Friday, December 31, 2010

End of Year Haiku 2010 (Part 3: The Readers Write)

The Rude Pundit

Now, on New Year's Eve, rude readers provide you with laughter, tears, and genital excitement:

From Paul H.:
Boehner’s Boner
Obamacare’s a
Pre-existing condition
For John’s erection

From Kevin McV.:
Palin Of The North
Frontier woman brave!
How empow'ring it must feel
To kill Bullwinkle.

From Phil K.:
To be a Fox news anchor?
A skull full of shit!

Let's ring this shit to a close with just a moment of defiance:
From Dave N.:
Give It Up
Fuck all the birthers,
Teabaggers and born agains.
It's our country too.

Fuckin' A Skippy it is! Well said, Dave!

Many more.

The Coming War over the Constitution

A little light reading over what's going to start happening next week in the 112th Congress.

Robert Parry

Despite a few victories in the lame-duck session of Congress, Democrats and progressives should be under no illusion about the new flood of know-nothingism that is about to inundate the United States in the guise of a return to “first principles” and a deep respect for the U.S. Constitution.

Yet, while the Tea Partiers and the Right have embraced a mythical view of the Constitution as some ideal document that opposes federal power to tax, borrow and pass laws that improve “the general Welfare,” they have been less interested in the document’s protection of civil liberties, especially when the targets of abuse are Muslims, Hispanics, blacks and anti-war dissenters.

So, it seems the country is in for a new round of crazy while the voices for sanity stay largely mute.

Stephen Pizzo

The Tea Party GOP Gets Ready to Talibanize the US Constitution

Instead, I strongly suspect, they read and "understood" the constitution in the same way they claim to have read and understood the Bible; they began reading it knowing what they knew and what they wanted it to say, so that must be what it says.

But on a more serious note, there is something quite real going on with all this. The far-right has decided to do to the text of the US Constitution what al Qaeda has done to the text of the Koran - twist it to fit their political/social agenda then use it as a bludgeon to get their way.

Fasten yer seat belts. It's gonna be a bumpy ride.

Left Coast New Year's

Happy New Year to all our readers and those we steal from. We couldn't do this without you, so follow Fixer's advice and party like there's no tomorrow even though tomorrow will make you wish there really wasn't one. Heh. Try menudo as a hangover remedy. Or a large Bloody Mary.

Point is, arrive alive and safely at tomorrow someplace other than a drunk tank fulla amateurs and vomit. The other people who don't die because you didn't drive drunk will thank you too.

Me 'n Mrs. G will celebrate the New Year like we always do, watching the "Times Square dynamic" (thanks again, F-Man) on CNN. Kathy Griffin will be outrageous and funny and Andy Cooper will turn beet red in response, although maybe not so much this year as he's learning to cope with her and may pre-medicate. Whatever works.

New Year's is win-win for us yokels out here. Thanks to the East Coast-centric nature of this deal, it's all over at 9PM for those of us who don't like to go out among 'em. There are celebrations at midnight out here of course, but they ain't a patch on the ass of the Times Square flusterpluck so why bother?

The Earth will continue making its trips around the Sun for billions more years, with or without us. To me, the new year is simply the point on a temporal line where I try to remember to change the date on the checks I pay my bills with. Yes, I still do that.

It's a line that can stop anytime. Don't drink and drive.

A resource ...

To help you learn about whom you're dealing with. Thanks, Skippy!

New Year's ...

If you thought Christmas was bad, New Year's is worse. Too many people who don't party like animals believe this is the day they should let it all hang out. In New York especially because we have the Times Square dynamic going on; "Amateur Hour" at it's best. Tomorrow, we'll hear about all the casualties resulting from drunkenness and stupidity. We don't want you to be one of them. My usual admonition on holidays: Party like it's 1999, but make sure you have a sober ride home or a place to stay. We want you back for the New Year.

All the best; wishing you all a happy, healthy New Year from us here at the Brain. Hope next year is better than last for us all.

If this is a surprise ...

To Mr. Aravosis, he's never been on a cruise ship:

We're getting older. But in the gay community, that's a relatively new phenomenon. There weren't millions of openly gay people before now in American history. But all of those who came out in the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s are getting older now. It's something that really has never happened before - having a large number of openly gay seniors.

I don't think I've ever been on a cruise (31 so far) where there weren't at least a few older gay couples if not a whole hoarde of them traveling as a group.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

This is just a test...

This is the first successful tryout of my new Active-i glasses w/video camera. Mrs. G saw these on her daily traipse through the minefield of QVC Daily Specials (she has a Q-Card and can order anything by pushing the buttons on her phone! Danger lurks...). It's a cute gimmick. She showed me and I wanted it. Silly of me, I suppose, but I think it's a nice addition to my video camera arsenal which is now two. I cannot text or make calls on it so that's a plus.

First impressions are that we move our heads more than we think we do and I'll have to be looking slightly below what I want to catch because the camera is very slightly above eye level. Best use on a motorcycle might be to tape it to the headlight. Heh.

Quote of the Day

From an extraordinary rant by our pal Bustednuckles, the Ornery Bastard:

If there was ever a mortal sin that could be committed purposely, keeping your children ignorant is it.

Amen, brother.

End of Year Haiku 2010

From The Rude Pundit and his readers. Part 1 and Part 2.

From the terrible Supreme Court decision that started the year to the shocking grace notes that ended it, sometimes it's just better to say less than more about the tumultuous times. Through haiku, perhaps?

Citizens United
Ironic name, no?
For the new destruction of
Our United States?

Last Minute Good News
At least gay men and
Lesbians can freely die
For our lost causes.

Many more and probably more tomorrow.

The U.S. Economy in 2011

Robert Reich predicts:

What will happen to the US economy in 2011? If you're referring to profits of big corporations and Wall Street, next year is likely to be a good one. But if you're referring to average American workers, far from good.

The big disconnect between corporate profits and jobs is likely to continue because America's big businesses are depending less and less on U.S. sales and U.S. workers. Their big profits are coming from two sources: (1) growing sales in China, India, and other fast-growing countries, and (2) slimmed-down US payrolls.

In a typical recovery, profits lead to more hiring. That's because in a typical recovery, American consumers head back to the malls — and their buying justifies more hires. Not this time. All the hype about Christmas sales over the last few weeks masked the fact that American consumers demanded bargain-basement prices. And the price-cutting dramatically reduced sellers' margins. In short, profits aren't coming from American consumers — and profits won't be coming from American consumers in 2011.

Most Americans don't have the dough. They're still deep in debt, can't borrow against their homes, and have to start saving for retirement.

I have no debt whatsoever, own my home outright and have no need or desire to borrow against it, have saved all the money I could and hope it lasts.

I'm almost not part of this economy and have never been so glad of anything in my life.

I'm OK for the foreseeable future and hope you are too.

Headline of the Day

The 2010 P.U.-litzer Prizes

Smell Something Rotten? 2010 P.U.-litzer Prizes recognize the worst of U.S. journalism

Many of the usual suspects, some new ones.

The 10 most awesome albums of 2010

For once, Mark Morford and I are even.

Every year at this time, my friend Andy sends out a highly excitable e-mail asking about a dozen of his most rabid, music-obsessed friends -- sound engineers, club promoters, DJs, designers, anyone for whom music is less a casual dalliance and more like lifeblood -- to compile their personal lists of the year's best music, so we can all discover something new and/or gently mock each others' weird tastes in African banjo disco, kazoo jazz funk or ambient doom metal.

He describes his pick albums:

Rather amazing year for superlative glitchy electronica chill-out...

Opium daydream white-boy falsetto hip-hop one-man-and-a-MacBook masterwork of faraway weirdness and dreamy faded washes, so unusual in tone and timbre yet so instantly impressive in its singularity of vision that it makes you wonder what the hell you've been doing with your meager little life.

Ultra-premium rainy day/sigh at the moon/sip your whisky/wallow in the bathtub/ponder the Endtimes/crave a warm companion/nurse your wounds/ache for a simpler time/masturbate slowly for an hour and then go to bed and dream of navigating a small boat through a quiet storm of existential angst music.

...channels Elvis on a heroin porn binge, and try not to smile a dark and dirty smile. Unevenly produced, terrible artwork, who the hell cares. Turn it up, slam your firewater and curse the gods. Awesome.

I actually understood this:

This record is badass incarnate and you don't dare roll your eyes until you've heard it like, 10 times, naked and drunk and clawing at the moon.

Come ta think of it, if "lost my pants" and "clawing at the commode" can be shoehorned inta that, I've done it. To country! Heh.

So how are Morford and me even on music?

First, he and I both call music compilations 'albums'. I've been doing that since before he was born.

Second, I've never heard of any of the artists or groups or albums on his list. He wouldn't have heard of any of the artists or groups or albums on mine.

All you music lovers go enjoy this column, then come back and tell me what he said.

Why ...

Is this woman back in my face again?

AP reports that "federal authorities have opened a criminal probe of Delaware Republican Christine O'Donnell to determine if the former Senate candidate broke the law by using campaign money to pay personal expenses."


She's been on every network so far this morning. It's 7:30 am and I already have a dull ache at the base of my skull. Going upstairs to stab myself to death with a butter knife ...

How long ...

Have I been saying this?

As an American expat living in the European Union, I’ve started to see America from a different perspective.


The U.S. has 59 million people medically uninsured; 132 million without dental insurance; 60 million without paid sick leave; 40 million on food stamps. Everybody in the European Union has cradle-to-grave access to universal medical and a dental plan by law. The law also requires paid sick leave; paid annual leave; paid maternity leave. When you realize all of that, it becomes easy to understand why many Europeans think America has gone insane.


I was talking to my nephew in Germany on Christmas Eve and he basically said the same things (smart kid for 22 years old). He was in a state of disbelief over the debate on health care in this country.

And the money question:

... Isn't it better to invest in a social safety net than in a large criminal justice system? (In America over 2 million people are incarcerated.

What, and deny Big Prison all that profit? Surely you jest.

Addendum: Almost all of my European friends and relatives have looked at this nation with disbelief since we elected George W. Bush and most of them aren't flaming Lefties.

Great thanks to Susie for the link.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Study: Conservatives have larger ‘fear center’ in brain

Raw Story

Political opinions are considered choices, and in Western democracies the right to choose one's opinions -- freedom of conscience -- is considered sacrosanct.

But recent studies suggest that our brains and genes may be a major determining factor in the views we hold.

A study at University College London in the UK has found that conservatives' brains have larger amygdalas than the brains of liberals. Amygdalas are responsible for fear and other "primitive" emotions. At the same time, conservatives' brains were also found to have a smaller anterior cingulate -- the part of the brain responsible for courage and optimism.

No wonder fearmongering works so well on wingnuts. It didn't say so in the study, but I don't think they have very large brains to begin with.

Anecdotally speaking ...

We're heading out in a few minutes, over to an attorney's office to close on our mortgage. We're refinancing to get a lower rate. It's not that I have a big mortgage, less than half the value of the house, it was just a consolidation of the small building loans I got over the years (when interest was cheap) that were ARMs (but I never held them long enough for the interest rates to change) into a fixed rate mortgage when we saw the writing on the wall. I pay less mortgage than most pay in rent. With this refi, we'll save $200/month. Good for us.

That said, I noticed, this time, that all the associated parties (bank, title company, etc) did a lot more thorough background on us than they have in the past. 7 years ago, they were disappointed I didn't want to take 150% of the value out of the house and barely did more than verify my signature. This time, even for as little as we've borrowed, we were subjected to the equivalent of a credit cavity search. It's not that we're taking any more money, just refinancing the little balance we have left.

Just anecdotally, then versus now, I'd say the banks are taking greater care in whom they give a mortgage to.

Blogging flurries today

We had a pretty good snowstorm yesterday and last night. Just an average one, foot-and-a-half or so, nothing like the Right Coast got. The power was out but obviously is on now. The sun's out now and so is the landline and cable TV, and the intertubes connection is intermittent.

I'll do what I can as long as I can do it. It's sure a relief to know that weather has nothing to do with climate.

Creating jobs ...

For Americans. Oh ... wait ...

Perhaps if we purged the tax code of the numerous incentives to move jobs overseas (the latest was in the recent tax cut deal), it would be more likely to translate into jobs within shorter commuting distance than India:


It's so nice that the 1.4 million jobs created by American business didn't go to Americans. Good thing they got all them tax cuts so now they have "certainty". The only thing we can be certain about is that their bottom line will be better this year. Any certainty middle class Americans have is that they'll get screwed just as badly in 2011 as they did in 2010, maybe worse.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Gays target DADT's last bastion

Don Davis

Coming off perhaps their biggest victory yet with the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy, the leading gay and lesbian civil rights organizations are now planning to take on the last U.S. institution to follow this outdated policy: The Republican Party itself.

David Brock of Media Matters, who served as a key leader of the campaign to repeal DADT in the armed forces, admitted that “this may well the most daunting task faced by the LGBT community, since the uber-macho culture of the GOP makes the United States Marine Corps look like a Sunday afternoon tea party.”

Sir! Steep for two minutes! Aye-aye Sir! Stir, two! Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Not surprisingly, John McCain immediately registered his objections, stating on the Senate floor that the GOP “simply cannot afford such a radical change, particularly in the middle of the War Against Obama.” McCain later told Bill O’Reilly: “Just imagine how it would feel to suddenly wake up one morning and discover that the Chamber of Commerce lobbyist you’re in bed with … is actually gay!



"A pup in a valley of alpha males..."

The London Review Of Books does Dubya. Scathingly. A 'recommended read' by a reviewer who probably actually likes real books.

Team DP has indeed created ‘a space into which the writing subject constantly disappears’; one learns almost nothing about George W. Bush from this book. The names of hundreds of other people are mentioned, almost always in praise – it is, in its way, the world’s longest prize acceptance speech – but none of them, outside of the Bush family, has any life as a character. Each new person is introduced with a single sentence, noting one or more of the following: 1) Texan origins; 2) college athletic achievements; 3) military service; 4) deep religious faith. The sentence ends with three personal characteristics: ‘honest, ethical and forthright’; ‘a brilliant mind, disarming modesty and a buoyant spirit’; ‘a statesman, a savvy lawyer and a magnet for talented people’; ‘smart, thoughtful, energetic’ (that’s Condi); ‘knowledgeable, articulate and confident’ (that’s Rummy); ‘a wise, principled, humane man’ (Clarence Thomas); and so on. Then the person does whatever Bush tells him to do.

Bush is the lone hero of every page of Decision Points. [...]

This is a chronicle of the Bush Era with no colour-coded Terror Alerts; no Freedom Fries; no Halliburton; no Healthy Forests Initiative (which opened up wilderness areas to logging); no Clear Skies Act (which reduced air pollution standards); no New Freedom Initiative (which proposed testing all Americans, beginning with schoolchildren, for mental illness); no pamphlets sold by the National Parks Service explaining that the Grand Canyon was created by the Flood; no research by the National Institutes of Health on whether prayer can cure cancer (‘imperative’, because poor people have limited access to healthcare); no cover-up of the death of football star Pat Tillman by ‘friendly fire’ in Afghanistan; no ‘Total Information Awareness’ from the Information Awareness Office; no Project for the New American Century; no invented heroic rescue of Private Jessica Lynch; no Fox News; no hundreds of millions spent on ‘abstinence education’. It does not deal with the Cheney theory of the ‘unitary executive’ – essentially that neither the Congress nor the courts can tell the president what to do – or Bush’s frequent use of ‘signing statements’ to indicate that he would completely ignore a bill that the Congress had just passed.

A pup in a valley of alpha males, inadequate compared to Dad, humiliated by Mother, he classically became a bully to compensate: an ass-brander, noted for what he calls verbal ‘needling’; a boss who cussed out his subordinates and invented demeaning nicknames for everyone around him; a president who taunted terrorists, most of them imaginary, and challenged them to ‘bring it on’.

The reviewer uses many words well to describe Bush where I use only two: a sociopathic weakling.

Top 25 Dick Cheney Facts

Give Us This Day Our Daily Dread

• Dick Cheney does not sign contracts with the Devil- He makes the Devil offers he can’t refuse.

• Dick Cheney’s burps smell like Iraqi infants.

• Dick Cheney doesn’t have a defibrillator but a Halliburton pump station.

• People actually go fuck themselves if Dick Cheney tells them to.

• Dick Cheney’s new house is in the center of Mordor.

• Eve sprang from Adam’s rib but Liz Cheney had sprung from Dick Cheney’s bile duct.

• Dick Cheney once made General Pinochet stand in a corner for an hour for not killing enough liberals in Chile.

The only ones ...

In the house who are happy about the blizzard and it ain't any of the humans. I got Chooch and Ziva out as soon as the wind died down a bit.

Click to make big.

World's Weirdest Gift Shop?

I'm feeling like death warmed over today so maybe going shopping will cheer me up!


Body bags go for $20. Yellow crime scene tape is $6. Toe tags are normally $5, but they were sold out this month. The merchandise comes in a white plastic shopping bag that says “Los Angeles County Department of Coroner.”

Tucked in the corner of a squat brick building that houses a huge depository of the dead is the strangest of gift shops. For years, the county coroner has run the shop, aptly named Skeletons in the Closet, selling knickknacks playing off the rather morbid humor that the department’s business arouses in many people.

But it turns out that the shop’s slogan — “We’re dying for your business!” — is all too accurate. The shop was once supposed to make enough money to pay for an anti-drunken-driving course for teenagers that includes a visit to the morgue.

A visit to the morgue has been a post-drunken-driving stop for far too many as well.

Officer Alvarado, who was there with his girlfriend, said he frequently wore his favorite purchase — a barbecue apron emblazoned “L.A. County Coroner Has ♥” in the center and two pockets labeled “spare ribs” and “spare hands.”

Ms. Pereyda said that much of the merchandise in the store had been the same for years, leaving many regular customers eager for more. So she is brainstorming new ideas and is particularly excited about a shipment of water bottles that is supposed to arrive next month.

The containers will be labeled “bodily fluids.”

I'm sure we all like the autopsies on NCIS and various CSIs, but for the real deal, watch North Mission Road. The DVD makes a great gift too!

Comedy Isn't Always Funny

The Rude Pundit on Jon Stewart helping get the Zadroga Bill passed and the overreaction to by the mighty Gray Lady:

Don't be stupid and don't act coy, New York Times. Of course, the 9/11 first responders health care bill passed because Jon Stewart made it his cause on The Daily Show. It was an epic assist to New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillenbrand (who get the points because they were in position to actually, you know, vote on the bill).

It was the logical end for a year when Stewart and The Daily Show have used comedy to call for rationality, as in its Rally to Restore Sanity. For what could be more irrational than the Senate Republicans filibustering the Zadroga bill? And what could be more ridiculous than a news media more enamored of Sarah Palin's latest jackassery than with the Congress failing in what should have been a no-brainer? How do you satirize that? It's a living, breathing satire in itself. So Stewart zagged when everyone expected him to zig. He took advantage of the closing window of the lame duck Congress as surely as did the voracious tax-slashing Republicans, as surely as Harry Reid did. Good on him.

But the other message not to be lost here is that this is what journalism is supposed to do. On a basic level, it's supposed to hold the powerful to account. It's what Wikileaks is doing. It's the difference between the evening programming of Fox "news" and MSNBC: the former justifies the ways of the mighty for the masses, the latter says that the mighty need to justify themselves.

The New York Times asks whether this puts Stewart in the same league as Edward R. Murrow or Walter Cronkite. That's insane. Murrow fucked up the anti-American madness of a nutzoid Senator. Cronkite helped fuck up public opinion on a fucked-up war. These were great, nation-changing causes. Stewart said that firefighters, cops, and EMTs ought to have their medical bills paid for. If that's what passes for a crusade these days, then we are lost, lost, lost indeed.

We are lost, lost, lost indeed.

The next "Big Thing" ...

Seems the Republicans now want to force the states into bankruptcy. Why? To break the municipal employees' unions, of course. Seder's in for Keith this week:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Monday, December 27, 2010

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

The season to be jolly has ended.

I gotcher ho-ho-ho hangin'. Good fucking riddance.

New Census Data Good News for GOP
Abstinence-only programs boosting population in red states.

Pat Robertson Calls for Decriminalization of Marijuana
After being caught with half an ounce.

Heh. In my dreams!

To protect CEO, Bank of America Buys,,, and

Still available:,

Fried Fish May Explain Stroke Belt in Southern States
Also contributing: black man in White House.

Hey, whatever works.

Thanks, Gordon ...

For being so kind and sending your weather to us while you were off on the coast. 2 1/2 feet from 3 pm yesterday and it's still snowing with 60 mph winds. I been up for an hour, digging us out through the back door so we could walk the dogs. They, on the other hand, love this shit.

Authorities responded to scores of traffic accidents Sunday on treacherously icy roads and highways, and emergency management officials said conditions would not improve much until later Monday.

By 5 p.m. Sunday, there were at least 58 minor crashes on the Long Island Expressway and Sunrise Highway in Suffolk and 20 calls for disabled motorists, said Michael Sharkey, a spokesman for the Suffolk sheriff's office.


In Nassau, police and county officials could not estimate the number of crashes, but said they were busy responding to them.

Though snow was expected to stop falling by 5 a.m., officials said travel would still be difficult because winds of 35 to 50 mph would be whipping snowdrifts back onto the roads.


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Don't let 'em DREAM

More from the LATimes. Hey, I'm in Southern California and the Fuerza is strong here. So strong that I just had a chorizo burrito for breakfast. I will share with Mrs. G's family later. Heh.

Some readers celebrate demise of the DREAM Act

They say illegal immigrants are here to game the system and are a drag on the U.S. economy, despite a wealth of evidence to the contrary.

A few called for Luis Perez, the subject of one of my recent columns, to be immediately deported. Perez, 29, managed to graduate from college and UCLA School of Law despite being an undocumented resident of Los Angeles since his Mexican parents brought him here as an 8-year-old.

That's mighty white of 'them' to want to throw away a smart, hard working kid whose parents came from the wrong side of the border to get a better life. And actually got it for their kid.

So we'll continue to live in this state of collective hypocrisy — lining up for tacos made by people we suspect don't belong here, but enjoying the cheap meal just the same.

The crux of the biscuit. Much more.

What a gay Marine taught me

A good read in the LATimes:

The tough, utterly selfless NCO embodied what every service needs in its ranks. But he left to be able to live openly. In losing many of its gays, the U.S. military lost preparedness, a retired lieutenant colonel says.

So back to my friend, the now-retired Marine sergeant major and distinguished combat veteran. Do I like the idea of openly serving gays? No. Do I recognize that my military needs to look like my country? Yes. So to my fellow vets, if there is no room in the military for him, is there room for any of us?

Seeing the light reluctantly is seeing the light.

Flying reindeer, huh?

Go read the story of Santa and the psychedelic mushrooms. Heh.

Christmas Emmylou Blogging

Merry Christmas, Mele Kelikimaka, Feliz Navidad, and Tits Up in the Tall Yule to all our readers. Thank you.

Emmylou Harris & The McGarrigle Sisters ~ O Little Town Of Bethlehem

Thanks to 1000Magicians, UK.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Friday Monster Blogging

The girls wish you a Merry Christmas too (that's because they got their own special Christmas dinner this evening):

Click to make bigger

The Humbug Express

Paul Krugman

Hey, has anyone noticed that “A Christmas Carol” is a dangerous leftist tract?

I mean, consider the scene, early in the book, where Ebenezer Scrooge rightly refuses to contribute to a poverty relief fund. “I’m opposed to giving people money for doing nothing,” he declares. Oh, wait. That wasn’t Scrooge. That was Newt Gingrich — last week. What Scrooge actually says is, “Are there no prisons?” But it’s pretty much the same thing.

Anyway, instead of praising Scrooge for his principled stand against the welfare state, Charles Dickens makes him out to be some kind of bad guy. How leftist is that?

As you can see, the fundamental issues of public policy haven’t changed since Victorian times. Still, some things are different. In particular, the production of humbug — which was still a somewhat amateurish craft when Dickens wrote — has now become a systematic, even industrial, process.

Call it The Mighty Wurlitzer, FOXProp, the RS3M*, Talking Points, or any name you choose, it's lying writ large and loud and constant until it is believed and therefore the Truth.

*Repuglican Spin, Slime, and Smear Machine.

Best wishes ...

I've got a ton of shit to do to get ready for tomorrow and I might not get back here today, so I'd like to wish the staff here, all our bloggy pals, our readers, and commenters a very Merry Christmas.

Do me a favor and be careful out there if you're gonna be driving this holiday. Keep your eyes open (and your head out of your ass [i.e. phone, GPS, video, beating the kids, etc]) on the road and make sure you got somebody sober to get you home (or you have a place to stay where you're partying) if you indulge in a bit too much "cheer". Your family doesn't need to associate the holiday with your funeral or incarceration.

All the best to you and yours!

The Christmas Tree inside Galleries Lafayette, Paris. Click to make it grow.

I thought ...

Everybody wanted us to bomb Iran?

Despite sanctions and trade embargoes, over the past decade the United States government has allowed American companies to do billions of dollars in business with Iran and other countries blacklisted as state sponsors of terrorism, an examination by The New York Times has found.

At the behest of a host of companies — from Kraft Food and Pepsi to some of the nation’s largest banks — a little-known office of the Treasury Department has granted nearly 10,000 licenses for deals involving countries that have been cast into economic purgatory, beyond the reach of American business.


It's all good when there's a buck to be made.

Thanks to Fez for the link.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Quote of the Day



For 98% of the country, "uncertainty" about jobs, a roof over their heads, food on the table and a future doesn't matter, but when it comes to rich people, well, God forbid they should have to be uncertain of whether they will be listed in the Fortune 500 next year.


Headin' Out

Headin' for the coast today. See yas.

Nautical No-No

Drunk Passenger Drops Anchor on Moving Cruise Ship

I think perhaps he will not be invited back...

Happy Holidays Veterans

Sen. John McCain blocks suicide prevention

Talk to somebody ...

Having dealt with PTSD (it got to the point where I was homeless, me and my dog living out of a van for about half a year), I know what it means to have no hope, especially this time of year. There are a lot of people for whom this season is the worst of the year, especially with the lousy economy, those with depression or just have been dealt a bad hand in the last few years.

Last week, a guy I know couldn't take the pressures and committed suicide. We weren't best friends, wouldn't even call us friends, but he was a customer when I worked for Harry, he worked for the City, and we'd tip a couple together and shoot the shit for a few hours when we'd run into each other in the pub. I've known the man for 20 years and he was a nice guy, happy-go-lucky, and the last person I'd think would opt for a "permanent solution". He was 50 years old, with a lot of living left to do.

My point is this, especially this time of year. If you feel that life is so bad that you want to check out, talk to someone. Tell somebody, a friend, family member, acquaintance, what you're feeling. Had this guy talked to me (I can relate), I would have tried to get him some professional help and maybe me and my other buddies wouldn't be mourning him now.

Listen to me. Suicide is a selfish act. You might not feel whatever pain you have anymore, not hear the voices in your head, or not have to worry about money, but there are a whole host of people you leave behind, devastated and confused. It's hard to reconcile for the family, wondering what they could have done different to prevent the tragic outcome, wondering if something they did pushed you to it. No one you leave behind gets over it.

This guy wasn't the first I've known to kill himself, probably won't be the last. I'd just like to say that no matter how hard life gets (and I been on the bottom), things do get better. The life I have now wasn't handed to me. It took a lot of hard work and a great woman who understood my problem and helped me work through it. I'm glad.

Please, in this season especially, if you feel life isn't worth living, talk to someone before you decide to end it. Regardless of how things look now, there is a beautiful world out there, full of life and joy. You can find it if you try.


From my buddy W.K in comments:

... And the corollary, if someone asks to talk to you, take the time and LISTEN!

Santa sez ...

You get rocks this year:


Meanwhile, we have John McCain playing the role of Scrooge McGrumpy in a petulant, whiny sort of way. In a last-ditch effort to scuttle the DADT repeal, McCain came to the floor tonight ready to bring the Defense Appropriations bill up for a vote. Of course, he was ready to do that because he and his bitch Mitch McConnell had inserted a poison pill amendment that would have undone the actual repeal.


Santa's got a couple more on his "Naughty List". Heh ...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Bank Of America Accused Of Breaking Into Woman's Home, Taking Husband's Ashes

HuffPo, links at site:

Bank of America has seen easier days. The bank been reportedly identified as a target by WikiLeaks -- it reportedly maintains a war room to defend against the leak -- it's the subject of a federal racketeering lawsuit, one of many high profile lawsuits involving its foreclosure practices.

Now, the bank has been accused of breaking into a woman's home and taking her possessions, including her late husband's ashes.

The New York Times details the claims of struggling homeowners like Mimi Ash, who is one of a growing set of a Americans who believe they have been mistakenly foreclosed upon. In a lawsuit filed in October, the NYT reports, Ms. Ash claims she was behind on payments on her Truckee, California (my em) home and was in the process of working out a mortgage modification with Bank of America when the bank seized her home and possessions.

Ms. Ash says she endured years of delay from the Countrywide (now owned by Bank of America) representatives she worked with to modify her mortgage. But her efforts couldn't stop foreclosure process. Here's the NYT (read the full piece here):

"This is in essence a burglary," said Ms. Ash, walking through the vacant home, with its four levels and commanding mountain views. "But when a burglar goes in, they don't take your photos and your husband's ashes."

Given the weather conditions here, the rat bastards probably sprinkled hubby on the icy sidewalk for traction while they stole her other belongings.

C'mon, Assange, let fly at these assholes. Some B of A Bigs need to be in jail. Other outfits too.

Mrs. Ash will be able to buy a better vacation home with the proceeds of her lawsuit and rightly so.

Dear Mr. Obama,

Your leadership skills still suck but thanks for getting all this done. You helped out a lot of people who really needed it. Merry Christmas to Michelle and the girls.



Why I love ...

Long Island girls:

MINEOLA (WABC) -- A woman waiting for a train chased and fought a purse snatcher who tried to run off with her belongings.


"I caught up with him at the staircase where you get off the platform. He pushed me so I fell down the stairs. So he got a little lead on me," she explained.

She fell on her hands and knees, suffering minor cuts and bruises, but she wasn't done yet.

The victim got back up and started chasing the bad guy again.

"I saw him go around this building to the left and something told me to go around the right and try to catch him on the opposite side. And that's what I did. He had no choice but to run into an alley," she said.


I don't recommend you doing this, ladies, but this gal knew what she was dealing with; a cowardly little piece of shit.


She cornered him in the alley behind 80 Main Street and pushed him against a car.

She grabbed him by his jacket, but the purse snatching bandit managed to wiggle out of the jacket.

He left it and the purse behind as he took off running again.

The victim ended her chase and called police.


Seems some moron attacked her when she was in college and she took a self-defense course, much to the chagrin of the moron who attacked her today.

When even FOXProp climbs yer Repug frame...

Senate Passes 9/11 First Responders Health Care Bill

This just in:

Senate approves nuclear arms pact

Holy shit. Threaten ta make these guys work late...

The wine-lover's guide to the apocalypse

I didn't think I would get back from the windshield joint so quickly. What passes for normal programming can now resume.

If it's Wednesday, it must be metaMorford:

OMG, you guys! What if you woke up one morning and walked outside and, oh my God, everyone was completely gone?

What happens when you wake up and the air smells like sex and coffee and Turkish incense, the world's oceans have stabilized, pollution has somehow magically vanished from industry, and economic improvement is no longer tied to unchecked population growth but instead has something to do with dancing and orchids and the widespread study of Sumerian poetry?

What, too bizarre? Right. Satanic fanged fetuses, that makes sense.


Light Blogging Today

We missed Thanksgiving so we're going to go to the coast tomorrow come hell or high water. High water's more likely. Anyway, the Tacoma has got too many fresh cracks propagating on its windshield for me to feel comfortable on a long trip, so I'm getting a new one this morning.


Man, are those guys at AutoGlass Express fast! One hour flat to change out my windshield. For which I was charged $75 labor for a 3.80 hour job which is about $19.73 an hour. Try gettin' Fixer to work for that. Heh. I don't know where they get their flat rate times from, but I think the kid made his money. Total was under $300, which is cheap to my way of thinking. The new windshield is nearly identical to the old one as to the sorta dot matrix sunshade, and they reapplied my "local resident, let him through the road closure" sticker.

They put a new windshield in my Dakota a coupla years ago. They do good work and I recommend them. Beats the shit outta havin' to go to Reno too.

Then, as I do every time I get to that industrial park, a quick walk around the building for sandwiches from the Full Belly Deli (cheesesteak for me, meatball for the Mrs., both on focaccia-style jalapeño cheese bread. Yum.

I'll leave ya with the last ¶ of today's Rude One:

Oh, sure, next year, they're gonna be a giant sack of dickheads. But, for now, Republicans in the Senate were like a middle-aged man hiring a hooker and paying her in advance for an entire night of making his deepest, most perverted fantasies come true, but, midway through his first diaper change, he blows his wad and doesn't know what to do the rest of the evening but order out for Chinese. By giving in to their greatest desire, Obama was able to change the post-midterm narrative (with vast, huge amounts of help from Harry Reid). And all it took for the President to get some of his goals accomplished was to bribe wealthy Republicans with two years of free money.

The free money is ours of course, but what's done is done. See yas later.

I suppose ...

There won't be any climate change legislation coming out of Congress anytime soon:

"...the earth will end only when God declares it's time to be over. Man will not destroy this earth. This earth will not be destroyed by a flood.... I appreciate having panelists here who are men of faith, and we can get into the theological discourse of that position, but I do believe God's word is infallible, unchanging, perfect.


Quote of the Day

Comrade Misfit:


I wish I had thought of this back in the day: Every Right-wing Southerner who ever said "America- love it or leave it" should have been asked "how did Plan B work out for you?"

No money?

To extend health care benefits to the people who gave the Republicans and George Bush the political and propaganda wherewithal to begin two useless, misbegotten wars, but we have all the money we need* to throw away in an effort to "win".

WASHINGTON — Waste and fraud in U.S. efforts to rebuild Afghanistan while fighting al Qaeda and the Taliban may have cost taxpayers billions of dollars, a special investigator said Monday.

Arnold Fields, special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, said the cost of U.S. assistance funding diverted or squandered since 2002 could reach "well into the millions, if not billions, of dollars."


While everybody has pumped the corpses of 3000 of my neighbors and the rescuers who died for political and monetary gain over the past 10 years, you'd think trying to keep the ones who survived that horror alive would be a serious priority. You'd think we could spare a few billion from our defense budget to do it.

*Thanks to Chris for the link.

So ...

Now I sit here, my head spinning.

How is it that, in a couple weeks, all of this legislation gets through Congress? I mean, what the fuck was the last year and a half all about? We had to wait for the last 2 weeks of the 111th Congress to ram all this crap through? The Republicans just suddenly caved? Crossed party lines to "do the right thing"? Just because the rich got their tax cut (gotta be something more in that package)? Just because Harry Reid wouldn't let them go home?

Yes, I realize it was an election year and pandering to the base was the watchword, but it seems like a complete turnaround from all the sturm und drang of the past couple years. I can't believe, after all the rhetoric about making Obama fail, they let him come up smelling like a rose.

I just don't get it (I have this sinking feeling that some sort of deal was made that will come back to bite us in the ass).

Shoulda left health care for now too ...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Mouth of the South

The Rude Pundit on Haley Barbour's moronic comments about how life in the Jim Crow South wasn't that bad for a white man.

There's a particular delusion that Confederacy apologists have. They have to be in deep denial about secession and the war because it prevents them from acknowledging that it's just fucking racist to honor the Confederacy. And they'd have to acknowledge that it wasn't the honorable beliefs of citizens being oppressed by the federal government. It was just a bunch of traitorous, rich scumbags who didn't want to lose their biggest moneymaking asset: free labor. Remember: when you honor Confederate soldiers, you honor terrorists. Having a party to celebrate secession is not unlike a group of extremist Muslims in a Pakistan cave hosting a let's-fuck-this-goat party every September 11.

Shit, every day is goat-fuckin' day in Pakistan. Maybe in the extremist Xtian parts of this country too.

On The South Carolina Secession Gala:

[...] "The wonderful news is that the ORIGINAL Ordinance of Secession will be available for viewing by our guests. This is not a lithograph, but the ACTUAL document which has been protected for years in the vault and hasn’t been seen in years. Those sponsoring tables will be able to have a group photograph with all Sponsors made with the ORIGINAL ORDINANCE." Man, that's like fucking your cousin on Martin Luther King's grave while using the Emancipation Proclamation as a condom, it's so good.

I'll take yer word for it...

Barbour, though, is just another incarnation of the Confederacy apologists. Of course it was a wonderful life for Barbour. He was white and ignorant. You put on blinders as a kid, but you're supposed to realize when you're an adult, "Oh, shit, Mom and Dad weren't blissfully happy all the time. Oh, shit, blacks in my town were treated like shit." So, one has to wonder, is being white and ignorant still his excuse now?

It's his ticket to the Presidency. He thinks. I think he just blew his chances for that to hell and gone. Good.

Barbour looks and sounds just like the late comedian Jerry Clower, also from Yazoo City and known as "The Mouth Of The South".

The difference is, I like ol' Jerry. Here he is talkin' about fishin' with the game warden. Sounds a lot like fishin' with Fixer...

Thanks to Dogote82.

Manger Danger!

The Daily Palin. Yes, The Daily Palin.


Am under heavy fire from Intercontinental Ballistic Mistletoe. STOP

Ah, the War on Christmas rages once more. 'Tis the season.

Flairs up around this time each winter -- a right-wing holiday tradition that seems to bring more unintentional cheer with each passing year.

Gretchen Carlson of "Fox and Friends" got the memo from the Man Upstairs (no, not Him -- Ailes). She trumpeted this "crazy" (and sadly, false) story about a Florida school banning red and green, and rolled some silly tape. Soon after, Stephen Colbert lit her up like a holiday tree -- his mocking well-hung by the chimney with care. (Blitzkreig on Grinchitude)

By the chimney? Mox nix as long as yer well-hung...with care, of course.

Christmas is supposed to be all Christian and non-materialistic -- a message Fox News Radio stooge John Gibson embraced by cashing in with a "War on Christmas" book. (The subtitle -- "How the Liberal Plot to Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday is Worse Than You Thought" - suggests the man is not hauling a full sack of presents.)

But this year's Sergeant Shultz and Colonel Klink in the War on Christmas have to be GOP Sens. Jon Kyl and Jim DeMint. Kyl accused Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of "disrespecting one of the two holiest of holidays for Christians." DeMint chimed in with more phony piety -- calling Democratic efforts to do the people's business in the two weeks around Christmas "sacrilegious."

Jiminy Christmas -- how stupid do these disingenuous GOP-holes think the American people are? I suppose their excuse is they're just playing to their constituents in the Jingle Belt. Poor saps. All they were doing was angling for a new way to screw Obama -- surely they didn't mean to deploy Jesus as a political weapon.

That last line is the most tongue-in-cheek and sarcastic line in the piece. It's what the Repugs do, it's who they are. Work Jesus like a redheaded stepchild to their advantage with the great mis-informed.

Palast Arrested

From BuzzFlash:

Greg Palast Arrested, Busted by BP in Azerbaijan

No flesh on that bone so I looked around a little.

MWC News

"Here in Azerbaijan we believe in human rights. PLEASE GIVE US YOUR FILM."

Oh, no, no, not good.

I would say doubleplusungood!

I told the dumbest-looking one, "Look here: This paper says your so-called President is a weasel's rectum," which our 'fixer' translated as, "This letter from Foreign Ministry is authorization to make a documentary for the British Television."

So that's what Fixers do...

Welcome to the Islamic Republic of BP, otherwise known as Azerbaijan. And good-bye.

I'm out of there. Out with the evidence we need about BP and how it lead to the Gulf of Mexico blow-out and an extension of the occupation of Iraq.

It's a hell of a story, and my holiday gift to myself is that I'm here and ready to tell it.

The date on that was yesterday. I'm waiting with bated breath.

Note to Greg: Keep yer head down, dude. BP missed killing you there, but...

The World's Oldest Holiday

The 'Skeeter Bites Report with its annual update of its biggest hit. Good read.

Many Americans often refer to Christmas as "the Yuletide." And no wonder: Yule is the Winter Solstice. Most modern Pagans still celebrate Yule. Even most Christians use "Christmas" and "Yule" interchangeably to describe the season without even thinking about its Pagan origins.

Yule celebrates the beginning of the sun's light and warmth returning to the northern hemisphere after reaching its southernmost point on the Earth at the Tropic of Capricorn on the Winter Solstice -- which this year will occur this evening (Tuesday) at 6:38 pm EST, some 13 1/2 hours after the end a spectacular total lunar eclipse that took place during the pre-dawn hours of this morning. It is one of the two very ancient Pagan holidays that are still widely celebrated in the Western world -- and beyond -- relatively intact. The other is our modern celebration of Halloween.

I got to see bits and pieces of the eclipse through a rapidly changing cloud cover.

In addition to the Winter Solstice celebration of Yule on December 20-22 (depending on the actual date of the solstice itself from one year to the next), the other seven Pagan holidays are:

• Imbolg or Candlemas (Groundhog Day, February 2) -- also known among Catholics as St. Brigid's Day;

• Eostre or Ostara (Spring Equinox, March 20-22);

• Beltaine (May Day, May 1);

• Litha (Summer Solstice, June 20-22);

• Lammas or Lughnasadh (Midsummer's Day, August 1);

• Mabon (Autumn Equinox, September 20-22);

• Samhain (pronounced SOW-en), the Wiccan New Year (Halloween, October 31).

This is one reason why Easter (whose name in English is a derivative of Eostre) always falls on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the Spring Equinox and why Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, almost always falls in close proximity to the Autumn Equinox.

Good shit! Much more.

Christ ...

Only in America:

I just needed to tell someone what happened at the Chester County Ballet production of the Nutcracker. Yes, I know I live in rightwingville but did you know that the Nutcracker now has the songs “God Bless America” and “America the Beautiful” in it?


Why do you think I tell people I'm Canadian when I go abroad?

Monday, December 20, 2010

DADT Gone: Social Conservatives Lose Their Fucking Minds

No celebration of the end of DADT would be complete without a weigh-in by The Rude Pundit. He does not disappoint.

Upon seeing on the CSPAN that the nation's stupid Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy regarding gays in the military had been overturned on Saturday, the Rude Pundit celebrated in the old way: by inviting a bunch of queer soldiers from every branch (even the Coast Guard) over to Casa de Rude for tequila, ecstasy, and more blow jobs and fingering than in the parking lot of your high school after the junior prom. By the detritus left behind, he knew it had been quite the celebration, even if his only memories involve repeatedly hearing orgasmic cries of "Hoo-ah" and watching a lesbian couple slow dance as a third sang, "Off we go into the wild blue yonder." On Sunday morning, the Christmas tree was festooned with empty condom wrappers, the three wise men in the Nativity were positioned as if they were fucking the camels and donkeys, the nutcracker's mouth was stuck shut, the poinsettia was uprooted, and the pantsless Marine still asleep in the tub had mistletoe tied to rest just below his belly button. A splendid Yuletide festival, indeed.

Glad ya had a good time. Hope ya din't sign anything, Pvt/SR/AB Rude-y. Heh.

Much, much more.

A busy day on the celestial calendar

From YubaNet. Cool graphic.

Early in the morning on December 21 a total lunar eclipse will be visible to sky watchers across North America (for observers in western states the eclipse actually begins late in the evening of December 20), Greenland and Iceland.[...]

Maybe. The sky cleared for a while last night and the moonlight on the new-fallen snow was fantastic!

This is the first time in 456 years that a total lunar eclipse has coincided with the winter solstice. Some of our, er, lunier brethren and sisteren are seeing it as a possible bad omen.

Montreal Gazette

The celestial eccentricity holds special significance for spiritualities that tap into the energy of the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year and a time that is associated with the rebirth of the sun.

"It's a ritual of transformation from darkness into light," says Nicole Cooper, a high priestess at Toronto's Wiccan Church of Canada. "It's the idea that when things seem really bleak, (it) is often our biggest opportunity for personal transformation.

"The idea that the sun and the moon are almost at their darkest at this point in time really only further goes to hammer that home."

A lunar eclipse taking place during the solstice is not an event Hawkins has seen in research, but he said it would have been viewed as something special.

"Eclipses could be taken either way," he said. "Certainly it would have been an omen, but it would have been up to the interpretation of specialists of whether it was good or bad."

I'll buy that. Here's an interpretation by this "specialist":

Tonight's eclipse will be a rare coincidence of celestial phenomena, interesting to see. The mid term elections, now there was a bad omen.

Kosher Pizza?

The Hill

Disgraced ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff has left his job at a small kosher pizzeria in Baltimore after working there for nearly six months.

Leaving aside for the moment the fact that Abramoff and I are from the same home town (along with Monica Lewinsky and the Menendez brothers) and I've probably done more to put Beverly Hills in a good light, which is a little scary, I never heard of a kosher pizzeria before.

Meat? Dairy? I guess pepperoni, sausage, and linguica are out of the question? I can't think of anything more boring than The Orthodox Combo. Oy.

Headline of the Day

From BuzzFlash:

Pentagon Prepares for End of DADT

What, they're redecorating?


DADT Repeal Allows Gays Out of Closet, But McCain Stays In Cave Like Japanese WWII Holdouts


Freeing The Airwaves From Corporate Control

A lame duck act of Congress we might not hear much about on corporate media. Via Prometheus Radio Project:

WE WON! Senate Joins House in Passing the Local Community Radio Act!

Today a bill to expand community radio nationwide – the Local Community Radio Act – passed the U.S. Senate, thanks to the bipartisan leadership of Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and John McCain (R-AZ)(He did something right? Holy shit! - G). This follows Friday afternoon’s passage of the bill in the House of Representatives, led by Representatives Mike Doyle (D-PA) and Lee Terry (R-NE). The bill now awaits the President's signature.

The Local Community Radio Act will expand the low power FM (LPFM) service created by the FCC in 2000 – a service the FCC created to address the shrinking diversity of voices on the radio dial. Over 800 LPFM stations, all locally owned and non-commercial, are already on the air. The stations are run by non-profit organizations, local governments, churches, schools, and emergency responders.

The bill repeals earlier legislation which had been backed by big broadcasters, including the National Association of Broadcasters. This legislation, the Radio Broadcast Preservation Act of 2000, limited LPFM radio to primarily rural areas. The broadcast lobby groups claimed that the new 100 watt stations could somehow create interference with their own stations, a claim disproven by a Congressionally-mandated study in 2003.

Much more. This is a good thing.

When Zombies Win

Paul Krugman

When historians look back at 2008-10, what will puzzle them most, I believe, is the strange triumph of failed ideas. Free-market fundamentalists have been wrong about everything — yet they now dominate the political scene more thoroughly than ever.

The answer from the right is that the economic failures of the Obama administration show that big-government policies don’t work. But the response should be, what big-government policies?

President Obama, by contrast, has consistently tried to reach across the aisle by lending cover to right-wing myths. He has praised Reagan for restoring American dynamism (when was the last time you heard a Republican praising F.D.R.?), adopted G.O.P. rhetoric about the need for the government to tighten its belt even in the face of recession, offered symbolic freezes on spending and federal wages.

None of this stopped the right from denouncing him as a socialist. But it helped empower bad ideas, in ways that can do quite immediate harm. Right now Mr. Obama is hailing the tax-cut deal as a boost to the economy — but Republicans are already talking about spending cuts that would offset any positive effects from the deal. And how effectively can he oppose these demands, when he himself has embraced the rhetoric of belt-tightening?

Yes, politics is the art of the possible. We all understand the need to deal with one’s political enemies. But it’s one thing to make deals to advance your goals; it’s another to open the door to zombie ideas. When you do that, the zombies end up eating your brain — and quite possibly your economy too.

If memory serves, zombies can be sent happily to their graves if salt passes their lips. Rock salt from a 12-gauge oughta do it.

No Labels My Ass

Daddy Frank

JEEZ, can’t we all just get along? Can’t we be civilized? Can’t we reach across the aisle, find common ground and get things done? Can’t we have a new Morning in America as clubby and chipper as MSNBC’s daily gabfest, “Morning Joe”?

This is actually the manifesto of the new political organization called No Labels. It’s no surprise that its official debut last week prompted derisive laughter from all labels across the political spectrum, not to mention Gawker, which deemed it “the most boring political movement of all time.” But attention must be paid. In its patronizing desire to instruct us on what is wrong with our politics, No Labels ends up being a damning indictment of just how alarmingly out of touch the mainstream political-media elite remains with the grievances that have driven Americans to cynicism and despair in the 21st century’s Gilded Age.

The notion that civility and nominal bipartisanship would accomplish any of the heavy lifting required to rebuild America is childish magical thinking, and, worse, a mindless distraction from the real work before the nation. [...]

Beltway conventional wisdom is equally responsible for another myth promoted by No Labels: that the Move On left and the Tea Party right are equal contributors to America’s “hyperpartisanship.” In the real world, no one could seriously believe that activists on the left have the sway over Democratic leaders, starting with President Obama, that the Tea Party has over the G.O.P. Nor, with all due respect to MSNBC, does the left have a media megaphone to match the Tea Party’s alliance with the Murdoch empire, as led by Fox News, and the megastars of talk radio.

Besides, polls consistently show that hyperpartisanship is more prevalent among Republican voters than Democrats. [...]

Repuglican'ts totally suck and Democrats only suck less.

Yet what’s most disturbing about No Labels is that its centrist, no doubt well-intentioned leaders seem utterly clueless about why Americans of all labels are angry: the realization that both parties are bought off by special interests who game the system and stack it against the rest of us. Indeed, No Labels itself is another manifestation of this syndrome. Its two prime movers are a political consultant, Mark McKinnon, a veteran of the Bush and McCain campaigns known for slick salesmanship; and a fund-raiser, Nancy Jacobson, who, along with her husband, the pollster and corporate flack Mark Penn, helped brand the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign as a depository for special-interest contributions.

WHAT America needs is not another political organization with a toothless agenda and less-than-transparent finances. The country will not rest easy until there are brave leaders in both parties willing to reform the system that let perpetrators of the Great Recession escape while the rest of us got stuck with the wreckage. [...]

This just popped into my mind: with enough thrust, pigs fly just fine.

As The Times reported, Citi is now marketing all-new lines of loosey-goosey credit cards to debt-prone Americans much as it stoked the proliferation of no-money-down mortgages during Rubin’s tenure in the housing bubble. It can do so with impunity, since the incoming chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Spencer Bachus, has already guaranteed institutions like Citi a pass. As Bachus’s instantly notorious pronouncement had it, “My view is that Washington and the regulators are there to serve the banks.”

In truth, this congressman’s view has been the prevailing view in Washington under both parties since the Reagan administration. If No Labels is the best our centrist political establishment can come up with to address the ills eating away at America, its culture is as bankrupt as Citigroup would be if taxpayers had been allowed to let it fail.

I have a hunch this outfit will accept donations and fade away. Labels are descriptive and we need them to tell the players apart. Much like biologists need their species, phyla, and genuses, there are a lot of subheadings under 'wingnut assholes' and 'Dem pussies'.

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

Congress Repeals “Don't Ask”
Passes “Don't Dream.”

Abu Dhabi Hotel Spends $11 Million Decorating Christmas Tree
Does nothing for Hanukkah.

Study: Fox News Has Most Misinformed Viewers
Least misinformed viewers: ScyFy Channel.

Latest Nixon Tapes Filled With Anti-Semitic, Anti-Black, Anti-Irish, Anti-Italian Remarks
And he didn't have very nice things to say about you, either.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Light Blogging Today

We had a power outage this morning. So we're sittin' there in our too-light-to-sleep, too-dark-to-read living room on auxiliary power (8 D-cells) listenin' ta the Sunday morning Hawaiian music show on KVMR after a breakfast of cold last night's pizza (Coyote Combo, skimpy on the coyote thank God). Very cheery, but we got bored outta our skulls.

So I cleaned the woodstove and chimney pipe in case the power stayed off for very long. Haven't used it in years and didn't want it smellin' like fried dust if we had to fire it up. Then we switched out the living room drapes and washed the sliding glass door and a window while the drapes were off. Then we hung a framed poster starting with the blank spot on the wall. Both of these little projects had been sitting right there for months. As soon as we were all done the power came back on. It was off for 3 hours. Perhaps Mañana, The God Of Procrastination was trying to tell us we'd put this stuff off long enough even for Him.

I guess we should get bored more often.

Now I'm all amped up from all the activity so I guess I'll go outside and decoratively rearrange some snow. See yas later.

At least ...

Now all American citizens have the right to fight for and defend their country. It's a very good day:

A bill allowing openly gay people to serve in the military was approved by the U.S. Senate today, drawing cheers from gay and lesbian military veterans and other members and supporters of the LGBT community who gathered in San Francisco to watch the vote.

The Senate today voted 65 to 31 in favor of the bill to end the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. The bill was approved by the House of Representatives on Wednesday and will now go to President Obama to be signed into law.


Now, if we'd see fit to allow them to spend their lives with the people they love (like every other fucking American) and share the benefits of being a married couple, we'd be doing pretty good. It still boggles my mind that we're even having this argument in the 21st Century.

Addendum: And much as it kills me to say it, I appreciate Joe Lieberman's efforts on this front. For the first time in a long time, he's on the correct side of an issue.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Saturday Crazy Redneck Music Blogging

This goes out as a cautionary vision of what most certainly would happen to all of us dirty ol' married men who feel the way I do about Kathy Griffin should we lose our minds and think we're single again. Heh.

Joey & Rory ~ Cheater, Cheater

Thanks to emimusic.

Bones found on island might be Amelia Earhart's

I've had my ear glued to the radio over this one since 'thirty-seven, bunkie. One of the fascinating mysteries of the 20th century.

"There's no guarantee," said Ric Gillespie, director of the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, a group of aviation enthusiasts in Delaware that found the pieces of bone this year while on an expedition to Nikumaroro Island, about 1,800 miles south of Hawaii.

"You only have to say you have a bone that may be human and may be linked to Earhart and people get excited. But it is true that, if they can get DNA, and if they can match it to Amelia Earhart's DNA, that's pretty good."

It could be months before scientists know for sure — and it could turn out the bones are from a turtle. [...]

Build me up and then dump me. The story of my life. Sigh.

I watched a show the other night on this same TIGHAR expedition. They did an experiment with a pig carcass to find out how long it would take the land crabs to consume the meat and how far the bones would get dispersed. Not long and pretty far. Them land crabs'll have yer meat gone before ya know yer dead and take some home with 'em.

Here's how I prefer to think of her:

Thanks to prem73.

Headline of the Day

Up To 10 Feet Of Snow Expected In Sierra

Just another day in paradise. Sigh.


Sand and Sandbags are available for residents of Nevada County.

I live at 6000' of altitude on the side of a hill a half mile and 200 feet above the Truckee River. I will deploy sandbags if I have to and if I do, all y'all from Lawn Guyland to Iowa to Napa will already be floating. Row on over fer coffee.

The Hammer Gets Nailed

Jim Hightower

For once, I actually agree with something that with Tom DeLay said. The former Republican leader of Congress recently declared in his most somber tone, "The criminalization of politics undermines our very system." Wow, so true, Tommy.

Of course, what I mean by the "criminalization of politics" is very different than what he means. DeLay was bemoaning the stunning fact that a Texas jury had just convicted him on two felony counts of money laundering. He wailed that he was a victim of a political vendetta by Texas Democrats, calling his prosecution "an abuse of power."

Yes, Tom, politics has been criminalized. It's been turned into a criminal enterprise funded by corporations for corporations. Reprobate politicos like you have turned the People's House into a shameful pay-to-play parlor.

DeLay was so good at hitting up corporate lobbyists for money, then pounding their wish list into law, that he was nicknamed "The Hammer." But now, The Hammer's been nailed--not by Democrats, but by a jury of 12 common citizens, whom his own hot-shot lawyers helped select. These honest people diligently sifted through reams of evidence and ultimately saw him for what he is: a felon.

A small yet satisfying victory.

Everything else ...

Is just "fooling around":

In a late afternoon Senate floor verbal dustup Friday, Sen. Charles Schumer lambasted Sen. John McCain for characterizing time spent debating the Zadroga 9/11 health bill as "fooling around."

Congressional Democrats were working to secure Senate ratification of a new arms control treaty before the holiday break when Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) asked if there could be a "time agreement" on the debate, as it was getting late.

McCain (R-Ariz.) dismissed the idea, saying that, "after all the fooling around that we've been doing on the DREAM act, on New York City, on all of these other issues that [have] taken up our time, we will not have a time agreement . . . until all members on this [the Republican] side have had an opportunity to express their views." [my em]


So long as their rich patrons have their tax breaks, nothing else matters. They don't care about anyone and the only useful person is a "productive" one. If you're injured or dead, can't carry a rifle or work like a dog for a multinational corporation, you ain't worth shit to the Republicans. Too bad more regular folks don't get it.

Saturday Emmylou Blogging

"Later" 2008.

Emmylou Harris ~ How She Could Sing The Wildwood Flower
Thanks to thecatkeaton, Canada.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Thought for the Day on DADT

Much has been made lately by the dinosaurs that repealing DADT would be detrimental to "combat efficiency". Got me ta thinkin'... (uh-oh!)

Combat generally takes place out in the field and far from the comforts of a nice, civilized (cough) base.

There's no sex in the field, and as the Wise Old Gunny said, "When I'm home, my wife is my right hand. In the field, my right hand is my wife." You can't tell if a troop is gay or straight by watching him jack off.

Unless you can see the picture he's holding up in his other hand, and if you're watching this private act that closely, you're the perv.

Everything's relative...

This is Kathy Griffin, whom I adore even though I'm not gay, showing off her "starvation body" to the troops. I think she looks positively delectable for young stuff of merely 50 years. Makes the ol' sap rise and all that.

Check out the look on the trooper's face. This is not the face of a young man holding a scantily-clad pretty redhead in his arms. It's the face of a Boy Scout helping a little old lady across the street. Heh.

House Passes Legislation to Strengthen Post-9/11 G.I. Bill

Imperial Valley News

S. 3447 (Akaka) builds on the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, which was enacted in June 2008 and provides education benefits for veterans at World War II levels, recognizes the sacrifice of our 1.8 million Reserve and National Guard troops by better aligning their educational benefits with their length of service, and also allows unused education benefits to be transferred to spouses and children. S. 3447 seeks to rectify many of the ongoing technical concerns that were highlighted after passage of the bill. First, the bill would address a major shortfall expressed by the veterans’ community by those who would prefer to attend a non-college degree program that would meet their professional goals. This bill seeks to expand on the eligible programs of education to include apprenticeship and on-the job training, in addition to flight training and non-college degree programs of education. This legislation would also provide veterans with a housing stipend when taking courses strictly through long distance learning and would allow student veterans to use their education benefits for pay for national tests, and licensure and certification tests. Finally, this bill seeks to recognize a families’ role of caring for an injured veteran by extending the period that a family member can use his or her education benefits.

This is good. It cleaned up some stuff from the 2008 Bill that needed fixing.

I went to The College of Motersickle Knowledge with my Vietnam-era G.I. Bill benefits. It wasn't much, just a check every month, but it helped. Bought my first house with a government-backed loan from the Bill as well. Every little bit helps.

S. 3860 (McCaskill) addresses recent reports which identified a number of troubling problems at Arlington National Cemetery (ANC). The bill requires reports to Congress on the management of ANC, including gravesite discrepancies, the management and oversight of contracts, and the implementation of recent Army directives. This comprehensive survey will further investigate reported burial errors, determine the full scope of the problem, and provide the first step to a concrete solution.

Heads should roll over that one.

California adopts cap-and-trade program


The California Air Resources Board has approved the creation of the nation's first broad-based program to put a cap on greenhouse gas emissions and to begin charging large emitters for the excess carbon dioxide they put in the air.

After an all-day meeting on Thursday, the board voted 9-1 for the proposal, which will take effect in 2012 and means California is once again moving forward with climate-change policy while efforts on the national level have stopped.

"The comment 'the world is watching' is sometimes an idle comment. It's not idle this afternoon," said Air Resources Board member Ronald Loveridge.

Cool! We're a buncha exhibitionists out here anyway. We do it with the shades up!

Cap-and-trade will be remembered as a plan introduced by the Repugs which they were for before they were against because Obama and the Dems wanted it and which the Repugs now lie about.

This part is of local interest to me:

Several people and environmental organizations also called for changes in the offset program involving forests, arguing that the rule as written could encourage clear-cutting of forests on land that might be eligible for tree-planting credits, leaving swaths of forests with trees of the same age, which ultimately would be harmful.

I don't think that's much of a problem. I live in the middle of a pine forest where all the trees for fifty miles around are about the same height. All second growth. The area was clear-cut in the 1860s and '70s for railroad ties and Deidesheimer Square Sets to shore up the mines in Virginia City. Things in the forest seem to be OK with it. So far.

Just as an aside, we would usually think mines are maybe a little ways out of town. Not in Virginia City. They're right on, or under the main street. When yer havin' a beer in the Bucket of Blood or enjoying the Julia C. Bulette Red Light Museum, there's a coupla thousand feet of nothing but rotting timbers underneath you. In my heart of hearts I just know there's one that's going to snap one of these days and they can go change the elevation on the city limits sign.

I'm a little amazed that a drunken, spirited Saturday night buck dance or Klingon-like dalliance with one of Julia's girls by Hoss Cartwright didn't do it already. Heh.

Dear Santa...

I hope he gets mine. I wrote it on 80-grit sandpaper.

Thanks to Fyaah.

Headline of the Day

Extended exposure to Fox News makes voters stupid, university study finds

Duh. They needed a study for that? An "easy A" course fer sure.

You can't build a wall high enough...

El Paso Times

A Mexican drone crashed in El Paso's Lower Valley, sparking a federal investigation and raising questions about why the aircraft was in U.S. airspace.

Approximately twelve passengers were seen fleeing north after the crash and from the speed of their departure are believed to be uninjured.

I mighta made some of that up...

Friday Monster Blogging

Woke 'em out of their late morning nap. Heh ...


I'll never get done ...