Saturday, October 30, 2010

Arm in Arm Down Burgundy, A Bottle and My Friends and Me

Good news for the self-medicating among us:
Researchers at the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center have reached an early, but important, milestone in the quest to grow replacement livers in the lab. They are the first to use human liver cells to successfully engineer miniature livers that function – at least in a laboratory setting – like human livers. The next step is to see if the livers will continue to function after transplantation in an animal model.
This bodes well for those of us who, anticipating a Republican rout at the polls, will be doubling down on our retreat from reality via the bottle. How did they do it? It's the kind of story that makes one cry out passionately for photos and diagrams:
To engineer the organs, the scientists used animal livers that were treated with a mild detergent to remove all cells (a process called decellularization), leaving only the collagen "skeleton" or support structure. They then replaced the original cells with two types of human cells: immature liver cells known as progenitors, and endothelial cells that line blood vessels.

The cells were introduced into the liver skeleton through a large vessel that feeds a system of smaller vessels in the liver. This network of vessels remains intact after the decellularization process. The liver was next placed in a bioreactor, special equipment that provides a constant flow of nutrients and oxygen throughout the organ.

After a week in the bioreactor system, the scientists documented the progressive formation of human liver tissue, as well as liver-associated function. They observed widespread cell growth inside the bioengineered organ.
Wow. And for those of us who despise the animal holocaust of R&D experimentation, there's also this:
Bioengineered livers could also be useful for evaluating the safety of new drugs. “This would more closely mimic drug metabolism in the human liver, something that can be difficult to reproduce in animal models," said Baptista.
Forget the political world for a minute. Because science--you know, that area of human knowledge that has been pretty much shat on and flushed down the toilet of right wing minds--science is so full of wonders happening so fast now that if we don't pay close attention, we are going to wake up one day in a world we don't even recognize, one that our politics will be useless to comprehend.

Have a tall cool one on me this weekend, and don't fret about your liver. It's OK. They'll make more.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Steal the Vote, Take 3

The fools are up doin' it again:
The group is also organizing volunteer “surveillance squads” to photograph and videotape suspected irregularities, and in some cases to follow buses that take voters to the polls.
In the days before the Right broke democracy, the cops used to call that kind of behavior "intimidation" and "criminal threatening" and "conspiracy", and charges would be laid. Now these people have had their way so long that they feel free to curb-stomp liberals without compunction at their masters' rallies.

Just all in a day's work for the useful idiots in the plutocrats' Sturmabteilung.

Massive Attack via Bag News Notes.

Corporate Welfare, Come Hell or High Water

Good news for them that's got:

Ford Posts 6th Straight Profitable Quarter

The Ford Motor Company said on Tuesday that it earned $1.7 billion in the third quarter and that it expected to have zero net debt by the end of December, one year ahead of forecast.

It was the sixth consecutive profitable quarter and the best third quarter in more than 20 years for Ford...

...Ford has been able to accelerate its turnaround, without much help from the economy, by not only selling more vehicles but increasing the average price buyers pay.

And for this they get a nearly half billion dollar tax break from one of the most economically hard-hit states in the union, and the chance to employ 900 workers at the bargain rate of $14 an hour in a state that lost more than 800,000 jobs between 2000 and 2009.

They've got the state pinned to the ground and they know it. Nice of Granholm to help them rape it while it's down there.

Monday, October 25, 2010

To Be Fair

Bitter as I am about what I see as Obama's betrayals of his own articulated principles (public option, DADT, civil liberties and privacy issues under the Patriot Act and Military Commissions Act, failure to hold criminal executive actions under Bush accountable, and expansion of the unitary executive privilege since Bush), I think this, written by The New Yorker's Hendrik Hertzberg, is a fair summation of the current mess, which is not Obama's fault:
Obama is no more to blame for the Great Recession than F.D.R. was for the Great Depression. But the longest and deepest mass suffering has occurred with Obama in the White House and Democrats holding a majority in (if not always in control of) our two national legislatures. That—more than tea parties, more than Fox News, more than the scores of millions of anonymous corporate dollars poured into negative campaign advertising courtesy of five Justices of the Supreme Court—is why, next Tuesday, the Republican Party is overwhelmingly likely to retake the House of Representatives outright and, at the very least, to augment its share of seats in the Senate enough to make its veto power absolute.

From the outset, the Republican legislative strategy has been to reject any hint of compromise in favor of making unprecedentedly ruthless use of Senate filibusters and threats of filibusters in order to thwart or weaken everything the Democrats seek to do, the better to attack them for lack of accomplishment. In this way, four hundred and twenty bills passed by the House (which is fifty-nine-per-cent Democratic) have died in the Senate (also fifty-nine-per-cent Democratic). Even among the small minority of voters who have some familiarity with Senate rules and their baneful consequences, few know that the Democrats had their filibuster-proof majority—sixty votes, not all of them reliable—for just seven of the Obama Administration’s twenty-one months. Under the circumstances, the record is impressive: a health-care program that will cover twenty million of the uninsured while restraining costs; partial reform of the financial industry; the rescue of the American auto industry, saving a million jobs; and a fiscal stimulus—$814 billion of tax cuts, infrastructure projects, and help for states and cities—without which, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, today’s unemployment rate would be pushing twelve per cent.

It is often said that Obama—in 2008, a gifted orator with minimal national experience—has been better, as President, at “governing” than at “politics.” His fitful attempts to present his programs as a coherent, compelling whole have been a failure. He seldom offers the consolation of anger; his instinct for comity can look, to some, like detachment, even weakness. His supporters are worried, sometimes dispirited; his enemies are full of passionate intensity. The Republicans offer plenty of rage and resentment, but nothing of substance beyond fulminations about a deficit that their proposals—more and bigger tax cuts for the comfortable, the gutting of health-care reform—would exacerbate. President Obama and the Democrats kept the Great Recession from becoming a second Great Depression. But the presence of pain is more keenly felt than the absence of agony
That said, his jettisoning of progressive supporters and their goals, which he once pretended were also his, is hard to forgive, and maybe if he had tried as hard to justify their faith in him as he did to mollify his enemies, his party would not be looking down the barrel of Sarah Palin's re-load.

Pity for us all, because the future, should the Right manage their takeover, looks like more of the same.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Thoughts for the Election Season

Via Yves Smith, here's a powerful kick in the teeth: Chris Hedges speaking in Troy, NY on October 15, 2010. You don't have to agree with him. You don't even have to believe him. But you need to admit the truth in what he says. Like it or not, the best efforts of progressive activists over the past 10 years have failed--really failed--to make any appreciable difference. Liberals have lied themselves into believing that they are independent of special interests, when in truth they sold themselves into the bondage of corporate control years ago. When is the last time you heard a Democrat stand up in public for the working class, the weak, the powerless, or the poor? Paraphrasing his quote of Daniel Berrigan, "If voting were effective, it would be illegal."

Thursday, October 21, 2010

This Was Like Finally Lancing A Boil

Everyone's been so busy parsing out the superficial reasons for NPR's terminationof Juan Williams (political corectness! Muslim-bashing!) that they seem to have missed the real one--this tidbit offered at the end of the NY Times article:
Mr. Williams’s contributions on Fox raised eyebrows at NPR in the past. In February 2009, NPR said it had asked that he stop being identified on “The O’Reilly Factor” as a “senior correspondent for NPR,” even though that title was accurate.

Alicia C. Shepard, the NPR ombudswoman, said at the time that Mr. Williams was a “lightning rod” for the public radio organization in part because he “tends to speak one way on NPR and another on Fox.”

Ms. Shepard said she had received 378 listener e-mails in 2008 listing complaints and frustrations about Mr. Williams.
And one of those e-mails came from my household. Williams long ago gave up any pretense of journalistic integrity, and has been talking out of both sides of his mouth and trashing Democrats for years now. In fact it has amazed us in Riggsvedaland how he managed to hang on to his job this long. He layered his own political views over what should have been unbiased reporting so reliably that while he was still a reporter NPR changed his position to "analyst" to let him keep working. Good riddance. And BTW, wingers, the constitution guarantees that the government, not your employer, must allow you to speak your mind. Williams probably belongs to a union, and can grieve the issue if he wishes. If he doesn't, oh, well, that's life in the brave new right-wing free-market world.

UPDATE: Squirrel!! Clearly the problems facing the country pale beside the firing of some talking head that most of the outraged masses wouldn't have known from Eddie Haskell until last week.

UPDATE 2: And please, enough of this. Williams compromised himself and NPR as journalists practically every fucking time he opened his mouth. Everyday in my real life I work on cases where individuals' civil rights have been violated, and this man was in no way a victim of a) hate speech, or b) an abridgment of his right to free speech. There are certain things I cannot talk about, and things I cannot do, because they will violate my employer's standard for ethical employee actions, things that most other people are allowed to do. This does NOT make me a victim of civil rights violations, and if I repeatedly choose to violate those standards and get canned, that does not make me another Emmett Till. The best and most sensible comment yet made about this was by James Wolcott, who wrote:
When the camera is on Poor Juan, he begins to wobble, unsure of himself, trapped in enemy territory and suffering Hamlet indecision. The war was a bad idea--but we can't pull out, can we?--drilling in Alaska--it's gotta be bad for the caribou or whatever's up there--but these conservatives make a lotta sense--I can't see me driving a solar car anytime soon--oh God now they're going to bring up partial birth abortion--I guess I'm against that but I'm also for a woman's right to choose--I wish the other guys would stop glaring--Brit looks like he's about to snap at me again, and Fred--Fred's snickering again--Fred's always snickering at me!--someday I'm going to stuff those snickers down his throat! Then, his eardrums beating from the pressure of the voices in his head that won't leave him alone, Juan often concedes the argument but shakes his head to show he's not fully convinced, his way of salvaging some scrap of dignity. We will know this pressurized process is complete the day Williams walks into the Washington studio as a black man and walks out as a disgruntled honky--then he'll really blend.
Well, clearly that day has come and such a relief it must be for Williams, able to capitulate to conservative middle-aged white men without having to fret about whatever flak he might get back home at NPR. After his craven flying Muslim comments, which originated let us recall with his deferential pandering to Bill O'Reilly's bullying need for validation, his contract was terminated by NPR and Fox News snapped him up for $2 million. Within 72 hours, Williams has gone from a muddled sincere victim of sound-bite to full Bernie Goldberg blowhard apostate. From Talking Points Memo:
Here's Juan from this morning on the events of recent days: "This is evidence of one-party rule and one sided thinking at NPR that leads to enforced ideology, speech and writing. It leads to people, especially journalists, being sent to the gulag for raising the wrong questions and displaying independence of thought."

One-party rule? The Gulag? The gulag of Fox News chat millionaires.
Well, now he can Uncle Tom to his heart's content and feel like he's Solzhenitsyn.
Oh, and as an aside, I'm finally pretty sick of this asshole and his bipartisan fantasy wanks.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Study in Contrasts

In Europe they know how to handle this kind of thing:
Company Head Arrested Over Sludge Torrent in Hungary
Here we would put him in charge of the clean-up, then let him chase journalists away from the spill site and feed bullshit statistics to the government, after which everyone would puff up and brag about how they never let him get away with a thing. Because conventional wisdom in the U.S. would be that the worst possible punishment is to take away the goddamn bonus and do a lateral transfer.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

An Education Omnibus

As the War on Teachers heats up, substituting for real hard discussion about exactly what education and schools should be expected to do, it occurred to me that it would be a good idea to source a number of essays, past and present, from genuine experts (as opposed to pundits and politicians), and bring them all together. As you will find, Harper's Magazine provides most of the material, which only underlines the essential nature of the publication in American life. And yes, I cite myself twice, with no apologies. What's a blog for, after all?


Why Johnny Can't Think by Walter Karp: "The public schools we have today are what the powerful and the considerable have made of them. They will not be redeemed by trifling reforms. Merit pay, a longer school year, more homework, special schools for "the gifted," and more standardized tests will not even begin to turn our public schools into nurseries of "informed, active and questioning citizens." They are not meant to. When the authors of A Nation at Risk call upon the schools to create an "educated work force," they are merely sanctioning the prevailing corruption, which consists precisely in the reduction of citizens to credulous workers. The education of a free people will not come from federal bureaucrats crying up "excellence" for "economic growth," any more than it came from their predecessors who cried up schooling as a means to "get a better job."

Only ordinary citizens can rescue the schools from their stifling corruption, for nobody else wants ordinary children to become questioning citizens at all. If we wait for the mighty to teach America's youth what secures or endangers their freedom, we will wait until the crack of doom."

Still Separate, Still Unequal by Jonathan Kozol: "There is, indeed, a seemingly agreed-upon convention in much of the media today not even to use an accurate descriptor like "racial segregation" in a narrative description of a segregated school. Linguistic sweeteners, semantic somersaults, and surrogate vocabularies are repeatedly employed. Schools in which as few as 3 or 4 percent of students may be white or Southeast Asian or of Middle Eastern origin, for instance-and where every other child in the building is black or Hispanic are referred to as "diverse." Visitors to schools like these discover quickly the eviscerated meaning of the word, which is no longer a proper adjective but a euphemism for a plainer word that has apparently become unspeakable."

The Ninth Circle of Education
by Riggsveda: "And while Bush's experiments in education as governor of Texas were part of his "Education President" election platform that gave rise to the current testing craze fueling his NCLB program, it's worth recalling that the result of the Texas experiment was a tapestry of lies and hokum that relied on cooked data whose underlying fabrications were all too readily overlooked by an administration eager to crow about its success. And it's also worth recalling that the majority of these wasted efforts were aimed at poor and minority schools, whose students remain about as badly off as they were when compassionate George stalked the Austin mansion."

Schoolhouse Crock by Peter Schrag: "Americans are far too hung up on the notion that in some past golden age the schools were better; When was there ever such an age? The people who blame the schools for today's ills are themselves products of schools that were under attack for similar failings a couple of generations ago. Are the schools good enough? Of course not. But then, they never were. And as long as we expect schools to solve every cultural and economic challenge the United States faces in an ever-evolving world, as long as we continue to tinker with them as if they were training facilities for warriors in cold wars still to come, they never will be. Perhaps it is time we thought of schools as places where our children might simply learn something--not just for our benefit, not just for the nation's, but for their own."

Against School by John Taylor Gatto: "Men like George Peabody, who funded the cause of mandatory schooling throughout the South, surely understood that the Prussian system was useful in creating not only a harmless electorate and a servile labor force but also a virtual herd of mindless consumers. In time a great number of industrial titans came to recognize the enormous profits to be had by cultivating and tending just such a herd via public education, among them Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller."

The Creation of a Gamma Class Redux by Riggsveda: "Eliminate meaningful education, eliminate the means to get one, and remove the books and other human communications that could enable one to get an education on one's own. Demonize the mere idea of being educated, and the people themselves will do the rest. The fat cats can sit back and let the money roll in, while the endless supply of coolies keep coming down the pipeline."

From The Death and Life of the Great American School System by Diane Ravitch: "And so it happened that the Gates, Walton, and Broad foundations came to exercise vast influence over American education. These foundations set the policy agenda not only for school districts, but also for states and even the U.S. Department of Education. There is something fundamentally antidemocratic about relinquishing control of the public education policy agenda to private foundations run by society’s wealthiest people. These foundations, no matter how worthy and high-minded, are not subject to public oversight or review, as a public agency would be. They have taken it upon themselves to reform public education, perhaps in ways that would never survive the scrutiny of voters in any district or state. If voters don’t like the foundations’ reform agenda, they can’t vote them out of office. The foundations demand that public schools and teachers be held accountable for performance, but they themselves are accountable to no one. If their plans fail, no sanctions are levied against them.

The foundations justify their assertive agenda by pointing to the persistently low performance of public schools in urban districts. Having seen so little progress over recent years, they now seem determined to privatize public education to the greatest extent possible. They are allocating millions of dollars to increase the number of charter schools. They assume that if children are attending privately managed schools, and if teachers and principals are recruited from nontraditional backgrounds, then student achievement will improve dramatically. They base this conclusion on the success of a handful of high-visibility charter schools (including KIPP, Achievement First, and Uncommon Schools) that in 2009 accounted for about 300 of the nation’s approximately 4,600 charter schools.

If we continue on the present course, with big foundations and the federal government investing heavily in opening more charter schools, the result is predictable. Charter schools in urban centers will enroll the motivated children of the poor, while the regular public schools will become schools of last resort for those who never applied or were rejected. The regular public schools will enroll a disproportionate share of students with learning disabilities and students who are classified as English-language learners; they will enroll the kids from the most troubled home circumstances, the ones with the worst attendance records and the lowest grades and test scores."

Here's an insider's view into some of the worst schools in the country:
"One of the big issues, the teachers say, is dealing with the administration.

“I think I met [my principal], like, twice last year,” says Amanda, who teaches 11th-grade English at a large, high-poverty West Philly high school that’s also regularly on the district’s Persistently Dangerous Schools list.*

Danza met with Northeast Principal Linda Carroll for a few one-on-one chats in his first week alone.

“If this doesn’t work … you’re out,” Carroll says. “With that said, I want to welcome you, and let you know that we’ll give you everything you need to get the job done.”

That’s probably not entirely true considering many district teachers pay for school supplies themselves, a fact not mentioned in the first episode. Amanda rattles off a list of things she supplied herself last year: “A projector, paper, pencils for the kids to write with, notebooks, books, access to computers—I purchased two netbooks last year, one of them got stolen.”

Beth, who teaches 10th-grade English at the same school as Amanda, and Cassidy want disciplinary support. “There are no school-wide consequences for a kid showing up to my class 10 minutes late every single day and not doing a damn thing—there’s nowhere to send her during school time,” Beth says.

For nonviolent offenses, at many underprivileged schools it often falls on the teacher to hold detention and call parents. Cassidy adds that almost anything, short of violence, could happen to her without punishment from above. “They can curse you out, they can call you a bitch, they can walk out, then the other kids start to see that there’s no consequences.”

Which the teachers say is another big problem: the rampant institutionalized indifference—an earbuds-in atmosphere of openly not giving a shit...

The teachers agree that a lot of their students swear constantly—the words pussy, bitch, fuck and faggot are “like prepositions,” Amanda says—but you won’t get proof of that in the show.

And the screening process is even more obvious when the teachers point to a consipcuous lack of pregnancy at Northeast. The three nonmagnet teachers estimate that one out of five girls in their schools is pregnant or has a child, and statistics from the Pennsylvania Department of Health back them up.

Even Danza’s workload vastly differed; he taught only one double-length class of 26 students, when most teachers have five periods and about 150 different students."

Charter schools, on the other hand, can pick and choose their students (even those chosen by lottery can be rejected for cause), and do not have to retain difficult students. Yet they, too, are turning out to be less than the perfect alternative once thought. Studies indicate that they generally fail to make much appreciable difference in the ability of students to perform, even though the kids self-select via their own and their parents' preferences for learning. And now some of the consequences of building an education system along a free-market-corporate-model line are coming into focus:
"Wealthy investors and major banks have been making windfall profits by using a little-known federal tax break to finance new charter-school construction.

The program, the New Markets Tax Credit, is so lucrative that a lender who uses it can almost double his money in seven years...But many of those same schools are now straining to pay escalating rents, which are going toward the debt service that Brighter Choice incurred during construction...Meanwhile, all the Albany charter schools haven't achieved the enrollment levels their founders expected, even after recruiting hundreds of students from suburban school districts to fill their seats.

The result has been less money in per-pupil state aid to pay operating costs, including those big rent bills. Several charters have fallen into additional debt to the Brighter Choice Foundation."
For this we see our public school resources diverted.

No wonder we stopped believing in science.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Jim DeMint Lies Down With Fleas, Gets Up With the Witchfinder General

And while we're on the subject of Christian persection---it appears Jim DeMint is using a Christian Reconstructionist organization to achieve his right-wing political ends:
American Vision is a Christian Reconstructionist organization that publishes books and newsletters, runs a discussion board, a web-based radio show, and annual conferences and engages in other activities to promote the dominionist views of its founder Gary DeMar, as well as those of one of its most well-known associates, Gary North, the son-in-law of Christian Reconstructionist founder R.J. Rushdoony, and a supporter of Ron Paul whose economic writings have also influenced Rand Paul.

The goal is to return America to its Biblical foundations “from Genesis to Revelation” (a postmillennial reading of Revelation, which holds that the Second Coming will occur after an era of Christian dominance). American Vision is a non-profit, tax exempt, educational organization. Like many of these groups, DeMar also has a companion organization that can raise money and promote candidates for elected office: Vision to America.
The group describes its purpose this way:
Vision To America is a division of Christian Worldview Communications, LLC. Founded in 2006 by Gary DeMar and Brandon Vallorani, Vision to America exists to help America return to our Founding Father's vision for a Christian Republic. America was once a light to the world—a place that God blessed with liberty and prosperity. Today, Americans are taught that the Almighty State has all the answers. As a result, our God-given liberties are being traded for a false sense of security. It our Vision to see Americans once again recognize that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights and that this Creator is the God of the Bible.
Now, through Vision to America, the Senate Conservatives Fund PAC (Chairman Jim DeMint) is trolling for money to "Take America Back"--to the fucking Dark Ages--and prop up Tea Bagger candidates across the country, including Rand Paul, Christine O'Donnell, Sharon Angle, Joe Miller, and Pat Toomey here in PA.

So what we see here is a direct connection from an extremist theocratic organization that aspires to take over the country and codify Leviticus, to an extremist political organization that seeks to use the adherents of the first group to elect dipshit ideologues of the second group. The essential cluelessness and lack of clarity in the thinking of the Tea Bag candidates makes them perfect for these ends. Once installed in their new offices, they should prove excellent sock puppets for the stone-the-queers-and-fornicators crowd, and we can listen to the theocrats boo-hoo about being victims of religious intolerance all the way up to the day they make jerking off a capital offense and enshrine the Holiness Code into the Constitution.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Liars of a Lesser God

You know, liberals try very hard not to disrespect the sincere beliefs of others. It's one of the defining traits of liberalism. Unfortunately, it's also one the reasons the religious right has been cleaning their clocks at the outraged victim game when it comes to Christianity.

For years we've been hearing how secular humanists are waging a war on Christmas, how Christians aren't even allowed to pray anymore, how the nation is actually a Christian construct and how the founding fathers always intended it to be so, and how the politically correct are destroying the constitutionally-protected right to spew hate from the pulpit. Over time this creeping cancer has overtaken and finally absorbed the entire religious dialogue, to the point that we are treated to the grotesque sight of bawling religious extremists, surrounded by their own kind (84% or more self-identify as "Christian") in a country fairly reeking of Christian dispensationalism, appealing to the heavens for protection from annihilation by the pagan hordes.

Christians are being denied their right to worship, but don't dare let any Muslim try putting up a mosque. Christians are being denied their right to indoctrinate kids into the Old Testament creation myth in high school science class, but don't dare present a program of information on Islam. Christians can't even say "Merry Christmas" anymore, but when was the last time you tried to buy menorah candles in a stange town? And of course, there's no test of religion for public office, which explains why Obama's religious affiliation and church attendance has been such a scandal, and why Christine O'Donnell built a whole campaign ad around denying she belonged to a religion with 3/4 million adherents or more in the U.S.

Now, in the wake of the reports that a fire company stood by and watched a man's home burn down, along with his pets, we get this pristine example of hijacked "Christian" goodness (via Digby):
A controversy has erupted over a decision by the South Fulton, TN fire department to allow a rural home in Obion County to burn to the ground because the owner did not pay the requisite $75 annual fee to secure fire protection...

The fire department did the right and Christian thing. The right thing, by the way, is also the Christian thing, because there can be no difference between the two. The right thing to do will always be the Christian thing to do, and the Christian thing to do will always be the right thing to do.

If I somehow think the right thing to do is not the Christian thing to do, then I am either confused about what is right or confused about Christianity, or both.

In this case, critics of the fire department are confused both about right and wrong and about Christianity. And it is because they have fallen prey to a weakened, feminized version of Christianity that is only about softer virtues such as compassion and not in any part about the muscular Christian virtues of individual responsibility and accountability.

The Judeo-Christian tradition is clear that we must accept individual responsibility for our own decisions and actions. He who sows to the flesh, we are told, will from the flesh reap corruption. The law of sowing and reaping is a non-repealable law of nature and nature’s God.

We cannot make foolish choices and then get angry at others who will not bail us out when we get ourselves in a jam through our own folly. The same folks who are angry with the South Fulton fire department for not bailing out Mr. Cranick are furious with the federal government for bailing out Wall Street firms, insurance companies, banks, mortgage lenders, and car companies for making terrible decisions. What’s the difference?
I'm not going to go into the Christian teachings of my youth here, or the theology I later learned as an adult. I will only say that these people who claim to speak for all Christians, for the "Christian way", and for Jesus himself, have a lot of goddamn nerve vomiting out toxic lying offal like this in the name of their saviour. These walking, talking egos drape themselves in the convenient theological garb of their deluded minds, jabbing at the projections of their own fearful consciences, and finding enemies in all their creator's works. It's time we called them on this, and every time they open their mouths to blaspheme their God, they need to be shut down. They do not speak truth. They do not know what Jesus said. They do not even know what their own religion is about. And until we have the courage to get off the defensive and tell the world this, they will always have liberals by the short hairs, even as they lie in the name of God.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Alert the Media!

Last year's news, a year and a half late:
As many households and small businesses are being turned away by bank loan officers, large corporations are borrowing vast sums of money for next to nothing — simply because they can.

Companies like Microsoft are raising billions of dollars by issuing bonds at ultra-low interest rates, but few of them are actually spending the money on new factories, equipment or jobs. Instead, they are stockpiling the cash until the economy improves.

The development presents something of a chicken-and-egg situation: Corporations keep saving, waiting for the economy to perk up — but the economy is unlikely to perk up if corporations keep saving.
That's my New York Times: All the news that the rest of the world has already figured out, but in a nice, staid format suitable for firelogs.