ePluribus Media

discuss, debate, decide

Beyond the Blogosphere

Down the rabbit hole. Over the rainbow.

Whatever you call it, we seem to have stepped beyond the solid ground of yesterday and into a fantasyland of our own imaginings.

Like everybody else, I've been watching the train wreck going on in Washington, where people are trying to impose their beliefs on reality, tailoring the latter to fit the former.

Yeah, I know: That's impossible. But that's what's going on.

False Equivalency and Anders Breivik

"Well, he did the same thing!"

We've all heard that.  And we are all getting rather sick of seeing it, again and again, in our political discourse.

At least, I am.

Writing in today's New York Times, Ross Douthat tries to blunt criticism of the Norway Madman's connection to American right-wing crazies.  The Times, in another story, says Breivik was "deeply influenced by a small group of American bloggers and writers who have warned for years about the threat from Islam."  Douthat seems to believe that pointing this out is the equivalent of finding similarities in things the Unabomber wrote with Al Gore's Earth in the Balance.

What Douthat conveniently forgets is that there is no sign that Theodore Kazcynski was ever influenced by Al Gore. The same is not true of Breivik and right-wing bloggers.

Random Japan

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DIAMOND DUST
Sho Darvish, the younger brother of Nippon Ham Fighters ace Yu Darvish, was arrested twice in June—once for marijuana possession and again for assaulting a 19-year-old woman. So much for weed mellowing you out…
Seattle Mariner Ichiro Suzuki saw his string of ten straight MLB All-Star Game appearances come to an end when he finished seventh in fan voting among American League outfielders. He still picked up over 2.5 million votes.
A renegade cat delayed a BayStars vs. Hiroshima Carp ballgame at Yokohama Stadium when it got on the field and had to be chased off by security.
Golfer Tiger Woods may have philandered away millions in endorsement contacts in the U.S. but he’s still big in Japan. Woods is the new face of Kowa, a Japanese muscle balm.
The heat is on once again and the Japan Football Association has decided to allow sports drinks, as well as your standard water, on the sidelines at soccer games to prevent heatstroke. Some stadiums, however, have a water-only policy in effect, worried that a little Pocari Sweat might kill the grass.
A 17-year-old boy scout with Japanese roots from Utah delivered soccer balls, uniforms and whistles to students affected by the March 11 earthquake/tsunami. Perhaps more suited to Sudan than Japan, but a good deed nonetheless.

Her Final Year: Alzheimer's Disease, Care-Giving and Care-Giver Recovery

Many of you may recall that I was the primary care-giver for a victim of Alzheimer's Disease - specifically, my mother-in-law who I affectionately referred to as "Mumsie." I wrote a few pieces that appeared here on ePluribus Media as well as other places, often sharing thoughts / feelings and happenings about the ongoing experience, or reflecting upon it after her passing in December of 2007.

Some of you may recall that I mentioned working with someone to co-author a book about the experience.

Well, the book is complete. It's now available via Amazon.com in both print and Kindle format. It's Her Final Year: A Care-Giving Memoir.

We think that anyone facing prospect of - or currently engaged in - the care-giving role for a loved one suffering from Alzheimer's disease may find the experiences we relate within to be of use and interest. If you know anyone who you think may benefit, please pass along new of our book and the website URL (herfinalyear.com).

Thank you.

 

Sections: 

Michael Collins: The Budget Betrayal - Questions and Answers

This president will never do a single thing to oppose the the agenda of the ruling financial elite unless, of course, members of the ruling elite tell him to oppose something meaningless just for the sake of appearances.

Question: Why did President Obama put Social Security and Medicare on the table in the budget negotiations when 80% of the people oppose cuts to these programs?

Answer: The president is not in office to represent those people. He was selected, funded and carried over the finish line by corporate America. Look at the appointment of Wall Streeter Timothy Geithner, the bailouts, and the failure to prosecute any of the crooks who caused the current recession. He's serving the people who put him in office. Those people don't need Social Security and Medicare.

Open Thread - 'What went wrong in Ohio?' 2004 Edition

Last week, attorneys filed a new brief in the King Lincoln Bronzeville v. Blackwell case alleging adverse effect on their clients' civil rights by the official conduct of the 2004 presidential election, in Ohio.

The 259 page filing (3.5 megabyte PDF @ Moritz Election Law) includes several items of interest to ePluribus Media researchers whose membership are expressly recognized after reporting the first evidence placing Ohio's vote count in the networks of the Republican IT service provider, SMARTech Corp, during 2004 and 2006 elections. 

Testing and the Wisdom of Crowds

The other day, I gave my Advanced Technical Writing students a quiz. One question: "Name three things you should do before starting any research project."

The answers weren't in their text. I had not told them what these things should be in prior classes. In fact, the question had not come up--which is one reason I asked it.

What I was doing was something of an experiment on the wisdom of crowds and an attempt to make a point about authority and the weakness of the multiple-choice test when it is the sole means of evaluation.

Was the failure to protect Americans on 9/11 the result of sexism?

I honestly don't know the answer. But I have this awful gnawing feeling in my gut that in some small way, it might have been a factor.

Let's hope I'm wrong.

To recap - an unidentified intelligence officer filed a complaint with the Department of Defense Inspector General for Intelligence alleging that the Joint Forces Intelligence Command withheld information from Congress during its investigation of intelligence failures on 9/11.

In his May 8, 2006, Formal Complaint to DoD Inspector General [1], the unidentified intelligence officer known only as IRON MAN wrote:

(U) Contrary to JFIC's formal report to the JCS staff, JFIC had a direct and assigned purview on international terrorism against the U.S., to include the operations of al-Qa'ida and the 9/11 attackers. JFIC was directly responsible to both Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) and its subordinate, Joint Task Force-Civil Support (JTF-CS) for all-source intelligence analysis of internationai terrorism against the U.S. To ensure the quality of such analysis,  JFlC's commanding officer [redacted] established the Asymmetric Threat Branch (DO5), charged with reporting on asymmetric threats, especially terrorism. [redacted] was subsequently promoted to JFCOM J2. As a RADM and PACOM J2, she established another Asymmetric Threat branch at PACOM.)

It is my belief that the commanding officer described above is Rear Admiral (retired) Rosanne M. LeVitre, US Navy.

Michael Collins: Murdoch Hearings + Cameron Statement - See No Evil, Hear No Evil


The Murdoch's and their former chief executive of News International testified before a House of Commons committee yesterday. Their hours of explanations can be summarized in a phrase: we knew nothing. (Image)

Rupert Murdoch was too busy flying around the world milking his cash cow media properties to be at all involved.

Number two son James was the executive in direct command and he heard nothing.

Rebekah Brooks, editor of the News of the World at the time of the Milly Dowler hacking, completed the trifecta of ignorance. Since she knew nothing, her very frequent contact with the Murdoch father-son team had to be, as the Fugs said, "a whole lot of nothing."

Lenovo Introduces Three New Tablets

Lenovo has introduced three new computer tablets that continue to expand their habit of creating stylish, useful personal technology devices.

The three new tablets are:

  1. The IdeaPad Tablet K1
  2. The IdeaPad Tablet P1, and  
  3. The ThinkPad Tablet

What caught my eye about the latest release is the ThinkPad Tablet, which sports a Tablet Keyboard Folio Case and has digital pen support.

It's technology I'd love to get my hands on for a full - and ideally long-term - test drive.

What kind of new technology has sprung up in the marketplace lately that's caught your eye? Comments are open...

 

Open Thread: Welcome to my Universe

Okay, I gotta admit it was kinda fun (and a little empowering) to list all those scientific terms in the tags box.  The idea of parallel universes fascinates me ... and could explain alot.

A July 19th article by Alexander Vilenkin and Max Tegmarkin in Scientific American makes the scientific case for the existence of parallel universes, multiverse if you will.

Voter ID Laws Suck

They would have us believe that 75% of Americans support Voter ID Laws.

Support remains high for requiring voters to show photo identification before being allowed to cast their ballots.

The RNLA is trashing Jesse Jackson, Bill Clinton and other dems on this:

This past Monday, the Rev. Jesse Jackson called the South Carolina voter ID law a modern day “poll tax.” [snip]. Last week, Bill Clinton said, “There has never been in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and all the Jim Crow burdens on voting, the determined effort to limit the franchise that we see today.”  [snip] DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz complained that Republicans "want to literally drag us all the way back to Jim Crow laws" and announced that “Photo I.D. laws, we think, are very similar to a poll tax.” [snip], Wisconsin State Senator Bob Jauch made the statement, "Jim Crow, move over – the Wisconsin Republicans have taken your place.”  

This argument is not about race, or financial demographic.  It is about disenfranchising American citizens that should have the right to cast a vote.

Monetary Policy and the Problem of Oligarchy

Cross-posted from Real Economics.

During negotiations over the federal government's debt limit this past week, President Obama appears to have achieved a major tactical victory over the Republican ideologues. I use the term "tactical" because in my view, the fundamental economic problem confronting the country remains not only unsolved, but entirely unheeded: after a half century of "neo-liberal" economic reforms, a.k.a., conservative economic deregulation, the economy is now structurally skewed to benefit a new financial and corporatist oligarchy, at the expense of everyone else. What I have striven to do, in posts such asWealth and Income Inequalities are Markers of Oligarchy, is to force the concept of oligarchy back into the national discourse. I cannot claim this as my idea: Simon Johnson's May 2009 article The Quiet Coup was a notable effort at forcing us to face up to the unpleasant fact of a new American oligarchy, and Michael Hudson has been ferocious in a number of recent posts: How Financial Oligarchy Replaces Democracy. So it was gratifying to read Mike Konczal's A Response to Corey Robin on The Political Idea of Monetary Policy:

Corey Robin has a negative response to Matt Yglesias’ argument that setting an inflation target is one of the most important goals progressives and liberals should push for, which lead to an email exchange and a second response.

The economics of monetary policy are one topic. In a balance sheet recession, with a zero-lower bound, a broken financial system and the various commitment problems the Fed faces in these moments, monetary policy is not easy. We discuss many of these economic issues here in an interview with Joe Gagnon, and that’s a debate that has been going on for a while.

Robin notes that fiscal policy is important: “The government hiring people, in other words, is a lot cheaper—and more economically beneficial—than tax cuts or employer tax credits or the stimulus bill.” I agree completely, but let’s say we get a dream infrastructure deal through Congress. If that helps the economy, and the economy starts to pick up, Bernanke and a conservative Fed could use that as an excuse to raise interest rates sooner, which would immediately cancel out that stimulus. Regardless of fiscal policy, monetary policy is never neutral in a moving economy, and thus progressives need an answer.

But Robin, a political theorist (whose book on political fear is fantastic and one of the better arguments for strong unionization that I’ve seen), is more interested in the political theory and ideas surrounding the issue, which I agree needs to be discussed more. Robin:

What both of these reasons [for monetary policy] have in common is that instead of putting money into the hands of people who not only need it but would spend it, thereby stimulating demand and more jobs, they keep (or put more) money into the hands of people who already have it and don’t need to spend it in economically beneficial ways. Presumably because they are, in Yglesias’ eyes, the real movers and shakers of the economy, as opposed to the vast majority of middle- and working-class people or the government that represents them…Share and spread the wealth, in other words, among the wealthy….

If you wanted a purer distillation of the Reaganite temper of our times, you’d be hard pressed to find it in any other notion than this: get more money into the hands of people with money, for they are the truly productive agents in our society, rather than into the hands of the people who might actually spend more money if they had more money to spend….

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Open Thread: Bloggergate Documents

Juan Cole and ACLU Sue CIA, FBI 

Juan Cole writes about the lawsuit filed on Wednesday agains the FBI and CIA.  Documents requested in a FOIA were never received. (Sound familiar?). 

I had told the ACLU, “Americans don’t need permission from their government to write and publish their political opinions. If the Bush White House pettily attempted to use the CIA to destroy my reputation by seeking dirt on my private life in order to punish me for speaking out, that would be a profound violation of my Constitutional rights.”

Truthout has a story about it here.

Thoughts, comments, feedback are always welcome.

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