Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I (Don't) Want My Sarah Palin TV!

Image from source, NewsCorpse
After the announcement that Sarah Palin is getting her own internet "TV" channel, the hashtag #PalinTVShows began trending on Twitter. I couldn't resist throwing in, 8 Simple Rules for Knocking Up My Teenage Daughter, Also Too. But seriously, the news that this political celebrity with the paper-thin depth of knowledge, is starting her own network isn't really a surprise is it?

I mean, she's become wealthy doing her "you betcha" schtick for tea bagger rubes. How much can an internet "channel" cost? She loves being on camera, and she loves to throw her Molotov Cocktail bon mots via social media. Now, she's just combining these things, and can run them on a loop. I can't imagine what would possess a person to subscribe. But you know she's going to sell memberships to media outfits like Media Matters and Think Progress, along with the organizations who agree with her like NewsBusters and World Nut Net Daily. But I have a feeling it's going to wear thin quickly.

[Excerpt]

Must See Tea-Vee: Are You Ready (To Pay) For The Sarah Palin Channel?

For those of you who have had enough of Sarah Palin pontificating for free on everything from sanctimonious piety to impeaching President Obama, your prayers have been answered. Now, rather than getting updates from her Facebook page or having to watch Fox News, you can subscribe to her Internet video service and pay $9.95 per month for all the word-salad gloriousness you used to have to suffer through free of charge. . .

Read more at: NewsCorpse

Right Wing World: FReepers Go Bananas on Gay Marriage Ruling

As I said in my earlier post, the Fourth Circuit Court ruled Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.  This is newsworthy, and cause for celebration for marriage equality supporters. Now, "traditional marriage" supporters (a misnomer, since almost nobody is against traditional marriage) are less pleased. What drives them, and keeps them as invested as gay people remains a mystery to me. But to say that some of them are not taking it well, would be a vast understatement.

Today, I checked in on FreeRepublic.com, one of Right Wing World's most fervent outposts on the web. And what I found there was. . .well, kind of amusing. FReepers are nothing if not entertainingly batshit crazy. But they also veered into the disturbing. Particularly that bit about hanging judges.


Actual Screen Cap of FReeper Discussion (Click to embiggen)
[Excerpts]

"Short of impeachment of these judges, there is no going back to civilization."

"One more example of the Decline of Western Civilization. We live in a culture of death that has rejected God and celebrates evil and perversion. Lock and load, folks. Lock and load."

"Someday someone is going to hold judges accountable for making up law (legislation) from the bench."

"A constitutional amendment banning queer marriages is needed... in addition to impeaching these corrupt and traitorous judges."

"Who, in their right mind, would even want to be president and have to govern over this drain-circling country?"

"Yep. Opposition to homosexuality is falling like dominoes. If no one is going to draw a line against it, it's going to be up to We The People. Load the magazines...it's coming sooner rather than later.
Scouts Out! Cavalry Ho!"

"There is NO HOPE AT ALL for this country. None."

"We've gone so long being meek, compliant and quiet, that our enemies have us against the ropes. The only way to win back our Republic is to fight. Hopefully, it'll be just with words, picket signs, and maybe fists, but if it goes further, we have only ourselves to blame."

"When will a state secede? The 10th amendment is being stomped on."

"It’s time to start hanging judges."

"The coprophiliacs and lesbians win again."

"We are quickly becoming the United States of Sodom and Gomorrah."

"It’s like they’re soldiers in Satan’s army."

"I am full of such rage, hate and anger as never before. I hate all of them, the left, the libs, the immoral, the courts, the president, the politicians. Eff all of them. I wouldn’t even mind if God destroys us all and sorts us out later. I hate living in this country. . ."

Here and here are the source pages.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Gay Thing: 4th Circuit Court Rules Virginia Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

Like dominos, these hateful same-sex marriage bans keep falling. And this one was a big domino, affecting Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Maryland, of course, is in the same Circuit, but already has marriage equality.

[Excerpt]

Image from source, Slate
Fourth Circuit Calls Virginia’s Gay Marriage Ban “Segregation,” Strikes It Down

On Monday, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Virginia’s gay marriage ban is unconstitutional, the latest victory for marriage equality in a unbroken string of triumphs since the Supreme Court overturned DOMA in 2013. The opinion included no stay; until the Supreme Court steps in, then, gay couples in Virginia may get married starting now. The judges of the 2–1 majority labeled the state’s ban “segregation” and held that, because it targeted a disfavored minority and implicated a fundamental right, it should be subject to strict scrutiny. It’s clear that, to the majority, laws like Virginia’s represent little more than bald bigotry. . .

Read more at: Slate

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Over Time with Bill Maher, July 25, 2014

Blast from the Past: Class of '84, The Bands (Male Edition)

Since this is my 30th class reunion year (sorry, WYHS Class of '84, I can't make it), I'm continuing my theme of hit songs from that year, 30 years ago. I've got to wonder if these tunes strike the ears of kids today, like early rock and roll of the 1950s did to me.

1. New Moon on Monday by Duran Duran - Not one of their more enduring tunes, to be sure. But this was big that year.
2. Cum on Feel the Noize by Quiet Riot - It was a year that really mixed genres, and this song proves it.



3. Karma Chameleon by Culture Club - Can you imagine this song coexisting with the previous one today on the pop chart?
4. Say it Isn't So by Hall & Oates - This 70s band had a resurgence during my high school years, kind of like the next one.



5. You're the Inspiration by Chicago - As I said, groups don't get more 70s, but Chicago had a string of 80s hits. My best friend and I used to sing this to his car: "Your My Transportation. . ."
6. The Heart of Rock & Roll by Huey Lewis - This song was huge, but their zenith was The Power of Love, the next year, from the Back to the Future Soundtrack.



7. When You Close Your Eyes by Night Ranger- Squeeze the cheese.
8. Wrapped Around Your Finger by The Police - It wouldn't be long after this that Sting went permanently solo.



9. Owner of a Lonely Heart by Yes - I didn't realize until putting this list together, how many bands from earlier decades were having a resurgence. Yes was a big one.
10. Hold Me Now by Thompson Twins - Yeah, there was a girl in this group, but since they were a trio, and 2/3 men, they fit in this category. I love their stuff, from any year. But this may have been their biggest hit.



And, that will do it for this week guys. It's been a busy weekend, and is sure to be a busy week. Hang in there, and Happy Monday!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Mary Poppins Quits! (Funny or Die)

Practically perfect in every way, except her paycheck.



Thursday, July 24, 2014

Rachel Maddow on Botched Execution in Arizona

Contrary to what you may have heard, Rachel Maddow is separate and apart from most pundits and talking heads. As much as I might enjoy some of the others, and can grudgingly see why some that I don't like have a following, Maddow stands alone. She focuses on stories no one else is talking about, or at least comes at them from another angle. She gives history and context on the subject she is talking about. And she usually makes you forget you're essentially listening to a professor's lecture. You don't get bored, and you always learn something.

Over the past year or so, Maddow has been tracking death penalty cases, particularly those with botched executions. She's focused on the problems with the state finding elusive lethal injection drugs, and openly wondered about the wisdom of capital punishment, if we can't abide by the Constitution's command against cruel and unusable punishment. Or, should we even be killing people at all?

So, when this Arizona botched execution story broke, it was actually pretty amazing that The Rachel Maddow Show was able to jump right in with a very thorough story on the subject. You don't have to be a liberal to get something out of this.
 

Yet Another Execution Goes Horribly Wrong

Image from source, Think Progress
We keep having these botched executions, and I know, it's difficult to care. I mean (barring the wrongly accused), anyone on death row is generally an awful person. And I've heard some say, "they deserve what they get." This is the United States of America, however, and we're not supposed to be all "eye for an eye" on criminal justices. There's a thing called the Constitution, and a line about cruel and unusual punishment.

So, what's the reason for all of the problems with something that ought to be fairly easy to do? Well, companies that make some drugs don't want them used for the purposes of causing death. And other drugs? Untested, and who ya gonna test 'em on? Well, looks like, the condemned. And it's not going so well.

[Excerpt]

Arizona’s Execution Attempt Goes Horribly Wrong As Man Remains Alive Nearly 2 Hours After Injection
 
Using an unusual concoction of drugs this afternoon, Arizona attempted to execute a man on death row. One hour after he was supposed to have been lethally injected, however, Joseph Rudolph Wood was still alive, “gasping and snoring.” Wood’s lawyers filed an emergency request to stay the execution and give the man life-saving help, but it was too late: After two hours, he died. . .

Read more at: Think Progress

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Is the end of ObamaCare Something Conservatives Should Really Wish For?

Image from source, NewsCorpse
As I wrote in my previous post, the Affordable Care Act is possibly imperiled by dueling lawsuit rulings. Because the results were in conflict, there's not a lot for either side to celebrate. Yet. But Right Wing World was in full swoon before the second ruling came down. Should they be so excited? Doesn't this stick to them like flypaper if it really does undo ObamaCare?

[Excerpt]

Let The Tea Party Begin: 4.7 Million At Risk Of Losing Their Health Insurance
 
Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright; The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light, And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout; For there IS joy in Teaville… …A three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled 2-to-1 along party lines that subsidies for health insurance premiums made available under the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) are only available to those who purchased their coverage in state-based exchanges, invalidating the 4.7 million citizens who used the federal exchange and therefore… …they have been shut out. . .

Read more at: NewsCorpse

ObamaCare is Dead! ObamaCare is Alive! Long Live ObamaCare!

So confusing! First a Circuit Court says that ObamaCare--at least the ability to fund it, in states without exchanges--was invalid, due to a literal reading of the law. See, the law was written with the assumption of 50 state exchanges, and the GOP thwarted that. So, the language is off by a couple of words. Intent? Phooey! We want to ditch this thing!

Then, just a couple of hours later, a different Circuit Court ruled exactly the opposite. It's just as well, Right Wing World was going to hurt itself if it did anymore cartwheels and back handsprings. So, very likely, this is going to go to the Supreme Court. Again. And who the hell knows what they'll do, really.

But I've got to think this has a heavy downside for the right. They're on record for being absolutely focused on eliminating or castrating ObamaCare from the beginning. Everyone knows it, and the case, of course, was initiated for that very reason. So, suppose SCOTUS rules that this part of the ACA is to be tossed out. And suddenly, affordable care is out the window. Poor people, who have had access to insurance for the first time, will be thrown off it. Something like 4.7 million people. I can't see how this is good for Republicans, if it comes down to that.

The amazing part is, conservatives aren't probably really against the ACA itself. It's the Obama part of ObamaCare they hate. They will do anything and everything to rob him of having that as his legacy, even while they trash the thing out of the other side of their mouth.

[Excerpt]

Appeals courts differ on Obamacare; Supreme Court case likely

It was a tale of two rulings -- the best of times and the worst of times for Obamacare in the federal appeals courts. First, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit court of appeals ruled Tuesday against a key component of the law -- the federal subsidies for millions of people who signed up for health coverage. . .

Read more (with video) at: CNN

Monday, July 21, 2014

John Oliver on America's Broken (For Profit) Prison System

John Oliver is turning out to be a great choice for HBO, to generate buzz, and start a new brand. I just wish he was on more than once a week.
 

Rick Perry Sends out the National Guard Against. . .Children?

Governor Oops of Texas is a baffling fellow. I know he's got the "smart guy" glasses on, and he's making himself very visible. I know he has designs on the White House, despite his disastrous previous effort. So, I suppose this is sort a "tough guy" move, to try to shore up his base. The teabaggers hate illegal immigrants, so he's gotta sock it to 'em? Maybe. But what in the world is the National Guard going to do with these women and children that isn't being done?

[Excerpt]

To Deal With Migrant Kids, Texas Governor Plans To Send National Guard To The Border

Faced with an uptick in children crossing the U.S.-border alone from several unstable Central American countries, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) said Monday he will send 1,000 members of the National Guard to the border. “I will not stand idly by,” Perry said in making the announcement. He told CNN, “the first thing you have to do is stop the flow [of migrants into the United States]. . .”

Read more at: Think Progress

Blast from the Past: Class of 1984, the Men

As a further tribute to my graduating year, lo those thirty years ago, this week's Blast from the Past follows last week's The Women of '84 with The Men of '84. Not the bands, that comes later. These are the solo acts. As with last week's edition, though the stars themselves will be no surprise, not all of the songs will necessarily be the ones you expect.

1. I Would Die 4 U by Prince - The little purple dude had four hits in 1984, all from the film Purple Rain. Prince has had a long career, but these would be his glory days.
2. Thriller by Michael Jackson - I'd use a different song, given this ones ubiquity, but MJ was running out the clock on this album by '84, and had no other solo hits for a while. Plus there was that whole "head on fire" incident. But I couldn't leave this on off.



3. Rock Me Tonite by Billy Squier - Squier isn't maybe the first guy you'd think of from the '80s, but I've gotta tell ya, he was huge at my high school.
4. The Longest Time by Billy Joel - Joel's discography runs so long, it's easy to forget his early-'80s MTV phase.



5. Eyes Without a Face by Billy Idol - Who knew there were so many "Billys" in this grouping? And so very different from each other. Idol, certainly, is the most '80s of them.
6. Caribbean Queen by Billy Ocean - Obviously, I'm caught in a Billy wave.



7. Running with the Night by Lionel Ritchie - Ritchie gets overrun by Michael Jackson and Prince in our memories of 80s R&B-crossover artists (which is what they were back then), but he was huge in the early 80s.
8. Sad Songs (Say So Much) by Elton John - Back when he was straight. Heh.



9. Major Tom (Coming Home) by Peter Schilling - Had to put a one-hit wonder in here somewhere.
10. Blue Jean by David Bowie - I realized that I couldn't mention the last guy, and then leave off Bowie. It wasn't a big year for him, but he was kind of between hits.



And there you have it, I've hit my limit for the week. And I didn't even get around to John "Cougar" Mellencamp, Christopher Cross, John-freakin'-Lennon, Ray Parker Jr., Bruce-yeah, Bruce-Springsteen, Rick Springfield, Rod Stewart, Peabo Bryson, Corey Hart, Steve Perry, Dan Hartman, and so many others. Maybe a sequel is in order?

Meanwhile, happy Monday!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Shot-Down Malaysian Plane Held 100 AIDS Researchers

Image from source, CBSNews
Wow. Even if the excerpted article doesn't have the number exactly right, that's just astonishing. 100 top AIDS researchers, enroute to a conference on the disease in Australia, perished when the plane was shot down, as yet by unknown assailants. The attack is of course tragic no matter who the people on the plane were. But for such a large group from one field to be wiped out at once? Tragic, and potentially devastating for the progress in finding a cure.

[Excerpt]

Crash claims top AIDS researchers heading to Melbourne

About 100 of the 298 people killed in the Malaysia Airlines crash were heading to Melbourne for a major AIDS conference, conference attendees have been told. Delegates at a pre-conference in Sydney were told on Friday morning that around 100 medical researchers, health workers and activists were on the plane that went down near the Russia-Ukraine border, including former International AIDS Society president Joep Lange. . .

Read more at: SMH.com.au


[Excerpt]

Malaysia plane victims include infants, AIDS researchers
 
Flight attendant Nur Shazana Mohd Salleh was single but hoping to find love soon. Instead, she was one of nearly 300 people who perished when Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down in eastern Ukraine. The airline initially said there were 295 people on board the Boeing 777, 280 passengers and 15 crew members. Early Friday, the airline increased the death toll to 298, saying there were three infants on board. . .

Read more (with video) at: CBS News

Frivolity Break: Weird Al Yankovic's Word Crimes

I've been a fan of Weird Al Yankovic since Another One Rides the Bus (a parody of Queen's Another One Bites the Dust) and My Bologna (The Knack's My Sharona), on the Dr. Demento Show. But this may be one of his most entertaining efforts. The thing is, it almost requires that you follow along with the video. I'm proud to say I know most of these grammar rules, though these days I couldn't diagram a sentence to save my life. This time, the target is both the disintegration of the English language, to the tune of Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines.
 

The Gay Thing: CDC Gay Study Seems a Little Off

I was going to write a bit about this subject, a survey with findings I'm really not believing, but I had an unexpected work night. So let's leave the commentary to the pros. . .

[Excerpt]

About that new federal study saying gays are 3%

So, about this new federal study that claims that gays are around 3% of the population. Yeah, not so much. In fact, this study shows what every previous study shows — not how many gay and bisexual people there are in America, but how many people were willing to tell a complete stranger that they’re gay or bisexual. And that’s a huge difference. . .

Read more at: AmericaBlog

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

House Conservatives Not Gung-Ho on Impeachment

Sorry, Sarah. Not right now. Put your hand away,
you look like an idiot. Er...more of an idiot.
High crimes and misdemeanors. That phrase is important, because it was largely ignored back in the late 90s when Congress impeached President Bill Clinton. His "high crime" was to lie about having sex with a woman who was not his wife. In a question that was immaterial to the case. In a case that was later dismissed. It was and remains ridiculous.

Now, I'll acknowledge that lo about seven, eight years ago, I really would like to have seen George W. Bush impeached. At the time, there was a very lengthy list of offenses, the majority of which couldn't even be called a stretch. And even if you don't think so, they certainly hit a higher water mark than did the Lewinsky affair. But, as Nancy Pelosi said, impeachment was off the table.

And now, the hard right--having hated President Obama from his first election day or before, and thwarted in his second--has a similar bottled-up rage. From my vantage point, it's misdirected, viewed through a ideologically distorted prism. Though I don't agree with the President on everything (not big on drones, wish the war was over), the "scandals" he's been through have mostly been nothingburgers, or--funny enough--extensions of Bush Era policies.

But, the red meat base wants impeachment. But you can tell there may be a lot of hot air behind it when they can't seem to agree on a charge. Sarah Palin wants the impeachment to be based on the border crisis, which makes no sense (surprise!). I've seen others that want it to be the IRS "scandal," something that has never implicated Obama, and has fizzled out. I'm sure Darrell Issa would point to Benghazi!!! But what's the crime? If Benghazi a crime, what was 9/11? I mean, come on.

Fortunately, it sounds like Congress isn't really in the mood anyway. Who knows what will happen if the GOP takes the Senate in November (something that wouldn't be possible in a sane world). But for now, sounds like impeachment is off the table.

[Excerpt]

Sorry, Sarah Palin: House Conservatives Oppose Impeachment Of Obama
 
Sarah Palin, your wish is not granted. A panel of the House's staunchest conservatives on Tuesday rebuffed the former Alaska governor when asked about her call last week for impeaching President Barack Obama. Some said impeachment was impractical, some said it would hurt the GOP politically and others cautioned that Obama hasn't committed high crimes and misdemeanors. . .

Read more at: Talking Points Memo

GOP Congresswoman: We Need To Talk "Down To A Woman’s Level"

Image from source, TPM
It isn't often that I hear a woman speak, and my mouth hangs open. I'm long immune to the ramblings of the Sarah Palins and the Michele Bachmanns of the world. But this lady did it.

[Excerpt]

GOP Congresswoman: We Need To Bring Policy Talk ‘Down To A Woman’s Level’

Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) said on Friday that in order to connect with female voters, the Republican party needs to bring policy explanations "down to a woman's level." During a panel discussion on issues that women face and how the GOP can better reach women voters, the chair of the Republican Women's Policy Committee said that members of the party need to better "articulate ourselves," according to the Washington Examiner. . .

Read more (with audio) at: Talking Points Memo

Frivolity Break: Teenage Ladies Fight Back Against "Bro Country"

I've written before about the trend called "Bro Country." It's what passes for Country Music these days, or I guess what would be Country's version of Top 40. I'm slightly allergic to country music outside my long-ago forays into Country & Western gay bars (don't ask). But it doesn't take much immersion to see the pattern. As I said in the past, my introduction came from being trapped in a dentist's chair for about an hour. That's all it took, an hour--maybe 8 or 9 songs--and I was just appalled. Not so much for the messages in the songs (though that's kind of icky too), but its uniformity. Every song is about essentially the same thing, and each song is sung in pretty much the same style. As a latecomer to the genre, I'm probably less aware of it than most people.

Now, a couple of teenaged ladies have decided to sing a rebuttal of sorts to this entire sub-genre. I doubt it will change anything, but I hope they get rich and famous with it!

[Excerpt]

Teenage Duo Takes On ‘Bro Country’ Cliches, Writes Country Song Where Women Do More Than Bring Boys Beer



Listen to this first single from Maddie Marlow and Tae Dye, a teenage singing-songwriting country duo, out on iTunes today. Now get ready to listen to it again and again and again. “Girl in a Country Song,” with its tongue-in-cheek takedown of the way bro country treats women—“We used to get a little respect / now we’re lucky if we even get / to climb up in your truck keep our mouths shut and ride along / and be the girl in the country song.”—has all the makings of a hit: clever, on-the-zeitgeist lyrics, a sense of humor, and two very talented, telegenic teenagers. . .

Read more at: Think Progress
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