Saturday, March 27, 2010

WTF America?

Man, I don't add anything in a week and this country turns upside down. Last weeekend the House met to pass the sweeping Health Bill endorsed by the President. Outside, teabaggers gathered and began to FINALLY show their true face - RACIST SCUMBAGS! It's about time they fessed up. They called a congressman that marched with MLK a n*%$#er and Barney Frank a 'faggot'! The bill passed anyways but that didn't stop anything, it only got worse. Bricks started being hurled at Democratic congresspeople's windows of their offices. A tea party add in N. Virginia gave what they thought was the congressman's address and said 'drop by' but it was his brother's home and some lunatic cut the gas line to the house! Several got threats over the phone and email and did the Republicans try and talk to these groups and see about calming things down? Of course not! In some cases, like 'Boner' they actual used words like 'He's a dead man back in his home town' and that fucking cunt Bauchmann said 'We're armed and ready in Minnesota, a revolution is good every now and then'. The worst thing I saw today was some sort of call to arms on April 19. They're using that day they 'claim' because it's the day the American Revolution began in 1775 with the battles of Concord and Lexington, but more recently it's the anniversary of the Waco compound attack in '93 and the Oklahoma City bombing in '95!!! They actually were calling for people to try and get as close to Washington with loaded guns as they could. THIS IS FUCKING CRAZY!!! As a historian I know how volatile that week in April can be...Columbine, Apr 19, Virginia Tech, Apr 16...hell even Hitler's birthday is April 20th! I abhore violence. I'm a pacifist. It's been 150 years since this country split in two and began a horrible 5 year Civil War that left the most casualties in any war American's have fought, the most destruction on our own soil, and an amazing President shot dead at the end of it. In some ways we've never recovered from that event and now these fuckers are actually yelling as if they'd like another Civil War! I mean what person that really loves this country would want that? Are they THAT sore of losers? Or is it that we've become so divided and only talk to or listen to people that are like our ideology? This sort of behavior has always begot violence. If you only listen to those that agree with you then it's a self fulfilling prophecy of destruction...and to have the idea that 30% of the population AT MOST can dictate what the other 70% do is just plain stupid. White people are scared because they see more and more Hispanics every day and hear stories of how they will be a minority in a few decades. They are like cats backed into a corner and they are lashing out in complete desperation now. Why don't they try and actually get along with those that don't look or think exactly like them? That's what made this country WORK in the past. Instead they'd rather tear it down to rubble than do that. And rubble is what they will get because even a pacifist, gun hating liberal like me will do everything in my power to defend myself and those I love against these creeps and if they think they're little revolution will help them out they're gonna really hate the one after that because then the 70% will hunt each and every one of them down and run them into the fucking ocean. And I guarantee this if these fuckers keep on going this direction and Obama gets assassinated. Guarantee it. You want a revolution? You'll get one and you'll just wish your end times came right then and there before we get to you. You may be the loudmouth on the block now, but the sleeping giant will awaken.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Today's the Day

Sunday, March 21, 2010 - The day Obama's administration sinks or swims. At least that's the way the news is setting up (and Repubs for that matter). If his Health bill doesn't pass today then this will be a one term Presidency a la Jimmy Carter and that's exactly how the Repubs want it so they've fought it tooth and nail despite the fact that it's completely toothless now without the public option and many concessions. The Dems should have just passed this thing as the House passed it back when they had the Filibuster votes, but because they didn't it really makes me wonder who they are conceding to, Repubs or big insurance and pharmaco? I hate how it's been set up like this too. If it doesn't pass it doesn't automatically mean that his adminstration is over, just like if it does pass these same people will say 'Well, his administration could still fail' but if it fails they'll say 'His administration ended today!'. And of course these are people that seem to be fine with throwing four years of America and have everything stagnate just so they can get back in office in 2012. On the Dem side, they had the biggest majority in decades last year and they completely blew it! They waited, and now everything will be this kind of battle instead of just passing laws on Health Care, the environment, etc. and just telling the Repubs to go piss up a chain because that's what Repubs would say to Dems. They don't want to be as bad, but sometimes you have to play tough to get things done and they promised the American people change and getting things done. Sure, they had to deal with the financial crisis, but I'm not so sure that was even handled very well since some of the same players are in the White House or the government still. Did Wall Street suddenly move out of the White House? Alas, it did not. The least they could have done was to give the people something too if they felt they needed to 'help out' Wall St. yet again. So today is the big vote. I still hope it passes but it's like voting for a guy you don't really like to keep another guy out of office. I will hope this passes, but only so it will finally be at least something passed to see if it works instead of just bickering for months and months on end.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


This is an excerpt of the screenplay from the movie 'Waking Life' in regards to freewill. Russell and I were talking about it at lunch and I decided to put this on here:

In a way, in our contemporary world view,
It's easy to think that science has come to take the place of God.
But some philosophical problems remain as troubling as ever.
Take the problem of free will.
This problem's been around for a long time,
since before Aristotle in B.C.
St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas,
these guys all worried about how we can be free...
if God already knows in advance everything you're gonna do.
Nowadays we know that the world operates according to some fundamental physical laws,
and these laws govern the behavior of every object in the world.
Now, these laws, because they're so trustworthy,
they enable incredible technological achievements.
But look at yourself. We're just physical systems too.
We're just complex arrangements of carbon molecules.
We're mostly water,
and our behavior isn't gonna be an exception to basic physical laws.
So it starts to look like whether it's God setting things up in advance...
and knowing everything you're gonna do...
or whether it's these basic physical laws governing everything.
There's not a lot of room left for freedom.
So now you might be tempted to just ignore the question,
ignore the mystery of free will.
Say, "Oh, well, it's just an historical anecdote. It's sophomoric.
It's a question with no answer. Just forget about it."
But the question keeps staring you right in the face.
You think about individuality, for example, who you are.
Who you are is mostly a matter of the free choices that you make.
Or take responsibility. You can only be held responsible,
you can only be found guilty or admired or respected...
for things you did of your own free will.
The question keeps coming back, and we don't really have a solution to it.
It starts to look like all your decisions are really just a charade.
Think about how it happens. There's some electrical activity in your brain.
Your neurons fire. They send a signal down into your nervous system.
It passes along down into your muscle fibers.
They twitch. You might, say, reach out your arm.
Looks like it's a free action on your part,
but every one of those-- every part of that process...
is actually governed by physical law:
chemical laws, electrical laws and so on.
So now it just looks like the Big Bang set up the initial conditions,
and the whole rest of our history,
the whole rest of human history and even before,
is really just sort of the playing out of subatomic particles...
according to these basic fundamental physical laws.
We think we’re special. We think we have some kind of special dignity,
but that now comes under threat.
I mean, that's really challenged by this picture.
So you might be saying, "Well, wait a minute. What about quantum mechanics?
"I know enough contemporary physical theory to know it's not really like that.
"It's really a probabilistic theory.
There's room. It's loose. It's not deterministic."
And that's gonna enable us to understand free will.
But if you look at the details, it's not really gonna help...
because what happens is you have some very small quantum particles,
and their behavior is apparently a bit random.
They swerve. Their behavior is absurd in the sense that it's unpredictable...
and we can't understand it based on anything that came before.
It just does something out of the blue, according to a probabilistic framework.
But is that gonna help with freedom?
Should our freedom just be a matter of probabilities,
just some random swerving in a chaotic system?
That just seems like it's worse. I'd rather be a gear...
in a big deterministic, physical machine...
than just some random swerving.
So we can't just ignore the problem.
We have to find room in our contemporary world view for persons,
with all that that it entails; not just bodies, but persons.
And that means trying to solve the problem of freedom,
finding room for choice and responsibility...
and trying to understand individuality.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Cable battles

Cable companies have been monopolizing viewership for close to 30 years now, though initially there were several companies that would compete in an area, by about 15 years ago it had come down to one main company per major city or network area. Like AT&T's monopoly before 1982, these companies don't just cover one city, but have statewide networks and almost national coverage, or they cover a powerful network area like New York City. Time Warner, Cablevision, Comcast - these are huge corporations that pretty much do just enough to not be considered a monopoly but might as well be one since any other competition in their areas are pretty much nill. I've noticed a trend recently where just before some major TV event, a cable company will 'suddenly' get into a battle over fees from the major networks and the next thing you know there's the threat of the channel disappearing from that cable company and a lot of pissed off viewers. I first saw this in September of 2007 as the World Series was getting ready to start and NBC and Time Warner went toe to toe. NBC went off the air here in Austin for a few weeks and the one show I was keeping tabs on at the time, 'Heroes', was missed and I never went back to it. This happened again recently with the Big 12 Championship and this weekend it's ABC and Cablevision in NYC while the Oscars are on tonight. I don't believe in coincidence anymore so just like strikes that happen at the worst possible time this seems like a ploy to me and not just some random 'Oh, the contract's up now and someone won't budge'. The big three networks, barely hanging on for dear life up against cable channels and putting out crappy reality shows and zero good sitcoms anymore are charging higher and higher fees to the cable companies to run their networks. But these cable companies have money falling out of their ass, yet they put on the 'poor me' mask when this happens as if they couldn't afford the fees. The cable company is really just a middle man created after network television wasn't 'free' anymore and this just got worse with the digital tranfer from a couple of years ago where NO channels are free and you HAVE to view them via some sort of cable company...sounds like more strong arming to me by you guessed it, the monopoly cable companies. These companies don't really care about the viewers, but if the networks go bankrupt and all the shows that are still watched by America, and this includes the Super Bowl, the Oscars and still a few damn good shows like 'Lost' then who really loses here?