Fighting against the British and a coherent understanding of American history

I love how she just bumbles her way through this without even stopping to think about what is coming out of her mouth. She really is a marvel of unprocessed input/output at times.

“And, ya know, right after that, they all met up at Gettysburg in Charlestown where George Washington flew his famous kite and discovered the very thunder we steal, dontcha know, from the lamestream media!”

OK. She didn’t actually say that. But she could have.

And then I told the parrot to shut up and let the friggin’ monkey talk….

Some people’s lives look far more interesting than mine will be this weekend:

Monkey Parrot Bench
Just chillin' with my monkey and my parrot.

“Darkies” comment on broadcaster’s use of the n-word

Murray Decker
Murray Decker, who actually looks exactly as you might picture a racially insensitive broadcaster.

Your broadcaster uses an over-the-top racial phrase. Do you: a) apologize? b) fire him in an act of contrition? c) insist everyone is using the phrase and wonder what the fuss is?

Bonus points for Polynesians referring to themselves as “darkies.”

I always thought of New Zealand as being so enlightened and free from the racial strife of many other places, although the only reference points I have for this of which I can recall off the top of my head are the “Lord Of The Rings” movies — which is really stupid because the movies were all about people killing one another.

Although Frodo and Gandalf’s relationship — Wizard, hobbit; old, young — suggests harmony to me, not to mention a little creepy NAMBLA action.

In any case, who knew that Polynesians were apparently the racially targeted minority in New Zealand?

Alas, Queenie won’t be down for peanuts

Georgia’s water skiing elephant — I just liked the name — has died. I can’t even water ski. I’m impressed an elephant can do it.

File under: white folks’ problems

If you’re not from Boston, we have a neighborhood called Jamaica Plain that is, depending on the area in which you find yourself, alternately rich, middle class or gritty and lower class. That latter designation is as good a description as any of a store we (I live in JP) used to have called Hi-Lo. It was also dirty, smelly and not very well stocked.

The dirty, skanky Hi-Lo, whose gritty realism is being romanticized by some in Jamaica Plain.

Enter organic foods behemoth Whole Foods, which wants to replace aforementioned toilet-smelling filth hole Hi-Lo with a clean, well-stocked modern supermarket.

It should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with hipster-laden JP that this proposed real estate transaction has attracted hordes of upper class white college types heavy with racial guilt and sincere-sounding platitudes about gentrification, displacement and Latino rights.

The nice folks from Whole Foods mistakenly walked into this cauldron of misplaced priorities June 2 expecting to have a rational discussion, whereas the hipsters walked in knowing what they wanted was a high profile way of expressing displeasure without really changing anyone’s mind.

Take it away Universal Hub:

With a slashing motion across his neck tonight, a Boston Police sergeant ordered Whole Foods to shut down its first Jamaica Plain community meeting early, after officers arrested two people for unfurling an anti-Whole Foods banner in the back.

As people filed out of the Curley School, police officers from across the city began arriving – the sergeant had activated the department’s Emergency Deployment Team system, used to swarm a trouble spot with police. At one point, at least a dozen Boston Police officers (one in plain clothes) stood at the top of the school’s steps guarding it against potential mayhem.

No violence actually broke out, although two women on either side of the issue had to be separated by friends when they cursed and then lunged at each other as they were leaving the auditorium.

As the meeting began around 7 p.m., the roughly 200 residents seemed evenly split between people holding up yellow signs in favor of the impending Whole Foods in Hyde Square and people holding blue signs – and many wearing blue T-shirts – in opposition.

A line of Whole Foods executives and managers sat on tall chairs at the front of the auditorium, explaining how they do business and how they hope to open in late fall.

The mostly white, mostly young anti-Fooders quickly began trying to shout down both Whole Foods managers and other residents as they screamed their opposition to what they said was the ultimate gentrifying force that would push the neighborhood’s minority residents out.

These are the kinds of meetings which make rational people feel as if they have hornets in their head.

Needless to say, nothing was settled except perhaps the Whole Foods people have learned the lesson that this is not as much about protecting Latinos as it is about one group proving its progressive bone fides.

I love hipsters. Their politics quite often jibe with my own. But sometime they are annoying and narcissistic.

Be sure to wash up after touching that

So wrong.

Shoot him in the head!

From Kansas City:

If they’re not shooting stuffed tigers in England, they’re blasting lawn ornaments in Missouri.

Fake Alligator
This may or may not look like the offending concrete alligator that was killed by police in Kansas City.

Elmo and Big Bird are too liberal, says douche-y right winger who looks like Damien from “The Omen”

Bonus points: He went to Harvard.

Bernie Sanders introduces legislation that would disconnect Big Pharma’s alleged R&D costs, drug prices

Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is one of the few U.S. senators who does not appear to have been corrupted by a system that forces senators to turn their jobs into full-time fund-raisers beholden to those interests with the most money, including the global pharmaceutical industry which develops and tests many drugs using government grants, and then turns around and cries R&D-related poverty while enjoying record profits on the backs of the sick.

Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders, I-VT

Sanders has introduced two bits of legislation that seek to break the economic stranglehold that this industry has on the health of millions worldwide and, by extension, bankrupt state and local governments who have been erroneously convinced that the only way to address this disaster is to cut drug benefits without taking even the most cursory look at a system that rewards pharmaceutical greed through, among other things, a drug patent system weighted heavily in favor of corporate interests.

According to an article on Knowledge Ecology International  (with helpful links to the legislation):

By de-linking research and development incentives from product prices, and by eliminating legal monopolies to sell products, it is possible to induce investments that are medically more important, procure products at low prices from competitive suppliers, radically lower pricing barriers for access to new medicines, reduce wasteful marketing and research and development activities, and dramatically lower the overall costs of acquiring innovation, while expanding access to that innovation.

The pharmaceutical industry is one of the world’s most profitable businesses, with a considerable portion of that money going to buy the support of your elected officials.

You want to cut health care costs? You can start by taking the profit motive out of life-saving drugs that are often developed in laboratories funded by federal and state governments.

What’s even worse: despite already wringing untold billions out of the world economy, drug companies are just getting more brazen about over-charging for drugs and simply creating false shortages for drugs so they can jack up the prices.

Don’t just get mad. Change the system.


Global commission on drug policy: War on Drugs has failed

The headline from USA Today says it all: The global war on drugs has failed.

A Seattle drug raid.

Among the recommendations:

  • End the criminalization, marginalization and stigmatization of people who use drugs but who do no harm to others.
  • Challenge rather than reinforce common misconceptions about drug markets, drug use and drug dependence.
  • Encourage experimentation by governments with models of legal regulation of drugs to undermine the power of organized crime and safeguard the health and security of their citizens. This recommendation applies especially to cannabis, but we also encourage other experiments in decriminalization and legal regulation that can accomplish these objectives and provide models for others.
  • Offer health and treatment services to those in need.
  • Replace drug policies and strategies driven by ideology and political convenience with fiscally responsible policies and strategies grounded in science, health, security and human rights – and adopt appropriate criteria for their evaluation.
  • Invest in activities that can both prevent young people from taking drugs in the first place and also prevent those who do use drugs from developing more serious problems. Eschew simplistic ‘just say no’ messages and ‘zero tolerance’ policies in favor of educational efforts grounded in credible information and prevention programs that focus on social skills and peer influences.

You can get the full report here.

Sadly, the White House has already come out with a response that proves they lack the will to follow through on the most important of the commission’s recommendations, saying the War on Drugs (which is primarily a war on harmless users and addicts in need of treatment) is “not born out out of a culture war or drug war mentality, but out of the recognition that drug use strains our economy, health, and public safety.”

Yeah, right. And if you believe that whopper….

Sad. Terribly sad. What a waste of human potential, not only in terms of money spent on the war on drugs, but also in terms of the incarceration of primarily lower income people.

Just because you want to be informed doesn't mean you can't laugh along the way. Science, politics, religion, pop culture and the law.