Thursday, January 31, 2013

Listen To Your Mother

From Mother Jones - 10 Gun Myths:
Myth #1: They're coming for your guns.
Myth #2: Guns don't kill people—people kill people.
Myth #3: An armed society is a polite society.
Myth #4: More good guys with guns can stop rampaging bad guys.
Myth #5: Keeping a gun at home makes you safer.
Myth #6: Carrying a gun for self-defense makes you safer.
Myth #7: Guns make women safer.
Myth #8: "Vicious, violent video games" deserve more blame than guns.
Myth #9: More and more Americans are becoming gun owners.
Myth #10: We don't need more gun laws—we just need to enforce the ones we have.
Great rebuttals for each one - and easy to remember.

One of my faves - illustrating the simple fallacy of More Guns Equals Fewer Gun Deaths.


Always an understandable sentiment.  The trick is figuring out how to come back out of it afterwards.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Cuz They're DumFux

Lots of people hear this crap; internalize it; and then make decisions on things like who they'll vote for (eg) - acting on information that's false.  It's like a one-man Iraq War times 40 Million.
Fox News host Stuart Varney claimed that federal discretionary spending is "out of control." In fact, discretionary spending has already been reduced by $1.5 trillion, and non-defense discretionary spending is projected to be at the lowest level in 50 years.

One more time - Discretionary spending is down $1,500,000,000,000.00

Check it all out at Media Matters.

Connecting Some Dots

This is what I'm talkin' about (from The Village Voice):
As we never get tired of pointing out, Fox Nation is a web-site where totally non-racist editors post links to stories guaranteed to anger up the blood of their no-doubt-about-it racist readers, many of whom immediately take to the Fox Nation comment threads to uncork monstrous slurs those editors then have to delete. It's a brilliant scheme guaranteeing those editors never go out of work: Cram internet babies full of anger protein, and then hose out the diapers!
That's a good bit of honest-to-god journalism right there.  It's a little sad to think an awful lot of people still believe Fox is actually a news operation, but it's good to know there are more folks who see it for the political organization it is - and to let us witness the enormous coincidence of the GOP trying desperately to improve its chances with "the brown demographic" and this rather sudden appearance of a Latin version of DumFux News (launched late 2010).

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Counting The Costs

The Chinese economy is a juggernaut.
The Chinese economy is the greatest thing since perforated toilet paper.
The Chinese figured out how to get Gubmint outa the way, and they've unleashed the awesome power of the unfettered free market.

From James Fallows at The Atlantic:
Last week I mentioned the effects that China's latest pollution emergency was having on Chinese citizens and foreigners living there. Here's a picture posted on Twitter just now from a friend in Beijing, showing the view from the 30th floor out toward our former neighborhood.

Always remember - nature bats last.

Surplus the perfect way to describe what's happening to us, and this guy nails it.

From Gawker - Unemployment Stories, Vol 24:
I'm 40. Just got my J.D. in 2011, passed the SC Bar first go. This is my third career, after Aerospace Maintenance (got our when the airline business model tanked after 9/11) and IT. I've opened a virtual (ie, no overhead) solo practice because no one else will hire me. While having my own business sounds nice, I'm probably going to gross only about $4000 this year. We don't make enough to meet our budget and our credit and savings are almost out. I owe a quarter million in student loans. We've moved to a smaller (rented) house, scrimped, minimized our consumer debt for stuff like phones and cars and TV and such, but we're going to run out of resources this year. If it was just my wife and I, we could find a way, we could eat ramen for a few years. In theory, we could live apart and I could work where the jobs are; I could take a contract and work overseas - Xe, or many of their competitors. But we have an infant daughter, and that changes everything.
Sounds not too bad, right? Well, here's the reality: I've applied for more than 1100 jobs since I graduated in May 2011, legal and anything else I might be remotely qualified for. Pay scales from $20 grand to six figures. Nothing - not a peep. Never had an interview. Not a callback. Only a few rejection letters - just got one recently (September) for a job I applied for last December. It is like I do not exist. I am shouting in a vacuum.
So I've got a solid BS in business and info systems, JD and bar membership, aerospace background, 13 year USAF veteran with management experience both inside and outside the military. I have international experience in Asia (mostly business and education in Japan), have traveled extensively thanks to being a cargo plane mechanic, I get a veteran's preference on fed and state jobs for being mildly disabled (going deaf). Hell, I got the undergraduate version of a Fulbright scholarship (a Gilman). When I was in Law School, and looking at my peers whose previous experience was usually something like waitressing or summer camp counseloring, I thought I'd be fine in the employment area. I could always go back to one of my earlier careers, right?
Even better, rolling all my experience into one job. Or so I thought.
At first, it was merely frustrating. I was sending out about two dozen resumes a week for posted job openings anywhere within sane commuting distance. I figured I had good credentials, good experience, and a good resume - had it worked over by 4-5 different career services. The VA guys told me I had a better resume than they all did. The suspicion that my resume was getting tossed either because it wasn't believable, or because I fell in a black hole of not having enough law experience and having too much education for anything else began to grow. Now I'm certain of it. If I leave off my law degree, I've got to explain a 4 year gap in employment. If I put it in, I'm not considered for anything not a legal job, and even entry-level legal stuff wants 2-5 years of litigation experience. Now, I've given up. I recognize that what I am is surplus to the new economy, that this situation will only worsen, and no one will ever hire me again.
That realization turned frustration into despondence. I went from having the military discipline and drive that gave me the confidence to tackle anything, that had led me to greater and greater successes prior to law school, to the knowledge that I wasn't good enough for anything, that not only had I educated myself out of the job market but by doing so on student loans I had put my family at risk as well. Every day is a struggle to find a reason to get out of bed. Most days that reason is to take care of my daughter - but as a first-time dad at 40, I feel incompetent at that as well. I spend way too much time wondering if my wife and kid would be better off by themselves.
The funny thing is, before I joined the USAF I was actually homeless. I lived in a tent in the mountains, killed my own dinner, and I was happier then. Colder, but happier.
I don't want a handout. I don't want the government to step in and help me (unless they want to tackle my student loans, in which case go US government). At this point I don't even want a small business loan anymore - no one will loan you money if you don't have a house they can take. I just want enough paying clients to keep our lights on.
SCAttorney/IT Guy/Airplane Mechanic... someday.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Todays' Quote, Too

From Alex Wagner on The Last Word (Friday?) - speaking of Sen Ron Johnson's somewhat limited capacity for reasoned thought:

"The reality is that basically, Ron Johnson is intellectual Kryptonite - you get too close to him and your brain cells die."

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Today's Pix

Chris Hedges

Posted at truthdig:
The rewriting of history in the South is a retreat by beleaguered whites into a mythical self-glorification. I witnessed a similar retreat during the war in Yugoslavia in the 1990s. As Yugoslavia’s economy deteriorated, ethnic groups built fantasies of a glorious past that became a substitute for history. They sought to remove, through exclusion and finally violence, competing ethnicities to restore this mythological past. The embrace by nationalist groups of a nonreality-based belief system made communication with other ethnic groups impossible. They no longer spoke the same cultural language. There was no common historical narrative built around verifiable truth. A similar disconnect was illustrated last week in Memphis when the chairman of the city’s parks committee, William Boyd, informed the council that Forrest “promoted progress for black people in this country after the war.” Boyd argued that the KKK was “more of a social club” at its inception and didn’t begin carrying out “bad and horrific things” until it reconstituted itself with the rise of the modern civil rights movement. 

From The Comments Section

...on a Daniel Larison post at The American Conservative:
  • You don’t have to be a liberal to be OK with pre-Bush 2 tax rates.
  • You don’t have to be a liberal to resist wasteful Defense spending levels and to see the wisdom of staying out of wars.
  • You don’t have to be a liberal to live with a health care system many Republicans endorsed two decades ago.
  • You don’t have to be a liberal to practice a productive legislative relationship with the other party.
  • You don’t have to be a liberal to allow that at least some regulation is essential for a trustworthy business environment.
  • You don’t have to be a liberal to quit gratuitously insulting minorities and women.
  • You don’t have to be a liberal to quit using sneaky ways to circumvent democratically representative voting results.
  • You don’t have to be a liberal to use your small-state Senate seat responsibly.
  • You don’t have to be a liberal to have a gun policy that respects Second Amendment rights, but isn’t written by the firearms industry.
  • You don’t have to be a liberal to conserve our natural resources.

Today's Quote

“As for the Republicans -- how can one regard seriously a frightened, greedy, nostalgic huddle of tradesmen and lucky idlers who shut their eyes to history and science, steel their emotions against decent human sympathy, cling to sordid and provincial ideals exalting sheer acquisitiveness and condoning artificial hardship for the non-materially-shrewd, dwell smugly and sentimentally in a distorted dream-cosmos of outmoded phrases and principles and attitudes based on the bygone agricultural-handicraft world, and revel in (consciously or unconsciously) mendacious assumptions (such as the notion that real liberty is synonymous with the single detail of unrestricted economic license or that a rational planning of resource-distribution would contravene some vague and mystical 'American heritage'...) utterly contrary to fact and without the slightest foundation in human experience? Intellectually, the Republican idea deserves the tolerance and respect one gives to the dead.” --HP Lovecraft, 1936
hat tip = Democratic Underground

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Fight The Power

I think this is what revolution should look like.
A Virginia man who wrote an abbreviated version of the Fourth Amendment on his body and stripped to his shorts at an airport security screening area won a trial Friday in his lawsuit seeking $250,000 in damages for being detained on a disorderly conduct charge.

Bad Lip Reading

It's unfortunate, but I hafta to believe there's a fair probability that when a whole buncha the Wingnuts "listen", this is what they actually hear.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

It's Pretty Sad, Really

In general, I can get with anybody who has the smarts and the ingenuity to make stuff work.  I just wish we could move the culture forward enough to convince these Gun Geniuses to turn their talents towards Distributed Power Generation or Bio-Mechanics or Robotic Waste Recovery or or or.

Today's Best Post

a perfect little quickie from Democratic Underground:

...women don't belong in combat.  Neither do men.

Please Try This At Home

...but call me first so I can watch.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Numbers Don't Lie

Sometimes people say you can get numbers to say anything you want them to say, and in a sense that's kinda true, but the real deal is pretty simple.  In almost every case, it's a matter of people lying about the numbers; or people claiming the numbers are saying something that's not quite the truth.  So, to borrow a meme - Numbers don't lie to people; people lie to people.  Or somethin'.  Grains of salt are in order here, but...

Anyway, here's some interesting math for ya via Democratic Underground regarding the Virginia GOP's attempts to change the way Electoral College votes are apportioned in a presidential election:
Barack Obama won 51.16% of the vote. Under the new bill he would have won four of the states 13 electoral votes.

And do you know how much it counts an Obama voter as? (It's 4/13 divided by 51.16%. I'll wait. Do it. Get a calculator. You'll crap yourself.)
Yup - it's right about three fifths.  Each Obama voter would be counted as 3/5 of a Romney voter.  Ring any bells for anybody?

So the Repubs hold their little confab at an Antebellum Plantation - where one of the main Party Strategy topics was how to appeal to minority voters - and this is one of the things they came up with?  How is it these guys even stay in business?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Another Quick Look

...back on one of the best nights this country's ever had.

Just A Tho't

The 112th Congress got less done than any congress since 1948.

So lemme see - the party that's always pissin' and moanin' about how crappy and poorly-run the gubmint is; and how we need to let the good ol' Capitalist GOP get in there and show 'em how it's done blah blah blah; the guys who brag about being efficient and good at makin' stuff work - those are the guys who've punked the Senate with 109 filibusters in 2 years, while their buds over in The House have spent boatloads of time (at enormous taxpayer expense) introducing junk bills about Lady Parts and amendment proposals for outlawing gay marriage and and and.

The least productive session in 64 years.  And which "party" do we have to thank for obstructing every single thing we sent Obama to DC to get done?

Look Back Briefly

Brian Williams on the air not too long after Sandy.

There may a tiny glimmer of hope for a few of the Press Poodles yet.

2nd Amendment

An interesting take on "gun rights" from Thom Hartmann at truthout:
The real reason the Second Amendment was ratified, and why it says "State" instead of "Country" (the Framers knew the difference - see the 10th Amendment), was to preserve the slave patrol militias in the southern states, which was necessary to get Virginia's vote. Founders Patrick Henry, George Mason, and James Madison were totally clear on that . . . and we all should be too.
In the beginning, there were the militias. In the South, they were also called the "slave patrols," and they were regulated by the states.

When All Else Fails

...try some grandstanding.

I'm not a big Hillary fan.  I thought she was on her way to some really big things in the early 90s (and that still may be the case) - back when she was talking about "the politics of meaning", but then she lost her thread and started sounding like everybody else.  I think she's OK and I think it's really hard to make a case against her job performance at State (which is the main reason the Repubs are trying to make a case against her job performance at State btw).

Anyway, there's a rarified atmosphere in DC and they call it rarified for two reasons that I can see.  First, there's only so much attention (aka Political Air) to go around, and so everybody spends a lot of time and energy trying to muscle their way into the spotlight.  But mainly, it's pretty obvious the actual physical atmosphere must be really thin because the behavior of an awful lot of these people is more easily understood if it's a fairly simple matter of their brain cells not getting enough oxygen.

Rand Paul, for example:

In what world does President Rand Paul even consider appointing Clinton SecState?

But really - in what world does America lose it's fucking mind completely and elect Rand Paul president?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Pixar In A Zero Tolerance World

Today's Pix

Today's Gun Nut

From 2nd Amendment's Photos on Facebook:

Yes, of course they're worth protecting - which is why those adorable boys are equipped with helmets and footwear appropriate for bike-riding.  Way to go, Dad.

Chris Hedges

I'm not completely down with all of his conclusions, but the guy speaks to some very uncomfortable points, which generally makes me think I should at least stop to consider what he's trying to say.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Chicken Or The Egg

The question is whether some dick came up with the idea for the shirt first - or did the dick wearing the shirt voice his demand for it?

Answer: Doesn't really matter, does it?

The Repubs have gone right 'round the bend, hand-in-hand with the freaks who make up their constituency.  In fact, in this little thing we call 'democracy', the freakiest of the freaks in the constituency become the 'leaders' of the freaks - so again - doesn't really matter.

Not that this skinhead was open to the message, but shouldn't the GOP have gotten a pretty clear signal?  (Real glad a prick like this guy wasn't rewarded for crap like this)

And secondly - for anybody still laboring under the twisted delusion of 'both sides do it', please tell me where I can find the Librul Equivalent of this shirt?

Today's Gun Nut

As always, for every complicated gnarly problem there's a solution that's simple and elegant and wrong.  So it's not as simple as removing guns from the equation - or removing certain types of guns - but it's a good place to start.

And it wouldn't hurt my feelings if we could actually stigmatize the need to own combat-style weapons - use the powers of marketing and advertising to redefine the relationships, and to associate guns with people who struggle with lingering hangups about their sexual identities, or Daddy Issues, or whatever.

That's prob'ly a bad idea in the long-term, but think how fun it'd be - for a while anyway.  You take the one thing that helps the average gun freak feel good about himself and turn it around so it's something that makes people point and laugh.  Yeah OK - publicly mocking somebody with an AR-15 and 10,000 rounds of ammo is a little dangerous, but dang...

Here It Comes Again

The Debt Ceiling looms again as the next perfect opportunity to fuck with us like we had tails.

Via Democratic Underground, this guy's a new one for me:

Scalia's Hat

No, seriously - I think there may somethin' wrong with this guy.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Lady Michelle

Body language makes a beautiful sound sometimes, and Michelle Obama speaks with a lyrical perfection in this short clip from the Inaugural Luncheon.

Can't wait to hear from Wingnut-topia about what a horrible person it makes her for having the nerve not to put up with the drunken antics and attempted glad-handing (ie: pawing) of Sir John the Orange of Paintboothshire.


1,384,171 is the number of Americans who have been killed by guns in the last 43 years.

One million-three-hundred-eighty-four-thousand-one-hundred-seventy-one.

Since 1775 (237 years), having fought dozens of battles, skirmishes and outright wars; putting many millions of American uniformed people in harm's way - the estimates look like this:

War of Independence (1775-1783) 25,000
Quasi-War (1798-1800 ) 20
Barbary Wars (1801-1815) 35
War of 1812 (1812-1815) 20,000
1st Seminole War (1817-1818) 30
2nd Seminole War (1835-1842 ) 1,500
Mexican-American War (1846-1848) 3,283
3rd Seminole War (1855-1858) 26
Civil War (1861-1865) 623,026
Indian Wars (1865-1898) 919
Spanish-American War (1898) 2,446
Philippine War (1898-1902) 4,196
Boxer Rebellion (1900-1901) 37
Mexican Revolution (1914-1919) 35
Haiti Occupation (1915-1934) 146
World War 1 (1917-1918) 116,708
World War 2 (1941-1945) 407,316
Korean War (1950-1953) 36,914
Vietnam War (1964-1973) 58,169
El Salvador (1980-1992) 20
Beirut (1982-1984) 266
Persian Gulf Support (1987-1988) 39
Invasion of Grenada (1983) 19
Invasion of Panama (1989) 40
Persian Gulf War (1991) 269
Somalia (1992-1993) 43
Bosnia (1995) 12
Afghanistan / Iraq (2002-2012) 6,616

For a grand total of 1,317,130

In just 43 years we've killed 67,041 more Americans than all of our "enemies" have managed to kill in 237 years of armed conflict.  Who looks at this and then says to himself, "So, yeah - I guess what we need is a lot more opportunity for Americans to kill each other"?

The Internet Is Outa Control

Today's Pix

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Manti T'eo

Here's a picture of all the fucks I give:

Seriously - I've tried, but I just really really don't care.  And it's not that I don't care about a young man on the verge of fame and fortune being scammed to the point where he somehow felt compelled to go along with it (WTF?) only to get publicly fucked over anyway -  the story here is that the Press Poodles couldn't be bothered to do their fucking jobs.

As usual, Charlie Pierce gets it about right:
I remain fascinated by the unfolding saga of Manti Te'o and the alleged death of his imaginary girlfriend — Who exactly got the white roses he sent to the funeral anyway? — partly for the pure schadenfreude of watching the perpetual-motion Notre Dame mythmaking machine sputter and wheeze, leaving gears and tiny springs and pieces of itself all over the landscape as it augers in spectacularly, and in full public view. (And the Gipper was a gambler and a bounder and drank South Bend dry. Pass it on.)

Yesterday's Dildo-Brained Gun-Fucker News

From Balloon Juice:
Today is “Gun Appreciation Day.” An event created by right wingers with penis issues, and so called because “Insensitivity To First Graders Being Slaughtered Wholesale Day” doesn’t roll as glibly off the tongue. It also gives the game away, but I digress.
At gun shows across the country, the hicks and goobers line up to look at and buy all sorts of guns, and more guns and still more guns instead of getting the roof fixed, buying a used truck less than eight years old, or saving up for Billy Bob’s and Jolene’s tuition at the junior college that might have allowed them to not work at Walmart as adults.
And here are some hi-lites from This Week In Gun Safety:
  • a 6-year-old in Cleveland, Ohio who died after she likely shot herself in the face.
  • a 15-year-old in Anchorage, Alaska who was shot in the leg as guns were fired at her home.
  • a 12-year-old in Bainbridge, Georgia who was seriously injured, already requiring two surgeries, after shootinghimself in his leg while hunting.
  • a 4-year-old in Richmond, Virginia who unintentionallyshot and killed a relative in his home using a gun he found on a table.
  • a 2-year-old in Savannah, Georgia who unintentionallyshot himself with a gun he found in a drawer.
  • a 17-year-old in Cleveland, Ohio who was unintentionally shot in the chest while he and a friend were handling a gun.
  • a 16-year-old in Kearny, New Jersey who was shot and killed in her home while babysitting her younger brother.
  • a 15-year-old in Chicago, Illinois who was shot in the shoulder near LaFollete Park.
  • a 17-year-old in Chicago, Illinois who was shot and killed just outside the Chicago State University gymnasium after a high school basketball game.
  • an 18-year-old in Watsonville, California who was shot and killed.
  • a 16-year-old in St. Louis County, Missouri who was shot in the leg after leaving a high school basketball game.
  • a 15-year-old in Columbus, Ohio who was shot and killed during an after-school fight.
  • a 17-year-old in Baltimore, Maryland who was shot and killed.
  • a 15-year-old in Wilmington, Delaware who was shot in the leg.
  • a 12-year-old in Hazard, Kentucky who was shot and killed in a parking lot at Hazard Community and Technical College, along with her father and 20-year-old cousin.
  • a 15-year-old in Yakima, Washington who is in critical condition after he was shot in the head. A 17-year-old companion was shot in the back.
  • a 16-year-old in Lexington County, South Carolina who was shot in the back while sitting in a pickup truck.
  • two young children in Kansas City, Missouri who were shot as gunfire from the street entered their house.
  • a 14-year-old in Las Vegas, Nevada who was shot and killed outside a party at an apartment complex.
--paraphrasing here: When it's stupid to own a gun, only the stoopid own guns.

A Small Win

...or maybe that should be the word 'win' spelled with the lower case 'w'(?)

From Addicting Info:
The full body scanner technology, which produces a semi-nude image of a persons body, has been controversial since they were first introduced. While the advocates for it called the scanners safe, that the images were not clear enough to be considered intrusive, privacy advocates have taken, at times, odd measures to protect the scanners.
What has been neglected in much of the media attention, however, is the safety of these scanners. The radiation used by the models of machines built by OSI Systems has been called into question, with serious concerns about the levels of dosage used. Late last year, OSI failed to meet critical safety requirements, and on Friday, the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) announced their termination of the OSI contract. While OSI is not the sole supplier, its systems were under the most scrutiny due to the clarity and detail they provided.
So first, chalk one up for even a slight delay in stomping all over people's rights - of course, with one contractor out, it only makes things better for somebody else's brother-in-law to become very wealthy at taxpayer expense while doing practically nothing effective about the problems of terrorism.

Second, it's kinda nice to know that an opportunistic slug like Mike Chertoff is being left on a dry sidewalk under a scorching summer sun.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Today's Toon

The Directory Of Sick Fucks

Via Democratic Underground:
In the increasingly distant past, the National Rifle Association (NRA) largely advocated for policies related to hunting and marksmanship, but today its leaders are defined by unsavory conduct and the advancement of extreme, anti-government ideology. While the NRA innocuously describes itself as the “nation’s oldest civil rights organization,” this portrayal serves only as a smokescreen to mask the fact that the organization is a rogues gallery of the most odious voices in the contemporary Conservative Movement.
One only has to look to the NRA’s leadership to discover that the organization is operated by a group of individuals who promote racism, misogyny, homophobia, anti-immigrant animus, religious bigotry, anti-environmentalism, and insurrectionism. Some active NRA board members have even had close relationships with brutal dictators in outside nations. Put simply, members of the NRA leadership no longer make for polite company.
Moreover, while superficially bipartisan, the NRA is closely aligned with the most extreme elements in the Republican Party and has brought a number of the GOP’s most influential operatives into positions of power within the organization. The GOP and NRA are now locked in a symbiotic relationship where Republican legislators advance the NRA’s extreme agenda while the NRA musters its hardcore supporters to serve as attack dogs for a wide range of conservative causes.
This website shines a light on the background of members of NRA leadership, in large part by allowing them to comment on the issues of the day in their own words. It is intended as a resource for those who cherish moderation, civility and principled advocacy in American politics.
Take a look around at some of the leading lights in the NRA - some of these people are too nutty for granola.

Today's Great Idea

pure fucking genius

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Music Redux

Some of my visitors have been hitting on this Steely Dan tune I posted a coupla years back.  The original YouTube video had been taken down, so I updated it with this one, which I think is pretty timely now that we're busily trying so very hard not to do anything about our gun problems.

It occurs to me that during the last 65 years or so (aka America's Imperial Period), we've spent a lot of time shooting people just about everywhere in the world, and so it shouldn't come as a big surprise that eventually, it wouldn't seem at all unusual for us to shoot each other.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Solar Dreams

I've not confirmed this is real -

- but what a great idea.

Of course, the real problem is that once the utilities companies perceive any threat to their 19th-Century Profit Model, they put their Coin-Operated Politicians to work knee-capping anybody who dares to compete with them.

From The Mail & Guardian (Africa Edition):
But renewable energy has become politically divisive as businesses complain the shift away from nuclear power towards subsidised renewables is adding to consumer costs and jeopardising economic growth.
The government agreed last year to cut the level of feed-in tariffs – the industry's lifeblood as long as solar power is more expensive than conventional forms of energy to produce – in order to reduce the pace of installations.
Tariffs were cut by 2.5% a month between November 1 2012 and January 31.
Installation decrease
An Environment Ministry spokesperson said installed capacity in the last quarter of 2012 was less than a fifth of overall installations last year.

An American Hero

He doesn't carry a gun; he doesn't threaten anybody with bodily harm; he isn't throwing bombs - he isn't doing anything in the mode of violence that we've come to expect just in the everyday transaction of living with other people.

He's "just a kid" asking to be told the truth; so he isn't passing on a lie.

From io9:
Kopplin, who is studying history at Rice University, had good reason to be upset after the passing of the LSEA — an insidious piece of legislation that allows teachers to bring in their own supplemental materials when discussing politically controversial topics like evolution or climate change. Soon after the act was passed, some of his teachers began to not just supplement existing texts, but to rid the classroom of established science books altogether. It was during the process to adopt a new life science textbook in 2010 that creationists barraged Louisiana's State Board of Education with complaints about the evidence-based science texts. Suddenly, it appeared that they were going to be successful in throwing out science textbooks.
"This was a pivotal moment for me," Kopplin told io9. "I had always been a shy kid and had never spoken out before — I found myself speaking at a meeting of an advisory committee to the State Board of Education and urging them to adopt good science textbooks — and we won." The LSEA still stood, but at least the science books could stay.
hat tip = Democratic Underground

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

New Vocabulary

Here's my new term - this is what I'll be calling members of the GOP for a while at least:

  • If you voted for a shitload of spending under last year's budget (or actually Continuing Resolution, since we don't really do budgets anymore) - but anyway; if you voted to spend the money last year and now you're talkin' about voting against the Debt Ceiling which allows us to pay for the shit you voted to spend all that money on, well, you might be a Renege-lican.
  • If you intend to vote to cut Social Security benefits or Medicare for people who've been paying into the system for 50 years, you might be a Renege-lican.
  • If you jumped up and down thumping your chest chanting "USA USA" sending a million Americans to fight and to bleed and to die in various desert shit-holes, but now you're having second thoughts on paying for VA Benefits or Survivors' Benefits or or or - then you're a fuckin' Renege-lican all the way.

Renege-licans:  buncha whiny-butt pussies who want all their relatives and especially all those best-buddy beltway thieves to get a good long slurp at the federal trough, but when it comes time to pay the check, these pricks are absolutely nowhere to be found.

Today's Toon

Monday, January 14, 2013

John Fugelsang

It Ain't Healthy

From NYT:

The 378-page study by a panel of experts convened by the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council is the first to systematically compare death rates and health measures for people of all ages, including American youths. It went further than other studies in documenting the full range of causes of death, from diseases to accidents to violence. It was based on a broad review of mortality and health studies and statistics.
The panel called the pattern of higher rates of disease and shorter lives “the U.S. health disadvantage,” and said it was responsible for dragging the country to the bottom in terms of life expectancy over the past 30 years. American men ranked last in life expectancy among the 17 countries in the study, and American women ranked second to last.
“Something fundamental is going wrong,” said Dr. Steven Woolf, chairman of the Department of Family Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University, who led the panel. “This is not the product of a particular administration or political party. Something at the core is causing the U.S. to slip behind these other high-income countries. And it’s getting worse.”
Coupla things: "This is not the product of a particular administration or political party."
WTF?  Even if I'm willing to say it's not so much a particular party but a particular outlook, that statement is borderline criminally stoopid.  Which side in any debate over any health-related issue has been funding the kind of quack science that said cigarettes aren't that bad?  that said Love Canal wasn't making the whole neighborhood sick?  that AGW and Climate Change are parts of an elaborate hoax?  that Obamacare is a federal takeover?  that artificial food additives are a good source of nutrition?  that Fracking isn't contaminating our drinking water?  that even the study of gun violence wasn't something we should spend tax dollars on? and and and.

So OK - let's focus on fixing the problem instead of the blame - but if we're gonna have any real shot at getting it right, we hafta identify the full scope of the problem.  And a big part of the problem is that "one side" keeps lying us into making bad decisions or actively seeks to keep us from making good decisions.

It's good to get this info out into the light of day, but let's remember to have the balls it takes to see the whole problem - and to call the problem by its full name.

Today's Toon

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Party Of Dementia

From Charlie Pierce:
Look at all the state representatives and senators proposing these bills and voting for them. That's your next generation of national Republican politicians. That's your Triple-A ballclub. For all the phony introspection that followed Romney's defeat, the internal processes by which the Republican party is shaping itself into a regional white-people's party that for an ideology has substituted only its various fears and hatred continue apace. The sudden media superstardom of a one-term governor of New Jersey isn't going to obviate the fact that, out there, more people take Glenn Beck seriously than take Chris Christie.
We can't make the mistake of 2008, and kinda sit back after the election thinking good ol' Barack'll take it from here.

Constant, steady pressure.  Call your reps and senators, and tell 'em what you expect.

Today's Toon

From Clay Bennett:

The Krugman Speaks

..for a good long time, and says a lot of great stuff.

I guess a coupla main points for me are these:

  • We have to stop allowing ourselves to be made to believe that Democracy and Capitalism are interchangeable terms.
  • We have to understand just how close we're coming to letting the Bain-type Vultures pull off a corporate takeover of our government. (Don't think so?  Think about the assets owned by the USA, and then try not to think about that fat and juicy Pension Fund we've got, just layin' there ready for some smart buzzards to swoop in and pick it clean.  What's happening now - what's been happening for 25 years - is classic Bain Capital / Henry Kravitz leveraged buyout bullshit.)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Friday, January 11, 2013

Just A Reminder

Reagan was shot by a random douche-nozzle carrying a legal gun; and he was shot while  being guarded by well armed and very well trained professionals who were hand-picked because they were at the top of their game.

And now, this:



Thursday, January 10, 2013

Today's Jon Stewart

If it was any less tragic, it wouldn't be funny.

Calling All Wait Staff

Honest - I'm not advocating actually spitting in anybody's food and/or drinks, but dang; wouldn't it be just a tiny bit satisfying?

Today's Gun Nut

A guy named Keith Ratliff was a major player on YouTube, advocating the glories of guns and fun-with-a-gun and the importance of having a gun for personal protection, etc.

Mr Ratliff was found dead of a single gunshot wound to the head last week in Georgia.

A Frankfort man who was a business partner of the popular YouTube video channel personality known as FPSRussia was found shot to death last week at their firearms business in Carnesville, Ga., a sheriff there said Tuesday.
Franklin County, Ga., Sheriff Steve Thomas said he was investigating the death of Keith Ratliff, 32, as a
homicide. Ratliff, who his family said commuted between Frankfort and Georgia, was found Thursday with a single gunshot wound to the head.
Thomas said Tuesday that no arrests had been made. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation also is investigating, he said.
So, we can just let all that sink in for a short moment.

It really sucks for his family; and his friends; and for whoever else is affected by the ripples created whenever anybody connected to any other human is suddenly gone.

I didn't know Ratliff, and while I won't be celebrating his death, I'm not gonna be shy about pointing out the simple fact that the irony here is thick enough to choke a fuckin' hippo.

ad more here:

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Quick Reminder

...from about something that needs to stay near the top of our priorities list:
The problem, of course, is our health care system – although “system” seems like a flattering word for this greed-driven, anarchic three-ring circus. Our health care system – guess we’ll need to call it that for lack of an alternativer – is the worst in the developed world. It costs far more, provides much less, and has worse outcomes than any system that’s even remotely comparable.
If we spent the same on health as the average developed country (as a percentage of GDP) that would inject more than a trillion dollars per year into other parts of the economy.
The "clear-eyed, pragmatic grownups" (mostly Repubs calling themselves conservative) are full o' shit.

Today's Quote

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) on Monday mocked the 67 House Republicans who voted against disaster relief funds for the victims of Hurricane Sanday. “It’s the same 67 over and over again,” he noted on The Stephanie Miller Show. “It’s the bath salts caucus, the people that would rather eat your face than raise taxes on the rich.”

Above The Law

Elizabeth Warren is on 'em like the sun covers Dixie - and my mad crush on that woman continues unabated.
“Beginning in 2008, the federal government poured billions of dollars into AIG to save it from bankruptcy. AIG’s reckless bets nearly crashed our entire economy. Taxpayers across this country saved AIG from ruin, and it would be outrageous for this company to turn around and sue the federal government because they think the deal wasn’t generous enough. Even today, the government provides an ongoing, stealth bailout, propping up AIG with special tax breaks — tax breaks that Congress should stop. AIG should thank American taxpayers for their help, not bite the hand that fed them for helping them out in a crisis.“
The violence that some of these fuckwads did to our economy is criminal.  And while I'm trying to reform my hard-ass Ayn Rand reactionary self, I have to wonder: when do we get to hang a few of these jag-offs?