Thursday, July 30, 2009

Quote of the Day

"Nothing in the world can take the place of perseverance. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Perseverance and determination alone are omnipotent."

— Calvin Coolidge

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Crowley Should Get Fired

The only reason to have a police force in the first place is that, unlike stereotypical vigilantes, the police are supposedly able to disinterestedly enforce objective laws that equally apply to everyone. That's what the people pay taxes for.

A vindictive agent that bends the law to boost his own ego, to take revenge on some insurgent who insulted him, need not be purchased at the price of tax money. "Vigilantism" like that can be had free of charge.

(In fact, Bernie Goetz is a far better agent of justice than Sergeant Crowley. I mean that seriously, without any prejudice against and with all respect due to Bernie.)

Sergeant Crowley has clearly demonstrated that he is unable to remain disinterested and professional under provocation. That ought to disqualify him as an officer of the law.

If they keep the likes of Crowley as police officers in Massachusetts, they might just as well introduce anarchy and save a lot of money. Crowley ought to be fired now before he gets a chance to ass rape or shoot somebody he doesn't like.

In fact, there ought to be a database for crooked cops like Crowley, a blacklist (excuse the pun) from which any community that wishes to call itself civilized refuses to hire. Furthermore, as long as dishonorably discharged soldiers are denied the right to keep and bear arms, it should also be denied to dishonorably discharged cops. I would rather see bears armed and kept than something like Crowley.

Gates Got Suckered

"Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home." — The Obama

In fact Obama was charitable calling Sergeant Crowley stupid. Obviously, he was applying Heinlein's Razor: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity, but don't rule out malice.

But I'm afraid, this time around the latter caution is true and it was malice. Crowley admitted as much in his own police report and hoped to get away with it.

By his own admission, Crowley asked a fuming Henry Louis Gates to talk with him outside. When Gates complied, he arrested him for "disorderly conduct."

If there were any truth to Crowley's flimsy excuse that he had to go outside due to the acoustics of the kitchen and his radio reception, he ought to have warned a Gates not fit for polite society to stay behind, in his house. Under no circumstances should he have asked Gates to follow him, inevitably inviting the scene that ensued outside, and that Crowley then called "disorderly conduct."

This is called entrapment. The police inviting you to break the law is always immoral, but Crowley didn't even do it to wage that foolish government-sponsored war on drugs, but he did it to quench his own personal thirst for vengeance. This is called corruption.

Crowley very obviously decided to retaliate against Gates' unruly threat, "You don't know who you're messing with!" So what is a body cop pig to do to get an excuse to shoot or at least use some sort of physical force against an unruly peon?

Much as Crowley may hate it, it's perfectly legal to shout at a police officer in your own home. (Except in Soviet Russia and Prussia, where contempt of cop was a capital crime.)

Crowley also knew he could never arrest Gates for breaking and entering on his own property without the city losing a million-dollar lawsuit. Leaves that catchall charge, that crooked cop's best friend, "disorderly conduct."

But Crowley knew he could only arrest Gates for some barely credible semblance (see below) of disorderly conduct if Gates was in an at least semi-public place. So, knowing or hoping that Gates would not calm down, Crowley lured him outside — and taught "Leroy Brown" a lesson about messing with the man.

Obama should not apologize to Crowley. He should kick him in the ass, so Crowley learns a lesson about how it feels to get abused by an authority figure.

The stilted language in the Gates police report is intended to mirror the courts' awkward phrasing, but the state could never make the charge stick. The law is aimed not at mere irascibility but rather at unruly behavior likely to set off wider unrest. Accordingly, the behavior must take place in public or on private property where people tend to gather. While the police allege that a crowd had formed outside Gates' property, it is rare to see a disorderly conduct conviction for behavior on the suspect's own front porch. In addition, political speech is excluded from the statute because of the First Amendment. Alleging racial bias, as Gates was doing, and protesting arrest both represent core political speech.

Who's Laughing Now?

Investor Peter Schiff predicted the recession all along, but got laughed out of the studio. Who's laughing now?

No one. Least of all the fine tuners of economies and rulers of men left and right.

(Hat tip to Joshua Zader of The Atlasphere):

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Brüno Will Brew No Tempest in a Teapot

You know that cliché about that freight train carrying a couple thousand tons of iron ore, pulled by four locomotives, bearing down on a Japanese subcompact car? You know, something that's in no way a pretty sight, but you keep looking anyway, for its sick entertainment value?

That's Brüno for you. You might as well skip this movie if it's not too late and you watched it already. (In case you've been living on the moon, the movie chronicles the misadventures of the eponymous gay, Austrian fashion reporter, embodied by Sacha "Borat" Baron Cohen.)

There's nothing good about that movie: I didn't expect a plot, but even the "acting," costumes, and mock German dialogue are too silly and over the top to be entertaining or credible to anybody but maybe to Palinesque hillbillies. You only keep watching and laughing at the reactions of allegedly real people that have to bear the brunt of this shit load of bad taste. (Whatever they paid that medium wasn't nearly enough.)

Unfortunately (?), nothing much happens. If there's one thing you can learn from this movie it's that these days even the worst kinds of people are more tolerant and less violent than I would have thought.

Or am I the only one who's not in on the joke here? I can't shake the feeling that those "real" people were mostly actors. Those references to Milli Vanilli must be Cohen's way of thumbing his nose at his credulous viewers.

It's hard to believe that that homophobic (mostly) white trash from Alabama and beyond let themselves get hit on and provoked by "Brüno" without killing him. But if that footage is genuine, it's fair to say that some day soon Cohen will probably get himself killed for his antics.

Whatever laughs you get out of Brüno are certainly too few to justify the movie's spreading of silly homophobic stereotypes. Dude, not funny.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Whither Iceland?

Iceland applied to join the European Union. Given her position in mid-Atlantic, one wonders why she didn't apply for statehood in the United States instead of joining the European slave states?

But then, with Obama in office, there's probably not much of a difference anymore.

A Boy Named Well

Alex extends his heartfelt congratulations and good wishes to the thousands of couples who named their baby son for him last year. (What? Conceited, me?) Anyway, I was considering sending y'all a toaster oven in recognition of your good taste, but then I thought you may not want to have a toaster oven with a baby in your home.

BTW, word is that one poor baby boy goes by the moniker of Bronx Mowgli now. If I ever have a son, I'm gonna name him Staten Island Chuck.

Monday, July 13, 2009

And Her Name Is Bobbie Brown?

(With apologies to Frank Zappa.)

Hey there, people, I'm Sarah Brown
They say I'm the cutest chick in town
My truck is fast, my gun is shiny
I tell all the Brights they can kiss my heinie
Here I am at a backwoods school
I'm dressing sharp 'n' I'm acting cool
I got an ice skater here wants to help with my daughter
Let him do all the PR 'n' maybe later he'll wed her

Oh god I am the American Dream
I do not think I'm too extreme
And I'm a handsome sort of a bitch
I'm gonna get that prez job 'n' be a real witch

(Get that prez get that prez get that prez get that prez job)

Black men's liberation
Came creeping all across the nation
I tell you people I was not weighty
When I got fucked by this dyke by the name of Katie
She made a little speech flat,
Aw, she tried to make me say what
She had my brains in a vice, but she left the trap
I guess it's still hooked on, but now it shoots just crap

Oh god I am the American Dream
But now I smell like turkey cream
And I'm a miserable sort of a bitch
Am I an ass or a lady… I don't know which

(I wonder, wonder, wonder, wonder)

So I went out 'n' bought me a business suit
I jingle your change, but I'm still kinda cute
I got a job doin' radio promo
And none of the cops can even tell I shot a homo
Eventually me 'n' a friend
Sorta drifted along into bailout land
I can sell you an hour on the tower of power
Long as I gets a little golden shower

Oh god I am the American Dream
With a bible up your butt till it makes you scream
And I'll do anything to get ahead
I lay awake nights sayin', fuck you, Kate!
Oh god, oh god, I'm so fantastic!
Thanks to Katie, I'm an intellectual spastic
And my name is Sarah Brown
Watch me now, I'm goin' down,
"Country first" is sort of brown
Watch me now, I'm goin' down,
And this dame, her shirt is brown
Watch her now, she's goin' down

Sunday, July 12, 2009

United Breaks Guitars

Something very much like that happened to me when I flew United from LA to San Francisco some years ago. And that was before those terrorists flew jetliners into buildings. Nowadays I'd probably be arrested and tortured for complaining…

Who's the #1 villain here? The lowlifes on the tarmac that throw musical instruments?

Or their employer, which pays them minimum wage, motivating them to become lowlifes that break passengers' property? Or us passengers, who want the cheapest tickets, making it impossible for airlines to pay more than minimum wage?

Anyway, as long as airlines' service remains as bad, and security fascism as paranoid, I can only say: If you can't afford a private jet, don't fly, unless you absolutely have to. Go by car, or if possible, by train.

Dave Carroll stuck it to the man. So should you!

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Second Coming of Tess McGill

Or, there are barracudas in the typing pool.

In other words, capitalism is a two-way street. (Given the definition, voluntary cooperation to mutual advantage, that should be a no-brainer.)

If your employer screws you over, you screw him in the ass.

At a time when so many companies are laying off workers, slashing wages and benefits, and instituting furloughs, it's not surprising that some employees feel no obligation to be nice when they head out the door, says David Kaplan, management professor for Saint Louis University. "It's understandable," he adds, "because they feel the employer has violated the psychological contract with employees, and they don't feel they owe them anything."

Well, not just the psychological contract (there's such a thing as an oral contract), and they don't.

"If your employer has cut your salary and benefits to where your family is struggling financially, do you owe your employer that two weeks' notice when you leave?"

No, you don't. Your employer has decided that, as the ship is sinking, it's every man for himself, so you don't have to ask before you bail out.

Whether it's giving notice, training your replacement or abiding by noncompete agreements you may have signed, these post-employment niceties that were expected once upon a time are not a given in today's workplace.

"I think it's a function of the economy," says Lewis Maltby, president of the National Workrights Institute. "If your employer has been treating you well, morally you should give as much notice as you can. On the other hand, if your boss is screwing you, you don't want to be nice.

"It's a dog fight out there. No one is playing nice anymore. This is more ethics than law."

Indeed, you're not legally obligated to give notice, unless you have a detailed employment contract that says you have to.

Stick it to the man!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

We Don't Need Michael Jackson!

This space was previously wasted by an article agreeing with the fascist swine, Peter King.

It has been shown that everything Pete King says is wrong. Whenever he says something, the opposite is true.

Thus, this article must have been wrong and has been duly removed.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Meet — the Silver Strings!

Meanwhile, over at Unspoken Words, friend Kushal has formed his own band. Enjoy!

The Opposite of Sarah Palin

Did you ever notice that the diametrical opposite of Sarah Palin is parasailing?

Phonetics aside, one is tropical, fun, and modern, and the other is…

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy Birthday, America — Here's the Present!

Sarah Palin's resignation from an office that gave her the power to initiate the use of "legitimate" force constitutes the best gift America has got in quite some time. A temporary respite from the Palinization of America, from turning the land of the free, the home of the brave, of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, into a Christian Iran.

The bad news is that she may have bailed out to dead cat bounce to an even more formidable looter's office in 2012. The somewhat better, but still ambiguous, news is that the fundie-publicans are down to her, Mitt Romney, and Mike Huckabee.

On the one hand, it's good to see the fundie-publicans crash and burn, to see the fundie idiotocracy isolated, incestuous, and ineffectual. On the other hand, it was the only major party that at least pretended to be against big government.

I'm at a loss, however, how Palin can be considered to sport a "libertarianish theory of government." First, she's incapable of understanding any kind of theory. Second, support for gun rights don't a libertarian make. Paying lip service to small government by slashing the state budget while lobbying for a bridge to nowhere, then lying about it, and defending the bailout (without understanding it) is not a libertarian thing to do.

Governor, I worked with libertarians: I know libertarians; some libertarians are friends of mine. Governor, you're no libertarian (not even libertarianish).

But then, maybe we're in luck and the Palindrome doesn't intend to run for President, after all. Maybe she's just running.

Maybe Putin reared his head and scared the B. Jesus out of her. (Poor girl, doesn't even have an A. Jesus within her.)

From me, in lieu of a present, a link to my favorite Palin video:

Happy birthday, America! Fuck Sarah Palin.

(On second thought, don't. Her hillbilly zoo is already big enough. Too big.)

World Loves US, Obama

Upon the election of The Messiah, the world is back in love with America. After winning over the axis of weasels on his first trip to Eurasia, his most recent visit to that continent even spread love and goodwill as far as the axis of evil. The biggest Fourth of July fireworks were fired, of all places, in North Korea.