Sunday, October 31, 2010

The GOP "House N*****R" in South Carolina

From the looks of it, a guy named Tim Scott is poised to become the first Republican black congressmen from South Carolina since the days of Reconstruction.

As far as I am concerned, this is the money quote from Scott: "We've been campaigning night and day, making sure that America comes back to the conservative cause, led by the Southern values that we all believe in"... [emphasis added].

And there you have it. He believes in those good ole "Southern values", which presumably include official state display of the Confederate battle flag, institutionalized racism, segregated schools, "whites only" drinking fountains and bathrooms, being forced to sit in the back of the bus, and happy slaves picking cotton on the plantations of their "benign" and paternal owners.

The last black Rethug congressman was a guy named J.C. Watts of Oklahoma who retired in 2003. His own father, a lifelong Democrat, is on record as saying "a black man voting Republican is like a chicken voting for Col. Sanders", and Watts' troubled career as a pioneering "House N****r" for the Rethugs should be instructive to Scott.

But I guess people have to make their own compromises, mistakes and hypocrisies, and Scott certainly seems willing to make his.

Good luck, dude, but you ought to find this analysis interesting for sure.

Friday, October 29, 2010

"This Is Coming Our Way"

One of the oldest friends (since high school) of She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed sent her an email recently with this as its only content:

This is coming our way
So naturally Mister Tact (that's me) was forced into a little education project, to dissuade the BFF from buying into this shit with a little shot of the truth:
Of course the first suspicion that this was a less-than-candid look at "the problem" is that it was put out by the so-called Christian Broadcasting Network, the television arm of evangelist Pat Robertson, noted for his rightwing wacko craziness.
First of all we are given absolutely no context for the street praying. A little research shows that this event seldom actually happens, and only in the predominately Muslim sections of Paris, and those people who couldn't get to their homes? They didn't need to since they were in the street praying themselves. Clever shot of the cops "doing nothing", which I doubt because the French don't like disorder. I'm sure that they have reached an agreement with the local mullahs to allow this to happen. We never saw anything like this when we were in Paris for twelve days last month.

In short it's nothing more than Muslim-hating scare tactics designed to gin up more antipathy towards Muslims, the new hated minority in this country. Years ago it was the Irish, and before that Catholics, blacks, First Nations people (aka "Indians"), etc etc. The "enemies list" has always been with us, it's just the objects of its scorn and hatred that changes color as time goes by.

The Muslims that I know (yes, we do have a mosque in Olympia, and former Army Muslim chaplain James Yee is a personal friend of mine) are peaceful and freedom-loving individuals who are trying their best to assimilate as best they can within the confines of their religion into American culture.

In short, this video is nothing more than rabid anti-Muslim propaganda skillfully stitched together with interviews with some of the anti-Muslim politicians in France who are as bad as, if not worse, than the USA's "birthers" who are insistent, against all evidence and reason, that Obama is a Kenyan communist who wasn't even born here.

In short, the CBN is a fully funded propaganda arm of the Religious Right, a bunch of Fundos who, when you scratch the surface, are still awash in their hatred of "papists" and the Catholic Church, which in their minds is the very embodiment of The Great Whore of Babylon foretold in Revelations [Note: The BFF is a strong Catholic].

I'd stay as far away from that outfit as I possibly could, and when you forward their propaganda it makes them pee their pants in glee that they've got you as a "foot soldier" in the war against Islam, so my advice is just don't do it.

Watch the video with a critical eye and you'll see that it's all pretty much smoke and mirrors, all style and no substance, all hat and no cattle, all overlaid with some clever editing and context-scrubbing. doesn't have this on their website yet, but you'll see something similar with the "disruptive" and Obama-led street prayers in New York.

Don't fall for it.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Meeting Patty Murray

One of the great things about volunteering at your local election HQ is that you never know who is going to drop by:

Farnsworth with Patty Murray

As much as I don't want to admit that I look like that (that's me on the right--duh!) the fact remains that I am 65 years old and finally ought to start looking like it -- even if I don't act like it!

Patty Murray, senior senator from the State of Washington, dropped by the Thurston County Demo HQ to thank her volunteers for all of their (our) hard work calling recalcitrant voters to nudge them into sending in that missing ballot (in every county in Washington State, except one, we have "vote by mail").

A lot of those last-minute voters are getting pissed off about all the calls.

The easy answer: "Just send in your fucking ballot, you lazy motherfucker!"

Of course I'm not allowed to say that. Instead I read off a campaign-approved voter-friendly script. But at this point in the game, these sluggards have had about ten phone calls, and now I'm prefacing my spiel with something of an apology for bugging them endlessly.

Still, it's something that has to be done, since as I've said before, the more people that vote, the more the aggregate vote for progressive candidates and issues will increase.

The Rethugs really don't want people to vote. At least not the wrong people...

"The Bitch Made Me Do It"

Okay, by now everyone has seen the video of the Rand Paul fascist thug curb-stomping a woman in Kentucky, so I won't embed it here.

There's no way to deny that the stomper is a member of the Rand Paul campaign -- he's the county coordinator for Bourbon County, and really, the only problem with him is his wardrobe. He's wearing a t-shirt and sneakers instead of the traditional brown shirt and jackboots.

But the chutzpah prize goes to him by acclamation: Now he's demanding that the woman he stomped, Lauren Valle, apologize to him!

Ask any cop whose been called to a domestic disturbance and you'll learn that invariably the abuser (almost exclusively male) will justify his actions by saying something to the effect of "I didn't want to do it, but the bitch made me!" Yep, always blame the victim. That way you are always the severely put-upon good guy who was forced against his will into taking some reluctantly violent action...

It wouldn't surprise me at all to learn that Mister Stomper already has a laundry list of failures at civilized behavior in his background: A serial woman beater. A schoolyard bully. A dozen charges of assault and battery.

It says something about Rand Paul and his campaign that he has not commented on this incident except to blah blah blah some bullshit about "both sides".

Bullshit! Look at the video and tell me that there was a "both sides" issue. Clearly a 225 lb bag of windy fat is an egregious overmatch for a small woman wearing glasses.

And speaking of egregious bags of windy fat, naturally Rusty Limpdick came out with his own take on it: A boot on the neck is what all liberal women need. I'm paraphrasing here, but that's the idea. She was asking for it.

That phrase, incidentally, is also something that serial abusers/wife beaters generally say to justify their violent actions.

Is it any wonder that Mister Pimple-Ass-Draft-Dodger has been married so many times? Inquiring minds want to know.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Not Gonna Vote? Watch This First

This is a brilliant GOTV ad from the "notorious"

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Light Posting Week: VOTE!

I was in the dentist's chair for three hours on Wednesday, the result of a collision in my mouth between two molars and a renegade taco shell, with the result that I am having to get two crowns installed.

So, after three hours of Marathon Man dental torture, I now have two temporary crowns that look like little tombstones inserted into my lower jaw.

Needless to say, I wasn't fit company even for rabid badgers for a couple of days, and now I'm involved almost full time in getting Patty Murray reelected in her race against two-time loser and wingnutdarling capitalist-pig crypto-fascist horse's-ass Dino Rossi, and in keeping Washington's Third Congressional District in the hands of the Democrats, replacing retiring Democratic congressman Brian Baird (whom I really didn't like anyway) with longtime Democrat Denny Heck, who is running against a bubblehead Rethug who is all of 30 years old and a fulltime professional moron who gets rattled and can't think on her feet if she has to deviate from the pre-digested KarlRovian talking points her handlers stick into her face.

So I won't be posting much the next week. But I'll be back after the election night victory party which will take place a week from Tuesday. I'll have a hangover, but I'll be back...

And in the meantime, everyone: Please vote. This is not the year to sit on your hands and allow the Rethugs to take over. Yeah, I've heard the argument that we ought to allow the Rethugs and Teabaggers to take over and finally "show" the American people and the Democratic Party that they really can't be trusted.


Jesus, people, wake up! How many bites of a shit sandwich do you need to take to know that you will always get a mouthful of shit until you change your diet?

And it is still not too late to make a difference. Get active, contact your local Democratic Party and volunteer to do some doorbelling or phone banking. We ought to be contacting each and every voter to urge them to vote, especially for our candidates, but history shows that the larger the general turnout in an election, the larger the aggregate vote will be for progressives on the ballot.

-- The F Man

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Moron O'Donnell's 1st Amendment Flap Video

I see that YouTube has disabled the "embed" code for copying and pasting the video of the huge Christine O'Donnell flap over the First Amendment, but so what? You can still view it in all its pathetic glory here, so I don't understand the big woo about their "censorship". Maybe they ought to employ Alaska's Wolfman Miller's thugs to handcuff you instead.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

'Robin Hood Tax' -- A Brilliant Idea

So the super-rich don't want to pay their fair share of taxes, huh? Must be true as evidenced by all the backroom shuffling and keep-your friggin'-hands-off-MY-money attitudes they exhibit when the topic comes up.

The fact that it isn't a tax increase (as they continue to whine) but a reimposition of a tax they skated out from under during the years of the Baby Doc Maladminstration and his lackeys in a Rethug-controlled congress -- these guys are the ones who put the sunset provision in the law to begin with -- doesn't matter, apparently. But the capitilast meat puppets of the right in congress did this, so now you ought to go into the boardrooms and onto the golf courses and badger them: "What the fuck did you think you were doing?!!!"

Okay, so here we are with a situation that, sadly, seems to have grown some legs with "low-information voters" (i.e., the Moron-American Voting Bloc") that it's somehow "not fair" that these fuckers have to pay their fair share all of a sudden (as if no one saw it coming).

Robert Naiman over at Truthout, has the story of US Rep Bob Filner (D-Naturally, from CA) who has come up with a terrific solution: Earmark all of the income from the super-rich tax "increase" to into a Veterans' Trust Fund to pay only for the care of veterans wounded in the Republican wars.

After all, they wanted them, they started them, they profited from them, but precious few of the children of the rich have actually had to pay any price in blood for it:

The logic of this proposal is straightforward. The wars create a long-term liability for the government, because the government is obligated to pay for the medical care of veterans for the rest of their lives. The same logic that says that we ought to worry about the long-term liability of the government to pay Social Security benefits says that we ought to worry about the long-term liability of the government to pay veterans' benefits. But in the case of Social Security, there is a dedicated tax and a dedicated trust fund. In the case of veterans' benefits, there is no dedicated tax and no dedicated trust fund. So, we ought to feel more urgency about veterans' benefits than about Social Security benefits, because no provision has been made for veterans' benefits at all.
Any bets on whether this proposal, elegant in its simplicity, is going to get any traction? Right now the chance is zero, and if the Rethugs take over in January, it will be less than zero.

'That's in the First Amendment...?'

You gotta hand it to the Teabaggers, no matter the topic, if it's on the Talking Points they're agin it. They don't know what it is or where it is, but they don't like it.

In an exchange last night in the Delaware senatorial debate, reliably ignorant Teabagger Christine O'Donnell showed once again that if she's truly a dedicated Palin clone (rhetorical question--of course she is!), she ought to be writing shit on her hand. CBS News has the story

Republican Senate Candidate Christine O'Donnell today challenged her Democratic opponent Chris Coons on his statement that the Constitution disallowed the integration of religion into the federal government, asking, "Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?"
. . .
In a discussion over the whether or not public schools should be allowed to integrate religion-based ideas into science curricula, O'Donnell argued that local school districts should have the choice to teach intelligent design if they choose.
When asked point blank by Coons if she believed in evolution, however, O'Donnell reiterated that her personal beliefs were not germane. "What I think about the theory of evolution is irrelevant," she emphasized, adding later that the school of thought was "not a fact but a theory."
Coons said that creationism, which he considers "a religious doctrine," should not be taught in public schools due to the Constitution's First Amendment. He argued that it explicitly enumerates the separation of church and state.
"The First Amendment does?" O'Donnell asked. "Let me just clarify: You're telling me that the separation of church and state is found in the First Amendment?"
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion," Coons responded, reciting from memory the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
"That's in the First Amendment...?" O'Donnell responded.
OMFG, this is a person who wants to be a fucking SENATOR! It's obvious that she need a remedial grammar school course in US history.

The scariest part is that she, and her cohorts in Nevada and Alaska, fellow Teabaggers, actually have a chance to join "the most exclusive club in the world", the US Senate.

What is wrong with the American people that they would willingly vote for morons to represent them? Do they believe that congress should be truly representational and that out-and-out idiots have as much a right to be in congress as smart people. Is this their idea of "affirmative action".

I quake for the future of my country -- and my planet -- if this is true.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The 'Constitution in Exile' Movement and Why It is Important to Vote This Year

The "Constitution in Exile" is an extremist rightwing movement that hold that certain provisions of the United States Constitution are not being enforced according to their "original intent" or "original meaning".

Wikipedia has, in part, this to say about the movement: "Some originalists might argue, for example, that the Commerce Clause and Necessary and Proper Clause do not authorize economic legislation dating all the way back to the New Deal."

It's a belief held in varying degrees by, among others, Antonin "Quack-Quack" Scalia and his lapdog lackey, Clarence "I'm not a black man, I just play one on the Supreme Court" Thomas and, naturally the Teabaggers have latched onto it as another weapon in their "Let's Take America Back [to the 18th Century]" movement.

In his must-read piece, America’s Holy Writ: Tea Party evangelists claim the Constitution as their sacred text--Why that’s wrong, here's part of what Andrew Romero of Newsweek has to say about it:

The Founders’ masterpiece, [Delaware Rethug and Senatorial Teabaggerer candidate and darling of the wingnuttery Christine] O’Donnell said, isn’t just a legal document; it’s a “covenant” based on “divine principles.” For decades, she continued, the agents of “anti-Americanism” who dominate “the D.C. cocktail crowd” have disrespected the hallowed document. But now, finally, in the “darker days” of the Obama administration, “the Constitution is making a comeback.” Like the “chosen people of Israel,” who “cycle[d] through periods of blessing and suffering,” the Tea Party has rediscovered America’s version of “the Hebrew Scriptures” and led the country into “a season of constitutional repentance.” Going forward, O’Donnell declared, Republicans must champion the “American values” enshrined in our sacred text. “There are more of us than there are of them,” she concluded.
By now, O’Donnell’s rhetoric should sound familiar. In part that’s because her fellow Tea Party patriots—Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, the guy at the rally in the tricorn hat—also refer to the Constitution as if it were a holy instruction manual that was lost, but now, thanks to them, is found. And yet the reverberations go further back than Beck. The last time America elected a new Democratic president, in 1992, the Republican Party’s then-dominant insurgent group used identical language to describe the altogether different document that defined their cause and divided them from the heretics in charge: the Bible. The echoes of the religious right in O’Donnell’s speech—the Christian framework, the resurrection narrative, the “us vs. them” motif, the fixation on “values”—aren’t coincidental.
From a legal perspective, there’s a case to be made that O’Donnell’s argument is inaccurate. The Constitution is a relentlessly secular document that never once mentions God or Jesus. And nothing in recent jurisprudence suggests that the past few decades of governing have been any less constitutional than the decades that preceded them. But the Tea Party’s language isn’t legal, and neither is its logic. It’s moral: right vs. wrong. What O’Donnell & Co. are really talking about is culture war.
Sidebar: And to that I would add "class war", another top-down movement originated, financed, and aided and abetted by the richest corporations in this country who appear to be intent on moving the United States not back to that hazily-lit nevernever land of happy plantation slaves picking cotton in the hot sun of the rural south (although they secretly yearn for that), but instead to the waning days of the Weimar Republic when the wealthy industrialists of Germany -- supported by such American capitalist pigs as Henry Ford, Averell Harriman, and unindicted probable war criminal and future presidential progenitor Prescott Bush, banded together to support the nascent National "Socialist" Party and its charismatic leader, one Adolf Hitler by name, to "save" capitalism from the degenerate social decay that was Post-WWI Germany. And we all know what that particular "take our country" back movement led to.

The US Constitution is a marvelous document that has not only stood the test of time but has shown the capacity to grow and mature and adapt to changes that could never have been imagined by the Founders.

And that seems to be exactly the problem with these guys in the "Exile" camp.

They would love nothing more than to go back to the kind of society that existed in 1789 -- Where only property owners could vote and nobody paid an income tax, where women and minorities couldn't vote, where a black slave was only 3/5 of a human being, and where government intervention in (a/k/a regulation of) such things as water quality, the purity of food and drugs, and where workplace safety, the minimum wage and the eight-hour day were anathema

That's really what's behind the whole "Take Our Country Back" meme of the Teabaggers and all of their dupes and fellow travelers and enablers in the rest of the Rethug party.

And this is why it is SO IMPORTANT to vote in this year's elections. If the Rethugs manage to take back congress, all we have to look forward to is more obstructionism by the Party of No, coupled with the steady drumbeat of agitation for Obama's impeachment, for the next two years.

And another thing: I mean, really, do we really want noted Orangeman John "Just put that bag of bribe money right there, Mister Koch" Boner as Speaker of the House?

Come on.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Teabaggers: You and Me and 'That One'

Matt Taibbi's blog the other day, Tea Party Hilarity, was a masterstroke in illustrating the "they just don't get it" attitude of the Teabaggers:

Quelle surprise! So it turns out that one after another of the Tea Party candidates is in one way or another mooching off the government. The latest series of hilarious disclosures center around Alaska’s GI-Joe-bearded windbag Senatorial candidate, Joe Miller, who appears to have run virtually the entire gamut of government aid en route to becoming a staunch, fist-shaking opponent of the welfare state.
...when a nice white lawyer with a GI Joe beard uses state aid to help him through tough times and get over the hump – so that he can go from having three little future Medicare-collecting Republican children to eight little future Medicare-collecting Republican children – that’s a good solid use of government aid, because what we’re doing is helping someone “transition” from dependency to economic independence.
This of course is different from the way other, less GI-Joe-looking people use government aid, i.e. as a permanent crutch that helps genetically lazy and ambitionless parasites mooch off of rich white taxpayers instead of getting real jobs.
I can’t even tell you how many people I interviewed at Tea Party events who came up with one version or another of the Joe Miller defense. Yes, I’m on Medicare, but… I needed it! It’s those other people who don’t need it who are the problem! Or: Yes, it’s true, I retired from the police/military/DPW at 54 and am on a fat government pension that you and your kids are going to be paying for for the next forty years, while I sit in my plywood-paneled living room in Florida watching Fox News, gobbling Medicare-funded prescription medications, and railing against welfare queens. But I worked hard for those bennies! Not like those other people! This whole concept of “good welfare” and “bad welfare” is at the heart of the Tea Party ideology, and it’s something that is believed implicitly across the line. It’s why so many of their political champions, like Miller, and sniveling Kentucky rich kid Rand Paul (a doctor whose patient base is 50% state insured), and Nevada “crazy juice” Senate candidate Sharron Angle (who’s covered by husband Ted’s Federal Employee Health Plan insurance), are so completely unapologetic about taking state aid with one hand and jacking off angry pseudo-libertarian mobs with the other.
As Taibbi points out so eloquently, it is that concept of "the other" that drives these morons to display the ludicrous attitudes and pointless points of view that they seem to espouse. They just can't see the vast discrepancies between their own actions and their own beliefs.

I'm reminded of that passage from their bible, the so-called new testament, where their prophet -- and not just a prophet but an actual living and breathing SON OF GOD -- asks (I'm paraphrasing because I'm too lazy to look it up) in essence, "Why are you so concerned about a speck of dust in your neighbor's eye when you have a 2X4 sticking out of your own?"

Having a 2X4 sticking out of your eye would make for a pretty big blind spot, I would guess...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Watchdogging Sarah Palin

It's too bad that it has to be done, but someone has to keep an eye on Sarah Palin. And no, I'm not talking about all those rightwing per-verts* who got huge boners when she scampered out of moose-murdering frozen obscurity onto the national stage in 2008.

As much as she's intentionally been in the "news" since then, we still don't know very much more about her than we did on that fateful day two years ago when Grampaw "You Goddam Kids Get Offa My Lawn" McCain elevated her to mock-celebrity status in front of a fawning media.

Well, that's changed. I just discovered a terrific blog called Palingates -- The Sarah Palin Watchdog Team. In it the team leaves no stone unturned (and, since we're talking about Alaska, no tern unstoned; sorry, I just couldn't help it...) in asking the hard questions and doing the hard research that the media in this country used to do for itself. You remember, back in the days before the media assigned itself the role of cowering ass-kissing lapdog lickspittle to the rich and powerful?

From Palin's fake pregnancy with little Trig (Obama "birthers", have any of you asked Sarah for Trig's birth certificate?) to her patently false story -- lying --about her Wasilla to Los Angeles in a motorhome road trip in less than three days, this blog has it all.

If the worst-case-scenario projections for 2012 hold true, and the Pit Bull With Lipstick actually does manage to become the Rethug nominee, I have a feeling that the Palingates crew will be providing the opposition -- that's us in the "professional left" -- with a lot of the ammunition to fire back.

We can even turn Mama Grisly's own words back on her: "Don't retreat -- RELOAD!"


[* This mispronunciation, with the stress on the second syllable, is, of course, from Carl "Tony Soprano" Palodino's rant to the rabbis about those nasty homosessuals and their nefarious "agenda".]

Monday, October 11, 2010

Memo to Potential Candidates: Don't Dress Up As a Nazi

It's hardly believable, but here's the proof that a congressional candidate in Ohio, in his spare time, plays dress-up as a fucking Nazi SS Stormtrooper in order to play in "historical" reenactments.

He's named, on the ballot, Rich Iott, a candidate for the US House from Ohio's 9th District. Need I add that he's running as... a Republican...? In his alternate reality when he's playing a Nazi, he's named "Reinhard Pferdmann".

While there does exit such a pathetic and reprehensible phenomenon known as "Nazi chic" -- remember Prince Harry (the British royal family one, not the Harry Potter one) dressing up in a German uniform for a "party" -- the bottom line is this: If you are ever planning on running for office, you probably ought to show a little more discretion and judgment before you pose for pictures wearing a Nazi uniform.

RepubliCorp Mergers and Acquisitions Plan

RepubliCorp: We buy democracy, one race at a time.

This is too good:

The Cabal of Multinational Corporations is pleased to formally announce RepubliCorpTM, a new combined entity following our complete merger with the Republican Party.RepubliCorpTM combines the ethics-free campaigning savvy of the GOP with the limit-free spending power of Corporate AmericaTM. This merger is precisely timed: With the recent Citizens United ruling finally placing the United States Government on the open market, RepubliCorpTM is now perfectly positioned to lead our hostile takeover bid, currently scheduled for completion on November 2nd 2010.
Be sure to see the brilliant organizational diversity chart and check out the staff profiles at the bottom of the page. The first two columns and the staff boxes have rollover expansions.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

My Wack-Job Cousin is At it Again

Regular readers know that I have a wack-job cousin who is continually sending me crap that she apparently has been able to swallow whole, without even a burp afterward.

She's been pretty quiet lately, but yesterday I received the following broadside (probably because she knows that I am a gun owner and might respond positively):

It has started.
Very Important for you to be aware of a new bill HR 45 introduced into the House. This is the Blair Holt Firearm Licensing & Record of Sale Act of 2009.
We just learned yesterday about this on the Peter Boyles radio program.
Even gun shop owners didn't know about this because it is flying under the radar.
To find out about this - go to any government website and type in HR 45 or Goggle [sic] HR 45 Blair Holt Firearm Licensing & Record of Sales Act of 2009. You will get all the information.
Basically this would make it illegal to own a firearm - any rifle with a clip or ANY pistol unless:
It is registered
You are fingerprinted
You supply a current Driver's License
You supply your Social Security #
You will submit to a physical & mental evaluation at any time of their choosing
Each update - change or ownership through private or public sale must be reported and costs $25 - Failure to do so you automatically lose the right to own a firearm and are subject up to a year in jail.
There is a child provision clause on page 16 section 305 stating a child-access provision. Gun must be locked and inaccessible to any child under 18.
They would have the right to come and inspect that you are storing your gun safely away from accessibility to children and fine is punishable for up to 5 yrs. in prison.
If you think this is a joke - go to the website and take your pick of many options to read this. It is long and lengthy. But, more and more people are becoming aware of this. Pass the word along. Any hunters in your family - pass this along.
Peter Boyles is on this and having guests. Listen to him on KHOW 630 a.m. in the morning. He suggests the best way to fight this is to tell all your friends about it and "spring into action". Also he suggests we all join a pro-gun group like the Colorado Rifle Association, hunting associations, gun clubs and especially the NRA.
This is just a "termite" approach to complete confiscation of guns and disarming of our society to the point we have no defense - chip away a little here and there until the goal is accomplished before anyone realizes it.
This is one to act on whether you own a gun or not.
If you take my gun, only the criminal will have one to use against me. HR 45 only makes me/us less safe. After working with convicts for 26 years I know this bill, if passed, would make them happy and in less danger from their victims.
It's obvious that she didn't write it, and equally obvious that she didn't even bother to do a rudimentary "Goggle" search. Otherwise she would have found that the ever-reliable Snopes has already dealt a death blow to this one.

This isn't as bad as some of her "birther" rants and anti-Islamic boilovers and Socialist-Fascist-Communist meltdowns, so maybe I shouldn't be so critical. After all, as the saying goes, you can't blame a girl for trying.

Uh... yeah, you can. Despite the fact that she's in her late 70s and maybe senile dementia is creeping in, you can still blame her.

She's a moron. And she votes Republican. But I repeat myself...

Westboro Church's 'Surreal' Day in Court

Over at The Atlantic, Garrett Epps writes about his take on the SCOTUS appearance the other day of the attorneys arguing the Westboro Baptist "Church" and its pending lawsuit by the father of one of the soldiers whose funeral was disrupted by the "God Hates Fags" rantings of some devout Christian "church" members:

More often than one would expect, oral argument in front of the Supreme Court resembles a Celebrity Deathmatch between Lionel Hutz of The Simpsons and Ned Racine of Body Heat. Lawyers with no Supreme Court experience sometimes insist on going to the Show. The result can be a halting hour of argument that sometimes resembles the 1945 World Series, between two teams so war-depleted that sportswriter Warren Brown said, "I don't think either one of them can win it."
In Wednesday's high-profile argument in Snyder v. Phelps, two inexperienced pilots sailed into a legal Bermuda Triangle, where the compasses no longer pointed to magnetic North. It's possible that, once it recovers its wits, the Court will put this case in order; but in the courtroom at least, what seemed at 10 a.m. like a sure thing had become by 11 a.m. a head-scratcher.
. . .
The most logical course for the Court would have been to leave this stinker alone. There's no groundswell of tort actions like this; instead, the reaction in most states has centered on new statutes barring disruption of a funeral. Most of those laws would allow demonstrators considerably nearer the funeral than the WBC pickets ever got. Time enough to test them when a proper case arose. Just last term, the Court had reaffirmed a broad reading of the First Amendment in a much less sympathetic case, United States v. Stevens, which held that videos of animals being killed were, in some cases, protected speech.
But the Court granted cert., and it heard an hour of argument from Sean Summers, a York, PA., lawyer who has represented Mr. Snyder pro bono, and from the soon-to-be-legendary Margie Phelps, a Kansas lawyer who is the daughter of the Church's pastor, Fred Phelps. By the end, the Justices' comments gave the eerie impression that Margie Phelps might have singlehandedly managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of a seemingly all-but-sure victory.
. . .
Then it was Margie Phelps's turn. She looks a lot like someone who would come to your door selling tracts during the baseball playoffs, and her grim, whispery monotone is what I imagine Norman Bates's mother sounded like.
None of that should have mattered; a competent second-year law student could have handled it. One would simply concede that Mr. Snyder is a private person. The issue is the kind of speech. The WBC's speech, disagreeable though it might be to the majority, was aimed at issues of American social and military policy. This kind of speech is fully protected by the First Amendment. Nothing in WBC's signs was directed at Matthew or Albert Snyder personally. Church members never approached the funeral or tried to disrupt it with noise; they did not interact with Mr. Snyder, who never even saw the signs until he read news reports; the "epic" was not sent to Mr. Snyder, simply published on the Internet. Under these circumstances, letting a jury assess a multimillion-dollar verdict is plainly permitting punishment for a distasteful message on a question of public importance. The Snyders' pain is the kind of pain free speech requires us to bear.
Thank you. Sit down.
But Margie Phelps spent most of her time arguing that Mr. Snyder is a public figure because he and his family had spoken to the news media about their grief for their dead son and their horror at the war in which he died. All he had to do was keep absolutely quiet. By making any public comment after Matthew's death, they became fair game for WBC. Over and over the Justices suggested, asked, begged her to assume that Mr. Snyder was not a public figure. Please, they seemed to be saying, we're not buying it, give us some other reason to vote for you. Over and over she refused."They step[ped] into a public discussion," she said.
They had it coming.
As far as this case goes, I think Epps is right in his/her judgment that this was a bad case from the get-go and the Supremes should never have taken it on. As the old saying goes, "bad cases make for bad laws" when it comes to SCOTUS.

That said, I am pretty much an absolutist when it comes to free speech (remember the Skokie case, where the American Nazi Party sued to be allowed to march in Skokie IL, and the ACLU took on the case as a free speech issue? It cost the ACLU a lot of members who resigned in outrage, but I was not one of them.

The actions of the "Christianists" in the military funerals they picket is reprehensible, but it is still protected speech.

But rights are always in conflict -- at least that's the way it should be in a democratic society -- and it's a balancing act to uphold free speech rights for someone while at the same time upholding privacy rights for someone else.

I think that, despite the obvious grandstanding by the Phelps girl, the decision will come down on the rights of free speech. Which is kind of too bad, since the "church" thrives on publicity, and little Margie will be catapulted into her 15 minutes of fame.

All in all, it is a stinker, as the author says, and we would have been better served if they refused cert and let it alone. Attacking state laws on disrupting funerals would have made better case law.


[HT to my buddy Jae over at Jae's Sea for emailing me this story.]

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Donald Duck Meets Glenn Beck in 'Right Wing Radio Duck'

Here's an absolutely brilliant remix of some old Donald Duck cartoons -- about a dozen of them if I have it figured right -- in which a jobless and home-foreclosed Donald Duck starts listening to Glenn Beck:

Be sure to watch it and kudos to the creators for all of the obvious hard work and skill that it took to compile it.

And don't miss the Glenn Beck response to this "attack".

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Damn that Woodrow Wilson Anyway

"Don't know much about history" -- the words of a popular Sam Cooke song from 1998. It ought to be the anthem of Glenn Beck University.

The Beckster has gone off on any number of rants about the Progressive Movement of the turn of the 20th Century, but his main whipping boy seems to be Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President of the United States, comparing him to -- and crediting him with -- the rise Adolf Hitler, eugenics, the communist threat, and just about every other evil horror of the 20th Century that you can think of.

I will admit that there's a hell of a lot about Wilson that I do not admire: His lying about getting the US into WWI, his continuing segregation of the Federal bureaucracy, his overt racism (he once described the KKK-celebratory film Birth of a Nation as "history written with lightning") but he also was part of a political movement that culminated in the Federal Reserve Act, the Federal Trade Commission Act, the Clayton Antitrust Act, the Federal Farm Loan Act and America's first-ever federal progressive income tax in the Revenue Act of 1913.

So why does The Beckster vilify Wilson with such statements as "This is an evil SOB, man...One evil SOB -- bad dude!...I mean, he's a dirtbag racist, is he not?...I hate this guy. I don't even want to show his picture. No, don't do it. Don't show it. I hate this guy...He was a horror show, wasn't he? A horror show, possibly the spookiest president we've ever had."?

Well, my guess is that it wasn't because of his snobbish elite-Southern-gentleman racism but rather, since Wilson was in part responsible for all of those commie lefty pinko fellow-traveler socialists laws listed above, all of which were passed by Congress and signed by Wilson in his first term, he makes a handy target on which the know-nothing meathead Teabagger Beck can pin all of the blame for the things that have gone 'wrong" with this country since 1912.

Never mind that the Progressive Movement's biggest champion and most outspoken proponent was a guy named Theodore Roosevelt, who is apparently being let off the hook by The Beckster only because he was a Republican. Never mind the fact that TR, were he alive today, would be shunned by Glenn Beck and his own fellow-travelers in the Teabagger movement and the rest of that wholly-owned-subsidiary-of-the-wealthy-corporations, the Republican Party.

Be sure to read the Washington Post's Dana Milbank story, Glenn Beck is obsessed with Hitler and Woodrow Wilson. (I'm just saying.) for further clarification of Beck's uniquely warped perspective on American -- and world -- history.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

More Scary Stuff from the Qu'ran

With the new -- and probably bogus -- "terrorist alert" that started just as we were scuttling out of Paris, I thought it appropriate to advertise some more of those scary and violence-ridden passages out of the Holy Book of the Muslims, the Qu'ran:

Every Christian should be aware of these. The following endorses genocide, violence, rape, forced marriages, infanticide, and even cannibalism.

1. "..devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey. "
2. "Happy is he who repays you for what you have done to us, he who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks."
3. “But of the cities of these peoples which [Allah] gives you as an inheritance, you shall let nothing that breathes remain alive, but you shall utterly destroy them."
4. "And when [Allah] shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them."
5. "And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword."
6. "Their children shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes! There houses spoiled, and their wives raped...Dash the young men to pieces...have no pity on the fruit of the womb, the children shall not be spared..."
7. "So [he] smote all the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as [Allah] commanded."
8. "We took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain."
9. "And [he] smote the land, and left neither man nor woman alive, and took away the sheep, and the oxen, and the asses, and the camels, and the apparel. And [he] saved neither man nor woman alive."
10. "Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the female children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves."
11. "But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me."
12. "And he brought forth the people that were therein, and put them under saws, and under harrows of iron, and under axes of iron, and made them pass through the brick-kiln: and thus did he unto all the cities of the children of Ammon."
13. “If a man finds a young woman who is a virgin, who is not betrothed, and he seizes her and lies with her, and they are found out, then the man who lay with her shall give to the young woman’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife because he has humbled her.."
14. "If his master has given him a wife, and she has borne him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out by himself."
15. "And if you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and desire her and would take her for your wife, then you shall bring her home to your house, and she shall shave her head and trim her nails. She shall put off the clothes of her captivity, remain in your house, and mourn her father and her mother a full month; after that you may go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife. And it shall be, if you have no delight in her, then you shall set her free."
16. "Make ready to slaughter his sons for the guilt of their fathers; Lest they rise and posses the earth, and fill the breadth of the world with tyrants."
17. "If there be found among you... man or woman....who hath gone and served other gods and worshiped them, either the sun or moon or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded...then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman who has committed that wicked thing unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones till they die."
18. "Take heed to yourself, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land where you are going, lest it be a snare in your midst. But you shall destroy their altars.."
19. "You will chase your enemies, and they shall fall by the sword before you. Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight; your enemies shall fall by the sword before you."
20. "Take all the heads of the people and hang them up before [Allah against the sun.”
21. "They shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up!"
22. “And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat.”
The only problem with these horrifying examples? You probably already guessed it: They are not from the Qu'ran after all, they are from the Xian Bible. It is easy to cherrypick the horrifying stuff out pretty much any religious book and trot it out as though it is unerring Holy Writ which every practioner of that particular cult must follow and adhere to.

Here are the sources for the quotations, so you can look them up yourselves if you don't believe me: 1 Samuel 15:3, Psalm 137, Deut 20:16, Deut 7:1-2, Joshua 6:12, Isaiah: 13: 16-18, Joshua 10:40, Deut.2:26-35, 1 Samuel 27:8-9, Numbers 31: 17-18, Luke 19:27 2 Samuel 12:31 Deuteronomy: 22: 28-29, Exodus 21:4, Deuteronomy 21:11-14, Isaiah 14:21, Deuteronomy 17:2-5, Exodus 34: 11-12, Leviticus 26:7-8, Numbers 25:4 Hosea 13:16.

You may recall I've expounded on this theme before, but it never hurts to reinforce the idea.


[HT to Tia Lynn at Abandon Image for this list.]

The Teabaggers and the Founding Fathers

Glenn Beck and the other loudmouths of the Reich Right are so fond of invoking those sacrosanct "Founding Fathers" and what they really meant at the time of the founding of this country. It's too bad that they don't really know shit about our history and the drafting of the constitution.

According to Beck -- and especially his "historian"-in-residence, historical revisionist/Christian Nationalist and pseudoscholar David Barton -- the Founders were all Fundo Christians who believed in the current Beck-Barton-Franklin Graham, etc., Fundo version of "god", the idea of the Separation of Church and State was that government was not allowed to mess in the "free exercise of religion" but not the other way around (churches could dictate to the government all they wanted), and that this country was founded on "Judeo-Christian principles" in ethics and morality.

There's actually a trenchant analysis of what the Founding Fathers would have really thought about today's Teabaggers over at the Buzzflash blog, entitled The Tea/GOP Would HATE Our Actual Founders by a real historian, Harvey Wasserman:

This is a Greco-Roman nation, gathered in a Hodenosaunee longhouse.
As they wrap themselves in the Constitution they mean to shred, that is the self-evident Truth the Tea/GOP Party ultimately cannot face.
Our legal godfathers---the ones Glenn Beck loves to conjure---were Deistic liberal humanists whose core beliefs he hates.
They dumped that tea because they despised the corporation that owned it and the idea of empire it (and today's corporate-military right) stood for.
. . .
The federal structure adopted in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787, was---with Franklin's mentoring---based on the Iroquois Confederacy. That union was born at latest 1540 AD. It sustained a functioning democracy for at least 250 years, still longer than the US has been in existence.
The matriarchal Hodenosaunee were defined by a love of nature and communal land stewardship. Open dialog was as easily accepted as abortion and homosexuality. Along with so many other lethal diseases, Original Sin was an unwanted import.
It is the humanistic liberalism of America's Founders that STILL enrages today's neo-Puritan Tea/GOP. The Jefferson they love to claim fathered at least five children with his slave Sally Hemings, thirty years his junior. Some were conceived while he lived "alone" in the White House.
He and Franklin and Madison and Paine had no time for the Christian faith. It's by their intelligent design that Jesus appears nowhere in the Constitution. Their liberal Deism said a Creator got the universe going, installed the laws of nature, endowed humans with free will (and inalienable rights), then left.
Franklin's disdain for church services spices his autobiography. Jefferson clipped all references to a divinity for Jesus out of his personal Bible. Paine's Age of Reason still enrages the official church. Madison's First Amendment enshrines disdain for an official religion. Unitarianism in all its liberal diversity was shared by presidents two through six, including two Adamses, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe.
Go read the rest of it, and give yourself some ammunition for the next time that IBIL* of yours starts spouting his crap about this being a "Christian Nation". Just be prepared to be expelled from attendance at next year's family holiday gathering. Big loss. Just stay home and read a good book instead. It will be better for you in the long run.


[* IBIL = Idiot Brother-in-Law]

Monday, October 04, 2010

New Book of the Month: Freakonomics

In honor of the release of the movie Freakonomics, based loosely on the best-selling book from 2005, our book of the month for October is Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner.

This fascinating book, mostly through the relatively new practice of "data mining", takes a fresh look at the macro-and-micro-economics of everyday life and finds some amazing correlations between, for example, cheating sumo wrestlers (yes, they do exist) and cheating teachers in the Chicago school system, between crack dealers at the street level and burger flippers at McDonald's, and how 1973's SCOTUS Roe v. Wade abortion decision led to the precipitous and otherwise statistically unexplainable drop in crime rates in the 1990s.

It's a far-reaching and far-ranging look at a whole bunch of stuff that we take for granted, such as conventional wisdom and false-paradigm logic and the media manipulation of information which serves to put up false incentives to manipulate people to behave in a certain way.

I literally could not put it down. I read it in one day (admittedly at only 352 pages it's not that long) but I was so engrossed in it yesterday that I ended up paying a neighbor kid to mow my lawn. (Not that I needed any incentive in that direction -- that grass was really long...)

Withe election season upon us, this book ought to be required reading for anyone who wants to be a more informed voter who will take the talking points of the self-appointed "experts" with a grain of salt.