Monday, April 30, 2012

Today's Quote

A golden oldie:
"With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion."  --Steven Weinberg, quoted in The New York Times, April 20, 1999

Uh Oh

At least one headline writer at one media outlet has had a sudden attack of conscience or integrity or truth-telling - or something - I'm not sure we even have a word for it anymore.

hat tip = Democratic Underground


Not to worry tho'.  I'm sure it was just a momentary lapse.  A little Paycheck Reduction Therapy should straighten that guy up and make sure he doesn't run the risk of becoming Fact Addicted or anything.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Today's Oxymoron

Cool Republican

Do you knuckleheads really think you have any chance to compete with this guy?



Atta Boy, Willard

Because it's just a universal absolute that their parents have all the money any kid will ever need to start a business or go to college or spend a coupla years in Europe or whatever.

The sense of entitlement on the part of way too many "conservatives" is like having a whole family of dead rotting rodents stuck in your wall space.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

An Aha Moment

"Conservatives" will always argue against making any serious cuts in Defense Spending by trying to make it all about National Security.  They have to ignore the 6 million American jobs that are directly dependent on the Pentagon because of course, "gubmint don't create no jobs", so they have to rationalize the flat-out waste of things like F-22 and F-35, the B-1 and the B-2, and the maintenance of a Doomsday Capable nuclear arsenal etc etc etc.  Hey, ya just never know when them Rooskies might start feelin' peckish, so we need to be ready.

I have to admit, I've been a little reluctant to hack away at the military budget because of the those jobs.  I remember a few times when cutbacks put a lot of good people out of work and had a pretty bad ripple affect across the economy; and I remember thinking Reagan's huge deficits were OK because the gi-normous military buildup was really just a federal jobs program in disguise.

But guess what.  Turns out it was mostly bullshit.  Imagine that - somebody with a vested interest in keeping the money flowing telling me stories about jobs that weren't really true just to keep the money flowing.  Sometimes, my own ignorance and gullibility shocks even myself.

So here it is - a new look from The National Priorities Project, and The Project For Defense Alternatives

hat tip = Wonkette















Here's the PERI link

Here's the PDA link

Disclaimer: Everybody's playing an angle of some kind, but not all angles are equal.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Dots

There's a connection here that has everything to do with conducting ourselves in private in a way that makes our public lives worthy of whatever honor and respect we can reasonably expect from other people.  It's all about learning to live our lives without needing Jesus or a cop or our mommies looking over our shoulders the whole time.

From The Atlantic:

What Does It Take To Break The Athlete's Code Of Silence?
Rare is the sports scandal, whether it's blood doping on the Tour de France or Tiger's sex life, in which complicit silence does not lie at or near the heart of events. It played a key role in the NFL's Bountygate. And in last fall's nightmare at Penn State. If baseball's antisnitching poster boy is not Weaver, it's Greg Anderson, the longtime friend of and personal trainer for Barry Bonds. Anderson was willing to spend time behind bars rather than testify against his friend. The blind loyalty of see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil can give lots of cover for doing evil.
-and-

Television News And Accountability
Part of this comes out of an old sense that the power of news media emanates from its unfailing accuracy. But given that no one ever is unfailingly accurate, and given that we now exist in a world where numerous sites are dedicated to pointing this out, it may well be smart to emphasize other values.
When wrestling with your conscience, it's important to remember that you need to lose once in a while.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Today's Pix








The Hand Of God


Communist My Ass

Mr Jefferson said some things that get clearer and wiser the more I revisit them.
"Every generation needs a new revolution."
-and-
"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of tyrants and patriots."
We hear a lot about how China is this big and powerful and scary thing.  We also hear lots of criticism of China's "Communist System" and how these dirty commies may be doin' great capitalistic things, but they're still just a buncha dirty commies blah blah blah - well, they aren't really.  At least not completely.  Not when there's a story about the grandson of one of China's old guard Party People, who's been hangin' like a rock star as he matriculates at Harvard, cuz suddenly it's kinda hard for me not to see it as another example of the amazing resilience of the very human propensity towards aristocracy.

From NYT:
One Chinese friend of mine was a judge in corruption cases, and made a good living taking bribes from defendants. Another friend, the son of a Politburo member, was paid several hundred thousand dollars a year simply to lend his name to a real estate company.
Officials have a maddening sense of entitlement. When I lived in China, my wife and I once attended a party with many middle-age officials (including one now in the Politburo) and a crowd of trophy female secretaries. One cabinet minister mistook my wife, who is Chinese-American, for a secretary and crassly made moves on her. Let’s just say that my wife ruined his evening.
The scale of corruption has become mind-boggling. Zhang Shuguang, a railways official,managed to steal $2.8 billion and move it overseas, the state news media have reported. A Chinese central bank report suggested that 18,000 corrupt officials had fled China and taken $120 billion with them. The average take was almost $7 million per person.
The backdrop is the staggering wealth enjoyed by the elite. More than 300 million Chinese lack access to safe water, but one tycoon’s home I visited had an indoor basketball court, a movie theater and a pond with rare fish worth up to tens of thousands of dollars each.
In Chinese, the words for power (“quan”) and money (“qian”) sound alike, and in China one often translates into another.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Old Made New Again

Reading thru this today from The ArchDruid, via The Agonist:
(while trying to find a new way of saying "forget your history and you'll have to relive it")
The first of these shifts was the Great Depression or, more precisely, the feckless response of both American mainstream political parties to the economic collapse that followed the 1929 stock market crash. In the crucial first years after the crash, Democrats and Republicans alike embraced exactly the same policies they are embracing in today’s economic troubles, with exactly the same lack of success, and showed exactly the same unwillingness to abandon failed policies in the face of economic disaster. Then as now, the federal government launched a program to bail out big banks and corporations—it was called the Reconstruction Finance Corporation in those days—and pumped dizzying amounts of money into the upper end of the economy in the belief, real or feigned, that the money would work its way down the pyramid, which of course it didn’t do. Then as now, politicians used the shibboleth of a balanced budget to demand austerity for everybody but the rich, and cut exactly those programs which could have helped families caught by hard times. Then as now, things got worse while the media insisted that they were getting better, and the mounting evidence that policies weren’t working was treated as proof that the same policies had to be pursued even more forcefully.
And then I had to go reread the Kipling piece:
The White Man's Burden --Rudyard Kipling, 1899
Take up the White Man's burden--
Send forth the best ye breed--
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild--
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.
Take up the White Man's burden--
In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple,
An hundred times made plain
To seek another's profit,
And work another's gain.
Take up the White Man's burden--
The savage wars of peace--
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hopes to nought.
Take up the White Man's burden--
No tawdry rule of kings,
But toil of serf and sweeper--
The tale of common things.
The ports ye shall not enter,
The roads ye shall not tread,
Go mark them with your living,
And mark them with your dead.
Take up the White Man's burden--
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better,
The hate of those ye guard--
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah, slowly!) toward the light:--
"Why brought he us from bondage,
Our loved Egyptian night?"
Take up the White Man's burden--
Ye dare not stoop to less--
Nor call too loud on Freedom
To cloke your weariness;
By all ye cry or whisper,
By all ye leave or do,
The silent, sullen peoples
Shall weigh your gods and you.
Take up the White Man's burden--
Have done with childish days--
The lightly proferred laurel,
The easy, ungrudged praise.
Comes now, to search your manhood
Through all the thankless years
Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom,
The judgment of your peers!

Yeesh

You tho't it just couldn't get any worse than Rebecca Black - think again.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dear Mrs Romney

Dear Mrs. Romney,
Perhaps you can advise me. Since you have raised 5 boys, I'm sure you'll understand. One of the kids is sick again and I have no sick days left at work. In fact, my boss gave me a bad performance review and no raise this year because he said I obviously don't care that much about my job since I've missed so many days and if I miss anymore he may have to replace me. Whenever my child gets sick, my boss reminds me how easily I can be replaced.
We don't have health insurance at my job, so, if my boy gets worse, I'll probably be at the ER most of the night tonight. Not for the first time, but that's ok, he'll get care. It's tomorrow I'm worried about.
As you know, regular day care will not take a sick child, so if I want to work when my child is sick, I have to pay for sick child day care, which costs as much as I make, and, as I'm sure you know from personal experience, I still have to pay my regular day care, whether my child is there or out sick, so I actually lose money in order to work while he's sick. It's that or take a chance on losing my job entirely.
Should I take my child to the day care for sick kids and lose money and not have enough for my bills this month, so I can keep my job, or should I stay home with my sick child and hope that I don't get fired?
What did you do when this happened to you?
Sincerely, Just Another Mom

Us vs Them

So here's a potentially interesting thingie - al Jazeera reports a big scary story about all the mutant seafood coming from the post-BP Gulf, complete with eyeless shrimp and clawless crabs; while US Federal agencies seem a bit reluctant to tell us any bad news about what we're eating.  And I'm wondering: does a good American patriot believe the terroristy news agency or does he look to the Gubmint for reassurance?

(hat tip = Wonkette)


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Baldwin vs Buckley

The great debate of its time (mid 60s I think).

The American dream at the expense of black people
- or -
The American dream in spite of the injustices shown black people



Two things always to remember:
1) When a great injustice has been done, it becomes nearly impossible for either side to trust the other.  On some level, the victim will always expect the perpetrator to repeat the crime, and the perpetrator will always expect retribution from the victim.

2) The victim requires the witness to (voluntarily) carry part of the burden of his victimhood by making a morality judgement.  The perpetrator only wants the witness to be morally neutral - to see, hear and speak no evil.

At about 48:00 Buckley makes the classic 2-part conservative argument that (1) yes, it's true "the black problem" is bad, but hey, we're workin' on it, and (2) we're working on it harder than anywhere else in the world (this is where nowadays somebody starts the USA USA chant).  The problem here is that conservatives always conveniently ignore the simple fact that the USA has foundational documents that are very explicit in calling for (and requiring) equality for all people, and that those same documents REQUIRE the government to work towards ensuring that equality on behalf of everybody in this country.  Plus, this conservative argument seems always to ignore the simple fact that guys like Baldwin are never asking for anything more than for the USA to live up to its own declarations and fundamental tenets.

Straight From The Horse's Mouth

James Fallows is no Libtard.



























One thing this means is that we could reduce our Oil Consumption dramatically, which means we could reduce political tensions in the world dramatically.

The 8.2 million barrels of oil (per day) we're currently burning as gasoline in light duty autos becomes 2.9 million.  Please don't try to tell me we wouldn't benefit greatly from that kind of change in the status quo.

And please don't try to tell me there's nobody working overtime to keep that kind of change from happening.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Today's Pix







How Stupid Are We?

The Buffett Rule is stuck in the US Senate because Repubs won't let it get unstuck.  This is a measure that CNN's polling tells us is supported by 72% of us.  But because we have a near-totally dysfunctional US Senate, nothing gets done without a 60 vote majority.

But the real kicker is that most of the Press Poodles look at a vote tally of 51 AYEs vs 45 NAYs, and report to us that "the measure failed".

USA Today:
The 51-45 defeat of the "Buffett rule," named after billionaire investor Warren Buffett, fell mostly along party lines.
Huffington Post:
Democrats' attempt to pass a Buffett Rule tax on the super wealthy failed Monday in the Senate, as Republicans blocked the measure in a sharply partisan debate.
Reuters (headline):
Buffett rule fails Senate vote in tax fight
New York Daily News:
The Senate rejected the "Buffett Rule," which would've raised the tax rates for millionaires, after Republicans accused President Barack Obama of pitting Americans against each other.
I hope it's just lazy, but it seems to be bordering on dishonest.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Dots

You just gotta figure there's a blogger or some wingnut somewhere who's feverishly working on how to put the Secret Service partiers together with something that makes the whole thing look even worse.  And here it is.  You're welcome.





The Opposite Game

When you know you suck at something, it's important to deflect criticism of how bad you suck, and to try projecting your suckishness onto your opponent.

hat tip = Blue Virginia
The 92 percent figure obscures the fact that many more men than women lost jobs in the recession, as Wallaces forces Gillespie to admit. The key is timing. Men tend to be concentrated in industries that were hit first, like construction, so they lost their jobs first, while women tend to be contracted in the public sector, which had layoffs later on when state and local governments slashed their budgets.
In fact, it was Republican lawmakers and governors who led this effort, accounting for over 70 of percent state layoffs, so Romney's claim is effectively blaming Obama for policies that Romney supports (cutting government workforces).

Hold On A Durn Minute

What's your hurry, little mister?  Don't you know that terminating a presidential campaign can have seriously negative effects on your mental health?

I should just shut up and leave the satire to the pros (hat tip = BlueGal at Crooks and Liars)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

One Thing Leads To Another

History is a not a bunch of random unrelated events.  The point that really stings is at the end of this segment, when it's made clear that the Nazi death camps didn't simply pop up out of the sick-fuck imaginations of a few maniacs - the holocaust was just kinda the latest in a long line of racial terrorism.

If you're looking for a little taste of reality, try watching this whole BBC series.  I dare ya.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Top Secret America

A coupla things are interesting when I think about this Frontline story.  First, that there's a bunch of typical rubes who love to worry about The Gubmint, but who're always worrying about stoopid shit instead of worrying about the real thing.  And second, that "The Left" did a lot of hand-wringing about power and secrecy under Bush, but are now a lot less eager to condemn these things because "our guy's in the Oval" (I can cop to that one a little bit myself).  I've heard the flip side of that coin from a few different sources as well - people self-identifying as Repubs say they were OK with Bush having that power because they trusted him, but now they feel more threatened because they don't trust Obama to do right by them.

Anyway - happy paranoia to ya'll.

Watch Top Secret America on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

I Am Not Trayvon Martin

From Ebony:
Can you imagine the outcry if seven White youths had been gunned down by police and security guards in a matter of months? Can you imagine the extensive political interest, the media stories that would saturate the airwaves? Can you imagine Fox News or any number of newspapers reporting about a school suspension for one of the victims or doctoring pictures in an attempt to make these victims less sympathetic? Can you imagine a person holding up a sign calling these victims “thugs” and “hoodlums.”Just think about the media frenzy, the concern from politicians, and the national horror every time a school shooting happens in Suburbia or every time a White woman goes missing...can you imagine if women routinely went missing from your community and the news and police department simply couldn't be bothered?

No, you can't. And you don't have to.

And I just kinda hate thinking that somebody who's probably young enough to be my granddaughter has a better handle on this than I do.


(hat tip = Democratic Underground)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Just What We Need

Considering all the shit the world wants to throw in our general direction, I think the US Military should really make an effort to take all those young Americans - you know, the kids we've trained to kill on command and armed with enough lethal machinery to level every city and every farm building on the planet and still have enough left over to go back and "make the rubble bounce" - yeah, what we really need to do is give those kids lots and lots of drugs.
After two long-running wars with escalating levels of combat stress, more than 110,000 active-duty Army troops last year were taking prescribed antidepressants, narcotics, sedatives, antipsychotics and anti-anxiety drugs, according to figures recently disclosed by the U.S. Army surgeon general. Nearly 8 percent of the active-duty Army is now on sedatives and more than 6 percent is on antidepressants – an eightfold increase since 2005.
“We have never medicated our troops to the extent we are doing now. … And I don’t believe the current increase in suicides and homicides in the military is a coincidence,” said Bart Billings, a former military psychologist who hosts an annual conference at Camp Pendleton on combat stress.-- The Spokesman-Review
War is a racket.  Every war - on, for, or against anything - is a racket.  If you don't know that by now, then you don't know anything.

And isn't it so perfectly coincidental how The "War On Terrorism" is now nested perfectly into the "War On Drugs"?

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Nexus

...of politics and race in America.  Anybody who's watched politics knows about "The Southern Strategy" and how it's morphed over the last 8 or 9 cycles.  I'm thinking it prob'ly goes a lot farther back than Nixon and Wallace - the Dixiecrats come to mind.  So I'm trying to dig things up that tell me something about the long evolution of race (and religion) in our elections and power politics.

For now, here's a nice bit of turnaround/parody from Bill Maher - a few years back.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Bill Gates - TED Talk

Innovating To Zero



Say What?

Sometimes, the parade of stoopid is simply beyond imagining.



And why does it seem like The Daily Show is the only outfit taking this on and asking real questions?  Are the Press Poodles so afraid of the Wingnuts that they won't denounce it for the Epic Stoopid it is for fear of being called "biased"?  I've got news, fellas - it doesn't matter what you do, the Nutters will always call you biased because that's what makes a cult work.

And also too, being biased against something that's so obviously Epic Stoopid is a good thing.

Friday, April 6, 2012

My New Favorite Meme

(hat tip = JG)


My Kinda Guy - Kinda

I consider John Cole (Balloon Juice) a fellow traveller - a Conservative In Recovery.  And actually, I don't think of it as recovering from being conservative so much as trying to recover what being conservative should really mean.  But that begs for an attempt to define "conservative", which only turns "conservative" into "Conservat-ism", which is always where it falls apart because nothing fucks up a good philosophy like hanging that "ism" on the end of it.  The purists jump in and start weeding out those who don't conform - all in the name of "inclusion" and "the big tent", of course - which is where I think the Repubs are stuck now.  Eventually, the only planks left in the GOP Platform are Party Loyalty and Anti-Obama.

So "conservative" is a little like deciding between art and pornography - ya get to make that call for yourself, and nobody else.

But there's one thing more to put to rest before we can claim to be fully free of this Dark Side Politics.  We have to recognize this for the utter bullshit that it is:
Republicans might be crazy, but at least they fucking fight. Whether I am right or wrong, I stand up for what I believe.
I hear this a lot when people feel the need to criticize the Dems (usually for trying to play nice with their fellow Americans - which is kinda the fucking point in a democracy BTW).

You might as well say, "George Zimmerman may have goaded Trayvon Martin into a fight so he'd have an excuse to murder the kid in cold blood, but at least he was standing up for what he believed in".

You don't get points for fighting on the wrong fucking side.

The Lie Du Jour


Repubs love to play the Opposite Game.  In one interesting variation, they insist on firing as many public employees as possible while screaming about how Obama has done nothing but increase the size of government.  And they do all that while claiming that only Repub presidents know how to get the government under control.

hat tip = The Atlantic

Thursday, April 5, 2012

It's That Time Again

Time to look at who won The Peabody Awards this year.  Lemme see, if I say the phrase "excellence in broadcasting", who comes to mind?  Well, fortunately, the good folks at Univ of Georgia understand that it needs to mean a fair bunch more than just another catchy marketing slogan, so Mr Limbaugh is SOL - again - for something like the 40th year in a row.

And of course, the same goes for DumFux News.  They didn't win a Peabody this year either.  That puts their streak for not winning a Peabody (or any other award they didn't create for themselves) at right about 0-for-their-entire-fake-ass-fucking-existence.

Congrats to Stephen Colbert on his 2nd Peabody.  That makes 2 for Colbert and zero for Bill O'Reilley, and zero for Chris Wallace, and zero for Brett Baier, and zero for that whole sorry crew.  Stephen Colbert.  2 Peabody Awards.  You guys at DumFux got dick.  Again.

Read it and smirk.

Oh yeah, and just in case you need to throw around some numbers regarding "the most watched cable news shows"?  That much is correct - MSNBC has nothing on the air that pulls your numbers.  CNN can't match your viewership.  But you what show beats you?  Sponge Bob.  Y'know what else beats your numbers?  EVERY COOKING SHOW ON ANY NETWORK.  So go suck a pine cone.  Putz.

Naming Rights

I have a ridiculous man-crush on Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

Know Your Shit

I hate this.  I hate thinking I need to teach my kids that the cops are not their friends, and are not looking out for them.



(hat tip = Balloon Juice)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Guns And Politics

Does the phrase "hoist by one's own petard" ring a bell?

Tampa city managers wanted to put up some temporary rules aimed at keeping the peace during the Repub convention this summer - just a few simple things like no guns in the immediate area of the convention site, and of course, they needed rules against all those troublesome protesters who tend to carry objects such as signs and flags, which we all know can be converted instantly into dangerous weapons since all of those dirty hippies have been extensively trained by the 3 guys in the New Black Panther Party.

Well, it just made some sense to Assistant City Att'y Rodriguez that, "... if we're going to regulate people carrying sticks and poles, why wouldn't we regulate people carrying firearms, because those could pose significant risks to police and other protesters".
But later, city attorneys removed the ban on guns after finding that Florida Statute 790.33 prohibits local governments from enacting any laws on the sale, purchase, transfer, taxation, manufacture, ownership, possession, storage or transportation of guns or ammunition. --Tampa Bay Times
So, lemme see - Politicians who (likely) are in favor of some kind of Universal Un-Abridgeable Gun Rights because "if everybody's packin' then everybody's bound to be more polite" - these guys decided it would be safer if nobody had guns at a political rally where tempers might reasonably be expected to flare just a bit; but their attempt to bring a little common sense to the street-level application of official policy was blocked by the overarching rule of a powerful centralized government in a place far removed from where the effects of these policies are actually felt.  Hmmm.  Why does that sound so familiar?

For the record, I really hope everything works out well in Tampa this summer, but part of me is also really looking forward to seeing a few chickens heading home to roost.

hat tip = Wonkette

Monday, April 2, 2012

Today's Pix





Spring Break

This week is Spring Break for my high schoolers, so we're gonna hit the road for a coupla days.  Dunno where we're going or what we'll be doing, but I'll try to get something up from somewhere on the road.

Later.