Posts filed under ‘Dumbed Down’
Gawd, this is embarrassing:
Where’s Ukraine? Each dot depicts the location where a U.S. survey respondent situated Ukraine; the dots are colored based on how far removed they are from the actual country, with the most accurate responses in red and the least accurate ones in blue. (Data: Survey Sampling International; Figure: Thomas Zeitzoff/The Monkey Cage)
Take Anti-Unionol, a long-lasting anti-worker suppository (this is great):
Climate change is happening fast in the United States but state and federal governments are so dysfunctional they’re unable to respond. Chaos reigns. Central California’s San Joaquin Valley is an example. It’s referred to as America’s “bread basket” but it’s literally being sucked dry. And no, I’m not a drama queen blogger high on Cheetos:
When water doesn’t fall from the sky or flow from reservoirs, there’s only one place to find it: underground. So, three years into a devastating drought, thirsty Californians are draining the precious aquifer beneath the nation’s most productive farmland like never before, pitting neighbor against neighbor in a perverse race to the bottom.
The rush to drill is driven not just by historically dry conditions, but by a host of other factors that promote short-term consumption over long-term survival — new, more moisture-demanding crops; improved drilling technologies; and a surge of corporate investors seeking profits for agricultural ventures.
Now those forces are renewing an age-old problem of environmental degradation: Decades ago, overpumping sunk half of the entire San Joaquin Valley, in one area as much as 28 feet. Today new areas are subsiding, some almost a foot each year, damaging bridges and vital canals.
Yet in California, one of the few states that doesn’t regulate how much water can be pumped from underground, even this hasn’t been enough to create a consensus to stop.
“It’s our savings account, and we’re draining it,” said Phil Isenberg of the Public Policy Institute of California, a former Sacramento mayor and assemblyman. “At some point, there will be none left.”
I recommend reading the whole article. Growers are plowing hundreds of thousands of dollars into drilling wells and well drilling companies are booked 12 months out. Well permits have tripled this year over last, and this year is only three months old. What’s happening there is a not-so-slow-motion catastrophe the corporate media will talk about — and people will know about — when it’s too late.
Yo, Arizona, do you really want to go down the road where anyone and everyone can refuse services to people they perceive as violating their “religious freedom?”
Let’s pretend I’m your letter carrier and I’m on my route walking toward your house. While sifting through the envelopes I’m carrying I see a letter or a solicitation from the NRA or Planned Parenthood. I’m opposed to one or the other so — per my “religious freedom” and the bill sitting on Governor Jan Brewer’s desk — I refuse service because delivering that letter would go against my “religious freedom” and I toss it.
That’s where you’re going.
Do you want letter carriers to decide what mail you get based on their “religious freedom?”
Seriously? Think about the ramifications.
(P.S. Here’s the definition of ramification.)
Oh, and I love how Republicans seem to have driven over their infamous rebranding plan.
When the media writes about Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper (we call him Howdy Doody here in Colorado) objecting to Colorado voters legalizing marijuana, it should be ah, kind of relevant (to say the least) to note that Howdy Doody is a freaking beer magnate and of course he doesn’t want marijuana to take hold:
John Hickenlooper Warns Govs on Pot Legalization
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper urged fellow governors Saturday to be cautious about following his state’s lead in embracing marijuana.
The Democrat worries other states will legalize pot so that they can tax it and fill budget shortfalls.
My Tweet of the Day:
My Tweet of the Day:
The corporatocracy keeps us in a state of fear (they can control us that way), but they keep us in a state of fear of things that are less likely to harm us than it.
Have you ever watched “Animal Planet” and had the feeling that what you were watching wasn’t, at its core, about animals? Me too.
Here’s an article Mother Jones published today about that very issue:
Which leads me to my quote of the day, even though I don’t have a quote of the day category here on ye ol’ blog:
“We’re not looking to be a natural history channel,” Animal Planet group president Marjorie Kaplan told the New York Times in 2008. “We’re looking to be an entertainment destination.” The network recently aired two documentary-style programs purporting to present evidence that mermaids are real.
I don’t look to Animal Planet to be “a natural history channel” but I do look to them to be a channel that cares about animals. Read the Mother Jones article. Not only don’t they care about animals, they’re willing to kill them in order to add drama to their shows.
I guess we should take them at their word: “We’re looking to be an entertainment destination” and here in the good ol’ U.S. of A., killing animals is entertaining. Check your local listings.
Maybe it’s just me, but have you noticed how the cable “news” networks cycle through so-called news stories roughly every eight, ten, 15 minutes and repeat themselves ad nauseam all day (unless there’s “breaking news” of course, like a high-speed police chase or an apartment fire)?
And maybe its just me but have you noticed how the right constantly screams about how liberal the U.S. media is?
Imagine how this country would change if the media really was liberal and they repeated this kind of thing every day, all day:
– Giving Employees Paid Sick Leave is Good for Business: A large majority of employers in Connecticut — where paid sick leave has been mandatory since January, 2012 — “reported that the law did not affect business operations and that they had no or only small increases in costs.”
– The NSA’s Sweeping Surveillance Programs Don’t Stop Terrorism: On June 5, 2013, the Guardian broke the first story in what would become a flood of revelations regarding the extent and nature of the NSA’s surveillance programs. Facing an uproar over the threat such programs posed to privacy, the Obama administration scrambled to defend them as legal and essential to U.S. national security and counterterrorism. Two weeks after the first leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden were published, President Obama defended the NSA surveillance programs during a visit to Berlin, saying: “We know of at least 50 threats that have been averted because of this information not just in the United States, but, in some cases, threats here in Germany. So lives have been saved.”
However, our review of the government’s claims about the role that NSA “bulk” surveillance of phone and email communications records has had in keeping the United States safe from terrorism shows that these claims are overblown and even misleading. An in-depth analysis of 225 individuals recruited by al-Qaeda or a like-minded group or inspired by al-Qaeda’s ideology, and charged in the United States with an act of terrorism since 9/11, demonstrates that traditional investigative methods, such as the use of informants, tips from local communities, and targeted intelligence operations, provided the initial impetus for investigations in the majority of cases, while the contribution of NSA’s bulk surveillance programs to these cases was minimal.
Climate change will complicate the Philippines’ efforts to become self-sufficient in rice, the country’s economic planning secretary said Monday.
Arsenio Balisacan said preliminary data showed that 74% of the estimated damage from natural disasters in the country last year came in the farm sector, primarily affecting rice. The natural disasters include extreme weather caused by global warming, he said.
“We expect these extreme events and unpredictable phenomena to become the new normal,” Mr. Balisican told a workshop on efforts to address the impact of climate change in agriculture.
No government regulation! Woo hoo. A Libertarian paradise (unless you need to take a shower, drink water, wash your clothes, make dinner or wash your face).
Got that? Earlier this month, Republicans refused to extend unemployment insurance to more than a million Americans because they’re lazy a++holes and if we coddle them they’ll just keep on keepin’ on sucking the tit of the American taxpayer.
Dear god of the universe: If only we really did have a liberal media here in the U.S., they’d be screaming about this: <—- <—-:
And if we had Democrats here in the U.S. who made some serious noise, who had guts and a willingness to stand up to the corporatocarcy (thank you Justice Roberts and your ruling on Citizens United), We the People might stand a chance…
From the Tea Party News Network:
Sanity? Yeah. Right. It’d say this is more about making us more insane if anything. A&E had a teachable moment here:
Teabaggers claim this is all about free speech and that silencing Phil Robertson goes against the First Amendment of the Constitution. Problem is, as is so often the case, they’ve apparently never read the one itty bitty sentence that comprises that amendment; they’re misinterpreting something that’s really, really clear and simple:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Translation: The First Amendment is about our government — as in Congress (hello, see above) — not passing any laws “abridging the freedom of speech.” It isn’t about being able to say whatever the hell you want or to yell “fire” in a movie theater.
Stupid is the new cool.
Shocking (not): There are fewer Christians in the world that the U.S. corporate media would have me believe.
Bravo! New Mexico yesterday, Utah today:
U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby issued a 53-page ruling Friday saying Utah’s law passed by voters in 2004 violates gay and lesbian couples’ rights to due process and equal protection under the 14th Amendment.
Shelby says the state failed to show that allowing same-sex marriages would affect opposite-sex marriages in any way, and the state’s unsupported fears and speculations are insufficient to justify deny allowing same-sex marriages.
This is about human rights — civil rights — not religious rights.
The most destructive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico ever, after which people and animals are still suffering is mesmerizingly beautiful?
Really? Is that where we are? Is that what we’ve become? People who see beauty in oil spills?
So John Boehner is a hero because he stood up to the people who hated his budget before they read it?
This is what’s really going on here (heads up Tea Partiers — they’re playing you for fools):
Americans think of Mexico and Mexicans as a nation of wannabe braceros, itching to cross the border to suck the tit of the American welfare state.
Think again Americans! They’re movin’ on up and getting things done:
Barring an unlikely court upset, the new year in Mexico will bring a national tax of one peso per liter — roughly 10 percent — on sugar-sweetened beverages and 8 percent on junk food. The legislation came about through a strong push by the Nutritional Health Alliance of 22 NGOs and networks representing some 650 nonprofits and grass-roots organizations, and an alignment of interests among President Enrique Peña Nieto, advisers in the Hacienda y Crédito Público (the rough equivalent of the I.R.S.), and members of the opposition parties.
The powerful Mexican soda and junk food industries were hardly asleep at the wheel this fall, and fear of losing their advertisers appears to have led major TV stations to refuse to run commercials advocating the tax. But several factors motivated Mexico’s president and legislature, including the fact that among populous nations, Mexico recently passed the United States to become the world’s most obese. Beyond that, there’s an increasing awareness that Mexico’s accelerating public health crisis could hurt its economy, and that only prevention would make practical the universal, single-payer health care system instituted last year.
Also critical to the new law was an agreement reached by the three major political parties, called “Pact for Mexico,” which essentially committed them all to not blocking anything that a majority wanted; specifically, if the party in office and one of the other two major parties wanted to pass one of 95 reforms necessary for the country to progress the third party would not resist. In other words, the nation’s future trumped partisan interests.
Me neither. Here’s a short blurb from November 30 from ScienceMag.org. It requires a subscription so this is all I can grab but amazing isn’t it, that we didn’t hear a peep about this in the U.S.
corporate liberal media? They were too busy tracking Obama’s “plunging” poll numbers and the supposed demise of Obamacare I guess.
Featuring the first lunar rover in 40 years, Chang’e-3 is seen as an important milestone on China’s quest to send a crewed mission to the moon by 2030. Its premier scientific instrument is a wide-angle extreme ultraviolet camera that will continuously observe Earth’s plasmasphere and the tail of comet ISON.
Oh, and for the most part, we just don’t do science around here.
UPDATED: Here’s more:
For the first time in more than three decades, the moon may soon see some soft-landing, human-made visitors. China launched its first moon rover—and third moon mission—at 1:30 am today, local time.
The Chinese rover should land December 14 or 15, Space.com reports. The last soft lander to visit the moon’s surface was a Russian craft in 1976. The last people on the moon were Americans, in 1972. Since then, space agencies have sent instruments purposefully crashing onto the moon’s surface, but nothing designed to remain intact after landing, which is more difficult to do.
I can’t decide if this is some sort of twisted poverty porn or a way for privileged people to have what could be an enlightening experience:
Shanty Town for a Unique Accommodation Experience in Bloemfontein
Millions of people are living in informal settlements across South Africa. These settlements consist of thousands of houses also referred to as Shacks, Shantys or Makhukhus. A Shanty usually consists of old corrugated iron sheets or any other waterproof material which is constructed in such a way to form a small “house” or shelter where they make a normal living. A paraffin lamp, candles, a battery operated radio, an outside toilet (also referred to as a long drop) and a drum where they make fire for cooking is normally part of this lifestyle.
Now you can experience staying in a Shanty within the safe environment of a private game reserve. This is the only Shanty Town in the world equipped with under-floor heating and wireless internet access!
The Shanty Town is ideal for team building, braais, fancy theme parties and an experience of a lifetime. Accommodates up to 52 guests. Our Shantys are completely safe and child friendly.
My gut feeling is that this is pretty revolting. I mean, show me a South African shanty town that has “under-floor heating and wireless internet access” that’s “completely safe.” If they want to truly recreate the experience of living in a shanty town, do it. It isn’t just about the look of the shanties.
I live in Boulder, Colorado, the site of September’s “1,000 year flood.”
Now — two and a half months later — we’re seeing headlines like this around here:
That said, this would be the lead chyron on the Weather Channel this evening:
The Midwest Recovers? It’s been 24 hours since the tornadoes hit yet the “midwest” is recovering?
I challenge the Weather Channel to go back to Washington, Illinois — or Joplin, Missouri — remember that? — in a year or two to follow up as to what “recovery” means.
I’m thinking it won’t be a 24-hour fix like the Weather Channel wants us to believe.
The answer to that question is: No way Jose. The only way Fox Business would cheer a huge milestone in the Dow like this is if a Republican was in office.
What happens when we stop teaching U.S. history in elementary school:
Love this tweet from In These Times‘ labor reporter Mike Elk.
Last week, the head of the NSA, Keith Alexander said the government of the United States has to figure out a way to stop journalists from reporting on leaks from Edward Snowden.
Yesterday British Prime Minister David Cameron said he thought it might be wise for his government to crack down on what newspapers in the UK are allowed to publish (i.e., as in the U.S., that would be things that are embarrassing to the government).
Now we have Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe formulating a “state secrets act” that would “curtail public access to information on a wide range of issues.” And again, what Abe hopes to keep from the public is information about potentially embarrassing (and possibly illegal) acts surrounding issues like the Fukushima nuclear disaster that I would submit, the world — not just the Japanese — needs to know about:
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government is planning a state secrets act that critics say could curtail public access to information on a wide range of issues, including tensions with China and the Fukushima nuclear crisis.
Critics see parallels between the new law and Abe’s drive to revise Japan’s U.S.-drafted, post-war constitution to stress citizen’s duties over civil rights, part of a conservative agenda that includes a stronger military and recasting Japan’s wartime history with a less apologetic tone.
“There is a demand by the established political forces for greater control over the people,” said Lawrence Repeta, a law professor at Meiji University. “This fits with the notion that the state should have broad authority to act in secret.”
“Basically, this bill raises the possibility that the kind of information about which the public should be informed is kept secret eternally,” Tadaaki Muto, a lawyer and member of a task force on the bill at the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, told Reuters.
“Under the bill, the administrative branch can set the range of information that is kept secret at its own discretion.”
Media watchdogs fear the law would seriously hobble journalists’ ability to investigate official misdeeds and blunders, including the collusion between regulators and utilities that led to the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
A probe by an independent parliamentary panel found that collusion between regulators and the nuclear power industry was a key factor in the failure to prevent the meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Co’s (Tepco) tsunami-hit Fukushima plant in March 2011, and the government and the utility remain the focus of criticism for their handling of the on-going crisis.
Tepco has often been accused of concealing information about the crisis and many details have first emerged in the press. In July, Tepco finally admitted to massive leaks of radiation-contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean after months of media reports and denials by the utility.
“This may very well be Abe’s true intention – cover-up of mistaken state actions regarding the Fukushima disaster and/or the necessity of nuclear power,” said Sophia University political science professor Koichi Nakano.
So, there seems to be a new worldwide push by the powers that be to limit what We the People know because the things they want to keep from us would probably infuriate us.
Oh, and here’s an urgent plea from NukeFree.org:
We are in desperate need of documentary filmmakers at Fukushima.
The Japanese government is about to pass a national censorship law clearly meant to make it impossible to know what’s going on there.
Massive quantities of radioactive water have been flowing through the site since the 3/11/11 earthquake/tsunami.
At thousand flimsy tanks hold still more thousands of tons of radioactive water which would pour into the Pacific should they collapse.
An earthquake and two typhoons have have just hit there, flushing still more radioactive water into the sea.
The corrupt and incompetent Tokyo Electric Power Company will soon try moving 400 tons of supremely radioactive rods from a damaged Unit Four fuel pool, an operation that could easily end in global catastrophe. The rods contain 14,000 times as much radioactive cesium as was released at the bombing of Hiroshima.
Nobody knows the exact location of the melted cores from Units One, Two and Three or whether they are still fissioning.
Reuters and others report criminal involvement, slashed wages, inhuman working conditions, serious shortages and lack of training in what has become an extremely dangerous labor crisis.
Intensely radioactive hotspots have turned up throughout Japan, including some that threaten human life in Tokyo and make cast a pall on the upcoming Olympics.
At least one report indicates a massive dead zone in the Pacific apparently caused by radiation pouring in from the site. Tuna contaminated with radiation from Fukushima have been caught off the California coast, and there are widespread reports other marine life disappearing throughout the Pacific.
With the information flow from Fukushima apparently about to go dark, the presence of independent media and researchers has become more critical than ever.
I saw this ad on my local Denver/ABC News station tonight. I guess I better run out and sign up to have “Energy From Shale” put five or ten fracking wells in my backyard tonight. Sounds so idyllic!
I’d never eat meat from Ms. Kern’s ranch and man-oh-man, I feel sorry for her kids. I have a bad feeling about this. I think she’s going to regret it. When you “talk with experts” from the fracking industry about fracking ah, yeah, it’s gonna sound great.
As an aside, Ault, Colorado is in Weld County. On November 5, Weld County will vote on seceding (or not) from Colorado.
Last night Barack Obama told us to watch the videos of people dying in Syria after being gassed by President Assad and he said if the United States doesn’t lead in the area of humanitarianism — as it supposedly always has — who will.
What a bunch of crap.
Show me another country who’s launched significant
humanitarian military actions roughly every 40 months over the last 40 years starting in 1964 with the invasion of Vietnam, veterans of which we’re still caring for and victims of which are still suffering from birth defects from our use of the chemical weapon, Agent Orange.
I’m listening to a “liberal” radio talk show and the people who are calling in are astonished to learn that the United States isn’t the beacon on the big high hill they’ve been led to believe. I mean, they’re as bad as this guy.
Beyond what we did in Vietnam, below is the reality. Oh, and how about we start wars every couple centuries instead of every 40 months for god’s sake:
- 1965-1973: Cambodia. We dropped more bombs on the tiny country than had been used in all of World War II.
- 1965: Dominican Republic. President Johnson sent 22,000 troops to prevent communists from taking over.
- 1983: Grenada. In the comically named Operation Urgent Fury, we invaded the tiny island nation to stop the commies.
- 1986: Libya. After two Americans are among those killed in a terrorist bombing of a disco in Germany, President Reagan ordered the bombing of facilities controlled by Muammar Gaddafi.
- 1989: Panama. In Operation Just Cause, we invaded the country and deposed its leader, Manuel Noriega.
- 1991: Kuwait/Iraq. Operation Desert Storm.
- 1992-1995: Somalia. Operation Restore Hope. Didn’t end well.
- 1994: Haiti. President Clinton sent 20,000 troops to restore the government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
- 1995: Bosnia. US and NATO forces intervene in the civil war with a large bombing campaign.
- 1999: Kosovo. We bomb the Serbians to help the Kosovars.
- 2001: Afghanistan. Still going!
- 2003: Iraq.
- 2011: Libya.
- 2013: Syria
We are watching the United States collapse from within:
A new, eye-opening study shows that the United States is not only falling behind in scientific research, but now we are in danger of losing our scientists, too.
In a study called, “Unlimited Potential, Vanishing Opportunity,” The American Society For Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) surveyed nearly 4,000 scientists from nearly all fields of research about the effects of budget cuts and sequestration on scientific research. The results are quite disturbing for anyone who cares about the future of science in our country.
In its press release summarizing its findings, the ASBMB wrote that the cuts are “tearing at the fabric of the nation’s scientific enterprise” while having a “minimal impact” on our national debt and deficit. Also, “The overwhelming majority of scientists in all fields believes the U.S. has lost its position as the global leader in scientific research.”
Sam Stein, at the Huffington Post, dug through the weeds and found, “Nearly one-fifth of scientists are considering going overseas to continue their research because of the poor funding climate in America.”
Fast forward to today and the results of a question asked in a Louisiana poll by Public Policy Polling, August 16 – 19, 2013:
Who do you think was more responsible for the poor response to Hurricane Katrina: George W. Bush or Barack Obama?
George W. Bush: 28%
Barack Obama: 29%
Not Sure: 44%
Holly cow. What the hell are they smokin’ down there?