Friday, November 22, 2013

Zero Dark Fifty

Veteran JFK assassination researcher Jim DiEugenio on the national security state's fingerprints left both at the Texas Theatre in 1963 and on what's showing at your local theater today...

Monday, August 26, 2013

Ich bin ein East Berliner

Documentary film maker Laura Poitras, recently profiled in the Sunday New York Times Magazine in the wake of  her role in the Ed Snowden revelations along with Glenn Greenwald, on being spied on by the United States government:
At the moment I live in what used to be East Berlin. It feels strange to come to the former home of the Stasi to expose the dangers of government surveillance, but being here gives me hope. There is a deep historical memory among Germans of what happens to societies when its government targets and spies on its own citizens. The public outcry in Germany to the NSA disclosures has been enormous.
Except now we're all in East Berlin.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Electoral Letters of Bismarck and Reprisal Amidst Health Care Reconstruction

File:Franz von Lenbach Bismarck.jpg

In 1883 Chancellor Otto von Bismarck of Germany instituted the first national health insurance scheme, which would soon be followed by workplace accident insurance (workman's comp), unemployment insurance, and finally old age and disability insurance (social security) to put into place the first modern welfare state social insurance system which was eventually copied with success throughout the industrialized world.

Now Brad DeLong invokes his legacy in anticipation of Obamacare's likely success in wealthy, successful, highly educated blue states where The Powers That Be will actually try to make it work in contrast with its questionable nearterm future in struggling, dependent, low-educated red states where rejectionist, provincial governance (whose preferred legacies of propertarian statism seem to "range" from slavery to libertarianism) may lead to a slow motion electoral time lapse Wile E. Coyote moment for those "at fault":
In the Democratic-controlled “blue” states, where 60% of the US population lives – and which account for 70% of national income and 80% of its wealth – implementation of the ACA is likely to be like that of RomneyCare in Massachusetts: a somewhat bumpy ride, but a clear success that nobody will wish to repeal after the fact. But no one knows what will happen in the “red states,” where the Republican political infrastructure is digging in its heels.

What will doctors and hospital administrators in Phoenix, Kansas City, Houston, and Atlanta do after they talk to their colleagues in Los Angeles, Seattle, Minneapolis, Chicago, Baltimore, and New York, where state governments and political structures are trying to make ACA implementation a success? Will they compare and contrast the conditions under which they are working? Which candidates will they support with donations and votes in the 2014 and 2016 elections? What will nurses and patients denied the benefits of the ACA do?

America’s partisan heat is about to be turned up over the next several election cycles, as the blame game begins. Bismarck would know who is at fault.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Parish the thought

Wayne Slater drew the short straw in today's Dallas Morning News political junket coverage:
If Perry looked a little different, some things don’t change – like recalling numbers or geography. Touting Texas, Perry declared, “There are many other states that embrace those conservative values, the approach we’ve taken over the years. I’m in one today – Florida.”

“We’re in Louisiana,” someone shouted.

Thursday, August 01, 2013


Yesterday's report/memoir by Olivia Messer of the Texas Observer highlights the continuing culture of mysogyny in the Texas Legislature:
During the House budget debate in April, Brenham Republican Lois Kolkhorst and Austin Democrat Dawnna Dukes were debating an amendment. As the debate intensified, their male colleagues in the chamber started meowing and making angry-cat noises. Several times each session, men in the House will make cat noises when two women are debating.

“It shows how there’s this immediate visceral response from the men to treat us in a demeaning way,” Howard said. “Certainly, two men can go at it, and it’s thought to be business as usual, maybe because we expect that behavior from them. But the fact is that it’s still very hard for women to be assertive without being thought of as overly aggressive.”

When I asked Van de Putte if this immaturity is ever apparent on the Senate floor, she answered, “At times. You know, [pornographic images] on their personal iPads or something. You just say, ‘Gentlemen, don’t bring that to the floor… Just do that at home.’”
As Lesser describes, a couple of years ago this came to a head with a cathartic speech by 40-year House veteran Senfronia Thompson:
While Thompson was still at the front mic, Debbie Riddle stepped to the back microphone to ask a question. Riddle, a socially conservative Republican from the Houston suburbs, and Thompson, a liberal Democrat from an urban district, don’t side with one another often. But on this day, they did.

“Do you think this has become standard operating procedure by some because of what goes on in this House with the way some of the men have treated some of the women?” Riddle asked. “With pornography on the floor of this House. Do you think that’s why this is acceptable?”

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Real Ambulatory Time

In her Real Time with Bill Maher appearance, Sarah Slamen discusses Rick Perry's sister's financial interest in the recent passage of abortion restrictions in Texas.