Archive for the rant Category

Worst Comics Publisher Of 2010

Posted in 2010 in review, comic books, rant, the complete opposite of brilliance with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 9, 2011 by vagabondsaint

So here I am, ready to announce my pick for 2010’s Worst Comics Publisher.

But first, the runner-up!

Runner-Up:  DC Comics

Oh, DC.  You had an excellent year coming and completely blew it to Hell.

The biweekly, six-issue miniseries Batman: The Return Of Bruce Wayne, heralding the time-travel adventures of Batman as he struggled back from the past (more on that in another column) was poised to be a huge hit.  It had a superstar writer in Grant Morrison, the return of a character everybody and their weird uncles loves, and a rotating team of fantastic artists.  How could you possibly blow that?

Oh yeah – it was plagued with delays so badly that a series that should have been out and done in three months instead took seven.  Even for that talent and character, people lost interest.  The delays threw it out of sync with companion books like Batman and Robin, and the release of the completely inconsequential Bruce Wayne: The Road Home one-shots before the final issue of ROBR just confused whoever was still paying attention.  And then, just to make it worse, you released the Time Masters: Vanishing Point miniseries, about the adventures of Rip Hunter, Green Lantern Hal Jordan, and Superman as they searched the timestream for Batman. . .and it too was plagued with delays, which is death for a title that already starred characters no one really cared about.

That would be enough to make a bad year, but oh wait, there is more.

J. Michael Straczynski‘s run on Superman got people talking. . .for all the wrong reasons. It was arrogant, preachy, and heavy-handed to the point that the interludes, necessitated by health issues and Straczynski’s writing the much-better-received Superman: Earth One graphic novel, were liked much better.  While we’re talking about JMS, his changes to Wonder Woman’s costume went over like roadkill for dinner.  Don Kramer’s art couldn’t even save it.  Here’s hoping the next writer either changes it back or gives us a damn good reason for the change.

Other DC blunders?  Delays on The Flash (how does the Fastest Man Alive star in the Slowest Book On The Stands?), James Robinson turning the JLA into Teen Titans: The Grown-Up Years, replacing the all-ages Batman team-up series Batman: The Brave and the Bold with an all-new all-ages Batman team-up series called Batman: The Brave and the Bold (read that line again if you wish; I promise it won’t make any more sense the second time), letting Mark Guggenheim write JSA, and the Jonah Hex movie (which is nearly completely identical to Will Smith’s Wild Wild West movie.  Seriously.  The villains even plot to kill the same President, which makes me wonder what Garfield was up to that so many screenwriters want him dead).  The final nail in the coffin was their 100-page specials, which are just reprints of older comics.  Good for background info on some characters, but useless otherwise and, at $8 each, aren’t selling.  Just stop with the damn specials already, DC.

On the plus side, though, Paul Cornell is doing an excellent run on Action Comics right now.  And Grant Morrison’s Batman work has blown me away.

But, the saving grace for DC?

They listened to the fans.

When faced with rising costs, Marvel and DC both started hiking up prices from $2.99 to $3.99 per issue.  As long it was just a few series and miniseries, it wasn’t so bad.  But in the midst of a recession, fans took notice and starting dropping books.  When the unusually-large price increase started expanding to more regular series and virtually all miniseries in July, fans showed their displeasure by not buying comics.  In fact, industry-wide, there was a stunning 17% across-the-board sales drop in the month of August.  DC responded quickly, and favourably, by issuing a statement that they would drop prices back down to $2.99 in the new year, though, due to rising costs of their own, this would also mean dropping 2 pages per issue.  Hell, at least they listened and responded in a way that showed they understood the situation. (Marvel issued a similar “me too” statement 30 minutes later, but more on that in a minute.)

Despite all the errors and missteps, that single show of understanding kept DC from being the worst publisher of 2010.  No, that honour went to. . .

2010’s Worst Publisher of the Year: Marvel Comics

Oh, it was Marvel’s year, all right. . .Marvel’s year to suck.

Let’s start with over-saturation.  To help build the hype of an upcoming Deadpool movie, Marvel had Deadpool starring in four separate ongoing series this year (five, if you count Deadpool MAX) and at least 2 miniseries a month, plus guest appearances galore.  He appeared more than Spider-Man and Bruce Wayne, although he still came up short for the title of Most Overused Character (that title still belongs to Wolverine).  The once-beloved Merc With A Mouth became the Merc With Too Damn Many Books, and even the most hardcore fans were not willing to spend $20 a month on one non-bat-inspired character.  Sales plummeted, Deadpool lost popularity, and Ryan Reynolds, who was slated to star in the movie, instead signed a contract with DC to do more Green Lantern movies.  As of this writing, 2 of these books have been cancelled, which would have been great news approximately 20,000 dead trees ago, but now it’s too little, too late.

Speaking of cancellations, there were plenty of those, too. . .just on the wrong titles.  The well-liked series Atlas was cancelled for low sales after only five issues; the same for Thor: The Mighty Avenger.  Both books might have stood a chance had it not been for a sudden glut of comics titles on the shelf – a glut largely put there by. . .wait for it. . .Marvel Comics.

One can accept that when a company does a crossover, there are going to be extraneous tie-ins and such.  Marvel took this waaaaaaaaay too far in 2010.  It would have been acceptable if there had been a company-wide crossover, but, in addition to that crossover (Siege, which was terrible), there were also line-specific crossovers, like X-Men: Second Coming (which was actually good), X-Men: Curse of the Mutants (vampires are overdone, kids, let it go already), Shadowland (about Daredevil becoming master of the Hand ninja clan and taking over NYC; also, it sucked), and all of the 4 new Avengers-themed books, released to replace the previous 4 Avengers books that ended with Siege.  Each crossover had its own spin-offs and miniseries, very very few of which were readable and very few of which had any effect on the crossover story or the characters in them.  In addition to all that, of course, Marvel was also releasing the “Women of Marvel” one-shots, a new Strange Tales miniseries (which was worth reading), a slew of miniseries starring minor or new characters, and other useless pablum.

In short, in a time of belt-tightening and stretched dollars, Marvel Comics threw books at you like they’d forgotten that comics are a luxury item.

And Marvel appeared to recognize this mistake when they announced, 30 minutes after DC’s price-drop announcement, that they too would be dropping prices for 2011.

But, see, what they meant to say, and clarified in a later press release, was that they wouldn’t be putting out any new ongoing titles for $3.99.  They wouldn’t be dropping prices so much as they would be keeping them stable.  Same difference, right?  Well, not really, but okay. . .fair enough. . .oh, except that miniseries and specials are exempt from that rule, so those will be priced at $3.99.  And there will be a metric shitload more of them.  Hell, right now, Captain America, who’s barely interesting enough for one book, has two miniseries going. Thor, whose second ongoing was cancelled, has at least three going.  Spider-Man just ended one and I think has more on the way, in addition to the miniseries starring his nemesis Norman Osborn.  Basically, Marvel’s made it clear that there will be fewer ongoing series and more specials and miniseries coming your way in 2011 – an end-run around looking like they give a fuck about the stressed wallets of the fans.

 

A special message to you, the fans, from Marvel Comics.

Marvel, too, was plagued with delays this year; the final issue of Siege came out after series and specials that chronicled events that happened in that final issue.  Of course, said events were nearly immediately forgotten about, but whatever.  It’s not like Siege was worth remembering.

On top of all that, Iron Man and Reed Richards still have not been arrested and tried for the negligent homicide of Black Goliath.  This still pisses me off.

Oh, and Siege.

And Shadowland, which made me quit reading Daredevil.

Plus, The Sentry: Fallen Sun.

And the X-Men fighting vampires at the same time as the Ultimate Avengers.

And Marc Guggenheim writing, well, anything.

So there you have it, folks:  Marvel Comics, the Worst Comics Publisher of 2010.  Take a bow, Marvel!

 

Or, you know, don't. Just keep giving us the finger. Jerk.

VS – 1.9.10

A Few Select Words For Hewlett-Packard

Posted in rant with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 6, 2010 by vagabondsaint

Dear Hewlett-Packard,

Fuck you.

Why?

Because I already have software that can run a scanner quite well, and don’t need your shite “HP Scanning” software program that you so thoughtfully made part of the installation process.  It’s called Photoshop, and it’s roughly 17.4 million times better than any scanning or image editing software you will ever put out.  In fact, it worked fine when it came to controlling your printer, until your install process (and didn’t I already go through an install process when I connected it as a wireless printer?) denied it access.  Instead, it starts up the HP Scanning program, which committed the following dick moves:

  • did not allow me to rename the file
  • sucked at rotating and manipulating the image before scanning
  • did not allow me to choose where the file would be saved, instead choosing to inform me that the file would be saved in a folder it created called “My Scans”, in a subfolder labeled with today’s date
  • repeatedly denied Photoshop access to the scanner
  • peed in my cornflakes (metaphorically)
  • saved the file in .pdf format.  PDF?  Seriously?  WTF?  It didn’t even give me the option of saving as a .jpg, WHICH WAS WHAT I’D WANTED TO DO.
  • sucked
  • saved the file in an unreasonably huge format
  • hogged resources in ways I thought only Microsoft products could legally do
  • really fucking sucked

Photoshop, by way of comparison, would have allowed me to name the file, save it in a directory of MY choosing, and saved it as whatever format I wanted.  Instead of making the process easier, your megalomaniacal control over the output made the process far less convenient for me, as I had to re-open Photoshop (the resource-hogging made it necessary to close Photoshop to have the computer run at anything above the speed of death by natural causes), find the stupid directory your program created without asking me if I wanted, open it, and re-save it in the format I wanted, in the directory I wanted, like I should have been able to do all along if your fucking selfishness hadn’t demanded that I NOT be able to use the very-capable software that I already had.

If I’d actually paid for this printer/scanner/fax machine/dictatorial piece of shite, I’d be even more pissed.  But I didn’t, thank Jebus.  My roommate bought it, because she’d lost the install software for her Dell printer and needed a printer for her new laptop.  If she’d asked me beforehand, I would have helped her find the drivers and such that she needed online, or helped her get a replacement copy, or even built a new printer out of silverware and stale corn chips; ANYTHING to avoid buying a fucking HP printer.

To be fair, this is my second experience with your shitty products.  I bought one of your printer/scanner/fax machine/factory of suck combos two years ago, when my old printer finally died and I needed a new one.  I kept it for two days, the majority of which I spent on the phone with your tech support, trying to get the bloody thing to work, before I returned it to Best Buy.  A more accurate description would be “hurled it through the plate glass window of Best Buy,” an action which they completely understood and did not press charges over.  I bought, instead, a Canon printer/scanner/ fax / pleasant experience combo, and would be using it today had it not been for a hard drive crash last year and the loss of my own installation software during a move.  Rest assured that instead of taking the should-be-convenient option of using your printer again, I will spend the time searching for drivers for the Canon unit, which still functions well and is not, by any means, nearly as dickish.

Fuck you, HP.  Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you.  Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck you! Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you, fuck you, fuck you. Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu-uck-uck-uck youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu.  Fuck you.  I just can’t say it enough. Fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck you.  I literally cannot say “fuck you” hard enough.  I need help.

Hey, Crazy-ass Batman, what do you have to say to HP?

Batman Tells HP What's Up

A man of few words. . .two, to be exact.

Thanks, Crazy-ass Batman.  Couldn’t have put it better myself.

VS – 7.6.10

Why Superheroes Have Secret Identities

Posted in comic books, legal system, politics, rant with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 8, 2009 by vagabondsaint

So why do superheroes have secret identities?

Because no good deed goes unpunished.

You’d think, that in this time of deep recession, social strife, and political infighting leaving the American people largely bereft of inspiration and leadership, that those brave few willing to stand up to the worst elements of our society would be recognized as such as rewarded for their efforts, right?

Like Jim Nicholson, the Seattle bank teller who, at the end of July of this year, responded to a bank robber by lunging at him, demanding the robber produce a weapon if he had one, and then chasing the unarmed would-be robber out of the bank and restraining him until police arrived.  He helped apprehend a bank robber who could have committed more crimes had he not been stopped, and saved the money of hard-working bank customers, right?*  Of course he did, and as it turned out, the vagrant robber had a long history of theft and burglary charges; he could have used the ill-gotten loot to buy himself a gun and become really dangerous!

As a reward for his heroism, Nicholson received the coveted You Don’t Work Here Anymore Pink Slip Award.

Key Bank declined to comment on the firing.  However, Seattle police and an FBI special agent agreed that the proper course would have been to simply give the robber what he wanted and be a “good witness.”   That’s the safe way to do it, and that, as I understand, is the bank’s policy as well.  But did Nicholson deserve to lose his job for standing up to a robber?

Before you answer that, let’s look at the case of Josh Rutner, an Ocala (Florida) “loss prevention officer” (or “asset protection officer;” the article call him both titles and, really, they both mean “dude what stops shit from gettin’ stole”) at the local Wal-Mart.  Since it’s his job to stop unpaid-for merchandise from leaving the store, he says (and I agree) that he was “just doing his job” when he restrained a shoplifter.  But then things got serious: the shoplifter pulled a knife, slashed at Rutner’s face, and ran away.

Now, most of us would have our self-preservation instincts kick in at this point, and we’d just let the guy run his happy ass away and become someone else’s problem.  Not Josh Rutner.  Josh Rutner gave chase, thinking, as he says, that the man was a danger to the public and the city that needed to be stopped right then and there.  With the aid of a customer, Rutner apprehended and restrained the shoplifter until the police arrived.

The next day, Rutner was fired.  In addition, the customer was banned from ever shopping at any Wal-Mart in the US ever again.  Okay, I’m kidding about the second part.  But seriously, Rutner did get his ass canned the very next day.

The same reasons were given as Mr. Nicholson above:  it’s not policy to give chase or interfere.  Despite Rutner’s job specifically being preventing losses, his attempts to do that very thing got him fired. . .because he gave chase to an armed suspect, which store policy prohibits.  Never mind that he kept an armed person with no fear of, and a demonstrated armed resistance to, law enforcement from reaching the streets and maybe harming someone else somewhere else.  If this had been a comic book, he wouldn’t have stopped the guy; instead, he would have let the guy go and the guy would later kill Rutner’s kindly old Uncle Ben, resulting in Rutner becoming the hero known as the Amazing Rutner-Man.  I should really stop writing these when I’m sleepy.

So why do superheroes have secret identities?

Because no good deed goes unpunished.

Clark Kent wants to keep his job.  Bruce Wayne, God rest his soul, didn’t want to get kicked out of the Wayne Foundation by cowardly, superstitious shareholders.  Peter Parker wants to keep taking pictures for a living (or keep teaching science, whatever the hell he’s doing nowadays).  I could go on, but really, the majority of you wouldn’t know who I was talking about anyway, so I’ll put my geekiness away now.

Point is, in a society in which criminals do not fear the law and depend on no one else standing up to them, we’ve put in place “policies” and “corporate rules” to make sure that no one does.

Maybe criminals, like politicians, need to remember to fear the people. . .

VS – 11.8.09

P.S.  I am not by any means saying that I want people to go out and become vigilantes, or take stupid chances fighting off criminals.  I am saying that those of us who do stand up to crooks of all collar colours should be rewarded, not punished.  So if you become Captain Long-johns and go fight crime in Hoboken, whatever happens to you is totally not my fault.

The Good, The Bad, and The F***ing Bizarre #3: A Frank, A Flora, A Phallic Fallacy

Posted in brilliance, media failure, politics, randoma, rant, the complete opposite of brilliance with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 26, 2009 by vagabondsaint

The Good:  Barney Speaks Frankly

You know how elected officials always have to be respectful and gentle with their constituents, no matter what level of insanity or inanity is currently issuing from said constituent’s mouth like a tidal wave of crazy?  Well, that behaviour has been tested quite a bit in the recent town hall meetings on the healthcare debate.  No one wants to be seen as making light of their constituent’s concerns, no matter how baseless, derogatory, or outright ludicrous those concerns are, right?

Right!

For everyone except Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank.

For those of us that have been wishing our elected representatives would stand up to the whackos showing up and town hall meetings and loudly displaying their ignorance, Barney Frank’s recent town hall was a godsend.  Check out how he handles a woman who calls the health care reform bills “a Nazi policy” (because the Nazis were all about making sure everyone had affordable health care).

Thank you, Barney Frank!  We need people to stand up to these ridiculous claims and assertions coming from the right, someone willing to call a spade a spade and show how baseless and inane these scare tactics are!

Barney Frank is my hero right now.

The Bad: Giant Rat-Eating Plant Discovered

You read that correctly:  a plant big enough to eat rats has been discovered.  Even more frightening, it’s been named after David Attenborough!

This is bad in several ways.

One, if plants have gotten big enough to eat rodents, how long do we have before they get big enough to eat people?  Clearly the plants are on a mission to stop killing humans through allergies and pretty-looking poisonous plants and just go for outright eating us!  The plants must be stopped, now, before it’s too late!

Stop the plants before anyone other than Rick Moranis suffers!

Stop the plants before anyone other than Rick Moranis suffers!

The second thing that is really scary about this is that the plant was named after Sir David Attenborough.  While those of us who know who Attenborough is know him as the soft-voiced narrator of a bajillion nature shows and a harmless, endlessly curious naturalist, the decision to name a carnivorous plant after him makes me wonder: what do the botanists know about Attenborough that the rest of us don’t? Clearly there’s some rodent-sized skeletons in his closet!  The world needs to know the truth about Sir David Attenborough!  Is he on the side of the carnivorous plants?  Is he even now preparing England for their invasion?  Has he been seduced to the green side by Poison Ivy?

Sometimes treason is completely understandable.

Sometimes treason is completely understandable.

Whatever Attenborough’s hiding, we need to know!

The F***ing Bizarre: Professional Dick Fears For His Own

I’ve read this article several times, looking for the punchline.  Either I haven’t found it or the humour is just so subtle that I can’t see it.

Rush Limbaugh and Jay-Z having a “beef”?  President Obama is coming to cut your penis?  Rush Limbaugh being on anyone’s balls without crushing them beyond repair?

It’s just. . .I can’t make jokes about this.  It makes too many jokes about itself.  Just read the article, seriously.

***********************************************************

Thanks for the reading this installment!  Be here next time when things get even stranger!

VS – 8.26.09

Heads Up, In Smoke

Posted in evil, legal system, politics, rant with tags , , , , , , on August 20, 2009 by vagabondsaint

So, I was informed today by a smoke shop owner that the rumours are true:  clove cigarettes have been banned in the US, and after September 17th, no more will be imported.

I have issues with this.  On my fucking birthday, no less.

The argument was made that flavoured cigarettes are more attractive to kids.  I don’t want kids to smoke, certainly.  I am completely against that.  However, it’s already illegal for people under 18 to buy cigarettes.  What good is banning the flavoured kinds when all cigarettes are already illegal for minors?

An argument, against this law, was made that the law banning clove cigarettes is unfairly discriminatory.  How could it be called so?  Because only one country in the world makes clove cigarettes:  Indonesia.  It’s a mammoth industry there, and this law just cost them one of the biggest markets for, well, everything in the entire world.  It’s also where Barack Obama spent a fair amount of time as a youth.  Way to completely screw over one of the countries that raised you, you fucking ingrate.

Notice above you there that I said that cloves are made in Indonesia.  That’s right, there isn’t a single brand of clove cigarette that is produced in America.  Not one.  So not only does this law screw Indonesian cigarette makers, it gives their etiquette-mandated complimentary reach-around to American tobacco companies instead.  It knocks off one of their major competitors.

Don’t think this law favours American companies enough yet?

It bans cigarette flavours like cloves, vanilla, cherry, grape, bacon (you knew somebody somewhere was working on a bacon-flavoured cigarette), orange, banana, any and all soprts of sweet cigarette flavours (even though cloves aren’t really sweet).  Except one flavour.

Menthols.

Made right here in the good old U.S. of fucking overzealous nanny-state A., by good old American tobacco companies.  In a law banning every conceivable flavour of cigarette other than plain tobacco, somehow menthols are still legal.

Political fuckery at its absolute finest here, people.  And the media has been completely ignoring the blatant use of legislation to eliminate competition for American companies, possibly because, in this current political climate, smokers and homosexuals are still completely okay to demonize and legislate against.

I’m still not going to buy American-made cigarettes.  It takes me a but a few weeks to get a passport, and Canada is only three hours away.  I’ll spend those few weeks buying every pack of clove cigarettes that I can, to hold me until I have the passport.

In case I haven’t made it clear, this law really, really fucking pisses me off.

More later.

VS – 08.20.09

Shut The F*** Up And Talk To Me

Posted in media failure, politics, rant with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 30, 2009 by vagabondsaint

A few months ago, I read an aticle in the Huffington Post about “he said – she said” journalism.  I intended to blog about it, but got distracted with moving and various other crises.  I can’t find the article – I tried as much as my tired brain would allow – but I’ll do my best to sum it up for you.

“He said, she said” journalism is, in a nutshell, presenting both sides (usually liberal and conservative) or a particular issue without repudiation or mentioning the facts of the situation.  It is far more prevalent in modern journalism than it used to be, and there is, according to the article, a number of reasons for it:  a desire by corporate news organizations not to offend anyone by pointing out their fallacies or appearing to support one viewpoint ver another, even if the facts are in support of one position and completely invalidate the other. News divisions of a company not wanting to hinder or conflict with other departments of the same parent company.  Wanting to appear fair and give equal time to opposing viewpoints leaves little room for truth.  Restrictive news budgets don’t have the funds for investigative journalism.  Modern mainstream media journalists have no balls.  (Okay, I made that last one up.)

Think I’m wrong?  Pay close attention to the news that you read online (who reads papers anymore?) or what you hear on TV.  I promise you, you will hear more “this person says that, but this person says this” than you will any actual facts.  Though the writer of the article took some comfort in their observation that the trend appears to be waning, as near as I could tell it was still going strong, with little sign of abating.

With the recent passing of Walter Cronkite, this article came to my mind again, and still I didn’t blog about it.

What finally got my Irish up (no mean feat, considering my Caucasian ancestry is actually German) was an article in today’s New York Times.

As I said, I am still paying attention to the health care debate, still reading about it as much as my brain will allow, even though I have avoiding blogging about it.  This article on the health care debate, henceforth referred to as Exhibit A, is a fair example of what’s wrong with journalism and journalists today.

The article is about poll numbers reflecting growing unease about health care reform among Americans, due to the claims of opposed legislators and millions spent on negative advertising about reform from both the private insurance industries and the Republican National Committee.  It also includes quotes from President Obama about what the reform he seeks will and and will not do, as he travels the country trying to refute the claims of the opposition.  The article does great in presenting the facts of the poll, but what’s missing?

There are claims about the reform bills made by Obama and by people who answered some follow-up questions to the poll, an Iowa woman in particular. What’s missing here is whether or not these claims, from either side, bear any truth to them.  The quotes and concerns from those who answered the follow-up questions make it obvious to anyone who’s been following the bill that their concerns are coming from opposition advertising and Republican (and Blue Dog Democrat) talking points about the bills.

Anyone who’s put in a little research on the health care reform bill knows that the grand majority of the claims made by those in opposition to the bill are false.    Two examples:

Claim: “The advertisements present the overhaul as a risky experiment, or a government takeover of health care that would prevent people from choosing their own doctors.”

Truth: Well, that’s technically true.  The advertisements do make that claim.  But the genuine fact is that the health care reform bill would in no way dictate what doctors patients can or cannot see, much unlike, say, private insurance companies.  But did the NYT make mention of that fact in its article?  Nope.  It just repeated the propaganda with no clarification, refutation, or even a mild comparison to the objective truth.

Claim: “We will pay more taxes.”

Truth:  Health care reform will actually save us more money in the long run, because hospitals won’t have to adjust their fees for covering the uninsured and those unable to pay, thereby lowering the amount they charge us as individuals and what they charge the insurance companies.  Unless you make more than $250,000 a year, which the overwhelming majority of Americans do not, you will not have to pay any new taxes.  Those that do make that much money will face a 1% increase in their taxes.  No frilly new uniforms for the Guatemalan maid this year.

And one example of truth slipping into the article by mistake:

Claim: “If we do nothing, I can almost guarantee you your premiums will double over the next 10 years, because that’s what they did over the last 10 years,” Mr. Obama said. “It will eat into the possibility of you getting a raise on your job because your employer is going to be looking and saying, ‘I can’t afford to give you a raise because my health care costs just went up 10, 20, 30 percent.’ ”

Truth:  Yeah, that’s actually true.  If I recall correctly, insurance premiums double in the past ten years, while wages went up about 20%.  But, it’s the truth presented in a quote by Obama, without support from the NYT”s resarch department.  Basically, it’s fact being presented as propaganda.

There’s more, but it’s 4:30 in the morning and I’m tired.

Just remember, this is not the Podunk, Alabama Trailer Park Post presenting propaganda on both sides without clarification or facts, this is the New York fucking Times!  The Old Grey Lady!  “All the news that’s fit to print,” and this bullshit spin regurgitation is the fucking best that they can do?  Are you fucking serious?  Did they fire the fact checking department?  If it wasn’t for Maureen Dowd and Paul Krugman, plus the occasional Bono editorial, I swear I’d cancel my (online) subscription.  When did the Grey Lady lose the ovarian fortitude required to call people on their bullshit?  And how can she get it back?

I wish Spider Jerusalem was real.  Until that happens, or until Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite are brought back from the dead (which would be the first thing I’d do as a mad scientist), Jon Stewart will have to do.

I do like journalism, and have often considered working in the field.  But I couldn’t do the “he said – she said” stuff.  I’m too honest to repeat someone else’s bullshit without fact-checking it first and calling them on it if they’re wrong.  This journalistic style, as Jon Stewart would put it, is “hurting America.” (Google his now-famous appearance on CNN’s Crossfire.  It’s journalistic gold.)

So this is my message to the mainstream media:  Shut the fuck up with the bullshit spin and propaganda, and really talk to me, give me some facts, let me make an informed decision based on the truth instead of two different angles of spin.

But hey, don’t take my word for it.  Pay attention to your news, whatever your source(s) may be; see how much of what you get is repeated spin and how much is actual fact.

(And thanks to my friend Christine for unwittingly contributing the title.)

VS – 7.30.09

Sick Leave

Posted in legal system, politics, rant with tags , , on July 26, 2009 by vagabondsaint

You may be wondering why I’ve been so quiet here lately, and, when I have spoken, I have largely avoided political discussions, venturing instead onto the topics of rape, forensics, and other societal issues.

Honestly, politics makes me sick right now.

The health care debate is a large part of that.  Obviously America’s for-profit health care system is broken.  “Reform” is too light a term for what needs to be done; it needs to be shattered and built all over again from the ground up.  But that isn’t likely to happen.

Despite the obviousness of the need for reform, politicians on both sides of the aisle are still tying to stop the legislation from passing.  Don’t get me wrong; some do have legitimate concerns to be addressed, such as those who want to make sure the disparity in Medicare payments between rural doctors and urban doctors is fixed.  I’ve no problem with that.  What irks me, what makes me ill, is those who see defeating these much-needed reforms as a way to politically “break” President Obama (looking you, Eric Cantor) and help themselves get back into power.  Never mind that they had 8 years of being in power, came into office in a prosperous nation, drove it into the ground and started digging – these people are so arrogant and self-consumed that they genuinely believe the best thing for this country is for them to be back in power, despite the mountains of evidence to the contrary.  Never mind that polls still show overwhelming public support for what the President has proposed; it’s more important to tear down the President, and by association his party,  than it is to serve the will of the people that put you in office.  Of course, our elected officials have excellent health care plans, paid for by us, so they’re not really feeling any sort of sting from the broken system.  Maybe we should stop paying for theirs?

Then again, the people that put them in office are the types who are easily swayed by predominant mythologies, can be counted on to vote from their fears, and tend to follow whoever makes them feel good about themselves as opposed to whoever will actually work to improve their situations.  They can be trusted to vote their prejudices and ignorances against their interests, every single time.

Then there’s the health care industry, fighting to kill the legislation so that they can continue their bogodish business as usual.  Do they care how many Americans go bankrupt every year from medical expenses?  What about the number of people who lose health care insurance every day (14,000, last I heard) in this country?  What about the people they shaft every year by denying coverage for pre-existing conditions, throing in hidden fees and clauses, refusing to cover the most effective treatments, or denying claims?  They don’t care about any of that; the people, to them, are just walking money machines.  Take money from them, but don’t give any back.  With the money they’ve spent on fighting health care reform, they could have covered healthcare for thousands of people.  But they’d rather take your money and use it to fight against your best interests.

Anyway.

I’m still paying attention to the debate, of course.  Politics can be a little bit addictive.  But I don’t want to talk about it and I don’t want to blog about it;  it makes me sick and I don’t have health insurance to cover the bills.

Ugh.

VS – 7.26.09

P.S.  For a good explanation of the health care reform packae and what it means to you, click here.