September, 2011

Sep 11

“Mental illness rise linked to climate change”

“RATES of mental illnesses including depression and post-traumatic stress will increase as a result of climate change, a report to be released today says.

“The paper, prepared for the Climate Institute, says loss of social cohesion in the wake of severe weather events related to climate change could be linked to increased rates of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress and substance abuse.”

Sep 11

Stuff that bothers me – Just Average Garden Variety Bloodsucking Scum

Here’s a short off the cuff list…Okay I didn’t literally write it on my cuff but I almost could.

My son in Portland loses his phone, calls me up due to a bit of an emergency, calls three times in one day to get something straightened out–for those calls, he calls me collect. I think he said it was “1 800 Collect”. Used to be–no, not all THAT long ago–that if you called collect the one accepting the call paid pretty much what you’d pay for a regular long distance call at regular rates. Maybe a small surcharge. My son and I assumed it would be not much more than regular rates. These three relatively brief calls which should have cost at most $35, tops, cost us $157. Apparently you can’t call COLLECT from a pay phone anymore except through one of these third party services. This one was, by the way, listed on the bill as INTELLICALL services. (Be sure you don’t use these crooks!) They did NOT warn me when I was asked if I’d accept the call that it would be many times the normal charge; they did NOT warn me about the many large surcharges attached. They simply asked if I’d accept the call. They’re probably breaking some regulations but who’s going to enforce them? They’re bloodsucking scum.

Lately a whole industry has grown up involving changing “Yelp” and “Angie’s List” ratings. Are you a bad doctor? Do you have a lousy overpriced restaurant? Call these people and they make sure you get better ratings on Yelp etc for a fee. No one seems to regard this as unethical. A local restaurant–the Sala Restaurant in Hercules, California– is notorious for bad service, and mediocre-to-bad food accompanied by high prices. The place has a good view of the bay and that’s it. So there were lots and lots of negative Yelp reviews…suddenly there started to be good reviews, taking the restaurant from one to five stars. There was something false about the wording of those reviews. I suspect the reviewers worked for a “fix your rating” service, they DID probably eat the food (which they probably received free) so they could say they actually tried the stuff and there was never any doubt that they’d give top reviews – five stars. They probably did receive better service too since the restaurant knew who they were. In other cases the hired Yelp reviewers probably simply lie about getting the services. (No, Sala didn’t get a new cook or something. The bad reviews from real diners started up again immediately after.) This kind of business is legal but not legit and…they are bloodsucking scum.

The “Green 960″ channel on the radio, here in the bay area, goes, on Sunday, from legit programming to infomercials, pretend interviews with people offering amazing herbal medicaments that supposedly cure dementia, make the old young again (sometimes they come right out and say it’ll make you young again instead of just implying it), preventing all diseases, classic snake oil. There is no announcement (unless really fast at the beginning of their two hour long segment?) that this is actually paid infomercial time. They offer 1 800 numbers to buy these bogus cures. There are no pills that reverse aging, folks. The FDA ignores these scam artists. The radio station has to know perfectly well it’s snake oil but they don’t care. Money to be made. These people are all…you guessed it…

Bloodsucking scum.

Sep 11

“Registering Poor To Vote ‘Like Handing Out Burglary Tools To Criminals’”

There you have it. The conservative’s attitude toward ordinary Americans, starkly revealed at Talking Points Memo.

Conservative columnist Matthew Vadum is just going to come right out and say it: registering the poor to vote is un-American and “like handing out burglary tools to criminals.”

Follow the link for TPM’s unsettling article.

Sep 11

Big Media passively Lies for Polluters

“Liberal media!” the teabaggers snarl. Where? It’s hard to find. Listening to KGO radio–a CBS radio station, supposedly objectively mainstream news–I heard an anchor reading these lines: “The President today cancelled EPA plans to increase antismog regulations. Republican leaders, working to find ways to increase jobs, applauded the move. They seek to remove job-destroying regulations like this one which would have cost business hundreds of millions each year and led to the loss of more than a million jobs.”

Just three sentences–but far more lies. The report implied that the Republican effort to, supposedly, “increase jobs” by opposing regulations was legitimate.There was no “alleged” about it. The report assumes that regulations are job-destroying, flat out calls them that–actually they often add jobs, as people have to be hired to monitor the regulations, and new technology has to be implemented to follow them. Historically, environmental regulations hasn’t led to a contraction in industry. It continued to expand after regulations were in place. No mention of that in the report. “Cost hundreds of millions each year”? How about an allegedly for that figure? No. In fact they say ‘would have cost’ which is very definite and certain. Like it’s an inarguable fact. Same with the job loss statement.

It’s official. Big industry uses “mainstream media” as its PR machine. KGO is saying what it’s told to say. And nothing more.

Sep 11

Cannon fodder and Canon Fodder

I read an article in The New Yorker mentioning studies by think tanks showing that since 2005 there’s been a distinct convergence between the two former camps of conservatives. The two camps are fiscal conservatives and social conservatives. The writer seemed to think the two camps had found overlapping common purpose, in opposing strong central government.

I suspect that what really happened was that wily fiscal conservatives, 21st Century robber barons like the Koch Brothers and Rupert Murdochs and Wall Street Banksters, realized they could convince the credulous religious-right that they had common purpose. (The religious right is demonstrably credulous, since…they’re religious.) The Banksters and the oil companies donated hugely to social conservative causes; they had meetings with them at conservative conclaves, where they said, “Give us what we want and we’ll support you–because government is our mutual enemy. They want to tax and regulate us out of existence–you they will restrict and strangle till you have no influence. Look at Roe Vs Wade! The Supreme Court is part of the federal government and they ignored your objection to abortion! They ignored your spiritual convictions on the matter! And how soon before they decide to tax the churches? Meanwhile with their regulations they move toward socialism–and socialism is just watered down communism and historically communism has been anti-religion! Look at the USSR, look at China! They protect unions–aren’t unions communist and isn’t communism anti-religion? And they insist on a separation between church and state! See how they remove Christian crosses from public places! Look who objects to ‘under God’ in the Pledge of Allegiance…government types! They promote ‘science’ in schools…well, that means promoting the Theory of Evolution which is at odds with the story of Creationism! And look–some of them are talking about backing off and allowing the Palestinians a state…which means they’re pro-Muslim! They’re allowing Muslims to build mosques in America! And if you’re soft on Muslims you’re hard on Christians! They want us to stop polluting, to make sure our products are safe–that’s the new fangled new way to do it, and newness is just not religious! Doesn’t the Old Testament say mankind’s got to dominate the Earth? In trying to keep us from building ten million shopping malls they’re going against God’s word! Government, stocked by those regulatory, tax-hungry Democrats is the problem!” And so on.

Big business needs its religious-right puppets. It needs them to keep Senator Bernie Sanders, and people like him, in check–people who want them to pay their fair share, and who want to prevent them from destroying the environment for profit. It needs the religious right to keep wars going, wars that are so very profitable to Halliburton and to arms manufacturers, so fattening to the military industrial complex.

Big Business knows it cannot rely on reason since it is so obviously unreasonable–it’s unreasonable to outsource American jobs, it’s unreasonable to bust unions, it’s unreasonable to dodge taxes and to pollute. It can pretend to have stacked up reasons for these things, but a little nudge pushes those houses of cards right down. So it needs unreason. It needs the unreasonable myth-based hysteria of the religious right. And of course they were delighted when gays began to demand marriage. That gave them another area of pretend-commonality with the religious right. “Look, they’re allowing gays to marry! The same people who want to tax us are allowing gays to marry!”

They fund campaigns of religious rightists, shove the religious right candidates out in front in their assaults on Democrats and taxes and regulations; they make the Bachmanns and Perrys their cannon fodder. Or, if you like, canon fodder. They’re using the religious-right, puppeting them…

And the religious right believes it’s in charge. But all it’s doing is leading the charge…while the fat cat Wall Street generals stay behind, lolling on their fat asses, in comfortable pavilions overlooking the battlefield… and laugh.

Sep 11


Soon as a faster than light drive is developed, I’m leaving this planet. The human part of it is just vile. And we’re making more and more and MORE humans so there’s no escaping that. So I’m disowning this planet, I’m leaving as soon as the starship is ready. Let me know, please. Save me and my wife a seat on the starship. I’m sure someone’s working on one. We’re ready to go. Here are just a few reasons why, starting, at random, in 1965:

According to Wikipedia: The Indonesian killings of 1965–1966 were an anti-communist purge following a failed coup in Indonesia. The most widely accepted estimates are that over half a million people were killed.

According to Newser today: in 2006, a group of US soldiers burst into a house in Ishaqi, Iraq, where they handcuffed and executed at least 10 people—including an infant and four other children, none older than five years old—then called an airstrike to cover up the evidence. Or at least that’s the conclusion a UN investigator reached, according to an unclassified diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks last week.

According to MSNBC yesterday, after Qadaffi’s men (on his orders) raped women in rebellious areas, recently, a Muslim father went about his house, where his three young daughters were, and cut their throats. He killed his daughters for being raped.

Meanwhile in India millions of children die of dysentery because the many billionaires and quite-wealthy government of India won’t clean up the water in areas thronged by the poor.

Meanwhile, the Republicans are planning to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency–guaranteeing millions of deaths by lung cancer, poisoned water, and worse global warming– and no one cares.

Meanwhile in the Congo…

Meanwhile in Somalia…


Sep 11

John Shirley, Rudy Rucker, David Brin at TEDx in November, in Brussels

We’ll be there, in the heart of Belgium, with all kinds of interesting people. Here’s their page on me at their new site. We’ll each be giving a talk.

Rudy Rucker will be there, and David Brin and Jacques Vallee (!) and–well, just have a look here.

And here are samples of the TED thing...

Sep 11

“EVERYTHING IS BROKEN” – the new near-future-Science Fiction Novel by…

By me. Coming this winter from PRIME BOOKS. And here’s the first look at their website page on EVERYTHING IS BROKEN, still being designed a bit but have a look…