Saturday, June 29, 2013

Goin' ridin'

Off to ride the Kraut Cup Trial today. See yas.

Saturday Emmylou Blogging

Published on Jun 24, 2013
Rodney Crowell & Emmylou Harris at The Hollywood Bowl June 23, 2013
Been to the Bowl many times. Most memorable was showing up with my date on my Triumph. Parking is a nightmare there, but the parking guys let me park right behind the stage. Our seats were up on Mulholland Dr. but my bike was safe. Thanks, guys!

Here's a memorable comment on this video:

What moron arranged the bill on this show? Emmylou and Rodney are music icons, and the headliner spot went to She & Him? The high-school talent show stylings of Zoeey Deschanel and wannabe guitar-wiz posturings of M.Ward were an embarrassment. Ms Harris and Mr Crowell got a standing O (which they were presumably told there was no time to acknowledge with an encore). Meanwhile, the hip and trendy Z&M rushed back to give an encore while 75% of the audience was already headed for the exits.

Thanks to halbie71.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Headline of the Day

Witness responds to suggestion that Trayvon lied before getting shot: ‘That’s real retarded, sir’
So's defending Zimmerman.

Ku Klux Kourt

Greg Palast

They might as well have burned a cross on Dr. King's grave. The Jim Crow majority on the Supreme Court just took away the vote of millions of Hispanic and African-American voters by wiping away Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

And that's really what's going on here: the problem is not that the court majority is racist. They're worse: they're Republicans.

But this crew, beginning with Bush v. Gore, is viciously partisan. They note that "minority candidates hold office at unprecedented levels." And the Republican Supremes mean to put an end to that. See "Obama" and "Florida" above.
And when they say "minority," they mean "Democrat."

In California - one of the "Old South" states that is singled out for pre-clearance - an astonishing 40 percent of voter registration forms were rejected by the Republican Secretary of State on cockamamie clerical grounds. When civil rights attorney Robert F. Kennedy and I investigated, we learned that the reject pile was overwhelmingly Chicano and Asian - and overwhelmingly Democratic.

Despite the racial stench of today's viciously antidemocratic ruling, the GOP majority knew they were handicapping the next presidential run by a good 6 million votes. (That's the calculation that RFK and I came up with for racially bent vote loss in 2004 - and the GOP will pick up at least that in the next run.)

And the court knew full well that their ruling today was the same as stuffing several hundred thousand GOP red votes into the ballot boxes for the 2014 Congressional races.
Much more, but that's the crux of the biscuit.

A Whole Different Class of People Here

War Is A

I was flabbergasted when the the Congressional Research Service reported on May 17 that the Pentagon didn’t have a clue what the 108,000 contractors the Department of Defense (DOD) has in Afghanistan were actually doing--let alone how well they were doing it.

Fortunately, my Uncle Jimmy, who works at the Pentagon, was in for the weekend, and I got a chance to ask him about it.

He laughed. “Take it easy, Ace,” he said. “You know how you media guys blow things out of proportion.”

I felt better already. “Great. Could you put it in proportion for me?” I glanced at my notes. “According to the report, DOD spent $160 billion with contracts in Afghanistan and Iraq these past six years. That seems like a lot of money to go unaccounted for.”

“Not a bit,” he scoffed. “We actually save money by eliminating oversight. We have over 40,000 more contracted employees in the country than we do troops! Do you know how many people it would take to actually keep track of over a hundred thousand contract employees and monitor their work?”

“Gee, I don’t know,” I said. “A thousand?”

“Guess again,” he said. “More like ten to sixteen thousand. So we’ve saved, off the top of my head, somewhere in the neighborhood of $15 to $20 billion by eliminating supervision.”

“That’s a high-priced neighborhood,” I joked. “But I’d think you’d be worried about theft and corruption and inefficiency and work going undone and people goofing off. Things like that.”

“You’ve got to be kidding,” he said, shocked. “Ace, these are U.S. defense contractors you’re talking about. They’re the biggest and the best. If you can’t trust KBR, DynCorp, Fluor, Washington Group International, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and corporations like that to give you an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay, who can you trust?”

I was silent for a minute, and he looked at me. “I know that look, Ace. You’re actually thinking. What is it?” he asked.

“I was thinking about ‘corporate welfare,’ and just remembering those news stories back in the 70s when Ronald Reagan and Reader’s Digest hammered the welfare system and ‘welfare queens’” I told him. “Cities and states have kept an eagle eye out for welfare fraud ever since. You see governments zeroing in on welfare clients all the time. Charlottesville cracked down on more than a dozen in April for taking money they allegedly weren’t entitled to. Most of them were charged with siphoning off a thousand to four thousand dollars.”

“Defrauding the system. That’s outrageous, isn’t it?” said Jimmy. “But what’s your point? I don’t see any connection. We’re talking about a whole different class of people here.”

And that kind of "thinking" is the problem.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Antonin Scalia Viciously Opposes Your Social Progress

El Rude-o on Fat Tony's reactions to the DOMA beat-down.

The Defense of Marriage Act has long been one of the goddamnedest embarrassments of this nation. Passed in an election year, 1996, and signed into law by a president shit-scared that he would look too soft on the queers since he had tried to show them compassion in 1993 by attempting to get rid of the ban on gays in the military, an effort that was an utter failure. It passed Congress with no problems, with bipartisan support, 342-67 in the House, 85-14 in the Senate. Score a battle in the culture war for the dumbfucks.

[...] Which means that we get another vicious, latently homophobic dissent from Justice Antonin Scalia.

The fun part is that so much of Scalia's reasoning in upholding DOMA could have been used to uphold the entire Voting Rights Act, a section of which was struck down yesterday by a 5-4 conservative decision. There, Scalia had absolutely no difficulty overturning an even more broadly bipartisan law (98-0 in the Senate).

Check out this shit and see if you just don't feel like saying to Scalia, "Wait, you're supposedly the smart conservative. You just sound like a desperate bitch boy attempting to get the conservative groups that fund your speeches and junkets to shove their cash rolls into your anxious asshole."

First, Scalia is aghast, aghast, motherfuckers, at the notion that the Supreme Court would dare to believe that it has the power to overturn the mighty Congress: The majority says that "judicial review must march on regardless, lest we 'undermine the clear dictate of the separation-of-powers principle that when an Act of Congress is alleged to conflict with the Constitution, it is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is.'" Then, with the kind of hyperventilating hyperbole that'd make Morton Downey, Jr. say, "Whoa, calm down there, big fella," Scalia vents, "That is jaw-dropping. It is an assertion of judicial supremacy over the people’s Representatives in Congress and the Executive. It envisions a Supreme Court standing (or rather enthroned) at the apex of government, empowered to decide all constitutional questions, always and every-where 'primary' in its role."
Rude goes on to point out where in the Constitution it says that's SCOTUS' fucking job. Yada yada. We knew that.

Scalia's dissent is so filled with disdain for everything, angry in a King-Kong-gets-shot-by-a-biplane kind of gorilla rage, that you just wanna hate masturbate to it. "Oh, yeah, yeah, fuck you, Tony, suck on this cultural hegemony and tell us how much it makes you wanna vomit." And then, when he starts to get pissed at Justice Alito's dissent, we're into something that veers towards camp. Well, shit, he is usually wearing a gown.
Stop right there, Rude! Do NOT esplain what is or isn't under that gown! I'm pretty tough but...

Go down fighting, Justice Scalia, you hypocritical activist judge who declares you're no activist. Flail away at the waves of progress, and when the tsunami hits, you just have to hope, piece of shit that you are, that you're a floater and not a sinker.
Sink, float, mox nix. Shit's shit.

Much more.

A fine week for total insanity

Indeed it is! If it's Thursday, I think Morford held off a day before expounding on the events of the week and the week's not over. Many links.

Then come those days when progress and humanity seem to lurch and stumble around like confused animals, where, if you have any sort of progressive inclination whatsoever, you are left feeling like you’ve been both kissed and mauled, flattered and mugged, bitch-slapped and proposed to, all while riding a burning roller coaster, on a Wednesday, drunk.

So it is that this generation’s nastiest, least compassionate Supreme Court, rigged like a poison grenade with the likes of Antonin Scalia, Sam Alito and Clarence Thomas, first slapped civil rights back a generation by invalidating a vital part of the Voting Rights Act this week, a hugely successful piece of legislation that protected minorities and the poor from getting screwed over at the polls by rich white southerners.
BTW, the acronym for Roberts, Alito, Thomas, and Scalia is RATS. Fits this court to a T.

This much we know: Any racially charged decision from SCOTUS that is both endorsed by all the conservative judges and “cheered by the South” is very bad news indeed for the American experiment going forward.
Yes, yes it is.

The good news: DOMA is dead, and Prop 8 was slapped aside, thus allowing gay marriage to resume in California – but alas, nowhere else, as the mealy-mouthed court completely sidestepped the larger issue of the overall unconstitutionality of state bans on gay marriage. Wimps.
Wimps indeed, but it's OK for now. The door to equality is now open a crack.

Already, Gov. Jerry Brown, who is proving to be all kinds of calmly fantastic for California all over again, has directed CA county clerks to start issuing marriage licenses to gay couples ASAP. Florists statewide are giddy. Wedding planners are all asqueal. Of course, fundamentalists and ultraconservatives are freaking out, endless hellfire surely awaits, but what fun we shall have on the way down, no?
¡O Si!

At last we arrive at the ultimate question: Do you feel any better? Are you (tentatively, awkwardly) celebrating any of this news? Or do you sort of feel like you’ve been mauled by a pack of friendly dogs in heat, like your wallet was just stolen while you were having sex in a dark room, like someone roofied your artisan whisky cocktail, but you don’t really mind?

I know just how you feel. So it goes with American politics, particularly when this coldly divided SCOTUS is involved: Always a little painful, always a little bit bloody, always with a razor blade or two in the apple pie.
Please, please read the rest. It's been an inspirational week in many ways. We can shit nails from the razor blades.

Quote of the Day

Democrats have a new strategy to use against their Republican opponents: Just let them speak.
Heh. Please proceed, wingnuts...

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Will The U.S. Be Able To Extradite James Clapper From Northern Virginia?


As this NSA surveillance scandal unfolds, people are following Edward Snowden's apparent attempts to evade extradition. However, I think we're losing sight of the other fugitive from justice - James Clapper. After committing the criminal offense of lying to Congress back in March, Clapper vanished into the federally administered tribal areas around Washington, DC. He is thought to be somewhere near McLean, Virginia, and continuing his role as Director of National Intelligence. Will he be caught and brought to justice?

Now legally, it seems like it should be a more straightforward matter for American authorities to seize Clapper. Unlike Ecuador, where Snowden is seeking asylum, Northern Virginia is technically a part of the United States. The same is true of other areas in and around the "Beltway zone" where Clapper could be hiding. These areas have US administrators at the federal and state level - they even use our currency. In fact, since 9/11 American funding has absolutely flooded the local economy there in an effort to buy us influence.

But as with many other US allies, we're not always sure of their loyalties. These are intensely secretive people. Simply put, we don't trust each other. They don't share our values: They don't believe in transparency or accountable governments. It's never been part of their culture, and they resent our attempts to impose our system on them. And the fact that we give them so much money creates a strange cognitive dissonance that makes these people really hard to communicate with. Here you'll find someone whose entire lifestyle is based on getting money from the US Treasury, and he will nonetheless refers to himself, seriously, as "a small-government conservative."

The bottom line, I think, is that Clapper broke our laws, and we need to force them to hand him over. Otherwise they'll never respect us. They want to take our money so they can continue to intervene in every conflict around the world, and then make cable news specials about it. But we must make it clear that there are limits.

We have to use each other, but never forget - they're just not like us. We don't want the same things, the same kind of society. And we must never, ever put them in the position where we're not monitoring what they do. There's a reason no US soldier wants to go out on a mission controlled by someone from the DC area. They know that's how you get killed. If you want to show our people we care, don't put them at the mercy of someone from inside the Beltway. Simple as that.

I hate to say it like this, but it's true: They just don't value human life the way we do.

Satire and irony are dead. Sigh.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Texass's new flag

A tip o' the Brain to Teabonics.

A distinction without a difference

What the Supreme Court Doesn’t Understand About the Voting Rights Act

Here's what they DO understand: The Red States no longer try to change the election laws simply because people are black and brown. They try to make it harder for black and brown people to vote these days because they're DEMOCRATS. The right-wing SCOTUS has done its duty. To the detriment of the nation.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Shopping Day

Gotta go to The Big City for supplies, so I'll leave you with this cheery and inspirational video via Americans Against The Tea Party, Veracity Stew, and The Political Garbage Chute.


Headline of the Day

Oh fucking swell. On the bright side, if it's seamless enough, nobody will notice.

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

California Has Restrictions That Prevent Crazy Criminals From Backing U-Haul Up to Gun Shop, Filling it With Ammunition
You have to fill out a bunch of forms to rent a U-Haul.

North Korea Calls for Senior-Level Talks With U.S.
To discuss terms of our surrender.

High Court Rules Suspects Must Speak Up if They Wish To Remain Silent
If they wish to speak, must do so silently.

High Court: Drug Companies Can Be Sued for Paying Competition Not to Sell Generic Version of Its Brand Name Drug
Ask your lawyer if suing a drug company is right for you.