Cheap gas = trouble ahead

Mark Morford highlights the truth. Cheap gas is both a sign of how bad the world economy really is, and will merely delay the inevitable move away from oil as our main source of transportation energy. So its best to take advantage while you can and help the economy at the same time.

It’s one of the more disturbing indicators in recent memory, easily the most ironically depressing sign of doom and downturn you get to see every single day as you careen around the city streets and look at the signs and blink a few times and go, wait wait wait, what year is it again? Are you kidding me? A buck seventy five? For premium? WTF?

It is the frightening rule du jour: the cheaper gas gets right now, the more completely screwed you know we are. At the same time, a cheap tank of gas is one of the few strokes of fiscal relief we have right now, a tiny reprieve from the brutal economic turmoil. What a thing.

"Stunningly superficial"

Zbigniew Brzezinski tears into Joe Scarborough.

Scarborough: “You cannot blame what’s going on in Israel on the Bush administration.”

Brzezinski: “You know, you have such a stunningly superficial knowledge of what went on that it’s almost embarrassing to listen to you.”

One (big) step closer to a police state

Be happy. Your civil liberties in the United States are stronger than those in Europe (and based on this story in the Guardian that isn’t saying much). It appears that the UK government is going to authorize a private company to track and record all users’ telephone calls, emails, text messages and Internet use.

… in his strongest criticism yet of the superdatabase, Sir Ken Macdonald, the former director of public prosecutions, who has firsthand experience of working with intelligence and law enforcement agencies, told the Guardian such assurances would prove worthless in the long run and warned it would prove a “hellhouse” of personal private information.

Supposedly to improve security. But of course such a database would be a magnet for hackers and almost certainly would reduce security as a result.  In any event, even if security were improved this is a basically total governmental surveillance. What good is safety if you live in a panopticon?

Top 10 Wingnut posts of the year

Roy Edroso, writing for the Village Voice, picks his top 10 right wing blog stories of the year.   Excellent. And here is one from the listing.

#7: And Robin is Tony Blair. “A beam of light flashed into the night sky, the dark symbol of a bat projected onto the surface of the racing clouds… Oh, wait a minute. That’s not a bat, actually. In fact, when you trace the outline with your finger, it looks kind of like . . . a ‘W.'” In the Wall Street Journal Andrew Klavan explained why The Dark Knight is “a paean of praise to the fortitude and moral courage that has been shown by George W. Bush in this time of terror and war… Like W, Batman sometimes has to push the boundaries of civil rights to deal with an emergency.” Maybe that explains why the Joker was more popular. (The Journal unfortunately didn’t run Klavan’s other essay about the Hollywood film that celebrated an earlier phase of Bush’s career, Pineapple Express.)

The city where sirens never sleep

The Weekly Standard (of all places) has a very interesting article about the state of Detroit these days. Here is an excerpt:

Somewhere along the way, Detroit became our national ashtray, a safe place for everyone to stub out the butt of their jokes. This was never more evident than at the recent congressional hearings, featuring the heads of the Big Three automakers, now more often called the Detroit Three, as that sounds more synonymous with failure. Yes, they have been feckless and tone-deaf in the past, and now look like stalkers trying to make people love them with desperation moves such as Ford breaking the “Taurus” name out of mothballs, or Chrysler steering a herd of cattle through downtown Detroit for an auto show (some of the longhorns started humping each other in front of reporters, giving new meaning to the “Dodge Ram,” which they were intended to advertise).

Welcome!

This is the new location for Bits and Pieces, a blog I started in November, 2008.  Its permanent home will be here at this address:

http://freer.com/bits

Note that there is no “www” preceding the link.  I am now using WordPress to author and manage the blog which will allow me more control over the formatting of the posts. Hope you like it.