Tuesday, June 29, 2010

In Case You Thought Otherwise...

Here's a story on the "true facts": Obama Finds Cure For Cancer. Republicans Attack Him For Putting Oncologists Out of Work:

In what should be a celebration of this incredible medical and science breakthrough, it's business as usual on the Hill as the Party of No seeks to obstruct the administration's agenda and downplay its accomplishments.
"I said it earlier in the year and I meant it," said Arizona Sen. John McCain. "We will not support anything this president does, and that includes curing cancer. We'll find a way, as always, to point out how that's bad for America."
And it seems the GOP leadership has found its theme: jobs. "The country is already facing historic unemployment levels," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky). "This cure is going to put 200,000 oncologists, chemo labs and funeral homes out of business. It's just another slap of the Obama recession on the face of the American worker."
Jumping on the attack wagon was Sarah Palin, who accused Obama of another government takeover. "It's Socialized Life," she said, coining yet another brilliantly crafty soundbite. "It's Marxism. It's exactly what The Marx Brothers warned about in all their movies."
It's like I always said when asked "What kind of a Marxist are you?"

I'm a Groucho Marxist!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Washington State Dems Convention 2010

I was at the Washington State Democrats state convention over the weekend. This is the second Democratic state convention that I've been to, and like the first, it was really a blast. Parties the night before, a huge banquet, speeches by our state's US Representatives and by our Senator Patty Murray, a buffet breakfast at the convention center in rural Clark County with more speeches by politicos, and finally the convention itself.

We got pumped up for action by a series of "rah-rah-go-get-'em" speeches, voted on candidate endorsements, and then got down to the democracy-is-not-pretty floor fights over the planks in the party platform and some 144 resolutions which had been offered up by the rank and file over the last few months.

The platform, of course, had been hammered out over a series of months by the platform committee, which represented more or less the consensus of the party, so there weren't many disagreements over it, but there were a few.

And of course, it's a one-day convention, so the limited time factor is important, and when someone made a motion to accept the remainder of the platform as written we all went for it in a big way. We were getting tired and wanted to move on to the resolutions. But, of course, a couple of people shared their contempt for the rest of us "undemocratically" railroading the process by getting up to the microphones and telling us off. Never mind that the motion had been made and seconded and voted on by the body. You can't get much more democratic than that...

But the real fun was debating the resolutions. Everything from a vote of confidence in the Obama agenda (a couple of people wanted to vote "no" because of Afghanistan, but cooler heads prevailed and the resolution won -- I'm no fan of his continuation of the Bush policies in the Middle East, but I don't want to give the Rethugs any ammo to use in 2012) to Corporate Personhood (we're against it) to Preserving Social Security (we're for it).

The one that brought out the most discussion and the most heated arguments was the resolution supporting a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There are strong adherents to both sides of the issue and the debate rapidly heated up, with the final vote a very close one to support the resolution, which then of course generated some more heated discussion.

All in all, though, it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience, one which I highly recommend to anyone who wants to see democracy at work in their state. You can attend as a delegate, as I did, but you can also attend as a guest or observer, as a number of others did.

The conventions in 2012 ought to be even more entertaining and enlightening, since that will be a presidential year and at this point I am guessing that Obama will have some competition from within the party.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Off to do My Political Duty

I am a delegate to the state Democratic Party convention and I'm off to Vancouver (WA) for the Party's party.

Catch up with me next week.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Nuclear War? It Would Appear We've Already Had One...

This is appalling but still riveting, in the kind of way that teeth, hair and eyeballs all over the freeway is...

Listen to the "music of the spheres" as this animation shows the number of times a nuclear weapon has been detonated between 1945 and 1998, and which nation detonated them.

In the great novel Catch-22, Milo Minderbinder took a contract from the Nazis to bomb his own airfield. That's what this looks like. Who needed the godless communists to drop The Bomb when we were doing a great fucking job of it ourselves? We blew up the Nevada desert 1026 times, including some tests contracted by the British, after they blew up the South Australian Outback nine times from 1953-57.

And what the fuck is up with the French? Did they really need to set off 210 nuclear tests? Most of them were in the vast reaches of the South Pacific, but in the early days of the French Bomb 17 were detonated in their still-owned-but-not-for-long North African colony of Algeria.

Check out the map of detonations. When you couple that with the oil spills, I'd say that we as a species are pretty well on the way to engineering our own demise.

And maybe we deserve it...

A Double Milestone!

A double milestone today. Today is the five-year anniversary of this blog AND this is the 2000th post.

And to think that back in 2005 I was concerned that I'd soon run out of stuff to talk about, and that I'd grow bored and distracted after a while.

But here's why that didn't happen: I'm an inveterate letters-to-the-editor writer, and I'm often frustrated by their limitations -- no more than 250 words, no "bad" language, one letter per month, pointless discussions with the editorial page editor over word usage (one time he and I argued on the telephone for fifteen minutes over my use of "radical Christianists", which I intended would counterbalance "radical Islamists", a term which the newspaper used consistently). They were pointless because he always won those debates. Which is fine, I guess, since it's his editorial page.

As I've always said, owning a blog is like being able to write several letters to the editor in a single day and getting them all published. Without some bullying fascist editor cutting them to shit.

Hooray for the "new media".

And a sincere and heartfelt Thank You to all of you, my constant readers. Stick around for, who knows, another 2000 posts and another five years? After all, I'll only be ... 70(!)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Last Eight Presidents on the Oil Problem

In case you missed it, here's the Daily Show's Jon Stewart on the history of our dependence on foreign oil and what the last eight presidents have done about it:

Stay with it to the end to discover why Richard Nixon, who arguably had the best shot at fixing the problem, failed.


Friday, June 18, 2010

My New Bumper Sticker

I've used Makestickers.com for several years now, and I've always been satisfied with their work, their quality, and especially their prices. Here's the new bumper sticker I ordered from them tonight:

That ought to cause some head shaking in the drive-up line, dontcha think?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Welcome to the NRA

I don't know where they got my name and address, but today I got in the mail my "official" NRA membership card -- genuine plastic, too! None of that cheap-ass cardboard for them -- and a nice "personal" letter from Wayne LaPierre who is just full of warnings about my Second Amendment rights teetering on the brink of extinction from the likes of "hundreds of anti-gun politicians, global gun ban diplomats at the UN, militant anti-hunting extremists, radical billionaires and the freedom-hating Hollywood elite."

Jesus, is there anyone on the left who didn't get excoriated by Li'l Wayne's wire brush dipped in vitriol?

The only thing that stands between me -- me! -- and complete domination by those crypto-communista-fascists in the government, the media elite and their leftwing dupes in general is ... surprise! membership in the NRA.

Imagine that. For only the price of membership (just $25!) I can personally hold back the tide of creeping liberalism and protect my personal right to blow away pretty much anyone I want.

Jeez, what a tempting offer. Especially since I've been described (by my friends!) as a "gun totin' meat eatin' redneck liberal".

What I am tempted to do -- and would, if I were younger -- is actually join the NRA and then go out and recruit a bunch of like-minded leftists (there have to be more than four million gun owning liberals in the country -- more than the entire membership of the NRA) to also join the NRA, and then when we're in the majority, stage a coup and take over.

Then we could use the NRA as a platform to lobby for reasonable gun laws, and not take the ridiculously stupid and societally dangerous position that EVERYBODY has the right to own ANY FUCKING WEAPON ever made.

I really hope that someone will take me up on this and take the lead. Let me know and I'll join for sure.

Sarah Palin, The Victim-y Feminist

One of the blogs that I read regularly is The Truffle (she's been in my blogroll since day one).

Today she has an excellent piece on Sarah Palin as "Victim Feminist":

Sarah Palin's latest quest to find something to stand for has led her to call herself a feminist and talk about "mama grizzlies." Why feminists don't simply laugh their asses off is beyond me. Oh, I know why--it's because somehow Palin's new schtick has earned her a Newsweek cover story, which means that Very Serious Media People are supposed to take it seriously. Jezebel, at least, is having fun Photoshopping said Newsweek cover.
Let's leave aside the part about Palin making Wasilla's rape victims pay for their rape kits. And her stand on abortion. (Here, I should emphasize that I believe it's possible to be a feminist and oppose abortion. It would be really cool, however, if Feminists for Life and their ilk would push contraception, work to make adoption easier, and promote responsible, realistic sex education. It would also be helpful if they'd admit that the days of botched abortions are not an era any woman would want to revisit. But I digress.)
The truth is that if--IF!--you accept that Palin is a feminist, you have to admit that she's exactly the kind of feminist that her fellow conservatives have always claimed to loathe: a victim feminist.
And, come to think of it, Palin's victim schtick is kind of strange and pathetic when you consider all the hatred, vitriol, and misogyny faced by Hillary Clinton for decades. Even an anti-Hillary group called Citizens United Not Timid (note the acronym). Marie Cocco breaks down the woman-hating garbage flung at Clinton on the presidential trail. Much, much nastier stuff than a botched TV interview.
There's a lot more to this incisive analysis so be sure to read the whole thing.

Good job, Truffle -- you go, girlfriend!

Everyone else, be sure to check out those faux Newsweek covers in the link.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tea Party Jesus

Here's a terrific new website that I found, courtesy of Bay of Fundie. It's called Tea Party Jesus and it has some of those terrific 1940s Sunday School paintings of Jesus with talk balloons putting into the mouth of Jesus things that putative Christians have actually said.

Like this:

The coolest part is that each picture is a clickable link to an actual news story with the quotation and, most importantly, who said it.

In the case of the picture above, it was -- no real surprise -- Rick "Man on Dog" Santorum that managed to allow those words of wisdom to leak out.

"Next Time Get Me Liz Cheney!"

That shrill voice screeching for Liz Cheney was Chris Wallace after Barbara Bush Jr. appeared on Faux News Sunday:

Barbara Bush, the 28-year-old daughter of President George W. Bush, told Fox News on Sunday that she was "glad" the Democrats' health care reform package passed, and declared that "health care should be a right for everyone."

It's a position that suggests she would be willing to go much farther in reforming health care than the law passed earlier this year.

"What do you think of Obama health care reform?" Fox News' Chris Wallace asked.

"That is a good question. Obviously, the health care reform bill was highly debated by a lot of people and I guess, I'm glad that, you know, a bill was passed," replied Bush.
Jeez, it's getting so fucking hard to get reliable sock puppets to appear on Faux News.

[HT to The Truffle's Somewhere a wingnut's head just exploded for the heads up on this story.]

Friday, June 11, 2010

Opera Flash Mob Alert!

I have been, contrary to "conventional wisdom" and obvious stereotypes, an opera fan for many years.

So it didn't come as a surprise that today my good friend Debby Pattin sent me this:

This is just fucking brilliant! I'd love to be somewhere when this kind of thing happens.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Fired for Fornication?

In today's oddball news out of Florida, I learned that a fourth-grade teacher at a Xian school was fired from her job for...


Fornication? This is ten-years-plus into the new millennium and that concept seems as foreign sounding -- and with the same impact -- as mopery*.

But there she is, 39-year-old Jaretta Hamilton, who, it turned out, had the purely immoral audacity, the unmitigated driven-by-the-devil gall, to allow herself to get pregnant a few days before her already-planned wedding.

So the school's only reasonable reaction? Fire her.

I guess she got off lucky. If the Dominionists take over, she wouldn't have gotten off so easy. Death by stoning was -- and remains, as far as they are concerned -- the usual biblical punishment for a woman who was not a virgin on her wedding night.

Oh the shame.

BTW, I wonder, after looking at the happy couple's photo if the fact that they are an interracial couple has anything to do with it? I'm just sayin...

[* The best description I've heard of mopery is this: Exposing yourself to a blind person...]

What Happened in S Carolina?

In far-off South Carolina the Democratic candidate for the US Senate seat held by Jim DeMint (R-Asshole) is someone no one has ever heard of, who spent almost zero in campaigning, who has a felony charge pending against him, is an unemployed veteran who lives with his parents and who is even now being questioned as to where he came up with the ten grand needed to even file for the office.

Everyone is scratching their collective heads over this. Except for me. And a million of my closest friends who recall the voting machine fiasco of 2004.

BTW, that has never been resolved. In fact, the only way that Obama won the presidency was that the blue state tally was SO lopsided in his favor that even the Diebolds of the world couldn't underhand Grampaw Mac the election.

But this is an off year and a lot of people are not paying attention any more. It's like, "voting machine fraud? That's soo 2004!"

But South Carolina is proud of the fact that they are still using electronic voting machines.

And while I'm sure that Alvin Greene is a nice guy, this whole thing just doesn't pass the "sniff test"... In other words, it stinks.

What better way to secure DeMint's reelection than to pull some kind of shenanigans in the primary, when no one is paying much attention? Ensure that an unknown with legal issues is your opponent and you probably don't have to spend very much on campaigning yourself.

All in all, though, since Greene is the Democratic candidate, then he deserves to win. And DeMint, being the Rethug candidate, deserves to lose.

Yes, it's that simple.

In fact, I'll even cough up some money to Greene's campaign. That is, I would if his campaign -- such as it is -- was actually geared up to accept donations. Which it isn't.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The Religious Right: They Just Don't Get It

I got another email from my wackjob wingnut religious freak cousin this morning. Strangely, I find myself actually, in a weird car-wreck-on-the-freeway kind of way, looking forward to seeing them.

This one claims (falsely of course) that an NBC poll is absolute proof that 86% percent believe in keeping god in the American culture and the rest of us don't count for shit:

I'll bet this was a surprise to NBC....
Do you believe that the word God should stay in American culture?
NBC this morning had a poll on this question. They had the highest Number of responses that they have ever had for one of their polls, and the Percentage was the same as this:
86% to keep the words, IN God We Trust and God in the Pledge of Allegiance
14% against
That is a pretty 'commanding' public response.
I was asked to send this on if I agreed or delete if I didn't ..
Now it is your turn. It is said that 86% of Americans believe the word God should stay.........
Therefore, I have a very hard time understanding why there is such a mess about having 'In God We Trust' on our money and having God in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Why is the world catering to this 14%?
If you agree, pass this on , if not, simply delete.
In God We Trust
And, if that weren't enough, it was accompanied by a painting of the Lamb of God looking a lot like, of all people, Brad Pitt! Needless to say, I didn't actually pass this on. Except to all of you by posting it here.

Oddly enough, these are the same people who would say, if you put it to them in a way they could understand, that the United States is not a democracy because of the danger of "mob rule". You know, like your mother used to say, "if all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?"

They just can't stand the thought of anyone who thinks differently from them having any rights at all. This is the mindset that will gladly usher in a millennium of dictatorial theocracy -- just as long as the right god is being worshipped.

Can you say Dominionism? I knew that you could...

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Striking a Blow for Traditional Marriage

Those wingnuts love traditional marriage SO MUCH that they have to engage in it as often as possible.

By way of example, I see that my old buddy Rusty Pimple-Assed-Draft-Dodgin'-Professional-Loudmouth Limpdick just tied the knot again ... for the fourth time!

To a girl who is something like 25+ years younger than him!

I gotta tell ya, nothin' says "we support traditional marriage" better than that...

Remember when the cry against gay marriage was that it would be the first step towards polygamy? Rapidly followed by "man on dog sex" (Rick Santorum, R-Wackjob)?

Well well... Given that the multiple marriages of Limbaugh and his ilk are The Thing To Do in the Rethug party, I think I'd call that "serial polygamy". There's a time-honored psychological phenomenon wherein a person will feel called upon to decry that tendencies in him/herself that are the most detestable and represent hidden desires.

Rusty and his fellows? They WANT polygamy. And Santorum? He WANTS to screw the pooch. Literally.

Well, Ricky, if you really want to screw a dog that badly, let me introduce you to Spike, my neighbor's pitbull/rottweiler cross. He might have a differing opinion on who's going to do what to whom, but I'll let the two of you work it out on your own...

Thanks to Everyone for the Suggestions

Now that I'm back live with what is essentially a brand-new operating system, I don't think I'll be switching to Linux or a Mac.

Since I'm an elderly shutin on a fixed income, a Mac is pretty much out of the question, and learning Linux at my age is probably a non-starter.

Thanks for the suggestions, though.

Monday, June 07, 2010

I'm Back...

...mostly. I tore down the hard drive, reformatted it, reinstalled Windows XP Pro and most of my gotta-have-it-gonna-die-without-it software.

Yep, it was some bad bug malware in there somewhere that Norton didn't get and Spy Sweeper didn't get -- Spy Sweeper itself was infected with it and it hadn't updated its definitions since early April.

But now I can use Firefox to post and I'm not being hijacked by Google Anal any more. I can get to websites that were being lost to me (such as Snopes!) and all it cost me was 36 straight hours of stürm und drang -- yeah, I stayed up all night to do it. Kinda reminded me of back in college cramming for finals. Except we didn't have computers back then -- and we all had to bring whale oil for the lamps and a lump of coal for the stoves on cold winter mornings...

But you know, no matter how careful you try to be with backing stuff up, something's going to screw up, and sure enough, I lost all of my personal settings in Firefox, including all of my bookmarks, plus a whole raft of personal macros that I created in MS Word.

My own fault, looking back on it, but still, I guess should be happy that I'm up and running again.

Which I am.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Back from the Beach

I'm back from the long weekend on the Oregon Coast, and I've decided that it's not really Google Anal's fault. I'm infected with some kind of sneaky and creepy malware that is preventing me from loading various websites.

Blogger isn't the only one with a problem, and I can load it fine from a couple of other computers that I tested.

I ran Norton, but it can't find anything wrong. And, I am sure, because of this problem, it hasn't updated spyware definitions since early April.

So I'll be offline for the next week or so while I reformat my hard drive and reinstall all of my "clean" software.

See you back here then.