athelind: (Eye of the Dragon)
And so, another year ends, and Your Obedient Serpent will be more than happy to be shed of this one. I bid 2010 adieu with two upraised middle fingers and a shout of defiance.

It's time to face forward.

I've mentioned that sometimes, the radio talks to me, that the station I most often tune to has a tendency to play certain songs over and over again, and sometimes, the songs that cycle into that repetitious rotation are ones that directly address my moods and circumstances.

Back in November, as I was preparing to move a lifetime of belongings out of [livejournal.com profile] quelonzia's garage, this one played nearly every day.

I was going to post it tomorrow, but it played again, just minutes ago.

This, then, is my New Year: No Resolutions, Just Resolve.

I've got a world and a life and a future in front of me.

And it's mine.






I know what it means to walk along the lonely street of dreams ... )

Happy New Year, one and all!

athelind: (cronkite)
Due to recent events, I haven't been as politically vocal in this forum as I once was. So It Goes.

We've got an election coming up in this country next week, though, and The Big Picture matters, especially with Big Media so happily wedded to Big Stupidity these days.

Let's lead off with Senator Al "won by 312 votes" Franken's reminder that every vote counts. Even yours. That's right, you. He also opines:

The month Barack Obama was sworn in we lost 750,000 jobs in this country. With all due respect to the President, I think his analogy that the economy was a car in a ditch when he took office is just a little too static. Here's my analogy, which, in my opinion, is both more kinetic and, frankly, far more accurate.

When the President took office, not only had the car gone into a ditch, the car had flipped over and was rolling down a steep embankment. We, the American people, were in the back seat, and the Bush Administration had removed all the seat belts, so we were all flying around the interior of this car as it was rolling and flipping and careening down this steep embankment, headed to a 2,000 foot cliff. And at the bottom of that cliff were jagged rocks. And alligators.

Now, at noon on January 20th, 2009, as the car was careening toward the cliff, George W. Bush jumped out of the car.

President Obama somehow managed to dive in through the window, take the wheel and get control of the thing just inches before it went over the precipice. Then, he and Congress starting pushing this wreck back up the embankment. Now you can't push a car up an embankment as fast as it careens down the embankment, especially if some people are trying to push against you. But we got it going in the right direction. And slowly we've gotten ourselves up the embankment, out of the ditch and onto the shoulder of the road.

[Italics mine ... and I confess I'm not quite as optimistic as Sen. Franken that we're quite "up the embankment" yet. Then again, I count things like "war without end" and "condoning torture" as part of the mud on the slippery slope.]


To expand the "every vote counts" theme into one of Solidarity, [livejournal.com profile] velvetpage gives a concrete example from this week's Canadian elections:

Toronto: the vote on the left was split several ways, while the vote on the right was concentrated on one right-wing ideologue who got the ear of the suburbs by promising an end to corruption and a drastic reduction in social services that the suburbs use less anyway. Want to know how it is that a country where most people lean to the left of centre manages to keep electing these clowns? Here's how: there are so many good ideas and decent people on the left that people can't settle on just one, and with a first-past-the-post system, it means the right-wing guy with less than a majority often comes up from behind.


And with the preliminaries out of the way, some Quick Links:




Thanks to Mark Evanier, [livejournal.com profile] velvetpage, and most especially [livejournal.com profile] pseudomanitou for links and leads. Seriously, folks, [livejournal.com profile] pseudomanitou's LJ is the best Progressive News Aggregator I've encountered. I have a lot of news feeds, but PM's news posts put all the best stuff in one place.
athelind: (fascism)

White House Caves on Miranda Rights



We don't need to read terrorist suspects their Miranda rights! This is a Public Safety Matter, based on realistic case scenarios from the best U.S. policy thinktanks!

Don't worry! Nobody could ever get falsely accused of terrorism!

... why would you even think that such a thing could apply to you, hmmmm? Maybe we should keep an eye on you ....

Like I said a few days ago, I'll celebrate my country's independence when it happens.

As I was typing this, the radio just blabbed an ad for a local TV news series inciting panic because the restrictions governing where sex offenders can live can't be applied to homeless people, because they don't have an address. ONOES! Homeless people are out to rape your children!

I am so fucking tired of fearmongering.

athelind: (far call)
I just watched President Obama's speech at Kennedy Space Center.

My distillation:

He wants to move beyond the "Business As Usual" stagnation of the Shuttle era, but he doesn't want to go back to the days of token high-profile publicity stunt-flights. He wants to set up a long-term program of expanding and extending the human presence in space, and improving the technology to get us out there and let us stay out there. He wants to establish a space infrastructure, and not just one in LEO: one geared for long-range, deep-space exploration.

I don't think he ever said the "C-word", but I might have heard it there, between the lines.

Neil doesn't like it, but Buzz does—and, frankly, between the two, I trust Buzz's opinion more. The guy who advocated the Mars Cycler is not the type to say "we should keep doing it this way because we've always done it this way".


athelind: (outrage)

AlterNet runs the numbers.



In the 1950s the marginal tax rate on those earning more than $3 million a year (in today’s dollars) was 91 percent. By 1990 it was 28 percent. The IRS says that the top 400 richest tax filers actually paid a rate of just 16 percent in 2007 (the latest numbers we have). Yep, the richest earners — people who took in an average of $343 million each — probably paid a lower rate than you did. Something to consider as you sign your 2009 return.

By the way, those 400 people who do so well on tax day have a combined net worth of nearly $1.37 trillion. [...] If we had progressive taxes that reduced their wealth to a trifling $100 million each, we’d have enough money to set up a trust fund whose interest could provide tuition-free higher education for students at every public college and university in perpetuity. [...]


Note that "if" the article proposes is still far less than the upper-bracket tax rate of the 1950s.

And aren't the 1950s the mythical Good Old Days of Prosperity and Civic Responsibility that the Conservatives point to as the pinnacle of US culture?


Your Obedient Serpent has found that when he includes article quotes, people frequently just read the quoted passage, and leave comments raising objections that were dealt with handily in the original source. Please don't do that, or I'll have to stop including passages, and start including well-earned bitchslaps.
athelind: (Default)

AlterNet runs the numbers.



In the 1950s the marginal tax rate on those earning more than $3 million a year (in today’s dollars) was 91 percent. By 1990 it was 28 percent. The IRS says that the top 400 richest tax filers actually paid a rate of just 16 percent in 2007 (the latest numbers we have). Yep, the richest earners — people who took in an average of $343 million each — probably paid a lower rate than you did. Something to consider as you sign your 2009 return.

By the way, those 400 people who do so well on tax day have a combined net worth of nearly $1.37 trillion. [...] If we had progressive taxes that reduced their wealth to a trifling $100 million each, we’d have enough money to set up a trust fund whose interest could provide tuition-free higher education for students at every public college and university in perpetuity. [...]


Note that "if" the article proposes is still far less than the upper-bracket tax rate of the 1950s.

And aren't the 1950s the mythical Good Old Days of Prosperity and Civic Responsibility that the Conservatives point to as the pinnacle of US culture?


Your Obedient Serpent has found that when he includes article quotes, people frequently just read the quoted passage, and leave comments raising objections that were dealt with handily in the original source. Please don't do that, or I'll have to stop including passages, and start including well-earned bitchslaps.
athelind: (outrage)
A lot of people keep defending President Obama's mediocre track record on progressive causes,* citing the close margin he has, and occasionally even acknowledging that he can't even rely on his own party members in Congress.

[livejournal.com profile] bradhicks points out that Roosevelt, Johnson, and every other President who managed to accomplish anything of lasting significance faced the same kind of opposition, but knew how to use the power, prestige, and clout of the Chief Executive of the United States to get shit done.

The ones who didn't?

They didn't accomplish jack shit, for any cause, progressive or otherwise.

This is not the change I voted for.


*Most of his defenders also ignore his reprehensible track record in sustaining and expanding frankly regressive causes, including some of the worst stances of the Bush Junta on privacy, security, and copyright law, just to name a few.
athelind: (Default)
A lot of people keep defending President Obama's mediocre track record on progressive causes,* citing the close margin he has, and occasionally even acknowledging that he can't even rely on his own party members in Congress.

[livejournal.com profile] bradhicks points out that Roosevelt, Johnson, and every other President who managed to accomplish anything of lasting significance faced the same kind of opposition, but knew how to use the power, prestige, and clout of the Chief Executive of the United States to get shit done.

The ones who didn't?

They didn't accomplish jack shit, for any cause, progressive or otherwise.

This is not the change I voted for.


*Most of his defenders also ignore his reprehensible track record in sustaining and expanding frankly regressive causes, including some of the worst stances of the Bush Junta on privacy, security, and copyright law, just to name a few.
athelind: (We The People)
I have to say, I'm pleased by this speech, and this slogan.



Goodness knows, I'm trying to find myself a mop. Where do they hide the damned things?


athelind: (Default)
I have to say, I'm pleased by this speech, and this slogan.



Goodness knows, I'm trying to find myself a mop. Where do they hide the damned things?


athelind: (cronkite)
Am I missing something?

Apparently, "striving for nuclear disarmament" by rattling sabres at Iran and North Korea, "supporting international bodies" like the WTO, the World Bank, and other corporate bulwarks, and "rekindling hope" by Not Being George Dubya Bush qualifies a man for the Nobel Prize, despite what Your Obedient Serpent perceives as a continuation of all of Bush's most rephrehensible policies, at home and abroad.

Okay, not all of Bush's policies. President Obama isn't actively rude to other countries.

But, ten thousand thunders! how is it that I find myself inclined to agree with Neocon Republicans and Taliban members about this?

If Reagan was Teflon, Obama is Kevlar. His opponents are so reprehensible that I wind up aligning myself with him simply to distance myself from them. It's like he generates a Godwin Deflector Field: I'm gonna stand over here, with Barry, so none of The Stupid gets on me.

Seriously, I know there are non-North Americans reading this. What's your perspective on the President and the Peace Prize?



Update: [livejournal.com profile] rodant_kapoor has his own take on what this represents, and it does make sense, from a certain point of view.



Update: [livejournal.com profile] circuit_four has another good take.

Good stuff is popping up in the comments here, as well; thanks, gang!



Update: [livejournal.com profile] rikoshi makes some good points On Obama.

And that guy in the Oval Office had was as astonished as anyone else, it seems.



Update: Meanwhile, The Washington Post puts it all in perspective by pointing out that the Peace Prize has also, historically, been awarded for "aspirations". (Of course, those who have a medical background know that if you aspirate something, you may choke on it.)


Most of these updates are for my own future reference, but also for interested readers.
athelind: (Default)
Am I missing something?

Apparently, "striving for nuclear disarmament" by rattling sabres at Iran and North Korea, "supporting international bodies" like the WTO, the World Bank, and other corporate bulwarks, and "rekindling hope" by Not Being George Dubya Bush qualifies a man for the Nobel Prize, despite what Your Obedient Serpent perceives as a continuation of all of Bush's most rephrehensible policies, at home and abroad.

Okay, not all of Bush's policies. President Obama isn't actively rude to other countries.

But, ten thousand thunders! how is it that I find myself inclined to agree with Neocon Republicans and Taliban members about this?

If Reagan was Teflon, Obama is Kevlar. His opponents are so reprehensible that I wind up aligning myself with him simply to distance myself from them. It's like he generates a Godwin Deflector Field: I'm gonna stand over here, with Barry, so none of The Stupid gets on me.

Seriously, I know there are non-North Americans reading this. What's your perspective on the President and the Peace Prize?



Update: [livejournal.com profile] rodant_kapoor has his own take on what this represents, and it does make sense, from a certain point of view.



Update: [livejournal.com profile] circuit_four has another good take.

Good stuff is popping up in the comments here, as well; thanks, gang!



Update: [livejournal.com profile] rikoshi makes some good points On Obama.

And that guy in the Oval Office had was as astonished as anyone else, it seems.



Update: Meanwhile, The Washington Post puts it all in perspective by pointing out that the Peace Prize has also, historically, been awarded for "aspirations". (Of course, those who have a medical background know that if you aspirate something, you may choke on it.)


Most of these updates are for my own future reference, but also for interested readers.
athelind: (cronkite)

YES!




YES! YES! YES!



Thank you, Congressman Frank! This is your Crowning Moment of Awesome.

This is exactly how these crazy bullshit lies should be met -- must be met. It's "vile, contemptible nonsense", all right, and we need more people to come right out and say it.


Thanx to [livejournal.com profile] cargoweasel and [livejournal.com profile] circuit_four
athelind: (Default)

YES!




YES! YES! YES!



Thank you, Congressman Frank! This is your Crowning Moment of Awesome.

This is exactly how these crazy bullshit lies should be met -- must be met. It's "vile, contemptible nonsense", all right, and we need more people to come right out and say it.


Thanx to [livejournal.com profile] cargoweasel and [livejournal.com profile] circuit_four

Sail on.

Nov. 4th, 2008 10:43 pm
athelind: (We The People)

Democracy

Leonard Cohen, 1992



It's coming through a hole in the air,
From those nights in Tiananmen Square.
It's coming from the feel
That this ain't exactly real,
Or it's real, but it ain't exactly there.
From the wars against disorder,
from the sirens night and day,
From the fires of the homeless,
From the ashes of the gay:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

It's coming through a crack in the wall;
On a visionary flood of alcohol;
From the staggering account
Of the Sermon on the Mount
Which I don't pretend to understand at all.
It's coming from the silence
On the dock of the bay,
From the brave, the bold, the battered heart of Chevrolet:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

It's coming from the sorrow in the street,
The holy places where the races meet;
From the homicidal bitchin'
That goes down in every kitchen
To determine who will serve and who will eat.
From the wells of disappointment
Where the women kneel to pray
For the grace of God in the desert here and the desert far away:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

Sail on, sail on
O mighty Ship of State!
To the Shores of Need
Past the Reefs of Greed
Through the Squalls of Hate
Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on.


It's coming to America first,
The cradle of the best and of the worst.
It's here they got the range
And the machinery for change
And it's here they got the spiritual thirst.
It's here the family's broken
and it's here the lonely say
That the heart has got to open in a fundamental way:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

It's coming from the women and the men.
O baby, we'll be making love again.
We'll be going down so deep
The river's going to weep,
And the mountain's going to shout Amen!
It's coming like the tidal flood
Beneath the lunar sway,
Imperial, mysterious, in amorous array:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

Sail on, sail on
O mighty Ship of State!
To the Shores of Need
Past the Reefs of Greed
Through the Squalls of Hate
Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on.


I'm sentimental, if you know what I mean;
I love the country but I can't stand the scene.
And I'm neither left or right,
I'm just staying home tonight,
Getting lost in that hopeless little screen.
But I'm stubborn as those garbage bags
That Time cannot decay,
I'm junk but I'm still holding up this little wild bouquet:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

Sail on, sail on
O mighty Ship of State!
To the Shores of Need
Past the Reefs of Greed
Through the Squalls of Hate
Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on....


Sail on.

Nov. 4th, 2008 10:43 pm
athelind: (Default)

Democracy

Leonard Cohen, 1992



It's coming through a hole in the air,
From those nights in Tiananmen Square.
It's coming from the feel
That this ain't exactly real,
Or it's real, but it ain't exactly there.
From the wars against disorder,
from the sirens night and day,
From the fires of the homeless,
From the ashes of the gay:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

It's coming through a crack in the wall;
On a visionary flood of alcohol;
From the staggering account
Of the Sermon on the Mount
Which I don't pretend to understand at all.
It's coming from the silence
On the dock of the bay,
From the brave, the bold, the battered heart of Chevrolet:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

It's coming from the sorrow in the street,
The holy places where the races meet;
From the homicidal bitchin'
That goes down in every kitchen
To determine who will serve and who will eat.
From the wells of disappointment
Where the women kneel to pray
For the grace of God in the desert here and the desert far away:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

Sail on, sail on
O mighty Ship of State!
To the Shores of Need
Past the Reefs of Greed
Through the Squalls of Hate
Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on.


It's coming to America first,
The cradle of the best and of the worst.
It's here they got the range
And the machinery for change
And it's here they got the spiritual thirst.
It's here the family's broken
and it's here the lonely say
That the heart has got to open in a fundamental way:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

It's coming from the women and the men.
O baby, we'll be making love again.
We'll be going down so deep
The river's going to weep,
And the mountain's going to shout Amen!
It's coming like the tidal flood
Beneath the lunar sway,
Imperial, mysterious, in amorous array:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

Sail on, sail on
O mighty Ship of State!
To the Shores of Need
Past the Reefs of Greed
Through the Squalls of Hate
Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on.


I'm sentimental, if you know what I mean;
I love the country but I can't stand the scene.
And I'm neither left or right,
I'm just staying home tonight,
Getting lost in that hopeless little screen.
But I'm stubborn as those garbage bags
That Time cannot decay,
I'm junk but I'm still holding up this little wild bouquet:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

Sail on, sail on
O mighty Ship of State!
To the Shores of Need
Past the Reefs of Greed
Through the Squalls of Hate
Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on....


athelind: (obama that one)

Thank you.

athelind: (Default)

Thank you.

athelind: (hope)
To my surprise, I find myself praying.

This is hard to admit, this year, this hour. Not only am I an avowed agnostic, but the Religious Right has been so soundly mocked for praying for the victory of their Chosen Candidate, as if they could command their God.

The last eight years, however...

It's not much of a prayer, as prayers go. It's just a single word, but one that keeps echoing in my soul as I read Barack Obama's speeches, or watch them on video, or see the words and images of those who have come together, having finally found someone that they can genuinely support, rather than a mere placeholder for their opposition.

It's a single word:

Please.

Last night, [livejournal.com profile] ounceofreason said, It's Christmas Eve, except that there's a decent chance that Santa will burn my house down.

That single sentence perfectly encapsulates how I feel right now.

Please.

Perhaps I'm praying to Old Man Coyote. The last election, for me, moved "Coyote Loves Us" from a wry acknowledgment of Murphy's Law to something akin to an epiphany. It staggered me that Americans could put that man back into the Oval Office even by such a slim margin after seeing what he'd done to this country in that first term; what better evidence that our little corner of the universe was in the paws of a prankster, a practical joker with a penchant toward the scatological, who'd just pulled the national-if-not-global equivalent of a banana peel?

Nice one, Coyote. But just this once...

Please.

I'm going to work now, to while away the next several hours in the ever-so-important task of unpacking and inventorying this week's shipment of comic books and pop culture trinkets.

I welcome the distraction.

When I leave the back room refuge of the comics shop, perhaps there will be good news.

Perhaps I can allow myself to hope.

Please.

athelind: (Default)
To my surprise, I find myself praying.

This is hard to admit, this year, this hour. Not only am I an avowed agnostic, but the Religious Right has been so soundly mocked for praying for the victory of their Chosen Candidate, as if they could command their God.

The last eight years, however...

It's not much of a prayer, as prayers go. It's just a single word, but one that keeps echoing in my soul as I read Barack Obama's speeches, or watch them on video, or see the words and images of those who have come together, having finally found someone that they can genuinely support, rather than a mere placeholder for their opposition.

It's a single word:

Please.

Last night, [livejournal.com profile] ounceofreason said, It's Christmas Eve, except that there's a decent chance that Santa will burn my house down.

That single sentence perfectly encapsulates how I feel right now.

Please.

Perhaps I'm praying to Old Man Coyote. The last election, for me, moved "Coyote Loves Us" from a wry acknowledgment of Murphy's Law to something akin to an epiphany. It staggered me that Americans could put that man back into the Oval Office even by such a slim margin after seeing what he'd done to this country in that first term; what better evidence that our little corner of the universe was in the paws of a prankster, a practical joker with a penchant toward the scatological, who'd just pulled the national-if-not-global equivalent of a banana peel?

Nice one, Coyote. But just this once...

Please.

I'm going to work now, to while away the next several hours in the ever-so-important task of unpacking and inventorying this week's shipment of comic books and pop culture trinkets.

I welcome the distraction.

When I leave the back room refuge of the comics shop, perhaps there will be good news.

Perhaps I can allow myself to hope.

Please.

athelind: (obama that one)
[livejournal.com profile] quelonzia and I voted today.

And now... a Reality Check.


The video says, "Hey, we liberals can sling mud, too," but honestly? We don't need to sling mud. They've got huge piles of shit all around them; all we have to do is lift up the corner of the flag they're trying to cover it all with.

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] wingywoof for the video link.

athelind: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] quelonzia and I voted today.

And now... a Reality Check.


The video says, "Hey, we liberals can sling mud, too," but honestly? We don't need to sling mud. They've got huge piles of shit all around them; all we have to do is lift up the corner of the flag they're trying to cover it all with.

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] wingywoof for the video link.

athelind: (furries for obama)
This made me happy.

(...I also really want to play in that game setting.)

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