Saturday, February 2, 2013

Saturday Emmylou Blogging

Emmylou Harris och Rodney Crowell framföra "Old yellow moon" exklusivt för SvD.

Thanks to svdtv, Sweden.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Get Your Apocalypse On

I'm sure we've all watched and enjoyed post-apocalyptic movies. Methinks LaPee-aire and Miss Lindsey might have seen The Road Warrior one too many times. Or maybe The Book Of Eli. Heh.


Back in late December, when NRA Chief Wayne LaPierre delivered his first bracing, snarling comments about the Newtown mass killing I noted how LaPierre repeatedly diverted into the language of secular apocalypse, the total breakdowns of public order that are his signature device to play up the need for everybody to be armed.

It’s almost … scratch that, it’s not almost as if it were a tailor-made focus-group litany meant to incite maximal fear and hysteria, it clearly is just that. We just had Sandy. We’ve had black outs. We’ve had big terror attacks. We don’t go all Escape from New York or Mad Max. Yes, you can come up with a lot of scary scenarios and there are gangs and you do have looting sometimes. But these are terror fantasies. The whole thing is intended to portray a world just one slip down from a rapid descent into chaos....

It strikes me as something like comical. But it just drives home to me how this is an organization, at the leadership level, entirely focused on creating hysteria and maximal fear to drive its agenda, even in cases where the rhetoric simply becomes comical.
Does it ever! Jon Stewart rakes the whole it'd-be-funny-if-it-wasn't-so-pathetic NRA fearmongering bullshit over the coals.

And just as an aside, my personal vision of the post-apocalyptic world derives from somewhere between watching The Grapes of Wrath and Beach Blanket Bingo perhaps one too many times. I'm still trying to shoehorn Aunty Entity and The Himalayan Suspender as my weapon of preference in there somewhere...

Will wonders never cease?

Yertle finally said something I agree with!

McConnell backs hemp legalization in Kentucky

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Thursday announced his support for hemp legalization in Kentucky.

“After long discussions with Senator Rand Paul and [Kentucky Agriculture] Commissioner James Comer on the economic benefits of industrialized hemp, I am convinced that allowing its production will be a positive development for Kentucky’s farm families and economy,” he said in a statement.
Of course, Kaintuck is setting up for a fight with the feds over this that is exactly the same as the fight over legal marijuana, but it's a good fight whose time has come.

Today In Hagel Bashing

Great article by Charles P. Pierce.

There really shouldn't be as much low farce in confirming a Cabinet appointment than was on display today as the Senate Armed Services Committee got its chance to blow off steam and posture in front of Chuck Hagel today in Washington. If it wasn't John McCain, bellowing his outrage that the world no longer recognizes his obvious geopolitical genius — even the folks in the monkeyhouse love the grumpy old RINO today — and that the world has not rewarded him with laurel leaves and flagons of the finest mead. So he spends six minutes trying to get Hagel to admit how brilliant he was to have recommended the "surge" in Iraq. Hagel declines and McCain's fumes, probably because he'll have to wait until Sunday morning to get the kind of fluffing that's the only reason he's still in public life any more. Well, that, and a war with Iran.

But at least, McCain has a certain amount of what is at least alleged gravitas on the subject of foreign relations. Jim Inhofe was reduced to citing Jennifer (Wrong) Rubin's account of the tiny Hagels that have replaced the tiny Romneys in her tiny brain.(This is the equivalent of a clown taking singing lessons from a goat.) Later, it was time for the rookies to demonstrate that their IQ's doubled as soon as they were sworn in. Hagel's fellow Nebraskan, Deb Fischer, who less than a year ago was a noisy state legislator and the third candidate in a three-candidate primary field, pretended to be well-briefed on nuclear policy. And Ted Cruz, the Tea Party gossoon from Texas, took almost his entire opportunity to fit Hagel for a kaffiyeh. Listening to this interview Jazeera! Here, let me reference the Holocaust. Why hasn't Hagel sent the committee the proof that Hezbollah's been paying his honoraria for 12 years! Listening to his cut-rate Joe McCarthy lounge act makes me wonder about the future of the World's Greatest Deliberative Body. I think they may need HazMat suits before this guy's done.

It was a bizarre, devotional exercise. Hagel was not being asked for his qualifications to lead the Department Of Defense — which, it should be noted, is largely an administrative one when it comes to the country's foreign relations. He was being asked to engage in a vague kind of theological debate. He was not being asked to profess his faith to Israel so much as to recant his heresies against the policies of the United States that were produced by adherents of a certain sect. He wasn't being asked to endorse Bibi Netanyahu so much as he was being asked to recant his unorthodox opinions as regarding the good works of Bill Kristol or John McCain. He was being asked, en ensemble, by Republicans old and young, essentially the same question John McCain spent six minutes hollering into the wind.

Please admit that we were right.

No. You were wrong. You were wrong in 2003 and you were wrong in 2006 and the Iraq war was a murderous cock-up from start to finish and Hagel, at least, figured that out in midstream.
There's more, and I have nothing to add.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Grampa Walnuts wants Hagel off his lawn...

Andy Sullivan nails the old fool on "the surge".

It didn't work, as we all know by now, on its own utopian terms. It did help us get out with less humiliation. But McCain still insists he was right about everything from the get-go:

McCain to Hagel: Please tell me I was right about Iraq
McCain desperately seeks vindication
Thanks to dkostv.

The good news is that we almost got a real debate on this question. Not exactly, because describing the "surge" as a p.r. exercize to disguise the complete failure of the Iraq War is not something Washington can yet cop to - just as it has great difficulty copping to the fact that the last president was and is a war criminal, under the strictest legal definition of that term.

But Hagel is right: without the switch in Anbar and the exhaustion of ethnic segregation and warfare, those extra troops could have been there indefinitely - and, if McCain had won in 2008, would be there still most likely. What's striking to me is not McCain's fury or douchiness (what's new?) - but his complete assumption that he couldn't possibly be wrong, his insistence that this debate is already over, and his refusal to allow for the notion that this question may only eventually be resolved by a more distant historical judgment.

After Iraq and Afghanistan, McCain's views on military intervention have not changed. Hagel's have. Somehow, I think Hagel is closer to where the country actually is.
Probably. And McCain is most definitely not and hasn't been for a long time on foreign policy. It's rockin' chair time, Gramps.

Shot by Their Own Men

A tip o' the Brain to Citizens UnTied.


While this might seem like just another instance of silly old Southern Republicans doing silly things to keep the good ole' boys back home happy, I would argue that it is emblematic of how the Republican Party is content to destroy itself, shattering itself on the petard of its own bigotry. The gerrymandering the Virginia Senate Republicans did just before Senator Stosch moved to adjourn for the day is helping it hoist that petard.

This is why the January 21 moment in Richmond is symbolic of why gerrymandering is not going to work for the GOP in the long term. So long as the GOP gambles on redistricting - often based on rather crassly corralling or breaking up areas predominantly based on color (and especially if it does so by playing as dirtily as they did in Virginia on MLK day) - it will ensure that some number of its politicians will take care to speak to the extremists, the crazies and the bigots in the party. In the age of the Internet, this gets noticed. If Republicans think that Hispanics and Asian Americans - or young voters, or non-Christians, or women - won't notice or mind Republican bigotry even if aimed at other groups, then they're in for a surprise. And don't forget about those unloved Republicans-in-name-only, aka RINOs, who keep leaving the party. The GOP is going to end up as a farm team to nowhere.

There's a final irony here. Just as the Republican Party is accidentally destroying itself through acts of gerrymandering and bigotry like commemorating Stonewall Jackson instead of Dr. King, one might note that something similar happened to old Stonewall himself.

You know how Jackson died, right?

At the Battle of Chancellorsville 150 years ago this coming May, Confederate troops accidentally shot him.
"Accidentally". Yeah, right. Today we call that "fragging".

If the Repugs wish to self-frag, I'm totally down wid it. And if they need to hoist themselves by their own tiny petards to get a better shot, I'm down wid dat too.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Godless liberal sickos win again

Great title, ain't it? If it's Wednesday it must be Morford on the culture war.

Your old-world grandmother will refuse to believe it. Your Southern cousin will likely shake his head like he’s throwing off lice, completely unwilling to process. Rick Santorum will, with any luck and God’s good graces, spontaneously combust. And of course, the NRA will shudder and reload in a panic because, honey, they’re afraid of everything.

And the Republicans lost.

The culture wars! What a silly idea. What a ridiculous and lopsided fight. All about gay marriage, women’s rights, pornography, censorship, “elitist” higher education, support for the arts, for science, immigration, the environment, legal marijuana, gays in the military, a black president, self-determined spirituality versus the deep poison that is organized religion.

On it goes. From environmental awareness to legal pot to abortion rights, movement is toward the progressive – or at the very least, away from the regressive (not quite the same thing, but in this climate, you take what you can get). Even many leading Republicans don’t want to discuss the classic cultural issues that defined them for so long, recognizing them as toxic to their future, realizing that the younger generations simply don’t believe in the harsh institutions and repressive dogmas of yore.

And of course, the South, despite flickers of progress in various college towns, remains as racist, anti-smarts, and gun-lovingly homophobic as ever. The good news? This used to be a problem. The South used to have enormous influence on culture and politics, acting as the genteel, racist heart of “real” America. But as the new rainbow constituency takes hold and a calm, intellectual black man enters his second term as president, that influence is waning; the South is now more isolated, emasculated, increasingly meaningless in the new America dialogue. This much we know: The South will not rise again. Ever. Praise.
I would like to see the South rise again. To its feet and walk out the door. It won't. It needs OUR money to survive. Flappin' their lips is the best they can do.

Please go enjoy the rest of young Mark's column. I think I'm in "good news" mode this week. So far. I'm sure it will change but I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts. It's been a long time coming.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Real ‘60 Minutes’ Revelation

Michael Tomasky

But here, conservatives, is what you are missing and what you need to reckon with. Americans—except you—like these two people. Most Americans look at the pair of them—this black man who is still remote in some ways and this so-familiar woman who is now aging before us and allowing herself to look just a little frumpy—and feel reassured. Most Americans are cheering for them, and hence, most Americans probably wanted a softball interview. We have thus passed an important portal in American politics: Democrats are now the regular guys. Conservatives are the weirdos. (my em)
And your point is...?

The Republicans? It’s not just the extreme ideology. Of course it’s that, but it’s more. The whole shtick is old. Where once the Middle American ear may have been soothed by that low Cheney rumble belching out its grave assessments of the world situation, today it is accosted by all those caliginous Southern accents warning of socialism and collapse, and thinks: will these people ever shut up? Georgia Congressman Paul Broun told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution last week that Obama “upholds … the Soviet Constitution.” On any given week, I could fill a whole column, or two, with such nuggets. Enough already.
No shit. Waaaaaay past enough.

Conservatives, you can call me and others like me all the names you want, and you can whine about the evil CBS all you want. But Kroft and his network were actually in touch here with the pulse of the country, which wants Obama to succeed and Hillary to go have a nice long rest (and, maybe, get ready for 2016). Meanwhile, even Roger Ailes has gotten sick of Sarah Palin. Get the picture?
Here's the picture: I quote Colonel Shoup, who was the Commandant when I was in the Corps, in his assessment of the situation on Betio in 1943 and not a bad way of putting the slightly ascendant reality-based liberal/progressive/godless commies that we are:

On D+1 (21 November 1943) Col Shoup sent a message to divisional headquarters detailing the situation on Tarawa. This transmission has become one of the most famous of the war. Shoup radioed: "Casualties many. Percentage dead not known. Combat efficiency — we are winning."
As well we should. This country has been on the downslope since Reagan took office, and the Chimp threw it off a cliff badly enough that people finally noticed. The pendulum, if not swinging back the other way just yet, has at least stopped in its rightward arc.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Headline of the Day

Call the Waahmbulance! WaPo’s Chris Cillizza hurt GOP Sen. Ron Johnson’s wittle feewings
Heh. One would think that's the least of his problems after Hillary the Warrior Princess cut his balls off.

Makers, Takers, Fakers

Paul Krugman on the crux of the biscuit.

Republicans have a problem. For years they could shout down any attempt to point out the extent to which their policies favored the elite over the poor and the middle class; all they had to do was yell “Class warfare!” and Democrats scurried away. In the 2012 election, however, that didn’t work: the picture of the G.O.P. as the party of sneering plutocrats stuck, even as Democrats became more openly populist than they have been in decades.

As a result, prominent Republicans have begun acknowledging that their party needs to improve its image. But here’s the thing: Their proposals for a makeover all involve changing the sales pitch rather than the product. When it comes to substance, the G.O.P. is more committed than ever to policies that take from most Americans and give to a wealthy handful.

Why is this happening? In particular, why is it happening now, just after an election in which the G.O.P. paid a price for its anti-populist stand?

Well, I don’t have a full answer, but I think it’s important to understand the extent to which leading Republicans live in an intellectual bubble. They get their news from Fox and other captive media, they get their policy analysis from billionaire-financed right-wing think tanks, and they’re often blissfully unaware both of contrary evidence and of how their positions sound to outsiders.

Which brings me back to Mr. Jindal, who declared in his speech that “we are a populist party.” No, you aren’t. You’re a party that holds a large proportion of Americans in contempt. And the public may have figured that out.
Yes, yes we have.

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

France Sends Troops to Mali
Hopes to follow Vietnam strategy by staying a few years then handing off operations to Americans.

Study: Recent Elections Show Strong Link Between Racism And Political Preference
Most whites who hate blacks voted for Romney; most blacks who hate whites voted for Obama.
Sounds about right.

Virginia GOP Sneaks Through Redistricting Bill During Inauguration, Then Adjourns “in Memory of Stonewall Jackson”
And you thought the Civil War was over.
We may have to prove it to them again. Sigh.

Berlusconi Defends Mussolini For Supporting Hitler
Surprised others in attendance at Holocaust Memorial took offense at remarks.
WTF? Somebody should remind him how Il Duce ended up. Along with his bunga-bunga. Not the kind of "swinging" Berlusconi is used to...

Sunday, January 27, 2013

"Minority Rule"

Old Fart Rants about Repug election rigging - "If ya can't beat 'em, cheat 'em".

Notable quote:

What a bunch of morons! The Republican Party, and its base, have degenerated into a pack of lying, thieving, anti-science, head-in-the-sand, backwards, vile, vulgar, evangelical, willfully ignorant delusional know-nothings with nothing to offer society but hate and divisiveness, especially since the Tea Party cockroaches infested Congress. They're a disgrace to America. Every one of these knuckle dragging idiots should be put on an inner tube and pushed out to sea. The depths to which the Republican Party has sunk in order to win elections is painful to watch and is a national embarrassment.
That ol' boy needs to come out of his shell and say what he really means. Heh.

Laissez le bon temps fool, eh?

Think Progress

Five Reasons Bobby Jindal Is Responsible For Transforming The GOP Into ‘The Stupid Party’
There's a paragraph on each one.

1. He permits Louisiana schools to teach creationism.

2. He allows state employees to be fired for being gay.

3. He has signed bills to intimidate women seeking abortions.

4. He seeks to dramatically cut taxes for the wealthy, increase taxes for everyone else.

5. He refuses to provide health care for Louisiana’s poorest.
There ain't enough lipstick to make the GOP pig look good as long as stupid is as stupid does.


El Rude-o weighs in.

When you live in Louisiana, you get used to a certain amount of Neanderthal savagery and brute stupidity. Sure, the education system is getting fucked beyond fucked and the state legislature thinks it's just jim-fuckin' dandy to teach that everything was created when an invisible sky wizard puked it all out, but, hey, how about that food? Sure, sex education is pretty much non-existent in a state where they have the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation, but, man, ain't that band playin' some hot zydeco? See? It's a trade-off. A state with a high sales tax, including taxes on food and clothing, lottery, and gambling, along with a state income tax, can't stay out of the red because tax cuts for rich people are so fucking important, so why not raise the sales tax even higher? It's what you get for wanting to laissez les bon temps rouler.

Other than teachers (who are really just terrorists with tenure, but, gosh, shouldn't they be armed?) protesting the shifting of public school funds to private ones run by churches and cults, there's been no real outcry against Governor Bobby Jindal and his merry band of GOP scum weasels in the legislature. But... [...]

Yeah, it's a cruel, cruel life in the Bayou State. But, hey, throw us some more beads, mister.