Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Here's to 2009- are you laughing or crying?

So, now everyone is all up in arms about evangelical megachurch pastor Rick Warren giving the inaugural prayer next month- except Warren himself and Obama, I imagine:

Worries about Obama inauguration prayer

People, what is this crap about "cultural sensitivity" on the verge of going too far? The PC world entered the realm of Cultural Insensitivity ages ago. When you're all bent on getting your own agenda met, without considering the reason behind the proposed action or the words with which you disagree, existing, or considering why people believe or think other than you do, as though your way is the only right way, you're being a hypocrite.

I don't agree with Warren's stance on gay marriage. I have plenty of gay friends I think should be able to declare their intimate commitment the same way I am allowed with a man if I so desire. I've also read Warren's book The Purpose Driven Life, and found some of his points pretty lucid and reasonable: "Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less." "Real fellowship happens when people get honest about who they are and what is happening in their lives." "Every time you understand and affirm someone's feelings, you build fellowship." (Fellowship being defined as "experiencing life together.")

Check it out: We all live on this planet together. What's the sense of pointing out another's hypocricy without looking at our own part in the conflict? Obama "defended his choice, saying he wanted the event to reflect diverse views..." No, serious, the view that we can only have certain opinions and beliefs is only one view! Really! But craploads of people have differing opinions on what those views should be. What?

The world is full of hypocricy. My counselor yesterday (yeah, it's true, I am not completely pulled together in all areas of life and need a little help now and then), suggested that my disappointment with the way people conduct themselves, some deep-seated grief over the nature of the world in which we live, leads to my general mistrust of humanity, and occasionally the people closely surrounding me. That's a pretty miserable feeling, but there it is. I have my own idea of how we should act toward each other, but I don't go around telling people they can't have their own ideas; I just rail about what I perceive as general human retardedness here in my blog- and spend a ridiculous amount of crying and wondering if I'm doing enough to make things out there any better- my definition of "better." Eh, face it; I'm a hypocrite, too.

Don't give me any of that "religion is evil" shite either. Sure, there are plenty of people out there who interpret the Bible, the Qur'an, whatever sacred text, to their own liking, even atheists (who have their own sacred texts, "sacred" being defined by Webster as not only having to do with religion in the deity sense, but also "devoted exclusively to one service or use," and "entitled to reverence and respect.") But what's wrong with invoking Jesus Christ at an inaugural ceremony? It's not the only thing that will happen there, right? If you don't like to hear those words, "Jesus," "Christ," then close your ears for that part. It's no more a sign that the country is destined to go straight to hell because religion has been shoved into a secular event than four years ago when it happened. Obama was elected, not someone representing the radical self-righteous conservative Christians who live here. Or are you afraid of Jesus Christ because you can't find it in your own human heart to meet people where they are at, like he did, historically, according to certain accounts?

Even if the man didn't exist in real life, and even if he did and was just another human being who was able to spread a radical way of being in the world, because the timing and socio-political conditions were ready and he was uber-dedicated to his own beliefs, can a person deny that it's pretty much a universal value to want to accept others and get along at some level? What did you say, Mr. Obama? You would like to "reflect diverse views" at your inauguration? Is your intention to try to bring people together? Huh. What's that, "culturally sensitive" folks? You want to "reflect diverse views," as long as you agree with them?

OK, enough ranting on that subject. Let's look at the other stories that appeared on my homepage for the last day of the year:

Billionaire Blowups of 2008
"More than 300 of the 1,125 billionaires we tallied on our annual list last March have since lost at least $1 billion; several dozen lost more than $5 billion. The 10 richest from our 2008 rankings dropped some $150 billion of wealth, dragged down by steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal, estranged brothers Mukesh and Anil Ambani and property baron K.P. Singh, who together dropped $100 billion. America's 25 biggest billionaire losers of 2008 lost a combined $167 billion."

Don't ask these guys for money any time soon; they're practically flat broke, poor things:
Anil Ambani- $42 billion to $12 billion (This is what happens when family ties go to hell.)
Oleg Deripaska- $28 billion to <$10 billion (Once the world's richest man, he survived the gangster wars for this? How much is Putin worth now?) Anurag Dikshit (There's an unfortunate name; no wonder he's having trouble.)- $1.6 billion to $1 billion
Bjorgflur Gudmundsson- $1.1 billion to ZERO (Maybe he's the guy from Iceland who wrote Garrison Keillor on Prairie Home Companion saying, "Please send money.")
Luis Portillo- $1.2 billion to $15 million. !Esto mercado finca apesta!

Hey, how come the top 10 blowups aren't American? Don't worry; my close warm personal friend Bill Gates is still the richest man in the US, and the Wal-Mart Walton family is going strong.

"The rich haven't gotten richer--or poorer--this year. The price of admission to this, the 27th edition of The Forbes 400, is $1.3 billion for the second year in a row. The assembled net worth of America's wealthiest rose by $30 billion--only 2%--to $1.57 trillion.

"Rising prices of oil and art paved the way for 31 new members and eight returnees, while volatile stock and housing markets forced 33 plutocrats from our rankings."

Whoa, FFM, did you see that? Art! This is it: your chance!

Hooray! Here's to next year, without all these crappy overused words:
green, carbon footprint, maverick, first dude, and MAIN STREET.
Banned words list offers no 'bailout' to offenders;_ylt=Ar8cwOMHR1jXvhUHFid4sD4azJV4
Bye-bye, 2008.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Asteroid Impact (HD)

Yow. This is the coolest thing I've seen all day (not that I have seen much different or cooler than any other day...)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Some Days Are Just So Fine!

It's almost 40 degrees, sunny and melting outside. I got a chance to teach Masters class at ELS for a couple hours this morning, something I enjoy because I can hold class seminar-style and not stick to a rigid curriculum (like most of real life, right?) Plus I got to see students I have missed and who are always happy to see me (or at least they act like they are.) Then, I came home just in time for Scutabaga to arrive via FedEx; in fact, via a FedEx employee who stopped on the steps to chat for a few minutes. Acer replaced the hard drive- finally!- and so far, all is in order. Some days are just really nice ones.

Now I will go to the museum to work, for which I am very grateful, instead of washing dishes and taking down the Christmas tumbleweed (something I've felt I had to wait for the FFM to leave the house before doing, since when I mentioned it the other day he gave me a load of crap for being in such a rush. But really, for some reason this year, I am ready to take it down and move on to 2009. I don't know why; 2008 has been a good year. Maybe because the break between Thanksgiving and Christmas was so short this year, and then the last few days before the actual date of Christmas, I was mired in illness- of the emotional state, not physical. And now it's just time to walk into the next year.

I'm not even going to howl about the shite going on once again between Israel and Palestine today.

Winter Morning
Ogden Nash
Winter is the king of showmen,

Turning tree stumps into snow men

And houses into birthday cakes

And spreading sugar over lakes.

Smooth and clean and frosty white,

The world looks good enough to bite.

That's the season to be young,

Catching snowflakes on your tongue.

Snow is snowy when it's snowing;

I'm sorry it's slushy when it's going

Saturday, December 27, 2008

China's Queen of Trash!

Fred Pearce, writing in the Yale Environment 360 online magazine, offers a greener interpretation of the fast-moving Chinese economy, countering the frequent gloom-and-doom assessments. What caught my eye in the article was how waste had become a much sought after commodity at the heart of the China boom.

China is so desperate for raw materials to keep its industrial revolution going that it finds uses for almost any waste it can get its hands on: plastic packaging, the metal in old computers and other electronic goods. Just as the country used to run its agriculture on “night soil” (a handy euphemism for human feces), now it runs its industry on as much trash as it can get its hands on.

He tells the story of China’s “Queen of Trash,” Cheung Yan.

Ten years ago, when China stopped logging its own natural forests to prevent a recurrence of big floods, she anticipated a paper shortage. She went to the U.S. and drove around in an old pick-up begging municipal garbage dumps to sell her their waste paper. She was so successful that today her company, Nine Dragons, ships more than 6 million ton of waste paper a year into China, which she recycles into boxes for electronics goods that will be taking the next container ship back to Europe and North America.

Nine Dragons has now become the world’s largest packaging company and the Queen of Trash is “reportedly mainland China’s richest person — and possibly the richest self-made woman on the planet.”

Talk about cash from trash. What this highlights is the intrinsic value embedded in the waste stream - a value mined out of necessity and shortages. “…The very problems that China is finding in obtaining raw materials for its manufacturing plants is already pushing it into taking a world lead in waste recycling,” he writes. So what value is wasting away in the industrialized world that one might see with a China perspective?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Just Plain Sad

Fourth Army recruiter commits suicide: Alarming trend probed
By Associated Press
Monday, December 22, 2008 -
ENDERSON, Texas - Sgt. 1st Class Patrick Henderson, a strapping Iraq combat veteran, spent the last, miserable months of his life as an Army recruiter, cold-calling dozens of people a day from his strip-mall office and sitting in strangers’ living rooms, trying to sign up their sons and daughters for an unpopular war.

He put in 13-hour days, six days a week, often encountering abuse from young people or their parents. When he and other recruiters would gripe about the pressure to meet their quotas, their superiors would say that they ought to be grateful they were not in Iraq, according to his widow.

Less than a year into the job, Henderson - afflicted by flashbacks and sleeplessness after his tour of battle in Iraq - went into his backyard shed, slid the chain lock in place and hanged himself with a dog chain.

He became, at age 35, the fourth member of the Army’s Houston Recruiting Battalion to commit suicide in the past three years - something Henderson’s widow and others blame on the psychological scars of combat, combined with the pressure-cooker job of trying to sell the war.

“Over there in Iraq, you’re doing this high-intensive job you are recognized for. Then, you come back here, and one month you’re a hero, one month you’re a loser because you didn’t put anyone in,” said Staff Sgt. Amanda Henderson, herself an Iraq veteran and a former recruiter in the battalion.

The Army has 38 recruiting battalions in the United States. Patrick Henderson’s is the only one to report more than one suicide in the past six years.

The Army began an investigation after being prodded by Amanda Henderson and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas).

The all-volunteer military is under heavy pressure to sign up recruits and retain soldiers while it wages two wars.

Douglas Smith, a spokesman for the Army Recruiting Command, said, “I don’t have an answer to why these suicides in Houston Recruiting Battalion occurred, but perhaps the investigation that is under way may shed some light on that question.”

Monday, December 22, 2008

Crime and Civil Disobedience

Where'd the Bailout Money Go? $350 billion later, banks won't say how they're spending it.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Think you could borrow money from a bank without saying what you were going to do with it? Well, apparently when banks borrow from you they don't feel the same need to say how the money is spent.

After receiving billions in aid from U.S. taxpayers, the nation's largest banks say they can't track exactly how they're spending it. Some won't even talk about it.

"We're choosing not to disclose that," said Kevin Heine, spokesman for Bank of New York Mellon, which received about $3 billion.

Thomas Kelly, a spokesman for JPMorgan Chase, which received $25 billion in emergency bailout money, said that while some of the money was lent, some was not, and the bank has not given any accounting of exactly how the money is being used.

"We have not disclosed that to the public. We're declining to," Kelly said.

The Associated Press contacted 21 banks that received at least $1 billion in government money and asked four questions: How much has been spent? What was it spent on? How much is being held in savings, and what's the plan for the rest?

None of the banks provided specific answers.

"We're not providing dollar-in, dollar-out tracking," said Barry Koling, a spokesman for Atlanta, Ga.-based SunTrust Banks Inc., which got $3.5 billion in taxpayer dollars.

Some banks said they simply didn't know where the money was going.
Continue at:,0,2429990.story?page=1

I almost wish I'd made enough money to owe taxes this year so I could refuse to file.
IRS: Where is your check? You owe taxes.
Me: Oh, I choose not to tell you what I am doing with that money, but I will let you know I have decided not to send a check to you. If I hang onto it, I know where it will go when the time comes.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Larry the Cable Guy's 'Twas the Night Before Christmas

There are 800 million things going on in the world that are making me anxious, and I can't even keep track because Scutabaga is taking his third- and this better be FINAL, Acer!- trip to Texas, so here: Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

No, no, no!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

At Least They're Home?!

Today's abomination, if it can be corroborated:

Free men "apparently shackled and hooded" by our government for a 20 hour plane trip back to Bosnia, after being held at Guantanamo for 7 years. for what reason...? The men released have good reason to be happy to be home; we America, have every reason to be ashamed.

Last night on the TV news, the FFM and I heard Bush say about the Shoe Man in Iraq, that these kinds of things can happen in a free country. We pretty much looked at each other and said in unison, "I guess we don't live in a free country."

Monday, December 15, 2008

Got Some Iraqis on My Side

By now we've all heard the news that some Iraqi journalist threw his size 10 shoes at Bush this weekend and called him a dog. This was practically the only news reported, aside from the important stuff about sports stars cursing and speaking rudely, accusing officials of cheating and so on. (One of the contributers to this month's Vanit Fair said when asked what she is hoping for this holiday season: "That Obama will be about to begin his presidency." Huh? He is so ready! I personally hope that We the People quit making sports stars immortal.)

So, speaking of presidents and the shoes and all that, I love this Facebook-Getting-Back-in-Touch-with-People-from-Long-Ago-and-Far-Away thing. This morning I set my status as: is wishing she could throw a shoe at Bush, too, but even if she missed on purpose, it would get her locked up! Suddenly, friends all over the place were commenting:
--That guy had quite the arm.
--I'd throw a shoe at Bush, and there's no way I would miss. (Unless the secret service took the hit for him.) But I think more coffee first.
--You go girl!!!!
--I would throw a shoe too (but not one of the new Manolos :-)
--I would pitch in for bail if you did. Hopfully you would be wearing heels.
--I would like to see Toby Keith put a boot up his ass.
--and after you've walked though the barn..sacrificed for a good cause
--yeah sick Toby on him...

Peeps, I know these fine Americans carry the Republican, Democrat, and Independent party labels on their little voter registration cards; oh, yeah, it's so time for a change. Obama can't do it on his own; we all have to do our part.

And while we are at it, what's this bullshite: "Executive pay limits may prove toothless-
Loophole in bailout provision leaves enforcement in doubt"?! That's crap. Let's not let "may prove toothless" become "are toothless," huh?

" the last minute, the Bush administration insisted on a one-sentence change to the provision, congressional aides said. The change stipulated that the penalty would apply only to firms that received bailout funds by selling troubled assets to the government in an auction, which was the way the Treasury Department had said it planned to use the money.
"Now, however, the small change looks more like a giant loophole, according to lawmakers and legal experts. In a reversal, the Bush administration has not used auctions for any of the $335 billion committed so far from the rescue package, nor does it plan to use them in the future. Lawmakers and legal experts say the change has effectively repealed the only enforcement mechanism in the law dealing with lavish pay for top executives."

Thanks, Zoriah, for the photos:

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Why is the Rum Gone? - Remix

Why indeed?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Cubes of Memory

Last night, having had a day fraught with a fundamental problem with humanity- obviously- I skipped the party, so bObrObb and The Queen brought the party to my door, with drunken singing by the whole crowd. I'm cured. Thanks.
Fatcap makes me happy:

The Cubes of Memory
Llanes (Asturias, Spain)
One of the most recognisable features of Llanes is ‘Los Cubos de Memoria.’ ('The cubes of memory') They were created by Basque artist Augustín Ibarrola on the large reinforced cubes that arrived in the 1930’s to act as a breakwater and the blocks protected the harbour from fierce winter storms. It has been described as one of the major works of public art and within it there are elements of the history of the town, the region and the artist himself. ‘The Cubes of Memory’ represents the seafaring tradition and the hunting of whales; it refers to nature with a riot of flowers, also symbolic of all the floral festivals of Llanes; there are examples of fruit on the cubes, apples and citrus fruits, which were the main agricultural and export products in the nineteenth century and makes links between man and his history and invite the observer to get to know the land here.

The FFM is sick, so we won't be going to Denver this weekend for the Art Museum and Science and Nature dino exhibit. Maybe it's a good time for me to sit around and get my shite together and stop being so disappointed with the world.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Today's Holiday Message

I spent the first half of my life taking on responsibility for other people's feelings and failings (of my own accord, I freely admit), and I resolve not to do so for the next half or more. I'm sick and tired of people preying on my good nature, so if you don't come my way bearing gifts, go the other direction. Read that as a firm "fuck off."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Don't Flush This Piece Down the Ejecto

The only news I've read tonight that did not give me an anxiety attack, pretty much:

Doctor's Advice: Leave the Toilet Seat Up
One of the longest-running spousal debates may now be settled in favor of men and for the sake of little boys.
Leave the toilet seat up, some British doctors now say. The reason: a rising trend for heavy wooden and ornamental toilet seats to fall down onto the penises of unsuspecting (and just potty-trained) toddlers.
Dr. Joe Philip and his colleagues of Leighton Hospital, Crewe, in England detail such penis-crush injuries in the December issue of the journal BJU International. The team reports on four boys between the ages of 2 and 4 who were admitted to hospitals with injuries serious enough to require an overnight stay.
The doctors say the injuries have implications for holiday travel and at-home toilet safety for parents with male toddlers.
"As Christmas approaches many families will be visiting relatives and friends and their recently toilet-trained toddlers will be keen to show how grown-up they are by going to the toilet on their own," Philip said. "It is important that parents check out the toilet seats in advance, not to mention the ones they have in their own homes, and accompany their children if necessary."
The team found that all four toddlers had been potty trained and were using the toilet on their own when the incidents occurred. Each had lifted the toilet seat, which fell back down and crushed his penis. Three of the toddlers showed a build-up of fluid in the foreskin, but they were still able to urinate. The fourth had so-called glandular tenderness.
Luckily, the doctors say, the toddlers showed no injuries to the urethra (the tube in the penis that carries urine out) and no bleeding. All four toddlers were able to leave the hospital the next day.
To keep toddlers safe during their journey in the bathroom, the doctors suggest the following tips:
Parents should consider using toilet seats that fall slowly and with reduced momentum, which would reduce the risk and degree of injury.
Heavier toilet seats could be banned in houses with male infants.
Households with male infants should consider leaving the toilet seat up after use, even though it contradicts the social norm of putting it down.
Parents could educate their toddlers to hold the toilet seat up with one hand while urinating. During such a feat, parents should keep an eye on toddlers until the toddler can do this by himself.
"As any parent knows, toilet training can be a difficult time with any toddler," Philip said. "We are concerned that the growing trend of heavy toilet seats poses a risk not only to their health, but to their confidence.";_ylt=AnkUBalzFDCklHe31g5Y3A8PLBIF

I mean really, we do want to keep the species alive and all full of self-confidence, right? Plus, I love the idea of teaching kids young to contradict social norms.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

About That Meaning and Legacy Stuff

Sunday the FFM brought up an important conversation about meaning... meaning or purpose in people's lives, people wanting to leave a legacy, and how or why we even would construct such a thing if in the long run it doesn't mean anything. It was a long discussion, and I won't recreate all that here because it was personal, too, but I know where I stand in all that stuff and will say for the million and fortieth time that if I didn't construct meaning on a daily basis, then I would have driven the car off the cliff and put an end to my own life long ago. That's just the way it is.

And this is how it is, too, along the lines of at least doing what we can to, if not only to not hurt others while we all have that brief burp of time together, then to actually make some attempt to ease suffering:
Secret Santas in 3 states spread cheer, $100 bills
By CHERYL WITTENAUER, Associated Press Writer Cheryl Wittenauer, Associated Press Writer – Fri Dec 5
ST. LOUIS – At a suburban Goodwill store on Friday, Theresa Settles selected a large, black comforter to warm her family until she can raise the money to turn the gas heat back on. A petite woman approached, her face obscured by dark sunglasses and a wrapped winter scarf, and handed Settles two $100 bills stamped with the words "secret Santa." "The only condition," she said, "is that you do something nice for someone. Pass it on."...

...The secret Santa was a protege of Kansas City's undercover gift giver, Larry Stewart, who died of cancer nearly two years ago. Stewart roamed city streets each December doling out $100 bills to anyone who looked like they might need a lift.

Before his death in January 2007, Stewart told a friend how much he would miss his 26 years of anonymous streetside giving, during which he gave away about $1.3 million. Stewart, from the city suburb of Lee's Summit, made millions in cable television and long-distance telephone service.
The friend promised Stewart he would be a secret Santa the next year. "He squeezed my hand and that was it," said the Kansas City Santa, who would say only that he was an area businessman and investor. "I honored a promise."

Two secret Santas, one from the Kansas City area and the other from the St. Louis area, descended on thrift stores, a health clinic, convenience store and small auto repair shop to dole out $20,000 in $100 bills, hugs and words of encouragement to unsuspecting souls in need.

In this economy, they weren't hard to find....

...For the secret Santas, it's not about keeping Stewart's memory alive as much as the meaning behind his legacy.

"It's not about the man, it's not about the money, it's about the message," the Kansas City Santa said. "Anyone can be a secret Santa with a kind word, gesture, a helping hand."

He said the money is given without judgment, but on the condition that the receiver pass along a kindness to someone else. Stewart began his holiday tradition at a restaurant in December 1979, after he had just been fired. He gave a waitress $20 and told her to keep the change and was struck by her gratitude....

...The secret Santas want to expand their operation to every state, but so far only nine givers operate in Charlotte, N.C., Phoenix, St. Louis and Kansas City. They plan to start giving in Detroit this holiday season.
On the Net:
Secret Santa World,
Well, crap; that's pretty nice, right? I mean, we can leave it at that for now.

In Vigilance and Virtue (Fall 2008 "Culture"), an essay considering the actions of Nazi leader Adolph Eichmann, who organized transport of Jews to concentration camps, Amy Gilbert says, "French philosopher Chantal Delsol, in her penetrating book Icarus Fallen, points to two opposed trends in our responses to evil: unexamined indignation and a priori absolution. The first is evident in popular responses to events such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks or the Rwanda genocide: we voice our outrage and disorientation in quick and sometimes indiscriminate blame, accompanied in the media by replaying images of the events over and over again. The repetition is necessary, for we quickly reach the limits of our ability to articularly express our moral intuitions and judgments. The second trend generally emerges in response to more everyday situations, though it sometimes follows blind indignation n our processing of horrific events. In this mode, we excuse wrongdoing by denying the responsibility of the perpetrators. We identify some deterministic factor- upbringing, genes, neurochemistry- as the real culprit behind the transgression. And so we transform vices into pathologies for which people cannot be answerable."

(I just want to say that latter part scares the crap out of me.)

"This a priori absolution has a flip side. Just as vices are not blameworthy, so virtues are not commendable. Those who bravely risk their lives to save others, for instance, are not entitled to feel ennobled by their deeds- their neurochemistry determined their actions. And the rest of us need not feel guilty for our (likely) lack of action in simmilar circumstances. The 'heroes' simply have better genes than we do...."

"...Currently in vogue in psychology, philosophy, and evolutionary biology and traceable through Hobbes back to the ancient hedonists, this individualism maintains that our sole motivation, consciously or unconsciously, and even our most selfless seeming acts, is our own pleasure or satisfaction. Interestingly, if this is an accurate picture of human motivation, then Eichmann correctly identified his own key failing: his ineptitude at achieving his goals of self-advancement" (within the Nazi regime.) (pp. 7-8)

I don't know about you all, and I don't mean to oversimplify a complex question, but no matter how short a time I am here on this planet, or this planet is here in this solar system, and so on, I'd rather be doing what I do than what Eichmann did, and not just for my own self-satisfaction. (And dang, I haven't been advancing in any particular direction lately.)

Court: No review of Obama's eligibility to serve
WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court has turned down an emergency appeal from a New Jersey man who says President-elect Barack Obama is ineligible to be president because he was a British subject at birth. The court did not comment on its order Monday rejecting the call by Leo Donofrio of East Brunswick, N.J., to intervene in the presidential election.

Donofrio says that since Obama had dual nationality at birth — his mother was American and his Kenyan father at the time was a British subject — he cannot possibly be a "natural born citizen," one of the requirements the Constitution lists for eligibility to be president.

Donofrio also contends that two other candidates, Republican John McCain and Socialist Workers candidate Roger Calero, also are not natural-born citizens and thus ineligible to be president.
At least one other appeal over Obama's citizenship remains at the court. Philip J. Berg of Lafayette Hill, Pa., argues that Obama was born in Kenya, not Hawaii as Obama says and Hawaii officials have confirmed.

Does this guy really care about holding up constitutional law (he is an attorney), or is he just being a pain in the arse looking for a media ride on the Presidential train? I'd call it thinly veiled racism, but he's picked on Mccain and Calero, too. Maybe he's just a bitter hardcore Republican with a bone to pick. Classification: individualist evil.

Bank of America will no longer finance mountaintop removal coal mining
Bank of America will phase out financing for companies that practice mountaintop removal coal mining, a destructive and controversial method of coal extraction, according to a statement from the banking giant. The policy comes the day after the Environmental Protection Agency — at the behest of the Bush administration — approved a rule that will make it easier for coal companies to dump waste from mountaintop removal mining operations into streams and valleys.

"Bank of America is particularly concerned about surface mining conducted through mountain top removal in locations such as central Appalachia," the company said in a statement. "We therefore will phase out financing of companies whose predominant method of extracting coal is through mountain top removal. While we acknowledge that surface mining is economically efficient and creates jobs, it can be conducted in a way that minimizes environmental impacts in certain geographies."

Bank of America is currently involved with eight of the U.S.'s top mountaintop removal coal-mining operators, according to the Rainforest Action Network, an environmental activist group that is campaigning against coal use.
"Bank of America's decision is a giant leap forward in the fight against mountaintop removal coal mining, which has devastated Appalachian communities and the mountains and streams they depend on," said Rebecca Tarbotton, director of Rainforest Action Network's Global Finance Campaign, which has pressured Bank of America since October 2007 to cease financing of mountaintop removal mining and coal-fired power plants. "We hope that Citi, JP Morgan Chase and other banks follow Bank of America's lead."
For the rest of the story, go to:
So, Bank of America was hassled to make the decision, but the outcome was positive, regardless of motivation. Classification: individualist good.

Eh, what are you going to do?

Monday, December 8, 2008

One Side of the Coin

I am working on the other side of the coin, but it takes far longer and cuts into dog feeding and kitchen viewing time, than simply saying, "ALL PAYDAY LENDING BASTARD PLACES SHOULD BE BURNED TO THE GROUND- after hours of course, so that no one is on the receiving end of bodily harm."

I just learned that in Wyoming, currently payday loan interest rates are as high as 780%. Peeps, those places give me the willies when I pass them; I know they are out to keep the person who works and lives from paycheck to paycheck working and living from paycheck to paycheck while someone else walks off with a lot of that person's hard-earned tiny wages, but 780%? Those bastards are so lucky that punching someone in the head with a jacknife is totally illegal- unlike extortionist interest rates on payday loans.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Viva Glasvegas, Baby!

It's snowing like crazy outside, a perfect day for wrapping my family's presents and getting them ready to mail, and for writing Christmas cards. I am responding to the RECESSION, to my impending job loss, by recycling last year's cards. (Be ready, peeps, and cross your fingers I don't send you back the one you sent me a year ago, right?)

So, this may have been my last Pleasure Purchase for quite a while: Glasvegas. Vanity Fair says: "Glasvegas may well be the best new band from Britain, and, on their self-titled debut, this Scottish foursome evokes Phil Spector's 'wall of sound,' Jesus and Mary Chain's feedback, Joe Strummer's vocals, and Velvet Underground's drumming (listen to 'Geraldine' on" I say, "Great purchase; glad that's where I placed my last article of faith in the bank that holds my credit card debt."

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Not Well-Armed