Friday, April 30, 2010

Some Not-So-Shocking Sex Statistics

From our ought-to-be-surprising-but-isn't department, here are some interesting statistics on STDs by state -- click here and then scroll down until you come to the headline that says "Top ten states ranked by rate (per 100,000) of reported STD cases: United States, 2008".

There are four columns, Rank; Primary and secondary syphilis; Chlamydia; and Gonorrhea.

Guess where the vast majority (we're talking something like seven out of ten here) of the top ten states are located. Guess where the very top state in each category is located.

Give up? In the Bible Belt:

[Thanks to Wikipedia for letting me steal the map]

Not a surprise that it's colored red, and not just because they always vote for the Rethugs. No, it's red because they are embarrassed. And well they should be.

I guess all that abstinence-only sex education really is workin' out for ya down there, wink, wink... Which reminds me, take a look at that table of stats -- Alaska is Number Two for chlamydia. Which means if you're an Alaskan female named Palin, you really ought to get yourself to a clinic.

[HT to Bay of Fundie for the link.]

Thursday, April 29, 2010

1960s Scare Video -- An Actual Commercial

This one is making the rounds amongst the wingnuttery with a shrill "See, Ronald Reagan knew the truth way back in the 1950s [sic]!" Actually it was the 1960s, but I'm not going to be picky...

"Oh, if only we'd listened to him", they cry in their shrill chicken-little voices. "We'd never be on the road to socialized medicine the way we are now!"

Jesus, people, are you really that fucking stupid? (Never mind, asked and answered already today.)

Here's the video. See what you think:

Okay, what they never mention when they forward this shit is that Ronald Reagan was a paid meat-puppet for the American Medical Association, and the commercial was made at their direction because they were opposed to ... Medicare!

And that's why, whenever your IBIL* or some other moron forwards you this with the usual frantic warnings, point them in the direction of the Teabagger Anti-Socialist Pledge and tell them to give up their Medicare or be branded a hypocrite.

And then, for good measure, you can also remind them of what their god incarnate, Joshua bar Joseph, had to say about hypocrites...

[* IBIL=Idiot Brother-in-law]

15 Ways Black People Oppress Limbaugh, Beck, et. al

Over at Alternet, Christopher Deis has a fascinating mea culpa in which he admits that white men were missing from Obama's rousing get-out-the-vote-in-2010 speech.

Which naturally prompted the snarling rabid outrage that we saw from Limpdick, the Beckistanzer, Slanthead and all the rest that Obama was a "racist" etc etc.

But in this piece Deis admits to his sins and offers up his own 15 ways he oppresses white conservatives.

1. If I join the Republican Party I will have a great advantage over my peers. I will receive funding to run against other black people. Black people who join the Republican Party are also guaranteed to be shown on TV at the Republican National Convention, and there is an excellent chance they will be asked to give a speech. Even if you can't win a single election, black Republicans have job security for life.
2. I will be placed directly behind many famous Republicans when they give speeches.
. . .
7. I know that my race is always an asset and never a liability. At will, I can play the "race card" and win any debate or dispute.
8. People of color have long dominated the evening news. We are disproportionately represented in the coverage of many types of news stories, especially those featuring reports of violent, criminal behavior. Moreover, with Barack Obama's domination of the evening news, the hyper-visibility of people of color is further encouraged in the mainstream media. To remedy this, I will do my best to support an increase in the amount of attention given to white people in the evening news and by popular culture at large.
The sobering thing about this great piece of satire is that it is sure to be taken literally by the maundering morons of the right.

How long do you think it will be until Limpy starts his "See I Told You So!" rant, rustling paper over the microphone? And for his dittohead listeners to start their sycophantic phone calls telling him how smart and wonderful and oppressed he really is.

Yes, they are that stupid.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Chip 'em, Danno!

It's a solution that is elegant in its simplicity and chilling in its effects.

Up in You-Want-Weird-I'll-Fucking-Show-You-Weird Iowa, the GOOPers vying for a spot in congress from the Third District are apparently playing a game of "I'm More of a Nazi Than You Are".

According to a news story from a local media outlet, they are stumbling all over each other coming up with even more draconian final solutions to the Mexican whoops, undocumented worker... whoops "illegal alien" problem:

“I think we should catch ’em, we should document ’em, make sure we know where they are and where they are going,” said Pat Bertroche, an Urbandale physician. “I actually support micro-chipping them. I can micro-chip my dog so I can find it. Why can’t I micro-chip an illegal?
“That’s not a popular thing to say, but it’s a lot cheaper than building a fence they can tunnel under,” Bertroche said.
. . .
Like the other candidates, Funk had disdain for using the politically correct term — undocumented workers – for people who enter the country illegally.
Calling them undocumented worker “is like calling the drug dealer an unlicensed pharmacist,” Funk said.
Jeez, the Rethug Party... Refresh my memory, isn't that the party that's screaming that the Democrats are trying to set up a totalitarian police state?

I'm just asking...

Making a Mockery of Death

This is one of those dark-humor gotta-love-it stories. An Oregon man has sold ad space on his funeral urn to PETA:

The animal rights group has paid $200 to place ads blasting KFC and dog breeders on the urns that will hold the remains of Aaron Jamison, who is dying of colon cancer.
The Springfield man offered the ad space earlier this month so his wife wouldn't be left with funeral costs.
Since then, the $800 cremation cost has been covered, and donations have helped pay some of Jamison's medical bills.
One of the PETA ads will say: "I've Kicked the Bucket — Have you? Boycott KFC." The other reads: "People who Buy Purebred Dogs Really Burn Me Up. Always Adopt."
Like I say, gotta love it.

Tea Baggers: States' Rights Yes, Individual Rights...Uh, Not So Much

A new poll out of the University of Washington (Note to Regent and Liberty: That's where they actually have real professors who teach real math and statistics classes) holds that Tea Baggers are not concerned with civil liberties:

Two-thirds of supporters of the conservative Tea Party movement believe the government should be able to tap people's phone conversations and profile people based on race or religion...
Got that? These are the people who are oh-so-fucking concerned about "Big Government" and all that mouthy crap they spout, except when it comes down to protecting the rights of "those people" -- i.e., those who are not well-off older white people.

Be sure to read the comments section on that article. A couple of examples:
Meanwhile your beloved illegal aliens murder innocent citizens, destroy their property, and attack our civil servants. When was the last time that was seen at a Tea Party? Yet progressives attack the Tea Party movement that supports the foundation of our nation. Oh a couple of things, remember progressives will progress to maturity, and old age. Then they too will be in the dilemma of seniors only wanting what they paid for all their working careers. That is if they don't contract tuberculosis which is on the rise in the state of Washington. Hmm I wonder why? So those of you out there who wish ill on the Tea Party, watch what you ask for.
. . .
People who hate folks with conservative values are sad people. The poll did not contact me I guess. I do care about civil liberties and the Constitution - all amendments. They are us really, and they protect us. BUT by being accepted by Liberal/Democrat folks means I have to sacrifice my values, then stuff it. I believe that we live in the greatest country on Earth. We are based on religious principles and free to make of our life what we can. My main sticking points with Obamunism are 1) I believe the murder of innocents to be wrong- taking any human life is not our domain. 2) I am very pro-2A and Obamunism hates the 2A and wants us unable to defend ourselves 3) Obamunism and PP give our young children sex info as early as KG in some places. Society is geared to see abortion as an "out" for mistakes. 4) Government owning business is not a good idea 5) health care reform is another word for health care takeover. I could go on forever. You get the picture. So if those values make me an evil person, so be it. I really do not care what anyone thinks. My peace is made with my Creator.
Obamunism? I'll confess that's a new one on me. But here it is in the Urban Dictionary, and you can even buy t-shirts with Obamunism logos. My favorite is the Obama logo with an integrated hammer and sickle overlay.

Justice Kennedy, You Fucked Up

SCOTUS today issued its long-awaited decision on the controversial Mojave Desert Cross.

That cross, as you will recall, was erected on public land back in the 1930s as a putative "war memorial" -- but since other religions were banned from erecting symbols of their belief along with the cross, it was nothing more than government sponsorship of Christianity.

I've commented before on this particular piece of crap. And now, with today's 5-4 split decision, the high court says that it's just fine to have it there.

Predictably the Four Fascists (Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Roberts) were in the majority, joined by sometime swing vote Kennedy:

"Here one Latin cross in the desert evokes far more than religion. It evokes thousands of small crosses in foreign fields marking the graves of Americans who fell in battles, battles whose tragedies are compounded if the fallen are forgotten," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote.
In dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens agreed that soldiers who died in battle deserve a memorial to their service. But the government "cannot lawfully do so by continued endorsement of a starkly sectarian message," Stevens said.
. . .
Kennedy, who usually is in the court's center on church-state issues, suggested there may have been no problem in the first place.
"The goal of avoiding governmental endorsement does not require eradication of all religious symbols in the public realm," Kennedy said.
Note to Kennedy: Nobody ever said it did, asshole. And evocative as it may be of all those crosses in military cemeteries, if you look closely you'll see that those crosses are joined by stars of David and other symbols of religion, and they all denote the religious beliefs of the former inhabitants of the bodies buried beneath them.

I'm glad to see that Sotomayor came down on the right side of this issue.

And this is one more reason why we'll miss John Paul Stevens.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Arizona: The 'Meth Lab' of Democracy

Here's The Daily Show's take on the Arizona question, with Wyatt Cenac "live" in Phoenix.

The Racist Roots of the Arizona Anti-Immigrant Law

Here's a clip from the Rachel Maddow show. In it she totally eviscerates the forces behind the new Arizona law. Surprise (not!) those roots are racist and neo-Nazi:

Monday, April 26, 2010

Let's Do the Time Warp Again...

Here's a mock-scary story from The Bay of Fundie:

THEY CAME FIRST for the Communists
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.
THEN THEY CAME for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.
THEN THEY CAME for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
THEN THEY CAME for the teabaggers and birthers and conspiracy theorists,
and I said “Woohoo! Round those suckers up!”
Everything is falling into place. Obama signed the executive order. The troops are being pulled out of Afghanistan and Iraq at this very moment and being prepped for internal deployment. The National Guard is about to be mobilized. Millions of vaccines and microchips are ready to be injected. Commencement is imminent!
Just go to Google Maps and type in FEMA concentration camps to find out where we’re going to keep them.
Jeez, they must be planning on rounding up and sticking away a whole lot of people, from the number of concentration camps that are identified.

The map itself was created from the list of camps on this site, and it's from way back in September 1984, and something called the REX 84, or Readiness Exercise 1984 program.

And who was the author of -- and a honcho in -- this program? None other than convicted felon and military fascist liar-under-oath, our old buddy, Ollie North...

Jeez. Le plus ça change, plus c'est la meme chose.

Book of the Week: The Sorrow of War

In 2008, when I went back to Vietnam, I bought a copy of The Sorrow of War by former North Vietnam soldier Bao Ninh.

You can read my full review of the book here. But suffice it to say that I called it an astonishingly honest and brutal depiction of the tragedy of a North Vietnam soldier desensitized to his own humanity after ten years at war. I also called it the All Quiet on the Western Front of the Vietnam War.

I've seen no reason since then to change my opinion. It's still a "must read".

Sunday, April 25, 2010

What If the Teabaggers Were Black?

Here's a absolutely brilliant analysis of that very question by Tim Wise.

Imagine that hundreds of black protesters were to descend upon Washington DC and Northern Virginia, just a few miles from the Capitol and White House, armed with AK-47s, assorted handguns, and ammunition. And imagine that some of these protesters —the black protesters — spoke of the need for political revolution, and possibly even armed conflict in the event that laws they didn’t like were enforced by the government? Would these protester — these black protesters with guns — be seen as brave defenders of the Second Amendment, or would they be viewed by most whites as a danger to the republic? What if they were Arab-Americans? Because, after all, that’s what happened recently when white gun enthusiasts descended upon the nation’s capital, arms in hand, and verbally announced their readiness to make war on the country’s political leaders if the need arose.
Imagine that white members of Congress, while walking to work, were surrounded by thousands of angry black people, one of whom proceeded to spit on one of those congressmen for not voting the way the black demonstrators desired. Would the protesters be seen as merely patriotic Americans voicing their opinions, or as an angry, potentially violent, and even insurrectionary mob? After all, this is what white Tea Party protesters did recently in Washington.
Imagine that a rap artist were to say, in reference to a white president: “He’s a piece of shit and I told him to suck on my machine gun.” Because that’s what rocker Ted Nugent said recently about President Obama.
. . .
Imagine that a popular black liberal website posted comments about the daughter of a white president, calling her “typical redneck trash,” or a “whore” whose mother entertains her by “making monkey sounds.” After all that’s comparable to what conservatives posted about Malia Obama on last year, when they referred to her as “ghetto trash.”
Imagine that black protesters at a large political rally were walking around with signs calling for the lynching of their congressional enemies. Because that’s what white conservatives did last year, in reference to Democratic party leaders in Congress.
In other words, imagine that even one-third of the anger and vitriol currently being hurled at President Obama, by folks who are almost exclusively white, were being aimed, instead, at a white president, by people of color. How many whites viewing the anger, the hatred, the contempt for that white president would then wax eloquent about free speech, and the glories of democracy? And how many would be calling for further crackdowns on thuggish behavior, and investigations into the radical agendas of those same people of color?
There's a lot more to this trenchant and troubling analysis, so be sure to read the whole thing

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Would Barry Goldwater Be Welcomed into Today's GOP?

Given this quotation from a Goldwater speech on the Senate floor in 1981, I would say not:

On religious issues there can be little or no compromise. There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God's name on one's behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both.
I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in "A," "B," "C" and "D." Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me?
And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of "conservatism."
Wow. I've often said that today's "conservatives" would hate Barry Goldwater for his comments about gays in the military, and now this...

By the way, he was also prompted, by Jerry Falwell's opposition to Ronald Reagan's appointment of Sandra Day O'Connor to the US Supreme Court, to comment, "I think every good Christian ought to kick Falwell right in the ass."

Like I say, no Rethug Party for Barry Goldwater. Too honest, too straightforward, too outspoken, too independent, too small-d-democratic and especially too anti-fundo-religious.

* * * * *
[HT to The Truffle for bringing the first quote to light.]

Friday, April 23, 2010

Velcome to Arizona. May I Plizz See Yur Paperz?

The governor of Arizona this afternoon signed into law an onerous and racist anti-immigration bill that will, among other things, institutionalize physical profiling and demand that everyone (okay, not everyone... everybody knows that the cops will hassle only Hispanic-appearing individuals) be able to produce his "papers" to "prove" that he is a US citizen.

Yeah, like I would be able to do that? Who the fuck carries around a birth certificate (which, as it turns out, really isn't proof of anything) or a passport?

Nevertheless, the intellectual geniuses in the Arizona legislature apparently feel, like US Rep Brian Bilbray, that you can only tell. By their attire!!!

Yeah, I guess if Jose and Maria are walking around with a couple of "I Am Stupid" and "I'm With Stupid" t-shirts, that would be a clear sign... Jesus, gimme a fuckin' break already.

It wouldn't surprise me if a lawsuit had been filed 30 seconds after the goobernator's signature on that racist piece of shit. Jeez, even Huckleberry says it'll be a bonanza for trial attorneys.

I can't imagine a more stupid law for law enforcement to try to enforce. And enforce they will, since there's a provision in this totally stupid piece of shit legislation for private citizens(!) to fucking sue law enforcement if, in the view of the "private citizen", a particular law enforcement officer doesn't show enough zeal in enforcing the law.

Jesus, no wonder police chiefs and law enforcement organizations all over the country have come out in opposition to this piece of shit legislation.

I used to live in Arizona, and I deplore this crap. I did at one time have aspirations to retire there, where I could take advantage of the climate and the sunshine, but I will never do that now, not as long as they think that this kind of legislation is what they ought to do.

It is racist. It is fascist. It is unnecessary. And, one can only hope, that it will be declared unconstitutional, once the lawsuits manage to wend their way through the sausage grinder that is the American court system.

But, given the current makeup of the court, it's not a slam-dunk that it will rule the correct way.

This'll bear watching.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Texas School Book Suppository

Whatever happened to Thomas Jefferson?

That's the question Texas school children might be asking as soon as next year, after the "new and improved" social studies and American history curriculum worms its way into the educational muscle tissue. A generation from now, students could be asking, "Who was Thomas Jefferson?"

How did this happen? An agenda-driven gang of neocon Religious Right infiltrators managed to get themselves elected to the Texas State School Board and with the power of majority working for them, have completely revised education standards in the Lone Star State. Newsweek magazine calls it the "Texas Curriculum Massacre".

Now the "Judeo-Christian heritage" of the Founding Fathers will be taught, but not the philosophy behind the First Amendment's separation of church and state. Thomas Jefferson will be demoted, at the same time elevating other such noted historical figures as Donald Duncan, the putative inventor of … the yo-yo!

The philosophical underpinnings of the American Revolution found in the Enlightenment will be erased, to be replaced by theological maunderings of Thomas Aquinas: "For the knowledge of any truth whatsoever man needs divine help, that the intellect may be moved by God to its act."

Civil Rights? It was responsible for "unrealistic expectations of equal outcomes" among minorities.

Evolution? Trashed in favor of "Intelligent Design", which is really just basic Bible-based creationism dressed up for polite society.

Out: Thurgood Marshall and Cesar Chavez, the Ralph Nader and Ross Perot presidential campaigns.

In: Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, Puritan theologian John Calvin, and the anti-feminist Eagle Forum.

The New Deal? Inarguably Socialist, if not downright Communist, refusing to adhere to our revered "free market" system. It will be de-emphasized in favor of pushing the neocon insurgence of the 1980s and 1990s, the Heritage Foundation, conservative gadfly Phyllis Schlafly, Newt Gingrich's Contract on with America, Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority and the National Rifle Association.

The National Rifle Association? Phyllis Schlafly? Really?!!

Remember what George Orwell said in his classic 1984: Those who control the past control the future. Winston Smith, the antihero of the book, worked in something called the Ministry of Truth, which in true Orwellian nomenclature, actually dealt in lies. Whenever The Party needed something in the past changed to match its current policies, Smith's job was to remove the event from newspapers, magazines, encyclopedias, etc., and stick it down The Memory Hole.

And that is what is exactly what is happening in Texas today.

Can it happen in your school? Sadly, yes. Everyone, no matter where you live, needs to pay attention. Attend your local school board meetings and speak up for the progressive values that you hold dear.

Smack! Take That, Megyn Kelly!

One of the Clusterfox News resident bubble-headed blonde cheerleaders, Megyn Kelly, a noted "constitutional scholar", gets her lunch handed to her by Rev. Barry Lynn, the Executive Director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State over the Judge Crabb National Day of Prayer decision:

Or maybe I should have said that Barry bitch-slapped her. But I happen to know Barry personally (yeah, I know, "name dropper") and that is terminology that he would never use.

But I can and he did. He did bitch-slap her. Big time. I just wish that more progressives would do it when they get roped into appearing on Faux News.

In the meantime, way to go, Barry!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Turning 65 (?!)

Today is my 65th birthday. Which means I am now officially in my dotage. How the fuck did that happen? I can remember when we didn't trust anybody over 30.

But I don't feel 65 and I don't think that I look 65 (actually when I look in a mirror, I still see that 28-year-old stud looking back at me...).

So I will pass on a couple of bits of wisdom to you all, since I am now free to do that (being a "senior citizen" and all).

  1. Inside every old person is a young person wondering, "How the hell did I get here?"
  2. The purpose of life's journey is not to arrive sedately at the grave with a well-preserved body and a respectable reputation, but instead to slide in sideways at 90 MPH, a bottle of beer in one hand and a joint of Acapulco Gold in the other, completely used up and worn out, yelling, "Holy shit, what a fuckin' ride!"
Thus sayeth The F-Man.

So, after a hearty breakfast of Cocoa-Puffs and vodka (a "Crunchy Russian"), I may be taking a couple of days off to party with drinks like tequila-and-Pepto-Bismol (a "Tequila Foodrise"), and vodka-and-Geritol* (a "Tired Bloody Mary").

But now that I am 65, I have something to say to the Obama Administration: "No socialized medicine AND keep your hands off my Medicare!" Oh, how quickly we can change, once we get old...

[* Geritol, for the youngsters in the audience, was touted in the 1950s and earlier as the cure for something called "tired blood". Since it was something like 12% alcohol, that wasn't all that it cured...]

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Oh, Those Wacky Teabaggers!

Here's New Left Media's Chase Whiteside with cameraman Erick Stoll and some "man on the mall" interviews with a few of those irrepressibly wacky teabaggers on April 15 at the National Mall:

Jeez, you're left wondering Are these people for real? Yeah, sad to say they are.

The only thing worse than not voting is voting the party line without thinking. And that's what these people are obviously doing. They listen to the propaganda arm of the Rethug Party (aka Clusterfox News) and believe every fucking thing they hear!

Watch for the praise of the Beckistanzer, Billo, Slanthead et al. about 3/4 of the way along.

Scary shit.

The Captain Cook Question: An Absolutely True Sarah Palin Anecdote

 This really happened:

Sarah Palin was chatting with some fans after one of her book signings when she met a psychiatrist. While she was talking with him, she asked what is probably a fairly common question that psychiatrists must get a lot.

"Would you mind telling me, Doctor," she asked, "how you detect a mental deficiency in somebody who appears completely normal?"

"Nothing is easier," he replied. "You ask a simple question which anyone should answer with no trouble. If the person hesitates, that puts you on the track."

"What sort of question?" asked Sarah.

"Well, for example, you might say, 'Captain Cook made three trips around the world and died during one of them. Which one?'"

Sarah thought a moment, and then said with a nervous laugh, "You wouldn't happen to have another example would you? I must confess I don't know much about history..."

Okay, maybe it didn't really, actually, happen, but does anyone have a problem believing that it could have? Spread the word. This one has as much potential as the Dan Quayle story about his upcoming trip: "If I'd have known I was going to go to Latin America, I'd have paid more attention in Latin class." That of course was not true also, but since it sounded so much like something he might say, it developed legs of its own.

BTW, amonst the wingnuttery, the Captain Cook Question that is currently making the rounds is attached to Nancy Pelosi, but as Snopes points out it's been around for many years.

Adam Savage & Food for the Eagle

For those of you who, like me, watch the Discovery Channel's MythBusters, here is a rare treat. It's co-host Adam Savage's speech to the Harvard Humanist Society:

Prayer doesn't work because someone out there is listening, it works because someone in here is listening. I've paid attention. I've pictured what I want to happen in my life. I've meditated extensively on my family, my future, my past actions and what did and didn't work for me about them. I've looked hard at problems and thought hard about their solutions.
See, I order my life by the same mechanism that I use to build things. I cannot proceed to move tools around in the real world until my brain has a clear picture in it of what I'm building. The same goes for my life. I've tried to pay attention. I've tried to picture the way I want things to be, and I've noticed that when I had a clear picture, things often turned out the way I wanted them to.
I've concluded by this that someone is paying attention—I've concluded that it's me. I've noticed that if I'm paying attention to those around me, to myself, to my surroundings, then that is the very definition of empathy. I've noticed that when I pay attention, I'm less selfish, I'm happier—and that the inverse holds true as well. 
There's a lot more, so drop by and read the whole thing. I wish I could have been there that night. The third paragraph reminds me of the scene in the film The Ruling Class in which paranoid schizophrenic nobleman Wacked Out Jack, played by Peter O'Toole, believes that he is god:
"How do you know you're God?" his aunt asks.
"Simple," Jack answers. "When I pray to Him, I find I am talking to myself."

Monday, April 19, 2010

Fifteen Years After

Oklahoma City was the bomb heard round the world, an event that forever informed us that our enemies were not only abroad, but they could also be home-grown.

Ten years ago the Daily Oklahoman published a moving editorial on the event, and they revised and updated for the 15-year anniversary:

Moving imperceptibly from east to west, the morning sun on April 19, 1995, crossed the 200 block of NW 5. A shadow darted out of harm’s way. Clocks advanced from 9:01 to 9:02, Central Daylight Time.
A moment in time. A moment of eternity.
Lives were brutally stolen in that moment. The lives of hundreds of others were forever changed. A young city aged quickly and visibly, showing lines from worry and despair but also the resilience that the pioneers tapped to survive harsh weather and gutting poverty.
No crop failure or natural disaster, so frequent in these parts, made April 19 a date that will live in infamy. Instead, it was a calculated act of terror arising from one man’s desire for revenge. He spent that moment in time getting away, unwilling to endure or even witness the horror he had wrought.
When Oklahoma City joined Beirut and Tel Aviv and London as a locus of terrorism, outsiders were quick to note our "mature” response to the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing -- as if a city so relatively small, so relatively insignificant on the world stage, should not be expected to cope or recover.
Insiders were too busy to think about it.
Minute by minute, we trucked out the rubble and carried out the dead, identified them and released them to their families. We shared their pain but could not possibly share their loss. We began to rebuild and we argued over how best to compensate survivors and whether Timothy McVeigh should be executed or left to wallow in his vitriol until a natural death spoke his name.
On this April 19, nearly 8 million minutes will have passed since that moment McVeigh’s fuse reached the explosives. The sun moving across the 200 block of NW 5 no longer illumines a government office building. It floods a field of green planted with sculpted chairs in place of 168 lives and all the memories they made and all the potential that died with them.
Go ahead and read the whole thing. We need to keep in our sensory-overloaded and wingnut-propaganda-bemused minds that certain individuals in this country actually celebrate April 19th (and no, Crazy Michele, it's not the Democrats). And no, they are not vague "furriners" with "furrin-soundin'" names. They are homegrown American Hatriots who are ready, willing and able to kill their "enemies", which, when it comes down to it, turn out to be police officers, National Guardsmen and firefighters.

I never thought I'd agree again (I mean twice in one lifetime? Come on!) with the John Birch Society, but they were famous for their "Support Your Local Police" program, complete with pins and bumperstickers.

Now I find I am in total agreement with that particular sentiment.

Jeez, who'da thunk it? But ... things change, times change, people change.

'No Pubic Option'

I know, I know, the poor teabaggers have been whipped enough. I feel bad for them...

Nawww, not really. Here's another one of my favorite photos of some semi-literate knuckledraggers and their sign.

From the looks of them, those gals haven't had the pubic option in years...

I "borrored" this photo from the gallery of of Misspelled, Illogical and Moronic Protest Signs. [HT to The New York Crank for the link.]

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Speaking of Symbolism...

Anyone want to hazard a guess as to what this particular flag represents:

Give up? This, believe it or not, was the design for the very first "Secessionist Flag" flown in South Carolina in December 1860.

After the flag had been flown for a while and was under consideration for adoption as the National Flag of the Confederacy, a fellow named Charles Moise, a self-described "Southerner of Jewish persuasion", complained that "the symbol of a particular religion not be made the symbol of the nation."

Moishe was complaining, of course, not only about the crescent moon but also the cross. In an amazing-to-our-eyes concession, the flag committee removed the crescent moon and the palmetto, turned the cross from up and down to an "X" shape, and thus was born the Confederate Battle Flag that is causing so much distress in the Solid South:

Many people confuse the Battle Flag as being the National Flag of the Confederacy. Not true. The National Flag was the classic "Stars and Bars"

At the First Battle of Manassas, there was too much confusion on both sides since from a distance the confederate flag looked too much like the US flag, the "Stars and Stripes", which necessitated a different design for the battle flag.

So anyway, back to the point of all of this. If that first flag were being proposed today, the Religious Right would attack it for promoting Islam, Non-Christians would attack it for promoting Christianity, and poor little Charlie Moise, if he survived the attacks on him personally, would probably make a fortune hitting the talk-show circuit.

See more at Flags of the Confederate States

Jon Stewart: A Farewell to Arms

In case you didn't see this on The Daily Show, here's Jon Stewart's take on the similarities of the nuclear summit logo and ... gasp! ... the crescent moon of the scimitar-wielding jihad-pushing no-pants-wearing Islamofascists!:

This Week's 'Book of the Week': Blackwater

What with Blackwater being in the news this week, I thought it a good time to present Jeffrey Scahill's Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army.

You can read my full review of the book from back in 2008. I called it a "must read" back then, and it's still in that category. Very highly recommended.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Republican Hypocrisy and the State Attorneys General

In the state of Washington where I live, we happily enjoy a pretty comfortable Democratic majority. Both of our US Senators are Democrats, six out of nine US Representatives are Democrats, and all but one of the statewide elective office holders are Democrats.

All but one. And that one happens to be our Attorney General, one Rob McKenna, who injudiciously jumped onto that GOP thug bandwagon to sue over the constitutionality of the new Health Care Law.

That inspired a firestorm of letters to the editor of my local rag, The Daily Olympian (aka the "Daily O" aka the "Daily Zero") and up to now they've seemed pretty lopsided in favor of McKenna's decision. I was surprised -- I wouldn't have guessed that so many teabaggers could actually write a declarative sentence.

And this whole thing was compounded today when a self-estimated crowd of 2,000 to 4,000 (a state patrolman had a more reasonable estimate of 850; promoters of these things, especially of the teabagger variety, are prone to much exaggeration) teabaggers showed up on the Capitol steps to support McKenna.

So, as I say, the letters to the editor column has been top heavy with  "McKenna Speaks for Me" opinions, so it was time for them to hear from the other side. I wrote the following letter to the editor (and I'm sure it will be received with the same "oh, it's HIM again" response when the editorial page editor gets it -- he and I had an argument a few years ago that I'm sure he hasn't yet forgotten...)

You don't speak for me Mr Attorney General. You are engaging in a patently pathetic attempt to grandstand your own political aspirations by climbing onto the ridiculous GOP constitutionality-bandwagon attack on the new Health Care law.
I've got some news for you and those teabaggers who cluttered up the steps of the people's Capitol on April 17th: There is nothing in this new law that can be called "liberal" or even "centrist".
It is, in fact, almost exactly the same plan as put forth by Republican Senator John Chaffee as an alternative to the Clinton Health Care proposal nearly 20 years ago, and it was first outlined by the ultra-conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation.
All of this proves that the Republican Party really is the "party of no" and it is perfectly willing to turn on itself and its own ideas, if it can attack the Democrats by doing so.
And those surveys that attempt to show that a majority of Americans are opposed to the Health Care law? Those figures also include people like me who opposed it because it did not go far enough.
But it is a step in the right direction and people like Rob McKenna and his fellow Republican thugs need to just get out of the way – after all, hasn't it been a long-time Republican rallying cry aimed at trial lawyers, Stop Frivolous Lawsuits?
Well, this is one and it's a black eye for the state of Washington. Just stop it.
Any of my readers who live in one of the 14 states whose chief law enforcement officer has joined in this frivolous lawsuit, please feel free to copy this letter, change what you need to so it will be localized, and send it to your own newspapers.

Oh, and if you need the source for that claim, here it is, thanks to the always-valuable Firedoglake.

Glee and Sarah Palin

I don't watch the new television series Glee, but after what happened this week I might just have to start.

Conservatives have got their panties in a bunch over what was essentially a throw-away line on last Tuesday's episode.

A woman who is apparently the cheer squad coach is talking to a couple of her cheerleaders and says, "You may be two of the stupidest teens I've ever encountered. And that's saying something. I once taught a cheerleading seminar to a young Sarah Palin."

And that was it. So naturally what does the wingnuttery do? It goes batshit crazy over it.

Crooks and Liars has the show clip along with some comments on it from LA Times columnist Patrick Goldstein:

Glee" was already in hot water with the right wing, since the show's creator, Ryan Murphy, had in previous episodes made fun of abstinence education and, as Newsbusters puts it, "tried to normalize teen homosexuality." Apparently on the right, treating gay kids as regular folks, instead of as scary deviants, is cause for alarm.
Not to be outdone, over at Andrew Breitbart's Big Hollywood website, John Nolte has also weighed in with his usual light touch, claiming that the Palin gag was part of a concerted liberal effort to mesmerize your children with lefty propaganda. Here's his not-quite-so-entirely levelheaded take:
    "Glee" is millions of dollars of sound and fury aimed squarely at your children. And as we can now see, the creators are all about getting between you and your kids with their political and social agendas. They know Palin is a growing political force and nothing's off the table when it comes to marginalizing her -- even at the expense of their own show's entertainment value -- even at the expense of audience share.
Sarah Palin, the rightwing's gift that keeps on giving.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Day of Prayer Unconstitutional

A Federal district court in Wisconsin has issued a ruling in a suit brought by the Madison-based Freedom From Religion Foundation that strikes down as unconstitutional a federal law mandating a National Day of Prayer.

It violates the separation of church and state, Judge Barbara Crabb said in a decision handed down yesterday:

... the sole purpose of the federal law "is to encourage all citizens to engage in prayer, an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function in this context. In this instance, the government has taken sides on a matter that must be left to individual conscience."
And Barry Lynn, the Executive Director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said:
"This decision is a tremendous victory for religious liberty. Congress has no business telling Americans when or how to pray. The Constitution forbids the government to meddle in religious matters,” Lynn continued. "Decisions about worship should be made by individuals without direction from elected officials. That’s what freedom is all about."
I had just about given up on being able to do anything about the National Day of Prayer. What a great gift has been handed to me and the rest of the "separation community".

Now watch the Religious Right and the Tea Bagging Über Patriots throw the ape shit against the fan over this one...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mormon Theology?

Didja ever wonder (jeez, am I really starting to sound like Andy Rooney...?) what Mormon theology was all about? Have you fallen into the trap of thinking -- as the Mormon apologists and propagandists want you to -- that it's all just some kind of vaguely-weird-but-not-really offshoot of "regular" christianity? That they really believe basically the same things as all the other religions in the Judeo-Christian tradition?

Well, guess again. Here's a short video that will get you up to speed on what they really believe, and then you can tell me where it intersects with traditional Xian theology.

BTW, the narrator isn't identified, but I'd swear that's Jack "just-the-facts-ma'am" Webb I'm hearing.

[Update: I had to remove the embedded video since I couldn't figure out a way to keep it from playing automatically. You can still watch it at the link.]

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

When Even Tom Coburn Says You're a Liar...

... then it might just be true. Tom Coburn??? I mean really, you've got your own soldier fragging you. Give me a break.

We're talking about the new Health Care bill and whether the IRS is going to hire some sixteen thousand gunslingers to enforce it. If you watch Faux News, you know that it's a verified fact, don't you now?

Crooks and Liars has the story on Coburn, and it's not a pretty one for Faux News:

A woman at a town hall meeting was frightened that the IRS would come in and lock her up if she didn't buy health insurance. Coburn told her that she shouldn't be listening to Fox News because he knew that they were helping push along that lie. [Emphasis added]
So let's take a step back and ask what about the facts of that assertion? Here's's take on it. And what does Clusterfox News do about it?

They lie.

And not only do they lie, they get their big guns on it. No lesser a personality than Bill Orally himself says that "Nobody [at Faux News] ever said that you'll go to jail if you don't buy health insurance."

Wrong, as this followup story, also from Crooks and Liars illustrates:
Evidently, Bill O'Reilly's idea of defending his network's journalistic honor is to lie blatantly -- not just to his national TV audience, but to a U.S. Senator to boot.
Last night on his Fox News show, BillO -- incensed by Sen. Tom Coburn's suggestion that Fox News' coverage of the health-care debate was misleading and biased -- tried to claim that no one on Fox had ever suggested that you'll get thrown in jail if you don't buy health insurance.
O'Reilly claimed it three times in the course of the interview, each time with escalating falsity, culminating with the claim that his staff had carefully researched the question and found that no one at Fox had ever said it.
Oh really? Because as you can see, we have the video that demonstrates clearly otherwise.
Glenn Beck, as a matter of fact, said it on his own Fox News show -- and he said it on Bill O'Reilly's program too, directly to O'Reilly's face. And O'Reilly made a joke about it.
Nor was Beck alone among Fox anchors saying it.
Jesus, who woulda thunk it, a nationally-available cable network dedicated solely and uniformly to furthering the propaganda of the Republican Party.

Poor Tom Coburn. I'm sure that by now he's been slapped around by his overlords in the Party, and he won't make that mistake again... But it's fun when someone in the Inner Party slips and blurts out the inconvenient facts, isn't it?

Fascism in America: Do We Still Have to Worry?

As Sinclair Lewis wrote about in It Can't Happen Here, published way back in 1935, we all have been conditioned to think that we don't have to worry about Fascism in America.

Noam Chomsky says otherwise. In an article by Matthew Rothschild on The Progressive website, Chomsky, described as "the leading leftwing intellectual", has this to say:

"I’m just old enough to have heard a number of Hitler’s speeches on the radio ... and I have a memory of the texture and the tone of the cheering mobs, and I have the dread sense of the dark clouds of fascism gathering" here at home.
“The [current] level of anger and fear is like nothing I can compare in my lifetime,” he said.
He cited a statistic from a recent poll showing that half the unaffiliated voters say the average tea party member is closer to them than anyone else.
“Ridiculing the tea party shenanigans is a serious error,” Chomsky said.
Chomsky invoked Germany during the Weimar Republic, and drew a parallel between it and the United States. “The Weimar Republic was the peak of Western civilization and was regarded as a model of democracy,” he said.
And he stressed how quickly things deteriorated there.
“In 1928 the Nazis had less than 2 percent of the vote,” he said. “Two years later, millions supported them. The public got tired of the incessant wrangling, and the service to the powerful, and the failure of those in power to deal with their grievances.”
He said the German people were susceptible to appeals about “the greatness of the nation, and defending it against threats, and carrying out the will of eternal providence.”
There's a lot more so go read the whole thing. As a student of history, I've felt for a long time that there have been some eerie parallels between 21st Century America and the Weimar Republic, the collapse of which ushered in the Nazi era (BTW, for an excellent movie about that era, see Cabaret).

But I kind of hoped that all that would have gone away after the smashing defeat of Bushco & Friends in the 2008 election. But I was wrong about a lot of the change that I had hoped for, and in some very basic ways Obama has been a disappointment to me.

But then I'm a leftwing atheist nutjob who thinks that socialism is just dandy, so what do I know?

Well, I do know this: I'll be one of the first ones lined up against the wall with a blindfold and a cigarette. And when that happens, I hope I still have the presence of mind to refuse the cigarette: "No, thanks, I'm trying to quit."

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Oklahoma Militia???

In this week's WTF moment, I see that the "sovereign state" (an oxymoron since the Civil War) state of Oklahoma has now proposed that it establish its own "militia" to fight back against the scourge of creeping Communo-Fascisto-Socialisto-Obamanationo-Federalism.

At the risk of repeating myself, What the Fuck???

Longtime readers of this blog know that I grew up in rural Oklahoma, and that it was a different state back then. But, it being the Bible Belt and all, it didn't take for the Rethugs to capitalize on the nascent knee-jerk conservatism coupled with a not-so-sub-rosa inherent racism among the newly-disaffected white majority (see Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Southern Strategy) so I tend to watch for stories about my "home" state.

It used to be that I really wouldn't be surprised by anything coming out of that place.  I mean really, Tom Coburn? James Inhofe? Anti-gay-rights-political bigot politician Sally Kern? The "Oklahoma Version" of the Ten Commandments?

But doesn't this kind of go beyond the pale? States already have militias. They are called The National Guard and they are under the control of the governor of each state in which they exist. Which is all of them.
So what is really going on here?

Two words: Tea Baggers Party. These fuckers are getting so much traction in the trailer-park states that they now feel that they are capable of forming their own private militia.

In Oklahoma, for crissakes, which is coming up on the 15th anniversary of the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City by a home-grown "militia" type.

What better way to honor the 168 lives that were snuffed out -- including 19 children under the age of six! -- than forming a home-grown militia with the idea of "resisting" the encroachment of that horrible Federalism.

Jesus, just fucking GROW UP, you bunch of Confederate-army-wannabes. You are an embarrassment to the rest of society, i.e., the civilized part.

I can just picture this bunch of two-toothed gene-pool-recessive IQ-stifled emotionally-stunted congenital syphlitics trying to gas up their militia vehicles (i.e., beater pickups still not paid for) with traditional Oklahoma credit cards.

Try not to inhale too much, fellas. You're already brain damaged...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Something New: The Book of the Week

As you can see from the new section in the left column, I've decided to add something new to One Pissed Off Veteran: An association with

The way it works is this: If you use the Amazon search box to find something you want to buy on, Amazon will send me a few pennies on your purchase.

It isn't much, but I'm hoping it will be enough to keep me in beer and skittles.

I also intend to feature a "Book of the Week". These will be books, either non-fiction or fiction, that I think my readers would appreciate and learn something from.

The first Book of the Week is The Price of Right: How the Conservative Agenda Has Failed America (and Always Will) by my friend Alicia Morgan, and it is the Progressive Primer first reviewed by me back in 2008. It would make a terrific gift for that IBIL* of yours, or for any of your friends who need some basic knowledge in modern Progressive thought.

[*IBIL= Idiot Brother-In-Law]

Obama's Next Supreme Court Nominee

My homegirl Alicia over at Last Left Turn Before Hooterville nails it:

Anita Hill!!!

Is that perfect or what?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Democratic Party County Convention

I attended my county convention today. Given that it is an off-year election and there's not a whole lot to fire up the Democrats -- unlike two years ago when it was a running gunfight between the Clinton and Obama supporters.

So there weren't a whole lot of people there, and there was nothing like the classic 2004 "floor fight" over the platform that kept us there until after 8:00 PM(!)

This year we have an open congressional seat in this district, so the three Dems who are going to be duking it out in the primary spoke, plus there's an open seat in my legislative district with five Dems grappling over the seat, which made the convention a little more lively that it could have been.

All politics is local, and this year, brief.

My legislative district was authorized 33 delegates to the state convention, and those slots were all filled by "volunteers" (including a couple who had to be cajoled into it), so there wasn't the politicking and jockeying and speechifying and angst that usually accompanies the voting for delegate selection.

And, of course, I'm once again a delegate to the Democratic State Convention.

And the Winner Is...

Faux News is the final winner in the Bracket of Evil playoffs I've been linking to for the last few weeks.

Congratulations to the assholes at Clusterfox both in front of and behind the camera, for an unmatchable job of putting America Last and being the official propaganda arm of the Rethug  Party.

Those of you who voted -- and even those who didn't -- now take the next step, the 30-Day deFox Challenge.

Send a note on the handy form to your legislators and tell them to avoid appearing on Fox News for the next 30 days.

Note: Side effects of the 30 Day DeFox may include: breakout of clarity, spreading of rationality, fits of rationalization, tolerance of others, lowered blood pressure, suppressed bloodlust, breakout of truth, analytical seepage, extra energy, faith in your fellow man, more enjoyment of things around you, reduced mockery, and/or loss of irritability.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

An Insult to Dunces

Over at what used to be called "America's Newspaper of Record" things have certainly gone downhill and slid to the right over the last couple of decades. But not so far that they've gotten rid of everyone with a brain. Not yet anyway.

Here's the New York Times' Gail Collins with a piece entitled "A Confederacy of Dunces":

April is the cruelest month. Or, if you live in Virginia, Confederate History Month.
The state is buzzing over Gov. Bob McDonnell’s proclamation urging citizens to spend the month recalling Virginia’s days as a member of the Confederate States of America. Although since McDonnell had previously turned April over to child abuse prevention, organ donation and financial literacy, perhaps it was O.K. to just pick your favorite.
The original Confederate History proclamation was a miracle of obfuscation. It did not even mention slavery. On Wednesday, the governor apologized for that and said that slavery “has left a stain on the soul of this state and nation.”
People, what’s our bottom line here. The governor of Virginia has decided to bring slavery into his overview of the history of the Confederacy. Good news, or is this setting the bar a wee bit too low?
There's more to this and it's well worth the read. As those old-timers who provided comic relief in old B&W movies used to say, "The South will rise again!"

The shenanigans going on in Virginia are an insult to dunces everywhere. I'm reminded of the old joke wherein a guy goes into a bar and starts denouncing all lawyers as assholes. A guy at the end of the bar says "I resent that!"
"Why? Are you a lawyer?" the first guy fires back.
"No. I'm an asshole."

That title, BTW, adorns one of my all-time favorite books, A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, whose tragic suicide predated the publication of his book by some 11 years.

A Confederacy of Dunces. Get it and read it -- it is absolutely terrific.

And, just to wrap things up, the phrase itself comes from another of my favorite writers, Jonathan Swift: "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him."

Batshit Crazy Isn't Good Enough

No, it isn't when you are describing professional Catholic and fulltime cretin George Neumayr when he's acting as chief apologist for Il Papa, Pope Ratzo "Eggs" Benedict and his refusal to acknowledge the overwhelming evidence of child abuse among the church's priesthood:

Since when have secularists and dissenting Catholics been experts on the protection of children? These self-appointed reformers of the Catholic Church preside over a debased culture that abuses, aborts and corrupts children. That a reckless and depraved liberal elite would set itself up as moral tutor to Pope Benedict XVI is beyond satire.
Here we had on display during Holy Week the spectacle of the Vicar of Christ receiving moral instruction from Barabbas. Who turns orphans over to homosexual couples at adoption agencies? Who sends Planned Parenthood propagandists into schools? Who clears the streets of major cities for "gay-pride" parades with the North American Man/Boy Love Association in tow? It is the liberal elite who champion these child-corrupting practices. And wasn't it just last year that these enlightened protectors of children assembled at the golden coffin of Michael Jackson to pay their last respects? Where was the outrage about child corruption then?
Jesus, George, if you got something to say, come out and say it; don't beat around the bush about it. What happened, did someone put amphetamines into your sacramental chalice? You might also try to spew a couple more broadsides since I don't think you managed to give ricochet wounds to the Boy Scouts, the Mormons, or the Rosicrucians yet.

And, as far as Pope Ratzo is concerned, take a gander at this:

[HT to Bartcop for the image and the link.]

The Youngest Farnsworth

Presenting the newest member of the Farnsworth clan, my great-grandson Adan Ismael Avalos-Bazan, born April 5, 2008:

She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed says he kind of looks like his g-grandfather in that one. I don't know why she would say something like that...

And here he is with big sister Alianna and proud father, Alfredo:

I Think Grampaw Has Lost It - Call 9-1-1

Here's Jon Stewart's hilarious sendup of Grampaw McCain's flip-flops, lies and what could be incipient senility:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Say Anything
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorHealth Care Reform

The latest McCain goofaw was, of course, his "I'm not a maverick" statement to Newsweek Magazine a few days ago. Stewart leaves no laugh unturned in dissecting the shady world of high finance of the soul.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

'Get Over It'

Remember back in 2001, starting in mid-December of the year before and continuing on for most of the year what the so-called "conservatives" told us?

They ran the same litany four years later when once again we had a legitimate gripe.

"Get over it!" they'd tell us. "Bush is president and there's not a damn thing you can do about it."

Turns out that they were right, to the tune of 4375 American deaths, 31,000+ wounded, a million Iraqi dead and uncountable trillions of our tax dollars disappearing down an infinite number of ratholes.

Guess what. Now it's our turn. Barack Obama is president. Get over it.

Jeez, that felt good.

For more on this subject, take a look at this column by Reg Henry.


What was the charming little phrase that conservatives would say to those of us disappointed when George W. Bush became president? It's hard to believe that it has receded down the rabbit hole of memory. It was so wonderfully pithy.
Ah yes, I remember now. "Get over it!" This was considered the height of conservative wit back in 2000 and 2004 and all the long years after. You might call it almost Oscar Wilde-like in its cleverness -- that is, if Oscar had not been gay.
Hey, Mr. Liberal, you think the election was stolen because the public was bamboozled by the voting machines? Get over it! Hey, Mrs. Liberal, you think it unfair that the public was bamboozled by gay marriage amendments and the like? Get over it! So we did get over it, sort of, because we didn't think we had a choice. It never occurred to us to behave like spoiled children who didn't get their way, pouting and stamping our feet.
Oh, there was mumbling and grumbling, some crying in our beer, but most liberals aren't much interested in being in a permanent state of agitation. They weren't interested then in forming tea parties for any purpose other than sharing cupcakes. They weren't interested in wearing guns to public events, and not only because they looked odd when worn with kaftans and Birkenstocks
. . .
To the nation's shame, the rage over the legislation has no equal in recent history. Some have suggested that the Democrats are co-conspirators in the lack of bipartisanship. The Democrats are not without fault -- hey, they are the Democrats, a party that could not organize a booze-up in a brewery -- but the basic suggestion is ridiculous.
Not a single Republican voted for the reform package, a display of like mind that would have been the envy of the Supreme Soviet. It was amazing how they recycled their "Country First" slogan from the presidential election to the more workable "Politics First."
So, all you birthers and anti-humanitarians and the rest of you who simply can't stand the fact that an uppity Negro has taken up residence in the White House: Get over it!
* * *
[Note to my cousin who keeps sending me anti-Obama crap: This also means you!]

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

You Just Can't Trust Those Damn Asian Kids!

I knew that something strange was going on around me when I was in Asia for three weeks in 2008. All of the young people were giving me these funny looks, and now I know what was on their minds:

Jeez, that's gotta be one of the funniest teabagger protest pictures ever!

to for the photo]

The Aral Sea Has Vanished

Since I tend to focus on the social side of politics, I tend to ignore stories such as this, but this one really caught my attention.

The Aral Sea (which used to be the answer to the question, "What is the fourth largest freshwater lake in the world?") has now shrunk to ten percent of its former size, as these satellite photos so shockingly demonstrate:

So what's happened? Short answer: Global Warming. A combination of hotter summers and drier air speeding evaporation and the short-sighted petty jealousies between some 'Stans (in this case Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) which has so far impeded any thoughts as to how to restore water to the lake has resulted in the death of untold number of fish -- as well as a formerly-thriving fishing industry -- in the lake.

So go ahead, you wingnut anti-climate-change fundo Xian low IQ proponents of, in the word of Oklahoma Senator James I'm-a-Moron-AND-I-Play-One-in-Congress Inhofe, "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people" (not to Inhofe: I think that honor belongs to you personally, sir), try to deny this proof.

I can just imagine. The photos are faked, the satellite is government-owned, the picture is actually of a mud puddle, etc etc etc).

And lest you fall into the trap of "it's one of the 'Stans, it doesn't affect me", you should consider this: A large part of our domestic fruit and vegetable consumption comes from California, and the California water system is already shaky. Fresh water that should be going onto the fields is being diverted by those long concrete rivers you see as you drive down I-5. It's going to the greater LA area, where it is used to water ... the lawns of the wealthy.

Let's not forget history: Owens Lake was full of water until 1924, when a fraudulent scheme ended up grabbing the water from the Owens River that fed the lake and pipelining it off to Los Angeles.

This scheme BTW was brilliantly illustrated in the great 1974 film Chinatown.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Hey Fatboy: We're Waiting. Don't Let the Turnstile Hit You on that Pimple.

Oh, how the worm has turned. Remember when Rush Fat-Boy-Pimple-Ass-Draft-Dodger Limpdick said just a few days ago that if the health care bill passed he would move to Costa Rica?

Costa Rica??? I mean, really... Costa Rica??? Which has that oh-so-very-tewwible "socialized medicine" scheme of its own...

As if the Costa Ricans actually wanted that moronic viagra-sucking child-molesting draft-dodging closeted gay hypocrite!

Jeez, when I go back through this blog, I seem to have an awful lot of entries on Rush Limbaugh. Maybe I really do hate the motherfucker...

But anyway, I digress. I note with not a small amount of glee that the health care bill passed, but Rusty is still in the USA.

I guess idle threats aren't what they used to be. In fact they never were what they used to be. He might as well have said something that is familiar to all parents of two-year-olds. "If I don't get my way I'm going to hold my breath until I die!"

Bye, Rusty. Do you need a plastic bag and a rubber band to help you along?

More Moronic Teabaggery - 'This is Chilling'

One of the few advantages of having a wacked-out Rethug as a cousin is that she continually sends me crap like this:

Don't just take your hat off .........your [sic] head is next!!!!!!!!.....This is the REAL THING.........Bare [sic] Arms!!!~!~!!!@
This is chilling ...
In 1952 President Truman established one day a year as a "National Day of Prayer."
In 1988 resident [sic] Reagan designated the First Thursday in May of each year as the National Dayof [sic] Prayer.
In June 2007 (then) Presidential Candidate Barack Obama declared that the USA Was no longer a Christian nation.
This year President Obama, canceled the 21st annual National Day of Prayer ceremony at the White House under the rouse [sic] Of "not wanting to offend anyone"
On September 25, 2009 from 4 am until 7 pm, a National Day of Prayer for the Muslim religion was Held on Capitol Hill, Beside the White House. There were over 50,000 Muslims that Day in DC.
I guess it Doesn't matter if "Christians" Are offended by this event - We obviously Don't count as "anyone" Anymore.
The direction This country is headed Should strike fear in the heart of every Christian. Especially knowing that the Muslim religion believes that if Christians cannot be Converted they should be Annihilated
This is not a Rumor - Go to the website To confirm this info: (
Pay particular attention to the very bottom of the page: "OUR TIME HAS COME" I hope that this Information will stir your spirit. We must pray for Our nation, our communities, Our families, and especially our children. They are the ones that are going to suffer the most
If we don't PRAY! May God have Mercy... IN GOD WE TRUST.
Please pass this on, Maybe someone, somehow can figure out a way to put America back on the map as it was when we were growing up, a safe place to live and by [sic] The Ten Commandments and Pledge of Allegiance.
I retained the original spelling and other grammatical errors, just as an illustration of the kind of mentality it takes to pass this shit around. Of course the original was in a huge WWIII-Headline-sized font festooned with colors, especially red for the "shocking" bits. And those inappropriate capitalisations in the middle of sentences? The original was centered and that's where it started a new line.

My cousin, it of course ought to go without saying, is also a "birther".

Anyway back to this email that is making the rounds. I hardly know where to begin...

1. First, since the malignant Islamic jihad community is mentioned so prominently, go take a look at that that website. Yeah, it does say "our time has come" but so what? It also says this:
The objective of this gathering is to invite the Muslim Communities and friends of Islam to express and illustrate the wonderful diversity of Islam. We intend to manifest Islam's majestic spiritual principals as revealed by Allah to our beloved prophet Muhammad (PEACE BE UPON HIM) of Arabia. Likewise; we intend to inspire a new generation of Muslim to work for the greater good of all people. We shall serve all people, regardless of race, religion or national origin.
Yeah, I know. "Those people" believe that it's okay to lie to infidels, cut off their heads if the won't embrace Allah, yadda yadda yadda. Here's Snopes on a similar situation.

2. Canceling the National Day of Prayer? Here's Snopes:
In 2009, President Obama decided not to host an ecumenical service in the White House in observance of the National Day of Prayer (held on the first Thursday of May) as his predecessor, President George W. Bush, had. He did not (as is commonly claimed) "cancel" the observation of the National Day of Prayer; instead, rather than holding a White House service, the president opted to issue a public proclamation and observe the occasion privately:
"Prayer is something that the president does every day," said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, adding that Obama would sign a proclamation to recognize the day. "I think the president understands, in his own life and in his family's life, the role that prayer plays. And I would denote that the administrations prior to the past one did proclamations. That's the way the president will publicly observe the national prayer day. But, as I said, privately, he'll pray as he does every day."
Now here's a guy who is willing to follow the admonitions of Joshua bar Joseph (aka Jesus) who told his adherents to go into their closets and pray in private. But no, that's part of that whole wimpy-assed "love thy neighbor" Jesus thing that the fundos and their wackjob sheeple can't abide...

Note that he didn't say he didn't want to "offend" anyone...

3. Anyone who has actually been to Washington DC knows that the White House is not on Capitol Hill -- that's where the US Capitol Building is, which is why -- duh! -- they call it Capitol Hill. The White House is actually about a mile away from Capitol Hill. And the Muslims? They actually did meet at the US Capitol building and not next to the White House.

4. Obama said US was "no longer a Christian nation"? In 2007? Wrong on the quote, wrong on the date.

What he actually said, in 2009, was this: "One of the great strengths of the United States ... we have a very large Christian population -- we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values."

Don't believe it? Huffpo has the video -- watch it and weep.

And what this letter-writer ignores, as does every single brain-fart-residue-enhanced moron in the Religious Right/Wingnuttery/Teabaggery is the Treaty of Tripoli, in which is found the following line: "...the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion..."

As I've mentioned before, there used to be such things as Civics classes in school. I can forgive (kind of) the younger generation for their ignorance of American history and government, but since the Teabaggers seem to be, by and large, old (i.e. my age or beyond) it's unconscionable that they seem to have conveniently forgotten that treaties, once agreed to by the Senate and signed by the president, are the "supreme law of the land":
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding. [Article Six of the US Constitution].
No, I obviously am not making this up, but the Teabaggery will likely claim that I am, and when confronted with the truth will come up with something like "it says that but it doesn't mean that". That's the approach they are taking with Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli.

BTW, as an aside, it is that same Article Six which contains what I think may be the most important provision in the constitution:
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States. [emphasis added]
While the First Amendment provisions of separation of church and state are paramount to me, the Religious Right has been active in their pursuit of their "separation of church and state are found nowhere in the constitution" crap, but they don't really have an answer to this simple declarative statement that doesn't leave a lot -- bullshit, it doesn't leave any -- wiggle room.

It's an article that's mostly been overlooked in the debate, but to me it is a totally clear statement of the separation of church and state. That's why I consider it the most important provision in the whole document.

So, bottom-line, I agree that "this is chilling", but naturally not in the way the original writer intended. I am especially bothered by the "bare arms" line. I am going to assume that the intention was not to wear a tank top to get a tan on your upper appendages. This is the kind of throwaway line that contributes to the rise in the level of potential violence -- and actual violence -- that bodes ill for the future of this country.

Okay, I know I've been really long-winded today and kind of all over the map, but whenever I get this kind of BS it puts me into an intellectual frenzy. Which is probably why she keeps sending it to me. But what the hell, it gave me a chance to vent on some topics that I think are important to know the facts about, and I hope it's given you some ammunition to fire back at that IBIL* of yours when he passes this on to you.

[IBIL = Idiot Brother-In-Law]

Friday, April 02, 2010

The Final Round!

We've been through the whole thing. Now it's down to the final two in the March Mayhem Bracket of Evil!

Go on and cast your final vote to determine this year's winner of the coveted Most Malevolent Force in American Politics.

The final choice is between Fox News and Blackwater. Who will be the ultimate winner of All the Marbles?

Tough to say, but we'll know in just three days and seven hours. Vote now!

Are Your Pets Saved?

That's a good question for fundo Xians. I mean who wants to go to heaven if you have to leave your pets behind? Cats, of course, will go to hell immediately (can you say "Satanic familiar"?), and dogs...well, it's curgatory for them.

But what about your other pets, you know, the innocuous ones who exist only to exalt your own feelings of superiority?

Finally, you can rest easy and have no fear. The Easter Bunny will save them:

And just in time for Easter Weekend. Now you can relax with that steaming serving platter of ham in front of you, secure in the knowledge that the pig who sacrificed himself for your gluttony is secure in the bosom of the Easter Bunny...

Plus if you pay attention, you will learn why you're not supposed to give chocolate to dogs... Who knew?

[HT to The Bay of Fundie.]

Mormons, Blood Atonement and the Separation of Church and State

In this country we are fortunate enough to have a miniature laboratory experiment in what can happen when the church and the state are commingled.

The state is Utah and the church is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (popularly known as the Mormon church). No reasonable person can doubt the immense religious, social and political power that the Mormon Church wields over its members. Their actions in the 2008 Prop Hate debacle in California was enough to prove that ten times over.

Of course the "one true church" -- along with its poor benighted sock-puppets-of-god members -- is quick to disagree with that, preferring to give lip service to that whole "render unto Caesar..." thing in the New Testament, but an examination of their history and especially their "official" doctrine gives the lie to that position.

No less an authority than Mormon "apostle" (you don't get very much higher in the church hierarchy than being one of the Twelve Apostles) Bruce McConkie, in his monumental work Mormon Doctrine, says, in connection with a discussion on the Mormon doctrine of "blood atonement" (an antithetical-to-Christianity concept that there are some sins that the blood of Christ did not wash away and therefore the blood of the sinner must be shed -- which is why Utah remains the only state to administer its death penalty by firing squad), that the "...doctrine can only be practiced in its fullness in a day when the civil and ecclesiastical laws are administered in the same hands".

Got that? can only be practiced in its fullness in a day when the civil and ecclesiastical laws are administered in the same hands. No separation of church and state for those people, no sirree.
Utah's bizarrely arcane liquor laws were the laughingstock of the nation for years, but the Mormons were never big on banning booze outright. In fact, it was surprisingly the Utah legislature that cast the deciding vote to pass the 21st Amendment, thereby repealing Prohibition. The Mormons consider it a sin to drink alcohol, but that doesn't prohibit them from selling it to "gentiles" (i.e., any non-Mormon; even Jews are "gentiles" in the eyes of the Mormons).

It's an open secret in the state of Utah that the church is actually a "shadow government", and since upwards of 90% of the legislature consists of "worthy members of the church", how difficult is it really to pass -- or defeat -- legislation solely on the dictates of the inerrant "Prophet, Seer and Revelator" at the pinnacle of the church hierarchy?

And the Mormons see absolutely nothing wrong with that. They are the true believers who belong to the "one true church" (in Mormon doctrine, all other churches/religions -- even including all Christian churches -- are "apostate" and therefore without the blessings of god), and their church is of course set up in a facsimile Old Testament patriarchy, avoiding all that messy stuff that happens when people think for themselves. You know, like democracy and freedom and liberty...

In Utah we have a microcosm -- a living laboratory if you will -- of what can happen if we don't maintain that wall of separation. The only thing that's kept Utah from becoming an out-and-out theocracy is that pesky little Establishment Clause in the US Constitution and a Supreme Court that, for the most part, has ruled in support of it.