Saturday, March 12, 2011
Earthquakes are Mom doing a little self-chiropractic spinal stress relief, like a cow does when it stands up.
Tsunamis are Mom's shiver of pleasurable relief when the back pain goes away. Feels sooooo good.
Volcanoes are another way of relieving stress in her bowels. Sea floor vents and hot water geysers are like SBDs. Volcanoes are riproarin' most-certainly-not-SBDs of the not-in-church-please-dear-God aftermath-of-All-U-Can-Eat-burrito-nite variety! Mom likes to light her farts and have sparks shoot out her ample ass. Hey, don't we all? I do not recommend trying this on a cow, but hey, your call. Your hair will grow back. Video, please.
The tiny-brained amongst us would do well to remember where the hell they are when they poo-poo climate change and volcano monitoring and other metrics that tell us which way to jump. Maybe they're not on the cow but already on the cow pie, which is the place we're going to end up if we fuck up our only ride.
Note: the two locations are approximately 470 miles from one another.
From March 11, 2011: Japan earthquake, Crescent City, California. Filmed from Pebble Beach cliff top out of the evacuation zone.
Pacific Ocean gets sucked out and then surges back in within minutes. This happened many times over the course of the day.
I saw a chart of the ins and outs. Tides normally rise and fall twice a day, a nice gentle sine wave on the printout. This happened about 12 to 15 times over 6 to 8 hours yesterday and the line on the chart was spikier'n a punk rocker's hairdo.
Thanks to GiantPumpkinsRule.
Here's a dramatic sped-up one from Morro Bay (Motto: "Home of the World's Largest Pet Rock"). Some of the boats appear to be under power and fighting for every inch. Watch the large waves break on the seaward side of the sandspit. The skipper of the sailboat in the center gets an A+ in mooring! This one will remind you in no uncertain terms to "spring ahead, fall back".
CALIFORNIA TSUNAMI Surge retreat in Morro Bay 3-11-2011
From the Japanese 8.9 Earthquake Morro Bay Harbor fills up and empties in minutes
Thanks to lopaka73.
From 'Later With Jools Holland' 2008. Emmylou joined by Buddy Miller on 'How She Could Sing the Wildwood Flower' and 'Gold'
Thanks to 1000Magicians, UK.
Friday, March 11, 2011
Three cleanup workers who were hailed as heroes after finding a live bomb along the route of a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade said they later lost their jobs after supervisors questioned their handling of the situation.
The men were employed by Labor Ready and working under contract for the Spokane Public Facilities District when they found a backpack containing the bomb about an hour before the scheduled start of the Jan. 17 parade.
They alerted police, who were able to defuse the device.
"For the first two days, basically all we did was get chewed out," worker Mark Steiner told Spokane television station KHQ. "We did this wrong. We did that wrong. I don't know what you consider calling 911 wrong after two minutes after we found it."
"I think they put themselves at more risk than they needed," Twohig said.
Burke (aka 'their boss' - G) said the men should not have picked up the backpack.
Steiner told KHQ the three men were not trained to deal with suspicious packages.
"We'd go out, and we'd clean up parking lots," he said. "Who knows what happens when you see a backpack sitting there? The first reaction is to pick it up and that's what we did, and we opened it, saw wires sticking out of it and called police."
Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire and Spokane Mayor Mary Verner have praised the three workers in speeches for being vigilant.
I think if you find a backpack when you're removing trash, you'd pick it up to see if it had any ID in it and you'd expect to find books or personal items in it. If I saw wires in one, there would be a short delay in calling the cops while I found a phone a mile away.
These were temp jobs and apparently these guys can still get part-time work, but it's still kinda shitty to can 'em. Employers don't give a shit about their employees doing their civic duty if it causes a delay in the job, I guess. So much for saving lives v profit. Again.
Here's the statement that might get him locked up:
“I’m really trying to contain myself right now,” Sheen said. “My lawyer wants to come over to my house and take the bullets out of my gun.”
He's been in court several times for domestic abuse. I will ass-yoom he's been found guilty, or at least pleaded no contest, at least once. If so, he's not allowed to have firearms for ten years and it's a felony.
L.A. police search Charlie Sheen's home for firearms
LAPD officers were making sure Sheen was abiding by a restraining order obtained by ex-wife Brooke Mueller that prohibits him from possessing weapons, Eisenman said.
TMZ said a source inside the house said Sheen, his lawyers and several friends were at the dining room table eating hamburgers.
Police said Sheen had not been taken into custody or arrested and added that they would not be releasing any findings.
As soon as the cops left, it must have been amusing to watch his lawyers and friends try to stand up. They probly weighed about 400 lbs each from all his guns they had in their pockets. Heh.
Sahara hotel-casino in Las Vegas to close in May
Closure of the 59-year-old Sahara hotel-casino on the recession-battered Strip is a psychological blow to Las Vegas.
It's a psychological blow to me too. Newer Lost Wages casinos have come and gone as well, but my folks took me to this one right after it opened. All I remember about it is the dollar-size pancakes.
The Sahara, a haunt of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, once paid bathing beauties to frolic in its Garden of Allah pool. It is now home to a roller coaster and a NASCAR Cafe known for its 6-pound burrito.
Sounds like an advanced stage of decrepitude. The bathing beauties are all great-grandmothers too. Time for it to go, I guess. Maybe I can get there in time for a burrito...
The only thing I'm worried about outliving now is democracy. The way things are going, I just might.
Evacuations: San Luis Obispo County - Low lying areas along the coast including parts of Port San Luis, Avila Beach, Pismo Beach, Oceano & Cayucos.
We have a rental house in Oceano. It's not being evacuated because the flood plain 'low-lying area', which consists of some brussels sprouts fields, a retirement trailer 'village', and a Meskin good used auto parts yard, is across the street from it. Here's a photo of the Oceano Dunes and the Meskin junkyard taken from the sidewalk in front of the house. Any sea water that could make it the 3/4-mile or so from the ocean would come from the middle right of the picture. I'm not too worried about it, but ya never know:
Click to embiggen
Note to the tsunami: Look both ways before you cross the street. The traffic on Hwy 1 can be brutal!
NH GOP Senator Says The Mentally Ill Are ‘Defective People’ That Should Be Shipped Off To Siberia
Omand says Harty then stated, “I wish we had a Siberia so we could ship them all off to freeze to death and die and clean up the population.” Omand said Harty appeared to be serious. After Omand responded that his idea sounded like what Adolf Hitler did in World War II, Omand said Harty responded, “Hitler did something right, and I agree with (it).”
There you have it. Can the brownshirts be far behind?
Damn Repugs get a buncha governors and state legislatures and don't give a shit anymore about keeping their nefarious agenda secret, not that it was.
They're finally out from under their rocks. I hope the sunlight is as cleansing as it's cracked up to be.
We were all shocked by what happened in Wisconsin Wednesday night.
Eighteen Republican state senators broke faith with the people who elected them. They broke their word. They may have even broken the law.
They wanted to bust public sector unions -- the last line of defense for the rights of teachers, police officers, firefighters, nurses, and other public servants -- so badly that they were willing to cheat the system.
Al Franken, of course.
That said, the American news media must be happy they don't have to wait for Charlie Sheen or Lindsay Lohan to do more stupid shit so they wouldn't be forced to report on the coup in Wisconsin. They can beat this earthquake/tsunami thing for days instead of informing Americans about what's important to them.
A relative of Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been mistakenly killed by Nato troops in southern Afghanistan, officials say.
Yar Muhammad Khan was at his home in Dand district near Kandahar city when he was shot dead in an overnight raid.
Yep, that was helpful. Winning hearts and minds ... yer doin' it wrong ...
Thursday, March 10, 2011
We are in a class war brought on us by the right wing as surely as WWII was brought on us by the Axis in the form of the Japanese Empire. We knew we were going to get into that one and we have known for some time that we will be in this one and now we are. That one was necessary and so is this one, regrettably.
Note: Anybody who thinks Japan and Germany weren't legitimate threats to us and that WWII was unnecessary, you're a fucking idiot and keep yer yap shut. I don't wanta fuckin' hear it. Clear?
I'm not the only one to have likened the Repugs' sneak attack on democracy to the attack on Pearl Harbor. I used the word 'Japped'. The member of the WI 14, being kindler and gentler and more PR conscious than myself, did not.
After Pearl Harbor, the Japanese Empire ran wild in the entire Pacific Ocean and Southeast Asia regions. We, the Allies, suffered many defeats - the Phillipines, Wake Island, Singapore, the Dutch East Indies, and dozens of other places too lost to time now to mention.
We were losing. We licked our wounds and mobilized and built and planned for the day things would turn.
The absolute turning point of the Pacific War came seven months after Pearl Harbor between 4-7 June, 1942 at the Battle of Midway. There have been many books and movies about this. Shorter: The Imperial Japanese Navy never came back from having their asses handed to 'em.
One, count 'em, one fight turned the tide. The IJN lost control of the Pacific and their advance was stopped. Then the real fight started to roll 'em up.
There were many other important battles on the road to victory, but the upshot was that by the end Japan lay in ruins. They damn near realized their dreams of empire but they were stopped.
It should be clear that my analogy has the United States in the role of the conceptual Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. I haven't quite figured out which Repug is playing Tojo, maybe the Kochs, but Corporate America is the General Staff and the RGA is providing the field commanders. I have visions of Walker sent crashing aflame into the jungle like Admiral Yamamoto who carried out the Pearl Harbor attack. A wistful metaphor, of course. We're fresh out of P-38s.
Emperor Hirohito is played by Obama, of course - he didn't like it, but he was too cowed by the power brokers to stop it. He remained as a figurehead after the war.
My point is that even though our dicks are in the dirt, one loss or even a series of losses cannot deter us from this fight or the Repugs, our enemy as surely as was the Empire of Japan, will take over this country like the Japanese wanted to take over the Pacific Ocean and Asia.
We MUST keep fighting. We need lots of little wins like Tarawa, medium sized ones like Saipan, a few bloody-but-necessary ones like Iwo Jima, protracted ones like the Solomon Islands, and one or two big ones like Midway and the Great Marianas
If we don't fight, whatever the cost, the
The sneak attack on Pearl Harbor was intended to demoralize the United States as much as to destroy our warfighting ability in the Pacific. It had exactly the opposite effect. The same thing may be happening now after the sneak attack on American workers. God, how I hope and pray.
Our battle cry is Remember Madison!
Chances are it'll never go anywhere. Lefties and independents simply ain't as lockstep goose-steppers as the Dead End Quarter.
It's hardly 'unprecedented'. He's been doing 'don't agree with me, don't get in' for years.
One 'comment' out of many, and perhaps the mildest:
And who could blame him? It must be tough being one of the most despised people on the Planet.
Fuck that weakling.
I was watching "Family Guy" the other day on the local Boston Fox affiliate when they interrupted the broadcast for the following news bulletin. I quote: "Charlie Sheen may joke about them, but witches and warlocks in Salem say it's no laughing matter. See why tonight on Fox News."
No, really. That happened.
With all due and deserved respect to Wiccans, witches and warlocks, please for the love of God give me a freakin' break already. The "mainstream" news media is so mouth-frothingly desperate to gin up a distraction - any distraction - to avoid reporting real news that the entire industry has latched on to the downward spiral of a half-assed actor like it is the end of the world. Charlie Sheen is gutting his life for all to see, the ultimate bread and circus, and the "news" is all too happy to follow the plunging arc of his career for the same reason they show car chases and house fires.
The biggest house fire of 'em all is right under their noses and goes unreported - the Repugs and Big Biz burning our house down so they can get the lot cheap and build what they want and the hell with us.
So, yeah. Labor insurrection, Town Hall rage and a gubernatorial meltdown in Wisconsin. Vicious persecution of an entire religion in the House of Representatives, complete with Japanese internment victims standing in defense of Islam. Death and destruction continue unabated in Iraq and Afghanistan. Oh, and we can hold anyone we choose in Halliburton cages for as long as we like without trial or legal representation, because Mr. Obama seems to think Mr. Bush was right when it comes to human freedom and the rule of law.
But no, let's talk about Charlie Sheen being an F-18 deploying his ordnance to the ground.
Actually, he's an F-18 deploying his nose into the ground in a screaming sound barrier-breaking dive that will break out of the cloud cover at 100 feet. It will be over so fast we won't even get the satisfaction of getting to see the confused look on his face. Alas, but the sooner we get that over with, the better.
This Just In: America is dying, and the "mainstream" news media is the one sticking in the poisoned dagger.
Oh, and Charlie Sheen can kiss my ass. Get a room at the Betty Ford Clinic already, stop beating up women, get your act together, and get out of my face.
While I agree with Mr. Pitt that Sheen can kiss my ass, I disagree in that I do not think the media are the ones sticking the poisoned dagger in us.
That's the Repugs.
The media are simply too scared of their corporate masters to tell us. There are pockets of truth, to be sure, but most people can't or don't or won't see them.
Governor Scott Walker and his Wisconsin senate Republicans have laid bare the motives for their coup d’etat. By severing the financial part of the bill (which couldn’t be passed without absent Democrats) from the part eliminating the collective bargaining rights of public employees (which could be), and then doing the latter, Wisconsin Republicans have made it crystal clear that their goal has had nothing whatever to do with the state budget. It’s been to bust the unions.
That’s no surprise to most people who have watched this conflict from the start, but like any coup its ultimate outcome will depend on the public. If most citizens of Wisconsin are now convinced that Walker and his cohorts are extremists willing to go to any lengths for their big-business patrons (including the billionaire Koch brothers), those citizens will recall enough Republican senators to right this wrong.
But it’s critically important at this stage that Walker’s opponents maintain the self-discipline they have shown until this critical point. Walker would like nothing better than disorder to break out in Madison. Like the leader of any coup d’etat, he wants to show the public his strong-arm methods are made necessary by adversaries whose behavior can be characterized on the media as even more extreme.
Be measured. Stay cool. Know that we are a nation of laws, and those laws will prevail. The People’s Party is growing across America — and the actions of Scott Walker and his Republican colleagues are giving it even greater momentum. So are the actions of congressional Republicans who are using the threat of a government shutdown to strong-arm their way in Washington.
The American public may be divided over many things but we stand united behind our democratic process and the rule of law. And we reject coups in whatever form they occur.
As has been made crystal clear for years, the Repugs' motto is "Damn the law! Full speed ahead!". All lingering doubts have been swept away in Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, and other states. Northern states. The Repugs took the South under Nixon.
I hope this latest series of bayonets in the back will wake Americans up to the well-known fact that the Repugs' Big Push to take over the country for their Corporate Masters is well underway. It is so blatant and out in the open now that a blind man can see it. The Dead End Quarter is cheering them on. The brain-dead bastards will wake up last and wonder what happened and think the liberals did it.
Note to America: This is your last chance. Fight back or die.
2. It's time to fuck shit up in Wisconsin, in Michigan, in fact, all over the United States. In England, public employees are planning a June general strike over a coming plan to jack up the retirement age by 6 years and to cut benefits while raising the amount of the workers' contribution. The trade unions expect over a million workers to join in.
In Wisconsin last night, the fuckbag Republicans in the state Senate came up with a possibly illegal way to bypass a vote that required the on-the-run Democrats to be present, and they stripped away almost all the collective bargaining rights of state workers. How? By removing the collective bargaining part of the "budget repair" bill and voting on it separately, thus saying that it wasn't a fiscal matter needing a quorum. Or, in other words, the motherfuckers fucked the workers' mothers. Fucked 'em hard.
In Michigan, the legislature is about to pass a bill that will allow state-appointed emergency financial managers to take over cash-strapped cities and, if necessary, "cancel employee contracts, fire administrators or declare bankruptcy." Union contract with a teacher? Canceled by the governor's appointee. Legally-elected mayor and city council? Tossed out on the word of one person. That's a golden ticket of motherfuckery, man.
Imagine for one second what would have happened if Democratic-majorities in state legislatures passed bills that allowed a governor to disband local governments. Imagine the imbecilic grunts of "fascism" and "socialism" and "zoroastrianism" or whatever the hell teabaggers are shouting about. As for what happened in Wisconsin, all you have to do is look at what happened when Democrats in the U.S. Senate used budget reconciliation to pass health care reform legislation, a maneuver that Republicans had used numerous times in recent years. Fox "news" practically sold pitchforks and torches. The fucking capital in Madison would have been burned to the ground.
In Wisconsin, it's getting crazy, with the statehouse literally being stormed by a mob of protesters last night and with arrests of protesters going on today. Governor Walker (dubbed a "cross-eyed Kock-sucker" by a gleefully untethered Keith Olbermann) will sign his political death warrant when he approves the bill, as he'll be recalled next year without a doubt. And this weekend in Madison, it's gonna be flat-out nuts.
As it fucking well should be. With so many Republicans in DC talking about a government shutdown as if it's some kind of moral stand against spending, we, the people (we're still here, you know), ought to be talking recalls against Republicans around the country, if not a general strike. The strike's already in the mix for strategies in Wisconsin, except that the bill itself makes it possible for the governor to declare a state of emergency and fire any state worker (see #1).
Republicans have declared war on the unions, backed by so much money that you could bathe in it. Let's come up with a war plan to fight back. Let's have at least a fraction of the balls that the original union organizers had back in the day or that British workers have today.
3. Where the fuck is the President? Where the fuck is the President? Where the fuck is the President?
I have nothing to add.
I've been thinking about it on a much more regular basis lately, especially after seeing, for these past two years, exactly what our President and the Democratic Party are made of. Not very much, it would seem.
We know what the Republicans want; we've known it for years but since their last election they've become blatant at it. Whether they're on the ropes, as some say, and they're desperate, or whether they're so far along with their "master plan" (what I believe), they don't care who knows about it anymore; who knows? What happened in Wisconsin last night, and other related events around the country, is evidence of the level they will stoop to, blatantly, to get their agenda through.
The corporations have co-opted our news media, all of them, going so far (with Fox) as to produce outright propaganda. We are fed nothing but drivel, at least in the medium that counts, television, and straight, honest reporting is dismissed or outright vilified. We're bombarded with schlock and as a result, a good chunk of the American people are uninformed and ignorant of what actually goes on. It's the way the "Masters of the Universe" like it because the ignorant are easily led.
Our election process is so fucked, thanks to SCOTUS and the prevailing campaign finance rules, the amounts of money needed to get elected is so great that big money donors are granted the loudest voice in the discourse. Even Democrats have to play the game (and it seems many embrace it too). There is no room for the "Voice of the People" anymore. We are drowned out in an avalanche of cash from the Bigs (Oil, Ag, Pharma, MIC, et. al.). We know all this but the people we elected to change it seem oblivious.
We were promised "hope and change" and all we got was the "same old song and dance", on steroids since last November's elections. Our President, while saying a lot of things we wanted to hear on the campaign trail has backtracked on almost all of it. When he did choose to fight for principle, it was weak at best. The man's negotiating skill on things of import are, putting it kindly, vacuous and self-defeating. Poor enough to think he could even be a plant for the Republicans; let alone the fact he let Bush Inc. walk away from prosecution scot-free.
Our Democratic leadership in Congress is no better, having allowed themselves to be stymied at every turn by Republican obstruction when they had a majority in both houses and then losing the House last November. That's not counting the third of Dems who, in a sane world, would be considered Republicans. They prove their uselessness every day.
Meanwhile, since September 11th 2001, we have turned into a police state with our economy in shambles. If there is never another Islamic terrorist threat again in the United States, they can point to 9/11 as the day they won. This is why terrorism is so effective. Even a superpower can be brought to its knees with inferior leadership (let alone a buncha crooks who saw it as a gift from heaven). All the slogans from that time, "if we give in the terrorists win", are now just so much horseshit on the side of the trail.
We, as a whole, have become a nation of cowards; allowing the "Security State" to flourish. If we were to "stand up to the terrorists" we should have stood up against our own government when they introduced draconian surveillance laws (Patriot Act) and idiotic security schemes for a supposedly "free" nation. Notice our "President of Change" happily accepts the enhanced executive powers of the Bush administration instead of trying to ensure the White House never has that type of authority again.
Instead of ending wars that are draining our treasury as promised (remember the campaign trail again), he escalates a war in a place where no foreign army has found success since the days of Alexander the Great; a waste of lives and money. I will say this, he hasn't gotten us into any new ones yet.
And then I see my fellow Americans, 25% of whom will blindly do whatever anybody with an "R" behind their names tells them. Let alone the 40% - 60% who follow whatever position the Washington "Village" take. There are very few who actually think for themselves. My 24 year old German nephew (a blue collar man, not like he's some sort of poli-sci major) knows more about what's going on here than most Americans and can speak on it more intelligently too. We're more interested in celebrity train wrecks than how fucked our country is and how to realistically fix it.
So I look back at all of this, how the country has changed, and not, in the almost seven years since I started this joint, and I wonder what are our choices for the future.
At best Obama gets reelected and the Dems control at least one house of Congress for the next 6 years; basically the mess we have now.
At worst, the presidency and all of Congress will be under Republican control. It would be all over then.
I don't like either of those options.
When we started this fight, we were dedicated to getting Bush out of the White House. After 2006, we had some hope and in 2008 we thought things would begin to change, but things have actually gotten worse in some respects; for those people who've been financially ruined by layoffs, or the sub-prime crisis, or any number of ways the rich have tried to separate them from their savings especially.
So I ask myself, do I want to stay in the country I love, the country I've fought for, and the country that gave me so many opportunities? And the answer is "no".
It's not worth another 6 years of our lives for a "maybe". It's not worth it when the best we can hope for is the status quo and there's no guarantee it won't get worse after that. There will be no benefit for us, no "social safety net" if we need it in our golden years, let alone affordable health care. It's just not worth it.
Yes, we had plans to retire in Europe but we're moving up our timetable (we planned to go in about 10 years). I certainly won't wait around for another six years as Obama and the Dems allow the Republicans and their corporate patrons dismantle what is left of this country. I'm not waiting around until the Bigs decide they should own everything and just take what they can't legislate away from us. My wife and I have worked too hard over the last 35 years to lose what little we've been able to put away because we have to pay some rich asshole's share to support this place. I'm tired of paying for things when I have no voice in how the money is spent or see any benefits from it. While they still call this nation "America", it ain't the America I knew nor is it one I want to be a part of any longer.
As soon as Dad-in-Law Fixer heads off to the Great Beyond, we're outta here.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
This is bragging, folks. Heh. Hey, when life hands ya lemons, make a tasty lemon slushy...not to be confused with yellow snow.
Big Biz is slackjawed with both admiration and wonderment and trying to figure out how they can get labor at such a low price. Try WalMart. Or prisons.
Southerners are just jealous.
Shoulda jacked off with a flag instead of shittin' on it, asshole.
It is truly chilling that a Catholic terrorist such as Peter King oversees our homeland security...
Yes it is. The whole recent season of Sons Of Anarchy was about IRA terrorists, gunrunners, and murderers. Fictional of course, but nonetheless chilling. Unlike real life, they got theirs in the end. Naturally, the good American gunrunners and murderers prevailed, but they weren't terrorists.
I watch that show because I like motorcycles and am not completely unfamiliar with the 1%er lifestyle, but mostly because I've got some intense hots for Katey Sagal as Gemma (of Russian Jewish descent, as is Sagal), the matriarch of the outlaw bikers for which she received a Golden Globe award. I'd love to see her Golden Globes...
Last night on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow show, Maddow explained that Michigan Republican Governor Rick Snyder is pushing a bill through that will give ultimate governmental power literally to corporations, thereby using shock doctrine tactics to create a dystopian government. Synder’s bill not only goes after collective bargaining rights, but does in fact seem to represent the Republicans’ final solution to killing democracy by enabling the replacement of elected officials, dissolving entire city’s government and handing them over to corporations. Snyder calls his “budget bill” a “shared sacrifice,” but it gifts corporations with 1.8 billion in tax breaks while hitting citizens with harder taxes, including seniors and other vulnerables, and cutting essential services to an already suffering region.
Here is the video from MSNBC:
More at the link as well.
One state at a time.
It is a time of great reckoning. A time when an anxious, troubled nation huddles in tight clusters of fear and uncertainty, shot through with far too much war, economic grief, Tea Party idiocy, iffy cell phone reception and low-level karmic doom.
But wait! Just when all seems lost ... look! Yonder! Could it be? It is! A dazzling beacon winks out from the savage darkness. We are saved! Let us now wheel in the hookers and Veuve Clicquot and large bazookas full of cocaine! God bless America.
Hence and by extension, Charlie Sheen is perfect. A spectacularly middling actor of no real import with decent comic timing, a razor wit and a thing for cocaine, porn stars, polyamory, multiple kids and hilariously nonsensical, megalomaniacal verbal zingers, all oversprinkled with tantalizing dustings of domestic violence and tabloid sensationalism. Like we say about God, the devil and Karl Rove, if Sheen didn't exist, we'd have to invent him.
He hath risen, twitching, sweating profusely and spinning like a top. How long will it last? How long until something gives? Not long. Sheen is the perfect energetic match to what we see and feel all around us right now. He's a spectacularly fractured mirror reflecting the grotesque system that birthed him -- smart, funny, wasted, hugely overpaid, egomaniacal, sexy, violently unhealthy, perverted, overamped, creepy, unhinged, lacking all center, moral compass spinning like a Catharine wheel, entirely unable and unwilling to take a deeper look at root causes. Ain't that America.
You might say: Enough already. You might say: Far too much energy, time, media attention has been spent on Sheen as it is; it's not worth it, leave the poor guy alone, clearly he's spiraling out of control, is disturbingly bi-polar, an insomniac ("I don't sleep. I wait."), a fistful of Ambien and a 3 a.m. gunshot away from an ambulance ride to Cedars-Sinai and the Hollywood Cemetery.
It's a nice thought, but before that happens we will no doubt be treated 24/7 to many choruses of Duelling Lawsuits. Even at $2mil per episode, if Sheen's profligate ways haven't left him broke, the lawyers will. Despite his grandiose pomposity, he hasn't figured out yet that the studio has more money and lawyers than he does and screwing artists out of money is what they do. Then he'll just be another junkie and we'll quit hearing about him. Maybe.
Then there's another scenario - redemption and salvation. Americans loves them some R&S.
Speaking as a former drunk (but still part-time doper, thank you Jesus), I hope every wino on the street gets the help he needs to kick it and start living again, but what if Sheen does? He needs a little jail time and a GOOD rehab, but after that? Whatever the scenario, and there are many from partially re-hinged contriteness to 180° unhinged evangelical of sobriety and everything in between, I doubt that he'll go away and we'll never hear the last of him.
Here's the statement that might get him locked up:
“I’m really trying to contain myself right now,” Sheen said. “My lawyer wants to come over to my house and take the bullets out of my gun.”
He's been in court several times for domestic abuse. I will ass-yoom he's been found guilty, or at least pleaded no contest, at least once. If so, he's not allowed to have firearms for ten years and it's a felony.
Note to his lawyer: Leave him one bullet. I doubt if he could survive the switch from Veuve Clicquot to pruno in jail anyway, let alone from boinkin' "goddesses" to being the goddess. Heh.
This spring, the United Arab Emirates is expected to close a deal for $7 billion dollars’ worth of American arms. Nearly half of the cash will be spent on Patriot missiles, which cost as much as $5.9 million apiece.
But what makes those eye-popping sums even more shocking is that some of the workers manufacturing parts for those Patriot missiles are prisoners, earning as little as 23 cents an hour.
Make 'em pick up trash on the highway, clean the local parks, shit like that. To take this type of work away from Americans who could make a living wage at it is ridiculous.
Patriot assemblers Raytheon and Lockheed Martin aren’t the only defense contractors relying on prison help. As Rohrlich notes, Unicor "inmates also make cable assemblies for the McDonnell Douglas/Boeing F-15, the General Dynamics/Lockheed Martin F-16, Bell/Textron’s Cobra helicopter, as well as electro-optical equipment for the BAE Systems Bradley Fighting Vehicle’s laser rangefinder."
How in hell are people supposed to compete when the government encourages using cheap labor in our own country to take away American jobs? If we had 3% unemployment I could understand it but with so many skilled people out of work, this is just a slap in the face.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
I have a dilemma, but not much of a one.
The assessment on my property tax bill used to be $98. Seniors are exempt, so when Mrs. G turned 65 it went down to $49 and will go to zero next year since I have now turned 65.
The measure's backers are using this: "Seniors! Yes on A! YOU don't have to pay it!" That's a 'heh'.
I usually vote 'no' on bond measures (except for veterans) and taxes, so here's my dilemma:
Since I'm exempt, is it ethical for me to vote for taxes on others that I myself do not have to pay? Or is it schadenfreude (taking pleasure at the discomfort of others)?
This measure is going to pass, of that I have no doubt, so I think I will vote 'no' just to be contrary. Mrs. G is going to vote 'yes', no doubt out of her motherly instinct toward other people's little monsters.
So it looks like we will do our civic duty by driving five miles round trip to cancel out each other's votes. It's the American way.
I had a rare twinge of conscience of the "they must need it or they wouldn't ask for it and I don't have to pay it anyway and I can make everybody else pay for it so there' sort and voted 'yes'.
Berlin Currywurst, German street food comes to town
L.A., land of danger dogs, fusion tacos and more varieties of food trucks than anyone cares to count, appears to have an insatiable appetite for street food.
At least that's what the founders of Silver Lake's newest eatery, Berlin Currywurst (menu), are hoping as they bring the traditional taste of Germany's favorite fast food to Sunset Junction.
On a recent afternoon, Lena and Büntemeyer pushed out glossy white plates half-covered with steaming piles of thick-sliced sausage over the threshold from kitchen to counter. The sausage is smothered in the rich crimson of the curry sauce, like ketchup on steroids, with two hearty slices of rustic German farmer's bread standing vigil on the side. Paper-lined baskets of fritten — thick-cut French fries topped with sautéed diced onions — followed, being carried out to the hungry patrons parked on vintage schoolhouse chairs at unstained wood-plank tables.
Alberto Granado, who accompanied Ernesto "Che" Guevara on a 1952 journey of discovery across Latin America that was immortalized in Guevara's memoir and the film "The Motorcycle Diaries," died in Cuba on Saturday. He was 88.
Granado and Guevara's road trip, begun on a broken-down motorcycle they dubbed La Poderosa, or "The Powerful," awoke in Guevara a social consciousness and political convictions that would help turn him into one of the most iconic revolutionaries of the 20th century.
Some things are more important than ideology. So long to a crazy bastard that would take a 5000-mile trip two-up on a '39 Norton.
I got this terrible visual of a breast as soft-serve dispenser...
This also made me wonder where the milkshakes at the gentlemen's club come from...
Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, said legalizing marijuana would greatly increase its use, but that the issue should not only be approached as a criminal justice problem.
Kerlikowske added that prescription drug abuse was “clearly” the greatest drug problem in the United States.
The biggest 'problem' is that Big Pharma hasn't been able to figure out how to get eighty bucks for an oxy like the street dealers have.
This video was uploaded by KCTS9 on March 4, 2011.
Interesting, doesn't change anything of course.
Shit, besides being just a general all-around right-wing asshole, he's one of those too. Figures.
Note to Scotty: That booming voice from on high that tells you what to do is the Koch brothers.
I have said this before, but it’s worth repeating: a large segment of the population in the United States is completely impervious to rational argument and the presentation of evidence. In our country, learned ignorance is on the rise.
Mr. Quiggin suggests that right-wingers aren’t really birthers in their hearts; it’s just that affirming birtherism is a badge of belonging, a shibboleth in the original biblical sense — “an affirmation that marks the speaker as a member of their community or tribe,” as Mr. Quiggin wrote on Feb. 17.
“Asserting a belief that would be too absurd to countenance for anyone outside a given tribal/ideological group makes for a good political shibboleth,” he added.
Mr. Chait counters that many conservatives in the United States believe that the liberal elite media is hiding the truth. But through their access to Fox News and like-minded media organizations, conservatives believe they have learned things the brainwashed masses don’t know.
They are the brainwashed masses when it comes to ideology. We're all the brainwashed masses when it comes to who's runnin' the joint and what they're up to.
My view is that Mr. Quiggin is correct as far as right-wing politicians are concerned: for the most part they know that President Obama was born here, that he is not a socialist, that a public health insurance program would not require the setting up of death panels, and so on. However, many politicians feel compelled to pretend to be crazy as a career move.
But I think Mr. Chait is right about the broader right-wing movement. I see it all the time with regard to my economics statistics: when I point out that inflation remains fairly low, or that the Federal Reserve is not literally printing money, people accuse me of using falsified data or say that I am cherry-picking the figures. This is a symptom of epistemic closure in conservative thought: if the facts don’t support certain prejudices, that’s because “they” are hiding the truth, which true believers know.
Just don’t get me started on climate change.
Heh. Aw, c'mon Paul, let 'er rip!
The National People's Action network picked Monday to launch the "Make Wall Street Pay" campaign thanks to another show in town: the National Association of Attorneys General's Convention in Washington, D.C.
But they didn't stop there.
Moving from the meeting of all 50 Attorneys General, the crowd made their way to a Bank of America branch on Pennsylvania Ave. While about 300 stood outside, another 300 moved indoors, filling up the lobby and bringing business to a standstill.
Then, they went to see if Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) was available, filing into his Capitol Hill offices to send an unambiguous message: Wall Street must pay.
Good. It's nice to see more people have had it with the coddle-the-rich policies that have killed this country,
Link via Activist News via DU.
Monday, March 7, 2011
The company responsible for syndicating big conservative radio names like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity has been using paid actors to call in to their radio shows.
While it's unclear which syndicated shows used the service, Op Ed News' Gustav Wynn speculated that Sean Hannity would be a prime candidate.
"Hannity's record of being caught manipulating public opinion, deceptively editing video, suppressing opposing views, and lopsided call ratios through the decades speaks for itself," Wynn wrote.
A call to Rush Limbaugh's spokesman was not returned at the time of publication.
Must still be working on the script...or trying to find an actor with even less self-respect than the ones who do the call-ins.
First, Republicans forgot the fundamental truth that it is much more difficult to take something away from people that they already have, than to prevent them from getting something for which they aspire.
... (instead of the lengthy explanation - G)
The Republicans have forgotten this important history lesson. Take away things that people already have and you're in for a world of trouble.
Want to know how completely they've forgotten this lesson? Just last week, House Speaker John Boehner actually told the Wall Street Journal that his budget will attempt to cut Social Security and Medicare. This, in spite of polling that shows virtually zero support among the voters. There will be a firestorm of opposition. Go right ahead, John, make our day.
Second, the Republicans have forgotten the all-important political principle, that you can't believe your own spin. That's especially true if you spend all of your time talking to the small group of people who agree with you. Take the House of Representative's newly-elected Tea Party Caucus. This insular crew talks to each other -- repeats each other's slogans -- listens to Fox News and has convinced themselves that most Americans agree that government spending is the worst thing since murder and mayhem.
Believing your own spin = drinking your own bath water.
The winds have shifted -- and because they believe their own spin, many Republicans have yet to notice.
Bottom line is that these guys think they're flying straight and level, and they're really in a steep dive.
Third, the Republicans have failed to learn that you can tell people that up is down, and black is white, for only so long. Or to paraphrase one of the founders of the Republican Party: "You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time."
That's basically their M.O., along with calling people godless commies who don't fall for their shit. When they get caught at it, which is more and more, they double down. The lies are getting so blatant, one marvels that they can do it with a straight face, but that's their way.
Also, at this point Mr. Creamer kinda goes off the rails or needed a tidy ending and says how smart American voters are and how they're catchin' on to the Repug bullshit. Yeesh. How long d'ya have to beat yer head against a wall before you realize it feels good when you stop? How smart does that make you?
Steep dive, meet the ground. Sooner rather than later.
The problem with predicting doomsday is that if you’re wrong, you have to figure out what to say the next day. And if you’re right ... well, the ratings will be terrific, for what that’s worth.
If the Rude Pundit were a really, really rich motherfucker, like in the several hundred million and above club, he'd call a meeting of all his fellow really, really rich motherfuckers and he'd tell 'em that we've crossed a line, and, unless we want our houses burned down, our assets confiscated, our dogs raped, and our children killed like they were the brood of the Tsar, we better stop acting like such greedy pricks and demand that the people we all own in the government stop licking our taints clean for a little while and start acting like we're regular Americans, not First Class Black Card Americans.
The really, really rich Rude Pundit would point out that the filthy masses are getting all squirrely about collective bargaining rights and budget cuts on programs for the poor and middle class in order to pay for our tax cuts and the failure to prosecute a single person for shitcanning the economy. He'd then inform everyone that once the income gap gets more fully into the rhetorical mix, well, we really, really rich motherfuckers would be fucked and a half.
We'll round up on that. Double fucked.
House Republicans Call for National Identity Card
It would allow officials at various points of entry to determine whether or not you're a Republican.
Government Grimly Holds On to Capital While Rebels Control Rest of Country
Will never surrender, vows Karzai.
Evangelists Forgive Gingrich, Themselves for Adultery, Lying
While attacking others who don’t meet high moral standards.
House GOP Wants to Cut IRS Budget for Audits
In nod to tax cheater base.
It's getting harder and harder to see the irony in these. I guess 'reasonably accurate reporting' is taking its place.
*A disclaimer: I'd probably get better mileage with the 6-cylinder but it is so fun to drive. Heh ...
Heading up to the shop this morning for a vehicle inspection. I hope I don't notice the star in the windshield**.
**I am a New York State Vehicle Inspector.
"What we're talking about is the demonization and criminalization of an entire American faith community here in our nation," MPAC's Alejandro Beutel said, describing the basic theory of the anti-Muslim fear mongerers this way: "You have to be on guard against all Muslims because you don't know when they're going to go all Jihad on you."
The fears over "creeping Sharia" follows a McCarthyite theme, said Beutel. "Instead of the Communist threat, it's the Muslim threat and the implementation of Sharia."
I don't want to know about anybody's god but this is still America (for however long that will last) and no religion, or none at all, should be held above or below another. King is just demonizing Muslims and throwing red meat to the base.
Why are there so many bright, shiny things sparkling at us at every media turn? Whence, and whither, come these many distractions? Why is so much blame shifted from the Masters of the Universe whose lifestyles have been affected not at all by their catastrophic asset-stripping of the middle class? Why do our corrupt media institutions, those serving the elite and those serving the passive sofa-bound infotainment consumer, spend so much time lying to Americans about who, exactly, is responsible for the collapse of the dream of our middle-class, both former inhabitants and aspirants?
Why? Because the elites atop the pyramid that is the teetering American economy are desperately afraid. They fear that Americans will all, suddenly and at once, realize that we are being set against one another in a finely honed scheme of blame-shifting and division. Those who screwed us over — and continue to screw us over by driving our government’s priorities far afield of what we all want — know that if the scales fell from our eyes, things could get very ugly for them very quickly.
Keep us distracted by any means necessary because if they didn't we would have had our "Cairo moment" years ago.
Sunday, March 6, 2011
They have received little attention in the United States, but a set of WikiLeaks disclosures of confidential documents has caused an uproar in Europe by showing that U.S. officials pressured Germany and Spain to derail criminal investigations of Americans.
After German prosecutors issued arrest warrants for 13 CIA agents allegedly involved in el-Masri's abduction, a February 2007 cable quoted the deputy U.S. chief of mission in Berlin as advising a German diplomat to "weigh carefully at every step of the way the implications for relations with the U.S." if the agents were prosecuted.
The German government withdrew the warrants five months later.
How d'ya say 'spineless wimps' in German?
A Spanish judge announced a criminal investigation in January 2009 into whether six lawyers in President George W. Bush's administration had approved torture. They included former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and John Yoo, the UC Berkeley law professor whose memos as a Justice Department attorney authorized the near-drowning technique called waterboarding.
WikiLeaks cables from April and May 2009 said Spanish officials were being warned about the case by diplomats from the Obama administration and by a visiting U.S. senator, Mel Martinez, R-Fla., who allegedly told Spain's foreign minister that the prosecution would have "an enormous impact on the bilateral relationship." The Miami Herald has reported that Martinez was carrying that message for the Obama administration.
The documents also quoted U.S. diplomats as urging Spain to transfer the case from Judge Baltasar Garzón, known for far-reaching investigations of suspected international law violations and for criticism of U.S. policies. The cables described Garzón as a "publicity-loving" jurist with an "anti-American streak" and said Spain's chief prosecutor was trying to remove him.
Spain's government has since suspended Garzón for allegedly exceeding his authority in another case. Another judge has taken up the case of the Bush administration lawyers but has not decided whether to reopen it.
No doubt all the perps are safe as long as the Spaniards have a guy sitting on the case with no intention of reopening it.
Note to U.S. war criminals: Have at it. Nobody's going to come after you.
Grazing, low-cost and environmentally friendly, is becoming a more common practice in restoration and conservation efforts. In 2008 and again last year, goats were put to work clearing weeds near Angels Flight in downtown L.A. — though not nearly so many. In 2009, the conservancy also used goats in the preserve.
For many years, goats were removed from natural areas because they were known for eating everything in sight. Now, conservationists and fire safety officials realize that the creatures are efficient as long as they are monitored.
That is the job of the goats' keeper, Mark Choi, 41, who will basically live with them as they chomp their way across the valley as part of the Portuguese Bend Restoration Project.
Living with goats. Man, he's livin' the dream!
An additional 120 goats will arrive this week. Choi has nicknamed one friendly goat Pepper for the charcoal freckles dotting her face.
Uh-oh... Time ta get ta town, Mark.
The goats will stay around for a couple of weeks; the exact time will be determined by how quickly they eat.
"It's on goat time," Choi said. "It depends on their appetite."
Sounds like a lead pipe cinch to me.
If you want to dish on tiger blood and Adonis DNA, go elsewhere. In the fantastic, monastic world of Jerry Brown, the talk veers toward Wittgenstein, the collapse of the Habsburg Empire and preventing the collapse of the American empire.
“We’ve got to hunker down,” he says. “We’ve got to get more discipline. We don’t have a lot of time, and we’re an aging white society for the most part, and we need to get our act together.”
The shock of dark hair is gone, but Jerry Brown is still Jerry Brown. The prickliness, bluntness, questioning, calculating. That against-the-grain attitude; disdain for materialism, emptiness and politics as usual; that Jesuit-Buddhist outlook.
Less Jesuit and more Buddhist these days, I hope.
In the old days, he tried to get people to accept their limits when they didn’t think there were limits; now that they’ve learned the hard way that there are, his gospel sells well.
He’s pondering putting a drinking tent outside the Statehouse to replace Arnold Schwarzenegger’s smoking tent (which the ex-Governator took with him, along with his Conan the Barbarian sword).
If the legislators approve his plan, a mix of spending cuts and tax extensions, the big test will be a referendum on it in June. If his plan passes, California could become the laboratory for how to do things right, the anti-Wisconsin (Yay! My em). It is remarkable to watch the governors on two coasts, Brown and Andrew Cuomo, both sons of iconic liberal governors, boldly go against the grain to do what works today. They are eliminating or reforming many of their dads’ hallmark programs.
He was a precursor to the Tea Party, and he admits he tends to be a “tear-it-apart guy.” “But I feel I’m in a more constructive mode at this time of my life,” he said. “I understand hostility and alienation from the soulless bureaucratic state, but the Tea Party is a tear-it-apart group. We have to have continuity along with change if we’re going to hold the place together.”
After watching Meg Whitman squander $178.5 million of her own money, Californians seem to be getting a kick out of Brown’s cheap side. With his gift for symbolism or, some say, gimmickry, he froze state hiring, banned official cellphones and barred state agencies from giving out swag — coffee mugs, hats and cups. He flies commercial, often solo, on Southwest Airlines, with a senior citizen discount.
“It’s a message,” he says. “The medium is the message.”
Was he cheap as a child? “During World War II, to get butter, we had little ration tickets,” he says. “I thought it was kind of fun.” His uncle Frank, he says, was so tight he had a pay phone in his house.
On his way out, he grabs an apple and a banana. They’re free.
My kinda guy!
Several examples show this. First, a good part of the money the rich save from taxes is then lent by them to the government (in the form of buying US Treasury securities for their personal investment portfolios). It would obviously be better for the government to tax the rich to maintain its expenditures, and thereby avoid deficits and debts. Then the government would not need to tax the rest of us to pay interest on those debts to the rich.
Second, the richest Americans take the money they save from taxes and invest big parts of it in China, India and elsewhere. That often produces more jobs over there, fewer jobs here, and more imports of goods produced abroad. US dollars flow out to pay for those imports and so accumulate in the hands of foreign banks and foreign governments. They, in turn, lend from that wealth to the US government because it does not tax our rich, and so we get taxed to pay for the interest Washington has to give those foreign banks and governments. The largest single recipient of such interest payments today is the People's Republic of China.
Third, the richest Americans take the money they don't pay in taxes and invest it in hedge funds and with stockbrokers to make profitable investments. These days, that often means speculating in oil and food, which drives up their prices, undermines economic recovery for the mass of Americans, and produces acute suffering around the globe. Those hedge funds and brokers likewise use part of the money rich people save from taxes to speculate in the US stock markets. That has recently driven stock prices higher: hence, the stock market recovery. And that mostly helps – you guessed it – the richest Americans who own most of the stocks.
As Paul Krugman likes to say, "we don't have a spending problem, we have a revenue problem".