Sunday, December 28, 2008

War Profiteers Vs. Corporate Thieves

One of the most common fears spread around the "internets" is the desire of certain wingnuts for a third world war. One of the primary spreaders is the poster child for fried brain syndrome, Newt Gingrich, who really wants to believe we are already there so we can start nuking Arabs for fun and profit. "Newt's thinking is that five years of false promises, failures, ineptitudes, errors and omissions, is hard to swallow as a mere War on Terror, but that as World War III it would all be just dandy." read more

Of course, the possibility exists that rather than promoting war from the recesses of his demented and rapidly rotting brain cells as some ideological hallucination, he is actually a member of the future feeding frenzy party lined up at the trough and stands to profit from any and all wars. In this, he would be in some familiar company, starting with Bush's grandpa whose thievery and greed inspired Dubya the Dumber to follow in his blood-stained footsteps:


"George Bush's grandfather, the late US senator Prescott Bush, was a director and shareholder of companies that profited from their involvement with the financial backers of Nazi Germany." read more

Making money from death is not limited to just the horse thieves in the Bush crime family:

"The three major arms manufacturers in the world – the U.S., Russia and France – provide almost 80 per cent of the sales for armaments. By itself, the U.S. sold over half of all weapons in the world marketplace: 18.6 billion dollars. Its sales increased 30 per cent between 1999 and 2000.

Among the principal clients for the armaments furnished by the great powers are the monarchies of the Middle East, like Jordan and Saudi Arabia. While continuing to improve their up-to-date airforces, they
also purchase armored cars to keep internal order. The United Arab Emirates expense for arms in 2000 was 8.4 billion dollars. Other clients for weapons are the African dictatorships like Algeria, which spent 580 million dollars, Angola, (253 million dollars), and the Democratic Republic of Congo, which spent 108 million dollars. All three countries have been ravaged by terrible civil wars which have oppressed and massacred their populations for years. Nothing stops the arms industry – merchants of death – from going after profit." read more

The greed of these war criminals/profiteers is almost endless, but it is matched by their most passionate and vindictive enemy--the corporate whores who already have dibs on any profits  made on the backs of American workers. They've spent a lot of time and money making sure their profits aren't messed with by ideologues like Newt or their other worst enemy--labor unions and workers who struggle to make a decent wage.


"Just after the end of World War II, when the Jeep first became a civilian vehicle, 35 percent of workers belonged to labor unions. That’s significant because union members earn 30 percent higher wages
than non-union workers and are 59 percent more likely to have health insurance. Those better wages and benefits helped create the great middle class in America. Workers earned enough money to buy
refrigerators and homes and cars and, later, college educations for their children. The money they earned and spent churned through the economy and kept it humming." read more

But that wasn't enough profit for the corporate pigs. They realized there was money to be made by keeping wages low and forcing Americans into the endless cycle of debt they needed just to stay alive. After all, a refrigerator can be paid off and then you have to find someone else to sell another refrigerator to. A credit card can return interest investment forever. A refrigerator bought on credit will continue to add money to corporate coffers year after year, even after the refrigerator itself no longer works and is languishing in some landfill for the next generation to deal with.

"The origin of our current culture of debt goes back to around 1973. That's when America's long run of unprecedented economic growth (which began shortly after World War II) hit a wall. OPEC raised
oil prices, and European and Asian nations became industrial competitors. This was the beginning of the decline of the U.S. manufacturing economy and the end of wage growth for the American worker. Thirty-five years later, the U.S. median wage per worker still hovers around the 1973 level. For male workers, most affected by deindustrialization, wages have actually declined slightly since 1973" read more


But in order for the corporations to continue gouging the average consumer by selling them 300 dollar refrigerators that will end up costing them 3000 dollars in a couple years of paying interest on the unpaid balance, they need the cooperation of the government to throw more money their way and refuse to help the consumer in any way that would threaten those corporate profits.

"The principle of government helping big business and refusing government largesse to the poor was bipartisan, upheld by Republicans and Democrats. President Grover Cleveland, a Democrat, vetoed a bill to give $10,000 to Texas farmers to help them buy seed grain during a drought, saying, "Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character." But that same year, he used the gold surplus to pay wealthy bondholders $28 above the value of each bond--a gift of $5 million. " read more


It also requires taking over all the safeguards put in place to help the consumer or small business person compete in the marketplace.

"..since 2003, 15 federal investigations have found that Fortune 500 firms are the actual recipients of most federal small business contracts. It has been estimated that large businesses receive over $100 billion a year in federal small business contracts. ABC, CBS and CNN have all aired investigative reports which have found firms like: Rolls Royce, Wal-Mart, Microsoft, Raytheon, IBM, Xerox, Dell, John Deere, General Dynamics, GTSI, Home Depot, Titan Industries, Hewlett Packard, Battelle and British Aerospace Engineering (BAE) have all received millions of dollars in federal small business contracts." read more

In light of this, warmongering morons like Newt Gingrich are powerless to get their war on as they would have to convince the corporate whores that ideology is more important than money and that's not going to happen. There's only one thing that corporations fear and that is the loss of their money flow. They know if a world war broke out and suddenly bombs were dropping on American cities, they'd wake up to a financial catastrophe not even their paid servants in Congress could bail them out from. Think of how you bank, how you pay your bills, how you buy and use services. If cable companies like Comcast can't even keep their service up in a storm, can you imagine what would happen if just a few of their access points were bombed to shit? No one could do banking, no one could pay their bills, automatic payments and deposits would stop.

Their worst fear, and one that is becoming more possible with each bailout that rewards corporate greed and incompetence and refuses to help people who are losing their homes, jobs, savings, and retirement plans, is that people will stop paying their debts. There's no debtor's prison in this country. And when you have nothing left to lose and your credit is already shot, what's to stop an ever growing desperate population from simply walking away from their credit card and other bills the same way they're walking away from mortgages and car loans?

"So until real relief is forthcoming, citizens who are in distress should simply destroy their credit cards and stop paying the monthly bills. People are already doing this. Arrearages and defaults are climbing, and credit card debt is starting to be viewed as the next bubble to burst. But so what? If people have to use a credit card, that means they can’t really afford to buy whatever it is they think they want. If they can afford it, they should use a debit card instead." read more

What is now a trickle of people giving up on their debts would be a tidal wave if war broke out in this country, and because the arms merchants depend on corporate whores to bankroll their deadly toy purchases, they're not going to create a war that will effectively kill their golden goose. The only way a third world war would happen is if everyone lost everything, even the corporations. And even then, without the necessary funding for crime families like the Bushes to profit from it, any war would more likely be a revolution where mobs took to the streets and burned down banks and collection agencies. Any talk you hear of a stimulus package for the ordinary American is to prevent this from happening and not to save anyone from living under a bridge and sleeping in the box that once housed their refrigerators and flat screen televisions.


A funny rat with a sad expression says "After eight years of Bush all I
have left is hope." Great to wear for the inauguration and to celebrate
the election of Barack Obama as President. You can purchase it or other items with this design by clicking on the design or visiting Ursine Logic stores President Obama shop.






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Thursday, December 18, 2008

T-Mobile Does the Right Thing

For those of you who read the previous post about T-Mobile raising my rates on the Guam call, this is to let you know they did the right thing and dropped those charges. However, and let me say I can't stress this enough, for a communications company, they sure need to find a way to resolve issues before they get to the stage this one did.

The problem began with me calling when I received the bill and getting told I had no options for a resolution unless I let my bill go into default. I did not consider this a realistic option and after my second call with no one being able to do or say anything consistent, I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. The problem then increased when T-Mobile responded to the complaint by claiming they had tried to contact me several times by phone and were unable to.

Keep in mind this is a PHONE company who did not leave a voice mail or a text message or even try and call again. I'm not sure WHAT number they were calling "repeatedly" but it wasn't either of mine. I did check on my phone after reading their response and there was a call listed as "customer service" with a phone number from the day after I filed the complaint, but it never registered as a "missed call." Unless I checked I had no way of knowing it was there as they called in the morning while I was asleep.

I called it and was immediately in "no one knows anything hell." I gave up and waited for them to call me back, which they never did. What I suspect happened is that the person calling did not get the message that several months ago we changed the primary phone number to a new one they assigned us because it was getting tons of telemarketer calls and text messages. It's a reasonable assumption that my account would have this noted, or they could simply have called the number the charges were billed to. That doesn't seem like an unreasonable assumption on my part, does it? If you can't get hold of someone, CHECK THE PHONE NUMBER AND MAKE SURE IT'S CORRECT!!!!

Or the other option is "someone" wasn't being completely honest when they claimed they called and tried to work things out with me. Maybe they took off work early and just kind of shoved it aside because who am I but an ordinary powerless consumer against a huge corporate entity that would just ignore my squeaking?

Those who have read my blog over the years know that I am not one to sit back and take stuff like that. I may be shy and have a hard time with in person or on the phone contacts, but I have become very familiar with my consumer rights over the years. I've fought back every time, whether it was getting hit with shipping charges I was promised would be free, a cable company that doesn't know its ass from a hole in the ground half the time, and late fees for payments that weren't late. I've won every one of those battles and others. And every month the cable company screws me around, I demand and get a credit on my bill. It's not a lot but it's the principle of the matter: if they don't provide the service I'm paying for, they need to have my bill reflect that.

As a consumer I've noticed in the last few years that more and more  corporations do the nickle and dime gouging that multiplied by thousands does increase their bottom line, but what it does to their reputation and consumer loyalty costs them far more. They've forgotten the most important part of being in business: without customers you're just selling to your relatives and those who owe you favors. If you treat the customer well, you'll have a loyal and happy customer who will talk up your company and build your success. Without it you have unhappy and pissed off customers who will trash you in ways that weren't even possible a few years ago.

Or they won't use your services anymore. I'm sure that Circuit City misses my holiday shopping this year but sadly they thought cheating me out of a ten dollar rebate last year was more important than keeping me as a customer. Anyone check how many of their stores are closing this year because of policies like that? That was a fairly expensive ten dollars and if you multiply it by thousands, then yeah they made some money off not paying those rebates and having someone in India blow off those who tried to collect. But those same thousands could have easily been surpassed by treating the customer decently and selling them new HD TVs to go with the change to digital coming up in February. They chose the ten dollars, which is why their company is in the toilet these days.

But the important message is number one, fight back. They count on you caving in to their nickle and diming, their mistakes, their incompetent outsourced customer support frustration. Refuse to do business at all with companies who don't treat you as a respected and valued customer.

And the important thing is get and communicate everything in writing. In this digital age it is easy to just dash off something and leave it to hang in the ether. Make hard copies of everything. If you communicate by phone, keep a record of person talked to, time you called, and a summary of the conversation. Don't assume a communcations company is going to have communication skills.

And if you still can't get a resolution to your complaint, do file a formal complaint with the Better Business Bureau. They do an amazing job of communication go-between and it does get the company's attention when they receive notice of a complaint filed. For serious rip-offs and outright frauds, there's the Attorney General's websites of your respective states. There's a lot of information on their websites and the one time I had to file a formal complaint, they helped me resolve it.

I don't recommend the consumer fraud people on local news stations, etc. Most of them I suspect take cases that don't conflict with paid advertisers, or they take on cases with lots of cute kids and handsome men and attractive women. If you're ordinary with an ordinary problem, don't waste your phone call or email on "celebrity" consumer advocates. They won't even answer most of the time.

And a resource many of you might not consider is your local congressional representative, especially if you're trying to interface a bureaucracy at the local or federal level. My local rep helped me get a passport after some federal weenie took a dislike to me and did everything in her power to make me miss my plane to a long planned vacation to Australia. Her last words to me were that as long as it was up to her, she'd make sure none of the expedited fees I was charged to send more paperwork after I was already officially denied would ever be refunded. I received a nice fat check several months later so I assume it was no longer up to her. :-)

Stay active, fight back, and stay loyal to sompanies who treat you well and dump the ones that don't. Together we can reclaim some of the rights and respect taken away from us these last few years. All new beginnings start with a healthy dose of activism directed at the right targets.




Shirt available at Ursine Logic


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Monday, December 15, 2008

Brother, Can You Spare A Shoe?






Bush picks up a nice pair of shoes as a souvenir of his trip to Iraq. He's probably starting a collection for his presidential library as the comic books and treadmill look kind of boring in there all by themselves. Let's give him a real nice send off and mail him a shoe for his collection.


George W Bush Farewell Shoe Drive
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20500





All designs available at Ursine Logic





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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Pic Of The Day


From a friend in Athens. :-)
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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Got Big Old Atheist Balls?

One of the things that separates rational people from outright raging lunatics is politeness. You never ever see a group of militant Atheists blocking traffic with the equivalent of mason jar fetuses shoved in people's faces. You never ever hear Atheists demanding that everyone believe as they do or a group of their specially selected chosen ones will kill you. You never ever read Atheists filling up the letters to the editor, congressional reps mailboxes, and media head offices with demands that all programming, all reporting, all legislation be written to favor just their own select group. Atheists are just too reasonable to stomp all over everyone else's rights.

I'm not advocating violence or mean acts or hard core activism. I'm merely suggesting if Atheists want to enjoy the same rights to live in this country as the religidiots, then we can't just sit back and simmer in our reasonableness. Therefore I'm offering a selection of t-shirts that will at least let Atheists some big old in your face balls. There's nothing violent about a t-shirt, but they are an excellent way to spread the message about a cause that requires a lot of words to explain. And of course, all the following are available on buttons, stickers, and other items as well at Wild World Shirts Anti-Religion Shop if you can't afford a t-shirt. Or just click on the design to take you to the shop where it is offered.

First, the tame offerings for those of you who prefer to keep a low profile and avoid the threat of serious beatings from the "tolerant" folks down at the local church farm.



A noose forms the backdrop for the words on this shirt "Religion is a leash in the hands of the powerful." Perfect gift for Atheists, Freethinkers, and anyone tired of religious extremists.



Here's a great t-shirt to piss off the religious right and their cannibalistic vampire cult: "You've given your love to Jesus and I've rented mine to Cthulhu." At least Cthulhu is an honest monster.




Now, let's step it up a bit with these next two selections:



Next time you're forced to deal with a bible-thumping religious nut, wear this shirt, button, sticker that says: "The Bible was written by the same people who said the earth was flat."



When an organization gets rich from the bottom of the pyramid supporting it through donations and converting others to give money to it as well, it's called a Ponzi or Pyramid scheme...or religion.




Now, let's match some of these loony xtian tax avoiding whackos with some more out there designs:



You don't need anyone doing your thinking for you. You're a freethinking non-believer of anything you can't personally see and touch. Your shirt says: "Jesus saves you from thinking for yourself."



There's one sure way to stop idiots from killing each other and us over whose imaginary playmate should rule the world: Atheism. As the shirt says: "Atheism, the cure for Religious Violence."




And finally, here's a couple that will take some very large Atheist balls to wear in public where you can get beat to death with some Jesus Is Love worshipper's cross:



In nice letters dripping blood are the words "I gave my love to Jesus and now he never calls." Great gift for your favorite Atheist, or buy it for yourself and wear it to scare fundamentalist whackos.



A bewildered pink easter bunny hangs on a cross with colored eggs below it and the words "The Easter Bunny died for your sins." Funny gift for Atheist, Freethinker or get a t-shirt for yourself.




And of course, no Atheist posting would be complete without my own personal favorites:



A bright yellow smiley outlined in blue with blue letters says: "Smile! You just met an ATHEIST." Great shirt or button to wear to let people know Atheists are all around them.



Tired of having religious crap flung at you from the bible-thumping kool aid drinkers? Back them off with these words: "Thou shalt not inflict your religious crap upon others."




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Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Stewart-Huckabee Smackdown Video





When you get done watching this lovely smackdown of a bigoted moron, do send him a thank you for having the courage to speak up. The link to thank him is here
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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Different Kinds Of Dirty


So, let's see if I have this right...there's a new contender for Moron of The Universe and his name is Blagojevich and he's the Governor of Illinois. Let's go over why he deserves the title:

1. Saw Obama's vacated senate seat as a "commodity" to auction off to the highest bidder.

 Historical references that made him believe this was a possibility:

a. "Chicago is unique," lamented Professor Charles Merriam, an early loser in the battle for political reform in Chicago, "it is the only completely corrupt city in America!" read more

(note: I grew up in Las Vegas during the 60's and 70's. I'd have to list it as a contender at the very least)

b. Bribe Payers Index: The BPI is a ranking of 22 of the world’s wealthiest and most economically influential countries according to the likelihood of their firms to bribe abroad. read more

2. Wanted to appoint himself to that seat if the offers weren't to his liking.

Historical references that made him believe this was a possibility:



3. Thought he'd use it as a springboard to the Presidency because he'd twisted enough arms and did his best Tony Soprano imitation and darn it, he wanted it:

Historical references that made him believe this was a possibility:










Design available from Wild World Shirts and Gifts


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Cafepress Ceramic Travel Mugs Back In stock

For those of you who have been waiting, the ceramic travel mugs are back in stock at Cafepress. I have one of them and they are really nice. They make excellent Christmas presents. Here's one I made to celebrate the upcoming inauguration of Barack Obama on January 20, 2009:



Click on image to purchase or visit Ursine Logic




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Monday, December 08, 2008

Chicago Worker Protest

For those who have been following this story, it's really important to keep in front of the public the fact that Bank of America was bailed out with our tax dollars and instead of helping save our tanking economy, they chose to make it worse by cutting off the credit to the this company.

"CHICAGO — Gov. Rod Blagojevich ordered all state agencies Monday to
stop doing business with Bank of America to try to pressure the bank
into helping laid-off workers staging a sit-in at their shuttered
factory.

The governor wants the North Carolina-based bank to use some of its
federal bailout money to resolve the protest by about 200 workers at
Republic Windows and Doors....

Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois said from the shuttered plant that he
would talk to fellow senators about reminding banks that taxpayer
dollars are not for dividends or executive salaries.



'We have been sending billions of dollars to banks like Bank of
America and the reason we have sent them the money is to tell them that
they had to loan this money out to companies just like Republic so that
we can keep these companies in business and not lose these jobs here in
the United States,' he said." Read More

And if you want to help the workers, here's a list of links from a community organizer that covers everything from sending them donations to emailing BOA and demanding they do the right thing. Read More

In the meantime, doesn't it feel fantastic to have a President (elect) who isn't kissing the corporate ass for a change and is actually on the side of the workers? This is what it truly means to have a government by the people instead of bought and paid for by the corporations. It is a welcome change to the cruel policies that began with Reagan busting the air traffic controller's union and bodes really well for the future.

But in the meantime we can't let our tax dollars continue to be paid to companies like BOA who just pocket it and tell us fuck you very much fools. Write and call your representatives now and demand they put the same kind of conditions on this bailout money that a company like BOA would put on us if they were giving us money...high interest rates, a repayment schedule, and a written account of how and what they are spending the money on. Not a dime more until they comply.


Get an 8 pack of these postcards and send a message to your congress critters demanding accountability of our tax dollars being used to bail out these corporate thugs. More political designs available at Ursine Logic stores.








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Sunday, December 07, 2008

Short term memory and a hungry world

I have a hard time around holidays. Most of my memories of holidays as a kid were not fun things and are best forgotten. I've learned to create my own celebrations around things that matter to me, things that touch more of me than family/community obligations that give nothing back. So every year I do something with the limited resources I have. This year I have hardly any money left over for anything. I've always lived on the edge but this time I'm hanging on with my fingernails.

But the important thing is that I'm hanging on and I have that damn optimist gene that keeps me looking at life as a series of small steps forward. I've always figured that if I wasn't flat out cold on my back, then I was moving forward. That's always been good enough for me.

So this year instead of shirts, I gave buttons and magnets as donations for my favorite fundraising auctions. Last year was dog and cat shelters. This year it's Darfur. I donated some magnets for a fundraiser to some friends in California. They held a dance and auctioned off the magnets and then wrote a nice check for the group they support. It's a great way to give a little and have it turn into a lot. Here's the magnet I made for them:



It's available on a lot of things at My Holiday Store


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Friday, December 05, 2008

Time to put the religious crazies back in their boxes

The religious crazies, having lost the election, have stepped up their hateful efforts to turn this country into an English language version combination of Iran, the Taliban, the Inquisition, and the mother of all door knocking campaigns: the Crusades. And before I get mail telling me I give these loonies too much credit for being able to organize and think their way out of an outhouse, keep in mind I see them, as their puppetmasters see them, as simple tools to be manipulated for control and rampant unchecked war profiteering and financial looting.



It wasn't the crazies who put out conflicting is Obama a Muslim or is he an America hating Christian courtesy of the Reverend Wright? It was their masters, the Fox (fake) News, the Murdochs, the Kristols, and other neocon war profiteers who pulled their strings. read more. And as an aside, as crazy as that preacher sounded, he seems tame in comparison to someone like Falwell or Dobson or others who tried to blame lesbians and liberals for 9/11.



Christian crazies like to think of themselves as an army, and in this sense they are correct. But they are dead wrong in thinking they are an army with orders from god. Their true marching orders come from the neo-cons, the Halliburtons, the corrupt senators and house members who pander to anyone and anything to keep feeding at the trough. They are controlled, directed, and led like obedient sheep to the polls to vote away the rights of Homosexuals, Women, and non-Christians.



They are emotionally brainwashed to sign up for wars that are nothing more than land and oil grabs under the guise of Crusade II, the shameful 21st century sequel. And they are so blinded, so ignorant, so brainwashed that they can't see the hypocrisy of demonizing an entire race of people (Arabs) as religious extremists (Muslim) because their extremism (Islam) is not their own extremism ( Fundamentalist Christianity.) No one tells these poor fools that the very word "fundamentalism" is what makes them no different than the fundies who flew their planes into the twin towers.



But just in case you manage to find someone who both calls him or herself Christian and is actually willing to engage in a civilized dialogue based on the understanding that religion and faith is a personal preference and not a law, here's some excellent sources to begin the conversation:


Is God in the Constitution?

"It has often been seen on the Internet that to find God in the Constitution, all one has to do is read it, and see how often the Framers used the words "God," or "Creator," "Jesus," or "Lord." Except for one notable instance, however, none of these words ever appears in the Constitution, neither the original nor in any of the Amendments. The notable exception is found in the
Signatory section, where the date is written thusly: "Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven". The use of the word "Lord" here is not a religious reference, however. This was a common way of expressing the date, in both religious and secular contexts. This lack of any these words does not mean that the Framers were not spiritual people, any more than the use of the word Lord means that they were. What this lack of these words is expositive of is not a love for or disdain for religion, but the feeling that the new government should not involve itself in matters of religion. In fact, the original Constitution bars any religious test to hold any federal office in the United States." read more




The People, not the Government are America

"The American Constitution begins with the phrase "We the People," and its significance cannot be overlooked. This establishes that sovereign power rests with the people and that all government power and authority derives from the consent of the people. It's a repudiation of older European ideas that governments are established by God and derive their power or authority from God (for example, the divine right of kings). It's also thus a repudiation of the Christian Right's arguments today." read more




In doing some reading on the conflict between Atheists and Christians, I found this great collection of articles and news bites from a group called Atheists of Silicon Valley. Here's some of what caught my immediate attention:



"A British atheist group has a bus ad campaign:


“There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”


The American Humanist Association also has bus ad campaign:

“Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness' sake.”


The Atheist Foundation of Australia tried to do a bus ad campaign: “Sleep in on Sunday mornings.”


Who wants a similar campaign here? Email Mark.


You can contact me (MarkxThomas) at m_w_thomas @ hotmail.com (Remove the spaces around the '@' character.)

Be sure to put Atheism in the subject line so that the spam filter and I will know that it's not spam. I won't open any attachments.

Thanks,
Mark"



I plan on sending Mark an email, and since I live in Washington state where the very wise Governor has chosen to honor our rights to worship or not worship in equal manner and has therefore allowed both a manger and a plaque promoting Atheism in a government building for the holidays, and in so doing has incurred the wrath of that mouth-foaming nutcase Bill O'Reilly, I encourage you all to protect our rights by speaking up for freedoms the God Party are trying to steal from us one tantrum at a time. Get involved in repealing Proposition 8, requesting that your own beliefs or lack of them be represented at any publicly funded place that allows Christian holiday displays, and not letting your own voice be silenced because the religious extremists think the loudest and most obnoxious side wins.




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Optimism: I haz it

In the last year I learned something very valuable about myself. I have the optimism gene. Now before you start shaking your vitual heads, hear me out first. I may be odd, more than a little bit crazy, idealistic as all hell, and one of those incurable romantics who believes love really can heal the world, but I do know something about real world survival.

I've written about my background before and in so many ways it is not any different than anyone else who came from a place where wars were so much part of their history that you couldn't dig a garden without striking the remains of foolish pissing contests going back centuries.

I'm talking about the people who were stuck in the middle of those contests, my ancestors, my grandparents, my parents, my entire family in one way or another. We can talk about the legacy of war, the lessons of hate that turn future generations into die-hard pacifists, the scars that take generations to heal. Those are all valid and all part of my psyche.

But I'm talking survival here. I'm talking about people who should have died but managed to stay alive. My family history is filled with escapes from death that ranged from actually physically climbing out of a death camp to stories of hiding in basements, back rooms, abandoned buildings, ruins and every imaginable object that could be used to shield oneself from bombs, bricks, rocks and bullets.

It is also equally filled with stories of those who didn't manage to survive, who suffered horribly and never healed from the horrors, who left their humanity somewhere between the world wars and waking up with the wrong name and/or ethnic identity time and time again.

Those are the genes of despair in me, the little voice that whispers I am not strong enough, I am not talented enough, I am not loved enough, I am not liked enough, I am not enough of a whole long list of things I can recite like a liturgy at will--usually on a December night in the Pacific Northwest where conversations take place around the foolishness of calling the dim, gray, diffused rainy mist, daylight, when tabulating how many hours of light managed to break through the day.

But those voices are often quickly drowned out by that optimism gene, that same one that kept my family alive through generations when they should have died. I'm convinced now that I've had enough time to measure my own path through life, that they survived because they never let themselves believe they would not. This didn't work all the time. My history is also filled with stories of blissful, grinning optimists going to their death believing a last minute reprieve was on the horizon.

But enough of them survived to pass on to me the belief that as  bad as things get sometimes, they will always get better. It kept them alive and it keeps me alive. Even in December.



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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Flies On The Wall #52


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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Why you should avoid T-Mobile

Here's a holiday horror story for you courtesy of T-Mobile. Once every couple months I call friends in Guam. I don't have a landline and my cell phone has been billed 69 cents a minute for these calls for at least two, if not three years now without a change. When I opened my bill this month I found I was suddenly with no notice, charged 3.99 a minute for the same call! That sent my monthly bill from about 80 dollars to over 400 with no notice from T-Mobile of any change to my account other than receiving this shocking bill in the mail.

I immediately called yesterday but had to call back today because the person who answered the phone said their network was down and she couldn't look up my account. Hello? Your network is down? How are people calling, with tin cans and a string? Okay. So I call back today and talked to a very nice person who told me I was out of luck because T-Mobile has a preferred customer deal going with Guam and it was Guam who suddenly and without notice raised their rates and I was stuck paying this and there was nothing T-Mobile would or could do about it and he claimed they have a right to do this and it says so in the contract, blah blah blah. I sure would like to see this contract as I ordered my phones and service by calling them when I opened my account. I signed nothing and received nothing.

Since we live on a very limited income they leave me no choice but to let my bill get past due and then call their finance department, at least that was the not so helpful suggestion. I have no idea what kind of resolution they will offer but I suspect it will be something like payments. That is not acceptable to me. I feel this is something that T-Mobile is responsible for. If one of my clients suddenly raises their prices on me, I let my customers know so they have a choice to buy or not buy. I don't raise their rates after they've already purchased from me.

So I will be exploring options other than T-Mobile and letting people know about this so you can choose your cell phone service more wisely than I did. I've been a good customer, have never been late with a payment for several years. But this is not right. It is corporate greed at its most disgusting and I no longer want to support it. I'll let you know how it turns out but I don't have high hopes as this is me, one person, dealing with a heartless corporate entity that doesn't give a shit about its customers. I realize they're pretty much all the same but my policy is buy from them until they do something like this, then give some other heartless corporate entity a chance to screw me over. It's the American way.


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Monday, November 17, 2008

Overturn Proposition 8



Bumpersticker from Ursine Logic's Gay Right's store. click on image to purchase.

Let me put this in terms that just about any moron can understand: proposition 8 was not about gay marriage; it was about voting to take away one group's civil rights. It wasn't even about marriage. All legal marriages are civil marriages. If you get married in a church without that official STATE license you have to fill out, sign, pay your fee and send back to the STATE, then you are not legally married.

Proposition 8 was a church-funded assault on the civil liberties of one select group of citizens and their right to engage in a civil ceremony. It was bigotry and hatred on a scale that brings shame on these churches for even invoking the name of Jesus.

Where in those damn holy books does it say one group of human beings should be denied a civil ceremony because of someone else's religious beliefs? And why are churches who politicize the pulpit allowed to keep their tax-exempt status? When they take funds from their donors/congregations for influence peddling and election tampering then they are officially PAC's and need to register as such. And they need to pay taxes on the money they raised for political actions because it sure as hell isn't going to help the poor and hungry.

And let me put this another way that just about any moron can understand. My grandmother's sister was a Lesbian. She was born in the late 1800's and lived with her partner in Italy for their entire adult lives. They were two women who shared a home for decades. And not even their own families knew they were a couple, knew they were part of an enduring life-long relationship they had to live in secret.

And when my grandmother's sister died the secret some had suspected was revealed in the lone photograph of her lover, the woman she shared her entire life with. We don't know her name. We don't know how and when she died. We don't know if at that time and place, close friends were allowed to be with each other when the other died. We don't know if it was as it is in so many hospitals here that only one's "legal" family can be with the dying patient, no matter how many years they shared, how much they loved one another, how lonely they must die without the presence of the other.

How can a church justify this kind of sorrow, this kind of heartache and loneliness? How can its congregation think such pain, such despair is approved by their precious Jesus? Will someone please explain to me how hate came to mean love and how tolerance came to mean interfering in someone else's right to the same rights as every one else? And if you can, then maybe I will understand why so many thought it was acceptable to hurt so many in the name of their god. If they think that's okay, then maybe they need a new god.


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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

America's Hidden Sickness

I had another one of those days when I realized what separated this country from itself wasn't as visible as skin color or ethnic origin. That's not to say either of those haven't been used as an handy excuse to cover up what really lies at the root of our country's massive social disease--a whole bunch of cultural differences. And yes, I know the nasty kind of hate that is not a cultural difference has been used as an excuse to keep one race down and the other up because doing so conveniently hid a darker secret than color. It's that secret I'm talking about. That invisible one that's oh so easy to hide, that horrid social disease of differences between people.

The secret is that underneath all the convenient bigotry lives the lie that all white people are created equal. Most white people spread this lie as heavily as they do the manure on their lawns--quickly and while holding their noses firmly shut. I ran across this today when I got caught up in reading an online discussion between two people who were arguing from a position of privilege rather than need. It really struck me, as I read their virtual whining, that maybe that's why equality was in the Constitution, that maybe it was more a wish than an established fact, that maybe they hoped if someone wrote it down then future generations might one day be able to live up to it.

Think about it. Who were these people who founded our country? They came from backgrounds where class defined everything, where wealth and poverty were the lines dividing people from each other, where education was for the special and privileged and the peasants just had to do for themselves. Often this doing for themselves ran them straight into the clutches of the only groups who would share their books with them--the unholy intermediaries for respective Jesus cults.

It wasn't a very large step at all to chain up the minds of half the population so they could serve the other half. After all, Mr. Rich White Tobacco farmer who escaped the "tyranny" of intolerance back in merry old England was sure as hell not going to plow his own fields. For that he needed black people and stupid white people. The concept of the rich ruling class acting as overloads to the poor working class didn't remain in England. It came here and began to speak with a different accent, but it never really changed. And it still hasn't.

The only thing that's changed is that there's far more overlords. They come in different shapes and sizes these days ranging from the super rich to the spoiled upper middle class Divas and little Sir Whines A Lots from the burbs. These demi-overlords are still fighting what can only be called a class war with those they deign to be less worthy and privileged than themselves. But they'll never admit it because they can't even see it.

The especially insulting thing about these self-appointed potentates is they have so many excuses for being selfish, so many excuses as to why they must step all over others in order to heal their own wounds, and why everyone just owes them and owes them and owes them. They're like spoiled baby birds that are perpetually hungry and hanging out with their beaks open waiting for their entitlements to kick in. It's always all about them, all about their feelings, all about the things others do to them. And they love being in the middle of an us and them battle because it gives them reason to live out all their personal crap for others to step in.

What pisses me off most about them is that while they are arguing with each other over whose turn it is to get the biggest piece of the pie while everyone around them has to eat crumbs, they miss the real problems facing this country--a rich and powerful group of religious fanatics who want to impose their will on everyone else. They miss the Mormons and Catholics donating money to enforce their will on the private lives of Gays and Lesbians. They miss that their own churches are funding wars meant to strip them of every single little entitlement they grew up with because they are so busy making everyone else pay for their mummy and daddy issues. They miss that a large percentage of the population can no longer afford college educations that their own parents and trust funds paid for. They miss that student loans are based on credit and poor people have crappy credit because they too often had to make the choice between buying food or paying a bill on time, so only the middle class kids qualify easily. The rest have to humble themselves and beg, and in that way are already one step lower on the same ladder.

But none of this matters to the entitlement divas and princelets. They simply do not want to hear they are not equal, that in many cases they are the overlords. They don't want to know that people like me who grew up living in cars or crappy hotel rooms or apartments where half the appliances didn't work and the furniture always leaned, see them as spoiled and selfish and mean most of the time. They don't want to know if someone divided up the country into two equal sides and then said pick your half, they would pick people like themselves, people from their class, people from their neighborhoods, people from their workplace, from their churches, from their clubs, from their schools.

They would not pick those who were less skilled in social rules they grew up learning, or those who dressed differently because they couldn't afford labels or even knew that labels meant more than fit or styling or comfort. They would not pick those who went to different churches because only their religion is tolerant, and they certainly wouldn't pick Atheists because that's just too much for them to deal with. They wouldn't pick those who'd never been to summer camp, who were never in the scouts, who grew up in neighborhoods where it wasn't safe to go outside after dark. They'd never pick those who didn't smell the same as they did, who didn't believe the same as they did, who didn't ascribe to the same set of rules defining political correctness as they did. And they'd certainly never admit any of this, because well, it's just not cool being the overlord in America.

And today I finally had enough of their crap. I read their words as these two little privileged divas went at each other over who had been the most wounded over being excluded by some clique they assumed they were part of and found out they weren't. They complained to me because I was one of the few people left who didn't openly attack them for being stupid, selfish divas and I prefer to be nice rather than mean so they took that to mean I was on some side that agreed with them.

They didn't even see or understand that people like me who are profoundly left of liberal, Atheist, child-free, with an education I bought myself, and a childhood spent wondering where I was going to live next, was used to being looked down on by just about everyone as I was growing up, so I never once thought I was under consideration for this group they desperately believed was their diva-given due. And as the child of alcoholics, as many studies have shown, I avoid conflict. I hate it. I fear it. I run from it. It always meant someone would get beaten, things would get broken and the police would come. They knew nothing of this because they came from a different world. But of course they saw me as their equal because they needed numbers on their side to reinforce their own positions.

But something changed for me today. I saw the real dividing line in this country and it was those two women, those two spoiled little divas who were so upset that not everything was for them, that someone else got something they didn't. I had one of those gag reflexes and I found myself wanting to get as far away from them as I could. But they felt some strange need to cc me on their emails to each other about "the thing that happened." I felt like the servant of those white tobacco farmers who was there because they needed me to plow their fields or something. They've never considered me their equal before so my use to them was as a sort of witness to something I wasn't part of anyway and it made me feel as if I I needed to bathe afterward to wash it off me.

So I unsubbed, put a filter in place so their emails went directly to trash, and then I went and hung out on one of my favorite mailing lists. It's small. It's only been around for a couple years. And we have a lot in common with each other because at the heart of what we want in life is peace, tolerance, acceptance of each other as equal human beings. Every other month we pick someone or something to quietly help. No one ever knows it comes from us and we like it that way. And we're all poor or live so close to the edge we might as well be. But that's why we started our little list group. We figured if we combined the little we could afford, then we could give bigger, we could have a larger impact on what needed help. And it was a way to share ideas with each other on how to heal the planet, how to spread love and understanding, how to help women in countries devastated by war and hunger and disease.

This month we're sharing our mighty combined fortune on a t-shirt that we're donating to a shelter that is having an auction to raise money for abused women. We had a fierce argument over whether we could afford to buy one or two shirts this month, but it was short-lived. We decided on two. I imagine the two divas on the other list are still whining over what they feel should be theirs and theirs alone. It makes me even more glad I left.





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Monday, November 10, 2008

Send Sarah Palin a message from the Penguins!

Now that the election is decided, Sarah Palin's fifteen minutes are almost up. Send her a postcard from the penguins letting her know they can see the end of her career from THEIR house.



Postcards may be purchased for 10.99 for a package of 8 from Ursine Logic's Election 2008 section


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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Paradigm Shift


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Making History


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Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Lesson in Racism

From today's mailbox:

What if John McCain were a former president of the Harvard Law Review?

What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his graduating class?

What if McCain were still married to the first woman he said 'I do' to?
What if Obama were the candidate who cheated on his first wife after she no longer measured up to his standards?

What if Michelle Obama were a wife who not only became addicted to pain killers, but acquired them illegally through her charitable organization?
What if Cindy McCain graduated from Harvard?

What if Obama were a member of the Keating-5*?

* The Keating Five were five United States Senators accused of corruption in 1989, igniting a major political scandal as part of the larger Savings and Loan crisis
Savings and Loan Scandal of the late 1980s and early 1990s.

What if McCain were a charismatic, eloquent speaker?

If these questions reflected reality, do you really believe the election numbers would be as close as they are?

This is what racism does. It covers up, rationalizes and minimizes positive qualities in one candidate and emphasizes negative qualities in another when there is a color difference.

PS: What if Barack Obama had an unwed, pregnant teenage daughter? What would people be saying?

You are The Boss... which team would you hire?

With America facing historic debt, 2 wars, stumbling health care, aweakened dollar, all-time high prison population, mortgage crises, bank foreclosures, etc.

Educational Background:

Obama:
Columbia University - B.A. Political Science with a Specialization in International Relations.
Harvard - Juris Doctor (J.D.) Magna Cum Laude

Biden:
University of Delaware - B.A. in History and B.A. in Political Science. Syracuse University College of Law - Juris Doctor (J.D.)

VS:

McCain: United States Naval Academy - Class rank: 894 of 899

Palin:
Hawaii Pacific University - 1 semester
North Idaho College - 2 semesters - general study
University of Idaho - 2 semesters - journalism
Matanuska-Susitna College - 1 semester
University of Idaho - 3 semesters - B.A. in Journalism

Now, which team are you going to hire?





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Monday, October 20, 2008

I Became Part Of History Today

I voted today. I opened my absentee ballot, filled it out, signed my name, put a stamp on it and then I cried. The emotion of casting such a history making vote opened up something in me, a feeling that I'd shut down in the 60's with the assassination of JFK when I was twelve, and followed by the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr and Robert Kennedy. Politics from that point on became an act of voting against someone more than it was an act of voting for someone.

My vote for Obama was based on many things, the primary one being my belief that the President is more a symbol than an action. He or she, as we came close to being able to say, represents the face America presents to the world. Congress is what creates the America we live in, and the President is the person who carries the will of the people to the world.

In the last eight years we've had as a symbol a man whose intellectual capacity was limited to comic book heroics and grade B movie acting. His face is what the rest of the world saw when they saw us, no matter how horrible that seems. And it was reinforced by a Congress so bought and paid for by corporate lobbyists they had no room left to legislate for the American people. And the American people under eight years of a brutal thug and his henchmen, had no will to fight back and demand equal representation.

As I was growing up I read about countries whose people were beaten down by the horrible circumstances of their existence and by the complete intrusion of the government into their miserable lives. I read about people in countries who were afraid of the police, who cynically understood everything on the television, radio and in the newspapers was carefully orchestrated propaganda by a government who didn't care if you believed it or not. It was the party line and there was no coloring outside of it.

Under the Bush regime I watched the number of poor increase as the number of wealthy grew even wealthier. I watched the middle class become the servant class. I watched the poor become the homeless. I watched religious fanaticism and dogmatism take the place of liberty and intellectual discourse. I watched a love of ignorance, a joy in stupidity, a disdain of intelligence take over the country like a well-designed plague. And I watched a government terrorize and spy on its own people. I watched people disappear into prison camps never to be heard from again. I watched America go from a country admired the world over to one hated for its warmongering stupidity. I saw America become a country that  the rest of the world saw as one of ignorant, warmongering savages oppressed and controlled by their own government.

That is why Obama is such an important symbol. He makes America once again the leader of new ideas, new dreams, new visions. He makes America once again be the country where we are one people presenting a uniquely American face to the world. Once more people can point to this country and say in America anyone can grow up to be President, no matter the color of his skin. Once more people can point to this country and say this is what freedom is all about, this is what Democracy means. Once more people can point to America and say when a government is bad and does not honor its people, they vote them out and replace them with one that will honor the traditions this country was based on, the visions that created it, the courageous who dared to act upon their dreams.

Barack Obama is a symbol, true. But he is also a symbol of something far more important. He represents a shift back to America as a land of human beings instead of mean and fearful little creatures to be manipulated for political gain. Those who are casting their ballots for him are also saying it's time for America to return to its roots, to transform the cruel existence forced on it by Corporate rule and once again become a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

The Republican lie that was spread through bought and paid for stooges and blackmailed weak-willed patsies was that Liberal was a bad word, that Progressive was a bad word, that Democrat was a bad word. The lie was spread at the same time the myth of Republicanism was portrayed as responsible, grown-up and sensible as compared to the upstarts that dared to have a say in how their lives were run, who dared to care about the poor, the elderly, and who valued education and conversation that was meant to share knowledge instead of defame it.

Hate became the drug mainlined into the bottom layer of society so it could spread up and infect everyone. But to control someone with hate, you have to give them someone to hate. So the puppetmasters created bad Liberals, Arabs, dark-skinned scary people. And because the groups were so completely separated by ideology, skin color, religious beliefs, one group was blissfully unaware of the other group steadily losing all their rights, all their freedoms, all their democratic right to exist side by side with the other groups.

It is an old tactic used by every dictator throughout time, by every totalitarian regime and banana republic that cares nothing about human beings but everything about money and power. And this time it was inflicted on America and Americans opened the doors to their homes and welcomed it in willingly.

But the greedy went too far this time. They stole too much. They let too many crazies out of the box. They became drunk on power and believed their own mythology. They forgot, if they ever bothered to learn, that they were falling into the same trap that brought down every corrupt government throughout time who believed the same thing.

And that's why I cried today, because with so many people voting for Obama, it isn't really about race. It isn't really about the color of his skin. It is about taking back our country and that's why I cried. People woke up and are continuing to wake up and that's what it takes to sweep the last of the old guard out the miserable doors they built for the rest of us.

It's time to present a new face to the world, one of a people united in a common dream that decency, respect, intellectual discourse, and taking care of each other matters because we are all children of the same mother. Only in this way do we once again become the golden land that the rest of the world admired and strived to become.

But please don't get complacent. You MUST show up at the polls because once and for all we must stop these corrupt corporate sleaze bags from defiling our elections as if we were some forsaken banana republic. Only huge numbers will keep them from stealing it. Only huge numbers of people casting the most history making vote in history will take our country back. VOTE! It's far too important to leave it up to the other guy. This time we are all the other guy.





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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Mean People Still Suck

One of the things I really enjoy about getting older is that a lot of what was once important just seems so godawfulfuckinridiculous now. Often it's a source of amusement to remember an event, a person, an emotion related to a time and laugh at how insignificant it is now, how small a thing it became when once it was so important. Even that is an awakening because there was a time when I'd have been outraged at the overwhelmingly large becoming the humorously small. I would have been insulted to waste my rich emotional life on piddly crap. But the truth is I did. I wasted a lot of me that could have been spent better elsewhere. I gave my heart to so much piddly crap that I could wear a crown of insignificance with all the pride of someone who had devoted her life to earning such a trophy. I really could. And yes, I earned it. Damn straight, I earned it.

I could cry over it, but now I just laugh. I laugh at a lot of things. I laugh at people who take themselves so seriously there's no wiggle room for them to be anything else. A creative grave is still a hole in a ground with dirt. But they can't see it. The grave is the thing you see, these people say with all the intensity of the armchair philosopher with credentialed thoughts leading the marching band in their brains.

I am always left exhausted arguing with people like that because their entire lives are talking points. They can't go beyond them. They can't stretch them. They can't question them. They can't interpret them. But they gather up each other like a big old sticky ball of tape rolling down a hill.

They're what's happened to this country in the last few years. I blame these sticky ball folks' appalling lack of ability to think outside their own grave for the appalling  talking points mentality that has taken over this country like dirt shoveled on that grave.

People are  burying themselves in the emptiness of ideologies that don't come from anything they believe. It comes from their masters, the ones that keep them afraid and weak and insignificant. It comes from those they envy, those they covet, those they resent for freedoms and intact dreams they no longer have.

I haven't seen anything like it since the ant farm I had as a kid, the one I continually messed with in the hopes of getting the ants to do something, anything other than the regimented pattern of their existence. But it never happened. The ants remained ants.

That ant farm prepared me to meet people who couldn't think beyond their own immediate needs, who couldn't conceptualize beyond their own wants, and who desperately sought the path of least introspection. It's the only reason I didn't become an antisocial grub-eating, grass-munching, cave-dwelling hermit. The ants warned me about such people. I knew them when I met them. I was emotionally prepared for their emptiness. I knew they would never give back even a fraction of what I was capable of giving. I just saw it as an unfair way of the world. There's lots of things like that. I can't let myself get beaten up over them.

But I was never adequately prepared for the selfish cruelty of people. I'm still appalled and shaken to the core of my idealistic self when I am confronted with it. I just don't understand people who think only of themselves and no one else. It seems like such an empty way to be, such a hollow excuse for what could be a rich and meaningful life. Part of me wants to feel sorry for them and the other part of me sees them as undeveloped two year olds who never set aside their emotional diapers for the real world.

I've met more than my share of backstabbing losers and unfortunately a lot of them convinced me they were my friends. The older I got the more I pruned them away like the dead growth they always were but I couldn't always see. I wanted them to grow, to change, to evolve, but sadly they never did and in some cases just became even more selfish, even more mean, even more petty, even more ridiculous  excuses for human beings. I had to let them go or they would take me down with them.

But I've learned that when you let something bad go, you often make room for something good to grow in its place. I've learned that most people are inadequate in some way. I can deal with that. I don't judge the inadequacies of those I love and respect. I see it as part of their charm, their humanity. What I can't deal with is mean. Mean people suck. They really do and they always will. It takes a real snake of a person to be mean when there's so many other options.

But you know, in an odd sort of way I think we are nearing the end of that time when mean people ruled with such power and authority. It's crazy to see it but what brought them down in the end was their own meanness, their own selfishness, their own greed, their own shallow belief that everyone owed them something and they owed no one anything.

Just as those I cut ties with eventually had to start feeding on each other because I was no longer there as an option, so did the culture of greed, the spoiled brats that never grew up had to start feeding on each other. And that's what brought them down because greed will never satisfy hunger. Only introspection and emotional maturity can do that. Only compassion and altruism and thinking beyond yourself can do that. Only a world where we value each other more than we value things or power or vengeance can keep us from becoming those regimented ants trapped between two pieces of glass and a great big pile of dirt.




Canvas tote bag from Ursine Logic.


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Thursday, October 16, 2008

And now for a break from politics...

Cafepress has an agreement with the makers of the Flip Mino camcorder that makes them available for us to design and offer in our shops. I've been having mass fun making designs for these things, and my guess is they'll be wildly popular holiday gifts just because they're a camcorder for under 200 dollars, are small, quick and easy to use. And they make it really easy to upload what you've just recorded to youtube. I'm offering them as the suggested manufacturer's price because electronics of any kind are just not a money maker. I see them more as a way to let people know that I have this really bizarre side of my personality that makes weird designs just for fun. So here's a couple of my faves I made last night.



Click on the images to find out more and to purchase one. If you want to see all of them I've made so far, visit their special section in Ursine Logic  FLIP MINO CAMCORDERS And if you have a design or photo you want on one, I'll be glad to make it for you. Just send me a custom order request to ursinelogic@gmail.com.


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Joe the Plumber needs an accountant

Setting aside the fact that Joe the Plumber doesn't have a plumbing license, which USUALLY means working under the table and not paying taxes on that income, he also has a problem paying the taxes on income he does declare: read more

And also setting aside that he's a Republican plant who wouldn't vote for Obama no matter how much he'd get a break on those taxes, if what he says is even remotely true about buying that mythical plumbing business for 280,000 and immediately having to pay taxes on that whole amount, there's a serious problem Joe needs to deal with. Joe needs an accountant, one that will explain to him what a tax deduction is, what a business expense is, what paying yourself a salary is so he won't be taxed on that business he claims cost more than 250, 000 dollars. Joe is an idiot if he goes ahead and pays taxes on income he shouldn't have to pay taxes on. No wonder Republicans are always screaming about a tax break. They're obviously too dumb to figure out their own income tax forms.

Or maybe Joe the Republican Plumber (Watergate anyone?) is factoring in the cost of the back taxes he already owes. It's that fuzzy math, you know.


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Monday, October 13, 2008

Flies On The Wall #51


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Thursday, October 09, 2008

October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

I lost my first friend to Breast Cancer almost ten years ago, and I lost the latest one just last month. In between there were several more, all remarkable women whose passing left big holes in my life and in the lives of many people. I think of the art that won't be created anymore, the music that won't be written and performed, the words that died with them, and mixed with the sadness is an anger and disappointment that we can spend billions of dollars on finding new and more gruesome ways of killing people, and so little to save people dying from this horrible disease. Yes, I know that men also get Breast Cancer, but the numbers are far fewer and I can't help wonder at times if maybe there'd be more money devoted to finding a cure if it wasn't overwhelmingly women who are dying.

Of course, you're welcome to prove me wrong. You're welcome to donate and prove that you do think this is a disease that affects everyone for a very simple reason: the survivors women leave behind. They aren't just women. They are husbands, fathers, sons, brothers and friends. It is a disease that affects us all and we need to do something now, not when it's an epidemic killing those we love and cherish. Here's a link to find out more and to donate: Susan G. Komen foundation

Also, several months I made some designs to raise awareness of the disease. I've learned through the years that words are not as effective as an image. I designed this bag for myself and it gives me a chance to encourage people to donate because it puts a face on the disease, it allows me to tell them about my friends who died from Breast Cancer and also those who are fighting it, who have survived it. This gives people a story behind their donation, and it lets them know that Breast Cancer itself is not a death sentence, but it can become one if we don't work to fund a cure. Find a way to make a visual statement to go with your own words and maybe we can defeat this disease in my lifetime.



Canvas tote bag can be purchased at Strong Woman


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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Lynch mobs for McCain-Palin

John McCain is no man of honor and he sullies all who served honorably with what he's become recently.

"The Secret Service is following up on media reports today that someone in the crowd at a McCain/Palin event suggested killing Barack Obama, according to Secret Service spokesman Malcolm Wiley. The shout of "kill him" followed a Sarah Palin rant on Obama's relationship with radical Chicagoan Bill Ayers." read more

This is what McCain now considers honor. This is what his running mate considers honor. This is what they work to inspire in their followers--death threats for his opponent, racism to a news reporter, false accusations of terrorism. John McCain has revealed what kind of hateful and dangerous President he would make.

Of course, what do you expect from a man who helped sell arms to Iran and associated with known terrorist, John Singlaub? read more Surely, not honor.

What do you expect from a man who was involved in the last financial meltdown caused by greed and deregulation? read more Surely, not honor.

And as far as Sarah Palin, when you advocate the violent overthrow of the American government:

"Isn't it funny that Sarah Palin would totally distort the Times story and tell lies about Obama "palling around with terrorists," when, in fact, it is her husband who was actually the member of a secessionist group whose founder hated America and got killed and chopped up and
buried in a tarp after a plastic-explosives deal went bad? Isn't it funny that Sarah Palin is calling Obama out when in fact it is HER OWN HUSBAND WHO PALS AROUND WITH TERRORISTS!? ISN'T THAT JUST SO FUNNY?!?!" read more


THAT is treason and she and her terrorist pals should be arrested immediately.

But more than anything what this latest slime from the McCain camp reveals is a pathetic desperation. They have nothing to offer the American people except fear, hatred, lies, slime---all tactics they learned from associating so closely with their best buds, the Bush administration. Nothing says Bush clone like the campaign McCain is running, no matter how much he tries to deny it. The only honor and dignity in this campaign belongs to Obama and the American people know it.


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