Friday, February 4, 2011


"The greatest part of virtue lies in avoiding the opportunity for vice."
 (St. Augustine)

"Coming together is a beginning.
Keeping together is progress.
Working together is success."

"If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong."
 (Unknown)      [From Sandy Lemberg]

"Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak"
 (Unknown)      [From Sandy Lemberg]

"Not every child has an equal talent or an equal ability or equal motivation; but children have the equal right to develop their talent, their ability, and their motivation."
 (John F. Kennedy)      [From the signature of Cherie McCollough]

"Everyone should be respected as an individual, but no one idolized."
 (Albert Einstein)

"That's what math is - wondering, playing, amusing yourself with your imagination."
 (Paul Lockhart)      [From the signature of David Hovorka]

"The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."
 (Unknown)      [From Sandy Lemberg]

"One can be very happy without demanding that others agree with them."
 (Ira Gershwin, American lyricist)

"It is hard to interest those who have everything in those who have nothing."
 (Helen Keller)

"I wish I were perfect. I wish I were just the nicest, nicest, nicest person on Earth. But I am a business person."
 (Martha Stewart, American businesswoman and TV personality)

"It is playing for children and an emergency for the butterfly."
 (Unknown)      [From the signature of David Wagner]

"The television is to news as the bumper sticker is to philosophy."
 (Jack Monahan)

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."
 (Albert Einstein)

"He who hesitates probably shouldn't be on the bomb disposal squad."
 (Jack Monahan)

"Our greatest weariness comes from work undone."
 (Eric Hoffer, American writer and philosopher)

"The highest result of education is tolerance."
 (Helen Keller)

"I saw a woman wearing a sweat shirt with "Guess" on it ... so I said "Implants?"
 (Unknown)      [From Sandy Lemberg]

"The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails."
 (William Arthur Ward)      [From an article by Sarah Henchey]

"Mathematics is the gate and key of the sciences ... . Neglect of mathematics works injury to all knowledge, since he who is ignorant of it cannot know the other sciences or the things of this world. And what is worse, men who are thus ignorant are unable to perceive their own ignorance and so do not seek a remedy."
(Roger Bacon [Opus Majus, bk. 1, ch. 4 - <>])

"Animals are such agreeable friends, they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms."
 (George Eliot, British writer)

"Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car."
 (Unknown)      [From Sandy Lemberg]

On being a good teacher:

"You are selling. That's part of what it is to be a good teacher. To be a good teacher, you have to be part stand-up comic, part door-to-door salesman, part expert, part counselor. Do what feels natural. Be yourself. Are your students liking it? Is it working for you?"

"Yes." They liked it all right, maybe a bit too much. "And I think they're learning."

"Then forget about the rest of it. Just have fun. That's the best reason for doing it."

Stendhal wrote: "With me it is a matter of almost instinctive belief that when any ... man speaks, he lies-and most especially when he writes." I still like to tell a good story. But doesn't everybody who loves teaching? How else are you going to liven up the classroom when students' eyes are always turning to their iPhones or laptops?

( Clancy Martin, philosopher and chair of the philosophy department at the U. of Missouri at Kansas City)

Jerry P. Becker

Via JMG: Sarah Palin Files Name Trademark

Sarah Palin has filed applications to trademark her name and the name of the her daughter, Bristol. Maybe they're coming out with their own line of moose shotguns?
It's hard for an individual to trademark their name, but it's not without precedent. Pop singer-songwriter Billy Joel has done it, for example. If Palin's applications are granted, many politicians seeking to keep tighter commercial control of their images may well follow suit. Since President Obama was elected, the White House has openly grumbled about advertisers using Obama's name and likeness to sell products. Last year, Obama aides publicly complained after the Weatherproof Garment Company installed a billboard in Times Square showing Obama wearing one of its jackets on a trip to China. But there was little the administration could legally do, since Obama's image and name aren't legally protected. The billboard was eventually removed—though not because of complaints.
If she gets approval, bloggers should then write Sarah Palin™.

reposted from Joe

Two from Truthout:

Wallace Shawn | Why I Call Myself a Socialist
Wallace Shawn, TomDispatch: "In most reasonably large towns in the United States and Europe, you can find, on some important public square or street, a professional theater. And so, in various quiet neighborhoods in these towns, you can usually also find some rather quiet individuals, the actors who work regularly in that theater, individuals whose daily lives center around lawns and cars and cooking and shopping and occasionally the athletic events of children, but who surprisingly at night put on the robes of kings and wizards, witches and queens, and for their particular community temporarily embody the darkest needs and loftiest hopes of the human species."
Read the Article

Extreme Weather Report From Home: The Thong Will Drop
Subhankar Banerjee, Climate Story Tellers: "People across half of the US just experienced unprecedented cold, snow and ice brought in by a record setting winter storm. Climate deniers have been wondering, we thought it's gonna be warm with global warming, so why is it so cold? The climate scientists on the other hand have been pointing out that as the Arctic warms we'll experience more frequent and severe intensity winter storms with colder temperatures and more snow - all due to human-made climate change."
Read the Article

TRMS 020311 Glen Beck & Sean Hannity: Egyptian Haters

Via SacBee:

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Via Belirico: Social Security: Where's Our Tahrir Square?

We have seen some amazing days in Egypt, and it has provided a better lesson than anyone could have expected for how taking action, against long odds, can really get something done.
egyptprotestchicago.jpgA secret police mechanism has been pushed aside, an Army has chosen not to attack The People, and a President who was backed by the "full faith and credit" of the US Government on Friday was being told by that same government on Tuesday that it's time to go.
The People, in fact, spoke so loudly that Mr. Mubarak has informed Egyptians that he's going to "pursue corruption," which if taken literally, could eventually look like a puppy chasing its own tail.
The People, however, are unhappy with his answer, and they're speaking even louder - willing to take beatings, gunfire, and, believe it or not camel charges to make their voices heard.
It all got me to thinking about Social Security.
We are facing the potential for a great big Social Security fight for pretty much the entire term of the 112th Congress - and it seems to me that a series of great big "Cairo-style" marches might be the way to make our voices heard so that this Congress understands that great big benefit cuts are something that we will not tolerate.

Continue reading "Social Security: Where's Our Tahrir Square?" »

Via JMG: Nobel Peace Prize Nom For WikiLeaks

WikiLeaks has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for the site's "exposure of corruption, war crimes and torture around the world."
Nobel-watcher and Peace Research Institute Oslo Director Kristian Berg Harpviken says he is not surprised WikiLeaks has been nominated and he expects it will receive more than one vote. "WikiLeaks has been on top of the international news headlines for the last 12 months," he said. "It is also something very new in more ways than just bringing interesting news. It is, in fact, newsworthy in and of itself as a phenomenon. It is an interesting and many ways challenging candidate in its own right." A wide range of people are invited to make a peace prize nomination, including politicians, professors, and former laureates.
The wingnuts are gonna really lose their shit.

reposted from Joe

Via JMG: Auto, Demo, Theo

reposted from Joe

Via Truthout:

Noam Chomsky | "The Arab World Is on Fire"
Noam Chomsky: "'The Arab world is on fire,' al-Jazeera reported on Jan. 27, while throughout the region, Western allies 'are quickly losing their influence.' The shock wave was set in motion by the dramatic uprising in Tunisia that drove out a Western-backed dictator, with reverberations especially in Egypt, where demonstrators overwhelmed a dictator's brutal police. Observers compared the events to the toppling of Russian domains in 1989, but there are important differences."

Read the Article

Via CourageCampaign:

Courage Campaign

Last Saturday, the Courage Campaign helped organize a protest of the “Billionaire’s Caucus” -- a secret political strategy meeting hosted by oil conglomerate Koch Industries for big polluters, Wall Street robber barons, right-wing media personalities, and those who do their bidding in Washington. They’ve given tens of thousands to House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and his new Subcommittee Chairs.1And now he’s giving them an unprecedented opportunity to pad their profits at taxpayer expense.  We will not let this stand. Dear Daniel,

Darrell Issa knows where his bread is buttered.

That’s why the first thing he did as House Oversight Committee Chair was to ask corporate lobbyists and his rich industry friends to tell him what to investigate.  In other words, Issa’s top priority was to make government even more responsive to the wealthy and well-connected.

It’s time to remind Darrell Issa who he works for.

Tell us what you want investigated by the House Oversight Committee, and we’ll deliver your ideas to Chairman Issa in person.

From delivering earmarks to campaign contributors2 to holding secret meetings with lobbyists,3 Darrell Issa has a bad habit of treating his constituents as an afterthought.

Unfortunately, not one of the fat cats who received Issa’s letter are among the 1 in 10 homeowners in his district facing foreclosure,4 his 331,000 constituents with pre-existing health conditions,5 the 2.27 million Californians who are out of work, or the countless others who await the return of loved ones from Iraq and Afghanistan.

It’s time that Rep. Issa listened to the hard working families on main street—not just the lobbyists on K Street.

Make your voice heard. Tell us what Chairman Issa should investigate, and why. We’ll deliver your responses to him.

Chairman Issa works for us, as Californians and Americans, not for a select few corporate lobbyists. Help us remind him, by telling him what you want to investigate.

Thanks for your hard work,


P.S.  Time and again, we’ve shown the only way to compete with big corporate power is with people power.  Please forward this urgent message along to five friends and urge them to make their voices heard.


Via JMG: Population Concentration

If all the people in the world had to live in one city, here's how big that city would be based on the population densities of six examples.

reposted from Joe

Via JMG: Photos Of The Day

NASA published the above satellite photo of this week's massive storm over North America as another huge system over Australia is being called the worst cyclone in that country's recorded history. Meanwhile the wingnuts are chortling all over Twitter as to how this winter's U.S. storms are "the final nail in the coffin of global warming." Science, they don't has it.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

U.S. Snowstorm Seen From Space: Wild Weather Captured By NASA (PHOTOS)

Did You Know Updates

Global Warming - Did You Know?

Via Ethos Pathos & Legos

Via JMG: SOUTH DAKOTA: Republican Lawmaker Proposes Mandatory Gun Ownership

South Dakota Tea Party-backed GOP state Rep. Hal Wick has proposed a bill that would require every adult in the state to by a gun "sufficient to provide for their personal self-defense."
The bill, which would take effect Jan. 1, 2012, would give people six months to acquire a firearm after turning 21. The provision does not apply to people who are barred from owning a firearm.Nor does the measure specify what type of firearm. Instead, residents would pick one “suitable to their temperament, physical capacity, and preference.” The measure is known as an act “to provide for an individual mandate to adult citizens to provide for the self defense of themselves and others.”
Wick's bill, of course, is meant to mock "Obamacare" as being as equally unconstitutional as mandating gun ownership. Over at Salon, however, Alex Pareene points out that there's nothing unconstitutional about a state requiring one to purchase a gun.
No one expects the bill to become a law, but these guys are just trying to make a point, and that point is that they don't even understand conservative talking points about the individual mandate. The argument against the individual mandate is that the federal government doesn't have the power to compel people to purchase private insurance. It is not about what states can and can't do. That's kind of the fundamental issue, actually. The role and powers of the federal government.

reposted from Joe

Via JMG: Headline Of The Day

From the Onion, of course. "242 House Republicans voted Wednesday to repeal the Asteroid Destruction and American Preservation Act, which was signed into law last year to destroy the immense asteroid currently hurtling toward Earth." If Obama did propose such a bill, you know the GOP would be against it.

reposted from Joe

Via JMG: Senate Defeats "Obamacare" Repeal

The GOP's "repeal Obamacare" dog-and-pony show hit the wall in the Senate today. The vote was 47-51, right along party lines. Lieberman and Warner were not present.
With a Democratic president and Republicans 13 votes short of the 60 votes they would need to break a filibuster in the Senate, the odds of the law being overturned legislatively in the next two years are essentially zero. It is possible that it will be overturned in the courts, however; two federal judges have deemed the law unconstitutional, while two have found it to be constitutional. The issue will likely end up before the Supreme Court. In classic Senate fashion, the vote on the repeal measure was anything but straightforward. The repeal measure was actually in the form of an amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill, and the vote was actually on a "budget point of order" and needed 60 votes for passage.

reposted from Joe

Quote via Facebook buddy Rogr:

I don't care if ordinary people read or not. It's not for me to say how people should live. But people who have power over me? I want them to read because their limited, impoverished dreams may become my nightmares." 
--Yann Martel, author, sends a book every two weeks to the Canadian Prime Minister.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Via JMG: Photo Of The Day - Cairo Protest

A crowd estimated in the hundreds of thousands flooded Cairo's Tahrir Square this morning in the eighth straight day of widespread unrest. As protests continue to spread to other nations in the region, this morning Jordan's King Abdullah fired his entire cabinet.

reposted from Joe

And then there is Todays WTF: CPAC To Honor War Criminal Rumsfeld

At this weekend's CPAC 2011 conference former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld will be presented with their "Defender Of The Constitution" award. Irony, the wingnuts know you not.
Rumsfeld, who was Secretary of Defense under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2006, oversaw the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. He was replaced by current Defense secretary Robert Gates after a number of generals called for his resignation. In 2005, he was sued by the American Civil Liberties Union for authorizing the torture and abuse of detainees at facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan. The ACLU claimed that the Constitution prohibited the Secretary of Defense from adopting or permitting policies of cruelty against civilians in US military custody, but Rumsfeld claimed he could not be held legally liable for the torture.
Rumsfeld has had to cut short trips to France and Germany over fears that local authorities were about to arrest him for war crimes. He's a defender! Of the Constitution!

reposted from Joe

Today's Piece of Amazing: Millions rally to oust Mubarak

Today's Piece of Weird (via JMG): Star Wars Last Supper

Remember a few years ago when the religious right completely lost their shit because of a similar Folsom Street Fair poster? Matt Barber was still a Concerned Woman in those days, but was UNconcerned with the hundreds of other Last Supper parodies out there. Because Folsom's had filthy homos in it! Barber's campaign against Folsom's poster eventually caused their beer sponsor to pull their logo from the event. (Not their money, though.) But even though Emperor Palpatine himself stands in for Jeebus here, we're betting this escapes complaint.

reposted from Joe

Via SacBee:


Monday, January 31, 2011

Via JMG: FLORIDA: Activist Judge Kowtows To GOP Agenda, Strikes Down Health Care Law

The right wing loathes those activist judges who are always imposing their agendas on the American people. Except when those judges are GOP appointees and do their bidding.
A federal judge in Florida has struck down the Obama administration's requirement that nearly all Americans buy health insurance, and questioned the constitutionality of the entire health care law. "I must reluctantly conclude that Congress exceeded the bounds of its authority in passing the Act with the individual mandate," wrote U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson, the second federal jurist to rule against law that Obama signed last year. Two other judges have sided with the administration on the issue that may well wind up in the Supreme Court. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., sakd the decision confirms that "the health spending bill is a massive overreach and Democrats 'exceeded the bounds' of Congressional authority." Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, praised the ruling, saying that "Congress does not have the legal authority to tell Utahns and other Americans that they must buy health insurance or else."
It's totally legal and fair to require people to carry auto insurance. But not health insurance, cuz that's totally communist!

reposted from Joe

Via JMG: Stonewall Dems: Walmart Is Homophobic

As Walmart ramps up its media blitz against the New York City government, hoping to finally gain a foothold in the nation's largest market, the Stonewall Democrats have issued a statement denouncing the company as homophobic.
"Walmart represents a culture of intolerance and insensitivity towards LGBT employees and issues that is unwelcome in New York. Just last year more than 100 Walmart stores were found to be promoting a children's book that suggested that gay people can overcome “sin” and convert to heterosexuality with the help of counseling. Walmart CEO Mike Duke signed a petition in his home state of Arkansas that was aimed at preventing adoption by gay and lesbian parents. The 2011 Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index, which evaluates corporations on LGBT issues, gave Walmart 40%. That failing grade is in marked contrast to other retailers like Macy's and Costco which both received 100%. "Walmart's values are not our values and they are certainly not New York's. Stonewall Democratic Club is committed to building a city that is free from intolerance towards all LGBT people - a city that remains Walmart free."
A Walmart spokesperson has denied the charge, saying that the company supports its LGBT employees. Today the company launched its second round of radio and newspaper ads urging the public to fight attempts to keep Walmart out of New York City.

reposted from Joe

Via Truthout: Debts Should Be Honored, Except When the Money Is Owed to Working People

Dean Baker, Truthout: "This seems to be the lesson that our nation's leaders are trying to pound home to us. According to The New York Times, members of Congress are secretly running around in closets and back alleys working up a law allowing states to declare bankruptcy. According to the article, a main goal of state bankruptcy is to allow states to default on their pension obligations. This means that states will be able to tell workers, including those already retired, that they are out of luck. Teachers, highway patrol officers, and other government employees, some of whom worked decades for the government, will be told that their contracts no longer mean anything. They will not get the pensions that they were expecting."

Read the Article

Via Truthout: The Public-Sector Squeeze

Max Fraad-Wolff and Richard D. Wolff, Truthout: "A national campaign is now fully launched to make local, public-sector employees pick up a major share of the costs of the economic crisis. Years of rising spending and falling revenue have carved a path of destruction through federal, state and local budgets. Deficits and debts have mounted, eroding taxpayer support for government spending in general and for public employees particularly. In response to deep economic pains in middle-class communities, major efforts are under way, from California to Maine, to balance budgets through major cuts in services, wages, benefits and employment."

Read the Article

First song on my Ipod shuffle today was:

For Everyman - Jackson Browne - My all time fovorite song

totally fits my head today


Sing my songs to me
Sing them to me softly
Sing me sunlight and shadows
Orange groves and meadows
Let your voice ring back my memories
Sing my songs to me

Bring my dreams to me
Bring them from the darkness
Let the minutes and hours
Show my mind strange new flowers
But I'd like to know where they go
when the morning comes
Bring my dreams to me

Because it seems to me that there may never be
A better chance to see who I am
Come timelessly dancing
Through my dreams to me



Everybody I talk to is ready to leave
With the light of the morning
They've seen the end coming down long enough to believe
That they've heard their last warning
Standing alone
Each has his own ticket in his hand
And as the evening descends
I sit thinking 'bout Everyman

Seems like I've always been looking for some other place
To get it together
Where with a few of my friends I could give up the race
And maybe find something better
But all my fine dreams
Well thought out schemes to gain the motherland
Have all eventually come down to waiting for Everyman

Waiting here for Everyman--
Make it on your own if you think you can
If you see somewhere to go I understand
Waiting here for Everyman--
Don't ask me if he'll show -- baby I don't know

Make it on your own if you think you can
Somewhere later on you'll have to take a stand
Then you're going to need a hand

Everybody's just waiting to hear from the one
Who can give them the answers
And lead them back to that place in the warmth of the sun
Where sweet childhood still dances
Who'll come along
And hold out that strong and gentle father's hand?
Long ago I heard someone say something 'bout Everyman

Waiting here for Everyman--
Make it on your own if you think you can
If you see somewhere to go I understand

I'm not trying to tell you that I've seen the plan
Turn and walk away if you think I am--
But don't think too badly of one who's left holding sand
He's just another dreamer, dreaming 'bout Everyman

(c) 1973 WB MUSIC CORP

Via Truthout:

Today, we conclude our serialization of Thom Hartmann's "Rebooting the American Dream," with its final chapter, "Tag, You're It." This chapter offers time-tested strategies for rebuilding a true middle class and restoring American prosperity - without peremptorily squelching the dream for future generations. It asks the question, "Will our republic survive as a democracy?" The answer comes in the form of what Hartmann calls history's most important lesson: "Presidents can lead on behalf of the people, but only when the people demand that they do so."

Truthout is thrilled to have had the opportunity to share this essential book with our readers, and we're so grateful to Mr. Hartmann for his vision, his insight and his inspiration.

Read the conclusion of "Rebooting the American Dream: 11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country" here.

Maya Schenwar
Executive Director, Truthout

Support Truthout with a tax-deductible donation by clicking here.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Via Truthout: Raffi | The Right to a Future

Raffi Cavoukian, Truthout: "Are we tweeting while Earth burns? Is climate collapse our new collective Titanic? How do we best describe the survival struggle of seven billion in a way that connects with the public and with decision makers? The science on global warming is clear and compelling. Earth is in serious climate crisis. That's why many writers have recently upgraded climate change to climate collapse, climate catastrophe, the long emergency. To convey the climate threat fully, we need a new Story.... I propose a new lens and lexicon for conveying climate change as the greatest threat on Earth, a tragedy of epic proportions, especially for the world's young."

Read the Article
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