Sunday, August 22, 2010

Conflicts of interest: Secret Qi Gong self-massage techniques, babysitting & blogging

By the time I get done trying to entertain my two-year-old granddaughter all day, I don't have much energy left for blogging. Sure, I write a lot of stuff down -- but when I read back what I just wrote, it all seems like dookie. But even if I could somehow manage to write meaningful prose of Shakespearean quality, so what? Most Americans are too busy getting fleeced by the Republican noise machine to even have time to read any of my humble stuff anyway.

Screw it. At least two-year-olds give you an occasional smile.

However, today I really would like to write about some secret Qi Gong massage techniques that I learned 32 years ago, from a wandering Tibetan Buddhist monk. "I learned these in a secret cave in China," he told me back then, "and if I teach them to you, you can't tell ANYONE about them. Not anyone. Okay?" Sure.

But 32 years later, with the world going to hell in a hand-basket and 1% of the rich owning 83% of the stock market and almost all of our taxpayer money being vacuumed off to kill orphans in Afghanistan, why bother even trying to keep secrets any more? So here's the story on secret Qi Gong self-massage techniques from hidden caves in China: Please watch it now, while we still have Net neutrality and you still have access to the internet.

Oops. Gotta go. Sesame Street is on and Mena and I gotta go watch it.

PS: Here's a video segment of Senator Al Franken's speech on Net neutrality, FYI:

I also took notes on this speech at the Netroots Nation convention in July, so here are my fairly-raw notes on that speech -- wherein Sen. Franken actually encourages us blogger types to hang in there. "We march forward because the future belongs to those who are passionate and work hard. And that has to be us. We can't give up. And we have to take pride when we make progress. This country is a better place because of us."

Hey, tell that to Mena next time she gets all chatty at 2 am!

Sen. Franken in Vegas: Lies, lies & access to truth

Five years ago, GWB and the right wing echo chamber and the wealthy had built what seemed like an unstoppable machine. But all over the country, progressives were incubating a movement to raise money and back progressive candidates. And they became senators. Five years ago was a pretty exciting time after all. In 2006, we felt a little giddy, like we had pulled off the upset of the century.

In 2008, the energy of the netroots and people-powered activism developed a grassroots movement that was inspiring. More than 200,000 people made an online contribution to my campaign. Thanks. My campaign was based on the help of the conversation online. When the MSM was announcing that my candidacy was dead, it was the citizen bloggers that were showing the world that Minnesota was not Florida.

Now everyone believes that the internet is important. But it is not the whole story. It is only a tool. It depends on what you have to say, not how big a megaphone you have. Our story can and has changed the country.

Paul Wellstone says the future belongs to those who are passionate and work hard. And now we can't afford to stand around and admire what we have done. Conservatives are now motivated too, and they want to prove that our wins are just a fluke of history. They are just as motivated to stop our movement. You can tell they are motivated because they have boatloads of money. One oilman gave Karl Rove one million dollars for attack ads. Citizens United allows them to spend unlimited funds.

Congress would be a very different place without Barbara Boxer and Nancy Pelosi. VERY different.

We need to prove that 2008 was not a fluke. We have to support great candidates like Joe Sustak and Tarryl Clark [she's running against Michelle Bachmann -- donate here:]

I know that some of you who have elected Democrats haven't gotten your money's worth. Immigration reform, the public option. But don't think for a second that you are not being heard. I go to a lunch every Tuesday with all the Senate Democrats and, believe me, they hear you.

We didn't get everything we wanted but we did get a lot. These bills were better because you made us make them better. We have a lot of democratic votes but we need more progressive votes. We need to send us more senators like Bernie Sanders. You can't back out now!

I can't tell you to be patient because that would be hypocritical. Because I'm not patient. But the Republicans want to take back even what we did get. We have seen what Republicans do when they take control of congress and it ain't pretty. Plus they are talking like the deficit took place on the day Obama was inaugurated.

They want to cut things that are not government handouts. They want to go back to the dark days of the Bush administration. And this time it may not be so easy for us to regroup. And the corporations have even darker plans -- an America where no individual's rights are so important as to take precedence over America's corporations.

There are great corporations that aren't inherently evil, but they are powerful and can be evil if they want ot -- or feel that they have to. And our rights are disappearing one right at a time. Your right to a jury trial, to clean water, to privacy. Used to be only the government could threaten you rights -- but now corporations can threaten them too. And Net neutrality threats are the biggest danger to your rights.

They want to sell premium access to internet access. When the same company owns both the pipes and the programs we may be in trouble. And as the only senator who has been in show business, I know how communications networks work. Mergers and consolidations mean that they can both control the programs and the means of delivering them.

If Citizens United is allowed to stand, how long do you think it will take before four or five mega-corporations control all access to media? How long do you think it will take before the Fox News network loads five times faster than the Daily Kos.

It's not just about politics. The internet is an incredible source of innovation. Its value comes from it being open to everyone. YouTube and Twitter started small. How many people are Tweeting right now. The internet has changed our lives. Imagine how an independent producer couldn't get a show on a network-controlled television. The internet will become like that -- major corporation controlled.

I can't imagine what life in America will be like if this kind of innovation can't take place. The government can pass rules to protect Net neutrality. And congress is hearing more than enough from the corporations on the other side of this issue and not enough from you. You have to help us fight this.

We are at the worst moment in our history. More unemployment than ever. Climate change. We have to resist and rise to this challenge. If we don't, no one else will. Even if you only started blogging because you can't stand President [sic] Bush or wanted single-payer healthcare, you still have to keep at it. We have to fight these battles because we are right and our country is worth it.

We march forward because the future belongs to those who are passionate and work hard. And that has to be us. We can't give up. And we have to take pride when we make progress. This country is a better place because of us.

In the Obama administration, we have seen progress. These are things that are worth celebrating. And I am confident that we will have even more to celebrate at next year's Netroots Nation convention.

The Netroots Nation gang has given me the honor of announcing the official location of next years Netroots Nation convention. It's not as glitzy but it's a great place for fishing. And if it gets a little to crowded at Marcos's party you can always come over and hang out at my house. The next Netroots Nation convention will be in Minneapolis!