The Leftblogistan Zappadan iPhone ‘App’

Zappadan AppI’ve put it in scare quotes because it’s not really an app. It’s a Web site. But, it uses iui to make it look like an iPhone app.

I initially started it to help me stay up to date on what the Zappadan bloggers are up to so I can keep the @Zappadan tweets up to date more readily. But now I’m thinking hell, why not share it?

Point your Safari (or Android I reckon) browser over to Am currently listing the blogs I have down in the Zappadan 2010 liszt. If you intend to observe and would like to be listed on this little tool, leave a comment, please. (Or if you’re in there and you’d rather not be, you can let me know that, too, ya scrooge.)

Zappadan. Begins. On Sunday.

The High Cost of a College Education

Just a footnote about why education costs so much. Two years ago Kansas University hired a new football coach with a five-year contract worth $10 million. Last weekend they fired Turner Gill after completing two years and winning only five of 24 games. Now the University owes Mr. Gill $6 million.

Here is a list of college football coach salaries compiled by USA Today.

Herman Cain: Never Give Up! Never Surrender!

Herman Cain says he is reassessing his candidacy in light of a new revelation by an Atlanta woman who says he had a long-term affair with her. Nonsense! Herman hang in there!

First of all, the front runner in the GOOP primary is none other than Newty Gingrich, the whore master of the South. He abandoned his first wife on her death bed to go frolic about with some Capitol Hill Hottie… who became the second Mrs. Newty. THEN, he messed around with another Capitol Hill Hottie… and abandoned the wife number 2… to marry Hottie number 2.

Herman, there is a track record here to run against. Which of you is more despicable, the rich capitalist who sleeps around occasionally on his wife of 43 years and exchanges job advice to young women for blow jobs OR the thrice married political hack known throughout Washington as a dangerous guy to get too close to if you are an attractive young woman selling a piece of legislation? You could win here, Herman, on Newty’s track record alone.  And … think!  Newty’s current wife is looking a little frazzled around the edges. Does Newty have another scandal in the wings. Who knows?

And remember the rest of the field. Boring, boring and not interesting. And did I say stupid? That would cover Rick Perry. Ditzie describes Michelle Bachman. Marginal whacko takes out Ron Paul. How many GOOP primary voters are going to support pulling out of Iraq and legalizing dope? And just marginal covers everyone but Romney… a flip flopping liberal in Mormon underwear if ever there was one. Herman, you still have a chance!

And finally, remember Bill Clinton. In 1992 Clinton was just starting the get traction in the Democratic Primaries when the Jennifer Flowers story broke. Clinton looked like toast, but hard work and a loyal wife made a difference and gave Bill a satisfactory second place showing in the New Hampshire primary (behind Paul Tsongas, the native son). The rest is history.

Herman, pick up the mantle of the Comeback Kid.  Never Give Up! Never Surrender!

No One Is Safe

Elizabeth Warren is awesome and very nearly touches on a tin foil beanie idea that I’ve been considering for quite some time.

The idea: The reason there’s so much income inequity in these Untied States of America, the reason there was (and is) such a successful, forceful opposition to health care reform and the reason the propaganda forces got so firmly behind that effort, is because medical science is on the edge of making it so that human beings can live to be 700 years old, and they know it. But the privilege will come at a cost because it is not cheap to keep a spare respiratory system growing in a petrie dish. So the one percent is busy piling up as much dough as they possibly can because when it becomes possible for their grandchildren to live to be 700 years old, their grandchildren will need to pay the doctors and they’ll need as well to pay their caviar bills for a very, very long time.

Just a theory. Either way, Elizabeth Warren is awesome.

Which Side Are You On?

I want to explain something to you about labor unions.

Labor unions didn’t fight for weekends and 40-hour work weeks because they were concerned with procuring you more leisure time. And they did not press for child labor laws because they believed that children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way, show them all the beauty they possess inside.

Nope. Unions fought for these things specifically for one purpose and one purpose only: To restrict the availability of labor.

Why? Simple economics. If workers are available 168 hours a week, supply is up, and that labor comes way cheap. But, rule #4 of supply and demand sez this:

If supply decreases and demand remains the unchanged, then it leads to higher price and lower quantity.

Cut back on the amount of labor that is available, and labor costs more.

Child labor laws are not about children. They are about protecting the value of work. They are about wages. They are about helping to insure that your labor, yours, as an American laborer, is worth more.

Now. You might have heard, but Newt Gingrich, who is the current front-runner for the Republigoat nomination for the Presidency of these Untied States of America, thinks that child labor laws are stupid.

Promising “extraordinarily radical proposals to fundamentally change the culture of poverty in America,” Newt Gingrich said Friday that he would fire school janitors and pay students to clean schools instead.

Speaking at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, the Republican presidential candidate and former speaker of the House challenged laws that prevent children from working certain jobs before their mid-teens.

Gingrich blames “the core policies of protecting unionization and bureaucratization” for “crippling” children.

“It is tragic what we do in the poorest neighborhoods, entrapping children in, first of all, in child laws, which are truly stupid,” he said.

”I tried for years to have a very simple model,” he continued. “Most of these schools ought to get rid of the unionized janitors, have one master janitor and pay local students to take care of the school. The kids would actually do work, they would have cash, they’d have pride in the schools, they’d begin the process of rising.”

To the average person, Gingrich’s declaration sounds somewhat distasteful, or, perhaps even just plain batshit crazy. But. Remember what I shared with you in part A of this blog entry, you know, the part about child labor laws actualy being a way to limit the supply of labor and therefore to make labor cost more. Then realize for a moment that the forces that support ol’ Newtie would probably prefer it if labor didn’t cost so god-damned much.

Of course Gingrich thinks child labor laws are “stupid.”

Journalists with Shit for Brains

The stupidity of the popular press and its willingness to blithely spread complete horseshit as though it were scientific truth is brought to me today in a story from the fashion page.

It seems a young woman in Germany who is both a biochemist and fashion designer has developed a new fabric made from milk. The stuff, called Qmilch, is apparently washable like cotton but otherwise has the characteristics of silk. As a result, it has great potential. Moreover, it is totally sustainable and not nearly as bad for us as those other common fabrics, according to the Associated Press. “Currently, apparel depends heavily on byproducts from oil, or natural resources such as water— used in the thousands of gallons to produce just a bolt of cotton.” Really?

Cotton is a highly resource-intensive product but milk just comes out of the cow and hardly has an impact on the environment? Gee. I would have thought that most of what cotton uses in the way of water is rainwater, perhaps assisted by some irrigation using resources we have been using for a thousand years. (The Nile, for example.) I would also think that cotton, being a plant and all, would consume carbon dioxide and expel oxygen, thus reducing the carbon footprint of cotton.

On the other hand, I would guess that cows breathe in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide. Moreover they poop a lot and fart a lot. Pooping and farting cows generate methane, which pollutes the atmosphere. In fact, as I recall, the single biggest cause of air pollution in Australia is sheep which, I suspect, don’t poop or fart as much as cows. Moreover, milk is a significant source of nutrition. When we turned corn production from growing food (a lot of it eaten by cows) to growing fuel, we significantly increased the price of food. Poor people go hungry. There were riots in Mexico over the price of tortillas and a significant increase in the price of high fructose corn syrup, which is at the core of most processed foods. We have all paid a little for that. What will happen when we turn cows to the task of churning out prom dresses?

You have to wonder what moron writes this stuff. When I was a cub reporter I was expected to be more discerning than this, and editors were expected to exercise some superior wisdom in guiding their young writers to thinking critically about what they write. Today, any shit for brains punk can get a journalism degree and editors are only slightly elder shit for brains punks who have not been able to find a better paying job tending bar.

What The Occupy Protests Actually Mean

I think there’s a thread missing and an enormously broad question not being asked and investigated regarding the Occupy protests, and, as is often the case, you will be hearing about it first here at the ol’ KIAV.

The question, quite simply, is why now? Why not three years ago? Why not during the horrific health care reform debates? Why did these protests not rise up as a natural response to the teabaggers?

Let’s think about the motivations of the protesters who rolled out to campuses many years ago to stick it to Nixon and his dirty little war. These protesters, I think, protested for a few distinct reasons, including that they were spoiled loudmouths, including that they were trying to get laid, and including that a rather significant population of them ran the risk of actually having to travel to southeast Asia and to stand waist deep in muck just to get their heads blown up like a melon dropped off of a bridge.

Having once been a 20-something who did a little tiny bit of protesting of sorts when I could, I understand the trying to get laid angle and the being an opinionated asshole angle of it. But I never faced something that made me protest or whatever because I felt like my life depended on it.

But I think that these kids have that motivation. I think that’s why now. Because I think that these kids are in college, and they’re neck-deep in student loan debt, and they’re looking out upon this wholly shitty job market, and they’re feeling like they’re being asked to face the risk of getting their tootsies blown off by a bouncing betty. Figuratively, I mean.

I think the protests mean that the 20-year-olds are finally really feeling the pinch of this horrible terrible economic envrionment in which we find ourselves. And I think that means that this shit has really come home to roost and that somebody in Washington had better tell this stupid “supercongress” bullshit to step aside and shut up because we’re about to do some economic stimulus on your ass.

Better yet, give us some leadership who can go above and beyond “stimulus” and who can re-instill a respect for work and for labor in this once great nation of ours.

Yeah. I said it.

Teach your children well. And then, maybe, you know, listen to them.

We’re All For The Occupy Wall Street Protests

Sometimes, I think there’s value in just saying something in pure black-and-white even if it’s pretty damned obvious.

Last night, well, I mean early this morning since my day job requires my presence until the wee hours, Papa Bonk and I are huddled around the cathode nipple watching Ketih Olbermann detail the stunning developments in the Occupy movement. They said there might have been as many people as 35,000 people marching across the Brooklyn Bridge last night, Keith reported. Not only that, but Keith was also telling us about Occupy surges in Washington D.C., where an Occupy committee has come up with a national budget plan of its own; in Seattle, and in other places all over the country.

We commented to each other and I think the feeling is mutual; Papa Bonk and I are both somewhat flabbergasted, in a good way, about the sheer awesomeness of the Occupy movement. And we both think it is good for these Untied States of America.

See, historically, when electoral politics fails us, it’s up to movement politics to pick up the ball and move it forward.


This country is long overdue for radical policy reforms to help us recover from the terrible ideas spouted by right-wing extremist idealogues, this horrible idea that the “free market,” a mythical unicorn-like animal that lounges in fields of azure and smells like cinnamon and poops gold, is the only acceptable model for distributing goods and services, period. We need a government that once again says to the nation’s industrialsts, look, you can either invest some of your excess profits into your company in infrastructure and hiring, or we’ll take it and use it to fix the roads that you fucked up with your big trucks. Your choice.

Rather than where we are now, where we say to them, listen, you can either invest some of your excess profits into your company in infrastructure and hiring, or you can put it in your pocket and walk away.

That’s the deal, and that’s what they’re marching about. That’s the agenda. And I keep thinking that a smart national political leader would see that parade, grab the baton, and get out in front of it. But that’ll be the day.

By the way, nearly everything I wrote in this entry I stole shamelessly via paraphrase from radio show host Thom Hartmann. Thanks, Thom.