Friday, January 31, 2014

Friday Nite Tune

Run Away --Sarah Jarosz





Friday Nite Tune

If The Phone Don't Ring --Paul Berrere





Friday Nite Tune

Busy Bein' Blue --KD Lang








Friday Nite Tune

99 Miles From LA --Art Garfunkle





Friday Nite Tune

Traction In The Rain --David Crosby





The Industrial Food Image Bureau

This one ran on the front end of a music video I was trying to watch:



And I just had to go to the website (farmedanddangerous.com), where I found this:



I've been "on the web" in one way or another since the late 80s, and I think this is the first time I've ever come across a pop-up kinda ad that I've actually clicked on.  I guess Google's gonna get all of us eventually.

Today's Regional Dialect Study

Take the quiz and find out:
a) you're from X, or at least that's how you sound
b) you're adaptable
c) you're a fuckin' poseur
NYT Sunday Review


(hat tip = FB friends SS and SFB)

The Jig Is Up, Repubs

When Jon Stewart goes this far away from his usual centrist perch, something might be changing in a way that feels kinda significant.

(hat tip = FB friend VWE)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Yo - Gun Freaks

Meet one of your fellow travelers:


Another "responsible gun owner" who doesn't even know enough to keep his finger outside the trigger guard.  Unless you guys get a handle on this kinda shit - rapidly - these idiots are gonna ruin the party for all y'all.

A Few Toons




Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Today's Pix














Today's Douchebaggery

Via HuffPo:
Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) got in a reporter's face and threatened him after President Barack Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday night.
During an interview with NY1 after Obama's speech, Grimm refused to answer questions about allegations concerning his campaign finances. Grimm can be seen in the video walking away from the reporter, but returning and getting in the reporter's face after he went off air.
From CNN:



Quick Aside to the CNN Anchor Blonde:  "...don't let it happen on camera, if you're gonna let it happen at all".  Really?  That's your take-away?  You guys say shit like that and then you wonder why your numbers are spreading into the leach field?


Quick Aside for the NY1 reporter guy, Michael Scotto:  Yo, Mike - ya gotta stay on camera even when you're afraid you're about to take a whuppin'.  I know it goes against your survival instincts, but if we get to see you cowering a little - or even better, gettin' yer ass kicked by some Congress Goon - it makes for great television.  Cuz never forget: if it bleeds, it leads.  Could make ya a star.  But really, ya done awrite, bubba.


Anyway, this is Grimm's "statement" to HuffPo afterwards:
I was extremely annoyed because I was doing NY1 a favor by rushing to do their interview first in lieu of several other requests. The reporter knew that I was in a hurry and was only there to comment on the State of the Union, but insisted on taking a disrespectful and cheap shot at the end of the interview, because I did not have time to speak off-topic. I verbally took the reporter to task and told him off, because I expect a certain level of professionalism and respect, especially when I go out of my way to do that reporter a favor. I doubt that I am the first Member of Congress to tell off a reporter, and I am sure I won’t be the last.
So ya see, he was doing NY1 a favor by graciously deigning to cast a few pearls before the swine.  But then that bad ol' reporter just had to go and ruin a beautiful moment by trying to ask a buncha uppity questions about how maybe the guy's a fuckin' crook.

For future reference, Mr Grimm - you just lost all your Bitchin' Privileges when it comes to the GOP's standard Blabber Point of "America's sense of entitlement".


One last thing - Grimm didn't "tell off a reporter" - he threatened that reporter with grievous bodily harm because the reporter tried to do what we desperately need reporters to do.  Scotto was pretty gracious about it - saying he didn't take it seriously - but let's not be silly enough to think a tin-plated martinet like Michael Grimm wouldn't love to do exactly what he threatened to do.

Watch your 6, guys.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Why We Fight

The Lt Governor in Texas is the guy who runs things - at least that's how the Repubs do it.

C'mon now, you don't really think guys like Lil Shrub Bush and Rick (Trigger Dick) Perry are actually capable of managing anything other than a high school car wash do ya?

Anyway, meet the braintrust of the Texas GOP.  These guys are the cream of the Repub crop:



It's all such standard patter now.  And I have to give 'em a point or two just for being able to recite it all, especially since each one says almost exactly the same thing while saying it with enough variation to make the rubes think they're listening to differing views on the subject.  So even tho' it all sounded the same to me, I'll bet shekels to shitballs there's a large pile of Texas Conservatives whoopin' it up over what a nice diverse buncha guys they've got to pick from.

I don't know much about the Dems, but you can take a look at 'em here.

On Second Thought



And here's a picture of all the fucks I give about anything Sean Hannity has to say:

Monday, January 27, 2014

A New Way Of Doing The Same Old Thing

...which is to say, "Fuckin' us over".

From truthout:
Here's food for thought: Fast-tracking could become the model for a new and profoundly subversive model of governance – one in which elected government becomes little more than an afterthought to corporate-backed deal-making. It's not hard to imagine a dystopian future where this becomes the norm.
In the right hands it might make a good science-fiction novel: a world in which individual governments, treaty organizations and even the United Nations have been replaced by a new governing body comprised entirely of corporate representatives. Think of it as a World Financial Parliament or a Global House of Corporate Lords, where the only "voting" the rest of us do happens when we watch a movie, play a video game, or take a prescription medication.
And even when we do, we don't really have much of a choice at all.
Back in the 90s, I tho't NAFTA was a great idea.  I was wrong.  See how that works?  You take a look at the effects of a given policy after it's been in place for a while, and you learn a little something about how maybe we shouldn't have done what we did, and then you do that most horriblest thing that anybody could possibly do - ya change your mind.

ed note:  it grates on my soul to think I agree with Ross Perot, but hey - even a blind hog roots up an acorn now and again.

Free trade is great.  Free trade is a good way to break down some really stupid artificial barriers and get people to work together instead of blowin' shit up.  Unfortunately, if that free trade isn't fair trade, and it ends up slamming millions of rock-solid Americans so hard they practically drop out of the labor pool completely, then it's just a matter of time before people get hip to these tricks, and we're right back to blowin' shit up again anyway.

Things like TPP and KeystoneXL are great deals for (almost literally) a handful of people who don't feel the need to wash their hands before they pee.  But it's a really lousy deal for anybody who actually works for a living, and for whoever thinks we should figure these things out together instead of leaving it up to a few guys in $800 suits.

Call your Congress Critter.


Damage Done

Not that anybody's at all likely to do anything about it now, but:
A key figure in the Republican establishment surrendered belatedly on the central tactic for voter suppression, the myth of voter fraud. For the Presidential Commission on Election Administration, Jan 2014 to admit that voter fraud is “rare” is an understatement. However, for a commission co-chaired by vaunted Republican election law attorney Benjamin L. Ginsberg to sign off on that admission is epic.
Voter fraud is the rational for voter identification (Voter ID) requirements. For years, Republican legislatures across the country have enacted voter identification card (voter ID) requirements to suppress the Democratic vote. There can be no other reason since it was established years ago by the Bush Justice Department that voter fraud didn’t exist. A comprehensive study in 2007 showed that in three years of Bush Justice Department efforts (2002-2005), only 38 cases of voter fraud were brought with only 24 guilty findings. Voter fraud isn’t just “rare,” it is virtually non-existent.
Yet, thanks to the fantasy of voter fraud, we have voter ID laws in 20 plus states. It’s a little late to say “I was wrong.” But, it is not too late to repeal all those voter ID laws based on the voter fraud scam.
Read all about it at The Agonist.

Try that one on when you're blabbering away about "both sides do it". There's only one party that thinks keeping people from voting is good for democracy.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Today's Little Twist

If I can convince you that the propaganda I'm peddling is the truth, then it's easier for me to convince you that the truth someone else is telling you is propaganda.

The Opposites Game

Using the same tactics you criticize your opposition for using.

Let's call this one The Alinsky Gambit.  The following is a list of Power Tactics that Saul Alinsky put together in his 1971 book, Rules For Radicals - A Pragmatic Guide For Realistic Radicals.  See if you can spot the ones being employed by your favorite "conservative" organization.
Always remember the first rule of power tactics: Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.

The second rule is: Never go outside the experience of your people. When an action is outside the experience of the people, the result is confusion, fear, and retreat.

The third rule is: Wherever possible go outside the experience of the enemy. Here you want to cause confusion, fear, and retreat.

The fourth rule is: Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules. You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.

The fourth rule carries within it the fifth rule: Ridicule is man's most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage.

The sixth rule is: A good tactic is one that your people enjoy. If your people are not having a ball doing it, there is something very wrong with the tactic.

The seventh rule: A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag. Man can sustain militant interest in any issue for only a limited time, after which it becomes a ritualistic commitment, like going to church on Sunday mornings.

The eighth rule: Keep the pressure on, with different tactics and actions, and utilize all events of the period for your purpose.

The ninth rule: The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.

The tenth rule: The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition. It is this unceasing pressure that results in the reactions from the opposition that are essential for the success of the campaign.

The eleventh rule is: If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counterside; this is based on the principle that every positive has its negative.

The twelfth rule: The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative. You cannot risk being trapped by the enemy in his sudden agreement with your demand and saying "You're right — we don't know what to do about this issue. Now you tell us."

The thirteenth rule: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.
hat tip = Snopes

And yes, the Dems use the same tactics - but then the Dems aren't saying it's a bad thing for the other side to be doing it.  There's only one side doing that.





Along the same lines - "conservatives" bluster and harrumph about something like Rules For Radicals, but then turn around and mimic the thing they spend so much time and energy slagging.  Here're a coupla books on Amazon that I guess are intended to countervail Alinsky:



Just A Quickie

...on the Bob Menendez thing.

I think it's a bit suspicious that Menendez suddenly has another "corruption problem" pop up just as Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell are getting fried for actually and obviously being corrupt.

I'm not saying it's not possible for Menendez to be less than a perfectly straight shooter - there's a fair probability that he's at least a little crooked, cuz a) he's a politician and b) he's a New Jersey politician.  It's just that the timing seems a little too coincidental, and after the bullshit allegations about him and Dominican hookers, this new stuff has to be seen through very skeptical filters.

But here's the real kicker.  This is a tweet from Brad Dayspring, Repub Nat'l Senatorial Committee:
"one man’s allegations are another man’s evidence."
As long as that other man's a booger-eatin' moron - which is what the GOP Brain Trust thinks we all are.  Unfortunately, they're right when it comes to about 25% of us.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

It's All About The Jesus









Closing The Circle

The continuing bad news in West Virginia is that Freedom Industries "Oops-ed" again by neglecting to mention there'd been a second chemical spilled at the same time as the MCHM (it appears they occurred at the same time - tho' nobody's saying for sure).  So there was also a spill of PPH (polyglycol ethers).  But since this other shit is a bit less toxic, we can just kinda overlook all that.

Let's leave aside for just a moment that a 30-year campaign to weaken shitcan our Regulatory Infrastructure continues to produce this ongoing nightmare scenario - from Enron to Wall Street to Deepwater Horizon to Mayflower AR to Charleston WV to everywhere else there's still one GOP/Glibertarian moron bitchin' about how da gubmint just needs to leave us all alone.

OK OK - try a little harder to leave all that shit aside, cuz here's the thing:  The circle is closing.

In West Virginia, the governor has come out and said he doesn't know what's up because he's not a scientist.  The scientists are a little baffled because they've all been working on something other than Air and Water Quality cuz a guy really can't make much of a living doing that anymore (or they're all working for the chemical companies, so they're not likely to bite the hand that feeds 'em).  Da Gubmint is pretty useless because the people who used to work on things like Environmental Health have been forced out by budget cuts etc (see "working for the chemical companies" above), plus the "regulators" who're still on the job were put there by Coin-Operated Politicians who needed to pay off their contributors by demonstrating how Business Friendly they really are.  Of course the private-sector Water Utility can't be expected to do anything because they're held hostage to Big Coal just like everybody else.

And now, Freedom Industries has filed for bankruptcy protection - with a twist:



Everybody's guity; nobody's responsible; nobody can be held accountable.

So they close the loop, which basically indemnifies everybody who by right should be crucified - which is exactly how it's supposed to work - and guess who gets left holding the bag.

One last thing - while everybody's running around yelling about how they don't know anything and they can't do anything, and and and - there is this little thing called The West Virginia Poison Center, and there's a "branch office" right there at The Charleston Area Med Ctr, 3110 Maccorkle Ave SE, Charleston, WV 25304   (800) 222-1222

Election With A Consequence

Blue Virginia links to a story in WaPo, saying our new AG, Mark Herring, will not just blow off defending Virginia's ban on gay marriage, but actually join the suit brought by 2 gay couples to overturn it.
Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring will announce Thursday that he believes the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and that Virginia will join two same-sex couples in asking a federal court to strike it down, according to an official close to the attorney general with knowledge about the decision.
The action will mark a stunning reversal in the state’s legal position on same-sex marriage and is a result of November elections in which Democrats swept the state’s top offices. Herring’s predecessor, Republican Ken Cuccinelli II, adamantly opposes gay marriage and had vowed to defend Virginia’s constitutional amendment banning such unions, which was passed in 2006 with the support of 57 percent of voters.
Prob'ly shouldn't get too het up about it, but this has to be a pretty good sign that the Christianists are losing a big one.

























It also points up the importance of getting everybody out to vote.  Herring won his election by less than a thousand.  

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Semi-Wow

Bob McDonnell's term as Virignia's Governor ended a week and a half ago, and today a federal grand jury handed down a big stack of indictments for Vaginal Bob and Lady McBarbie.

I'd like to say yay, but two things keep popping into my head.  First, I'm not convinced anybody will really care now.  I believe the thinking will be "gee, isn't he's gone now?" and "lookee there - the system worked - he got voted outa office" and "the Dems won the election - all they wanna do is punish the guy for being a Republican".

And second - that kind of thinking is why these things need to happen while a prick like McDonnell is still in office.  The whole thing almost got negotiated away - "in the interest of what's good for The Commonwealth".  Amazing just how chummy these assholes think they are with "us folks" once it becomes clear they've been fuckin' us with our pants on.

The announcement of the indictments was postponed, and the reasoning we got was so it wouldn't disrupt the elections last fall.  Fuck that shit.  Maybe disruption is what we need.  Maybe voters need to get shook up.  Maybe politicians and pollsters and image consultants and spinmeisters and party operatives - the whole political industry in general needs a collective kick in the nuts.
Taken together, the charges, if they resulted in convictions and maximum sentences, could produce fines in excess of $1 million and put the McDonnells behind bars for decades.

The indictment caps a stunning fall from political grace for the former governor, whose term ended Jan. 11. His tenure produced budget surpluses, restoration of voting rights to a record number of former felons and a landmark transportation funding package, before it was consumed by scandal in his final nine months in office.
I'll bet dollars to dingleberries there were people in positions of power who knew about all this crap a good 2 years ago, when they started vetting McDonnell for 2012 Veep.  None of this came as any kind of surprise to anybody anywhere near shoutin' distance of either party.  But they all kept it cool.  They all started calculating what they might be able to get out of it for themselves and for their own organizations.

Hey, guys - ya wanna know why so many of us get stuck in the Centrist Trap?  Would it interest you at all to learn why we fall for "Both sides do it"?

One side pulls some shit and the other side suddenly goes deaf dumb and blind.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Today's PodCast

From You Are Not So Smart: What's up with all that conspiracy theory shit?



It goes along with the Type 1 Error I posted about earlier.  We take a certain bit of information, it makes us skittish, and at some point (feeling the need for reasons and explanations), we ascribe Agency or Intent to it.

Nobody's saying there can't possibly be anything to any of what you think is a conspiracy regarding certain events or conditions.  But while there are (and have been) in fact many conspiracies to commit various acts both heinous and heroic, The Grand Conspiracy has so far been thoroughly delusional.

Oh yeah - in case you're wondering about the Ant Death Spiral mentioned in the podcast:



The ant gets a bit of info and, since he can't apply any reasoning to the problem, he can only follow along dutifully ("thinking" this is how he gets to a safe dry place that his little ant-sized brain calls home).  Eventually, they all die of starvation and/or dehydration, never even knowing they were acting on insufficient evidence.

The real difference of course is that the ants can't reason their way thru it, while we actually choose not to.

One last bit, for all you Randites out there, I'll paraphrase from The Fountainhead:  The evil at work in the world is when a man recognizes Truth and Beauty as they are, and denies them.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Message For 2014

...and beyond - as long as it takes.

Here's the poster for every Democrat running for any office at any level at any time - or until they manage to get outa their own fuckin' way:

It's the Tea Party economy, stupid.

BTW, Dems - ya gotta figure out how to give up the industrial strength corporate funding.  And I get it; it's gonna be harder than quittin' smokin'.  But ya gotta do it, guys.

more than a lousy tip o' the hat = The Professional Left Podcast


Type vs Type

Type 1 Error = False Positive

Type 2 Error = False Negative

(paraphrasing Michael Shermer)
You're a hominid out for a stroll on the African plains 2 million years ago, and you hear a rustle in the grass.  Do you assume it's a dangerous predator, or do you assume it's harmless?

If you identify the sound as a predator, and it turns out to be the wind, then you've made a mistake (a Type 1 Error).  You lose some time, but you've survived - you continue to hunt and to live and to breed.

If you identify the sound as the wind, but it turns out to be a leopard, then you've removed yourself and all your potential descendants from the gene pool.

We are descended from a very long line of creatures who consistently made Type 1 Errors.

And that (partly) explains why we insist on believing in ghosts; and that Elvis is alive; and that there is a god.

Dr Shermer, if you please:

Shit Doesn't Just Happen

Mr Tim Wise on Privilege

I've posted this before in one iteration or another, but it's generally a good idea to repeat the important lessons.  So just think of it as being part of our Continuing Education requirements.



I tend to check on certain things.  And when somebody sounds like he knows what he's talking about, it's even more important to see if he really knows what he says he knows.




Friday, January 17, 2014

Today's Seer

I really do try not to be too dismissive of most people's heart-felt beliefs (yeah, I know - that one prob'ly seems pretty hard to swallow).  The problem is that when guys like Pat Robertson get to where they're guys like Pat Robertson, it just always seems like they goes right 'round the fuckin' bend.

Notice here - in 2011 - the guy makes predictions with some fairly hard dates attached - even tho' he issues the usual bullshit caveat about how it's risky to do exactly what he ends up doing.



Did you get it?  Right now, we're supposed to be completely broke; creditors banging on the doors of the treasury; unemployment way higher than it is; with strife and turmoil; and and and.

These people are phonies.  Stop giving them money you don't have for something that doesn't exist, and which you don't need in the first fuckin' place.

Some Change Is Good

Vaginal Bob is no longer Virginia's Governor.  So, with his departure, along with that of his evil minion Attorney General (Kenny the Kooch), we can finally start to scour the first few layers of crappy governance off the public hide in Richmond.




We shoveled literally hundreds of thousands of public dollars into the pockets of private lawyers so Bob McDonnell would have legal representation once it was disclosed that Cuccinelli shared McDonnell's aversion to keeping his hands outa the cookie jar.  And that's kinda how some of these crooks get away with their shit - it's a fairly simple (and very much time-honored) tradition of making sure nobody's accountable because everybody's guilty.

Hope springs eternal in spite of politicians' constant efforts to kill it, but I insist that it's not unreasonable to expect public officials to act honorably.  So here's hoping  Mark Herring and Terry McAuliffe are at least a little more square with the whole ethical behavior thing.

hat tip = Blue Virginia

Today's Tune

Maybe a little more suited to warmer weather, but I don't really care.

Emma Jean --Amazing Rhythm Aces



btw - Gin and pink lemonade?  Don't knock it 'til ya try it. 'Sides, it's a suthrun thang.  Ya'll just don't git it.



These Kids Today

Political (and other messaging) Manipulation might get some of us to believe practically everything anybody tells us, but it's just as possible that digital tricks get way too many of us to the point where we're not willing to believe anything about anything at all.

Welcome to the dawning of The Age of Radical Skepticism.

Today's Pix











Thursday, January 16, 2014

No Means No, Dick

Except, of course, once a woman says "I do", she can't say "No, don't" ever again - she must submit to her husband because she's forfeited all rights to make her own decisions about anything.



And don't even think about giving me shit about my "prejudices against conservatives".  Conservatives don't hold radical views (that's one of the big reasons we call 'em conservative in the first fuckin' place, ya peabrain).  Stop voting for these Taliban assholes.

hat tip = Addicting Info

An Outrageously Blatant Act Of Journalism




And the name of the rat bastard pinko librul media type who insisted on at least trying to hold this valiantly entrepreneurial job creator accountable for something completely out of his control?  Kallie Cart, WCHS Channel 8 Eyewitness News


I have no idea if Ms Cart has done anything else of note in her career, but when a Press Poodle does anything even close to a decent job of imitating a real reporter, I think it's important to pile on some laurels.

Now, maybe if she took a hard look at the failures of the Regulatory Regime, we'd have something even more worthy of my much-sought-after kudos.  Go get 'em, Kallie.  Keep doin' good.

hat tip = Addicting Info