Satan’s Big Week

First of all, it’s a metaphor. Whether you believe in an actual devil or a metaphorical one is a matter of complete indifference to this blog. Focus, people.

The breaking news is that Keith Olbermann has been fired from Current TV. Since details are sketchy, everybody already knows everything that there is to know about it (particularly and predictably, the Righties, who are crowing and gibbering at their bonfire), so I’ll refrain from getting in the way of all the  incredible wisdom and journalism.

“He that walks with wise men shall be wise, but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” – Proverbs 13:20

Which doesn’t seem to bear up in the real world, at least as regards Rick Santorum. On the same hand, Mitt Romney picked up the endorsements of all the Bushes who can show their faces in public, and Marco Rubio, the Great GOP Latin Hope, and everyone urged Newt and Rick to get out of the race. Nobody paid any attention whatsoever to Ron Paul, as per usual.

The Great Supreme Court donnybrook of 2012 over “Obamacare” — with a sudden reassessment as it was attempted to be taken back as the ACA (for Affordable Health Care Act, but the “H” seemed too hard to pronounce and was jettisoned from the acronym) — resulted in hours of stultifying audio with transcripts at the Supreme Court site, but very few will do the homework, and we are left with CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin calling the second day a “train wreck” and a “plane wreck” as the Alter Boys urged on the former Clerk of Samuel Alito (from before Alito was translated to Judicial Heaven in a Chariot of Ire), whose slick sophistry inadvertently brought the entire audience to laughter as he slickly asserted that congress would have no trouble re-authorizing the 2,700 page Bill, once the Supremes had killed this awesome, Hitleresque attack on Individual Freedom and Liberty to let poor people die like dogs in the street. As quoth the poet:

“The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich and the poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.”

But I was more reminded of Ebenezer Scrooge, who said:

It certainly was; for they had been two kindred spirits.  At the ominous word “liberality,” Scrooge frowned, and shook his head, and handed the credentials back.

“At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge,” said the gentleman, taking up a pen, “it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and Destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time.  Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir.”

“Are there no prisons?” asked Scrooge.

“Plenty of prisons,” said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.

“And the Union workhouses?”  demanded Scrooge.  “Are they still in operation?”

“They are.  Still,” returned the gentleman, “I wish I could say they were not.”

“The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?”  said Scrooge.

“Both very busy, sir.”

“Oh!  I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course,” said Scrooge.  “I’m very glad to hear it.”

“Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude,” returned the gentleman, “a few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink and means of warmth.  We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices.  What shall I put you down for?”

“Nothing!” Scrooge replied.

“You wish to be anonymous?”

“I wish to be left alone,” said Scrooge.  “Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer.  I don’t make merry myself at Christmas and I can’t afford to make idle people merry.  I help to support the establishments I have mentioned — they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there.”

“Many can’t go there; and many would rather die.”

“If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.  Besides — excuse me — I don’t know that.”

“But you might know it,” observed the gentleman.

“It’s not my business,” Scrooge returned.  “It’s enough for a man to understand his own business, and not to interfere with other people’s.  Mine occupies me constantly.  Good afternoon, gentlemen!”

Which is, if less precise than the Alter Boys’ little Courtroom Radio Drama, certainly less prolix and more to the point.

And then we come to my old Union President, Jonathan Tasini, who had sued The Huffington Post on behalf of the unpaid contributors for a piece of the $315 million that Adrianna Huffington pocketed from her AOL deal:

The lawsuit contended that the work of unpaid content providers like bloggers gave The Huffington Post much of its value, and that the website’s sale allowed co-founder Arianna Huffington to profit at their expense. Tasini said he alone had made 216 submissions to the website over more than five years.

But Koeltl said “no one forced” the bloggers to repeatedly provide their work with no expectation of being paid, and said they got what they bargained for when their works were published.

“The principles of equity and good conscience do not justify giving the plaintiffs a piece of the purchase price when they never expected to be paid, repeatedly agreed to the same bargain, and went into the arrangement with eyes wide open,” the judge wrote.

Koeltl also dismissed claims that AOL materially misled the bloggers about how often their works were being viewed, and how much revenue they were generating. He dismissed the case with prejudice, meaning it cannot be brought again.

“This is the electronic equivalent of someone writing a letter to the editor,” John Coffee, a professor at Columbia Law School, said in an interview. “You are rewarded by publication, not by payment.”

Ah, glory.

A form of payment that the devil would approve of.

(Although, I must confess, I don’t see a lot of people lining up for the “glory” of cleaning out the storm sewer intakes in the downpours, or putting the electrical lines back up.)

We learn (gasp) that Chinese manufacturers of Apple iToys are running sweat shops, but promise to get better.

Because, you know, if slavery takes place OUTSIDE of the USA for US manufacturing, it’s not really slavery. We had that illegal problem, because we needed cheap labor without rights, and until the periodic wave of anti-immigrant hatred hit yet again (you know, the “Know-Nothings” and the second coming of the KKK in the 1920s, etc.) that was working out. So, rather than accept such conditions in the USA, we accept them overseas.

Moral problem solved.

Or, to [SPOILER ALERT, click link to read the piece] quote the ending of Mark Twain’s “The Facts Concerning the Recent Carnival of Crime in Connecticut”:

With an exultant shout I sprang past my aunt, and in an instant I had my lifelong foe by the throat. After so many years of waiting and longing, he was mine at last. I tore him to shreds and fragments. I rent the fragments to bits. I cast the bleeding rubbish into the fire, and drew into my nostrils the grateful incense of my burnt-offering. At last, and forever, my Conscience was dead!

I was a free man! I turned upon my poor aunt, who was almost petrified with terror, and shouted:

“Out of this with your paupers, your charities, your reforms, your pestilent morals! You behold before you a man whose life-conflict is done, whose soul is at peace; a man whose heart is dead to sorrow, dead to suffering, dead to remorse; a man WITHOUT A CONSCIENCE! In my joy I spare you, though I could throttle you and never feel a pang! Fly!”

She fled. Since that day my life is all bliss. Bliss, unalloyed bliss. Nothing in all the world could persuade me to have a conscience again. I settled all my old outstanding scores, and began the world anew. I killed thirty-eight persons during the first two weeks—all of them on account of ancient grudges. I burned a dwelling that interrupted my view. I swindled a widow and some orphans out of their last cow, which is a very good one, though not thoroughbred, I believe. I have also committed scores of crimes, of various kinds, and have enjoyed my work exceedingly, whereas it would formerly have broken my heart and turned my hair gray, I have no doubt.

In conclusion, I wish to state, by way of advertisement, that medical colleges desiring assorted tramps for scientific purposes, either by the gross, by cord measurement, or per ton, will do well to examine the lot in my cellar before purchasing elsewhere, as these were all selected and prepared by myself, and can be had at a low rate, because I wish to clear, out my stock and get ready for the spring trade.

And that was the Week in Satan.

Courage.

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