Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Bat Shit Crazy Report: Ever Expanding Insanity on the Right

Thanks to Talking Points Memo I have two additions to the Bat Shit Crazy Club!

Let's start with a nutjob who has grazed the BSC radar before, Representative Sue Myrick (R-NC).  She who has seen terrorists amongst Muslim interns and convenience store clerks.  Her firm entrance into the BSC Club comes with her assertion, based on... well... based on the fact the idea floated through her BSC head, maybe?... anyway, she has decided that Hezbollah is invading our country from Mexico.  Seriously.  

Next up is Representative Louie Gohmert (R-TX) who has "discovered" a conspiracy by terrorists to use the 14th Amendment to allow them to sneak women into the U.S. in order to have babies that will be raised as arch terrorists. I am not making this shit up, people.  I'm guessing this is a "logical" extension of the "Obama born in Kenya" lunacy. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Letter to NPR about Fox Correspondents on Their Staff

[updated 6/17/2010]

I'm sure I join a loud chorus of listeners that are sick of your correspondents that also work for Fox News.  You need to completely purge your organization of these contaminated, damaged anti-journalists.   Fox News is not a news organization and you should not allow anyone to be employed by NPR and Fox simultaneously.  You don't have correspondents that are in the employ of the RNC's PR office, do you?  There is no difference except the RNC might lie less.

On today's ATC, Fox employee Mora Liasson in a typical Fox-style meaningless aside commented that the President was "reading from a teleprompter."  This is unnecessary information and serves only one function:  To belittle the President of this country.  Do you know what a Dixie dog whistle is?  Well saying Obama was reading from a teleprompter is a wingnut dog whistle and you should be ashamed you let it on the air.  Every single President since Carter has used teleprompters constantly.  GWB always had one though he obviously had trouble reading it.  The only people that make note of this President's use of a teleprompter are people that hate him and are out to end his career.  You seriously need to check your editors and producers about this kind of crap, or is NPR more worried about getting teabaggers to listen to ATC than in presenting the news in a truly fair and balanced manner?

[response from NPR 6/17/2010]

Sent: Thursday, June 17, 2010 2:46 PM
Subject: Re: Right Wing Fox News Language รข€“ Message ID:26967

Response to Message #26967:

Dear Alan,

Thank you for contacting the Ombudsman. We appreciate your feedback on NPR National Political Correspondent Mara Liasson who also appears on Fox New.

It is not uncommon for NPR reporters to appear on other networks, such as CNN and PBS.  Ombudsman Alicia Shepard wrote a column on this issue. NPR continually evaluates what its reporters say, how they present their work, and whether that crosses an ethical line, and NPR staff is held to a strict code of ethics and practices. These standards are in place to protect and support the integrity, impartiality and conduct of journalists.

When recently asked, Senior VP of News Ellen Weiss confirmed that NPR is continually evaluating how appearances on other news outlets may or may not undermine the NPR journalist’s reputation as an impartial source of information. 

Again, thank you for bringing your observations and thoughts regarding language used in Mara Liasson's report on All Things Considered to our attention. We appreciate you taking time to write.

Alexandria Neason
Office of the Ombudsman

[My response]

Please let it be known that I think any correspondent with a link to Fox News is damaged merchandise and should not be allowed airtime on NPR.  With no problem I can find you 10 qualified individuals in New Orleans that can do her job without throwing in disguised insults against our President in the process.  Anyone that is associated with Fox News is contaminated by their fascist leadership and should not be allowed a voice on National Public Radio.
Also you did not address her noting the President was reading from a teleprompter.  This is unacceptable on every level, especially that of journalistic behavior.  It is a BS partisan slur and you damn well know it whether it is stated specifically in your code of ethics (which it isn't) or not.

You may not watch Fox News (what sane person can?) but this teleprompter nonsense has been one stick in the continuous drumbeat of opposition to our President, along with the birther nonsense and more recently the "he's not angry enough/he's too angry" blather that you have also stooped to covering.  When will NPR have the balls to say enough is enough?
  Fox News is a propaganda wing of the GOP and to say it is other is to lie to oneself.



Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Letter About Regulation's Impact on the Poor to Congressman John Yarmuth


Congressman John Yarmuth
435 Cannon House Office Building
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
202-225-5401   FAX 202-225-5776

re:  EPA’s RPP rule and governmental responsibility to inform the public

Dear Congressman Yarmuth,
      As a man who at least appears to be interested in the plight of the poor in this country I’d like to bring a recent EPA regulation to your attention.  Let me say first that I am no opponent of the EPA and consider myself to be an environmentalist and occasional activist.  I am also in favor of lead abatement but would like to express a worry I have about the RRP rule and government’s general attitude towards the poor.
      The new RRP rule contains maximum penalties per day of over $37,000 for non-compliance.  I don’t have the time to read the entire regulation and though I worked as a typist for a major law review while in college, reading legalese is not an easy or enjoyable task.  Imagine that task laid on the average painter.  You may have met one at some point, you know, didn’t graduate from high school, literally scraping by?  These rules require that a painting (or any other) contractor  go through an 8 hour certification course that, if I’m not mistaken, requires a bit of math to be able to work on any building built before 1978.  Has anyone at the EPA actually met a painter?  How do they expect that old black man down the street that paints houses with his brain damaged son and an ex-con that can’t get any other work to a) know anything about this new rule and b) to be able to afford the $250+ per worker and actually be able to pass certification? 
      Let me start with a.  Despite my education and experience I had no idea that starting 5/22/2010 I could be in legal and financial jeopardy if I painted a house built before 1978 until a chance statement from a real estate agent of one of my clients.  I found out by accident.  Does the government believe that ordinary people have legal advisors?  As an artist and musician contracting to be able to afford to make art and music my income is probably the same as the hypothetical painter above and I can’t even afford to get someone else to do my taxes, much less keep an attorney on retainer to inform me of changes to federal regulations that criminalize my livelihood.   I expect my government to inform me of minor details like this.  I’m a licensed contractor, you’d think my representative or city hall or someone could send me a postcard telling me that to continue to work on homes built before 1978 (I haven’t worked on anything newer than 1950 in years) I have to get certified for lead abatement or risk enormous fines.  Or how about at least requiring postings at places that sell paint and hardware?  Is it wrong to expect part of the job of government to be educating people that if they do the same thing they did last year they could be bankrupted?
      Now to b.  Passing certification will be no problem for me (though $250 out of my pocket always hurts) as I already know most of what I need to know and I have a bit of mathematics and test taking skill.[1]  But for many people that can barely get by, both the cost and the difficulty will be too great a hurdle to clear.  There is, as always, little or no consideration of the least amongst us when these decisions are made and the largest burden falls on their shoulders.  When you make $500/week for six months of the year painting houses, $250 is a huge amount of money.[2]  These EPA regulations have put an awful lot of poor, defenseless people in the position of being unwitting criminals.  Was there ever a thought of these people or how to help them deal with this?  I’m pretty sure there wasn’t.  For some reason when people envision “contractors” it’s some middle class man with thirty uniformed workers under him wearing a hard hat and driving a brand new truck when in fact the majority of us are doing this hard, dirty, underpaid work because there is nothing else they can do.  Most of these people are the kind of people we as a country continue to fail every single day.
      Perhaps I’ve been walking around in a haze since this bill passed in 2008 and just missed all the signs, e-mails, postcards, etc. that were put in my face and I just didn’t see them.  I wonder how many of the hundreds of thousands of small contractors in this country know nothing about this rule.  Perhaps you could have a member of your staff find out for me how much the EPA budgeted for enforcement of this rule as opposed to how much they budgeted for informing and aiding the contractors it affects. 

Alan Miller

[1] I am an artist and musician that does contracting to afford making art and music.  I have a B.A. from Tulane.
[2] But then again, allowing utility companies to add on flat fees is a disproportionate burden (like if the Louisville Water Co. were to add .25 per 1000 gallons to the cost of water they would probably get more money for repairing our water system but instead they hit everyone with an extra $56/mo so the million gallon a month manufacturing plant pays $56/mo towards this just like me that uses around 1000 gallons a year), just as flat fees for all governmental services is a disproportionate tax on the poor, etc. seems to be the way American government works these days.  And how American business works as well between the virtual use of slave labor for production outside the country to our usurous credit system for that matter. 

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Fucking Booming

When Will We Condemn Israel?

Can we expect our government to at least protest Israel's attack on an unarmed aid flotilla sailing to Gaza and murder of activists on board?  Of course not.  We always support apartheid, xenophobic, fascist murderers, just look at Reagan and South Africa.