Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I'm Okay

I've just been in recovery for the last week or so...

I have, as you might surmise, plenty to say on the events of the day. I'm just kicking back for a while...

-- The F Man

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Olbermann's Commentary for President's Day

Here's my media hero with his special commentary for President's Day:

Run Sarah Run and the Cambodian Genocide

Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts calls it in today's column. He really wants Sarah Palin to run for -- and win -- the Rethug nomination for prez in 2012.

He's serious about it:

Maybe you figure I think you'd be a weak candidate who would pave the way for President Obama's easy re-election.
That's not it. No, I want you to run because I believe a Palin candidacy would force upon this country a desperately needed moment of truth. It would require us to finally decide what kind of America we want to be.
Mrs. Palin, you are an avatar of the shameless hypocrisy and cognitive disconnection that have driven our politics for the last decade, a process of stupidification creeping like kudzu over our national life.
As Exhibit A, consider your recent speech at a so-called "tea party'' event, wherein you dismissed the president as a ``charismatic guy with a teleprompter.'' Bad enough you imply that teleprompter use is the mark of an insubstantial man, even though you and every other major politician uses them. But what made the comment truly jaw-dropping is that even as you spoke, you had penned on your left palm, clearly visible, a series of crib notes.
Mrs. Palin, if Obama is an idiot for reading a prepared speech off a teleprompter, what are you for reading notes you've inked on your hand like a school kid who failed to study for the big test?
In the Fox interview, you scored Obama for supposedly expecting Americans to "sit down and shut up'' and accept his policies. But when asked when the president has ever said that, you couldn't answer. Obama, you sputtered, has just been condescending with his "general persona.''
I found that a telling moment. See, ultimately what you represent is not conservatism. Heck, I suspect that somewhere, Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan are spinning like helicopter rotors at the very idea.
No, you represent the latest iteration of an anti-intellectualism that periodically rises in the American character. There is, historically and persistently, a belief in us that y'all just can't trust nobody who acts too smart or talks too good -- in other words, somebody whose "general persona'' indicates they may have once cracked a book or had a thought. Americans tend to believe common sense the exclusive province of humble folks without sheepskins on the wall or big words in their vocabularies.
It's that anti-intellectual strain in the American psyche that elbows its way to the front every now and then and turns professors into targets and smart people into defensive-posture hunkering.

It's part of the same mindset that when carried to its logical extreme caused Pol Pot to "cleanse" Cambodia of everyone who did not have honest calluses on his hands. In other words, the entire intellegentsia class was pretty much wiped out in the Cambodian genocide.

Could it happen here? Yeah I think so. I think it actually wouldn't take much to whip a mob of armed teabaggers into a lynching frenzy, to get them to storm the universities with torches and pitchforks. They are just that stupid and malleable.

So back to Leonard Pitts. There's an old saying, Leonard: Be careful what you ask for, because you might just get it...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Must Read: Religious Law Hinders Muslim Countries

Anyone who wants to see what things will be like here when our Religious Right's wet dream about taking over the US and ruling it under "god's law" needs to read this.

Matthew Hay Brown is a columnist at the Baltimore Sun, and today he turned his regular column over to Shaukat Malik, a Muslim CPA who immigrated from Pakistan.

This is a "must read" for its views on the way that countries who call themselves "Islamic Republics" have fared when their own home-grown fundos have gotten their hands on the laws of the nation:

Infusing religion and nationalism can produce a people totally obsessed with their relgious identity. Many Muslim countries are suffering from the effects of this combination.
Religion of every denomination provides us hope and solace in moments of despair. However, whenever religion becomes the rallying cry of a nation’s system of government, it can easily become a tool for suppression of minorities and result in fascist states.
Imagine the United States and Europe declaring themselves Christian republics, with orthodox Christianity of the inquisition era enforced by the state. I think the Muslims of Europe and the United States, with populations of 37 million and more than 6 million, along with the Jews would find life a living hell.
It's not just Muslim or Xian fundos. It's fundos of every stripe, and anytime, anywhere they get their hands on power they use it for evil -- masquerading in the face of good.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Lost Generation? Brilliant!

This is kind of a "reverse palindrome"... Stay with it to the end.

[HT to my very good friend Debby Pattin for this...]

TheWasilla Wonder

I just got off the phone after a lengthy time spent on hold with a department of the State of Alaska. I am frustrated.

Alaska, in case you didn't know, has a "welfare plan" (goddam socialist communist fascist motherfuckers) under which each and every permanent resident gets cash every year, based on the amount in the so-called "permanent fund" from the heady days of land-raping oil extraction on the North Slope.

So I know someone -- a relative -- who was a "permanent" resident in Alaska for the last two calendar years, but who now is an unhappy resident of a county jail nearby, and who has to stay there until the end of the year (an old DUI charge, third offense, which carries a 364-day mandatory sentence).

So I'm trying to help the kid out by getting all of his W2 forms and such so he can file his income tax. The only thing I'm missing now is the form to send in to Alaska so he can get his share of the welfare-money.

So I check out the appropriate State of Alaska website. No way to download the form. However, they do have a nifty online form. Which does me no good since HE has to fill it out. So I call the office in Juneau, stay on hold for days, and finally talk to a snippy little chick who informs me that they don't mail out the forms because it costs too much!!!

"Costs too much?" I asked.

"Yes. In a cost-cutting move instituted by our governor, we are not sending anything by mail. Postage is too high."

"Jesus, I'll pay the postage. How about you send it C.O.D.?"

"Sorry," she said, without sounding in the least sorry. "He can always file online."

"Which part of 'he's in jail' did you not understand?"

"Lots of people in jail have computer access."

"Have you ever been in jail?"

"No, not really."

"Then basically, like your ex-governor, you're talking through your ass, aren't you?"


Jeez, what a bitch! But, to put the best possible spin on that conversation, I guess the employees of the state of Alaska don't like being compared to their ex-governor, the Wasilla Wonder.

Speaking of which, Andy Ostroy over at The Ostroy Report has a brilliant take on our Sarah's appearance at the Teabag Convention:

Oh what a night! It was everything a bunch of grass-roots revolutionaries looking for a better (or is it tax-free?) America could have hoped for. Intense excitement filled the air as "The Future," former Alaska blink-of-an-eye Governor Sarah Palin, took center-stage at the cultish Tea Bag Party Convention in Nashville Saturday (haven't these poor people yet realized they've named themselves after a nadsack on the chin?).
There was absolute joy among Palin's ever-shrinking far-right-wing base when she bragged "0-for-3," referring to the three key Republican victories in recent months in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts. "How's that hope-y, change-y stuff workin' out for you?," she obnoxiously asked in that painfully annoying fake-cutesy voice.
There's more, especially where he dissects the math and finds that in reality (a foreign shore to the GOP) the count is more like 5-3 Dems.

Q and A with Thom Hartmann

Thom Hartmann is the smartest voice in talk radio, and here's a C-Span Q and A with him that, despite its length (nearly one hour) is well worth watching:

Saturday, February 06, 2010

The Full Interview

Okay, here's what purports to be the full interview between Jon Stewart and Bill Orally:

That was allegedly Part 1 of 3. You can skip Part 2 since it's a repeat of parts of Part 1, and here's a link to Part 3 since it's not readily clickable.

Okay, I'll give Stewart his props after watching the whole thing. All the time he's subtly -- and not so subtly -- mocking Bill-O the Clown, and poor Bill is so self-absorbed and puffed up with his own bullying persona that he just doesn't get it.

Friday, February 05, 2010

The So-Called "Faith-Based Iniatives Rear their Ugly Heads. Again.

A year ago President Obama stated that he would "take a look at" the Faith-Based Initiatives from a constitutional point of view and see about making some changes there as well as other places.

A year later and we're still waiting. And rightwing Xian cults are still sucking up the Federal dollars -- our tax dollars -- like it's feeding time at the pig farm.

Today the Rev. Barry Lynn, the Executive Director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State has an incisive commentary on this very issue over at the Huffington Post:

Speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast on February 4, President Barack Obama asserted that his administration has "turned the faith-based initiative around," implying that his policies represent a sharp break from past practices.
That's news to me. In fact, from where I'm sitting, the core of Obama's faith-based initiative looks pretty much identical to the deeply problematic one created by President George W. Bush. A few tweaks on the margins don't amount to real change.
One year after Obama announced his version of the faith-based office, civil rights and civil liberties groups such as mine are still fighting Bush-era battles over tax funding to religious groups that proselytize, job discrimination on religious grounds in public programs and lack of accountability. It's disheartening.
Disheartening indeed. Go ahead and read the whole thing, and be advised that the fight for religious freedom and for the First Amendment of the Constitution is ongoing and we can never relax on our laurels.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Jon Stewart on the Bill Orally Show

Is Jon Stewart slowing down? Is he not as acerbically attacky as he has been in the past.

Here's a clip from his recent appearance on the Bill Orally Clusterfox News show:

Okay, I'll grant you that it's edited and we don't see everything that's going on. I'd like to believe that the parts where Stewart tore Bill a new one ended up on the digital equivalent of the cutting room floor.

Still, I'd like to see those parts that were cut out.

How-to for a Video News Story

Here's a brilliant sendup of the typical television news story and how to do it:

You paying attention, Clusterfox?

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Turning Off Fox News

For some time now there's been a movement to get businesses who have televisions for the "pleasure" of their customers (e.g., restaurants, bars, etc.) which are routinely tuned to the Faux New Channel (aka the Clusterfox News Channel) to change the channel.

Up till now that effort has required a modicum of personal interaction, like asking the bartender or whoever to do it.

Some people shun such a personal approach. After all it could take an ugly turn, although it probably seldom does.

Anyway, the folks over Turn Off Fox have come up with an elegant solution to the problem. downloadable business cards which take the worry out of it:

As you can see, they range from the polite to the not-so-polite ("stern" is what they call the third one...)

You can either print them up on heavy stock yourself, or use one of the many inexpensive online card printing outfits to do it (I like Vista Print myself).

Oh, and while you're over there at Turn Off Fox, be sure to Take the Pledge and sign up for their email updates.