Monthly Archives: April, 2010

Estamos Unidos Con McCain

While idly perusing Wonkette I saw a front page from Arizona senatorial candidate John McCain’s Spanish language website. Que feliz, amigos, I thought, sing Kumbaya. I clicked on the link and there was the English site, headlining border security.

What happened to the famous Spanish site, that was all the rage in 2008? Where is the love this Cinco de Mayo? You can click here to an address called John McCain.com/espanol. But it is not en Espanol. I searched Google for that Spanish version, but had no success. Can you find it? Was it deported?

Taking the long view of US history, the reason we don’t have an official language is because with the exception of Native Americans we all arrived from somewhere else. I heard a rumor that Lady Liberty was conceived in France, but she’s All-American to me.

Hold Your Fire!

Arizona Iced Tea Shows Its Papers! Don’t blame it for Arizona politics or boycott it unjustly. It’s made in New York. And the ice tea moguls may be wondering if they should have named it ‘New York Iced Tea’. Kind of sophisticated, experienced but not jaded, always on the edge of the next trend.

In Arizona they drink Tang.

Spring RICLAPP Fundraiser at Twist in Warwick

The Rhode Island Center for Law and Public Policy (of which I am a board member) will be having a fundraiser next week. Details:

Spring Into Action!
Thursday May 6th

Twist Restaurant
336 Bald Hill Road Warwick, RI 02886
5:00 – 7:30 pm
Tickets: $20.00
Tickets Can Be Purchased at the Door
***Bring a Friend and Receive 5 Free Raffle Tickets!***

RICLAPP is doing some exciting things and will be adding an Americorps person to their staff to help coordinate the legal services we provide to the community. Come support this excellent organization as it grows!

Bishop Tobin is Scandalized

By health care reform. I don’t know what to say. I once had a co-worker who, when I asked her about Catholic things that didn’t make sense to me said, ‘It’s a mystery.’

So the Bishop’s sense of scandal is beyond my understanding, especially since anyone who spends any time at all talking to the good workers at St.Joseph Hospital knows that people are desperate for access to health care. Does Bishop Tobin drop by there often?

Anyway, ProJo.com has coverage here.

30 Years On

Teacher Ken from Daily Kos has a post on the 30th anniversary of the American exit from Vietnam.

I can’t call it the end of the war, because the war spread horrifically across Southeast Asia and many Rhode Islanders are here because they are survivors of that atrocity. Other Rhode Islanders were drafted into service and bear scars of body and mind.

There’s no good war. May we find our way to peace.

Cape Wind Approved

It’s a long way from shovel-ready, but the US has approved an offshore wind farm off Cape Cod.

There’s no free lunch. Wind power is way better than ‘drill baby drill’. Few Rhode Islanders know that there was once a proposal to build a nuclear reactor in Charlestown. I’ll take a wind turbine any day.

Meanwhile, oil spills into the Gulf of Mexico.

How to Eat Less Pesticides

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has two lists to help us eat less pesticides in fruits and vegetables — the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen. Dr. Andrew Weil makes the argument that reducing pesticides in our body tissue helps to reduce the risk of problems with your nervous system, your endocrine system, and other major systems of the body.

Back to the Moon

Well, actually watching Duncan Jones’ ‘Moon’ on cable. Fine screenplay from Nathan Parker, amazing acting from Sam Rockwell and himselves, as well as a fine performance by Kevin Spacey present in voice only.

I’ll excuse the lack of diversity just for this time since Sam Rockwell was the only actor on camera, except for Dominique McElligott as his earthbound wife, Tess. That role requires Ms. McElligott to be beautiful, which is not a stretch.

Have you seen any smart and provocative films lately? How come they can spend a gazillion on making stuff explode but have so much trouble finding a good screenwriter? I have a short list, a very short list, of movies I like.
Three Brothers
Fast, Cheap and Out of Control
American Splendor
Moon

The Smartest Guys in the Room

Remember Enron, The Smartest Guys in the Room? The California energy corporation that stole and mismanaged piles of money, subjected California to rolling brownouts, laughed at the people they were robbing? Remember their poor brainwashed, fired employees whose retirement funds of Enron stock was only good to line the catbox?

We hear Enron traders laughing about “Grandma Millie,” a hypothetical victim of the rolling blackouts, and boasting about the millions they made for Enron. As the company goes belly up, 20,000 employees are fired. Their pensions are gone, their stock worthless. The usual widows and orphans are victimized. A power company lineman in Portland, who worked for the same utility all his life, observes that his retirement fund was worth $248,000 before Enron bought the utility and looted it, investing its retirement funds in Enron stock. Now, he says, his retirement fund is worth about $1,200.

Michael Lind at Salon remembers. His post today is a 101 on how we got into this mess…

Beginning in the 1970s, Democrats and Republicans alike dismantled the regulatory systems that a previous generation of Democrats and Republicans had constructed in the 1930s and 1940s. In electricity generation and distribution, airlines and trucking, as well as finance, the conservatives and neoliberals of the last generation dismantled New Deal-era regulations. Entranced by a naive Econ 101 view of markets, the champions of deregulation promised market miracles that did not happen while failing to foresee disasters that did.

The Republicans in Congress have united to filibuster finance reform. They are the same party that pushed deregulation with evangelical zeal, and for thirty years have been constructing the myth of virtuous bankers and brilliant financiers who will save us all if only we don’t ask questions or trouble them with rules.

Let’s revisit a true crime story, and let the Republicans go on record as a party united to defend ‘too big to fail’. The Democrats don’t have clean hands either, and they need some serious pressure from ‘we the people’ because money talks louder than a bunch of people writing blogs. Vote and make it count.

Is Greed An Alien Concept?

According to British scientist Stephen Hawking, E.T. and his alien compadres are somewhere out there in the vastness of the universe and presumably possess the soul of an investment banker. If you thought complex derivatives and other financial weapons of mass destruction were scary, just wait until the aliens arrive to plunder the planet for personal profit. Like Bear Stearns or Lehman Brothers, the Earth will go belly up, and we’ll all be homeless. Well, everyone except the crafty folks at Goldman Sachs, who bet against the planet’s survival. And maybe the citizens of Arizona, who don’t take too kindly to illegal aliens.

Anyway, here’s what Hawking had to say:

Aliens may exist but mankind should avoid contact with them as the consequences could be devastating, British scientist Stephen Hawking warned Sunday.

“If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn’t turn out well for the Native Americans,” said the astrophysicist in a new television series, according to British media reports.

The programmes depict an imagined universe featuring alien life forms in huge spaceships on the hunt for resources after draining their own planet dry.

“Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach,” warned Hawking. [link]

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