Friday, November 1, 2013

The simple meaning of Dia de los Muertos

Please watch this beautifully animated, and heart felt, short film about a little girl who visits the land of the dead, where she learns the true meaning of the Mexican holiday, Dia de los Muertos.
Student Academy Award Gold Medal winner, 2013!!

Muchas gracias to The Cgbros.

Uh ... yup...

A tip o' the Brain to Crooks and Liars on Facebook.

The War On The Poor

Paul Krugman

So what’s this all about? One reason, the sociologist Daniel Little suggested in a recent essay, is market ideology: If the market is always right, then people who end up poor must deserve to be poor. I’d add that some leading Republicans are, in their minds, acting out adolescent libertarian fantasies. “It’s as if we’re living in an Ayn Rand novel right now,” declared Paul Ryan in 2009.

But there’s also, as Mr. Little says, the stain that won’t go away: race.

In a much-cited recent memo, Democracy Corps, a Democratic-leaning public opinion research organization, reported on the results of focus groups held with members of various Republican factions. They found the Republican base “very conscious of being white in a country that is increasingly minority” — and seeing the social safety net both as something that helps Those People, not people like themselves, and binds the rising nonwhite population to the Democratic Party. And, yes, the Medicaid expansion many states are rejecting would disproportionately have helped poor blacks.

So there is indeed a war on the poor, coinciding with and deepening the pain from a troubled economy. And that war is now the central, defining issue of American politics.
Shorter: The blacks and browns are no longer subservient to the white ruling class and tend to vote Democratic. They're uppity and must be punished. Makes no difference that most of the poor are white.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Teabaggers are safe from zombies!

A tip o' the Brain to Being Liberal.

Quote of the Day

Paul Krugman

And Republicans still dream of dismantling Medicare as we know it, instead giving seniors vouchers to buy private insurance. In effect, although they never say this, they want to convert Medicare into Obamacare.

Heh. Somebody oughta 'splain "irony" to those clowns, not that they'd get it.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Crashing Glitching Bores

Will Durst on the Obamacare rollout mess hearings.

The sight of these grandfatherly types who couldn't tell a glitch from a Sneetch pretending to speak conversantly about something they have the same familiarity with as a calico cat does with calculus makes keeping a straight face difficult. Especially considering their extreme remonstrations of concern, which sound similar to cobras worrying that the mouse door is often unlocked.

Thing is, they're perfectly right. The rollout went less smooth than a 40 foot square steel donut rumbling down a pressed tin bridge. Democrats agree the website technology for Obamacare is so outdated it looks like Health and Human Services rescued it from Compuserve's trash using a dial-up modem. There are at least six or 17 areas of this country where a class of fifth graders could have constructed a more navigable site during study hall.

The ultimate techie nightmare. More crashes than Windows Vista through 27 stories of skylights. A health care portal with all the compassion and efficiency of the DMV. Coming soon: leeches. Although many claim that plenty of licensed barbers are already caucusing with the House majority. Face it, if the government created the Cloud, it would be called the Smog and leak antifreeze.
...

But by focusing their attention on the website, the GOP seems to be signaling they've accepted Obamacare, at least in theory. After trying to repeal it 50 times then shutting down the government in an attempt to defund it, they are finally, reluctantly, on board. And just want to straighten things out by letting the American people know this is the worst legislation in the history of ever.

In other words, they've graduated to complaining about the choice of the font on the menu and not the ingredients of the feast.
More.

If ya can't beat 'em, threaten 'em

From Kos in toto.

The teabagger core argument: Takers, makers and the violent end of democracy

Yeah, this is a mid-week nutpick, but it's a nutpick with a mission: To help explain the current conservative mindset.

It's a comment on a thread on Breitbart which is literally trying to unskew yesterday's Washington Post poll of the Virginia governor's race.

A veteran Virginia pollster, Breitbart News has learned, this the results of the poll are "at least" 6 points off, and notes that the Post polls ordinarily overestimate Democrat performance in the Commonwealth.

Ha ha ha! I never tire of the unskewers! But that's not what I want to focus on. Rather, it's this comment:

no amount of economic or cultural chaos and disaster will ever incite those people to turn on their democrat masters. However, considering Obamacare's devastation..should Virginia choose to drink the kool-aid too...and elect McAuliffe ...it will all but convince me that the country has totally surrendered to a communist future....and there won't be any turning the tide in 2014....

There are simply too many takers extracting from a shrinking class of makers in this country. The intricate web of taxation and regulation has imprisoned the economy....guaranteeing that the Cloward and Piven blueprint will succeed.

After that...it could be anarchy....insurrection...or revolution.....who knows?

The entire conservative mindset is encapsulated in those three short paragraphs—the sense that everything has gone to shit, but people stick with Democrats because they're takers while conservatives are makers, and that if it continues much longer ... violence! All wrapped up in a nice bundle of f'd up punctuation. (At least it was run through a spell checker.)

That whole "makers" vs "takers" was the basis of Mitt Romney's 47 percent nonsense. And it's also the modern formulation of the racists' lament, in case you were wondering why race was missing in the comment above. It's not good white people doing the taking, you know?

But that comment also hints at the desperation and resignation coursing through today's conservatives: The notion that they've lost the battle. Sure, 2008 and 2012 were big blows, but they were softened by 2010's GOP wave. They want to believe those two presidential years were anomalies, but they know better. Once Virginia goes Blue, bucking a 40-year trend in which the party in the White House lost the governor's race, it'll confirm their worst fears. They will have lost the country and 2014 will only ratify the nation's new direction.

Thus, the final appeal to violence—because if democracy fails them, then what is left? The question will be whether that violence will remain a fantasy as they politically disengage, or whether they'll begin to act on it.

The "skewed" polls show the top three spots - gov, lt gov, and AG - in VA will go to Dems. I certainly hope so. The Repug candidates are fucking crazy. Why is Breitfart trying to gin up violence?

Other than it's Breitbart (he's still dead), because the 'baggers/wingnuts/fundies/haters are starting to lose big time and they're sore losers and whiny little bitches. They talk a big game, but they're all flaps and no throttle and when all is said and done, more will have been said than done, as usual.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

GOP Still Worried About "Those People"

Paul Krugman

Lots of commentators have been referencing a report from Democracy Corps about focus-group meetings with Republicans, and with good reason: Stanley Greenberg, the organization's co-founder, has basically provided a unified theory of the craziness that has enveloped American politics in the last few years.

What the report makes clear is that the current Republican obsession with attacking programs that benefit Americans in need, ranging from food stamps to health care reform, isn't about some philosophical commitment to small government. It's about anxiety over a changing America - the multiracial, multicultural society we're becoming - and anger that Democrats are taking Their Money and giving it to Those People. In other words, it's still race after all these years.

One irony here is that at this point it's the liberals who believe in America, while the conservatives don't (my em). I believe in our ability to change while retaining our essential nature; I believe that today's immigrants will be incorporated into the fabric of our society, just as Italian and Jewish immigrants - once regarded as fundamentally incompatible with American ways - became "white" by the middle of the 20th century.

Another irony is that the great right-wing fear that social insurance programs will in effect buy minority votes for Democrats, leading to further change, is becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. The G.O.P. could have tried to reach out to immigrants, moderated its stances on Obamacare, and staked out a position as the restrained, sensible party. Instead, it's alienating all the people it needs to win over, and quite possibly setting the stage for the very liberal dominance it fears.
Good.

Headline and Quote of the Day

Britney Spears's Music Is Used to Fight Off Somali Pirates (Stop Laughing)

“I’d imagine using Justin Bieber would be against the Geneva Convention.” Heh.
Heh.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Dark Money Kochsuckers pay fine

ProPublica. Much more and many links at site

Two dark money groups linked to conservative billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch have paid a record $1 million in fines to California to settle allegations that the combined $15 million they spent on two ballot proposals in the state was not properly disclosed.

The civil settlement, announced Thursday afternoon in Sacramento, caps a year of investigation into the activities of the two Arizona groups, Americans for Responsible Leadership and the Center to Protect Patient Rights.
...

“What is the takeaway from this trail of dark money?” asked Ann Ravel, the outgoing head of California’s Fair Political Practices Commission, which investigated the groups along with the state attorney general’s office. “This is a nationwide issue. These groups exploit loopholes in the law to undermine the clear purpose of the law, to give essential information to the public.”
...

Anonymous money funneled through social welfare nonprofits and trade associations has become a major factor in federal elections since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in early 2010 opened up the door to unlimited corporate and union spending on outside ads, as documented by ProPublica. In the past two election cycles, social welfare nonprofits have spent more than $350 million, mostly from unknown donors, on election ads telling people to vote for or against federal candidates.
"Social welfare non-profits" my ass. That's a carefully engineered loophole you can drive an aircraft carrier through. More like a container ship fulla Benjamins.

And while the groups have been linked to the Koch brothers, it’s not clear how exactly they’re connected. The Center to Protect Patient Rights, which operates out of a post office box in Arizona and doesn’t even have a website, has been described practically like an ATM machine for various groups affiliated with the Koch brothers. The press release issued by California authorities says the Center and Americans for Responsible Leadership “operated as part of the ‘Koch Brothers Network’ of dark money political nonprofit corporations.”

The Kochs have long been known for spending millions to influence elections behind the scenes, through a complex network of groups that critics have nicknamed “the Kochtopus.” The Kochs themselves have remained determinedly in the background.
...

The fine is the largest in California history in a campaign-finance case.

The manner in which the groups paid it speaks volumes about how dark their money really is.

They paid by cashier’s check, sent by a Sacramento lawyer’s office Thursday morning, betraying no clue to the money’s origin.
They paid the fine, chump change to them, and we still don't know who they are.

This shit has to stop, but as long as we have a right-wing SCOTUS it will not.

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

Iran Removes Anti-American Posters as Western Nuke Talks Loom
“Death to Satan” replaced by “Welcome Satan.”

7-Eleven Begins Offering Premium Wines
To wash down those Slim Jims.
Not to worry. They still have cheap vodka.

Cop That Pepper-Sprayed Students Awarded $38,000 for Psychiatric Damage
Cops that beat the crap out of Rodney King hire a lawyer.

New Theory: Earliest Cave Paintings May Have Been by Women
Experts cite dearth of pornography.

Airlines Shrink Size of Seats, Add More of Them in Economy
Hoping to eventually break our will and force us to upgrade to business.