Recent comments

  • April 9th 2009   12 years 28 weeks ago

    Caller Haley's comment -- that the digital age needs laws of its own somehow to cover things like cyber-bullying -- is pretty bizarre! A law is a law. Libel, defamation, slander, blackmail and so on don't need to be recast to address the world with computers!

    I got the feeling from the caller's insistence that something NEW needed to be created to address cyber-bullying was call for something FASTER, even instantaneous -- LIKE THE KEYPAD DELETE BUTTON!

    This is frightening to me. Computers give us a lot of that sensation of INSTANTANEOUS GRATIFICATION, but law and justice do not work like that. Evidence, discovery, deposition, judgement, peer review, precedent -- all these things have a place in our attempt to gain JUSTICE. We can't just CENSOR, DELETE, and BAN those we don't like or find irritable, etc.!

    I find that call VERY scary if it reflects how most young people think about this.

  • April 9th 2009   12 years 28 weeks ago

    B Roll wrote about vegetarians. I am a vegan. I don't put animal products in my mouth, I don't wear animal products, and I don't buy products from companies that do animal testing. I love Thom Hartmann. I'm sorry B Roll felt the need to write a tired old joke that has been told by people who don't understand vegetarians for years.

    For the record: jokes that suggest meat eaters are doing a noble thing by "saving defenseless vegetables" are old and are a great way to show the world you haven't done any research on vegetarianism.

  • April 9th 2009   12 years 28 weeks ago

    Cyber-bullying topic:

    I agree with Thom that there are ALREADY laws on the books to cover the actions of these bullies.

    I especially agree that teaching kids the reality of the bullying world by showing them how spot bullies and deal with them on the Internet too. We do need to teach everybody how to spot these people and REPORT them and work to contain their bullying behavior.

    BULLIES need rehabilitation, that's for sure. We make Drunk Drivers take education classes when they are first snagged. Isn't it time to do the same for BULLIES??? We need a way to lasso the bullies and give them a chance to reform and be members of the real human race! If they can't be reformed, then maybe stronger remedies are needed.

    ESPECIALLY we need to take away the bullies' computers if they refuse to stop cyber-bullying! (Just like Drunk Drivers are not allowed to drive.)

  • April 9th 2009   12 years 28 weeks ago

    re: Iris Mack

    I wonder if the following facts had anything to do with the firing of Iris Mack after she questioned certain practices and investments of the Harvard Management Company while Lawrence Summers was the president of Harvard University:

    1. Mack questioned policies Summers approved of.
    2. Mack is a woman.
    3. Mack is relatively young.
    4. Mack is black.
    5. Mack is beautiful. (I know Thom, we're not supposed to notice.)
    6. Mack smells good. (I know Thom, we're not supposed to notice.)

    People who attain the kinds of successes and positions of power that Summers has usually don't appreciate being questioned by underlings. They also tend to be protective of their authority and reputation.

    We already know that Summers expressed (in the past) his belief that females possessed less of an aptitude for math and science than males. We also know people tend to hold clusters of conservative or liberal beliefs. For example, people who hold backwards views on women often also hold backwards views on race. People who support gender equality also tend to support racial equality. These are general statements not absolute.

    I don't like unsupported speculation, but I can imagine a scenario in which Summers was angered to have economic decisions he supported being questioned. His judgment and reputation were being questioned. And I can imagine that his anger increased when he discovered that the person who questioned these decisions was a brilliant young black woman who also happened to look and smell great.

    It's just my speculation and it may be that Mack's firing may be totally due to her questioning of the several practices of the Harvard Management and nothing to do with the other factors. It may be that anyone might have been treated the same way.

    Still, with the proper disclaimers, I think we should consider racial, gender and generational factors that we tend to either overlook or assert without much thought. The question of race is particularly neglected on progressive radio. When it is dealt with, it’s generally done poorly.

    How do I know that Iris Mack is beautiful? I’ve seen pictures of her. How do I know she smells good? Come on! And unlike Thom Hartmann who beat his breast on the radio after spontaneously complimenting Arianna Huffington for her perfume, I understand that people (men as well as women) scent their bodies for their own enjoyment and for others to notice.

  • April 9th 2009   12 years 28 weeks ago

    Thom,
    The math that killed Wall Street.
    Here is a link to an article in Wired Magazine that explains the math behind credit default swaps and collateralized debt obligations. It explains how it works and what the problems with it are, in a way that is easy to understand.
    http://www.wired.com/techbiz/it/magazine/17-03/wp_quant/

  • April 9th 2009   12 years 28 weeks ago

    When quoting Rick Santorum, failure to refer to:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santorum_(sexual_neologism)

    and

    http://www.spreadingsantorum.com/

    is a crime against man and the god of your choice.

  • April 9th 2009   12 years 28 weeks ago

    Good point of agreement with the gun owner. I often worry about having my rights taken away. Both left and right could work together to model a step diagram with levels of concern and recommended action. I have been in the wilderness surrounded by homes that are meth labs and thankful to G-d my host had an array of guns. Ultimately, our need for protection from those who would use the legal system to strip our civilization of its rights begins with the human psyche and is a cultural issue. For every gun, there ought to be a conflict resolution, basic safety nets including education and voluntary counseling services made available. We should join with the Republicans and fight the very rich control freaks rather than each other.

  • April 8th 2009   12 years 28 weeks ago

    Of course there would be fewer outbreaks of disease if food safety were privatized. We would not have a pesky CDC to track and tell us about them! Seriously, without a central, "official" agency with the responsibility to track and, with the legal right to investigate disease, we would never hear about them.

    Another point: How do you think things will work out if the private P.R. agency of an industry is quicker at getting its message out than the private inspection agency?

  • April 6th 2009   12 years 28 weeks ago

    News from Milwaukee about the exact thing Thom talked about on Wednesday. Sendik's is considered "the" grocery for the high-end earners.
    http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2009/04/08/ap6272732.html

  • April 9th 2009   12 years 28 weeks ago

    Greetings from the future.

    Yes, I arrived here in Thursday, April 9, one day before the rest of you. We think there's a bug in the software for Thom's new website that caused a tear in the time/space continuum. We've been working on the problem, and think we've come up with a solution, which I'll try at the very moment that yesterday turns into today.

    Here's the plan. At the precise moment that your today (my yesterday) is turning into my today (your tomorrow), I will jump into the air. If my timing is perfect, I will jump today and land today. Since my feet won't be touching the ground when at the moment the day changes, I will hopefully land in the right day. (This is why basketball games and track and field events like the long jump, high jump and the pole vault are scheduled to end before midnight. People who are in the right day could end up a day behind if they unfortunately jump at the right time.

    No need to wish me luck. By the time you read this I'll either be back in the present or I might be smashed like a bug against the windshield of yesterday.

    Thom, if I don't make it, I want you to know I take back every nice thing I ever said about you. Hope you understand.

  • April 8th 2009   12 years 28 weeks ago

    I'm happy to hear that you tell it like it is when discussing the meat industry and the negative impact it has on the health of the planet. There's a great article that points out just how easy it can be to make a difference, just by skipping meat for one day. http://www.alternet.org/story/134650/ GO VEG!!!

  • April 8th 2009   12 years 28 weeks ago

    Some varied thoughts on Thom's food topic today:

    1. Are AynRandianLibertarians capable of CAUSE AND EFFECT thought processes? I mean, so what if there are a thousand "Consumer Report" type reviews of products in regards to product safety and effectiveness? All they will contain are analyses of harmful, toxic and poisonous products if we don't make sure products are safe BEFORE they reach the point of sale/purchase!

    2. Two things are missing in consumer protection: 1) Criminal prosecutions of producers of harmful products, and 2) Inspections to prevent tainted goods for entering the marketplace.

    3. Where is a deterrent to producers who sell TAINTED PRODUCTS!? Is there nothing to induce them to regulate themselves effectively? Unless there are laws to PROSECUTE those who FRAUDULENTLY sell products as healthful and safe when those products are actually poisonous -- the incidence of FOOD POISONING and toxic products will continue unabated. We will continue to find out about poisonous products AFTER THE FACT that they are out amongst us being consumed and used in food production.

    4. And 'accidental' contamination? Accidents only happen because noone is looking at the process. The more INSPECTIONS there are, the fewer the accidents!

    5. It was interesting to hear Thom's caller who indicated the difference between USDA inspections (of meat and farm animal husbandry and slaughtering) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) food processing and drug formulation and their safety. However, the USDA has delivered no panacea either. They have inadequate numbers of inspectors; if they do find something wrong, they can write up the violation but usually little comes of it but a building record of violations! This is typical of the animal research industry where university research labs can accumulate stacks of violations and never correct the problems and if they pay a fine, the fine is so small it doesn't phase them. Another example of this inadequacy of MAD COW DISEASE (prion disease Thom mentioned): the USDA has not controlled the use of dead animal parts/waste products in feed for live animals even though it is PROVED that this is a way the prion disease infection is spread.

    6. The food producers use that same old formula: If the fine costs less than the profit I can make, I'll violate safety rules and pay the fine out of the greater profits.

    We absolutely MUST make tougher safety rules/regulations and make the fines/punishment for violations PAINFUL enough to be followed!

  • April 7th 2009   12 years 28 weeks ago

    Thom resorted to the phantasmal tactic of defining god as a tree or as the sky. Ok, if that is how you define god than I am a believer. Thom has diluted the definition of god so much, he renders it useless. Having a sense of transcendence is not proof of god.

    Schizophrenics were once thought to be demonic and now we understand it is due to a brain disorder caused by increased dopamine activity in the mesolimbic pathway of the brain, nothing supernatural about it. And we can now alter the mind with medications, we treat schizophrenia with antipsychotic drugs and for centuries humans have been using natural drugs to alter the brain to have a “spiritual” experience. How then Thom do you attribute a feeling in your brain to the supernatural? I think (we are getting close) we will understand spiritual experiences at the level of the brain much like we are coming closer to understanding schizophrenia and drug use at the level of the brain. It is a fantasy, nothing more, get over it. Just because you are afraid of death and you want to see your dad again is not justification of belief in things unproven.

    According to wikipedia:
    Recent studies in neuroscience have indicated that as people fall in love, the brain consistently releases a certain set of chemicals, including pheromones, dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, which act in a manner similar to amphetamines, stimulating the brain's pleasure center and leading to side effects such as increased heart rate, loss of appetite and sleep, and an intense feeling of excitement.

    Does this make love somehow less special? No. The fact that we evolved such a trait is astonishing, it makes it so much more amazing, the feeling is real and it has a natural cause, not some transcendent cause. When Bronze Age societies saw the sun as a magical entity and in many cases an actual god they looked at it with awe and spirituality. Now understanding that the sun is a giant nuclear reactor made up of not angels but rather hydrogen and helium and other elements, ask yourself, do you feel the sun is less awe inspiring? Does this knowledge reduce our amazement or enrich it. I prefer the latter.

    Now on to Thom’s other tactic: Calling Atheism a religion.

    This is blatantly dishonest, attacking your opponent as being the very thing they are against to shut them up doesn’t win you the debate. It is simple, Theists make a claim, i.e. god exists and an Atheist simply denies the claim. Hey Thom, free marketers make a claim, i.e. "The free market will solve everything" and you deny that claim and speak out against it regularly. Does that make your denial a religion? Aren’t you being fundamental with your disbelief? Aren’t you evangelizing? Once again you are diluting the definition of religion so much as to rendering it useless. If people explain why they do not believe, and you call that a religion, than we really have a lot more religions on our hands than we ever realized and we should be teaching those “religions” in comparative religions classes. In Thom’s world, any philosophy or argument becomes a religion.

    Definitions are important and religion is an organized approach to human spirituality which usually encompasses a set of narratives, symbols, beliefs and practices, often with a supernatural or transcendent quality, that give meaning to the practitioner's experiences of life through reference to a higher power or truth.

    Atheists deny the spirit world, they deny the supernatural, they do not have practices of atheism or beliefs, it is a non belief. Raelians claim to be atheists and technically they are right as they do not believe in a supernatural god, they believe aliens made us through cloning and advanced technology. I am pointing this out to show that an atheist can believe anything, even crazy irrational things unsupported by evidence, just not in a god.

    People who deny that Bigfoot exists could be called abigfootists and believe in a load of different things just not in Bigfoot. Atheism is no different. We do not call Bigfoot deniers a religion and Thom should know better.

  • April 8th 2009   12 years 28 weeks ago

    I hope that the citizens of the United States will one day start to realize that we are the government and that those that say that government is somehow doing a bad job they are saying the we the people are doing a bad job. Each time a agency does not perform the duties that the critics think that should be done should remember that the employee of the agencies are citizens of the United States and are doing a bad job. We have citizens of the United States who do not feel that their allegiance is to the people of the United States and should do everything they can to protect the people. The people that showed up to help the community of Fargo should be held up as an example of what the government should be, the people showing up to do what ever it takes to help protect the people.

  • April 8th 2009   12 years 28 weeks ago

    It is not all the people that are desensitized and do not know were their food comes from. Most people are not that stupid. I am affined by radio and TV personalities who feel that the way they think things should be are somehow more informed that everyone else. The same information that they are exposed to can be acquired by others who do not have their platform to express their opinion. Maybe some million or so people will read, saw and agree with what is presented by these personalities, the fact still remains, these only represent a small faction of the people that live on this planet.

  • April 9th 2009   12 years 28 weeks ago

    Thom,

    Did you imply that Easter eggs don't come from cows. Then how do you explain the Easter Heifer? I guess you've been living on your houseboat so long you've forgot about them. Cows don't like swimming aren't built for boating.

    As far as you vegetarians, we members of the Vegetable Liberation League think you're deplorable hypocrites. A chicken can run or fly away, a duck can swim away and a cow has many ways of escaping, except by swimming or by boat. But poor vegetables are stuck in the ground. How can you justify cutting off the head of a lettuce or a cabbage and then eating it?

  • April 8th 2009   12 years 28 weeks ago

    I occasionally eat Fish but when I do I often eat with head on because I don't want to sanitize what I eat or where it comes from. That said, I dont eat any other animal and havene't in 36 years. I've said time and again, it would be a good thing for us to see and know exactly where our food comes from and how it is processed rather than just going into the supermarket and picking up a shrink wrapped hunk of meat in the refrigerator case. Certainly if an animal is going to give it's life for your sustanence the least you can do is confront the reality of how that animal was killed for your dinner.
    f

  • April 8th 2009   12 years 28 weeks ago

    The Libertarian or Objectivism positions are two things:
    1) Dependent on the assumption that people will ALL "act responsibly".
    and
    2) A return to no civilization.

    #1 is unrealistic in the extreme. It just isn't true that everyone will act responsibly if we suspend all regulation.
    and #2 -- well, isn't one definition of civilization that we band together to do things for our own safety and advantage that are more difficult to do alone? Libertarianism is the assumption that if we take away civilization, people will still act civilized. This is completely crazy.
    Our founders wisely put "checks and balances" into our government because they knew that there are always those people who, if you don't watch them closely, will try to cut corners, to cheat. As a PREVENTIVE measure, if we all watch each other for honesty all the time, we can do it unobtrusively and without malice or paranoia. It's akin to what we in health care call "Universal Precautions": we treat ALL patients as if they have a deadly communicable disease. This takes the onus off of everyone, no one is accused of anything, and everyone is much safer.

  • April 8th 2009   12 years 28 weeks ago

    Thom,
    I'm a vegetarian, thanks to your book LHof theAS, but it just so happened that I was eating tomato soup when you spoke of the chef slitting the rabbit's throat. I almost lost it on the computer screen.
    Much appreciated.
    West

  • April 8th 2009   12 years 28 weeks ago

    I don't know where Thom finds it, but here it is (in a form I got it from email -- it has a few more naughty words I think.)

    "A DAY IN THE LIFE OF JOE REPUBLICAN"

    Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards. With his first swallow of water, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to ensure their safety and that they work as advertised.

    All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance - now Joe gets it too.

    He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs. Joe's bacon is safe to eat because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

    In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained.

    Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for the laws to stop industries from polluting our air.

    He walks on the government-provided sidewalk to subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

    Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe's employer pays these standards because Joe's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union.

    If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he'll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some stupid liberal didn't think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

    It is noontime and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some godless liberal wanted to protect Joe's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression.

    Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime. Joe also forgets that his in addition to his federally subsidized student loans, he attended a state funded university.

    Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards to go along with the tax-payer funded roads.

    He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers' Home Administration because bankers didn't want to make rural loans.

    The house didn't have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded rural electrification.

    He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social Security and a union pension because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn't have to.

    Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn't mention that the beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day. Joe agrees: "We don't need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I'm a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have."

  • April 8th 2009   12 years 28 weeks ago

    indeed- please post the Joe American piece so I can send to all my conservative friends!

    Thank you

  • April 9th 2009   12 years 28 weeks ago

    Thom,

    Barack Obama defended his vote for the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 by saying that it brought the wire tapping back under the supervision of the FISA court after the Bush Administration had broken away from that supervision. That's what Randi Rhodes said, in defending Obama on that vote, although she said she disagreed with him (as I recall).

    That would indicate that his view was that under that act, eavesdropping would require warrants from the FISA court. I don't know what the Obama Administration is actually doing now.

    I was out of the room where the radio was playing when a caller said something about Obama and Hillary Clinton going to a Bildeburgers, and after that meeting they changed their position on FISA. I didn't catch when the meeting was. However, I do know that Obama voted "Yea" on FISA Amendments Act of 2008, but Hillary Clinton voted "Nay".

    In another bit of cheerful news, there was an article on Yahoo! Tech on Monday, April 6, that said that the UK just began a one year program of archiving every email. Apparently there was European Union directive to do so.

    http://tech.yahoo.com/blogs/null/136610 Here's the first paragraph:

    "In a move that even the most nonchalant of privacy advocates is crying foul over, the UK has put into effect a European Union directive which mandates the archival of information regarding virtually all internet traffic for the next 12 months."

  • April 8th 2009   12 years 28 weeks ago

    Can you post that day in the life of Joe American, story you just told on the air?

    The one that lists all the good things that liberals have accomplished.

  • April 8th 2009   12 years 28 weeks ago

    Thom please, tell it like it is- Alex is a BS'er, His livelihood depends on this BS- Please explain, to his face, what happens when we visit his Website- explain that He is using our visits to market his ability to push this BS- Do it Thom, do it please.

  • April 7th 2009   12 years 29 weeks ago

    I was surprised at Chris Hedges assertions about atheists. He claims they externalize "evil" and that they place humans above all with regards to moral standing while retaining a linear sense of time. I don't know which atheists Hedges references but none seem to be part and parcel of what atheism is. Atheism (speaking as one) to put crudely means a lack of belief in any form of higher power/ consciousness that somehow overseas, controls or affects the whole of existence. Any notions of the supernatural, religion or mysticism becomes moot as the result.

    With that, the notion of externalization of evil, as Hedges claims, becomes meaningless in true atheistic terms. People are capable of committing horrible acts and are able to cause much misery and destruction. Is Hedges somehow claiming atheists believe in some ultimate force out there in space named "evil"? Hedges' claim makes no sense here.

    Also, I doubt most atheists make any claim with regards to human being's moral superiority. Again, humans are capable of constructive or destructive actions, as with any other animal species. If anyone wants to frame or label these actions in specific terms such as "morality", then so be it. What does this have to do with atheism?

    Finally, Hedges claims that atheists have a linear notion of time. How so? This is a bit of logic trap. If one says well religious belief systems have a very linear notion of time, then Hedges could claim "see atheism is a religion". What a weak link! Many belief systems, regardless of religiosity, have linear notions of time. This fact makes for a soft argument for atheism as a religion. Many physicists don't believe time as a straight line: time and space as a loop, the string theory, quantum physics, etc.

    Atheists don't claim to know everything, neither does science. The problem begins when people try to fill the gaps of knowledge with notions of the supernatural.

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