Tag Archives: bullshit

About that Volker Protest

21 Aug

Dale Volker is the poster boy for out-of-touchedness among our politicians “serving” western New York.  When the cops told them they couldn’t go onto public property to protest Volker, the cops were wrong.  Erie Basin Marina is quite clearly publicly owned property, although parts are operated by a private concessionaire with ties to City Hall.

The protesters obeyed the police order to stay off of public property and stay on other public property.  How come?  The cops were wrong. Waltz onto the Marina grounds.  What’s Volker going to do?  Have you arrested?  That would have been awesome to use against him during the next election.

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Medicalization and Everything That’s Wrong With America

22 Jun

During the Bush era, it was de rigueur to say that terrorists, muslims and other assorted brown people around the world “hated us for our freedom”.  And by “freedom”, the right wing meant love of Jesus, guns and the parts of the constitution they liked…in that order.

Do you know why “they” really hate us?  It’s because of shit like this.

And when I say “they”, I don’t just mean terrorists, I mean the entire fucking world.  Seriously, can we create some more “diseases” or “illnesses” that we can treat with bullshit prescription drugs?  Is it even possible?  Each time that I think we’ve hit the limit of what Americans will believe is an actual disorder or disease, a pharmaceutical company takes it to another level.  Welcome to the world of medicalization, spoon fed to the mouthbreathing American populace as they watch Survivor.

Medicalization is not the easiest word to understand, he said, but it is the best one to explain so far “a juggernaut which no one seems able to stop.”

Behind that juggernaut is a culture-accelerating blend of medicine, marketing, and perceived need that Allan Brandt called “inexorable” and culturally pervasive. (Brandt, who helped introduce the event, is Amalie Moses Kass Professor of the History of Medicine and dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.)

“Before you sell a drug,” said Lane — skeptical of a well-oiled U.S. medicalization machine, “you have to sell an illness.”

Now, I’m not gonna go all Penn Jillette on you here, but come on folks, wake up.  Don’t ask your Doctor about your chronic eyelash undergrowth or your Restess Legs.  Stop being an automaton.  This is a microcosm of how we have handed over control to corporate interests and how we generally swallow marketing content as serious consultative advice.  We are slaves to things we own and want.  How do we fix it?

A step in the right direction would be a ban on direct to consumer advertising for drugs…However, I don’t think we’ll see any elected official try and fuck with the pharmaceutical lobby on this.  Example #1,431 as to why your Government no longer belongs to you.  Maybe we should take it back.

Nuggnuts Clownslap

17 Dec

McDonald’s has launched a new multi-million dollar branding campaign around their bottom of the menu superstar, the Chicken McNugget.  The campaign is called Nuggnuts and most prominently features a series of television advertisements designed to recast the forlorn McNugget as a staple of any cool hipster’s diet.

There is also a twitter page, an official facebook group, and lots of purposeful and heavy handed corporate viral marketing.  During a recession, I guess I’d be looking to recast one of the cheaper items on my menu as a tasty option, but the McNugget has a sordid past.

The Chicken McNugget is a small piece of minced chicken breast and mechanically separated meat held together with phosphate salts and some chicken skin. The pieces are coated with batter, lightly fried to set the batter, individually quick frozen, packaged, and sent to stores.

I’ll let Jamie Oliver demonstrate what “mechanically separated meat” is

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Bullshit use of social media to change customer perception irritates me.  Make a better product, nuggnuts.  Oh, and try and keep the chicken heads out of the meat slurry this time…

Part of the Reason Why I Support Barack Obama

23 Oct

Barack Obama on the “real America”:

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With the challenges and crises we face right now, we cannot afford to divide this country by race or class or region; by who we are or what policies we support. There are no real or fake parts of this country. We are not separated by the pro-America and anti-America parts of this nation – we all love this country, no matter where we live or where we come from.

McCain/Palin, on the other hand, spread around this kind of false, divisive crap:

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My take is this. Every part of the United States of America is pro-American. Obama gets it. Palin, especially, seeks to widen what divides us. McCain’s selection of this ignorant culture warrior is his express endorsement of those views.

Last Word on the War Kids

7 Aug

Glad to see everyone got it all out of their systems. Didja notice that most of you were either arguing about:

1. An unsubstantiated allegation leveled against Powers by his opponent that hadn’t been properly countered or proven independently; and/or

2. Whether or not the campaign was smart or not to do rapid response and kill the story before it could take its first breath.

I definitely have a very strong opinion on point number 2. The campaign, in my opinion, dropped every ball in the world with respect to pushback on these scurrilous and untrue charges. It should have been right in McCarthy’s article. If not, it should have been countered via press release that very morning.

I had nothing to say about point number 1 until I saw some confirmation or proof that Powers took $77k from an organization that only raised something in the $200,000 neighborhood. I wasn’t going to take McCarthy’s article at face value, and was waiting for some kind of proof.

Someone posting here as “WNYDEM” who gave as his website URL the phony Davis-sponsored Powers lookalike site wrote this comment:

The $77,000 figure comes directly from Jon Powers’ financial disclosures.

He was paid $60,000 in 2006, $2,314.53 for half of January in 2007, and then when he spun WKR off into a separate entity, he paid himself $15,000 in three months (March through May of 2007). So basically, he was paying himself $5,000 per month.

But I guess we will know more when the Form 990s are filed (or not) on August 15th.

He then later wrote:

Here it is . . .

http://www.powersplatoon.com/images/PowersFD.jpg

When one takes a look at that image, one finds that:

The Vietnam Veterans Foundation is not War Kids. It is the organization under which War Kids was founded, but the organizations are not one and the same. It quite clearly shows that he earned $15k from War Kids Relief and 60k the year before from the Vietnam Veterans Foundation. During the year-ending 2006, the VFA had revenues of $12 million. Therefore, $60k would represent .5% – that is one half of one percent of what VFA took in.

That pretty much defines insignificant, and this really is nothing. I continue to disagree with how this was handled, however.

Also, anyone who is suggesting that this story wasn’t peddled by the Davis campaign is deluding themselves. The platoon site had “Real War Kids Story – coming soon” on the site two weeks ago. They’ve been building up to this. Davis is such a piece of political excrement that they had to launch an inaccurate, lazy attack on Powers that assailed the good work he tried to do.

This race will continue, and Democrats in NY-26 will be able to choose between Davis, Kryzan, and Powers. I continue to believe in Powers and his campaign, and although I think he has been ill served with respect to the handling of this particular issue, that doesn’t change my mind in the least about him as the best of the three choices come September.

See you at the debate, bitches.

Swiftboating? Moi?

24 Jul

Bruce Jackson writes in this week’s Artvoice:

The BuffaloPundit blog, anti-casino in the past, came out against the Wendt foundation on July 13. It’s posting for that day was headlined,“Margaret Went Foundation.” Under that was a pretty color picture of a casino at night with “Keeps Joel Rose” in the top left corner and “Up at night” in the bottom right corner. The remainder of the posting was a listing of fundable activities and grant recipients from the Wendt Foundation Web page and an attack on the foundation for its support of the lawsuit. On July 22 the site posted a photograph of Serbian war criminal Radovan Karadzic under a caption saying, “Here’s what the Butcher of Sarajevo looks like nowadays.” Under the picture was a caption saying, “Rumor has it the Wendt Foundation is paying him $1,000,000 to fight a casino in downtown Buffalo.”

1. Thanks for the plug.

2. I was never anti-casino, per se. I was anti-carving-out-sovereign-exclaves-in-Buffalo-for-gambling-purposes. Even Skretny upheld the sovereign exclave bit. I’ve never subscribed to the moralistic or economic arguments against a casino.

3. My post spelled “Wendt” correctly – Artvoice didn’t. Although “Went” is clever.

4. The Karadzic crack – for the humor-challenged – was about likening Joel Rose’s beard to Karadzic’s hirsute disguise. Not likening CACGEC to Republika Srpska. I realize now that it could have been taken that way, and I’m sorry.

Perhaps the most surprising attack on the foundation was Michael Beebe’s July 20 article in the Buffalo News, which begins innocently enough with a listing of some Wendt grantees: Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Shea’s Performing Arts Center in Buffalo, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin Martin House and Graycliff, the Roycroft campus in East Aurora, the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. The foundation has funded, writes Beebe, “hundreds of social programs through churches, the YMCA, the Boys and Girls Club, the Boy Scouts of America and the United Way. In each of the thousands of Wendt grants over the years, the philosophy has been the same: step in when government or other means of funding are not there, and do it as low-key as possible.”

Then Beebe’s tone changes: “Suddenly, though, the Margaret L. Wendt Foundation finds itself at the center of controversy.”

How, exactly, is the Wendt Foundation in the “center of controversy”? Primarily by being in this article written by Beebe, which is headlined “Wendt in the middle of casino battle: Foundation aids foes with $1.9 million.” This is a newspaper article that defines and creates its own subject, a journalistic tautology.

Who is making the charges occasioning the article? Beebe refers to them only generically: “Talk-show hosts and bloggers have criticized the foundation for the $1.9 million it has spent so far funding the lawsuit against the Seneca Nation of Indians’ Buffalo Creek Casino in Buffalo.”

Talk-show hosts? Which ones? The rational ones or the fruitcakes? The analyzers or the frothers? Since when is criticism by a talk-show host the subject of a long piece by anybody in the news section of the Buffalo News? A dozen of those criticisms are aired on Buffalo talk radio every day and the News pays them no attention at all. Why now? Beebe told me in an email that he’d “heard snippets of Sandy Beach’s show…the day the casino decision came down” and that many of the blog comments he’d seen referred to “the same July 8 Sandy Beach show, in which they said he demonized the opposition.” The Buffalo News is going after the Margaret L. Wendt Foundation because Sandy Beach kvetched about it?

Bloggers? Beebe names none of them. Search the Buffalo blogs and you’ll find a lot of comments on the casino litigation (much of it by the same few people writing the same letters again and again), but hardly any, other than BuffaloPundit, going after the Wendt Foundation.

I’ll note for the record that Jackson doesn’t ever defend the Wendt Foundation’s use of $2 million to fund the casino lawsuit. Apart from confirming that how the foundation spends it money is up to its trustees, he only attacks its critics. I think that speaks for itself, and that the underlying point – that the Wendt Foundation certainly could have found better uses for $2 million – remains quite salient indeed.

More troubling, Jackson poses the suggestion that there is a conspiratorial, concerted effort to “Swiftboat” the Wendt Foundation.

Is all of this—Scott Brown’s WGRZ story (which has no ascriptions), Michael Beebe’s Buffalo News story (which has no ascriptions), the blog posts (nearly all of them under assumed names, many of them using the same language to make the same bogus charges again and again)—mere coincidence or is it a concerted effort to put public pressure on the one significant source of funding open to the casino opponents? Is it an expression of community concern or is it, at least in part, organized and deliberate? Is it swiftboating?

The most workable definition of “swiftboating” I’ve found is on the Urban Dictionary Web site: “A political ploy whereby allegations, falsehoods, exaggerations, or distortions are publicized to discredit a person or entity and have the intended effect that public attention is drawn to the ensuing controversy about the veracity of the allegations and away from some other political embarrassment.”

What a steaming load of horseshit. Bruce Jackson could have easily contacted me via email to ask me whether I had acted in concert with anyone in posting what I did about the Wendt Foundation, but did not. What I do on this site is comment on news events that interest me. I saw the Wendt Foundation story at WGRZ, heard them talk about it on WBEN, and decided to do a post about it because it troubled me, too. Jackson ought to retract his brain-farted supposition or else produce some evidence that I conspired with Channel 2 or WBEN to write something critical of the Wendt Foundation.

Also, in comments to the posted Artvoice piece, Joel Rose doesn’t understand how I know what keeps him up at night.

It’s a joke. It’s a picture of the proposed casino, and I suggest that it keeps you up at night.

I wonder what $2 million could have bought for the poor, underfunded, unconnected, and unprivileged in WNY.