10 July 2010

Saturday Shuffle

The Dark Half - Christopher Young
Into the Hollow - Queens of the Stone Age
Dollhouse (live) - Switchblade Symphony
I Like You - Morrissey
Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuthing Ta Fuck Wit - Wu-Tang Clan
Viginti Tres - Tool
Junkhead - Alice In Chains
Miami Vice Theme - Jan Hammer
More Human Than Human - White Zombie
Happy Birthday - The Birthday Party

06 July 2010

The Rule of Law: Ruling some more than others

Glenn Greenwald breaks it all down--as he usually does--now that the Obama DOJ has levied 50+ years worth of charges against an Army private alleged to have supplied information to the organizers of the WikiLeaks website.
* If you torture people or eavesdrop on Americans without the warrants required by the criminal law, you receive Look-Forward Imperial Immunity.

* If you shoot and kill unarmed rescuers of the wounded while occupying their country and severely wound their unarmed children sitting in a van -- or if you authorize that conduct -- your actions are commended.

* If you help wreck the world economy with fraud and cause hundreds of millions of people untold suffering, you collect tens of millions of dollars in bonuses.

* If you disclose to the world evidence of war crimes, government lawbreaking, or serious corruption, or otherwise embarrass the U.S., you will be swiftly prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and face decades in prison.

03 July 2010

Saturday Shuffle

Them Bones (live) - Alice In Chains
When You Sleep - My Bloody Valentine
Double Team - Tenacious D
I Turned Into A Martian - The Misfits
Sweet Cycle - Tito & Tarantula
Letter To Memphis - Pixies
You and Whose Army - Radiohead
Detachable Penis - King Missile
San Francisco Days - Chris Isaak
Spanish Blue - Aqua Velvets

02 July 2010

At the corner of Mendacity and Hysteria...

...lies Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.

After signing off on an immigration law that allows police to stop anyone brown enough that they "reasonably suspect" to be in the country illegally, she realized that she had to make the case to her constituents--as well as the country, at large--that the Arizona immigration problem outweighs the burden this will undoubtedly cause on U.S. citizens whose appearance is now just a bit too illegal-y. To that end, she devised a strategy:


And lie, shamelessly, at that.

Now that her "drug mule" scare-mongering has blown up in her face, she's decided on a new tactic:

Avoid criticizing feds who might take umbrage at looking incompetent, and make sure the fear factor is even more outlandishly pants-filling:
Arizona governor says immigration leads to beheadings

In an interview with Fox News, Brewer said, "We cannot afford all this illegal immigration and everything that comes with it, everything from the crime and to the drugs and the kidnappings and the extortion and the beheadings."

"Our law enforcement agencies have found bodies in the desert, either buried or just lying out there, that have been beheaded," she added.
You can't put more "peril" into the Brown Peril than conjuring up images of crazed (and, most likely, drug mule-ing) illegal immigrants rampaging through the countryside, lopping off people's heads, right?

Surely, the gruesome threat of imminent, violent, non-English speaking death will provide more than ample justification for even the most bleeding of hearts who might currently object to everyone darker than John Boehner having to carry proof of citizenship lest they find themselves detained by the police...

You can guess what happened next, can't you?
County coroners can't back Brewer beheadings claim

Officials with six county medical examiners offices in the state, including four from counties that border Mexico, say they have never heard of such attacks.

The Arizona Guardian contacted the coroners' offices in Yuma, Pima, Pinal, Maricopa, Santa Cruz and Cochise counties. All of them said they'd never investigated an immigration-related crime in which someone's head had been head cut off within their respective jurisdictions.
The way I see it, the reality-challenged governor has gone so far around the bend, so quickly, that she has left herself with very few options for her next step in this insanity arms race. Her choices:

Undocumented workers A.) are a known cause of cancer, or B.) are, in fact, zombies.

My money is on zombies. Don't disappoint me, Jan.

The Teabagger movement: STILL nothing to do with race

And you are the one playing the race card if you say different. Via firedoglake:
Those who embrace the Tea Party movement are much less likely than others to see discrimination as a threat to the nation’s future and a hurdle for minorities. More than three in four say racial minorities have equal job opportunities; half of non-Tea Party supporters agree. They overwhelmingly reject the notion that economic disparities between blacks and whites are mainly the result of discrimination.

Nearly half say blacks lag in jobs, income and housing “because most African Americans just don’t have the motivation or willpower to pull themselves up out of poverty.”

"We're not racists, we just think a lot of blacks are lazy, complacent, and weak-willed."

And in further startling revelations:

So, as the numbers indicate, the respondents are clearly speaking--not from any racially based prejudices or stereotypes--but from their intimate, personal knowledge of lower-income minority populations and their life circumstances and beliefs.

The heartbreak of end-stage Foot In Mouth disease

Did I say "heartbreak?" I meant "humor." Oopsie:
RNC chair Michael Steele suggested history stands against the U.S. in the war in Afghanistan, a gaffe caught on camera during a fundraiser last night in CT.

"This was a war of Obama's choosing," Steele says in remarks captured on what appears to be a hidden camera. Steele blasted Obama for "demonizing Iraq while saying the battle really should be in Afghanistan."

"If he's such a student of history has he not understood that, you know, that's the one thing you don't do is engage in a land war in Afghanistan? Because everyone who's tried, over a thousand years of history has failed," Steele says.
Would that have been a war of Illinois State Senator Obama's choosing, Mikey?

It must be, because, last I checked, the Afghan war--land and otherwise--began back in 2001. What an intoxicating amount of power that body must have, able to mobilize billions of dollars for an international war effort. No wonder Chicago politics is such a contact sport.

Steele's had a bullseye on his back ever since he became a heretic to the Church of Limbaugh. That transgression demanded nothing less than public groveling and kissing the pillpopper's ring. Now he dares to speak ill of one of our concurrent Glorious Wars of Freedomizing and De-Islamofascistification? He might as well demand free medical marijuana, gay marriage, and abortions on demand for 13 year-olds while he's at it.

This won't end well and the sharks are already circling:
I ask you to consider, over this July 4 weekend, doing an act of service for the country you love: Resign as chairman of the Republican party.

Needless to say, the war in Afghanistan was not "a war of Obama’s choosing." It has been prosecuted by the United States under Presidents Bush and Obama. Republicans have consistently supported the effort. Indeed, as the DNC Communications Director (of all people) has said, your statement "puts [you] at odds with about 100 percent of the Republican Party."
Best clean up that resume of yours, Mr. Steele. Looks like our new unemployment filings may be increasing by one in the very near future, and if you thought your GOP buddies were cruel to you now, wait until you see their interpretation of compassion for the jobless.

29 June 2010

Profiles in casual depravity

Sharon Angle's primary win is the gift that keeps on giving to Harry Reid. Now she comes out as a stalwart defender of rapists' rights:
MANDERS: Is there any reason at all for an abortion?

ANGLE: Not in my book.

MANDERS: So, in other words, rape and incest would not be something?

ANGLE: You know, I’m a Christian, and I believe that God has a plan and a purpose for each one of our lives and that he can intercede in all kinds of situations and we need to have a little faith in many things.
And I thought pandering to her teabagger constituents by off-handedly sympathizing with the desire for "Second Amendment remedies" (read: violent uprising) for losses at the ballot box was bad.

In Angle's world, women have no right to control their reproductive lives, but their rapists' have the right to see their children born.

I dare Angle to look a rape or incest victim in the face and tell her that she shouldn't worry about being forced to carry her attackers' child because she just needs to "have a little faith" that her violation is all part of a divine plan.

In that case, Six-Gun Sharon better hope she's got a "second amendment remedy" of her own, handy, because I think that's about all that would save her from the woman in question.

If people have suffered through something awful and want to comfort themselves with the idea that "everything happens for a purpose," then that's one thing. For some self-righteous monster to offer that subjective worldview as a reason why women should be victimized all over again is beyond the pale.

That strange, mysterious land

they call "Hawaii":
"Obama is detached form the American experience. He just doesn't identify with the average American because of his own background. Indonesia and Hawaii."  -  Former Sen. Rick Santorum
Like others before him, I guess Man-on-dog Santorum thinks that some states are more American than others.
Be intertesting for Ricky and the Quitter to explain what makes one "average" or "real" considering Hawaii makes up a larger percentage of the U.S. population than the--presumably--average and real Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota, Alaska, or Wyoming.
Oh well, since places like New York (when it's not being blown up), Masschusetts (when it doesn't vote for Scott Brown), and California (24/7/365) clearly aren't "average America," either, in these folks' estimation, what's marginalizing one more state in the interests of pandering to the xenophobes--and, let's be honest, racists--in the constituency?

27 June 2010

Problem not scary enough? Lie.

Governor Papers Please has apparently decided that her state's immigration problems aren't inducing the proper level of panic among her constituency, both locally, and those whom she's pandering to in the national news. After what could charitably be called a minimal amount of thought, she's hit upon a novel solution: simply make shit up:
"Well, we all know that the majority of the people that are coming to Arizona and trespassing are now becoming drug mules," (Governor Jan) Brewer said. "They're coming across our borders in huge numbers. The drug cartels have taken control of the immigration.

"So they are criminals. They're breaking the law when they are trespassing and they're criminals when they pack the marijuana and the drugs on their backs."
Now, I don't claim to be an expert on lying as a politician, but it seems to me there are probably a few guidelines to follow. Near the top of the list: when selecting the basis for your fabrication, don't pick a scenario that has an entire government agency dedicated to dealing with it. Agencies like those tend to have employees who just might take issue with your attempt to make them look like they're doing an already nearly impossible task even more poorly:
T.J. Bonner of the National Border Patrol Council told CNN that Brewer's claims were "clearly not the case." Bonner said that some undocumented immigrants caught by border patrol agents have drugs on them, and that they sometimes blame pressure from the drug cartels.

But, he said, those claims have little credibility because drug smugglers are typically transporting much larger quantities of drugs. And besides, he said, if what Brewer said were true, there would be many more prosecutions for drug smuggling.

Brewer's comments, Bonner said, don't "comport with reality -- that's the nicest way to put it."
But, in the grand scheme of things, if Iraqi WMD, death panels, and the president being a commu-islamo-socialist sleeper agent didn't "comport with reality" why start being straight about the brown people you're using to terrify the electorate?

26 June 2010

Saturday Shuffle

Cure For Pain (live) - Morphine
Kiss Me Deadly - Reel Big Fish
To Have And To Hold - Depeche Mode
I Awake - Soundgarden
All Apologies - Nirvana
Regulate - Warren G & Nate Dogg
Still Suspicion Holds You Tight - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Rabbit In Your Headlights - U.N.K.L.E.
If 666 Was '96 - DXT
You Can Never Hold Back Spring - Tom Waits

22 June 2010

Pawns in Obama's ten dimensional chess game

Quoth John from AMERICAblog (who's already disproved ten dimensional chess):
Justice Dept to file suit against Arizona immigration law next week

At first blush, this is great. But what worries me is that the Latinos are being played the same way the gays have been played. Rather than pass comprehensive immigration reform this year, as promised, the administration is weighing in on a high-profile case that, heinous as it is, only affects one state. It's an easy to way score points on immigration without doing the heavy lifting of trying to pass real national reform.
The way that I see it, there's little point in worrying about things that are set.

There's no "if" about it. There is no doubt in my mind that Latinos/as are being played, just like the LGBT community and the Unions before them. For all its sound and fury on the stump, this administration has clearly taken close note of the last eight years and begun to treat its various constituencies the same way that the GOP has treated the Evangeliban:

You're the audience of choice on the campaign trail. You get focused speeches and carefully tailored rhetoric at every turn in order to get you to the polls, only to become the crazy aunt they try to hide in the attic once the election is over.

At least in the GOP's case, they simply ignore the Christian Right. The Obama machine actively attacks and marginalizes those whose support it figures it won't need for awhile.

Say whatever else you might about them, the number of Fundies--sick of getting red meat speechifying and little else--and who've gone teabagger, attacking incumbents of both stripes, make the progressive presidential apologists look all the more whipped.

19 June 2010

Saturday Shuffle

I Alone (live) - Live
Rhythm of the Night - DeBarge
Telegram Sam - Bauhaus
Generation Landslide - Alice Cooper
Blackened - Metallica
Janie's Got A Gun - Aerosmith
Omegaman - The Police
Beetles - Aphex Twin
Starling - Tori Amos
The Pet Semetary - Elliot Goldenthal

17 June 2010

Lying in the bed we made

From CNN:
Mothers of detained U.S. hikers urge Iran to prosecute or free them
The mothers of U.S. hikers urged the Iranian government to either prosecute or free the three held since last year after reportedly crossing the border into the country while hiking in Iraq.
..."Shane, Sarah and Josh have been detained in Iran without due process for almost 11 months, in continued violation of Iranian and international law," the mothers said.
"To continue to detain our children without regard for their legal and human rights reinforces suspicions that they are being held in a cynical attempt by Iran to exert leverage with the United States. Iran has no legitimate reason at this stage not to release them or move forward with a fair trial in which our children can openly answer any allegations against them."
When I first saw the abbreviated "latest news" headline on the front page--"Iran told to prosecute or free hikers"--I had to wonder what politican had the guts to get in front of a microphone and try and take that position with a straight face.  Unfortunately, at this point, their mothers are about the only ones who *can* credibly advance this argument.
And it's a good thing they're out there, trying.
Because again and again and again, our government has shown that it no longer occupies the moral high ground necessary to honestly make a similar appeal on their behalf (though that pesky little detail hasn't stopped us in the past). 
Now Iran isn't doing this because of the administration's stance on detainees at Gitmo and Bagram; it's a childish provocation in the interests of gamesmanship in the two nations' nuclear enrichment standoff.  But it absolutely highlights the fact that we can't expect, much less dictate, that other nations behave according to standards that we repeatedly refuse to apply to ourselves.

15 June 2010

Abandoning the dogwhistle

First it was Blubberin' Becky claiming that the President has "a deep seated hatred for white people." Now Rep. Steve King (R-IA) has decided to throw his pointy white hood into the ring:
"I'm offended by Eric Holder and the president also, their posture," said King, 61. "It looks like Eric Holder said that white people in America are cowards when it comes to race."

King continued: "The president has demonstrated that he has a default mechanism in him that breaks down the side of race on the side that favors the black person in the case of professor Gates and officer Crowley."
And exactly what is your problem with their "posture," Stevie? A little too uppity for your taste, perhaps?

Now Beck is nothing more than a demagogic shit-stirrer, concerned with little else than keeping his slack-jawed viewers frothing for his ratings and advertising dollars (and selling his dreadful novel, of course). As such, he's pretty much held to no standards, whatsoever, be they for objectivity, truth, or even rationality.

King, however, is an elected official trying to make political hay by claiming the attorney general is somehow hostile to whites and the President is a blatant racist. To that end, he simply lies. And since King has such a track record of asinine statements, the most shocking thing about all of this was seeing the writer actually call him out on his horseshit:
Holder, in a 2009 speech, did not suggest that whites are more cowardly than blacks when discussing race, as King indicated in the radio interview.

"Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot," Holder said, "in things racial we have always been and I believe continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards."
While I might've placed those 'grafs higher in the piece to serve as a more immediate exposure of King's mendacity, that it's there at all is wonder unto itself. Rather than uncritically repeating every claim as if it's a legitimate point of view that must be weighed by the reader--as is standard practice in the pursuit of "balance"--the writer actually fact checked.

Congratulations AP; now Journalism trails Stenography by only ten touchdowns, or so.

Courting the unhinged

In the wake of her win over Sue "Chickens for Checkups" Lowden in the GOP Senate primary in Nevada, it appears that Teabagger darling, Sharon Angle, suffers from a similar case of foot-in-mouth disease. Unfortunately, Angle's fantasies appear to be far more disturbing than pipe dreams of bartering for breast exams:
Asked by the host, Lars Larson of Portland, Oregon, where she stands on Second Amendment issues, Angle replied:
"You know, our Founding Fathers, they put that Second Amendment in there for a good reason and that was for the people to protect themselves against a tyrannical government. And in fact Thomas Jefferson said it's good for a country to have a revolution every 20 years.

I hope that's not where we're going, but, you know, if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies and saying my goodness what can we do to turn this country around? I'll tell you the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out."
"What can we do?"

How about voting?

Your inability to succeed at the ballot box is not a justification for violence. (And make no mistake, based on now our system functions, that's exactly what she's saying).

Note to Swamp Fox Sharon: As has always been the case, Congress is "going the way it is" because more people supported the legislators of the majority party than their opponents.

If it "keeps going" it's not due to tyranny, it's due to the fact that you and the GOP aren't winning elections. Period.

So when you say that you "hope we're not going to have armed rebellion, but..." it necessarily follows that the "but" that opens the door to violence is "if we keep losing."

12 June 2010

Saturday Shuffle

Whistle Down The Wind (For Tom Jams) - Tom Waits
By Demons Be Driven - Pantera
The History of Mill House - Humphrey Searle
Tangled Up In Plaid - Queens Of The Stone Age
Lover's Rock - The Clash
Skinned - Blind Melon
Under My Thumb - The Rolling Stones
I Hate Morning - The Exceptions
Steamer Trunk - Alkaline Trio
Mary Jane - Tori Amos

09 June 2010

Admin to Unions: "Know your role and shut your mouth."

(As if taking management advice from Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was actually going to pan out...)

After Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) managed to squeak by challenger Bill Halter in the runoff of her Senate primary, despite voting away the support of the unions (and having them flood Halter's coffers with $10M in funding) there were a couple different lessons one could take away.

One would be that politicians need to remember that, every now and again, people actually cast their votes based on more than the letter that follows the name on the ballot. When elected to support peoples' interests, you occasionally need to give that support.

Another would be the White House's interpretation:
A senior White House official just called me (Politico's Ben Smith) with a very pointed message for the administration's sometime allies in organized labor, who invested heavily in beating Blanche Lincoln, Obama's candidate, in Arkansas.

"Organized labor just flushed $10 million of their members' money down the toilet on a pointless exercise," the official said. "If even half that total had been well-targeted and applied in key House races across this country, that could have made a real difference in November."
...Another senior Democrat (who also would not be quoted by name) echoed the point in an exchange with the Huffington Post. "Labor is humiliated," the source said. "$10 million flushed down the toilet at a time when Democrats across the country are fighting for their lives, they look like absolute idiots."
Setting aside the abject cowardice of the anonymity-insisting worm who floated this garbage (not to mention the pointless granting of anonymity by Smith and Huffington Post for little more than smears) is it possible for an administration/party to be more entitled?

It speaks volumes that the administration has abandoned thinking it must work to earn peoples' votes in favor of chastising supporters as "idiots" when they don't spend their own money according to DNC/DSCC priorities. With all the anti-incumbent furor sweeping the country, it's breathtaking that they think they can attack national groups of reliable allies for insufficient fealty.

There are only so many times you can take a group for granted and stiff them on the support they (thought they) bought with their votes and donations.

At this rate, who will be left in November, much less 2012?

07 June 2010

Actions: *Still* having consequences...

How much "not racist" can you really buy with $250K?
Arizona finds itself at the vortex of an immigration debate that is increasingly bitter and, figures on both sides say, increasingly unwinnable. Opinions are split, with fear of harassment rising among Hispanics and worry about an economic boycott growing among the state's leaders.
Gov. Jan Brewer (R) has appointed a committee and allocated $250,000 to re-brand the state's image, while 13 Arizona chamber of commerce executives appealed to Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig to keep the 2011 All-Star Game in Phoenix after he faced pressure to change locations. They said it would preserve jobs for "innocent citizens, including our Hispanic community."
Musical performers such as Sonic Youth, Kanye West and Rage Against the Machine have said they will boycott the state. Phoenix City Hall calculates that Arizona has lost nearly $100 million in convention commitments. Meanwhile, supporters and opponents of the immigration law are taking to the streets weekly.
$100M sounds like a pretty good start, and the monetary hemorrhaging is likely to only continue once the law goes into effect and the "existing while brown" questionings and arrests begin to occur. 
Further, Bud Selig needs to recognize that this is win-win for him.  He can finally realize his pipe dream of making the All-Star Game "count" if he simply shows the spine to move this otherwise meaningless spectacle, elsewhere.  It's a chance to both do the right thing as well as put his product center-stage not just on ESPN, but on every news network across in the nation, both at the time of the announcement, as well as next year when, "The 2011 baseball All-Star Game, originally scheduled to be held in Arizona..." will be obligatory lead-in material.
If he doesn't, hopefully the players of hispanic and latin american ancestry will take the decision out of his hands and do a little boycotting of their own.

05 June 2010

Saturday Shuffle

Liquid Swords - GZA
Severed - Kittie
The Fly - U2
Just Like I Picture It - Medeski, Martin & Wood
Seen The Light Alone - Medicine
Lick a Shot - Cypress Hill
Hands of Death (Burn Baby Burn) - Alice Cooper & Rob Zombie
Outlaw (Alternate Mix) - The Cult
Waltz in the 4th Dimension - Michael Andrews
To Defy The Laws of Tradition - Primus

29 May 2010

Saturday Shuffle

One Hundred Stories - Alkaline Trio
Triad - Tool
Dead & Bloated - Stone Temple Pilots
Circles (live) - Soul Coughing
No Excuses - Alice in Chains
Gotta Know The Rules - Social Distortion
Anything, Anything (I'll Give You) - Dramarama
Norwegian Wood - The Beatles
Little Wing - Stevie Ray Vaughn & Double Trouble
Phenomena - Yeah Yeah Yeahs

22 May 2010

Saturday Shuffle

Harvest Moon - Bedlam
Half-State - Black Rebel Motorcycle CLub
Rat-Tat-Tat-Tat - Dr. Dre
Pull/Pulk Revolving Doors - Radiohead
10,000 Days (Wings Part 2) - Tool
Through The Fire - Larry Greene
It's The Morning - Dr. Octagon
Sick of Me - Ani DiFranco
Let It Be Me (live) - Social Distortion
Senses Working Overtime - xtc

18 May 2010

Bad Religion 1980 - ????

Hard to believe these guys have been around for three decades, now. Simple longevity aside, it's even more to their credit that they still haven't run out of things to say. (A challenge the Lady Gagas and Justin Biebers of the world will never have to address).

The new--not to mention free--30th anniversary live album starts going out, today, via download link. Get yours, here.

15 May 2010

Saturday Shuffle

Beautiful Day - U2
She Rides - Danzig
Help Me - Johnny Cash
Rough Justice - Trans Am
Mononucleosis (live) - Ween
Teenage Mojo Workout - The's
That Great Love Sound - The Raveonettes
Flying Saucer Dudes (live) - Béla Fleck & The Flecktones
Misery Loves Company - Mike Ness
Dreams Reoccurring - Hüsker Dü

14 May 2010

Pastor Dick loves his silver linings

Instaputz caught this gem of a Tweet Twat of the Day candidate from Obama's anti-same sex marriage BFF, Rick Warren:
KIDS WIN in Recession! In 2009 a MILLION more moms (vs 1986) stayed home with small kids instead of hiring daycare.
Some things really just can't be properly responded to without using the phrase "shit-for-brains," can they?

No word, yet, from ol' Pastor Ricky on how kids "win" when their moms are staying home because they've lost their jobs, or had to quit them, halving (or worse) the household income because the family can no longer afford daycare.

Of course, think about all the time the kids can spend with mom waiting in overcrowded waiting rooms for food stamps and other public assistance programs.

And what brings a family together more than all having to stay in a relative's spare bedroom (if not their car, more cozy, yet, eh?)--after mom got evicted for not paying rent after she "stayed home?"

Winners all around, Rick.

Winners all around.

13 May 2010

Where molesters warrant more sympathy than mothers

In case you were wondering who they will kick out:
A Roman Catholic school in Massachusetts has “withdrawn its acceptance of an 8-year-old boy with lesbian parents, saying their relationship was ‘in discord’ with church teachings.”
Looks like some things are more "in discord" than others, I guess.

I'm sure they'll be getting around to booting those children of divorced parents any day, now.

Yep...any day now...

11 May 2010

Bay Buchanan dies in tragic, stone-related, glass house collapse

This is rich:
Conservative commentator Bay Buchanan said on "Larry King Live" on Monday that Obama's choice of Sonia Sotomayor to fill a Supreme Court vacancy last year, and now Elena Kagan are signs that the President has "dummied down the Supreme Court."

"What makes her qualified?" Buchanan asked, referring to Kagan. "She has -- being a president of Harvard makes you qualified? It does not. What he's done is dummy down. He has dummied down the Supreme Court. He has given two of the best appointments of his administration to people who are not the best and the brightest. That's unfortunate."
So, in case you're scoring at home, the math-majoring high school teacher and sometimes accountant--whose current "career" as a tee vee talking head was launched from her work for GOP PACs and being rewarded with a two-year patronage appointment as Treasurer for her loyal service to the Reagan campaigns--thinks that this woman:
Sonia Sotomayor

Judicial Career
• U.S. Appeals Court judge, 2nd Circuit, 1998-2009
• U.S. District Court judge, 1992-1998
• Nominated to federal bench by Bush in 1991, Clinton in 1997

Government/Legal Career
• Former N.Y. County Assistant District Attorney, 1979-1984
• Former private practice attorney, Pavia & Harcourt, New York, 1984-1992

• J.D., Yale Law School, 1979
• B.A., Princeton, 1976 (summa cum laude)
and this woman:
Elena Kagan

1981: Princeton University (B.A.)
1983: Oxford University (M.Phil.)
1986: Harvard Law School (J.D.)

1986-87: Clerk for Judge Abner Mikva, U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit
1987-88: Clerk for Justice Thurgood Marshall, U.S. Supreme Court
1989-91: Associate in Private Practice, Williams & Connolly
1991-97: Assistant Professor and Professor, University of Chicago Law School (1991-94 as assistant professor)
1995-96: Associate White House Counsel
1997-99: Deputy Assistant to the President, Domestic Policy Council
1999-01: Visiting Professor, Harvard Law School
2001-03: Professor, Harvard Law School
2003-09: Dean of Harvard Law School
2009-10: Solicitor General of the United States
not only don't qualify as being "the best and brightest," but, in fact, "dummy down" the Supreme Court with their very presence.

If only Sotomayor and Kagan had curriculum vitae highlights like captaining *their* brother's three disastrous presidential bids onto the rocks...

08 May 2010

Saturday Shuffle

Rollo (live) - Helmet
Sleeping Beauty - A Perfect Circle
Bankshot - Operation Ivy
Sanity - Bad Religion
Over and Out - Alkaline Trio
Wanted Dead or Alive - The Slackers
Offbeat Bare Ass - 311
Fiberglass Jungle - The Crossfires
Mirror's Eyes - Drain S.T.H.
(No More) Luxuries - The Jim Carroll Band

04 May 2010

Well, that didn't take long...

A couple hours, at most, in fact.

Like clockwork, the GOP are up in arms over the notion that a U.S. citizen arrested on U.S. soil would be treated like, well, a U.S. citizen:
“I hope that [Attorney General Eric] Holder did discuss this with the intelligence community. If they believe they got enough from him, how much more should they get? Did they Mirandize him? I know he’s an American citizen but still,” (Rep. Peter) King said."
And leave it to our good friend and former Maverick, Johnnie Mac, to immediately go all in, embarrassing himself by wiping his ass with the Constitution in an effort to go full Pander Bear for his primary voters:
It would have been a serious mistake to have read the suspect in the attempted Times Square car bombing his Miranda rights, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Tuesday.

"Obviously that would be a serious least until we find out as much information we have," McCain said during an appearance on "Imus in the Morning" when asked whether the suspect, 30-year-old Faisal Shahzad, a naturalized American citizen from Pakistan.

"Don't give this guy his Miranda rights until we find out what it's all about," McCain added during an appearance on the Imus show, which is broadcast by the Fox Business Network.
Remember those who pooh-poohed the idea that gulag-ing non-citizens is a slippery slope?

"Well, these are terrorists on the battlefield, they don't have the rights of a citizen."

Now our citizens don't have the rights of citizens.

You'd think catching a terrorist would be a good thing

Authorities arrested a Pakistani-born U.S. citizen in connection with last weekend's attempted car bombing in Times Square. This is the part that caught my eye, though:
...he was expected to be charged Tuesday in federal court.
Cue the right wing outrage over not Gitmo-ing this guy without trial or charge in 5...4...3...2...

03 May 2010

Quote of the Day

Rush Limbaugh on the Gulf oil spill, presumably from his customary vantage point, deep within his own rectum:
"I'm not advocating don't care about it hitting the shore or coast and whatever you can do to keep it out of there is fine and dandy, but the ocean will take care of this on its own if it was left alone and was left out there," Limbaugh said. "It's natural. It's as natural as the ocean water is.
"Well, the turtles may take a hit for a while, but so what? So do we!" Limbaugh said.
Limbaugh the Hutt's so-called "rationale" stems from a scientist telling him that oil naturally seeps from the sea floor at a cumulative rate similar to 5,000 barrels per day...across the Gulf's 600,000 square miles.
While the flaw in his non-thinking is too obvious to merit any serious response, I wonder how the corpulent gasbag would feel about testing his theory...say, for example, with single-dose ingestion of average lifetime ammounts of lead, arsenic, radiation, etc.  
After all, "it's natural." 

02 May 2010

Christianists and the lack of "civic courage"

Lately I've been following more of Andrew Sullivan's "Daily Dish" from The Atlantic. The other day I ran across this bit of coverage on oral arguments before the SCOTUS which finds Antonin Scalia on the same side of the street as gay rights supporters.

The crux of the case, Doe v. Reed, is that the supporters of an effort to repeal a Washington state domestic partnership law don't want people to know they signed petitions designed to get the measure on the ballot.

As Sullivan rightly notes, these individuals are the most craven of cowards, eager to use the political process and the force of law to foist their subjective beliefs onto other people's households, yet wanting to insulate themselves from any accountability for this imposition with a veil of anonymity.

Big Tony lets them have it with both barrels:

Working himself into an Originalist froth, Scalia notes that "for the first century of our existence, even voting was public—you either did it raising your hand or by voice," and then scolds that "running a democracy takes a certain amount of civic courage. And the First Amendment does not protect you from criticism or even nasty phone calls when you exercise your political rights to legislate."

Justice John Paul Stevens, the model of civility, breaks in to ask the money question: "Wouldn't it be legitimate public interest to say, I would like to know who signed the petition, because I would like to try to persuade them that their views should be modified?" He adds, "Is there public interest in encouraging debate on the underlying issue?" Bopp replies: "It's possible, but we think this information is marginal."

This leads Scalia to bring down the house with: "What about just wanting to know their names so you can criticize them?" Scalia notes that the disclosure of your name is "so you can be out there and be responsible for the positions you have taken."
Powerful words, there: "Civic courage."

Can't think of too many things more pathetic than the lack of it. If you are going to attack peoples' very families--especially over something that has nothing to do with you, personally--the least you can do is own up to your actions. If standing up for your faith is that important to you, it's more than a little curious that you'd object to actually having to stand up to the people who are affected by what you're doing.

The elefante in the living room

As Arizona surges forward with their new "Papers, please" law which essentially forces every Hispanic resident to carry proof of citizenship with him/her, in case they find themselves "reasonably suspected" of being in the country illegally, I ran across this recent tidbit from the Brookings Institution (via Andrew Sullivan):
Yet there is an important demographic nuance to this growth—providing context to the white backlash in Arizona in ways that could play out else where. It is the fact that the state’s swift Hispanic growth has been concentrated in young adults and children, creating a “cultural generation gap” with largely white baby boomers and older populations, the same demographic that predominates in the recent Tea Party protests. A shorthand measure for this cultural generation gap in a state is the disparity between children and seniors in their white population shares. Arizona leads the nation on this gap at 40 (where 43 percent of its child population is white compared with 83 percent for seniors). But the states of Nevada, California, Texas, New Mexico, and Florida are not that far behind.

...Nationally this gap is 25 percentage points.
Of course, a good number of the pro-SB 1070 folks will decry any mention of these facts as an attempt to label all of them as racists. "Illegal is illegal," we'll hear, "it has nothing to do with race."

Illegal is illegal.

But it's preposterous to think that this cultural generational gap plays no part in people convincing themselves that it's perfectly fine to leave 30% of the--very much legal--population subject to harassment and constantly having to be able to provide proof, not only of identity, but of origin if they want to avoid being detained or arrested.

Whenever there is a rising tide of "the other," it's extremely easy for members of the in-group to minimize the impact any decision might have on the members of the out-group. And these days, it's all about who's in and who's out.

As egalitarian as we believe ourselves to be, as Americans, can we even go more than a day or so without hearing someone talk about wanting "their" country back? They try to dress up that (intensely irritating) formulation as star-spangled patriotism, but the implicit corollary is that, if you're one of the ones who disagrees with them, this isn't your country.

Similarly, aging Arizonans are watching the citizenry undergo a massive demographic shift towards a population that is distinctly "not them." And if it's not "their country" what's the problem with playing fast and loose with "their" rights?

01 May 2010

Quote Tweet of the Day

"Better late then never" edition:
Every asshole who ever chanted 'Drill baby drill' should have to report to the Gulf coast today for cleanup duty -- Bill Maher

Saturday Shuffle

Summer Babe (Winter Version) - Pavement
From Out of Nowhere - Faith No More
We'll Let You Know - Morrissey
Puke & Cry - Dinosaur Jr.
Crawl (BBC version) - Alkaline Trio
Cayenne - Solex
Fully Retractable - Soul Coughing
Suture Up Your Future - Queens of the Stone Age
The One Rose (That's Left in My Heart) - Johnny Cash
Movement of Fear - Tones On Tail

30 April 2010

Post-partisan Poseur

It's what he does:
Obama seems to be coming very close to endorsing the view that the liberal courts of the 1960s and 1970s overreached by engaging in judicial activism. The Times describes this as the “most sympathetic statement by a sitting Democratic president about the conservative view” of the liberal courts.

...Given Obama’s previous public statements, it seems highly unlikely that he actually believes that the liberal courts overreached or that there’s an equivalence between left and right on energy issues. But Obama nonetheless feels the need to stake out a “non-ideological” middle ground on many issues for rhetorical and political purposes.
But what purposes are those? That's what makes this "need" of Obama's so thoroughly inexplicable, if not downright maddening: the utter absence of any tangible benefits from indulging it.

One of the commenters on this story offered the suggestion that this predilection is a product of Obama’s coming into adulthood during a time when antagonism towards conservatism was detrimental to one's prospects. While learned tendencies are certainly powerful, I don’t think they sufficiently explain someone persisting with a course of action that consistently fails. Again and again, Obama kisses his opponents’ rings while his supporters get a thumb in the eye.

The result?

His opponents never stop attacking while his allies’ frustration grows and their engagement wanes. The only significant policy “victories” that he can claim come, neither from bridging a partisan divide nor from going to the mat for commitments made to constituents. They came from indulging the Blue Dog prima donnas in his own caucus and counting on the rest of his Congressional majority to hold its collective nose while it voted to "win" by passing something, whatever it might be.

For him to think his approach is working of policy or public relations signifies he’s either staggeringly stupid or utterly cynical…and even the most bootlicking-est of his apologists supporters can’t say that’s what they voted for.


Still can't make this stuff up:
At 10:40AM ET on Friday, Sarah Palin made her first comment on the oil spill, posting the following on Twitter:
"Having worked/lived thru Exxon oil spill,my family&I understand Gulf residents' fears.Our prayers r w/u.All industry efforts must b employed"
 Nothing more touching than knowing someone's "prayers r w/u," am I right?

Arizona's Next Top Boogeyman


Arizona takes their national embarrassment status to Defcon 2 as the state Senate leaps into action to save the citizenry from the horror of the Tract Home of Dr. Moreau:
Arizona legislature targets 'human-animal hybrids'
The Arizona state Senate on Thursday passed a bill making it illegal for a person to "intentionally or knowingly creating a human-animal hybrid."
The bill, which passed 16 to 12, would prohibit anyone in the state from "creating or attempting to create an in vitro human embryo by any means other than fertilization of a human egg by a human sperm."
The measure would also outlaw "transferring or attempting to transfer a human embryo into a nonhuman womb," "transferring or attempting to transfer a nonhuman embryo into a human womb" and "transporting or receiving for any purpose a human-animal hybrid."
You really can't make this shit up.
I was wondering what Arizona might do for an encore after turning every Hispanic-looking citizen's life into the stuff of a bad, eastern-bloc police state nightmare, but this thoroughly exceeded my expectations.  If hard cases make bad law, then hysterical pandering to an anti-intellectual, science-fearing base makes useless law.  Not sure if you could come up with a better illustrative example of a solution in search of a problem. 
No word yet on what would constitute "reasonable suspicion" for police to take manbearpig into custody.

28 April 2010

Drill, Baby, Drill Burn, Baby, Burn

This is just getting better and better:
A new oil leak was discovered at the site in the Gulf of Mexico where a drilling rig exploded and sank, and experts now estimate that five times more has been spilling into the water a day than previously believed, the Coast Guard said late Wednesday.

However, an official from BP PLC, which leases the rig, said he did not believe the newly discovered leak has increased the amount of oil spilling into the water beyond earlier estimates. Coast Guard Rear Adm. Mary Landry disagreed with his statement at a news conference and said she was relying on a new estimate from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.

She said NOAA experts now estimate that 5,000 barrels a day of oil are spilling into the gulf. Officials had estimated the leak for days at 1,000 barrels a day.
And now they're trying to contain and burn off the slicks:

burn, baby, burn

Think the President might want this one back?
Obama to Open Offshore Areas to Oil Drilling for First Time

3/30/2010 — The Obama administration is proposing to open vast expanses of water along the Atlantic coastline, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the north coast of Alaska to oil and natural gas drilling, much of it for the first time, officials said Tuesday.

27 April 2010

Ode to Jan Brewer

In honor of Gov. Papers Please's "driving walking shopping existing while brown" law:

26 April 2010

Papers, please...

Stay classy, Arizona:
Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona signed the nation’s toughest bill on illegal immigration into law on Friday. Its aim is to identify, prosecute and deport illegal immigrants.

...The law, which proponents and critics alike said was the broadest and strictest immigration measure in generations, would make the failure to carry immigration documents a crime and give the police broad power to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally.

...It requires police officers, “when practicable,” to detain people they reasonably suspect are in the country without authorization and to verify their status with federal officials, unless doing so would hinder an investigation or emergency medical treatment.

It also makes it a state crime — a misdemeanor — to not carry immigration papers. In addition, it allows people to sue local government or agencies if they believe federal or state immigration law is not being enforced.
Gee, I wonder what sort of visible evidence might elicit "reasonable" suspicion of being in the country illegally?
Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-CA): "They will look at the kind of dress you wear, there’s different type of attire, there’s different type of—right down to the shoes, right down to the clothes. But mostly by behavior it’s mostly behavior, just as the law enforcement people here in Washington, DC does it based on certain criminal activity there is behavior things that professionals are trained in across the board and this group shouldn’t be exempt from those observations as much as anybody else."
Yep, those illegal-y looking shoes; always a dead giveaway.

And I can't help but wonder how highly "speaking Spanish" ranks on the list of "behaviors" authorities would be trained to look for?

25 April 2010

I'm hoping for a pop-up book, myself

The over/under on the page count of this bit of piercing insight should be about 150:
Levi Johnston Writing Book on Palin

In a forthcoming New York magazine article on the Sarah Palin brand, Levi Johnston tells author Gabriel Sherman that "he is working on a memoir that would air the true story of the Palin household."
Although, if I were little more than a pop culture footnote at age virtue of nothing more than my sperm donorship...and living in rural Alaska...I might be looking for a book deal, too.

A Teabagger, in any other hue, would look dangerous

Read it:
Imagine that hundreds of black protesters were to descend upon Washington DC and Northern Virginia, just a few miles from the Capitol and White House, armed with AK-47s, assorted handguns, and ammunition. And imagine that some of these protesters —the black protesters — spoke of the need for political revolution, and possibly even armed conflict in the event that laws they didn’t like were enforced by the government? Would these protester — these black protesters with guns — be seen as brave defenders of the Second Amendment, or would they be viewed by most whites as a danger to the republic? What if they were Arab-Americans? Because, after all, that’s what happened recently when white gun enthusiasts descended upon the nation’s capital, arms in hand, and verbally announced their readiness to make war on the country’s political leaders if the need arose.

Imagine that white members of Congress, while walking to work, were surrounded by thousands of angry black people, one of whom proceeded to spit on one of those congressmen for not voting the way the black demonstrators desired. Would the protesters be seen as merely patriotic Americans voicing their opinions, or as an angry, potentially violent, and even insurrectionary mob? After all, this is what white Tea Party protesters did recently in Washington.

Imagine that a rap artist were to say, in reference to a white president: “He’s a piece of shit and I told him to suck on my machine gun.” Because that’s what rocker Ted Nugent said recently about President Obama.
Of course, it took all of about five commenters before accuse the author of "playing the race card"...which is nothing more than a convenient way of copping out and refusing to do what was asked at the outset:
The object of the game is to imagine the public reaction to the events or incidents, if the main actors were of color, rather than white.
Because to do so with any degree of honesty, whatsoever, would be intensely uncomfortable, forcing the acknowledgment that the teabaggers' displays of "patriotism"--while legal--would not be accepted, much less cheered, coming from any other group in America's spectrum.

24 April 2010

514 chickens seems a bit steep for a colonoscopy

This is what I'm talking about (via AmericaBlog):


If senate hopefuls want to offer hallucinatory Green Acres fever dreams when attacking health care reform, there needs to be some pushback.

The fine print is my favorite part:
Your doctor may require more chickens than specified. For your convenience, we recommend bringing at least 20% more chickens than specified to any doctor's appointment. For that matter, you should have at least 1500 chickens per passenger in your car in the event of an accident, so you could just use those if you're a little short on chickens, but then be extra careful driving home from the doctor because you will have used up some of your accident chickens. Do not mail your medical chickens as payment. Please barter medical chickens in person. Chickens should be secured in your trunk or truckbed if possible. Any chickens riding in the passenger compartment on the way to the doctor must wear seat belts. Chickens should not drive you to the doctor, if you are unable to drive you should dial 911 for an ambulance. Ambulances may not accept chickens for payment, you should have at least 4 goats or an adult pig for such cases.

Saturday Shuffle

Stuck in the Middle With You - Stealer's Wheel
The Order of Death - Public Image Ltd.
Breathe - The Cult
Selected readings from Oak Mot, part III - Crispin Hellion Glover
I'm Your Man - Leonard Cohen
Fatman - The Southern Death Cult
Velouria - The Pixies
Once - Pearl Jam
Take Me to the Backseat - The Donnas
Isn't She Lovely - Me First and the Gimme Gimmes

23 April 2010

Your nightmare is WellPoint's profit

This is the picture that keeps women awake at night:


And for 192,000 women every year, it's not just a bad dream.

But it's also what keeps the beancounters for the soulless monsters at WellPoint working overtime.
WellPoint Routinely Targets Breast Cancer Patients

The women paid their premiums on time. Before they fell ill, neither had any problems with their insurance. Initially, they believed their policies had been canceled by mistake.

They had no idea that WellPoint was using a computer algorithm that automatically targeted them and every other policyholder recently diagnosed with breast cancer. The software triggered an immediate fraud investigation, as the company searched for some pretext to drop their policies, according to government regulators and investigators.

...The investigation last year by the House Energy and Commerce Committee determined that WellPoint and two of the nation's other largest insurance companies -- UnitedHealth Group Inc and Assurant Health, part of Assurant Inc -- made at least $300 million by improperly rescinding more than 19,000 policyholders over one five-year period.

WellPoint itself profited by more than $128 million from the practice, and the committee suggested that the figure might be largely understated because the company refused to provide information about cancellations by several subsidiaries.
And people think that the government can't be trusted with health care?

Incompetent or not, by definition, any alternative is more trustworthy than a business that makes the calculated decision to stab loyal customers in the back after years of cashing their premium checks.

The anti-reformers moan, over and over again, how the majority of Americans are happy with their existing health coverage. While that clearly doesn't count the tens of millions of citizens lacking any coverage with which to be happy, it also overlooks the tens of thousands who will have their coverage canceled, but just don't know it yet. I don't know for certain that Yenny Hsu and Patricia Reilling counted themselves among the 70% who thought their coverage was good or excellent, but I know this: neither one thought her diagnosis would end with her collecting food stamps.
While recovering, Reilling started having trouble with her insurance. Her medication after the surgery cost $4,446 a month. But Anthem would only pay for 10 days and then no more, she recalled in an interview.

...In June 2009, she was informed that her insurance was being canceled -- just before she was about to undergo another reconstructive surgery, which she was forced to postpone. She has now gone 16 months without the necessary surgery.

As a result, she is severely disabled. The pain and discomfort often only allow her to be able to stand for 20 or 30 minutes a day, sometimes even less.
Contrary to what Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Sarah Palin (R-North Batshittia) think, the Death Panels are already here. And they had 300,000,000+ reasons to pass their lethal judgment on any one of us.

21 April 2010

Who needs health care reform when you have poultry?

Sue Lowden, the prospective GOP challenger for Harry Reid's Senate seat, is certifiably insane:
"I’m telling you that this works. You know, before we all started having health care, in the olden days our grandparents, they would bring a chicken to the doctor, they would say I’ll paint your house. I mean, that’s the old days of what people would do to get health care with your doctors. Doctors are very sympathetic people. I’m not backing down from that system."
How do you "not back down" from a system that doesn't exist?

It's unbelievable that, in 2010, a serious contender for national office is responding to a broken healthcare system that must deal with tens of millions of people with hokey fantasies of rural life from 70 or 80 years ago.

The scarier thing is, she could very well win.

Reid needs to get in front of the cameras with a bag of oats in one hand, and two beaver pelts in the other and challenge people to do the same with their doctors and see how far it gets them. The fact that she's leading in all the polling proves that this folksy asininity can work unless it's exposed for the weapons grade craziness that it is.

20 April 2010

Anti-immigration zealots want Lindsay Graham to admit he's someONE they hate...

...just so they can be sure he's not being blackmailed into doing things they hate:
"US Senator Lindsey Graham is gay and while many people in South Carolina and Washington DC know that, the general public and Graham's constituents do not," said William Gheen President of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC). "I personally do not care about Graham's private life, but in this situation his desire to keep this a secret may explain why he is doing a lot of political dirty work for others who have the power to reveal his secrets. Senator Graham needs to come out of the closet inside that log cabin so the public can rest assured he is not being manipulated with his secret."

He is the lone Republican who's trying to work with Democrats on immigration reform this year.
Gheen is trying to maximize the fallout from his despicable "I need to figure out why you're trying to sell out your own countrymen and I need to make sure you being gay isn't it" attack that he launched while pandering to the Teabagging bobbleheads this weekend.

Careful what you wish for, GOP. The torches and pitchforks you're gleefully handing out can be turned on you, too.

19 April 2010

The Tea Party has nothing to do with racism, Part ∞

Teabagging Tom Tancredo is at it, again:
[Tancredo] said Americans have reached the point where "we're going to have to pray that we can hold on to this country."

As for Obama, Tancredo said, "If his wife says Kenya is his homeland, why don't we just send him back?"
Send him back to Africa?

Guess Tancredo's wistful recollection of Jim Crow voting practices was too "coded" for some people.

No, not all these folks are racists, but there's only one reason garbage like this resonates with anyone....and it sure as hell isn't anger over tax policy.

Sarah Barracuda? More like Sarah Bait n' Switch

SarahPAC -- Great at raising funds; distributing them, not so much:
Sarah Palin's House Hit List: No Money to Favored Candidates So Far
Sarah Palin put the bull's-eye on 20 U.S. House races on her Facebook page last month, but didn't donate to favored candidates in those districts during the first quarter of the year.
Although her SarahPAC took in $400,000 in the first quarter and had more than $900,000 in the bank, it gave only $7,500 to candidates between January and the end of March, plus an additional $2,000 to two other PACs. None went to Republicans in the races she targeted.
A fairly classic move.  Ring the alarm, ratchet up the hysteria, then forget all about it--not to mention whoever responded.  Sounds exactly like what the GOP does to the reigious right every other November and, in this case, there's probably a healthy amount of overlap in the people getting punked for their dollars.
None of which is to say that the Quitta from Wasilla is averse to parting with that cash, oh heavens, no:
"According to filings with the Federal Election Commission, SarahPAC spent $402,460 in the first quarter of 2010.
Almost $243,000 went to consultants...
More than $42,000 went to travel, including more than $7,300 to de-ice private planes...
The PAC spent more than $31,780 on postage and more than $25,000 on Internet fundraising.
Even photographer Shaelah Craighead (Laura Bush's White House photographer) took in more money than Sarah PAC gave to candidates, earning $11,596 for photography."
Looks like Bailin' Palin's PAC is all about "political acion," all right.
Her own. 

18 April 2010

G.I. Jokes on parade

Almond plans to have his pistol loaded and openly carried, his rifle unloaded and slung to the rear, a bandoleer of magazines containing ammunition draped over his polo-shirted shoulder. The Atlanta area real estate agent organized the rally because he is upset about health-care reform, climate control, bank bailouts, drug laws and what he sees as President Obama's insistence on and the Democratic Congress's capitulation to a "totalitarian socialism" that tramples individual rights.
Because health, environmental, and financial policy reasonably require a demonstration of armed force, right? These Barcalounger Bravehearts wear their cluelessness like a badge:
Those coming to the "Restore the Constitution" rally give Obama no quarter for signing the law that permits them to bring their guns to Fort Hunt, run by the National Park Service, and to Gravelly Point on the banks of the Potomac River. Nor are they comforted by a broad expansion of gun rights in several states since his election.
Yup, rights so thoroughly trampled that their present extent didn't even exist before the current "totalitarian" administration.

It's laughable that people who claim to be such patriotic Americans can look at their government functioning, as intended: a majority of majority-elected officials passing legislative priorities of a majority-elected president; and seeing despotism that must be confronted with a display of guns, not seven months prior to their next opportunity to elect those officials.
The brandishing of weapons is "not just an important symbol" but "a reminder of who we are," said Almond.
Indeed, it is: Morons.

17 April 2010

Saturday Shuffle

Lonesome Highway - Shane MacGowan and the Popes
Burn (Matt's Demo) - Alkaline Trio
Back Off Bitch - Guns N' Roses
Rumble in Brighton - The Stray Cats
Latin Soul Square Dance - Joe Bataan
How Does It Feel To Feel - Ride
Paint It Black - The Rolling Stones
Revolution - The Cult
Shoot You Down - The Stone Roses
Adagio (from Alien 3) - Eliot Goldenthal

15 April 2010

Black No. 1

Peter Steele (1962-2010)

Quote of the Day -- Tax Day Edition

I fully recognize that I've totally pillaged this NYT report of their Teabagger poll, but it really is the gift that keeps on giving as far as exposing the thoughts and motivations of the Teabagger masses. The "mind-numbing inconsistencies" part was too good to leave out:

(I)n follow-up interviews, Tea Party supporters said they did not want to cut Medicare or Social Security — the biggest domestic programs, suggesting instead a focus on “waste.”

Some defended being on Social Security while fighting big government by saying that since they had paid into the system, they deserved the benefits.

Others could not explain the contradiction.

“That’s a conundrum, isn’t it?” asked Jodine White, 62, of Rocklin, Calif. “I don’t know what to say. Maybe I don’t want smaller government. I guess I want smaller government and my Social Security.” She added, “I didn’t look at it from the perspective of losing things I need. I think I’ve changed my mind.”

14 April 2010

Prison-bound Pontiff?

Can't say I'd be too upset:
Richard Dawkins calls for arrest of Pope Benedict XVI

Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, the atheist author, have asked human rights lawyers to produce a case for charging Pope Benedict XVI over his alleged cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic church.

The pair believe they can exploit the same legal principle used to arrest Augusto Pinochet, the late Chilean dictator, when he visited Britain in 1998.

The Pope was embroiled in new controversy this weekend over a letter he signed arguing that the “good of the universal church” should be considered against the defrocking of an American priest who committed sex offences against two boys. It was dated 1985, when he was in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which deals with sex abuse cases.
One would think that someone so concerned with the "good of the universal church" that he would punt on the defrocking of a convicted child molester would see the current value in his own resignation.

(For further reading, see "The Great Happy Vatican Death Spiral")

The Teabaggers are...pretty much who we all thought they were

The New York Times releases the most unsurprising poll, ever. The highlights please, Carnac:
The 18 percent of Americans who identify themselves as Tea Party supporters tend to be Republican, white, male, married and older than 45.

They hold more conservative views on a range of issues than Republicans generally. They are also more likely to describe themselves as “very conservative” and President Obama as “very liberal.”

And while most Republicans say they are “dissatisfied” with Washington, Tea Party supporters are more likely to classify themselves as “angry.”
Must be tough going, for these folks...
Most describe the amount they paid in taxes this year as “fair.”

Tea Party supporters over all are more likely than the general public to say their personal financial situation is fairly good or very good.

Tea Party supporters are wealthier and more well-educated than the general public, and are no more or less afraid of falling into a lower socioeconomic class
Or not. Not a bad spot to be in, I guess. Wonder what happened to all that "Taxed Enough Already" business?

Anger is a pretty strong emotion, though. Wonder what it could be...
Tea Party supporters’ fierce animosity toward Washington, and the president in particular, is rooted in deep pessimism about the direction of the country and the conviction that the policies of the Obama administration are disproportionately directed at helping the poor rather than the middle class or the rich.

More than half say the policies of the administration favor the poor, and 25 percent think that the administration favors blacks over whites — compared with 11 percent of the general public.

They are more likely than the general public, and Republicans, to say that too much has been made of the problems facing black people.
Older, wealthier white men are incensed over the belief that policies may be overly beneficial to the poor and favor blacks, whose problems have been exaggerated (can't forget that part) all despite having no inordinate concern about losing their own economic status.

But remember, it's all about taxes and spending. Don't you dare suggest that there's anything else at work...
“I just feel he’s getting away from what America is,” said Kathy Mayhugh, 67, a retired medical transcriber in Jacksonville. “He’s a socialist. And to tell you the truth, I think he’s a Muslim and trying to head us in that direction, I don’t care what he says."

Precisely what direction would that be, Kathy? I wish she could enlighten us as to what tax bracket situation she's referring to.

Bachmann jumps on the Failure train

Noted Minnesotan hysteric, Rep. Michele Bachmann, joins the pill-popper in explicitly hoping the Obama administration fails:
BACHMANN: We're, we're, we're hoping that President Obama's policies don't succeed, exactly as you said. And of course, David Axelrod unfortunately seems to be wanting to smear people who disagree with the president.
At least Limbaugh the Hutt made the (weak) attempt to spin his statement as supporting personal failure for the President.  The Teabagger Queen specifically wants to see his policies, themselves, fail.  Her bizarre attempt to claim this is about "disagreement" shows that she doesn't even understand the words coming out of her own mouth.
In her hurry to pander to the derangement of the far-right Bachmann, like Limbaugh before her, ignores the fact that policies are implemented with, y'know, "goals" in mind...goals that are intended to help American families. 
Economic recovery, finance reform, health care reform.
Contrary to Bachmann's ignorance, these aren't points in a game that Obama, alone, will win or lose.
What she wants to see--explicitly--is American families bankrupted by continued economic decline, 30,000,000+ unable to get health care, and banks and insurance companies making money on the backs of all of them.
That's not spin and that's not smear.
It's just stupid.

13 April 2010

Oklahoma Teabaggers, GOP spoiling to fight the Feds

The Recliner Revolutionaries are getting crazier by the day:
The Associated Press reports that Oklahoma tea party leaders, “frustrated by recent political setbacks,” are working with right-wing Republicans in the Oklahoma legislature to create a new “volunteer militia to help defend against what they believe are improper federal infringements on state sovereignty.”

The founding fathers “were not referring to a turkey shoot or a quail hunt. They really weren’t even talking about us having the ability to protect ourselves against each other,” (Okla. State Senator Randy) Brogdon said. “The Second Amendment deals directly with the right of an individual to keep and bear arms to protect themselves from an overreaching federal government.”
"Frustrated by political setbacks," their reaction is, not to vote, but to grab guns.

And, precisely, how does an armed militia "defend" or "protect" anything? Picket signs? Letter writing campaigns?

These lunatics are doing nothing less than threatening federal employees with violence if they attempt to enforce laws with which they disagree. And GOP officials are on the record, meeting with and supporting these efforts.

Having failed at the ballot box, they want to try their hand at being the bloodthirsty heroes they pretend to be in their chatrooms and letters to the editor. That's who's steering the GOP ship: Overgrown children with artillery.

10 April 2010

Saturday Shuffle

Spy in the Cab - Bauhaus
Reason to Believe - Bruce Springsteen
Back to the House That Love Built - Tito & Tarantula
Fuel - Lo Pro
Maniac - Michael Sembello
It Must Look Pretty Appealing - Bad Religion
Anthem - Leonard Cohen
Girls, Girls, Girls (Unplugged, w/ The Roots) - Jay-Z
Hand in My Pocket - Alanis Morissette
Cool Jerk (live) - Bootsy Collins

09 April 2010

Who would Jesus ban and deport?

For an organization whose pride in their Christian and biblical bona fides makes a Billy Mays infomercial seem understated, the American Family Association has developed a rather interesting take on core Christ-professed concepts like compassion:
The most compassionate thing we can do for Americans is to bring a halt to the immigration of Muslims into the U.S. This will protect our national security and preserve our national identity, culture, ideals and values. Muslims, by custom and religion, are simply unwilling to integrate into cultures with Western values and it is folly to pretend otherwise.

The most compassionate thing we can do for Muslims who have already immigrated here is to help repatriate them back to Muslim countries.

In other words, simple Judeo-Christian compassion dictates a restriction and repatriation policy with regard to Muslim immigration into the U.S.
"Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." -- Mohandas Gandhi

Profiles in Turdage

Plum Line's Greg Sargent elicits George Stephanopoulos' response to criticism over his questioning the President about comments made by Sarah Palin that compared his nuclear policy to a child asking to be beaten up:
"Whatever you think of Sarah Palin, she’s a former VP candidate — and a potential challenger to President Obama — with a strong following in the GOP. She made a pointed critique of a new Presidential policy. By getting the President’s response, I was doing my job."
First of all, here's the "pointed critique" in question:
"It's kinda like getting out there on a playground, a bunch of kids, getting ready to fight, and one of the kids saying, 'Go ahead, punch me in the face and I'm not going to retaliate. Go ahead and do what you want to with me.'"
That is what Stephonopoulos, when finding himself in a one-on-one interview with the most powerful man in the world, decided to put on the short list of matters to be addressed.

Think about that:

It is Stephanopoulos' stated understanding that it is his job (as a "journalist," presumably) to solicit the President of the United States' response to what can be charitably described as an ignorant, juvenile attack from an individual with no background, whatsoever, on the policy issues at hand.

And the worst part is, he's probably right.

It is no longer the journalist's job to take a public figure's statements, see how they comport with objective facts, and follow up for an explanation if they fail to do so. The "journalist's" job is simply to pass claims along, uncritically, and, when given the opportunity (as Stephanopoulos was here) to effectively become one of the kids on Palin's imaginary playground, breathlessly sharing overheard insults in the hopes of instigating a fight.

Stephanopoulos--and Sargent, alike--justify this decision in the same, profoundly cowardly way: Palin is popular, therefore her views matter. No effort, whatsoever, is made to claim that this line of questioning was acceptable because she has relevant policy experience or even that her observation is correct, and for good reason: she doesn't and it's not.

While their "popular = newsworthy" argument might explain repeating Palin's childish attacks, it's the unspoken--but clearly evident--way that rule actually works in practice that's far more damaging: Popularity isn't just a standard, it's the only standard, utterly supplanting things like "accuracy." In the field of stenographic journalism, as practiced by Stephanopoulos and defended by Sargent, no matter how asinine or factually bereft the claim, it's presented as if it merits equal weight to the opposing view.

It's this shoulder-shrugging "What can you do? Some say this, some say that?" mentality and the resultant abdication of journalistic responsibility that keeps the decayed corpses of discredited zombie memes (Death Panels, Socialist takeovers, etc.) shambling their way through our public discourse.

08 April 2010

Quote of the Day

"I really have no response. Because last I checked, Sarah Palin's not much of an expert on nuclear issues."

"If the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff are comfortable with it, I'm probably going to take my advice from them and not from Sarah Palin."
-- President Barack Obama, when asked to respond to Sarah Palin's comparison of U.S. nuclear policy to a child asking to be punched in the face on the playground.

07 April 2010

State-sanctioned murder we can believe in

No hypotheticals, no reserving rights for possible scenarios, it's now official:
U.S. Approves Targeted Killing of American Cleric

The Obama administration has taken the extraordinary step of authorizing the targeted killing of an American citizen, the radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who is believed to have shifted from encouraging attacks on the United States to directly participating in them, intelligence and counterterrorism officials said Tuesday.
The headlines are nothing short of breathtaking.
Obama Administration Approves Killing Of Muslim American Cleric‎

Barack Obama orders killing of US cleric Anwar al-Awlaki

US Authorizes Killing of American Cleric

US approves killing US-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki

Reports: US OKs radical US-born cleric for death

Muslim cleric Aulaqi is 1st U.S. citizen on list of those CIA is allowed to kill
Words like "Muslim cleric" tend to muddy peoples' thinking, but there being no way to describing this individual without eliciting knee-jerk reactions from a certain segment of the populace, I prefer the final headline, taken from the Washington Post. It's about as unambiguous as it gets:

The government can now kill a United States citizen, born right here in New Mexico, without arrest, charge, or trial, based on nothing more than what unaccountable government sources suspect him of having done.

Story after story calls it "unusual," "unprecedented," "extraordinary," etc., but no one seems to ask the crucial question:


By what authority is the President of the United States allowed to essentially cite secret evidence and unilaterally declare that a U.S. citizen is to be killed? What statute supersedes not just some, but every, last protection this man has under the law? What legal basis exists for stripping the basic rights that this government affords to murderers, spies, assassins, and, yes, terrorists?

Consider this quote, dutifully regurgitated without the slightest analysis or question by the WaPo:
"He's recently become an operational figure for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula," said a second U.S. official. "He's working actively to kill Americans, so it's both lawful and sensible to try to stop him." The official stressed that there are "careful procedures our government follows in these kinds of cases, but U.S. citizenship hardly gives you blanket protection overseas to plot the murder of your fellow citizens."

According to which one?

"Careful procedures?

What are they? Who decides?

"U.S. citizenship hardly gives you blanket protection?"

Not even against being summarily executed by your own government?

The questions are so obvious that their absence should be as shocking as this revelation, itself. And yet they will remain absent and unspoken, both by Obama's reversal-embracing apologists, as well as his deranged group of detractors who see the conscious destruction of this nation's values in his every decision...until confronted with this choice that does just that.

This assassination doctrine means that we, as a nation, have not only not changed course from the last eight years, but we've followed it right off the map.

And where that leaves us is anyone's guess.
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