Saturday, November 15, 2008

Recon patrol

Here's some extremely rare footage of me 'n Fixer on a recon patrol. He's drivin'. Sorta. Heh.

If Krugman's happy ...

So am I:

Because it’s such good news. Elizabeth Warren, expert on personal bankruptcy, crusader against credit card industry lobbyists, and founder of the extremely useful blog Credit Slips, to be a member of the bailout oversight board.

Elections have consequences.

Oversight? Real oversight? There's something we haven't seen in a long time.

Dear Ted Stevens ...

Looks like you won't be a senator when they cart your crooked old ass to jail:

Democratic challenger Mark Begich's lead over Republican incumbent/felon Ted Stevens was 814 on Thursday. It's now 1,022, with "about 24,000 ballots left to be counted, coming from Anchorage, Southeast Alaska and the Kenai Peninsula," according to the Anchorage Daily News. "The state will tally them all Tuesday."


Enjoy your stay in prison, tube-boy.

It's not just Hawaiian Haute Cuisine anymore!


AUSTIN, Minn. — The economy is in tatters and, for millions of people, the future is uncertain. But for some employees at the Hormel Foods Corporation plant here, times have never been better. They are working at a furious pace and piling up all the overtime they want.

The workers make Spam, perhaps the emblematic hard-times food in the American pantry.

Through war and recession, Americans have turned to the glistening canned product from Hormel as a way to save money while still putting something that resembles meat on the table. Now, in a sign of the times, it is happening again, and Hormel is cranking out as much Spam as its workers can produce.

Spam, a gelatinous 12-ounce rectangle of spiced ham and pork, may be among the world’s most maligned foods, dismissed as inedible by food elites and skewered by comedians who have offered smart-alecky theories on its name (one G-rated example: Something Posing As Meat).

Boy, I hope the Safeway doesn't run low. I love the stuff.

El Coyote Revisited

Protests and demonstrations against the passage of California's Proposition 8 have been going on non-stop since election day. A coupla days ago I posted about the involvement of one of the higher-ups at an old favorite restaurant of mine in the Yes on 8 campaign.


Employees of the Los Angeles restaurant that came under fire this week after a manager gave $100 to the campaign to ban same-sex marriage in California said they had made a $500 contribution to the advocacy group that is raising money to challenge Proposition 8.

The Thursday online donation to Equality California, an advocacy group for the gay and lesbian community, came at precisely 7:22:03 p.m., about 22 minutes into a planned demonstration outside the restaurant's doors for the second night in a row.

Over the last week, online social networking sites and blogs have urged people to boycott El Coyote Mexican Cafe on Beverly Boulevard because of the $100 donation by Marjorie Christoffersen, a manager at the restaurant and a daughter of El Coyote's owner, who is Mormon,

Diners at one table had to be compensated for their $50 tab because their night had been ruined, and patrons celebrating a birthday at an outdoor table had to endure protesters late into the evening, he said.

They sure got more than they bargained for with their Margaritas and Combination Plates!

Crenshaw said Christoffersen remains out of town and is "very upset" by what has happened.

Tough shit. The chickens have come home to roost, so to speak. Who knew you could get in so much trouble or wreck a going concern for only $100 given in support of your hateful cult's beliefs? Heh.

Saturday Emmylou Blogging

Sheryl Crow and Emmylou Harris - Juanita

Fuck Bush ...

We want the brotha! Via Erin @ TLC:

WASHINGTON - Barack Obama tapped a pair of high-profile delegates to represent him at this weekend's international economic summit, but world leaders wish the President-elect himself was coming.

The dignitaries visiting Washington will be respectful of lame-duck President Bush, but their interest in Obama prompted the President-elect Wednesday to name former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Rep. Jim Leach (R-Iowa) to satisfy the demand.


It would nice if we could back the paddy wagon up to the White House, take all the Chimp's folks out in cuffs, and let Barry take over early. The nation, and the world, would be better off.

Saturday Morning Johnson Blogging

I was watching Gunny Ermey giving a history of infantry rifles last night on 'Lock N' Load' and this oddball weapon came up.

Johnson M1941 semiautomatic rifle (USA)

See a close-up of the magazine and loading arrangement here.

So why do I bring this up? The thing was a piece of crap. As the lady who runs the historical armory at MCB Quantico said on the show:

"You'll never find a Marine who says he likes a Johnson."

I just couldn't let a line like that go to waste!

Friday, November 14, 2008

In the best interests of us all, you're on Russia watch...

Think Progress

In the wake of the Republican Governors Association (RGA) convention this week in Miami, many GOP governors were reluctant to embrace Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) as the party’s leader or presidential candidate for 2012. Today, the RGA made that sentiment official, by not voting her in to any of the organization’s leadership positions:

Da guvs is plenny smart.

The Repuglican't party is composed of tops and bottoms and yes, that's the context I mean. The tops use the bottoms in exactly the same fashion: they sweet talk 'em and fuck 'em and use 'em and then ignore 'em. Palin appeals to the whackjob base. The very last thing the Repugs want is for the bottoms to get on top.

My fearless prediction is that we will see the last of her on the national stage in any serious role in the near future. She may continue as far right comedy relief for years.

The case against Lieberman

My Favorite Pundit sums up the case against Joe the Turncoat in as good a segment as you will see. She tamps his crap into a very neat brick. And who else uses phrases like 'vituperative antipathy' as if we are actually adults who can understand it?

Note to Ms. Maddow: I know you're too busy, so I'll go get the restraining order against me myself.

Team Lioness

I watched a documentary last night on PBS called 'Lioness' about female combat soldiers in Iraq.

Despite a Department of Defense policy banning women from direct ground combat, U.S. military commanders have been using women as an essential part of their ground operations in Iraq since 2003. The female soldiers who accompany male troops on patrols and house-to-house searches are known as Team Lioness, and have proved to be invaluable. Their presence not only helps calm women and children, but Lioness troops are also able to conduct searches of the women, without violating cultural strictures. Against official policy and without the training given to their male counterparts, and with a firm commitment to serve as needed, these dedicated young women have been drawn into the fighting in some of the most violent counterinsurgency battles in Iraq. Yet they are rarely—if ever—mentioned in news accounts of those battles.

I'm sure they are not mentioned because what they are ordered to do is illegal.

LIONESS profiles five women who saw action in Iraq’s Sunni Triangle during 2003 and 2004. As members of the U.S. Army’s 1st Engineer Battalion, Shannon Morgan, Rebecca Nava, Kate Pendry Guttormsen, Anastasia Breslow and Ranie Ruthig were sent to Iraq to provide supplies and logistical support to their male colleagues. Not trained for combat duty, the women unexpectedly became involved with fighting in the streets of Ramadi.

Told through interviews, journal excerpts and archival footage, LIONESS offers a portrait of five soldiers who are also wives, mothers and daughters, and who have long coped with the demands of military life, especially the sacrifices involved in leaving behind spouses and young children. These combat-tested women exemplify what it means to be a good soldier, and illustrate the complicated role that women play in direct war combat. Reflecting on their recent deployment, the Lionesses display strength and candor, bridging the gap between the perception and the reality of the essential role women are playing in Iraq.

There's some humor as well. I paraphrase:

"The Marines do things a lot different than the Army. Those guys go lookin' for fights!"

Out of contact with her fire team for a minute in the middle of a firefight and thinking she had been abandoned, upon reuniting with them:

"I kicked the squad leader right in the nuts!"

Who amongst us has not wanted to do that? Get 'im, girl!

I'm a tough ol' bird in some respects, but this film kinda broke my heart. Whatever you think of women in combat, it's happening as a result of cultural necessity. The women face the same risk of death, injury, PTSD, etc. that the men do. At least the Army is training them for it now. I highly recommend you see it somehow. Start with the quite extensive link. Please.

Quote of the Day

Hoffmania via Jill:


Shut. Up. You're a crazy person. Seek the help you need, go home and keep an eye on Russia with that dysfunctional family of yours.

Late for work. KTHXBAI!

The new threat ...

Scout Prime haz it:


Mr Sarkozy, using the familiar tu, tried to reason with him: "Yes but do you want to end up like [President] Bush?" Mr Putin was briefly lost for words, then said: "Ah — you have scored a point there."


Like my mom used to say to me when I'd fuck up: "You're not useless, there's always that career as a bad example."

How about ...

A career Foreign Service Officer at State instead of a marquee name? We got a lot of fences to mend. While Barry owes Hil a spot in the cabinet if she wants it, I'd like someone at State, finally, who knows what they're doing. Richard Holbrooke, fer instance ...

And, as I did 4 years ago, I'll repeat the offer. If Barry wants someobody really good at Commerce or Treasury, Mrs. F is your girl. She's more than qualified; the only problem is she's married to me and in the politcal world, I'm considered 'baggage'. Heh ...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

El Coyote? No mas.

The Campaign Silo

About 70 people gathered at the legendary El Coyote Cafe in Los Angeles' Fairfax District Wednesday morning for a community sit down/brunch to hear Marjorie Christoffersen speak about why she gave $100 to Yes on 8 via the Mormon Church. Marjorie, a lifelong Mormon, is the niece of El Coyote's founder and daughter of the current owner. She receives a salary as a floor manager. El Coyote has 89 employees, many of whom are gay.

But the crowd was deeply touched when one of the waitress, Rocio who is working on her citizenship papers, explained that she didn't know gay people before she came to work at El Coyote, but after a few weeks working there, her younger brother came to her and told her he was gay, and that because of El Coyote's clientele she was able to understand him. She was pleading with customers, who clearly care for her as she does for them, to not leave El Coyote, and said that if she had had her citizenship she would have voted no on 8.

And therein lies the problem: Here is a restaurant, seeped in Los Angeles history with a huge gay clientele, that employs 89 staff many of whom are gay, all of whom (except Marjorie) are gay friendly--and that has a manager who is part of the owner's family, who tithes to an anti-gay church and donated, at her church's behest, to eliminate a civil right from the very people who she says she loves--people who help provide her with an income.

If Marjorie loves El Coyote as much as she says, she needs bid farewell to her job. And maybe the condescending idea of how you can "love" someone and be their "friend" yet feel they are not worthy of equal rights needs be tossed off the back of the bus.

At the end of the meeting, no one felt like eating, despite the offer of a free meal--Marjorie's views had left a bad taste in everyone's mouth.

I got a bad taste in my mouth right now too. El Coyote is possibly the first Mexican restaurant I ever ate in, maybe sixty years ago. I have eaten there many, many times since. The food is excellent. I'm 500 miles from there now, so it's hollow for me to say 'never again', but, never again.

God damn those fuckin' Mormons. Now they're shittin' on good places. Keep it in Salt Lake City, you assholes.

Note to the Elder Saints: What you racist, homophobic motherfuckers should do in aid of the country you live in and despise is a cult-wide Latter Day Jonestown.

Mrs. G's father deserted her Mom and left her with two small children back in the late '40s. He later converted to Mormonism. I met him once right after I told one of his state-paid foster delinquent brats who had just cracked a whip a little too close to me that I was going to break his fuckin' arm if he did it again. I woulda done it then and there, but that was the day Mrs. G took her fiance, me, to meet her father and I was on my best behavior. He didn't like me and I didn't like him. A few years after that he blew his own head off. At no loss to the human race. Take the hint, the rest of you Mormon bastards.

This is why it's called 'Idahole'

Raw Story

Madison County, Idaho was once dubbed "the reddest place in America" by Salon, but that didn't make it any less shocking when elementary school children allegedly started chanting "assassinate Obama" on the school bus.

According to an article which appeared in Salon in 2006, "You've heard of Jesusland, but Rexburg, Idaho, is something more. It's not just a small town in rural Eastern Idaho. It's a small town in rural Eastern Idaho completely dominated by a fast-growing Mormon college, Brigham Young University-Idaho."

That fucking racist cult again.

The population of Madison County is not only heavily Republican but also 97.7% white. One of Rexburg's lone Democrats, a professor at the university, told Salon that "she remembers the time when a group of classmates followed her third-grader home, shouting out 'baby-killer' all along the way. She took it up with the teacher, who didn't seem to mind."

Idaho is a beautiful state with a high percentage of truly ugly people. I'm sure glad it's out in the middle of nowhere.

Obama Plot Skinhead Wants Dismissal


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A white supremacist charged with plotting to kill President-elect Barack Obama and other black people wants his indictment dismissed, arguing that the federal grand jury that charged him had too many black members.

It argues that the 23-member grand jury that returned the indictment had just two white members and could not have been fair and impartial.

A little behind the times ain'tcha, dickwad? The days when a white man could count on an all-white jury to let him off for crimes against blacks is long gone. Maybe you'll get to be in an all-white cellblock. It'll be more fun to watch if you don't.

What Doesn't Kill The Far-Right Only Makes Them Crazier

Bob Cesca

Since their thumpin' last week, the far-right has pushed the crazy to eleven and snapped the knob clean off -- an opening salvo of twisted hackery portending an insane four-to-eight years of attacks on the Obama administration. If the last seven days have been any indication, the far-right is shaping up to make the 1990s seem quaint -- even erudite by comparison. That which used to be your basic, off-the-shelf intellectual dishonesty has grown into, as Digby pointed out recently, full-on intellectual violence.

The "Impeach Obama" Facebook groups, for example. No, I'm not making that up. They're real and there's a constant variety of disgruntled far-right Republicans joining up every day. And, to our total lack of surprise, they're not ashamed in the slightest to post comments like this one:

"Damn dems stole the election like they always do. GOD wanted McCain and Palin in the White House. That's why it's called THE WHITE HOUSE."

Shortly after discovering this, I was talking with a colleague and found myself instinctively trying to form a rational argument about why the Facebook members were wrong. It began with the obvious: "He's not even the president yet!" And then, after I segued into Article II and the constitutional grounds for impeachment, I stopped myself. What in name of Randall P. MacMurphy am I doing? Arguing against this crap is like explaining to a meth tweaker that the shadow people aren't real (my em). That's when I decided that it'd be more fun to just infiltrate one of the groups and post comments like, "The moon landing was staged!" and, "Obama is a bionic -- just like his half-aunt! I have proof!"

It won't faze 'em a bit, Bob. Just run-of-the-mill delusionry from the batshit base.

Whoops. There I go again, talking about facts and treating the crazy like it's real.

So we're in for many more years of insanity from the far-right. They're not dead. They're not as irrelevant as they deserve to be. And they certainly don't suffer from writer's block when it comes to outlandish and illogical attacks and smears.

Put it this way, if President-elect Obama so much as takes a long weekend off this August, you can bet that the far-right will crap their cages about Obama being lazy and shiftless.

There are several schools of thought(?) amongst the Repugs as to exactly why they lost the election, depending on how far to right of the reality line the "thinker" stands. The one that applies here is that they lost because they weren't far enough to the right! Gee, I guess if the needle on the gas gauge is far enough to the right that it's wrapped around the pin about three times, then you've got even more gas than the tank will hold! Ooh, way better!

These assholes are starting to redouble² their smear efforts. We're in for it all right. Ya think we've seen some ugly shit from these assclowns up to now? We ain't seen nothin' yet.


To quote our pal Nucks (go see '6 fun facts' about the guy your mother warned you about. Heh.) in 'comments:

Bring it, assholes.

Fuckin' A.

Fear of A Gay Planet

Violet Blue knows exactly why Prop. 8 passed, and it's distasteful

I don't necessarily agree with Ms. Blue, but I'm sure what she has to say figured in at least in part. Also, this is about as close to Rude Pundit as you can get in a newspaper! Links you won't believe! Heh.

Yes, the family-packed Proposition 8 protest last Friday night, with estimates of between 15,000 and 25,000 marchers, was quite peaceful. Unless you saw the look on 8-foot-tall Miss Trannyshack 2007 Pollo Del Mar's face. She looked like she was about to slam a size 15 open-toed high heel into the back of some Mormon's head. No one - and I mean NO ONE - is taking her bridal registry away.

The Mormon (LDS) church, as we all know, was the biggest supporter of this actual threat to true family values. Well, and Mel Gibson helped Prop. 8 a little, too. (Or Mel Gibstein, as I like to call him.) But if you take the KPIX estimate of 25,000 San Francisco protesters - that's the exact same number of Mormon volunteers who were going door-to-door in our fair state warning voters about the homosexual menace. What the hell were they saying? I'm pretty sure the script went like this:

"Save the family … blah blah blah … two penises together … blah blah blah … you're either for traditional marriage or against it … blah blah blah … dirty man on man anal sex … blah blah blah … your marriage will be meaningless if gays can do it … blah blah blah … sweaty hairy naked manly women with giant dildos … blah blah blah … protect the sanctity of a man and a woman making babies … blah blah blah … this will make your children gay and expose them to gay sex … blah blah blah … vote yes on 8 … filthy poophole sex … have a nice day!"

We all know what it means when someone goes way, way out of their way about gayness. It's because they can't stop thinking about all that hot gay sex. [...]

Just go...

Tagged ...

I normally don't do these but ...

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

1. I have this funny (insane?) quirk about doing things left-to-right. Example: Getting dressed; left, sock, left shoe, right sock, right shoe - gloves; left one first, on and off. (Fly is always zip-then-button.)

2. I'm about beer the way some snobs are with wine. I will drink water (There's a whole thing about my drinking water too. If I ask for a glass of water, check me for fever.) before I drink Budweiser. It's one of the reasons I love being in Europe so much. The Belgians have my eternal affection.

3. I own more neckties than most of the people I know combined.

4. I generally like more of the animals I meet than the people I meet in the course of a day. I have a very low tolerance for dumbasses, especially the ones who think they're smarter than I am. Pretense also annoys the shit out of me, as do fake breasts. I look for authenticity in my close friends - be who you are.

5. Being a mechanic and hating cars. Not cars per se, but the whole experience of the customers who go with them. The old men who have too much free time and think every little vibration is a major calamity and bother me 3 times a day; the women who "can give you 20 minutes" to perform a brake job (4 wheel), replace two axles, and change the oil; or the people without lives who think I should entertain them while I work on their car; or the Wall St. asshole who thinks his BMW is the most precious thing since they discovered the Hope Diamond ...

My dream job would be building a couple of nice hotrods a year, maybe have a couple guys working with me, and taking our time building some good, fast, beautiful cars.

6. I hate sitcoms. I hate most TV, but sitcoms are the worst ('reality' shows running neck and neck). If you don't look at the screen while they're on, the scripts sound the same as they did in the 60s. The subjects might be a bit more risque nowadays but the plots are the same. They are recycled, mind-numbing drivel.

I'm not gonna tag anyone, but my thanks to our friend PC for giving me the tag. Don't make it a habit. Heh ...

Off to work ...

Like we feared ...

Ain't shit gonna happen. Digby looks at the chances of anyone in the Bush administration being held accountable for the mess they made of this country:


As to the pardons, there is precedent for a president to pardon whole categories of people --- Carter did it for draft resisters and George Washington did it for those involved in the Whiskey Rebellion. The article discusses some moral distinctions, but it seems clear to me that Bush could do this and there would be nothing anyone could do about it.


A congressional commission would be great. But at the risk of sounding cynical, the odds of that happening are about as good as Sarah W. Palin becoming a Supreme Court justice. We're now heavily into let bayhgones be bayhgones mode and I'd be shocked if this congress would do it. (Besides, Joe Lieberman might hold his breath until he turns blue and they can't let that happen.)


The most I'm hoping for is a scale-back of the power of the Executive, what Bush and Cheney have usurped over the last 8 years. Even though the Dems have a majority now, their spinelessness still prevails.

Reboot ...



Given how often the Bush administration have sidelined Congress to push their own policies, the notion that a majority of Congress can so easily sideline Bush's last six months in office has a delicious sense of karma about it.

Heh ... Fixer likes!

Quote of the Day

Gene Lyons

"[...] The presidency of George W. Bush, you see, never actually happened. Right up until Nov. 3, every bad thing that happened in the U.S.A. was the fault of Bill Clinton. Starting Nov. 4, it’s all Obama’s fault."

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Making Of A President

Dave Barry, with comments. Liquid Alert!

As you may know, I am a veteran member of the world-famous Lawn Rangers precision lawnmower drill team, whose members march every year at the Broom Corn festival in Arcola, Ill., as well as various other events, depending on how drunk they are scheduling. (I have written two columns about the Lawn Rangers, which can be found here and here.) The Lawn Rangers perform highly sophisticated semi-synchronized maneuvers with lawnmowers, brooms, and toilet plungers. Membership in this crack unit is a great honor, bestowed only on whoever shows up very few people.

Today I received an email from Lawn Rangers co-founder Pat Monahan, with a photograph taken in 2003 when the Rangers marched in the Chicago St. Patrick's Day parade. Joining them on this occasion was an up-and-coming Illinois state senator, seen here participating in the rigorous rookie-training program:

A plunger might come in pretty handy for him in his transition and thereafter to shove the Bush administration on its way.

"It feels good to be cool"

Well, yeah, but speaking as the guy who taught the Fonz and Steve McQueen everything they know, like what's new?

There is so much syrupy shit goin' around about Obama's election that I've been checking my blood sugar level twice a day, but this one from Garrison Keillor is very nice, you should go read:

It feels good to be cool, and all of us can share in that, even sour old right-wingers and embittered blottoheads. Next time you fly to Heathrow and hand your passport to the man with the badge, he's going to see "United States of America" and look up and grin. Even if you worship in the church of Fox, everyone you meet overseas is going to ask you about Obama, and you may as well say you voted for him because, my friends, he is your line of credit over there. No need anymore to try to look Canadian.

So enjoy the afterglow of the election awhile longer. We all walk taller this fall. People in Copenhagen and Stockholm are sending congratulatory e-mails—imagine! We are being admired by Danes and Swedes! And Chicago becomes The First City. Step aside, San Francisco. Shut up, New York. The Midwest is cool now. The mind reels. Have a good day.

Note to New York: Don't listen to him! Most decidedly do not shut up!

Note to Frisco: Garrison who? Just keep on keepin' on. Baghdad-by-the-Bay is like granola: What ain't fruits or nuts is flakes. We need that.

The flip side is that we might actually be able to get a good Chicago-style deep-dish pizza out west here some time soon! I'm down wid dat!

The afterglow of the momentous election may only last until reality sets back in, but it will feel grand for a while yet.

Is THIS What Gay Marriage Threatens the Sanctity Of?

And they probably already have the same last name!

Thanks, Don.

Schumer and Durbin Want Lieberman Stripped of Homeland Security

Yes, we all want to see Lieberman punished for his support of McCain, but there's a real reason to can his old white ass. From Jane Hamsher in The Nation:

One point I think needs to be made. This isn't about Joe Lieberman maintaining membership in a country club as a matter of feel-good "bipartisanship." There's actually a job that needs doing here, and when Chris Dodd and Evan Bayh say that they want Lieberman to retain his chairmanship, they are saying that the extraordinary waste, graft, greed and cronyism that have built the Department of Homeland Security to a bloated, ineffectual taxpayer-funded behemoth under Joe Lieberman is just fine.

No-bid contracts kept from public scrutiny in the name of "national security" have built a department of unprecedented waste and theft, all rubber stamped and protected from Senate investigation by Joe Lieberman's chairmanship. And what has it gotten us? Nothing. Basically, the Department of Homeland Security became just another front for the military industrial complex to feed off American taxpayers while neocons like Lieberman screamed "terror terror terror, just trust us."

The FY 2009 budget request for the Department of Homeland Security is $50.5 billion, a 6.8% increase over 2008.

What Bayh and Dodd are saying is that they like Joe so much that this is a small price to pay, that the status quo is just fine and that there is no real need for change.

I wonder if taxpayers agree that $50.5 billion is chump change so long everyone can still sing kumbaya on the Senate floor?

Good for Schumer and Durbin for putting public stewardship over old-boy clubbiness and saying "no."

Make it so, Senators. Any reason you can come up with is fine with me, so much the better if it's for Repug-style incompetence and cronyism.


More from Jane. She is really on the case!

Traitor Joe: A Few Things Democratic Senators Should Keep In Mind

Go read. I'm not sure Trader Joe's will be exactly thrilled with her play on words! Heh.

Obama's Veterans Day

Silent respect instead of big speeches full of platitudes and lies like the Dick and Chimp-o. I think perhaps we will have a President with a little character. We sure need one.

The Swamp

Wearing a dark overcoat, the president-elect walked to the memorial with Tammy Duckworth, a wounded Iraq War veteran and director of the Department of Veterans Affairs for Illinois.

With her at his side, he picked up a wreath placed in front of the memorial and carried it a few feet forward, then set it directly in front of the bronze memorial.

Obama bowed his head for a moment, then put his right hand at his forehead, saluted and walked away with Duckworth. Only a few dozen spectators were present on this crisp day.

Cults ...

As most regulars know, I got no use for religion. However, this is still America and if believing in something gives you peace, have at it. Do whatever you want but don't do it on me. As I said in an earlier post, I consider religious organizations getting involved in the political process an infringement of my space. The Mormons and their sponsoring of CA Prop 8 is one example.

Distributorcap also points out how the Mormons are pushing themselves on people who don't share their faith; people who take it as a great insult to be absorbed into the 'Mormon whole'.


Baptism for the Dead is a ritual where a living person is asked to act as a proxy for the baptism of a deceased person. This disgraceful procedure is not an aberration, as it regularly performed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), a religious body more commonly known as the Mormon Church. Mormons believe a baptism is required for entry into the Kingdom of God – even if you are already dead. The Mormons also do not seem to discriminate about which dead people they baptize – there is little regard for race, gender or religion. That the LDS is more than likely baptizing people who may or may not have believed in this religious observance when alive also doesn’t seem to be a factor. It is the religious practice that counts – not the person. Once you are baptized, you are added to the International Genealogical Index and are recorded in the annals of the LDS Church as accepting the ordinance of saving. Now, as the newly baptized (but dead) person, you have the option of accepting the gospel the baptism has provided for (or something like that – I am not an expert on LDS liturgy).


Now, to my mostly Catholic family, this is an outrage. I can say with great certainty that Mrs. F's Jewish family would take great offense as well. It's one thing to send missionaries out to try and convert the willing, but to impose your will and beliefs on people who don't want it, who disagree with it, is cult-like. And let's not get into the Mormon lifestyle, especially the fundamental ones.

It's time for the Church of Latter Day Saints to lose their tax-exempt status, and their status as a religious organization.* They're nothing more than a band of theocratic thugs.

Ain'tcha glad Mitt ain't the Prez-elect? Coulda happened ...

And an addendum as I run out the door:

*From above:

... It's time for the Church of Latter Day Saints to lose their tax-exempt status, and their status as a religious organization ...

Either that or I want to be able to declare my house The First Church of the Holy Leaf and kiss my tax bill goodbye too.

How it works ...

Avedon notes the differences in 'fail' between Dems and Rethugs:


Reagan got a "honeymoon" that lasted eight years, and the current occupant got one that lasted well into his second term when Bush's popularity numbers reached Nixonian levels and even they couldn't pretend he was beloved anymore (we can only imagine what they'd have given a McCain presidency). But Clinton's presidency was "failed" almost before he got to the White House, and they're obviously preparing to do the same to Obama, pretending that this "always" happens. Well, no, it doesn't happen to presidents the right-wing likes, even when everyone else hates them and they weren't even legitimately placed in the office. Even after 9/11, when the press should have been asking, "How the hell did he let this happen?" they were adoring him and thanking their lucky stars that we had a great guy like Bush in charge instead of that boring old Al Gore. Meanwhile, something really does always happen is that people hustle for jobs in the new administration, but trust our media to try to paint it as something new and ugly that Democrats have introduced to the process. [my em]


To admit Rethug failure takes the continents parting, but the Dems fail before the green flag drops (How's that for mixed metaphors?). It's a real good thing the media's liberal, huh?

Questions ...

Comrade Misfit crawls up Paul Broun's ass for this:

A Republican congressman from Georgia said Monday he fears that President-elect Obama will establish a Gestapo-like security force to impose a Marxist dictatorship.

Yeah, a Marxist Gestapo. I believe they called it the KGB and GRU but that's beside the point; the Rethugs share a common trait of 'historical stupid'. Misfit wants to know where Broun was during the entire Bush administration:


When the Bush Administration claimed the right to wiretap anyone it wanted without a warrant, where were you?

When the Bush Administration claimed the right to arrest anyone in the world, including American citizens, without a warrant or probable cause, where were you?

When the Bush Administration claimed the right to imprison anyone forever, without charges and without the right of habeus corpus, where were you?

When the Bush Administration claimed the ability to begin investigating anyone it chose for any reason or no reason whatsoever, where were you?


It seems to me, since McCain won the Rethug nom, that the Republicans have convinced themselves the last 8 years didn't happen or that the Chimp was somehow not a Republican who operated with the full consent of a Republican-dominated Congress.

With the short attention span of the American people, they might actually pull it off if we don't remind folks of the truth constantly. The Republicans, all of them, are responsible for the mess we have now. Period.

Retugs + the Interwebs = ...

Oil + Water. Athenae:

Every time these people get near the Internet, stupid ensues. And not just regular stupid. The kind of stupid that, say, allows you to make your own campaign posters, with your own slogans, and doesn't filter out "motherfucker" or "beagle-humping." The kind of stupid that says, "Let's ask the ENTIRE WORLD WIDE WEB what it thinks we should do better."


But The Beav and Wally didn't have the internet ...

A final Veterans Day post

Rachel talks with Paul Rieckhof of the IAVA who has a new Vets outreach outfit. Grit yer teeth past the Dick part.

I think Tammy Duckworth would be a fine choice for Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

Community of

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Pentagon restricts access to coverage of troops' reaction to Obama win

Stars and Stripes

On a night like no other when America’s open and democratic virtues were put on worldwide display, an ill-advised policy within the Department of Defense proclaimed to servicemembers and the news media alike: “No you can’t.” What a servicemember and a journalist couldn’t do, the policy drafters ordered, was engage in conversation on a military base as the returns from a momentous election rolled in.

Somewhere along the line, DoD has lost sight of what our military is supposed to do, namely fight in the defense of the American people and the Constitution, not the Bush admninistration.

Lieberman Must Go Once and for All

Just up today:

Fat chance. Worth a shot.

Times are tough ...

Maybe it's time to yank the tax-exempt status for all religious organizations. Think of the money we could raise on the Catholic Church's holdings.

The president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops told his fellow prelates Monday that while they should “rejoice” at the election of an African-American president, they should confront him over his support for abortion rights.


Abortion is not the only issue on which the bishops plan to challenge the president-elect. Over the weekend, aides to Mr. Obama said he was considering overturning President Bush’s directive that banned most research on embryonic stem cells. Cardinal George said the bishops would “be in conversation” with Mr. Obama on this matter, too.

After eight years of a Republican president who invoked Catholic language to cement his anti-abortion platform, the bishops are now confronting an incoming Democratic administration that has championed abortion rights.

In the closing months of the presidential race, several Catholic bishops skirted close to endorsing the Republican candidate for president, Senator John McCain, by proclaiming that Catholics could not in good conscience vote for a candidate who favored abortion rights. [my em]


It's time for all you priests, preachers, witch doctors, whatever, to STFU and pay more attention ministering to the souls of your flock than trying to wield political power. A lot of folks have had it with the mess the "moral majority" has made of the place in the last decade.

I'm tired of a buncha thieves, pedophiles, and snake oil salesman telling me how to be 'moral' or what a consenting adult can do with their own body. If I had my way, the churches, temples, mosques, and medicine huts would be paying their fair share instead of sucking on the public teat.

Great thanks to Joe for the link.

One day a year

While the Chimp was dishonoring Veterans by his very mention of them, and what is it with him and aircraft carriers anyway, Nancy Pelosi got out among 'em.

Speaker Pelosi obviously enjoying her Veterans Day goose


Old habits die hard.

In a small room at the San Francisco Veterans Administration Medical Center on Monday, a dozen old soldiers sat in wheelchairs to one side of the podium. It took awhile to get everyone situated, and politicians to talk. But these guys learned the finer points of "hurry up and wait" a long time ago.

There was a time when every city and small town had a rousing Veterans Day parade. But times have changed and the all-volunteer military more than three decades ago has meant fewer Americans have worn a uniform. San Francisco held a sparsely attended parade on Sunday. On Monday, about 100 people crowded into a small auditorium at the VA Medical Center in the Richmond District to pay tribute to all veterans, but more specifically to those suffering various illnesses requiring treatment at the center.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, thanked the veterans for their sacrifice and vowed to bring legislation in Washington to provide more help to veterans.

"There's a saying among the troops that you leave no man behind," Pelosi said. "We aim to make that, leave no veteran behind, either."

O'Neal was happy with the moment. It's good that the politicians come out and say thank you, he said. But it's just one day and when it's over, the veterans will be left to themselves again.

Yep. Same ol', same ol'...

Pelosi, who has fought for more and better benefits for veterans, said she hopes to support legislation soon to help veterans get jobs and help start reinvigorating the economy in the way that returning troops after World War II helped society.

She said helping veterans is the highest calling for a public servant. She recalled words of the address given by Abraham Lincoln at his second inauguration: "Let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan - to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations."

We've come a long way since amputation and morphine were the Veterans' only 'benefits', but there's a hell of a lot more that needs to be done in the aftermath of Bush's War for decades to come. I'll believe it when I see it.

Miriam Makeba 1932-2008

My first introduction to African music was at Loyola University in 1962. I had an English professor who was queer for the Missa Luba (wiki) which is the Catholic Mass sung by a Congolese choir. He'd play it for us in English 101. Trust me, I liked it a lot better than that other crap he shoveled at us, none of which I remember!

A few years later, along came Ms. Makeba. She's been in and out of my musical and political consciousness ever since, but the enjoyment of African music and its derivatives has endured.


Miriam Makeba, the South African singer who for more than half a century brought the intricate rhythms of her native land to millions of listeners around the world and whose role as a spokeswoman against apartheid subjected her to 31 years of exile, died early Monday after a concert in Italy. She was 76.

"Her haunting melodies gave voice to the pain of exile and dislocation which she felt for 31 long years," former South African leader Nelson Mandela said in a statement issued by his foundation. Citing her nickname, "Mama Africa," he added: "She was a mother to our struggle and to the young nation of ours."

Makeba captivated audiences with a voice perfectly suited to the polyrhythmic chant-songs of African music, combining the clarity of a Joan Baez with the throaty authority of a Sarah Vaughan. Her fame in the U.S. peaked with the 1967 release of the single “Pata Pata,” an upbeat dance tune that remained her best-known number to the end of her life. The song became the first top-20 U.S. single by an African artist.

By then she had already won international fame with a novelty number known familiarly as “The Click Song,” for the way it incorporated the distinctive "click" sound of her native Xhosa tongue.

In the 1980s she performed with Paul Simon on his “Graceland” tour, which gave many South African performers international exposure. She also appeared with Simon in 1992, when his tour of South Africa became the target of protesters who contended it was premature, given that the hand-over to black rule had not yet become official.

"I'm not a politician; I am a singer," she said. "Long ago, they said, 'That one, she sings politics.' I don't sing politics; I merely sing the truth."

That's what made her so dangerous.

In Graceland, which I wore out multiple cassettes of, maybe his only flash of musical brilliance since breaking up with the kid with the funny hair, Mr. Simon introduced a new generation of Americans to African rhythms, which perhaps led to a little awareness of the most important continent on the planet. That's why I chose this one:

Miriam Makeba & Paul Simon - Under African Skies

Goodbye to a great singer and Freedom Fighter.

The 2008 election: Where are they now?

Salon catches up with some of the also-rans, has-beens and future standouts from the 2008 election cycle.

Sarah Palin appointed herself leader of a rebel faction of the Republican Party, exchanged her signature up-do for side buns, and now tours the country, appearing at state fairs as a CNN hologram and imploring, "Help me, Karl Rove, you're my only hope," to wildly enthusiastic crowds. She is a spokesmodel for Neiman Marcus.

After his loss to Barack Obama, John McCain wrote three best-selling tell-all books apologizing for abandoning his principles and dedicated his life to overturning Proposition 8. In a barefoot service on the beach at Malibu officiated by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and witnessed by Nancy Pelosi, McCain married Joe Lieberman. A year later, the major motion picture "Maverick Hearts," based on the McCain-Leiberman love story, won the best picture Oscar, along with a shared best actor prize for its stars, Clint Eastwood and Wallace Shawn.

Rudy Giuliani ran for Senate in New York in 2010. Following the advice of his mostly non-English-speaking Hungarian campaign staff, he decided it was not important to campaign in Albany, Poughkeepsie, Buffalo or Staten Island during the Republican primary, and was stunned when he was beaten soundly by underfunded opponent Willie Randolph. He retired to a gated community in Florida, where he spends his days mumbling, "Nine-eleven, nine-eleven."

Many more.

Veterans Day

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Pic and text courtesy of Arlington National Cemetery.


A very special Veterans Day here in NYC. Our 'other' Lady in the Harbor, USS Intrepid, has returned from a 2 year refit and will be rededicated today by President Bush and Governor Paterson.

If you're ever in NYC, the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum is a must-see.

What the fuck?

Shows the brain power, or chutzpah, of the conservative mind. Assrocket via Digby (we don't link to conseravtive pages here):

... In the eight years he has been President, it is remarkable how few gaffes or verbal blunders he [the Chimp] has committed.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

Bush Eliminating Environmental Regulations in Final Weeks
Hopes to set in motion total planetary destruction before leaving office.

GM May Soon Run Out of Cash
Car buyers told to bring exact change.

These next two are for anyone who has been hearing the phtase "Fix It Again, Tony" a lot lately:

California: World's Largest Lamborghini Dealer Closes
Will reopen during next Gilded Age.

$3 Million Flying Ferrari Unveiled
Aimed at the man who has everything except a Ferrari that flies.

Make'a sure you got yer Ayyyyy an'a P license up to date!

Gotta git down outta these hyar hills today an' go shoppin'. See yas later.

Quote of the Day

Barack Obama:

“Just give me the ball.”

More in this story by Ryan Lizza at New Yorker.


Maybe a little gasoline too?

Toon stolen from our pal Creature.

The great undoing ...

Thank god there's shit Barry can do without having to kiss congressional ass:

Transition advisers to President-elect Barack Obama have compiled a list of about 200 Bush administration actions and executive orders that could be swiftly undone to reverse White House policies on climate change, stem cell research, reproductive rights and other issues, according to congressional Democrats, campaign aides and experts working with the transition team. [my em]


I'm glad they're of a mind to reverse as much of the Chimp's disatrous bullshit as soon as possible. Now if he can get help from the weasels in Congress on the big shit, we'll be doing good.

Great thanks to Oliver Willis for the link.

Marine Corps Birthday

Today is the 233rd birthday of my Marine Corps. Every year I do a little post on it. Here are 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007. Read the 2005 one as the setup for today's.

Marines are notoriously lazy when not out protecting the United Fruit Co. or some such, and I am no exception. Especially since the advent of YouTube. Heh.

Here's a slide show from last year's Birthday Ball by a young lady Marine from HMLA-269, the "Gunrunners". That's a Light Attack Helicopter squadron. These are Air Wingers ('MAW' stands for Marine Air Wing), young ladies and gentlemen all, so of course proper decorum was observed and obviously there was no drinkin' or cussin'. She did a very nice job on this, so you will watch it, the proper response to which is "Aye, aye, Sir" and click 'play'. Do it.

I was in the infantry at Camp Lejeune. So are these guys. This is a little more like it. Heh. I do suspect the presence of alcohol in this one.

Marines dance with each other all the time, of course, but they're usually in their skivvies and I'm really, really glad there were no video cameras in my day.

Semper Fidelis, Marines. Happy Birthday.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Weekend whorage

The next chapter of Birthright is up at The Practical Press.

I'm still working in my attic and I have a permanent hunchback.

And speaking of work, Nunzio's is a whole different world from what I'm used to.

And for your Sunday evening listening, a classic from Mick and the boyz:

The Rolling Stones - Honky Tonk Woman

The Great Reno to Truckee Train Ride

It's a pretty short ride from Sodom & Gomorrah to God's Country where I live. I got this video off of desertduty's YouTube channel whilst searching for crazy redneck music to blog. I went over to her site "Desertduty Rides For Breast Cancer Awareness" and kidded her a little about runnin' out of camera batteries before she got to the pretty part of the train ride. Her name is Susan, she's a horsewoman, and she lives in Fallon NV about seventy miles east of here.

The Amtrak follows the Truckee river in a beautiful train ride into the Sierra's.

Music by Lacy J. Dalton "The Last Wild Place"

Oh, yeah, scored the crazy redneck music too!

When Will My Team Win?

This was posted at YouTube on 4 November.

Song in celebration for Obama/Biden- Linda Ronstadt style.

Done With Bonaparte

This is a highly metaphorical song about a soldier in a defeated army having a lot of time to think about what his leader hath wrought upon his ass on his long walk home from Moscow one winter long ago. I think it applies to us in general and Repuglican'ts in particular as we prepare to see the last of George W. Bonaparte.

I pray it will not apply to our troops as they leave Iraq.

I had a little trouble understanding all the lyrics, but the sheer wunnerfulness of the intertoobz provided them. Here's a coupla verses I think are especially moving:

We've paid in hell since Moscow burned
As Cossacks tear us piece by piece
Our dead are strewn a hundred leagues
Though death would be a sweet release

What dreams he made for us to dream
Spanish skies, Egyptian sands
The world was ours, we marched upon
Our little Corporal's command

Save my soul from evil, Lord
And heal this soldier's heart
I'll trust in thee to keep me, Lord
I'm done with Bonaparte

On another level, it's a way groovy song and the girl singer is really pretty. I chose the longer version with introduction of the band members because the audio is clearer. Enjoy.

Mark Knopfler - Done With Bonaparte

Quote of the Day - Drei

Lindsay Beyerstein:

"If Lieberman pulled this stunt when Lyndon Baines Johnson ran the US Senate, he'd be a greasy stain on the carpet by now."