Ol Mitch is running scared. First he says he might join a Rand Paul filibuster

Then he whines that he has been Watergated and evil libruls are bugging him an’ stuff. Oh, and libruls are picking on his wife’s ethnic background… for mentioning that as Bush 43’s Labor Secretary, she enabled more job outsourcing to China than any other cabinet member in the history of the known universe so boo hoo stop making me get all butt hurt ‘n stuff.

Phew. Sorry about that. Been reading Wonkette too much first thing in the morning and my inhibitions have gone the way of that surplus Clinton left Bush….

Seriously, the turtle (ok, not TOO seriously) is looking pretty stressed and scared these days. Rand Paul gets some atta-boys from the tea bagging brigade for that pointless filibuster and Ol Mitch wants to jump in when Rand Man says he might put a catheter up his nozzle and go on a verb binge to feign a stop to any vote on  gun control legislation. So, yes, we can add pandering to the paranoid gun nuts (and the merchants making record sales based on imagined threats to the 2nd) to Mitch’s list of fraidie-cat-iechisms. Check.

Then ‘the liberals are bugging my office! The liberals are like the Watergate guys…’ play for sympathy from the persecution-complexed-but-not-quite-paranoid RW Christians who love to hate liberals, because, you know, JESUS ‘n stuff.   We have to give McConnell props here for knowing his target audience and their propensity for mis-remembering history and the probability that they might recall that Watergate was a bad thing, but totally disassociate it from the reality that it was also a GOP thing. He is lower than the barnacle on a whale’s belly, but he isn’t a brainless barnacle.

Then, as part of the GOP outreach and warm fuzzy hugs and kisses to those who care about the not-rinso-white peeps, ‘They pick on my sweet lil wife cuz she’s not rinso-white, so THEY are the bigots!’ Totally ignoring the fact that the flak Mrs Mitch got was about her record-setting enabling of corporate job outsourcing while working as G.W. Bush’s Secretary of Labor, and the fact that she was called by name, which happens to be the Chinese surname she kept and has gone by professionally, Elaine L. Chao.  So, really, McConnell was trying to mooch sympathy for the fact that his wife’s name was accurately reported along with her record. Check off ‘appearing to appeal to broader spectrum of color peeps without actually doing any such thing’ on Mitch’s To-Do list.

Now, to really get attention for all these things checked off his list, he has to get LOTS more attention for it all. So, call the FBI right fracking now! Investigate all this evil doing by doers of evil!

Ooopsies, seems that tape was not a wire tap, so no Watergate here. And since it is pretty clear that the recording device was moved to better capture the sound when someone from the back of the room spoke, it seems pretty evident the ‘bug’ was a phone or computer device and on the table in the room, in plain sight. And even if the recording device was somehow clandestine, KY is a single party state, so as long as one party in the meeting was OK with recording it, it is legal. One would guess anyone recording a conversation, openly or covertly, would be OK with recording a conversation, so LEGAL in Kentucky! The ugly reality for Team McConnell: ‘Quick, call the plumbers, we have a leak and it is us!’

Furthermore: in the taped conversation, it is said that LAs (legislative aides, as in official federal employes working on Mitch’s staff, but paid by We the Taxpayers) did a lot of research work to ferret out info on Ms Judd (by reading the book she wrote). So now we get to the crux of the matter: Did Mitch violate the LAW by having senatorial staffers doing campaign work on the taxpayers’ time or were they doing it in addition to their regularly scheduled work hours and not on the taxpayers’ dime? And in what space was this work done? At their homes, as volunteers? At campaign office space? Or did ANY of that research take place in ANY official senatorial office space?

Yes, call the FBI to investigate! Proceed, Senator…….

Uranium contamination in water? Have some molasses. Molasses?

And now, onto the unbearable sweetness of radioactive water like chocolate flowing into Colorado’s Ralston Reservoir, which is one source of drinking water for many humans in the Denver metro area.  Yes, our trustworthy friends in the extraction industries have sweetened our lives yet again with this tale of how they plan to fix the small mater of radioactive water mixing with thirsty humans.

Molasses. The AP tells us water indulgent brats that molasses is how Cotter Corp is gonna fix the little issue of ” as high as 24,000 parts per billion” of uranium in the water that is pooling in a mine. (Those pesky federal regulator types have set the standard for drinking water at 30 ppb.) The water is feeding into a basin that feeds Ralston Creek, which in turn helps fill Denver Water’s Ralston Reservoir, a reserve from which over 1.3 million people sip, gulp, and bathe.

What AP did not tell us is how sticky sweet stuff will fix this.

Now some of you might know that ol attila is a fair hand in the kitchen and maybe some even know she has spent decades culling tidbits of knowledge about the pharmaceuticals known as food. But attila is flummoxed about how molasses takes the beep beep beep out of the Geiger counter on the kitchen counter, next to the faucet.

Sure, molasses is heavy and dense. I could see it sinking to the bottom of the pooling water in the mine, creek, even the reservoir, if they add enough, but there is much googling to be done before I grasp the finer points of how gingerbread ingredient saves Denver. But hey, maybe it really works. And maybe the fracking for oil and gas coming to my area won’t really contaminate the aquifers here in this vast northern desert where water is more precious than people want to acknowledge.

If it really works, buy stock in Grandma’s Molasses or that Briar Rabbit brand of same. If this works, Japan will be buying a lot of sticky brown syrup for that unfortunate nuclear power plant that well-meaning capitalists put next to the beach on an island known for, and formed by, violent movements of the earth.

If this works, perhaps Glenn Beck will stop hocking gold and chatting with people advocating returning to the gold standard. Maybe, just maybe, world economies will get around to going on the cookie standard, as attila advocated way back on graduation day from high school. Yes, back when she and her giddy classmates were making plans for how they would change the world and when Brian Whatshizname said he would be President. Brian was looking for a cabinet from among our ranks that day. I got pegged for SecTreas for my plan to go onto the cookie standard as a monetary exchange. My reasoning was cookies made as much sense as colored paper or gold, and if inflation got too far out of hand and food prices rose too high, working people could always eat the money.

Molasses, some corporation is gonna try to fix the disaster that run amok capitalism has wrought upon the water drinkers of metro Denver with molasses.

We the People are in some serious, sticky brown substance these days.

What about Cranbrooks’ part in Mitt’s attack on John Lauber?

 Schools know there is a difference between hijinks and assault.

What about consequences? Isn’t being required to face consequences for behavior and performance an important part of a proper education?

Something that needs to be brought up in the national discussion of high-brow prep school ‘hijinks’ is how the school reacted. Have yet to see this addressed.

Is there ANY evidence that the Cranbrook School took any disciplinary action against Romney and the others who participated in this assault on John Lauber? Were any punishments meted out for this? How could young men form a small mob, assault a classmate and not get thrown out on their asses at the very least?

 John Lauber was expelled from Cranbrook School for reports that he was seen smoking.  Sneaking a smoke got the assault victim bounced out of school!

Mitt Romney graduated from Cranbrook.

Mitt crossed a big line when he acted violently upon a classmate. He put together a small mob to help him. That was not leadership, it was cowardice and it was willfully malicious. 

The others knew it was wrong, they were all well past the age of knowing right from wrong. Many of them acknowledge they have been haunted by their part of the attack on John Lauber since they participated right through to the present.

Mitt mislabels his assault on a classmate as ‘hijinks’. Would be interesting to know what he would call such an attack if some kids did it to his own sons when they were in school, or his grand-kids now. Willing to bet Mitt would have a team of lawyers all over the perpetrators, the parents, the school, and the cops to make sure punishment was swift and harsh.

Mitt Romney graduated from Cranbrook but John Lauber did not, because it was reported John Lauber was seen smoking on campus.

Evidently Cranbrook School was pretty confused about boyish hijinks. One would think an institution that charges the kind of tuition Cranbrook  does would be run by people who knew better, people of high moral convictions.

As we ponder what makes Mitt tick, we might give some thought to the fact that it sure looks like the system the elite grow up in has an impact in reinforcing sociopaths’ sense of security in acting on bad impulses.

In no way should Romney’s behavior be blamed on the school, he was well past the age where we hold young people accountable for their actions.  But the school needs to take some responsibility for what life lessons it teaches. Boarding schools, in particular, bear the burden of being more than just classroom education. Boarding schools, but structure, act  in loco parentis.

How many other scions of the privileged class grew up knowing the system would back them no matter what? That brutality is rewarded and empathy is not required? No wonder the nation is in such a mess.

‘There’s nothing to do’? Got community radio in your community? Look for the possibilities

Do you have teenagers? Have friends, neighbors who are teenagers? Do you have a community supported radio station in your area? Do they offer fun opportunities like this: a summer morning ‘day camp’ for teens who want to learn about how to operate a live radio station?

Maybe it would be good to find these things out. Maybe, if there is a station but they don’t offer such training, well, maybe you could get it going. Maybe, if there is no community station, you could join others and get one going.

This is a really cool idea: Teens can spend mornings learning about all the aspects of operating a local radio station. They can learn about music they would not otherwise be exposed to. They can meet artists and community organizers. They can learn about how non profits operate by becoming involved with the people who govern and operate one.

Think of the possibilities that could result from getting local young people interested and involved in radio broadcasting. In this era of massive media ownership by very few corporations, community radio could be the ‘pirate radio’ that helps save some community identity. If more people got involved in radio, there might be more radio to choose from, and that might lead to less audience for the propaganda spewing damage hate radio does.

Think of young people learning the nuts and bolts of broadcasting. WOLVERINES!!!? Yeah, LOL, it might be a tool in case our high-schoolers have to fight some invading force, but face it, the invasion has been domestic. Maybe, maybe knowledge of basic broadcasting could help a new generation battle the current political/economic paradigm, or maybe it would just help them build sustaining groups and coalitions in their communities, groups and coalitions that can give local alternatives to people who just do not want corporations to be the only influence.

Think about the fact that too many public schools have dropped programs in art and music. It has been proven that exposure to the arts enables better problem solving through broader thinking and actual physical enhancements of the human brain. Think about ways to make up for that horrible loss of the arts programs ‘budget cuts’ have wrought. Think about how hands-on learning in a place where musical variety is the norm and exposure to a lot of artists happens on a weekly basis.

Think of some of your local teen-aged neighbors having fun, building some skills,  learning that they don’t have to be entertained, they can be the entertainment. What impact could that have on some young people, taking charge and not relying on whatever crap media wants to shove down their throats for corporate motives? Betting more than a few of them would take that lesson and apply it to other areas of their lives, discovering that they don’t have to settle for the lives some corporate entity wants to funnel them into. Think of the benefits of teaching they can do more to define the parameters of their lives.

Please note that community radio is not Public Broadcasting like PBS and National Public Radio. It’s local community supporting, and community supporting radio.  It’s treasure for your local area.

OK, I freely admit it, I love this particular community radio station, though I do listen to others online too. No commercials, very wide variety on the play lists, music from local and global artists you won’t hear anywhere else, discussion and human interest programming. Yes, it is my favorite and I am glad I can listen online.

One big reason I love this station is that they really are part of the community. They are involved in a lot of festivals and community events. They offer people the chance to volunteer and learn about radio broadcasting. They are an antidote to hate radio and community ennui.

My guess is there may be a community radio station you could pick up, listen to, enjoy, and learn from. Find out. And find out what sort of opportunities they have for you and yours to get involved. I know this particular station offers adults the chance to volunteer and learn. It’s great that they are working to get the young people involved too.

Check it out, and hunt up other community radio stations to love and support. If we want to fix what’s so horribly broken in the world today, community resources and community celebration is important. All those pols who are owned and operated by giant corporations started locally in their communities. We can build the antidote locally too, and get good people involved in all aspects of influence and educating the voters. Some of the people we meet in such efforts will have the potential to go into politics and challenge the status quo.

Who knows what exposure to a different paradigm might accomplish. If your local kids can have fun while laying some foundations for so many possibilities, well, that’s important too.

 

Rupert is unfit to exercise stewardship of a major international company, and he isn’t the only one

The report of a committee of the British Parliament investigating Rupert Murdoch’s news publishing ventures’ foray into illegal wire taps, hacking, and bribery of police has come out.  Some MPs come right out and dismiss Murdoch as an unfit corporate leader.

 Rupert Murdoch “is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company”, MPs have said.

Took long enough. But this truth-telling didn’t go far enough. Not nearly far enough.

It’s not just this one corporation that exhibits bad corporate governance, it is a slew of them. For any MP to take this long to notice is the root of the problem. Same in US in regards to Congressmen.

These monster huge corporations get so big and willfully corrupt because the people elected to office do their bidding instead of the people’s. Corporations buy the legislation to make legal what ever it is they want to do. They buy the legislation to make it illegal for someone to do what the corps don’t want people to be allowed to do. If huge multi-national corporations are being run badly, it is because pols let people like Murdoch buy government and order legislators around.

Rupert is a vile human being and he seems to reward results at any cost. He isn’t alone in that. Failure to regulate is the problem. Push-over pols who are nothing but whores are the real governance problem.

Glad somebody is starting to get vocal. Now, if the good MPs will just get some spines and start dealing with bad corporations. Same here in the US with Congress. The world is a mess because ‘capitalism’ owns governments and there is no such thing as ‘free market’ The market is owned and manipulated. The people are lost to the wolves.

Rupert is the tip of the very big iceberg. He’s old and not long for this world, so he is a safe scape goat for the whole stinking system.

 

Google releases full version of FCC’s report on company’s controversial gathering of personal data with Street View cars

The FCC has already released a portion of the report already, with heavy redaction action. Can we find out how much the FCC spends on black markers? We might have a place to cut some cash outta the budget.

Google released the full report ahead of a FOIA request filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, and a lot of controversy over the car cameras and interception of a whole lot of data from wireless connections.

Google ‘inadvertently’ got private data like e-mail and text messages, passwords, Internet-usage history, and other data from unsecured wireless networks for two years or so, beginning in 2007.

Frankly, I fail to see how taking pictures from a car managed to suck up data. Guess they were doing more than just taking pictures, so how was this ‘inadvertent’? I’m anything but a tech guru, so how does an innocent camera collect all that data? None of my cameras can do a trick like that.

Google said it was the fault of a rogue engineer. The FCC thinks maybe somebody at Google could have, or should have known about the data collection

Per LA Times report:

The report points the finger at a rogue engineer who, it says, intentionally wrote software code that captured payload data information — communication over the Internet including emails, passwords and search history — from unprotected wireless networks, going beyond what Google says it intended. The engineer invoked his 5th Amendment right and declined to speak to the FCC.

But the FCC raises the question of whether engineers and managers on the Street View project did know — or should have known — that the data was being collected.

According to the FCC report: The engineer in question told two other engineers, including a senior manager, that he was collecting the payload data. He also gave the entire Street View team a copy of a document in October 2006 that detailed his work on Street View. In it, he noted that Google would be logging such data.

Well, good to know it’s not my cameras that are defective. The problem is either Google’s failure to conduct proper oversight of employees, or tendency to blame rogue employees for doing what Google has always done, collect a whole lot of data on you.

In the meantime, lock your networks. Remember, if a product doesn’t cost you anything, YOU are the product. Google is a profitable sort of enterprise.

 

Labels and the Propensity of the Right to Mame Language to Mislead Masses

Truly a fun read about how GOP pols and pundits have diminished meaningful communication through the misuse of language.

John Viall creatively captures the RW spirit of using labels as pejoratives rather than functioning aids to communication.

Here’s a sample of Mr Viall’s premise:

When pressed to clarify such statements later, Mr. West backed off slightly, but his campaign manager, Tim Edson, insisted when speaking with reporters that labels weren’t the point. And by that, I believe he meant “words in an actual dictionary.” Maybe none of the Democrats in Congress were actually card-carrying commies. So what?

“We can quibble about the terminology used to describe them,” Edson grumbled, “but it’s clear. Whatever you call people that oppose capitalism and free markets and individual economic freedom —maybe it’s ‘socialist,’ maybe it’s ’communist’ —but that’s the point the congressman was making, and he stands by the words.”

It struck me, on reading Edson’s response, that he would have been just as happy if his boss had called Democrats in Congress toaster ovens or card-carrying poltergeists. And that’s when it finally hit me. For fringe conservatives, at least, labels no longer meant what they meant in the English language.

You could call the president or any liberal a communist, a curmudgeon, or a cucumber. It wouldn’t make an ounce of difference.

The linked essay is a fun read, and hits on a very salient point: We can’t communicate when language is rendered meaningless by the barrage of ill-used labels in our political discourse. Yeah, it’s deliberate on the right. Sound-bites move herds faster than facts and a common language.
Writer/lyricist Alan Jay Lerner had dear Professor Henry Higgins singing “Use proper English, you’re regarded as a freak….” We often consider how Huxley and Orwell were prescient. Well, Lerner was too. “One common language I’m afraid we’ll never get….”

Giving serious consideration to becoming a “card-carrying poltergeists” my own bad self. Thinking the meetings might be fun, if illusive.

Now, which poltergeist group to join? American Poltergeists United? Or, Poltergeists Without Borders?

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