Friday, June 03, 2011

Jim Hoft, Dick

The Gateway "Pundit" has decided to suddenly wake up, ten years into the security state established by his own party, and discover to his SHOCK that people are routinely harassed by the TSA.
Welcome to the party, pal!

Nobody Asked Me, But...

1) I wonder if he committed suicide?
2) Y'know, I sort of feel sad for John Edwards: he really had it all, almost. A devoted wife, a nice family, fame, fortune...and then I remember how many people he conned. I don't feel so sad.
3) More coming out about the Weinerhacker: he intended to slightly smear the Congressman by sending the penis photo to a porn star, not a college student. I'm still waiting for the en masse condemnation of Andrew Breitbart from the Republicans, in the manner of how Eric Cantor has taken potshots at Weiner. Given that Cantor's own closet* is not dust-free...
* not intended as a factual statement
4) Reason number 850,678,324 for banning guns: courts are better for handling divorces. 
5) Wudy is wunning. Again. Not the brightest bulb in the *9/11!* box, huh?
6) The May jobs report is staggeringly awful. Corporate America is sitting on some $2 trillion in cash reserves. You do the math.
7) Sony Networks hacked. This is not a repeat from last week. Or the week before. Or a month before that.
8) Your moment of Zen.
10) Finally, Dear Sony, Not all hacks are evil.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Weiner Is Safe

It turns out that @PatriotUSA76 is toast
Hey, Dan? Next time, check the kerning, motherfucker!
I have a feeling "Dan Wolfe" may have bitten off more than he can chew. His soon-to-be-ex-wife is suing his ass big time, and she is in cahoots with an ex-girlfriend of his to take him down a notch. He owns a business that apparently has fallen on hard times, and has never even spoken to Breitbart personally.
This may actually work to the benefit of people who really would like to see Breitbart disgraced once and for all.


On the heels of the news about Gary Carter this week comes this story: seven players from the 1980 World series between the Phillies and Kansas City Royals have died of brain cancer.

Today's Hoaxable Moment

Friends don't let friends pee one kidneyed.

Today's Panic Moment


Pity The Mitt

He has this day all picked out to open his campaign and he gets upstaged in his home frikkin' state by the Snowbilly!
Now, if she's...and I'm PRAYING she is...if she's doing this to eliminate the opposition and have the nomination handed to her, oh yes, by all means.
But Governess? If you're not, shut the hell up already.

So Much For President Christie

This, or maybe this, ought to do the fat man in like Sidney Greenstreet in The Maltese Falcon...

Ok, Then!

This is a little weird. According to the rules of the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Association, each softball team is limited to two heterosexual men in order to qualify for the Gay Softball World Series.
Um, not for nothing, but why even allow two? I've played enough softball to know that sexual preference has nothing to do with ability to play the damned game. Goodness knows, if being gay would have made me a better hitter, criminy, I would have been the gayest man on the planet.
It seems pretty simple: the rule's idiotic unless you're running a social league, in which case, trash it anyway and let the teams be who they are. Hell, if a team comprised of entirely heterosexual men decided to join, that would be a) their choice and b) a great way to promote tolerance and understanding on both sides.


Tony, Tony, Tony...
No moral judgements from me, but you have to know that this looks bad.
You're a young-ish man. I know there are photos of me floating around that I would not enjoy having published for the world to see, but at the least, I would acknowledge they were mine. I wouldn't spend days poo-pooing a story like Weinergate. I'd be furious they got out. This, what you believed to be a sidelight, ends up now becoming the story.
You could have said "This was a private photo," and left it at that, then refocused the entire investigation on who hacked your account. Instead, you let the other guys control the dialogue over the photo itself.
The implication being, there's worse out there to come. Daily News columnist Michael Daly sums it up nicely: " How can a guy be so sure about big, complicated, issues such as national debt if he can't be certain whether that's a photo of his crotch?...Maybe the owner of that bulge is not just a liar, he's also embarrassed."
Which is precisely how they have you by the balls.
Err, no pun intended.
Swing away, dude. Call in the cops. Call in the FBI. Let's protect the next human being who might arouse (again, no pun intended) their ire.

Admitting A Truth

I'm sure this won't happen, at least in the US, anytime in the near future, but you have to admit there's an awful lot of sense here:

The Global Commission on Drug Policy report calls for the legalisation of some drugs and an end to the criminalisation of drug users.

The panel includes former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, the former leaders of Mexico, Colombia and Brazil, and the entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson.

The US and Mexican governments have rejected the findings as misguided.

The Global Commission's 24-page report argues that anti-drug policy has failed by fuelling organised crime, costing taxpayers millions of dollars and causing thousands of deaths.

It cites UN estimates that opiate use increased 35% worldwide from 1998 to 2008, cocaine by 27%, and cannabis by 8.5%.

No doubts the jump in usage is coincident to the increase in worldwide wealth gained from American companies outsourcing American jobs to countries that pay less than American wages, thus bringing to those countries the uniquely American problem of work-related stress disorders.

I'm very much on the fence about this. Some drugs, opiates in particular, have a track record that is, well, less than ideal for introduction into society legally. Most are on prescription as having medical uses, and it seems to me that this might be the way to go for these classes of drugs: expand the prescriptive framework. Allow doctors to prescribe them more often for uses that people are already abusing them for, but with strict monitoring and follow up. Hell, we administer Prozac and Ritalin as if they were candy to any yahoo who can persuade a psychologist that his boredom or sheer idiocy is symptomatic of some disorder that sees sixteen squirrels running around his brain.

To coin a scenario.

Yes, there will be blindspots and oversights and people will slip thru the cracks but it almost certainly has to be better than having near-100% illegality. The current situation is untenable. Too, it creates shortages of medications that people actually need (try getting a box of Sudafed someday.)

On the other hand lie drugs that are clearly over-protected, that have a more benign history, that rightly could and maybe should take their places alongside such mood-altering substances as alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and sugar.

Indeed, that last may be triggering an awful lot of excuses people have for medicating. Overmedicating with sugar leads to obesity, depression, and sleep disorders, among other effects.

If all these are going to be basically un- and at least under-regulated, then other substances like marijuana deserve "a day in court": serious study for legalization, and if not, then full decriminalization.

Too, from an economic standpoint, lifting the war on drugs would improve Third World economies enormously, not least from simply avoiding destruction of valuable farmland and the price that crime and criminals take out of a native population. Imagine Mexican farmers growing pot without worrying which drug cartel is in charge and what happens if another muscles in. Or perhaps the price of marijuana will drop enough that they plant a food crop instead.

It sure as hell would make our borders more secure, too.

Wars on nebulosities, like poverty or drugs or terrorism, inevitably butt up against a simple truth: where is the finish line?

In the case of poverty, the finish line was arbitrarily drawn by the haters at five years, and you'd better have your act together by then. That maybe the only war that we can control, because people in poverty don't want to be in poverty and will work with us to beat their own poverty back if given the opportunity.

People who supply drugs or terror are antithetical to the goals of those "wars": they want the war to lose. And if they can make us spend the energy and resources to beat them, even if we succeed, another crop will rise up to take its place. It is neverending war, by definition.

In the case of terror, the answer is simple. As Peter Gabriel once famously observed, you only achieve true security and peace by respecting the rights of others. There will still be terror attacks, true. For a while. Until the strength of a peaceful nation shows not in retaliation but in resilience. Once terrorists realize they can't do enough harm to topple us, they'll leave it be.

The case of the war on drugs, I think, is best won by admitting there really wasn't a war to begin with, that it was a marketing plan cooked up by people who were shocked that other people were having fun. Once we get over that hurdle and start to look into the causes of the use of drugs, we will have taken a large step in the direction of civilization.



Wednesday, June 01, 2011


The Wicked Witch Of The West is in my city and now we're under a tornado watch.
Coincidence? I don't THINK so!

The Huntsman's Pack

I got a solution, Ambassador

I admire Congressman Paul Ryan's honest attempt to save Medicare. Those who disagree with his approach incur a moral responsibility to propose reforms that would ensure Medicare's ability to meet its responsibilities to retirees without imposing an unaffordable tax burden on future generations of Americans.

OK, you've laid the gauntlet down. Here's my solution. It will guarantee the solvency of Medicare in perpetuity and will actually lower medical costs for everyone.

I'll go slowly, so even a yahoo like yourself can keep up with me, K?

Expand. It. To. Cover. E.V.E.R.Y.B.O.D.Y!

You like apples? How do you like those apples?

Seriously, these half-hearted efforts to reform health insurance are both ludicrous and leave us the laughingstock of the civilized world. Let's get to single-payer insurance, lift the ban on Medicare's ability to negotiate costs, and make the insurance companies compete in a free market.

That's all, John. You may resume your demagoguery.

The Flag As Advertising

Interesting point Martin Bashir makes here:
"This is not a campaign bus," she [Sarah Palin] said on Fox News. "This is a bus to express to American how much we appreciate our foundation and to invite more people to be interested about all that is good about America." It all sounds like a wonderful commitment to American values and American history, but it's nothing of the kind. In fact, the whole thing could be in breach of a federal law because the United States Flag Code establishes important rules for the use and display of the stars and stripes, the flag of the United States. Under standards of respect and etiquette, it's made clear that the flag of the United States should never be used for any advertising purpose whatsoever. Yet that's precisely what Sarah Palin is doing. She's using the flag of the United States for her own financial purposes. She drapes herself in the stars and stripes and makes millions of dollars in the process. This has got nothing to do with the presidency and everything to do with filling her pockets. And by raising her profile, she raises her income. It is as simple as that.
Now, it's true that observance of the Flag Code is voluntary. One can legally burn a flag as a demonstration of free speech, for example, without fear of criminal reprisals. One can also leave a flag up 24 hours a day, even unlit, and no one except your local Boy Scout troop would likely notice.
But what is not true is that the flag of the United States can be used to promote a product, which clearly leaves the consumer with the impression that the product is endorsed by the Federal government. Some morons on the right seem to skate right past this rather important fact on their way to bashing Bashir for a double standard.
Palin has not announced her candidacy, but has invited the press along on her tour. She has a movie coming out in the next few weeks. She is a, and I'll use the term loosely, "popular" author who can reasonably expect a bump in book sales from the goobers and yahoos that she will encounter in her flag-draped "coffin on wheels."
I coin that, because as she displays her flag, she dishonors and disrespects the men and women who so valiantly died for her to be able to write her books and whine her little whines and allows asshats like Fitzsimmons to waste perfectly good tube socks fapping to photos of her in tight leather pants. If she's going to disrespect dead soldiers on Memorial Day no less, then she ought to be called on it, as Bashir did.
So I suggest l'il Alex pick up a gun, stand a post, and then tell me how much he likes seeing Sarah Palin disrespecting his comrades in arms who died next to him.


Tsk, Tsk, Governor!

You've been whining about budget crises left and right, while refusing Federal subsidies to help your constituents get around your overcrowded and underserviced state for months now.
And now we find out why you've been so unsympathetic to their plight: you use the state helicopters to airlift your fat ass around!
Even wealthy financier Jon Corzine had enough "man of the people" in him to risk riding in the car the state provides you!

Winter In America

I was neglectful yesterday not to make note of the passing of Gil Scott-Heron. He was only 62, and to my mind, the finest poet of the mid-20th century, rivaled only perhaps by Langston Hughes and Robert Frost.
From the Indians who welcomed the pilgrams
to the buffalo who once ruled the plains;
like the vultures circling beneath the dark clouds
looking for the rain/looking for the rain.
From the cities that stagger on the coast lines
in a nation that just can't take much more/
like the forest buried beneath the highways
never had a chance to grow/never had a chance
to grow.
It's winter, winter in america
and all of the healers have been killed or forced

It's winter, winter in america
and ain't nobody fighting 'cause nobody knows
what to save.

The con-stitution was a noble piece of paper;
with Free Society they struggled but they died in
and now Democracy is ragtime on the corner
hoping that it rains/hoping that it rains.
And I've seen the robins perched in barren
watching last ditch racists marching across the
and like the peace signs that melted in our
never had a chance to grow/never had a
chance to grow.

It's winter, winter in america
and all of the healers done been killed or put in
it's winter, winter in america
and ain't nobody fighting 'cause nobody knows
what to save.


Karma Is A Bitch

And while Sarah Palin could be a big bitch, she's not bigger than karma
There will come a time, Failed Governess, when you'll be begging for coverage, and you will be crucified and not a thing in the world Greta Van Susteren can do for you.

Here We Go Again!


The total value of derivatives in the world exceeds total global gross domestic product, creating volatility and crisis in stock markets, Mobius told reporters in Tokyo today.

"Are the bank bigger than they were before? They're bigger," Mobius said. "Are the derivatives regulated? No. Are you still getting growth in derivatives? Yes."

The global financial crisis three years ago was caused in part by the proliferation of derivative products tied to U.S. subprime loans and contributed to the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in September 2008

A Spanking In The Works

You have to know that Obama will put his best professorial touches to this:

House Republicans will head to the White House Wednesday for their first conference meeting with President Barack Obama, as Congress gears up for a battle over raising the nation’s borrowing limit.

The meeting, which will take place in the White House’s East Room Tuesday morning, will be the president’s first full introduction to the House Republican Conference.

In advance of the meeting, Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) staff released a statement signed by 150 economists arguing that Congress should offset the debt ceiling hike with spending cuts. Boehner himself took that position in a speech last month to the Economic Club of New York. The statement is expected to come up at the meeting with Obama.

“An increase in the national debt limit that is not accompanied by significant spending cuts and budget reforms to address our government’s spending addiction will harm private-sector job creation in America,” the statement read. “It is critical that any debt limit legislation enacted by Congress include spending cuts and reforms that are greater than the accompanying increase in debt authority being granted to the president.”

First, I'm curious to know what Obama's retort will be. I can think of about 200 economists who would, correctly, argue that cutting spending when jobs are needed is a horrible idea.

TRANSLATION: those GOP economists are fucking loons.

Too, the GOP has not exactly played their cards close to the vest, while Obama has. In fact, Boener has doubled down on teh stoopid in many cases, holding a symbolic vote last night rejecting an increase in the debt ceiling without spending cuts.
Which would actually have meaning if in fact, Obama hadn't already signaled that he'd be open to spending cuts in areas that really require it, like defense.
You don't bluff a poker player who's already signaled he's holding two aces in the hole by going all in, in other words. Obama doesn't strike me as being a big idiot like the last Resident (evil).
The basic flaw in Boener's argument, of course, and the one I expect Obama will lecture him on at great length, is job creation in America is a function of small businesses, which have already seen their taxes cut by Obama and have produced few jobs to show for it, through no fault of their own. If banks aren't lending money to them, they aren't building businesses.
More important, they would not benefit from the tax cuts the GOP have proposed (including extending the Bush tax cuts) and would in fact be mostly harmed by the spending cuts the Republicans have proposed. The banks have and would, however. And you'll note the divorce from reality here: tax cuts are benefitting folks who have not lent a hand to improving the American job picture.
Too, these job-creatin' folks are the front-line beneficiaries of health care reform, something the GOP has targeted as a main culprit of spending, despite the fact the fucker hasn't even taken effect yet.
We should probably start linking John Boehner's name with Herbert Hoover. That ought to make the connections crystal clear for even the stupidest yahoo on the right.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Next Article InfoWorld Will Write

Five Reasons Why John McCain Will Still Beat Barack Obama

Apple, My Eye

I'm thinking Apple's greatest days are behind it, but that doesn't mean they don't have exciting products in the pipeline. I just think it will be hard to match the string of iPod, iPhone, and iPad.

No One Could Have Seen THIS Coming

Gee, two years into a recession that sees corporations earning record profits after barely taking a hit to their bottom lines, while 10% of Americans are out of jobs theose firms could easily afford, and housing prices are still plummeting as people hold fire sales to quickly grab some cash?
Right. Free markets work...*snark*

Cain Is Unable

This is a sideshow. It's sort of comforting to watch "insurgent" candidates like Cain and even Palin (if one can call a lamestream Republican opinionator "insurgent") take on their big dog.

OK, This Is Just Weird

Now, the underlying reason makes a warped sense: by ensuring this, any claims of rape go by the boards in court. That logic, however, is massively undersized compared to the fact that you have to sexually assault a woman to try to find this "evidence" and what if she's not a virgin in the first place?

Silly Conservatives!

You know what's really dumb about the right wing in this country?
They're like little children playing soccer, all chasing the ball but no one is actually thinking things through.
Take Obama's speech about Israeli/Palestinian states. Serious minds have been contemplating precisely what he proposed for decades.
Indeed, Netanyahu's own government proposed precisely the solution Obama cited as late as last November.
But because Netanyahu decided to deliberately misstate Obama's position, the shouting class has had a field day trying to paint Obama as Jew-Unfriendly, ahead of the 2012 election.
Memo to Bibi, it's not like the next guy is going to be any friendlier to you if you screw us again.

My Weiner Has A First Name

By now, you're probably aware of Weinergate. Someone managed to hack into Congressman Anthony Weiner's Twitter account and spoof a tweet to a female follower in Seattle including a photo of an erect penis hidden inside a pair of tighty whities.
Grey, actually, but I digress...
Well, looks like Weiner won't take this laying down...
I pity @patriotusa76...

Your Health Scare For The Week

*spinning keno wheel*

Beer For Breakfast

David "BoBo" Brooks is to thoughtful analysis what Charlie Sheen is to lucidity.
To-wit, in pondering the fate of college graduates:

College grads are often sent out into the world amid rapturous talk of limitless possibilities. But this talk is of no help to the central business of adulthood, finding serious things to tie yourself down to. The successful young adult is beginning to make sacred commitments — to a spouse, a community and calling — yet mostly hears about freedom and autonomy.

Today’s graduates are also told to find their passion and then pursue their dreams. The implication is that they should find themselves first and then go off and live their quest. But, of course, very few people at age 22 or 24 can take an inward journey and come out having discovered a developed self.

Most successful young people don’t look inside and then plan a life. They look outside and find a problem, which summons their life. A relative suffers from Alzheimer’s and a young woman feels called to help cure that disease. A young man works under a miserable boss and must develop management skills so his department can function. Another young woman finds herself confronted by an opportunity she never thought of in a job category she never imagined. This wasn’t in her plans, but this is where she can make her contribution.

Two observations immediately spring to mind. First, the ten most popular college majors seem to indicate that Brooks' concerns are ill-advised. You need to get down to number nine on the list, psychology, before you hit a soft, non-material target. College students today get it, David. The world requires money, it demands a genuflection to authority (note where criminal justice lands on the list), it inspires...conformity.

Second, as should be obvious from that list of popular college majors, students have taken that inner journey and decided that a good salary is the most important plan for their lives.

(An aside: number three on that list, communications, concerned me at first, until I realized they are also lumping in media like web-design, advertising and even marketing into the mix. But I digress...)

But soft, what is Brooks' issue with asking our young people to aspire to greatness? Life is about limitless possibilities, and while the vast majority of us will work forty, fifty, maybe sixty years making someone else richer, what's the problem with reminding people that there are alternatives? Or reinforcing in the minds of the small minority that they should have the courage to strike out on their own?

"Ah, a man's reach should exceed his grasp, else what's a heaven for?"

Even if you do end up working as an office drone, a cubicle gopher, a desk jockey...and there will always be jobs for people willing to spend eternity in front of a computer screen monitoring someone else's wealth...what's wrong with applying that same advice to the rest of your life? What's wrong with running that extra mile, or painting a landscape, or collecting that stamp that you've always wanted to own? Is life our job? Is our job our life?

Brooks, being the quasifascistic little capitalist drone that he is, by his very nature has denied the existence of a morale value to life that cannot be measured in dollar terms. He hacks away at a keyboard, then presuambly goes off to cocktails and whatever pathetic little existence he squanders his precious time on planet earth with.

No one lives to work, except for those idiots who somehow believe that, with hard work and perserverance at a job, they can themselves become fabulously wealthy and make other people drone for them. To those who still believe THAT fantasy, buy lottery tickets because your odds are better. You might make a comfortable living, but you will never get that rich slowly, and you will never have a life.

Adults make compromises with life, even as they've decided that there are no compromises to be had. Ask any artist who has made it big on the back of their own work, and they will tell you of the countless friendships they've lost, the money they've forgone working in an office, the opportunities they've missed. In choice, there is always a compromise to be had. Sacrifices are made by both sides.

"Progress has never been a bargain. You have to pay for it. Sometimes I think there's a man who sits behind a counter and says, 'All right, you can have a telephone but you lose privacy and the charm of distance. Madam, you may vote but at a price. You lose the right to retreat behind the powder puff or your petticoat. Mister, you may conquer the air but the birds will lose their wonder and the clouds will smell of gasoline.' "

Brooks would rather that this small percentage of American adults, this 20% of college age Americans who actually graduate each year (scary thought, that), should be like the rest of us, as if giving them the tools to build the wings to fly their own lives as high as they want is a bad thing, that they might crash and burn. No, they should be like the vast majority of us, and hunker down for our next paycheck and live life as though we will always have a safety net under us, as pathetic as that net may be.

If the past thirty years in America have taught us anything it's that the social contract between a company and its employees is not sacred. My job can go away in the blink of an eye, through no fault of my own. So can yours. So can hers.

Now, I will say this in defense of Brooks' piece: in my experience, very few people at 20 or 25 know themselves well enough to know what they want, but here's the thing. It's not that they can't. It's that we've given them so many conflicting images and opinions about how to shape their own world that we've imposed expectations and "should haves" on the most fragile of beings. These fawns are barely standing on their hooves and we ask them to sprint and compete.

If that's so and if the contract with citizens and corporations is nulled, then perhaps counseling our graduates to caution is a bad idea. We should encourage them to exceed their expectations. We should demand that they take five years off and walk the world. (I've always had this fantasy of a draft for the Peace Corps, sorry.) We should tell them that it doesn't get any better than they have it right now, and they ought to enjoy it because most of them will fail and they will end up in the corporatocracy. But they should try first, so that when the alarm clock rings on the cold winter mornings that sees them get dressed and jump on a commuter train, bleary eyed, they can smile back on the effort and know they gave it their best shot and can move on now.

As opposed to people of Brooks' age who never even tried and now try to rationalize their failures by warning people behind them how scary the world is. I'm Brooks' age. I know of where I speak. For it is only now, as I turn the corner of my middle years and face the yawning descent that I see how much time I must make up and how little energy I have left to do it in.

Many of my readers are recent college graduates, certainly more recent than I, and are at cusps and cross-roads of their lives. I tip my hat to you, and offer this small consolation.
You can't have screwed things up that badly that you can't tear it all down and start from the beginning. It will be difficult, it will be fraught with psychic peril and yes, sometimes it might be painful, but there is no pain worse than looking back across decades and seeing yourself stagnate.
Do it. Just do it.