Saturday, August 1, 2009

Who needs health care reform?

Jonathan Alter

Reform? Why do we need health-care reform? Everything is just fine the way it is.

Go ahead, shoot me. I like the status quo on health care in the United States. I've got health insurance and I don't give a damn about the 47 million suckers who don't. Obama and Congress must be stopped. No bill! I'm better off the way things are.

I'm with that woman who wrote the president complaining about "socialized medicine" and added: "Now keep your hands off my Medicare." That's the spirit!

I had cancer a few years ago. I like the fact that if I lose my job, I won't be able to get any insurance because of my illness. It reminds me of my homeowners' insurance, which gets canceled after a break-in. I like the choice I'd face if, God forbid, the cancer recurs—sell my house to pay for the hundreds of thousands of dollars in treatment, or die. That's what you call a "post-existing condition."

And how could the supporters of these reform bills believe in anything as stupid as a "public option"? Do they really believe that the health-insurance cartel deserves a little competition to keep them honest? Back in the day, they had a word for competition. A bad word. They called it capitalism. FedEx versus the U.S. Postal Service, CNN versus PBS—just because it's government-backed doesn't mean you can't compete against it. If they believed in capitalism, the insurance companies would join the fray and compete.

I'm glad they don't. I prefer the status quo, where the for-profit insurance companies suck at the teat of the federal government. Corporate welfare's what we've got, and it's a damn good system. Through a wonderful program called Medicare Advantage, the insurance companies receive hundreds of billions of dollars in fees to administer a program that the government is already running. Don't touch that baby. You'd be messing with the handiwork of some fine lobbyists.

Go read the rest.

Marines in Afghanistan

These are from i5000s and depict members of Golf Company, 2d Bn., 7th Marines (G/2/7) in Afghanistan. He has quite a few of these.

Marines from 2/7 Golf company find pot fields :) Go Marines!

And then, and of course I have no idea if these videos are in any way related. Heh.

Dancing with Lt. Brewster in Farah, Afghanistan.

Quote of the Day

If this line doesn't get ya to go read this Morford piece on growing pot in state parks, I don't know what will:

Keep your California raisins, babydoll. Great wine, pot, avocadoes, sodomy, artichokes? Now you're talking a new state motto.

Ooooooh! Avocadoes and artichokes!

We can change our state motto from 'Eureka!' to 'Yeah! Freakah!'

About the Christians ...

One of the reasons I basically laugh at Christianity; you know, those who profess so much love for the teachings of Christ? About those Crusades? Yeah, Jesus would have loved that. All the good stuff that went on during the Reformation? Another top-ten on Jesus' hit parade. The Holocaust? Oh yes, the Nazis were ordained by God, don'cha know. And you know what really blows a stiff breeze up JC's skirt? Batocchio via Digby:


The disconnect from professed Christians on the torture "debate" is particularly astounding. Given how central the crucifixion story is to Christianity, and that it depicts Jesus tortured and then executed in one of the most cruel methods ever devised, it's mind-boggling to see anyone claim that supporting torture and Christianity are compatible - or that Jesus would support waterboarding. According to Christian doctrine, Jesus' suffering redeemed him and the world - but it's not the Romans who Christians are supposed to emulate in the story! "Turn the other cheek," "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" and "As you have done to the least of my brethren, so have you done unto me" are hardly pro-torture slogans. But in the hearts and minds of movement conservatives, not even Churchill, Saint Ronnie or Jesus himself can compete with the comforting violence of Jack Bauer.


Oh, we're so saintly because we "defend the unborn", but once they're spat from the womb they're ours to do with as we please. Jesus loves him a target-rich environment.

I'm sorry. I know, to many of you, your faith in some supreme being gives you comfort and strength. I know there are a lot of people who do follow Jesus' word and are very good folks; quite a few of them in my family. What I don't get, though, is how people square themselves with the hypocrisy of those who purportedly "speak god's word". From the things I've heard and seen over the course of my lifetime from religious leaders, from all I've read of history and the wars and atrocities committed in the name of god, I feel safe to say that Jesus would never recognize these people at his followers and he would vomit if he learned what has been done in his name.

And these people believe they can judge my morality? It's to laugh.


Our pal Montag has more 'Christian fellowship':

You don't have to worry about torture, the evils of the world or even Jesus Christ Himself. Ray McGovern examines the paradox of Institutional Christianity that does not practice or believe the teachings of Christ.


Saturday Emmylou Blogging

This one's a favorite of mine.

Sorry for the Out Of Proportion Stretch and Sinc, Linda Ronstadt & Emmylou Harris Gold Watch And Chain

Ya sure stretched the heck outta Emmylou, ya ol' dawg! She's liable ta have marks! Heh.

Emmylou Harris & Linda Ronstadt ~ Gold Watch And Chain

Thanks to clydeclark.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Speak Truth To Stupid

Bill Maher

Never underestimate the ability of a tiny fringe group of losers to ruin everything.

For the last couple of weeks, we've all been laughing heartily at the wacky antics of the "birthers" -- the far-right goofballs who claim Barack Obama wasn't really born in Hawaii and therefore the job of president goes to the runner-up, former Miss California Carrie Prejean.

And there's nothing anyone can do to convince these folks. You could hand them, in person, the original birth certificate and have a video of Obama emerging from the womb with Don Ho singing in the background ... and they still wouldn't believe it.

Which raises the question: Why, in this country, is it always the religious right that won't take anything on faith?

Because they're stupid, gullible, racists who won't believe anything that goes against what they want to believe, Bill, and if they have an opinion, it's because Rushole, Hannity, or Miss Becky told them what it is.

And once these stories get out there, they're hard to stamp out because our media do such a lousy job of speaking truth to stupid. Vietnam, Iraq and the Spanish-American War were all sold on lies that were unchallenged or even abetted by the media. Clinton got impeached and Kerry got destroyed in large part because the media didn't have the guts to say, "This is nonsense."

Lou Dobbs has been saying recently that people are asking a lot of questions about the birth certificate. Yes, the same people who want to know where the sun goes at night.

And Lou, you're their new king.

That's why it's so important that we the few, the proud, the reality-based attack this stuff before it has a chance to fester and spread. This isn't a case of Democrats versus Republicans. It's sentient beings versus the lizard people, and it is to them I offer this deal: I'll show you Obama's birth certificate when you show me Sarah Palin's high school diploma.

Aw, Bill, we're screwed!

Firefox hits a billion


The much-loved Firefox Web browser reached a milestone this morning -- its billionth download.

The download counter (Wow! Looks like one a' them national debt counters! - G) rolled over within the last hour. Quite a feat for a browser that unlike Microsoft's Internet Explorer or Apple's Safari is run by a nonprofit organization with fewer than 250 employees. Despite its lack of big corporation backing -- or maybe partially because of that lack -- Firefox has become hugely popular worldwide.

But it couldn't have gotten there on good feelings alone. The free browser that debuted in 2004 consistently gets high marks for speed, efficiency, adaptability and user-friendliness.

Fixer turned me on to Firefox years ago. Thanks, F-Man. It's free and it works. Now if I can just get him to get me a new motorcycle the same way...

I like it and recommend it.

Congrats, Foxy.


House OKs $2 billion more for 'cash for clunkers'

"The American consumer has taken cash for clunkers on a test drive and . . . they want to continue this program," said Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), one of the sponsors of the original legislation.

Lemme see if I got this right - a government program to give taxpayer money back to taxpayers to rope them into buying cars at a discount from the car companies the government bought with our tax money. Hmmmmm...

It's a government spending program and it's popular! Imagine that.

Library Expansion in Posh NY Hood Goes On

School Library Journal

A year after SLJ reported on the contentious dispute over a proposal to add a children’s room to the East Hampton Library in New York, the kids of the posh summer community are no closer to seeing it become a reality.

Library Director Dennis Fabiszak has said that the East Hampton Village Board of Zoning Appeals has expressed concern that an expanded children’s collection would lead to more library usage by those who live in the less affluent areas of Springs and Wainscott.

I've become kind of a fan of the TV show Royal Pains about a concierge doctor out in the Fab Humpingtons. The homes they show are excessive in the extreme. I grew up in Beverly Hills, which would probably be considered a 'less affluent area' out there. Yeesh.

Yeah, God should only forbid the children of the merely affluent, even wealthy, get to read the truly filthy rich people's books and soil the library with their presence. Besides, they might show up barefoot riding water buffaloes or something.


There was a glaring geographical error at the 'Beverly Hills' wiki link that should have been obvious to anybody who ever lived there, so I edited it. First time I've done that. Damn, it was easy! So easy, in fact, that I went back and added a bunch more shit I thought enquiring minds would want to know. Just a coupla discreet tidbits that I thought were lacking, but what I know about that town pre-1971 would bust it (and Wikipedia!) wide open was I of a mind to!

Ale to the Chief!

Click to embiggen

I couldn't resist. Neither could anyone else. Heh.


Late-night comics found a few things to laugh about in the racially charged arrest of a Harvard professor – once beer was added to the equation.

"Alcohol usually cools things off – have you noticed that?" CBS' David Letterman said on Tuesday night.

Letterman joked that Vice President Joe Biden has already been put to work buying a keg for the meeting.

"They'll come over, one beer will lead to two, two will lead to nine, next thing you know everyone will forget that they were ever mad at each other," he said. "They'll start doing Jaeger shots out of Betsy Ross' thimble. They'll make prank phone calls on the Red Phone. Someone will be like, `Let's TP the Capitol building!'"

Hughley doesn't believe the Gates incident was a case of racial profiling, and thought it wouldn't have escalated if the professor had known one of his neighbors had called the police. He also doesn't think it will be a lasting issue.

"If Al Sharpton ain't marching, then it ain't a big deal," he said.

Colbert noted that police had dropped charges on Gates even though "he committed the perfect crime, robbing his own home. Think about it. He knew exactly when he wouldn't be home."

Comedy Central also flew in Larry Wilmore from California, identified as the show's "senior black correspondent," for the most direct jokes at Gates' expense on late-night TV.

He showed a picture of the stocky professor and asked, "What's his black anthem? We shall overeat?"

Wilmore noted that Gates had said "yo mama" during his confrontation with Crowley.

"How many decades has he been holding that in?" Wilmore said. "Did he call him a jive turkey, too?"

Wilmore did have one thing in common with white comics: He couldn't resist a beer joke.

"Alcohol – that'll end well," he said. "Booze isn't how you resolve a racial conflict. It's how you start one."

Daniel Kurtzman's Political Humor Blog

"Of course, this could be trouble, because the last time Obama got a few beers in him, he bought General Motors." --Conan O'Brien

Bush was so incompetent he couldn'ta thrown a beer bash in a brewery if the snacks were already there. Obama has yet again proved his mental superiority, like he has every single day of his term so far.

On the technical side, Prof Gates apparently got a Sam Adams instead of his preferred Jamaican Red Stripe, the cop had a Blue Moon, which sounds like something I'd do on a cold day, and the Prez had a fine Belgian beer, a Bud Light.

Peanuts and pretzels were served. This bunch was smart enough not to choke on the pretzels.

No word on whether the partygoers climbed up to third floor balcony and had a contest to see who could piss as far as the Rose Garden, or who won.

Just as an aside, I once saw a Marine chew the top off a can of Red Stripe to get at the contents. There were three of us walking along on Vieques and some guys threw us three Red Stripes from a truck. We didn't have a church key (this was a long time ago!) so he did it three times!

I think the Presidential beer party was a very nice bit of symbolism if nothing else.


El Rude-o chimes in:

As you probably surmised, that's the array of malty, hoppy beverages sucked down by President Barack Obama, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Cambridge police officer James Crowley at their meeting (the photo is inaccurate, although it's a lovely still life - and do they really make Obama/presidential seal coasters?). And guess who drank the faggy, sweet Blue Moon? Surely the effete President or the effeter Professor. Nope. Obama demonstrated his man o' the people cred with the Bud Light. Gates, honoring America's founders the same way Harvard frat boys do, drank a Sam Adams Light (Nothing 'light' about Gates' beer in the above photo. Darkest one there. Damn racist camera. . .G). (Why was it originally reported he drank a Red Stripe? Because it's from Jamaica, where a lot of black people live? Racist fucking media...) And the Belgian longneck was deep-throated by Sgt. Crowley. With a slice of orange. Biden drank kiddie beer.

No, the problems of race weren't solved at the White House biergarten. But, as they slurped down more and more suds, things got a bit randy, as Skip Gates asked Crowley if he'd like the slave experience just to, you know, understand oppression a bit more. With a knowing smirk, Crowley responded that if Gates had the chains, he had the wrists. "Why don't you two get a room?" Biden exclaimed. Obama rolled his eyes, walked away, having had enough of this bullshit distraction, and told the Secret Service to let the Professor and the Cop have a couple of hours in the Lincoln Bedroom, where Gates could continue the lesson.


Top half of the world, bottom half of the world, mox nix

The Political Carnival

VIDEO: Sen. Cornyn confuses China, India; calls India security threat

I have to quote John Aravosis:

That's okay, we often confuse Cornyn for a real Senator.

Where do we get these ying-yangs? Do they go into politics when McDonalds doesn't want them?

Query for God: Yer testin' us, right?

Get out already ...

Lyin' sumbitch is still here:

Hey remember a few months ago when Rush Limbaugh said he was moving out of the People's Republic of Manhattan because he was fed up with all the taxes and whatnot? Well, he's yet to leave our fair city!


Late for work. See yas ...

Link thanks to Oliver Willis.

Quote of the Day


We are waaaaay beyond Orwell, people.

No shit ...

Did someone actually think the program wouldn't be popular?

July 31 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. government’s $1 billion “cash for clunkers” program to spur new car sales ran through the money six days after it began, Senator Debbie Stabenow said.

Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat, and other lawmakers called for an infusion of taxpayer money to subsidize more new-vehicle purchases in the effort to revive dealerships and automakers while getting older, less fuel-efficient vehicles off the road.


For the last 2 weeks, people have been towing, dragging, and pushing cars to the shop for us to get running so they can trade 'em in. Also the fact a lot of dealerships (in this area anyway) are offering to match the government rebate dollar-for-dollar. That comes to around $9000 to put down on a new car. Some places you can walk out with a pretty decent brand new little car for under $10K. Let alone the fact we're getting a buncha shitty old cars off the road. Let alone the fact the auto industry is getting a boost.

No shit the program is popular. I wonder what politicians will do to fuck it up.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Look out, Blue Dogs!

Nucks has been out in the heat and he's one pissed off Mohican:


This is NOT a war zone,this is the United States of America and you selfish cock bites are munching on quail wings and caviar and telling 72% of the rest of us to suck it up and pay your cerebraly abscessed donors more than we ever have before.


Boy's gonna get yer asses.

"Amsterdam is a cesspool of corruption."

Yer ass. I wonder if O'Rally and his fluffers newsbots ever been there?

Vid stolen from Brad.

Stop, yer killin' me ...

David Vitter ... values ... in the same sentence?

"I'm on the side of conservatives getting back to core conservative values," said Mr. Vitter, Louisiana Republican and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. "There are a lot of us from the South who hold those values, which I think the party is supposed to be about. We strayed from them in the past few years, and that's why we performed so badly in the national elections."

Strayed? More like abandoned. The Rethugs have a corner on the chutzpah market. Oy!

Yo, GOP... worked these whackjobs like a rented mule. They're all yours. Live with it. Serves ya right.

Thanks to YubaNet.

Obama names Medal of Freedom recipients

I made a joke elsewhere today about the Medal Of Freedom. It looks like President Obama may be restoring some honor to it.


The White House said today that this year's honorees were "chosen for their work as agents of change. . . . They have blazed trails and broken down barriers."

In naming them, Obama has made a calculated statement -- just as his predecessor, former President George W. Bush, made statements with some of his selections for the Medal of Freedom, some of which stirred controversy.

Among the last honorees of the Bush White House: Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former Australian Prime Minister John Howard, two of Bush's strongest allies in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, honored at the White House in January days before Bush handed over the presidency to Obama, who had pledged to end the war in Iraq.

Among those whom Bush honored in November 2007: Rep. Henry Hyde of Illinois, author of an amendment banning public funding of abortions.

Among the most controversial of Bush's choices: three of the central players in the run-up to the Iraq war and the execution of American policy in post-invasion Baghdad -- former CIA director George Tenet, ambassador and Iraq provisional authority director L. Paul Bremer and Gen. Tommy Franks -- honored in December 2004 as opposition to the war was growing.

Bush was a self-serving political dork.

Go read the list. Only one real clunker IMNSHO. My favorite is:

Joe Medicine Crow -- High Bird

Dr. Joseph Medicine Crow, the last living Plains Indian war chief, is the author of seminal works in Native American history and culture. He is the last person alive to have received direct oral testimony from a participant in the Battle of the Little Bighorn: his grandfather was a scout for General George Armstrong Custer. A veteran of World War II, Medicine Crow accomplished during the war all of the four tasks required to become a "war chief," including stealing 50 Nazi SS horses from a German camp. Medicine Crow was the first member of his tribe to attend college, receiving his master's degree in anthropology in 1939, and continues to lecture at universities and notable institutions like the United Nations. His contributions to the preservation of the culture and history of the First Americans are matched only by his importance as a role model to young Native Americans across the country.

Stealing SS horses! Who but a righteous blanketass woulda thought of doing that when there was so much of greater import going on in the biggest war in history? Good for you, Chief!

A 'role model' for youth indeed! Make sure your pasture gate and your corrals are locked lest yer remuda come up a little short. Heh.

Coffeepot maker vents about doing business in California

LATimes columnist Michael Hiltzik has a pretty good piece on doing business in California:

Wilbur D.Curtis invented the globular glass coffeepot, that staple of coffee counters everywhere, in 1940. Since then his son and grandsons have turned Wilbur Curtis Co. into a manufacturing concern that earns revenue approaching $100 million by turning out commercial coffee brewing equipment from a sprawling factory in Montebello.

But their long history in California doesn't exempt the Curtis family from the costs and hassles that give this state its reputation as one of the hardest places in the country to do business.

There's no point pretending that the state's anti-business reputation is a right-wing rap on the liberal Golden State, or a plot by the Chamber of Commerce to pump the Legislature for special favors, or -- here's the bottom line -- undeserved. It's as real as rush-hour traffic, and anyone concerned about improving the quality of life for all Californians needs to take it into consideration.

That brings us to a fundamental issue: the dysfunctional state government. One reason the state doesn't have enough money to provide essentials like decent education and adequate roads is that it squanders resources on lower-priority items, such as jailing marginal criminal offenders and giving grandchildren of elderly homeowners a property tax break.

When I was a kid, California had a population of 18 million. Now it's 36 million. When I was a kid, California had 6 prisons. Now it has 33. The prison guards union is the most powerful in the state. Locking people up here, as in the rest of the country, is big business. Try closing a prison or letting non-violent inmates out to save money and you'll find out just how powerful these bastards are, as have several governors. It's back on the table, but I don't have much hope that Ah-nold can get anywhere with it.

Mrs. G and her sister inherited a house from their grandmother and the property tax assessment did not change. Mrs. G didn't want the headache and sold her half to her sister's daughter. Mrs. G's sister pays property tax at the old rate, her niece pays about ten times as much on her half at the new rate.

Granny had lived in that house for about 70 years, and it was a nice house in a nice neighborhood and has some local historical value as well, but like a lot of old folks' houses it was in need of a lot of work in order to make it habitable for a tenant. By selling it, Mrs. G slid out of having to pay her half of the $50 grand it took. Besides just a lot of general repair, think about bringing a 1920s house up to modern code. Gulp.

I disagree that 'giving homeowners a property tax break' is in any way a bad thing. Prop 13 saved my ass back in the '70s and continues to do so and is one of the main reasons I can afford to own the house I've lived in for 29 years. Property tax here is based on the latest purchase price, not what it would sell for. If you stay in one place for a long time you get a break. Buy a house in California today, stand by for a ram come tax time, and it's still 1% of the purchase price plus 2% annual increase plus 'special assessments', of which there are more every year and they never go away. I bought a house I could afford. It's not my fault it's gone up in value and there's no good reason I should be penalized for it.

I also think that if a house passes down in a family succession, it's wrong to screw the inheritors.

It's the commercial property end of Prop 13 that needs to be changed, not the residential.

I'm going off on a tangent again, but it's part of my charm. Heh, but speaking of taxes, the largest increase in California income tax came under that famous anti-tax Governor, Ronald Reagan.

Anyway, go read about the coffeepot business in California. The article doesn't go into the environmental regulations that California firms need to deal with under the law, but that's another reason a lot of outfits have left.

I'm glad the coffeepot people are going to stay. I like coffeepots. I am blogging right now courtesy of one of those.

Quote of the Day

From MoDo:

As McCain pal and Republican strategist Mike Murphy so sagely observed recently: “If Sarah Palin looked like Golda Meir, would we even be talking about her today?”


Like her or not, Modo's got her claws out for Moosebreath, "Nixon with hair extensions".

Late ...

The Mrs. is in the city office today so I had to kick her out at the train station. In lieu of my usual bullshit, check out our pal D-cap:

For a brainless wonder, I have to give Sarah some credit - she does have one redeeming quality. Like no other female politician, Sarah Palin has the ability to get 70 year old men to release testosterone into their bloodstream from a cobweb covered gland ...

Heh ... Later.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Light blogging techno day

Pardon the light blogging today. I had a project this morning.

I was converting a VHS tape to DVD. It's tricky. You have to be careful about the oxygen:acetylene ratio, where and how you apply the heat and how much, what types of hammers to use, where and how you hit it and how hard, which panel beating form you use, stuff like that.

Seriously, that part was mostly a matter of reading the directions on the VHS/DVD machine. And following them. What a concept!

The tape was a compilation of films about Southern California motorcycle races from 1952-1959, and I've had it since maybe 1985. I hadn't watched it in a long time, so I sat and watched it while it was dubbing. I'm happy to report that the tape hadn't noticeably deteriorated and the subject matter took me back many, many years.

Then I had to write some liner notes for it and make sure they fit in the jewel case.

The whole thing worked so well that Mrs. G wants me to do Man Of Aran next, so I had to dig that out to do tomorrow. I have lots of VHS tapes to do, so it's looking like busy, busy until I run out of blank DVDs, then I can 'forget' to get some more for a while.

I've also been busy lately looking at old slides and compiling a selection out of maybe 600 of them to get put on a DVD at Costco this coming Friday. Now I've gotta get a slide scanner so I can digitize the rest of them into the computer, and whatever it takes to upgrade the computer to burn DVDs.

Then I need to get a DVD copier so it'll be easier to share all this stuff. Sigh. It never stops, but modern consumer home electronics is a wonderful thing and will let me put a lot of memories into an easier viewing and much more transportable format.

Suggestions are welcome.

Naturally, I want to do all this stuff so it'll all be on DVD by the time I need to put it all on Blu-Ray. Timing is everything. Yeesh. At least I got all my Super 8 home movies done last summer.

I gotta stay busy or I'm liable to get old right along with Super 8 and 35mm slides and VHS, which were the home media marvels of their time. I think I'll just shine on the 8-tracks...

Ashes to ashes and dust to dust,
I may burn out but I'll never rust!

See yas later.

Yer ass ...

Listen to me. There ain't no way I'm gonna stop eating red meat. Not even cut down a bit. Mrs. F is an artist with beef (shaddap, get yer minds out the gutter) and there's no way I'm giving it up, period. I don't care how much cows fart or burp. I'll give up a lot of things for the environment but beef ain't one of 'em.

If it's any consolation, I didn't like writing that sentence any more than you liked reading it. But the evidence is strong. It's not simply that meat is a contributor to global warming; it's that it is a huge contributor. Larger, by a significant margin, than the global transportation sector.

According to a 2006 United Nations report, livestock accounts for 18 percent of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. Some of meat's contribution to climate change is intuitive. It's more energy efficient to grow grain and feed it to people than it is to grow grain and turn it into feed that we give to calves until they become adults that we then slaughter to feed to people. Some of the contribution is gross. "Manure lagoons," for instance, is the oddly evocative name for the acres of animal excrement that sit in the sun steaming nitrous oxide into the atmosphere. And some of it would make Bart Simpson chuckle. Cow gas -- interestingly, it's mainly burps, not farts -- is a real player.


I know, eating a lot of red meat ain't good for you. Neither is smoking. Neither is alcohol. Know what? We only get a finite amount of time on this Earth. I'm gonna live while I can enjoy it. Why in Hell you think I travel so much and go out of my way to enjoy life? It's living. Beats just existing. If it means giving up 15 or 20 years on the back end, so be it.

And the winner is...


We have a winner in the BuzzFlash "What Would Bush Have Been if His Last Name Were Smith?" Contest

This was a tough one to decide. There were so many fine and humorous entries which you can read at the original contest site. There were long ones about W's fate were his last name Smith; there were short ones.

We'd like to have given out several first prizes that include copies of the great books: "The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power" and "Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free."

But we could only pick one.

So, congratulations to Gordon Moore of Truckee, California who won the books for his answer to "What Would Bush Have Been if His Last Name Were Smith?"

Gordon's BuzzFlash winning response is: "All we'd have ever heard out of him would be 'Want fries with that?'"

We highly recommend you read all the entries because there are so many good ones, but Gordon's won on succinct simplicity, but many were in contention.

A throwaway line for a throwaway president. Low humor prevails! Finally. Heh.

Thank you, BuzzFlash.

Change? Not ...

Deacon Blues, I feel, has it pretty spot on when assessing the chances of us getting any real health care reform:


The result is that the final bill will contain no public option, no employer mandate, yet will contain an individual mandate. This means that taxpayers will not have the choice between the insurance industry and a government plan, and will be forced to pay the industry for their health care. In other words, by allowing the industry-bought centrists in the Senate to assemble the bill, Barack Obama is about to preside over one of the biggest pieces of corporate welfare in our history.


Indeed. I don't feel the public option will become reality either. Another blogger (again I forget who - see Gord's post for explanation) put it correctly when saying, paraphrasing: "The health insurance companies would put themselves in the category, like the big banks, of 'Too Big To Fail'." And they are pointing the TBTF pistol at the temple of the White House.


Obama has one other choice before him, but it would take guts that he doesn’t have. If he gets the bad bill, after sending limp signals about his displeasure over its final components, Obama can take a page from the Clinton administration: triangulate against Congress and veto the bill. Tell the American people that a bill that was bought with industry money is more of the same. Tell America that Congress needs to come back and try again next year, and remind voters that Congress is supposed to work for Main Street and not the industries who write the checks.


This, of course, won't happen. The White House has done little to take advantage of the majority in both houses of Congress by putting pressure on wayward Democrats, nor has our Senate leader done anything to justify the title of 'leader'.

Ladies and gentlemen, with the evolution of this health care 'reform' bill, I hope any naive misconceptions about whom your elected representatives actually represent have been dispelled. You and I don't matter in the face of Big Business and the amount of campaign cash they can shovel to Congress.

The "Average American" is an abstract construct to them. Something to point to and say "we're doing it for them", and I'm sure some of those in Congress believe it. But we're really something like the photo of happy people that comes with a new picture frame, generic humans. There is no empathy, no feeling, for those in the frame aren't their own family, merely a representation of what actually is. There are people starving and homeless thanks to health issues that have put them over the top, but the starving and homeless don't contribute to a candidate's reelection fund. More Americans will be joining their ranks if the situation remains.

The debate has turned into a joke. There is no debate anymore, just 500-odd idiots running around hoping they will come up with a new way to repackage the status quo into something we can swallow, something that won't have us marching on Washington while still protecting the profits of Big Insurance. We'll be lucky (those of us who have health insurance) to keep what we have once all the dust settles. A big 'fuck you' is about all those who were expecting (thanks to Mr. Obama's rhetoric on the campaign trail) anything resembling the system the Europeans and Canadians enjoy will get.

As with Wall St., you and I will be expected to shoulder the burden of loss yet never benefit from the profits. After all the flowery bullshit we heard during the longest campaign in presidential history, it amounts to just that. Bullshit. I'm seriously disappointed in Mr. Obama, though the actions of Congress are no surprise. I told Mrs. F last night, if a public option isn't part of the bill Obama finally signs, I won't vote for him in '12. I won't vote Republican, but I won't vote for a Democrat who, with a majority in Congress and a mandate from the American people, would leave 50 million Americans out in the cold. Supposedly, the Democrats are better than that.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Big pot year in CA state parks

Fixer stocks up a whole week's worth

Click to embiggen


Legalization is not the solution, Johnson said, given that most of the pot is being grown illegally on public parkland by foreign citizens who cannot be taxed.

Bullshit. That's a cop talkin' like a cop, which is out the side of his neck.

Legalize weed and there'll be no need of these cartels to provide it and they'll go away.

Bill Kristol admits govt.-run health care can be better than private

We all know that Bill Kristol is a warmongering neocon anti-Obama wrong-all-the-time asshole. I almost turned The Daily Show off last night when he came on, but I didn't and I'm glad.

Watch Jon Stewart play Kristol with light line and set the hook and trap him on health care in this. Kristol also volunteers to get Sarah Palin to "do" Jon. Heh.

See it in print here.

That’s when Stewart struck.

“Bill Kristol just said … that the government can run a first-class health care system and a government-run health care system is better than the private health care system.”

“You trapped me somehow,” a visibly uncomfortable Kristol responded.

Yeah, he let you talk.

Also, it's pretty obvious Kristol has no experience whatsoever with military health care. There's a big difference between what they have to do after a grunt gets his leg blown off and day-to-day health care, and how they look at PTSD and TBI.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Bill Kristol Extended Interview
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorJoke of the Day


You know Sarah Palin won't go quietly. She might even end up being the American Joan of Arc:


This is why we dismiss the former governor of Alaska at our peril. She does a good job of hiding her militia/Jeebofascist leanings, but when you put together her looneytunes church, her love of guns, and her affiliation with the Alaska Independent Party, and throw in a soupçon of Republican Male Lust, and mix it with Americans' economic fatigue, anything can happen.


After 8 years of Bush/Cheney, I don't think anything can be ruled out anymore. Just because something is stupid, bordering on insane, doesn't mean Americans won't embrace it wholeheartedly.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A word of advice ...

This post stays on top today - G

To any cop who thinks like this:

... At that moment I can assure you the officer is not all that concerned with trying not to offend you. He is instead concerned with protecting his mortal hide from having holes placed in it where God did not intend. And you, if in asserting your constitutional right to be free from unlawful search and seizure fail to do as the officer asks, run the risk of having such holes placed in your own.


The last guy who threatened to shoot me (he thought I was sleeping with his girl - I wasn't) got his .357 taken away from him and was pistol whipped into unconsciousness with it.

Respect is a two way street. I cooperate with police and I am respectful. I do expect to know why I'm being detained and what cause the officer has to do so. Start waving your cock at me and we'll have problems. There are a lot of guys out there who've seen and done more than a precinct full of cops and aren't scared of a gun, badge, or the funny paint job on the car. Save your penis-waving for the nurses in the ER you're trying to screw.

When cops and district attorneys begin to apply justice in pursuit of the truth, not just to make a conviction, is when I'll begin to cut them some slack but as things stand now, I refuse to let myself be abused by a police officer because he didn't get laid last night or got passed over for promotion or he's scared to death I might be an armed felon and he ain't taking no chances.

This is still the United States of America, not a war zone, and the majority of people are non-violent, law-abiding citizens. There is no reason for cops to act as if they are Marines routing the Taliban in Helmand, Afghanistan. Yes, there are violent criminals on the loose, but that's why the cops (especially around here) are paid so well (or should be if they're not); to put their lives at risk to apprehend those people. Acting like everybody not wearing a uniform is the enemy is unacceptable; the reason they give cops community relations courses. It's time the cops listened to and applied what they learned there instead of leaving it in the classroom. Did the fact they jacked up a brother trying to get into his own house surprise anyone? I'm very surprised they didn't beat the crap out of him first before dragging him downtown.

Since 9/11, and during the Bush years, the police were emboldened to "keep America safe" by any means necessary. With all the Homeland Security money local police departments received, most of them outfitted themselves to near-military standards and many act as if they're on patrol in Iraq and the law is a pacifier for the naive. It doesn't help the fact many cops joined their respective police forces just for the power trip. As I've said many times, many joined for the wrong reasons and those who would make the best police officers don't want the job.

Now, don't get me wrong, there are a lot of good cops out there and I've met quite a few but, as with everything else, the bad ones tarnish the acts of the good. It's time for police departments to realize they'll get respect from the citizenry when they begin to show some. When you have guys running around thinking they're Navy SEALs or Imperial Stormtroopers, there will continue to be problems. When you treat everyone who isn't white with suspicion, you will not get cooperation solving crimes in ethnic neighborhoods. Demanding respect while showing none will get you less.

Headline of the Day


Bill Kristol condemns lying for political ends: Seriously

Stop, yer killin' me ...


Certainly, we are concerned about job stability. But veteran journalists are equally troubled by the online threat to standards we hold dear.


If you idiots had any standards anymore, me and Gord wouldn'ta spent the last 5 years of our fucking lives bitching to high heaven on this fucking blog about all the abuses that have gone on because you motherfucking whore bastids abdicated your jobs. Fuck you all.

Link thanks to Mr. Supertrain.

Holder and Conyers Call and Respond


House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers has called on Attorney General Eric Holder to open a criminal investigation into the misdeeds of former president George W. Bush and former vice president Richard B. Cheney.

Holder, in turn, has now called on Conyers to open impeachment proceedings against former head of the Office of Legal Council Jay Bybee, now a judge in the Ninth Circuit.

Conyers, in response, has demanded that Holder open a complete investigation of 14 different areas of criminal enterprise and appoint an independent counsel, offering a list of eight possible candidates.

Holder, in reply, has insisted that Conyers reissue all of the subpoenas his committee has failed to enforce over the past two and a half years and use the Capitol Police to enforce them at once.

In response, Conyers' office has issued a new report on the need to weed out corruption and undo politically motivated prosecutions by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Jeebus, sounds like an old-fashioned 'call and response' tune!*

Maybe we're getting somewhere. Let's hope. Please read the rest.

*Example (to fiddle and banjo music). Caution - under no circumstances should you get a visual of Holder and Conyers. Heh.:

Call (male): "All I wanted was a piece 'a ass..."

Response (female with a gun): "Go all night or it'll be yer last..."

While You Were Out

Will Durst. Funny! Or sad, but probably cubicle typical.

Besides needing a vacation from your vacation, the worst part of returning to work after a traditional summer holiday, is the realization that you're going to need a minimum of two days for every day gone just to get back into the swim of things. And the mound of memos piled on your desk is just the tip of the iceberg.

Here's just a few.

Monday. 3 pm. I have been informed that the layoff wheel has been set up in the lunch room. All employees will spin it once a week. Mitchell in NY.

Tuesday. Some ridiculous single digit hour in the am. Your suggestion about cutting executive bonuses was forwarded to New York. Smoooth move. Ali.

Thursday morning. Some idiot visited an Albanian porn site and now there's a virus eating all the hard drives. You might want to reboot your computers. Now. Mister Roberson, VP of HR. By the way, whoever is shredding the layoff wheel every night, cut it out. It won't help.

Friday. 9:14 am. The guys in Creative want to know if Mt. Rushmore is a natural formation. No, I'm not kidding. Oh sure, they have jobs. Mrs. Scott.

Friday afternoon. I have been informed that on Monday, we will be measuring inseams for the smaller cubicles. Mr. Roberson. VP of HR.

Heh. I've had one job in my whole life where I sat down to work. I got canned from it the day I returned from the only paid vacation I've ever had.

Big Pharma Party Poopers

AlterNet. Go read.

Drug researchers are trying to replicate marijuana's therapeutic effects, but without the "side effect" of getting people high.

"Side effect" my ass. Yeesh. These clowns want to take ten years to make over and worsen something that has been proven for thousands of years, all so that can make money from it without pissin' off the Puritans and the liquor industry (go see this). It's OK if it helps you, as long as you don't have any fun.

It's no wonder they've been fighting ganja legalization tooth and nail and will continue to do so. There's no money for them in a remedy you can grow at home that's good for you and fun to take.

A short poem, a couplet perhaps, just popped into my head:

If yer eyes ain't red
Yer off yer meds...



For 8 years, BuzzFlash and many other sites reminded people that Bush wouldn't have gotten any of his jobs -- including President -- if his last name were Smith. The guy was as good as a curse when it came to business, except for the Texas Rangers where he was given a fortune by his Daddy's friends to essentially be a greeter -- which you got to admit he is good at.

So, BuzzFlash will give a prize to what our staff judges as the best comment (post below) that answers the question: "What would George W. Bush have done for a job if his last name had been Smith and he were born to a poor family?

The winner will receive a free copy of "The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power" and "Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free."

Contest closes at midnight on July 20th.

I know who the winner is, but modesty prevents me from telling you who won until BF announces the winner tomorrow or Wednesday. Ahem...

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

Good News: More Jobs Saved
Bad news: they're all at Guantanamo.

Cheney's Secret Service Protection Extended
We'll all be protected from Cheney for another six months.

Swell. Where were they when we needed them?

California Budget Agreement Balances Competing Interests
Keeps tax breaks for idle rich, drops safety net for unemployed single moms.

Pat Buchanan: “White Men Built This Country”
By slaughtering red men, enslaving black men.

New iPhone App Locates Nearest Medical Marijuana Dispensary
Along with nearest 7-Eleven.

And in the "Huh?" Dept.:

Bra for Men Gaining Popularity in Japan
But athletic supporters for women a flop.

Corned Beef Sopranos


A Quick Look At The New Jersey Corruption Scandal
-- Verse-Case Scenario by Tony Peyser

If you want to cut this
All down to size, guys,
Syrian Sephardic Jews
Are the new wise guys.

A year or so ago, I read an excellent novel, The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon. Sort of a parallel universe detective story. In it, WWII ended in 1948, Israel had been destroyed, and the Jews had been relocated in Sitka, Alaska. It won several Science Fiction awards.

The part that relates here is that in the novel the Hasidic Jews run organized crime. Heh. Oy, prescient the author was!

Truth is indeed stranger than fiction.

The title of the post comes from a cop I knew once. He had been a cop in St. Louis or Kansas City or somewhere like that and relocated out west because the Jewish gangsters there wanted him dead. He called them the 'Corned Beef Mafia'. So may have been The Purple Gang in Detroit.


Speaking of The Purple Gang, my Dad was a friend of this guy in the old days in Reno. I met him when I was about 10 years old. A nice old man.

Mert Wertheimer was the head of the Chesterfield syndicate, concentrating its activities in Macomb County Michigan, near Detroit. It was once politically powerful in Michigan. Mert Wertheimer was by many accounts part of the Purple Gang of Jewish gangsters, so one could assume that the Chesterfield Syndicate operated at least by permission of the Purple Gang.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

'Cash for clunkers' gets on the road


Clunkermania officially begins today.

The federal government finally released the rules that dealers and their customers have to follow to participate in the much-discussed "cash for clunkers" program, which can provide consumers with up to $4,500 in cash when they trade in an older vehicle and buy a newer, more fuel-efficient model from a participating dealer.

Here are some questions and answers about the program.

Q: How do I know if my trade-in vehicle is eligible for the program?

A: It must have been manufactured in 1984 or later, and have a combined city/highway fuel economy rated at 18 miles per gallon or less. The program is advantageous only if the trade-in value is less than the minimum $3,500 offered by the government.

Q: Can the credit be applied to any new vehicle?

A: All imports and domestics with a list price under $45,000 are eligible, as long as they meet fuel economy standards of at least 22 mpg for cars or 18 mpgfor SUVs, small pick-ups and minivans, and 15 mpg. for large vans and trucks. The new vehicle must exceed the trade-in by at least 4 mpg for cars, 2 mpgfor SUVs and 1 mpg for large trucks to qualify for the $3,500 rebate. The full $4,500 rebate kicks in at an increase of 10 mpg, 5 mpg and 2 mpg, respectively.

Much more.

Neither of my old rigs qualify. My '76 Chevy Van is too old, and my '92 Dakota is worth too much money. Oh, well...

Huell Howser

If you live in California and get a PBS station, you know who Huell Howser is. I wish they'd show his stuff outside the state so people could see the many parts of my state that they wouldn't normally see. Shit, I've been all over this state in my 63 years, but ol' Huell has made a career out of it! He's been places no one but locals knew existed before he went there. I've watched literally hundreds of his shows and they're very good.

Nice article about him in today's LATimes:

I am a fan of Huell Howser, the roving reporter.

His thick, brush-cut hair; broad-shouldered, erect bearing; and pin-neat, pastel way of dressing -- combined with a boyish face and wide smile -- give him the aspect of a drill sergeant in an army whose mission is happiness. With his family-friendly exclamations -- "Wow!" and "Oh my gosh!" and "That's amazing!" addressed in a hearty Tennessee accent to what can seem the least amazing things -- he is easy to lampoon (a little long, but funny - G). So far beyond being a glass-half-full guy, I imagine him being handed an empty glass and crying, "Hey! I've got a glass!" And if he had no glass, he'd find out where they make glasses, and go down and do a piece on the place.

Adam Carolla mocked him regularly on his KLSX-FM morning radio show, but there is a lot of love where Howser is concerned. (I tried a Google experiment: The phrase "I love Huell Howser" received 4,340 hits; "I hate Huell Howser," four.) A ham and pineapple cheeseburger in Yermo, a double chili cheese dog at Pink's and a doughnut at Stan's in Westwood all bear his name. He was integrated into an episode of "Weeds" last year, and "The Simpsons" used him, as Howell Huser, in the 2005 episode "Something About Marrying." He found out about that only afterward from friends, and "so I called the head guy the next day, Matt Groening. I said, 'Matt, you should have told me I was on -- I'd have had a party!' He said, 'Well, if it's any consolation, I think we had the longest writers meeting ever because everybody around the table wanted to do their Huell Howser impression.' "

(Groening confirmed the story by e-mail: "Yes, everyone at 'The Simpsons' does a Huell Howser impression. We all love him. I have on my permanent do-not-delete TiVo Huell's visit to the Bunny Museum. I hear, but haven't seen, that Huell's climb up a wind turbine tower is a classic. At the show we all love HH so much that after first sending him up, we had HH play himself in an upcoming episode," a fact that Howser himself neglected to tell me.)

There is something of the friendly alien about him, the man from space for whom everything -- every flower, every doughnut, every doorknob -- is new and miraculous. He is famous for stating the obvious, but the obvious things are exactly those things that we forget how to see.

Here's a wacky example of the kinda stuff he does:

Thanks to gschales.

Many video clips here. Mostly straight ones but more spoofs than I ever would have imagined!

To swipe one of Huell's tag lines, he truly is part of California's gold. I hope your state has someone like him.

Marine v Ugandan Breakdance Challenge

A little Sunday afternoon terpsichorean interlude.

Cpl Jones lifts morale of the troops after arriving in Iraq by dancing with some Ugandans singing some cadence!

Watch it 'til the end. Cpl. Jones rises to the occasion with a big finish!

I think this did more for diplomatic relations than legions of Georgetown graduates in pinstripe suits.

Thanks to kyot96.

Note: For some good Jarhead cha-cha slidin', check out "Your Tax Dollars At Work" in the thumbnails.


The Air Force knows how ta get down too!

Fixer's gonna kill me for that one. I'll try to make up for it here.

And That’s Not the Way It Is

Daddy Frank on Cronkite, McNamara, Vietnam, Watergate, and the sorry state of journalism today. Links at site.

[...] The successive blows of Vietnam and Watergate during the Cronkite ’60s and ’70s shattered the nation’s faith in most of its institutions, public and private, and toppled many of the men who led them. Such was the dearth of trustworthy figures who survived that an unindicted official in a disgraced White House could make the cut.

What matters about Cronkite is that he knew when to stop being reassuring Uncle Walter and to challenge those who betrayed his audience’s trust. He had the guts to confront not only those in power but his own bosses. Given the American press’s catastrophe of our own day — its failure to unmask and often even to question the White House propaganda campaign that plunged us into Iraq — these attributes are as timely as ever.

To appreciate how special Cronkite’s achievements were, consider our recent past. As the Bush administration hyped Saddam Hussein’s nonexistent W.M.D. and nonexistent link to 9/11, The Times and The Post too often enabled the fictions. But at least some reporters at these papers and others elsewhere were on to the hoax — even if their findings were buried in the back pages. At the networks, Cronkite’s heirs were not even practicing journalism. They invited administration propagandists to trumpet their tales of imminent mushroom clouds with impunity.

When McNamara died this month, many recalled his status as Exhibit A of what David Halberstam labeled “the best and the brightest,” the brilliant and arrogant Kennedy-Johnson team that blundered into a quagmire. Far less was said about how McNamara, at his height, wielded that image to spin a dazzled Washington press establishment on his misplaced optimism about the war. The Washington Post’s obituary, pointedly or not, included a photo of a smiling McNamara enjoying cocktails with a powerful syndicated Post columnist (and Vietnam apologist), Joseph Alsop. The obituary also noted that McNamara served on The Post’s board — a sinecure he was awarded after he had helped send some 50,000 Americans to pointless deaths.

Watching many of the empty Cronkite tributes in his own medium over the past week, you had to wonder if his industry was sticking to mawkish clichés just to avoid unflattering comparisons. If he was the most trusted man in America, it wasn’t because he was a nice guy with an authoritative voice and a lived-in face. It wasn’t because he “loved a good story” or that he removed his glasses when a president died. It was because at a time of epic corruption in the most powerful precincts in Washington, Cronkite was not at the salons and not in the tank.

I have nothing to add. Please go read.

Just fuguin' around

Fixer got me in the mood for an instrumental with a fiddle in it!

Alison Krauss & Union Station ~ Choctaw Hayride

Thanks to zone003, Oz.

Quote of the Day



While ordinary Americans responded to the [September 11th] attack by helping complete strangers find their friends and loved ones, standing in line for hours to give blood, and bringing food and water to rescue workers, our leaders met in the citadels of power, assessed the situation, and made the cool, calculated decision to panic.


Fugue state ...

Vanessa Mae and the Bratislava Radio Symphony Orchestra play Bach's Toccata & Fugue:

Vanessa Mae - Toccata & Fugue