Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Pointing Backwards, Indeed.

[I had meant to post this the other night, but better late than never - C]

""Say it ain't so, Joe…There you go again, pointing backwards…"  Sarah Palin's overly-crammed brain was aching to unload these canned Reaganesque quips at some point during the debate. 

It is understandable that her handlers would program them into her limited arsenal.  They were emergency generic punch lines just waiting to be delivered in lieu of substance-- a diversionary device like a flare or a smoke bomb to be used in case of an unanswerable charge from Biden.  Do whatever it takes to keep the focus off your party's disastrous record on nearly every issue.

Never mind how we got in this mess.  Pay no attention to the past.  How dare you bring up the record we're running on (while we're simultaneously trying to run from it)? We can't learn anything from history.  If it didn't happen in the last 5 minutes, it's ancient history…our slate is clean.  Everything is new and unprecedented.  I call do-overs!  Mulligan!! I am the great and powerful Oz!!! Umm…what was the question again, Gwen?

I imagine her car mechanic tells her "No, don't tell me about your car's symptoms or the service records…that's all in the past.  I'm sure we're dealing with some utterly new problem unique to your vehicle.  I'll just get to fixin' the problem…"

Sometimes there's a reason for the blame game.  It does matter as to the causes of global warming, avoidable wars and financial meltdowns.  It matters because you can't address the cause if you don't even know what it is.  Treatment is much different whether a headache is caused by encephalitis or a hangover.

Even Palin understands this on some level because, (miracles aside), she realizes that sex is the overwhelming cause of pregnancy. She determined that the cause of her daughter's pregnancy was not the failure of abstinence programs.  It was caused by unprotected sex with a boy and therefore needed to be solved by a ceremony involving a shotgun and a preacher. 

 

Thursday, October 02, 2008

USS George W. Bush - a joke continues.

There is a joke email making the rounds among Republicans...3 new naval vessels are supposedly being launched and the email shows pictures and describes the specs.  The USS Reagan is (appropriately) a massively expensive behemoth--a war hawk's wet dream of a floating city-sized arsenal.  The USS Clinton is an unarmed slow ship made of recycled materials docked in Canada whose only mission is to appease.  Finally the USS Barack Obama is simply shown as a rusty sinking boat teeming with refugees from Cuba (theapparent implication:  he has dark skin, so is from the third world?) .  Priceless.  Ah...such trenchant wit.  

Anyway, you get the picture  (I'm not going to drive traffic to these sites, but Google "Three New Navy Ships" and you'll find some variant of it on every right wing blog). 

I got to thinking...wait a minute--they're missing a ship in this lineup! You know the guy--that funny-talking guy they were so into for 8 years.  I had more than a little fun imagining what his Naval namesake might look like:

USS George W. Bush     [Crusader-class]
  
This ship (nicknamed "The Decider") is estimated to cost in excess of $700 Billion dollars.  However, since it is entirely funded by off-budget [read: perpetual crisis] dollars, the true cost could exceed 3 Trillion dollars in payments to Halliburton and Bechtel with no-bid contracts.
 
The sheer weight of this vessel -- 80,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 tons -- has lowered the standing of the US in the world...literally.  It has physically sunk the North American continent nearly four feet, causing New Orleans to disappear beneath the Gulf of Mexico.  The USS Bush  is equipped with onboard shadow prison cells complete with the most modern enhanced interrogation techniques...enough to take all of the Abu Ghraib and Gitmo detainees and many more.  Operating in International waters allows the crew to skirt those "quaint" Geneva conventions and saves the taxpayers money currently spent flying prisoners to Syria for extraordinary rendition.  Its enormous cargo holds can carry enough democracy to administer freedom (by force feeding or, if necessary, via other orafices) to foreign societies around the globe.
 
It is not known if it is actually sea-worthy, since the design was entirely faith-based. Political ideology concerns overrode all design recommendations of so called "experts"  -- the physicists, mechanical,  naval and materials engineers with their fuzzy "math" and "reality-based" science.  This intelligently-designed ship has real small town values and, in fact, was fully assembled in place at an actual small town in rural landlocked Nebraska.   These simplistic "common-sense" ideas sought to make the hands-off operations ot the vessel "idiot-proof".  However, during unmanned test runs over an 8 year period, a mentally-challenged simian operated the prototype unsuccessfully with universally catastrophic results
 
The vessel's low-slung decks allow it to be operated almost completely in stealth.    One tradeoff inherent to this design is that it yields an extremely limited view of the surroundings.  From such a short-range perspective, the vessel's obscenely high fuel consumption is not seen as a problem, since cheap, plentiful oil is expected to be available forever and ever.    Even in normal operations, a nearly impregnable "bubble" surrounds the commander's quarters making it nearly impossible for communications from the outside world to reach them should a change of course be neeeded.
 
Standing orders are to have it operated by loyal political appointees only.  People with Naval experience and elite "knowledge" need not apply. The commanding philosophy of the ship will be to jettison of all naval regulations and international standards  -- by "getting government out of the way," these true American heroes aboard can act from their gut from all times, doing God's work.  Voluntary compliance with Constitutional protocols is allowed, but not encouraged. 
 
This vessel specializes in reactionary missions--continually responding to situations with historical precedence, yet were completely unforseeable by anyone.   By removing weighty traditional post-mission planning facilities, the USS GW Bush was designed to quickly attain full speed -- careening headlong into conflicts (alongside its stalwart fleetmate, the USS Cheney) before anyone has time to think.  Significant cost savings were achieved by eliminating navigational systems, which were deemed unnecessary.  This leaves the decision entirely with the states as to which dark-skinned oil-rich country is to be invaded next. Interestingly, it is the horrific wake of this ship which has proven to be particularly devastating to the environment and the global economy.  As such, many nations no longer want anything to do with it and have denied it entry to their coastal waters.




Tuesday, September 09, 2008

David Byrne + Brian Eno New Release: First impressions

Listening to their first collaboration in over 2 decades, it is quite apparent that this is no "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts" but I freely admit that I'm predisposed to enjoy whatever these two musical heroes of mine create. I set aside some time to spend with their new release and here are my impressions.

"Familiar, yet fresh" would be my short take on it after first listen. Their combined musical vocabulary continually evokes elements of solo efforts as well as various eras of Talking Heads (particularly "Little Creatures, my least favorite release of theirs). "Strange Overtones" is my far and away favorite...as solid a track as anything Talking Heads ever released. Overall Eno's bleeps, drones and sawtooths are wedded to updated beats which occasionally diverge into the afrobeat, but more often tread into a gentle country shuffle. Nothing earth-shattering or revolutionary, but still a worthy base for his partner to latch onto. Byrne delivers his unique lyrics in a voice that is alternately plaintive or snarled through clenched teeth. His voice, as we've heard on his numerous solo albums, has matured and strengthened mightily since his early nervous adenoidal spazmodic tics, and yelps.

The two of them obviously had fun putting this together and the results are intriguing, but safe. Overall this is a solid listen I"m looking forward to digging into further. 4 of 5 stars.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Sen. Ron Wyden's great video short

This is another reason I love Oregon...Senators like Ron Wyden working tirelessly on this type of issue:

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

What is this? Portland "Jazz" Radio show flips expectations

Willamette Week Discussion with DJ Santo of KMHD Portland on his weekly show "Something Different" which has been turning heads and gaining new listeners since it's debut in 2006.

read more | digg story

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Support "Net Neutrality" - Oregonian Opinion

Support "Net Neutrality" - Oregonian Opinion

Posted by The Oregonian December 08, 2007 08:00AM

When broadband internet arrived in Washington, D.C., back in 1998, I was first in line to sign up. I loved the zippy performance and the fact that my provider kept lowering my monthly charges, even as it tripled the speeds.

Upon arrival in Portland last year, I was dismayed to find my broadband choices were limited: Qwest or Comcast. I felt like I had gone back in time: much higher prices, uploads at the anemic speed I had nearly a decade ago -- 20 percent as fast as my prior service.

I had little choice but to opt for Comcast's "premium" business-class service -- twice the price for half the speed of my prior service. Verizon tantalizes me with its speedy FIOS, but can't legally encroach on Qwest's territory.

As a full-time telecommuter and business owner, broadband Internet is not a luxury, it is critical to my livelihood. My music production company relies heavily on upload bandwidth to deliver weekly syndicated radio shows and other content to clients around the world.

With the U.S. trailing well behind Europe and Asia in broadband speed and access, our region is being placed at a further competitive disadvantage against other high-tech cities around the world, but there are deeper issues at stake.

It turns out Comcast doesn't even deliver the "Unlimited Internet" they advertised -- they've been caught disrupting traffic to the legal peer-sharing services I utilize to upload material. Speed is irrelevant if Comcast sabotages uploads to prevent their completion.

As the nation's largest cable operator (and second largest Internet provider), Comcast already wields tremendous media power. Do we really want such monopolies to determine which content and programming we can access?

By segregating traffic, Comcast could penalize startup competitors wanting to offer movies and TV via internet. Their corporate boards could stifle dissenting political opinions by blocking subscribers' access to specific sites.

I urge readers to support the "Net Neutrality" legislation in Congress to protect the open access and standards of equality that make the Internet so valuable a resource.

The health care equation - Oregonian Opinion

Chauncey Canfield: The health care equation - OregonLive.com: Oregonian Opinion

Posted by The Oregonian December 29, 2007 08:00AM


A baby is born with a congenital heart defect. Here's hoping his parents can maintain an unbroken string of medical coverage, because his ailment instantly became a "pre-existing condition" and is thus uninsurable. Similarly, if you wreck your car, you can't buy retroactive accident coverage the next day to pay for it.

The question no one seems to be asking is, "Why is insurance even part of the health care equation?"

Everyone is susceptible to catastrophic health issues from a complex interaction of genetic and environmental factors, risky behaviors and random dangers. It is morally bankrupt to limit access to quality, affordable care because of the vagaries of one's genes or employment status, yet this is what our employer-based system of private insurance does.

Insurance was developed to lessen the financial consequences of uncertain risks by spreading those costs over a population. But we know that everyone needs regular preventive care, so why do we "insure" against something inevitable? We don't buy insurance for our water or grocery bill, so why should we for office visits?

Preventive care also saves the system money overall. One major medical incident can easily exceed the cost of a lifetime of checkups and office visits. However, with employers changing their insurance providers almost yearly, the odds are very low that any patient they provide "well-visits" to today will still be insured by the same company in 30 years. What financial incentive do these insurers have to keep other insurers' patients healthy in the long term?

This is a strong argument for a single-payer system -- where the same organization sees the big picture costs and benefits for all of the participants in a balanced system of preventive and catastrophic care.

Corporations (and their fortunate employees) are already paying through the nose for any coverage they've managed to get. Eliminating the redundant, incompatible paperwork schemes of hundreds of insurers would allow more of these health care dollars to make it to the providers.

Removing "insurance" from the health care equation and allowing all citizens to participate in this system is the ethical and economic right choice.

-- Chauncey Canfield