Friday, February 25, 2011

Monkey Pee, Monkey Do

I Don't Want To Know

Not as disgusting as Two Girls, One Cup, but the headline alone will make you sit up and take notice.

Happy Landings!

If the GOP makes good on their threat to shut down the government next week...well, the astronauts will be allowed to land.

Nobody Asked Me, But...

1) Not that I really care about celebritainment and what the latest gaffe is, but I have to admit, whatever drugs Charlie Sheen is on, I want. I've got a combination of tennis elbow and a neuralgia on my ulnar nerve that is making it near impossible for me to function. It sounds like his brand of crack might actually get me to put a suit and tie on.
2) Dear NY Times, thanks for noticing what the rest of the fucking country knew for years! Rich people corrupt morons. Film at eleven.
3) On that note, Gov. Walker? This is how you fucking do it, you bribed asshole. When your criminal corruption trial starts, I may buy tickets to the courtroom just to heckle you.
4) This is a fascinating review of what looks like an unintentionally fascinating book. Imagine a libertarian who implies that American capitalism is laziness writ large and that we can do better?
5) Unlike the ridiculous Bush era arrest of "terrorists" (like the crew that comically plotted to blow up the Sears Tower), this guy looks like he might have actually had the means and resources to carry out devastating attacks on Americans, especially New Yorkers and tourists here.
He paid attention: New York City is a vast city and there's too much going on to keep an eye on everything. Baby stroller bombs in Times Square hearken to the days of the embassy bomber, a man who rode around on a bicycle planting small incendiary devices in front of the British and Mexican embassies. He was never caught, despite the fact that at least two of the devices detonated, albeit with minimal damage and no fatalities.
It's even possible that Aldwasari was behind those dry runs, if that's what they were.
6) Pretty damned fascinating, if you ask me. No other animal, except humans, can do this.
7) Thanks for pointing that out, Captain Obvious...
8) This is your face on crystal meth. BONUS POINTS: Find Dennis Miller.
9) Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmm...OK, I get its Canada, but really? Really? A 24 hour roast chicken channel?
10) Finally...and continuing on the food theme...for those times when you're really hungry but there's no breasts around.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Memorize This Chart

For the next time some redneck asshat Teabagger talks about socialism coming to America...

Living In America

Isn't this a great country? Advanced, cultured, sophisticated, caring....I mean, think about it, we're rivaled only by such heavyweights as Swaziland and Papua, New Guinea!

Smarter Than The Average Vagrant

No. This is not from The Onion. This is real (and clearly a test of a software upgrade).

Like They Needed To Do This?

The U.S. army reportedly deployed a specialized "psychological operations" team to help convince American legislators to boost funding and troop numbers for the war in Afghanistan.
Christ on a cracker! How hard is it to find a majority of Senators in a time of war who WOULDN'T give the Pentagon precisely what they wanted??? My God, that's like saying you had to twist the Senator's arm to accept a campaign contribution!

Snowbilly Humour

How dumb do you have to be to be married to Sarah Palin?
Apparently, very....

Bailey writes about a doctored pornographic photograph being emailed to Palin's gubernatorial campaign account, with the candidate's head atop a nude body. Bailey quickly called Todd to relay his concern and writes that Todd's response was "Is it real?"

Um, yea. You know, you'd think the guy would know the body he's been banging to pump out that litter of runts....


Happy Birthday!

Steve Jobs, who's only slightly older than me yet exponentially smarter, richer, and better.
Many many more, Mr. Jobs. We need you.

Major DOMA

As you know, yesterday Eric Holder all but admitted that the Defense of Marriage Act, rammed down the throats of Americans during the 1990s, was Constitutionally unsustainable.
People on the left, especially people with an interest in seeing gay marriage legalized, were all aflutter about it. They shouldn't have been. This was not Obama's coming to Rome moment.
Operative words there are "all but". This was an incremental move on a long and arduous road to equality.

All that said, I am aware that this is a sort of side-door way for Obama to come out in support of gay marriage. But apparently the department's hand was forced by two lawsuits coming up on which it had to deliver opinions by March 11. From today's NYT story:

For technical reasons, it would have been far more difficult — both legally and politically — for the administration to keep arguing that the marriage law is constitutional in these new lawsuits. To assert that gay people do not qualify for extra legal protection against official discrimination, legal specialists say, the Justice Department would most likely have had to conclude that they have not been historically stigmatized and can change their orientation.

Can you imagine a Democratic president's lawyers arguing that?

Yup. This was not Obama slyly winking at his one-time "base," saying "Now, let's work on what we want." This was Obama cruelly calculating that, in order to shepherd his re-election, he could not afford to piss off a large number of wealthy and connected donors. This was Obama deciding that, to defend these two suits he would have to shift far to the right and claim homosexuality is a lifestyle choice, and that gays have never been oppressed like other minorities, Matthew Shepard aside.

This was not Barack Obama suddenly embracing gay marriage, this was not his "In Hoc Signo Vinces". Let's put away those bottles of champagne and fireworks and realize this was a very narrow decision made in the cold light of re-election mathematics. You'll note that Holder did not go so far as to say that the DOMA is wrong or unfair or wrongly exclusive and should be overturned on merit.

No, he said that he could not justify on two separate Constitutional tests, making a fight over it. That's capitulation, not cause for congratulation.

This takes nothing away from the fact that even in this small and near-insignificant gesture of surrender, he has not taken a stance that will be derided and reviled by the forces of bigotry, intolerance and hatred on the right. Indeed, because he took a clever little page out of the book of George Bush the Elder (who used a similar strategy in taking a stand against minority set-asides in broadcasting, as Tomasky points out), it will likely enrage those who were looking for the bigger fight on gay rights.

A smart President would have done what Obama did: make a small gesture and let the other side do what it does best: blow it up out of proportion, then inflame both sides into activism.

A courageous President would have taken the heat himself.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Rednecks In The News

Not content with banning Shari'a Law like its fellow conservative red states, Tennessee has decided to fuck the horse it rides in on, too.

Cats & Dogs....

The Daddy State

The latest news out of Wisconsin is pretty good for progressives and unions, altho it could certainly reverse at any point.
Governor Scott Walker's attempt to bully unions and public sector workers into falling on the sword of fiscal responsibility for the mishaps of the rich and powerful has drawn some very intense scrutiny and to be frank, Gov. Walker has done a pretty horrendous job of justifying things. To claim that government secotr pensions are out of proportion to the budget, then to exempt the largest pensions in the basket (the police and firefighter unions, many of whom can collect after only 20 years on the job...imagine retiring at full benefits at the age of 41), is one of the single most transparently ludicrous claims ever made by a public official.
See? The Teabaggers are just like any other politicians, only stupider and louder! This is good news for America.
George Lakoff has it about right when he says, "Budget deficits are convenient ruses for destroying American democracy and replacing it with conservative rule in all areas of life."
Fascinating article, and I suggest you read it. Go on. I'll wait.
*Examining nails. Making fresh pot of coffee. Whistling "Wind Beneath My--*
Oh? You're back? Good. Let me go on...
The slow erosion, which is happening faster and faster as it gathers momentum, of what President Obama has called an ethic of excellence has been the underlying goal of Republicans since at least the days of Lee Atwater (who later renounced his assault on liberals and the liberal principles that created the greatest nation on earth) and likely since Ronald Reagan's inauguration as I highlighted yesterday.
Lakoff's suggestion that the conservative national image, of a patriarchy, is pretty valid and obviously wrong-headed, as any parent of any teen or anyone who studies the newspaper on a regular basis can tell you. You cannot change behaviour by diktat. You can enforce laws, true, but that's not a change in behaviour and if any behaviour does get changed, it's the behaviour that allowed the person to get caught in the first place (i.e. being too trusting of friends who rat one out).
Issue an edict (e.g. "You cannot smoke in here") and someone will start to probe it for loopholes if they want to smoke in there. Maybe they'll do it after hours, or use a can of Lysol to cover the scent. If they get caught, they'll just find other, more subtle ways to justify continuing the behavior you find offensive.
In other words, the claim that by some miracle, personal responsibility is enforceable is childish and fantastical. It simply will not happen. If we could trust people to act in the best interests of themselves while somehow not harming their neighbors flies in the face of millions of years of theft, greed, jealousy, anger, rage, fear, aggression, and passion.
All of which lie at the very heart of humanity. The evidence is inescapable: conservatives who believe this tripe have no business running a kindergarten class, much less a state or a nation. The very act of having to hide their original intent, to destroy the progressive "nanny state" by masking it with budget deficits and subsequent cuts...the Nordquist Model, let's call it...ALONE speaks to the childishness and naivete of the whole venture.
As Governor Walker is, at great pain, finding out.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Good News

In Union, There Is Strength

I don't think I have to tell you where I stand on the issues unraveling in Wisconsin.
I am a union man. My father was union, blue-collar, working class. I'm union, in fact, three unions. "You don't get me, I'm part of the union," as the song goes.
There's a logic here that goes beyond greed (I'll get back to that in a minute). In early American history, companies were small. Certainly, none were of the size of the conglomeratic multinational corporations that control this nation today.
In early American history, it was likely that a line worker in a factory knew his boss. He may even have socialized with him on occasion, in church or some community function. Owners were in touch with their workers. They saw first hand the abject poverty many of them lived in. Many, if not most, acted appropriately.
Some did not, of cours, else how would Dickens have made a career, British or not?
As corporations agglomerated and grew disproportionately to their communities, there really was nothing to stand in their way. The "company store" of song was very real: a corporation would hire entire towns, situate them in the company's thralls, pay them next to nothing, provide next to zero benefits, and then overcharge them for buying food.
Enter unions. As unions gathered strength in numbers, they were able to force companies to deal with the plight of their workers. In union, in unity, came strength. If the union advised its members to strike, they did. Usually, they'd win concessions that genuinely improved the lot, not just of their members, but of workers across the land.
You see, when you're the 800 lb gorilla in the room, people notice what you're up to. And when the 800 lb gorilla has to share more bananas to the troops of chimps who gather those bananas, other smaller gorillas realize they'll have to pony up or lose workers and therefore efficiencies and revenues.
Even if those gorillas aren't unionized.
A curious event happened in the 1980s, one that was a long time coming, but still surprising.
PATCO, the air traffic controllers union, went out on strike.
They struck the single biggest silverback in the world: the US government. Of course, they broke a law doing it (most unions give up the right to strike with regards to public service employees.)
Ironically, they did this because they felt they would have the support of the President of the United States, Ronald Reagan a) whom they endorsed and b) who was himself a former union president (the Screen Actors Guild).
Not so lucky: he promptly decertified them, effectively disbanding the union and firing the strikers.
That was the deathknell for unions in America. Nevermind that our manufacturing base had been eroding steadily if slowly (and was about to accelerate rapidly ni the wake of the mergers and acquisition bubble of the 80s). Nevermind that unions themselves had become pockets of corruption in many cases, greedy criminals running them, like Jimmy Hoffa.
The ill-advised PATCO strike probably was the single body blow that brought unions to their knees. If the government could fire them, then anyone would give it a try. And they did. And they succeeded, if only by filing bankruptcy (which is where the merger craze comes in) and dissolving the collective bargaining agreements as contracts null and void in the bankruptcy. Workers became mere creditors of the company, in effect.
But today, this week, this month, this year, we're starting to see the backlash of unions and union-minded people. The budget cuts that municipalities and states have been placing in effect has caused workers to shout "Basta!" and take to the streets. In Wisconsin, even the unions exempt from Governor Walker's edicts have stood shoulder to shoulder with their union peers.
In union comes strength. The firefighters remember the words of Pastor Reinhold Niebur: "Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we are saved by love."
Or to put it more prosaic terms, if they can screw with you, they can screw with me, so I stand with you now.