Archive for October, 2010

“I’m Shocked, Shocked!”

27 October 2010

NPR occasionally does its job. At least it did with this article: “‘Independent’ Groups Behind Ads Not So Independent”

Those who do even the most basic research on “independent” groups will probably be quoting the famous line from Casablanca where the Vichy Captain discovers that gambling is going on in Rick’s Cafe. For those who’ve forgotten, he says, “I’m shocked, shocked.” I haven’t watched the movie in a while, but I think seconds later one of Rick’s employees hands him his winnings.



“More Tea Party Hilarity”

19 October 2010

Matt Taibbi’s Rolling Stone article “More Tea Party Hilarity” is worth a read. In it he details how some Tea Party candidates have themselves mooched off the government.

For most people with any awareness of psychological issues, this will probably fall into the Suspicions Confirmed category. It’s pretty well known that our own imperfections tend to be those we find so terribly irritating when we see them in others.

“It takes one to know one” is a trite line, but not a meaningless one.


America, Land of the Free–from Content, Context, and Caring

15 October 2010

The short Reuters article “Most Americans Lack Basic Knowledge of Climate Issues, Study Finds” struck me as totally unsurprising.

How many Americans know how many parts per million of carbon dioxide are in our atmosphere right now?

——If, like most people, you don’t know, you can find the answer here:

I keep hearing “skeptical” Americans parrot this litany: “Carbon dioxide is a harmless, colorless gas, a necessary part of our atmosphere.”

While this is certainly true, I wonder if those who say this would be willing to enter a chamber where the carbon dioxide level was, say, six percent.

What would happen to those who entered?

—–The answer is here.

And I am NOT suggesting that we are in danger of reaching this concentration in the atmosphere. I am just trying to make a point about the general ignorance of the American public. What bothers me is not so much what Americans do not know, it’s that all too many among us do not CARE that they do not know and/or think they do know when they don’t.

I wonder how many will read this post, not know the answers, and leave without clicking the links.

Ignorance is curable, but one has to seek–or at least accept–treatment.


Handbasket Report — A European View

15 October 2010

Short version: Nothing’s new or changed. We are still doomed.

Oh, read the whole article for yourself. Here’s Jeremy Warner, writing in the Telegraph:

“Jobless America Threatens to Bring Us All down with It”


Fox in the __House: Fill in the Blank

4 October 2010

So what comes to mind when you hear “Fox in the ___ House”? The standard cliche adds “hen house.” Unfortunately, instead of finishing the cliche about a cute and rapacious furry predator invading the farmyard, more and more people are now responding “White House.”

Of course, like many, I now view Fox as the news rather than as a source of news. This view is, of course, not news, but, in any event, an old cliche is getting a rebirth. I wish George Orwell were alive to see the morphing of meanings and twists and turns in the political world. For example, I’m sure he’d enjoy some of the recent remarks about Fox News.

Here are a few lines from Paul Krugman’s observations of 3 October 2010 titled “Fear and Favor”:

As the Republican political analyst David Frum put it, “Republicans originally thought that Fox worked for us, and now we are discovering we work for Fox” — literally, in the case of all those non-Mitt-Romney presidential hopefuls. It was days later, by the way, that Mr. Frum was fired by the American Enterprise Institute. Conservatives criticize Fox at their peril.

So the Ministry of Propaganda has, in effect, seized control of the Politburo. What are the implications?

Good observation. Good question.

But I worry about the cliche. Hen house or White House? Does a substitution change the cliche?


MIC: The New Trinity

1 October 2010

For a long time now, I’ve been muttering that voting in America no longer matters. The United States of America still has three branches of government, unfortunately the only original branch is the legislative, and Congress is now as suspect as the other two branches, the Military-Industrial complex.

Most everyone has been complaining about the ineffectiveness of Congress and the greed of Industry, but not too many people are paying attention to the military. Their power bothers me too, but the long term effects of the evangelical strain inherent in the military deserves more attention.

Yesterday’s article an “‘Underground’ Group’ of Cadets Say Air Force Academy Controlled by Evangelicals” is actually quite old news.

In fact, been around since the beginning, but, for argument here, I’ll say it’s decades old at least. For example, over forty years ago, an extremely bright, highly disciplined, high school classmate of mine dropped out of the Naval Academy because he refused to say he believed in God and his classmates set out to drive him out. They succeeded.

So the current story is just a rerun.

According to an AirForceTimes article, ”

The academy, in a news release, announced that a review of the allegations began in early September and has so far uncovered nothing. The review is being led by the superintendent, senior chaplain and staff judge advocate, spokesman Master Sgt. Christopher DeWitt said.

Specific details about the investigation weren’t released because the investigation is ongoing, DeWitt added.

Unfortunately, the odds of anything coming of this aren’t high. The military attracts those with conservative and traditional values, and the Air Force Academy is in Colorado Springs, one of thee epicenters of the evangelical movement.

Now might be a good time to rewatch the 1964 movie Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Brig. Gen. Jack D. Ripper, beautifully played by Sterling Hayden, was a military stereotype in the 60s.

Unfortunately, the Military/Industrial/Congressional (MIC) trinity has grown increasingly–frighteningly–grim, i.e. real, in the last couple of years. Now, alas, major commentators are starting to sound all too much like me. I commented on an article by Chris Hedges just a few posts ago.

Then this appeared: “Dwight Was Right” by Michael Moore.

I just read something by Paul Krugman that sounded familiar too, but I’ve lost track of that article.

I suppose I should be pleased to have been an early voice, but somehow I was happier when I was part of an easily dismissed minority. I was happier when I was just —