Saturday, December 25, 2010

Don't let 'em DREAM

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

Some readers celebrate demise of the DREAM Act

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

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

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

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

The crux of the biscuit. Much more.

What a gay Marine taught me

A good read in the LATimes:

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

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

Seeing the light reluctantly is seeing the light.

Flying reindeer, huh?

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

Christmas Emmylou Blogging

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

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

Thanks to 1000Magicians, UK.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Friday Monster Blogging

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

Click to make bigger

The Humbug Express

Paul Krugman

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

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

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

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

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

*Repuglican Spin, Slime, and Smear Machine.

Best wishes ...

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

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

All the best to you and yours!

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

I thought ...

Everybody wanted us to bomb Iran?

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

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


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

Thanks to Fez for the link.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Quote of the Day



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


Headin' Out

Headin' for the coast today. See yas.

Nautical No-No

Drunk Passenger Drops Anchor on Moving Cruise Ship

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

Happy Holidays Veterans

Sen. John McCain blocks suicide prevention

Talk to somebody ...

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

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

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

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

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

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


From my buddy W.K in comments:

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

Santa sez ...

You get rocks this year:


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


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

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

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

HuffPo, links at site:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Mr. Obama,

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



Why I love ...

Long Island girls:

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


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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

The victim ended her chase and called police.


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

When even FOXProp climbs yer Repug frame...

Senate Passes 9/11 First Responders Health Care Bill

This just in:

Senate approves nuclear arms pact

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

The wine-lover's guide to the apocalypse

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

If it's Wednesday, it must be metaMorford:

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

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

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


Light Blogging Today

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

I suppose ...

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

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


Quote of the Day

Comrade Misfit:


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

No money?

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

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

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


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

*Thanks to Chris for the link.

So ...

Now I sit here, my head spinning.

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

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

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

Shoulda left health care for now too ...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Mouth of the South

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

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

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

On The South Carolina Secession Gala:

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

I'll take yer word for it...

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

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

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

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

Thanks to Dogote82.

Manger Danger!

The Daily Palin. Yes, The Daily Palin.


Am under heavy fire from Intercontinental Ballistic Mistletoe. STOP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Palast Arrested

From BuzzFlash:

Greg Palast Arrested, Busted by BP in Azerbaijan

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

MWC News

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

Oh, no, no, not good.

I would say doubleplusungood!

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

So that's what Fixers do...

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

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

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

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

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

The World's Oldest Holiday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

• Beltaine (May Day, May 1);

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

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

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

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

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

Good shit! Much more.

Christ ...

Only in America:

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


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

Monday, December 20, 2010

DADT Gone: Social Conservatives Lose Their Fucking Minds

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

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

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

Much, much more.

A busy day on the celestial calendar

From YubaNet. Cool graphic.

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

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

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

Montreal Gazette

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kosher Pizza?

The Hill

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

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

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

Headline of the Day

From BuzzFlash:

Pentagon Prepares for End of DADT

What, they're redecorating?


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


Freeing The Airwaves From Corporate Control

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

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

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

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

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

Much more. This is a good thing.

When Zombies Win

Paul Krugman

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

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

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

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

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

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

No Labels My Ass

Daddy Frank

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

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

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

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

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

Repuglican'ts totally suck and Democrats only suck less.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Light Blogging Today

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

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

I guess we should get bored more often.

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

At least ...

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

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

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


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

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