Riley on Marketing

From Jezebel:

Video Of Little Girl Getting Pissed Off At Gender-Specific Toy Colors Will Make Your Heart Swell
I kind of knew I would love this video when I clicked on it and I was right. I just didn’t know how much I would love it.

In the video, awesome little kid Riley paces around the doll aisle while trying to figure out why companies are trying to “trick girls into buying the pink stuff instead of stuff that boys want to buy”.

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Uniting Occupy and Labor Over Health Care

From Common Dreams:

by Shamus Cooke
Published on Sunday, December 25, 2011 by

Politicians are attacking Medicare and Medicaid on all sides–Democrats and Republicans alike. Obama’s national health care bill will slash hundreds of billions from Medicare over the next decade, an act supported by so-called “progressive” Democrats. Soon after this “victory” Obama created the Super Committee to balance the budget, which included automatic  “triggers”– if no decision was reached — that are now slated to cut $600 billion more from Medicare.

On a state-by-state basis, Medicaid — a program that provides health care to the poor —  is being cut in virtually every state, where they are using their manufactured budget crises as an excuse. This under-funding of Medicaid has created a lack of doctors for patients, according to USA today:

“With a shortage of doctors…[Medicaid] patients have little choice but to use hospital emergency rooms for more routine care.” (July 5th, 2011).

But it gets worse. Now, “long term solutions” are being sought. After critically wounding the system with disfiguring cuts, Medicare’s plug is about to be pulled. Different privatization plans have been put forth that would instantly kill Medicare. One such plan was recently announced by Democratic Senator Ron Wyden and Republican Congressman Paul Ryan, which, if enacted, would deliver a deathblow to Medicare as we know it. Some commentators have wrongly dismissed Wyden as a “crackpot” risking political suicide; in fact, Wyden is a cautious, “pragmatic” politician, i.e. he blindly follows party leaders and their corporate bosses.

The Wyden-Ryan plan has deep roots not only amongst Republicans, but also Blue Dog Democrats and the New Democrat Coalition– the powerful congressional caucuses that actually run the Democratic Party. These are the people that create the right-wing economic policies that President Obama has been pursuing since his election victory– thus Obama’s ability to work in a bi-partisan manner with the Republican Party. The Wall Street Journal commented on Obama’s right-wing health care plan:

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Tom Lehrer – A Christmas Carol

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Hartmann: Why the 1% are Less Empathetic to the Poor

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What if We Occupied Language?

Many of our battles over the next few years are going to be fought over language, what George Lakoff calls framing.

Propaganda is all about framing as is addressing power relationships.  The use of framing defines us vs. them as well as who has cause for complaint regarding the abuse of power or the fairness of labels.

Hence protesters being defined as “Dirty Fucking Hippie Commie Queers” and the 1% as the noble put upon hard working geniuses who create all that is good and wonderful.

The 99% movement/Occupy has the Masters of the Fucking Universe scared and trying to get control of the framing and language.

They are doing everything in their power to frame themselves as the good guys, who really deserve the 10,000 dollars  an hour, more than the actually hard working people who do the work that earns that 10,000 dollars  in the first place.  The workers aren’t worth even 10 dollars per hour and the idea that they might organize and form a union for better wages is counter-productive.

Counter-productive for who?

From The New York Times:

December 21, 2011

When I flew out from the San Francisco airport last October, we crossed above the ports that Occupy Oakland helped shut down, and arrived in Germany to be met by traffic caused by Occupy Berlin protestors. But the movement has not only transformed public space, it has transformed the public discourse as well.


It is now nearly impossible to hear the word and not think of the Occupy movement.

Even as distinguished an expert as the lexicographer and columnist Ben Zimmer admitted as much this week: “occupy,” he said, is the odds-on favorite to be chosen as the American Dialect Society’s Word of the Year.

It has already succeeded in shifting the terms of the debate, taking phrases like “debt-ceiling” and “budget crisis” out of the limelight and putting terms like “inequality” and “greed” squarely in the center. This discursive shift has made it more difficult for Washington to continue to promote the spurious reasons for the financial meltdown and the unequal outcomes it has exposed and further produced.

To most, the irony of a progressive social movement using the term “occupy” to reshape how Americans think about issues of democracy and equality has been clear. After all, it is generally nations, armies and police who occupy, usually by force. And in this, the United States has been a leader. The American government is just now after nine years ending its overt occupation of Iraq, is still entrenched in Afghanistan and is maintaining troops on the ground in dozens of countries worldwide. All this is not to obscure the fact that the United States as we know it came into being by way of an occupation —  a gradual and devastatingly violent one that all but extinguished entire Native American populations across thousands of miles of land.

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Vs.  The right wing framing.

From Yahoo News:

Quoting ultra right wing Republican Propagandist, Frank Luntz

1. Don’t say ‘capitalism.’

“I’m trying to get that word removed and we’re replacing it with either ‘economic freedom’ or ‘free market,’ ” Luntz said. “The public . . . still prefers capitalism to socialism, but they think capitalism is immoral. And if we’re seen as defenders of quote, Wall Street, end quote, we’ve got a problem.”

2. Don’t say that the government ‘taxes the rich.’ Instead, tell them that the government ‘takes from the rich.’

“If you talk about raising taxes on the rich,” the public responds favorably, Luntz cautioned. But  “if you talk about government taking the money from hardworking Americans, the public says no. Taxing, the public will say yes.”

3. Republicans should forget about winning the battle over the ‘middle class.’ Call them ‘hardworking taxpayers.’

“They cannot win if the fight is on hardworking taxpayers. We can say we defend the ‘middle class’ and the public will say, I’m not sure about that. But defending ‘hardworking taxpayers’ and Republicans have the advantage.”

4. Don’t talk about ‘jobs.’ Talk about ‘careers.’

“Everyone in this room talks about ‘jobs,'” Luntz said. “Watch this.”

He then asked everyone to raise their hand if they want a “job.” Few hands went up. Then he asked who wants a “career.” Almost every hand was raised.

“So why are we talking about jobs?”

5. Don’t say ‘government spending.’ Call it ‘waste.’

“It’s not about ‘government spending.’ It’s about ‘waste.’ That’s what makes people angry.”

6. Don’t ever say you’re willing to ‘compromise.’

“If you talk about ‘compromise,’ they’ll say you’re selling out. Your side doesn’t want you to ‘compromise.’ What you use in that to replace it with is ‘cooperation.’ It means the same thing. But cooperation means you stick to your principles but still get the job done. Compromise says that you’re selling out those principles.”

7. The three most important words you can say to an Occupier: ‘I get it.’

“First off, here are three words for you all: ‘I get it.’ . . . ‘I get that you’re angry. I get that you’ve seen inequality. I get that you want to fix the system.”

Then, he instructed, offer Republican solutions to the problem.

8. Out: ‘Entrepreneur.’ In: ‘Job creator.’

Use the phrases “small business owners” and “job creators” instead of “entrepreneurs” and “innovators.”

9. Don’t ever ask anyone to ‘sacrifice.’

“There isn’t an American today in November of 2011 who doesn’t think they’ve already sacrificed. If you tell them you want them to ‘sacrifice,’ they’re going to be be pretty angry at you. You talk about how ‘we’re all in this together.’ We either succeed together or we fail together.”

10. Always blame Washington.

Tell them, “You shouldn’t be occupying Wall Street, you should be occupying Washington. You should occupy the White House because it’s the policies over the past few years that have created this problem.”


Don’t say ‘bonus!’

Luntz advised that if they give their employees an income boost during the holiday season, they should never refer to it as a “bonus.”

“If you give out a bonus at a time of financial hardship, you’re going to make people angry. It’s ‘pay for performance.'”


We should all describe the rich fat cats as the spoiled elite scum that exploits the majority of the hard working and poor people.

We should describe they wealth as earned through exploitation and basically criminal actions.  They should always be described as tax dodgers and exploiters.

And so on and so on.  Matt Taibbi hit the nail on the head with “face eating vampire squid”  Describe their greed as loathsome.

Never let them define themselves as job creators when they have destroyed so many jobs with globalization and the “free market”, which is anything but free.

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Holidays are Hard for many of us

When I was a child I used to dread the holidays and family gatherings because of how I could be criticized by relatives.

As an adult I’ve had good holidays and bad.

The best ones have been when I was with a lover or with family of choice where I wasn’t made to feel like an outcast.

The worst have been when I was a lone because that was when I would crawl inside a bottle, especially at Christmas time when I would go on a binge that lasted until the New Year.

It isn’t good, it isn’t healthy and the drinking only makes the depression worse.

Too many of us are too alone, too afraid to reach out to others, to open up with others, or to even make friends.

We try to drink or drug away the pain.

And if you are in that space I understand.

Do what ever it takes to get through today.

Its nearly 2:30 here, I was writing and checked the Blog before shutting down and saw I had some 40 hits within the last couple of hours.  That tells me that people are up late or very early and probably alone.

During the day today reach out and call a friend, talk to some one, do something you enjoy.  Maybe even go to a Christmas Mass if that was part of your childhood and would bring back happy memories.

I know some of you have been disowned, some of you have been disconnected from your children because you came out.

I wish I had something that could ease that sort of pain.

Tina and I are possibly going to a matinee this afternoon but will otherwise be here.

If you need personal contact and post a comment to this message you don’t have to leave an e-mail address because I get that when a comment is posted.  Just leave a message and I’ll at least write you an e-mail

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John Lennon – Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

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Goodbye ‘Shop Til You Drop’ Mentality: Renegade Band of Economists Call for ‘Degrowth’ Economy

From Alternet:

The road to prosperity and happiness doesn’t lead to the shopping mall, as most economists would have you believe.

By Christine MacDonald
December 23, 2011


In this country, shopping is not just a national pastime. Consumer spending, which makes up about 70 percent of the economy, is a sort of patriotic duty — never more so than in the last four years of economic malaise.


So news from the National Retail Federation that the country is on track for a record-breaking holiday shopping season — $469.1 billion in sales, up 3.8 percent from last year — could only be a good thing, right?


 But what if all roads to prosperity don’t lead to the shopping mall, as most economists would have us believe? What if, in fact, all that shopping — and the imperative to grow corporate profits quarter after quarter and continuously expand the economy — was actually the root of many of the problems we face today?


That’s the view of a renegade but increasingly influential band of economists, who say the myth of perpetual economic growth and “the iron cage of consumerism” are the chief causes of world economic dysfunction and environmental crisis — and the biggest obstacle to our very happiness.


“Overwhelmingly, growth is seen as the solution to all problems, but growth is failing,” says Herman Daly, a former World Bank economist who is also known as the father of “ecological economics,” an offshoot of the same field that spawned Adam Smith three centuries ago but challenges many of the assumptions that classical economists hold dear.


While the term may seem like an oxymoron to some, ecological economics places the economy inside the larger “ecosphere” that supports all life on Earth, rather than seeing the economy and job creation in direct opposition to environmental protection. That’s an idea that has gained ground in recent years as businesses have become increasingly compromised by water and raw material scarcity, extreme weather, crop failures and other problems linked to global warming and environmental degradation.

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A Christmas Message From America’s Rich

From Rolling Stone:

By Matt Taibbi
December 22, 2011

It seems America’s bankers are tired of all the abuse. They’ve decided to speak out.

True, they’re doing it from behind the ropeline, in front of friendly crowds at industry conferences and country clubs, meaning they don’t have to look the rest of America in the eye when they call us all imbeciles and complain that they shouldn’t have to apologize for being so successful.

But while they haven’t yet deigned to talk to protesting America face to face, they are willing to scribble out some complaints on notes and send them downstairs on silver trays. Courtesy of a remarkable story by Max Abelson at Bloomberg, we now get to hear some of those choice comments.

Home Depot co-founder Bernard Marcus, for instance, is not worried about OWS:

“Who gives a crap about some imbecile?” Marcus said. “Are you kidding me?”

Former New York gurbernatorial candidate Tom Golisano, the billionaire owner of the billing firm Paychex, offered his wisdom while his half-his-age tennis champion girlfriend hung on his arm:

“If I hear a politician use the term ‘paying your fair share’ one more time, I’m going to vomit,” said Golisano, who turned 70 last month, celebrating the birthday with girlfriend Monica Seles, the former tennis star who won nine Grand Slam singles titles

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Jurors Need to Know That They Can Say No

From The New York Times:

Published: December 20, 2011


IF you are ever on a jury in a marijuana case, I recommend that you vote “not guilty” — even if you think the defendant actually smoked pot, or sold it to another consenting adult. As a juror, you have this power under the Bill of Rights; if you exercise it, you become part of a proud tradition of American jurors who helped make our laws fairer.

The information I have just provided — about a constitutional doctrine called “jury nullification” — is absolutely true. But if federal prosecutors in New York get their way, telling the truth to potential jurors could result in a six-month prison sentence.

Earlier this year, prosecutors charged Julian P. Heicklen, a retired chemistry professor, with jury tampering because he stood outside the federal courthouse in Manhattan providing information about jury nullification to passers-by. Given that I have been recommending nullification for nonviolent drug cases since 1995 — in such forums as The Yale Law Journal, “60 Minutes” and YouTube — I guess I, too, have committed a crime.

The prosecutors who charged Mr. Heicklen said that “advocacy of jury nullification, directed as it is to jurors, would be both criminal and without constitutional protections no matter where it occurred.” The prosecutors in this case are wrong. The First Amendment exists to protect speech like this — honest information that the government prefers citizens not know.

Laws against jury tampering are intended to deter people from threatening or intimidating jurors. To contort these laws to justify punishing Mr. Heicklen, whose court-appointed counsel describe him as “a shabby old man distributing his silly leaflets from the sidewalk outside a courthouse,” is not only unconstitutional but unpatriotic. Jury nullification is not new; its proponents have included John Hancock and John Adams.

The doctrine is premised on the idea that ordinary citizens, not government officials, should have the final say as to whether a person should be punished. As Adams put it, it is each juror’s “duty” to vote based on his or her “own best understanding, judgment and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court.”

In 1895, the Supreme Court ruled that jurors had no right, during trials, to be told about nullification. The court did not say that jurors didn’t have the power, or that they couldn’t be told about it, but only that judges were not required to instruct them on it during a trial. Since then, it’s been up to scholars like me, and activists like Mr. Heicklen, to get the word out.

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Sea Shepherd Intercepts the Japanese Whaling Fleet with Drones

It’s that time of year again and the Japanese Whale Murdering Fleet is off to slaughter the beautiful whales in the Southern Oceans near Antarctica.

May all our best hopes and wishes go out to the brave men and women of Sea Shepherd, may they prevent the Japanese Wale Murder Fleet from killing any whales by successfully disrupting the slaughter.

From Sea Shepherd:

December 24, 2011

Japanese Security Ships Move In On the Steve Irwin

The Sea Shepherd ship, Steve Irwin, deployed a drone to successfully locate and photograph the Japanese factory ship Nisshin Maru on December 24th. Once the pursuit began, three Japanese harpoon/security ships moved in on the Steve Irwin to shield the Nisshin Maru to allow it to escape.

This time however the Japanese tactic of tailing the Steve Irwin and the Bob Barker will not work because the drones, one on the Steve Irwin and the other on the Bob Barker, can track and follow the Nisshin Maru and can relay the positions back to the Sea Shepherd ships.

“We can cover hundreds of miles with these drones and they have proven to be valuable assets for this campaign,” said Captain Paul Watson on board the Steve Irwin.

The drone named Nicole Montecalvo was donated to the Steve Irwin by Bayshore Recycling of New Jersey, and Moran Office of Maritime and Port Security, also of New Jersey.

Captain Watson having received reports from fishermen when the Japanese ship passed through the Lombok Strait waited south of the strait at a distance of 500 miles off the southwest coast of Western Australia. Sea Shepherd caught the whalers at 37 degrees South, far above the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

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From Salon:

Throughout much of history, the holiday was a celebration of rebellion against authority. It’s time to reclaim it

Tom Christensen 
Saturday, Dec 24, 2011

Christmas has always been politicized. Since 2005, when Fox News commentator John Gibson published “The War on Christmas: How the Liberal Plot to Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday Is Worse Than You Thought,” the focus has mainly been on a supposed progressive agenda. Last year the New York City YMCA drew criticism for replacing Santa Claus with Frosty the Snowman at a family event — children were forced, complained the New York Post, to “suffer the icy embrace of a talking snowman” instead of the warm hug of a fur-clad fat man. This year the American Family Association has once again called out retailers who favor the word “holidays,” placing them on its “Naughty” list.

But there is also something different going on this year. A popular hashtag on Twitter is #OccupyXmas. In Portland, San Francisco and elsewhere, carolers dressed in Santa suits and elf outfits have been singing a new song. It goes in part like this:

Arrest ye merry bankermen

All profiting today

You crashed the whole economy

Yet nothing did you pay …

Through the centuries a spirit of rebellion has often colored the Christmas season. There is good historical precedent for thinking of Santa Claus and Christmas itself as icons of the 99 percent movement.

Next to nothing is known about Saint Nicholas, a Greek who was the Christian bishop of Demre, a town on the southern coast of Turkey. As Christianity expanded northward he became a palimpsest — a symbol that could be invoked for any variety of causes, such as the welfare of children. According to one persistent legend he was a member of the affluent 1 percent who became disturbed by prevailing social inequities and sought to redistribute wealth to the less fortunate. Through the centuries the notion of wealth redistribution would be associated with the saint, and with Christmas.

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French breast implant chief wanted by Interpol

From The Guardian UK:

Jean-Claude Mas is the founder of PIP whose breast implants are at the centre of a global health scare
, Saturday 24 December 2011

Interpol is seeking the arrest of Jean-Claude Mas, the founder of a French company whose breast implants are at the centre of a global health scare.

The international police agency has issued a red notice for Mas. His firm Poly Implant Protheses (PIP), which went into administration last year, supplied implants to tens of thousands of women in Europe and South America.

Interpol’s website says the 72-year-old is wanted by Costa Rican authorities for crimes involving “life and health” but gives no further details. France has offered to pay for an estimated 30,000 women in the country to have their PIP implants removed because of risks the products could rupture and leak industrial-grade silicone.

They are filled with an unapproved non-medical grade material – believed to be made for mattresses – and there have been reports that the protective barriers are faulty.

At least 40,000 British women are believed to have the implants. But the Department of Health said it was not echoing the French advice and that there was “no evidence” of a safety concern.

The chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davies, said: “Women with PIP implants should not be unduly worried. We have no evidence of a link to cancer or an increased risk of rupture.

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The Christmas War on Atheism: What’s the Religious Right Whining About When It’s Really Non-Believers Who Are Under Attack?

From Alternet:

Right-wing Christians are waging a war on non-believers’ right not to have religion shoved down their throats.

By Alex DiBranco 
December 22, 2011

 It’s that time of year when, if you tune into Fox News or right-wing talk radio, you’re sure to hear the phrase “war on Christmas” repeated ad infinitum. Perhaps you’ve also seen Rick Perry’s new war on Christmas ad, which gives the added gift of rabid homophobia, while absurdly accusing President Barack Obama of leading a war on religion.

But in reality, this year, like most years, it’s right-wing Christians who are waging a war on the right of non-believers to avoid having religion shoved down their throats.

Say “Merry Christmas” — or Else

“I was working at Target the year [2005] Target was supposedly prohibiting employees from saying Merry Christmas,” Kathy Johnson of American Atheists told  AlterNet. As a volunteer wrapping packages, she was told employees were welcome to use whatever greeting they preferred, whether that was “Happy Holidays,” “Season’s Greetings,” or, yes, “Merry Christmas.”

That the claim was false didn’t stop the right-wing American Family Association (AFA) from mounting a campaign claiming that “Target Stores have decided to ban ‘Merry Christmas’ in their stores starting this holiday season.” AFA compiles an annual list of companies it views as waging a “war on Christmas.” Target earned a place in 2005 for these unfounded accusations.

For AFA, it’s not enough simply to talk about Christmas — you can talk only about Christmas. When the Gap aired the jingle “Go Christmas, Go Hanukkah, Go Kwanzaa, Go Solstice” in 2009, the AFA fumed that it would mention a holiday of “witchcraft.” An article by AFA director of issues Analysis Bryan Fischer made the strange argument that the Gap’s inclusive advertising followed in the footsteps of “atheist Nazis” who started the war on Christmas. In response to the AFA’s online campaign and a boycott, Target added references to Christmas in its ads.

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