Intravenous Caffeine

Totally Unfair and Completely Unbalanced

Couldn’t Have Happened To A Nicer Guy

The GOP is sure all this slut business will blow over by November

Headdesk, headdesk, headdesk...

Much as I normally hate to do a subject two weeks in a row, the swift financial retribution against Rush Limbaugh is worthy of an exception. Seems Rush has lost about 90% of his sponsors over the controversy caused by his deliberate slander of an innocent bystander, at least temporarily. As you will remember, Rush called Georgetown student Sandra Fluke a slut and a prostitute for the horrendous crime of wanting to testify to the all-male committee fulminating over contraception about her friend who was denied contraceptives when she needed them for hormone therapy. Rush leapt to judgment on the girl, in an ass-brained show of ignorance of how contraceptives work, saying she was having so much sex she needed government assistance to pay for her pills. The rightwing ditto heads have repeated these charges ad nauseam and no amount of facts can ever dissuade them from the opinions given them by the Pope of Clear Channel.

This is the way free speech works in the free market. Rush Limbaugh was, is and will be free to make any ass-brained statement he wants to make. The question is whether or not anyone has to pay to allow those statements to be broadcast to the nation and world at large. With sponsors, he can shout it loud and clear to the entire radio audience. Without sponsors, he’s still free to shout them–but unless he or Clear Channel pay for it themselves, his soapbox might be … a soapbox. Seems Clear Channel has had to run Public Service Announcements on many of the commercial spots during Rush’s show this week. Dum da dum dum!

Bill Maher has weighed in on the proceedings and has tried to argue that Rush ought not be censored by the free market. Piffle. Bill is still smarting because HIS former TV show Politically Incorrect got dumped when he expressed an unforgivable truth: that the perpetrators of the cowardly attack on the Pentagon and World Trade Center were not themselves cowards. This was in the middle of US war-drum fever. Come on Bill, Americans won’t be ready for that kind of nuance before 2102, the year AFTER the 9/11 centennial. We still have people who said the Japanese deserved the earthquake-tsunami-nuclear meltdown tragedy because of PEARL HARBOR! And besides, what you said was true, just unpopular. That’s a fair distance from maliciously maligning someone by misrepresenting what they’d said or done.

Free speech doesn’t mean we have to subsidize hate speech. As long as someone’s willing to pay for the plug in the socket, Rush will have a platform. But, if no one wants to pay to have a person with that much bile representing their company, screw it. Let him try to get a gig on NPR :)

And speaking of Japan, this weekend marked the anniversary of that horrible series of misfortunes. Compounding the tragedy was that although Japan is one of the most prepared nations against earthquakes, the government had let down its guard on tsunami preparedness and had dropped the ball on nuclear safety measures AND spent more time CYAing and following procedures instead of reacting swiftly enough to contain the nuclear danger. But the Japanese people have shown incredible resilience and courage in their recovery. Last year, I did a short video to Yoko Kanno’s song for the survivors and I’d like to post its URL here againhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=na60p1P22rg. Links are there for several organizations that were involved in the recovery effort at the time. I’m sure they will accept more donations.

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Help is On the WAY–in a few days…

A marine shouts to victims under a pile of rubble that they will get help as soon as the marines finish setting up a secure base camp.

We would have sent in food and water immediately, but there was no security structure in place.

Well, we’re finally doing something over in Haiti, but, sad to say, we got beat to the punch. Rescue teams from … Iceland … were despatched almost immediately after the earthquake struck. Sniffer dogs arrived from … China … within 48 hours. In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, the President of the Lumbering Giant of America said that we could get the first 2000 Marines to Haiti–a mere 700 miles from Florida and a hop, skip and jump from Puerto Rico–in a few days. A few days means a lot to a victim still buried under rubble. Or someone sitting on the roof of their submerged house as we found out from Katrina. But Haiti is not New Orleans. It’s simply the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
Greg Palast has a remarkable precis of the screwy US response. I don’t want to copy what he’s said, but what it boils down to is that instead of treating the Haitian tragedy as an EMERGENCY, our response has been to treat it as a military operation. Secretary Gates said he would not send in food and water immediately because there was no security apparatus in place. OF COURSE NOT, an entire country has been devastated. The proper response in an EMERGENCY is to send in rescuers first, followed up by relief and security. But America is so hamstrung by both its muscle-bound state and its security paranoia that instead of doing the right thing first, we started out with the back end of the horse.
Our first operation appears to have been to secure the Port-au-Prince airport and try to take over rescue efforts in a way that had French Cooperation Minister Alain Joyandet complain that we seemed to be more concerned with occupying Haiti rather than helping it. Indeed, we secured the airport so well that we refused landing to an aircraft from “Doctors without Borders” carrying supplies and an inflatable surgical hospital, forcing them to land in the Dominican Republic and truck in the supplies over the mountains, delaying their arrival for 24 hours. Danny Schecter on Media Channel suggests that our overweaning focus on security may be driven more by a desire to keep US-deposed President Aristide out of Haiti than on anything to do with the safety of the country.
We’ve heard a lot about things being “too big to fail” in recent months–the banks are too big to be allowed to go under after they’ve screwed up the economy, the health insurance industry is too big to be allowed to be given competition from a single payer health plan. And even when the leading political party is in agreement on something in general, it can’t agree with itself about what it wants. Could it be that the US has become too big to act effectively? Man, if so, we better get some streamlining in pronto before we choke to death on our immensity.

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Haitians Protest: We’re already past the seventh generation, Pat

Sinners in the hands of an angry televangelist: Pat Robertson gloats over Haiti's misfortune.

The essence of Pat Robertson's religion: feeling smug about someone else's misfortune because God loves ME MORE!

You can depend on Pat Robertson–he ALWAYS gives Christianity a bad name. Every time there’s a terrible catastrophe somewhere in the world, he can find a reason to blame it on somebody else’s sinfulness. And gloats over his own good fortune and religious superiority. Now take this earthquake in Haiti. Terrible tragedy, death and destruction everywhere, at least 100,000 dead. You’d think a catastrophe of this magnitude would call for a little Christian kindness. Not from Pat! He hauls out this story–which as far as I know, he made up–about some Haitian selling his soul to the devil for independence–and that’s why they’ve suffered poverty and famine and unstable governments and now this devastation. Well, Pat, the guy you’re thinking about had a name, Toussaint L’Ouverture. He led a rebellion for Haitian independence and managed to defeat every army sent at him. He was also black.
Now, I don’t want to accuse Pat of racism, I think he’s more of a religious bigot. You see, Haiti is the homeplace of Vodou, or as we more commonly spell it, Voodoo. Pat has this Hollywood idea of Voodoo consisting of zombies, dolls with pins in them, devil worshipping and worst of all, dancing. If Toussaint L’Ouverture had not sold his soul to the devil, there’d be none of that deviltry going on! Haitians would all go to church on Sunday, sing hymns, listen to some preacher for about 4 hours and become prosperous and Protestant. As it is, most Haitians are Catholic–they’re also devotees of Vodou and don’t see a contradiction in this. After all, they both worship , don’t they? It’s just that Catholicism has been syncretized with African beliefs, customs and rituals.
Well, Pat will have none of it–that African stuff is all devil worship to him and to hell with ya. Cursed forever for Toussaint L’Ouverture’s effrontery of being a black general who defeated white European armies, which he obviously could never have done if he hadn’t sold his soul to the devil. Why else would Haiti be so poor when the other half of the island of Hispaniola, the Dominican Republic, is so prosperous and stable–we’ll never mind the century or so of political upheavals the Dominican Republic suffered before the present calm. It’s obviously the fault of all that Voodoo–and dancing–which makes their misfortunes their own fault. God is merely punishing them like a father a naughty child, because a father loves his children, even when giving them the buckle end of the belt. After all, as St. John said, God is love. And in Pat Robertson’s view, God just loved those Haitians to death!
I’m so glad Pat Robertson isn’t God…

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