and point at threadbareness of pandering political opportunism, and the others will be all like, "Yay, hate!"
Of course, the thousands of words that will be volleyed back and forth will mean that the administration's strategy is in some small way working, as there are many things we should instead be talking about. However, our wit and sexiness should count for something, I hope.
Anyhow, please take cover from impending blogstorm.
Posted by mrbrent at 9:22 AM