Saturday, January 22, 2011

Lawn Bowling and Croquet

Nice article about Queen Liz in the LATimes.

Reporting from aboard the Queen Elizabeth — Let the other ships have their rock climbing walls and their water slides, their come as-you-are and do-as-you-please ambience. On the new Queen Elizabeth, it's lawn bowling and croquet, formal nights and afternoon teas, assigned seating and fixed dining hours.

Indeed, Cunard's elegant Queen Elizabeth is the very embodiment of British civility.

'Ow bleedin' posh, mate!

After three launchings within a decade, Cunard has no plans to introduce another Queen. Why not? I asked the captain. He smiled and said, "England didn't have that many queens." (Jane doesn't really count, having reigned for only nine days.) So the options are few, he said, smiling, "unless we bring out a Queen Anne — or maybe a Queen Camilla."

Heh. Read on.

The Barack Hussein Obama 2011 State of the Union Drinking Game!

Will Durst


- Four taxpayers of any sex: One rich, white banker- type wearing dark suit with loosened tie. Two ordinary folks wearing jeans; one in a blue or flannel work shirt, the other in a white shirt, sleeves rolled up. One poor, bedraggled person wearing clothes that look like they were retrieved from the bottom of a rodeo dumpster behind the animal-performer stalls.

One shot glass per person. Everybody brings own, scattering array on coffee table in front of TV. Banker gets first choice for use during game. White shirt picks next, then work shirt. Banker pockets last shot glass as well, and Rags either rents it from him, steals a replacement from the kitchen or drinks out of own cupped hands.

- Ante up 25 bucks. Cash. Except Banker, who tosses in an I.O.U., and Rags who everybody just avoids eye contact with.

- Three packages of steamed Vienna Beef Chicago-style hot dogs in the middle of table with butter-grilled buns, tomatoes, onions, and some of that weird, neon-green relish on the side.

- One bottle of bourbon.

- A large stash of beer in cans on ice. Rags gets whatever is on sale, like Heileman’s Old Style Ice Light Dry. Banker gets import of choice. Jeans get whatever they want, but have to buy all the beer, bourbon, hot dogs, condiments, and carry the groceries by themselves.

A coupla the 'Rules':

If either Vice President Biden or the Speaker of the House Boehner is seen nodding off on camera, last person to start singing “Wake Up, Little Susie” has to drink three shots of beer.

- If the president says the state of the union is good, but could be better, the last person to eat a fully accoutered hot dog has to drink one shot of bourbon....

If the president mentions the Chinese president by name, the last person to ask “Hu Dat?” has to drink two shots of beer.

Optional: Have all players drink with left hand. Unless left-handed. If they are caught drinking with dominant hand, they must watch the entire Republican response and no drinking allowed.

Actually, it's best not to be drinking anything anytime ever when a Repug is speaking because at some point it will come out yer nose. Or ears. Or eyeballs. Or...

After the game:

Banker takes home money, shot glasses and bourbon. The I.O.U. is discarded.

Business as usual.

Westboro Baptist Rips Off, Pickets Ozzy Osbourne (AUDIO)

The funeral picketing business must be getting cold. Now WBC is going to picket Qzzy concerts.

TPMMuckraker, links at site.

The Westboro Baptist Church, the notorious Kansas congregation known for their stunt conservative-themed protests of high-profile funerals, has found a new target: 62-year-old rocker Ozzy Osbourne. Yes, Ozzy, who's now about as controversial as Michael Bolton (albeit after a long career that had some colorful highlights.)

Nevertheless, the Westboro Baptist Church -- which is led by the decidedly controversial 81-year-old Fred Phelps -- reports there's much to fear from Osbourne, a reality show comedy foil and cellular phone pitchman. In a flier the church is currently distributing in Kansas City, MO ahead of Osbourne's scheduled concert there Saturday night, Westboro says unequivocally that "God hates Ozzy Osbourne."

Like God gives a shit. Yeesh. Ozzy doesn't like these yingyangs, but it remains to be seen what his fans will do. Probably don't know what WBC is and couldn't care less. OTOH, might bite their heads off. Heh.

WBC has its own parody of Crazy Train. As much as I dislike those bastards, this portion of the lyrics is, strangely, pretty close to how I feel about the right wing:

You listen to preachers, your leaders are fools
You're raping false prophets, who make their own rules
The base is ascending, to rule and control
The media sells it, and you pay the toll

Go read this for laughs. Be sure ta hit the 'Wierd Al' link. Heh.

"Ozzy Scream Tour 2011" (w/special guest Slash) is coming to Reno next week. I wonder if his new WBC groupies will follow him?

Finally, Joementum In the Right Direction

By Madeleine Begun Kane

Dear Joe, glad to hear that you’re leaving.
This Democrat sure won’t be grieving.
I know you’ve no shame,
So you won’t accept blame
For aiding the right in their thieving.

The takeover ...

Is complete:


Keith says he was told "this is going to be the last edition of your show." Here's the rather curt statement from MSNBC.

Wow. Not a smart move by MSNBC. More than a few folks on Twitter, and elsewhere, are noting the interesting coincidence of Comcast being given approval to take over NBC just three days ago. Rather interesting timing. It's also interesting that the Republicans take over the House and suddenly Keith is gone - perhaps MSNBC has decided it wants more conservatives, or at least to lose its fiercest liberals.


"The Great Silencing" has begun.

Saturday Emmylou Blogging

"Mystery Train" was on an Elvis Presley LP I got in about 1958. I still have it.

Lousy video quality I agree but thought it worth uploading as it is the only live performance of this song by Emmylou Ive ever come across.

Emmylou Harris ~ Mystery Train

Thanks to 1000Magicians, UK.

Friday, January 21, 2011

These are a few of my favorite things...

This one's for you, Fixer. Be careful while Mrs. F's outta town. Heh.

Fred Eaglesmith ~ Dynamite and Whiskey

Thanks to PolitelyHomicidal, UK.

American-style touring In China


Riverside motor home maker MVP RV Inc. is planning to build and export 30,000 vehicles to China under an agreement with a Chinese entrepreneur that is expected to add 1,200 new jobs to the Inland Empire, an area hit hard by the recession.

How comforting to know that when we are touring the Tea Horse Road or the Silk Road or the Changthang Plateau or anywhere in dozens of mountain ranges on our horses or motorbikes, we will get stuck behind U.S.-built motorhomes on the grades just like here, except they'll be driven by old retired Orientals so we won't dare try to pass...

The bright side is we'll be able to overnight at Good Sam Crub RV parks.

Note to China: Welcome to upward mobility. Except on the grades.

Oh. My. God.

Sacha Baron Cohen to play Saddam Hussein

My mind, she fries...

Epic Dumb

Just go read William Rivers Pitt.


You read that right.

The First Lady’s campaign to fight obesity by getting folks to – wait for it – walk around a bit is actually killing people. Michelle Obama is maiming and slaughtering amongst the masses by trying to get people to exercise.

It was at this point that I began to experience a deep and personal crisis of confidence. I thought I knew Dumb. I thought I understood Dumb. I thought, in fact, that I was moving beyond my superior scholastic degrees in the Study of Dumb to something more akin to Jedi status. And then here comes this thing, and wham! My legs get taken completely out from under me. I know nothing of Dumb, I said to myself in something close to wonder. I thought I did, but here is this vein of truly supernatural Dumb, here is Dumb with enough sheer mass to bend the very light.

Follow ol' Willy to the depths of despair and his eventual blessed salvation. Heh.

The Gift Who Keeps on Giving

The best argument for re-gifting I've seen, but not to a friend you want to keep.

Eric Alterman

Sarah Palin is the gift who keeps on giving. Think about it. Palin holds no public office. Her political experience includes, exclusively, a term as a small-town mayor and an unfinished, albeit scandal-ridden term as governor of America’s least populous state. Her educational background includes attendance at six different schools merely to earn a bachelor's degree. Despite having run for vice president—in what John McCain’s top advisers later admitted was a desperation move—she has never participated in a full-fledged press conference with members of the national media. She communicates almost exclusively via 140-character pronouncements on Twitter, updates on her Facebook page, and brown-nosing interviews with the likes of Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck on Fox, from a studio the network built for her in her home. And yet she is by far the most written about, talked about, and most definitely muttered about woman in America.

For Palin to equate the notion that rhetoric like hers and that of her allies might have contributed to an atmosphere that could lead to a tragedy to one of “blood libel” would have to be considered insane if taken literally, though she appears to have borrowed it from right-wing bombthrowers Glenn Reynolds and Andrew Breitbart, who deploy it to defend the Tea Party against criticism. (Amazingly, the folks at The Washington Times manage to take this victimization metaphor even further, whining about, I kid you not, “the latest round of an ongoing pogrom against conservative thinkers.” I wonder how the victims of say, the Kishinev Pogrom of 1903 would feel if they could hear the uses to which their suffering is being exploited.)

Fixer, cut a hole in the roof so Mrs. F won't hurt herself when she goes through it.

Obviously, many in the media share the blame, not only for ignorant and exploitative comments made above, but for paying so much attention to a figure whose views are decidedly marginal to those of the vast majority of Americans, and whose approval ratings bespeak little more than devoted cult. But any car crash is likely to attract attention and this last orgy of victimization by Palin and company serves not only to change the topic from the wisdom of their own violent rhetoric but gives their minions a chance to rally ‘round their leaders however illogical their complaints. I don’t expect this to happen, however. Palin is far more a symbol of the degradation of our political culture than its cause.

Meanwhile, I’ll give the last word to Susannah Heschel, a scholar of Jewish history at Dartmouth and daughter of the revered rabbi, the late Abraham Joshua Heschel, perhaps the most influential Jewish theologian of the past century:

Indeed, I would join other Jewish leaders who hope that, despite having the benefit of Jewish advisers, Palin was simply unaware of the history of “blood libels,” and used it out of ignorance. If she did use the term deliberately, with full knowledge of its connotations, I tremble at the political fabric she is manufacturing. Either way, Ms. Palin may have just garnered a spot in the Jewish history textbooks. Invoking “blood libel” in an utterly inappropriate context, she will be remembered for her manipulative use of one of the ugliest yet most persistent anti-Semitic canards Jews have faced.

'Canard' is defined as:

A false or misleading report or story, especially if deliberately so.

From the origin of the word:

French, literally, duck; in sense 1, from Middle French vendre des canards à moitié to cheat, literally, to half-sell ducks

Palin's a walking canard her own damn self, albeit a wholly-sold one. Hey, if it walks like a duck...

Headline of the Day

Survey: Four in Five Americans Support Amendment to Overturn Citizens United

The other One in Five, of course, are our Corporate 'Citizens'.

Blair Yips

The Rude Pundit

Today former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, appeared before the Chilcot inquiry into just how England became mired in the Iraq war (aka "Shit What We'll Never Do in the U.S."). [...]

You realize that he must still get midnight drunken phone calls from George W. Bush, a mix of reminiscences of good times, of how they got Laura and Cherie to 69 each other in front of the fire at Camp David while the two of them jerked each other off, of how they were just so totally right about Saddam Hussein and everyone else can just suck it, and half-veiled threats, where Bush tells Blair how he'll have Xe mercenaries break the PM's spine and keep him alive for days while they cut pieces off him until he finally just goes into shock and dies. Blair is a haunted man, as anyone would be.

But he plays his role. He has to if he wants to live in his home country. Unfortunately, he isn't American. Here, no one questions anymore, no one wants to know, no one even cares that we're still there, unless soldiers are needed as props in a campaign. Even if the Chilcot inquiry is ultimately toothless, at least it shows to families and a country that leaders owe the people answers.

Barring a leader with guts, aka 'a miracle', we're not likely to get answers or justice on Iraq until we're all dead.

So ...

Saying a cluster of undifferentiated cells is not human is the same as saying black people should only be considered 3/5 of one?

WASHINGTON - In eyebrow-raising comments, possible presidential hopeful Rick Santorum is questioning how President Barack Obama, as an African-American, can support abortion rights.

Santorum, a former Republican senator from Pennsylvania who is considering a run for his party's 2012 nomination, argued in an interview that a fetus is a person and said he considers it "almost remarkable for a black man to say 'now we are going to decide who are people and who are not people.'"


What a stupid fucktard. I'm going outside to bury my head in the snow.

More snow ...

It's gotten to the point where I leave one shovel outside the front door and another out back. Jesus-fucking-Christ, I'm sick of this shit already. The next idiot I hear telling me climate change is nothing more than Al Gore's bullshit is gonna get a punch in the mouth.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tea Horse Road

I sat in the doctor's office yesterday while Mrs. G got a follow-up on her tonsil procedure of last week. The doc scripped her a stronger antibiotic and a steroid, but she's done with pain and is no longer a hydrocodone-d lump on the couch. She's chipper and cheery and getting her energy back.

I read this fascinating article about something I didn't know existed. The older I get, the more things I find like that.

Chinese tea and Tibetan horses were long traded on a legendary trail. Today remnants of the passageway reveal grand vistas — and a surprising new commerce.

Then, with one wide sweep of my ax, the bamboo falls. Before me is a four-foot-wide cobblestone trail curving up through the forest, slick with green moss, almost overgrown. Some of the stones are pitted with water-filled divots, left by the metal-spiked crutches used by hundreds of thousands of porters who trod this trail for a millennium.

Backs bent beneath immense, imaginary loads of brick tea, veiny hands on T-shaped crutches, heads down and eyes on their splayed feet, the two old men showed me how they wobbled single file along a wet stretch of cobblestone. After seven steps Gan stopped and stamped his crutch three times, following tradition. Both men circled their crutches around to their backs to rest their wood-frame packs atop the crutch. Wiping sweat from their brows with phantom bamboo whisks, they croaked out the tea porter song:

Seven steps up, you have to rest.
Eight steps down, you have to rest.
Eleven steps flat, you have to rest.
You are stupid, if you don't rest.

Tea portering ended soon after Mao took over the country in 1949 and a highway was built. Redistributing land from the wealthy to the poor, Mao released the tea porters from servitude. "It was the happiest day of my life," Luo said. After he received his parcel of land, he began to grow his own rice and "that sad period passed away."

One rainy black morning halfway through the festival, while the police are looking the other way, Sue and I slip off in a Land Cruiser to find out what has happened to Tibet's Tea Horse Road. We race all day on dirt roads, grinding over passes, almost rolling on steep slopes. We don't stop at checkpoints, and we creep right past village police stations. By nightfall we reach Lharigo, a village between two enormous passes that once served as a sanctuary along the Gyalam. Surreptitiously, we go door-to-door looking for horses to take us up to 17,756-foot Nubgang Pass. There are none to be found, and we're directed to a saloon on the edge of town. Inside, Tibetan cowboys are drinking beer, shooting pool, and placing bets on a dice game called sho. They laugh when we ask for horses. No one rides horses anymore.

That part's the same the world over: ya want the 411, hit a saloon and chat up the locals. Who knew the Tibetans have cowboy biker bars? Just like the western U.S.. Heh.

Outside the saloon, instead of steeds of muscle standing in the mud, there are steeds of steel: tough little Chinese motorcycles decorated like their bone-and-blood predecessors—red-and-blue Tibetan wool rugs cover the saddles, tassels dangle from the handlebars. For a price, two cowboys offer to take us to the base of the pass; from there we must walk.

We set off in the dark the next morning, backpacks strapped to the bikes like saddlebags. The cowboys are as adept on motorbikes as their ancestors were on horseback. We bounce through black bogs where the mud is two feet deep, splash through blue braided streams where our mufflers burble in the water.

Sounds like a dream vacation to me!

Up the valley we pass the black tents of Tibetan nomads. Parked in front of many of the yak hair tents are big Chinese trucks or Land Cruisers. Where did nomads get the money to buy such vehicles? Certainly not from the traditional yak meat-and-butter economy.

Magic caterpillars. Go read.

BTW, the Tibetans liked tea that was pressed into bricks from what we would consider stems and seeds, which they mix with yak butter and salt and drink 40 cups a day. I ain't gonna mess with one of 'em!

Sometimes there's stuff that's a needed respite and refuge from politics.

Headline of the Day

Group Requests DOJ To Investigate Scalia and Thomas Involvement With Koch Corporate Fundraisers

Read it. It may be the last time you'll hear about it.

Quote of the Day

My hero, Rep. Anthony Weiner on the Repugs' stupidity/pandering to the Dead End Quarter by seeming to but not really repealing the health care law:

"You know, I wanna just advise people watching at home playing that now-popular drinking game of you take a shot every time Republicans say something that's not true, please assign a designated driver: this is gonna be a long afternoon."

Take an old motorcycle club tip for taking a lotta people to a party: Rent a bus. One DUI is better than fifty.

Anybody who plays that drinking game better get new livers by the case too.

Real Amurikans other than just us commies don't like the 'baggers much either

Blue Texan at FDL. Links at site.

Americans have been watching the Teabaggers for almost two years now, and as it turns out, unbridled, spittle-producing rage isn’t very popular.

As they always do, wingnuts are blaming the media — but these numbers are almost identical to the same poll’s findings in June 2010 — well before the ‘Baggers got blood libeled [sic].

Only 35% of Americans like the Teabaggers, about the same number that like Saudi Arabia. Kinda figures. Both love to drill for oil, hate gays, and believe in theocracy.

I'm not happy with the government my own self, but racism, fear, guns, and ignorance ain't the way out. God's never been much help either.

House Republicans Waste Our Time

El Rude-o on what the teabagger House has done so far:

[...] No, seriously, it's like paying for a hooker and watching her hump a pillow all night. Hey, nice show, but when's the fucking start?

That's the point, though, innit? To actually legislate, to actually come up with solutions to the deep, deep problems that afflict this country, which, one should always be reminded, were caused by Republican rule in the first half of the last decade, would mean making decisions that will piss off the teabagging yahoos. Or, if you're gonna please the yahoos, you're gonna end up displeasing your corporate masters and no one wants that teat to go dry. So, with budget cuts, with whatever lame-ass, watered down, and/or outright destructive "reform" they shit out, the Republican leadership still has to figure out how to work it so the money people are pleased and the yahoos think they are.

Heh. They work the yahoos like a red-headed stepchild. So far, that's all the work they've done. Maybe all they know how to do.

Idiot Long Islanders ...

We haz dem. In addition to Rep. Peter King (R - etarded), Pam Geller, Sean Hannity, and BillO the Clown, we have this guy.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Just a thought ...

As I finish my lunch before heading back down to the garage: It takes some chutzpah for Obama to lecture President Hu "'s On First" Jintao on human rights when we have people (some American citizens) incarcerated without charge in Guantanamo or disappeared to European gulags "detained" at "interview centers" throughout the world. Maybe we should clean our own house before getting all sanctimonious with others.

Most Americans Headed to Heaven, Study Shows

The Swift Report

Data reveals few immigrants, minorities in heaven

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO — A new study released this week confirms what many Americans have long suspected: that they are more likely than people from other countries to go to Heaven. The study found that nearly 75% of the people currently in Heaven were originally American citizens. By contrast, the same researchers found that Hell, largely avoided by Americans, is populated mostly by Europeans including large numbers of French, Dutch, and Danish.

The study, the largest of its kind, was based on registration data collected at the entry to the Kingdom of Heaven between 1999 and 2009. Researchers discarded registration materials that were filled out in languages other than English, the language that the Bible was original written in. They also eliminated Heaven entrance forms that were completed in English but indicated a non-US originating address, including those from the United Kingdom, Australia, Jamaica and New Zealand.

The research provides a definitive answer to one question that had proved baffling to experts: is President Obama bound for heaven? The data says no, notes Dr. Myer. “As a Muslim he’s more likely to end up in Paradise or what’s known as Jannatu al-Ma`wa.” Adding to the president’s long odds: few Kenyans were found to reside in heaven. “The president would have a much better shot of getting through the Pearly Gates if he was a Christian and had been born here,” says Myers.

What accounts for the strong presence of Americans in Heaven? Afterlife analysts say that Americans are more likely than citizens of other countries to find themselves bound for eternal happiness because they are Christian, God’s chosen religion. Add to that the fact that most Americans support positions that Jesus Christ would likely endorse were He alive today — including small government, low taxes on upper income citizens and Social Security privatization — and the over-representation of US-born citizens in the New Jerusalem is no mystery, say experts.

Well, I'm glad that's cleared up.

Your science is stuck in my mystical

If it's Wednesday, it must be Morford goin' all meta on the known and the unknown, the provable and the unprovable.

Which leads to the other lesson I've learned, deep in the marrow: To suggest that the scientific method, peer-reviewed research, et al, while deeply precious to the advancement of the species, is the only path to valid human knowledge? I find this is almost exactly as packed with total shimmering BS as believing there's a hoary grandfather squatting on a gilded throne in the Carina Nebula surrounded by winged toddlers, all watching you make stupid choices and masturbate to Danish fetish porn. Which is to say, please.

You mean Grandpa is watching me eat this Danish with one hand whilst looking at pretty girls modelling product in this shoe, er, catalog with the other and then ordering the wrong ones? Harrumph!

Not exactly. This is more about the innate truism that there are movements and pulses, states and flavors of understanding science will never, not ever, be able to quantify, measure, figure out, or even accept, because they are not, by their very nature, things that can be figured out.

We know so much, we know nothing. Outside of both these truths lies a third thing, in a space where the first two intersect and dance and leave behind a gleaming, impossible residue that tastes like God, but probably isn't. What do you think it is?

I don't know, but if I had extra sensory powers I'd probably just use them to make right-wingers do the chicken at TV press conferences and interviews.


Or, "I have more morality in the pimple on my ass":

A newly revealed 1997 letter from the Vatican warned Ireland's Catholic bishops not to report all suspected child-abuse cases to police...

And you wonder why I don't put up with God's mouthpieces of any stripe. Big Religion (all of them) are bigger hypocrites than the Republicans.

*What Would Jesus Do? I say he should get around to some serious smiting.

How it works (revisited) ...

Rule #16 from the post I linked to yesterday:


Rule #16: You might call this the "Both Sides Now" tactic: If the behavior of some right-winger is undeniably bad such that it can't be explained away, airily dismiss it with "both sides do it." Freely employ false equivalencies such as equating people wearing anti-war t-shirts to a Bush rally with people carrying assault rifles to Obama appearances.


Athenae, today, on professional idiot Mark Halperin's false equivalency:


Liberals on the Internet, most of whom are just that guy who types stuff occasionally onto a message board, and talk radio conservatives who have billion-dollar businesses and books to their names and tables at wherever they want and invites onto talk shows and profiles in the New York Times about how they're "controversial" and cover stories in Time about how maybe they're just kidding with the genocidal rhetoric. Those are totally equivalent groups. Absolutely. Why, I deplore them completely equally.


Hey, Gord, ya think the NYT would give us a column to spread our hate speech*? Yeah, me neither.

*I think the only person we've wanted to see leave their mortal(?) coil ahead of God's plan would be Dick Cheney (and several Wall St. executives). I don't think anybody has a problem with that, being that we still can't prove Cheney is human.

More right-wing terrorism ...

Nah, can't tie these folks to the Right:


A backpack bomb with the potential of killing or injuring dozens of people was found Monday along the route of a Martin Luther King Day "unity march" in downtown Spokane, Wash., authorities said today.

"It was a device that clearly was intended to harm or kill people," said Frank Harrill, a senior FBI agent and spokesman for the bureau’s Inland Northwest Joint Terrorism Task Force.


Yeah, some crazy pot-smoking Lefty placed a bomb at an MLK parade.


Montag(in toto):

I imagine any moment Rush the Talking Pig will be telling us that it was planted by a liberal socialist Negro to stimulate affirmative action programs that support slave reparations because who else would plant a bomb on the route of a parade celebrating the leader of the American Civil Rights struggle?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

100 Years Of Controlled (Mostly) Crashes


One hundred years ago Tuesday, Eugene Ely, a 26-year-old automobile racer-turned-aviator, landed a fragile-looking biplane on the deck of the Navy cruiser Pennsylvania in San Francisco Bay and made flying history.

It was the first time an airplane had landed on a warship, and it marked the start of naval aviation.

After warming up his Curtiss biplane - which resembled a bicycle or tricycle with wings - Ely took off from the San Bruno field at 11 a.m. He'd practiced on land over and over. "I was sure of success," he said later.

Just in case, though, he wore an improvised helmet and strapped two bicycle inner tubes over his shoulders to help him stay afloat in case he crashed in the water.

Sounds like the airplane had no difficulty lifting his brain. Mighta needed an extra 1000 feet to get his balls off the ground though. Heh.

Ely had wanted to land into the wind, but the ship was anchored in such a way that he had to land with the wind on his tail, which was potentially dangerous.

He came in at a speed of about 60 mph. To the assembled multitude, it seemed easy.

Looks like the 'arresting gear' was the bridge with four smokestacks for backup instead of those sissy little cables they use today.

I think we could duplicate how this musta felt by pulling into an ice-covered gas station with an office building at the far end at 60 per and gettin' 'er stopped at the gas pump. If ya do it right, or just pull it off, of course it'll look easy.

Rear Adm. E.B. Barry, commander of the Pacific Fleet, thought flying machines would be useful for scouting, but little else. As for a plane attacking a warship, he noted that every warship carried U.S. Marine riflemen. "It seems unreasonable that the bird men could get close enough to become effective," the admiral said.

Heh. We're good, Admiral, but maybe not that good...

The Navy contracted to buy two Curtiss airplanes in May 1911, but did not commission an aircraft carrier until 1922.

The Navy wasn't sure this whole 'landing on a ship' thing would work either.

Ely did not live to see naval aviation take flight. He was killed in a crash at an air show in October 1911, only nine months after he made history.

I think that was probably predictable. Godspeed, Gene.

This is a fascinating look at the Dawn Of Time. Please enjoy the rest.

Lancing the boil?

Updating Fixer's post:


Reporting from Port-au-Prince, Haiti — Haitian authorities took deposed dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier to a courthouse for questioning Tuesday amid calls that he be charged with crimes against humanity.

In Duvalier's 15 years in power and during the regime of his father before him, as many as 30,000 Haitian civilians are believed to have been killed, many others tortured and hundreds of thousands forced into exile, human-rights groups say. The younger Duvalier is suspected of stealing up to $300 million from Haiti, the Western Hemisphere's poorest nation.

Haitian authorities said he would be questioned and could be released before the end of the day. It was not clear what, if any, charges the Haitian judiciary would be contemplating. Under international law, however, Duvalier could face indictment for the alleged murder and torture of thousands of opponents, human-rights activists say.

The Haitian cops probably just want his bank account numbers and PIN. Then they'll be done with him.

Good News!


Coffee, that morning elixir, may give us an early jump-start to the day, but numerous studies have shown that it also may be protective against type 2 diabetes. Yet no one has really understood why.

Now, researchers at UCLA have discovered a possible molecular mechanism behind coffee's protective effect. A protein called sex hormone–binding globulin (SHBG) regulates the biological activity of the body's sex hormones, testosterone and estrogen, which have long been thought to play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes. And coffee consumption, it turns out, increases plasma levels of SHBG.

Refill yer cup and read the rest.

Cruel Heart

The Rude Pundit

Hey, gang, lookie here: It's the new battery-operated Dick Cheney action figure. He's thinner, quieter, and ten times more sinister. He's all ours, America. Plus, he's got an electric heart so he's part cyborg: he'll never die.

You'll love your new Dick Cheney action figure when he gets all cuddly telling us about his special new features: "What's happened over time is the technology's gotten better and better and we've gotten more and more experience with people living with this technology. So I'll have to make a decision at some point whether or not I want to go for a transplant." In other words, your Dick Cheney plays a game where he chooses which healthy young adult he wants killed in order for him to continue running. Maybe it'll be you. It's like winning the lottery, except with forced organ removal instead of millions of dollars as your prize.

Of course, your Dick Cheney action figure comes with de facto immunity from prosecution for the many crimes he committed and approved of during his time as Vice President, even though it's easier than ever to find a man who needs to change his batteries every twelve hours or so.

But as long as you do so, America, you will never, ever escape Dick Cheney, old and husky or older and gaunt. Gosh, this model is so much better than the one that drank oil and blew up poor countries. And, remember, every Dick Cheney action figure comes with skull-fucking night-time mode so that, while news people sleep, Cheney can stick his plastic penis into their ears and screw their brains so that they think he has anything meaningful to say beyond "Sorry I fucked it all up so badly," which, if he ever did, would immediately trigger the thermonuclear self-destruct mode embedded inside so he can continue to leave casualties behind.

This is in the wake of the news that The Dick may get a heart transplant. I don't really get the 'trans' part because that implies he had one to begin with but perhaps that's just an inadequacy in the language.

Read the 'comments'. Here's one:

Oh ain't this special! We can have a remake of "wizard of oz"! Cheney needs a heart, Bush needs a brain, and Boehner can be the cowardly lion. Lindsey Graham can star as Dorothy!

The visual of Miss Lindsey and that bunch frolicking up the yellow brick road is kinda heartwarming...

From the standpoint of scientific curiosity, I hope The Dick gets his heart. It may be the first time an organ will reject the body on the Constitutional grounds of "cruel and unusual punishment".


Editorial: Time To Change Marijuana Laws


"Don't cry for me, Tinybrainia..."

Eugene Robinson

For her to take such umbrage, then, at the reporting of evident, pertinent and factual information deepened the impression that she is -- and I must be frank -- astoundingly thin-skinned and egocentric.

The way Palin portrayed herself as not only a popular champion but also a martyr reminded me -- not for the first time -- of Eva Peron. If she chooses this unpromising route to higher political office, I suggest she find a suitable balcony from which to deliver her next address to the nation.

Or perhaps -- solely in the interest of civil discourse -- that there be no next address.

In our dreams.

Update: Swallow and set your drink down.

Raw Story

Newt Gingrich wants fellow Fox News employee Sarah Palin to think before she speaks.

That is the best advice Neutie has ever given. Period. I hope she takes it.

We'd never hear another word out of her.

In our dreams.

OMG, the deficit!!!!1!!!

Same old song and dance:


It turns out, however, that members of the House Tea Party Caucus requested more than $1 billion in earmarks in the 2010 fiscal year, the National Journal reports.


Hypocrisy much?

The boil ...

On Haiti's ass has returned.

Haiti's deposed dictator Jean-Claude (Baby Doc) Duvalier plans to address his countrymen Tuesday to explain his stunning return to the nation that exiled him 25 years ago.


I doubt this will end well. Those poor people don't deserve it.


Well, not really. The car came and collected the Mrs. about an hour ago for her semi-annual business trip to her clients on the West Coast (San Francisco to LA and points in between over 10 days) and I'm home with the girls. I laugh that I've gotten so domesticated that the only change in my routine is that I can watch unlimited amounts of European football without the Mrs. nagging at me reminding me of the other things I need to do. No wild parties, no tit bars with the mates, no staying up late, and no excessive drinking.

Yikes! I'm getting "mature". Heh ...


And let me just voice my annoyance with a steady rain coming down on top of a foot of snow. What a bloody mess ...

How it works ...

Or, "Why you can never win an argument with a wingnut".


So here it is, the always-subject-to-expansion-or-refinement list of wingnut arguing tactics, as it stands now:

Rule #1: Deny, deny, deny.

Rule #2: Attack, attack, attack.

Rule #3: When facts are undeniable, change the subject. This can be done in various ways, for example:
- Introduce irrelevant details on a tangential point.
- Pluck out from what your opponent said an individual phrase you think you can attack, even if it’s one that was just tossed off quickly, and treat that as if it’s the focus of the entire discussion.
- More subtly, try to tie your opponent up in piles of minutia to the point where everyone, including your opponent, loses track of the thrust of their argument.
- Apply Rule #4.
Whenever possible, insist that your changed subject is the "real" one under discussion.


Many more at the link.

Great thanks to Avedon for the link.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Dear ABC and Christiane Amanpour ...

If it were me, I'd have killed him with my bare hands. I guess you never had to deal with anybody suffering with PTSD. Might wanna check that before you do a Town Hall after the next shooting*.



*You know there'll be another one.

It's OK if it happens to Libruls, but...

Raw Story

Fox News contributor Mara Liasson said Sunday that while defending use of gun imagery, Fox News employee Sarah Palin actually admitted that political discourse can cause violence.

Palin defended herself by saying, "Especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible."

"Here she is saying, when you talk about blood libel, that is the definition political discourse, a manufactured lie causing violence," noted Liasson. "In this case she paints herself as the potential victim."

"Here she is agreeing with the left that political discourse can cause violence."

Fox News pundit Brit Hume attempted to disagree but Liasson stood her ground.


Palin herself is not mentally equipped (I could stop there...) to see the terrible irony that political discourse causing violence is only a bad thing when the left does it to her. I hope nothing happens to her, of course, but if it does I can only hope that's it from some mad lone gunman that thinks she isn't right wing enough.

Tell it like it is!

Raw Story

DoJ veteran sees ‘dangerous precedent’ in letting Bush officials walk

Actually, a lot of them see it. This is the only guy so far with the balls to say it. Out loud, that is.

Hebert, who served in multiple supervisory positions at the Department of Justice, commented that "everybody" from the Bush-era has seemed to land their own "get out of jail free card."

“Bush and Cheney are not above the law," Hebert concluded. "Whether it’s the president, the vice president or any federal office holder who violates the Constitution or federal law, or there are serious allegations suggesting that such violations may have existed, then the Department of Justice has a duty and an obligation to fully investigate that.

"And if there are no consequences to any of the actions that violated the federal law in the last administration, then why would anybody think that they would ever be prosecuted for doing it in the future?"

Good question. Bush and Cheney in orange jump suits shovelin' cow crap* on a federal prison farm, on the other hand, would be a powerful reminder to pols to act right.

*They are particularly well suited to this task by temperament and experience, as are most politicians.

Quote of the Day dos

From "Why We Should Take Jared Loughner's Politics Seriously", a 'recommended read' at Truthout:

Political literacy, we learn, is no longer even a requirement for seeking political office, but is in fact seen as a drawback. And an important source of such political guidance, the left, has all but disappeared from mainstream life.

The War on Logic

(Thank you to the person who sent me the corrected link.)

Paul Krugman

My wife and I were thinking of going out for an inexpensive dinner tonight. But John Boehner, the speaker of the House, says that no matter how cheap the meal may seem, it will cost thousands of dollars once you take our monthly mortgage payments into account.

You'll have to read it to get that connection.

The key to understanding the G.O.P. analysis of health reform is that the party’s leaders are not, in fact, opposed to reform because they believe it will increase the deficit. Nor are they opposed because they seriously believe that it will be “job-killing” (which it won’t be). They’re against reform because it would cover the uninsured — and that’s something they just don’t want to do.

And it’s not about the money. As I tried to explain in my last column, the modern G.O.P. has been taken over by an ideology in which the suffering of the unfortunate isn’t a proper concern of government, and alleviating that suffering at taxpayer expense is immoral, never mind how little it costs.

I think there's an answer in this as well to Fixer's query about the logic of the right in these 'comments':

The diktat of right wing 'logic' is that it's ideologically immoral to alleviate suffering when the interests of money and power are involved and the checks keep coming.

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

Army Testing Recruits for “Spirituality”
So they're prepared for holy war.

Pentagon Official: Martin Luther King Would Support Current Wars
Gandhi would call for nuking Iran.

Pope John Paul II Miracle Confirmed by Vatican
Considered a miracle he hasn't been linked to pedophile scandal.

Fox News President Tells Anchors to “Tone it Down”
Stop saying “alleged President” Obama.

Travel Restrictions to Cuba Eased
Regular flights carrying baseball scouts have begun.

Nothing to see here ...

Move along:

In an article titled, “6 Lunatics Inspired by Fox News and Glenn Beck,” published on Oct. 28 — so six weeks before before Jared Loughner’s terror attack in Tucson that left six people dead and 13 wounded, including Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords — Jim Edwards, columnist for BNET, recapped six instances over the past two-and-a-half years in which lunatics committed violent acts, or were thwarted before they could act, later said they were inspired to violence after intense exposure to propaganda from Fox and Glenn Beck:


But you can't tie the Arizona shooter to the conservatives!

So what?

Digby thinks something's gonna change once the Wikileaks documents on the tax cheats come out. They're rich people, they'll get a bailout or a waiver.


The offshore bank account details of 2,000 "high net worth individuals" and corporations – detailing massive potential tax evasion – will be handed over to the WikiLeaks organisation in London tomorrow by the most important and boldest whistleblower in Swiss banking history, Rudolf Elmer, two days before he goes on trial in his native Switzerland.


The beginning of the 21st Century is just like the end of the nineteenth. The robber barons don't pay for their crimes ... ever.

Quote of the Day

Blue Texan:

Wonder how many wingnuts will claim MLK was a Republican?

Ratfucking 101 ...

If Obama falls for this ... What do I mean if? Wouldn't surprise me if he did.


Conservative and "centrist" (corporate) calls for President Obama to go after Social Security at the same time they are warning Republicans not to are nothing more than a trap. If the President calls for cutting Social Security you will see ad after ad after ad after ad after ad after ad blasting President Obama and Democrats in general for cutting Social Security and devastating seniors ...

The Stupid ...

It burns.


More stupid.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Headline of the Day

Tucson Shooting Survivor: “It Looks Like Palin, Beck, Sharron Angle and the Rest Got Their First Target”

The Right Wing Can't Survive Without Stoking Anger

Stephen Pizzo

If you have been a student of the new Right you understand that the gains they've made in American politics have come in direct proportion to a rising level of anger. Some of that anger was there just waiting for affirmation, but much more of it has been ginned up by rightwing talkers like Limbaugh, Beck and FOX News.

What I expect to see and hear in the days and weeks just ahead is a new -- and frankly jarring -- argument from the Right; civility in politics is a liberal plot. A plot against who? Well against the Right, of course. There's nothing a zealot likes more than to claim the cloak of persecution. It's always the last refuge of scoundrels, be it demagogic politicians or Christians, Jews, Muslims or Scientologists. Call them on their nonsense and they scream "persecution."

In this case the Right is going to be forced to take a position that unmasks them once and for all. Without their patented violent, hate-inciting rhetoric, the Right has nothing to offer America. Nothing.

Which explains why they're going to fight -- not for civility -- bit for more incivility.

They have to keep the peasants stirred up - and more importantly, the media which faithfully relays most of the stirring up - and distracted with lies and distortions so they won't question anything real or the right is toast.

A good massacre once in a while is important so they can say what victims they are.

No One Listened to Gabrielle Giffords

Daddy Frank on the imminent return of no change in the tone our national discourse.

For the sake of this discussion, let’s stipulate that Loughner was a “lone nutjob” who had never listened to Glenn Beck or been a card-carrying member of either the Tea or Communist parties. Let’s also face another tragedy: The only two civic reforms that might have actually stopped him — tighter gun control and an effective mental health safety net — won’t materialize even now.

As the president said in Tucson, we lack not just civil discourse, but honest discourse. Much of last week’s televised bloviation was dishonest, dedicated to the pious, feel-good sentiment that both sides are equally culpable for the rage of the past two years. To construct this false equivalency, every left-leaning Web site and Democratic politician’s record was dutifully culled for incendiary invective. If that’s the standard, then both sides are equally at fault — rhetoric can indeed be as violent on the left as on the right.

I have never killed or injured anyone with my keyboard. I seriously doubt that anything I have ever written has shoved some loon off the edge to where he went out and killed people.

Give me a forum like FOXPAC or Hate Radio and maybe that would change. Can you see everyone in the country getting fired up over due process and holding those in power accountable for their crimes and and taking to the streets over liberty and justice for all?

Neither can I. Maybe one or two crazed guys with unicorn horns.

Hate and fear work so much better.

There ya go ...

So you want to have a reasonable debate about gun laws and safety? Ain't happening as long as these idiots have as big a following as they do:


Six days after a gunman attempted to assassinate Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and killed six others in a mass shooting, the National Rifle Association (NRA) broke its silence, pledging to fight off any and all attempts to impose harsher regulations on guns and high-capacity magazines.

An unattributed statement posted on the NRA website late Friday, written in the rhetorical style the powerful association has come to be known for, dubbed gun control supporters "gun ban advocates" and the proposals mentioned in the wake of the mass shooting "schemes."


And as long as so many gun owners share that knee-jerk reaction every time even the most innocuous sort of safety proposal gets floated, nothing will change and probably get worse.

And just a note to all those who say they need their guns to keep the government in check: If the Feds want your guns, they're gonna come get them, regardless of the armory you have in your basement (there will just be a more spectacular explosion when they lob a grenade in there). They'll "pry them out of your cold dead hands" if they have to. Let's see how long you "Armchair Rambos" have the stomach for the fight you all itch for when people are actually shooting back at you. Have another beer, you idiotic dickless wonders.

And another note: There is a place where the gun industry is unfettered and every swinging dick who wants one can open carry an AK-47 or even an RPG if they want. It's not called Nirvana, it's called Afghanistan. Good luck with that.

Dear People from Maine ...

While you have a beautiful state, and I've enjoyed some good times there, I will not visit your state, or spend money at businesses based in your state, until you clean up your act (the same pledge I made to Arizona).



Thunder on the Mountain

This is from Bob Dylan's 2006 CD "Modern Times". Me like!

Music video by Bob Dylan performing Thunder On The Mountain.

Thanks to BobDylanVEVO.