Friday, July 29, 2011

A Short Hiatus

Joe's been ill this week and is taking a short hiatus ... will be back soon. Meanwhile, I'm watching the fiasco in Washington with some interest, even though I strongly suspect how it will turn out. I hope I'm pleasantly surprised.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Texas Two-Step: How Many Republicans Does It Take To Screw Up A Light Bulb?

By Manifesto Joe

As budget-deficit and debt-limit talks between the president and the Congress are stalemated, and the future of little things like Social Security and Medicare may be hanging in the balance, isn't it comforting to know that lawmakers like Joe Barton of Arlington, Texas, are in there fighting for the rights of Americans to buy cheap-ass light bulbs?

Barton, a veteran Republican House member, already had the dubious distinction of being the member of Congress who most strikingly resembles a victim of Down's syndrome. His "valiant" battle for the cheap incandescent light bulb didn't do much for his image. Here's what The Christian Science Monitor had on this issue Tuesday.

But wait -- the issue isn't burned out yet. After Barton failed to get a supermajority for his bill in the House, Michael Burgess came to the rescue. reported that:

Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) on Wednesday filed an amendment to the Energy and Water spending bill that would prohibit the Energy Department from requiring traditional incandescent light bulbs to be 30 percent more energy efficient.

Here's a link to the entire article.

Seems that presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, Retarded-Minn., has climbed aboard this issue as well. It's supposed to be unbelievable government intrusion into people's lives. How dare the government try to tell people that they shouldn't waste electricity!

Step Two: Texas State Board of Education needs more conservative Christians?

That's according to Barbara Cargill, a Republican from The Woodlands (Houston area), the new chairperson of the state board. Cargill has drawn criticism for a speech she made to a friendly audience, saying:

"Right now there are six true conservative Christians on the board, so we have to fight for two votes. In previous years, we had to fight for one vote to get a majority."

Here's a link to the entire article.

This affronted some other members of the 15-member board, who consider themselves Christians but don't seem to want to force "intelligent design" materials into public school biology classes. Ms. Cargill doesn't consider them, even the Republicans among them, to be reliable votes.

Since we're on the subject of "intelligent design," don't look to the Texas Legislature or any other entities of this state's government for evidence of that. Thanks to public policies toward education, schoolchildren will begin this school year in August without new textbooks. Yep, that's right. Here's a link to a story on the subject.

But hell, who needs them thar books? It's the humanity in the classroom that matters, right?

(That was often what seemed like the very problem to me.)

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Hoping Murdoch Shuts Down More Of His Sleazy, Journalism-Sullying 'Outlets'

By Manifesto Joe

"Weirdo tries to seize girls"

"Woman attacked by frozen turkey"

While I was in college in the mid-1970s, the San Antonio News, one of the last of the old p.m. newspapers, was among those on the stands. Above are examples of the headlines one would see on Page One. Inside, there were pictures of bloody wrecks, crime scenes, etc. (The "turkey" headline, run around Thanksgiving, topped a story about a woman who had a frozen turkey slip off a supermarket counter and break bones in her foot.)

The News was one of Rupert Murdoch's early newspaper ventures in the U.S., his journalism-debasing empire having already engulfed his native Australia. Who would have guessed, way back then, that Murdoch would eventually dominate U.S. "news" media with huge outlets such as Fox "News" and The Wall Street Journal?

The Murdoch approach to "journalism" -- sensationalism, wide-open reactionary political bias -- has proved very profitable, and has become so pervasive and popular that a whole generation of Americans may not even remember what real, principled journalism was like.

Now, in Britain, it's been said that we may just be seeing the tip of the iceberg. No sooner had Murdoch shut down News of the World in London that a couple more of Murdoch's British newspapers have been implicated in the spreading telephone-hacking scandal.

I, for one, hope this spreads so far that Murdoch's grimy "news" empire in other countries is affected as well. His philosophy goes far beyond "yellow journalism" -- one friend of mine described it as "purple journalism."

Cultural decadence from an army of one

Arguably, no one person has done more to contribute to the West's current cultural decadence than Rupert Murdoch.

He has taken many once-respectable newspapers and, under his ownership, transformed them into lurid right-wing tabloids. In Fox "News," he has created a popular cable TV news network that resembles a far-right version of the old Soviet newspaper Izvestia. To anyone who understands what real journalism is, this is propaganda, not news. As for The Wall Street Journal, I never took it very seriously, anyway. But under Murdoch's ownership, the bias will be much more open and will spread to Page One, if it hasn't already.

Now we may be seeing that the Murdoch approach to "journalism" may far exceed what we already knew about it. Not only is the content foul -- the methods may be toxic as well, and may be standard throughout this man's septic global empire.

To read the latest on the Murdoch telephone-hacking scandal, go to

Here's hoping that much more of this guttersnipe's enterprises will be forced to close as well. I just feel sorry for the various reporters and line editors who will lose their jobs -- but they should have known that they were working for pond scum, anyway.

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.

Monday, July 4, 2011

On July 4, Thoughts About How Fatcats Ripped Us Off Again In The Great Recession

By Manifesto Joe

Leave it to the likes of me to rain on your parade. Today is Babe Ruth Diet day (hot dogs and beer), which is fine with me, but I thought you might want to know why they both cost more than they did four years ago.

Any big change in the economy brings winners and losers, and it's been a long time since working- and middle-class Americans could count themselves among the former. Although The Great Recession was supposed to have ended two years ago (economists say), unemployment lingers at 9.1%, and shareholders and CEOs are raking in more moola than ever.

Surprised? You shouldn't be -- that's the way these folks have been gaming the system for most of our country's 235-year history. What's frustrating for many of us watching this is that history has shown that We the People can stop this, but sadly, "We" usually don't.

Here's a link to a story that goes into detail about the latest ripoff.

The problem is the people who took $700 billion in bailouts because they were too big to fail, then turned around and eliminated jobs upon jobs to make their bottom lines look better.

I offer some passages from the story:

"The spoils have really gone to capital, to the shareholders," said David Rosenberg, chief economist at Gluskin Sheff + Associates in Toronto.

Corporate profits are up by almost 50 percent since the recession ended in June 2009. In the first two years after the recessions of 1991 and 2001, profits rose 11 percent and 28 percent, respectively.

But wait, there's more:

The jobs that are being created pay less than the ones that vanished in the recession. Higher-paying jobs in the private sector, the ones that pay roughly $19 to $31 an hour, made up 40 percent of the jobs lost from January 2008 to February 2010 but only 27 percent of the jobs created since then.

We seem to have a generation of people -- ironically, many of them baby boomers -- who have not only forgotten how to fight the fatcats, they don't even know which political party is at least marginally more on their side. Granted, the Democrats' performance over the past 35 years has been generally lame. But by either not voting or voting for Republicans, Americans have put government largely in the hands of people who want to end Medicare as we know it and have even proposed privatizing Social Security.

And even as the outsourcing has continued, and money has poured into Swiss bank accounts and shelters in the Cayman Islands, they would have you believe that any tax increase on them is going to be a job-killer. So you ultimately pay more tax, and you get laid off anyway.

I suppose none of this should be surprising nowadays. We live in a time in which two politicians being seriously considered for the presidency are so ignorant, one thinks Paul Revere was warning the British, and the other insists that John Quincy Adams was one of the Founding Fathers.

The times cry out for citizens with enough guts to fight the powers that be, at least through voting and organizing, if nothing else. You know -- sort of like they did on July 4, 1776. Unfortunately, I see little of that spirit on the horizon, other than Tea Partiers who are foolish enough to compare themselves with the likes of Jefferson.

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.