Thursday, April 21, 2011


...a present for the OCD sufferer in your life.

How To Beat A Speeding Ticket

Blind them with SCIENCE!

Blame The Victim

It's interesting that the FAA and the lapdog that is euphemistically called "the union" agreed last week that air traffic controllers must no longer be, errrr, flying light of this


But Only Muslins Are Terrists!

This guy looks a little unswarthy to me.

Do You Want To Know What It's Like To Live In New York City?

Here's a pretty healthy slice of it.

Yea, We Shouldn't Have Single Payer Healthcare, No Sirree!

Father jailed after botched self-dental procedure


Inexcusable, disgusting and abhorrent to any enlightened society. When we are savages to children, how can anyone expect us to be anything close to tolerant towards minorities or anyone else deserving of it? Jesus would be having a field day on these asshats.
It seems to me that in both situations, the adults acted like children, and the children acted like children who were afraid they were being led by people more immature than themselves. Restrain the child? Sure. And you have two large adult cops, and one very frightened and angry little boy. It seems to me that there are much much better ways of handling the situation.
Like, you know, talking until the kid finally exhausts himself? And if he's a threat to other children or adults, remove them, not the kid, until you can establish calm and reason.

So Why Do So Many Teabaggers Come From Farm Country?


Your Cool Photo Of The Day

What The Frack?

On the heels of shale gas being splayed all over the newstands like a Palyboy centerfold in the form of a cover story in Time Magazine comes the Debbie Downer of stories.
I remember when the Cuyahoga River burned in Cleveland. I'd really hate to turn on my tap at home and have flames spit out.

If You Got It, Sell It

I think this might be a good time to sell your gold jewelry...

More Good News For Obama

Jobless claims are down. Again.

Only In Floriduh

A President fulfills one of his obligations to the nation, to view the launch of the last flight of the space shuttle, and people in the host town whine.

I Won't Get My Hopes Up, But...

...this seems like a hint to me.
I've often wondered, and not seriously but you know, a back of the envelope calculation, if Obama should have decided he had only one term to serve and so get all the goodies out of the bag then.
Tack left and be willing to walk away from the job, in other words.
He walked into office with a double majority in Congress. Indeed, he was filibuster-proof in the Senate for a while. He could have grabbed Pelosi and Reid and said, "Look, there's no such thing as a permanent majority and recent history dictates that we will have shifting sands for the forseeable future. Let's do what we set out to do and at least break the ice on the stuff our supporters need from us."
Like I said, it wasn't a serious thought...

Remember 2008?

After eight years of Bush, you may recall, there were Democrats chomping at the bit to get a Democrat in the White House. There were three main candidates-- John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama-- and all three had fervent, passionate partisans. We battled and threw muck and eventually, the field winnowed down to one, and the passion the rest of us had went to supporting Barack Obama.
Anybody but Bush('s successor). We had seen the terrible toll he had taken on the nation, and realized that we had to step in and clean up after the children.
Obama, like Bill Clinton before him only writ larger, has tried his best and perhaps has done the best job that anyone could have done given the circumstances. History will have to determine that (and hopefully, history will have a way to measure a Hillary Presidency and an Edwards presidency, too).
Even the fiercest progressive have to acknowledge the man was dealt a shitty hand. We can argue about how well he played the hand, and even the degree of crapitude he had versus what assets he held as his hole card, but he certainly didn't walk into the same comparitively rosy scenario that Bush did in 2001 or Clinton in 1993.
Obama will inspire some of the passion he did in 2008, and no doubt many of the progressives who find deep flaws in his administration (like me: I'm still pissed about Gitmo and the trial of Sheik-Mohammed) will rally around him. Indeed, he's already started to mend those fences.

Only those possible contenders who regularly appear on television — or have made bids before — are well known enough to elicit significant views from their fellow Republicans. And of that group, only one, former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, is viewed favorably by more than half of the Republican electorate.

The poll would seem to reflect the late start to the Republican primary season, with many of the major likely candidates seeking to hoard their money and avoid making any missteps that they might have to live with later, when voters go to polls or caucus rooms.

While it may not be unusual for voters’ attention to be focused elsewhere at this stage of a campaign, the survey at the very least provides a reality check for a race that has received frenetic coverage at times on cable news and the Internet even though nearly 60 percent of Republicans cannot point to a single candidate about whom they are enthusiastic, according to the Times/CBS poll.

In case anyone still has doubts about Obama's chances in 2012.

Indeed, John McCain may have picked precisely the wrong election to run in. He could easily have kept his "heir apparent" crown into this election cycle, and probably picked up the nomination with far less difficulty from the likes of Huckabee and Romney (who either would have been the defeated candidate in 2008 or exhausted their personal resources trying), and Sarah Palin (and by extension, Michele Bachmann) would have been kept off the radar completely. In my opinion, McCain would have been the only viable contender to unseat Obama, a la Reagan in 1980.

This is frankly an astounding poll, when you think about it: anger at Obama should be at an all-time high, what with the agenda he managed to pass (or shove down the throats of Teabaggers), and as we saw in 2008, that usually means at least one candidate gets the coalescence of that backlash.

Here, we see....nothing.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Things You Didn't Know About Taxes (But Should Have)

In aggregate, the poor actually pay more taxes than the wealthy, as an example.

There's No Way This Ends Well

I can't imagine that this is a good idea under any scenario.

Captain Obvious Is Busy These Days


It's About Time

I'm part of any number of genetic studies, so I've oftened wondered, as I swab my cheek with a Q-tip, why there's no holistic way to scan DNA for potential troublespots.

The Free Market Does Work

Capitalism in action, baseball-style


The New York Giants open their 2011 season...assuming it happens...against the Washington Redskins.
OK, I usually don't discuss football, so you know there's more to this story.
Their season opens on September 11. Exactly ten years to the day after the terror attacks, teams representing the two cities that were attacked will face off.
Now that's interesting.
PS The Jets open against Dallas that same night. A little payback for eight years of the Texasshole in the White House would be welcome, boys.

You Just Knew It Was Coming

Some douchebag would make the case that playing online poker is FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEDOMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!1!!1!!!
So is taking drugs, but it's 4/20 and still pot is criminal. Once you've established that, then you've established any vice can be outlawed at the drop of a hat.
It's not freedom to play poker anymore than its freedom to smoke pot. It's a privilege, and privileges are not free. Freedom is the right to live a life that does not disturb your neighbors without harassment. Once you get past that to incurring transactions, freedom becomes a muddied concept.

It's Hard To Believe

It's been a year since the Deepwater Horizon blew up and brought untold (really...we have no idea) catastrophe to the Gulf region of America and who knows where else?
It felt like it took them a year just to get a cap on.

Attention Coloradans!

Keep your eyes to the skies! They used this trick in Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Meet Governor Felonius

John Kasich's attempts to de-unionize Ohio will fail.

Just Remember...

The terrorists attacked us, and Bush treated us like children and gave us a sparkly rainbow.

Sisu, In All Its Forms

Sisu is an unique Finnish concept. It's hard to translate it into one word: "perserverance" doesn't quite cover it all, "stubborness" is too radical because it implies a bloody-minded lack of thought, "determination" is pretty close but doesn't really include the reflective portion of the concept, an almost-zen moment of overcoming that last hesitation...or not.
It's literal translation is "having guts". It's courage of concept, in other words.
Earlier this week, I mentioned how Finland might be the spanard in the works for the reconciliation of the European Union's economic disparities: Greece, Ireland, Spain, Portugal and Italy and their flailing economies versus, well, the rest of the EU. The True Finns party won a surprising number of parliamentary seats, and could have put a damper on Finland's participation in any bailout (thus effectively ending the bailout).
Well, I'm pleased to say, sisu prevailed.

Capitalism Comes To Cuba

I have no doubt that there will never be laissez faire free enterprise capitalism in Cuba (and thank god, someone will learn from our mistakes!) but this is a hopeful sign that people will be allowed to strenghten their own bank accounts.

You Won't Remember This Headline


I'm Glad he Does, Cuz I Don't!

President Obama sees common ground on debt reduction and the budget:

Democrats and Republicans agree that $4 trillion needs to be slashed over roughly a decade, Obama told a town hall-style event in Virginia. But the two parties disagree on what to cut to get there.

"The big question that is going to have to be resolved is: how do we do it?" Obama told students at a community college. "I don't want to lie to you, there is a big philosophical divide right now."

The president was promoting his plan for cutting the deficit a day after Standard & Poor's threatened to strip America of its prized triple-A credit rating. The Wall Street ratings agency cited concern that Washington's polarized politics would make it difficult to reach a debt deal before the 2012 presidential election.

Obama, who is traveling around the country this week to advocate his deficit proposals, did not show any greater flexibility over his demands that taxes go up for the wealthiest Americans.

Unless by common ground, he means that the two sides agree on the $4 trillion, I don't see how there's common ground here. Republicans are between Iraq and a hard place, needing to make their Teabagger constituency happy without cutting defense spending, Medicare entitlements or raising taxes.

Democrats have the luxury of standing around, tapping their watches and sighing imaptiently.

Lest you think this is another political kabuki, this year's budget is it. This is the whole enchilada for the progressive movement in this nation. If we allow the Republicans to extend the Bush tax cuts, then we have no business being a movement.

Sure, there's some posturing involved: I don't think the Republicans can let this budget go without some attempt at face-saving for their centerpiece platform plank of lower taxes, which has proven over the past thirty years to neither create jobs nor improve the economy much. I think even they know it, and that they're shamelessly pandering to the corporatocracy and the orc minions who somehow believe if they're fervent enough, their overlords will shower gelt upon them.

Likewise, much of the "senior scarifying" that the Dems have been doing is a mask to the very real growth of Medicare and what that bodes for the future of the budget.

I'm not suggesting that we have to have entitlement cuts immediately (frankly, I haven't studied the problem enough to have an opinion) but what I am suggesting is, given the current anti-tax climate, it's going to be hard to justify the kinds of benefits we have to pay out in a few years. When does it become enough? At fifty percent of the budget? We're tracking perilously close to that, which means we're sopping up funds for other critical progressive programs like energy reform and infrastructure repair. I would like this not to have to come down to clean air for our children and grandchildren versus keeping me alive on a ventilator.

All that said, this is an urgently important budget coming upon us, because what grows out of it will impact the next decade's worth of budget proposals and likely the economic growth for the next century, and along with it, the income and well-being of every American.

As Ben Bradlee said during Watergate, "Nothing's riding on this except the [...] future of the country.

So if you've been holding onto someone's balls for a rainy day, well, the clouds have gathered.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Another Texass Story


Keep Riding That Tiger, Coward O'Keefe!


The Question Must Be Asked


Cool Video Of The Day


So How Dysfunctional Is The Republican Party?


This Article Reminds Me Of Kevin Bacon in "Animal House"


Thanks For Pointing That Out, Captain Obvious (Redux)

Chronically-ill patients are more likely to die at home or in a hospice than a hospital.
Now, in fairness, hospitals are much more expensive, and if you know you're likely to die, why would you want to end your days out in a hospital? Plus, there's an incentive for doctors and hospitals to discharge terminal patients quickly, in order to keep their statistics, errrr, healthy.

Thanks For Pointing That Out, Captain Obvious!

Patients with "Do Not Resuscitate" orders are three times as likely to die after surgery as those without. In other news, people who own cats are five times more likely to be scratched by one than those who do not.

What Are You Afraid Of, Judge Prosser?

It's a free country and we ought to make sure that every vote was counted, particularly the 14,000 that were "found" in Waukesha.

Green News Ahead

A couple of items popped up on the radar this morning that give me hope that the nation may one day finally move forward.
Progress, as it were:
U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is heading to Boston to reveal more details Tuesday about the progress of what would be the nation's first offshore wind farm.

Salazar will unveil a final operation and construction plan for the proposed 130-turbine Cape Wind project, an individual briefed on the announcement told The Associated Press.

Item - Google buys majority stake in huge wind farm

Google Inc. said on Monday it and two Japanese partners will pay General Electric Co. about $500 million for a majority equity stake in the world's largest wind farm, under construction in Oregon.

The $2-billion US Shepherds Flat project, near Arlington, Ore., is due to be completed next year. It will stretch over 77 square kilometres of north-central Oregon and generate enough energy for 235,000 U.S. homes. The site's developer is Caithness Energy.

A progressive's dream: investing in technology that will help save the environment has become profitable.

I Know It's Coincidence, But...

Is there something about today and tomorrow that cause shit to happen?

First Rule Of Journalism

Never interrupt the busiest man on the planet when he deigns to give you an interview.
This was quite disrespectful and the reporter ought to be put on the obituary desk for six months as punishment.

"I Am Not A Racist!"

"I just live among them and picked up an accent..."

Y'know, He's Probably Right

It would be distracting from the real issues Obama would talk about on the campaign trail.

Whistling Past The Graveyard

Peggy, I mean, Noonan, slugged down another shot of Wild Turkey (#notintendedasafactualstatement) and cranked this out on her keyboard:
You know the conventional wisdom. It is that unemployment ticking down, plus the economy inching back, plus the power of the presidency to affect events, equals a likely Obama victory in 2012. Smart people, especially Republicans, believe this. But how about this for a thought: It's not true. It's all wrong. Barack Obama can be taken, and his adversaries haven't even noticed. In fact, he will likely lose in 2012.
"Likely lose"? In what universe, Peggers? The universe where unicorns have unibrows like you? (#notintendedasafactualstatement)
There's a very simple truth here, Peg: Obama cannot lose in 2012. Period. In fact, the best hope the Republicans have is that Obama's coattails are shorter than Bush's, so they might retain control of Congress.
That's right, Peg. I'm stating an obvious case: the Dems are threatening to dismantle the majority in the House. See, you folks keep trotting out the scare tactics, like terror alerts under Bush, or the Kenyan Kandidate Klause (the KKK), and yes, you keep some folks in line, but you lose many more with each scare tactic.
Funny thing about scare tactics is, eventually they start to turn back on you.
Take healthcare reform, in which the blast-fax talking point was "Obama will dismantle Medicare to pay for HCR". Flash forward to 2011, and who's proposing to dismantle Medicare now?
Your team. Only this scare is not only real, hell, it's a feature of your 2012 platform!
A great Republican once said "You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time..." but then you know the rest, Peggers.
So your braggadocio might work when giving head to the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal (#notintendedasafactualstatement...maybe), but beyond those piano-wire topped walls, your pleas fall on deaf ears.
But we take comfort in your desperation.

Godspeed, Grete

I was sad to hear this morning about the death of marathoner Grete Waitz, at age 57.
New York is the kind of city where celebs and "little people" rub shoulders constantly, and so is also a city that warmly welcomes people who come here to make it. If they do make it, and make it big, we treat them like they were born here.
Waitz won eight NYC marathons, a record that is likely to hold its place forever alongside DiMaggio's 63 game hitting streak as one of the great sports achievements in our city. Her face was as familiar on TVs around the city as any mayor you can name, from Koch to Giuliani.
In leaving her footprints all along the streets of New York City, Waitz broke barriers for women as easily as she broke the tape at the finish line, from convincing her parents in Norway that a woman belonged in sport to placing second in the first Olympic women's marathon event, she helped women to break into sports and for women's marathoning to get the same coverage...indeed, sometimes better coverage...than the men.
I was fortunate to have run alongside Waitz in a short charity race in Manhattan, and spent a few moments chatting with her. She was gracious, charming and filled with enthusiasm and love for the sport of running.
Admittedly, I was huffing and puffing and she was running at a less-than-training pace, but it counts! I actually crossed the finish line ahead of her, not because I ran faster than she, but because her presence motivated me to try harder and to reach deep down and run.
Godspeed, Grete. Run now with the wings of an angel.

To-day, the road all runners come,
Shoulder-high we bring you home,
And set you at your threshold down,
Townsman of a stiller town.

- A. E. Housman "To an Athlete Dying Young"

Monday, April 18, 2011

On Broadway

There are few joys in my life than reading theatre reviews for a show that you just know is going to be panned. You just sense that reviewers have been sitting at home, scribbling furiously slings and arrows of outrageous portion. For an actor, it's like going to the Colisseum to watch the lions train on Christians. It's not the main event by any means, but then it's not meant to be.
I've been waiting almost two years now for "Spiderman: The Moosecall" to open just so I can enjoy the bloodbath.
Sadly, that opening has not materialized, but there's been a minor league show to warm me up.
Best line from the reviews? Here:
Something resembling a plot doesn't arrive until late in Act I

Possible Donald Trump Campaign Slogan?

We Shall Overcomb

OK, NOW, Panic!

Sure! CDO's issued by dodgy banks packaged and bundled by multinational banks that threaten to drain your coffers dry? No problem giving them an "A" rating. But the government that unnecessarily bails them AND YOU (by extension) out?
Let's fuck them up the ass and hurt Americans in the process! #winning #tigerblood #moosecock_suckers

I Think There's A Misdiagnosis

Are you sure it wasn't just one big hangover?

Holy Shit!

US News and World Report agrees with me! US News and World Report! The handbook for the modern day corporatist!
Look out for the Four Horsemen...

Talk About Missing The Boat

A top surgeon opines an editorial about a study done of college co-eds that says that women who have sex without a condom are happier than ones who use them.
In what has to be one of the more spectacular "Let me act as if my fantasy was true" moments I can recall, Dr. Lazar Greenfield pens the most idiotic editorial in Surgery News stating that semen is an anti-depressant.
He's resigned. I'm satisfied. But not semiotically.
Now, the study does seem to indicate that semen may have some anti-depressant capacity, to be sure. But here's the thing: it's not clear from the study whether there's a psychological component involved, i.e. that college women who used condoms were not in happy, steady relationships, while women who were in such relationships could relegate condom use to the back burner.
Which would be my impression: if you're using a condom, you're worried about STDs and/or pregnancy, which means you're not in a committed relationship (or you don't believe you are, which is even more important). If you're not, you're not worried.
Worried people are pessimistic. Pessimists tend towards depression.

Here's Good News For You!

If you read this blog, you aren't demented!

I expect we'll be getting these installed in the rest rooms any day now


I Sort Of Wondered When

Treasury Secret Timothy Geithner said yesterday that a deal on the debt ceiling was pretty much fait accompli.
I started a stop watch.
[Rep. Paul ] Ryan (R-Wisonconsin, and is there some fucking hallucinogen in the cheese lately in that shithole state?????), however, on CBS' Face the Nation, told Bob Schieffer something very different. He said that Republican leaders had not told him, as Geithner said they had told the president, that they would not stand in the way of a debt limit increase. Then he said that any debt limit increase would have to come as part of a deal to limit future spending.
I could have used an egg timer instead.

You Know What's Tax Deductible?


Finland's Tea Party

Of course, they're not calling for tax cuts, just a repatriation of foreign aid. I'm betting they wouldn't want to give up national healthcare, national pension, the best education system on the entire planet, housing allowances, maternity AND paternity leave, paid childcare and a family allowance, adult education subsidies....and everything else.

Liar Liar Pants On Fire

This may be the most entertaining article you'll read all week.

The Law Of Unintended Consequences

The title of this article makes me want to snark, "No, but it sure is overflowing. Just look at the Teabaggers!"

The Non-Story Story

Diplomacy is a way of allowing people to let you have your own way.
Put it another way: in the great poker game of diplomacy, when you bluff, you know your bluff is being called and simultaneously, people are operating under the other assumption, so your best bet is to find a third way to win.
But Syrians will be upset about this. So will Iranians.

Take His Advice, Mr. President

First, why is Paul Krugman not Secretary of tyhe Treasury or at least the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors?
Second, he's right. The gloves have to come off now:

Which brings me to those calls for a bipartisan solution. Sorry to be cynical, but right now “bipartisan” is usually code for assembling some conservative Democrats and ultraconservative Republicans — all of them with close ties to the wealthy, and many who are wealthy themselves — and having them proclaim that low taxes on high incomes and drastic cuts in social insurance are the only possible solution.

This would be a corrupt, undemocratic way to make decisions about the shape of our society even if those involved really were wise men with a deep grasp of the issues. It’s much worse when many of those at the table are the sort of people who solicit and believe the kind of policy analyses that the Heritage Foundation supplies.

So let’s not be civil. Instead, let’s have a frank discussion of our differences. In particular, if Democrats believe that Republicans are talking cruel nonsense, they should say so — and take their case to the voters.

As Krugman points out, the GOP last year ran on a platform that included a scare to seniors about Medicare and how healthcare reform would decimate that program, effectively making Medicare reform a shibboleth.

Their budget proposal cuts Medicare even deeper than the worst-case scenario they painted during the 2010 campaign. How is this meant to be a compromise? How is this meant to be civil? And yet, when President Obama correctly points out that distinction in this year's rhetoric ("New Teabager") versus "Teabagger Classic," he's accused of being hyperpartisan.

I presume had he been white, they would have claimed he declared class warfare, but even they aren't stupid enough to fall into that trap.

The Republican budget IS cruel nonsense because it ignores completely the other way of balancing a budget.

If you're running up your credit card bills, it makes sense to cut back your spending, and to keep a close eye across your budget. Yes, there are things you have to pay: mortgages, as an example, fixed outlays that are difficult to reduce (you can refinance, if you can find a bankster who's not too busy counting his record profits after coming to you hat in hand for a bailout last year), but the things you don't need to pay, like gasoline, you find ways to reduce. You drive less, you search for cheaper gas.

But you also, and no one can deny this, look for ways to increase your income, at least until you've got your feet squarely under you again. You take a second job, maybe, as a last resort, or you hold a garage sale or auction junk off on eBay.

You do this so you don't have to starve and eat the family cat, which is essentially what Repbulicans are insisting the American people, particularly the poor, do so that those bankers can sit and count their profits.

And they need to be called on it.