"Where else would you go when you have an ax to grind?"

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Is Tampa the new Ft. Sumter?

I guess Glenn Beck did his "oh please don't commit any of the violence I've been urging you to commit for the last year" ass-covering episode just in time.

What was intended to be a town hall discussion on President Barack Obama's health care reform proposal dissolved into a shouting match with shoving and scuffles in Ybor City tonight.
The event brought home to Tampa the recent phenomenon of angry opponents of Obama's proposal disrupting town hall meetings by Democratic members of Congress during the August recess.
This meeting was organized by Democratic state Rep. Betty Reed but was to include comments on the proposal by U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, a strong supporter.
Castor tried to speak for nearly 15 minutes but the crowd drowned her out, chanting, "You work for us,'' "Tyranny, tyranny,'' and "Read the bill." She ultimately left the meeting early, further angering some attendees.
The problems began when a crowd of around 500, many of them recruited to attend by interest groups both for and against the proposal, sought to enter the meeting room. The room, in the offices of the Hillsborough County Children's Board on East Palm Avenue, has a capacity of only about 250.
Several hundred people, mostly opponents, wound up outside or packing a hallway leading into the meeting room. Some scuffled with members of the sponsoring groups who manned the doorway.

The story is a bit misleading in that it blames both sides for the near riot. One group of people came there to discuss health policy and here from their elected representative, many at the behest of the their preferred political party or political action group. The other group was there strictly to shout slogans, disrupt the meeting and prevent reasonable discussion at the behest of those with a vested interest or for political advantage. There is no question as to which group is associated with which political party and blaming both sides is like blaming the bank and the bank robbers.

Not that Beck is the only one to blame, there is plenty of blame to go around.
Mahablog rounds up the usual suspects. One of several groups recruiting and busing people to break up meetings is "American's For Prosperity" - a nasty little conservative mouthpiece for hire group that Desmog blog ran across when they were trying to argue that global warming was a hoax.

Obviously the plutocrats are either worried or getting so overconfident that they cannot be touched, that they aren't even bothering to wipe the fingerprints off the weapons they are using to murder democracy in the United States.

This isn't the first time the right has used mob tactics in recent history, but this time it was regular people inspired by the same hatemongers and professional manipulators behind the "tea-bagger" movement, not a crowd of political aides and party operatives.

In encouraging people to come out and disrupt politcal meetings, a very dangerous line has been crossed here. Is American headed back to the pitched street battles of the early 20th century when the industrial barons of the day hired goons squads to attack and kill trade unionists, break up leftist demonstrations and nearly mounted a military coup?

Big darkness, soon come.

The mustache that walked like a man

John Bolton: Yosemite Sam in a suit or Ned Flander's evil twin -We provide the cartoon picture, you decide.

Mocking the bozos

While they supposedly serve as a recruiting ground for the Yakuza, Japanese bike and hot rod gangs - known as bosozoku (speed tribes) - are not particularly daunting to most westerners. For starters, rather than being the huge, hulking, hairy, leather-clad menaces one associates with North American bike gangs, most of bosozuku are under 25, don't need to shave, ride 250 cc motorbikes or (snicker) scooter and weigh about 120 pounds soaking wet with a brick in each pocket. The pathetic bikes they ride generally are modified to be as loud as possible, something you never need to do with a real motorcycle like a Harley or an Indian or even a large engined Yamaha or Kawasaki. They supposedly do some intimidating for the Yakuza and deal at little meth and have been known to gang up in groups of hundreds and take over small villages or resorts for the weekend, but their main form of menace is to get together in groups of about ten to several dozen and ride down the expressway at super-slow speeds, blocking traffic. Obviously, they are lucky not to have met a road-rage afflicted North American driving a Cadillac. Yet.
They often have silly haircuts and wear what look for all the world like embroidered lab coats and seem more interested most of the time with taking pictures of each other trying to look tough or cool than in causing any actual mayhem. The meanest, toughest ones probably end up as low level Yakuza, some probably end up in the militant right-wing black bus brigades the rest probably are doomed to a life of day labor, sho-chu and pachinko. The average westerner in Japan generally reacts to them with veiled amusement or simple irritation, but the Japanese consider them an absolute Menace to Society on par with cancer, AIDS or drunken U.S. servicemen.
It's about time someone taught those scooter-trash punks a lesson! The cops need to crack down on these damned criminal bike gangs once and for all! People are mad as hell and they aren't going to take it any more! It time for action:

Bosozoku bike gangs in Ginowan called names
Takeshi Kawamura and Ryuhei Yoshimura / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff Writers
Police and residents in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, have launched a campaign to drive away bosozoku motorcycle and automobile gangs using the epithet "dasaizoku" (uncool gangs) to describe them.
The campaign aims to embarrass bike gang members and encourage them to quit their reckless riding and driving. But will it work?

No. It won't.

This has been another edition of short answers to stupid questions.

Admittedly, Japan has a very different culture and the bosozoku are not exactly the Hell Angels, (they aren't even Hell's Grannies) but unless the goal is to make them laugh too hard to be able to stay on their ridiculous little bikes, this is so not going to work.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Sunday songs and cinema

This Sunday in Second Life we are getting down to Radio Woodshed and watching Bridge on the River Kwai - Join the virtual dance party from 5 pm SLT/8 pm EDT and catch the movie at 7 SLT/10 EDT.