Blue States in a Landslide

11/12/04 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: General
Blue States in a Landslide

Not only are blue cultural values gaining foothold in every corner of the country, it's the red capitalists who are behind their rise. Frank Rich is pointing out here some of the more prurient values, such as Bill O'Reilly's loofah fetish and Rush Limbaugh's drug addiction. He's also pointing out the irony / hypocrisy of the red moralism as its captains of industry profit from pushing blue morality. But when you look at any other section of the cultural landscape, there's a progression, not a regression. From gay rights to minority rights and all points imbetween, the conservative viewpoint has been losing.

It's true that George Bush wants to undo the social safety net which is definitely a march to conservatism, but we'll see how far he gets. Even if he passes it, when the first few people lose their life savings by risking it in the market, there will be a surprise remembering of why we had the New Deal in the first place.

There's only one problem with the storyline proclaiming that the country swung to the right on cultural issues in 2004. Like so many other narratives that immediately calcify into our 24/7 media's conventional wisdom, it is fiction. Everything about the election results - and about American culture itself - confirms an inescapable reality: John Kerry's defeat notwithstanding, it's blue America, not red, that is inexorably winning the culture war, and by a landslide. Kerry voters who have been flagellating themselves since Election Day with a vengeance worthy of "The Passion of the Christ" should wake up and smell the Chardonnay.

The blue ascendancy is nearly as strong among Republicans as it is among Democrats. Those whose "moral values" are invested in cultural heroes like the accused loofah fetishist Bill O'Reilly and the self-gratifying drug consumer Rush Limbaugh are surely joking when they turn apoplectic over MTV. William Bennett's name is now as synonymous with Las Vegas as silicone. The Democrats' Ashton Kutcher is trumped by the Republicans' Britney Spears. Excess and vulgarity, as always, enjoy a vast, bipartisan constituency, and in a democracy no political party will ever stamp them out.

If anyone is laughing all the way to the bank this election year, it must be the undisputed king of the red cultural elite, Rupert Murdoch. Fox News is a rising profit center within his News Corporation, and each red-state dollar that it makes can be plowed back into the rest of Fox's very blue entertainment portfolio. The Murdoch cultural stable includes recent books like Jenna Jameson's "How to Make Love Like a Porn Star" and the Vivid Girls' "How to Have a XXX Sex Life," which have both been synergistically, even joyously, promoted on Fox News by willing hosts like Rita Cosby and, needless to say, Mr. O'Reilly. There are "real fun parts and exciting parts," said Ms. Cosby to Ms. Jameson on Fox News's "Big Story Weekend," an encounter broadcast on Saturday at 9 p.m., assuring its maximum exposure to unsupervised kids.

New Democrat Outreach Program*

11/12/04 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: General
Commandante Camembert has an open letter to the winning party.

* it's a joke

An open letter to the Red-State victors:

With hard work and superb organization, you have triumphed over John Kerry and the forces of Blue-state paternalism. Congratulations. The multinational corporations that hold you in bondage remain free to profit off your sweat nearly tax free, while their overpaid senior execs continue to pay a pittance in personal income tax.

Your primary and secondary schools will continue to turn out third-rate pupils with limited opportunities, while you enjoy the satisfaction of making it on your own without health care when a catastrophic illness bankrupts your family.

Your agricultural universities will continue issuing Ph.D.s in football, and bogus Protestant Evangelical and Fundamentalist theology, and how to jerk off a bull safely. Your children will learn to borrow enough money to erect chicken houses so that they, like you, can take custody -- not possession, but custody -- of Tyson's chicks, feed them, rear them, assume losses from those that fail to thrive, and in the end earn just enough money to service their endless debt, and realize a profit of perhaps $12K a year. Your bank thanks you; Tyson thanks you; George W. Bush thanks you; and I thank you.

You can continue sending your sons to die in Iraq on a fool's errand. When you bury them, you can console yourselves with Bush's platitudes about their heroic mission to defend America from weapons of mass destruction.

You can savor the deficit spending that stimulates commerce today, but will cripple the US economy in ten or fifteen years' time when the bills come due with interest. Perhaps a Democrat will be in office at that time, who can be blamed for W's delayed economic fiasco.

You can continue believing, as Republican Party brainwashing has persuaded you, that we, your neighbors, are your enemies. You can believe that we have no morals; that we pimp out our teenage daughters for Internet porn; that we eat babies; that we are all gay; that we are cowards on the battlefield; and that we want to run your lives and give you AIDS.

Here's a clue: we are not your enemies; we are your countrymen. Your enemies are the greedy multinationals that the Republican Party bends over backwards to accommodate. Incidentally, most of them are based in Blue states, as are their Republican owners and major shareholders.

Here in the Blue States, Democrats and Republicans alike generate the lion's share of America's wealth, although it is you Reds who provide the lion's share of the stoop labor. You are our Mexicans, so to speak. We could not have accomplished the economic miracle that is America without your willing capitulation to a system that lies to you and fucks you over at every turn.

Look at economic output and educational achievement on a state-by-state basis: it's painfully evident that we Blues are immensely more productive and better educated than you Reds. We have lots more money. We live longer. We eat better. We work less. We fuck more. We do cocaine and smoke fine Canadian buds, not the homebrew crank and cheap Mexican headache reefer you guys are stuck with. We drink French wine and Stoli martinis, not Budweiser. Our children rarely bother us: we've got them on Ritalin and Prozac. Our teeth are straighter and whiter, our necks longer, and our fingernails cleaner. And many of us are the Republican elite who have just punked you.

Full story »

It's not your money, it's OUR money

11/12/04 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: General
Driving back and forth to the Poconos, I would always see those billboards that said "It's your money, Bush/Cheney"

In fact, if you look here it's easy to see that in fact, it's NOT your money, it's our money. The average 'red' state takes in more in Federal dollars than it contributes, with the opposite being true of the 'blue' states.

States Receiving Most in Federal Spending Per Dollar of Federal Taxes Paid:

1. D.C. ($6.17)
2. North Dakota ($2.03)
3. New Mexico ($1.89)
4. Mississippi ($1.84)
5. Alaska ($1.82)
6. West Virginia ($1.74)
7. Montana ($1.64)
8. Alabama ($1.61)
9. South Dakota ($1.59)
10. Arkansas ($1.53)

States Receiving Least in Federal Spending Per Dollar of Federal Taxes Paid:

1. New Jersey ($0.62)
2. Connecticut ($0.64)
3. New Hampshire ($0.68)
4. Nevada ($0.73)
5. Illinois ($0.77)
6. Minnesota ($0.77)
7. Colorado ($0.79)
8. Massachusetts ($0.79)
9. California ($0.81)
10. New York ($0.81)

Conservatives protest Kinsey

11/11/04 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: General
Conservatives protest Kinsey movie

"Instead of being lionized, Kinsey's proper place is with Nazi Dr. Josef Mengele or your average Hollywood horror flick mad scientist," said Robert Knight, director of Concerned Women of America's Culture & Family Institute.

I remember a long time ago when working at Salad Alley restaurant, we had a manager, MaryJane, who was extremely autocratic and unfriendly. Working with me was a very flamboyant fellow named Walter who especially chafed under this manager's style. He summed it all up one day for me.

I used to think that MaryJane just needed a good lay, but now I'm convinced that all she needs to do is take a good shit.

She's not the only one. What I find especially interesting is how they push the slippery slope argument by talking about the supposed pedophilia of Kinsey.

The question that immediately arises is this: why do they need to explore the fringes of what may or may not have been true about Kinsey? By venturing into the fringe, they're just diminishing their own argument. If what he did was bad, then why invent things about him that are disputed?

Perhaps they're not convinced of their own arguments and therefore need to trump up the charges so they'll stick.


Bush promotes Islamic parties in Pakistan

11/09/04 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: General
From here

One October morning, two years ago, I watched as votes were counted in Pakistan's general elections. The religious parties made significant gains for the first time in my country's history - and the cornerstone of their victory was not religion but anti-Americanism. Earlier this week, staying up all night again to follow an election halfway round the world, I couldn't help wondering how much more support George Bush will drum up for Islamists around the globe in the next four years.

Bush admits Bulge was a bullet proof vest

11/04/04 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: General
The Hill mentions that Bush's bulge was a bullet proof vest.

I'm immediately wondering why the secret service decided that Bush needed one, and that Kerry did not.

So now we're fucked

11/04/04 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: General

Well, in the words of a famous person, "So now we're fucked". There's an awful lot of naval examination going on right now, trying to figure out how such an incompetent person could have been re-elected to office, and just what that means about all of the people who put him back there.

The big buzzword that everybody's bandying about is 'values', which is a code word for faggots, as in "We don't want no faggots gittin' married where we can see or hear them." Even my mother says how she doesn't think it's right, using as justification that the bible says so. It's ok for them to have benefits, but not marriage, she says. But it's the benefits that are being argued. Does anybody care what the license is actually called?

There's no doubt in my mind that this is the result of fear mongering and intentional dehumanization. People who voted this way simply don't realize that they're denying decent people what they'd grant anybody they knew personally.

The same thing happens in war. First dehumanization, then bombing.

So there's a rather large reactionary backlash to this marriage thing which seems to have underscored and possibly even further defined this split.

I was reading a columnist who argued that the split was intentional, and even necessary. Dividing the nation and arguing about inconsequential things was the strategy used to get the incompetent man back into office.

I'm NOT convinced that there's a religious resurgence any more than I'm convinced that there's a huge swing to the right, however. It was just 4 years ago that the same electorate chose Bill Clinton by a landslide, two terms in a row. People don't go from Clinton-loving to Bible thumping in such a short time.

Regardless, now we're fucked. The loonies are at the controls. The Supreme court, war, and the environment hang in the balance.

Dr. Ellwood on quality and managed care in 1996

10/31/04 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: General
Here's an Interview with Dr. Ellwood on the subject.

Until now, the major emphasis has been on cost. Where does quality fit in?

When I first proposed the HMO idea, it was my expectation that the emerging HMO industry would be required to make available to the public evidence that they were producing the best possible health outcomes. This would have been more difficult to accomplish within the conventional practice of fee-for-service medicine because of the short, compartmentalized transactions that take place in that context. It is easier to do in managed-care plans because they have an extended, comprehensive responsibility for their enrollees' function and well-being.

For a variety of reasons, the idea of holding health plans accountable for their impact on people's health has not been implemented. Health care is becoming increasingly like a commodity. Virtually all the competition between health plans is about price.

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