Saturday, March 31, 2012

Friday, March 30, 2012

Where's The Outrage?

A 42-year-old Chester County man was arrested at the Philadelphia International Airport Thursday night after a TSA screener found a loaded, .25 caliber handgun tucked inside his carry-on luggage, police said.
Every time there's any kind of problem with anybody anywhere, we can count on the NRA and the gun fetishists to swarm all over it, screaming about their rights and declaring that if only all those poor innocent victims had been armed blah blah blah.

They've put guns in schools and in churches and in bars; and you know fucking well that they're bound to feel most threatened when they get on an airplane - so why don't we hear from them on this?


I seem to recall a lot of polling going on over the question of water-boarding and various other "enhanced interrogation" techniques, and I also recall that people in general weren't all that het up about it, and that people in the American South in particular were less likely to to see these techniques as torture, less likely to condemn their use, and far less likely to support investigations.

Just makes me wonder how they square all that with this:
In Mississippi, S & M is against the law. Specifically, "The depiction or description of flagellation or torture by or upon a person who is nude or in undergarments or in a bizarre or revealing costume for the purpose of sexual gratification."
hat tip = Hub Pages

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Today's Pix


I love hearing about this stuff, but I always end up with a headache.


It won't be long now.  Of all the shitty things George Zimmerman could've done, killing Trayvon Martin's about the shittiest there is.  Unfortunately, arguing the politics of that one act of race brutality will seem like a luxury we can't afford as we're forced to confront the realities of gullibility and willful ignorance regarding issues of our environment.

Two things stand out for me.  First is the fight over water rights - with the Tourism Lobby winning out over the rice farmers (you know - those inconsequential goobers who don't really do anything except grow the fucking food).

And second is the lady who says she's worried that the water supply problems will make people less likely to come to her little town to live, and that'll push down on her property value.

Gosh - maybe public policy might actually have a real effect on real people.  Maybe all them librul eggheads up there at that college knew sumthin' after all.

Maybe guys like me shouldn't say things like, "you voted yourselves into this mess, ya stoopid fuckin' rubes - why should it be up to anybody else to help get you out of it now?"  I'm really trying to be charitable here, but damn.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Pic O' The Day

Every time a candidate does the Food Pander, some joker snaps a pic that casts the poor schmuck in the most unflattering light possible, and then we all get to point and laugh.  As it should be.  But day-um, bubba - you'd think they'd learn a little something after a while.

DIY Music

(hat tip = Crooks and Liars)

What else ya gonna do on the way to your next gig?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Connecting Dots

Ya gotta be careful with correlations (not everybody lying down with their eyes closed is dead), but when these things pop up, we need to take a good look to make sure there's no real causatives in motion.
This one really bugs me because the Consumer Product Safety Commission has been another one of those "bloated and evil bureaucracies" the Repubs are always complaining about, and trying to defund and defang.

From USA Today:
Children's product recalls dropped 24% in 2011, but injuries and other incidents associated with these recalls grew 7%, a report out today says.

The decline in recalls is likely due to companies' adherence to a new children's product safety law, according to Kids In Danger, which did the report. But the advocacy group says that the secrecy surrounding product safety recalls makes it difficult to draw conclusions.
Product liability is a big deal.  It's one of the mainstays of an appropriately regulated Free Market System because if the customers have the kind of recourse that can kill a company (one that's been proven grossly negligent and is thereby in for a much-deserved major ass-whupping), then companies have to be aware of the stick that goes with the profit carrot.  But if the companies can buy some coin-operated politicians and first, make it harder to get good safety info; and second, make it a lot harder for us to mete out those beatings, then they improve their profits and shift more of the risk onto the buyers.

Don't be fooled - this is exactly what Tort Reform is about.


For a Monday morning - Moby Grape's 8:05.

These guys were 2nd tier, but I think that was mostly because they were under-produced.  A better producer would've pushed them to write better tunes and to tighten up the all around execution.  But this is Revolution Rock, so "the old guy influence of the establishment" is nowhere to be found, which makes for a raw and visceral feel.  You just play; you let it happen; you turn it loose in the cosmos and it goes where it goes, man.

Anyway, it's easy to hear where guys like Jim Croce and Gordon Lightfoot came from in this cut.

Cue The Silliness

Get ready for the PhotoShop versions, which should start to surface any minute now.

Friday, March 23, 2012


Abortion is about the biggest decision anybody is ever likely to have to make.
Which is pretty much why government should probably stay out of it.
Which is exactly why "conservatives" should be against letting the government anywhere near it.

hat tip = bluegal via facebook

I Love A Parody

You've prob'ly seen this junk before - surely you have some chowderhead relative or a half-bright buddy who sends you those emails everybody loves.

Here's an interesting little twist courtesy of
(hat tip = JG)

Once you get to the site, mouse over the figures in the painting for the commentary.

Today's Pix

Voter ID

Getting on airplanes and driving cars and cashing checks and having a drink are all things I dearly love being able to do.

But I actually have an obligation to go out and vote.  It's my right, and since every right carries a responsibility, it's the duty of everybody in this country to participate in our little experiment in self-government.

So I have to insist that you get the fuck outa my way and let me do it.  Thank you.

According To Pew

“Too Much” Religious Talk by Politicians

I won't go along with the part about "most people think churches should stay out of politics altogether", but I do think we've been flirting with disaster by allowing religious leaders to enact certain of their beliefs into law.

The US was founded by people who generally indicated they held religious beliefs that ran from Full-On Ayatollah to 'meh', and a lot of them mentioned God in public and in private - usually, I think, more as a rhetorical device than anything else, but maybe that's just me.  Here's my deal though: the US was founded by guys who believed in a variety of tenets from the Judeo-Christian smorgasbord, so it's almost a flat-out lie to say "this is a Christian Nation".  Can we knock that shit off now please?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Real Mitt Romney

The Romneybot

Rachel gets a little preachy and I can do without that, but she's ridiculously diligent and astute about politics and the shit candidates have to pull (or get stuck thinking they have to pull), so she rarely gets this het up.

I just wanted to get this into the blog so I could find it later.  This is a good breakdown of the kind of stoopid shit our candidates put themselves thru to get elected.  Also a pretty good commentary on how too many of us end up seeming to demand these guys lie to us.

Goldwater's GOP

Barry Goldwater pretty much screwed the pooch in 1964 with the whole "extremism in the defense of liberty" thing, but he became a hero for me again over time because he allowed his thinking to evolve, while staying true to the core principles of American Democracy.
On religious issues there can be little or no compromise. There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God's name on one's behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both.
I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in "A," "B," "C" and "D." Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me?
And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of "conservatism."
Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they're sure trying to do so, it's going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can't and won't compromise. I know, I've tried to deal with them.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Everything Comes From Somewhere Else

The first 40 seconds of this clip will forever be in my mind whenever I ponder how a leech like Rush Limbaugh came to be.

Is it really that much of stretch to think this is where he got the idea?

The Snatchel Project

From a spectacularly inspiring website:
Dear Men in Congress: If we knit you a uterus, will you stay out of ours?

(hat tip = Balloon Juice)

Virginia Report Card

From State Integrity via the comments at WaPo

A Thought

Young looks forward
faces its future
cuz there's not much in the past
that matters right now
and everything important's out ahead

Old looks backward
it sees a past filled
with the greatness of its youth
and turns its back
on a future with little left to offer

The Romneybot

"I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that's the America millions of Americans believe in. That's the America I love." --Mitt Romney, 2012

It's a little scary, but I think that quote is exactly who Romney is.  He'd been told that his audience responds favorably whenever they hear words like "believe" and "America", so he spins up a clever-sounding bit of pure sophistry ("I believe in make-believe because I have some very expensive polling data that tells me you idiots believe in that crap, so that's what you're gonna hear me say over and over")  But by the time anybody translates it to a human-usable format, the adoring crowd that he pays to follow him around cheering and applauding has rushed past anybody who feels the need to stop and wonder if anything he says actually means anything.

Monday, March 19, 2012

What We Do To People

Putting a couple of stories together.

George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain in Florida murders (IMO) a black teenager and claims self defense.
SSgt Robert Bales murders 16 Afghanis in Panjwai and claims PTSD.

I hope there's no problem generating sympathy and an aching in our hearts for the dead - and for their families, but I get the feeling that we spend way too much time and energy either condemning or excusing guys like Bales and Zimmerman rather than spending any real time or doing any real analysis on how those guys arrived at the decisions that made such a fucking mess of so many lives.

Can't we just stop for a minute and ask what we're doing to people?

Today's Internet Lore

A pretty fair PhotoShop depiction, and an interesting perspective on the status of our political dialog.

Today I posted an image called "Fox News killed my mother." Because it did. It was the most widely circulated image I've ever posted. But, after about an hour I could no longer read any of the comments. Still can't. And some of you have messaged me to say you can't see it. So here it is again. This time, my explanation will be in the first comment instead of here. Basically my mother fell and refused to go to the doctor because she was afraid that "Obamacare" would get information about her and use it in their "death panels." Since then several of you shared identical experiences. This is how their fear mongering is killing our nation, one person at a time, one lie at a time.
(via Democratic Underground)

I have no way of confirming this so my own Confirmation Bias may be in effect, but this is  how this shit can play out over time.  People start to believe whatever you tell them if you tell them often enough.

Spendthrift Obama

Can't we just put the crap away now?  From The Atlantic:
The graph tells a simple story that I've recounted before. For all the talk you hear about Obama's historic spree, government spending actually hasn't increased so dramatically under this president. The stimulus was big, but it's over. It's been replaced by, if not austerity (which has struck our states and cities) then a hard correction to the center.

But no, we prob'ly can't put it away at all.  Digging into the comments on Thompson's post shows an awful lot of people just totally unwilling to accept anything but their own version of the story.  And that's where we are now.  We've arrived at a place where people of great power have convinced way too many of us that Perception Is Reality.  If they're pushing an agenda that isn't supported by honest research and real-world data, then they just go shopping - somebody out there is willing to reach whatever foregone conclusion they have in mind.  You can see it in practically any business almost every day - the boss decides to take the company in a certain direction, and the good folks in Marketing (the smart ones anyway) will come up with "customer survey info" that confirms everything he wants to do.  Facts are now fungible.

And we are so fucked.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Melissa Harris-Perry

Some of the best TV on TV.  It's like being in Civics class again - which was an extraordinarily great thing as far I'm concerned.

This segment was a bit of departure, but still educational for me.

Doonesbury Sunday(s)

Last time - I promise.  I have to get away from Doonesbury for pretty long periods because it's usually just too depressing, but it's good to check in once in a while.

Doonesbury Saturday

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Wendell Rides Again

I'd not been aware that Wendell Potter was putting this stiff out regularly, but there he is over at

Some of the best circularity I've come across in a long time:
Health insurers often complain that one of the chief reasons why they are having a difficult time at the negotiating table with hospitals these days is because of consolidation. The reason for that consolidation, however, is the exploding problem of uncompensated care, hospitals have no choice but to consolidate. Well, they actually do have another choice: close. Which is what many hospitals have had to do because they could not find a willing partner with which to affiliate.
Read some of Wendell's posts and then tell me Obama's not trying to do right by us.

(hat tip = VWE)

Something Good

As stoopid as our legislature and some of our preachers make us look (especially so lately), it's good to remember Viginians manage to do the right thing on occasion too.

A pair of Bald Eagles is nesting somewhere in Richmond, down on the James River.  The two eggs are expected to hatch this week.

via Richmond Times-Dispatch

Live video for mobile from Ustream

Doonesbury Monday

Affordable Care

From Daily Kos via Democratic Underground:
1. There will be non-profit insurers offering health care plans in the exchanges on top of traditional private insurers (regulated STRONGLY by the health care law). The public option never really disappeared. It was just replaced with non-profit language that will turn into non-profit options just as strong as the proposed public option. Besides, many states are integrating public options into their exchanges.

2. Medicaid will be significantly expanded to 15 million poor uninsured americans in 2014. People in deep poverty will have significantly better lives. Everyone at less than 133% of the poverty level will be covered under medicaid. Native Americans will be insured for the first time in their lives and will enjoy modernized health care. The Indian Health Care Act is reauthorized and strengthened by this medicaid expansion.

3. Medicare's trust fund will be extended 12 years. Seniors have free preventive care and check ups. Lots of money have been saved through waste trimming and fraud recollecting.

4. Small business tax credits will have their amounts magnified for small businesses in 2014. When juxtaposed with the strongly regulated exchanges, coverage will be very affordable for small businesses.
This is what Repubs are trying so desperately to repeal.

And if you're all about helping the little guy in business for himself and strokin' along and doin' his best to make the dream come true, all you have to do is look at number 4 - now how exactly do you vote for somebody who's mouthin' off about Repeal-And-Replace?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

And So It Goes

I love the fact that new-ish technologies are getting to be common enough (and easy enough to use) that people of not inconsiderable talent have good ways to let it all out.

Fire With Fire

From Dayton Daily News:
Before getting a prescription for Viagra or other erectile dysfunction drugs, men would have to see a sex therapist, receive a cardiac stress test and get a notarized affidavit signed by a sexual partner affirming impotency, if state Sen. Nina Turner has her way.
I've lost count of the times some good smart Dems have stepped up and put themselves on the line over these issues, and I hope we can look forward to a lot more.

(hat tip = Democratic Underground)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Right To Free Speech

You have the right to speak freely.  You have no right to demand a paycheck for it.

Speak your mind at the bar or at church or on the street corner, and you have a reasonable expectation to be left alone to say whatever you wanna say (within certain limits).

When you're being paid to speak, you have an obligation to stay within guidelines that your employer gets to draw.  Stick to your script - get paid.  Go off on your own, and you're on your own.  And we wish you the very best of luck in all your future endeavors.

I'm not crazy about boycotts because they tend to hurt local business people (ie: neighbors) while leaving the big dogs more or less untouched.  That said, I still think it's a really good idea for consumers to vote with their feet if they feel the need, and with their emails whenever they get a chance.  Smart companies know they have to listen to their customers.  They spend many millions every year trying to convince us they're in line with the trends they spend other millions trying to get us to tell them about.  When we take a few minutes to sign a petition or send an email thru their websites or leave critical comments on their facebook pages, they notice.

So when Rush Limbaugh gets slapped around (finally) for being - for having been for a very long time - a complete punk-ass rent-a-con, what we may be seeing is a kind of self-correction; the immune system of the body politic at work.

I dunno, of course, but it looks a lot like cause and effect to me.  Pay a guy to do something and that's what he does.  Stop payin' him to do it and he's likely to stop doin' it.

(hat tip and inspiration = driftglass)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Significant If True

This could just as well be a hoax, but even if it is, it's fun to think that this is what the result of solid political action sounds like.

(hat tip = Daily Kos)


Where To Fight

It's good to show up at marches and rallies and protests and such - the meatspace is a very important thing.  But cyberspace is where more and more of the good stuff is happening.

So get yourself up on facebook and whatever other interwebs thingies you can think of and make your presence known.

And remember that you can set up a facebook account under any alias or pseudonym you want - all you need is an email account, which can also be anonymous.*

Participate - democracy is not a spectator sport.

Bob McDonnell (aka Gov McVaginalProbe)

Robert Hurt (US House of Representatives - VA5)

Rob Bell (VA House of Delegates - District 58)

*facebook tries to prevent this, but it can be done if you're sensible about it.

Presidents Speak

From way back when Repubs weren't just fingers in the mouth, jumpin' up and down crazy.

(hat tip = Crooks and Liars)

Ladies And Gentlemen - President Feckless

From the comments:
Mitt is funny. He's too chicken to stand up to Rush Limbaugh, and he calls Obama feckless? Mitt is an amorphous jellyfish who HAS no actual positions on anything. (I'm seriously starting to wonder if he sleeps in a bucket at night.)

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Attention: Doomsday Fans

Since the Mayan calendar made no allowance for Leap Year, today's date is actually July 28, 2013 - so the end of the world is now about 7 months overdue.

Good luck gettin' refunds for your Apocalypse Cruise or whatever.

More TSA Follies

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Tax Dollars Hard At Work

Nude Body Scans Made Worthless - Watch More Funny Videos

The New Jim Crow

This is gonna be a tough one for a while, I think.  I'm still not convinced Voter ID is anything more than the typical Solution-In-Search-Of-A-Problem.  Especially when Dems benefit more than Repubs when more people vote, and that the GOP is almost always the side pushing for more restrictions on who gets to vote - so there's ample cause for suspicion.

Until somebody can show me real evidence of real Voter Fraud - and not the crap about a few random idiots who're just out to fuck with the system trying to get famous - I have to assume these laws are intended to keep people away from the polls.

(hat tip = Democratic Underground)

Dubious Associations

Papa Bear says it perfectly at the end of the last clip.

(hat tip = Wonkette)

But don't forget to vote for Newt cuz he's gonna get us all the gas we want at $2.50 a gallon.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012