Monday, September 21, 2009

I'll never tire of this sight

Here's a video of the
Space Shuttle Landing

Happy Birthday HG Wells

Science fiction author H.G. Wells would have celebrated his birthday today.

To commemorate this occasion, Google's home page has this image:

to celebrate Wells' novel "The War of the Worlds".

Thanks for making us think Google. Well, those of us that don't wake up knowing EVERYTHING every day, that is.

The Constant Scuzzbuckets

Sourgrapes or just plain outright racist? I am sickened by the people in this country who are so blatanly hateful against President Obama. These sheep follow people like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Lou Dobbs who spew poisonous hate over the air waves day after day. Their tirades are licked up by smallminded human beings across the country who feed on xenophobic hate. Vicky Moos alerted me to the following article:

Found at Alternet dot org

At this summer's "tea parties," town hall meetings and the recent march on Washington organized by Fox News talker Glenn Beck, signs with Obama portrayed as an African witch doctor, complete with a bone through his nose, and signs claiming Obama is the rightful president only of Kenya and other thinly disguised racial markers have been commonplace.

Clearly, these demonstrations of inchoate rage are about more than public policy. Former President Jimmy Carter stepped into the fray this week, stating the obvious: "intensely demonstrated animosity" toward Obama, the 39th president said, is "based on the fact that he is a black man." This elicited a torrent of angry denunciations from right-wing media.

While Carter might have overstated the degree to which the anger is motivated by racial animus -- saying it was behind "an overwhelming portion" of the criticisms lobbed at Obama -- it's clear not only from the street protests, but also from the rhetoric employed by the conservative media elite that racism is indeed alive in "post-racial America," and is certainly ratcheting up the temperature of the country's discourse.

We took a tour of that discourse and present 10 recent examples of the kind of racially charged barbs that played a part in Carter's statement.

1. Oh no! Evil monkeys stole our balls!

You know who really had their act together? British colonists in India. But oppressing a country of hundreds of millions for more than a century was not without its dangers. For instance, sometimes monkeys descended on the Brits' golf courses and stole their balls.

And that it is how former House Representative Roy Blunt, R-Mo., chose to illustrate the challenges facing conservatives in the Obama era. Friday, AlterNet's Adele Stan reported Blunt's words to the conservative Values Summit:

"... Something they didn't anticipate was monkeys came running out of the jungle, and they grabbed the golf balls ... and they might throw the golf ball back at you. ... So for this golf course, and this golf course and this golf course only, they passed a rule, and the rule was, you have to play the ball where the monkey throws it."

The crowd roared with laughter.

He went on to say that he recently saw a bumper sticker he liked that read: "Don't let Obama find out what comes after a trillion."

2. Rush Limbaugh, worried about future of favorite cookie, blows off steam by making racist joke about Obama

In a July broadcast, Rush Limbaugh voiced his displeasure -- nay, outrage -- about food-safety advocates potentially "going after" Oreo cookies. Added the great wit: "Might have to put that off until Obama's out of office, but they'll eventually go after Oreos."

Get it?

3. When you weren't looking, Obama snuck reparations into the health care bill

This is why we have to be vigilant. According to Beck and Limbaugh, Obama is using health reform to force reparations for slavery from white America. Beck: "Everything getting pushed through Congress -- including this health care bill -- is transforming America. And it's all driven by President Obama's thinking on one idea: reparations. ... He believes in all the 'universal' programs because they ‘disproportionately affect' people of color" (All of whom Obama knows personally, cause … you know … ).

Not one to be outdone, Limbaugh cast a wider net, saying: "Obama's entire program is reparations!"

4. Addendum: When you weren't looking, Obama snuck affirmative action in the health care bill

Obama's plan to make African Americans the white man's evil overlords doesn't end with secret reparations: Apparently, the health care bill is also being used to smuggle in affirmative action. "The medical schools will get more federal dollars if they have proven … that they are putting minorities ahead" according to Beck.

5. Obama responsible for school bullying

Last week, a Drudge headline screamed: "White Student Beaten on School Bus; Crowd Cheers."

Drudge is presumably aware that this isn't the first time school children have engaged in fisticuffs. But in highlighting the item as breaking "news," the site was clearly trying to tap into the bizarre race paranoia sweeping Wing-Nut Nation. It did not take long for Limbaugh to make Drudge's implicit race bating explicit:

"In Obama's America, the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering, 'Yay, right on, right on, right on, right on,' " said Limbaugh, in a very accurate approximation of how black kids talk, of course.

6. Limbaugh comes up with a solution to America's complex race issues: Separate but equal!

Then, Limbaugh used the incident to essentially propose a return to the doctrine of "separate but equal," saying, "I mean, that's the lesson we're being taught here today. Kid shouldn't have been on the bus anyway. We need segregated buses -- it was invading space and stuff. This is Obama's America."

Or, you know, the black kids could just sit in the back of the bus.

7. Our president is angry?

Obama comes across as a pretty even-keeled, pleasant person. But maybe it's all an act, meant to mask his true nature, which, according to Limbaugh, is that of a really common racist archetype: the angry black man.

"[T]hey're finally hearing me. 'He's an angry black guy.' I do believe that about the president. I do believe he's angry. I think his wife is angry."

Surprisingly, Limbaugh did not add that Michelle Obama was also good at nursing other people's kids or preparing pancakes.

8. Birther conspiracy

A while back, a bunch of people felt kinda weird publicly saying that Obama shouldn't be president because he's black. They came up with this enterprising solution: latch onto an insane conspiracy theory claiming that the president is illegitimate because he's not a natural-born citizen of the U.S.

One of those people was Lou Dobbs, who managed to destroy the last shreds of his reputation and dignity by pushing the birther conspiracy onto prime time on CNN.

9. Half-white president hates whites?

Carter's remarks that many of the attacks against the president are fueled by racism really, really hurt conservatives' feelings. Beck, for example, sniffed (but didn't break into wild sobbing, as he often does) that it was wrong to accuse someone of racism without hard evidence. This lesson in etiquette is one Beck must have learned recently, because less than two months ago, the shock-jock accused Obama of being a racist with a "deep-seated hatred for white people … and white culture."

Beck did not elaborate on what he meant by "white culture."

10. General tea-baggery

Conservatives are trying to sell town hall disruptions and the various forms of tea-bagging going on as legitimate protests against the Democrats' agenda. While that's certainly true of many people who show up at these events, it's hard not to be a little wary of the real reason some people take part, when we see signs like this, this, this and this.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Check out Google's home page 9/15/09

here's the story behind it.

Today in History

2005 President George W. Bush, addressing the nation from storm-ravaged New Orleans, acknowledged the government failed to respond adequately to Hurricane Katrina and urged Congress to approve a massive reconstruction program.

fuck you bush

Concert to Save Charity

from Humidcity dot com

September 19th, 2009 is a significant day and not just because there’s an amazing musical line-up. It is the fourth anniversary of the shuttering of Charity Hospital without the legislative approval required by law. The decision to close Charity Hospital at that time remains a huge setback for our city.

Contrary to the claims of state officials, Charity Hospital was not destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. In fact, teams of doctors, nurses, and military personnel from the U.S.S. Iwo Jima worked around the clock to scrub the hospital clean so that it was ready to receive patients on the day it was shut down. Click here to see what the hospital looked like the day it was closed down.

Help stop this injustice. If you can't attend the concert, then spread the word that Charity Hospital is ready for business .

Monday, September 14, 2009

RIP Patrick Swayze

After a long battle with pancreatic cancer, talented thespian Patrick Swayze is gone.

read it here.

One of my most favorite roles that Swayze played was as Vida Bohemme in To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar . He played a man (excuse me if I don't get this right) in drag so eloquently that you could believe that the people in the film BELIEVED that he was a woman.

From wikipedia:
After entering a local "drag queen of the year" contest in New York City, Noxeema Jackson (Wesley Snipes) and Vida Bohemme (Patrick Swayze) win a trip to Hollywood to take part in an even bigger, national drag queen contest. pictures here Before they depart, Vida persuades Noxeema to take along the inexperienced 'drag princess' Chi-Chi Rodriguez (John Leguizamo) as their protégé (the duo initially refer to Chi-Chi simply as a "boy in a dress" rather than as a fully-fledged drag queen). In order to do this, they trade in their airplane tickets for cash and buy a stylish but old Cadillac convertible with money given to them by John Jacob (Robin Williams) and the three of them set off for Los Angeles by car.

I love this movie and I'll miss Patrick Swayze's talents. His passing has made me very sad. May he rest in peace.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


In a world where everything that we see and hear lately appears to be negative, I present this four minute video which will make you smile. Enjoy

NOLA needs hospitals, dammit!

This short piece shows the dire straights that New Orleans is in regarding the lack of adequate institutions to handle an overwhelming number of people in fragile mental states of mind.

h/t EJ

Monday, September 07, 2009

The "Castro Speech"

before the weekend started, I'd heard somewhere that there was a cadre of ignorant people saying that they didn't want their children to hear this speech because it reminded them of a speech Fidel Castro gave 40 years ago, trying to "steal" the childrens' minds.

To all of you who believe Obama is the new satan, suck on this

Hello, everyone -- how's everybody doing today? I'm here with students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. And we've got students tuning in from all across America, kindergarten through 12th grade. I'm glad you all could join us today.

I know that for many of you, today is the first day of school. And for those of you in kindergarten, or starting middle or high school, it's your first day in a new school, so it's understandable if you're a little nervous. I imagine there are some seniors out there who are feeling pretty good right now, with just one more year to go. And no matter what grade you're in, some of you are probably wishing it were still summer, and you could've stayed in bed just a little longer this morning.

I know that feeling. When I was young, my family lived in Indonesia for a few years, and my mother didn't have the money to send me where all the American kids went to school. So she decided to teach me extra lessons herself, Monday through Friday -- at 4:30 in the morning.

Now I wasn't too happy about getting up that early. A lot of times, I'd fall asleep right there at the kitchen table. But whenever I'd complain, my mother would just give me one of those looks and say, "This is no picnic for me either, buster."

So I know some of you are still adjusting to being back at school. But I'm here today because I have something important to discuss with you. I'm here because I want to talk with you about your education and what's expected of all of you in this new school year.

Now I've given a lot of speeches about education. And I've talked a lot about responsibility.

I've talked about your teachers' responsibility for inspiring you, and pushing you to learn.

I've talked about your parents' responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done, and don't spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox.

I've talked a lot about your government's responsibility for setting high standards, supporting teachers and principals, and turning around schools that aren't working where students aren't getting the opportunities they deserve.

But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed.

And that's what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education. I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself.

Every single one of you has something you're good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That's the opportunity an education can provide.

Maybe you could be a good writer -- maybe even good enough to write a book or articles in a newspaper -- but you might not know it until you write a paper for your English class. Maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor -- maybe even good enough to come up with the next iPhone or a new medicine or vaccine -- but you might not know it until you do a project for your science class. Maybe you could be a mayor or a senator or a Supreme Court justice, but you might not know that until you join student government or the debate team.

And no matter what you want to do with your life -- I guarantee that you'll need an education to do it. You want to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a police officer? You want to be a nurse or an architect, a lawyer or a member of our military? You're going to need a good education for every single one of those careers. You can't drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You've got to work for it and train for it and learn for it.

And this isn't just important for your own life and your own future. What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. What you're learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future.

You'll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to cure diseases like cancer and AIDS, and to develop new energy technologies and protect our environment. You'll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free. You'll need the creativity and ingenuity you develop in all your classes to build new companies that will create new jobs and boost our economy.

We need every single one of you to develop your talents, skills and intellect so you can help solve our most difficult problems. If you don't do that -- if you quit on school -- you're not just quitting on yourself, you're quitting on your country.

Now I know it's not always easy to do well in school. I know a lot of you have challenges in your lives right now that can make it hard to focus on your schoolwork.

I get it. I know what that's like. My father left my family when I was two years old, and I was raised by a single mother who struggled at times to pay the bills and wasn't always able to give us things the other kids had. There were times when I missed having a father in my life. There were times when I was lonely and felt like I didn't fit in.

So I wasn't always as focused as I should have been. I did some things I'm not proud of, and got in more trouble than I should have. And my life could have easily taken a turn for the worse.

But I was fortunate. I got a lot of second chances and had the opportunity to go to college, and law school, and follow my dreams. My wife, our first lady Michelle Obama, has a similar story. Neither of her parents had gone to college, and they didn't have much. But they worked hard, and she worked hard, so that she could go to the best schools in this country.

Some of you might not have those advantages. Maybe you don't have adults in your life who give you the support that you need. Maybe someone in your family has lost their job, and there's not enough money to go around. Maybe you live in a neighborhood where you don't feel safe, or have friends who are pressuring you to do things you know aren't right.

But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life -- what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you've got going on at home -- that's no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That's no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That's no excuse for not trying.

Where you are right now doesn't have to determine where you'll end up. No one's written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future.

That's what young people like you are doing every day, all across America.

Young people like Jazmin Perez, from Roma, Texas. Jazmin didn't speak English when she first started school. Hardly anyone in her hometown went to college, and neither of her parents had gone either. But she worked hard, earned good grades, got a scholarship to Brown University, and is now in graduate school, studying public health, on her way to being Dr. Jazmin Perez.

I'm thinking about Andoni Schultz, from Los Altos, California, who's fought brain cancer since he was three. He's endured all sorts of treatments and surgeries, one of which affected his memory, so it took him much longer -- hundreds of extra hours -- to do his schoolwork. But he never fell behind, and he's headed to college this fall.

And then there's Shantell Steve, from my hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Even when bouncing from foster home to foster home in the toughest neighborhoods, she managed to get a job at a local health center; start a program to keep young people out of gangs; and she's on track to graduate high school with honors and go on to college.

Jazmin, Andoni and Shantell aren't any different from any of you. They faced challenges in their lives just like you do. But they refused to give up. They chose to take responsibility for their education and set goals for themselves. And I expect all of you to do the same. That's why today, I'm calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education -- and to do everything you can to meet them. Your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or spending time each day reading a book. Maybe you'll decide to get involved in an extracurricular activity, or volunteer in your community. Maybe you'll decide to stand up for kids who are being teased or bullied because of who they are or how they look, because you believe, like I do, that all kids deserve a safe environment to study and learn. Maybe you'll decide to take better care of yourself so you can be more ready to learn. And along those lines, I hope you'll all wash your hands a lot, and stay home from school when you don't feel well, so we can keep people from getting the flu this fall and winter.

Whatever you resolve to do, I want you to commit to it. I want you to really work at it.

I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work -- that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, you're not going to be any of those things.

But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won't love every subject you study. You won't click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won't necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.

That's OK. Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who've had the most failures. JK Rowling's first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, "I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."

These people succeeded because they understand that you can't let your failures define you -- you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time. If you get in trouble, that doesn't mean you're a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that doesn't mean you're stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying.

No one's born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work. You're not a varsity athlete the first time you play a new sport. You don't hit every note the first time you sing a song. You've got to practice. It's the same with your schoolwork. You might have to do a math problem a few times before you get it right, or read something a few times before you understand it, or do a few drafts of a paper before it's good enough to hand in.

Don't be afraid to ask questions. Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn't a sign of weakness, it's a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don't know something, and to learn something new. So find an adult you trust -- a parent, grandparent or teacher; a coach or counselor -- and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your goals.

And even when you're struggling, even when you're discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you -- don't ever give up on yourself. Because when you give up on yourself, you give up on your country.

The story of America isn't about people who quit when things got tough. It's about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do anything less than their best. It's the story of students who sat where you sit 250 years ago, and went on to wage a revolution and found this nation. Students who sat where you sit 75 years ago who overcame a Depression and won a world war; who fought for civil rights and put a man on the moon. Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google, Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other.

So today, I want to ask you, what's your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country?

Your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure you have the education you need to answer these questions. I'm working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn. But you've got to do your part too. So I expect you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don't let us down -- don't let your family or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.