The SuperWonderful, Mega-Long 100% AWESOME Synapse Update Post: NOW IN HD!!

You’ve waited a month, but it’s finally here — my new blog post! (wild applause) I’ve been emailing myself links and stuff for four weeks, but every time I get ready to blog, something comes up: Papers to grade, a live podcast to do, bike rides for international solidarity, goats to sacrifice & etc.*

* Dude I’m totally loving this way of writing “etc” these days. It’s way olde-timey. Looks like it belongs in a Married to the Sea comic.**

** Dude I’m totally stealing this footnote thing from Mimi. Also it’s a chance to link to her site so any squares who don’t know about her can be all like “Oooh, interesting.. what’s this all ab–OHMYGODtheAWESOMENESS!!!itHURTSmyEYES!!”***

*** Dude I’ve totally been starting all my sentences with “dude” and “totally” lately. I need to make the switch to “all-encompassingly”. RIP Mitch.

Speaking of cool sites, I swear to Umberto that this awesome hot dog picture is the third thing that came up when I did a random Google Image search for “awesome”. It’s from the AWESOME webcomic artist Natalie Dee, who made one of the coolest shirts I’ve never ordered. I suppose I should, because she rocks. But I already have several other webcomic tees that I never get to wear.

Attention Robots Who Find Things For Me

Stop searching before I’m done telling you what I want!! I am sick to nuclear apocalypse DEATH of search engines and the Mac OSX search function and every other robot search box hijacking my typing process before I’ve even finished a f@#&ing word being all like “is THIS what you want? oh no wait I got it — you want THIS!” NO!!! Let me finish telling you what I want, and THEN you can go find it!

It’s like if you went into Subway and you had this conversation:

Sandwich Artist™: Hello, welcome to Subway. What can I get you?

You: I’d like a footlong—

SA: I know! You want a footlong cold cut combo! Right?

You: No, I want a footlong veggie sub on—

SA: On whole wheat! With cheddar cheese, is that it?

You: No, on herbs and cheese, with pepper jack.

SA: But you want it toasted, right? With—

You: I have a gun.

SA: Mr. Squidbag, please leave our store right now.

You: Best hat-tip EVER!

And speaking of robots doing stuff for us, check out the PBS Frontline interview with Sherry Turkle, about education and 21st century technologies. She makes some very good points. To wit:

I think not understanding how to write a simple program — things are built out of simple programs to more complex programs, and these programs are cultural creations, cultural constructions; you can change the program — I think that has been a shift that’s not all to the good.

Education has dropped that out of the curriculum. The most used program in computers and education is PowerPoint. What are you learning about the nature of the medium by knowing how do to a great PowerPoint presentation? Nothing. It certainly doesn’t teach you how to think critically about living in a culture of simulation.

Wall Street Scumbags Gone Wild

Paul Krugman linked us to this fascinating document from 1993, called Looting: The Economic Underworld of Bankruptcy for Profit. (It’s from JSTOR, which is supposed to be only for those who pay, but if you don’t say nothin’, I won’t say nothin’.) I haven’t read it all yet, but it’s very interesting, especially since it came 15 years before the most recent lunacy on the NYSE.

Speaking of scumbags on Wall Street, doesn’t it seem a little silly for Obama to go down there and encourage the same high-rolling jerkbutts that got us into this apocalyptic economic meltdown to join the push for reform? Of course they won’t join the push for reform, moron! (Aside from meaningless PR flourishes.) That’s like Chief Wiggam asking Fat Tony to support a new law cracking down on organized crime.

Fat Tony: I am glad you’ve brought this to my attention, Chief Wiggam. I am sure we can find some accommodation that will be mutually beneficial to the both of us.

Chief Wiggam: Hey, great! Thanks, Tony! Y’know, you’re not so fat. (snort)

Grease and Greece

Hey, look — the Obama administration can bumble around and f#@% things up too! Yesterday I passed a banner at a supermarket advertising a discount on gas from BP. I’ve never had to resist the urge to purchase a Sharpie™ and scrawl nasty words on a banner so hard before in my life.

And of course, let’s not fool ourselves. No one from BP or Transocean will go to prison. Any fines paid will be a simplistic not-even-very-hard slap on the wrist, which the “responsible” company will laugh off like Jack’s equation in Fight Club. And we all get to suck down the crude-soaked sea water, because we’re too weak and scared of Wall Street to force them into compliance.

And now for the story in the midst of all of this most likely to break your heart. The award goes to: NPR’s interview with Transocean rig worker Christopher Choy! Hurray! After 40 hours of chaos and madness, watching friends burned alive, how does Transocean reward them for their sacrifice?

At the hotel, there were representatives for Transocean who asked Choy to initial a line that said: I was not injured as a result of the incident or evacuation.

Now the company says the form means he can’t get treated for his Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and nightmares and flashbacks.

As for Greece, I don’t have much to offer that can help make sense of it all. (I have no idea why anyone would come here looking for such a thing.) However, in my digging over the past week, I’ve come to understand several things. First of all, the previous government (Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, 2004-2009) went crazy with the budget, lying about debt and cooking books. Apparently Goldman Sachs was involved.

Also, Greece does apparently have a bloated public-service sector. This is not the apocalyptic smoking gun for why socialism is demon feces, but rather a concrete lesson on why bureaucracies — like corporate giants — must be controlled and restrained from becoming too big to fail. Also, let’s remember that the elderly pensioners and working-class people having austerity measures crammed down their throats by the IMF are not the ones who caused the problems in the first place. As usual, it’s the middle class paying heavily to make up for the taxes that rich people ducked out of.

For more, check out the Dollars and Sense piece about it.

Halftime

Man, we’re not even done yet! This super-awesome blog post is eating up my Sunday! You better appreciate it, stupid readers! Leave some real comments so I can finally approve one, instead of wading through constant cesspools of spam every day!

There’s three more sections, so you better go get some popcorn and use the bathroom.

I’ll wait.

Tea Party Over Here

Turns out people in the Tea Party are doing very well under Obama, despite all the socialism and insane bloated government spending and the tax increases. (TPCQ: “It’s the biggest tax increase in history!” “Actually, dad, it’s the smallest tax increase in history.”)

In the results of the latest New York Times/CBS News poll, they are better educated and wealthier than the general public. They are just as likely to be employed, and more likely to describe their economic situation as very or fairly good.

Stupid New York Times! It’s the principle of the thing! Also Obama is a secret Muslim! And has anyone else noticed how stupid it is to refer to the Boston Tea Party, whose motto was “No taxation without representation”? I’m fairly certain that every single person at those rallies is represented in our government. By three different people. Maybe they’re all just stupid morons. (No, no no. They’re simply misguided by an over-reliance on media sources offering a woefully simplistic vision of the modern world and we must show compassionate support for.. AH, SCREW IT! Glenn Beck is SATAN!)

Meanwhile, it looks like Tea Party protesters are sometimes getting a free pass from police, for the same actions that usually get anti-corporate-globalization protesters tear-gassed.

“Tea party” activists successfully lobbied security officials in Raleigh, N.C., last Thursday to reverse a ban on carrying full-sized flagpoles and signs at a tax day rally. Antiwar protesters, however, argue that they’re often not afforded such luxuries.

Also, one of the groups backing the Tea Parties, The National Center for Constitution Studies, is selling pocket-sized versions of The US Constitution. The creepy thing is the cover: Check out George Washington holding the quill pen toward you, as if Bob Schmuckington of Bumtoad, Kentucky is the most important signature left to add to our founding document. And the way he’s looking at us.. creepy!

As the web page points out: “On the front cover of this pocket Constitution there is a four-color picture of George Washington holding a quill in his hand, inviting each of us to pledge our support for and commitment to The Constitution of the United States by maintaining and promoting its standard of liberty for ourselves and our posterity.”

And I assume everyone has heard about Sarah Palin’s new book, due out in November? Guess who just made an Amazon.com Wish List for the first time ever?

James Cameron Is a Pathetic Hypocrite

I still haven’t seen Avatar, and it’s doubtful I ever will. From what I hear, it’s Dances with Pocahantas, only with really cool special effects. But I was supposed to see them in IMAX HD 3D SUPERVISION. And I didn’t.

I was pretty skeptical anyway, since these movies always preach about the sanctity of nature and the need for privileged oppressor-class people to recognize their culpability in greedy homicide, but they’re made by Hollywood fatcats who are always crypt-silent when it comes to greedy homicide in the real world.

So I was overcome with profound admiration for James Cameron after watching the interview with him on Democracy Now!

And a lot of what I thought I was doing with this movie was commenting on the colonial period, the manifest destiny period, in American history, so much of which is in the past. And, you know, we don’t have the cavalry charging in and cutting down whole villages now. You know, we think we’ve evolved beyond that, when in fact it is happening in other countries. You know, there have been incidents in Peru just recently where, you know, guns were used on protesting indigenous people, who fought back with bows and arrows, and deaths on both sides.

He’s been taking action against a bogus dam project in Brazil, and even addressing Israel/Palestine a little. (Though he says — and kudos to him for saying it — that he can’t say too much because he doesn’t know enough about it to have an informed opinion.)

So, given his willingness to stand up in the real world for some true and worthwhile political purpose, how can I call him a hypocrite? Well, why didn’t he speak out against real-world evil companies researching murderous alien lifeforms, like the Weyland-Yutani corporation in his documentary film Aliens? Why doesn’t he take a stand against the killer robots in our world, that are so obviously similar to the homicidal killbots in Terminator 2? It’s a dangerous world, Mr. Cameron, and we can’t afford to ignore the most urgent threats. Your childish wavering on the real problems we face is pathetic.

Demon Hell Dog Buys US Military Contractor

My favorite corporation named after a multi-headed infernal guardian hell-beast, Cerberus Capital Management, has reached a $1.5 billion deal to buy US defense contractor DynCorp International. I’m speechless.

And in other news: Exhausted Noam Chomsky Just Going To Try And Enjoy The Day For Once.

“I just want to lie in a hammock and have a nice relaxing morning,” said the outspoken anarcho-syndicalist academic, who first came to public attention with his breakthrough 1957 book Syntactic Structures. “The systems of control designed to manufacture consent among a largely ignorant public will still be there for me to worry about tomorrow. Today, I’m just going to kick back and enjoy some much-needed Noam Time.”

Thanks to @Adam Root for the link. I’m gonna grab some Noam Time for myself!

TimeWaster™

Matt Damon! Sarah Palin! Matt Damon talking about Sarah Palin!

Today I’m listening to: Famfeud! (Warning: MySpace sucks! Why do so many indie hip hop acts use MySpace? It sucks!)

Bipartisan This

Once again, the mighty Paul Krugman has linked us to some important facts about the news of the day.

You know how Republicans are always yammering these days about the importance of “bipartisanship” and how Democrats need to work with their colleagues across the aisle?

Let’s leave aside the obvious rejoinder about how Republicans are never willing to work with Democrats when they control both the executive and legislative branches. Let’s leave aside the eight years of Bush Jr. and how they did whatever the [very bad word] they wanted to do, laughing not only at Democrats but also the rest of the world too.

Krugman links us to a Time magazine article from May 2009 describing a meeting between Obama and Republican leaders:

So, right there in the Cabinet Room, the President put a proposal on the table, according to two people who were present. Obama said he was willing to curb malpractice awards, a move long sought by the Republicans and certain to bring strong opposition from the trial lawyers who fund the Democratic Party.

What, he wanted to know, did the Republicans have to offer in return? Nothing, it turned out. Republicans were unprepared to make any concessions, if they had any to make.

So don’t give me any more bullcrap sob stories about how Obama is some tyrant trying to force his agenda on a cooperative Republican party who just wants to play nice.

TimeWaster™

In case you’ve never seen it, check out Jonathan Mann’s excellent song “Hey Paul Krugman”.

Today I’m listening to: DI Breaks!