Sunday, March 06, 2005

a Sunday miscellany

I'll post about Social Security later in the week. For now:

from Body and Soul, "democratic catechism":

Today's Los Angeles Times... notes that when credit card users end up in bankruptcy court, in most cases the company has already made a profit, and the user has already paid more than he originally borrowed (but hasn't been able to get out from under the bill because of added on fees.) Even if you ignore the fact that most people who can't pay their bills find themselves in that predicament through no fault of their own, we're still not talking about people unable to pay what they borrowed, but about people unable to pay much more than they borrowed. This bill is the essence of modern Republican values (and those of its Democratic enablers): Using government to aid rich and powerful robbers.
Taxes used to benefit the community aren't government theft. Courts helping businesses wring blood from stones -- that's theft.

and more on the hideous bankruptcy bill from Avedon, at "the party that hates americans", here.

(it's called the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, which I suppose is a little like calling Bush's enviro plan the clear skies initiative.)

Avedon also has this excellent and lengthy post,"How you became crazy*"
two excerpts:

...if the people who are best educated and most aware of what is going on are more liberal, maybe that's because you have to be ignorant to swallow conservatism. What is really suggested by this "criticism" is that the alleged "bias" isn't bias at all, it's just a recognition of what is, and that bias is required to lean to the right of this "liberal" position....The real question is not, then, about a bias toward liberalism or conservatism, but rather a belief that "news" should make some attempt to serve the public rather than just the corporate hierarchy.... doesn't really matter whether more journalists are liberal or conservative if most of the self-identified partisan conservatives are acting as stooges in a Solomon Asch experiment. They come out every day with their talking points, some of which are masterworks of spin that leave all common sense behind. Someone has taken an obvious, well-understood fact (like that the point in an election is to count the ballots) and turned it on its head to the point that you soon have the entire news media declaring that the sky is not blue (or that trying to count the ballots is "stealing the election"). This can only happen if conservatives are prepared to insist - and never express the slightest doubt - on the "truth" of their talking points. The very uniformity of their group-think gives it a power that makes others lose their grasp on reality; the very ability to consider more than one possibility makes one vulnerable to infection by even the most corrupt meme.

*remind me to nominate this one for a Koufax next year. Seriously.-- and don't be lazy(like me); go read the entire post.

a new(to me)blog, Liberals Against Terrorism, via Abu Aardvark at "A courageous stand against half-naked Lebanese girls"

and finally, "Walmart's First Lady"(Village Voice)

via the ever intrepid Harry.

oh, all right-- here's Lebanese pop singer Maria: