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Category Archives: Cry Uncle Samerica

Free the Felines!

Free the Felines!

It was one of those warm summer evenings in July 2010, on a Sunday around 6:00 pm, when a pipeline quietly ruptured and over 1 million gallons of diluted bitumen — aka tar sands or heavy crude oil — spilled into Talmadge Creek, a tributary of the Kalamazoo River in southwestern Michigan.  It took 17 hours for Enbridge, the company responsible for the pipeline, to react — that’s three separate shifts of workers who failed to notice a massive problem.  Meanwhile, despite multiple 911 calls by residents who reported unusual petroleum smells, local authorities were clueless; they hadn’t even known there was an oil pipeline in the area.  It was not until a worker from a gas utility company noticed the spill and reported it that Enbridge did anything.  Contaminating some 38 miles of the Kalamazoo River, this disaster resulted in the largest and most expensive inland oil spill in U.S. history (costing over $1 billion to clean up).  Three years later and three days before the anniversary of the spill, three protesters peacefully engaging in non-violent direct action chained themselves to Enbridge machinery in hopes of halting progress of more installed pipelines (to the same line that ruptured earlier), an act of civil disobedience for which they were arrested as felons — a federal crime tantamount to murder or arson, even though all they were found guilty of was trespassing and obstruction.  They were recently convicted and are currently being held in jail without bond until their sentencing on Wednesday, March 5th.  They stand to be imprisoned for three years.  They should be exonerated.  You can help.
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What’s In a Name?

What’s In a Name?

“Who gave you that numb?”
James Joyce, Finnegans Wake

 

 When you think about it, most sports mascots are intrinsically silly.  Cardinals and Orioles are songbirds, not even raptors.  I don’t even know what on earth a seahawk is, but perhaps the “Seattle Ospreys” doesn’t quite convey the punch.  Penguins playing hockey – is that supposed to distract your opponent by giving them the giggles?  Would anybody know that a Bruin is a bear?  Is there any coincidence that the most tragic team in baseball is named after a baby animal – the Cubs?  Why not the Kansas City Kittens or Poughkeepsie Puppies?  And while Miami might have the most perfect season in the history of the NFL, its mascot is the indisputably gay dolphin, with cute turquoise, aqua, and corral colors. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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And the VAWA Award goes to…

And the VAWA Award goes to…

Making sure our state remains proud, our intrepid Senator Ron Johnson has done his dang darnedest to ally the upper Midwest values of “where the women are strong and the men are good looking” with those of Texas and Kentucky, Utah and Wyoming, where ladies’ night is ladies first in the back of the pickup truck all git-‘r-done and don’t holler none now y’hear?  Yes, our champion of democracy who is living proof that anybody can be elected to Congress – no, seriously: any body – joined the upper crust of such conservative colleagues as Tom Coburn, Orrin Hatch, Rand Paul, Mitch McConnell, Pat Roberts, Jeff Sessions, and Marco Rubio by voting against renewing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) last week.  And when I say last week, let me be more precise: voted against violence against women two days before Valentine’s Day.  Once again reminding us that liberals might have the bleeding hearts, but it’s conservatives who are the real romantics.

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Operation Red Scare Map

Operation Red Scare Map

Here’s a scene: a solemn Tuesday evening in the chamber of the House of Representatives, a cold and bitter February in the capital city, and everyone who is anyone in Washington politics is there: the Chief Justice next to the Joint Chiefs, freshman congresswoman from Mesa, Arizona, seated beside the senior senator from Missoula, Montana, as an old hand of the Cabinet from Biscayne Bay walks past the puckish House Clerk from Bayonne, NJ.  Conservatives on the floor are abuzz with anticipation, glad-handing and back-slapping one another for a job well done.  Scattered stand isolated liberals stoically cross-armed with lips still bit from simmering resentment.  The Sergeant at Arms suddenly announces, his voice booming, “Mister Speaker, the President of the United States!”  A thunderous whoop resounds like a crashing wave, and there strides Mitt Romney – President Romney, the 45th President of the United States – on his way to deliver what will be his first State of the Union address.  Somewhere else, unseen from public eye, perhaps keeping the designated survivor company, Republican operatives light a cigar and toast their tumblers of Scotch for having successfully stolen another election.

Such a scenario would be happening tonight if the Republican plan called “Red Map” (technically “the REDistricting MAjority Project,” or REDMAP) had been in effect for the 2012 election.  President Obama, having handsomely won the majority vote, would have nonetheless lost the electoral vote due to a deliberately divisive revisionism by conservatives in an effort to demonstrate that parts of the country are greater than the whole.  Which we know thanks to the post-Beatles offshoots of The Wings or Plastic Ono Band simply is preposterous – the whole is always better than the individual parts.  Maybe I’m amazed, but power to the people – so let it be.

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Ryan + Romney = Irony

Ryan + Romney = Irony

Just last year the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report licentiously entitled “Trends in the Distribution of Household Income Between 1979 and 2007.”  Now, the CBO is the very entity to which Congress itself appointed all economic analysis and budget score keeping, and which is generally regarded as nonpartisan and above-the-board objective.  The report revealed some rather damning “trends,” not least of which is that the 1 percent of the population with the highest income saw their after-tax household income grow by 275 percent, while the 20 percent of the population with the lowest income saw theirs spittle at 18 percent.  Indeed, while 99 percent of the American households saw their total market income decrease – cash wages, salaries, capital gains, etc. – the rich 1 percent actually saw theirs doubleRead the rest of this entry »

 

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Bleakonomics 101 for 2012

Bleakonomics 101 for 2012

Spoiler alert: this evening, during the first presidential debate between Obama and Romney, we’re going to hear a lot about jobs and numbers.  It might look something like this:

1 part BS + 1 part PR = 2night

Unlike the rogues gallery of incompetent candidates out of which Mitt Romney ascended to receive the nomination to run on the Republican ticket for the presidency of the United States, the man is at least qualified.  He governed a very Democratic state and did something or other to save the Olympics in the chosen land of his religion’s people, Salt Lake City.  But those are incidental bona fides.  Ask most people why they’ll vote for Mitt, and the response most probable is some wishy-washy allusion to his background in business, Herr Exekutive of Bain Capital; that, in other words, he knows how to create jobs.  Leaving aside this particularly spurious ascription, let’s take a look at what — not even who — does and doesn’t improve the unemployment rate, shall we?
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Waiting for Goodell

Waiting for Goodell

Never before would I have thought that “boo hoo” and “hue and cry” would come together so seamlessly, much less over something in one sentence combining sea hawks, meat packers, and prayers interceding the virgin Mary that reads in perfect syntax to any American.  Or that two such otherwise diametrically opposed figures as Governor Scott Walker and Wisconsin state Senator Jon Erpenbach — who almost ran against Walker in the recall election — would be on the same page about something that pertains to unions, workers, and contracts.  Then again, it’s not much like me to opine my two cents amongst the inflated currency of the vox populi over a topic in which none other than my own ignorance can rival my actual interest: football.  But the occasion is much too infrequent for when I can scribble about Samuel Beckett and the Green Bay Packers in one shot, so here goes…
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