Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (retired) was a naval flight officer who commanded an aircraft squadron and was operations officer of USS Theodore Roosevelt, the carrier that fought the Kosovo War. He earned a master-of-arts degree in post-modern imperialism at the U.S. Naval War College where many of his essays became required student reading. Jeff’s weekly satires on U.S. foreign policy high jinks appear at Antiwar.com and his critically applauded novel Bathtub Admirals (Kunati Books), a lampoon on America's rise to global dominance, is on sale now." - Excerpted nearly completely from Jeff's blog Pen & Sword.
By now, many folks who knew of Cmdr Jeff Huber have heard of his passing, but I just wanted to take a moment to say "Farewell, Commander" and point folks to some of his previous work for ePluribus Media:
Farewell, Jeff. You are missed.
People are invited to use this as an Open Thread, and encouraged to list any other items (ideally with links) to works by Jeff that helped make a difference - and helped to make the world a better place, in spite of the efforts of others to rein it in & rain darkness upon it.
With all the back-and-forth blaming of one party or person for things that - realistically - are rather silly or ridiculous, it would certainly be nice for the "comity" of political discourse to be reinforced by actual, factual call-outs and admissions of responsibility.
Of course, then some nutcakes may find a new way to undermine ~that~ concept and start taking responsibility for equally ridiculous things.
Anywho, it's Saturday, 3 September 2011. Comments are open - remember, this is an Open Thread.
Only footnote references - and comments - appear over-the-fold.
Northeast states are bracing for Irene's passing this weekend: if you're in the path (or skirting the path) of the hurricane, what's going on near you?
What are the skies like? How's the relative humidity? Are the local animals doing anything out of the ordinary (domestic as well as wild)?
Any overt signs manifesting in the local flora or fauna?
Let us know in comments: tell us your approximate location (Central MA, Rhode Island, MA East Coast, Southern NH, Eastern or Western CT, Manhattan, New York City, etc.) and then tell us what you're seeing. If you can make an update every few hours (electricity & weather permitting), it would help us paint a picture of the storm's passing.
Regardless, please stay safe. If there are any elderly or disabled folks in your area, check in on them or invite them over - be a good neighbor, and help those who may have a rougher time of it.
Thank you, and be safe.
To quote Henry Jenkins, Director of the Comparative Media Studies Program as well as a full Professor of Literature at MIT, on the topic of media convergence:
We are living in an age when changes in communications, storytelling and information technologies are reshaping almost every aspect of contemporary life -- including how we create, consume, learn, and interact with each other. A whole range of new technologies enable consumers to archive, annotate, appropriate, and recirculate media content and in the process, these technologies have altered the ways that consumers interact with core institutions of government, education, and commerce.
That's a lot of "stuff" all coalescing into new, hopefully synergetic ways of disseminating and assimilating information. We've seen examples of it most recently with regard to the activities of loosely organized anonymous hacking groups as well as with the recent internationally reported riots - the riots in Egypt and London, for example (but by no means the only ones).
Even citizen journalism has taken on new power and meaning as various technologies merge, enabling citizens to report local news and events to the masses like never before.
It's a brave new world of information exchange, security and cyber-warfare - and it's permeating the very fabric of the cultures in many first-world nations.
How do you see this playing out now, in your life? Where do you think it's going to lead us, and what are some of the possible as-yet unforeseen consequences that may arise?
Comments are open - remember, this is an Open Thread.
Only footnote references - and comments - appear over-the-fold.
The following is my opinion, and is not to be taken as synonymous with or supported by the staff, writers and editors of ePluribus Media. It is my own take on my personal observations. - GreyHawk, August 2011
Over the past decade, the GOP gutted the US infrastructure as well as the social safety net while simultaneously killing revenues from corporations and the "elite" - in addition to starting two wars, the second of which was started based on carefully manufactured lies and which was used to justify multiple constitutional violations as well as the implementation of and reliance upon crimes against humanity. The second war was kept "off books" for the most part, was highly mis-managed and lost TRILLIONS of dollars.
To fix this mess, another stimulus - this time grounded in a strong infrastructure program and new energy policy - is needed along with single-payer health care, Wall Street & banking reform, closing of loopholes and tax revenues from the expiration of the Bush tax cuts.
Getting even 1 of those things will be a miracle with the current Congress.
The US people need to vote out the GOP and Tea Party from all levels of government - local, state & federal (and yank what they can from the judiciary - which is nigh impossible) - in order to foment effective change and positive growth.
Use this as an Open Thread, and add your comments below. Thank you.
I got a letter from my credit card company the other day ... it said:
Congratulations! We have increased your credit limit to $XX!
Apparently they thought increasing my spending limit was a good thing -- the CONGRATULATIONS! part was heavily emphasized (see below).
They didn't tell me that I could only spend the increase on DingDongs and that I had to curtial my spending at Old Navy. No, the letter simply said I could now spend more money. Make the jump»
The ongoing game of charade in DC is continuing apace, with what appears to be the umpteenth act in a never-ending saga of "kabuki theater in a Potemkin village" over raising the debt ceiling.
The GOP has decided to use this as a tri-blade tool to finish the job of gutting the economy in their efforts to blame the collapse upon the Obama Administration, in spite of the facts & evidence that this whole fiasco began (and accelerated) under the previous Administration with the help of a GOP majority in both houses of Congress.
Unfortunately for them, the video of their efforts to avoid precisely what they're doing now exists - Think Progress posted about it.
Now we just need people to share it widely, and shout down those who are arguing about "compromise" - there needs to be a clean bill, no strings, and not for the short term.
Then the other hypocrisies can be dealt with.
Let's take our nation back and return control of it to the masses.
In support of the public interest, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit rebuffed an attempt by the FCC to weaken media ownership rules. From freepress:
PHILADELPHIA – On Thursday , the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued its long-awaited verdict on the Federal Communications Commission’s disputed media ownership rules. The court threw out FCC rules that would have allowed one company to own a newspaper and broadcast stations in the same market and upheld the FCC’s decision to retain its other local broadcast ownership restrictions. The court also instructed the FCC to better consider how its rules will affect and can promote ownership by women and people of color.
Score one more small victory for the people.
And speaking of The People, please feel free to use this as an Open Thread.
Hope everyone is enjoying a pleasant and long 4th of July weekend.
A suggested article from the Sunday edition of the New York Times, We Knew They Got Raises. But This?". The Times is updating an earlier study on executive compensation in the U.S. to reflect companies that had not previously disclosed pay packages on April 1, 2011.
The final figures show that the median pay for top executives at 200 big companies last year was $10.8 million. That works out to a 23 percent gain from 2009. The earlier study had put the median pay at a none-too-shabby $9.6 million, up 12 percent.
Total C.E.O. pay hasn’t quite returned to its heady, prerecession levels — but it certainly seems headed there. Despite the soft economy, weak home prices and persistently high unemployment, some top executives are already making more than they were before the economy soured.
Read and weep.
Most ordinary Americans aren’t getting raises anywhere close to those of these chief executives. Many aren’t getting raises at all — or even regular paychecks. Unemployment is still stuck at more than 9 percent.
In some ways, chief executives seem to live in a world apart when it comes to pay. As long as shareholders think that the top brass is doing a good job, executives tend to be well paid, whatever the state of the broader economy. And some corporate boards were probably particularly generous in 2010 after a few relatively lean years for their top executives. In other words, some of this was makeup pay.
No doubt those executives have little to weep about, outside of the off chance they might see a tax loophole closed.
It's Saturday, 2 July 2011 - the July 4 weekend in the U.S. and a major holiday in the States.
What are your plans? Are you going out and about, or hanging in?
Let us know in comments, and remember: this is an Open Thread.
One of the biggest news topics of the day on the topic of gay rights occurred in New York late yesterday. From Voice of America News:
The U.S. state of New York has approved same-sex marriage, handing American gay rights advocates a major victory in their quest for equality.
After extensive debate, the New York State Senate approved the legislation Friday night by a vote of 33 to 29, as two previously undecided Republican lawmakers cast the deciding votes in favor of it. A short time later, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the legislation into law.
With the final approval, New York became the sixth U.S. state where gay couples can wed, and by far the largest state. Gay couples can begin marrying in the state in 30 days.
As the right to marry spreads from state to state across the nation, perhaps the adult perspective and realization of shared humanity will help quell further foolish attempts to discriminate against others due to factors like race, gender, religion or sexual identity.
Some people may be unable to evolve and grow up, and thus never accept the growing, expanding realization of common humanity that marks an advancing civilization's mental and ethical state, but as more people through the nation are introduced to the concepts of equality it will be just that much more difficult for isolated bubbles of self-interest and hatred to propagate.
Congratulations, New York.
For our second topic: have you ever been in, or witnessed, poverty in the United States - or anywhere, for that matter? Did you realize that poverty in the United States is on the rise, or the impact that it has on individuals and families? Did you know that it's actually more expensive to be poor than not? This is a topic that gets a bit of a review by teacherken of Daily Kos in a piece called Poverty is brutal, consuming and unforgiving. It strikes at the soul. He draws upon a recent piece by Charles Blow and adds his own heartfelt commentary. Here's a bit of it:
America is increasingly becoming morally corrupt. Those who are wealthy and powerful are not even punished when they are caught - they are allowed to pay a relatively small portion of their ill-gotten gains and somehow keep the rest. Hello, Wall Street, and not just Goldman Sachs.
Poverty is brutal, consuming and unforgiving. It strikes at the soul.
And not just the souls of those we are condemning to remaining in poverty. It strikes at the very soul of the nation, and should strike at the soul of every person who is part of We the People.
That it does not so strike is to my mind a moral condemnation of America.
You should check out the whole piece here. After reading it, please also check out the comments from some of the insightful commenters.
That's it for this Open Thread. If you've got some news to share, or if you'd like to comment on either of the topics listed here, or something else, the comments are open. You know what to do.
Now that was something I never thought I'd do: put the name "Emily Dickinson" in the same tagline as "Grand Theft Auto." Gotta love me some xkcd. He's at least as twisted as I am.
Now that's an image that's sure to cause a few folks to think about Emily Dickinson's work a little differently from now on.
Footnote references only over the fold.
I've heard of "Home on the Range" but this has gotta be a major factor for calling Tuscon "Home of the Crazy." First up: the competency hearing of Jared Lee Loughner. Spoiler alert! - he's incompetent to stand trial:
Jared Lee Loughner’s "major mental illness" leaves him so delusional and psychotic that he is incompetent to stand trial, a federal judge ruled today.
U.S. District Court Judge Larry A. Burns viewed hours of videotape of Loughner, he said, and agreed with the conclusion of the psychiatrist and psychologist who evaluated him: Loughner can't understand the court proceedings or help his lawyers.
"The defendant was generally unable to provide rational and coherent thoughts," Burns said.
Burns ordered that new evaluations of Loughner be prepared by Aug. 31. He tentatively set a hearing for Sept. 21 but said it may not go forward if the evaluators find he continues to be incompetent.
A defendant can continue to undergo treatment and evaluation for months and even years as officials try to bring him to a level of competency that would allow him to stand trial.
Contact reporter Tim Steller at email@example.com or at 807-8427.
Who's surprised by the finding?
And the number two crazy Tuscon tidbit?
There are those who are proposing that the entire shooting was a hoax:
On fringe sites around the web, a new conspiracy theory is being cultivated: the Jan. 8 shootings in Tucson, Arizona that took the lives of six and wounded 13 others, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), never actually took place.
According to the New York Times, believers of the theory, peddled primarily by conspiracy enthusiast Ed Chiarini, claim that the solemn day's events were all part of an elaborate government hoax carried out by Tucson-area actors.
[...More at HuffPo...]
If you happen to be travelling to or through Tuscon any time in the near future, it may be a good idea to not drink the water. And remember: that same water's used to make their deliriously unique brand of tea.
If you've got anything to add, do it below the fold. This is an Open Thread.
Does anyone else think that Paul Ryan looks suspiciously like he's trying to pull of a Peter Fleming/Chess look?
James Frain played Peter Fleming, a.k.a. Chess, on NBC's recently cancelled The Cape.
I think that either Ryan's a Fleming/Chess wannabe, or the character Fleming/Chess was derived after watching Ryan.
Chess is, after all, a split personality - the darker half of an already dark-enough Peter Fleming.
...ok, well then - over the chirping of the crickets (and the occassional snicker from that guy in the back), if you've got any better observations or comparisons, or anything different that you'd like to bring up for discussion, then drop it into the comments below the fold.
This is, after all, an Open Thread.