Saturday, February 28, 2009

More cartoons

This Mr. Fish cartoon really speaks to me, but probably because I really hate "The Family Circus":

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The end of print media

I don't want to think that it's true. But with the advent of The Rocky Mountain News closing, I'm getting very afraid.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Monday, February 23, 2009

Speaking of the morality of privatization...

Two judges in Pennsylvania were getting paid by a private prison to jail thousands of children. Amy Goodman had brought this to my attention via her blog, and this piece from a CNN article sums up the atrociousness of the situation:

Ciavarella, 58, along with Conahan, 56, corruptly and fraudulently "created the potential for an increased number of juvenile offenders to be sent to juvenile detention facilities," federal court documents alleged. Children would be placed in private detention centers, under contract with the court, to increase the head count. In exchange, the two judges would receive kickbacks.

The Juvenile Law Center said it plans to file a class-action lawsuit this week representing what they say are victims of corruption. Juvenile Law Center attorneys cite a few examples of harsh penalties Judge Ciavarella meted out for relatively petty offenses:

  • Ciavarvella sent 15-year-old Hillary Transue to a wilderness camp for mocking an assistant principal on a MySpace page.
  • He whisked 13-year-old Shane Bly, who was accused of trespassing in a vacant building, from his parents and confined him in a boot camp for two weekends.
  • He sentenced Kurt Kruger, 17, to detention and five months of boot camp for helping a friend steal DVDs from Wal-Mart.
  • Several other lawsuits on behalf of the juveniles who have appeared in Ciavarella's courtroom have emerged.

    The private juvenile detention centers, owned by Mid Atlantic Youth Services Corp., are still operating and are not a target of the federal investigation, according court documents.

    This is a lesson about the capitalist superstructure in general. Capitalism's immoralities can only breed more immoralities in the society that it controls. The judges who did this to these children are criminals, but the environment that allowed such actions was the privatized prison system, a natural extension of the free market.

    The free market is only free to some. The rest are bound by wage-slavery, or quite literally locked up in jail.

    Krugman does it again!

    But the only thing I disagree with Krugman on, and something that we have to ask ourselves, is whether it's moral, considering the human-cost in livelihood, to ever go back to a private banking system.

    I think we all know the answer.

    Thursday, February 19, 2009

    Tuesday, February 17, 2009

    Tom Tomorrow gets it.

    Of course he does, he's Tom Tomorrow. But never has he so eloquently expressed how I, and other progressives, feel as in this cartoon.


    From the AP:

    WASHINGTON — Defense and congressional officials say President Barack Obama has approved an increase in U.S. forces for the flagging war in Afghanistan. The Obama administration is expected to announce on Tuesday or Wednesday that it will send one additional Army brigade and an unknown number of Marines to Afghanistan this spring. One official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the total is about 17,000 troops.

    That would be the first installment on a larger influx of U.S. forces that have been widely expected this year. It would get a few thousand troops in place in time for the increase in fighting that usually comes with warmer weather and ahead of national elections this summer.

    Sunday, February 15, 2009

    LOL at Bush

    George W. Bush is Fundraising Personally for His Library

    February 14, 2009 01:21 PM ET | Paul Bedard | Permanent Link | Print

    By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers

    Don't say that former President Bush hasn't been hit by the crumbling economy he handed off to President Obama. Friends tell us that it has slowed the drive to raise some $500 million to build and endow the George W. Bush Presidential Center at Dallas's Southern Methodist University. "It's a bad environment," says one. Bush is taking no chances: He's making donor calls himself, and even his dad, the 41st president, is helping out, as are former aides like Karl Rove. In the future, say associates, look for Bush to host fundraising events in order to meet a goal of completing construction in 2013. But for now, "he's laying low," says one.

    Sunday, February 8, 2009

    This is ridiculous

    Every sane economist knows that when the economy is in trouble, the federal government has to go into deficit spending. This isn't just Keynesian economics, it's common sense.

    So why, then, do Republicans feel like cutting so much from Obama's stimulus bill? To please ideologues like Rush Limbaugh? Sure, not everything the stimulus does might seem like a dire need, but deficit spending requires a lot of things on which to spend money.

    Republicans: please take your heads out of your asses. We're in deep trouble right now.

    What got cut from the stimulus package, via CNN:

    Partially cut:

    • $3.5 billion for energy-efficient federal buildings (original bill $7 billion)

    • $75 million from Smithsonian (original bill $150 million)

    • $200 million from Environmental Protection Agency Superfund (original bill $800 million)

    • $100 million from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (original bill $427 million)

    • $100 million from law enforcement wireless (original bill $200 million)

    • $300 million from federal fleet of hybrid vehicles (original bill $600 million)

    • $100 million from FBI construction (original bill $400 million)

    Fully eliminated

    • $55 million for historic preservation

    • $122 million for Coast Guard polar icebreaker/cutters

    • $100 million for Farm Service Agency modernization

    • $50 million for Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service

    • $65 million for watershed rehabilitation

    • $100 million for distance learning

    • $98 million for school nutrition

    • $50 million for aquaculture

    • $2 billion for broadband

    • $100 million for National Institute of Standards and Technology

    • $50 million for detention trustee

    • $25 million for Marshalls Construction

    • $300 million for federal prisons

    • $300 million for BYRNE Formula grant program

    • $140 million for BYRNE Competitive grant program

    • $10 million state and local law enforcement

    • $50 million for NASA

    • $50 million for aeronautics

    • $50 million for exploration

    • $50 million for Cross Agency Support

    • $200 million for National Science Foundation

    • $100 million for science

    • $1 billion for Energy Loan Guarantees

    • $4.5 billion for General Services Administration

    • $89 million General Services Administration operations

    • $50 million from Department of Homeland Security

    • $200 million Transportation Security Administration

    • $122 million for Coast Guard Cutters, modifies use

    • $25 million for Fish and Wildlife

    • $55 million for historic preservation

    • $20 million for working capital fund

    • $165 million for Forest Service capital improvement

    • $90 million for State and Private Wildlife Fire Management

    • $1 billion for Head Start/Early Start

    • $5.8 billion for Health Prevention Activity

    • $2 billion for Health Information Technology Grants

    • $600 million for Title I (No Child Left Behind)

    • $16 billion for school construction

    • $3.5 billion for higher education construction

    • $1.25 billion for project based rental

    • $2.25 billion for Neighborhood Stabilization


    • $1.2 billion for retrofitting Project 8 housing