Sunday, January 31, 2010

a comment becomes a post

"By the way, government is not the place to which I look for ethics or morality, either"
Craig R. Harmon, commenting about the Omnipotent Poobah's post about ethics in government.
My thought: It ought to be.
While the primary function of government may be protection, unless we are no better than chimps there ought to be an ethical facet to it, also. Ethics is what makes the difference between a good government and a bad one. Americans are lucky in that we get to (theoretically) choose which set of ethics we would like running our government every couple of years. Some choose Democrats, who tend to believe that the duty of the government is to make life better for its people. Some choose Republicans, who, whatever they may say, by their actions appear to believe that the duty of government is to make profit better for its people (the ones lucky enough to be able to make a profit, that is, something that gets harder and harder the less capital you have), with an exception to this, perhaps, for social conservatives, who seem to believe that the duty of government is to make the people better ("better" as defined by the social conservatives, of course).
I tend to side with Democrats, not because I particularly like them (I dont), but because far too often, Republicans put profit before people, except occassionally when its Authoritarian wing is using government to remake people in its own image of what they thinks God wants.As for Libertarians, if the only function of government is to "protect" its people (and their property), then we might as well go back to medieval times, ’cause we havent got enough open space for the Wild West. Maybe if Libertarians worked to unshackle people from the chains of corporations as well as the chains of government, I’d be more sympathetic to them, but as it is they strike me as anarchists, and anarchy is only good for the strongest few.
Democrats these days are spineless cowards, afraid of upsetting their corporate sponsors, but at least the base impulse is the right one, so there’s always hope that they might actually grow a collective pair. I find Republicans to be more and more heartless as the years go by; whether that’s them or just my perception of them I’m not sure, but I find their naked worship of money absolutely loathsome and antithetical to the basic purpose of government (except to a lucky, lucky few, who are very well protected indeed). I still have hope that Democrats may wake up one day and discover just how many people actually like the policies they’re supposed to be advancing, or at least realize that the Opposition is as important to any organization as those in power are; so far, they havent manged to be either. Sadly, Obama has turned out to be just another pol*, but if nothing else, he gave us all a taste of something better, and if we get mad enough we may just decide to demand a whole bowlful. Whether the Democrats currently in power will give it to us, or we'll be forced to spend hard years cleaning house, I dont know. I'm not very hopeful about the next few decades though. Unless something radically unexpected happens, I think the supertanker of self-interest that our nation is currently riding on will be very difficult to turn.

There's more to the conversation if you follow the link, mostly on Harmon's part. I could keep going and present more to you, but quite frankly I dont care enough to do so (or if I even care to continue the conversation at the Poobah's, for that matter). I just thought it'd be a shame to leave that long almost-coherent comment hiding over at Poobie's place when my own blog has been fairly void of posts.

* Perhaps. It's still early, he may surprise us**.
** But that's hope speaking again.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Wednesday, January 27, 2010



this is it

This link leads to perhaps the most wonderful set of comments this poster has ever seen, courtesy of Ed Darrell at Millard Fillmore's Bathtub.

Whoops! I missed the original of that post, of which my first link was just a spin-off.

Monday, January 25, 2010

a ray of hope in the storm front of corporate money?

Whoa! Slow down there, Kyler! Put away your rocks and your molotov cocktails, 'cause Robert Riech has come up with a better way to bite corporations in the ass before they buy up all the politicians, and it's a pretty good one: Push Congress to enact the “Shareholder Protection Act.”
Basically, it stops corporations from spending your share of the profits on politics you dont agree with. If you dont want them spending money on campaigning, they have to pay you a special dividends, representing your share of the money spent.
Robert says...
For many years, anti-union lobbyists have pushed what they call “pay-check protection” laws, supposedly designed to protect union members from being forced, through their dues, to support union political activities they oppose. Under such laws — already in effect in several states — no union dues can be spent for any political purpose unless union members agree.

The same principle should protect shareholders from being forced to spend their share of corporate earnings in favor of or against a particular candidate. Surely a First Amendment that protects corporate free speech protects individuals no less.
How sweet is that. It effectively turns the love for money against the power of money. How many people, whoever much they might want their corporations to influence things, arent going to want to pull in just that little bit extra money?
The best part? Republicans pretty much have to support such a bill, since they've spent so many years insisting that the same thing be done, as Robert said, to the Unions. To do anything else would reveal them as total hypocrits... oh wait...

never mind.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

today's wtf moment

Seriously, this is just stupid. Go ahead, take a minute to skim it (you dont have to read it too closely, just in case the stupid might rub off). It is a diatribe about the show Glee (disclosure: I've never watched the show, nor do I intend to), and includes this gem...
There are no teens cured of their relentless and wild male sex desires, there are no moral figures on hand to give a comforting hand, there are no popular boys who say, “I don’t want to hurt my family anymore and I love Jesus, so I am going to stop doing gay things with guys in the bathroom.”
Um... Dude, repress much?
The Facebook post which I got the link from said "Christians like this give Christians like me a bad name". True, indeed. It is, in fact, attitudes like those of the idiot in the article which have caused me to give up on the church altogether. If you cant beat them, put your lead pipe in the garage and just stay home. And you can beat them; any victory is fleeting, in the end, stupidity always conquers.
Anyway, to Christians everywhere who thinks it's their job to make sure that everyone is Right With Jesus, I have a simple response for you:
Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
No, not enough? How about this one:
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
And, lest you get all smug and talk about your charitable giving, I would ask you to consider this question: Do these "things" He refers to apply only to charitable acts, or to any and all acts?
Really? You think? Hope you're right*.

A Final thought: I didnt watch The Golden Girls (not deliberately, anyway), so it seems that perhaps I may have dodged a bullet on that one, huh? And has anyone else noticed the similarities between Golden Girls and Sex And The City?

Thus endeth today's sermon.

* You will burn in hell, and I will laugh at you. Laughing may be wrong, but goddamn it you righteous assholes piss me off.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

where's the schadenfreude?

Maybe I've missed it, or maybe it's just too early, but I dont seem to be hearing the great upswell of gloating from The Right that their carefully stacked SCOTUS gave full free speech rights to corporations. What's the matter guys? Where you not paying attention, or did you think that the anti-abortion Authoritarians you were insisting that the Court be stacked with were just going to stop there? Did you forget that Authority and Money go hand in hand, and that there is no one in this country with more money than corporations?
Do you suppose that conservatives have realized that they may have made a mistake? That those Justices upon which they placed such high hopes have sold us all down the river in an moment of judicial activism an order of magnitude above anything they may have accused "liberal" judges of performing?
So how are we going to fix this? Certainly, something has got to be done soon, because we've only got a few months before the first of the corporate financed legislators get elected (it may already be too late, since incumbent House members are going to want a piece of the pie right away).
Here's my suggestion: If corporations have the same "rights" as human beings, then they should also have the same obligations and punishments. Let them pay the regular rate of income taxes, let them be jailed (or a similar form of incapacitation and loss of income, maybe all profits given to charity for a period of years, including stock options?) for crimes committed, including the death penalty for murder (hear that, Xi?). If they want to play human, then let's play human, all the way.

doomsayin' Dave

I'm feeling pretty down about things, as you might have noticed. The Democrats continue to disappoint, in a manner that feels as much like betrayal, sometimes, as it does simple failure. Ownership of just about everything continues to be concentrated into fewer and fewer hands, which can never lead to anything good (it especially does not lead to the GOP's favorite state, "competition"). As for myself, I have less money to spend than I did a decade ago, and see no hope of that situation improving, perhaps ever.

I'm thinking that we may have to endure another 8 years of Republican rule before Americans finally pull their heads out of their asses and start to fix the country. That maybe Obama will lose the next election, because as a nation we're too stupid to think for ourselves, and will believe the Noise Machine as it tells us that Republicans were right all along, despite overwhelming, obvious evidence to the contrary.
And so, for yet another eight years, the rich will continue to get richer, the nation will continue to be embroiled in useless and stupid wars, government services and infrastructure will continue to decline, and basic necessities will continue to climb in price, making the choice between medicine and food all the more common.

Why? Because Democrats, despite their election to office, despite polling showing widespread disatisfaction with the status quo, despite opposition to war, despite a wish for a national health plan, despite almost universal loathing for our financial elite, continue, almost identically, the plans of the "opposition" party which got us into this mess.

Who knows, maybe it will never end. Maybe things will continue to decline, until Americans are crossing the border into Mexico, looking for food and work, and perhaps a bit of freedom.

I hope I'm wrong about all this.

Just in case, though, I'm advising my girls to learn an internationally useful skill in college (assuming it's affordable by then), and then get the hell out the country. Maybe that's akin to a rat deserting a sinking ship, but rats want to live, too. And as noble as fighting for a hopeless cause may be, it's also stupid.

Friday, January 22, 2010

other quote for the day

"This Probably Ends with a Requirement That Every American Must Open a Bank Account"

Gerry Canavan, refering to proposed regulation of the banking industry

quote for the day

The lesson is that, in nearly every election, fear works. How did Republicans turn so many people against health care reform (see note below) and against Obama? Because they scared them. Republicans can, with a straight face, call Obama and Democrats "socialist" or whatever bugaboo word they want and then say that Democrats are to blame for the lack of bipartisanship. That's some shameless shit there. But it works.

The Rude Pundit

Thursday, January 21, 2010


While all the attention has been on a single senatoral race in Massachusettes, America has been sold down the river by the Supreme Court. Thirty years of disinformation, propaganda and outright lies have culminated in a group of activist judges making money the equal to free speech. Now, in the interest of "fairness", a corporation can do the equivalent of setting up a stadium-sized sound system next to your megaphone. All this because corporations (oh, and ordinary people, too, 'cause they're the same, right?) were being treated "unfairly" by limits on how much they could spend in order to get their point across.
So, get yourselves a burro, folks, unless you've got pot-loads of money already, because burros (or maybe an ox?) are standard equipment for peasants, and that's what we'll be in another generation or so. Practice your bowing and scraping. When money is more important than people, when money is the same thing as speech, when everything revolves around money, what chance do ordinary people, most of whom have little of that which is worshipped here, have at getting their "costly" needs taken care of?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Hey, John Scalzi's* got a blog! I mean, I suppose that shouldnt be all that surprising. I guess a science fiction author without a blog would be more surprising, wouldnt it? Still, I'm happy to have found it, so I'm putting it out here to share and to remind me to put it into my next blogtroll list, which is probably about due.

* Look! He's on my list.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Dave's 2009 Book List

It's that time again! Here it is, Dave's 2009 Booklist; all the books I read during the last year (well, read clear to the end, that is). You'll notice that it's a little light on the non-fiction this year (again), so one of my new year's resolutions was to read more of it. We'll see how it goes.

As is always the case, the best titles are indicated by the presence of a link.

On the other hand, there are some authors that are terrific no matter what the title is, such as Terry Pratchett and A. Lee Martinez, which I dont recommend any specific books for, since they've all been wonderful.


Abercrombie, Joe - Best Served Cold
Anderson, Poul - Starfarers
Baxter, Charles - The Feast Of Love
Berry, Dave - Big Trouble
Brin, David - Earth
Buckley, Christopher - Supreme Courtship
Cherryh, C. J. - Regenesis
Cherryh, C. J. - The Morgaine Saga
Clarke, Arthur C. + Frederick Pohl - The Last Theorem
Codrescu, Andrei - Wakefield
Cohn, Rachel + David Levithan - Nick And Nora's Infinite Playlist
Cornwell, Bernard - Sharpe's Company
Cornwell, Bernard - Sharpe's Eagle
Cornwell, Bernard - Sharpe's Gold
Cornwell, Bernard - Sharpe's Sword
Crusie, Jennifer - Getting Rid Of Bradley
Crusie, Jennifer + Bob Mayer - Agnes And The Hitman
Crusie, Jennifer + Bob Mayer - Dont Look Down
DeCandido, Keith R. A. - Star Trek TNG: Q & A
Doctorow, Cory - Down And Out In The Magic Kingdom
Donaldson, Stephen R. - Mirror Of Her Dreams
Donaldson, Stephen R. - A Man Rides Through
Dufresne, John - Requiem, Mass
Elliott, Kate - Traitor's Gate
Fforde, Jasper - all 6 Thursday Next books
Flint, Eric + Ryk E. Spoor - Boundary
Flynn, Michael - The January Dancer
Fox, Helen - Eager
Gaiman, Neil - Neverwhere
Gaiman, Neil - The Graveyard Book
Garcia Marquez, Gabriel - 100 Years Of Solitude
Garfield, Brian - Hopscotch
Haldeman, Joe - The Forever War
Harris, Charlaine - All Together Dead
Harris, Charlaine - Club Dead
Harris, Charlaine - Dead And Gone
Harris, Charlaine - Dead As A Doornail
Harris, Charlaine - Dead In Dallas
Harris, Charlaine - Dead To The World
Harris, Charlaine - Definitely Dead
Harris, Charlaine - From Dead To Worse
Hobb, Robin - the Liveship Traders trilogy
Hogan, James P. - The Minervan Experiment
Hudler, Ad - Man Of The House
Jacoby, M. Ann - Life After Genius
Jewell, Lisa - Roommates Wanted
Kelby, N. M. - Whale Season
Laurie, Hugh - The Gunseller
LaZebnik, Claire - The Smart One And The Pretty One
Leonard, Elmore - Maximum Bob
Lindsay, Jeff - Darkly Dreaming Dexter
Lindsay, Jeff - Dearly Devoted Dexter
Lindsay, Jeff - Dexter In The Dark
Lipman, Elinor - The Family Man
Lutz, Lisa - Revenge Of The Spellmans
Mahajan, Karan - Family Planning
Martinez, A. Lee - A Nameless Witch
Martinez, A. Lee - In The Company Of Ogres
Martinez, A. Lee - Too Many Curses
Marusek, David - Counting Heads
Marusek, David - Mind Over Ship
Mazetti, Katarina - Benny And Shrimp
McCaffrey, Anne - Dragonsinger
McCall Smith, Alexander - The World According To Bertie
Michner, James - Tales Of The South Pacific
Modessit, L. E. - The Eternity Artifact
Newark, Elizabeth - The Darcy's Give A Ball
Pace, Alison - City Dog
Palmer, Philip - Debatable Space
Pinkwater, Daniel - Young Adult Novel
Pournelle, Jerry - King David's Spaceship
Pournelle, Jerry + S. M. Stirling - The Prince
Pratchett, Terry - Carpe Jugulum
Pratchett, Terry - Equal Rites
Pratchett, Terry - Going Postal
Pratchett, Terry - Making Money
Pratchett, Terry - Men At Arms
Pratchett, Terry - Nation
Pratchett, Terry - Night Watch
Pratchett, Terry - The Fifth Elephant
Pratchett, Terry - The Truth
Pratchett, Terry - Thud
Pratchett, Terry - Unseen Academicals
Resnick, Mike - Starship: Mercenary
Resnick, Mike - Starship: Mutiny
Resnick, Mike - Starship: Pirate
Resnick, Mike - Starship: Rebel
Rich, Lani Diane - A Little Ray Of Sunshine
Robbins, Tom - "B" Is For Beer
Rosenblatt, Jill Amy - Project Jennifer
Rowling, J. K. - the whole Harry Potter series
Scalzi, John - Agent To The Stars
Schmidtberger, Paul - Design Flaws Of The Human Condition
Schroeder, Karl - Pirate Sun
Schroeder, Karl - Queen Of Candesce
Schroeder, Karl - Sun Of Suns
Schulz, Charles - The Complete Peanuts, 1950-52
Stephenson, Neal - The Diamond Age
Stirling, S. M. - In The Courts Of The Crimson Kings
Stirling, S. M. - The Sky People
Taylor, Billy - Based On The Movie
Viera Rigler, Laura - Rude Awakenings Of A Jane Austin Addict
Willis, Connie - Bellwether
Willis, Connie - DA
Willis, Connie - Inside Job
Wilson, Charles - Axis
Wilson, Charles - Spin
Zusak, Mark - I Am The Messenger


Michaelis, David - Schulz And Peanuts
Wallechinsky, David + Amy Wallace - The Book Of Lists: The 90's Edition
Wasik, Bill - And Then There's This

Previous Lists: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Monday, January 11, 2010

I got nothin'

Yeah, I know, nothing going on here. Bored, a bit, I think. I've been putting stuff on the art blog lately, though, so you might keep an eye on that.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Walt finally wins a bit


You know you're getting old when you sympathize more with the dad than with the kid.

Friday, January 01, 2010

late night snack

I'm taking a little break right now from watching the first season of Northern Exposure, having a second helping of our family's traditional New Year's dish, pozole. Actually it's my wife's traditional dish, I dont recall having one in my house growing up. I did add the sliced cabbage though, which, for me at least, really makes the difference between weak chili and a tasty bowl of goodness.

When I'm done with the bowl, I'll go back to the show with our traditional desert, a lovely slice of lemon pound cake. Yum.