Thursday, April 24, 2014

Scandal: IRS Scandal-ette Turns Out to be Scandal Free

The IRS "scandal" has always stuck in my craw for really not being a scandal, or more specifically, a completely miscast one. The scandal was never who the IRS targeted in their probe, it was that they ended up giving tax exempt status to political groups at all. But Right Wing World was frothing at the mouth that Tea Party groups were targeted for auditing. How dare the IRS examine a political group for claiming to not be a political group! I mean, it was ridiculous.

But it's turned out to be even less than they thought it was. What are the odds that FOX "News" and right-wing talk radio set the record straight now? I'm guessing, never. But maybe Darrell Issa will finally shut up. At least about this subject.

[Excerpt]

New Records: IRS Targeted Progressive Groups More Extensively Than Tea Party


Image from source, Think Progress
A series of IRS documents, provided to ThinkProgress under the Freedom of Information Act, appears to contradict the claims by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and his House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that only Tea Party organizations applying for tax-exempt status “received systematic scrutiny because of their political beliefs.” The 22 “Be On the Look Out” keywords lists, distributed to staff reviewing applications between August 12, 2010 and April 19, 2013, included more explicit references to progressive groups, ACORN successors, and medical marijuana organizations than to Tea Party entities. . .

Read more at: Think Progress

The Gay Thing: Jodi Foster Got Married

I've been a fan of Jodie Foster since she was a little girl, and I was a littler boy. Freaky Friday was an early favorite, as well as the (very creepy) The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane. She was a child prodigy, and absolutely perfect actress from a young age. So, I'm glad that she's finally comfortable enough to be herself, and publicly acknowledge her marriage to a lucky woman. She played coy so long, it's just nice to see the curtain drop.

Makes me wonder though. The more we see these long-term glass closets open (Ricky Martin, Anderson Cooper, etc.), will we start to see the really big ones open too? And of course, I mean a couple of very famous scientologists. . . Anyway, congratulations, Jodie!

Image from ABC News
[Excerpt]

JODIE FOSTER MARRIED ALEXANDRA HEDISON OVER THE WEEKEND

Jodie Foster has married her girlfriend Alexandra Hedison, E! News' Marc Malkin reports: I can exclusively reveal that the Oscar winner and her photographer girlfriend of almost a year got married this past weekend. A rep for Foster confirms the happy news. . .

Read more at: TowleRoad

FOX "News" Uses Biased (Koch Brothers) Source in "Voter Fraud" Story



For years, conservatives have used George Soros, a liberal billionaire, as an all-purpose bogeyman, who is supposedly secretly funding myriad and varied progressive groups. Virtually every well-known liberal voice has been alleged to have Soros as a backer. But the right has a real sugar daddy. And if you follow the money, they really are behind a whole lot of seemingly "grass roots" and independent-sounding groups, like "Americans for Prosperity" and "FreedomWorks." The difference is, the Kochs--two of the richest people in the world--do all of this to further enrich themselves. And they don't stop with these groups, they've apparently inserted themselves into Right Wing World itself, at its hub: FOX "News."

[Excerpt]

Koch Brothers Front Group Feeds Fox News Phony Figures On Voter Fraud
 
A report by Fox News alleges that “Over 40,000 voters are registered in both Virginia and Maryland.” It’s a shocking statistic that stirs fears of massive election fraud that could sway the results of pivotal campaigns and upset the balance of power in Congress. . .

Read more at: NewsCorpse

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Sean Hannity's WEAK Response to Jon Stewart's Takedown

As I said earlier, the more you find out about the Cliven Bundy cattle grazing story, the more wobbly the tea bagger posse side's "freedom fight" becomes. But Sean Hannity took up the cause, and Bundy has hailed him as a hero. So, Hannity can't very well abandon the goofy cause, right? So, when Jon Stewart took the whole story down in an inspired Daily Show on Monday night, Hannity was obliged to respond.

Now, if you want a sight to behold, it's when the reverse happens. If Stewart is attacked by a FOX "News" personality, for instance, his responses are legendary. Sometimes complete with a gospel choir! Hannity? Not so much. The man is a dolt. He couldn't argue his way into a refund at Home Depot. Here's the evidence.

[Excerpt]

Sean Hannity hits back: Why didn’t ‘suck-up’ Jon Stewart ask Obama about Bill Ayers?

Fox News host Sean Hannity responded on Tuesday to criticism from The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart — by virtually ignoring Stewart’s whole argument. “He’s kind of obsessed with this program,” Hannity said. “Then he took clips of me from previous shows — by the way, dating back more than eight years — to try and discredit what I was saying and that I was being hypocritical when it comes to following the rule of law. . .”

Read more at: Raw Story

What Happens in NEAR Vegas : Cliven Bundy' Claims to "Ancestral Land" Bunk



1800s, huh? Sure, dude, whatever. The longer this story goes on, and the more I learn, the more I think the supporters of Cliven Bundy are just mental cases. What exactly is the claim of "freedom" here?

Tell us another one, Clive. Image from source,
8NewsNow
[Excerpt]

I-Team: Bundy's 'ancestral rights' come under scrutiny

Federal authorities remain silent about their next plans to confront Cliven Bundy at his Bunkerville ranch. Both sides are fighting over history, with federal courts denying Bundy's claims of "ancestral rights" on the Virgin River valley. The I-Team dug into century-old records to examine Bundy's claims. . .

Read more at: 8NewsNow

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Debunktion Junction: Rachel Maddow Debunks Cardinal Dolan and More

An entertaining segment that shows Cardinal Timothy Dolan to be decidedly uninformed on the subject of contraception. Which really isn't too surprising when you think about it, but you know, they've got him opining on a news show, so. . . you know. . . maybe they shouldn't do that.
 

Frivolity Break: Final Season of True Blood is Coming!

I didn't ever read the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris, and didn't catch the latest "vampire craze" wave (I was a Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel fan, from the previous wave) at first. I caught a few episodes of season 3 of True Blood, and was hooked. I immediately watched every episode I could, and at the time that meant season 2 and then the rest of season 3 in real time. Soon enough, I sought out the first season, and picked up season 4, 5 and 6 also as they happened. And I like it nearly as much as Buffy, which is really saying something.

Of course, being on HBO, they get to go much, much further with both the sex and the violence. Naked Jason Stackhouse and Eric Northman are enough for a whole contingent of viewers, plot or no plot! But the sex and violence are in the context of a very compelling (and sometimes repellant) alternate world, where vampires, werewolves, shape-shifters, witches and other horror movie staples, are real. The "coming out of the coffin" and "God hates fangs" lines kind of give you a sense of the flavor of dark humor in the show. There are similarities to Buffy, and big differences. But, it's just addictive, ridiculous, scary, loopy fun. And it's coming to an end. Season 7 is the last, though I have to say, they really could squeeze a lot more out of the concept. I understand after this long, you tend to lose cast members. But I'd love to see a True Blood: The Next Generation in a couple of years.
 

Jon Stewart Doesn't "Get" Cliven Bundy Protest Either

Image from source, Mediaite
Turns out, my confusion over exactly what supporters of Cliven Bundy are standing up for isn't really confusion. They don't really know either. Their thinking that the government response to twenty years of delinquent payments was "excessive," is pretty much all they've got. Beyond that, you've got Bundy--who claims to not recognize the existence or authority of the United States government--a fringy nut, who owes the government a whole lot of money, but doesn't want to pay. How that drew out a demented tea bagger posse, I have no idea. But I suspect they've been itching for "go time" (armed insurrection) for some time, and they took this as a trial run.

Jon Stewart, of course, has a funnier take than I do. That's why he gets paid the big bucks.

[Excerpt]

‘Who the Hell Is on This Guy’s Side?’ Stewart Tears into Hannity for Bundy Hypocrisy

Jon Stewart tackled the Cliven Bundy situation (which he described as a classic “boy has cow, boy breaks law for 20 years, boy loses cow story”) Monday night, tearing into Sean Hannity in particular for hypocrisy when it comes to “people scamming off the taxpayers. . .”

Read more at: Mediaite or watch the video here.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Blast from the Past: The Hits of 1966

Why 1966? Because my birthday was this weekend, and that's the year I was born. And since I really didn't get any chance to celebrate, due to The Other Half's schedule and our home improvement projects, I thought I owed it to myself to mark the occasion somehow. So, here it is, some of the best songs of 1966. Some hold up really well, I think.

1. Monday, Monday by The Mamas and the Papas - Mom thought this song was number one when I was born, but I think it really hit soon after. And it was number 7 for the year.

2. (You're My) Soul and Inspiration by The Righteous Brothers - This song actually was number one the day I was born.
 


3. These Boots are Made for Walkin' by Nancy Sinatra - Went all the way to number 13 for the year, and dear old dad hit the charts in '66 too.
4. Devil with a Blue Dress/Good Golly, Miss Molly by Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels - Number 32.
 


5. Uptight (Everything's Alright) by Stevie Wonder - One of Stevie's best, I always thought. It hit number 59 for the year.

6. Winchester Cathedral by The New Vaudeville Band - A weird one, sounding a bit like The Beatles' more "granny music" stuff.  It was number 18 in 1966.



7. Yellow Submarine by The Beatles - Weird, even for The Beatles, but good enough for number 96.

8. Wipeout by The Surfaris - Every drummer's challenge. It was the number 63 song of 1966.



9. Secret Agent Man by Johnny Rivers - Almost cracked the year's top 50 at number 53.
 
10. The Sound of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel - See? I told you it was a good year for music. But still only number 54.



And there's a whole lot more. I got my data from the Wikipedia page for Billboard's Hot 100 for 1966. Check it out for a bunch of other great songs, from The Beach Boys (Barbara Ann, Sloop John B), to Cher (Bang, Bang), to Neil Diamond (Cherry, Cherry).

But that will wrap it up for the weekend. Have a great week, and Happy Monday!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Liberal Talker Randi Rhodes Ending Show in May

Ouch. Well, at least this time, we Randi Rhodes fans got a little warning. Twice, we've endured sudden absences. As recently as a few months ago, The Randi Rhodes Show was slated for cancellation by Premiere Networks, and got a surprise year-long reprieve. So, this news is surprising, and not at all welcome.

The AM radio landscape is dying, led by a sponsor revolt at the whole format, mostly due to acerbic conservative host, Rush Limbaugh. Add to that the overall changes in media over the last couple of decades, and the concerted effort by radio network and station owners to squeeze liberal talk out of the market. Yes, yes, I'm aware that conservatives maintain that the people have spoken, and that they don't want liberal talk. If they'd ever gotten liberal talk on anything close to a level playing field, I might agree. But they haven't, and they didn't.

Randi, as well as The Stephanie Miller Show and others, were squeezed out of even Miller's own flagship station in Los Angeles in favor of Limbaugh, and the usual slate of conservative talkers. And is doing terribly. In fact, the whole genre is now doing terribly, and the right-wing side is only kept afloat by conservative think-tanks and like-minded groups. On the progressive side, not only are they fighting an uphill battle for programming, they don't seem to have the ear of monied liberal groups.

Randi has been hinting at a departure lately, and I figured this was coming. I thought it would be later this year, though. I know she has a good man in her life, and a home in Costa Rica, so maybe she's just sick of battling for a slot on the air. She seemed really bothered by several recent news stories, and has flat out said (paraphrasing) "it's time to go." As in leave this country.

In that, I wish her well. But I'll miss her New Yorker voice. Ironically, she herself admits she does not have a voice for radio! And she wasn't for all tastes. But since the days when I first found her, while looking for a new show called "The O'Franken Factor," way back in 2004, I've been a fan. And I'm hoping for some kind of revival at some point. Rest up, Randi, and come back in a new format!

[Excerpt]

Premiere: Randi Rhodes Show To End May 16th

A statement from PREMIERE said that RHODES "has decided to end her national radio program. We’ve had a successful partnership with RANDI for several years, and we wish her all the best for the future. PREMIERE NETWORKS will conclude syndication and production of RANDI RHODES on MAY 16th, 2014. . ."

Read more at: All Access

ObamaCare Hits 8 Million

Okay, so if this thing actually turns out to have worked, how long until the "ObamaCare™" name is dropped, and ACA or some other variation becomes the name?

[Excerpt]

Obamacare Enrollment Hits 8 Million

President Obama announced on Thursday that 8 million people have signed up for plans through Obamacare’s new insurance exchanges. Although March 31 was originally the final deadline to enroll in Obamacare, administration officials extended the open enrollment period until April 15 to accommodate the people who may have struggled to complete their applications due to technological issues. . .

Read more at: Think Progress

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Rachel Maddow: FOX "News" Wants a New Waco; Ruby Ridge

Who knows why FOX "News" seems to want to egg on arch-conservatives, in order to turn the "Bundy Ranch" thing into another Waco or Ruby Ridge. But they sure seem to.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Gay Thing (Again): Ohio Must Recognize Out-of-State Marriages

While this is great news for my home state, which does have one of the nation's more draconian anti-gay marriage constitutional amendments, it seems like it shouldn't be news. Of course Ohio should have to recognize marriages performed in other states. The already do. The straight ones. And they even recognize marriages of closer relations (like first cousins) if performed in other states. Not doing so previously, really didn't make a lot of sense. So, good! But of course, allowing the couple down the street who were married out of state to be married, while preventing the one down the block from getting married doesn't make a lot of sense either. So, this is ultimately another domino on the road to 50-state marriage equality. Can't happen soon enough.

Image from source, USAToday
[Excerpt]

Judge: Ohio must recognize other states' gay marriages

A federal judge Monday ordered Ohio authorities to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples performed in other states, the latest court victory for gay-rights supporters. Judge Timothy Black called Ohio's gay marriage ban both unconstitutional and unenforceable. . .

Read more at: USA Today

Grazing Cattle! (Another Rocky Mountain Mike Parody)

I'll freely admit to still not really getting this whole Cliven Bundy cattle grazing dispute. I mean I get that this Bundy guy is peeved and doesn't want to pay the rev-en-ooers. But try as I might, I can't figure out what kind of leg he has to stand on, or exactly what the "freedom" principle is here.  But the good news is, it's provided fodder for yet another Rocky Mountain Mike parody, and this one is inspired: Blazing Saddles, writ large! It's great! And it makes as much sense as anything else. And how weird is it. . .Cliven. . .Cleavon?!?


The Gay Thing: Louisiana Votes to Retain Sodomy Law

There are pockets of mean and pockets of stupid in this country. And they tend to make news, and they often converge. For what other reason than a blend of stupidity and meanness would a state keep a law on the books that was ruled unconstitutional more than a decade ago? But Louisiana did it, retaining a law against sodomy. Which means, the conservative government of the Bayou State wants government big enough to peek into your bedroom, and let you know that only state approved sex acts are allowed.

[Excerpt]

Louisiana House votes 27-66 to keep unconstitutional anti-sodomy law on the books

The Louisiana House of Representatives rejected legislation, on Tuesday, that would remove the state's symbolic ban on certain kinds of sodomy. The bill failed by a wide margin on a vote of 27-67, with 11 members not voting. . .

Read more at: The Times-Picayune

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Science is Cool: Darwin Fish, for Real

This fish, a transitionary form between an ordinary fish and a land animal, was actually discovered several years ago, and is in the news because of new book. But I missed it, and so it's new to me! And it's cool. Ugly, but cool. A fish with a neck? And armlike fins? It also shows a minor advantage to climate change: the Arctic was melted enough for them to find the thing.

Image from source, Mother Jones
[Excerpt]

This Fish Crawled Out of the Water…and Into Creationists' Nightmares

We all know the Darwin fish, the car-bumper send-up of the Christian "ichthys" symbol, or Jesus fish. Unlike the Christian symbol, the Darwin fish has, you know, legs. Har har. But the Darwin fish isn't merely a clever joke; in effect, it contains a testable scientific prediction. If evolution is true, and if life on Earth originated in water, then there must have once been fish species possessing primitive limbs, which enabled them to spend some part of their lives on land. And these species, in turn, must be the ancestors of four-limbed, land-living vertebrates like us. . .

Read more at: Mother Jones

Conspiracy Corner: Hillary Clinton and the "Shoe Truthers"

Yes. Because if you're the presumptive front-runner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, you want to get embarrassed by having someone throw a shoe at you in public.

[Excerpt]

‘Shoe Truthers’ Wonder If Hillary Staged Shoe Throwing Incident

Wisconsin GOP Committee Votes for Right to Secede

Dixieland up north? Image from ThinkProgress
Attention, you faux patriots: you cannot love America and favor secession. You can't be patriotic, and want to separate from the country. One thing cancels out the other. Morons.

Thank you for your attention.

[Excerpt]

Wisconsin Republican Committee Votes To Uphold ‘Wisconsin’s Right… To Secede’
 
Earlier this month, the Wisconsin Republican Party’s Resolutions Committee voted to endorse a proposal expressing the party’s support for “legislation that upholds Wisconsin’s right, under extreme circumstances, to secede.” A stronger version of this resolution passed one of the state GOP’s eight regional caucuses in March. That version provided that “we strongly insist our state representatives work to uphold Wisconsin’s 10th Amendment rights, and our right to secede, passing legislation affirming this to the U.S. Federal Government. . .”

Read more at: Think Progress

The Funniest, Dirtiest, Rudest Benghazi Write-up You'll Ever Read

The incomparable Lee Papa, The Rude Pundit
There are some perennial Right Wing World outrages, during the Obama Era. The undercurrent is always the same: we hate this guy, and oppose anything he's for, even if we'd otherwise agree with it. But they keep coming back to several topics, and they pop up like Whack-A-Mole, in between whatever big stories are in the news cycle. ObamaCare™ has been one of the biggest ones, but when it wanes (and no plane has recently gone missing), up crops the IRS "scandal," NSA privacy issues (this one bugs both sides, me included), Michelle and the girls travelling (horrors), and of course, Benghazi!!!

Benghazi was the thing that was going to stop Barack Obama's second term. Then it was going to be his undoing, after the election. Now, they're hoping they can hang it around presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton's neck. But the truth is, as terrible as the attack on Benghazi was, most people don't consider it to be a scandal, and most of the rest don't care. Benghazi excites the base (they're an excitable bunch), but it doesn't rile anyone else. Now, it seems even some prominent conservatives are getting the message that Benghazi is pretty much over as an issue. But that doesn't mean they're happy about it.

[Excerpt]

Boehner's Benghazi Blues

Man, the GOP wanted Benghazi to be more than just another c**ktease. To be sure, Benghazi was good at it, rubbing its scandal-tightened ass up against the GOP's groin until the GOP was aching with a desire to furiously f**k Benghazi. Goddamn, what a little slut Benghazi was, all whored out in a little skirt and see-through top with a red lacy bra under it. Just those lips, those tarted-up, red-lipsticked, d**k-sucking lips, invited the GOP to get it up and get ready to. . .

Read the rudeness at: The Rude Pundit

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Bundy Bunch ( A Rocky Mountain Mike Song Parody)

I'm gonna step right up and say, I don't get the Bundy cattle dispute with the BLM here in Nevada, 85 miles northeast of Las Vegas. I know that the BLM claims Bundy owes $1 million in grazing fees, and that Bundy doesn't want to pay it. I know that Bundy claims the land isn't the federal government's, but I have heard no claim that Bundy owns it himself, only that his family has ranched it since the 1870s. Somehow, this became the teabagger cause of the decade, and I don't get it. Let's see if Rocky Mountain Mike can help. . .
 

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