Friday, September 30, 2011

Nobody Asked Me, But...

1) Somewhat inevitable. Banks are going to get cut-throat about profits now. You'd *think* they'd be more grateful to the very people who bailed them out...
2) We get more Number 2s than a dung pile.
3) Anybody who reads this blog for even one day knows I'm all about the snark and the satire. That said, The Onion might have phrased that first tweet a little more carefully. Yes, they're a comedy site and yes, the subsequent tweets made it very clear that it was a joke, but they've done enough "serious" tweeting that one could be forgiven for thinking they were not making this up.
4) Another day, another dollar (drop)
5) The most important prizes of the year were handed out last night.
6) Good ol' Newt: Doubling down on Teh Stoopid
7) BREAKING NEWS out of Massachussetts! Warren is leaving the Senate race!
8) I wasn't lying!
9) A proposed border fence. No, not there. No, not proposed by them.
10) In Russia, surfer grab shark! I wonder if he gave it mouth-to-errrrr, teeth?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

For Want Of A Camcorder

I can confirm this story.
Altho I had a still camera when I shot this, I witnessed a wrasse pick up a small mollusc and repeatedly fling it against what appeared to be either a rock or a chunk of dead coral.
Tool using fish. They exist.

WARNING: Sports Post Ahead

I come down firmly on the side of "He should have finished the game," but I see the point of the other side.
See, Jose Reyes was not just in a battle to prove he was the best hitter in the National League yesterday.
He was struggling towards a new and bigger contract. Possibly with the Mets, probably not. Either way, he had a lot on the line, and by getting one, just one, hit, he pretty much guaranteed the title was his (his challenger, Ryan Braun, would have had to go three for four or better last night. He went 0-4)
As it turns out, he didn't even need to play. As it turns out, if he had gone 1-4, he still might have sewed up the title.
However, there is a school of thought that says you play if you can. I know I would have. I know plenty of other people who would have had the kind of pride in themselves to play, if only as a gift to the fans.
Fans that he may never see again but as a visiting player.

Better Learn To Settle, Mitt

They'll never like you. The best you can get is for them to accept you.



Ho-Hum, Another Terror Attack Foiled

I'm worried for the day when an actual committed and intelligent foe decides he wants to wreak havoc.

The Sauds Paid A Little Attention

I'm thinking King Abdullah looked around this spring and realized this sort of thing must stop.

Dissent Grows

One side effect of the Teabagger movement that I predicted two years ago was the rise of a leftie activist political movment.
Chicago. Denver. LA. All either started or slated to start soon to complement the protests on the actual Wall Street.
All without astroturfed money or influence. No Dick Armey. No Koch Brothers. Started out of a postal box in a UPS store.
Just kids. And anger. Lots of anger.
God bless 'em.
As the Teabaggers' influence wanes, we see now a true people's party forming. People can discern between a fraud, a scam, and a political movement. Indeed, if anyone missed the hint, when Rick Santelli started urging people to send in tea bags to the White House, wasn't it odd how quickly a framework and infrastructure for this protest sprang up?
The Teabaggers were doomed from the get-go. It was just a matter of how far down they'd drag this country before they evaporated.
Turns out, pretty far, mostly because we let them. We, the people, let them bully our national dialogue, and our national leaders. We, the people, complacently sat by wondering when SOMEbody would shut them up. We, the people, laughed at them then turned on the TeeVee to watch Snooki's exploits.
Meanwhile, they very nearly took down this nation. They fiddled while Rome burned and then turned and threw some more kindling on because, you know, their furniture was kinda old.
The best news? They got co-opted. Bought out. They sold what was left of their souls, their birthright, to the Republican party.
Oh, they can deny they did. Many do. Many swear they are "non-partisan," but push comes to shove, they'll inevitably talk up this Republican or that Conservative Republican. As people like Sarah Palin, and Eric Cantor, and Mickey Mouse...I mean, Bachmann, paid lip service to their concerns, these folks believed they were making a difference.
There are parallels to the Christian Coalition here:
1) A movement coalesces around some wealthy individuals (in the CC case, evangelicals) that purports to speak about issues important to thses constituencies,
2) Forces a "grassroots" movement onto those constituents.
3) ????
The worst thing that can happen to the kids down on Wall Street, and in Denver and Chicago and LA, is a similar inculcation into the political mainstream. It will be hard to resist. We're already seeing signs that this movement is attracting political influence: Susan Sarandon, Cornel West, and Michael Moore have all made high profile visits to the protest on Wall Street.
Before you jump down my throat, this is not a bad thing: the protest had been working feverishly to generate some publicity (until Saturday's unfortunate and unnecessary violence,) and appearances by high profiles activists and leaders can only help.
I'm worried about the next step. What happens when the tempting offers start rolling in? We've seen it before on the left, as the lure of TeeVee time has co-opted some of our original blogstars like Amanda Marcotte and Markos Moulitsas.
A seat at the table in the Democratic party was a powerful lure to them, and I have no doubt that, when the OWS crowd starts gathering more momentum, the same urge will befall them. A chance to "affect policy"? Who wouldn't want to try to do that.
Only, I think we on the left have grown a little these past years: we've seen that the people in power are not necessarily our friends and certainly not our allies. When the chips are down and the cards revealed, they tank for the moneyed interests every time. The best hope we have for now is to let them know we're watching.
After all, they still need our votes.
For now.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Gamers Help Actual Scientists

No, this is not a repeat from last week

You Know What's Wrong With Teaching These Days?

Read the article. I think the authoress has a point.

Whether He's Real Or Not



(with photo of what a navy in a desert looks like)
Good ol' FOX, always trying to keep us, errrrrr, up-to-date?

Her Wifely Duty

Rick Perry's wife promises to blow him before next debate.

Oh no! They're Not Racist

After all, he called them "aborigines," not n**ggBONGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!

I Had To Laugh A Little

The Federal government has a recognition for scientists: The Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.
That's not the funny bit.
It was given to 94 scientists yesterday, including Linda Welbrecht, a psychologist specializing in addiction studies.
No, that's not the funny bit either.
Dr. Welbrecht does her work at the Ernest Gallo Clinic at University of San Francisco.
Ernest Gallo. One of the co-founders of the Gallo wineries.
Now THAT'S the funny bit.

MEMO To People Wishing To Read The Article

Let me save you the bother:
1) Look up.
3) Assume it's not an UFO.
4) If you don't see them, they ain't there.

Today's Edition Of "Things That Make You Go 'DUH!' "

More Americans are skipping medical care because it's just too damned expensive

This Class In American Western History Is Brought To You By....


That's The Way You Do It

You grab some experts and you show that you're working to help Americans

Used Tea Bags

Hm. You think the Koch brothers have run out of money?

Flip A Coin

Does the Teabaggers even pay attention anymore?

Some House Republicans have proposed a bill which would kill the 1-dollar bill and replace it with a mandated dollar coin, The Hill's Peter Kasperowicz reports.

Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) and two other House Republicans introduced the Currency Optimization, Innovation and National Savings (COINS) Act last week, saying the U.S. would save $184 million a year by moving to the dollar coin.

Um, you guys know that, we, uhhhhh, have a dollar coin already.


In fact there are four currently in circulation (altho only two being minted presently) along with other dollar-denominated coins available, altho not in circulation. They make great investments, in fact!

And you know what, guys and gals? If you actually bought  some and used them, the Mint would have no choice but to issue more!

Supply, meet demand! See how easy it is?

You know what this is really about? It's about the ability of the Fed to control the money supply. See, coins are minted under the direct auspices of the Treasury Department. What the Teabaggers want is a back door way to monetize the debt under the control of the Congress and President so that they can claim they've got deficits under control.

While the price of bread triples in one year. That's their solution to our current crisis.

Also, I'm not sure there isn't an element of Scrooge McDuck working here...


It Ain't Over 'Til The Fat Man Sings

I'm not sure what to make about Gov. Chris Christie's recent public appearances.
On the one hand, he's been pretty vehement and forthright in his declarations that he will not seek the nomination in 2012. On the other, he played it rather coy last night in his speech at the Reagan library. When asked point blank to consider running, he prefaced a rather quick comment with a long diatribe about how someone would have to be pretty egotistical not to consider it when so many people are asking about it.

" 'The fact of the matter is, anybody who has an ego large enough to say, 'Oh, please, please, please, stop asking me to be the leader of the free world, it's such a burden. If you could please just stop.' What kind of crazy egomaniac would you have to be to say, 'Oh, please stop, stop.'

'It's extraordinarily flattering. But by the same token, that heartfelt message you gave me is also not a reason for me to do it. The reason has to reside inside me.' "

*Ahem* One would be more of an egomaniac to actually consider it flattery, but I digress...
His brother does say that he won't run, but then brothers aren't the candidate.
Christie's dilemma at this point can be summed up by another exchange at the speech:

The next questioner addressed the presidential campaign: "Gov. Christie, you're known as a straight-shooter, not one given to playing games. Can you tell us what's going on here? Are you reconsidering or are you standing firm?"

"Listen," said Christie, "I have to tell you the truth -- you folks are an incredible disappointment as an audience." That got big laughs. "The fact that it took to the second question shows you people are off your game. That is not American exceptionalism."

A "straight shooter" wouldn't pussyfoot around, throwing hints and travelling the country on fundraisers....for who, exactly?

Too, there have been a recent spate of television ads extolling Christie's ability to balance the state budget twice (on the backs of working class Jerseyans, of course), lower taxes and "improve" education (he actually makes that claim despite the fact that he's firing teachers, cutting funding AND has overseen a slip in test scores.)

And yet, he keeps his name out there, and allows his name to be tossed about as a potential candidate. That's something he has control over and hasn't exerted it much lately.

Here's my guess, based on a gut feeling: Christie won't run, unless it looks like it's coming down to a floor fight at the GOP convention in 2012. We may know this as early as the end of February. Perry will either be knocked out or will have taken a few surprise states by then. Romney has the funds and the werewithal to remain in the race until that point, no matter how well or poorly he's doing. He can count on the mushy middle of the GOP for the strongest support...I know, it seems weird that the guy who wears magic underwear would be considered the sanest, soberest candidate...and that will garner pluralities in states that he might not win outright.

Christie could jump in during the Spring, and if he can win a few key primaries-- say Colorado and Illinois, maybe Florida if they get brushed back-- Christie will have instant credibility in states that could be blue in 2012.

Until then, he might want to ratchet down the noise.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Well, This Would Explain All The Deaths From Heart Disease, Smoking, Cancer...

...we're all a bunch of lily-livered hypochondriacs, according to our doctors.

Ever Wanna See The World Through Someone Else's Eyes?


Good Old Fox News: Only Three Years Late

Here's a story about a berry extract called "miraculin"
The article points out that the New York Times covered this story, which can make lemons taste sweet, back in 2008.
We now have a baseline for how long even an innocuous, fact-based story can morph from "liberal lie" to "palatable for low normals."

If You Lose Cell Service Today....


I May Have To Interview This Guy

After all, he writes about the same stuff I blog about: being left behind when the Rapture comes.

So Let Me Get This Straight.... NHL player, over in London for the final few exhibition games of the season, has a banana peel thrown at him during a game last week. He is black, of course. The incident is condemned both here in the States, and over in the UK. Indeed, rewards are offered on Twitter. Much sympathy is proffered to the player, and he's riding a wave of goodwill.
So how does this...player...respond in the very next game?
He calls renowned NHL gay rights activist Sean Avery (who, by the way, is about as straight as they come) a homophobic slur!
Way to go, asshat!


I wonder, is this a rogue gone off message? How does this fit in the re-election strategy?

“The Obama administration has decided not to ask a federal appeals court in Atlanta for further review of a ruling striking down the centerpiece of President Obama’s health-care overhaul,” AP writes. “The decision makes it more likely that the Supreme Court will hear a case on the issue in its term starting next month, and deliver a verdict in the midst of the 2012 presidential-election campaign.”

A Smart Rebuttal

You've probably heard about the antiquated racist idea being proposed by Young Republicans at Berkeley: a bake sale that's priced according to race.
"Linnaeus" is my hero for proposing this solution.

A Dirty Little Secret: Sometimes, Crackpots Make Sense

Here's the thing about Ron Paul, at least as far as I'm concerned: it's easy to pick apart his insanity, his craziness, the zealotry of his followers, his inherent racist tendencies, and so on.
But the scary part is, on some things he's not far from my truths.
For example, I have deep concerns about the validity of a Federal Reserve system that is run by the member money center banks. I have questions about the legitimacy of the 16th Amendment and the income tax, at least as it applies to wages. I want an accounting of the gold in Fort Knox. I'd like the War on Drugs to end and the decriminalization of marijuana to begin. And so on.
Ron Paul does too, and while I'd never vote for him for President, I can certainly see we have some common ground.

Speaking Truth To...

For some reason, the liar-in-question took offense. Nevermind that it was an accurate description.

Lest You Doubted It

Scary shit, these morons.

Sad News, If True

The National Enquirer may have stumbled blindly across another nut
So much for our great national pasttime of kicking Palin when she's down.

Run Away To Fight Again Another Day

So FEMA wasn't in any real danger of running out of funds, apparently.
Interesting. So what possible purpose was served by introducing this bill and making a stink over it?
There's only one answer that makes sense. This is "another day."
You noted over the weekend that Barack Obama stepped up his rhetoric about the Republican presidential contenders. He also took a hunk out of his base's complacency, too, and in the one forum he could do it where he knew he'd get unconditional support: at the Congressional Black Caucus conference.
Bear with me a moment, before you jump ugly. Let's take the attack on his supporters first.
President Obama said, "Take off your bedroom slippers. Put on your marching shoes. Shake it off. Stop complainin'. Stop grumblin'. Stop cryin'. We are going to press on. We have work to do."
He intended for it to get out to a larger audience, which is why I think his language was so raw and his delivery so...street. It was a brilliant piece of political theatre. It pissed the left off (except me, who was expecting it at some point) but it also reminded us that he is alone down there, save for Harry Reid's Senators, in terms of the chess pieces he can play. Say what you will about opportunities squandered, this is the world we live in now, and we need to do something.
People got pissed about this, thinking it was a campaign strategy. And to a degree, a large degree, it is. But...
It's also a call to action for the immediate battle he's about to engage with Republicans in Congress. I expect we'll see a far more combative President in the coming weeks and months, calling out Congress even as his agenda sits still in the hoppers of the House. And therein lies the battle.
As it was with the FEMA bill, this speech, which also highlighted the grotesqueries of the Republican audiences at the recent debates, as well as the shortcomings of some of the candidates, was designed to elicit a response from the GOP in the legislature as well as on the campaign trail.
He's picking his fights, in other words. He's drawing out boundaries of his re-election campaign, true, but he's also highlighting the legislative weaknesses of a party who grabbed the House back with a promise to lower taxes, cut spending, and generally muck the nation up.
And he's showing to what extremes these folks are willing to go. It may look like the President and the Dems have blinked, but in point of fact, the Republicans have glared menacingly into the camera.
And cameras never blink.
Next up will be Obama's jobs plan. You may recall that speech. In effect, he put a wooden board on his shoulder and dared the GOP to knock it off. Sure enough, that bill has languished in the hopper as Republican after Republican has chided the bill as something other than what it is: an attempt to get 14 million people back to work and soon.
His cutting edge line was "Americans can't wait 14 months," a direct slash at people like Mitch McConnell, who insisted that no legislation will ever be passed so that Obama will be a one-term President. As much as people may dislike Obama, for whatever reason, he has the ring of truth on his side in this one. There are 14 million people out of work who can't afford to wait until the Republicans concede they can't beat the President head-to-head and so give in on the jobs bill. They need help now, and every one of those people knows enough people who are on the fence about 2012 that they will influence their votes greatly.
I mean, really, who would you vote for? The guy who made an honest and concerted effort to lead the nation out of this depression it's in, or the asshat who sat by his pool, sipping martinis?
The gloves are off. It's about time.

Google: In The Tank For Chris Christie


Monday, September 26, 2011

An Argument Against Speeding

You know who else got a speeding ticket?

Right Winger Forecast For The Week: Butthurt On The Rise



The HIV virus needs cholesterol to protect itself.

So, Conference Committee, Anyone?

In the old know, when government worked?...the House would pass a bill, the Senate would pass a similar bill and if they weren't the same bill, the House leadership and the Senate leadership would sit down and hammer out a compromise.

Be Sure To Make A Note And Attend


Long Ago And Far Away

In 1975, Wally Broecker published a paper in the esteemed journal "Science," in which he claimed the world was on the precipice of enormous global warming.
In this paper, he predicted the rising levels of CO2 and cocomittant rise in global temperature.
And yet, Republicans would deny the science staring them in the face.

Reality Check, Please!

Personally, I hope Chris Christie gives in and runs for President this year.
He's hypercantankerous and the Republican machine would eat him up alive. It would be fun to finally see him answer questions like "Don't your kids go to private school?" and be forced to answer them.

This Is A Bit Scary

Who knew? Who's responsible?

Herman Cain? Really?

You could not have been more surprised by the results of the Florida straw poll if Barack Obama had won.

Fire In The Belly

Why don't you spew some of that in the Oval Office, Mr. President?

Media Insurrection

You know where my sympathies lie in the current #occupywallstreet protests going on in my fair city.
That said, I'm troubled by a dynamic that occured this weekend.

The latest episode turns on the arrests of dozens of men and women who have been protesting an American economic system they deem unjust. On Saturday, they marched to Union Square from an encampment that they had set up a week earlier near Wall Street. Some of them seemed primed for confrontation with the police. But others merely voiced their grievances.

A few young women were stopped by the police just south of Union Square and corralled on a stretch of sidewalk with plastic netting held by officers. An amateur video posted on the Internet shows an officer in a white shirt — signifying fairly high rank — walking up to the women and dousing them with pepper spray. The officer then walks away, disappearing behind a wall of blue uniforms. The women fall to the sidewalk, crying in pain.

In the video, there is no sign of their having been violent or posing a threat. A police spokesman, in defending use of the spray, offered a veiled suggestion that the video might have been edited to make the officer look bad.

For a week, this protest had been peaceful, vigilant, poignant...and totally unknown outside of the social networks and liberal media of the Internet and TV.

In other words, it was completely not covered by anyone. It wasn't even in the local papers much, except for letters to the editor bemoaning the obstacles and noise, and of course, the responsible rebuttals of sympathizers.

Suddenly, Saturday, the protestors decided to make news. This is where things get a bit off-kilter for me. According to reports, in a completely non-violent manner, the protestors tried to move the protest to a location that would be more visible-- Wall Street being practically deserted on a weekend. The cops coralled them with netting like a school of sardines, and forced them to stay put.

I mean, you could have seen this coming when earlier in the week, the cops arrested people for wearing masks.

You read that correctly: wearing masks. Apparently, there's a 130 year old law on the books that prevents groups wearing masks, unless they have a permit.

Specifically, they were wearing those "V" masks. I watched that film this weekend on the TeeVee with a certain sense of urgency and renewed wonder at the courage of those people, but I digress...

And now we have macings and certainly evidence of roughing up protestors and other violent behavior on the part of the cops.

The problem I'm having is, there's always two sides to every story.

It's not that I'm claiming the cops are innocent, no way. Bloomberg and the police have been uberheavy handed ever since 2004 in dealing with protests and this is only the latest example of what careens towards totalitarian police state methods.

What I am saying is, how much provocation were the cops under? There's certainly motive on the part of demonstrators to have violence added to the protest menu. It got news coverage and plenty of it, just ahead of the Sunday talk shows and morning news programs.

I hope not. I hope this was all one-sided and the protestors have an honest beef.

But somehow, I doubt it.


FEMAral Artery


House Republicans have passed a bill that cuts spending elsewhere to offset some of the increased disaster relief aid. Democrats oppose offsets for emergency aid, saying disaster relief for Americans in need should be unencumbered. The Democratic-led Senate rejected the House measure on Friday by a 59-36 vote.

The package would fund the government for the first seven weeks of the new fiscal year that starts Saturday.

For the third time in six months, a partial government shutdown is possible if the Republican-led House and Democratic-controlled Senate fail to agree on the short-term spending plan by Friday -- the end of the current fiscal year.

As it goes with the jobs bill, so goes it with helping those in most dire need of help: we don't matter to Republicans, they just want a pound of flesh for an ounce of cure.

We have a party that is determined to undermine and sabotage the very fabric of American society, Christianity, egged on by yahoos who cheer tragedy and applaud death.

And now, they'll allow their fellow citizens to flounder in waist deep mud and mold and slime as the winter approaches. All for a few bucks from a couple of programs that might actually help prevent these kinds of tragedies in the first place.
There's a major disconnect going on in politics right now, a major short-circuit in the "responsible" wing of the American electorate that should frighten and chill any reasonable person, left or right.

Even the Republicans realize how asinine they all sound right now. This is why Chris Christie, who under normal circumstances wouldn't even be considered for Vice President, is being lobbies so hard to run in 2012. Despite strict pronouncements that he will not run. Which would of course have him enter the race as a hypocrite.
That's what it's come down to for Republicans: so desperate to find a credible candidate in 2012, they've decided the best they can run is a hypocrite.
The disturbing part for me is that President Obama and the Democrats in Congress have precious few work-arounds for such a critical need. Barring radical thinking, and I'll give you some ideas in a moment, Obama's hands are tied here. He can't do an end run around the Republicans in the House, he can't have the Dems tack this funding as an amendment onto every bill Congress brings to the floor-- altho that would be an interesting dynamic, it would weaken terribly the legitimate argument that this measure should stand alone, apart from any other concern of Congress-- and he can't bully pulpit a party determined to watch the nation burn, literally.
The office of the President is charged in Article II of the Constitution with "faithfully executing" the laws Congress passes. In the past, some Presidents have assumed this to mean the President may impound money for programs the Congress has funded, and in those case, the Supreme Court has ruled it unconstitutional.
It does not say the President cannot alter funding that Congress has passed. Redirect, rebalance, re-apportion.
For example, there's nothing that would stop President Obama from redirecting an earmark or two from, say, Congressman's Frank Giunta's beloved hometown of Manchester, NH, to help the flood victims of neighboring Vermont.
After all, I'm sure Congressman Giunta would want to do everything in his power to assist his neighbors. That's what Teabaggers are all about, right?
It's hard to believe we've come to this crossroads, where American would refuse to assist American simply because we spent trillions in lands fighting for the very freedoms we're trying so hard to defend here at home, but this is what we've come to, sadly.