Friday, July 15, 2011

Nobody Asked Me, But...

1) The temptation would be to exult, but I really want a bigger fish to fry than Brooks.
2) This fish will do nicely. So might this fish. Both would be even better.
3) It looks more and more like, due to Republican intransigence, the debt ceiling football will be punted into 2013.
4) Gov. Mark Dayton of Minnesota has apparently caved on his deficit problem. I can't imagine this will end well for Minnesota or Republicans there.
5) Sarah Palin's movie opens nationwide today. I hear Harry Potter kills her at the end.
6) I guess he feels the need to scrub his reputation.
7) Did the DoJ throw the Roger Clemens' case like the White Sox of 1919?
8) How about "It keeps me awake long enough not to fall down sleeping in front of the subway"?
10) Finally, if you live in LA and want to beat Carmageddon this weekend, fly.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


In watching the Tour de France today, and seeing the remarkable move by Frank Schleck with 2km left in the stage, it occured to me if Team Leopard Trek didn't just sandbag Alberto Contador and the entire peloton by spending the last twelve months hyping the rematch between Andy Schleck and Contador, leaving Frank Schleck as the sectret weapon to win the yellow jersey in Paris?
Frank basically crashed out of the race last year just as Andy was poised to take the lead in the race, setting up the epic confrontations between Andy Schleck and Contador in the last week.
Now I'm not so sure that was the race they really wanted to see.

Vive La France!

It Won't Work

I get bit all the time

Yea, The Jury'll Believe That...

Roger Clemens defense against charges he lied when examined about steroid use comes down to "Who you gonna believe? The lying smoking gun or me, the raging hormonal cheating brute?"

Apple's Moves Are Like Nostradamus' Predictions


How You Do It Right


I'm Thinking It Was The Deafening Silence That Changed His Mind


I'm Assunming They Weren't Competing In A Body-Building Competition

Five brown pelicans covered in oil discovered off Santa Barbara, CA. No one knows why.

Reading Comprehension -- How Does It Work?


President Barack Obama’s mother had health insurance coverage when she died of ovarian cancer in 1995, a new book about her life claims, raising questions about the accuracy of a story that Obama often told on the campaign trail in 2008.

Pretty shocking story, if true!

Let's take a look, shall we? What precisely did Obama say on the campaign trail?

“For my mother to die of cancer at the age of 53 and have to spend the last months of her life in the hospital room arguing with insurance companies because they’re saying that this may be a pre-existing condition and they don’t have to pay her treatment, there’s something fundamentally wrong about that,” he said during a presidential debate with John McCain.

Dunham, Scott wrote, wanted to be compensated for the additional costs and living expenses under her employer’s disability insurance policy. CIGNA, Scott wrote, denied that claim.

Emphases added in both quotes, which came from the same story.  So Obama didn't say his mother didn't have insurance coverage, he said that the insurance company was playing hardball with Ann Dunham over paying an admittedly steep hospital bill, right?

So how would Glenn Beck spin this?

At the Blaze, Glenn Beck’s web site, Christopher Santarelli wrote that “Obama’s story about his mother’s healthcare struggle is inaccurate.”

Like I said, fucking stupid



It's A Good Reminder To Potential Donors

Debbie Wasserman Schultz's first solicitation letter is a doozy!

Good Luck, Ladies!

Both semifinals in the women's World Cup soccer tournament in Germany yesterday were dramatic games, and Japan and the US worked hard to win their respective games. Sunday's final (2 PM EDT) ought to be a doozy.

An Ounce Of Prevention

While it's not a cure, and it's not even a complete prophylaxis, this is a highly encouraging development.

Today's Republican Whistling Past The Graveyard Is Brought To You By...

Boener and Cantor will stand or fall in the next week.

When Your Very Life And Reputation Is On The Line, What Do You Do?

Do you man up, stand up, and tell the truth, or do you run like a Republican?

The Adult In The Room

When dealing with petulant children, it's perhaps best to discipline them by giving them a time out in the corner:

With Democratic and Republican congressional leaders divided over how to cut the deficit, the president "got very agitated" and left the room after House Majority Leader Eric Cantor suggested a vote on a smaller deal, Cantor said. The president met with the eight top congressional leaders for close to two hours.

"Don't call my bluff; I am going to the American people," Obama said, according to Cantor, a Virginia Republican. The president "shoved back from the table" and left, Cantor said after the meeting.

A Democratic official disputed Cantor's description of Obama's departure from the room as abrupt and said the president had emphasized he believed people were engaging in too much political posturing.

Whether Cantor or the "Democratic official" (Geithner, probably) are more accurate is irrelevant: Obama walked out in the face of the lead Congressbagger's childish and immature attempts to kick the can down the road.

And why is Cantor so eager to do this?

It's really very simple: there is a steady, bipartisan drumbeat to raise taxes, probably by closing massive loopholes in the tax code that both sides admit are unnecessary and elitist.

How eager is Obama to negotiate this deal?

President Barack Obama is considering summoning congressional leaders to Camp David this weekend to find a way to cut the deficit and avoid a financial default, two people familiar with the matter said after a tense White House meeting.
Camp David: a place where summits are held. A place with a history of compromise and negotiation. A place where you go when you need to put the deal down on paper.
Not a place Republicans would like to go, at least not right now.
Smart move.
The backdrop to all this, of course, and the overriding reason for getting a deal done quickly is the bond markets are getting antsy. Moody's, in particular, is getting gunshy:

Moody's Investors Service said today it would consider downgrading the U.S. credit rating, adding to concern that political gridlock will lead to a default.

Now, I'm sure that Cantor will profit personally from a default. I would not put it past the Part of Corporatocracy (the Dems are Corporatists-Lite) to strangle the nation for the sake of a few extra bucks in their own pockets. What astounds me is that intelligent people support these asshats.
But I digress.
Obama is taking an appropriate tone here: he's being the dad in the relationship, but not the patriarchal "spare the rod, spoil the child" kind that Republicans know how to manipulate (so many of them are just that type of dad). He's the avuncular dad, the kind who's indulgent of childish behavior and posturing to a point. So long as work is being done towards a deal, he's OK with the whining and grandstanding, but the time has come, the clock is ticking and the deal will get done.
Without or without Cantor. It's interesting that Boener has ceded this authority to his major domo. It's indicative of either his concurrence or capitulation.



Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Separated At Birth?

Needs more Yakkity Sax
(h/t WhiskeyFire and Another Kiwi)

The Lady Doth Protest Too Much




Kenneth Gladney Gets His Ass Kicked...Again

It looks like the days of right-wing gotcha journalism are numbered: First Rupert Murdoch is getting fitted for prison stripes and now the trial of two Mel Carnahan supporters accused of beating Kenneth Gladney has turned into an exoneration for the victims.

The jury deliberated about 40 minutes before returning with their verdict.

"They lost because they lied, it's as simple as that," said Molens after hearing the verdict. He said since the incident he has received death threats from Tea Party members, who had Gladney speak about the incident at Tea Party gatherings.

The truth about the incident?

McCowan and Molens, each at the meeting for the Service Employees International Union, claim Gladney was selling anti-Obama buttons, and that when they confronted him about them, Gladney started the physical attack by slapping McCowan's hands.

Molens testified that Gladney slapped McCowan's hands a second time, and that McCowan pushed him.

"Gladney started punching him in the face," Molens said. "I tried pulling him off."

The attack escalated with more punches and shoves, and McCowan suffered a fractured shoulder, he testified.

McCowan, a Baptist minister, got chuckles in the courtroom when he testified that he didn't turn the other cheek because it "hadn't gotten hit yet."

(emphasis added) It's not nice to fuck with a man of God, folks!

Dealying Tactics Rarely Work When People Are Angry

The latest students who learned this harsh lesson?
Wisconsin Fasc-- I mean, Republicans

Want To Know What Will End Minnesota's Budget Crisis?

Dry bars and restaurants.

Sen. McConnell's Back-Ass Plan

You might want to read about it. Even FOX thinks it's a no-go
Maybe threatening a man's job is a bad thing, Senator.

Al-Jazeera Discovers A Sardonic Side

Check out the headline on this

God Bless Sen. Jay Rockefeller



Romney raised $18 million last quarter. He was far and away the most prolific fund raiser on the GOP side. Groups allied with Romney raised $12 million more.
The President saw that, raised and called: $86 million. In three months.

The Staggering Implications

I want to speculate a little here and in so doing, put a little perspective on why this story seems to have legs:

LONDON — Prime Minister David Cameron offered details for the first time on Wednesday of a broad inquiry into the relationships between the police, politicians and the press in the broadening scandal confronting Rupert Murdoch’s media empire in Britain.

Speaking to Parliament, Mr. Cameron said the inquiry would be led by a senior judge, Lord Justice Leveson, and would have the power to summon witnesses to testify under oath. The announcement came as Mr. Cameron fought to recover the initiative in a scandal that has turned into potentially the most damaging crisis of his time in office.

Mr. Cameron’s Conservative Party took power in May 2010, supported by some of the newspapers in Mr. Murdoch’s British stable, and his critics said that he, like some of his predecessors in 10 Downing Street, sought to maintain that support even as the phone hacking scandal erupted last week.

Keep in mind that Cameron hired a former editor at News Of The World, Andy Coulson, as his (now former) director of communications. Keep in mind too that former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has alleged that he was a subject of inappropriate investigation by another Murdoch paper, The Sunday Times by "known criminals," as he put it. It's not a stretch to suggest that Brown himself may have had his phones and voicemails hacked.

Let that sink in a moment: the Conservative Cameron won election to the Prime Minister post in a bare plurality, falling 20 seats short of a clear majority, and needing to meld a coalition government with the Liberal Democratic party of Nick Clegg. The Labor Party lost a staggering 91 seats in that 2010 election.

It's not inconceivable, although I'd be skeptical of drawing this conclusion without better evidence than Brown's say-so, that Murdoch basically overthrew democracy and installed a puppet in Cameron. His organization could have hacked any number of phones (they've shown a particularly morbid curiousity with the technology,) and uncovered any number of campaign strategies.

There are allegations by London's Metropolitan Police from as early as 2006 that the royal family's voicemails had been eavesdropped on, and continuing allegations have been made by various people that they were, too, targeted.

And that's just voicemails. Cell phones have been notoriously easy to eavesdrop on, using various hard-, soft- and fleshware (bystanders overhearing conversations.) E-mail interceptions are not out of the question either, if you presume that Murdoch's empire was basically an organized crime syndicate.

And going with that theme, it's easy to see that the same things might have happened here, assuming they happened at all.

Keep in mind that this entire story came out only because 13 year old Milly Dowler was found dead, despite the fact that her voicemail box never was full and her family and friends called constantly and left messages in the hopes she was alive and would call as soon as she could. The hackers, private investigators, clumsily deleted voicemail messages to the missing girl, unintentionally giving false hope to the family and destroying potential evidence for the police. 

This was in 2002. Is it a stretch to think that, for at least ten years, Murdoch has committed similar crimes and obstructions of justice world-wide?

Perhaps even in a national election like, say, Bush-Kerry in 2004?


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I'll Stick With Viagra, Thanks

The Brazilian Wandering Spider: Nature's little blue pill

How Did The "War On Drugs" Start?


Angry Birds


I Wonder If It Was The Large Trunks They Packed That Gave Them Away

Probably gay and moving to NY to get married.

If You Live In LA

Make sure you get out the vote for Janice Hahn.

Pity The City Opera

Long the second string company to the more famous opera company ensconsed at The Metropolitan, the New York City Opera has announced plans to leave Lincoln Center.
I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact they perform at the David Koch Theatre (formerly the New York State Theatre).
Yes. That David Koch.

How Does Anyone Do This Anymore?

I'm going to try and not come off all holier-than-thou here, but as a former smoker, I have a question for my readers who do smoke:
I quit because cigarettes went to $3 a pack and I couldn't afford them anymore. Which tells you I probably wasn't physically addicted to them. Even now, twenty-odd years later, I still get a whiff of that freshly lit deathstick and melt for the taste, tho.
But damn! I don't miss the stench and I don't miss the smoke and I don't miss much about the second puff or any puff after that.
Now, there's just so much evidence that it's such a sick thing to do to your body, I have to wonder how anyone smokes anymore.

That's Gonna Leave A Mark

There ain't enough Kegel exercises in the world to come back from this one...

Pity Poor Christian Lopez

If you're not up on baseball, he's the fan who happened to catch Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit, a home run to the left field bleachers.
Instead of giving the ball back, for free, to a man who's made $204 million in his professional career, he probably should have held onto it, and sold it.
Cuz, he'll need the money to pay the tax bill.
Estimates of the value of the ball range up into the six figure range. Jeter was the first Yankee to get 3,000 hits...yea, I was surpised by that too...and only the second player to record as home run as his 3,000th hit.
As a "reward," the team gave him four free luxury suite seats for the remaining 40-odd home games (list price is $2,500 per seat per game, so that's roughly $400,000...altho the street price is about half that), seats that weren't exactly flying off the shelves to begin with, plus free seats for any post-season games the Yankees may host. So figure about half a million in income.
Lopez already owes about $100,000 in student loans. His tax bill will be slightly higher than that, so figure about $250,000 in debt that can never be discharged under a bankruptcy filing. He's stuck with it.
Assuming he accepts the seats. He can't sell them off because, guess what? He wouldn't be getting them if they weren't bloody available!
And any attempt on the part of Jeter or the Yankees to pay off his tax liability (and/or student loans) would be construed as yet another income event.
He's basically fucked unless he refuses the seats, but then he's given a valuable asset to a multimillionaire player and multibillion dollar organization for free.
Yea, ain't that America?


Look, the guy was a doofus for installing software on Apple computers at an Apple store...which reminds me, how did he do it? Those things reset to factory settings every time they go into sleep mode and that's fairly frequently...and Apple is right to be upset with him, for vandalizing their property and for violating the privacy of people in the shop (you do need releases, son.)
But the Secret Service? Really?

Some Confirmation

Yesterday, I posted a brief back of the envelope analysis of cutting taxes on the rich and how it affects job growth. Short answer: it doesn't.
Here's prima facie evidence in support of that conclusion.
Jobs are created when companies are created. Companies are created when people decide they no longer want to work to make someone else rich. When you are rich, you don't create, you maintain.

Bachmann Won't Last


Rupert Brewing

This News International scandal just gets more and more intricate, and therefore funnier and more schadenfreudish

An Unintentional Truth

I'm not sure Hamid Karzai appreciates precisely what he said:
The death of Ahmed Wali Karzai was confirmed by Hamid Karzai, his half brother, who said the killing reflected the suffering of all Afghan people.
"Inside the houses of Afghan people, we have all suffered from the same kind (of pain). And our hope is that, God willing, there will be an end to the pain and suffer of Afghan people, and peace and security will be implemented," said Karzai at a joint news conference with visiting French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Karzai, a puppet of the Conoco Phillips corporation and former CIA operative, won a mandate from the Afghani people under less-than-auspicious circumstances after being appointed President following the NATO invasion and ouster of the Taliban. His re-election in 2009 was similarly clouded. His relations with both the United States and neighboring Pakistan have been dicey at best, playing one off the other clumsily. And he believes Iran is a friend to Afghanistan.
Under the auspices of his brother, assassinated today, the opium trade in Afghanistan has flourished to pre-war levels and more. In addition, corruption amongst officials is still rampant, and election fraud is so bad, many believe Afghanistan should no longer be listed as a democracy.
And yet, we support him.
But soft, it's possible Karzai understands precisely what he was saying...

Ahmed Wali Karzai, who was head of the Kandahar provincial council, had become a political liability for the Karzai government after a series of allegations were levelled against him, including that he was on the CIA payroll and involved in drug trafficking.

He denied the charges, and the president repeatedly defended him, denouncing accusations that his brother was involved in criminal activities in the restive south.

What better way to pave your own exit than to eliminate the smoking guns of your office.


Monday, July 11, 2011

One Of the Hoped-For Tools To Combat Global Warming

*sigh* If only we could shove carbon down the throats of naysayers. There never seems to be an end to their supply.

Here We Go Again, Redux!


First, It Was Greece....

....then it was Spain, then Portugal, then Ireland, then the United States, and now...Italy.

The Question Must Be Raised

Why would Michele Bachmann's husband choose to do "ex-gay" therapy at their clinic?
I mean, what expertise does Marcus Bachmann have? What special knowledge could he possibly possess?

No, She Can't

I'm thinking Sarah Palin missed the polling from 2008 (and almost every poll since then). She ended up being a liability for McCain, after a brief bump from the energized "base."

You Have To Wonder

With tales of grammas being groped and baby diapers being sifted thru...or maybe I have that stuff like this happens?

I'm Thinking...


Follow Up

I took a couple of hits over my comments in a column the other day in which I mentioned China and Russia as threats to America.

Your "WTF?" Moment

Look, if there's some soopersekrit CIA document which refutes not only accepted truth but the CIA's own revelations, then Panetta ought to own up to it. If not, he's sure shooting off his mouth inappropriately.

Remember That Arab Spring?

It wasn't a deodorant soap, after all...

Memo To Tim Pawlenty

Never get into a cat fight with a cat with actual nails.


I doubt China's going to make up the shortfall.

My Dilemma...

By the way, what a great name for a goalkeeper. Shades of Star Wars!

Count On This

FOX News, or at least News Corp. here in the States, will reveal they hacked the cell phones of 9/11 victims.

Repeat, Wash, Rinse: Repeat

Dear Mr. Speaker Boener,

Republicans say they are willing to raise the debt ceiling, but only in exchange for corresponding budget cuts -- and no tax increases, saying they would hurt job growth.

House Speaker John Boehner told Obama over the weekend that his caucus would not support a $4 trillion package that includes higher taxes. Boehner proposed going back to a smaller deal, some $2 trillion or so in cuts, developed during meetings led by Vice President Joe Biden.

Clear-headed thinking

George W. Bush, along with a Republican-dominated Congress, in the midst of a mild recession that bridged the September 11, 2001 attacks, passed not one, not two, but THREE tax cuts, bringing the tax burden on the top 1% to the lowest level in history.

Let me repeat that: three tax cuts, over three years, and the rich who presumably would trickle jobs all around the country, had their taxes lower than they ever had them.

That was by 2003. The first net job created by the Bush tax cuts did not come until the second quarter of 2005. His net jobs created in eight years was one million jobs.

William J. Clinton raised taxes on the rich modestly while lowering them for the other 95% of the country. By the end of his FIRST TERM IN OFFICE he created 12 million jobs. By the end of eight years, he had created 23 million.

Q.E.D. Lowering taxes on the wealthy will not create jobs, because the rich do not create jobs. The middle class creates jobs by spending, by opening businesses and by taking advantage of lower taxes on themselves.

Finally, let's look at how spending affects job creation, particularly in times of crisis (emphasis added):

Calls for greater government assistance increased as the U.S. economy continued to decline. Hoover rejected direct federal relief payments to individuals, as he believed that a dole would be addictive, and reduce the incentive to work. He was also a firm believer in balanced budgets, and was unwilling to run a budget deficit to fund welfare programs.[45] However, Hoover did pursue many policies in an attempt to pull the country out of depression. In 1929, Hoover authorized the Mexican Repatriation program to combat rampant unemployment, reduce the burden on municipal aid services, and remove people seen as usurpers of American jobs. The program was largely a forced migration of approximately 500,000 Mexicans and Mexican Americans to Mexico, and continued until 1937. In June 1930, over the objection of many economists, Congress approved and Hoover signed into law the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act. The legislation raised tariffs on thousands of imported items. The intent of the Act was to encourage the purchase of American-made products by increasing the cost of imported goods, while raising revenue for the federal government and protecting farmers. However, economic depression now spread through much of the world, and other nations increased tariffs on American-made goods in retaliation, reducing international trade, and worsening the Depression.[46]

Now, it's true that Hoover tried to increase spending. A little. But not nearly enough to count as a stimulus.

Mr. Speaker, what you are trying to do is to create a Democratic Herbert Hoover in the person of President Barack Obama. Grow up, sir, this is no time to play politics with American lives.

Where are the motherfucking jobs, Mr. Speaker?