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Number of posts: 211
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Posts by Monica Smith:
the sublime cannibal
“Where is the Love?” Kristof asks in his Thanksgiving column for the New York Times. Thanksgiving is a euphemistic feast. I still haven’t found just the right term to describe cannibals bloodlessly and indirectly destroying and consuming their own kind. Some call it “sacrifice,” but that too is a euphemism. “Symbolic predation” doesn’t work because the injury and destruction are all too real.
stoop to their level
Is being obnoxious catching? My email in-box is currently featuring messages with the following headings:
“Beat the snot out of them.“
“I’m here to kick some Tea Party ass.“
Extortion is a Congressional staple. It’s what members have been using for decades to insure incumbency. What’s new is that the tactic is being exposed to public view because the executive is not going along and because the recently arrived Tea Party are novice players.
it’s the name
Years ago, when some friends were to spend a sabatical overseas, they entrusted their Caprice to me for safe-keeping. That turned into a peculiar experience. Strangers kept asking me if I would be interested in selling them the car. It reminded me of being propositioned for a “good time” in certain neighborhoods of New York City and Washington, D.C. What attracted attention to the Caprice was a puzzlement, but in the years since, it’s been stolen from the same owners any number of times, apparently for joy rides, and then abandoned when it ran out of gas. Maybe it’s the name that triggers the theft.
down the drain
Half dozen of the other. If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.
Creatures of habit have an advantage. When they repeat what’s failed in the past, it comes as a surprise. Add to that the cliché and the euphemism as instruments of deception and you’ve got the essential ingredients of clandestine enterprise. John McCain has been running his own foreign policy shop at the International Republican Institute (set up by Congress in 1983) for so long that it has probably become a cliché.
the insurance racket
Protection is a racket and insurance is the handle. The insurance commissioners in every state are why a single payer health care system for all Americans was infeasible. So, here we’ve got Ralph Hudgens, a graduate of the University of Florida, explaining how obstructing the free market and milking the populace works.
We visited the rocky coast of Maine the other day and stopped in at the Kittery Trading Post.. Lo and behold, I discovered a cast iron griddle made by a company in Tennessee to replace the one that disappeared from my cook top. Although it would probably work better on a stove with perpendicular burners, the first batch of pancakes turned out pretty tasty.
right to privacy
All of a sudden, Congress is having second thoughts. The New York Times reports that the strategy of letting the National Spy Agencies build haystacks to look for needles is going to be reconsidered by Congress. This is good news.
Backers of sweeping surveillance powers now say they recognize that changes are likely, and they are taking steps to make sure they maintain control over the extent of any revisions…
who's screwing you?
The thinning of the cities was no more a happenstance than the thinning of the electoral herd is now. After the civil rights era and the rioting in the cities, the powers that be took fright and embarked on an agenda to distribute the population — build suburbs and roads and sell people cages on wheels to get there. Disinvestment in the cities and the reduction of services was part of the agenda to promote “urban removal” and replace people with commercial structures and parking lots.
Maybe it’s just that the idea of reconnecting America turns John Mica off. After all, the Cons have put much effort into isolating/segregating the population.
Perhaps it is just a coincidence that the trains from Miami to D.C. are not WiFi equipped.
That little flourish, “we preport, you decide,” with which FOX radio announcers conclude their segments is actually an accurate representation of their operation. It would also be applicable to FOX TV, which is really nothing but radio with pictures and a written scroll, just in case the talking heads get boring, but I don’t know that they use it.
“We report; you decide” fits perfectly with the binary model of the world in which instinct-driven people reside.
That is the 21st Century question. Whether agents of government are tasked with telling the public what to do or, as the United States Constitution suggests, are to limit themselves to prohibiting socially injurious behaviors by individuals and corporations.
Republicans, being descendants of royalists, whose model of social organization is the family with its paternalistic head of household, continue to hold fast to the belief that their fellow man needs to be strictly ruled. Because people doing their own thing make them feel really insecure.
Authorization For Use of United States Armed Forces
Let me suggest again that while we know that the PATRIOT Act was sitting on the shelf just waiting for an opportunity to be enrolled and passed into law, that the AUMF was waiting in the wings has received less consideration. But, if the interest in a “unitary executive” whose authority is above the law was real, then making the Commander-in-chief during wartime a constant was just as important a component of the re-establishment of the sovereignty of the term-limited presidency.
Instructions From the Top
For some reason, a letter from the lobbying arm of the Heritage Foundation was characterized as having been received by NBC News, as if it were some sort of privileged communication. In fact, the thing was a press release and rather obviously designed to change the conversation about the Heritage Foundation from trying to defend the indefensible “study” of Hispanic intellectual insufficiency to food stamps, a real two-fer issue.
Yes, labor force participation is back to what it was when the contributions of most women to the economy weren’t counted. That people aren’t getting paid doesn’t mean they aren’t contributing. Sometimes it’s just a counting problem — an accounting problem.
Actually, there are many accounting problems. One has been discovered and and is now being addressed and will result in a revision to the GDP. That is, the Gross Domestic Product is going to take into account what dollars people invest in creative endeavors that don’t manifest in material products —
The Lord of Little Rock, Arkansas is, of course, Warren Amerine Stephens, the head of Stephens, Inc, the premier private equity firm not located on Wall Street. That he’s hosting the Western Amateur Championship (July 29 – Aug 4) at the Alotian Golf Club in Roland, Arkansas should not come as a surprise. One suspects that Stephens is proud of being an amateur himself, someone who does what he does out of love. At least that’s what I get when I peruse this interview he gave to inARkansas.com last year.
Flower to the People
We, the people of the United States of America, as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services, have been issued a patent for Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants. According to the abstract:
Cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties, unrelated to NMDA receptor antagonism. This new found property makes cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases…
I’m stealing this title and part of the post from David Waldman at DailyKos because it is just too perfect. Guns fail — never the people in whose hands they end up. Can we say “false attribution of agency”?
This week’s summary:
Among this weeks GunFAILers, we have three who shot themselves removing their guns from their cars, which I suppose lends support to the guns = cars crowd.
Big Fat Juicy Ones
Nobody likes me, everybody hates me,
I think I’ll go eat worms!
Big fat juicy ones,
Eensie weensy squeensy ones,
See how they wiggle and squirm!
That nursery rhyme is about as good as any to explain how the Sequester, with which we are now wrestling, came about. The Congressional leadership had a hissy fit and the Sequester is the result.
Perhaps that’s the problem. The Cons, people stuck in an antagonistic stance, can’t differentiate between words that sound so much alike. Or, they don’t want to be asked, tasked or taxed because they can’t respond. Poor Boehner. His “no, you can’t” rant really was more of a plaint, an expression of his own frustration, discovered in the other because the self is unknown.
No wonder “Yes, we can” was such a frightening anthem. It hit the nail on the head of the Cons’ problem — endemic incompetence.
God & Taxes
First, let me assert that money, like any other tool (a hammer, for example) is worthless, unless and until it is taken in hand and put to use. To be more precise, money is a measuring tool, at the same time that it is symbolic of energy expended and value accumulated. In that sense, money somewhat resembles a mound of oyster shells or cache of flint flakes, which attest to the activities of many collectors or one collector over a long period of time. Or the collection may just be evidence of a failure to dispose of waste. Regardless, just as a collection of detritus is tangible evidence of activities which occurred in the past, so is money…
Behind the Gates
The perception that modern day crooks, in addition to having figured out how to manipulate the law to their advantage, are ostentatious came to me overnight. I suppose it’s a consequence of tracing how and by whom some of our so-called “gated communities” were acquired and developed to hide what are surely ill-gotten gains.
Perhaps it is unfair to suggest that medical doctors, when they are lured into purchasing building lots on the edges of marshes and meandering streams, nature’s nurseries for crustaceans and fish, are investing ill-gotten gains.
Laundering More Than Sin
e IOR is, apparently, not a believer. The IOR, in case that acronym is unfamiliar, is the Istituto per le Opere di Religione, the Vatican’s bank. That’s right, the place where the Church of Rome collects money is where the work of religion originates. “In God We Trust”
Anyway, the Vatican’s bank is in bad odor with the Bank of Italy, as the Economist reports
It has been reported that Congress has stymied research on gun violence since 1996 by explicitly prohibiting the spending of dollars for such research by the Centers for Disease Control. Given that one of the main Congressional obligations is to “provide for the general welfare, the wanton killing of thirty thousand persons a year, most in the prime of life, coming up with a sensible strategy to prevent that would seem a reasonable thing to do. But, the Congress taking the opposite tack is actually quite rational.
Exploitation Or Slaughter
The Australian journalist, John Bailey, came upon the story of Sally Miller while he was researching the laws of slavery in the United States. He found the story of Sally Miller, supposedly a German child who had been sold into slavery so compelling, that he decided to use her as an exemplar of what he’d discovered about the law and tell her story, which had been publicized in many pamphlets in the early 19th Century when the action took place, from a slightly different perspective. Legal principles do drive the tale.
Full Faith & Credit
We are agitating over figments of the imagination.
We already know Obama loves him a kerfuffle. The real issue is how to get Congress to realize that their job is to spend or dispense money. Managing the currency is one of their prime responsibilities. Scrimping and hoarding is not managing. The Congress hoarding dollars is not only unseemly, but detrimental because the federal government is the only source and without money to mediate transactions, we are left with taking things on faith.
America’s State Parks Association is sponsoring a first day hike in which all fifty states will participate. Texas, being a big state, has forty five venues on offer, while Georgia is promoting twenty sites and Missouri is offering programs at thirteen parks. Meanwhile, poor Louisiana seems able to manage guided hikes at just two of its parks. But, they are free.