Archive for November, 2010

notes from the bottom of the pile

November 24, 2010

Wow, I thought that things would get worse as the school year went along, but I wasn’t half as pessimistic as I should have been! Right now I’ve managed to get ahead, but only a little bit. One assignment more in my Linux class and then it will be on to the last hurdle: the final! I got the next-to-last one in early (it’s not due until Sunday evening), or I probably wouldn’t be writing this. Sometime in the next day or so, I need to start pounding on that last assignment so I can get it done and (hopefully) find some spare time to study.
My other class is a mixed bag. I seem to be doing well, but it is an online course, and the software will ding you if you have one letter out of place, let alone if you have anything really important wrong! Worse, part of completing some of the exercises is taking a screen shot of the final result page, which I can sometimes forget to do in my desire to get on to other things….like taking tests (of which I need to take two more, and retake one if I can). And that class has a final too, though it is only listed as a “comprehensive, hands-on” final (whatever that’s supposed to mean!). But for the next day, I can concentrate on doing nothing, and that is an assignment I think I will like very much!


Our new government: ain’t money grand?

November 9, 2010

Some time back, I wrote a post about the Supreme Court’s ruling that campaign finance laws that limited things like “undisclosed” contributions to PAC’s and similar “organizations” infringed on the Constitution’s “free speech” clause ( At the time, I predicted that America would see a shift in the way campaigns were funded and run, and, boy, did the last election prove me right!

Almost from the moment the ruling was handed down, money began to move. On top of the list of where it was going was American Crossroads, the “grassroots” conservative organization set up by former Republican Party hatchet man Karl Rove. People in the know spoke in awed terms of how cash flowed into the group (and several “unrelated” groups…..that just happened to share the same office space, lobbyists and even in some cases, leadership), describing it as comparable to the way money flowed into the 1972 Nixon campaign. That this money came in without any reporting as to who it was who’d given it, the analogy was apt. Some contributors have leaked out, among them, Kock Industries, run by twin brothers and long a fountain of money for conservative “think tanks” and “astroturf” lobbying efforts that claimed to be made up of “ordinary citizens”, while mostly being made up of and run by corporate lobbyists.

All that money had it’s impact, as you probably had a chance to see. If you were like me, you spent most of the last month of this election season with the remote in your hand, ready for the next commercial break so you could mute it before the crap began coming out of the TV. Conservatives weren’t alone in buying TV time to run mindless TV “attack ads”, but they were the most prominent and vicious users of them. The results? Republicans won a lot of seats, but that had been expected for some time. What was more important, though, was how the voters reacted to all that negativity. Nearly every poll of people who voted showed a marked disgust with the process, of a feeling that politics has become a game of character assassination, not of discussing how to best govern the nation.

To hear Republican and conservative commentators speak, though, you’d think that the vote is a “clear mandate” to “reform” Washington, to “trim” the size of government (you know, get rid of all those pesky regulators who crimp Corporate America’s ability to screw you and me) and generally indulge in a bit of triumphalism. For those of you out there who thought you voted for a different course, for a different kind of “change”, well, WAKIE TIME!!!! We, the American people, are about to get screwed. Oh, we’ll be told we’re getting a better deal, that the reason we need to give tax breaks to the top 2% of the American population is so they’ll “create” jobs. My personal bet is that jobs are going to stay pretty thin on the ground, for quite some time to come. Oh, that too will be charged off to the actions of those “socialist Democrats”, but like most of the rhetoric that flowed out of the recent campaign, that too will be bullshit. Meanwhile, if we’re lucky, nothing will be done for (or, more to the point, TO) us by the now Republican majority in the House. If we’re not, we’ll see a lot of good things get “rolled back” on the grounds that, even though it helps the general public, it “over-reaches” what government “should” do.

So here’s the the “New America”, land of the wealthy, where the poor can bet life will get a whole lot worse for them, and where they’ll be blamed for their own misfortune while they’re at it. A land where the government can and will be bought and sold by the highest corporate donor. Ain’t it grand to have a Supreme Court that doesn’t believe in “activists” rulings????