Showing posts from April, 2014

Welfare Cowboy Update

This just in from DumFux News - all the latest on Cliven Bundy!!!!

New Show

This past Sunday, HBO premiered John Oliver's Last Week Tonight, and I managed to miss it.

YouTube won't let me embed the video, but click here and watch the whole thing.

Here's a screen cap (for reasons unknown even to me):

Another Milestone

Well not quite yet.

Next year will be the 70th anniversary of Nuclear Weapons.  Woohoo.

Here's a cool little animation by Isao Hashimoto that's just scary as fuck:

Post What Now?

Can we dispense with this bullshit about Post-Racial America now please?

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Clippers Owner Donald Sterling to GF - Don't Bring Black People to My Games, Including Magic Johnson
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Celebrity Videos

The Best Of Hitch

10 Commandments --Christopher Hitchens

It Won't Stick

Here's Cliven Bundy trying to remind everybody that DumFux News is really in near-perfect agreement with everything he had to say "about the negro":

It's almost impossible for anybody not to know something about what's been happening with ol' Clive by now, and I'm not here to tutor you.  So if you can't keep up, take notes.  And if you're still a little confused, then you're prob'ly gonna be better off in some other class.

Now that I've weeded out the slackers and alienated most everybody else in my vast audience of ones and twos, let's get on with it:  Bundy obviously saw his opportunity to dance in the spotlight and he was determined to do it.  We saw video of him being all folksie and shucks-ma'am.  And we saw him galloping up that little hill with the stars-n-stripes.  And there he was speechifyin' at a podium festooned in red white and blue bunting, flanked by militia members looking all stern and cool and macho as th…

A Little De-Programming, Please

From the film's website
As filmmaker, Jen Senko, tries to understand the transformation of her father from a non political, life-long Democrat to an angry, Right-Wing fanatic, she uncovers the forces behind the media that changed him completely: a plan by Roger Ailes under Nixon for a media takeover by the GOP, The Powell Memo urging business leaders to influence institutions of public opinion, especially the universities, the media and the courts, and under Reagan, the dismantling of the Fairness Doctrine.

Survivorship Bias

Try to focus on whatever killed the dead guy, not on what didn't kill the survivor.

"A stupid decision that works out well becomes a brilliant decision in hindsight" --Daniel Kahneman

From the podcast of You Are Not So Smart:
"Despite how it may seem, success boils down to serially avoiding catastrophic failure while routinely absorbing manageable damage."

Careful Who Ya Hang With

A 21-year-old Italian man was crushed to death today by a giant crucifix dedicated to the late Pope John Paul II. The tragic event happened just a few days ahead of the Pope's canonization.According to the Telegraph, a piece of the 100-foot-tall crucifix collapsed on the man, Marco Gusmini, during an event near the village of Cevo while he posed for a photo with a group of friends. The cross was designed by sculptor Enrico Job and was created for John Paul II's 1998 visit to nearby Brescia in northern Italy.
Pope John Paul II will become a saint on Sunday in an unprecedented double-canonization with Pope John XXIII. Pope John Paul's canonization is surrounded by a bit of controversy, due to the idea that it is happening too quickly after his death — only nine years — and to the thought that he did not take seriously enough the sexual abuse crises that emerged at the end of his tenure.
And if this sad happening isn't spooky enough for you already, the Telegraph rep…

'Scuse Me, Mr Issa

Darrell Issa's been making a fuss over the IRS flap for a while now, and even tho' it's always looked like the standard fishing expedition; and even tho' there's plenty of evidence that Da Gubmint wasn't just trying to beat down a buncha poor defenseless slobs like Karl Rove, there seems to be something missing in all the hubbub.

Here's a short look at the kind of outfits the IRS was looking into.  Remember, bureaucrats have a lot of shit to get thru in a day.  And so like anybody with a living thinking brain who's trying to work with even a little efficiency, they need to prioritize and organize; and the IRS had some database tools that they were using to help them sift thru all that paperwork and get to the good stuff first etc.

OK, so here's the graphic:

But wait - it seems the outfits that Issa is saying were being Jack-Booted by the army of evil CPAs weren't the ones attracting all the attention after all.  The TeaBaggers are down at #4, an…

Logical Fallacy #11 - Burden Of Proof

When debating any issue, there is an implicit burden of proof on the person asserting a claim. An argument from ignorance occurs when either a proposition is assumed to be true because it has not yet been proven false or a proposition is assumed to be false because it has not yet been proven true.[1][2] This has the effect of shifting the burden of proof to the person criticizing the assertion, but is not valid reasoning.[3]

While certain kinds of arguments, such as logical syllogisms, require mathematical or strictly logical proofs, the standard for evidence to meet the burden of proof is usually determined by context and community standards.[4][5]
In public discourse[edit]

Burden of proof is also an important concept in the public arena of ideas. Once participants in discourse establish common assumptions, the mechanism of burden of proof helps to ensure that all parties contribute productively, using relevant arguments.[6][7][8][9]
Proving a negative[edit]

When the assertion to pro…

Fair's Fair

Rain Song --Jimmy Page and Robert Plant

This is the springtime of my loving-
the second season I am to know
You are the sunlight in my growing-
so little warmth I've felt before.
It isn't hard to feel me glowing-
I watched the fire that grew so low.

It is the summer of my smiles-
flee from me Keepers of the Gloom.
Speak to me only with your eyes
it is to you I give this tune.
Ain't so hard to recognize-
These things are clear to all from
time to time. Ooooh...
Talk Talk-
I've felt the coldness of my winter
I never thought it would ever go
I cursed the gloom that set upon us...
But I know that I love you so
but I know that I love you so.
These are the seasons of emotion
And like the winds they rise and fall
This is the wonder of devotion-
I see the torch we all must hold.
This is the mystery of the quotient-
Upon us all a little rain
must fall, Just a little rain?

Feels Like Rain --John Hiatt

Because --Dave Clark Five

Because --Beatles


Once upon a time, you could count on your marketing department to be able to "prove" any conclusion management had already reached.

When the board at BP needed to feel reassured that the company could avoid being tagged as a major contributor to the death of an entire geographical region and the resultant slow implosion of several local economies, they went to their marketing geniuses and we got all those great commercials on TV about "Disaster? What disaster? Everything's great here."  It doesn't matter what's really going on because you're "controlling" the message, so nobody's going to see the real problems because Big Oil owns a majority stake in the politicians in the Gulf States and the money they're able to spend on media makes it easier for people (who desperately need to believe it's all OK) to believe it's all OK, in spite of some small voices to the contrary.

Variations on that little scenario have played out q…

Today's Pix


Cuz It Works

Mostly, there's a buncha smart people running the businesses that run the world.  And mostly, these smart people make smart decisions, and (again, mostly) they decide to spend something like half a trillion dollars every year on advertising.  We think that's about right, but nobody's real sure anymore because the outfits doing the spending stopped talking about it openly several years ago, and the outfits that try to keep track of it have come to understand that the information is pretty valuable, so if you wanna know about such things, you get to pay for it (it's all about "The Analytics", dontcha know).  So the rest of us - well, we're just kinda shooting in the dark.

Anyway, smart people spend a fuckload of money on advertising - because it works.

The KrugMan Speaks

A Song For Adam --Jackson Browne

If You Could Read My Mind --Gordon Lightfoot

Today's Quote


Logical Fallacy #10 - Loaded Question

A loaded question or complex question fallacy is a question which contains a controversial or unjustified assumption (e.g., a presumption of guilt).[1]

Aside from being an informal fallacy depending on usage, such questions may be used as a rhetorical tool: the question attempts to limit direct replies to be those that serve the questioner's agenda.[2] The traditional example is the question "Have you stopped beating your wife?" Whether the respondent answers yes or no, he will admit to having a wife and having beaten her at some time in the past. Thus, these facts are presupposed by the question, and in this case an entrapment, because it narrows the respondent to a single answer, and the fallacy of many questions has been committed.[2] The fallacy relies upon context for its effect: the fact that a question presupposes something does not in itself make the question fallacious. Only when some of these presuppositions are not necessarily agreed to by the person who is ask…

Cartoon Hero --Lydian Collective

The trick is playing it the same way twice in a row, but I'll take this one all day long.

That Sinking Feeling

Sometimes the metaphors walk up and smack ya right in the face.

Here's a picture of Lee Jun-seok, captain of the ferry that sank off the coast of South Korea recently:

Captain Lee has been arrested because he left the ship before doing everything he was supposed to do to ensure the safety of his passengers.  Weirdly (to me anyway) the conduct of a ship's captain is generally prescribed in terms of "should" instead of "must",  but according to S Korea's laws, this guy split early and now he's in deep shit.

What if I look at this from a different perspective though?  Am I not supposed to try to see things from the point of view of people with whom I disagree?  Shouldn't I be willing to consider others' opinions and philosophies?  What if I never stop asking rhetorical questions?

Maybe I should wait until I have a chance to ask somebody directly, but I don't see it as a big stretch to imagine the reaction of Paul Ryan (eg) to Lee's beh…

Ludlow Day

Today's the 100th anniversary of the Ludlow Massacre (April 20, 1914).
The Ludlow Massacre was an attack by the Colorado National Guard and Colorado Fuel & Iron Company camp guards on a tent colony of 1,200 striking coal miners and their families at Ludlow, Colorado, on April 20, 1914. Some two dozen people, including women and children, were killed. The chief owner of the mine, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., was widely criticized for the incident.
The massacre, the culmination of a bloody widespread strike against Colorado coal mines, resulted in the violent deaths of between 19 and 26 people; reported death tolls vary but include two women and eleven children, asphyxiated and burned to death under a single tent.[1] The deaths occurred after a daylong fight between militia and camp guards against striking workers. Ludlow was the deadliest single incident in the southern Colorado Coal Strike, lasting from September 1913 through December 1914. The strike was organized by the United…

And A Happy Easter To You Too


It's All In Your Head

Here's a podcast about neuroscience(?) stuff, relating humans and chimps and how we develop etc - and right about the 7 minute mark, the woman says something about how the hippocampus helps convert short-term memory to long-term memory, and that kinda popped a flashbulb in my brain.

It's a close variation on the Orwell thing about if you control the past you control the future.

(paraphrasing) "If you can't remember the past, you can't imagine a future".

I flashed on how propaganda is supposed to work - and it occurs to me that maybe we're seeing that concept playing out.  So, if I can disconnect you from your own history; if I can make you believe the history you were taught is all wrong; and knowing that you'd then be unable to come up with a coherent vision of your future for yourself, it would be pretty easy for me just to hand you a tidy little package of everything I want you to do and to think and to be.  Sometimes I hate my brain.

Anyway, it&…

Walk It Back, Glenn

The Monsters of the Id are breaking loose all over the joint, and even Glenn Beck's more than a little spooked.

Your browser does not support iframes.

At about 12 minutes, Beck gets to the point where he's trying oh so desperately to pull it all back - making the usual theocracy arguments about how god gave us the constitution and we should be worshipping god and not the document god gave us (or whatever that stunningly and stoopidly and in this case conveniently flip-floppy circular crapola's about); anyway, he says he wants to steer us away from armed conflict, and since he's already on about a loving and non-violent god, he throws down the gauntlet, daring us to show him where the bible tells us god sent any prophet to do violence.

Challenge accepted.

1 Samuel 15:
Samuel said to Saul, “I am the one the Lord sent to anoint you king over his people Israel; so listen now to the message from the Lord.
2 This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites f…

PS) re: Welfare Cowboy

And another thing, dang it!

Regarding Cliven Bundy's fight with BLM over paying his rent for use of public land:

Shouldn't there be at least some small voice coming from the Right Radicals about how the evil rotten lazy no-account shiftless moocher Bundy has grown dependent on gubmint handouts, and that by far the best thing that could happen is for us to kick him in the ass and make him stand on his own?  Ya don't hear that coming from "The Right".

And what ya don't hear coming from "The Left" is, "Ah, c'mon, let the guy stay at the federal tit as long as he needs it - and what the hell, let's throw in some food stamps too".

Both sides my ass.


Doing god's work, the folks at VICE are trying to show us all something that at least has some faint ring of truth to it.

Quick aside:
Isn't it interesting that so many of these Rebel Patriots crow about "both sides" being rotten, but their little militia-ness always seem to be in full flower only when the Dems hold power?

It's never about what they tell you it's about - "they" being Government or Business or Media or Political Activists.

The first corollary is that it's also never about what you think it's about.

All we can do is look at what information we can find - or whatever "they" allow us to see - and then gun it through our filters of experience and reason, trying to assess the probability that what we're observing is true or false or somewhere in between.

A couple of the smartest things I've heard anybody say in a while (Chris Hedges):

"Language is not benign - You have to get people to talk in the language …

God Love The Onion

WASHINGTON—Putting the nation on alert against what it has described as a “highly credible terrorist threat,” the FBI announced today that it has uncovered a plot by members of al-Qaeda to sit back and enjoy themselves while the United States collapses of its own accord.
Multiple intelligence agencies confirmed that the militant Islamist organization and its numerous affiliates intend to carry out a massive, coordinated plan to stand aside and watch America’s increasingly rapid decline, with terrorist operatives across the globe reportedly mobilizing to take it easy, relax, and savor the spectacle as it unfolds.
“We have intercepted electronic communication indicating that al-Qaeda members are actively plotting to stay out of the way while America as we know it gradually crumbles under the weight of its own self-inflicted debt and disrepair,” FBI Deputy Director Mark F. Giuliano told the assembled press corps. “If this plan succeeds, it will leave behind a nation with a completely dysfu…

On The Border --Eagles

Witchy Woman --Eagles

Pot Smokers Beware!

Via Reuters:
Young, casual marijuana smokers experience potentially harmful changes to their brains, with the drug altering regions of the mind related to motivation and emotion, researchers found.
The study to be published on Wednesday in the Journal of Neuroscience differs from many other pot-related research projects that are focused on chronic, heavy users of cannabis.
The collaborative effort between Northwestern University's medical school, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School showed a direct correlation between the number of times users smoked and abnormalities in the brain.
"What we're seeing is changes in people who are 18 to 25 in core brain regions that you never, ever want to fool around with," said co-senior study author Dr. Hans Beiter, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University.
In particular, the study identified changes to the nucleus accumbens and the nucleus amygdala, regions of the brain that are ke…

Welfare Cowboy

Cliven Bundy is a deadbeat who can either pay us what he owes us for the use of our land, or he can get off our land.  There are no free rides here.  Pay up or get out.

Some truly amazing things:
--The absolute certainty that Bundy's the victim of a ruthless tyrannical government, and not just some dipwad running a scam at the expense of taxpayers - which includes every last one of his "supporters".

--The cool disregard for the lives of the women and children who they expect to die first.

--The simple fact that they're convinced Da Gubmint will kill women and children no matter what.  Because if it happens, then they can crow about how they were right all along.  It's not much of a stretch for me to think they don't just expect it, and they're not just hoping for it; they're doing what it takes to make it happen.

So if you're trying to get people killed because it'll make you look good on TV; how the fuck does that make you the good guys?


Today's Bumper Sticker


War Is Not Healthy


Any True Christian

You have to have heard about this already, so I'll just pop my bit in here.

Cindy Castano Swannack is a great example of a Shopping-List Christian who thinks Jesus is really just god's customer service rep; somebody you get in touch with whenever you need to put the bite on the almighty for a favor (which is why they all go to god's house on his day off, btw). She's absolutely sure she knows everything about her lord and savior while actually knowing next to nothing.

Knowledge Is For Wimps

“Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government.”  --Thomas Jefferson 1789.

Maybe that's why it feels impossible for me to trust most "conservatives" to run this joint.
From "Climate Change is a hoax", to "the federal budget problem is just like balancing my  check book", to "keep your gubmint hands off my Medicare" - these people go with intellect the way fruit bats go with motorcycles.
From Mankind may be crooked timber, as Kant put it, uniquely susceptible to ignorance and misinformation, but it’s an article of faith that knowledge is the best remedy. If people are furnished with the facts, they will be clearer thinkers and better citizens. If they are ignorant, facts will enlighten them. If they are mistaken, facts will set them straight.

In the end, truth will out. Won’t it?

Maybe not. Recently, a few political scientists have begun to discover a human tendency deeply discouraging to anyon…

Happy Palindrome Week, Everybody

From April 12 thru April 19, each day (as written here in USAmerica Inc anyway) is a palindrome.  4/12/14, 4/13/14, 4/15/14, etc

I'm sure somebody somewhere thinks that must mean something magical and mystical and ooky-spooky or whatever.  I'm just thinking it's a semi-interesting weirdness and I needed something to stick in the blog, so yeah.

Of course, next year the same thing will happen in May, and then the year after that it'll happen in June, and - aaaaaaaarrgh - we're doomed!

Not Much Has Changed

Your opponents don't stop doing what's working as long as it keeps working, and it keeps working until your side does something to make it stop working.

(from Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story)

The night is filled with terrors.  The darkness holds everything we fear.  There's a dark and dangerous side to populism.  Come to the dark side.  Dark is evil and ugly. White is godly and clean.  Cockroaches flourish in the darkness while flowers thrive in the sunlight.  Black is bad - White is good.

As long as we continue to allow this medieval associative bullshit to persist, we will never be rid of the assholes who manipulate those associations for less than honorable purposes.

Today's KO

The Wonderlic Test is always something of a mystery, inside a riddle, wrapped in an opportunity to poke fun at the NFL bosses who actually think we're going to believe they have any interest in any player's intellect.

Mr Deity And The Psych Exam

And This Is News?

Via Think Progress:
When organized interest groups or economic elites want a particular policy passed, there’s a strong likelihood their wishes will come true. But when average citizens support something, they have next to no influence.That’s according to a forthcoming article in Perspectives on Politics by Martin Gilens of Princeton University and Benjamin I. Page of Northwestern University. The two looked at a data set of 1,779 policy issues between 1981 and 2002 and matched them up against surveys of public opinion broken down by income as well as support from interest groups.
They estimate that the impact of what an average citizen prefers put up against what the elites and interest groups want is next to nothing, or “a non-significant, near-zero level.” They note that their findings show “ordinary citizens…have little or no independent influence on policy at all.” The affluent, on the other hand, have “a quite substantial, highly significant, independent impact on policy,” they fi…

Today's Pix