Friday, April 03, 2009

The New Yankee Stadium

I never made it to the old one, finally rationalizing -- with the assist from Derek Jeter -- that the ghosts only had to relocate about a hundred yards.

And sure enough, what ghost wouldn't want to.

My friend Lyn the Mets fan wants to get up to Citi Field sometime this year, so in the interest of fairness and balance here's some computerized renderings of the Amazin's new playpen, including a video of the Jackie Robinson Rotunda.

Update: More from tonight's opening festivities:

Eager New York fans turned out Friday to watch the Yankees and Mets test their plush and pricey new ballparks in exhibition games, a double debut in a city that hasn’t had a new Major League Baseball stadium in 45 years.

The faithful were awed. Given what these places cost, maybe they ought to be.

“When I pass, I want my ashes to be buried here. That’s how beautiful it is,” John Zozzaro of Glen Cove said as he admired $800 million Citi Field in Queens, where fans lavished praise on everything from the brilliant green of the outfield to the cup holders in front of the seats.

Across town, Frank Sinatra songs played as fans took in the new Yankee Stadium, bedecked with old Yankees memorabilia and pictures of team titans such as Babe Ruth. At $1.5 billion, it is the costliest baseball stadium ever built.

“It looks great. I think the word is ‘majestic.’ It’s awesome,” said 39-year-old Mike Generose. He and his wife, Lori, 24, had driven to the game from their home in Allentown, Pa.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Labor gets a TV show

Radio progressive talker Ed Schultz was given the 5 p.m. Central time slot by MSNBC yesterday.

Talking with Keith Olbermann last night on Countdown, Schultz said the show's focus would be on working people, the middle class, and labor unions. From an interview with AFSCME two years ago:

"This has been the most anti-labor administration in the history of the country. They want cheap labor: that's the conservatives' mission. They don't think the middle class — and unions — are important. I'm a staunch supporter of unions. If we're going to save the middle class, we've got to strengthen unions. They stand for quality of life, quality of wages, quality and fairness of benefits. All of those things are being attacked by the neo-cons. The only thing that's going to be able to push back at Corporate America is unions."

And in a recent audition on the network he will be working full-time for starting next week, Schultz gives the Democratic leadership in Congress some advice about the Employee Free Choice Act:

Conservatism's successful marketing of organized labor as demonic -- going all the way back to when former union boss Reagan disbanded the air traffic controllers -- has proceeded apace for nearly thirty years, dove-tailing nicely with declines in union membership, wages, benefits, and the erosion of the middle class in general. Even poor working stiffs bought into the 'one day you will be management, too!' BS notion that kept themselves oppressed by corporations all of this time.

Read any comment board where unions are mentioned and see for yourself.

Schultz's conversations about the benefits of organized labor is a welcome breath of fresh air in the soon-to-be post-corporate-controlled environment.

Colbert destroys Glenn Beck

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"We weren't told how to behave that day after 9/11, we just knew," Beck says to describe the project. "It was right, it was the opposite of what we feel today. Are you ready to be the person you were that day after 9/11, on 9/12?"

"Ready!" Colbert shouted, decked out in a gas mask, holding a gun, and wearing adult diapers.

Next up for profound ridicule: the Tea Baggers gatherings on April 14.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Fascism and socialism have conservatives confused

This has been covered previously, but since it is the Republican brain we're dealing with here, more explanation is required. They still won't understand it, but you will.

Some very abridged recent history is in order. The 20th century saw the rise of two significant offshoots of totalitarianism: communism and fascism. Communism represented the far left and fascism, the far right. The American left and right can sometimes resemble, faintly, the excesses of 20th century totalitarians, but neither willingly choose to be associated with them. Now it's a shame that Adolph Hitler's party was named the National Socialist German Workers' Party because this terribly confuses American conservatives. They see the words 'socialist' and 'worker's party' and they think that the Nazis were some kind of party of the proletariat.

In fact they were anything but:

The Nazi Party presented its program in the 25-point National Socialist Program in 1920. Among the key elements of Nazism were anti-parliamentarism, Pan-Germanism, racism, collectivism, eugenics, anti-semitism, anti-communism, totalitarianism and opposition to economic liberalism and political liberalism.

That's not to say that the Nazis didn't engage in populist demagoguery. They equated finance capitalism with a Jewish conspiracy to screw regular working folks. They proposed nationalizing all corporations.

The onset of the Great Depression, which preceded the coming to power of Hitler and the Nazis, greatly discredited capitalism in the eyes of the world. The Nazis were not capitalists, but (at least on economic policy) tried to establish a middle ground between capitalism and Soviet communism. So if you are a late 20th century-educated American right-wing laissez-faire capitalist, much of the rhetoric and many of the actions of the Nazis are going to appear in retrospect to be left-wing in nature. But the economic policies of the Nazis, of course, are not what earned them eternal condemnation. Take a look at the following terms -- from the first excerpted link above -- and tell me if they better describe America's right-wing or left-wing.

--Anti-parliamentarism (anti-Congress)
-- Pan-Americanism
-- Racism
-- Anti-semitism
-- Anti-communism
-- Opposition to economic liberalism
-- Opposition to political liberalism

On those last two, 'liberalism' doesn't mean left-wing per se but more like principles of free markets, private property, and human and political rights.

The modern-day American right supports economic liberalism but they're pretty weak on political liberalism. There's a reason, for example, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Planned Parenthood, ACORN, etc. are considered enemies by the Republican Party.

In any case, nationalizing the auto industry is something Nazis might do. But you know what else they might do?

1. Demonize ethnic and religious minorities like Hispanics and Muslims.
2. Discriminate against homosexuals.
3. Exalt female fertility and discourage female employment in the work force.
4. Characterize the homeland as the rightful property of ethnically pure (white) citizens.
5. Promote a nationalistic and imperialistic foreign policy.
6. Call all of their opponents 'communists' or 'fifth-column communist sympathizers'.
7. Suppress the black vote.
8. Call President Obama a 'magic negro'.
9. Support torture and do warrantless surveillance on political enemies and reporters.
10. Exalt an idealized past when the 'United States was the greatest country on Earth'.

I could go on, but you get the picture.

Shorter version -- when Obama fires the CEO of General Motors, that's more socialism than it is fascism. Try to keep this straight, Sparkle: Bush is the fascist. Right down to his multi-hectare hideaway in Paraguay.