Sunday, June 30, 2013

USA - USA - USA

We're number - 2.  OK OK - not too shabby.


But wait; these rankings are a little fudged, cuz if this was a tournament (and make no mistake here - it is a tournament), we'd be listed as 3rd place.  Again tho', not bad from the standpoint of total energy produced.  This is a big-assed joint that needs and produces big-ass bunches of energy, but in terms of the percentage of the total energy produced, we're #111.



So - fuck; again!?!

There are 17 countries in the world getting more than 90% of their energy from renewable sources.



















Somebody please explain to me how it seems Burundi knows a little somethin' that we just can't quite figure out.

What is it about Tajikistan?  Kyrgyzstan?  And the Congo for fuck sake!?!  You're telling me they have their shit together enough to meet 100% of their energy needs without fossil fuels and we're just standin' around with our thumbs up our butts?

Yeah, yeah - OK.  Factor out all the cars and you get a different thing altogether - or do ya?  One more thing to chew on here: a British company owns the world's Land Speed Record for an Electric Car - as reported in Auto Week.

The Drayson Racing Technologies Lola B12/69 EV electric race car hit a top speed of 204.2 mph at a racetrack at RAF Elvington in Yorkshire, England, smashing the previous record of 175 mph set by Battery Box General Electric in 1974. Fittingly, Lord Paul Drayson was behind the wheel.


The Brits.  Makers of some of the shittiest cars on the planet for 70 years.  That's who owns the single most important world record for going fast in a car right now.  Once upon a time, if you wanted to go fast in a car, you just called Richard and Kyle Petty down in Carolina, or the Unsers, or just about anybody in the US with a shade tree in their backyard and a little extra time this summer.

But we choose to be Number One Hundred-and-Eleven.  We are so fucked.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

John Atkinson Grimshaw

Per Wikipedia:
Grimshaw's primary influence was the Pre-Raphaelites. True to the Pre-Raphaelite style, he created landscapes of accurate colour, lighting, vivid detail and realism. He painted landscapes that typified seasons or a type of weather; city and suburban street scenes and moonlit views of the docks in London, Leeds, Liverpool, and Glasgow also figured largely in his art. His careful painting and skill in lighting effects meant that he captured both the appearance and the mood of a scene in minute detail. His "paintings of dampened gas-lit streets and misty waterfronts conveyed an eerie warmth as well as alienation in the urban scene."[5]
(hat tip = The Bone Orchard)







Told Ya

The Fundies and "conservatives" are just too fun.








Today's Pix









The KrugMan Speaks

...also, Today's Best Blog Line is the one hi-lited below:


Three Unsayable Words

Brad DeLong finds Allan Meltzer inveighing against quantitative easing, and notes that Meltzer’s story (in which it’s all Obama’s fault) is completely at odds with data on both investment and interest rates.
But there’s a larger story here. Some readers may recall that four long years ago Meltzer warned, in the direst of tones, that we faced a looming danger of inflation from expansionary Fed policy. Those of us who had studied Japanese experience, and more broadly thought through the implications of the liquidity trap, shot back that this was foolish — even if the Fed greatly expanded its balance sheet, the funds would just sit there, for example accumulating as excess bank reserves.
So here we are, with inflation low and falling despite a huge Fed expansion, and with Meltzer himself pointing out that the bulk of that expansion just sat there, largely in the form of excess reserves. In a better world, Meltzer would say the three unsayable words — “I was wrong” — and maybe even admit that the other side of the argument had something to it.
But no; his predictions didn’t go completely wrong because his analysis was wrong, it was all the Affordable Care Act, or something. And like so many people who originally raged against easy money because it would cause inflation, the failure of inflation to take off has simply led them to invent new reasons to take the same hard-money position.
And I’m trying, unsuccessfully, to think of a single prominent conservative economist who has responded to the complete failure of his predictions by changing his views. This has long since stopped being merely an analytical issue; it has become a moral issue, a test of character. And almost everyone on that side of the debate has failed.

Dr K just keeps pluggin' away - and may Zeus bless him for that. I don't get a lot of what Krugman has to say, but I think it's important to find people who seem to be looking for the same kind of Uppercase-T-for-Truth that I'm looking for. And if it doesn't quite fit my political leanings, then I have to change my thinking, not just keep scratchin' around for "facts' that seem to bolster my preconceptions.
Krugman strikes me as the kinda guy who will never say anything as stoopid as, " It isn't that (insert name of bullshit ideology here) failed us; we failed (bullshit ideology)."
Find that truth and stop working so hard to maintain your self-image as some kind of oracle. What Would Krugman Do?

Friday, June 28, 2013

A Coupla Cents Worth

This one's making the rounds, and of course, in the end, the Repubs are actually cheering a woman for doing what an awful lot of 'em think is justification for taking a pot shot at her next time they see her on the street.

This has been put together with the fact that while Ol' 3-Things Rick was busy sucking up to 'the base' by trying to slut-shame Ms Davis, one of his prison wardens was carrying out Texas execution #500.  But being Irony-Challenged is just kinda who they are and how they roll.



That's plenty to gripe my ass right there, but what really gets me is that whenever I hear this strain of argument - the one about giving everybody a fair chance blah blah blah - some things just naturally pop into my brain: first, how come the fetus gets a fair shot to have "every possible advantage" (which will have to include spending huge amounts of tax dollars to enforce criminalization of abortion) but its 8-year-old sister deserves nothing but cutbacks in the SNAP benefits that make it barely possible for her to get whatever third-rate education she has to struggle for in a semi-shitty school that became kinda shitty because of Wingnut Austerity & Privatization, and so they can't afford to do any better?

Second - when these 'conservatives' are waxing idiotic about 'the unborn', why is every fetus automatically destined to become Bill Gates or Albert Schweitzer or Wendy Davis, while apparently none of 'em could possibly have grown into the next Klaus Barbie or Richard Speck?

It's like when somebody decides they can "channel a past life"; everybody's a great warrior, or a noble, or a high priestess, or some heroic figure; and nobody's ever some regular schmuck who sucked at his job and tried to fuck his sister-in-law when he was drunk, and then wandered off into the woods and got eaten by a wolverine.

The point here, Governor Derringer-dick, is that Wendy Davis is the only one in any room at any time under any circumstance who has the brains, and all the information necessary, and the fucking right to make healthcare decisions for Wendy Davis.

You don't like abortions?  Don't get one.  Seriously.  Butt out and find something useful to do with your time and my money.

Nice Little Joint Ya Got There, America

...be a shame sump'n bad should happen to it.




And as long as we're casting ourselves in the role of oppressed victim, let's not forget about the delicate sensibilities of Macho Jesus:


And shit, while we're at it, we should put together another cringe-worthy campaign slogan (and don't forget the graphic) that encourages our fellow Goddies and Cristianists to do the Blow Job Mime - I just can't wait to see what the Libruls can do with Photo Shop on this one.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Today's Rude Pundit

RIpped entirely from The Rude Pundit's blog:

6/21/2013

In Brief: On the Continuing Need to Shove a Can of PBR Up the Elitist Ass of David Brooks:
Every once in a while, New York Times columnist David Brooks strays into the Rude Pundit's 'hood and writes about the world of the university. The Rude Pundit, see, is a real and actual perfesser, not someone who playacts as one, as Brooks did in his recent stint teaching a course in "Humility" at Yale. (Here's a hint: if you own a $4 million dollar house because your $1.6 million house wasn't cutting it, you don't have the right to teach a brain-damaged dalmatian about humility.)

Today, in his column (if by "column," you mean, "the smug pronouncements of a dilettante intellectual fraud"), Brooks mournsthe decline of "the humanities" at colleges. And who does he blame for the fall-off in humanities majors? Fuckin' professors, man, and their fuckin' politics. See, "the humanities are not only being bulldozed by an unforgiving job market. They are committing suicide because many humanists have lost faith in their own enterprise." Is that what we've done? That wasn't just existential nausea at reading Brooks?

Please, person who doesn't teach in the humanities, do go on and tell those of us who do what we're doing wrong: "The job of the humanities was to cultivate the human core, the part of a person we might call the spirit, the soul, or, in D.H. Lawrence’s phrase, 'the dark vast forest.'" Yes, indeed, it was always about idyllic afternoons, laid out on the manicured grasses of the quad, quoting Eliot and Schopenhauer just enough to soak the panties of sighing coeds. "The humanist’s job was to cultivate this ground — imposing intellectual order upon it, educating the emotions with art in order to refine it, offering inspiring exemplars to get it properly oriented." Until those pesky sexual harassment lawsuits put an end to all that cultivating by professors.

But we haven't gotten to the meat of the matter: "Somewhere along the way, many people in the humanities lost faith in this uplifting mission. The humanities turned from an inward to an outward focus. They were less about the old notions of truth, beauty and goodness and more about political and social categories like race, class and gender." That's right. Oh, for the days when white male professors could teach the white male canon and the universality of their whiteness.

Fuck, David Brooks is the Paula Deen of the Times op-ed page.

Here, Davy Boy, let this professor, one who doesn't teach privileged little shits how noble other privileged little shits are, give you a lesson: The "decline" of the humanities, from 14% of majors in the 1960s to 7% now, has happened not because the big, bad, evil cultural anarchists came in and demanded their pound of canonical flesh. No, see, what has happened to the humanities happened on multiple levels. Conservative fucks like you attacked them as invalid because we decided that things like race, gender, and class mattered because the university opened up to more people of different races, genders, and classes (and, you dunce, class was a huge category of study in the 1930s until red-hunting administrators got a few Marxist scalps and that approach to the humanities was squashed until the 1970s). Add to that the corporatization of the university: schools seek big-ass grants and donations, and those generally come from big-ass companies who want to fund things like business, science, and technology, not the history department. Add to that the destruction of secondary education by "reform" minded people, generally conservative fucks like you, which makes the humanities into another bubble to be filled on a yearly standardized test. Add to that the establishment of Education as a major area of college study, one that has exploded in the last couple of decades and has taken many humanities majors with it.

But, no, really, go ahead and blame those vile feminists and Marxists and multiculturalists and others. It's so much easier than actually solving the fucking problem.

The Honorable Ms Duckworth

Tammy Duckworth does more for us in a 4 minute reaming of a Small Business Phony than Joe (the deadbeat) Walsh managed to do in his full term.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Today's Pix








Today's Haiku


Five syllables here
Seven more syllables there
Are you happy now?


Why Does "The Media" Suck So Bad?

Well, here's a pretty good example from NYT, "reporting" on the special session in Texas, where Repubs were trying to jam thru a bill to kill abortion rights in at least half of the state.
“With all the ruckus and noise going on,” Mr. Dewhurst said, he could not complete administrative duties to make the vote official and sign the bill. Senate Democrats and women’s right’s advocates said the real reason the vote could not be made official was a time stamp on official documents that showed the bill passed after midnight. The Legislature’s official Web site first posted that the Senate’s vote occurred on Wednesday, after the midnight deadline, but the date was later changed to Tuesday for unknown reasons.
Yo, NYT Editors; that last bit there - the date was later changed to Tuesday for unknown reasons - that's why nobody trusts what you guys put out any more.

Yes, you need to maintain something like a Veneer of Integrity, and you need to avoid making unfounded accusations of wrong-doing.  OK, we get that.  But "unknown reasons", and you just leave it at that?  That's strictly bush-league surface-level reporting; any high school monthly could come up with something better than that.

Maybe you could ask a question or two that might be germane to the proceedings in some obscure tangential way; like, oh I dunno - is it common for the time stamp to be changed like that?  When was the last time a time stamp was changed?  Is it legal for someone to change a time stamp after the fact?  Is there anything in the Ethics Handbook or in the Rule Book about such things?

So why do we think you guys suck at your job?  Because you suck at it.

Ashamed Of My Name

With the possible highly probable exception of the Bread-Mold-As-Brain-Tissue Wing of The Party That Dares Not Speak Its Name, Chief Justice John G Roberts - NO FUCKING RELATION TO YOURS TRULY, BTW - will not be remembered fondly.

Does the name Roger B Taney ring any bells?  How 'bout Melville Fuller?

I'm trying to stay with my doctrine of Judge Slowly here, but the SCOTUS ruling on Section IV of the VRA yesterday looks like another Monument to Stoopid.

Here's the metaphor: Very few people are robbing banks any more, so we can safely get rid of the law that makes Bank Robbery a crime.

We go now to Charlie Pierce for some brain bleach:

Today Among People Who Wear Robes

A Little More On The Voting Rights Atrocity

Even More About Today's Voting Rights Atrocity

We are so fucked.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

DumFux News

I'm sure they'll say it was just a joke; a little self-deprecating silliness - cuz hey, that's what all the Libruls are saying about us anyway.

But the one thing you have to know by now is that you can't bring the funny if you don't bring the truth.

USA - USA - USA

We're number...18?  Aah fuck.

Per Global Wealth DataBook (Credit Suisse):


What happens when a country's middle class takes a hit?  Look around.

Hey, Hey Paula

I truly don't give a good goddamn about Paula Deen or the little dramas that play themselves out behind the scenes of daytime cable TV.  If this was just another dustup over royalties or whose ego got bruised in a contract fight or whatever, then none of it matters at all, and I'd leave it alone.  But it isn't, and it does, so I can't.

I'll leave it at this, from Dan Bernstein at CBSChicago.com:
Until yesterday, she had the system wired to play up all the folksy charm of her heritage while smoothing away any rough edges of its horrific historical dark side. She even accomplished one of the most shockingly brazen endorsement deals in the history of modern media – finally getting around to admitting her own diabetes, only to begin shilling for a drug purported to fight the disease. She was stuffing her drooling viewers’ bodies full of excess glucose, only to grab at their money once they talked to their alarmed doctors.
A charade that never really should have been allowed to happen in the first place is finally over. An uneducated, unattractive woman who can’t cook somehow stumbled up to a prime position in American media by pandering successfully to similarly stupid, unhealthy people, aided by TV executives happy to keep cashing their checks.
hat tip = Blue Gal

Monday, June 24, 2013

Today's Scary Numbers

From the documentary I posted earlier today:

In the US, with Congress consistently getting approval ratings down around 10-15%, something like 96% of all Reps and Senators are re-elected and returned to Washington.

In the Soviet Union, when their "polling" was all about how everybody dearly loved all those wacky guys-n-gals in Moscow, the re-election rate was somewhere around 92%.

Call me crazy, but y'know - just sayin' - maybe we're doin' it wrong(?)

A Fragile Democracy

A media system wants ostensible diversity that conceals an actual uniformity.
Your homework for this week:

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Smart People

...talking about shit that matters.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Tim Wise

On the creation of "Whiteness":



I think I put this up at least once before - it bears repeating.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Mr Delbert McClinton

Rumored (not-completely-falsely) to have been the guy who taught John Lennon to play harmonica, Delbert's just one of those guys who gets around so much and plays so much that you could believe he invented Blue-Eyed Soul (which ain't all that far from a natural fact neither).

Practically a throw-away:





It's Tough Out There For A T-Rex








Friday, June 21, 2013

Dot, Meet Dot

Not to get too magical-mystical here, but when we're talking about the FISA Court and USA PATRIOT Act and the shenanigans at NSA and the FBI, etc - I think I have to go along with Mark Udall; mostly anyway - and Obama too btw.  There has to be a balance, which (imo) we've let get away from us in a pretty big way.


Balance is kinda the key to the whole self-governance thingie.  We have to continue to develop better ways to catch the bad guys after the fact - and better yet, prevent the bad guys from doin' the dirt in the first place - without making it more probable that some tin-plated martinet will abuse the power, and turn it to his own ends.  (Thank you, Capt Obvious)

Here's 5 minutes of Udall on NPR, talking about what he and Ron Wyden are proposing:



Almost at the very end, Udall makes a point that kinda blew up in my brain.  He said (paraphrasing), "...privacy is the ultimate form of freedom".

If I make a not-entirely-silly leap, I can say Privacy = Anonymity; and in a still not-so-silly way, Anonymity = Invisibility; and Invisibility is very much the be-all and end-all of the super powers.

On the one hand, if nobody can see you, then nobody can fuck with you.  This is mostly a very good thing for individuals.

But on the other hand, if you can't be seen, then you can't be held to account for anything you do.  This is always a very bad thing for societies.

So, balance.  Aye, there's the rub.

hat tip = Little Green Footballs

Sen Warren Of Massachusetts

Cain't hep muh-sef.  My mad crush on Elizabeth Warren continues apace.

By way of Charlie Pierce at Esquire:
"I have heard the argument that transparency would undermine the Trade Representative's policy to complete the trade agreement because public opposition would be significant," Warren explained. "In other words, if people knew what was going on, they would stop it. This argument is exactly backwards. If transparency would lead to widespread public opposition to a trade agreement, then that trade agreement should not be the policy of the United States."
advice and consent - a legal expression in the United States Constitution that allows the Senate to constrain the President's powers of appointment and treaty-making

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Enormity Of It All

e·nor·mous 
adj.
1. Very great in size, extent, number, or degree.
2. Archaic Very wicked; heinous.
This guy on Chris Hayes last nite used that word a buncha times, and I'm wondering if his usage was just supposed to indicate 'big', or if he meant to include the 'heinous' implication as well.


Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Ed Note:
I realize I've been a little heavy on the MSNBC material lately, but y'know - when I test this stuff for fact-worthiness and reasonableness, and I filter out the partisanship, I notice that even while a lot of the 'lefties' are twisting sideways trying to defend Obama's administration, Rachel and Chris et al are reporting the shitty things that happen right beside the stuff that's OK and/or Pretty Decent and/or Wow-Ain't-That-Fuckin'-Awesome (there's really not a lot that falls into that last category - but still).

Anyway, I haven't gotten to many solid conclusions yet on what's been going on with National Security the last 20 years or so.  I can say there's something about anything called "The Department of Homeland Security" that feels creepy and sinister - it just goes against every impulse I think every American is practically born with - or at least should learn and understand as we grow up.

I don't know how much of The National Security Machinery needs to be dismantled and  discarded, but I think we have to understand that putting that kind of power in too few hands always gets us trouble, so we'd better figure it out.  Too Big To Fail is a major problem when it comes to business; when we're talking about Government, you're always in danger of creating something that becomes Too Big To Fuck With.

Today's GOP Wackitude

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Quick recap:

Woke Up This Mornin'

James Gandolfini died today, and that really sucks because he was one of those guys who could play a lot of different types - but he had no fear (and never complained) about being stuck in the role of the bent-nose thug.  And if there's any good news here, it's just that I can post the theme from the opening credits of The Sopranos.






Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Today's Eternal Sadness

One of the favorite arguments put forward by The Clan of the Tiny Manhood, when railing against any kind of gun control laws, is that "you only keep law-abiding citizens from getting guns".

Here's a story of the wife of a law-abiding citizen; the mother of that law-abiding citizen's 2 sons; who was gunned down in her home by that self-same law-abiding citizen during a quarrel over who's turn it was to cook the evening meal.
COMSTOCK, MI -- It was an argument over cooking a meal that led to Monday's fatal shooting of Nancy Kovach, 40, by her husband, John, in the couple's Comstock Township home, said Kalamazoo County Undersheriff Paul Matyas.
"There was an argument at the residence that simply escalated. It was a dumb argument," Matyas said. "They were arguing over who was going to cook something. That simply escalated to the point where he shot her."
The Kovachs' 10-year-old and 8-year-old sons were inside the home at the time of the shooting, Matyas said. The boys were put in the custody of Child Protective Services.

Matyas said alcohol was likely a factor in the homicide, but investigators are following up to see how much of a factor it played.
John Kovach, 42, has been charged with open murder and was denied bond at his arraignment Tuesday afternoon.

Sheriff's deputies were called to the residence at 8:50 p.m. Monday to respond to a domestic dispute and found Nancy Kovach already dead. Matyas did not know who made the 911 call. The family lives at 6907 E. Main St. in Comstock Township.
And Jesus wept.  Y'know - Jesus cries a lot here in America.

Garbage - Updated





 
 





And There It Is - With Some Pix


Privatization is a bad idea.

A retired judge in Virginia, filling in for the regular guy, ruled against the argument that a private firm can charge a toll for the use of public facilities in order to fund improvements and maintenance.
Cales decided that a plan to have a private developer toll users for $2.1 billion in tunnel upgrades in crowded Hampton Roads is unconstitutional. Only the state has the power to tax and that’s what tolls really are, Cales ruled.
If his ruling holds, a number of critically important highways that involve privately operated facilities, such as parts of Interstate 495 in Northern Virginia, Route 895 near Richmond and a proposed $1.3 billion toll road from Petersburg to Suffolk, could be affected. State contracts for all of them could be voided.
If so, it would be a huge defeat for Gov. Robert F. McDonnell and earlier governors who have made good use of the Public-Private Transportation Act of 1995 to push ahead with highways that the tax-averse state otherwise was too short of money to build.
Actually, two things at work here.  First, when you get allergic to paying for the things you want, you're gonna end up with some pretty weird shit to deal with, like this thing swirling around here in Virginia, which is really about privatization.

We have to hold certain things "in common".  Things like Schools and Roads and Cops and Prisons (et al) need to be owned by everybody.  Turn those things over to private interests and suddenly corporate managers are the ones with the power to levy taxes.  When was the last time you were asked to vote on some corporation's policies - or its leadership?  And I'm not talkin' about the silly letters you get inviting you to some stockholders' meeting on a random Thursday someplace 8 states away from where you live.  If you really equate that with democracy, then I'll have to call you stoopid to your face, cuz seriously - you've got that one comin'.


Second - the "unaccountability of appointed judges" can be nettlesome.  This decision landed where I think it should be so I'm all like 'woohoo', but of course if it goes the other way, I'm jumping up and down screamin'.  That 3rd Branch is a tough one to figure out, and I don't have good answers for how to get us to a solid middle-ground position.  But I do think the one thing that makes it harder to find that position is money.  It's not so much the money in the politics of The Judiciary, but rather it's the money being spent in an increasingly successful bid to control the political process - the election of "business-friendly" candidates whose seats are bought and paid for, who then pass laws to make it harder for people to vote in the first place, and who then set themselves about tearing down everything that's been built for the last 230+ years by better people than they'll ever dream of being.  Keep the corporate flacks out of office, and at least some of the problems in The Judiciary start to disappear as if by magic.

I should say that I'm not generally opposed to every 'paradigm shift' just because I'm conservative and I wanna keep things nice and steady.  Some things need to change and sometimes, you have to rip shit down to make room for something better.

But when your current paradigm is democracy, and you have (mostly) one political party working mightily every day trying to shit-can that paradigm -  well yeah, I gotta problem widdat.