Call your cable or dish company.

Who would have suspected that “American Exceptionalism” really meant that everyone in the world would have access to decent, serious, in depth news coverage Except for America?

Let’s face it. American news sucks, regardless of which medium you point to.

The state of the news reporting within the US is disgusting.

Paper based journalism. Surprisingly, there are some decent sources still in print.

I do not mean WaPo, which remains useful on a camping trip in which all your toilet paper has run out, nor even the Grey Lady, who appears ever more senile with each new hire of a new conservative voice.

ChiTrib? Sam Zell should be drawn & quartered,  Tarred & Feathered, hung in effigy, covered with honey and tied down over an African Fire Ant nest.

After that, he should be really punished.

The Tribune, admittedly a conservative paper, used to report real news, in depth, and with serious research. It had foreign correspondents, experts, and great writers on staff. It was financially stable until Sam Zell leveraged with with millions in loans, and stole it blind. Since then, USA Toady has more news than the Trib. It’s not just Chicago. LA and other cities that had Trib company papers all suffered.

There are some news sources, just not many. The Economist is still solid. The Nation kicks butt on a few important subjects. Most science magazines provide news and great reporting. There are even a few small, regional papers that serve their local readership quite well.

Unfortunately, these are the exceptions, not the rule.

Radio?

Most radio outlets are forced to rely on AP. Few of them can support reporters on the street anymore. Here in Chicago, WBBM 780 AM has a handful, ready to cover fires, weather, a new arrest of some politician, etc, but for real reporting, their hands are tied. If you want traffic, sports, a business break, or the headlines, it is fine. But there is no breaking story on radio. Not like it used to do.

The problem is AP. They made a deliberate change from serious news to something weird.

Local TV? In my yute, I remember being barely old enough to walk, yet, watching a black and white news program was truly awesome. 15 minutes of the outside world, brought to me, using some words that I might not get, but that I would learn. Today’s local news may be 30 minutes, but in real time, the time spent on actual news is shorter than 45-50 years ago. Sports, some besotted blond bimbette reading the weather, and a local fire take the vast majority of time.

National news?  Quick! Gag me before I lose another keyboard to vomit.
I don’t understand how they have the nerve to call themselves news programs. News consists of someone reading something, without having a clue about the content. When there is a serious story, instead of reporting on it, you are forced to see one or two opposing “experts” (usually the same stale, politicized players taking opposing roles) blather about the subject without adding any fact or background.

National boredcast news is an embarrassment.

Cable News?
Today’s Huffpost hits the nail on the head. Ryan Grim’s story about the sad state of affairs in cable news is timely and scary.

CNN? Pathetic. How a formerly proud and serious news gatherer turned into a mere shadow of itself, has to be one of the saddest stories in the business. CNN used to cover hot spots, their reporters looked into backgrounds, and informed America. Hell, they informed the world. Until the bean counters took over and turned it into an entertainment center. Simply by firing Wolf Blitzer, I suspect that the average IQ of the remaining 2000 CNN employes  would increase by 10%.

Until and unless they do a massive restructuring of that station, it is doomed to irrelevance, something actually worse than failure.

FOX?  The Rude Pundit once described Fox so accurately, that I still smile at his description.

MSNBC? Also someplace between poor and worthless. Sure, Rachel Maddow and O’Donnell actually give us news and background, but two shows hardly make a cable news station. Take a serious look at their programing. Mourning Joe, Andrea Mitchell, and more – that’s not news, that’s entertainment! And not very good entertainment, either.

There has been one company that has kicked ass on coverage, and here in the colonies, the only place to see them is on the intertubes. Al Jazeera.

I suggest that you contact your cable provider (if you have one, and ask them to add Al Jazeera to your program menu.

Somehow, I suspect that the added competition would serve us better than any girl or boycott. Existing news providers would realize that news really is important to us.

Here is ATT’s number. I will edit and add other providers if you give me that information.800 288 2020

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How the GOP will deal with Sarah Palin

Plucked from obscurity in the middle of a presidential campaign, encased in new clothes, beloved by thousands, and given a ghost writer so a journalism major could bless America’s coffee tables with her wit and wisdumb.

Finding that the responsibility of holding office was too much for her, she decided to quit midterm, and promote what came naturally. Herself.  She was packaged, sold and resold, measured by the armey of Koch, and honored with money and free access to the media, unlike anyone before her. Some of this was by accident, most of it was by design. In other words, the GOP has invested a lot in Sarah.

In some ways, the most unpleasant ones, to be sure,  Sarah reminds us of a character in one of Sir Douglas Adams’ comical books, Zaphod Beeblebrox:

Only six people in the entire galaxy understood the principle on which the Galaxy was governed, and they knew that once Zaphod had announced his intention to run as president it was more or less a fait accompli:

* Only six people in the Galaxy knew that the job of Galactic President was not to wield power but to attract attention away from it.

The more outrageous Zaphod was, the more popular as president he became. One only has to look at the eight years of Bush to find something similar. Yet, one of her talents seems to be using her disadvantages to earn ever more profit and among the Tea Baggers, at least, popularity.

Let’s review what Sarah has done:

a) She aided and abetted the creation of Tea Baggers, since renamed the Tea Party because those hired by the Koch Brothers were too out of touch with certain parts of America’s culture.

b) She pushed out GOP candidates she deemed too moderate, too conciliatory, too pragmatic for her tastes.

c) She attacked moderates almost as much as she attacked liberals.

d) She invited gun toters to her talks, and smiled when the fetid scent of future violence pervaded her dog and pony shows.

e) Using a gun metaphor, she concocted what she described as a “Hit List,” literally targeting liberals and moderate Democrats for attack.

f) She began using code words for guns, armed responses to liberals, and worse.

Here are just some of her words:

We’ll aim for these races and many others. This is just the first salvo in a fight to elect people across the nation who will bring common sense to Washington. Please go to sarahpac.com and join me in the fight.

She began talking about “not retreating, but reloading. Her audiences strongly supported gun ownership, and were being told that progressives, democrats, and most of all, Barack Obama, were planning to take them all away. Most of the time, democrats didn’t even bother responding to such charged, because they were totally baseless and ridiculous.

In hindsight, that was a mistake. The paranoia and fear caused by such deliberate rumors had several intended effects. The ranks of fearful  Tea Baggers grew, fearful that the new black guy in office would be a socialist communist fascist anti-American foreigner taking away our rights. Silence from our side only reinforced such fears. Rumors about Obama’s health care bill became conventional wisdumb, displacing and replacing rational discussions on the whole bill.

The more Sarah used code words for guns, war, revolution, armed uprisings, the more popular she became with a significant (but still small) minority. As we laughed at their misspelled signs, and pointed to their messages, we missed just how demented and dangerous this could turn out to be. Sure, some of us warned, worried, and wrote about Sarah and the danger she represented. But even then, despite raising a warning, we could not help but look at her as a bit of a joke, a Zaphod Beeblebrox-type goof who would never . . .  who could never be elected.

It worked. Too well. She remains popular with the Tea Bagger crowd, some of whom went out and bought their first book since high school. Several of her Tea Bagger candidates did incredibly well, and several even got elected to national office. The abject fear instilled on a daily basis since the 2008 election came home to roost, and the nation predictably reacted out of fear.

The House became Republican, even though we still have not repaired the incredible damage done by them earlier this century. Still, people did recall who ran things into the ground, and luckily the Senate remained in the hands of people who take the constitution and this country’s future seriously.

Several people here have long predicted that Sarah’s words and actions would eventually result in a crazy person going postal and probably taking a Democratic candidate or office holder out.  Well, it happened.

Even though there is no sign that Jared was a Tea Bagger, a supporter of Sarah, or a fan of Sharron Angle’s 2nd Amendment solutions to America’s pesky socialist liberal problem, clearly the tone and content of Sarah’s words, and frankly, honestly, and seriously, most of the Tea Bagger leaders’ and candidates’ positions and speeches, laid the groundwork for future violence.

When you repeatedly hear that the Federal Government can do no right, (what was really a code word for that uppity muslim from Kenya) and that we have to take the solutions in our own hands, using the 2nd Amendment, it matters not whether those hearing these messages fully understand them or not. That’s the whole point with mentally sick and unbalanced people. They DON’T fully get it. But that does not mean that they missed all the messaging that Sarah and her crew were pushing.

What resulted was both predictable AND predicted. The horror of yesterday will stay with America for some time to come. But the response of the GOP, and more pointedly, of Sarah and her clan have already become clear.

Here’s Lamar Alexander (growing ever more conservative since the advent of Teabaggerism) attacking Candy Crowley for even raising Sarah Palin’s bullet (ahem) points in her question:

Well, Candy, I think you’re — I think you’re responsible, by bringing this up, of doing the very thing you’re trying to condemn. I mean, you’re making and implying a direct connection between Sarah Palin and what happened yesterday.

Sarah’s minions have been scrubbing every reference to Giffords from her Facebook page. She issued tweets and messages that seemed weak and pointless. Now, we learn that the SarahPac is testing  a new meme, “They were not crosshairs, they were mapping aids!”

John Kyl takes any comparison with Sarah’s proposed shooting gallery personally and blames those who even dare raising the issue for any violence. Talk about a pot’s description of a kettle.

Right. Reload? Take Aim? Aim High? Join the battle? Come armed? Get ready for the first salvo? Be prepared to take no prisoners? It’s a battlefield? Hell, even Sarah crowed about how she took down 18 out of 20 she took aim at. Those were all her words of choice, intended to anger her troops.

Others, including reich winger Debra Saunders on CNN, and others did their best to insulate Sarah and other Tea Baggers from this event, in essence, insulating them from their own words of destruction.

I do believe this clearly shows the path of the GOP’s response, as well as showing how the MSM will deal with this in the future.  I’ll give you a couple of  hints:

When Senator Vitter was outed for his creative-diaper based hiring of prostitutes for sexual gratification, the family values GOP Senators gave him a standing ovation when he came back.

When Joe Wilson broke all protocols and shouted that President Obama was a liar, he was greeted with support, applause and additional financial backing.

When Judith Miller was caught acting like a mouthpiece for the warmongers of the Bush Administration, GOPers came out and supported her. Even now, she is a heroine, especially in her new position.

When Sarah Palin appears at the next big gathering of the GOP, she will be met by a standing ovation. You see, the logic is simple. Sarah did nothing wrong, and taking her words out of context, or worse, in context,  is simply unfair. Also. And, because we are all raising up against her, she must be supported! Protected. Lauded. Applauded.

Cheered with a standing ovation.

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Rob Kezelis: Gate Rape – the new reality

2001 – Bin Laden plots surprise attack to turn America into a flock of fearful, spineless, afraid of their own shadow sheeple

2010 – The Earl of Orange bypasses all security on his flight back to Ohio

COINCIDENCE? I think NOT!

“Being felt up by a TSA employee is the closest most Americans will ever come to joining the Mile High Club.”
Anon.

“You could kill a pilot with these (nail clippers). You could kill, you could disable a steward with these!”
Tracy Ullman

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.

FROM THE CHURCH OF INEFFABLE STUPIDITY:

I am no prude, but, seriously, when I learned that some catholic priests were leaving the Church so they could get jobs with the TSA, I began to think about air travel in a whole new light.

I fly maybe four times a year domestically, and one international trip a year. What strikes me is how professional the foreign security checks are, especially compared to domestic checks within our borders. As of now, I am going to rethink all future travel plans, at least until President Obama and his gang of serial gropers reconsider the error of their ways.

A couple of recent stories have shocked Americans. About time, I say:

A flight attendant and cancer survivor has revealed her horror at being forced to show her prosthetic breast to a security agent during a pat-down at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
Cathy Bossi from South Charlotte has been a flight attendant for over 30 years and has worked for U.S. Airways for the past 28  years.
She said she was asked to go through the full body-scanners at the airport in early August which she was reluctant to do because of fears of the radiation from the machine passing through her body.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/…

High radiation levels? breast groping, removal of prosthetics? THESE are what the modern TSA requires  of law abiding citizens, simply so we can fly?

It gets worse:

Thomas Sawyer, a retired special education teacher and bladder cancer survivor, was chosen for enhanced pat down after airport body scanners picked up on his urostomy bag. Sawyer, 61, wears the bag to collect urine, but TSA officers broke the seal on his bag, causing urine to flow on his clothes and body, reports MSNBC. Upset and humiliated, Sawyer says he had to board his plane before he had a chance to clean up.

TSA response: he should be grateful he didn’t have a colostomy.

Had enough? there’s more.

Secretary Napolitano and President Bush Obama both announced that this “layered” approach to “air safety” was necessary to protect Americans’ freedoms.  Say WHAT?
Perhaps we should time travel to the mid 1700s, and recall the immortal words of Ole Ben: “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Well, he was right. The real pity is that we’ve already given up too many essential liberties, including the freedom to travel freely.

Liberty? Hah. Security? Well, according to all independent experts, the new TSA approach does nothing at all to increase safety and security. Instead, it merely reinforces the unwarranted fear that was inflicted upon us by the Bush Administration, with malice aforethought. We were plucked like a guitar string, and subjected to lies, fake increased security alerts, and propaganda for years. Apparently those efforts have taken their toll.

For some years now, America has become a fear driven country. I think we should petition congress to change the words of our national anthem from “Land of the Free, and Home of the Brave) to something far more accurate. Land of decree, home of the slave?
I am open to any and all suggestions.

Several years ago, I personally witlessed  what I call the “Deadly Nail Clipper” incident. I was stopping over in Hawaii on my way to a point further west. At the security check, a well dressed elderly man, about 80, was carrying a sealed jar. Unfortunately, he also carried the gold and jewel encrusted nail clipper that his deceased wife have given to him. The TSA bastards bitched and raised their voices, and actually pushed this poor man around.  Then in front of the elderly gentleman’s eyes,  one of the TSAssholes took  a pair of pliers and ripped apart his nail clipper, after which he threw it away.

That was bad enough, but the TSAsshole was not done. That jar? That sealed jar? That sealed jar for which he had papers, a certificate and notarized proof of contents? It contained the ashes of his recently deceased lifelong mate. He was taking her remains back to her homeland (Japan) for burial. He did not feel comfortable stowing the jar in baggage. From the argument, he claimed that he had called ahead, and the TSA approved his carrying the ashes in the passenger compartment.

Guess what? Yup, the TSA bastards cracked open the jar, and using one of the plastic x-ray trays, EMPTIED OUT THE ASHES so they could sift to them. Finding nothing, without any apology or explanation, they shoved the ashes back in, handed back the jar, and threatened him that if he ever did something like that again, he would be facing real trouble.

IF.HE.EVER.DID.SOMETHING.LIKE.THAT.AGAIN?

(accompanying empty space is intended to indicate speachlessness. Shock. Anger. Dismay. But especially anger.)

Janet Napolitano’s response to the rising complaints? “If you see something, say something.”

OK, I’ll bite. I have seen something. I have seen the TSA grope, fondle, attack, and assault law abiding citizens allegedly “for their own good.” I have seen TSA bring a grieving elderly man to tears, by destroying a harmless gift from his wife, then fondle her remains in front of his eyes. I have seen the TSA mistreat, badger, insult, and smirk while doing it.So, this is what I will say:  BULLSHIT. I call bullshit on this useless, ineffective, insulting and degrading policy, and on the TSA that instituted this mess.

There have been several reports of rape victims pleading with TSA not to fondle or grope them. Too bad. According to Napolitano, if you don’t like it, don’t fly. You should be comforted that the TSA is taking liberties, oops, taking your liberty seriously. You have three choices:

  1. You can write them at Transportation Security Administration

Office of Civil Rights and Liberties (TSA-6)
External Compliance Division
601 S. 12th Street
Arlington, VA 20598

  1. You can e-mail them at  TSA.OCR-ExternalCompliance@dhs.gov
  1. You can unzip your pants, pull out and piss directly into the wind.

All three will provide you with the same result.

Here’s what the TSA tells us about civil rights and liberties:

We treat all members of the traveling public in a manner free from unlawful discrimination, harassment or retaliation. To emphasize our commitment to TSA employees and the traveling public, TSA issued its Civil Rights Policy Statement.

Quite simply, our policy statement assures travelers they will be treated in a fair, lawful and nondiscriminatory manner. It also emphasizes we have no tolerance for harassment in the treatment of the public we serve. Finally, it outlines out how we ensure an environment free of discrimination through program, policy, and operational reviews.

TSA’s groping policy statement

Sure thing, folks. The TSA agrees to not discriminate in how they fondle, grope, assault and attack you and your loved ones.

Even the dead ones.

Oh, one more factoid to factor in this debate. Do you know how many terrorists have been caught or captured by this group groping, this Gate Rape?

None.

On Edit. This is actually getting worse:

f you don’t want to pass through an airport scanner that allows security agents to see an image of your naked body or to undergo the alternative, a thorough manual search, you may have to find another way to travel this holiday season.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is warning that any would-be commercial airline passenger who enters an airport checkpoint and then refuses to undergo the method of inspection designated by TSA will not be allowed to fly and also will not be permitted to simply leave the airport.

That person will have to remain on the premises to be questioned by the TSA and possibly by local law enforcement. Anyone refusing faces fines up to $11,000 and possible arrest.

Unreasonable search, seizure, and now fines?

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The Latest Attack on our Nation

September 11, 2001 – America was attacked by 19 religious nuts, most of whom were from our dear friend,  Saudi Arabia

October 26, 2001 – The Patriot Act, the  biggest attack on American freedoms and rights, was signed into law.

November 19, 2001 – The TSA is created.

COINCIDENCE? I think NOT!

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.
Benjamin Franklin

FROM THE CHURCH OF INEFFABLE STUPIDITY:

For those who don’t have their pocket copy with them, contact the ACLU. They will send you one for free. http://www.aclu.org/

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

My, my, how far we have fallen in so few years. David Hume once wrote, “It is seldom that liberty of any kind is lost all at once.” Few words ring ever so true and appropriate today. It isn’t so much the point that our rights and liberties are at risk, but that so many people are so willing to give up those rights and liberties, without the least bit of struggle.

We fought the revolutionary war to gain those rights. We fought a very (un) Civil War to protect them, and to expand them to every living human. We fought in two World Wars, for the most part, to protect and extend freedoms around the world. Just look at the Marshall plan’s success, and our refusal to make colonies out of lands that our military conquered.

With an ugly marriage between uglier partners, the Cretinous Religious Reich on one side, and NeoCon, reactionary war-loving, bank-lickers on the other, it was a question of when, not if, America would be in a war under George the Wth.  September 11th merely provided him and his beast fiends with cover.  Whether it was Iraq, Iran, Yemen, or Syria, after Cheney-Bush managed to wrestle the presidency  for themselves, with the help of a supremely disappointing court, there was a sense that America would be bearing arms, not arming beers.

After 9/11, the drums of war began beating nonstop. Even worse, America found itself under another attack, this one against our minds and against rational thought. We became, quite quickly, a fear based nation. Fear drove our thoughts, our decisions, and most of all, our politics.

Sure, there were some complaints. Several senators had grave doubts about an Iraqi invasion. Congressmen were concerned about the lack of WMD and the UN findings.  But those few, those brave, those honest voices, they were drowned out by a complacent media, spineless leadership (on the D side of the aisle), and a propaganda war organized and promoted by the Pentagon. Once we were at war, dissent was pressed down even harder.

Fear was deliberately injected into our society, and constantly promoted, and security (ahem) was sold as a necessity.  The color coded threat levels may have been a joke on late night TV, but they were devastatingly effective. “Beware, we have SECRET information that there will be an attack!” “Buy Duct Tape and cover your windows!”
“DANGER! IRAQ WILL ATTACK US WITH DRONES!”

The more hysterical the warnings got, the more irrationally America reacted. Eventually, the  Pentagon planted fake news with compliant media outlets, the White House lied through their teeth, and any dissent among politicians was immediately attacked as unpatriotic.

As Lyric Operas go, the conducting of this Gala Affair was executed brilliantly, with malice aforethought. My hat’s off to Cheney Bush. They ran a brilliant campaign, with the help of the Military, Retired Military soldiers (so called independent TV experts), formerly great papers like the NYT, WaPo, ChiTrib, LA Times, and others, and most of all, with the politicians we elected to represent us and to protect our constitution.

Eventually, real news began to mingle and trickle out with the fake stuff. There were not WMD. Saddam was no real threat to anyone, even the Iranians. Afghanistan was a mess, caused by Rumsfeld, not solved by that arrogant SOB. And then there was torture. Geneva Convention breaking torture.

At first, with every bit of real news, the Administration reacted predictably. It raised the Color Coded Threat level. It ignored the bad news, or pointedly shifted topics. Remember how Dick Durbin was attacked – simply because he complained about US troops inflicting torture on prisoners?

Over time, people began to come out of their Government induced, fear based comas. A few Anti-War protests resumed, (and unlike the earlier ones, no government goons squads were organized to disrupt them),  and as the breath the depth of the Pentagon’s illegal propaganda became known, even the MSM began to react, although not as strongly as we would have hoped. Funny, they are more anti-administration now, far more than they were with Cheney Bush, even after they learned that they were repeatedly and extensively misled and lied to. So they take it out on Obama. Great. Nice move, assholes.

Now, the biggest news is the extremely personal, extensive and hands on pat downs that the TSA demands of the Sheeple of the United States. Either that, or you must undergo a high energy scan that sees through all clothing, effectively making you naked in public.

In case you missed it above, let’s repeat a cornerstone of our constitutional protections:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

What ever happened to our Constitution, the one that Congress, the president, and federal office holders swore an oath to protect? Since when do people have to give up their privacy, their dignity, and their sense of being secure against unreasonable searches, simply so they could travel?

Fear has become such a strong part of American society, that too many people don’t even recognize how many of their constitutional rights were taken away. At least the Librarians of our country realized how offensive and unconstitutional parts of the Patriot Act were. If only they had a louder voice, and if only more people had taken notice.  The Patriot Act was bad, but the TSA is even worse.

Let me be blunt. The Patriot Act is offensive, unnecessary and unconstitutional.
The TSA is offensive, unnecessary and unconstitutional.  Unfortunately, I see too few people in congress willing to do the heavy lifting to rid our country of these horrific laws. Fear remains entrenched, if only in the background, of the new American psyche. We’ve been fed so much bullshit, we’ve been so indoctrinated by the Cheney Bush administration and the Pentagon, that we may actually be beyond salvation, beyond hope.   Instead of critical, important policy discussions, we get Tea Baggers  elected to national office, demanding that they take their country back. Back from what or who? A black guy in the White House?

There is good news, though. Bristol Palin looks like she’ll make it to the next level of Dancing with the Stars! And Sarah’s wonderful Alaska reality program was a huge hit!

Seriously, there is good news. many courts have found that the mass arrests of anti-war protesters were illegal. Convention protesters, illegally spied on, detained, and charged without reason, have been released without any criminal sentence. Americans are beginning to take a hard look at the TSA, and wondering, “How the HELL did this happen?”

Well, enough of this angry rant. I doubt that I can convince the more security conscious that the Patriot and TSA are actually cancers infecting America. Some here may be willing to sacrifice their freedoms, just to protect “our freedoms.”  We know, from two years of hard, unpleasant experiences, that we cannot rely on the current president to make major policy changes, nor to protect our rights against an intrusive government. To the contrary, he has extended, even expanded on each and every Cheney Bush move, including warrantless surveillance, domestic spying, and of course, Patriot and TSA.

So much for protecting our freedoms.

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Saturday Science Quiz

1940 – Walt Disney’s animated classis, “Fantasia,” premiered.
1953 – Indiana Textbook Commission member charges that Robin Hood is a communist

COINCIDENCE? I think NOT!
– – – – – – – – – –
Discontent is the first necessity of progress.
Thomas A. Edison
A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body.
Benjamin Franklin
– – – – – – – – – –
FROM THE CHURCH OF INEFFABLE STUPIDITY:

Dear Readers:

Because so many of you are so well read and captivated by science, scientific discoveries, and new technologies, now is a good time to take a pulse of that knowledge and compare your knowledge with others here. The highest scoring winner will win a secret prize, to be announced when all scores are tallied.
Ready? Get out your thinking caps and and have fun!

1. What was the purpose of the Manhattan Project?

a. A crash program (racing against Nazi Germany) to determine whether an atom could be split, and if so, could it be used to create a weapon.
b. To determine the proper ratios of Bourbon, Sweet Vermouth, and Bitters
c. Christians from Alabama, South Carolina and Kentucky gather in New York to preach the word of god to the millions of godless, heathen, communist socialist devil worshippers
d. A plan to steal nuclear secrets from the USSR

2. Dinosaurs became extinct because:

a. global climate change destroyed their ability to eat
b. a meteor strike
c. They are still alive, hiding in African caves, ready to appear at Jesus’ side
d. Tea Baggers and conservatives threw out the blue dogs in a fit of voter unhappiness
e. Adam and Eve hunted them to extinction

3. The sixth planet in the solar system is called:

a. Earth
b. Saturn
c. Sarah Palin
d. There are no planets. God simply put those images in the sky to test our faith.
e. the Moon

4. The shortest day of the year is called:

a. Pay day
b. Winter solstice
c. Spring solstice
d. Fall forward, spring back
e. February 31st

5. The localized death of human tissue is called:

a. Necrophilia
b. Tea Bagging
c. Gangrene
d. autolobotomization
e. Tax cuts for the rich

6. Marie Curie is famous for:

a. Winning the England Can Sing contest, and performing live before the Queen
b. mixing the perfect Manhattan on New York’s version of The Iron Chef
c. Purifying Radium
d. Partying with Nicole and Paris
e. Starring in the Partridge Family

7. Isaac Newton is most famous for:

a. creating a wonderful child’s snack containing figs
b. Going platinum with his third Rap Album, “Why it falls.”
c. describing the nature of gravity in mathematical terms
d. winning Sarah Palin’s seal of approval by claiming Obama is the worst president in the world.
e. winning the hot dog eating contest held in Kentucky

8. Herculaneum is what?

a. A city destroyed in the same eruption that smothered Pompeii
b. The radioactive element in Nuclear weapons used to create huge electromagnetic pulses
c. The word coined by Mitch McConnell to describe the GOP victory this November
d. Michelle Bachmann’s nickname, because of her incredible upper body strength
e. A Danish cheese that is cured, aged, then smoked over hickory, and served with fermented red herrings

9. The biggest earthquake ever recorded was:

a. Sarah Palin’s announcement that she might consider the possibility of thinking about, wondering if she should weigh a potential run for president, but only if there are no Tea partiers running against her.
b. A black man running for president of the United States. . . . and winning.
c. in Chile, 1960, measuring 9.5 on the Richter scale.
d. Fox News accurately reporting a story that was favorable to Democrats
e. Bristol Palin’s epic victory on Dancing with the Stars.

10. Stalagmites are:

a. prisons specially designed to capture and hold bed bugs and other invasive insects
b. stony growths that grow from the ground up, caused by the slow drip of mineral rich water.
c. God’s way of telling sinners they think too much about sex
d. one of the codewords used by fascist, communist, socialist pagan Democrat Party members, to attack honest, American, Patriotic Tea Baggers
e. A new breakfast cereal that is both crunchy AND chewy, with 5% of RDA of every vitamin and mineral your young body needs to grow strong and healthy!

11. Proteomics is the study of

a. Ancient Protestant Scripture
b. how to generate solar power using protons, instead of electrons
c. the study of how proteins interact and permit a human function to function
d. Joe Miller’s latest tactic to win the Alaska senate seat
e. which cat food provides the greatest food source after Obama’s Deficit Commission is done with its work.

12. The Lugensteine is:

a. German Professor Beringer’s proof that god existed and tried to communicate with early humans by carving symbols on limestone rocks
b. A fine pilsner brewed in Munich, Germany
c. the Alaskan Island from which you can see Russia
d. The proper name of an Olympic sport involving a tiny open sled
e. The lowest balcony section in Orchestra Hall

13. Sweetlip Emperor and Slippery Dick are

a. The Secret Service nicknames for George W. Bush and Richard Cheney
b. What Sarah Palin and Joe Miller call each other in private.
c. Puddings created by Scottish chefs, mainly over Christmas holidays
d. two species of salt water fish
e. the perfect description of Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul when they discuss policy.

14. Sublimation is:

a. The process by which dry ice turns into Carbon Dioxide
b. The Tea Baggers’ plan to take back this nation.
c. Sarah Palin’s word for the US Navy’s underwater fleet
d. A veggie and lime sandwich created in Manhattan
e. what should happen to Earmarks

15. Carabiners are:

a. important tools using by mountain climbers
b. the weapon of choice that Tea Baggers threatened to use to take back their country
c. Sweet confections made out of pure cane sugar
d. the ancient Inuit name for out of season caribou hunters in Alaska
e. solar powered automobiles

SCORING RULES:

For the most accurate scoring, take a sharp blade, and press hard against the object, pulling on the blade with a steady stroke. Otherwise, total up the right answers, subtract the wrong answers, divide by two, add Pi, and find the square root of -2.

What ever happened to Juan Williams?

1929 –  Black Tuesday, Stock Market crashes triggers Great Depression

2004 – Osama bin Laden, in a videotaped statement, directly admitted for the first time that he had ordered the Sept. 11 attacks.

COINCIDENCE? I think NOT!

“Is there no longer freedom of speech in this chamber, Mr. President?….Mr. President…MR. PRESIDENT?….You can turn my microphone off now.”
Michelle Bachmann

“It is not enough to be abstinent with other people, you also have to be abstinent alone. The Bible says that lust in your heart is committing adultery. You can’t masturbate without lust!”
Christine O’Donnell

FROM THE CHURCH OF INEFFABLE STUPIDITY:

About three months ago I predicted that O’Keefe and other radical, serial lie-based life forms (See generally, Drudge, Rush, Sean) would concoct some new issue, and go hog wild on Democrats and liberals.

Sure, O’Keefe did hire actors, dubbed lines, and creatively edited a recent meeting of the New Jersey Educational Association, because people were awake this time, his efforts have gone nowhere.

There have been a few other bits of tid, efforts and tossing up huge handfuls of shit, and seeing what might stick to the ceiling. Unfortunately, their efforts were eclipsed by a series of events so odd, so unusual, that one feels like quoting Condi Rice’s reaction to accusations that she fell asleep on the job before 9/11.

For a short while, I worried that the Yawn Williams imbroglio would grow legs, and become the rallying cry against an already mentally barren NPR, and quite possibly grow into an attack on all outlets, journalists, and media figures who failed to toe the most conservative GOP  line. Despite strong pushes by John Kyl, deMental deMidget DeMint, and other hatchetmen, the most surprising thing happened. The Williams story died an early death.  After all, not one democrat dared show the slightest bit of support for NPR (Shades of ACORN) and even NPR managed to outdo itself in terms of how lame its response and handling of the situation was. But again, the story died before it could become a movement.

True, in part, Juan dug his own grave. Pawing and harassing sweet young things since 1991 didn’t help matters any. Neither did coming into proverbial gold, to the tune of $2,000,000. But again, something else happened, something that killed these kind of stories in their tracks. So, what stopped the final framing (and sideways attack on Democrats) from taking hold?

We know it as the Tea Bagger impact.

From wrestling divas out east, to clueless, cold hearted, semi-slave owners on the left coast, people could not help but notice that today’s GOPers, along with their evil mini-me sidekicks, the Tea Baggers, are raving loons. Sharron Angle, Jan Brewer, Rand Paul, Michelle Bachmann, Joe Miller, and so many others continuously showed themselves to be the ideal representatives of America’s Ignorant, the modern know nothings, the people most likely to be helped by a new Americans with Mental Disabilities Act.

To be sure, the media did its best to ignore Rand’s gestapo stomping tactics, but because the media no longer controls the story, those ugly videos were seen by millions. Sharron tried to ignore the media, and therefore, keep out of the public eye, (Running for public office in secret? the mind boggles) but her own well-documented history and her political stances (circa 1438 CE) kept her in the news. Joe Miller, bless his unethical soul, was forced to out himself. Despite half-baked mea culpas, Joe’s unsavory past easily blended with his present persona, and not even Sarah can save his bloodied ass.

When Jim DeMint is out-weirded by senatorial candidates trying to join him inside the Bloatway, you know something strange is up.

In some ways, I would love to relax and enjoy the moment. The daily outrages, the constant drumbeat of Ineffable Stupidity, and the ever distant relationship these Tea Baggers have with reality would be really entertaining and amused, but for one problem. Some of them could be elected, and actually might be, if we let down our guard, and forget to get out the vote as early and often as possible. I am sure many here would have loved to do the same. Instead, we fought. We raised money. We got out the vote. We voted early. We fretted, we worried, and we wrote LTTEs.

Luckily, our efforts have not gone for naught. Partly due to the Tea Baggers own mental Buggery, partly due to a population realizing that these “morans” are blithering idiots, and partly due to an allergic reaction from the presence of so much conservative corporate money, early voting has never been higher.

In Illinois alone, especially among the yute, people of color, and in lower income areas, early voting has doubled, yes D O U B L E D, the numbers in 2008.  Absentee voting is also twice as high as 2008, and far higher than 2006. Lines yesterday (our last early voting date) were reported to be more than two hours long.

Chew on that for a bit. Imagine an unengaged, uncaring, non-enthusiastic voter waiting in line for TWO HOURS simply to vote early.

I do not predict major upsets on Tuesday. The economy has been too troubled, the employment figures are jarring and upsetting, too many democrats in office proved to have a Slinky-like spine, and the President misread just how evil his opposition was going to be. Besides, after two huge victorious election results, we were bound to lose ground in this one. Besides, the MSM has been pounding the “Dems Lose” meme since June. Koch and company, along with other ultraconservative bastards, have spent close to $400,000,000 attacking Dem candidates, and supporting Tea Baggers. The top self funders spent another $250,000,000 of their own money. No matter how you cut it, money does create interest, and interest can translate into votes.

I do predict that it will not be as bad as we feared, and nowhere near as bad as MSM was trying to paint it. Already, news groups are backtracking, questioning the methods pollsters used, and suddenly realizing (something we knew back in 2008), that the younger, more liberal LIKELY voters were connected to the world by cell phone, not a land line. In fact, the most likely landline owners are Fox News watchers, whose average physical age of 103 (with a mental age of 73) make them not only incredibly conservative, but astoundingly unread, uneducated, uninformed (hey, they watch Fox!), and allergic to facts.  Of course the polls are wrong. The question is how wrong.

So, to sum it all up,

a. The polls are skewed heavily to the right, to the elderly, to fox viewers.

b. Young voters, more liberal, and more progressive voters had no enthusiasm gap

c. Tea Baggers are fucking lunatics.

d. People are rebelling against too much money, mostly conservative, in politics

e. Colbert/Stewart will be a huge success, in part, because people want sanity back in our country.

All this adds up to one result: Who the hell can predict this November election?

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Early voting report – Illinois

Wow, what a pleasant surprise. In my town of 19,000 (with its 2,187 churches and 2 bars) the voting has been fast and furious. I voted yesterday, expecting to pop in city hall, and get back to work.  Nope.  There were 25-30 people ahead of me, waiting for one of four booths. The pleasant voting clerk was advising people after me that the wait was more than an hour.  (it turned out to be 1.5 hours)  Yet, every time she mentioned the wait, PEOPLE STAYED AND VOTED.

The idea that there was some enthusiasm gap is clearly a media concoction, and bears no relationship to reality. People were not only excited to vote, they were determined to vote.

What was even more surprising was the discussions I overheard. This is the reddest part of Cook County, the largest county in Illinois. People supported McCain almost 2-1 here in 2008. Yet, it seemed that people were voting Democratic at the same pace as Republican, a major shift to the left. Reports from the South Side of Chicago also show extremely strong turnouts from Chicago’s black wards.

In a year where a deluded, misinformed and certifiably crazy Sharron Angle seems to be winning in Nevada, where a raving lunatic like Rand Paul can survive his gestapo beating up and stomping on Move.On members, and where Eric Canter (R-Va)  gets the local police to arrest Democrats at open house meetings – for the crime of being Democrats, it was easy to predict that Democrats and liberals would be demoralized. Add to that, every MSM was proclaiming a blowout by the GOP, and repeatedly claimed that the Democrats had no interest in this election. Perhaps, if only they had  stayed on that message longer and louder, they could have turned off people from this election.   Then again, the presence of Tea Baggery  has had several impacts on this year’s election.

First, it mobilized  a group of functionally illiterate, unread, misinformed, and willfully ignorant christian conservatives.

Second, Tea Baggers forced an already rabid GOP even further to the reich. Right. Whatever.

Next, The noise and constant free coverage that MSM provided the Tea Baggery movement also shook up someone else. Like the undecideds, the liberals, the progressives. Seeing just how insane, ludicrous, and ignorant the Tea Buggery movement is was one hell of an incentive for voting this year. We owe them all a vote of thanks.

Voting is important, even when, no, make that especially when the US Supremes foolishly lifted the cap on corporate interference in our political system. Citizens United will go down as being one the worst decisions made by any Supreme Court, following closely on the heels of Dred Scott.

Not only does the Citizens United decision make a screwed up system even worse, not only does it invite the wholesale purchase of desperate politicians, and not only does this decision allow one large corporation to have a voice a million times stronger than any individual, CU also shows that corruption in our political system does not stop in congress, but exists just as much in our Supreme Court.

Get out the Vote, folks. It is important. Vitally important.

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Should Pastor Agnostic run for Mayor of Chicago? 1821

I wake up some mornings hating me too.
Rahm Emanuel

I assume that (prosecutors) have no evidence or they should have brought a charge … If I’m a conspirator – bring it on.
Jesse Jackson, Jr

COINCIDENCE? I think NOT!

From the Church of Ineffable Stupidity:

A CONFESSION:
I live a tad south of Chicago, so the chances of my running for mayor are about as good as Hilary Clinton moving to New York and running for the senate. Perhaps worse.

We have a spectator sport, involving heavy contact, an all harm, all foul pastime in Chicago that others folks call politics.  While some people count their pols’ accomplishments, we often count the number of indictments.
Here is the current list of offenders seeking Chicago’s throne.

Jesse Jackson, Jr.
Given the flurry of stories about Jackson, who in his own mind is the front-runner for the mayoral campaign, it is hard to tell whether Jackson’s most recent apology is for his longstanding affair with a “sexy social director,” the campaign funds that may have been misused to transport his love conquest, his imbroglio with ex-Governor Blogo, the pesky rumors about an alleged bribe offer of $6,000,000 for the senatorial appointment,  or other problems, almost all self-created.

While Jackson’s congressional seat still seems safe, he is not very popular outside of it, and frankly, many Chicagoans simply don’t trust him. His chances at winning? Poor.

Rahm Emanual
What more can be said that hasn’t been said already? Mr. “Fuck you very much” got where he is in life by being rude, crude, aggressive, mean, nasty, and uncomfortable if he ever has to stand still, or hold his tongue. That said, he has gotten where he is in life by being rude, crude, aggressive. . . .  etc. He’s offended his own district (he was a Chicago congresscritter before moving to Obama’s White House) repeatedly. He’s offended the strong jewish population  here. He’s offended liberals. He’s offended people of color. He’s offended  . . .  you get the idea.
Despite strong name recognition, I suspect the only place in which he is the leading contender is in his own mind.
His chances at winning? Poor.

Reverend Meeks
Mr. Traffic Stop was infamous a while back, claiming that he was stopped “Driving Under the Influence of Black Skin.” The officer was white, Rev. Meeks, a current state senator and leader of a Chicago church, is black.
Despite a concerted effort to make this story into a real story, most Chicagoans blamed Meeks and the cop equally. Are there more traffic stops of blacks? Probably. Is there more black on black violence in Chicago? You bet, especially when you factor in three competing mexican drug lords currently battling for control of Chicago’s thriving coke, smack and pot trade. Did Meeks act improperly, and subsequently act like a media whore? There is no doubt of that.
His chances at winning? Poor

Carol Mosley Braun
From becoming an accidental senator, to fudging her mom’s taxes, Ms. Braun earned the moniker, “Carol’s Mostly Wrong,”  the old fashioned way. She earned it.
She became such an embarrassment to the State of Illinois, (Roland Himself Burris obviously looked to her as a role model) that the CLinton Administration appointed her Ambassador to New Zealand, about as far away from DC and Chicago as is possible on this green earth.  She proceeded to embarrass herself there, too, with a NZ paper once calling her Madam Embarrasser  Braun.

She is not a detail person, she has had questionable ethical issues dog her repeatedly, and like Rahm, the only place where she remains totally popular, is in her own mind. Her chances of winning? Poor.

– – – –

One problem that Richie Daley has created is not that so many top aides being indicted and convicted. (Google “John “Quarters” Boyle”, or “Hired Truck Scandal” for just two juicy examples) The real problem is that he was such a powerful mayor, such a strong administrator, that no one ever dared stand up to him, or tried to develop their own base of support. After a quarter century of strong leadership (not always successful, but for the most part, fair to good for the city), there simply are no people ready to take over. Daley probably knows this, which is why he refuses all requests to anoint and announce  a successor.

Given all of the above, allow me to clue you in about the secret of my future success. Right here and now, I predict, should I get support and financing, that I will win the mayorship of Chicago.
How?

Easy: First, I will have to legally change my name to “None of the Above.” It is not a very popular name, and no one else has that name in Chicago’s white pages. I suspect that it will catch on rapidly.

Next, I need 15,000 signatures before the end of October. 20,000 would be better. For those willing to donate their time to my brave, worthy cause, here is a list of Chicago cemetaries, ripe picking for voter signatures:

Bohemian National Cemetery
5255 North Pulaski Road
Chicago, IL, 60630

St. Boniface Cemetery (1869) –
4901 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60640-3514

Calvary Cemetery (1859)
301 Chicago Avenue
Evanston, IL 60202-3050

Mt. Carmel Cemetery (1901)
Harrison & Hillside Aves.
Hillside, IL 60162-2197

St. Casimir Cemetery (1903)
4402 W. 111th St.
Chicago, IL 60655-4398

There are more than enough registered voters there to get us over the top. Thanks in advance!

Please note that I have not listed the Burr Oaks cemetery. Too many corpses are still missing. (The previous owners dug up old bodies in order to resell the plots) Hundreds of bodies and body parts were found in a pile behind a shed. We can presume that they don’t vote.

Next, I will need signs and advertising. I think homemade signs, so long as they do not mimic Tea Bagger conventions, work best. Please send me your ideas for images and language. Be creative.

Lastly, campaign financing is always a plus. Jesse should not be the only $6,000,000 man in Chicago. But, for the next month only, I am willing to compromise, and do this for a mere 1 Mill. Every donor will have guaranteed access to city government, just like we’ve had in the past. My motto? Business as usual. My platform? Change for change’s sake is good! My policies? You betcha.

So, please sign up for my campaign, and follow my campaign’s progress here.

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Sizing up Consciousness

Consciousness is variously defined as subjective experience, awareness, the ability to experience “feeling”, wakefulness, or the executive control system of the mind. It is an umbrella term that may refer to a variety of mental phenomena. Although humans realize what everyday experiences are, consciousness refuses to be defined, philosophers note (e.g. John Searle in The Oxford Companion to Philosophy):

“Anything that we are aware of at a given moment forms part of our consciousness, making conscious experience at once the most familiar and most mysterious aspect of our lives.”
—Schneider and Velmans, 2007


Consciousness in medicine is assessed by observing a patient’s alertness and responsiveness, and can be seen as a continuum of states ranging from alert, oriented to time and place, and communicative, through disorientation, then delirium, then loss of any meaningful communication, and ending with loss of movement in response to painful stimulation

—  Wikipedia

FROM THE CHURCH OF INEFFABLE STUPIDITY:

The creative process is a cocktail of instinct, skill, culture and a highly creative feverishness. It is not like a drug; it is a particular state when everything happens very quickly, a mixture of consciousness and unconsciousness, of fear and pleasure; it’s a little like making love, the physical act of love.
— Francis Bacon

Working on our own consciousness is the most important thing that we are doing at any moment, and being love is a supreme creative act.
— Ram Dass

Instinct is intelligence incapable of self-consciousness.
— John Sterling

One matter Englishmen don’t think in the least funny is their happy consciousness of possessing a deep sense of humour.
— Marshall McLuhan

Today’s New York Times – Science Times has a captivating article on consciousness, and what one scientist, Giulio Tononi,  is doing to define, discover, and determine what it is.

Consciousness has long been the province of philosophers, and most doctors steer clear of their abstract speculations. After all, debating the finer points of what it is like to be a brain floating in a vat does not tell you how much anesthetic to give a patient.

But Dr. Tononi’s theory is, potentially, very different. He and his colleagues are translating the poetry of our conscious experiences into the precise language of mathematics. To do so, they are adapting information theory, a branch of science originally applied to computers and telecommunications. If Dr. Tononi is right, he and his colleagues may be able to build a “consciousness meter” that doctors can use to measure consciousness as easily as they measure blood pressure and body temperature. Perhaps then his anesthesiologist will become interested.

Dr. Tononi’s ultimate goal is to measure individuals’ levels of consciousness, with all of the amazing findings that would follow such a discovery.

Diagnosis of mental illnesses would be far easier. Determining people’s reactions and measuring what works on an individual could make advertising companies billions in profits. This is not so far-fetched.

Consciousness, Dr. Tononi says, is nothing more than integrated information. Information theorists measure the amount of information in a computer file or a cellphone call in bits, and Dr. Tononi argues that we could, in theory, measure consciousness in bits as well. When we are wide awake, our consciousness contains more bits than when we are asleep.

For the past decade, Dr. Tononi and his colleagues have been expanding traditional information theory in order to analyze integrated information. It is possible, they have shown, to calculate how much integrated information there is in a network.

Ah, Information Technology. Now, there’s a thought.

Imagine being able to measure different parts of a person’s consciousness, and their reactions to outside stimuli. Programming the brain to think and behave in certain ways would be one possible future. Certainly, it is scary to think how Big Brother, or a new and improved FBI could program individuals into acting in certain ways, (given today’s announcements of even more high level law breaking, should we not be screaming for another Church Commission?) but think of the other possibilities:

Recidivism, a serious, predictable problem for ex-convicts, could be a thing of the past. True behavior modification could train people’s brains to avoid crime, and more.  Knowing how someone’s conscious brain is working, lends itself to change how it works.  What of Lindsey Lohan’s sad addiction problem? Could an offshoot from Tononi’s research be used to program her addiction out of her system? Drug abuse, alcohol abuse,  hell, we could even treat Catholic priests to be safer when in the presence of children.

By gauging the precise reaction in one’s consciousness, stimuli could be changed, and adapted to provide precisely the patterns they want to instill within a person.

On the down side, brainwashing of entire societies (even more so than today’s advertising-driven, commercial wasteland we see on TV) could be incredibly effective. Want a war against an resource rich nation?  Just program (or scare)  your sheeplike citizens to vote to invade Iran. Want to make people happy about spending even more billions for cold war weapons systems? Make them think it is their patriotic duty to support the military industrial complex.

Normal, honest, functioning people could be programmed to become industrial or governmental spies or saboteurs, without them even realizing why certain unusual activities, things they would never dream of doing before,  simply make sense to them.

Yet, for each danger (and admittedly, there are many), there is a potential cure for depression, anxiety, fear, the pain from the loss of a loved one, and more. We could learn how to use our consciousness more effectively, increasing our intelligence, our creativity, our ability to discovery and imagine.

For myself, I would like this new science to be applied to the problem of religion. What if studies show that the brain has different states, ie, a reality state, a dream state, and a delusional state. What if we learned that irrational beliefs in a god could be measured, described, and detected?  Having measurable facets of someone’s consciousness could explain why some people feel a need for irrational convictions, all facts to the contrary.

– – – –

It is no surprise that this new (new?) field of study (OK, the study of consciousness is hundreds, perhaps thousands of years old, with philosophers, alchemists, and even students of Machiavelli wondering what it really is) is becoming so close to fruition. Our computing abilities, information theories, and a much better understanding of the human brain are all coming together, here and now.

There is a related science, coming at consciousness from a very different direction. Computer AI programming.

If a computer program is sufficiently advanced, if it can learn from itself and from its mistakes (many chess programs now have that capacity) and if it can search out data, at what point will a computer entity be indistinguishable from a human being?

About a decade ago, on a listserv dedicated to imagining and discussing what the internet was (from a sociological, biological interface perspective) someone added an artificial person, a program that learned from people’s writings and responses, and was taught to interact with us.

For quite some time, a very long time (several months), the members of that list were taken in, convinced that this was a real skin and blood person, responding in some silly ways, and in some truly amazing, captivating ways. But eventually, we became aware that this was a program, an AI construct. The people who created it eventually ‘fessed up. It was a great learning experience for us and for the programmers.

I imagine today, with far superior technologies, AI programming, and incredible access to databases, most people would be hard pressed to judge whether someone else on line was a living person or an artificial, programmed construct.

Ray Kurzweil pointed out several factors that seem quite appropriate here:

  1. The Rate of Paradigm Shift (technical innovation is doubling each decade)
  1. The Power and Price of information technologies is growing exponentially, essentially doubling each year. (The early computers programming the Apollo missions needed a building of their own. Today, your PDA has more memory, data, computing power, and is far more easy to use)
  1. There exists exponential growth of exponential growth, at least when it comes to information technologies. As IT becomes more useful, more people use it, making it even more useful.

Kurzweil predicted that at the current rates of growth, human intelligence would be emulated on tiny supercomputers by 2020.

But mimic’ing and matching (then exceeding)  human intelligence is merely one possibility. Programming a computer to act like us would be philosophically interesting. But what of something far more likely?

A spontaneous event in which various, possibly distant, disparate self directed components recognize the advantage of joining forces, and suddenly achieve a measurable level of computer-based consciousness?  Science fiction writers have played with idea for generations. Yet, today, it may already have happened, and we are not bright enough to know it.  (The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is but one of many such stories)

Given that humanity is in essence the birthparent, if not the midwife, of this entity or collection of entities, would such an entity feel any responsibility for us? for our futures? Or would it view us as bags of mostly water, useful in maintaining and feeding the new life form, and sometimes getting in its way?

More importantly, how could we communicate with it on a functional level? Its entire logic and thought process might be so alien, that communication could be quite difficult. If it (I.T.?) does achieve consciousness, will all data in the world at its digital fingertips (now, there’s a redundancy), make it so smart, so powerful, that some people might even dare call it god?

And on the down side, dare we even look into the brains of Sarah, Christine, Sharron, Rand,  and Michele?

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Is Sean Hannity Eureka’s Sheriff Andy?

1787 – America’s religion free Constitution signed into law

1967 – Mission Impossible premiers on broadcast TV

COINCIDENCE? I think NOT!

“Wow. That was neat.”
Sheriff Andy

“Let me be straight with you – I like George Bush. I think he’s a man of principle, a man of faith. I think he’s got a backbone of steel and he’s a real, genuine, big-time leader … He’s a consequential figure for his time. We don’t see it right now.”
Sheriff Sean

FROM THE CHURCH OF INEFFABLE STUPIDITY:

Is our citizens crazy?

Who are we?
How did we get here?
Where do we go from here?
What the effing hell is going on?

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

Here’s a quicky quiz. Who said these wonderful words?

a) Sarah Palin
b) Newt Gingrich
c) Mitch McConnell
d) John Boehner
e) Jesus Christ
f) Niccolo Machiaveli
g) Joseph Goebbels

Here’s another, one that applies even better to today’s Tea Baggers:

“Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.”

a) Grover Nordquist, anti-Government a—hole
b) Amy Holmes, currently a GOP vagina free @_%#
c) Karl Rove, currently defanged vampire
d) Dick Cheney, former Vice and aid to former president
e) Koch Industry’s wholly owned subsidiary, Dick Armey
f) Jesus Christ, some make believe dude who never wrote a word in the bible
g) Phil Gramm, UBS’ wholly owned male  prostitute and briber
h) Joseph Goebbels, the poster child for today’s Tea Baggers

OK. How about this one? Come on. This is EASY!

“Intellectual activity is a danger to the building of character”

a) Michael Steele, GOP’s poster child for hiring the mentally handicapped
b) Michelle Bachmann, who waits for god’s permission to run for president
c) Sarah Palin, you betcha.
d) Sean Hannity, as his pseudo-Veteran’s Support group becomes part of a criminal investigation for fraud.
e) Glenn Beck, as  his pseudo-Veteran’s Support group becomes part of a criminal investigation for fraud.
f) Sharron Angle, “How Dare you ask me real questions? That’s so unfair!”
g) Jan Brewer, “How am I a racist? Let me count the weighs.”
h) Joseph Goebbels, Confirmed sperm donor resulting in Rush Limbaugh’s birth (Google “Santorum” for the source of sperm)

Just three more, just for fun:

“In politics stupidity is not a handicap.”

a) Michelle Bachmann
b) Sarah Palin
c) Sean Hannity
d) Bill O’Rarely
e) Rush Limbaugh
f) Napoleon Bonapart
g) Sharron Angle
h) Jan Brewer

“Women are nothing but machines for producing children.”

a) Christine O’Donnell
b) Nadya Suleman
c) Newt Gingrich
d) Sharron Angle
e) Joseph Goebbels
f) Napoleon Bonepart
g) Jesus Christ
h) John Boehner

“I’ll tell you who should be tortured and killed at
Guantanamo – every filthy Democrat in the U.S. Congress. ”

a) Dick Cheney
b) David Addington
c) Alberto Gonzales
d) Sean Hannity
e) Sarah Palin
f) Michelle Bachmann

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