Saturday, January 23, 2010


Yesterday, me 'n Mrs. G went to a breakfast 80th birthday party for our friend Babette Haueisen at Smokey's Kitchen. Kind of an unusual idea, I think, but we had a ball. Here's the birthday girl:

The glare from the candles seems to have over-exposed the photo a little. Actually, the sun was out for the first time this week. Our town is in a 6000' altitude basin surrounded by mountains. The basin was beautifully clear with storm clouds visible over the mountains all around us. I figured Babette had some pull somewhere to get the sun to come out for her party! She's like that.

We've known Babette since Mrs. G worked at Soda Springs ski area thirty years ago where Babette was the director of the ski school. That's up on Donner Summit, just west of Donner Pass, the nation's highest inhabited snowfall area, averaging 33 feet of snow per year, and sometimes the commute was a real bitch. Mrs. G would ride to work with Babette sometimes and learned how to drive in the snow - "Stay in the untracked part of the road. You can haul ass!". No shrinking violet, that ol' gal.

Here's a display at the party. Click it bigger and take a look at it:

The miracle is that she survived such early equipment as beartrap bindings and lace-up boots!

I knew Babette was a top-notch ski instructor and former racer, but I had no idea! For research for this post I googled her up. I was a little amazed. Mrs. G knows her a lot better than I do and when I mentioned that Babette was more than a little famous, she gave me a "Just get off the turnip truck, didja Clem?" look. From a TahoeTopia post entitled Tahoe’s Top 25 Skiers in History:

BABBETTE HAUEISEN 1931: A former ski racer who won the Roche Cup at Aspen, the Silver Belt* at Sugar Bowl, and the Harriman Cup in Sun Valley, all in 1955, the precocious Haueisen dominated Tahoe events during the 1950s against the likes of Olympians Andrea Mead Lawrence, Sally Hudson, Jill Kinmont and Gretchen Fraser. An injury forced her off the U.S. Olympic Team in 1956.

She learned to teach at the instructor's college in St. Christophe, Austria, a first for any American. "Miss B" taught full time well into her 70s. In 1995, she was selected by Skiing magazine as one of the top 100 instructors in North America.

*See her drink champagne out of the trophy! Read the article too. Skiing in those days was a lot harder than it is now.

Since the winter Olympics is coming up in a coupla weeks, this is all pretty timely. Here's 1960 Olympic torch bearer Babette handing off the torch to former Olympian Johnny Moseley for 2010. SacBee photo.

At breakfast we were sitting with another old friend of Mrs. G's from Soda Springs days. I mentioned to her that Babette had told me that at 80 years she was starting to slow down a little. Her reply was, "Yeah, she's slowing down to where the rest of us are!". All I could do was nod at that and hope I have half the energy at 80 that Babette does.

Just as kind of an aside, Babette is originally from Milwaukee. She attended Harley-Davidson's 100th Birthday Bash in 2003. Her brother rode in the parade at age 88. He just turned 95. Runs in the family I guess. Hey, ya don't quit ridin' (or skiing) because ya get old, ya get old because ya quit doin' it.

As we were leaving the party, Babette gave me a big hug and informed me that I will be taking her for a motorcycle ride this year! Yes, ma'am...

Originally I was gonna do this post about a birthday party for an old friend, but it turned into something else along the way.

Babette made her life out of following her heart and doing something she loved. She is still going strong and should be an inspiration to us all.

Happy Birthday, hon. Many happy returns. I'll come to yer parties as long as I'm able to...

Truth In Advertising

The Rude Pundit on SCOTUS' abominable decision on corporate money:

That's right. In addition to sucking people dry over the internet to make their own ads and instead of PACs doing their big-ass donors' bidding, politicians can count on corporations to throw millions upon millions of dollars into commercials supporting a specific candidate. First they took our bowl games. Now they'll get our members of Congress. Money is speech, motherfuckers. We always knew it could talk. Hey, maybe if they're willing to pass a couple of disclosure laws, members of Congress can all be honest about whose whores they are.

Some of 'em have more corporate logos than a NASCAR racer. And then:

The Rude Pundit? Other than the fine, fine readers who sustain him with their contributions, you know who brings him to you:

I'll take a smart honest fuckin' drunk over whore pols any day!


Heh, sanity went out the window a decade ago:

Hardball is almost unbearable today with Matthews babbling incoherently as usual and viciously attacking Grayson and the netroots, Chuck Todd competing with Little Luke for sheer vapidity and Ron Brownstein half heartedly trying to explain why everything they are both saying is factually incorrect and analytically absurd. If this is the level of conversation in the Capitol right now, I think we can kiss sanity good-bye.


The politicians and press have lost any grip they had on sanity a long time ago. Watching them govern the United States, and the reportage of said governance, has become the equivalent of watching professional wrestling.

Saturday Emmylou Blogging

An old favorite of mine.

From Dutch TV. Emmylou on the Rodney Crowell song - Ricky Skaggs to the fore having recently replaced Rodney in The Hot Band

Emmylou Harris ~ Leaving Louisiana In The Broad Daylight

Thanks to 1000Magicians, UK.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Show me a sign...*

Click to embiggen

Me 'n Mrs. G went to our friend Babbette's 80th birthday party this morning at a local eatery. That might seem a little strange, but it worked well and there's certainly nothing wrong with birthday cake at 10 AM! More on that later after I reposition yet another drivewayful of snow for about the sixth time this week.

We've wanted a picture of that sign for years and today we had a camera with us! That joint is sometimes SRO (Must be delightful on a broken leg. Heh.) after the last run of the day.

*Apologies to Lowell George and Linda Ronstadt.

Slow roasted ...

Via Skippy, from


January 2000 to December 2009 was the warmest decade on record. Looking back to 1880, when modern scientific instrumentation became available to monitor temperatures precisely, a clear warming trend is present, although there was a leveling off between the 1940s and 1970s.


People can deny all they want but, until they understand that it just ain't all about the polar bears, it's gonna get worse.

Christ ...

When I was a kid, I loved basketball but one day, when trying out for the JV team, the coach told me "son, you're too short and too white." It's why I excelled at ice hockey but I digress. Imagine, if you will, a basketball league made up strictly of ... wait or it ... white men. Mortgage the house, Margaret, we're investin'!

Quote of the Day

Me, at the Facebook thing:

"Welcome to the Exxon John F. Kennedy International Airport, your gateway to the Corporate States of America. Flight 001 from Amsterdam will be continuing on to Xe Ronald Reagan airport in Washington D.C. Be sure to visit the Goldman-Sachs White House and the Bank of America Capitol to see our purchased employees at work for the American people. Thank you for flying Corporate Airlines."

If they weren't so incompetent ...

The Scott Brown election in MA could be a "teachable moment", but I don't give the Dems that much credit:

Scott Brown was a gift to the wayward Obama administration. Or at least that's the way Rahm Emanuel should look at Tuesday’s results. Watching Democrats lose the so-called 60th vote, itself a manifestation of the collective failure of purpose and nerve among modern Democrats, to a former male model who attracted disillusioned Obama voters who still want change, gives the White House and congressional leadership a chance to reboot the agenda and use 2010 as a sprint towards November.


The only way Obama is going to make lemonade out of lemons is to sack up, make some personnel changes, and remember there's something out there called "the base". That would be us. "Independent" and "Centrist" votes won't mean a damn thing if the people who worked to get him elected give up on him. He hasn't given us much to cheer about over the past year.

Dred Scott 2010

SCOTUS just gave away such democracy as we still have. Maybe we should just make it official and change the name from "The United States Of America" to "Corporate America" and get it over with.

The way I see it, this decision is built on two terribly flawed previous SCOTUS decisions:

1. Corporations have the same rights as individuals.
2. Money is free speech.

I'm not a lawyer, never played one on TV, never even stayed at a Holiday Inn Express, but those both seem like utter bullshit on the face of them. Both are absolutely unfair to individual people and tilt toward the money, as if there were a dearth of it in politics.

There are lead-ups to Olbermann's Special Comment here and here.

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

Thursday, January 21, 2010

"Drop yer cock and grab yer socks!"

In keeping with our theme today, this is effin' perfect!

Thanks to Slate.

Torture and Murder at Gitmo: A Risky Political Opportunity If Obama Is Willing to Take It

He's gonna put the Repugs, conservatives, neocons, teabaggers, birthers, deathers, tenthers, racists, the religious right, staff and management of ClusterF**Noise, and general all 'round no good batcrap crazy wingnut fringies in Gitmo and give 'em what's comin' to 'em? Fuckin' A, Barry!

Sadly, no.

The Rude Pundit has said it before, and he'll keep saying it: the Obama administration's failure to investigate and prosecute the crimes of the Bush administration will lead to its downfall. You wanna establish moral authority to "change the tone" in Washington? Then adhere to some goddamned moral code. The laws of the land are a good place to start. As so many members of yer progressive punditry are saying, Barack Obama has to make Bush and the Republicans own the crises we are now in. And one way to do that is to reveal the extent that the United States under Bush tortured innocent people. It's ugly, and it's awful, but, hell, most violent crimes are.

You'll have to go see the next paragraph for yourself. It made my typing finger blush. Here's what it was able to c&p for you:

{...} "Enough, you sick fuck." At some point, it just becomes too ugly to bear.

When it comes to torturing brown people from somewhere filled with rocks and/or sand, it seems like Americans have a capacity to not give a shit. Yeah, bring on the kneecapping and electrodes on nipples. But maybe there is a line. Scott Horton's new report about the potential murder and cover-up of three detainees - Salah Ahmed Al-Salami, Mani Shaman Al-Utaybi, and Yasser Talal Al-Zahrani, who was 17 when he was sold to the United States - would seem to be the limits. Three men, none charged with any crime, two of whom were on a list to be released, may have tortured and murdered by the CIA at a secret site at Gitmo nicknamed "Camp No," where, one imagines, the detainees weren't served chicken and rice while being allowed to read the Koran.

To be crassly political where lives are at stake, Obama has nothing to lose at this point by using the Gitmo murder cover-up as a way to keep the memory of the Bush administrations failures alive. It will galvanize the Democratic base, who want Republican blood spilled, and it will change the story in the press. Dahlia Lithwick asks in Slate, "Why aren't we talking about new accusations of murder at Gitmo?" And the answer is that the administration has locked itself into this bullshit notion of working across the aisle. Instead, the White House should be thinking about how to sell the public on the good of putting Dick Cheney on trial. Fuck, use Republican reasoning for impeaching Bill Clinton for a less-than-violent crime: he broke the law. Sadly, though, by getting George W. Bush involved in the Haiti recovery effort, it almost seems like Obama pities the man when he should be despised and exiled.

The Rude Pundit's father was a tragically hopeless Mets fan in the 1960s and 1970s. He said that he always bet against the team because, if they won, he'd be thrilled. And if they lost, at least he won the bet. At the end of the day, even if it does nothing to change the seeming tidal shift in public opinion on Obama, at least a few murderers and their enablers may go to prison. At least we can say that laws matter.

I guess we've got a theme today: advice for Obama. It's coming in a tsunami. It's been building little by little as he gave away the store to the banks, caved on health care to give the Repugs and their health cartel masters nearly everything they wanted and the bill looks like it may not pass anyway (and probably shouldn't as it stands), but since the MA flusterpluck it's crashing on the shore and may proceed inland in depth, scope, and time. I hope he hears it. And acts on it.

Matters of law aside, my fervent wish to exact vengeance - pure unadulterated lust for revenge - on Cheney and his bitch Bush who got us into all this remains unabated.

Headline of the Day

Edwards admits paternity, Bush Sr. may be next

Why Obama should play to populism

Here are the last two paragraphs of an excellent 'must read' in the Financial Times:

So what on earth is going wrong? Where Mr Obama has fallen short is in the exercise of the talent that those of us who have watched him a long time assumed he had mastery: taking control of the American narrative. The switch from punchy candidate to remote administrator began, exactly a year ago, when he declined to give the crowd lines on which to cheer themselves hoarse. It was as though he was saying “I know you want to holler but you should see my in-tray.” As the year has gone on, this refusal to descend to the tomfoolery of public polemics has become more marked. But it has left a vacuum of passion into which the hard right has roared with infectiously histrionic rage.

Mr Obama’s distaste for getting down and dirty with the demagogues is a fatal misunderstanding of American politics, which seldom moves in the rarefied air of legislative achievement. It feeds instead on sound and fury; it is Mr Obama’s job to make it signify something. If he so chooses, financial regulatory reform is the perfect theatre for him to reclaim the populism he needs if his presidency is to survive in any form worth having. Take it to the bad guys, Barack. Remind the country where it was when Republicans were still in the White House. Otherwise, your government will expire from its own noble fastidiousness.

Shorter: Fuck those Repug and Wall Street bastards. President Obama, wade in with yer fists swingin' like ya got a pair. Yer gonna take some lumps, but ya gotta bring some to get some. If you don't, this country is gonna be right back in the shitter we've barely begun to climb out of.

We gave ya a shot. You better take it pretty goddam soon.

President Obama, Remember Who Your Friends Are

Truthout, with a tip o' the Brain to Democratic Underground.

Your friends are not the suits on Wall Street, the same ones who fooled Timothy Geithner for years. Your friends are not the timid centrists, who Rahm Emanuel coddles. Your friends are not the giants of the mortgage industry, who fought you tooth and nail to keep the foreclosure crisis out of the courts. Your friend is not George W. Bush, whose crimes you continue to conceal.

Your friends are the progressives across this country, who, when you asked for their faith and inspired them with beautiful words, placed you on their shoulders and carried you to a historic victory.

The progressive movement needs results - we're too smart to be placated and spun. We're too cynical - and too determined - to compromise. And, soon, we'll be too jaded to believe that Democrats are anything but limp windsocks, pointing whichever way the wind blows.

The right wing thrives on vitriol, hate and divisiveness. When the bile they spew goes unchallenged, their disease infects the people around them. They will not lie down, Mr. President. You are going to have to put them down - with true progressive action, not the frail rhetoric of appeasement.

No one has ever proclaimed a die-hard commitment to centrism. No one has ever held a rally to support bipartisanship. Those are Washington DC catchphrases that mean nothing, serving only as a fog for professional politicians huddling together inside the beltway, too timid and too immersed in campaign logic to stand for anything.

There's more, and well said.

Grinding Jesus

Stuff, NZed

Biblical citations on weapon sights used by New Zealand troops in Afghanistan are "inappropriate" and will be removed, the Defence Force says.

The Defence Force learnt of the citations when The Press contacted it yesterday.

That one deserves repeating for emphasis:

The Defence Force learnt of the citations when The Press contacted it yesterday.

Real fuckin' observant ain'tcha, Kiwis? And I thought Marines were dumb...

I kid. To be fair, the letters are small and our DoD rocket scientists didn't see them either. Or maybe they did. There's a lotta fundies in the Pentagon that probably like that shit. Holy war, you know.

The Defence Force would talk with the US-based manufacturer and supplier to ensure future orders did not have the inscriptions, he said, and it would remove the letters from existing gunsights. (my em)

Do it the other way 'round: grind off the citations and then use the Dremel on Trijicon. Just 'til all you can see of it is the cord stickin' outta their ass oughta do it.

DoD, you can't say you don't know about this shit any more. Do what the Kiwis are doing: Grind & Ream.

Quote of the Day



But I have to say, I’m pretty close to giving up on Mr. Obama, who seems determined to confirm every doubt I and others ever had about whether he was ready to fight for what his supporters believed in.

I think it's the absence of leadership that bothers me the most. Single-payer, public health care should have been a slam-dunk and signed into law before the August break last year. In the absence of leadership from the White House, we have Harry Reid playing that role and you see where that's gotten us.

But it's our fault ...

How many times ...

Have I said the American people have the attention span of 3 year olds? Maru:


Jeebus Christ on a unicycle. Yeah, let’s send the President a message! Vote in the same fucking morons that got us into this mess! Oooh, we didn’t like Croakley’s campaign style – Brown’s was so much more shiny! He’s GOT to be the better candidate!

Good jorb, twats.


Sometimes I wonder about our supposedly "blue" neighbors ...

Blame the Left ...

Why not? We were the people who were promised everything to get our vote in November '08. Not that we got anything; but we had the nerve to add ourselves into the political equation. Greenwald:


In what universe must someone be living to believe that the Democratic Party is controlled by "the Left," let alone "the furthest left elements" of the Party? As Ezra Klein says, the Left "ha[s] gotten exactly nothing they wanted in recent months." The Left wanted a single-payer system, then settled for a public option, then an opt-out public option, then Medicare expansion -- only to get none of it, instead being handed a bill that forces every American to buy health insurance from the private insurance industry. Nor was it "the Left" -- but rather corporatist Democrats like Evan Bayh and Lanny Davis -- who cheered for the hated Wall Street bailout; blocked drug re-importation; are stopping genuine reform of the financial industry; prevented a larger stimulus package to lower unemployment; refuse to allow programs to help Americans with foreclosures; supported escalation in Afghanistan (twice); and favor the same Bush/Cheney terrorism policies of indefinite detention, military commissions, and state secrets. [all ems in orig]


And just something to think about; in Europe, most American Democrats would be considered staunch conservatives.

In this political climate (with the constant influx of corporate cash into the system), the "left" will continue to get nothing. Max Headroom was right; we're living in a 21st Century dystopia.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Researchers discover method to objectively identify PTSD


Researchers at the University of Minnesota and Minneapolis VA Medical Center have identified a biological marker in the brains of those exhibiting post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

A group of 74 United States veterans were involved in the study, which for the first time objectively diagnoses PTSD using magnetoencephalography (MEG), a non-invasive measurement of magnetic fields in the brain. It's something conventional brain scans such as an X-ray, CT, or MRI have failed to do.

With more than 90 percent accuracy, researchers were able to differentiate PTSD patients from healthy control subjects (250 people with clean mental health) using the MEG. All behavior and cognition in the brain involves networks of nerves continuously interacting – these interactions occur on a millisecond by millisecond basis. The MEG has 248 sensors that record the interactions in the brain on a millisecond by millisecond basis, much faster than current methods of evaluation such as the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which takes seconds to record.

This work, specifically on detecting post-traumatic stress disorder, follows success in detecting other brain diseases, such as Alzheimer's and multiple sclerosis, using MEG, as reported in September 2007.

This is pretty good news. Being biological as opposed to strictly mental is like being mechanical - it is physical and can be fixed. Just how remains to be seen, but it's a start.

Random Observations on Last Night's Massachusetts Knockdown

Wonder of wonders, The Rude Pundit is finally pissed off! Mostly at Democrats and rightly so, I think. Today's 'must read':

1. Oh, grow a fucking pair already, whiny goddamn Democrats like Anthony Weiner or Barney Frank. You still belong to the majority party, the big majority party. You should be out there shredding Republicans, saying that they want to take us back to the policies of the Bush administration. Put that shit on repeat and use it. The biggest failure of the Democrats since the election of Barack Obama is that they have not made Republicans own the presidency of George W. Bush. It should become ingrained that "Republican=Bush." And the fact that it's not at this point means that idiots are running message for the Democrats. Americans are, for the most part, historical amnesiacs. They've already forgotten how our condition of being deeply fucked was a result of the very policies that Scott Brown ran on.

3. Briefly (because anger must be released): Fuck you, Massachusetts. Not just for Brown's election, but for voting for Coakley in the Democratic primary. And fuck you because you already have health care program in your state, which made it a fuck of a lot easier to not give a shit about the rest of the nation (and means that it wasn't really about health care). Fuck you, White House and DSCC, for not seeing this coming.

If Republicans had wanted universal health care, you would have seen commercials with heartless insurance agents stabbing babies and drinking their blood. You would have seen ads with desperate, laid-off old men offering to blow people for quarters so they could afford their insulin. You would have seen ads about how sad it is that a depressed middle-aged woman with a dream of a scrapbooking store is now suicidal over not being able to follow her small business dream because if she left her shitty office job, she'd lose her health care. The ad would have ended with a gunshot in darkness. People would have been begging for health care reform because Republicans would have made it seem like the world would fall apart without it.

Hope was a great message to get Obama elected. But it only goes so far. Conservatives used fear to create the teabaggers. Republicans used fear in Massachusetts. Fear of "terrorists" being put on trial in America. Fear of mythical higher taxes. Republicans are using fear on members of Congress, as in "Pass these things and you will be voted out." Fear fucking works.

Fear fucking works. This is very hard to understand for those of us who simply refuse to be told what to be afraid of. The Repugs understand it all too well, and the fucking sheep that fall for it, damn all their eyes.

Some things never change...

Selected quotes from a wise man and an Oklahoman who is not an embarrassment to us all, unlike Inhofe (R-Oil) and Coburn (R - Phony Xtians).

Ancient Rome declined because it had a Senate, now what's going to happen to us with both a House and a Senate?

Anything important is never left to the vote of the people. We only get to vote on some man; we never get to vote on what he is to do.

Democrats never agree on anything, that's why they're Democrats. If they agreed with each other, they would be Republicans.

People are taking their comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke.

I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat.

If Stupidity got us into this mess, then why can't it get us out?

If you ever injected truth into politics you have no politics.

Instead of giving money to found colleges to promote learning, why don't they pass a constitutional amendment prohibiting anybody from learning anything? If it works as good as the Prohibition one did, why, in five years we would have the smartest race of people on earth.

On account of being a democracy and run by the people, we are the only nation in the world that has to keep a government four years, no matter what it does.

There are so many of these that I could go on forever. A couple more:

Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.

Boy, but that ship has sailed! Heh.

People's minds are changed through observation and not through argument.

There is none so blind as he who will not see. We have too many of those.

I tried to stop. I can't...

The 1928 Republican Convention opened with a prayer. If the Lord can see His way clear to bless the Republican Party the way it's been carrying on, then the rest of us ought to get it without even asking.

The difference between a Republican and a Democrat is the Democrat is a cannibal they have to live off each other, while the Republicans, why, they live off the Democrats.

The fellow that can only see a week ahead is always the popular fellow, for he is looking with the crowd. But the one that can see years ahead, he has a telescope but he can't make anybody believe that he has it.

The more you observe politics, the more you've got to admit that each party is worse than the other.

There ought to be one day - just one - when there is open season on senators.

Perhaps the truest of all:

We will never have true civilization until we have learned to recognize the rights of others.

They're taking me away now. The meds are kickin' in and they have the sleeves all the way around me...

How America's Demented Politics Let the GOP Off the Hook for Their Giant Mess

Bill Moyers & Thomas Frank at AlterNet. Pretty much last Friday evening's Journal. Long, but worth a read:

THOMAS FRANK: Government is-- yeah, government is a perversion. And to believe that the federal government can be operated, you know, with all of its programs, can be operated well and do things that are good for the people, is, as you say, is a perversion.

And they look at someone like Barack Obama and it makes them seethe. Because that's, you know, that's what he's trying to do. What conservatism in this country is about is government failure. Conservatives talk about government failure all the time, constantly. And conservatives, when they're in power deliver government failure.

BILL MOYERS: Not merely from incompetence, you say, but from ideology, from philosophy, from a view of the world.

THOMAS FRANK: And sometimes from design.

BILL MOYERS: Why? So, part of the problem with America is the Democratic Party?

THOMAS FRANK: A huge part of the problem, because look, the conservatives have for decades now made their-- the whole point of their party is to attack government, attack the state, encourage cynicism about government. And then wreck it when they're in charge, right?

Democrats never defend the state. They never come out and say, "No, no. It's important to have, you know, government. It's important to have a Department of Labor. These are, you know, having government actually-- a good government increases your freedom. It doesn't ruin it." They never fight back consistently.


The answer will not surprise you.

Lick my FIAT

Mark Morford on small cars:

Here's the good news: while small, stylish, efficient cars from every major automaker are racing back into vogue, these are not the tiny, tinny piece-of-crap econo-boxes of yore -- not all of them, anyway. Many of these cars look to be surprisingly refined, cool and quirky creations, made with actual thought put into their handling, their form, their feel and curve and line, not just how many squeaky, spine-jarring miles you can eke out from a $3 gallon of Satan's blood.

So, the big question: Should you give a damn? Should you be excited about any of it, especially if you're not much of a car person? It seems like you should.

Here's why: firstly, this whole "small & refined" thing is foreign as hell for loping, gluttonous America. We've always equated size with value, and bigger equals better. Giant food. Giant homes. Giant colons. Giant egos. Giant athletes, giant pay scales and a giant God who can out-god your god. What about style, sophistication and a touch of simple humility? That's for Eurosnobs and metrosexuals. Give me the XXL triple meat pizza with the liquid cheese crust and the free pound of breadsticks, then inject it straight into my left coronary artery as I pass through the drive-thru in my blinged-out Expedition XL on my way to the tailgate party. Thanks.

But something appears to have gone horribly wrong with the "go big or go home" credo. Turns out our big wars have both failed, and our big economy collapsed, and our big McMansion market crashed and burned. Supersizing everything resulted in millions of people becoming sick and obese, and all the sports heroes of the "go big" era turned out to be jacked on steroids. The final nail in the oversized coffin? China bought the entirely silly Hummer brand for about three dollars and some stale rice noodles. Perfect.

Please enjoy the rest.

Who knew?

There was such a controversy:

And the medical profession still does not know for sure if the procedure is of any value. I am referring to the unkindest cut of all, circumcision.


The worst part about it for me (I was too young to remember mine and, thankfully, nobody decided to keep a souvenir) was seeing it done. Being married into a Jewish family, I've been to my share. In the house ... the whole family around (extended, not nuclear) ... da mohel dere mit da knife ... and the poor little kid on the dining room table ... That bugged me, but everybody was having a great time. Oy!

Something to think about ...

From Peter Daou:

It took more than half a decade, countless American and Iraqi deaths in a war based on lies, a sinking economy and the drowning of an American city to finally kill Bush-Cheney-Rove's dream of a conservative realignment.

Democrats, controlling the White House and both houses of Congress, have managed to kill their own dream of dominance in 12 months. [my em]


Way to go, guys. Do yourselves a favor and beg or bribe Howard Dean to come back.

And a note to the President: It's time to put Rahm on the unemployment line.

Great thanks to Mr. Aravosis for the link.

One can hope ...

That the Dems (particularly the White House) will learn from this humiliating loss in Massachusetts, but I doubt it. Talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. What a fucking joke.

I'm disgusted ...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The of weed

Brand X

Entrepreneur and computer engineer John Lee, in Sonoma, Calif., thinks the medical marijuana business has reached a tipping point in terms of its social (and legal) acceptance, and his 5-month-old start-up, PlainView Systems, wants to be the of the burgeoning industry.

Potheads, let's face it, have never been known for being the most organized people, and many of them have the business instincts of a T-shirt seller at a Phish concert. For some dispensary owners, the ever-shifting rules, regulations and decrees set forth by the various municipalities in the state are confusing. So too are the changing accounting standards that are required of the industry.

Accounting? "I got the primo, dude. Gimme the bread." has always been all the 'accounting' needed!

Laws. Sigh. I guess we've got to put up with 'laws' to get 'legalization'. Sigh.

This is a good idea whose time has come.

Note to PlainView Systems: Cash in on this quick before the real Amazon catches on. Free shipping over $25 is hard to beat.

Kate McGarrigle 1946-2010


Canadian folk singer and songwriter Kate McGarrigle, best known for performing with her sister Anna, has died of cancer. She was 63.

Kate and Anna, known as the McGarrigle Sisters, began their careers performing at Montreal coffeehouses in the 1960s with a group called the Mountain City Four. They got their break in the 1970s, when their songs were covered by numerous artists, including Linda Ronstadt, who used "Heart Like a Wheel" as the title song to one of her albums.

In 1975 they made their first record, "Kate and Anna McGarrigle," which brought them critical acclaim and additional famous covers by artists including Emmylou Harris, Judy Collins and Billy Bragg.

Kate McGarrigle received the Order of Canada in 1994, one of the country's highest honors.

McGarrigle was once married to American singer-songwriter Loudon Wainwright III. Her son, Rufus Wainwright, recently canceled an upcoming tour, citing an illness in the family.

Born in Montreal, the famous singing duo grew up in the Laurentian Mountains village of Saint-Sauveur-des-Monts, Quebec. There, they learned the piano from the village nuns.

I have put her work up here several times. An important contributor to the folk genre, but most definitely not mainstream even for folkies. Us hard core loved her. Adieu, Kate.

Kate & Anna McGarrigle and friends (Rufus Wainwright - son of Kate -, Emmylou Harris, Mary Black, Karen Matheson, Rod Paterson) perform Stephen Foster's Hard times come again no more during the Transatlantic sessions.

Thanks to lapincompris. France.

HCR? SOL! Yay!

BOSTON (The Borowitz Report) - Firing up voters on the eve of the special election to fill the late Edward M. Kennedy's Senate seat, Republican candidate Scott Brown spoke at a campaign rally today, proclaiming, "With your help, our dream of depriving millions of health care is within reach."

"Let's send a message, Massachusetts!" Mr. Brown exhorted the crowd. "Let's tell people across the country that if they want health coverage, they are shit out of luck!"


Think Progress:

Brown stands by supporting a tax-subsidized golf course over 9/11 rescue workers.

TP: Mr. Brown, in 2001 when you voted against financial aid for 9/11 rescue workers, you were pushing a bill for a tax subsidized golf course in your district. Can you explain that?

BROWN: I’m not sure what you’re referring to. [...]

TP: Are you going to explain that vote?

BROWN: Number two, we were in a financial difficulty and we couldn’t afford it unfortunately.

TP: But you could afford a tax-subsidized bond for a golf course?

BROWN: We had to obviously take care of the people of Massachusetts who needed to stay employed.

Video if you must.

Note to the people of Massachusetts: If you vote this teabagger moron in to replace Ted Kennedy, you should be ashamed of yourselves. You'll be sor-reee...

Crosshairs for Jesus

Here's a follow-up on Fixer's post:

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

This is a mortal insult to Muslims and endangers our troops. Trijicon needs to knock off the cheap shit and work for free for a while until every last one of the scopes already in the field is replaced.

Think that'll happen?


ABC News

U.S. military rules specifically prohibit the proselytizing of any religion in Iraq or Afghanistan and were drawn up in order to prevent criticism that the U.S. was embarked on a religious "Crusade" in its war against al Qaeda and Iraqi insurgents.

[...] Tom Munson, director of sales and marketing for Trijicon, which is based in Wixom, Michigan, said the inscriptions "have always been there" and said there was nothing wrong or illegal with adding them. Munson said the issue was being raised by a group that is "not Christian." [...]

"It's wrong, it violates the Constitution, it violates a number of federal laws," said Michael "Mikey" Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, an advocacy group that seeks to preserve the separation of church and state in the military.

"It allows the Mujahedeen, the Taliban, al Qaeda and the insurrectionists and jihadists to claim they're being shot by Jesus rifles," he said.

"This is probably the best example of violation of the separation of church and state in this country," said Weinstein. "It's literally pushing fundamentalist Christianity at the point of a gun against the people that we're fighting. [...]"

I'm all for hollerin' "Allah sucks donkey dicks!" to get 'em to stick their heads up, but this is just wrong.

I wonder if the people who write the checks on our money to pay these fundie idiots their millions are going to do anything about it?

Update II:

Raw Story

Air Force official: Bible code on rifle scopes just like ‘God’ on US money

Bullshit. 'God' is generic. References to passages in a fictional work, read by few and believed by fewer in one particular religion, and then issued to troops who are fighting against proponents of another religion who have their own book of fiction, many of whom think this is a religious war, makes this a religious war on our side as well which it is not but some morons would like it to be. Worse, we're issuing it to our "allies" of the other religion. I wouldn't blame them for turning those weapons on our guys. Thanks Trijicon, you fucking idiots.

The Air Force is kinda famous for being taken over by the religious right, perhaps in self-defense after Fixer's service...(wink)

Interesting tidbit: The 'Air Force official' is Major John Redfield. Go see what 'Redfield', a company started in 1909 by another John Redfield, makes. And no, I don't believe in coincidences, at least not like that one.

Bad form ...

But then, that's just another reason why I don't cruise Royal Caribbean*:

Sixty miles from Haiti's devastated earthquake zone, luxury liners dock at private beaches where passengers enjoy jetski rides, parasailing and rum cocktails delivered to their hammocks.


*Disclaimer: The Mrs. and I are shareholders in Carnival Corporation & PLC, of which Royal Caribbean is not a part and is in direct competition with, and patronize the Carnival family exclusively. We would not support Carnival if they pulled some shit like this.

In the sights ...

Christ, the Jesus freaks are at it again:

Trijicon, a manufacturer of rifle scope sights, has been inscribing references to New Testament verses on the scopes that they have been selling to the U.S. Military.


The problem in this country is that too many of us want to replay The Crusades. All holy war, all the time.

Jesus weeps ...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Blue Monday

Just sittin' here watching it snow. Needed a little cheerin' up. Watching pretty young girls dancing did it! Full-screen it!

Thanks to stupidcowwss, UK.

GOP Claims It’s Upholding The Legacy Of MLK

[A big welcome to Crooks and Liars readers. Thanks, Mike! - F]

Barf alert. Think Progress, links at site:

Republican National Committee (RNC) put out a statement from chairman Michael Steele today honoring Dr. King’s “epic and historic fight for civil rights.” Yesterday, Sarah Palin also put up a Facebook message celebrating his “efforts against racial discrimination.” Both the RNC and Palin also tried to tie the conservative movement to King’s work:

ENC: "[...] As we celebrate his legacy, I’m reminded that his message is rooted in ideals and principles that the Republican Party has advocated since its inception. Today, our Party and the nation honors Dr. King’s dream by continuing his fight — the fight for all Americans to have an equal chance at the American Dream.”

Not only is it unbelievable that the lying Repug bastards would say this, it's unbelievable that they think anybody other than their Dead End Quarter are gonna fall for it, but lies and spin are their M.O. It's what they do, it's who they are.

King is best remembered for his work fighting racial discrimination. But King’s vision for equality extended beyond integrated schools and businesses. He was also a fierce champion for the labor movement and living wage laws. Additionally, King believed that universal health care was essential to ensuring true equality in America. In a speech to the Medical Committee for Human Rights in 1966, King famously said:

Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.

As the Kaiser Family Foundation has noted, the health reform bills being considered by Congress — which conservatives are opposing — would significantly benefit persons of color, who make up more than 50 percent of the uninsured (even though they comprise just one third of the U.S. population).

In September, Steele claimed that “Dr. King would be disappointed in the political leadership of this country for failing to address the least of us.” But as Richard Payne wrote in an April 2, 2006 op-ed in the Charlotte News and Observer, “Is there any doubt that King would have been on the forefront of arguments for payment of a living wage to the working poor, and that he would have advocated for universal health care?” [...]

None at all.

The Repugs' record is absolutely clear on matters of race, health care, and a living wage. The party of No! to other than The Bigs.

So is Dr. King's. He has been gone for over forty years and his message is as right today or more so than it was then.

Moderation doesn't work against evil

The Rude Pundit offers some quotes from Dr. King.

Martin Luther King Would Still Fuck Your Shit Up (A Call to Democrats to Sack Up)

Here's one you might not have heard: Speaking to a small group of protesters outside Santa Rita prison in California, on January 14, 1968, where he had visited Joan Baez and other jailed anti-war activists and draft resisters, Martin Luther King, Jr. said, in remarks that ought to resonate not just with President Obama, but with cowardly Democrats and everyone who thinks that moderation works:

"And I say to you in conclusion that we must continue to stand up and we must continue to follow the dictates of our conscience, even if that means breaking unjust laws. Henry David Thoreau said in his essay on civil disobedience that noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. And I do not plan to cooperate with evil at any point.

"Somebody said to me not too long ago, 'Dr. King, don't you think you're hurting your leadership by taking a stand against the war in Vietnam? Aren't people who once respected you gonna lose respect for you? And aren't you hurting the budget of your organization?'

"And I had to look at that person and say, 'I'm sorry, sir, but you don't know me. I am not a consensus leader. And I do not determine what is right and wrong by looking at the budget of the Southern Leadership Conference or by taking a Gallup poll of the majority opinion.'

"Ultimately a genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but he's a molder of consensus. And on some positions, cowardice asks the question, 'Is it safe?' Expedience asks the question, 'Is it politic?' Vanity asks the question, 'Is it popular?'

"But conscience asks the question, 'Is it right?'

"There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must do it because conscience tells him it is right. And that is where I stand today and that is where I hope you will continue to stand so that we can speed up the day when justice will roll down like waters all over the world and righteousness like a mighty stream. And we will speed up the day when men will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks and nations will not rise up against nations neither they will not start a war anymore and I close by saying as we sing in the old Negro spiritual, 'I Ain't Gonna Study War No More.'"

We forget, amid all the deification, what a tough bastard King was. We admire him because he was uncompromising and principled, and also because he fought like lives depended on it. Because they did.

They still do. Moderation doesn't work against evil forces, i.e. the far right. They need to be stomped flat with all the strength that can be brought against them. It's almost metaphorical to say that it is kill or be killed.

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

In One Day, New Jersey Sees Startling Spike in Cases of Glaucoma
Same day state assembly legalizes medical marijuana.

Obama Has “Secret Vault” in New York Under Interpol's Control
According to Glenn Beck, who's sending Chuck Norris to wrest it from Interpol and bring it back to open on his show, undoubtedly revealing: Obama's Kenyan birth certificate, the Communist Manifesto and a detailed diagram of Glenn Beck's house.

Miss Becky's 'little voices' appear to be getting louder and more insistent.

Hey ...

How's that Afghanistan "surge" going?

KABUL, Afghanistan — Days before a major international conference on Afghanistan, militants launched audacious and coordinated attacks in central Kabul early on Monday, with explosions and gunfire echoing across the city. The Taliban said its fighters carried out the assault.


Police and paramilitary officers at the scene said the onslaught began with an initial suicide bombing in the downtown area near the Justice Ministry, the Central Bank, the presidential palace and the Serena Hotel favored by Westerners. Hotel residents took cover in a basement as the fighting swirled above them, according to a BBC reporter at the hotel.

Militants have become increasingly bold in penetrating the capital as their campaign broadens in many parts of Afghanistan, prompting President Obama to promise 30,000 additional American troops to reinforce the international coalition.


Yeah, I thought so. Wish we had a Wayback Machine and we could refresh our memories about the way they chased the Soviets out. We should set the dials for about '85 or '86 and we'd see the same things we are now.

"Truth in Comics"

Creature found a good one!

Yeah ...

What Athenae said:


It's just a fucking dodge, just one more way to get out of your responsibilities as a human being, just one more way to say, I'm right to be a selfish cockhole who doesn't give a damn about anything. And I for one have fucking had it. Don't come around and say we have problems here at home. We fucking KNOW we have problems here at home. Americans have been trying to solve them for decades while those of you who don't want to hear about anybody's misfortune but your own mouth about welfare cheats and the inevitability of any charity effort to get taken for a ride. If you're gonna say the attention and money needs to be directed here at home, then DIRECT IT HERE AT HOME. Quit fighting efforts to give everybody health care and screaming about death panels. Quit demandng lower taxes that won't pay for the cops you need to patrol your streets, for the community policing programs that actually work but are the first things to get chopped when the state cuts off funding. Quit thwarting every attempt to feed the hungry with lists of forms for the hungry to fill out to PROVE that their stomachs are growling.


Indeed! The people who bitch the most do nothing to solve the problem.

Hoo-doo Voo-doo?

Bid on a Pat Robertson voodoo doll and 100% of the proceeds go to help Haiti.

After an exclusive deal with devil, we are finally able to bring black magic into your very own home! The lucky winner of this auction will attain the soul of Televangelist PAT ROBERTSON in a handheld figurine comprised of the finest straw, cloth, and other organic natural materials! BID NOW to own your very own physical representation of the dark, dark soul of Pat Robertson.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Gas Station Jam

I've done some of my best work in gas stations in the middle of the night too. And no, not after reading "ass for gas" off some gal's dipstick...

I had the same kind of audience a coupla times too. Heh.

Zac Brown Band ~ Can The Circle Be Unbroken

Thanks to zacbrownband.

Quote of the Day

To: Rush Limbaugh
From: Roger Ebert

You should be horse-whipped for the insult you have paid to the highest office of our nation.


"the eternally vile Pat Robertson"

Mark Morford in a piece about the dual horrors in Haiti and along our southern border:

You might even go so far as to suggest that a place like Haiti is cursed, not merely by its terrible location in the hurricane track or by tectonics, not merely from environmental squalor or its crushing poverty, but by God himself.

Indeed, you might go so far as to agree with the eternally vile Pat Robertson, never one to let a massive human tragedy go perversely unblamed on the victims, saying Haitians brought on the tragedy themselves, because they made a deal with Satan nearly 200 years ago, exchanging their very souls for freedom from horrific French enslavement.

Isn't that sweet? Oh, Pat, you contemptible Christian reptile. Don't you know it's exactly the other way around? That, according to the Times piece, it was France's rather evil demand for fiscal reparations after the Haitians won their freedom from slavery that caused much of the country's downward spiral into near-permanent ruin? Say hi to Jerry Falwell in hell for us, Pat.

Hell's too good for phony christian bastards who promote racism and hatred and blame the victims of natural disasters for their own troubles as the work of a vengeful God who's made-up anyway.


From the archives:

Pat Robertson's Katrina Cash

[...] And the Bush Administration, through FEMA, is doing its best to insure that Pat Robertson is getting that cash just as quickly as humanly possible.

I've given up wondering why I'm pissed-off all the time. I know.