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Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Year Of Eternal Sadness











--and--



and on and on and on

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Required Viewing


It's locked up pretty tight behind pay walls, but John Frankenheimer's Seven Days in May is a mighty good thing to see now and again.

Lotta weird shit goes on most of the time, but now it seems the weird shit meter is about to peg in the red again.  

"...this threat from the far right is never very far from us."


$3.99 on Amazon Video

Today's Pix











Say No To Shitty Ad Practices

I've recently bailed on 2 of my favorite sites - Addicting Info and Little Green Footballs - because their ads got way too pushy and intrusive.

Don't get me wrong, ya gotta pay for things, and these websites don't stay in the Content Business for very long unless somebody ponies up.  

So I'm good with just about everything, but not when (eg) MacKeeper pops up and freezes my browser so I can't do anything if I don't click on their OK button.  Go fuck yourself with a pine cone, MacKeeper.

I'll go back to those sites eventually - I suppose - but for now, this is just one more of my little protests.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

About That Christmas Story


So everybody's holiday favorite is the story of how a kid is growing up in Ohio, and he has a toy gun, and how everybody warns him about not getting hurt because of it and his dad buys a weird lamp and some kid gets his tongue froze to the flag pole and it all turns out OK because Ralphie's a white kid and the local cops don't murder him for no fucking reason.

A Tweet And A Quote

Today's Tweet



Chris Hayes has fallen way off - along with practically all of MSNBC - but hey, even a blind hog roots up an acorn once in a while.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Show A Little Love

A nice profile from Daily KOS
The only podcast combining politics, humor, outrage, kittens, science fiction and marital bliss is The Professional Left with the husband-wife team of Driftgass and Blue Gal. A new edition comes out every Friday (including Christmas and New Year’s!) and I never miss it, usually listening on bike rides around the park.
They just won a coveted Swifty for Episode 295 (July 31, 2015): "Is Cecil the Lion a Proxy War?"
The Professional Left Podcast 


Teach The World To Sing

The Message Manipulators seem to be bent on stripping away the soul from all of us by reducing everything to a transaction and creating a world of de-humanizing commercialism.

I've been part of that.  I was with them for a long time.  No more.  And never again.

But there are times when my eternally insistent skepticism (which always teeters on the brink of The Cynical Abyss) is tested.  



Wouldn't it be nice if this was more than just another attempt to co-opt something that should be a lot more meaningful than making us smell less like humans. (not that there's anything wrong with smelling better - just sayin')

hat tip = Facebook friend MH

Today's Pix













Sunday, December 27, 2015

Today's Tweets


Actually, this is a screen cap of the tweet that showed up on Facebook (hat tip = DR), but hey - social media is social media, and it's only there to serve us up to the advertisers and propagandeers anyway.  But, I digress.

If something good happens because of it, that's just a lucky coincidence.  

And if something bad happens because of it, well - shit happens; whaddaya gonna do?

My favorite thing - when you post a pic, you can 'tag' the faces in the pictures, and somebody tagged this guy "Asshole'.  

Poe's Law states that sometimes, it's not possible to differentiate between an actual statement of an extreme and a parody of the extreme.  So the guy could easily be a 'Poe'.  But seeing how weird USAmerica Inc has gotten over the last few decades, and looking thru the guy's Twitter feed, I'll go with the obvious and say he really is the jackwad freak he's trying so hard to convince us he is.

Late Breaking: Online scuttlebutt is that the guy lost his job because that tweet just went a little too far (hard to believe that's the one that did it, considering practically everything on his feed is "White Genocide" and "Hitler-Was-Right" etc).  His feed has nothing posted after Dec 24th, so I guess he took everything else down or his account was frozen or whatever.

The winning response so far:





Torching




Moonbeam  --Sinne Eeg



Fragile  --Nils Landgran



My One And Only Love  --Sinne Eeg




With Every Breath I Take  --Janis Mann




Kissing A Fool - George Michael





Friday, December 25, 2015

A Podcast For Christmas

It's just what I asked Santa to bring me!

And be sure to listen for the part where driftglass explains the new positioning effort that puts the Teabillies way out to the right, and The Democrats way out to the left, and "The Newly-Moderate GOP" smack in the middle.  Now, what was it I've been saying about Jeb this whole time?



Say whatever ya wanna say, but ya can't say these guys haven't been trying to warn us about all this shit for a good long time. 


Click here for the website where you can shop Amazon, or subscribe directly:

--or--

(make checks payable to):

The Professional Left Podcast
PO Box 9133
Springfield, IL 62791


What Day?

Yale Not Jail

As much as I hate to agree with Jesse Jackson, he was right about one thing.  We spend way more money on keeping people in jail than we spend on the schooling that everybody knows makes it a lot less likely that any given kid will end up in prison. 

And here's a tiny peek at just how stoopid we are in that particular regard:

20.2 Million = College Students in USAmerica Inc
$21 Billion = What we spend on College every year (Avg Cost, Public 2- or 4-year schools)

2.2 Million = Prison Inmates 
$74 Billion = What we spend on Prisons in USAmerica Inc every year 

Arithmetic please: We have almost 10 times as many students as we have inmates, but we spend more than 3 times as much on the inmates as we spend on the students.

Why does that make sense to anybody?

Read up at smartasset.com
The American prison system is massive. So massive that its estimated turnover of $74 billion eclipses the GDP of 133 nations. What is perhaps most unsettling about this fun fact is that it is the American taxpayer who foots the bill, and is increasingly padding the pockets of publicly traded corporations like Corrections Corporation of America and GEO Group. Combined both companies generated over $2.53 billion in revenue in 2012, and represent more than half of the private prison business. So what exactly makes the business of incarcerating Americans so lucrative?
 

Gitcher Swag On

Thursday, December 24, 2015

What Jeb Said

hat tip = Little Green Footballs


Bless his pea-pickin' little ol' heart - he's trying so hard to lead some of these dolts away from the extremes, while trying so hard to step in the right places thru the minefield, which generally ends up meaning he's trying hard not to lead too much.  And that's pretty much exactly what electoral politics is all about.  You have to calculate; you say things that bring some voters over to your side while not alienating too many others.

I think Jeb is the GOP's only chance to pull that off, and I think Jeb is probably just not really up to the challenge.

He's half right, hoping to parlay it into enough of a message that's acceptable to enough of everybody wearing the Red Badge to stitch together a wobbly little coalition to get close to maybe being in contention for a shot at making a run for what may or may not be his big chance at the nomination - god willin' and the crick don't rise.  

Seriously, I just don't think he's up to it even tho' I think the GOP mover/shakers are working feverishly to prop him up, and I'm still not convinced he won't be the GOP's guy next fall.  Or is it that he'll be the GOP's next fall guy? This is all very confusing.

But anyway - half right.  He just got it kinda upside down and backwards.  He says the controversy over the Confederate Battle Flag isn't about the Confederacy so much as it's about what the flag came to represent in the 20th century.  That's the half-right part.

The upside-down-and-backwards part is that there was a long and concerted effort to change our perception, and to get people to believe that that flag represented Heritage and Commitment and Honor on the part of the glorious warriors who fought under it, instead of maintaining the truth about it, and making sure that it remained the symbol of Greed and Inhumanity and Bigotry and all the things this country has always said it doesn't want to be. It became the rallying point for people who need desperately to be lied into a political catatonia so they can go on pretending they don't have to do anything but wish their troubles away - or to kill their way outa the mess they're forever getting us all into.

But here's the thing, kids - that flag is the flag of quitters and losers and racist assholes. It is, it always was, and it always will be.



A Special Holiday Message

About That Son Of God Thing


I'm not bashing Christmas - I flat-out love me some Christmas, so don't get me wrong, but:

John 3:16 - "For god so loved the world He gave his only begotten son..."

Why "son"?  Why couldn't it have been his only begotten daughter?   If we're talking about an all-powerful, all-purpose, all-in-one Ron Popeil kinda god here, we have to assume "he" could choose.  So why a son?

That right there anchors the Jesus story firmly in the culture and the mindset of the people of the 1st century CE.  There's nothing particularly timeless about it at all - and there's nothing divine about it either.  People were telling a story, and the people of that time placed a far greater value on a boy child than they did on a girl child.  So if they wanna make it a really big deal, then of course, the kid's gotta be a boy.

But, Mike - these were semi-primitive people who didn't understand a lot, so god had to speak to them in ways they could understand and blah blah blah.

Bullshit.  The story says Jesus walked on water.  He fed the multitudes with a few loaves and fishes.  He changed water to wine.  He touched a leper and cured him.  He touched a blind guy and made him see again.  He brought Lazarus back to life after he was fucking dead.  He was called 'rabbi' - teacher.  They said, "Oh Lord, show us the way".  Jesus did all that; Jesus was all that, but somehow a quick lesson on "don't be a mysogynistic dick" - that was just too much?  That's what blows their minds and makes the whole thing unbelievable?

I'm just saying there's something kinda sketchy about the whole Christ Child thing.

But hey - Merry Fuckin' Christmas anyway, knuckleheads. Hope it's a great day for everybody.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Today's Wonderment

Now that the budget deal's been passed and (I think) on its way over to the Oval Office; and since it includes that horrible-est of all horribles (Planned Parenthood funding), isn't it time for the RINO Hunters to be out in force, declaring all Repubs who voted for it instead of shutting down the gubmint to be traitors of the highest blah blah blah?

I mean, we did get some weak-ass blubbering from Frank Graham.

And WingNut Daily kinda put up a list of Repubs who voted for the Omnibus - although it was really just a link to another website where they love to bitch about immigration.  I'll list them out here just in case you're itchin' for a chance to limber up any new torches and pitchforks you've got layin' around:

GOP Senators voting YES

Alexander (R-TN)
Ayotte (R-NH)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Blunt (R-MO)
Capito (R-WV)
Coats (R-IN)
Cochran (R-MS)
Collins (R-ME)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Gardner (R-CO)
Graham (R-SC)
Hatch (R-UT)
Heller (R-NV)
Hoeven (R-ND)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johnson (R-WI)
Kirk (R-IL)
Lankford (R-OK)
McConnell (R-KY)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Perdue (R-GA)
Roberts (R-KS)
Rounds (R-SD)
Tillis (R-NC)
Wicker (R-MS)


House GOP Reps voting YES
Aderholt
Allen
Barr
Barton
Benishek
Bilirakis
Bishop (MI)
Bishop (UT)
Bost
Boustany
Brady (TX)
Brooks (IN)
Buchanan
Bucshon
Burgess
Calvert
Carter (GA)
Carter (TX)
Chabot
Chaffetz
Coffman
Cole
Collins (GA)
Collins (NY)
Comstock
Conaway
Cook
Costello (PA)
Cramer
Crenshaw
Culberson
Curbelo (FL)
Davis, Rodney
Denham
Dent
Diaz-Balart
Dold
Donovan
Duffy
Ellmers (NC)
Fitzpatrick
Fleischmann
Flores
Foxx
Frelinghuysen
Gibson
Granger
Graves (GA)
Graves (MO)
Grothman
Guthrie
Hanna
Harper
Hartzler
Hensarling
Herrera Beutler
Hill
Huizenga (MI)
Hurd (TX)
Issa
Jenkins (WV)
Johnson (OH)
Jolly
Joyce
Katko
Kelly (MS)
King (NY)
Kinzinger (IL)
Kline
Knight
LoBiondo
Loudermilk
Love
Lucas
Luetkemeyer
MacArthur
Marchant
McCarthy
McCaul
McHenry
McMorris Rodgers
McSally
Messer
Mica
Miller (MI)
Moolenaar
Mullin
Murphy (PA)
Neugebauer
Newhouse
Noem
Nugent
Nunes
Olson
Palazzo
Paulsen
Pearce
Pittenger
Pitts
Poe (TX)
Poliquin
Price, Tom
Reed
Reichert
Renacci
Ribble
Rigell
Rogers (KY)
Rokita
Rooney (FL)
Ros-Lehtinen
Roskam
Ross
Rouzer
Royce
Russell
Ryan (WI)
Scalise
Sensenbrenner
Sessions
Shimkus
Simpson
Smith (NJ)
Stefanik
Stewart
Stivers
Thompson (PA)
Thornberry
Tiberi
Trott
Turner
Upton
Valadao
Wagner
Walberg
Walden
Walorski
Walters, Mimi
Weber (TX)
Wenstrup
Westmoreland
Wilson (SC)
Womack
Woodall
Yoder
Young (AK)
Zeldin
Zinke


C'mon, guys - where's that fiery passion?   The people on those lists voted to bankrupt us, and to allow the Muslim Hordes to cross the borders and nefariously manipulate your virginal teenagers into killing all your grand-babies - they voted with Nancy Pelosi.  Cowards!  Where's that red-faced hysterical zeal we've come to know and love?

Some of the usual wild-eyed, jungle-thrashing frenzy may have been up for a while, but there's practically no sign of it anywhere on the intertoobz where I normally expect to find it.  Curious, eh?

Well, as always, we can find a certain explanation in the fact that Congress Critters have to look for the "Safe Votes".

If they're in a district where the likelihood of losing a primary challenge is very low (the Eric Cantor ambush notwithstanding), then voting for it is relatively 'safe' because even though some base voters will rebel, it won't be enough to make it a problem.

Those in districts that are of a more Purplish hue need to be safe in a slightly different way.  ie: They know they're in a closely divided district, and nobody on the other side is going to vote for them, so in order to shore up their constituent support at home and get their voters to turn out, they have to get permission from their leadership to vote against whatever the party caucus wants, while still being sure the bill either passes or fails according to their leadership's preference.  That way, they can say they've made a principled stand, and since the vote in congress went the way their opposition wanted it to go, the other side won't get all hot and bothered. Safe.

So this is fun, ain't it?  My oldest boy just came over and asked what I was working on, and when I explained it all, he rolled his eyes and said, "Fuckin' politics, man".  And this kid is no dummy - he was raised with this shit; he's curious about it, and he makes an honest effort to understand it.  No wonder so many of us just blow it off.

Anyway, one last thing - I'm thinking maybe the GOP is letting the Dumpster Fire that is the Donald Trump "campaign" blaze away because it gives them some cover by keeping the rubes in one place and busy, so the Repubs in congress can get a few things accomplished. 

They are not totally oblivious to their poll numbers - they know the McConnell Plan is a straight-up loser for 'em now, and they know they might be about to end up on the wrong end of a political disaster that makes Jonestown look like a potluck dinner with the Methodists on an average Wednesday.

Oh yeah - can you guess what else passed this session, Repubs?
H.R. 2820: Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Reauthorization Act of 2015
House Vote #695
Dec 16, 2015 10:30 a.m.
Passed 421/0
On Motion to Suspend the Rules and concur in the Senate Amendment in the House


Stem cells!?!  Planned Parenthood and cutting up harvested dead babies to sell on the open market?  Aaaaaaarrgh - oh the humanity.  No wait - selling things on the open market?  We're in favor of that Unfettered Capitalism thing, right?  Fuckin' politics, man.

It is a wonderment.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Happy Whatever Doesn't Offend You

... or does... or something else entirely.  We do get to choose.


The world starts to die every year at the beginning of Summer, and the world starts to come back to life every year at the end of Autumn. Just get past the bottom and you're on your way back up again.

Monday, December 21, 2015

A Solstice Noise

Tonight, 11:49 Eastern Time 

Yeah, it's old and it's all chestnutty and everything.  Don't care.  Haven't heard the whole thing in quite a while, and some of this stuff is just too heartbreaking not to listen closely and let it slam dead center into my guts on a dayless night as we pass the bottom one more time and one more time and one more. 

It's all we need is just one more time past the bottom.

December --George Winston

>


Christmas Pics

(click the pic to embiggen)

















Sunday, December 20, 2015

Today's Facebook Looney


You're afraid of that world?

Isn't 'participation' kind of an important concept in a little thing we like to call 'democratic self-government'?

And not to get too Capt Obvious on y'all, but ain't nobody don't know about the Law Of Unintended Consequences - the first lesson (sometimes the only lesson) a spanking teaches a kid is that violence is an appropriate reaction when you're mad or disappointed or frustrated or whatever.

So, you're telling me you're afraid of what happens when we teach kids to participate in the world they live in, and you're afraid they won't react violently when people don't behave the way they want them to behave. Is that about it? Is that really it?

Dontcha hafta wonder why it seems like somebody may be setting you up for something?