Leftist Boddhisatva

Boddhisatvas love bananas.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Its all in the money quote, baby.

Friday, January 20, 2006

On Al Gore

I believe that Al's experiences after the 2000 election have shaped him into a better man. Why, with nothing to lose and nothing to gain, he has come out swinging, arguing for moderation in our national discourse, trying to return our nation to her senses.

I also believe that those experiences have transformed Al Gore from someone who would have made a good president into someone who could make a fantastic president. For a comparison, look at assessments of FDR from before and after he was afflicted with polio.

That said, I doubt Al Gore will ever run for President again. I take seriously what he says about never wanting to put his family through that experience again. However, should he ever *ever* throw his hat into the ring, he will have my vote.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Pharyngula is gloating. He has reason to be.

My take:

"Intelligent Design" or ID was always too Freudian to be acceptable to any reasonable Republican-appointed judge.

No, clearly, they need something that spells a better acronym. While SAT (for "Suddent Appearance Theory") has merit, it is too close to SAT, the test high school students take to get into college... and with the rise of an anti-testing sentiment among parents and teachers, that is sure to fail too.

Here are two suggestions for the backwards ID at the so-called Discovery Institute (remember, the institute was never 'discovered' so much as 'designed'):

BAD: Beetle-Adoring Designer (hat-tip to JBS Haldane)

GOT: God-Oriented Teleology

Of course, we could turn it around and call it CRAP (for Creationist Rapture-Associated Pseudoscience).

Current mood: more evolved bananas!

Sunday, December 11, 2005


Bush calls constitution "a goddamned piece of paper!"

Impeach this sumbitch. Impeach him now.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The War on Christmas, now with more vitamins

Some Megachurches Closing for Christmas
This Christmas, no prayers will be said in several megachurches around the country. Even though the holiday falls this year on a Sunday, when churches normally host thousands for worship, pastors are canceling services, anticipating low attendance on what they call a family day.
Damn Christians. Won't even celebrate their own holidays.

What's a boddhisatva to do?

Current mood: I want more bananas for Christmas.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Global warming watch: Atlantic current changing

Key warming ocean current slowing down: scientists:
The Atlantic Conveyor, a life-giving ocean current that keeps northern Europe warm, is slowing down, scientists said on Wednesday.

If the 30 percent slowdown seen over the past 12 years is not just a blip, temperatures in northern Europe could drop significantly, despite global warming, they added.

Scientists have long forecast that the Atlantic Conveyor that carries warm surface water north and cold deep water back to the equator could break down because of global warming.

"This is the first time we have observed a change in the current on a human timescale," oceanographer Harry Bryden said, noting that it had completely shut down during the ice ages.
The Atlantic Conveyor is a complex system of currents which includes the Gulf Stream.

New Slogan

Hillary Clinton is the Yoko Ono of the Democratic Party.

I stole it. Now you steal it. Pass it on.

Quote of the day

Advocate for God says:
We're in the kind of economy that conservatives lust for: one that benefits themselves to the detriment of others; i.e., one in which they can parasitize the American work force to support a lifestyle for themselves that they think they deserve because they believe themselves to be a better class of people - in other words, elites.

Wrong then, wrong now

Sen. Clinton Defends Iraq War Vote
"I take responsibility for my vote, and I, along with a majority of Americans, expect the president and his administration to take responsibility for the false assurances, faulty evidence and mismanagement of the war," the New York senator said in a lengthy letter to thousands of people who have written her about the war.

At the same time, she said the United States must "finish what it started" in Iraq.

Clinton and other hawkish Democrats have come under criticism from liberal anti-war activists, many of whom will hold sway over presidential primary contests. The former first lady, who is up for re-election in 2006, would likely be an early front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination should she decide to seek it.
In other words: I take responsibility, and it's all Bush's fault.

No, Senator Clinton. You just don't get it.

A comment left at Brad DeLong's site

From this thread, the following comment:
This isn't the dumbest war in the last two thousand years - it's just dumb, probably comparable to the French installing Maximilian in Mexico. Pointless and embarrassing and expensive.

It is not up there with the great nation-breaking mistakes: it's not an Alcazarquivir or a Syracuse expedition. Similar in some ways, sure, but far less important.
The US forces in Iraq don't face any existential threat and they almost certainly never will. We're not going to see a Dunkirk or a Kut: we'll probably leave pretty soon, though, because the whole thing never had any point.

As for impeaching the fools responsible - justified, but it won't happen, unless they redouble their bets and invade another country or two. Then life would get interesting.
...which I quote because of its cogency.

I notice, however, that no one responded to my comment:
Bush and company do deserve jail for what they have done to this country. I'll know when sanity has returned to the US when people stop looking at me funny for saying that.
They still look at me funny.


The bigger picture

David Neiwert writes:
Have you ever noticed how, when libertarians and right-wingers talk about "threats to our freedoms," the only source of those threats is the government?

It's perhaps useful to remember that, over the course of American history, the greatest threats to the liberty of American citizens have come not from the government, but from our fellow citizens. Particularly, those directed by white citizens against nonwhites.

Keeping abreast of the threat

Matt Stoller on how Telecom Companies Want Your Internet
One thing that really irritates me is discussions of capitalism that imply right-wingers are capitalists, or that big companies are efficient. Neither is true. Right-wingers are socialists, and big companies are hugely inefficient. If the right-wing cared about capitalism, they wouldn't subsidize large corporations at the expense of free markets (oil depletion tax, anyone?). And in a genuinely free market system, many corporate CEOs would be out on their ass because they get paid a lot to do very little.

Which brings me to the internet, and why telecom companies are trying to shut down what makes it great. I love the internet. In fact I think the internet is the only way to bring back public space to our democracy. It's also under threat.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Steve Greenfield for Senate

Because, you want a choice: Greenfield For Senate.

Former Police States, now current Police States

European Union to take action against countries which allowed the CIA to operate secret prisons
Justice and Home Affairs Commissioner Franco Frattini also warned that that any of the 25 bloc nations found to have operated secret CIA prisons could have their EU voting rights suspended.

The Council of Europe — the continent's main human rights watchdog — is investigating the allegations, and EU justice official Jonathan Faul last week formally raised the issue with White House and U.S. State Department representatives, Frattini said.

Frattini said suspending EU voting rights would be justified under the EU treaty, which stipulates that the bloc is founded on the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, and that a persistent breach of these principles can be punished.

Clandestine detention centers would violate the European Convention on Human Rights.
On the defense stand: Poland and Romania.

Not to get too too excited, but

we're inching closer to a police state:
The US Defense Department is expanding domestic intelligence collection in ways that could allow it so circumvent barriers to military spying on US citizens, according to a US newspaper report.

However, proposed moves to further expand the military's domestic intelligence activities in the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001, have sparked worries among politicians and civil liberties advocates that such activities could go out of control, the newspaper said.

"We are deputizing the military to spy on law-abiding Americans in America. This is a huge leap without even a (congressional) hearing," Senator Ron Wyden told the daily.

The little-known Counterintelligence Field Activity has a secret budget but is believed to already have 1,000 people on its staff, the paper said.

A recent high-level presidential commission "urged that CIFA be given authority to carry out domestic criminal investigations and clandestine operations against potential threats inside the United States," the Post said.

Oops... one more quote

"Perhaps the words 'Support President Bush and Our Troops' should come as standard equipment on Explorers, Suburbans Hummers etc etc etc...."--Kamachanda

Quote of the day

"Marx had the luxury of a philosophy of history that led him to believe that an era of justice was at hand. We don't have that luxury. We have the unsettling intuition that when things get worse- they may very well stay worse."--Dale

The New New Economy

The consumer model that has been driving the American economy since the 1950s is no longer working. Under the consumer model, consumption is encouraged and savings are discouraged, and as people spend more money than they need to, that money goes into the economy and generates more jobs. There are several factors which are undermining the consumer model.

1) Less discretionary income. Increased housing costs and increased transportation costs, as a percentage of income, have gone up.

2) A greater debt burden, as consumers have increased borrowing in order to maintain their lifestyles. The flip side of this is the greater penalties for bankruptcy.

3) Loss of manufacturing jobs. One of the engines of the consumer model was that by increasing consumption, there was an increase in the amount of manufacturing, resulting in increased number of jobs. Now those manufacturing jobs are all off-shore, which is great if you live in [take your pick], but not so great if you are now unemployed.

4) Unreigned capitalism. The dogma that was pounded into Americans during the cold war was that capitalism was good and anything that wasn't capitalistic was bad... completely ignoring the lesson of the New Deal: which was that capitalism, without any checks and balances, was bad, but that with checks and balances could be good. Well the Great Depression generation is dying off and we have to relearn this lesson anew.

The question I have is this: assuming Democrats win control of Congress in 2006 and the Presidency in 2008 (big assumptions), is there anything that can be done to address these factors in a corrective way? Or do we have to wait for it all to crash?

Monday, November 21, 2005

new rule, #1

"Parents have the right to question anyone who claims their child's death was good for America."--Southwest Bob

Thursday, November 17, 2005

One of the most intelligent comments ever...

John Emerson says:
The thing that made up my mind for me was Adams' ridicule (in his comments section) of the idea that he should read some books by Gould or Dawkins. He essentially said that he wouldn't trust them because, as biologists, they had a conflict of interest.

His silly little squibs have helped me to crystallize my abhorrence of the cheap cynicism of a whole sector of American society. These are people who believe that everyone is a scam artist, and that no one's reasoning is honest, so that what you need to do is just to figure out the angles and decide which of the players you feel best about, rather than deciding which one is right. (This kind of know-nothingism was a major factor both in Bush-Gore and Bush-Kerry. The media gaggle is full of Scott Adams closes.)

Adams was basically asking for an authority to trust -- someone whom he liked, and who talked his language. He wasn't asking for reasons at all. In this he's oddly like my very nice, anti-intellectual right-wing cousins who get their political opinions ready-made from Pat Robertson and James Dobson, who they think are very nice people and who talk their language.

Adams' credibility wasn't helped when someone pointed out that he was already writing cheesy little anti-evolution squibs more than five years ago.
Here is the context, an open thread on Pharyngula.

How do you feel about this?

Mom Makes Teen Stand on Street With Sign
Tasha Henderson got tired of her 14-year-old daughter's poor grades, her chronic lateness to class and her talking back to her teachers, so she decided to teach the girl a lesson.

She made Coretha stand at a busy Oklahoma City intersection Nov. 4 with a cardboard sign that read: "I don't do my homework and I act up in school, so my parents are preparing me for my future. Will work for food."

"This may not work. I'm not a professional," said Henderson, a 34-year-old mother of three. "But I felt I owed it to my child to at least try."

In fact, Henderson has seen a turnaround in her daughter's behavior in the past week and a half. But the punishment prompted letters and calls to talk radio from people either praising the woman or blasting her for publicly humiliating her daughter.

"The parents of that girl need more education than she does if they can't see that the worst scenario in this case is to kill their daughter psychologically," Suzanne Ball said in a letter to The Oklahoman.
Some people feel very strongly that Tasha abused her daughter, Coretha, by making her stand on a street corner with a sign. Others feel that what she did was imaginative and a good idea.

I think one of the greatest challenges that parents face is to wake children up to the world around them. I hope that Coretha will begin to understand that school is not a place to hang out (or avoid), but is in fact a ladder. The higher you climb the greater your choices will be.

My irregular update

Leftist Boddhisatva is a fond player of World of Warcraft. It is much easier to deal with evil when the rules are clear (but just like reality, the bad guys keep spawning, over and over again).

Matt Stoller on Intellectual Property and the mistaken priorities of Democrats in Congress.

Bush's Rewriting of History: a real hatchet job.

Over the last few years, a band called Junkyard Prophet (through its youth outreach organization, You Can Run But You Cannot Hide) has been touring across Middle America, spewing its ultra-conservative message at hundreds of school assemblies along the way. And it’s received hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars for its efforts. Armstrong Williams, eat your heart out.

Kerry on Cheney: "It is hard to name a government official with less credibility on Iraq than Vice President Cheney."

Wouldn't it have been more effectively, politically and morally, to have said, "Mr. Cheney proves, once again, that when it comes to Iraq, all he can do is lie."

Just asking.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Wow, just wow

Two Drunken Moose Invade Home for Elderly

The moose — a cow and her calf — had become drunk over the weekend by eating fermented apples they found outside the home in Sibbhult, southern Sweden, said Anna Karlsson, who works there.
If they had eaten fermented bananas, it would have been much more mellow.

Trust me.

Because you can't handle the truth

Denate Majority Leader Bill Frist and House Speaker Dennis Hastert on Tuesday called for a congressional leak investigation into who told the news media about previously undisclosed U.S. interrogation centers abroad.

"If accurate, such an egregious disclosure could have long-term and far-reaching damaging and dangerous consequences, and will imperil our efforts to protect the American people and our homeland from terrorist attacks," Frist and Hastert said in a letter.
You can't make this shit up.

Azerbaijan Election: No Major Fraud, Just Lots of Minor Fraud

The West has heaped criticism on Azerbaijan's conduct of parliamentary elections, but authorities in the oil-rich republic dug in their heels and denied major fraud.

"The elections were a step back for democracy in Azerbaijan," Norwegian Ambassador Steinar Gil told journalists in the ex-Soviet state's capital Baku on Tuesday.

However, Aliyev, who two years ago succeeded his dying father Heydar Aliyev in a controversial presidential poll, insisted not only that the elections were free, but that the international community was satisfied.

"All the international reports of the international monitoring missions were fine," Azer Gasimov, spokesman for Aliyev, told journalists.

"It doesn't say in them that the elections did not meet international standards," he said.

This assertion flew in the face of clear condemnations from Western monitors who reported seeing widespread violations.
I see that President Aliyev has been taking lessons from the Bush administration. I would also not be surpised if Azerbaijan used Diebold-paper ballots.