Sunday, December 02, 2012

I'm Okay -- Just Taking Some Time Off

I'm okay, I'm just taking some time off. I need to recharge my batteries, as it were.  I think I've said before that this period of time between the holidays just isn't my time of the year, and this year is especially bad since my "problem child" -- the family member whose medical problemes caused me to take time off earlier in the year -- has now decided arbitrarily to stop taking his meds...

Anyway I'm going to take some more time off. Have a happy holiday season, everyone, and I'll see you after the first of the year.

Assuming, of course, that we all survive "The End of the Mayan Calendar".... But we do manage to survive The End of the Western Calendar every year, don't we?

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Book of the Month: On the Road by Jack Kerouac

In 1957, two novels were published that were destined to have a profound effect on the future of the United States, and indeed, the world, effects that would long outlast the lives of their creators.

The first was Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand, and those who read it and felt that is was "speaking directly to them" went on to become Republicans, vulture capitalists, the kind of self-absorbed greed mongers epitiomized by Gordon Gecko and empathy-eschewing rightwing politicians epitomized by Paul Ryan, who wants to get rid of Social Security.

The second was On the Road, by Jack Kerouac, and its fans became late-period Beats, transitional "Fringies", and ultimately evolved into Hippies and End-the-Vietnam-War protesters.

We also became, by and large, those who didn't burn out, liberals and Democrats. If by some chance you haven't read the book, here is your chance. Or if you have read it, but it's been years ago since you did, here's a chance to renew your acquaintance with the detached Sal Paradise, the maniacal Dean Moriarty and their frenzied cross-country trips that make up the bulk of this book.

I've also created a set of interactive Google Maps so you can follow the progress of the journeys. Yes, this book did have a profound effect on me as a stripling teenager, and had I never read it, I'm sure my life would have turned out very differently.

The movie version of On the Road is scheduled to come out this month. It's actually surprising that a movie hasn't been made before now, but if you read the book, you will have some insights into things that the movie doesn't make clear or glosses over (no, I haven't see it myself, but you know what I'm talking about). You'll also be able to say to your friends, "The book was different!" You know how everyone likes that...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving and the Holiday Season

The time between now and Xmas has never really been my favorite time of the year. My childhood memories of that time are, shall we say, less than idyllic... Only in America do we have national holidays dedicated to celebration of the Seven Deadly Sins...

Plus it's always cold and wet and dark, and that all gets exacerbated by all of the cloying commercials for greed satiation that seem to start earlier every year.

This year we are not going to do anything with family for the holiday. Half of my kids are not speaking to the other half and my cousin who usually hosts these dinners is in treatment for leukemia (not the wackjob cousin, unfortunately...); my IBIL* will have to get by on his own, without me as a foil. Instead we are going to go out to our local excuse for a fancy restaurant and get the Gluttony Special (i.e., their all-you-stuff-in buffet).

For those of you who are still stuck with some of your Republican relatives, though, here's some good advice from Care2: 10 Ways to Deal With Conservative Relatives During the Holidays.

Me, I will probably be lying low for a few days...

[*IBIL = Idiot Brother-In-Law]

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Real Job Creators

Just in time for that dreaded yearly ritual, the Thanksgiving meal with your Idiot Brother-In-Law! Over at News Corpse, the always-valuable media criticism site, they've got this terrific graphic that shows, in basic Econ 101, who the real job creators are.

Monday Music Break

Way back, in what seems like a couple of lifetimes ago now, the spring of 1974, in the "lovely seaside resort" of Isla Vista, California (actually home of the University of California Santa Barbara), my wife at the time decided, fairly abruptly it seemed to me, that she no longer wanted to be married to an impoverished graduate student and would rather be married to ... an auto mechanic(?!).

I was suddenly left in the lurch, with nothing to my name except an aging, wheezing, valve-clattering VW microbus, a modest VA disability pension, and a staggering amount of student debt (none of which she could get her hands on -- hey, I was willing to share the "debt" part of it with takers, though).

Fuck, who could concentrate on graduate courses in English Lit and the whole what-did-Wordsworth-REALLY-mean-by-daffodils at that point? I spent that summer in a sort of impromptu commune of fellow long-haired music-jammin' cheap-wine-drinkin' dope-smokin' macrobiotic hippie types at the Pendola Hot Springs campground in the mountains above Santa Barbara, and this song really spoke to me and helped me to get through that whole thing. ( I beginning to see a pattern here with these music breaks? Fuck it, that's what I'm paying my therapist the big bucks to figure out...)

Back in the day I used to be able to pick out a decent rendition of this on a blues harp, but that was then and this is now...

Anyway, here's Carole King and The Old Ferguson Road:

Friday, November 16, 2012

Fun Stuff for the Weekend

Epic Fails. Fun stuff for the weekend. See you on Monday.

[Yes I think that some of my relatives are in this video... Why do you ask?]

Thursday, November 15, 2012

No More Swiftboats: Keep Kerry in the Senate

Over the past few days there's been a raft of speculation floated by the media that John Kerry, the senior senator from Massachusetts, will be offered a cabinet position, either Secretary of State or Secretary of Defense.

Here's why that is a very bad idea.

First of all, if he gives up his seat in the senate, what are the chances that it will be picked off by the opportunistic Republican hack and recent loser Scott Brown? Given the closeness of this year's race, I'd say his chances are pretty good. We need to keep the senate in as many Democratic hands as possible, and work to increase that number. Sorry Senator Kerry, I know that you have ambitions beyond the senate, but you need to take one for the team.

Second, we don't need a redux of 2004's  Swift Boat Veterans for Truth Swiftboat Liars for Bush. I was a member of the Washington State Veterans for Kerry Steering Committee in 2004, with a front row seat to the show, and I don't want to go through that again.

The Swift Boat group, you may recall, was an astroturf organization which had at its head a guy named John O'Neill, who had apparently been carrying a hardon against Kerry since that time years ago that Kerry made him look like a fool on national television (Dick Cavett Show in 1971).

The fact that the video of Kerry testifying to Congress seemed to show that he had been involved in war crimes -- not so, he was speaking for veterans who had claimed that they had, reading from their testimony at the infamous Winter Soldier Investigation, and while it later appeared that some of them had not been truthful, Kerry had no way of knowing that in 1970, but act contributed to the perceived need to "get" Kerry with O'Neill and with some of the brass who had been above Kerry.

Combine that personal vendetta with a virtually unlimited amount of money to create a controversy where there wasn't one, and Kerry's apparently inability or unwillingness to fight that. I've personally met Kerry several times and one time I asked him about the whole Swiftboating episode; he said that it was one of the big regrets of the 2004 campaign that he didn't fight back immediately against the them, but he said that he didn't think that the voters would give any credence to their -- what seemed to reasonable people -- outrageous lies. Turns out he wasn't right about that...

When you drill down deep enough into the whole Swift Boat thing, you find that, although they were able to get a bunch of Navy Vietnam vets on board with their slander, the closer to Kerry you got, the fewer people you could find who were willing to join the Swifties. The men on Kerry's boat, who presumably knew him the best, almost to a man joined with Kerry and worked on the campaign. I also met several of these guys and they were effusive in their praise of their former commander. They were certainly under no compulsion to do that, and to a veteran like me, it means a lot that the men under his command were so supportive of him.

A Very Big Deal was made about Kerry's medals as well, but it must be kept in mind that a soldier can't just give himself a medal, and especially not one as prestigious as a Silver Star. There is a process of  nomination and approval that includes several layers above the rank of the recipient, and those people are career military who can't be "bought". With a Silver Star, it goes all the way to the Pentagon. In the Navy that was especially true, as verified by one of my closest friends who is a retired Navy Captain (the equivalent of a bird colonel in the Army) and is also a Vietnam vet.

So no, I don't want to refight that whole Swiftboat thing again. I lost a couple of "friends" last time around when they loudly proclaimed that Kerry didn't deserve his medals. Neither of them had been in the military service, of course, and I may have been a little too ... insistent ... in telling them that they were full of shit.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Democalypse 2016: It's Not Too Early

After much serious thought and contemplation, I've already decided on who I am supporting for the presidency in 2016:

Blunt-Boehner 2016 -- The GOP: Sticking it to You Since 1980

Once again I am throwing my not inconsiderable support behind a couple of candidates who just happen to have perfect names for the 2016 Republican nomination.

Okay, this isn't really new. I first supported these guys way back in 2009, and the reasons I'm beating the flogs for them now are the same ones as before:
Missouri's Senator Roy Blunt and Ohio's Representative John Boehner* are both good foot soldiers in the GOP. As a former GOP senator Roman Hruska said in a different context (the attempt by Tricky Dick Nixon to elevate G. Harrold Carswell to the Supreme Court), "...there are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers. They are entitled to a little representation, aren't they, and a little chance?"
Indeed. Are you listening, Republican National Committee? This is a free-for-you idea, and I won't even sue you if you do it. All I want is a little recognition and gratitude (okay, and maybe a little money if it's successful -- after all you paid Karl Rove zillions for nothing...).

Even if you don't end up nominating these guys, you can still have the slogan for free. After all, you earned it.

[* Okay, Constant Reader, don't get your panties in a bunch; I know that Boner likes his name to be pronounced something like "Beyner", but come on, who can really pass this up...?]

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Oh Woe Is Me ... Ten Things That Spell THE END of America

Well, the election was over just one week ago and here's what's already happened to me:


  1. I have had to submit to Sharia Law, instituted by the Chief Muslim-in-Charge Barack HUSSEIN Obama. I don't really know what that means exactly, unless it has something to do with the following:
  2. My wife and I are getting a divorce because gay marriage is now legal in the state of Washington and has, therefore, destroyed "traditional" marriage.
  3. I've already had to give up my guns to the Fascist/Communist/Socialist/Atheist UN gun-grabbers who kicked in my door in the middle of the night and gave me a mighty smite upside the head.
  4. Since $750 billion has been stolen from Medicare to pay for Obamacare, I can't go the doctor to have the severe head wounds inflicted by those gun-grabbers taken care of.
  5. My job (that I didn't have because I am retired) has been outsourced to Kenya, where some shiftless, lazy and undeserving (i.e., "black") person is now lounging around and watching television, when he is not shopping at the WalMart that I didn't shop at and wearing the made-in-Indonesia-by-slave-labor sneakers that I didn't have.
  6. My other job (that I also didn't have because I am retired) has now been taken over by an illegal alien from somewhere south of the border, who is now able to stay here legally and take jobs away from "regular" Americans. (Actually, I don't know where he is from, really, but he looks "Mexican" and that is close enough..)
  7. All existing copies of my book will be burnt on a Sharia bonfire, and this blog and my page on The Facebook will be summarily executed.
  8. As will, sadly, two of my three cats because, while they were raised to be 100% American, they are suspiciously foreign: Siamese (Thailand) and Burmese (Myanmar). Apparently Obama's Islamist generosity to swarthy foreigners does not extend to the feline members of our society whose roots are in the wrong countries. But at least the Persian (Iran!) will be left alive, since he has obviously been a one-cat deep cover sleeper cell for Al Qaeda, and now he can enjoy his rewards from a grateful Muslim president, including a daily supply of mice from Israel to torture and kill.
  9. And if all that isn't enough, the god damn Fascist/Communist/Socialist/Atheist/Islamist gov'ment has put its lousy stinking hands on my Medicare and my Social Security and my Veterans benefits, and gotten them all dirty and greasy and stinky and fingerprint-y. I really can't cope with all of this, so all in all it's probably a good thing that:
  10. I've been informed that because I am an old white guy who, statistically at least, voted straight Tea Party Republican, I am to be taken away to live out the meager remainder of my pathetic days in a FEMA concentration camp somewhere in the desert of Arizona, where, in an ironic twist, I will be forced to wear official Joe-Arpaio-signature-brand pink underwear.
Oh, the humanity...


Monday, November 12, 2012

Romney and the Mormon Vote

Okay, I know that it isn't cool to kick a man when he's down, but fuck, you just gotta love it that Mittens got fewer votes from his fellow Morons Mormons than, of all people, George W. aka "Shrubby" aka "Baby Doc" aka '"War Criminal" Bush did in 2004.

I mean, what's up with that? Maybe that the rank and file members of the Moron Mormon church have gotten a little more liberal than those 13 Old Men (12 "apostles" plus one "prophet, seer and revelator") who are at the top of the church hierarchy? Or could it be that the True Believers in the church saw what they feared as the beginnings of the Apocalypse and the rise of the White Horse and they just weren't ready for it yet?

After all, if you are a Moron Mormon, and the End of Times comes before you've had a chance to amass all of the worldly wealth that you can scrape together, you might end up in one of the lesser levels of heaven, for example, the "Telestial" instead of the "Celestial". (Once again, no I am not making this up.)

At its core, the Mormon church is as Calvinist as any of them, with its belief that Success equals Piety. Evidentially, the more success you achieve, the more pious you have to be (because god has smiled on you in the "preexistence" or whatever...), so the higher you will go in the afterlife. Shit, you can even become a god yourself!

So, for whatever the reason, Romney lost a bunch of LDS votes. But maybe it's just because they know him, and one thing we've heard over and over in this campaign is that once you get to know Romney, the more you dislike him.

A Worthy Petition: Macey's, Dump Trump!

Here's a worthy petition to sign. It urges Macey's Department Stores to disassociate itself with The Donald:

Macy's: Donald Trump does not reflect the "magic of Macy's." We urge you to sever ties with him. Macy's says it has a strong obligation to be "socially responsible" and that "actions speak louder than words." Indeed. It's time to act.
You can sign it here, and please pass it on to your friends.

Did Petraeus Betray Us? Nailed It!

A long time back, I was the first person to use the doggerel rhyme Petraeus Betray Us.

Turns out I was right, but for the wrong reasons. The general couldn't keep it in his pants, and ended up spilling some pillow talk to his "journalist" biographer that appears to have gone against the national interest. So, yeah, Petraeus betrayed us.

Jeez, what is it with these guys? And why did Obama put him in charge of the CIA? Was it one of those "better inside the tent pissing out than outside the tent pissing in" things?

News of the Weird

Everyone knows about McAfee virus protection for your computer. Every time you download something like Adobe, you have to be on your toes or you'll also download a "free" copy of McAfee virus protection.

Well, it turns out that the Big Daddy of McAfee, one John McAfee by name, is now wanted for murder in the tiny Caribbean nation of Belize.

Read the story and marvel at the depths one man with an unlimited amount of money and an inexhaustible taste for recreational sex drugs can sink.

Must be That Home Schoolin'

The Twitterverse is ablaze with the recent post of Georgia teenager Kristen Neel's twit tweet after the election: "I'm moving to Australia, because their president is a Christian and actually supports what he says."

Poor little Kristen apparently didn't have a clue that Australia doesn't have a president, it has a prime minister, and she is a woman who is an atheist. Who is "living in sin" with her boyfriend. Jeez, that's three strikes right there, Kristin. Goodbye and thanks for playing.

Yep, must be that good ole home schoolin' at work here. She probably even thinks she can drive there.

Monday Music Break

In honor of Veteran's Day yesterday and all of my fellow Vietnam vets, here is the Monday Music Break, We Gotta Get Out of This Place by The Animals.

This song was the anthem for every soldier in Vietnam. Special Services was responsible for morale in Vietnam, and they made every effort to bring some of the comforts of home to the soldiers, including hiring a large number of local Vietnamese rock and roll bands to entertain the troops. Most of the band members spoke limited English and learned the songs by listening to the records and memorizing the words. Sometimes this turned out to be unintentionally funny, but mostly not so much...

These bands could be found everywhere in South Vietnam, from huge installations such as Long Binh to isolated single-company outposts such as the transportation unit where I was stationed. Every band that showed up was required to have this song in its repertoire, and it never failed to bring down the house when they played it.

And kudos to YouTube's schultz234, who put this video together using photos and films from the war, for a high school class in US history. Thank you.

Portland Oregon's Liberal Talk Radio Stifled

I suppose that it had to happen. KPOJ, Portland's liberal talk radio station, was owned by rightwing masters of the universe Clear Channel Communications, which is in turn partially owned by ... [cue spooky music] ... Bain Capital! So, just three days after the election, it was announced that KPOJ was going -- and going immediately -- from talk radio to sports radio, Fox Sports Radio, in fact.

I guess KPOJ's voice of reason was starting to get through to the knuckledragging wingnuttery so much that the overlords had to shut it down to shut it up. The only thing that's surprising is that they waited until after the election to do it.

KPOJ was a premier voice in the northwest countering the alternate reality of the wingnut fringe. I would listen to it regularly when I drove south from where I live, since my own liberal talk radio station, KPTK out of Seattle, fringes out about ten miles from here, but I could pick up KPOJ loud and clear all the way to where I was going. So I am personally going to miss it a lot.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Take That!

Whew, the election is over and while the Washington State Secretary of State race has still not been decided, all of the rest of my candidates in this watershed election won.

So take that, Mitt Romney! Take that, Lyin' Ryan! Take that, Tea Party! Take that, Rethugs! Take that, Citizens United! Take that, Supreme Court! And take that, Wackjob Cousin!

In 2004 Shrubby Bush, on much shakier grounds, claimed that he had a mandate, and that he had political capital that he intended to spend. It was a sign of his utter cluelessness that he even thought that.

Now Obama really has a mandate, and since he doesn't have to worry about getting re-elected, he's got a ton of political capital. Start spending it and let's send the Rethugs to the ash heap of history where they belong.

And me? I'm tired, so I'm going to take some time off. Catch up with you later.

--The F Man

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

It's Election Day

Get out and VOTE!

Monday, November 05, 2012

Monday Music Break

Dedicated to the memory of failed presidential candidate Willard Mittens Romney, here is the incomparable Bob Dylan and Like a Rolling Stone:

I can't imagine a more fitting set of lyrics to describe Romney on the morning of day after tomorrow:
Once upon a time you dressed so fine
You threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn't you?
People'd call, say, "Beware doll, you're bound to fall"
You thought they were all kiddin' you
You used to laugh about
Everybody that was hangin' out
Now you don't talk so loud
Now you don't seem so proud
About having to be scrounging for your next meal.
How does it feel
How does it feel
To be without a home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone? 
Go ahead and check out all the lyrics to this great song -- they are fittin'  Mittens all the way.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Will There Be a Revolt?

Assuming that Nate Silver is correct and Obama wins re-election, then what are the Rethugs likely to do? Given that this is likely their last hurrah -- the demographics are simply not with them -- will they simply fold their tents and slip gently into that good night?

If the past is any indication, that's not likely. They are hoping for another very close election, and they would not be above staging another astroturf Brooks Brothers riot, the way they did in Florida in 2000, but this time in battleground state Ohio.

The SCLM* is acting as their handmaidens, playing it up as a statistical dead heat when in reality it is already a done deal for Obama (according to Nate Silver, anyway). In the old days we would have said that it sells more papers. We can't say that any more, since paper is going the way of the Dodo Bird, and it's all electronic. Which means that they want to gin up more viewers; more viewers = more advertising revenue; it's simple Econ 101 stuff, people.

But the average member of the Moron-American Voting Bloc has no way to know that, which is why they are willing to buy into the "dead heat" meme, and the more people that buy into that, the less shocked they will be when the Rethugs start that revolt.

I agree wholeheartedly with one thing: They are revolting.

May you live in interesting times...

[* SCLM = So Called Liberal Media]

Friday, November 02, 2012

Rethug Extortion

Where I come from this is called "extortion". It's no different from some knuckle-dragging guido with a baseball bat strolling into your convenience store and saying, "Nice place ya got here. Be a damn shame if somethin' should happen to it, wooden it? Maybe somethin' like, I dunno, a baseball bat breakin' out ya front window? Tell ya what I'm gonna do. Gimme fifty a week and I'll make sure that don't happen."

Romney today issued his own version of this:

In what his campaign billed as his “closing argument,” Mitt Romney warned Americans that a second term for President Obama would have apocalyptic consequences for the economy in part because his own party would force a debt ceiling disaster.
See the whole story over at TPM and tell me where I'm wrong.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Check the Day Count

Hey, I just noticed that the day count in the right column, days since John Boner became Speaker of the House, has just today reached ... [cue scary music] ... 666!!!

Make of that what you will...

It's Official: I am Damned

Mike Huckabee says so, so I guess it must be true:

HUCKABEE: Many issues are at stake, but some issues are not negotiable: The right to life from conception to natural death. Marriage should be reinforced, not redefined. It is an egregious violation of our cherished principle of religious liberty for the government to force the Church to buy the kind of insurance that leads to the taking of innocent human life.
Your vote will affect the future and be recorded in eternity. Will you vote the values that will stand the test of fire? This is Mike Huckabee asking you to join me November 6th and vote based on values that will stand the test of fire.
Yep, when I dropped that ballot marked for Obama and all Democrats into the mail, I sealed my fate. But, as Billy Joel put it, "I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with saints -- the sinners are much more fun".

BTW, did you get that "every sperm is sacred" reference to birth control insurance leading to the taking of innocent human life? What does Huckabee do when he has a "wet dream"? Even though it potentially has a totally awesome "ecccchh!" factor, I'd kind of like to know what measures he takes to ensure the sacred motility of those otherwise wasted "pre-humans" that he inadvertently sploogied onto his pajamas.

Okay, now I'm grossing myself out...

Book of the Month: Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences

The book of the month for November is Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences by John Allen Paulos.

Watching all of the campaigns and the debates between the Romney team and Team Obama, I've noticed some very large numbers being thrown around kind of haphazardly, used as weapons, and rejected dismissively. And it got me to thinking back on something that I've believed for a long time, and that's that Innumeracy is far worse than Illiteracy in this country and it has far-reaching negative effects on the body politic.

Read this book and it will be an eye-opener for you, and you will "know the code" when those numbers start to fly.

From the publisher's description:

Why do even well-educated people understand so little about mathematics? And what are the costs of our innumeracy? John Allen Paulos, in his celebrated bestseller first published in 1988, argues that our inability to deal rationally with very large numbers and the probabilities associated with them results in misinformed governmental policies, confused personal decisions, and an increased susceptibility to pseudoscience of all kinds. Innumeracy lets us know what we're missing, and how we can do something about it. Sprinkling his discussion of numbers and probabilities with quirky stories and anecdotes Paulos ranges freely over many aspects of modern life, from contested elections to sports stats, from stock scams and newspaper psychics to diet and medical claims, sex discrimination, insurance, lotteries, and drug testing. Readers of Innumeracy will be rewarded with scores of astonishing facts, a fistful of powerful ideas, and, most important, a clearer, more quantitative way of looking at their world. 
I know what you are thinking: the book is a dry recap of math crap that you'd forgotten since high school and never want to be reminded of again. Not so! The book is in an easy-to-read prose and it contains a lot of telling anecdotes -- from wrongful criminal convictions to false-positive drug testing to lottery winnings -- to illustrate its lessons in numerical intelligence.

Next time some politicians starts quoting "averages", you can fire back with real math and make them understand that there are several ways to compute averages, including mean, median and mode, each of which will give you a different answer.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Must See Animation Video

Really, truly, you have to see this:

Another Halloween Scare

My absolute favorite comic strip of all time, Calvin and Hobbes. Here's a Halloween classic from C&H:

Yeah, "Am I scary or what?" Yeah!

As if Halloween Wasn't Scary Enough Already

I have just three words that ought to scare the shit out of anybody who is even considering letting one of their friends or relatives -- or even that IBIL* of yours -- vote for the Lying Magic Underpants Man (aka Mittens Romney).

Those three words: Soo Preme Court!!!

The winner of this presidential election will almost surely get to nominate two new justices to the Supreme Court, and very possibly four new justices before his term is over.

If Romney wins, but some hook or crook, it might be the last gasp of the Republican Party's Old White Men, but given Romney's chief judicial advisor is none other than Robert Bork, the hangover from the Romney Party could  last a couple of generations. I will be long dead and cremated before the Supreme Court would recover -- before the nation could recover -- from a Romney Supreme Court.

Let's not let that happen. There are just six fucking days until the election!

Get down to your local Democratic Party HQ and make some phone calls, go door-to-door with walking lists and shake down likely voters who haven't yet dropped off their ballots, do something!


[* IBIL=Idiot Brother in Law --  but I know he's incorrigible!]

Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday Music Break -- Allentown

Here's musical genius Billy Joel with Allentown, a song for the eighties, sure, but also a song for today:

A note of trivia: On the East Coast, people go to "the shore"; here on the West Coast we go to "the beach". Take that, Snooki!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Mormonism and Islam

A few days ago I wrote a tongue-in-cheek reference to the similarities between Mormonism and Islam.

Turns out I'm not the only one to come up with this. Wikipedia even has a full page entry on the topic, including the following coincidences:

  • A founding prophet who received visits from an angel, leading to revelation of a book of scripture;
  • An emphasis upon family, and the family unit as the foundation for religious life and the transmission of values;
  • Insistence that their religion is a complete way of life, meant to directly influence every facet of existence;
  • A belief that theirs constitutes the one and only completely true religion on the earth today;
  • Belief that good deeds are required for salvation just as much as faith;
  • Assertions that modern Christianity does not conform to the original religion taught by Jesus Christ;
  • Belief that the text of the Bible, as presently constituted, has been adulterated from its original form;
  • Rejection of the Christian doctrines of Original Sin and the Trinity;
  • Strong emphasis upon education, both in the secular and religious arenas;
  • Belief in fasting during specified periods of time;
  • Incorporation of a sacred ritual of ablution, though each religion's rite differs in form, frequency and purpose;
  • Belief that their faith represents the genuine, original religion of Adam, and of all true prophets thereafter;
  • Prohibition of alcoholic beverages, gambling, and homosexual and bisexual practices;
  • Belief that one's marriage can potentially continue into the next life, if one is faithful to the religion;
  • Belief in varying degrees of reward and punishment in the hereafter, depending upon one's performance in this life;
  • Special reverence for, though not worship of, their founding prophet;
  • Emphasis upon charitable giving, and helping the downtrodden;
  • An active interest in proselytizing nonbelievers;
  • Strong emphasis upon chastity, including modesty in dress; and
  • A clergy drawn from the laity, without necessarily requiring collegiate or seminary training.
  • A division of the religion into a minimum of two parties after the death of the founding prophet, with one party claiming that leadership should continue through the prophet's descendents, and the other party rejecting this idea.

Wow, there are some things in this list that even I never thought of. But I also note that they don't include the concept of clannish desert-dwellers in their list.

To be fair, the page also lists a number of signal differences between the two religions, but we are not concerned with them today...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

When They Eat Their Own...

All of this Schaudenfreude is getting to me. I may have to have a defibrilllator before this is over.

Now there's a battle royal going on between, of all people, Michelle Malkin on one side and mAnn Coulter and Donald Trump on the other over the use of the word "retard".

Michelle says, "@AnnCoulter calls President Obama a "retard." What a stupid, shallow thing to say, Ann".

Read it and grin...

How Democracies Die: A Lesson from History

You know the old sayings, "history repeats itself" and "everything old is new again"? Mike Lofgren over at TruthOut has a great piece entitled How Democracies Die that is well worth the read:

Picture a country at the height of its international power and prestige. It has military forces stationed around the globe. It is an intellectual leader. Its citizens are pleased to insist that the national idea, their country's way of life, is a beacon of enlightenment and human rights for the rest of the world. Indeed, they are wont to harp on the notion that the country embodies the very concept of Western Civilization.
But beneath the façade of greatness there is creeping rot. The rich (who are accustomed to getting their way in all things) corrupt the system and buy the people's representatives in this venerable democracy. The country lurches towards political polarization and, predictably, the machinery of orderly governance becomes gridlocked. The politicians of the right, who take every opportunity to bellow for increased spending on the military, refuse to raise the revenues to pay for it. Why?
Sounds familiar, does it? Go ahead and read it to learn which country it really was (hint: Not the US) and the attendant warning signs that it presents to us in 21st Century America.

God Works in Mysterious Ways...

You've got to wonder about a god that would intervene to make sure that just one out of 250 million sperm cells in an average ejaculation fertilizes an egg during a rape, but won't interfere to prevent the rape itself.

What's up with that?

Republican Rape Chart

Click on the image to make it larger.

Billy Graham and the Cult Backlash

You gotta laugh at this one. After The Rev Billy Graham cast aside decades of theological purity and reclassified Mormonism as NOT a cult, the down-ticket evangelists are beside themselves.

Here's the full story from HuffPost: Billy Graham Faces Backlash Over Mormon 'Cult' Removal.

Seems Old Billy, in his zeal to elect a Republican and get that "uppity Negro" out of the White House, has chosen to ignore for political expediency what he previously identified as "cult" beliefs in the Mormon church, and many of his fellow-travelers in the evangelical community are up in arms over it.

The Fundos have been strutting around with their "my god is better than your god" arguments for years. The identification of Mormonism as a cult was a big part of that. Add to this the fact that the Mormons seem to have more in common with Islam than mainstream Christianity (a charismatic founder who made up out of whole cloth new holy scripture, subjugation of women, polygamy, abstemious from alcohol, desert dwellers, clannish distrust of outsiders as infidels, etc. etc.), and you have a recipe for disaster.

One of the pastors interviewed for this story says, "The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association probably cost Mitt Romney my November ballot when it stopped calling Mormonism a cult explicitly because of this election."

Let's hope so. And let's hope a lot of his co-religionists feel the same way.

Sidebar: I know a guy who is now in his 70s who grew up in the same area of North Carolina where Billy Graham lived, and he states, unequivocally, that Billy Graham is a dick. Like we didn't already have that one figured out...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Religion, Race and the Old Double Standard

Andrew Sullivan, although I think he can be a bit of a dick at times, usually has some interesting stuff to say about politics. And this week at The Daily Beast, he's hit one out of the park:

Imagine for a moment that Barack Obama had never attended Jeremiah Wright's church in Chicago and had decided to attend services, and proselytize for, a black separatist, nationalist church that refused to allow whites to participate in crucial religious services because white people had been condemned by God for their iniquity in the ancient past and had been for ever marked white so black Americans would know instantly to keep their distance. In fact, the definition of white in this black supremacist church was just one drop of white blood in a black person. It was Nazi-like in its racist precision and exclusion. Whites were denied the rites that made a person a full member of the church. Even blacks with a tiny strain of white DNA were kept from full participation.
Imagine further that backing this racist church was not a youthful folly on Obama's part, but a profound commitment - that he went on a mission abroad to convert Christians to a new religion based on black racial supremacy, and has often said that the most important thing in his entire life to this day is a church whose sacred scripture declares white people to be cursed by God for their past sins - and the sign of this curse is their white skin.
A simple question: Do you think this issue would not come up in a general election or a primary? If Obama was subjected to news cycle after news cycle of clips of Obama's actual former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, can you imagine the outrage if Obama had actually been a part of a black supremacist church - that denied whites equal access to the sacraments - for over a decade in his adult life?
Well, a little role reversal, a little whitewashing of images, and voilá, may I present Mitt Romney, lifetime member of the long-time white-supremacist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints -- Mormon, for short.

Go ahead and finish the whole story for a complete look at Bishop Romney and his church. We can't afford to have this guy as president.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Baracktose Intolerance

I'm sure you've seen this already, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to present this Daily Show clip on the wingnuttery's intolerance of Barack Obama:

Android App Tester Needed

Would someone with an Android device please check this out: OPOVet Android App?

I went through a free and super easy site called AppYet and built this Android app to provide my Atom newsfeed to Android devices.

However, since I don't have anything remotely resembling a Smart Phone, and my only Android device is my B&N Nook, which uses Android but evidently won't let me download anything except a B&N-approved app, I have no way of testing it.

Would someone please test this for me before I post it on the sidebar for the whole world to use? Thanks.

American History, Politics and the Religious Right

Al Stefanelli is a former Southern Baptist pastor as well as being the former Georgia State Director for American Atheists, Inc. Talk about a complete 180!

He has an article on Revisionist History that is well worth the read. In it he takes apart the movement among the Religious Right to recast this as a Christian Nation:

Instead of recognizing the Declaration of Independence as an important document stating our insistence to individual freedom and a government of the people, by the people and for the people, it has been relegated by the religious right as a weapon to promote their desire to bring the United States back to a form of government that is almost identical to the one we originally fought so hard to be free of.
The sole purpose of the Declaration was to “dissolve the political bands,” not to set up a religious nation. Its authority is based on the idea that “governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,” which is contrary to the biblical concept of the Theocracy that the Religious Right seek to impose upon us.
There's a lot more, so be sure to read it and bone up on the facts, so when that IBIL* of yours starts spouting that Christian Nation crap at your next get-together, you can beat him into submission -- verbally, of course; I don't want to sound like I'm promoting violence (even though he probably deserves it).
[*IBIL = Idiot Brother in Law]

The Rat Faced Git Goes to Rat Mouth FL

I knew Mittens couldn't do it. He couldn't manage to get through one and a half hours of television time -- and only half of which was his -- without lying.

His "Apology Tour" snark probably wasn't the biggest one, but it's one of the most smarmy and repeated ones, and Obama called him right out on it. He also called him out on several others as well, at one point saying, "Governor, nothing you've said is true" after a typical Romney tirade.

According to, both sides came out either with some blatant lying -- Romney -- or some minor misstatements -- Obama. [those are my interpretations, anyway...]

On balance, though, Romney came off as a lying rat faced git who lost the debate on points and content and style. RepubliCONs will likely disagree with that assessment, but fuck 'em, I can be as big a proponent of confirmation bias as they can.

BTW, speaking of "rat face gits", you did know that Boca Raton (the site of the debate) is Spanish for Rat Mouth, didn't you? Perfect venue for Governor Etch-A-Sketch to be all speechifyin'.

Okay, so this time I got to watch the debate at home on my own high-def television, not at a crowded and noisy Democratic Party debate-watching soiree in a restaurant like the last two, and so I got to see Romney's perspiring face and fake-ass smile up close and personal. Not so much of that unjustifiably-overconfident fratboy smirk this time -- you know what I'm talking about: That face that made you want to scream obscenities and throw a lamp through the television screen. No, the boy was actually sweating it out big time, and you could see the cords in his neck stand out as he clenched his jaw and gritted his teeth.

Too bad, Little Mittens. If you can't take the heat, you shouldn't play with the big boys.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Mormon Mitt in Bed With Big Tobacco

Mormon scruples? Mitt Romney? It is to laugh. Here's an exposé from Truthout that shows Mittens' rank hypocrisy when it comes to the tenets of his church: Mormon Mitt in Bed With Big Tobacco shows Bain Capital's intimate involvement with Big Tobacco. Tobacco, you might recall, is one of the major no-no's in the Mormon church, right up there with alcohol and coffee as substances that the faithful are not to indulge in under penalty of ... of something or other...

Okay, it turns out that this isn't such a big revelation of Mormon hypocrisy after all. In the mid-1800s Mormon trading posts along the Oregon Trail made huge profits from selling whiskey to emigrants bound for the Oregon Country. As long as they weren't "saints" and kept on heading west.

It seems that in Mormon World, the only time that tobacco and alcohol and caffeine are sins is if Mormons use them. They are more than happy to sell that shit to what they refer to as "Gentiles" -- which means anyone not of the Mormon faith.

And that means that Benjamin "Bibi" Netanhyahu, in Mormon Land, is a Gentile... WTF???

And no, I am totally not making this up!

The Mendacity of Mitt

Poor Mittens. The guy can't, it seems, even open his fucking mouth without the lies pouring forth.

Over at The Maddow Blog, Steve Benen keeps a running total of the Romney Lies, entitled Chronicling Mitt's Mendacity.

It's worth the read, even though it seems like it goes on forever. As do the Lies of Mitt...

Traveling Atheist Billboard Attacks Mormons

Over at CNN there's a story entitled Atheist billboard attacks Romney's faith, but Mormons say it's misleading.

The billboard says, simply, "No blacks allowed (until 1978); No gays allowed (current); Shame on Mormonism".

Naturally The One True Church is all in a lather about it:

"People are surely free to disagree with us on the facts," Dale Jones, a church spokesman, wrote in an e-mail to CNN. "This group seems not to know that there have been black members of the Church since our earliest history, and there are many faithful gay members of the Church today."
But that really doesn't tell the whole story, either. Black people were certainly not denied membership in the church. They were "only" denied the priesthood. Doesn't sound like it's such a big deal, except for the fact that the entire church is built on the patriarchal structure of the priesthood. Without having it conferred on you -- which is standard for every male member of the church -- you can't hold a church office, you can't be become a scout leader (and the Mormons are into scouting big time), you can't officiate at any church-related function, you can't bless the sacrament, you can't even bless your own children. All of these things are extremely important to the Mormons, and withholding the priesthood from the "unworthy" is, in fact, a Very Big Deal in the church.

And you have to wonder about the self-hating African-Americans who were willing to put up with this nonsense prior to 1978. Yeah, there may have been black Mormons prior to that time, but I'll bet they were few and far between.

I saw a group of black Mormons on The Daily Show last week, and one of them said, in defense of the church, that many churches exhibited overt racism in their history. Yeah, true enough, but does that really excuse the racism in the Mormon church that existed officially up until 1978?

1978. Think about it. That's so recent that it's barely history.

Obama, Romney and Science

The prestigious journal Scientific American has just published Obama and Romney Tackle 14 Top Science Questions, and it's well worth the read to find out where the candidates stand on top science issues in this campaign.

But if you don't want to read the whole thing, let me summarize it for you:

OBAMA: [Really smart stuff about hard science and its answers to the issues we face].

ROMNEY: [Blah blah blah GOP Talking Points Blame Obama blah blah blah].

And there you have it.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

R.I.P. George McGovern

Lest we forget, today's sad news is the death of former Senator and 1972 presidential candidate George McGovern. A moment of silence for one of the unsilenced voices of conscience for my generation.

And see Amy Goodman's piece on the senator at Truthout: As Sen. McGovern is Mourned, How the Antiwar Candidate Challenged Vietnam and Inspired a Generation

Meanwhile, Back on the Boston Plantation...

How fucked up is this? The Massachusetts Rethugs are paying unemployed black people to campaign for Scott Brown.

They are getting a "per diem" payment of about 8 bucks an hour to walk around in predominately black neighborhoods wearing t-shirts that say "Obama Supporters for Brown". While I guess that it is technically legal, it is fucked up in so many ways that I can't think about it without my head wanting to explode.

Exploitation? Hell, yes. Who wouldn't take that eight bucks if they were homeless and unemployed?

And maybe when the election is over, Scott Brown, if he manages to win, can find a job for all those lazy shiftless newly-unemployed "Negroes" on one of the plantations down south. I hear that Alabama, since they made being a Mexican illegal, can't find enough people to harvest the crops...

I Voted!

Here in Washington state we've had mail-in-only ballots for years. I kind of miss the old days, though, when you showed up in the morning before work at the nearby grade school, chatted with poll workers and flirted with the old ladies, signed in, and went into a little curtained booth to try to punch out your hanging chads. Then they gave you a little oval sticker that said "I Voted!" that you could wear to work and be all smug with your fellow employees who didn't have one.

As much as I like the convenience of mail-in voting, I think we've lost some of our civic pride when we left the old system behind. So, after we went to pure mail in, I used to hang on to my ballot until election day and then drop it at one of the many drop boxes around town. That way if an election were close I could have the feeling that my vote actually made a difference.

However, after several elections' worth of showing up at phone banks and calling people to vote for my candidates, I learned that if you get your ballot in early, you drop off the phone lists. So I filled mine out on Saturday and dropped it in the mailbox with a stamp. They will get it tomorrow, record that I sent it in, and the phone calls will magically cease.

And that will free up time for the phone bank volunteers to call other people who haven't voted yet.

Obama is way ahead in Washington State, so far ahead that my presidential vote won't really count, and I was tempted to cast a protest vote for one of the minor candidates. I haven't been above that in the past. In 1980, when I knew that Reagan was going to win, I voted for John Anderson (Independent). In 1984, when I knew he was going to win again, I voted for Gus Hall and Angela Davis (Communist).

But this year I just couldn't do it. I had to vote for Obama anyway, even though he's done a bunch of shit that I don't really like. But here's a piece from Daniel Ellsberg that pretty much sums up my feelings about it: Defeat Romney, Without Illusions about Obama.

Read it, suck it up, bite the bullet and vote for Obama. Romney would be so much worse that it is beyond comparison, almost beyond comprehension.

I even finally put up my "Veterans for Obama" yard sign left over from four years ago. I'm in!

Word Verification Back On

Because I was getting so many robocomments and other spam bullshit, I was forced to put the Word Verification back on the links comments. Sorry about the extra hoop to jump through, but I had to do it.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Must See Video: Pastor Testifying Against Gay Rights in Missouri

You gotta see this. It's well worth the less than three minutes, and be sure to pay attention close to the end:

Friday, October 19, 2012

Mitt Romney Style

This is fucking hilarious:

Even Your "Hometown" Newspaper? Really?

For Mormons, wherever they might physically live, Utah is the Holy Land, the Mormon Homeland.

And that is why it is even more interesting when your "hometown newspaper", in this case the Salt Lake City Tribune, comes right out and endorses your opponent.

Tribune Endorsement: Too Many Mitts is the news out of SLC today. And boy does it ever push the slams against Mittens: is not the only Romney, as his campaign for the White House has made abundantly clear, first in his servile courtship of the tea party in order to win the nomination, and now as the party’s shape-shifting nominee. From his embrace of the party’s radical right wing, to subsequent portrayals of himself as a moderate champion of the middle class, Romney has raised the most frequently asked question of the campaign: "Who is this guy, really, and what in the world does he truly believe?"
The evidence suggests no clear answer, or at least one that would survive Romney’s next speech or sound bite. Politicians routinely tailor their words to suit an audience. Romney, though, is shameless, lavishing vastly diverse audiences with words, any words, they would trade their votes to hear.
Yeah, eat that, Mittens! If you can't even gain the endorsement of the newspaper of record for the Mormon Homeland, then why should we vote for you?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Dinesh D'Souza and Christian Hypocrisy #45,334

Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk. 

That's the sound of me experiencing some delightful Schadenfreude over the recent revelation that professional fundo Christian and full-time purveyor of Obama Derangement Syndrome bullshit Dinesh D'Souza spent the night, in total violation of those "sacred" Christian marriage vows, with a woman young enough to be his daughter at a hotel at which he was the keynote speaker at an event that featured "high-profile Christians speak on defending the faith and applying a Christian worldview to their lives."

So how's that working out for you, Dinny? But hey, you are so fucking good at twisting the facts and convincing people that up is down and black is white, it ought not to be big problem for you.

"Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?" D'Souza did not say as he hurriedly did not stuff the soiled linen from the trashed hotel suite under the rumpled bed...

Animal Crossings: It's About Time

When we were driving through France and Germany a couple of years ago, we noticed something that we really liked. Every few miles along the freeways we would see an animal overpass, built especially for large animal passage across a busy highway.

Now I see that Wyoming has built a few of its own, to allow for the annual migrations of pronghorns and other large animals to pass over the freeways without being mowed down by passing vehicles -- which mostly go in excess of 80 MPH. Come on, it's fucking Wyoming -- who wouldn't want to drive across it as fast as they could?

So way to go, Wyoming. There may be hope for you yet.

Update: And then we have this from Fargo: Fargo woman completely missing the point behind deer-crossing signs. Go figure.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Finally, Get the Details of Romney's Tax Plan

And I thought we'd never be able to pin him down on the specifics:

Take That, Mittens!

Obama came back with his game face on and ready to play smash-mouth football last night. He called Romney a liar to his face several times, and got him stuttering over the Libya question.

"Read the transcript", Obama said.

And Candy Crowley, to her credit, did jump in and validate that Obama had used the word "terrorism" to describe the Benghazi killings, the very next day and not two weeks later, as Romney had accused. And that left poor Mittens with nowhere to hide. But can you imagine if the moderator had been Gretchen Carlson or one of the other blonde clones from Faux "News"? She definitely would not have stepped in to make that comment, which then would have allowed the Romney camp to engage in another "he said-she said" slippery evasion over whether Obama had said it or not. Which is why it's a good thing that both sides have to agree on a debate moderator.

Mittens, in his continuing uphill battle to appear human, did try to keep his chin up, but you could tell he was jarred and angry. Notice where Romney was when the debate was over and Obama was schmoozing with the "undecided" voters on the panel? He was surrounded by his family, and as far as I could tell he didn't mingle at all with the panel, and like last time beat a hasty retreat.

Too many representatives from the 47%,  the unwashed teeming millions, to suit him, I guess.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Governor, You're No Jack Kennedy

In a now-famous speech he gave in the 1960 presidential campaign, JFK said he believed in the absolute separation of church and state. Watch it.

Mittens Romney has tried mightily to cover himself with that JFK cloak, but it really hasn't worked. Vanity Fair has a terrific article entitled When Mormons Go to Washington, giving a history lesson on what happens when members of the Mormon church go to Washington. It isn't a pretty sight.

For not yielding to the wishes of the L.D.S. Church, in 1965, Mormon Congressman Kenneth W. Dyal said he received “abuse, threats, blackmail and vicious attacks on my integrity from corporations, church members and their leaders.” It was perhaps for this reason that resisting the Church was not common.
. . .
From 1851 to 1869, more than 99 percent of Mormon voters supported Church-approved candidates in all but one election. In that year, nearly 96 percent voted for the candidates selected by the L.D.S. president. From 1851 to 1877, there were only three non-unanimous votes in Utah’s House of Representatives, occurring once in 1851, once in 1855, and once in 1861. During the same 26 years, the Utah Legislature’s upper chamber voted unanimously on every motion and bill except for three dissenting votes on different days in 1852.
... the First Presidency consistently favored the Republican Party after 1890 and tried to restrain devout Mormons who were Democrats. The Mormon rank and file obediently fell in line, and today 70 percent of Mormons identify themselves as Republican or Republican-leaning, while only 19 percent say they are Democrats.
There's plenty more and it's all interesting reading. Can we really believe that the so-called General Authorities of the church will take a totally hands-off approach to a president who also a member of their church? I don't think so.

Who Would Jesus Slap?

A pastor in Iowa says he would "like to slap" a female member of his church who had the balls to call him on some church-state bullshit, a pamphlet he was handing out calling for the removal of an Iowa Supreme Court justice.

Whatever happened to that one Jesus guy, you know, the one in the Bible with all that "love your enemies" and that whole "turn the other cheek" stuff? I guess he's done.

In the meantime, the acolytes of the New Jesus are threatening to bitch-slap any uppity women in their congregations. Yeah, that'll teach 'em a lesson...

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Don't Wait for Superman - He's a Dick

A surprise hit of the 2010 movie world was the "documentary" indictment of public schools and paean to charter schools entitled Waiting for Superman. I admit that I haven't seen it -- I won't sit through two hours of propaganda for a charter school system the very concept of which I despise -- but of course that won't stop me from mocking it.

I want to point out that the people who LOVED that movie might not want to wait for Superman after all.

Here, from Cracked, one of my very favorite humor sites, is this little gem, 5 Classic Superman Comics That Prove He Used to Be a Dick, including him destroying an entire poor neighborhood with no plan to rebuild it, going all Saddam Hussein on an oil well, ratting out a torture victim and getting him whipped, drugging and kidnapping an innocent man and taking over his life, and going on a car-wrecking rampage on the streets of Metropolis.

All with reproductions from the original comics illustrating this dickish behavior.

Jeez, it was a different world back in those days, wasn't it?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Brain Damage? An Epiphany

You know how you can't figure something out no matter how you look at it, and then you get one little piece of information and everything clicks into place?

Well, that just happened to me. I was reading this story about Romney's despicable politicizing of a dead Navy Seal, claiming that they were buddies when the guy's mother and friends tell a very different story, that Romney introduced himself to the Seal a bunch of times at the same event, when I came across this little gem:

On June 16, 1968, Mitt Romney, while a Mormon Missionary in Paris, France, was driving a car and was involved in an auto accident that resulted in one death. By all reports, Romney was seriously injured. Via The New York Times:
“Mitt was just coming out of his coma, but his face was all swollen, his eye was almost shut, and one arm was fractured,” Robinson said. “We didn’t have CT scans or MRIs in those days, but we got what tests we could to show that he was OK, and that he was certainly going to survive, although he probably came within a hair of not surviving.” But Robinson said Romney recovered quickly without surgery, benefiting in part from his youth and general good health.
In a coma? Swollen face? Eye almost shut? Wait, here's the epiphany: Mitt Romney had traumatic brain injury as the result of that accident, and he has the lingering effects of that brain damage today!

If this is true, it goes a long way to explain his many flip-flops, his shifting stance on so many major issues. He's not really lying about this shit -- he really believes, at the time he says it, that it is the gods' truth!

I don't think brain damage is anything to be embarrassed about. I don't think it's anything to make light of. And I don't think it's necessary to publicize that you have it -- unless you are running for the presidency of the United States!

Uh, Yeah, That's Likely

The wingnuttery is shitting itself again over Obama the Muslim. Now some "expert" from WND (World Net Daily, aka Why Not Distort, aka Wing Nut Dufus, etc.) is saying he's analyzed photos of Obama's wedding ring and has "proved" positively that the ring has an inscription in Arabic that says "there is no god but Allah".

Snopes, of course, has demolished this argument with a high-resolution photo of the ring in question showing just a scroll-like pattern and no Arabic lettering.

But if you believe it anyway, you gotta answer this question: If Obama is trying so hard to be a "secret Muslim" and hide the fact that he's going to impose Sharia Law on the United States, why would he display such an obvious "tell"? That would be like Mitt Romney claiming he's not a Mormon while wearing his magic underwear on the outside of his clothes.

WTF???!!! RUFKM???!!!

Jesus, what is it with Republicans anyway? And why is straight news sounding more and more like stuff from The Onion?

What with the two dickhead Arkansas Republicans saying slavery was all right with Jesus so it's all right with them, and those damn ungrateful uppity Negroes received a "blessing in disguise" when they were transported against their will across the ocean and put to work on plantations, today I learn that the mistress (yes he was still married at the time--gotta love those Rethug family values!) of a Tea Party anti-choice pro-birth congressman -- who is a fucking doctor! -- from Tennessee wasn't pregnant when he told her to get an abortion!


So I guess it's okay to support abortion, just so long as the woman isn't actually pregnant? Couple that with the fact that no less an authority than Todd Legitimate-Rape Akin has claimed that women who are not actually pregnant also get abortions.

Fuck. When I run into this shit it makes my head want to explode. The only thing stopping it is that it knows that the rest of the body will have to clean up the mess...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Lyin' Ryan's Hair -- Is It as Fake as the Rest of Him?

Tonight's debate -- which IMHO Joe Biden won handily -- gave me the first opportunity that I have taken to actually watch Lyin' Ryan in action.

Aside from that Goober-like smile on his lips and the faux intensity in his gaze, the one thing I kept looking at was his hair, and especially that Eddie-Munster-grown-up widow's peak of his.

And as I watched I noticed something odd. Every time he wrinkled up his forehead -- to try to make himself look serious, I guess -- horizontal wrinkle lines would appear on his forehead. Everything else would move along with those wrinkles except for one thing.

His hairline.

The top wrinkle spread across his face from side to side and the skin above and below shifted up and down with it, but that widow's peak stayed in one place. Every time.

This can only mean one thing: Ryan wears a toupee.

Not that there's anything especially wrong with that, but it shows the monumental size of his ego (as if those excessive P90X workouts hadn't already done that) and the length that it will allow him to go to pretend that he is something that he's not.

And yeah, I know that Biden got hair plugs, blah blah blah, so save your time and don't remind me of that. Besides, Biden isn't Ryan, and that's all I'm going to say about that.

A Mormon Woman Speaks Out Against Romney

Jesus, when a Mormon "patriarch" can't even keep his own women in check, what makes us think he's going to be able to run a nation?

Check out A Mormon Woman's Manifesto by Judy Dushku, wherein she eviscerates Mitt Romney for being the number one Mormon asshole in her life, at a time when she and her granddaughter needed some spiritual counseling but instead got Mormon bluster and threats of excommunication (excommunication being one of the worst things that a Mormon can face--you are cut off from everyone in the church, all of your friends and family, fellow workers, the whole ball of wax; it can be daunting to face for someone raised in the church and encouraged to have only Mormon friends, etc.)

As an aside, Judy Dushku is the mother of ultra-hot actress Eliza Dushku. No word yet on what she thinks of Mitt Romney, but since the fruit never falls far from the tree, I would guess that she doesn't like him either. The Wikipedia article says she is no longer practicing the faith. Good for her!

Is Romney This Stupid?

According to Mittens Romney, we do not have people who die because they don't have insurance:

“We don’t have a setting across this country where if you don’t have insurance, we just say to you, ‘Tough luck, you’re going to die when you have your heart attack,’” he said as he offered more hints as to what he would put in place of “Obamacare,” which he has pledged to repeal.
“No, you go to the hospital, you get treated, you get care, and it’s paid for, either by charity, the government or by the hospital. We don’t have people that become ill, who die in their apartment because they don’t have insurance.”
Okay, Mitt. How about you spend a couple of hours at any urban hospital emergency room some Friday night and then come back and tell us with a straight face this story again. The sad thing is that even if he did take my advice, he'd still tell the same story. It fits his narrative and the truth be damned. Facts have a liberal bias you know.

No, he isn't stupid enough to believe that. It's another one of his out-and-out lies. He wants to do to human beings what he did to various companies that Bain Capital took over. Harvest their organs and toss out the shell onto the scrap heap.

Who needs "death panels" when we can have someone like Romney at the helm?

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Romney is a Dirty Lousy Stinky Cheaty Rat

Get a load of this visual proof that Romney cheated his fucking ass off during the debate last week.

Like a lounge-show stage magician, Mittens prestidigitated a small notebook out of his jacket pocket and  slipped it into the well of his podium. Later he wasn't so slick about retrieving it, but he still got away with it.

Take a look at the photos and the video on the Cannonfire blog and tell me that you don't think that's what happened.

Remember in the Bush-Kerry debate eight years ago when the Shrub was in mid-speech and suddenly said, "wait, let me finish"? When it seemed that no one was interrupting him? Speculation was rife at the time that he was wearing some kind of Star Trekky in-the-ear communicator and was being fed lines by an off-camera coach. Nothing was ever proved in that instance, but he did have that odd-looking boxy hump on the back of his suit jacket -- which of course got blamed on faulty fitting by the White House tailor... Yeah. Uh-huh.

I don't know that anything can be done at this point about Romney cheating, but sadly it comes as no surprise that he would do it. That fucker will say anything, do anything, to get elected.

[Thanks to Jules Feiffer for the "dirty lousy stinky cheaty rat" phrase, which appeared in one of his cartoons in the late fifties and has been one of my favorite insults ever since. Update: The cartoon appeared in New York's Village Voice on Feb 10, 1957 -- what can I say? I was a precocious kid...]

Monday, October 08, 2012

Death Penalty for Rebellious Children?

Yes, that is the Biblically-approved punishment for your sassy offspring. It's right there in Deuteronomy 21:18-21. So who (other than a legion of frustrated parents of teenagers--you know who you are...) wants to impose this Draconian punishment?

None other than Arkansas politician Charlie Fuqua (R-Insane), according to this article in The Huffington Post.

So, do you still think that the religious bent of the Republican Party is somehow quaint or basically harmless or cloyingly cute? In the deathless words of Samuel Jackson, "Wake the fuck up!" These people are serious about establishing Biblical Law on the rest of us. And it doesn't help that a new survey shows that Protestants are in the minority in this country, and the percentage of people with no religious affiliation is the highest it's ever been, 20%.

It doesn't help because the batshit crazy religio-zealots, when they are not weeping and wailing and gnashing their teeth over Obama being a Communist Muslim and rudely inserting the long finger of the state into women's vaginas, are hell bent on imposing their Dominionism on everyone else, and as they see their numerical edge decline, their batshit craziness increases. After all the vast majority of people with no religious affiliation vote Democratic, and they can't stand for that shit.

May you live in interesting times...

Monday Music Break

It was 1962, my girlfriend had just left me for some stupid musclebound football player and I was tied up in the thick knots of teenage angst. This song got me through that, and I've had a soft spot in my heart for it ever since. Here's Chuck Jackson and Any Day Now:

Saturday, October 06, 2012

The Cartoon Romney Should See

Here from 1943 is a blatantly propagandizing cartoon created by Disney to aid the war effort:

That was back during WWII, when everyone had a stake in the fight and nobody knew a family who hadn't lost a loved one. It was patriotic to pay your taxes and near treason to try to find ways to weasel out of it (are you listening, Mittny?)

In fact, this was one of the very last times this country was truly united... Sadly.

[HT to Listverse, one of the most informative sites on the Internet, for this clip.]

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Is Romney the "White Horse" of Mormon Prophecy?

This one has a long pedigree. Way back in 1843 Joseph Smith, the original "Prophet, Seer and Revelator" of the Mormon Church, may have given a prophecy that someday the Mormons "will go to the Rocky Mountains and will be a great and mighty people established there, which I will call the White Horse of peace and safety." Adding that "I shall never go there" and predicting continued persecution by enemies of the church, Smith reportedly said that "You will see the Constitution of the United States almost destroyed. It will hang like a thread as fine as a silk fiber.... I love the Constitution; it was made by the inspiration of God; and it will be preserved and saved by the efforts of the White Horse, and by the Red Horse who will combine in its defense." BTW, the identity of that Red Horse is not stated in the prophecy, but it's a small stretch to see it as a reference to the "Lamanites" -- Native Americans who are left over remnants of a great Jewish(!) civilization in North America whose skin was cursed to darkness at some point.

I say "may have given" because the person to whom he spoke it, John Roberts of Utah, didn't bother to write it down until 1902. For those of you who were home schooled, that is a full 59 years after the fact. That's kind of a long time to keep the words of the Prophet to yourself.

Nevertheless, the prophecy itself has clung on stubbornly in Mormon thought, even though various authority figures in the church have never really adopted it as doctrine, never as being fully the word of the Prophet. Whenever a Mormon politician comes onto the national stage, though, the faithful among the Saints -- most of whom still believe in it despite the lack of support by the church -- try to adapt the prophecy to the politician. The George Romney of 1968 had been the White Horse candidate until he crashed and burned, and now  his son Willard Mitt is the one who carries the burden of the White Horse. Now that it's Mitt's, he's shrugging it off as "not church doctrine". But since he and the Mormons want nothing more than to establish a Mormon theocracy in this country, it has to be on his mind. What better way to do it than over some sham "constitutional crisis" wherein the constitution is "hanging by a thread"? After all, Glenn Beck (Mormon) says that it is already.

Well, let's keep Romney and Beck and their co-religionists guessing whether he's the White Horse or not for another four years. Defeat Romney, re-elect Obama, and let the prophecy swim snugly in the stew of Mormonism a little while longer.

(See White Horse Prophecy on Wikipedia for more details.)

27 Lies in 38 Minutes

Twenty-seven lies. Thirty-eight minutes. That's the score for Mitt Romney, the King of Smirk, in last night's debate. That comes out to about one lie every 90 seconds. That's gotta be some kind of record.

And where the fuck was Obama during all this? Standing there with his head down like a chastised child for most of it. Even when Romney basically called him "boy"...

Mr. President, this is not the way to do it.

I've read some analyses today that say that this was all part of some grand give-him-enough-rope-to-hang-himself strategy, a neo-Muhammed Ali political rope-a-dope, but I think if that's true it's a dangerous tactic. It's political Russian roulette.

Eight years ago in the debate between Darth Shoot-An-Old-Man-In-The-Face Cheney and John I-Can't-Keep-It-In-My-Pants Edwards, Cheney said something to the effect that he presided over the US Senate for four years and this was the first time he'd ever met Edwards. That was a lie. The debate wasn't even over before someone put up a photo of the two of them together.

Edwards had to have known it was a lie. Why didn't Edwards call him out on it? I never got an answer to that, and I don't suspect that I will. But that's all kind academic now.

Now we are dealing with the question as to why didn't Obama call Romney out on those lies?

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Book of the Month: The Forsaken: An American Tragedy in Stalin's Russia

The new Book of the Month is The Forsaken: An American Tragedy in Stalin's Russia by Tim Tzouliadis. Beginning in 1930, with the start of the Great Depression in the United States, a number of American citizens pulled up stakes, as it were, and emigrated out of the US, which had an official unemployment rate of 25%, and went to the "worker's paradise" that was the Soviet Union. Ordinary people -- miners, auto workers, engineers, barbers, etc., who could see no future in the US, went for the new experiment that was Communism. Even the Ford Motor Company, one of the bastions of capitalism, entered into a deal with Joe Stalin to build a Ford factory in Russia. Which meant that thousands of auto workers from the Detroit area were willing to leave the US and help run the factory in Russia.

The total number of Americans who emigrated out of the US to Russia is unknown, but estimates in the tens of thousands of individuals seem reasonable. And this number included wives and children, who were subsequently raised to be good little Communists... While a good number of those adults were true believers in the Soviet worker's paradise, a surprisingly substantial number were apolitical, who were just trying to get to where the jobs were. For those who believed the promises, that was Soviet Russia. That it rapidly turned to shit on them has been hidden for a long time.

This book is an examination of the lives and deaths of those people. When they got to Russia in the early to mid-1930s, "Uncle Joe" Stalin was well on the road to his personal paranoid insanity which would ultimately cause the death of millions of Russians -- and the vast majority of these Americans. When the height of Stalin's paranoia resulted in the deaths of millions and the great purge of 1937-38, with its "show trials" that fooled the American ambassador, the Americans were first identified as questionable, then suspect, then treasonous to the People of the Soviet Union. Many were killed, many more were sent to the Gulags in Siberia where they eventually were worked to death.

This book pulls no punches on its criticisms, not only of Stalin and the Communist experiment in Russia, but also the willing coalition of US industrialists and the starry-eyed New Dealers all of whom conspired to elevate the Soviet Union (after all, Russia was our ally against Germany... eventually) and ignored the Soviet crimes against these Americans.

At one point the US Embassy was, finally, in spite of a decade of denial, made unequivocally aware that Americans were being sent to the Gulags to be tortured and killed. The official American response was essentially this: "They made their beds, now they can lie in them." In other words, if they were stupid enough to leave the US and come to Russia, they deserved it. It didn't help that the Russians forced the new immigrants to give up their US passports and fill out a form, in Russian, that they were applying for Russian citizenship.

I highly recommend this book for an astonishing -- and troubling -- insight into a period of history that has gone missing for a long time. Who was even aware of these American immigrants into Russia? Not me.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Proselytizing at the Point of a Gun

In 1966, at the beginning of the huge buildup of American forces in South Vietnam, a group of Mormon so-called General Authorities (LDS bigwigs, including the recently deceased "Prophet, Seer and Revelator" Gordon Hinckley, then only a member of The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles),  made an official trip to Vietnam for the Dedication of the Land of Vietnam for the Preaching of the Restored Gospel. In Mormon land, this dedication is a Very Big Deal.

I would guess that it was also considered by the average Vietnamese -- those who were even aware of it -- to be just one more step in Yankee imperialism, since the ceremony took place on the rooftop garden of the Caravelle Hotel, then and now one of the most luxurious and exclusive hotels in Saigon. I couldn't drink there, none of my friends could drink there, and no one under the rank of bird colonel could drink there. Totally off limits to all but the top echelon.

I was in Vietnam later than this, in 1968-69, and one of the Group chaplains where I was stationed was a Mormon (despite the fact that there were probably only two or three Mormons in each of the two battalions in the Group -- go figure). I heard with my own ears his incredible statement that, since Vietnam was so dedicated, it took a war to make sure that God's promise was kept to the poor savages who inhabited that benighted land.

I don't know how much of that was official Mormon Doctrine, but I assume that it was pretty much right on, since this particular chaplain was a scion of Mormon Royalty: His father was one of the General Authorities of the church and the official guru of Mormon Doctrine (he even wrote a book on it). The opinions of those General Authorities on various matters have a similar weight and authority to pronouncements from the College of Cardinals in the Catholic Church.

I assume that since the Communist victory in Vietnam and their takeover of the country, the Mormon missionaries haven't been welcomed back in any number. So much for that whole god-wants-the-Vietnamese-saved thing, I guess.

Which brings me to Mitt Romney (you knew it was coming). His Mormon faith is not just a facet of his existence, it is all of it. There's no way to separate it from him as a person. Or him as a President. Which scares the living shit out people who are aware of the violent history of The One True Church. If he buys into the whole proselytizing at the point of gun thing -- and why shouldn't he? -- then what's to stop him from pulling some weak-ass excuse out of his ass (are you listening, George W?) and invading some other poor benighted land that needs to have The Restored Gospel brought to its savage denizens?

Dog Whistle Politics and the Age of Angry White Men

Way back in 1980, right after his successful anointment at the Republican convention, Ronald Reagan chose to give the first kickoff speech of his campaign in Philadelphia. Okay, sure, makes sense – large seaport city steeped in history, birthplace of the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution, and home to Star-Spangled Banner seamstress Betsy Ross. Yeah, Philly's a great idea.

Wait, what? Wrong Philadelphia?
It was Philadelphia, Mississippi??!!
Philadelphia is a small town in central Mississippi that had fewer than 7,000 citizens in 1980. What would possess Reagan and his campaign handlers to give his first speech there, of all places?
Well, let's turn the clock back again, just an additional 16 years, to June of 1964, when three young civil rights activists, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and James Cheney, were brutally murdered by white supremacists. In Philadelphia, Mississippi. Does that ring a bell? It might. The story was made into a gripping 1988 film called Mississippi Burning.
[click here to see a larger version]
In that speech Reagan went out of his way to state that he was a supporter of "states rights". States Rights means that the Federal government has no right to interfere in the running of the government of a state; in case you've were home-schooled, that was the reason the South cited as their justification to erupt from the Union, try to form their own nation, and start the Civil War.
To the neo-Confederates in the South and Racist Republicans everywhere it could not have been clearer that Reagan used this opportunity to let white citizens know that he was on their side and wouldn't tolerate any "uppity Negroes" demanding things like, I don't know, being able to vote, for example.
States Rights was regularly trotted out over the 20th Century whenever those black people wanted to go to integrated schools, wanted to get paid a decent wage at a job with safe working conditions, wanted to walk down the street without fear, wanted to vote. The good ole boys in the South would get outraged and scream that supporting and encouraging those actions violated their sacrosanct concept of States Rights.
This speaking in code is called "Dog Whistle Politics", and the Republicans have elevated it an art form. You know how dog whistles operate: You blow in it and only dogs can hear it. The science of psycholinguistics can identify phrases and words that are used as a kind of secret code to let the inner circle know that what you are saying perfectly feeds into the world view that you are trying to create. That's how their use of coded words and phrases work.
Remember the Chicago Welfare Queen? She was routinely trotted out by Reagan, her with her numerous children (all of them "illegitimate", of course) which she popped out regularly in order to cash in on generous AFDC payments and increased Food Stamps, cruising around in her brand new Cadillac, all paid for out of the hard-earned taxes of "real" Americans. It didn't matter that she never really existed – all that was necessary was for the racist portion of the American public to picture her, an overweight black woman with a dozen kids, a new El Dorado, and an overinflated sense of personal entitlement.
It's older than Reagan. Richard Nixon's call for Law and Order came on the heels of the media's sensationalistic coverage of rioting blacks in America's inner cities. It's newer than Reagan. The 1988 campaign of George HW Bush against liberal Democrat Michael Dukakis was epitomized in the infamous Willie Horton ad, which according to Lee Atwater, its architect, put a murderous black prison escapee into America's living rooms and frightened people into voting for Bush. And it worked. Sadly, these things generally do work, which is why they keep doing them.
At the Republican convention, Mitt Romney said "…when the world needs someone to do the really big stuff, you need an American", was that a not-so-subtle dig at Obama for being somehow "foreign", not one of us, someone not even born in the USA, someone who was – gasp –  black? You be the judge.