Saturday, January 9, 2010

Chicano Rock! The Sounds of East L.A.

So there I was, just kinda blissfully cruisin' YouTube, which is kinda famous for serendipitously jerkin' me this way and that. I watched the video below and it took me to East L.A. and Whittier Boulevard and Lowriders (¡Que chachabingos!) and Hoppers and all in all fun to watch and flat killed an hour and I'll be back later, ese...

The California Council for the Humanities is an independent nonprofit organization and state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. We support and create programs that bring Californians together around their history and culture. Since 2001 the Council has been engaged in a statewide initiative, California Stories, designed to tell the larger story of California. The latest campaign under California Stories, called How I See It, is giving young people opportunities to share — in their own words and through a variety of media — what their lives are like, what they care about, and what it's like to grow up in today's California.

No thank you very much. Been there, done that. I'm glad I grew up in the California I grew up in. It's long gone.

This 90-minute documentary tells the story of Chicano rock n roll and how it defined and continues to define the Latino community in East Los Angeles.

Thanks to CaCouncilHumanities.

Underwear Bomber Jokes

Daniel Kurtzman's Political Humor Blog

"Even if the bomb works, there's going to be 72 very disappointed virgins." --Jon Stewart on the Underwear Bomber

Many more. This one's for Fixer and Jersey Guy:

"I guess you heard about that kid that tried to blow up the plane on Christmas Day with a bomb he had hidden in his underwear. Before he could get the bomb lit, some hero passengers grabbed him. They dragged him into first class. See, I had no idea that's how you got upgraded on Delta. I thought it was a point system." --Jay Leno

Anybody got a match?

[A big welcome to all of Skippy's readers. - F]

Thanks to IWR.

Obama Does What Bush and Cheney Would Not

Shorter: acted like a grown-up and a leader.

The Rude Pundit, links at site:

Let's give some credit here amid our constant dismay on the left with the President: Yesterday, Barack Obama did something quite extraordinary in these weaselly times when he stood up and took blame for the fuck-ups that allowed Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to publicly turn his balls into boiled jizz bags. The President actually looked like a pissed-off boss when he spoke, like a man who understood what might have happened had Abdulmutallab decided to try to blow up the toilet instead of the flotation device under his ass. As Joan Walsh in Salon says, you can't imagine George W. Bush ever treating the American public with such honesty; you can't imagine him thinking he could trust Americans to reveal what went wrong on 9/11. Barack Obama was more of a real man, a real leader, yesterday than the faux macho George W. Bush was in his entire presidency.

Obama's speech was fascinating for many reasons, not the least of which was his saying that "the buck stops with me." There was a subtle thread throughout of a repudiation of the way the Bush administration treated terrorism. "We are at war," he asserted, but then in a fuck-you to those who wanted him to say the word "war," he added, "We are at war with al-Qaeda." That's an easily apprehended specificity, a group (however diffuse and ill-defined it may be), and not a vague notion like a "war on terror" or, as Bush said, a "war with extremists." What Obama could have said that he did not is, "Man, Bush left me with a shitty, hole-filled security infrastructure that's built with Tinker Toys and tape." Instead, he said what's fucked and what he's gonna do.

Most bracingly, Obama told Dick Cheney, "Go fuck yourself," by saying, "Here at home, we will strengthen our defenses, but we will not succumb to a siege mentality that sacrifices the open society and liberties and values that we cherish as Americans, because great and proud nations don't hunker down and hide behind walls of suspicion and mistrust. That is exactly what our adversaries want, and so long as I am President, we will never hand them that victory. We will define the character of our country, not some band of small men intent on killing innocent men, women and children." In other words, don't go bugnuts just because one dude on one plane lit a fire.

Bonus: under no circumstances should you click this at work.

Saturday Emmylou Blogging

Not much video, so just close your eyes and dig it.

Jann Browne & Emmylou Harris ~ Mexican Wind

Thanks to reddirtgirl55, UK.

Friday, January 8, 2010

What happens ...

When Jesus freaks are put in their place:


Portugal's Parliament voted to approve same-sex marriage today.


Quote of the Day


"I wish you Negroes would quit being so sensitive," says idiot.

It's too good ...

We have our own Manchurian Candidate and we didn't even know it. We just loved him for the comedy.

Christian Right Seeks ‘No Fly’ Status for ‘Flying Spaghetti Monster’


Click to embiggen

James Dobson, of Hocus-Pocus on The Family

"Hell, we'll take Islamo-fascista over non-believers any day of the week. It's no secret who we have more in common with...and who we see as a bigger threat."

And in a related but more serious vein, who says terrorist acts have to be in airplanes? Or done by foreigners? Go read Mark Karlin:

Integrally related to the GOP tacit alliance with terrorists in terrorizing America is the fact that one of the most dangerous threats comes from the right-wing heirs to Timothy McVeigh, the militia movement, the Turner Diaries, etc, being stoked on by FOX and politicians such as Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin.

In a series of year-long gun attacks on American by Americans who believe Glenn Beck and his right-wing media colleagues that white males are victims and guns are their defense against "Socialist Tyranny," the U.S. is confronting a possible "lone wolf" terrorist attack, and one might consider many of these shooting terrorist attacks by those who have heard the siren song of "patriotic" armed rebellion implied by Beck and his right-wing media cohorts.

Don't be afraid. Be ready. Mr. Karlin, whom I respect and has given me prizes, hates guns and that is his business. I hate snow shovels, but I'm an expert with those too because, like guns, it's better to have them and not need them than need them and not have them.

Shopping day today. See yas later.

Crickets ...

Sorry I wasn't around yesterday evening but the Mrs. and I went to meet our friend Jersey Guy and his wife at the Sheraton JFK last night as they passed through NYC on their way to Florida. We had a great visit and the time flew by too quickly. Unfortunately, their return itinerary won't take them back this way as they head home, but there's always next year when they make their pilgrimage to the warm weather again. It was wonderful to finally meet them in the flesh.

See yas later ...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Credibility. Not.

Thanks to Slate

Perfectly Safe Airlines

I couldn't figure out a way to snag this, but go see Perfectly Safe Airlines.

Try it...

Actually, it entitles - belay that, guarantees - the wearer to leave the supermarket/movie theater/men's room/whatever line bare-chested and supine.

T-shirt photo gallery. Some of the 59 of 'em are funny. Your idea of 'funny' may be different than mine. Some of these may turn up here later as well.

Terrorists and Their GOP Enablers Who Terrorize Us

Contributing to our theme so far today is Mark Karlin:

But the larger goal seems to show that a relatively small number of ragtag extremists can immobilize and make a quivering fool out of the U.S.

As the pro-military Stratfor Global Intelligence report succinctly puts it, "The purpose of terrorism in its purest form is to create a sense of insecurity among a public. It succeeds when fear moves a system to the point where it can no longer function. This magnifies the strength of the terrorist by causing the public to see the failure of the system as the result of the power of the terrorist. "

No group is of more assistance to the terrorists in creating this mindset of helpless hysteria than the GOP. The Republican leadership has a synergistic relationship with terrorism. It can't survive without the terrorists, because it has no tenable governing program except to wither taxes down for the rich, Wall Street and corporations until they pay none: that's about it. So, it needs the terrorists (after all, Bush did nothing to prevent 9/11, even though he was warned about likely impending Al Qaeda hijackings and he didn't pursue Osama bin Laden either) to create the same numbing, paralyzed chaos that the terrorists themselves want to achieve.

It should be noted that we terrorize the shit out of millions of people right back what with bombing, invading, and occupying countries that didn't have much to do with 9/11. The difference is that it makes them angry at us, as it should, and their leaders seem to have no interest in making them afraid.

Remember, anger directed at us redirects those people's anger away from their own mostly totalitarian and oppressive governments. It's win-win for terrorists and despots.

And for the Military Industrial Complex's bottom line. By doing a pretty good job of pussifying this country, which really doesn't have anything to be afraid of, into a state of permanent war, the GOP, even out of power but possessed of its Mighty Wurlitzer, has largely succeeded in its Masters' agenda.

The GOP has no shame of course, but Americans who fall for this shit oughta be ashamed of themselves.


Joe Conason

If we lived in a confident, politically mature society, we would be able to see that tabloid hysterics and direct-mail posturing will do nothing to defeat Al Qaeda. We would understand why President Obama prefers to engage Islam in dialogue rather than demonize a billion Muslims. We would realize that even as we endeavor to destroy a nihilistic enemy that perverts faith, we ought to maintain our composure, our values and, at the very least, our capacity for honest debate. But that would require an opposition loyal to something bigger than itself.

Fat chance as long as there's big money in politics to turn up the volume on a failed ideology.

Speaking of war ...

The Rude One get it right:


3. If we do lose our shit every time some Nigerian fries his junk, doesn't that mean that terrorists are winning? It barely needs to be said, no? That terrorism contains its purpose in its name. That the real result of 9/11 is that Osama bin Laden kicked our asses because we played his game, spending ourselves into domestic insecurity in order to deal with a ghost of a foreign threat. We've done practically everything the drama queens of al Qaeda could ask ...

Be afraid, all the time. The terrorists are winning.

I lost count ...

Cdr. Huber details our involvement around the world prosecuting the "War on Terror":


If you treat Pakistan as a separate country from Afghanistan, like the rest of the world does, we’re in three wars. We’re in four if you consider what we’re already up to in Yemen, five if you tack on the villages we’ve blown the smithereens out of in Somalia. And if you count our involvement of one sort or other in every whack-a-do the Israelis pull, you’ll lose count of how many wars we’re in.


The blowback from our operations will haunt us for years.


Yet we continue to enlarge our military footprint throughout the Muslim world, a course of action that produces more new terrorists – like the rich kid with the skivvy bomb that didn’t go off – than it captures or kills. Of course, there’s no better way to sustain a Long War than by making your enemies multiply.


It ain't about "keeping us safe", it's about profit for the military-industrial complex.

Quote of the Day

Olbermann via Maru:


"After his disgraceful performance since Christmas, when terrorists attempted an attack in this country, Dick Cheney is the beneficiary. And if he cannot summon exactly the same kind of absolute apolitical patriotism he demanded of everyone else while he was in office, he is, by his own terms, nothing more or less -- morally if not legally -- than a traitor to the United States of America."


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Hey ...

Between 300 and 500 people come to this page every day. We are thankful and grateful but why aren't you all following us on Facebook too? Why do we only have 22 fans? Do we ever ask you for anything? No. We don't beg you for money. We don't take advertisements. And we don't shill for anyone. What do we have to do, stand on our heads and make sparks shoot out our collective ass? We know more than 22 of you are on FB.

Come on, get with the program.

I'm sorry ...

We tried. Joe Wilson and I, and Steny Hoyer came by, and we all tried to unseat Peter King in '06 by supporting and campaigning for Dave Mejias but NY-03 is the reddest district in the state. Our failure, and the lack of a credible contender in '08 (I tried to talk Dave into running again but he's content with his local seat for now), means Peter King is still free to spout his horseshit upon the rest of you.


It really is frustrating watching career political hacks like Rep. Peter King get as much media attention as they do. On GMA, he reiterated his attacks on President Obama over the failed attempt by the Christmas bomber. His solution of course is for the President to just say terror, terror, terror all day long.


I have an idea. Whenever a pundit asks about Peter King to anyone from the left, we use just one word to describe him. Asshole, Asshole, asshole.


He's a boil on the ass of New York State.


And I never thought I'd say the words "I'm voting for Kirsten Gillibrand this November":

Just as Senator Kirsten Gillibrand thought she could breathe a little easier following news that GOP Rep. Peter King is "leaning against" seeking her senate seat in 2010, reports name Harold Ford Jr. as a possible challenger in a Democratic primary.


But I will be.


YubaNet has a lot of good 'toons today. Here's a couple:

Go see some more.

A brief interview with the devil

Mark Morford

The devil wore patent leather Bruno Magli wingtips, a Dolce camelhair jacket, houndstooth fedora.

We met at a small café on the outskirts of Amsterdam; he was dashing off to a climate meeting where he planned to heckle scientists in the form of a trembling flat-earther before cruising over to North Korea to whisper backwards Latinate phrases into the tormented ear of Kim Jong Il. Then on to Alberta to broker some new oilsands deals, and finally, off to Rome to further tempt Vatican clergy in the form of a beautiful, smooth-skinned altar boy named Rodrigo.

Not bad for an afternoon's work, he said, grinning.

But even the world's finest scientists say we're on the cusp of meltdown, what with global warming and ...

Global warming? Please. Total hoax. Evolution? Hoax. Electric cars? Hoax. All of existence? Hoax. The Bible? Actually not a hoax -- the true, literal, perfect English transcript of floaty magic-winged creatures living on sparkly clouds and judging what you eat and how you have sex, because everyone knows the Almighty loves war, college football, and large caliber handguns, hates gays, Muslims and the French, and wears a U.S. flag lapel pin that was actually made in China. Ha!

I don't see how that relates to...

You don't? You don't see how I can hurl BS into the culture on a spit and a whim before I even eat my morning sacrifices? Let me put it this way: Millions of you actually believe the Bible is literal fact, but you think climate change is a grand, devious ruse. Come on. Who but me could pull off such a masterstroke? I should have my own goddamn reality show. Oh wait, I have all the reality shows.

[...] You feel me?

I think I do.

How about now?

Please take your tail out of there.

I'll toss out some names and current events, and you tell me the first thing that comes to your mind. All right?

Bring it.


Bonus: Morford at Facebook.

Suck the lunch of boiled scorn

A photo gallery of horrible translations.

There is none so blind as he who will not see

From an article in the LATimes about the "White Cemetery" in Kabul:

For 25 years, the cemetery has been watched over and its greenery tended by Rahimullah, who like many Afghans goes by one name.

During the Taliban years, an angry Mullah Mohammed Omar stormed into the cemetery with his gunmen and demanded to know why a Muslim would guard the graves of Christians. Rahimullah tried to sidestep the Taliban leader's question.

"Because I am illiterate and illiterate people are blind," Rahimullah reportedly told Omar.

They don't have to be stupid unless they want to be.

Misperception as Policy

From Firedoglake:

Dear Right-Wing Bedwetters: George H.W. Bush Sought to Try Lockerbie Terrorists in US Court

Remember the Repug tone of those days: G.H.W. Bush, the nation's youngest naval aviator in WWII, who was shot down during a bombing run over a Japanese-held island, was a wimp. And Ronald Reagan, who appeared in a photo as a lieutenant in the horse cavalry reserves, natty in his jodhpurs and boots, was a hero.

So what's new?

I think we should do like in recruit training: wake the bedwetters up every hour on the hour and make 'em go. Or rubber sheets so it doesn't get on the rest of us.

An Uneasy Feeling

Bob Herbert comments on the nation's future:

We’re not smart as a nation. We don’t learn from the past, and we don’t plan for the future. We’ve spent a year turning ourselves inside out with arguments of every sort over health care reform only to come up with a bloated, Rube Goldberg legislative mess that protects the insurance and drug industries and does not rein in runaway health care costs.

The politicians will be back soon, trust me, screaming about the need to rein in health costs.

We keep talking about how essential it is to radically improve public education while, at the same time, we’re closing libraries and firing teachers by the tens of thousands for economic reasons.

The fault lies everywhere. The president, the Congress, the news media and the public are all to blame. Shared sacrifice is not part of anyone’s program. Politicians can’t seem to tell the difference between wasteful spending and investments in a more sustainable future. Any talk of raising taxes is considered blasphemous, but there is a constant din of empty yapping about controlling budget deficits.

Oh, yes, and we’re fighting two wars.

If America can’t change, then the current state of decline is bound to continue. [...]

We're screwed. I'd like to see America be smarter than it is, and we have a lot of smart people, but to quote an old song, we're "gettin' so much resistance from behind...", the difference between now and then is that instead of the people being in the streets on their own to protest the government, the stoopids have been conned into the streets to protest a buncha made-up shit.

The Game ...

The rules of the 'War on Terror' by Professor Campos:


Our national government and almost all of the establishment media have decided to play a similar game, which could be called Terrorball. The first two rules of Terrorball are:

(1) The game lasts until there are no longer any terrorists, and;
(2) If terrorists manage to ever kill or injure or seriously frighten any Americans, they win.


There is no end. "We were always at war with Oceania."

Off to work ...

What we are ...

As usual, Drifty hits it right on the head. It's all because of this guy:


If we were a nation with 30 million angry, active rocket scientists, political historians, economists or religious scholars…then the president of PBS would be commanding the high seven-figure salaries, and Conservative cesspit dwellers would be busking for change on America’s street corners, reciting goony free-verse “values” paeans to tax-cuts, shotguns, Reagan and Jebus.


But we’re not.

We’re a nation with 30 million angry Goobers whose bloody political paw prints are all over virtually every act of Conservative fuckuppery and treason this country has suffered for the last generation.



Please read the whole thing.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Quote of the Day

Roger Ailes the Good:

So when does Brit Hume advise Charles Krauthammer that if he accepts Jesus as his personal Saviour he will walk again?

Earworm ...

My cousin inadvertently reminded me of this tune today and it's been going through my head all damn afternoon. So now I inflict it upon you, dear readers:

The Hooters - And We Danced

BOOM! go the wingnuts!

This one's for Fixer and everybody else, including myself, who thinks any movie is terrific if it makes wingnuts' heads explode. A 'must read' if you're in that category, and you know you are.


'Avatar' arouses conservatives' ire

For years, pundits and bloggers on the right have ceaselessly attacked liberal Hollywood for being out of touch with rank and file moviegoers, complaining that executives and filmmakers continue to make films that have precious little resonance with Middle America. They have reacted with scorn to such high-profile liberal political advocacy films as "Syriana," "Milk," "W.," "Religulous," "Lions for Lambs," "Brokeback Mountain," "In the Valley of Elah," "Rendition" and "Good Night, and Good Luck," saying that the movies' poor performances at the box office were a clear sign of how thoroughly uninterested real people were in the pet causes of showbiz progressives.

Of course, "Avatar" totally turns this theory on its head. As a host of critics have noted, the film offers a blatantly pro-environmental message; it portrays U.S. military contractors in a decidedly negative light; and it clearly evokes the can't-we-all-get along vibe of the 1960s counterculture. These are all messages guaranteed to alienate everyday moviegoers, so say the right-wing pundits -- and yet the film has been wholeheartedly embraced by audiences everywhere, from Mississippi to Manhattan.

To say that the film has evoked a storm of ire on the right would be an understatement. [...]

Perfect! Go...

I haven't seen the movie yet and I am chagrined that I will probably not get to see it in 3-D. The only 3-D movie I've ever seen was "Fort Ti" long enough ago that it makes me cry to think about it. I mainly remember ducking hundreds of arrows.

Prohibition was bad. Prohibition was a law. Therefore, all laws are bad.

I think the post title can be called a 'flawed syllogism'.

I like to read about history, so I read this piece about Prohibition in the Wall Street Journal. That it is on the Opinion page shoulda been a red flag. You'll see.

On Dec. 5, 1933, Americans liberated themselves from a legal nightmare called Prohibition by repealing the 18th Amendment to the Constitution. Today most people think Prohibition was fueled by puritanical Protestants who believed drinking alcohol was a sin. But the vocal minority who made Prohibition law believed they were marching in the footsteps of the abolitionists who sponsored a civil war to end another moral evil—slavery.

The outbreak of World War I in 1914 enabled the ASL (Anti-Saloon League - G) and its ally, the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, to go national. In 1914 and 1916, federal elections created Congresses in which "drys" outnumbered "wets" by 2-1. Many leading Americans such as ex-President Theodore Roosevelt urged the United States to side with England and France against Germany. The ASL shrewdly supported preparedness. They argued an alcohol-free America would be far better able to defend itself against the threat of German militarism.

Yeah, we'll ketch them Heinies while they're all drunk an' shit and give 'em the cold steel! Yeesh.

On Dec. 22, 1917, Congress passed the 18th Amendment, turning the whole nation dry—if and when two-thirds of the states ratified it. The ASL unleashed its 20,000 orators on the German Americans, with their numerous brewers a chief target. The drys repeatedly linked liquor to disloyalty and even treason. Beer drinking was a sign of sympathy for the German Kaiser and his army of "Huns."

If this is starting to sound a little familiar, that's because it is.

For the next 13 years, Prohibition corrupted and tormented Americans from coast to coast. A disrespect, even contempt for law and due process infected the American psyche. Rather than discouraging liquor consumption, Prohibition increased it. Taking a drink became a sign of defiance against the arrogant minority who had deprived people of their "right" to enjoy themselves. The 1920s roared with reckless amorality in all directions, including Wall Street. When everything came crashing down in 1929 and the long gray years of the Great Depression began, second thoughts were the order of the day. Large numbers of people pointed to Prohibition as one of the chief reasons for the disaster.

In 1933, a new president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, made the repeal of the 18th Amendment one of his priorities. But the evil effects of this plunge into national redemption linger to this day, most notably in the influence of organized crime, better known as the Mafia, in many areas of American life.

I think we can all agree that that Prohibition was a total failure that caused more harm than good.

So far, this was actually a pretty interesting story, maybe even true, but the writer shows his hand in the last paragraph. Remember, WSJ Opinion page:

In 2010, with talk of restructuring large swaths of our economy back in vogue, Prohibition should also remind us that Congress, scientists and economists seized by the noble desire to achieve some great moral goal may be abysmally wrong.

Zing! This clown just equated the failed Prohibition with proposed new stronger banking regulation and climate change legislation! Un-fucking-believable!

"May be abysmally wrong"? Yeah, for capitalists.

For the rest of us, perhaps not.

He sucks more than Monica ever did...

From 'Questions for John Yoo' in the NYTimes:

Were you close to George Bush?

No, I’ve never met him. I don’t know Cheney either. I have not gone hunting with him, which is probably a good thing for me.

So you’re saying you were just one notch above an intern, you and Monica Lewinsky?

She was much closer to the president than I ever was.

Hey, Mr. war crimes enabler, go get two blow jobs and come back and give me one of 'em. Up close and personal, not from afar like you did Cheney and Bush.

You can't make this stuff up...

As a metaphor for the stupid and infuriating methods undertrained airport screeners use, I am fond of the little old lady in a walker having her henna rinse confiscated and being made to strip to make sure she's not wearing explosive underwear. It really happens. Read on.


Joan Rivers bumped off flight in Costa Rica when Continental gate agent finds passport suspicious

Can we talk?

Rivers, 76, was deemed a danger to national security and booted from a Newark-bound flight in Costa Rica on Sunday by a jittery Continental Airlines gate agent who found the two names on her passport fishy.

I wonder if the slight humming sound caused by Ms. Rivers' skin being so tight from all her cosmetic surgeries raised suspicion as well?

Rivers' tale of woe put a famous face on travel's new reality - one that leaves many feeling like common criminals.

"If I were going to make up an alias, I wouldn't pick Rosenberg. I'd pick Jolie or Pitt," said Rivers, back home Monday in New York with her sense of humor intact. "Do terrorists wear Manolo Blahniks? I can tell you Donna Karan does not make anything that hides a bomb," she said.

"I tried the tears; they didn't work. I tried reasoning. I couldn't bribe because I didn't have any money," she said. "I said 'I'm going to have a heart attack over this,' so the woman called the paramedics."

She said a porter, Eldon Ramos, took pity and found a friend to drive her 6-1/2 hours to the main airport in Costa Rica's capital of San Jose for a flight leaving Monday morning.

I'm glad she got home OK, but...oy.

I've posted about Joan Rivers before.

We kid ...

Around here about me and Gordon getting drafted and being sent somewhere to fix Humvees and tanks (I seriously doubt they'd let us run around with rifles). If Barry McCaffrey is correct, it might not be so far from the truth:

Acco[r]ding to Barry McCaffrey, former General, Drug Czar and frequent talking head, casualties in the Kabul Quagmire are expected to be in the range of 500 a month.


Firstly, I think the American public won't put up with those kind of casualties. Secondly, the 'war' is over as soon as they try to reinstate the draft. If you weren't alive during the 60s and 70s, look for archival news footage from that time on the Google. Thirdly, I don't think the Army would survive me and Gord being in the same unit. Heh ...

We've talked ourselves blue in the face about the consequences of an escalation in Afghanistan and unfortunately nobody listens to a couple old enlisted men who don't lobby for defense firms or shill for the Pentagon. We'll just have to take our lumps and leave the same way everybody else has since the time of Alexander the Great. Unfortunately, the cost in American lives (they sure as hell don't care about the monetary cost) will have to reach unacceptable levels before we do.

I just figured out ...

How you can get your piece of the pie in these hard times. Incorporate!

Today's Washington Post shines a spotlight on the current state of laws protecting us from dangerous chemicals. Guess what? Not so good. And, the chemical industry has the law on its side -- for now. Of course, the chemical industry pushes the limits of the law allowing secrecy and, no doubt, the Bush administration never pushed back ...

No shit. If you're a corporation, you get to be treated as a "person" by the U.S. government and the legal system, are free from government regulation, and get bailed out when your financial decisions end poorly.

What I'm gonna do is turn myself into a corporation and a religious institution. Then I can do anything I want and I'll have a government and social safety net to protect me from myself. Sure beats being a regular guy who has to pay his bills, follow the law, and get ignored by his elected officials.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Headline of the Day

The resurrection of Howard Dean

As much as I like and admire Howie, I hope people don't have to suffer and die and be oppressed by his resurrection for 2000 years like after that other PR stunt one.

Imus calls bullshit on Hume

A follow-up to Fixer's post:

Think Progress, with video

This morning, Hume’s colleagues on the Fox Business network decided to do a little digging into his claims. The Don Imus show crew reported that Hume doesn’t quite have his facts straight on Buddhism:

IMUS: Well, we checked this morning and unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately if you are a Buddhist, there is a path to recovery and redemption. Right? Well yes there is. The idea of redemption — nirvana under Buddhism — is achieving the state of being freed from greed, hate, and delusion..

What would Hume know about 'being freed from greed, hate, and delusion'? Disseminating those things is how he makes his living.

Appearing later in the show, Fox Business anchor Dagen McDowell began mocking Hume. “He might as well have just let out like an Ernest Angley-style ‘be healed!’ and ‘to the Lord, for he is good! Put your hand on the TV!” Watch a compilation:

Imus noted that Hume’s colleagues on the panel — including “the nut from wherever he’s from — [Bill] Kristol” (who is not Christian) — appeared to be stunned into silence and “looking at their shoes” while Hume proselytized.

Man, that's good! I gotta congratulate Hume - if you can embarrass a fuckup like Kristol and have a fuckup like Imus call you on it, you are a world class fuckup your own self! Heh.

Keep sluggin' away at each other, F**sters. One of these days you might land one.

Gutless Bastards

Think Progress

Former Bush officials avoid publicly supporting Obama’s policies out of fear of ‘Cheney’s circle.’

Reporter Peter Baker has a New York Times Magazine piece out today about “Obama’s War on Terrorism.” Matt Yglesias flags an interesting passage from the article revealing the cowardice of former Bush administration officials:

A half-dozen former senior Bush officials involved in counterterrorism told me before the Christmas Day incident that for the most part, they were comfortable with Obama’s policies, although they were reluctant to say so on the record. Some worried they would draw the ire of Cheney’s circle if they did, while others calculated that calling attention to the similarities to Bush would only make it harder for Obama to stay the course. And they generally resent Obama’s anti-Bush rhetoric and are unwilling to give him political cover by defending him.

Yglesias adds, “It’s really staggering what this says about the ethical caliber of the people we’re talking about. … But some of them don’t want to say he’s [Obama's] doing the right thing because that might make Dick Cheney mad and they’re timid, gutless careerists? And others don’t want to say he’s doing the right thing because their feelings are hurt that a Democrat said bad things about his grossly unpopular Republican predecessor?”

The best reason I can think of to keep Gitmo open is as a place to put "Cheney's circle", the real terrorists, so our brave politicians won't have to be afraid of them any more.


Eugene Robinson - Dick Cheney's lies about President Obama

The degrading effects of terrorism fears

Glenn Greenwald nails it in an absolute 'must read', more links at site:

I never thought I'd hear myself say this, but David Brooks actually had an excellent column in yesterday's New York Times that makes several insightful and important points. Brooks documents how "childish, contemptuous and hysterical" the national reaction has been to this latest terrorist episode, egged on -- as usual -- by the always-hysterical American media. The citizenry has been trained to expect that our Powerful Daddies and Mommies in government will -- in that most cringe-inducing, child-like formulation -- Keep Us Safe. Whenever the Government fails to do so, the reaction -- just as we saw this week -- is an ugly combination of petulant, adolescent rage and increasingly unhinged cries that More Be Done to ensure that nothing bad in the world ever happens. Demands that genuinely inept government officials be held accountable are necessary and wise, but demands that political leaders ensure that we can live in womb-like Absolute Safety are delusional and destructive. Yet this is what the citizenry screams out every time something threatening happens: please, take more of our privacy away; monitor more of our communications; ban more of us from flying; engage in rituals to create the illusion of Strength; imprison more people without charges; take more and more control and power so you can Keep Us Safe.

As Adams noted, political leaders possess an inherent interest in maximizing fear levels, as that is what maximizes their power.

The result is a citizenry far more terrorized by our own institutions than foreign Terrorists could ever dream of achieving on their own.

As Adams said: fear "renders men in whose breasts it predominates so stupid and miserable."

This isn't exactly new: many of America's most serious historical transgressions -- the internment of Japanese-Americans, McCarthyite witch hunts, World War I censorship laws, the Alien and Sedition Act -- have been the result of fear-driven, over-reaction to external threats, not under-reaction. Fear is a degrading toxin, and there's no doubt that it has been the primary fuel over the last decade. As the events of the last week demonstrate, it continues to spread rapidly, and it produces exactly the kind of citizenry about which John Adams long ago warned.

Much more.

Take a tip from an old motorcyclist - your safety is only in good hands when those hands are your own and you have your head screwed on right. Don't leave it to the Repugs, neocons, and The Mighty Wurlitzer. They want you scared so they can rule the world.

You stand a better chance of being hit by lightning riding across the Great Plains because you're the tallest thing for miles around than you do of being killed by a jihadist, but that is not the way the war- and fearmongers want you to think.

Take another metaphor from WWII Spitfire pilots, amongst others, the main reason this ol' saddle tramp's arms and legs still work fine - stay alert, keep your head moving, and check your mirror constantly. As the Spit pilots knew, it's easier if you don't wear a necktie. Heh.


From The Grey Matter:

I don't know what's more frightening, the fact that many of us have given in to the scare tactics employed since 2002, or that we've neglected to heed the warnings conveyed by those before us (such as Serling and Orwell, to name two). In either case, ignorance is the common culprit.

Yep. Way too much of that goin' around.

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

Obama “Aloha” Bobbleheads Selling Well
Each comes with copy of his birth certificate.

Mrs. G bought the 'Big Kahuna Howzit' surfer one on the left. She thought the other ones were silly (!). It actually bobbles at the waist. It is sitting on the family altar above the TV set right next to my die-cast '59 Triumph Bonneville. No birth certificate. You can get them at Tikimaster along with an incredible amount of other really tacky stuff.

Colorado Becomes First State to Lower Minimum Wage
Hopes China will outsource jobs to Denver.

That will make the Repugs happy until it dawns on them that soon there'll be no one who can afford even their cheaply-made stuff. On the bright side, no income, no taxes.

This one explains a lot:

Study: Whiny Children End Up Conservative, Confident Children Liberal
Based on interviews with 100 U.S. Senators.

In the 'Now I've seen everything, you may shoot me' dept.:

Japanese Develop See-Through Goldfish
Yes, your $110 fish is in this bowl, you just can’t see it.

More fear ...

Excellent post by Comrade Misfit:


Americans need to grow up and get a grip. The Luftwaffe sent over wave after wave of bombers in 1940 in order to pound the British into submission, the British did not buckle. Yet al Qaeda sends one guy with exploding underwear (who only manages to burn off his own nuts) and the whole country goes into a tizzy.



Much as we'd like to, we can't:


Don't forget the naughts, because this decade, no matter what anyone on the right might say, was conservatism on trial. You want less taxes? You got less taxes. You want less regulation? You got less regulation. Open markets? Wide open. An illusuion of security in place of rights? Hey, presto. Think we should privatize war by handing unlimited power given to military contractors so they can kick butt and take names? Kiddo, we passed out boots and pencils by the thousands. Everything, everything, that ever showed up on a drooled-over right wing wish list got implemented -- with a side order of Freedom Fries.

They will try to disown it, and God knows if I was responsible for this mess I'd be disowning it, too. But the truth is that the conservatives got everything they wanted in the decade just past, everything that they've claimed for forty years would make America "great again". They didn't fart around with any "red dog Republicans." They rolled over their moderates and implemented a conservative dream.


Unfortunately, Americans have the attention span, and the need for instant gratification, of 3 year olds. By the time Election Day rolls around in November, the majority will be convinced that anything bad that's happened over the last decade was the Dems' fault.

Thanks to Digby or the link.

I guess ...

Possessing some sort of 'Christian' faith earns you a "Get Out Of Hell Free" card.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Bring 'em home? Maybe we need a rethink on that...

Thanks to Metal27928.

You can be all you want to be at...

Military Repeatedly Fails to Meet Recruiting Goals (But the DoD Cleverly Cooks the Books)

Here's part of the reason why. With the lowering of recruitment standards, the whole effort is a Group W bench. Look for me'n Fixer. We're the ones that look like we're smugglin' summer sausages in our BVDs.

Thanks to foxvermont.

Pass the brain bleach ...

Headline at Pensito Review:

Did Karl Rove Leave His Wife For Jeff Gannon?

And it gets worse:


It happens that this is Rove’s second divorce. Plus, Rove’s father was gay. And the timing is interesting. The Washington, D.C., has legalized gay marriage, pending approval of the Democrats in Congress.


Think Karl's on top? Sorry to ruin yer dinner ...

Quote of the Day



The intent of terrorism is, by definition, to terrorize. If we have reached the point where we can no longer have anything on our laps or use the restroom during the last hour of a flight, then the terrorists have succeeded in doing just what they had hoped.


I got news for ya, the terrorists won on 12 September 2001.

Their reason for being ...

Drifty disassembles Joke Line:


And so, as he sat in his stink, panic closing slowly over him as a tiny voice whispered to him that The Call wasn't coming -- that he was finally facing a long-overdue oblivion which would have engulfed him 20 years before in a Better Universe -- Jokeline decided to take matters into his own hands, and do the one thing GUARANTEED according to the ancient and sacred rules of his lodge to earn him the approbation of the douchebag gatekeepers standing between him and the warm, healing light of the teevee cameras.

Punching some imaginary hippies for nonexistent crimes.


Notice how buying this plate of Villager Feculinni al Dente hinges completely on first accepting -- grudgingly -- that while Left might have gotten one thing right -- once -- the act of being right about Iraq has somehow cursed the Left, making us as insufferably awful as the "right-wing Fox News and Limbaugh slum".

But of course, as Jokeline and his clubhouse pals know full well (but would rather tear their own eyes out than admit) year after year after year, the scurvy dogs on the Left have gotten got quite a number of other things right. Important things: real honest-to-God matters of life and death.


Much, much more.