Saturday, September 17, 2011

"We were deer in headlights"

The interesting thing about this account of yesterday's horrific crash at the Reno Air Races is that the witness is Fred Scholz, a good friend of mine from here in town. Fred's a cyclist, motorcyclist, pilot, and mechanic. I've known him for over twenty years and even worked for him at one reincarnation of his auto repair business, FAST Automotive. He gets tired of dealing with the public and goes to being a ski lift mechanic, which he's doing now. He keeps his business sign for when he gets tired of dealing with ski hill management and opens another garage. A great guy and, like me'n Fixer, knows that if a guy's smart enough to be a good mechanic, he's too smart to be a mechanic and does it anyway.

And by the way, Mr. Leeward's re-enactment of a WWII augering-in is something we don't need to see very often.

Thanks to CNN.

You are not patriotic ...

If you're an asshole:


You are not patriotic for sending sons and daughters off to die in some desert war. You are not patriotic for tying a yellow ribbon to your SUV, filled to the brim with the very oil those sons and daughters are dying over. You are not patriotic for saluting the flag while trampling every right taken away by the Patriot Act and its subsequent horrors. You are not patriotic for fighting against gay marriage. You are not patriotic for fighting to extend government's reach into the wombs of women everywhere.

You are not patriotic for cheering — yes, cheering — at the thought of Rick Perry executing hundreds of people. You are not patriotic for wanting poor people to die without medical care. You are not patriotic for wanting to shut down schools and hospitals to keep the size of government more to your liking.


And if you claim to be a Republican nowadays, your assholery is almost guaranteed.

Stimulating the economy ...

The roof guy just left and I'm gonna be putting a crew to work here for a day (it's an easy job, relatively speaking) in a few weeks. After hearing the cost*, I shoulda ripped a couple more shingles off the roof and put in a homeowners claim after the hurricane.

*They are tearing off two layers of shingle and all of the sheathing, adding ridge and soffitt vents, new plywood, and 30-year shingles in a color the Mrs. (of course, heh ...) picked out.

Rocky Horror? Really?

Via Pam Spaulding on the Facebook, they're banning Rocky Horror Picture Show in a shitbag town in Georgia.

In a case of life imitating art (or at least a Glee storyline from last year), political officials in Georgia have shut down a community theater's production of The Rocky Horror Show after deeming it "too risqué," reports Entertainment Weekly.


I was 13 when I first saw it, along with almost every other kid in school. My mom even saw it. Grow the fuck up.

Quote of the Day

John Sheirer on the Republican Clown Car:


They claim that God has called them to run for office--several of them. God apparently can't make up his mind which one to support.


The causes ...

Continuing on a theme from yesterday's post. If you wonder how Afghanistan got to be the way it is, and why it was almost inevitable the 9/11 attacks would originate from there, you should read this:


This history has implications for the war the United States is waging in Afghanistan today. Many Americans would be surprised to learn that some of the same “freedom fighters” to whom the Central Intelligence Agency provided billions of dollars worth of Stinger missiles and other weapons in the 1980s are the same “terrorists” who today are fighting U.S. forces – such as we saw in the Sept. 13th attack on the U.S. embassy and NATO headquarters in Kabul, purportedly carried out by the Haqqani Network, one of the CIA’s favored clients in the 1980s.


We laid the groundwork for the 9/11 attacks and this endless war 30 years ago.

The Big Casino ...

You know, back when I was young, growing up in a blue collar world in the 1960s, not many people were "invested" in the stock market. When someone "owned stock" (usually connected with the old American Telephone and Telegraph), you knew they were pretty well off, probably not punching a time clock.

Now, I don't think I know anyone who doesn't have some sort of an investment, a 401(k) or 529 at minimum. You know the banksters want it that way. McKenna:

Confirmation that a “rogue” trader somehow lost $2 billion making “unauthorized” trades at UBS “will test the faith of investors, clients and regulators,” says Wall Street Journal. It should also test the credulity of anyone who would still argue that investment bankers are fundamentally different from degenerate blackjack players with a lot of money to lose.


You know, if that guy cheated somebody out of a couple bil to the banks favor, he woulda got a promotion instead of a pair of silver bracelets.

If a bear shits in the woods ...

And there's nobody there to smell it, does it still stink?


If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound? Good question. Now try this one: If a ranting lunatic doesn't have a show on Fox, does anyone know he exists? Apparently not. For some reason, we have bestowed this power to define who matters and who doesn't on Roger Ailes and Fox News. Why?

Glenn who?

Thanks, Skippy!

Saturday Emmylou Blogging

Elvis Costello & The Imposters with Emmylou Harris 2005 - Love Hurts

Recorded and broadcast live on July 22, 2005 in New York, NY. Featuring Larry Campbell on guitar and mandolin.

Thanks to docinwestchester.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Sarah Palin, take note

$2 million for a double-wide

This is in the same place where Rockford lived, although they just propped up his piece'a crap in the beach parking lot. I used to go there occasionally to fish (the pier used to be a lot longer and they had a barge) and these trailers, pardon me, mobile homes, have been there forever.

Surprisingly, this $2 million transaction doesn't go down in history books as the most expensive double-wide ever sold. During the housing hey day, other mobile homes in the park went for as much as $2.5 million. The premium buys access to a prime lot and Malibu shoreline views often only seen at the multi-million dollar homes of Hollywood celebrities.

Sounds like the kinda place a trailer-trash grifter who cashed in on the Mother Lode of Gullible could live comfortably and stay in touch with her roots.

Street food cred

Ah, ambiance...


Vendors of tamales, hot dogs, fruit and more in L.A. County are supposed to be licensed by the health department and get regular inspections. The proof is a yellow sticker.

I've never been one for eating food off the street.

But this week, in pursuit of journalistic truth, I purchased a tamale — or tamal, in Spanish — from a street vendor pushing a shopping cart in South Los Angeles.

But this tamal, wrapped in a corn husk with several strips of green chile inside, was clearly unlicensed. It was made by a woman from Acapulco, Mexico, who will never get a letter grade and who will run away if you try to give her one.

Nevertheless, her tamales were greasy and delish. They tasted authentically homemade, too, which wasn't surprising, since she makes them in her apartment. Every weekday, she told me, she wheels around her South Figueroa neighborhood, tooting a little horn to announce her presence.

"One dollar each," she said in Spanish. Quite a bargain.

These are the kind of people, I learned later, that drive Khaled Hassan crazy.

Latino immigrants dominate the street-food trade. As Hassan sees it, he's trying to help one group of Latino immigrant vendors stay in business despite unfair competition from another group of Latino immigrants.

There's more, but I'll cut to the chase:

Adela, a Salvadoran immigrant, didn't want to give me her full name — for reasons that will soon become apparent — even though she had a yellow health department sticker on her cart.

She described being stuck between two business cultures. "You try to do things right," she told me in Spanish. "If the inspector gives me a note, then I have to go to court for it." But following these rules has earned her the wrath of other, unlicensed vendors, she said.

"I've been threatened with death," she told me, wiping tears from her face. Other vendors think Adela is the one calling the inspectors and the police, because when those officials arrive, she doesn't have to gather her fruit and take off running.

Now, to make things worse, business has gone down the tank. "If you know of a job cooking or cleaning, let me know," she said.

You can help out the Adelas of L.A. by shopping at carts with a county Public Health Department sticker on the side.

I bought some mango slices for $3 from her. They were succulent, sweet and tart. And unlike the unlicensed tamal I had eaten earlier, they didn't burn and roil in my stomach.

What, first time out? And a 'licensed' green chile tamal would have been different how?

L.A.'s been giving letter grades to be prominently displayed in the front windows of restaurants for years. This is apparently relatively new for restaurants on wheels and is probably a good idea, but I've eaten street food in Tijuana where any 'license fee' went into some cop's pocket and it was delicious and I'm not dead yet.

To quote that guy Zimmern who eats stuff I'd run away from and call the bio-hazard crew in on, "if it tastes good, eat it!"

The law and Justice Clarence Thomas

...and ne'er the twain shall meet.

Semper Fi


On Sept. 8, 2009, then-Cpl. Meyer and Staff Sgt. Juan Rodriguez-Chavez were part of a contingent of U.S. forces visiting an Afghan village to train fighters and persuade elders to support the Afghan government. It was a dangerous area, and as the meeting was underway, the village was suddenly plunged into darkness. Insurgents on the ridges above began firing on American and Afghan soldiers. Meyer was back with the trucks at that moment, but his comrades who were posted farther forward were cut off by the ambush.

Amid gunfire so intense it "sounded like static," Meyer and Rodriguez-Chavez radioed for permission to rescue the embattled Marines and soldiers. They were denied. Defying orders, they commandeered a Humvee and, with Rodriguez-Chavez at the wheel and Meyer manning the gun, made five trips through the fire zone. For six hours, they kept up their heroic efforts, even after Meyer was wounded in the arm. All told, they brought 13 Americans and 23 Afghans to safety before, on the last foray, risking their lives yet again to recover the bodies of four fellow Marines. At Meyer's request, those four, and a fifth American killed that day, were honored Thursday with private ceremonies in their hometowns as Meyer was receiving the Medal of Honor from President Obama.

While I applaud this young Marine's actions and his humility, just once I'd like to hear a MOH recipient respond with, "Fuckin' A right I'm a hero!".

Hatin' on us for our freedoms?

Not really:


People, it’s not our freedom they hate. Most of the world envies our freedom.

What the hate is our sense of entitlement to their resources, our indifference to their suffering and blinding need, our support of the sociopathic dictators who rob and subjugate them, as long as they allow our corporate rape of their children’s futures for our personal comfort and gain.

What they hate is our military presence in every far-flung corner of the world, assuring that we’ll always get our way at their expense.

What they hate is our self-righteous certitude that Our God is Good and their god is bullshit.

My Fellow Americans, they hate us because they think we live in a Democracy, and that We The People knowingly choose and approve of what our government and corporations do to them.


Those who don't learn from history ...

I'm off to the hangings, back later.

Great thanks to MBRU for the link.

"Carlin Street"

I'm all for it; renaming a portion of W 122nd Street in NYC "Carlin Street" in honor of my favorite comedian, George Carlin. Lotta Carlin quotes in this post that make me smile:


Now, speaking of consistency, Catholics, which I was until I reached the age of reason, Catholics and other Christians are against abortions, and they're against homosexuals. Well who has less abortions than homosexuals?! Leave these fucking people alone, for Christ sakes! Here is an entire class of people guaranteed never to have an abortion!


Better than renaming the 59th Street (Queensborough) Bridge after that idiot Ed Krotch Koch. If they hadda rename it, it shoulda been the "Simon and Garfunkel Bridge".

I love these ...

Maybe because I have a one track gutter but heh. Heh (Part 2).

I tell you what ...

I'm no fan of Carville but considering what he accomplished with Bill Clinton (and Bill is still reaping the benefits of his association with Carville), I'll grant him his expertise in the field and I'd certainly take his political advice over the current crop of White House advisers.

People often ask me what advice I would give the White House about various things. Today I was mulling over election results from New York and Nevada while thinking about that very question. What should the White House do now? One word came to mind: Panic.

We are far past sending out talking points. Do not attempt to dumb it down. We cannot stand any more explanations. Have you talked to any Democratic senators lately? I have. It's pretty damn clear they are not happy campers.

This is what I would say to President Barack Obama: The time has come to demand a plan of action that requires a complete change from the direction you are headed.

I don't know how else to break this down. Simply put:


We been saying most of this shit for 2 years now, but we're just "dirty fucking hippies". Carville is a pro and his advice makes far more sense than whatever the fuck Barry's doing.

Great thanks to David Dayen for the link.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Christ ...

Our Idiot King is making a fool of himself, and us, across the pond. Now, it's bad enough he acts like an idiot here, but the people in Europe already think we're idiots. Now they'll know we are.

Rep. Peter King was asked by the UK Parliament what kind of facility Guantanamo Bay is. This was after describing it as a vacation destination for prisoners. He was asked to justify how America could torture them and then call enhanced interrogation. It was just a little bit uncomfortable. He shrugged it off and said it wasn't really that bad because our military trains with it and hey, if torture saved lives it was all worth it. Usually that's the type of justification that you might hear someone from the Pinochet regime invoke.


I wonder if they asked him, off the record of course because the Brits have something known as tact, mostly, about his affiliation with the bomb throwers in Northern Ireland. You know, known terrorists. Just saying.

God, what an asshole.

Shopping Day

See yas later.

Headline of the Day

Apocalyptic GOP Is Dragging Us Into a Civil War

IMNSHO it will start when some probably right-wing extremists show that they can wrest the "monopoly on violence" away from some police department in order to impose their own rule on some citizenry somewhere. That's as opposed to simply using the police to do the same thing while they "serve and protect" the Masters Of The Universe.

It will be a battle for control over the forces of evil on the right. It will be a civil war I can live with. Us lefties can shoot at both sides. Watch out for the crossfire. Heh.


Think I'm kidding?

The 11 craziest things in Rick Perry’s ‘Fed Up’ manifesto

1. Wresting power back from the federal government is the battle of our time.

I rest my case.

Quote of the Day

Dirty Harry via Blue Girl:


"These people who are making a big deal out of gay marriage?" Eastwood opined. "I don't give a fuck about who wants to get married to anybody else! Why not?! We're making a big deal out of things we shouldn't be making a deal out of."

"They go on and on with all this bullshit about 'sanctity' -- don't give me that sanctity crap! Just give everybody the chance to have the life they want."



Riffing off Gord's post yesterday, I add a paragraph from BooMan about PA's attempt to change the way electors are appointed:


What we might see is a real effort by the Republican Party to take advantage of their control of state governments to change the rules in a way that the Democrats will be unable to match. Retaliation is not possible because the Dems do not have total control of the government in any red states other than West Virginia and Arkansas. How many congressional districts is Obama likely to win in those two states? Left unsaid in the above excerpt, is that making such a move would reduce Pennsylvania's importance down to roughly the level of New Hampshire. The award for winning the state would only be two Electoral Votes, and the fight beyond that would be over only two or three swing districts. Maybe Obama could carry eight congressional district instead of six, and wind up splitting the delegates 10-10. Either way, the Republican would have pocketed ten to twelve delegates they would have otherwise lost. Repeat that in several other sizable states and suddenly it becomes quite likely that a Republican candidate could win the presidency while getting absolutely thumped in the popular vote.

It's a recipe for civil war, but I guess that's where we're headed anyway, right?

Personally, and I have an inkling Gordon feels the same way, I think the discourse in this country has been so poisoned by the conservatives over the past 10 years that there is probably no way back from the brink. There is certainly not enough political courage in the GOP to put an end to it.

That said, there has to be an end. The country can't be divided for so long and still survive. The only way I can see it ending is for the GOP to be destroyed. I only see one way to do that*.

We can't go on with this stalemate. We can't go on with one political party willing to destroy the country, to let uninsured Americans die, to wreck our economy purely for the political and financial gain of a small minority. The GOP is that party and what they're doing amounts to treason.

When the needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many, we are no longer living in America**. When one political party can claim it is best to turn over the Treasury to the moneyed few at the expense of our old, sick, and infirm, they are no longer a political party but more a domestic enemy. America is a country of, by, and for the people, not a support system for the rich and corporations.

There are 400 people in this country who are doing quite well while a quarter of our people are either in, or close to, poverty. These 400 people (and their political puppets) have become, in effect, royalty. The Rule of Law no longer concerns them, the welfare of their fellow Americans is not even a thought. 250 years ago we fought a war against that type of system, where the rich and powerful rule with impunity and the poor are left to beg for the scraps of their largess. I have a very bad feeling it's going to come to that again unless the American people wake up.

As long as we consider the GOP a "negotiator in good faith" (I'm talking to you Mr. Obama and the rest of the Dem leadership), as long as the news media gives their ideas, that get crazier and crazier by the day, equal weight as sound policy, as long as we pretend the GOP wants "what's best for America", we are doomed to continue in this cycle until something snaps. There's enough fuel out there***, it only takes a spark.

If you think the "Arab Spring" couldn't happen here, you're sadly mistaken. When people are hopeless enough, when people are desperate enough, they will do anything they have to in order to survive. The rich might have their secure compounds with mercenaries and technology, they might control the armed forces (though I doubt you'd get many who were willing to fire upon their fellow Americans en masse) and the police (they will kill as many of us as it takes) but if it all goes south it will be little comfort. They will still be the first up against the wall. They are fat targets and nothing will stop tens of millions of starving, desperate people.

Unfortunately, when the dust settles, there will be little of the America we recognize, maybe nothing at all.

*And that, of course, is treating them like traitors and terrorists which, probably, will end in a civil war.

**Even St. Ronnie the Senile knew that.

***Link added after the fact thanks to DCblogger.

So tell me ...

Again how compassionate Christians are? I must have learned about a different Jesus:


Finally Pat Robertson has come out on the side of the suffering - just like Christ. Those suffering with having a wife who's no longer up to snuff.

Asked what a man should do whose wife has Alzheimer's, an increasingly decrepit Pat Robertson says, "I know it sounds cruel but if he's going to do something, he should divorce her and start all over."


Yeah; whatever happened to "in sickness and in health, until death do us part"?

I'm completely, unequivocally, sick of God's mouthpieces.

And, while we're debating "what would Jesus do", it seems atheists are some of the most charitable people out there*.


And just another couple thoughts:

1) With all the caterwauling the Jesus people are doing about the "sanctity of marriage" in relation to the gays, this says to me they're more concerned about gays getting married and less about preserving a loving bond between two people, straight or gay.

2) These Jesus people are (almost all) big supporters of the GOP cause. According to Ron Paul, the churches should take care of the sick and debilitated:


So to avoid government involvement in health care, we can assume that Paul, the Tea Party, and the GOP support making evangelical churches pay the health care costs of their uninsured members? Imagine how much less money John Hagee and evangelical churches will have to spend on tax-exempt political activity when they're saddled with hospital bills under the Tea Party/GOP health care policy.

Under this libertarian, Tea Party approach to health care, the admission process at our hospitals would go as follows:

Hospital Admissions Clerk: What source of payment do you have?
Uninsured Christian: I have no insurance.
Hospital Admissions Clerk: What church do you attend?

I can see how this comports to the libertarian, "leave me alone" worldview.


Seems to me, judging from Pat Robertson's compassion, a lot of people are gonna be dropping dead in the streets. You know, just like Europe.

*Great thanks to our pal Skippy for the link.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Feinstein, Petraeus Say Wartime Contractors Must Go

Halle-fuckin'-lujah! TPMDC:

In the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the intelligence community hired thousands of contractors as a matter of convenience and expediency. However, contractor abuses, typified by Blackwater's infamous actions in Iraq, demonstrated just how dangerous it can be to outsource military and intelligence-gathering functions, especially capturing and interrogating detainees.

Feinstein argued that the crucial parts of intelligence operations - the collection, exploitation and analysis of information - are "inherently governmental functions that should be done by government employees at one-third less the cost per employee."

One week into his new role as CIA director, David Petraeus testified Thursday that contractors are at the top of his list of potential cuts in the new era of belt-tightening.

I have two main problems with war contractors and the people who don't oversee them: one is shoddy builders who build showers (at top dollar plus) that electrocute soldiers. The other is "private security forces" aka "mercenaries", again at top dollar plus, who fuck with the locals and then leave the area just prior to the arrival of the real soldiers and Marines who catch the retaliatory shit for them.

The Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan in late August issued a report recommending that the Pentagon phase out its use of private security contractors or find a way to ensure that their presence on the battlefield does not put soldiers in harm's way.

Easy. Declare them a "free fire zone". The troops'll fix it.

Be sure to read the 'comments'. Examples:

Defense contractors love Republicans for protecting them from oversight.

"One week into his new role as CIA director, David Petraeus testified Thursday that contractors are at the top of his list of potential cuts in the new era of belt-tightening. "

Watch how fast the GOP forgets to listen to the commanders. missed it....

Eisenhower, FDR and Churchill to name a few would be in strong agreement with Petraeus and Feinstein. It is high time that we ended the concept of WARS 'R' US that Cheney, Rumsfeld and Whatshisname unleashed on the world.


Amodei Keeps NV-02 In GOP Column

This doesn't mean much, no loss, but in light of the Repugs' House win in Israel New York, I thought I'd throw it in.


Republicans have won Tuesday’s other special election, in Nevada’s second congressional district, with Republican former state Sen. Mark Amodei winning the GOP stronghold. This following on top of Republican Bob Turner’s upset win in the historically Democratic stronghold of New York’s ninth district.

To be clear, this is a historically Republican district, the reddest in the state. It voted for John McCain by less than a one point margin in the 2008 Democratic wave, but before that it voted 57%-41% for George W. Bush in 2004. And even Sharron Angle, the disastrous GOP Senate nominee in 2010 who blew a solid pick-up opportunity for the party against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, carried the district by a 50%-43% margin.

Basically, NV-02 is the whole fucking state except for Lost Wages:

Nevada's 2nd congressional district is a congressional district occupying all of Nevada outside of Clark County, and some parts of Clark County.

Amodei (Basque?*) is a stone Teabagger because that's the way the U.S. version of the Undertaker Wind is blowing these days, but he was for raising taxes before he was against it.

*When someone has an unusual name in Nevada that ends with a vowel, it usually is. Lotsa sheep in NV on more than one level. It's no big surprise they elected someone historically well-versed in fucking them.

Headline and Quote of the Day

GOP Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett Proposes Rigging The Electoral College For Republicans

Because in the GOP’s America, We the People can elect anyone we want, so long as they are a Republican.

From a 'comment':

What's the next thing they are going to propose? You can't run for office if you're a democrat.

They're working on it. One-party rule, not 'governing', rule, is the goal.

How to be ...

"The adult in the room." Really? A paper clip? Really?


If I were the President, I'd wait for the first Republican to open his mouth about this, then get before the cameras and have a talk about how petty the Republicans have become, that they've actually reverted to criticizing paper clips. Americans are unemployed and the GOP is worrying about paper clips. Then I'd crow about how the paper clip is a made in America product and how even though the GOP may mock it, Obama is proud to support an American success story as ordinary as the simple paper clip (and people will chuckle and think the President is the adult in the room).

The reason why ...

I associate less and less with my Conservative acquaintances:

Applause lines:

  • The uninsured should be left to die.
  • Said uninsured parents should have daughters who die unnecessarily of cervical cancer.
  • A Fed Chairman who tries to fulfill his mandate by reducing unemployment is guilty of treason.

Boo lines:

  • Muslims are not collectively responsible for 9/11.
  • The children of illegal immigrants should not be denied the chance to go to college.
  • We should not pass an extraordinarily regressive tax cut.

If you consider yourself one of these people, than I really can't consider you a friend. You can't pick your relatives (that's why we all have at least one crazy conservative in the family we have to put up with), but you can pick your friends. I choose not to associate with such hateful, bigoted, bloodthirsty people.


Via Montag:

Former White House financial reform adviser Elizabeth Warren will officially launch her campaign for U.S. Senate from Massachusetts on Wednesday, challenging incumbent Republican Sen. Scott Brown, a source close to Warren told TPM on Tuesday.

“The pressures on middle class families are worse than ever, but it is the big corporations that get their way in Washington,” Warren said in a statement. “I want to change that. I will work my heart out to earn the trust of the people of Massachusetts.”


Ted Kennedy smiles.

It's about time ...

A certain demographic decides where their allegiance lies. Are they Americans or citizens of another country? Are they perfectly willing to help wreck this country to protect the reputation of another?


Turner put Weprin on the ropes with a focused campaign message that positioned the race as a pure referendum on President Obama, who has grown very unpopular in the district. With the prominent backing of former New York mayor Ed Koch, a Democrat, he devoted particular attention to Israel, where he told Jewish voters upset with Obama’s handling of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that they could send a message to the White House with an upset Republican victory. The district is about one-third Jewish, many of whom are ultra-Orthodox. On Tuesday, Turner’s campaign decorated his headquarters with an American and Israeli flag, taking care to put each at equal height.


Were it a Republican district (like NY-03 on Long Island) I wouldn't say a word, but in a staunchly Democratic one, at this extremely polarized time in our history, I wonder just how deep their conviction to this country is. It seems the Jewish people of NY-09 give a higher priority to the welfare of Israel than they do to the health of the nation they live in and are citizens of.

It looks to me like they are quite willing to turn their backs on the principles they've held for 50 years because of some perceived disrespect (some of us would posit the President only told the truth) to a nation they don't live in. Quite willing to add another voice for those who would roll back the rights many of you fought for (right next to the blacks) all those years ago in Selma and the other cities in the South. Quite willing to add another voice to those who would take away womens' rights, though many of you were at the spearhead of the cause. Quite willing to turn your backs on what you believe because some corporate hack panders to and manipulates you. It's disgusting.

Israel is not American soil. Israelis do not pay taxes or vote in America. Israel contributes nothing to this country, only takes.

Where else in your history have you ever had the rights and freedoms you do in America? Where else in your history were you accepted as you are in America, allowed to rise to the top of society without persecution? Do you think the Republicans will spare you when it's time to find a new scapegoat for what is wrong with this country when more of their policies fail? Do you think they will spare Israel? How quickly we forget.

So I ask the people of NY-09; are you Americans or not? I want to know because yesterday you turned your backs on everything you say you believe in, in order to "send a message" to the President. What are you gonna do next November, when the choice is between Obama and Rick Perry? I want to know that too, because Perry, like Turner, will tell you anything you want to hear. I'd really like to know how deep your convictions run.

And just an addendum: Ed Koch is a senile, self-serving old fool who should never be taken seriously.

And a note to the Democratic leadership: Maybe you shouldn't have thrown the Wiener under the bus so quickly.

Obama, get your Dick (Cheney) on

If it's Wednesday, it must be Morford.

Bottom line: Despite all his power and formidable intelligence, Obama seems to have no real capacity to deal with, you know, morons.

To say this is the most shamelessly weird, unscrupulous right wing in modern history doesn't seem to adequately capture how far Boehner & Co are willing to go to undermine and sabotage Obama's presidency. They will insult and demean their own constituents, yank insurance from children, hold the world economy hostage, cost the nation hundreds of billions, hobble the FAA, endanger lives, eat their young. And it's not even an election year yet.

To put it bluntly: Obama needs a Dick.

Cheney, that is. One to call his very own.

Of course, what he (or she) wouldn't have is a twitch of remorse when it came time to, say, casually mention to Anderson Cooper that Michelle Bachmann once drunk-dialed him in the middle if the night searching for her suitcase full of oxytocin, or that he once saw Rick Perry stroke a goat at the county fair just a little. Too. Intimately.

With that, er, ag major 'goat in hand' visual firmly in your mind, I bid you go read the rest.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

An interesting comparison

Another review of The Dick's book. By Dan Schnur, LATimes, who is no Librul. 1st and last ¶:

In the 1990s military courtroom drama "A Few Good Men," Marine Col. Nathan Jessup, as played by Jack Nicholson, faces down an inquisitor who challenges the measures Jessup believed were justified to protect the nation's security. "You want the truth," he thunders, "You can't handle the truth!"

Jessup was ultimately found guilty in a military trial, while Cheney was instead judged by a court of public opinion. This book is both men's appeal, leaving us with difficult and troubling questions regarding the balance between the sober necessity of our physical safety and the higher moral plane of our democratic ideals.

In the movies, the bad guy always gets his in the end. In real life, he remains free and makes $millions. Pretty much puts the lie to "higher moral plane".

I knew if I lived long enough...

...Doughy Pantload would bring a smile to my face. In this case by going off on the Repug presidential field.

The Repugs ain't near as happy with their clown lineup as I am. Heh.

Quote of the Day

Me, in comments on Gord's post:

... When a Fascist movement is too stupid to become Nazis, they become Talibans.

This one takes the fucking cake

First the applause over Goodhair's 234 executions, and now

Tea party audience cheers letting the uninsured die

God damn, I hate those 'bagger bastards.


Ron Paul was booed at the CNN/Tea Party Republican debate on Monday night after saying that al Qaeda did not attack the United States because “we’re free,” but because of U.S. military operations in the Middle East and the nation’s “unfair” treatment of Palestinians.

“This whole idea that the whole Muslim world is responsible for this and their attacking us because we’re free and prosperous, that is just not true,” he said, eliciting some cheers from the crowd.

But as he continued, the cheers were drowned out with boos.

See my comment above. And they're stupid as well for believing Bush's agenda-driven nonsense.

Never, ever, think Repug stupidity has peaked

GOP Rep. Steve King wants hearings on Obama’s ‘drunken uncle’

“I watched as President Obama’s aunt, Zeituni Onyango, also evaded [Immigration and Customs Enforcement],” King added. “The sympathy, the bleeding heart, of [Department of Homeland Security Director] Janet Napolitano decided to use an administrative authority to grant President Obama’s aunt asylum.”

Will somebody please give al Qaeda directions to the Capitol building and help us fix Congress?

At $40 a day ...

They're losing money on my ass. Showed up to the GJ today at 11:00, indicted 2 assholes, and I'm home now. I stopped at the liquor store on the way home to replenish my Porto supply too. Even at my old rate of pay as a mechanic ($32.50/hr), they barely got $40 worth today.

Fears From 9/11 Provide Cover for the Real Threats to Our Democracy

Legal Schnauzer

Is that what really happened on that awful day? September 11 will forever represent an attack on our borders, on our financial and governmental infrastructure, perhaps even on our way of life. But an attack on our democracy, on the ideals that form the underpinnings of our society? That can only come from within. Such an attack started well before 9/11, and it has continued to this day.

George W. Bush and other like-minded elites want to make sure regular folks never grasp the nature of an insider attack that could bring America to her knees.

Of all the people who have been quoted about the 10th anniversary of 9/11, I suspect no one gets it quite like Valerie Plame Wilson, the former covert CIA officer who was outed as part of the Bush administration's effort to deceive the public about the war in Iraq.

Wilson is featured in Time magazine's commemorative "Beyond 9/11" issue that is on newsstands now. In it, Wilson utters perhaps the most profound words I've seen so far related to 9/11:

We live in what I believe to be the greatest democracy in the world. With all its failings, it's still the best model that we've come up with, and it is really imperative that people take the last decade and the lessons learned and make sure that you apply them and hold your public officials to account.

George W. Bush, Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, and their brethren are desperate to make sure that doesn't happen. They want Americans to believe that airplanes and men with box cutters and funny sounding names can bring down our democracy.

The three named perpetrators know that it is they who should be held to account. Obama, DOJ, etc. are their enablers to see they remain free. Maybe "at large" is a better choice of words.

Valerie Plame Wilson is too smart to fall for that rubbish. Let's hope that millions of Americans will eventually take her words to heart.

Let's hope. Let's not hold our breath,

Republicanism As Religion

Andy Sullivan is hot today!

...if we are to understand how the right became so unmoored from prudence, moderation and tradition and became so infatuated with recklessness, extremism and revolution, we need to understand how it happened.

It is, of course, as my shrink never fails to point out, multi-determined. But here is Lofgren's attempt at a Rosebud:

How did the whole toxic stew of GOP beliefs - economic royalism, militarism and culture wars cum fundamentalism - come completely to displace an erstwhile civilized Eisenhower Republicanism?

It is my view that the rise of politicized religious fundamentalism (which is a subset of the decline of rational problem solving in America) may have been the key ingredient of the takeover of the Republican Party. For politicized religion provides a substrate of beliefs that rationalizes - at least in the minds of followers - all three of the GOP's main tenets.

Politicized religious fundamentalism. Just like al Qaeda and the Taliban!
The difference is that our home-grown ying yangs can hurt us more than them furriners ever could.

That's how I explain the current GOP. It can only think in doctrines, because the alternative is living in a complicated, global, modern world they both do not understand and also despise. Taxes are therefore always bad. Government is never good. Foreign enemies must be pre-emptively attacked. Islam is not a religion. Climate change is an elite conspiracy to impoverish America. Terror suspects are terrorists. When Americans torture, it is not torture. When Christians murder, they are not Christians. And if you change your mind on any of these issues, you are a liberal, an apostate, and will be attacked.

If you ask why I remain such a strong Obama supporter, it is because I see him as that rare individual able to withstand the zeal without becoming a zealot in response, and to overcome the recklessness of pure religious ideology with pragmatism, civility and reason. That's why they fear and loathe him. Not because his policies are not theirs'. But because his temperament is their nemesis. If he defeats them next year, they will break, because their beliefs are so brittle, but will then reform, along Huntsman-style lines. If they defeat him, I fear we will no longer be participating in a civil conversation, however fraught, but in a civil war.

Maybe we should just go ahead and elect one of 'em President and get it the fuck over with once and for all. For the children...

Headline of the Day

Kyrgyzstan: 83 Candidates Register for Presidential Elections

I can hardly wait for their televised "debates". Those guys "debate" with AK-47s. Maybe the Repugs'll learn how to do that...

Did Osama Win?

Today's 'must read'. Andrew Sullivan.

Bin Laden hoped to provoke a civilizational war between Islam and the West. And we took the bait.

We need to understand that 9/11 worked. It worked as a tactic to induce American self-destruction, even if it failed spectacularly as a strategy to advance Al Qaeda—and its heretical message of suicidal warfare—across the globe. [...]

[...] This handful of fanatics was supposedly a greater threat than the Nazis and the Soviets. And so much of our inherited moral wisdom—such as the absolute stricture against torture and the ideal of habeas corpus—were tossed aside. Dick Cheney, the man elected vice president as a calming father figure, became the most terrified of them all. And so we joined him in fearing that Al Qaeda was on the cusp of arming itself with WMDs that could be used to end our civilization.

Bin Laden and his henchmen failed, in other words. But our own fear won. Fear stopped us, overwhelmed us, as our ra-tion-al-ity deserted us. Yes, it was understandable, given what we endured that September morning. But we need to admit that our response was close to fatal. A bankrupted America that tortured innocents and disregarded its own Constitution is barely recognizable as America.

A few fanatics with boxcutters may have brought the buildings down but it only took one neocon coward to bring the country down.

After 10 years ...

You would think, at the least, we could prevent attacks in the capitol of Afghanistan.

Rockets are being fired at the US embassy in Kabul, say police in Afghanistan. The Taliban has claimed responsibliity and says the attackers are armed with rocket-propelled grenades, AK-47s and suicide vests.


How in Hell are we supposed to "win" out in the provinces when we can't secure Kabul? How much more time, and American lives, do we need to waste trying?

If, after a decade, we haven't pacified that shithole, we're never gonna do it.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Your mission today is to protect Cheney...


Late in the morning of the Tuesday that changed everything, Lt. Heather “Lucky” Penney was on a runway at Andrews Air Force Base and ready to fly. She had her hand on the throttle of an F-16 and she had her orders: Bring down United Airlines Flight 93. The day’s fourth hijacked airliner seemed to be hurtling toward Washington. Penney, one of the first two combat pilots in the air that morning, was told to stop it.

The one thing she didn’t have as she roared into the crystalline sky was live ammunition. Or missiles. Or anything at all to throw at a hostile aircraft.

Except her own plane. So that was the plan.

“We wouldn’t be shooting it down. We’d be ramming the aircraft,” Penney recalls of her charge that day. “I would essentially be a kamikaze pilot.”

There is talk that Flight 93 actually was shot down, but I don't believe a goddam thing that sonofabitch says. I don't know, of course, but the first ones sent to do it, this pilot and her C.O., didn't do it. Maybe Amelia Earhart did it.

Also see Prison Planet on this.

A Dud From ‘Darth’

Book review by John Dean. A good and quick read by a guy who knows about about malfeasance and criminality in High Places.

When I saw Dick Cheney dressed as Darth Vader to promote his new memoir, making a joke of his horrific behavior as vice president, all I could think about was how that video might play at his war crimes trial, if he ever were to undergo one. The prospect is not as farfetched as it might seem, particularly in light of his latest round of boasting about approving the use of “water-boarding” and other so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques.” From time to time I check in with acquaintances who are experts in international law and war crimes. They have long told me that Dick Cheney cannot risk leaving the United States, for there are a number of highly respected prosecutors in other countries who will not hesitate to charge him for his war crimes if they get the opportunity.

[...] Thus, nowhere does he acknowledge, not to mention provide any arguments to counter, the fact that Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida’s goal had been to bleed and bankrupt the United States. Reading this memoir, I had the feeling that Cheney has been sucker-punched by our enemy, but has yet to realize it. Money never seems a problem to the writer of this book; rather, he takes it for granted. He is simply blinded by his arrogance and worldview.

A conservative authoritarian asshole with too much power granted him by his weakling chimp.

Headline of the Day

Newborn La Niña: An Illustrated Guide

Go see this.

The magical world of voodoo ‘economists’

Steven Pearlstein

If you came up with a bumper sticker that pulls together the platform of this year’s crop of Republican presidential candidates, it would have to be:

Repeal the 20th century. Vote GOP.

It’s not just the 21st century they want to turn the clock back on — health-care reform, global warming and the financial regulations passed in the wake of the recent financial crises and accounting scandals.

These folks are actually talking about repealing the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Environmental Protection Agency, created in 1970s.

Etc., etc.

What’s next — repeal of quantum physics?

Well yeah. Science, you know. A communist, or worse liberal, attack on the Bible and our God-given right to be ignorant!

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

9/11 Tapes Reveal Military Ignored Cheney’s Order to Shoot Down All Civilian Planes
And throw all Democrats in internment camps.

U.S. Has Lost $60 Billion to Waste, Fraud in Iraq, Afghanistan
School Lunch Program will be defunded to make up those losses.

Perry: No Remorse for Executing Innocent Man
Says it will deter other innocent people.

Research: Conservatives Have Larger Fear Center in Brains, Liberals Larger Decision-Making Center
Unfortunately, decisions liberals make are to compromise with hysterical conservatives.

Vocabulary Builders

chutzpah n., when the Governor of Texas cuts funding 75% for volunteer fire departments, then demands federal disaster relief to fight wildfires, while calling for cuts in government spending.

Working for the State ...

That's what I'll be doing for the next month, starting today. I'll be sitting on a New York State grand jury, earning $40/day. Light blogging today because I have to be at the state court house in Riverhead (45 mile trip) by 9 this morning. I'll be at one of 3 state courts on Long Island, Riverhead, Hauppauge, or Central Islip. I'm hoping for either Hauppauge or CI because from either one it's a 3 minute drive home for lunch.

More regular blogging tomorrow, once I figure out a routine.

Lunchtime Update:

Yay, I got Central Islip.

The most touching tribute ...

To what happened on 9/11 yesterday, was the minute of silence before every European football (soccer) game in England and on the continent. I saw quite a few American flags in the stands, especially in England, but even in France (at the Paris-Saint Germain v. Stade Brestois 29 match), even after all the mocking they've taken after that tragic day ("freedom fries", "surrender monkeys", etc. though we quickly forget we probably wouldn't have our independence without the French).

That said, there's the American Plan:


This Sunday, the NFL season opens in earnest on the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks and the league, like John Boehner finding an abandoned pack of unfiltered smokes, just can’t control itself. Teams will be going all out to commemorate that horrific day ten years ago when nearly 3,000 people were killed in DC, Pennsylvania and New York City. If you think this anniversary should be remembered with somber soft voices and an air of dignity, you are going to want to keep your distance from NFL Sunday or you will lose your lunch.


In all the scurrying to make sure “9/11 NFL Sunday” is a day to remember, one name is strikingly absent from the press release trumpeting the day’s events: Pat Tillman. After 9/11, Tillman took the extraordinary step of leaving the NFL to join the Army Rangers. His experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan pushed him to question the official rational for the “Global War on Terror.” He read antiwar authors. He told friends that he felt the war in Iraq was “f—in’ illegal.” Then he died at the hands of his fellow Rangers in an instance of what was deemed “friendly fire.” The Pentagon and the Bush administration hid this reality from Pat Tillman’s family. The NFL, for its part, inaugurated a USO center at Bagram Airfield in Pat Tillman’s name without hinting at the complicated realities of either Tillman’s service or his betrayal at the hands of those he trusted. The NFL’s failure to highlight Tillman in this Sunday’s 9/11 tributes is in some ways a relief, but it also reads like an act of cowardice. His story is a polarizing one that Roger Goodell wants to avoid on this day of “unity.”


We spent the afternoon with friends who were also touched by that day.

Great thanks to GP for the link.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

After 10 years, WHY?

Marines from Bravo Company 1/6 Marines move to ambush a group of retreating Taliban fighters as their previous request for an air strike was denied.

Marines are from B Co., 1st Bn, 6th Mar. Rgt, 2nd Mar. Div., 2nd MEF.

Thanks to keithwong1411.

Red Meat Slam Dance

Will Durst

A full complement of Republican presidential candidates gathered for the battle royale at the Ronald Reagan Library in Seamy (Simi) Valley, California. And though he was only there in spirit, the Great Communicator could easily have supplied the power for the entire proceedings had the networks harnessed him spinning in his grave like a rotisserie chicken in the middle of a power surge.

The 8 challengers for his mantle didn't just break the Gipper's 11th Commandment, "Thou shall not speak ill of other Republicans," they stomped on it with football cleats and shoved it down a sewer grate with a broken rake handle. It was a red meat, power-tie slam dance with operatic overtones.

Eyes on the prize, Newt Gingrich cautioned panel mates to keep the attacks focused on Obama, while castigating the media for trapping them in this internecine warfare. The rest of the contingent affectionately dismissed his admonition the way a group of Oakland Raider tailgaters would an elderly aunt wandering into a discussion on blitz protection. Newt Gingrich - the soul of reason. Something has gone horribly awry.

Durst has a little to say about each of the nutjobs in turn. And Huntsman.

But there's plenty of time. This was just the premier stop for the traveling abattoir. There are dozens of chances for continued bloodletting until either Perry or Romney drops from the death of 1000 cuts, or they take each other out in a murder- suicide pact. While Team Obama roots for Perry from the sidelines the same way Jimmy Carter cheered on Bonzo's sidekick back in 80. Be careful what you wish for.

Murder-suicide would be good. The difference is, Reagan may have been sane. A Bachmann-Paul candidacy would not, but it'd be fun to watch.

Been there, done that...

The Daily Mail

It's a situation many can sympathise with - having one too many and attempting physical feats you'd never consider while sober.

But in this case the shamed boozy culprit was not human, but a moose who had become stuck several feet off the ground in an apple tree.

The inebriated creature managed to trap itself amongst the branches of the tree in Gothenburg after apparently becoming drunk while eating fermented apples.

Boozing mooses are not uncommon in Scandinavia...

Must be the socialism.

The Years of Shame

Paul Krugman

What happened after 9/11 — and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not — was deeply shameful. The atrocity should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge issue. Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W. Bush raced to cash in on the horror. And then the attack was used to justify an unrelated war the neocons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons.

A lot of other people behaved badly. How many of our professional pundits — people who should have understood very well what was happening — took the easy way out, turning a blind eye to the corruption and lending their support to the hijacking of the atrocity?

The memory of 9/11 has been irrevocably poisoned; it has become an occasion for shame. And in its heart, the nation knows it.

It would help a lot to lock up some of the perpetrators of the post-atrocity atrocities that took the nation down.

My greatest hope ...

10 years after September 11th, is that we finally begin to learn from the mistakes we've made over the past decade. I want to be as proud of my country again as I was of my fellow New Yorkers (one especially) 10 years ago.

See you all tomorrow.

Stop or I'll sue ...

Now this is the Jesus I'm talking about:

Jesus Christ filed a lawsuit today in the New York Supreme Court against the Republican National Committee for what he is calling "egregious misrepresentation of his statements and image."


[Mr. Christ's attorney:] Our client isn’t telling the GOP what their agenda should be, he simply wants them to stop using his name when their actions contradict everything he stood for.

If the GOP would like to continue using his name they have to start making a significant effort to help the poor and the sick, instead of the rich, and start promoting a more peaceful agenda."


I admire Mr. Christ's restraint, as opposed to having his daddy do some smiting, though it would be more entertaining than a dry civil suit. Heh ...

Thanks to our friend Montag for the link.