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June 28, 2006

6.28.06 -- flag-burning joke day

Boy I'm tired.  Couldn't sleep at all last night.  There were a buncha burning flags partying on the stoop of my building all hours.  Cops tried to break up the scene, but, dude!  Those flags were, like, on fire.  So the cops went somewhere else, hopefully to roust some hipsters.  So then the burning flags got noisier, jumping up and down with bottles of vodka yellin, "U-S-A!  U-S-A!"  Then a neighbor came out to complain, and he got totally beat down (and singed).  Then they finally scattered.  This morning, all over the sidewalk there's broken glass and condoms (used?).  They even managed to flip over a car, a small one.  Now my wife and my dog are all on me to do something.  Do something like what?  I'm just one man.

Is there anybody out there, perhaps some governmental body, who can do something about this flag-burning before it's too late?

Posted by mrbrent at 10:56 AM

June 27, 2006

who taught the prez to point his finger like that?

I'm having one of those days where everything I want to say is being said elsewhere.  I'm somewhat transfixed by the hue and cry directed at the New York Times over its reporting on yet another secret extra-legal data surveillance program of the Bush Administration.  This could be one of those one-day uproars, or this could be a precipitating incident of some import.  Briefly:

No, the NYTimes was absolutely not out of line to report this story.  The Administration can scream "war on terror" until their vocal cords shred -- if they didn't have a history of overstepping, of ignoring the protections accorded by the Constitution, then this would not be news.  The Administration's word that they are not breaking rules is not now, nor has it ever been, good enough.  And it is breathtakingly stupid to contend that this journalism is hindering anti-terror activities.  The only terrorists dumb enough not to expect international wire transfers not to be monitored are the seven stooges that got framed up in Miami next week.  The Administration outed an undercover CIA agent tasked with WMD issues our of political spite.  It is unreasonable to claim that they have any credibility at all on this issue. 

How short-sighted is it for the Administration to step up support for "cracking down" on the press?  Cracking down on the press has historical precedent -- namely, the Soviet Union, Red China, etc.  How can the Administration be blind to the thematic comparison?  Better question: how can the Commie-hatin' neocon base be blind to the comparison?  They gonna have one serious case of the willies when they wake up from this.

And as far as the brewing conflict between the New York Times and the Administration?  I would welcome it.  The Administration may be the head of a shadowy conspiracy devoted to enriching a very small fraction of the populace, but I do believe in the adage concerning picking a fight with someone that buys ink by the barrel.

Far better content than this concerning this dust-up can be found over at Wolcott and alicublog, and at Larry Johnson's page at TpmCafe.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:24 AM

teens - a fun word to say

The Yahoo! Headline Box is concerned with young people today:
• Fewer teens seen dropping out, having babies

Hmm.  So now they're dropping out, having babies where no one can see them.

Sneaky teens.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:10 AM

June 26, 2006

crazy, stupid

Turns out that the problem is not so much that we're stupid.  No, actually the problem is that we're partially schizophrenic.

A new study in cognitive science claims that "healthy subjects" perceive misrecollections as fact.  Just like crazy people:

The study found that the areas [of the brain] that were activated while remembering whether an event really happened or was imagined in healthy subjects are the very same areas that are dysfunctional in people who experience hallucinations.

I'm going to come out and say that all of us who misremember facts in events are in fact "experiencing hallucinations".

Hopefully our new-found status as honorary crazy persons will allow us some discount at hotels and restaurants.  And incourage us to perhaps revisit that few elections.

Posted by mrbrent at 5:04 PM

CEOs want you dead

I'd like to continue haterizing on Big Business for one moment.  Last week the Wall Street Journal ran a story on the effect of pension obligations on the corporate bottom line.  Since the WSJ isn't so Net-friendly, I had to wait for a DailyKos diary referencing the story.  Below please find the lead paragraph:
It's almost become an article of faith in the public lore that "generous" pensions for hard-working Americans are the cause of many of the financial binds that private companies (and municipalities) face.  I'd bet that many Americans, and readers here, have already internalized this notion--helped by the relentless media stories about the bankruptcies in the airline industry, the crisis at General Motors and a host of other examples.

And what is the jackpot of the story?  Worker pensions are in good fiscal shape -- they are being dragged down by gargantuan and underfunded CEO pensions.  Which CEO pensions of course are never cut back in the name of thrift.  So every time a company defaults on its pensions to its work force, it is basically taking money out of the pockets of our parents and grandparents so that Overpaid Corporate Bigwig can buy another Gulfstream.

More pitchforks; more torches.  Soylent Green needs to learn to stand up for itself soon.  At the very least, let's bring back the Sherman Act.

Again, why do I waste good ones and zeroes, not to mention your eyeballs, on the hate, considering that hatred of corporate America is a very short drive from Communism?  I bring hate because these business institutions do not operate in the interest of the common good.  None of us really do, but these corporate concerns are starting to think of the citizenry as markets instead of people.  They see us as food.  They blame us for their shortcomings.  They lack transparency, and they exploit us.

Which is why I also say they are poopy.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:51 AM