Saturday, January 31, 2009

Saturday Krazy Kraut Redneck Music Blogging

One of the best things about real country music, called '' these days because it's not corporate enough to play on Big Market Radio, yeesh, is that you never know where you're going to find it. Also, it's a minor act of revolution to play music yourself without corporate intervention.

Here's some from Germany. This is a cover of the Nanci Griffith version of a Gordon Lightfoot song. You can tell two things right away - this ain't nowhere near Boulder Dam, which by the way I still call Boulder Dam because my family, rock-ribbed Republicans, wouldn't let me say 'Hoover' in the house because they never forgave him for screwing things up so bad that that commie Roosevelt got elected. I think my aunt even taped over the brand name on the vacuum cleaner. Also, this gal isn't singing in her first language.

And Friends Berlin ~ Ten Degrees And Getting Colder

And because wretched excess is barely enough, here's a first for the Brain, I think. Here's Ulla And Her Singing Saw:

Searching For A Soldier's Grave

Thank you, pedalsteelpaul.

So long, Boss! Don't worry 'bout a thing...

The Fixers are off today for a much-needed getaway (post just below this one) and we wish them a safe voyage and a wonderful time. I've been watchin' the weather reports back there in the east and they couldn'ta picked a better time. He always leaves me in charge, chump trusting soul that he is, and as per usual in honor of his departure I'm puttin' up my favorite cats-away-the-mice-will-play tune. Hey pal, ya fergot ta leave me yer ATM PIN in case we run outta likker (Fat chance! See this! I'd need another rehab and a new liver first. Heh.)...musta been a oversight...fergot the car keys too. Pah! Don't need no stinkin' car keys...I'll put a tarp over the sofa and get some hardier plants...

Ooh! Found his stash! Come on over, gang...

Jimmy Buffett ~ Gypsies In The Palace

Thank you, Parrotista.

In fer a dime, in fer a dollar dept.:

On the theory that I ain't gonna get in any more trouble with Fixer than I am already, here's some previously unreleased video, purported to be (by me) and unsubstantiated by anything, of Mr. an' Mrs. F and some of their cruise pals on Karaoke Nite. I wuz savin' this for my retirement but they're showin' some reluctance to cough up...

This is actually pretty good, amazingly enough.

Thank you, KevinBlackProductions.

Whorage ...

Packing this morning; the car comes at noon, we have to get Shayna to the vet, so I'll make this short.

I threw some pics of the house up - I made some decent progress in the last couple weeks.

I also bought a new toolbox after selling my old one in August when I thought I was retiring, but I didn't spend a million bucks and it doesn't say Snap-On or Mac on it.

And I know I've been remiss about posting the remaining chapters of Birthright but I am loading the manuscript on a memory stick as I write this and I'll bring it along with me. Promise ...

We'll be in Ft. Lauderdale tonight and will be catching the ship (and meeting up with our cruise pals Annie and Joe) tomorrow. Of course, I'll have pics up at Worlds but don't expect any big tours or shore excursions (we didn't book any for this trip), though we'll be lurking around the islands. We're both exhausted, physically and mentally, and have been going constantly since we came back from Europe in September so we'll be mostly goofing off and laying in the sun (and drinking ... heavily). I tell people I only get two weekends a year, when we go on vacation.

So I'm off and Gord's in charge. No peeing in the plants and leave a couple beers in the fridge this time. By the way, about that stain on the sofa ...

Friday, January 30, 2009

Two things Obama could do on medical marijuana

Debra J. Saunders is a conservative columnist for the EssEffChron. I usually make it about two sentences into her columns, but this time she's right.

During the campaign, President Obama said he would stop federal raids of medical marijuana clubs in states (like California) that had passed medical-marijuana laws. Yet federal agents raided medical-marijuana dispensaries, including the Patient-to-Patient Collective in South Lake Tahoe, two days after his inauguration. The Tahoe Daily Tribune reported that agents seized between 5 and 10 pounds of marijuana.

Not namin' names here, but that's about a week's supply for...(smiley face with dilated pupils, silly grin, sawdust and grease, Twinkie crumbs and a Noo Yawk accent)

So will Obama keep his word by directing federal drug agents to concentrate on going after drug kingpins instead of sick people?

I understand that Obama has bigger issues on his plate, which probably is why the White House has yet to respond to my Tuesday query. That said, this issue is vital to many Californians with health problems.

Item No. 2 for the Marijuana Policy Project: In the closing week of Bushdom, the Drug Enforcement Administration rejected Administrative Law Judge Ellen Bittner's decision to allow the University of Massachusetts to grow marijuana for medical research. Until now, only the University of Mississippi has filled that role - and not well, according to critics.

Again, the Bush-DEA's action undermined the position of the incoming administration. Obama also told the Mail Tribune, "I think the basic concept of using medical marijuana for the same purposes and with the same controls as other drugs prescribed by doctors - I think that's entirely appropriate."

Obama is right. Some doctors believe that marijuana has properties - it can ease pain, is an anti-inflammatory and stimulates appetite - beneficial to patients with AIDS, glaucoma and muscular dystrophy and other chronic diseases, as well as cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

You could understand the institute's opposition to these projects if marijuana were a rare and lethal drug. But it is impossible to take a lethal dose, and marijuana is so prevalent that a 2005 National Drug Threat Assessment reported that, in some areas, marijuana seems "easier for youths to obtain than alcohol or cigarettes."

To the extent that federal officials have been slow to approve medical marijuana research, you have to believe that their biggest fear was that the research would be successful. That's right, it might help people in pain. (my em)

Obama has made much of his commitment to "restore science to its rightful place." Here's his chance.

Debra's absolutely right for once. Shorter: Stop the federal power plays against voter-approved state laws they don't like, and do real research that may result in scientific evidence the feds and Big Pharma may not like.

The third thing Obama could do, and this is from me, is to grant pardons to anyone who is in prison solely on possession of marijuana charges stemming from federal raids on legal pot dispensaries.

Weed should be legal. Period. Medical marijuana use is totally legitimate and is a foot in the door.

"Obama is a two-faced liar. Aw-RIGHT!"

I've always held that ya can't make chicken salad outta chicken shit. Greg Palast sees it differently, and I hope he's right.

Republicans are right. President Barack Obama treated them like dirt, didn't give a damn what they thought about his stimulus package, loaded it with a bunch of programs that will last for years and will never leave the budget, is giving away money disguised as "tax refunds," and is sneaking in huge changes in policy, from schools to health care, using the pretext of an economic emergency.

Way to go, Mr. O! Mr. Down-and-Dirty Chicago pol. Street-fightin' man. Covering over his break-your-face power play with a "we're all post-partisan friends" BS.

And it's about time.

And here's the proof that Bam is The Man: Not one single Republican congressman voted for the bill. And that means that Obama didn't compromise, the way Clinton and Carter would have, to win the love of these condom-less jerks.

And we didn't need'm. Nyah! Nyah! Nyah!

I don't know about you, but THIS is the change I've been waiting for.

Will it last?

We'll see if Obama caves in to more tax cuts to investment bankers. We'll see if he stops the sub-prime scum-bags from foreclosing on frightened families. We'll see if he stands up to the whining, gormless generals who don't know how to get our troops out of Iraq. (In SHIPS, you doofuses!)

Look, don't get your hopes up. But it may turn out the new President's...a Democrat!

Thanks for the boost, Greg. At ten days in I was starting to worry. Write one of these about once a week, willya?

What Would Molly Ivins Think?


I saw and heard many interviews after Nov. 4 and during inaugural celebrations with people who all said they wished their mother or father or grandmother or friend had been here to witness this history in the making. Tens of thousands of us wished that Molly could have been here to see it.

Please go read. Molly is still sorely missed.

Bipartisanship explained ...

By Comrade PhysioProf:


Allow me to spell it out for those dumbfucks who haven't been paying attention for the last 40 years. "Partisanship" is completely pragmatically and ethically neutral: it is intrinsically neither good nor bad. What matters is the policies of the parties involved. If "bipartisanship" means "letting Republicans continue to fuck shit up" then it is not a good thing. If "partisanship" means reality-oriented Democrats telling deranged Republican assholes who reside in a racist, misogynist, theocratic, neo-feudal fantasy world to sit the fuck down, shut the fuck up, and allow the rational adults to clean up the disgusting mess those assholes have made, then it is a good thing.


Yup, that about sums it up.

Monument to Testicles

I still watch the video of the Iraqi reporter throwing his shoes at the Chimp. Seems somebody in Iraq liked it as much as I did:

When an Iraqi journalist hurled his shoes at George W. Bush last month at a Baghdad press conference, the attack spawned a flood of Web quips, political satire and street rallies across the Arab world.

Now it's inspired a work of art.

A sofa-sized sculpture — a single copper-coated shoe on a stand carved to resemble flowing cloth — was formally unveiled to the public Thursday in the hometown of the late Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein.


I'm down wid it.

Quote of the Day



Across the board, in every discipline, conservatism has failed in epic proportions. And yet, over and over again it comes back, in almost exactly the same form, even featuring the same people. It's possible that this time they screwed the pooch so badly that they will be set back on their heels for a good long time and will be forced to reevaluate. But I wouldn't count on it. Their great strength is their ability to doggedly keep going no matter what.


Total. Fail.

Dear Mr. Fixer,

Here is your pigeon.

Talk about a sign of the times. The Post Office is in such dire financial straits that the postmaster general is considering only delivering mail five days a week.


He can't carry much but he's cheaper than stamps and letter carriers. It seems we can't exploit our Chinese and Korean employees (contract workers, no benefits, less pay) enough to keep up Saturday deliveries so now everybody gets their own carrier pigeon.


The United States Postal Service

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Iraq bars Blackwater


Iraq said Thursday it will bar Blackwater Worldwide from providing security protection for U.S. diplomats because its contractors used excessive force, sanctioning a company whose image was irrevocably tarnished by the 2007 killings of 17 Iraqi civilians.

The move will deprive American diplomats of their main protection force in Iraq.

Gee, what do American diplomats need protection from? Isn't Iraq all pacified and democratized and our new BFF thanks to Bush's surge? Isn't life there just peachy now like a walk in the park?

Besides the killing, murdering, of the civilians in Nisoor Square which was the final-straw catalyst for banning that bunch of mercenary bastards, which is only now made possible for the Iraqis to do because Bush is gone, I would remind you that Blackwater bungling was also the cause of The First Battle Of Fallujah, as recounted in the excellent book No True Glory.

Blackwater has also been used to 'keep order' inside the United States, such as in NOLA after Katrina, and has tried to start a training base down near San Diego. The locals put the kibosh on that, to their everlasting credit. Blackwater has also been contracted to train the U.S. and Canadian military. I remember when the U.S. military was perfectly capable of training itself, thank you very much. What little I know about being a Marine, I learned from other Marines who had an interest other than money.

Also see Hooyah!.

In case of civil insurrection here at home, I would very much like Blackwater to get the contract to try to quell it. I doubt if I'd ever shoot at a U.S. soldier, but I have no such compunctions about mercenaries. See 'sight alignment and trigger squeeze...learned from other Marines...all enemies foreign and domestic'.

The only place Blackwater and others of its ilk should be allowed to operate is on the other side of the River Styx.

Stay scared! We need Guantanamo!

Stimulus Planning with Knuckles.

"A meal without cheese is like a kiss without a squeeze"

Just read it. Yum.


Now that I've screwed ya over by gettin' ya thinkin' about food, go see Yats New Orleans Original Po Boys, S.F. (

I think it's lunchtime...

Week 1 for Obama, as opposed to 8-year 'Weak 1' of Bush

Rosa Brooks

President Obama succeeded in eliminating four of Bush's 'wars' in his first days in office.

Barack Obama ended four wars during his first week as president. With just a few words and strokes of his pen, the president ended the war on terror, the war on Islam, the war on science and the war on women.

On the 'war on terror':

That means: No more torture. No waterboarding, beatings, sexual humiliations or deprivation of food or medical care. And in case anyone's confused, the order makes it clear that those seeking guidance "may not rely on any interpretation of the law governing interrogation ... issued by the Department of Justice between September 11, 2001, and January 20, 2009." (That means you, John Yoo).

Since Ms. Brooks brought it up, the coward/bully/scared-shitless-pussy Yoo still thinks torture is the only thing that keeps the U.S. safe, and in a dark twist of irony gone fucking crazy, DOJ lawyers will have to defend, that's 'defend', him for his anti-Constitutional support of Bush's detainee policies even as we want them to put the torturers and their enablers in jail. Another weird irony about this clown, of course, is how he ended up teaching law at the most Liberal university on the West Coast, UCBerzerkely. Irony may not be dead, but it's certainly drooling all over itself and babbling away in a straitjacket.

The war on Islam is also over. Officially, of course, it never existed. But that's how the "war on terror" looked to many around the world, a misunderstanding fueled by the war in Iraq and the irresponsible rhetoric of many Bush administration officials.

"Officially, of course, it never existed." If you figure, like the Repugs do, that everything prior to Nov. 4 was Clinton's fault, and everything after is Obama's, then neither did the Bush administration. An eight-year black hole in reality and sanity.

Obama also ended the undeclared Bush administration war on science. [...]

The undeclared war on women? Also over. On Jan. 23, Obama reversed the "Mexico City policy," which prohibited recipients of U.S. foreign-assistance funds from providing abortions or even providing information about abortions. Family planning groups worldwide will no longer have to choose between providing honest information and receiving crucial funding.

Don't make the mistake of thinking that these assorted "wars" were only metaphors, incapable of producing real harm. The "war on terror" was practically a gift to Osama bin Laden: Our detention and interrogation policies probably fueled far more terrorism than they prevented. Ditto for the Bush administration's undeclared war against Islam.

The Bush administration's replacement of science with ideology was equally devastating: How many lives will be lost or blighted as we all pay the price for a decade of denial about the human causes of global warming? And some estimate that as many as 500,000 women worldwide have died since 2001 as a result of botched abortions, many of which might have been prevented if the Mexico City policy hadn't pushed abortions and abortion counseling underground in many countries.

Obama's job is just beginning. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will be far harder to end.

Still, not bad for a week's work.

No, not bad at all. I think next week Obama should rethink his 'bipartisanship' fantasy. A simple hint that will help him: It takes two to Tango.


Paul Krugman

As the Obama administration apparently prepares to launch Hankie Pankie II — buying troubled assets from banks at prices higher than they will fetch on the open market — it occurred to me that an updated version of an old Communist-era joke may be appropriate: under Bush, financial policy consisted of Wall Street types cutting sweet deals, at taxpayer expense, for Wall Street types. Under Obama, it’s precisely the reverse.


"So, are we all gonna die?"

A coupla days ago, Fixer posted about Neil deGrasse Tyson. The guy is very entertaining and funnier'n shit, even about serious subjects. Here's just a taste:

Quote of the Day

Jessica 'Not Just A Pretty Face' Alba:


"I want to clear some things up that have been bothering me lately," Alba blogged on MySpace Celebrity. "Last week, Mr. Bill O'Reilly and some really classy sites (i.e.TMZ) insinuated I was dumb by claiming Sweden was a neutral country. I appreciate the fact that he is a news anchor and that gossip sites are inundated with intelligent reporting, but seriously people... it's so sad to me that you think the only neutral country during WWII was Switzerland."


Hey, BillO? How's it feel to have your intellectual ass handed to you (again) by someone whom you obviously think is your inferior? How many hours of falafel-abuse will it take to get over that?

Bill O'Reilly, penis with ears.

Great thanks to Oliver Willis for the link.

Following up ...

From yesterday, now that we had the House vote on the 'stimulus bill'; what did all that 'bipatrisanship' and 'compromise' get President Obama?

Post-partisanship lives. The stimulus package just passed the House, with the billions in corporate tax cuts, without the money to re-sod the National Mall, without the money for family planning for poor people, and without one Republican vote. Without one. Final vote was 244-188 as 11 "Democrats" crossed over. According to Rep. Pete Hoekstra's Twitter feed, that means they win!


It got him dick, hard and ungreased. Hopefully, now he'll direct his energies to getting shit done rather than worry about Republican support for anything. At this point, were I him, I'd worry if the Rethugs actually did want to support one of my initiatives.


Our buddy 'Nucks has some straightforward advice for the new President:


This guy we have for a President would be well advised to start kicking these fuckers in the shrunken nutsack they have and tell them to Shut The Fuck Up and start looking out for their fucking constituents instead of trying to show the world that they all have access to the same phony "Obstructionism For Dummies" handbook.


Otherwise, remember this, the Dodo was fucking delicious with a bit of mustard sauce.

Seen one of those lately?

Update Zwei:

And Creature gives us something to think about. Stolen in toto:

I will say this for the Republicans in Congress, they are acting exactly like an opposition party should. Can you imagine the world we would be living in today if the Democrats hadn't gone along with everything Bush and the old Republican majority wanted? I can't even imagine that world at this point.

Democrats with spine. Heh ... Helluva fantasy.

Update Trois:

And Jill has a great post up (one I wish I'd written) on the subject:


So now you have made the gesture. You made an effort to include them. And for your trouble you got absolutely no Republican votes in the House. It's going to be worse for you in the Senate, where the REAL Republican blowhards reside.


But now that you've made Scarborough and Matthews and Bob Schieffer and David Gregory and Andrea Mitchell and George Snuffleupagus happy by reaching out to Republicans, perhaps now you can start doing what you know is the right thing to do, and let the greedy bastards and their media apologists screech all they want to.


Indeed. You now know you can't change 'em. It's time to deal with them in a way the damage they do will be limited.

Give them no compromise and no quarter.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I'm shocked! Shocked, I tell you!

Not much going on today besides Repug obstructionism. Which brings me to my point.

Since Mrs. G has been retired, we pretty much just sit at our computers and read news and blogs and play games. The TV is on in the background, usually on MSNBC.

Mrs. G has developed the habit of, er, commenting on the egregious, desperate lies, spin, half-truths and other Repug bullshit talking points.

What I'm puzzled about, and a little concerned, is just where, where, in our 38 years together, did she learn that kind of language? Musta been when I wasn't looking...

Repugs and their moms

The Rude Pundit on Repugs as motherfuckers. Really.

Here's something one hopes the Obama administration has learned from the past couple of days: You need to expect that motherfuckers will fuck their mothers. It's just what motherfuckers do. They fuck their mothers. It's right there in the word. If you put John Boehner's mother in front of him, he will fuck her. Because he is a motherfucker. It's what he knows. It's what all Republicans know. It's their nature.

Obama better know a simple fact: they fucking hate him. Right now, Obama represents the fact that everything they believed was a complete failure. For making that clear to the American people, they fucking despise him. They hate his majority, they hate his coattails, they hate that all over the country people are supporting his ideas. Republicans have nothing right now, which means they have nothing to lose by trying to drag Obama into their pit of shit. They'll smile and say it was a good conversation, but they're waiting in the back halls of the Capitol to fuckin' shiv Obama and laugh while he bleeds. And try to force Americans back into their crooked arms.

All they got is a volume knob. If ya got nuthin' to say, say it loud.

Hey, Barry?

How's that bipartisanship thing working out?

Dude, I admire your motivation, I really do, but maybe you should have consulted the bloggers (you know, we who've been documenting the Republican modus operandi and the messes resulting from it for years) before you went up to the Hill, only to have shit thrown at you, but live and learn. I hadda learn a buncha shit the hard way too but we all told you what you'd get - a shit sandwich.

Mr. President, a bold truth of this day and age is the Republican party of the 21st Century cares nothing for the well being of the average American. It's all about ideology and political payback and the sooner you learn that, the sooner you'll stop wasting your time on them.

And an addendum: Forget you ever heard the name "Rush Limbaugh". Going down that road is a dead end.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

PBS: NSA could have prevented 9/11 hijackings

This'll piss ya off. What part of 'National' and 'Security' does the National Security Agency not get? Time to clean house at that outfit.

Here's a preview of the upcoming NOVA "The Spy Factory":

GOP Think(?) Tank

Bad Faith Economics

Heeeeeere's Krugman on Repug obstructionism on The Stimulus:

As the debate over President Obama’s economic stimulus plan gets under way, one thing is certain: many of the plan’s opponents aren’t arguing in good faith. Conservatives really, really don’t want to see a second New Deal, and they certainly don’t want to see government activism vindicated. So they are reaching for any stick they can find with which to beat proposals for increased government spending.

But the obvious cheap shots don’t pose as much danger to the Obama administration’s efforts to get a plan through as arguments and assertions that are equally fraudulent but can seem superficially plausible to those who don’t know their way around economic concepts and numbers. So as a public service, let me try to debunk some of the major antistimulus arguments that have already surfaced. Any time you hear someone reciting one of these arguments, write him or her off as a dishonest flack.

The debunking commenceth. And then...

This suggests that public spending rather than tax cuts should be the core of any stimulus plan. But rather than accept that implication, conservatives take refuge in a nonsensical argument against public spending in general.

These are only some of the fundamentally fraudulent antistimulus arguments out there. Basically, conservatives are throwing any objection they can think of against the Obama plan, hoping that something will stick.

But here’s the thing: Most Americans aren’t listening. The most encouraging thing I’ve heard lately is Mr. Obama’s reported response to Republican objections to a spending-oriented economic plan: “I won.” Indeed he did — and he should disregard the huffing and puffing of those who lost.

Fuckin' A.

Torture Q & A

A Q & A session between John Dean and Phillipe Sands at FindLaw.

Remarkably, the confirmation of President Obama's Attorney General nominee, Eric Holder, is being held up by Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn, who apparently is unhappy that Holder might actually investigate and prosecute Bush Administration officials who engaged in torture. Aside from this repugnant new Republican embrace of torture (which might be a winning issue for the lunatic fringe of the party and a nice way to further marginalize the GOP), any effort to protect Bush officials from legal responsibility for war crimes, in the long run, will not work.

One would think that people like Cheney, Rumsfeld, Addington, Gonzales, Yoo, Haynes and others, who claim to have done nothing wrong, would call for investigations to clear themselves if they really believed that to be the case. Only they, however, seem to believe in their innocence – the entire gutless and cowardly group of them, who have shamed themselves and the nation by committing crimes against humanity in the name of the United States.

We must all hope that the Obama Administration does the right thing, rather than forcing another country to clean up the mess and seek to erase the dangerous precedent these people have created for our country. A first clue may come when Holder resumes testifying.

There's a lot in between those quotes. Go read.

Shorter: Someone, somewhere, is going to investigate and prosecute these war crimes. The questions are who, when, and where. My recomendations are us, soon, and here.

Guantanamo Baywatch

Jon Stewart, obviously a regular reader of the Brain, follows up on Fixer's post. He makes a damn good point on something our country is really, really good at.

I told the video to be in the center, but it didn't mind me.

I love this guy ...

If you don't know about Neil deGrasse Tyson, you should. Smart is good.

Quote of the Day

Scott Lemieux:

Six of the sweetest words in the English language: "This is William Kristol's last column."

Monday, January 26, 2009

MSM 'fesses up

The ManTan-tanned man's new plan

Nevada refuses brothels' request to pay taxes

The Gray Lady. In a teddy?

LAS VEGAS — It is virtually unheard of for any legal industry to ask to be taxed. And it would seem even more unlikely for any government, especially one facing down a nearly $2 billion budget gap, to hesitate when a business is willing to pay up.

Yet such is the case for Nevada’s brothels, a $50-million-a-year industry that pays significant amounts of tax to the rural counties in which they operate but only a $100 business license fee to the state.

“Anytime you’re going to take tax money, the state’s not going to view you as a relic of a past time and put you out of business,” explained Mr. Flint, who said he was gaining traction for a brothel tax in 2003 until he made the faux pas of joking to a reporter that he would commit to putting the governor’s portrait in every prostitute’s lair along with a note reading, “Don’t forget the governor’s share.”


Mr. Coffin disputed the speaker’s assertion that a brothel tax would require statewide legalization and called it a “legal backdoor” to avoid the matter.

The, er, 'backdoor' is already 'legal'. It's just extra.

Go read the rest. I'm pretty sure one of the reasons Nevada doesn't tax brothels is that they'd be embarrassed to say where the tax comes from, while doing the same thing to the people that politicians and prostitutes do everywhere.

I'm a big booster of legalized prostitution for a variety of reasons that I won't go into here, and I applaud Nevada for its progressive attitude in the matter. It's about the only thing 'progressive' in that state. If people want it, and it's harmless, let 'em have all they want and tax it. Use of the product is voluntary and these are hard times.

The same can be said for legalization and taxation of marijuana. Just as an aside, there was a great show on CNBC last night about California's No.1 cash crop. Catch it if you can.

Shit, if I could pay a little tax to run open pipes on my motorcycle, I'd gladly cough up. Most of you should be glad I can't. I'd tune that sucker for loud and set off every car alarm in yer neighborhood at 3AM! Heh.

Note: I'm just woofin' about exhaust pipes for fun. Noise is folks' biggest complaint about bikes and I support stock-muffled motorcycles. In town, anyway. I do wish bikes had exhaust cut-outs for out-of-town use like they used to many years ago.

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times. An especially good edition today. Go see.

(Photo) Right: he signs his first IOU to China.

Obama Bans All Lobbying in His Administration
Bows to intense pressure from anti-lobbying lobby.

Jenna, Barbara Leave Note of Helpful Hints for Sasha, Malia
Where to hide booze, boyfriends.

Bush Recalls “A Moment” When He Felt Responsibilities of Nation’s Highest Office
Briefly, just after Cheney's heart attack.

Microsoft Slashes 5000 Jobs
Mostly in Error Message Research & Development.

Flying Car Goes on Sale
Not recommended for families with teenagers.

Obama Should Act Like He Won

Thomas Frank with today's 'must read'.

[...] There is no branch of American political expression more trite, more smug, more hollow than centrism.

And centrism's achievements? Well, there's Nafta, which proved Democrats could stand up to labor. There's the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act. There's the Iraq war resolution, approved by numerous Democrats in brave defiance of their party's left. Triumphs all.

Histories of conservatism's rise, on the other hand, often emphasize that movement's adherence to principle regardless of changing public attitudes. Conservatives pressed laissez-faire through good times and bad, soldiering on even in years when suggesting that America was a "center-right nation" would have made one an instant laughingstock.

That's why it is so obviously preferable to be part of the movement that doesn't compromise easily than to depend on the one that has developed a cult of the almighty center. Even a conservative as ham-handed as former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay seems to understand this.

As he recounted in his 2007 memoirs, Republicans under his leadership learned "to start every policy initiative from as far to the political right as we could." The effect was to "move the center farther to the right," drawing the triangulating Clinton along with it.

President-elect Obama can learn something from Mr. DeLay's confession: Centrism is a chump's game. Democrats have massive majorities these days not because they waffle hither and yon but because their historic principles have been vindicated by events. This is their moment. Let the other side do the triangulating.

As much as the Repug's en bloc discipline and tactics in their war against the American people disgusts and angers me, it has worked well for them. Even though their numbers are down, it still seems to be working. Discipline and tactics work for the Marine Corps too. It's why a small number of motivated individuals working as a team can take on far greater numbers and win.

Get a clue, Dems. You've got the power. Use it.

Time for the kick ass part of bipartisanship

The Last Chance Democracy Cafe, links at site.

Call us a cynical bunch if you must, but the biggest question most hardcore liberal Democrats have had about Barack Obama’s very public love affair with bipartisanship has been the following: how will he respond when it finally bites him in the ass? And at least in the case of his economic stimulus package, his ass is already starting to look a little red.

There’s no denying that Obama tried; his initial stimulus package seemed designed as much to placate Republicans, as to please Democrats. His hope seemed to be that he could buy a little right wing love by putting way too much of the proposal’s spending into (relatively ineffective as stimulus) tax cuts, instead of public spending.

But congressional Republicans are having none of it. They may not have much actual power left, but that doesn’t seem to have put them in a mood to compromise. Either send up a pure George W. Bush-style tax cut package, they insist, or they’ll vote against the bill.

The major media, speaking right on cue, is spinning this as a test of Obama’s commitment to bipartisanship. I suppose they think that makes for a better story than the truth of Republican obstructionism. To these media “elites” the question now is whether Obama will be a good little post partisan president by giving GOP representatives everything they want, or an evil partisan politician (because he stands by his own principles as well as what might actually work).

Yeah, that’s the ticket. Let’s extend and even expand Bush’s tax giveaways to the rich. I mean, that’s worked out real well for us so far, hasn’t it?

There’s no mystery about what’s going on here, of course. The GOP smells blood. What Obama intended as an extended hand they took as evidence of a weak spine: they’re starting to think — or at least to hope — they can push him around, at least a little. For what it’s worth, I strongly suspect they’re wrong. Underestimating Barack Obama’s political skill has generally proven to be a mistake. But Obama’s the only person who can prove it, and the way he can prove it, of course, is by pushing a strong stimulus package, reflecting Democratic Party values, through Congress.

The message would be unmistakable: if Republicans want to participate in the formation of future legislation in good faith, his door is open. But pure obstructionism will not be tolerated.

And all he has to do is to say the word. As he himself said, he won the election. And you can forget about the filibuster. There’s no way the GOP would use it to kill the stimulus bill. If they did, they would own the resulting economic carnage lock, stock and barrel, and they know it.

Obama’s path seems clear enough. The time has come for the kick ass part of bipartisanship.

Mrs. G just came in and gave me my tag line, bless her heart:

"He's givin' the Repugs their shot. If they don't go for it, fuck 'em."

Yes, dear...

Scared shitless ...

You know, after listening to the news most of the weekend while I was painting, one would walk away with the impression that those incarcerated at Guantanamo (the really bad ones) possess some sort of superhuman strength, or are bulletproof, or something. All the talking heads are whining, "they're gonna return to the battlefield and kill Americans!"

WTF? They're men.

They can't fly, can't leap tall buildings, can't stop a speeding locomotive; their operations are mitigated by financing and logistics. They're not running home and getting the 'Hijacking Aircraft Made Easy Kit' out of the garage, only to hop on the next plane and fly it into one of our cities. I'm tired of the whining.

If these guys are really that good at their craft (and have unlimited resources), so good that all of our military, intelligence, and law enforcement resources can't deal with them if they decide to return to the life (which I seriously doubt), we should do what I said a week ago.

It's insane we're even having the conversation. We are the most powerful nation on Earth and it makes us look like a buncha cowards we are so terrified of a couple hundred people. For all the tough talk, we act like a nation of pantywaists.

Had we not incarcerated them, tortured and coerced them in our very own concentration camp, we might have been able to bring charges against them in a U.S. court. They'd have been sentenced to death or a life term in a Supermax prison and that would have been the end of it. They would have ended up being fuck toys and punching bags for the good, Christian, American terrorists (McVeigh, Rudolph, Kazinzky), and it wouldn't have bothered me in the least. There would have been no questions of evidence, or constitutionality, or torture. There would have been no questions of guilt.

This shouldn't be a big problem were it not for Neocon fearmongers and the news media who advance the story. I don't have a moral dilemma with killing the guys who are really bad; the ones whom we know were involved with the September 11th attacks. What does bother me is the 500 or so others who were caught up in our sweep, or sold out by their 'friends', who were subjected to our brutality and the loss of their freedom for years. The ends do not justify the means. In our fearful frenzy to 'protect Americans' we gave up our rights and morals and decided ruining the lives of innocent people was "acceptable collateral damage".

There is no problem with closing Gitmo. If there's admissible evidence (not coerced through torture), try them in a U.S. court and sentence them. If there's evidence inadmissible in the U.S., take them somewhere far away and kill them (quietly, and make sure the bodies are never found). If there's neither, let them go. Period.

The detention camp at Guantanamo is a boil on the ass of this country and it's time to lance it, once and for all. It does us no good to keep it running and closing it is an excellent first step in regaining our credibility in the world. The argument that these guys can't be released, and can't be incarcerated in the U.S., is a weak argument by those who enabled Bush to do whatever he wanted in the name of "keeping us safe". It is an argument used by those who supported and authorized torture during the Bush administration to keep themselves out of jail.

Hmmm ... Maybe there is a use for Gitmo after all? Can we set up a 'Presidential Wing'?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Ah, memories...

This goes out to everybody who's old enough to remember what 'parking' really means. Heh. Big dinosaur American cars had their uses. Try that in a Prius at yer own risk. At my age that might end in a very embarrassing trip to the chiropractor for both participants as a package deal involving a pair of half-clad inseparably wadded together Senior Citizens. Oh, the visual...

Tina Turner ~ Steamy Windows

There But For Fortune...

This is from a 1972 concert at Sing Sing. In it, she calls for 'razing the prisons to the ground'. A little too kumbaya for me. We need prisons because there are some truly evil people that need to be locked away from the rest of us, but even Joanie could not have foreseen the growth of the Prison Industry Complex and the abuse and oppression that exists today.

I've never seen the inside of anything worse than county lockups, but I sure could have if things had gone a little different over the years, e.g. getting caught, thus the title of the post.

Joan Baez ~ Prison Trilogy aka Three Stories

Thanks, Tassl3hoffMk2.

Sunday Emmylou Blogging

Yesterday's Emmylou Blogging didn't have quite enough Emmylou in it so here's one that does. It's from Sult: Spirit of the Music, an Irish TV show that I used to like to watch on the Ovation channel before SuddenlyNoLink took over our cable service. The channel had all kinds of World Music and I watched it a lot. Grrrrr....

Emmylou Harris ~ Waltz Across Texas Tonight

I 'waltzed across Texas' once in my '48 Plymouth on the way to Camp Lejeune. One stoplight in 825 miles and it snuck up on me and I ran it in broad daylight. No green or yellow, just a blinking red light. It was in Midland before the oil boom and there wasn't anybody around to catch me.

Thank you, cskwan.

George W. Bush's Sci-Fi Disaster

Robert Parry compares the look and feel of Obama's inauguration to Bush's, and the resulting disastrous outcome.

In retrospect, George W. Bush’s presidency could be viewed as a science-fiction disaster movie in which an alien force seizes illegitimate control of a nation, saps its wealth, wreaks devastation, but is finally dislodged and forced to depart amid human hope for a rebirth.

There was even a satisfying concluding scene as a new human leader takes power amid cheers of a liberated populace. The alien flees aboard a form of air transportation (in this case, a helicopter), departing to the jeers of thousands and many wishes of good riddance.

At times over the past eight years, it seemed like only the bravest Americans – whether in politics, journalism or other walks of life – dared to stand up to the Bush/Republican juggernaut. Even entertainers who uttered critical words about Bush – like the Dixie Chicks – faced career reprisals and, in some cases, death threats.

It is a tribute to those courageous Americans who stood up to Bush and his henchmen during those dark times that this wave of totalitarianism was turned back, albeit at an extraordinary cost to the United States and the world.

So, when nearly two million Americans rallied on the National Mall on Jan. 20, 2009, they were not there just to celebrate the Inauguration of Barack Obama. They were there to witness the departure of Bush and Cheney.

In a sense, the humans were there to make sure the aliens really did depart – and to celebrate the survival, and possibly the renewal, of a great Republic.

Screw the Republic! When do our butts quit hurting from the aliens' eight-year probe?

It's Sunday and what I really want to do is go to YouTube and look for music for y'all, so no more witty insightful comments on this one. Just go read it.

The People vs. Dick Cheney

Fantasy Island?

A 'recommended read' at MoJo:

Today, with Rumsfeld and his former boss on their way to the judgment of history, the question of accountability looms large. From liberals fantasizing about Dick Cheney in handcuffs, to cia officials taking out insurance against prosecution, many are wondering: Will there be redress for the crimes of the Bush administration—and if so, what form should it take?

I suppose drawing and quartering them is out of the question...

Whatever form it takes, the accounting will not be easy. As one close observer has put it, "Who would want the job of cleaning the Augean stables anyway?" Congress may not be able to redirect the rivers as Hercules did to wash out the accumulated filth, but it can go a long way in that direction. Accountability is a worthy goal even if incomplete. To borrow a phrase from Chile's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the best we can hope for is "all the truth and as much justice as possible."

If it even goes that far, something will be better than nothing, I suppose. Sigh. I'm still hoping for full-tilt-boogie prosecutions.