Saturday, February 28, 2015

We're Gettin' There

Try not to get too nutso, but using GMO Viruses against different types of cancer seems to be a pretty amazing thing.  

What is this virus treatment?
The researchers at the Mayo Clinic in the US, led by Dr Stephen Russell, are using an approach called ‘oncolytic virus therapy’, which is generating a lot of excitement in the cancer research community around the world. In fact, we’ve written about some of our work in this area a couple of times already.
Briefly, it involves treating patients with viruses that have been genetically engineered to specifically infect cancer cells, rather than causing the particular illness that they usually bring. When injected into the body, the viruses seek out and destroy the tumour cells, multiplying inside them to create even more cancer-killing viruses. At least, that’s the theory.
To date, researchers have created oncolytic viruses from a number of different types of modified virus, including the herpes virus (which causes cold sores), pox viruses and adenovirus (common cold). But while tests in cancer cells grown in the lab and animals have been remarkably successful, this promise unfortunately hasn’t yet translated into success in clinical trials with actual cancer patients.
Now if we could just get a certain bunch of politicians to turn loose on the purse strings and get some of these docs the bucks they need to finish the thing, we might just have a chance.  (translated: Stop voting for assholes who stand in the way of research and development.)


So, lemme see - we've got Peter King saying there's a buncha nuts in the GOP.  

Remember, this is the guy who wanted to put all Muslims under surveillance; and he said mosques are incubators for terrorism.  Now he's saying the GOP has a radical wing made up of people who're 'self-righteous and delusional'.  Peter King is not exactly the voice of rhetorical moderation, and he said a buncha his guys on his end of the spectrum are delusional - things gotta be pretty fucked up if you're so far to Peter King's right that he calls you delusional.

We've also seen a pretty constant barrage of wingnuttery coming down on John Boehner's head (eg) - and we've seen him (imo) struggling mightily not to say something like, "these idiots don't care if everybody dies as long as they get their version of conservative purity in place by lunch tomorrow."

There are others in the GOP who have to be well past jumpy about some of the weird Monsters-Of-The-Id running around scaring the fuck outa people.  Must be more than a few, and I'm guessing the numbers are more than a few dozen just in Congress.

So here's the thing:  When will we see the first defection(s)?  Which Repub(s) will finally step up and tell these bugbrains to fuck off, and declare that they'll be finishing out their terms as Independents (prob'ly) or even as Democrats (fat fucking chance, but wouldn't that be nice?)

I wonder if Howard Dean or Steny Hoyer or any of the Blue Dogs have been dispatched to wheedle away at some of these guys.  It happened the other way around in the 50s and 60s, and again in the 80s and 90s, so there's obviously a precedent for it.  I just don't know how it works.

It's a wonderment.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

DumFux Lies

Jon Stewart ran a bit on last nite's show that everybody's been reposting - so why should I be any different:

Here's the Vine Video:

(click to pause)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Surprise Surprise

Turns out, Racial Bias actually is a thing.  Which makes Race-based Privilege into a thing as well.

Not that anybody who needs to hear this will actually hear it - much less put any stock in it because of course it's just more academic mumbo jumbo from people who've spent the better part of their lives studying such things, and who gives a fuck about Australia anyway!?! - but anyhoo.

From Univ of Queensland via NYT
With more than 1,500 observations, the study uncovered substantial, statistically significant race discrimination. Bus drivers were twice as willing to let white testers ride free as black testers (72 percent versus 36 percent of the time). Bus drivers showed some relative favoritism toward testers who shared their own race, but even black drivers still favored white testers over black testers (allowing free rides 83 percent versus 68 percent of the time).
The study also found that racial disparities persisted when the testers wore business attire or dressed in army uniforms. For example, testers wearing army uniforms were allowed to ride free 97 percent of the time if they were white, but only 77 percent of the time if they were black.
This elegant experiment follows in a tradition of audit testing, in which social scientists have sent testers of different races to, for example, bargain over the price of new cars or old baseball cards. But the Australian study is the first, to my knowledge, to focus on discretionary accommodations. It’s less likely these days to find people in positions of authority, even at lower levels of decision making, consciously denying minorities rights. But it is easier to imagine decision makers, like the bus drivers, granting extra privileges and accommodations to nonminorities. Discriminatory gifts are more likely than discriminatory denials.
A police officer is an out-and-out bigot if she targets innocent blacks for speeding tickets. But an officer who is more likely to give a pass to white motorists who exceed the speed limit than to black ones is also discriminating, even if with little or no conscious awareness. This is one reason the Twitter hashtag #crimingwhilewhite is so powerful: It draws attention to the racially biased exercise of discretion by police officers, prosecutors and judges, which results in whites getting a pass for the kinds of offenses for which minorities are punished.
So the discrimination is there; the biogtry is there; it's just behind a slightly less thoroughly disgusting mask.  It's about the "positive" of granting a little favor for the White Folk so it looks and sounds a little better, but it's still the same old "negative" of denying that favor (ie: privilege) to Black Folk.  I'm willing to call it as having made some progress, but we're still pretty well stuck with a problem of unequal treatment, and having that inequality based on the color of somebody's skin.

It's just not enough.  We gotta do better.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Rudy Rudy Rudy

Rick Ungar at Forbes on Giuliani's fail which turned into a fourple fail when Rudy doubled down twice - most recently by getting space in the OpEd section of Rupert's Vanity Street Journal.
“My blunt language suggesting that the president doesn’t love America notwithstanding, I didn’t intend to question President Obama’s motives or the content of his heart. My intended focus really was the effect his words and his actions have on the morale of the country, and how that effect may damage his performance.”
When you boldly and directly state that a President doesn’t love his country, while suggesting that this lack of affection is the result of not being like "us", you have to be something of a fool to imagine that you can return to the fray pretending that what you meant to say was you don’t like how the President speaks on the subject of American exceptionalism.

The Hate Parade

Wanna know what Repubs really really REALLY hate?  

Well, it would seem there's enough GOP Hatred to spread a rich and creamy slathering over a pretty good sampling of just about everything.

A user called Scuba at Democratic Underground put together this handy (and partial) list:
Harry Reid
Thinking people
Public & Indian Housing
Sewer systems
Jesus' teachings
Social Security
President Obama
Peace Corps
Social justice
Creative people
14 year old rapist victims
Housing & Urban Development Dept
Government healthcare
Illegal aliens
United Nations
Smart people
Postal Service
1st Amendment
Any Arabic person
Economic justice
Consumer protections
Social programs
All democratic leaders
14 year old incest victims
Public education
14th Amendment
Federal government
Food stamps
Worker's rights
Student aid programs
Hate crime laws
The Poor
Department of Education
The vulnerable
Nancy Pelosi
Environmental Protection Agency
The weak
State government
Food banks
4th Amendment
Tree huggers
Census workers
Federal Trade Commission
Endangered species
Homeless people
Consumer Product Safety Commission
Women's rights
City government
Food & Drug Administration
Any liberal leader
College professors
5th Amendment
I could add: Public Lands and Clean Water and Breathable Air and Redress Through The Courts and a Livable Wage and and and.  

Dear GOP,
It's more than a little nutty trying to think you 'love America' when you hate so much of what  America actually is.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Winter Sucks Now

I'm thinkin' I might hafta skip Leg Day tomorrow.  

And Cardio on Tuesday?  Yeah - that's lookin' a little iffy too.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

What Bill Said

I'm not much of a Bill Clinton fan anymore, but here's a good one from a few years ago:
"It's arithmetic.  The top 25 Hedge Fund Managers made $14.14 Billion in 2012. They pay a 15% tax rate.  That's equivalent to 314,222 workers earning $45,000 a year.  And they pay a 35% tax rate.
It takes all of the income tax paid by 180,000 of these workers just to pay for the tax loophole for these 25 Hedge Fund Managers.
And that, my friends is only $2.8 Billion of the approximate $660 Billion in tax cuts that go each year to make the wealthy wealthier.
 Get up on your hind legs and push back - vote against this shit.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Bando del Diablo

We always tho't the kids in band were a little strange in high school.  Took all 45 years since then for me to learn how cool strange can turn out to be.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Bullying Of America

Stand up.  Stand together.  Push back.

To borrow and paraphrase the old saw - getting bullied doesn't build good character in the victim, it reveals a lack of character in the bully.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Obama Roll

I used to call him President Lawnchair - mostly because I tho't he folded completely instead of really sticking it out on ACA (Public Option in particular).  And I continued that criticism for quite a while because it just looked like the guy wasn't all that willing to smack the Repubs around the way I tho't he should.

I can tell y'all now that I've changed my tune a bit lately, and while it'll take some study from an historical distance to see what all is what, I gotta say there might actually be something to the meme about how this guy plays a mean game of Fourple Dimension Chess; and we may be seeing a pretty good example of just how far into the future he's able to play.

I guess it's also possible he's been playing for this point in time all along, and he's about to kick over that one pawn that puts things in motion like a political Mouse Trap Game. (hey - let an old guy dream)

Obama wants to do something meaningful on Immigration, but he knows the Teabillies insist on forcing Baron von Boner and Mitchy-Mac to give guys like Chuckles Koch a loud sloppy blowjob in public, which makes it nigh-onto impossible for them to do anything else but stand in the way (or kneel if they're feeling particularly adept at multi-tasking), so Obama decides to use his authority as the boss of DHS to move ever so slightly forward.

Which means Boehner has only one tool, which is to threaten to withhold the funding for DHS, which means the "National Security Party" is saying "we're willing to drop all this pretentious chest-thumping bullshit about keeping America safe just so we can fuck over the Mexicans - and Obama".  Oops - Im betting they didn't mean to let it slip that DHS really is mostly pretentious chest-thumping bullshit, but for most of us, that cat's been outa the bag for quite a while - so maybe it's just time to let it go(?)  And as for "fuckin' over the Mexicans" - who doesn't know by now that that's what they wanna do?  Fuckin' somebody over is always what they wanna do, is it not?

Obama kinda has 'em by the nuts on that one.  

Now, add that to this:  The pentagon's latest assessment (QDR 2014) has concluded (again) that Climate Change (ie: congressional paralysis due to Climate Change Denial - hint hint) poses a significant threat to US National Security.  And that's across the board; from "Threat Multiplier" to just plain "making our job harder than it has to be".
Climate change poses another significant challenge for the United States and the world at large. As greenhouse gas emissions increase, sea levels are rising, average global temperatures are increasing, and severe weather patterns are accelerating. These changes, coupled with other global dynamics, including growing, urbanizing, more affluent populations, and substantial economic growth in India, China, Brazil, and other nations, will devastate homes, land, and infrastructure. Climate change may exacerbate water scarcity and lead to sharp increases in food costs. The pressures caused by climate change will influence resource competition while placing additional burdens on economies, societies, and governance institutions around the world. These effects are threat multipliers that will aggravate stressors abroad such as poverty, environmental degradation, political instability, and social tensions – conditions that can enable terrorist activity and other forms of violence.
(quick little note - this kind of straight-up declarative statement doesn't make the final cut without the approval of a lotta people who wear some very heavy hats)

So what's a poor Boehner to do?  

Obama is saying he wants DHS to do something about immigration and the Repubs are saying they'd rather close DHS down altogether than take the risk of getting something done on one of the GOP's favorite issues. (say wut now?)

Obama and DoD want to do something about Climate Change (even if it's just some attempt to mitigate the negative effects), while the Repubs insist first on doing nothing about Climate Change, and oh by the way, then insist again on doing nothing while Sequestration strips away the tax dollars that get poured into Defense Contractors' pockets; then laundered thru PACs; and then eventually find their way back into the campaign war chests of Coin-Operated Politicians - like John Boehner.

So who's all about the security of the homeland, and who's not?
Who's all about supporting the mission of our exalted military, and who's not?

From where I sit, I'm just wondering if there's ever been a Speaker of the House who ended up switching parties.  That dude is fucked 9 ways from Sunday.

But wait - do we need to talk about how maybe Boehner's playing the role of Sacrificial Savior of the Party?  Maybe he's whipping this thing into a rich creamy lather on purpose, making all the bubble brains float to the top so they can be skimmed off into the shitter(?)

Yeah, OK.  We'll call that one Low Probability #37, but I purely do like to hedge my bets.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Get 'Em, Charlie

Charlie Pierce is a fucking hero:
William Kristol is what you find at the bottom of a dumpster outside of a think tank on a hot day in July. Nobody has been more wrong about more important things with more devastating consequences, and somehow remained out of jail or a locked ward. A chickenhawk's chickenhawk, he slaves constantly to send other people's children off to be maimed and to die, and he still gets invited to all the best places as a "public intellectual." Yeah, and Charlie Manson taught thoracic surgery. But, against all possible odds, he may have outdone even himself this time.
Searching for new ways to call the president a coward -- And we'll get to the obvious joke in a minute -- he fastens on the two-fisted youth of Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel who has been invited by John Boehner to come over here and heckle the president as part of Netanyahu's campaign to compromise the president's foreign policy intiatives regarding Iran. The sneer behind the words is what you see on the face of a jackal that has found an apex predator to hide behind. 

Today's Pix And A Few Toons Too

Expanding The Narrative

And we're back for a bit longer look at some aspects of "Black History" that we (ie: I) never even thought about thinking about.

I got outa school a very long time ago, but the way I recall it, we were taught American History as The History of White People in North America.  And then once in a very long while, we also got this other thing - Native-Americans or Afro-Americans or Spanish-Americans or even on very rare occasions, Sino-Americans.  But nobody ever referred to Franklin or Jefferson or Lincoln or Calhoun or Lee or Davis or TR or FDR or or or;  as Euro-Americans.  Ever.

"Our" history of "our" country in "our" terms from "our" perspective, as told to "us" by "us".

Exclusive.  Restricted.  WASPs Only.

Here's a peek via HuffPo:
Every February during Black History Month, we recognize pioneers like Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King who have pushed the civil rights agenda forward. However, the integral work of other activists is often ignored.
Rutgers University assistant professor Brittney Cooper joined HuffPost Live on Monday to discuss the exclusion of prominent black LGBT activists like Pauli Murray, who helped in the the progression of the civil rights movement.
From her campaign to matriculate into the University of North Carolina to her countless articles on race relations, Murray was an influential civil rights activist. Even with her list of accomplishments, Murray, who was of mixed-race heritage, saw her complex gender and sexual identity muted in favor of "respectability politics," Cooper said. Murray’s queer identity likely pushed the NAACP to ignore her case after she was arrested for refusing to move to the rear of a Virginia bus 15 years before Rosa Parks did the same thing in Alabama.
And here's a bit more on Pauli Murray: black, woman, LGBT.  Pretty much the trifecta.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Come To Where The Journalism Is

Dear American Media,

Where the fuck are you guys, anyway?

And why is it that we have to count on Jon Stewart, Larry Wilmore and John Oliver to do a better job of covering shit like this than all of your over-paid & under-performing Press Poodles who do practically nothing but pollute the public airwaves?

Get your shit together and try to act like you know what the fuck you're supposed to be doing.

Freedom Rings A Little Hollow

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, over.

hat tip = FB buddy VWE and Addicting Info

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Today's Facebook Wingnut

This came across from an ex-FB-Friend (which was commented on by a current FB Friend, which is how it showed up where I could see it), and it's what everybody used to get in an email that had enough "FWD"s and "RE:"s attached to it that it looked like god's own phone book.

I took a break from this shit for a while, but sometimes, I just cain't hep muhsef.

code = the Wingnutty Nonsense is in black, and my oh-so-clever rebuttals are in blue.  You prob'ly coulda guessed that much so I'll step aside and let you reap the benefit of my extraordinary wit.

So anyway - for old times' sake I guess:
Free people are not equal. Equal people are not free.
Because this is a nation of, by, & for thoughtless dolts who can’t think beyond simplistic bumper stickers.
"A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and don't have one, you'll probably never need one again."
When was the last time some kid killed his little brother with a parachute that accidentally worked exactly the way it was supposed to work?  Please take a bit more care in choosing your analogies.
The definition of the word Conundrum is: something that is puzzling or confusing.
Well, not really - a conundrum is a difficult or confusing problem - one with no simple solution.  I’m sensing you're about to encounter some trouble getting your “logic” to connect up (especially when you leave out a fairly important piece of your premise), but anyway, please do continue.
Here are six Conundrums of socialism in the United States of America:
1. America is capitalist and greedy - yet half of the population is subsidized.
We can leave aside your apparent ignorance of Latin plurals - no need to get overly pedantic - and concentrate on translating that sentence for ya: The ruling and elitist top ½% of America is capitalist and greedy - and so half of the population is in need of being subsidized.
2. Half of the population is subsidized - yet they think they are victims.
Actually, they know full well they’re being preyed upon and victimized by a class structure kept in place by a ruling and elitist ½%, so we're not sure why you keep flogging that particular (and particularly dead) horse.
3. They think they are victims - yet their representatives run the government.
“Their” representatives are bought and paid for by the ½%.
4. Their representatives run the government - yet the poor keep getting poorer.
(see #3 above, and suddenly we know exactly why they’re getting poorer)
5. The poor keep getting poorer - yet they have things that people in other countries only dream about.
So, you’re threatening to make people’s lives even worse if they don’t kiss your ass?  And in slightly different terms: You're gonna shit on my head, and then I'm supposed to say, "thanks for the hat".  Is that it?
6. They have things that people in other countries only dream about - yet they want America to be more like those other countries.
This is called Cherry Picking - there’re plenty of other countries where “regular” people are a helluva lot better off than they are here, and it’s mostly because they know that Government by Economic System is a really stupid idea that’s never worked as advertised. Ever.
And BTW, we’re pretty sure nobody but you wants things to get any worse (see #5 above).
Think about it! And that, my friends, pretty much sums up the USA in the 21st Century.
Makes you wonder who is doing the math.
And that, my friends pretty much sums up why you're not going to arrive at a true conclusion when you start from a false premise.  
These three, short sentences tell you a lot about the direction of our current government and cultural environment:
1. We are advised to NOT judge ALL Muslims by the actions of a few lunatics, but we are encouraged to judge ALL gun owners by the actions of a few lunatics. Funny how that works.
Tell ya what, Quickdraw, get the numbers of Gun Deaths in America down around the numbers of Terrorism Deaths in America, and then we can talk.
2. Seems we constantly hear about how Social Security is going to run out of money. But we never hear about welfare or food stamps running out of money? What's interesting is the first group "worked for" their money, but the second didn't.
This is the “entitlement” bit, right? OK, so how hard did you work to be born into middle-class white suburban America?  You’ve been cashin’ in on that one for a good long time - what did you do to earn the life-long privileges of that randomly fortuitous event?  
Think about it.....and last but not least:
3. Why are we cutting benefits for our veterans, no pay raises for our military and cutting our army to a level lower than before WWII, but we are not stopping the payments or benefits to illegal aliens.
Make up your friggin’ mind, ditzoid.  Belly-ache about spending too much, or belly-ache about not spending enough.  You don’t get to occupy both positions at the same time.  
Oh, wait - you do wanna spend a shitload of tax dollars on “your guys”, which of course benefits you and yours because you’re totally entitled to be dependent on funneling those tasty tax dollars into your own pockets by way of your uber-patriotic National Security Inc.  
But really, you just can’t stand spending anything on “those people”.  Yeah. We get it.  Known about that one for a while now.  Think about getting some new material.

And speaking of new material - here's some that isn't new at all, but it's so good I can't stop listening to it.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

A PolToon

...while the Executive Committee sits in a conference room (that prob'ly cost more than your fucking house) wondering, "Whatever happened to company loyalty?"

It Could Be Tranference

I've been wondering about the blow-up over Brian Williams.  And about why everybody and his uncle are jumping on this guy for having botched one story - yeah, OK, it was kind of a doozy, but c'mon.  He fell into the "Acquired Memory" trap, and we're compelled to a public lynching?

And here's an interesting little wrinkle - he admitted it, and tried to correct the record long after everybody'd forgotten about it.  When was the last time anybody - ANY-FUCKING-BODY - in the media decided to come clean like that?

We need to hold people accountable, but Coin-Operated Politicians and The Banksters (eg), and a pile of others who've screwed things up way bigger than anything a news reader ever did (DumFux News being the exception of course) - those guys are practically bulletproof, and we get pretty fucking frustrated about how it seems like they never get spanked or even yelled at.  Then along comes a Dan Rather or a Brian Williams, and we lose our shit over it - because we're so pissed at the people we can't touch, we take it all out on the ones we can. 

Press Poodles in general have a lot of shit to answer for - I just wanna make sure I'm mad at the right people for the right reasons.

Happy VD

That's Valentine's Day for those of you who're not all that cynical, and/or who can think at least slightly above gutter level - which kinda lets me out so why the fuck am I still typing?