Slowly Returning to Live Blogging

Greenlee Gazette is slowly returning to live blogging after moving over 2000 miles across the country. Please bear with me while I reacclimate, and find a new schedule that allows for regular updates. Thanks!

Monday, March 30, 2015

The Gay Thing: CNN's Chris Cuomo Takes Homophobe Peter Sprigg Apart Over Indiana Law

Wow. This is tremendous. Kudos and thank you for the stellar work, Chris Cuomo!


Over Time with Bill Maher, Mar 28, 2015

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Indiana Bite Me (A Rocky Mountain Mike Song Parody)

Yes! Indiana, bite me! My newly re-adopted state of Ohio may be somehow a part of the new south as it regards same-sex marriage, but Indiana has earned my ire. Thanks, Rocky Mountain Mike.

For more from Rocky Mountain Mike, please go here.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Texas Idiot Louie Gohmert Mulling Presidential Run

I'm pretty sure he was a character on Green Acres.
Image from source, Raw Story.
Oh, come on... There can not be a gift to the comedy gods this ripe, when Jon Stewart is leaving The Daily Show, and with The Colbert Report already gone! I have ripped on the fact that every four years there is a brand-new model of clown car stuffed full of GOP contenders for nuttiest nutbar to run for President. But never has one of them been quite so obviously both nutty and stupid as Louie Gohmert.

Gohmert is Exhibit A for many things, from "What's wrong with Congress," to "Why we should DEFINITELY mess with Texas." He's a gibbering, laughable, ridiculous, plain-as-day idiot. And if he--like fellow nuts before him, like Rick (don't Google me) Santorum, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain and others--manages to rise to the top of the Republican primary polling, even for a nanosecond? It will prove that conservatives will follow anyone with an (R) after their name. And the run, however brief, will be hilarious, regardless.


Louie Gohmert is weighing a presidential run — here are 5 reasons we hope he goes for it
dds are that there are people hoping Tea Party Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) joins Sen. Ted Cruz in the presidential field. Namely, progressive comedians. So his statement to The Hill on Thursday indicating that he is at least considering it should be cause for celebration. When asked if he was considering supporting his fellow Texas Republican’s burgeoning candidacy, Gohmert said, “Ted is a good friend and would be an outstanding President; however, I haven’t ruled out an exploratory committee myself. . .”

Read more at: Raw Story

Sen. Minority Leader Harry Reid Will Not Seek Re-election

As a former Nevadan, I have a love-hate relationship with Harry Reid. No, wait, that really isn't right. Harry doesn't ever really inspire hatred in me, only frustration. He's famously milquetoasty, and can come off as weak and whiny. If you follow him at all, you know he's quite capable of being fiercely defiant, steadfast and resolute when he needs to be, but always with his quiet, Mormon demeanor. At his angriest, Harry is like a really annoyed schnauzer or something, he could bite and do damage, but he's not particularly scary about it.

There have been times in the past, where he pulled a maneuver that had me standing up and cheering, "THAT'S my senator!" and as many or more times when I was annoyed that he let the likes of Mitch McConnell steamroller him. Worse, Harry is a true old-guard member of Congress, who respects the traditions and history and storied past of both chambers. He has a romantic notion of what the Senate was, what it could/should have been, often to the detriment of the reality of the situation. He's never been the villain that Right Wing World tries to make him out to be, and I think Rush Limbaugh's nickname for him--"Dingy Harry"--belies that notion. He was a wax-coated, non-venomous thorn in their sides, that's all.

I don't blame him for retiring. His last election was terribly bruising, and he came a hair's breath from losing to a supreme nutjob named Sharron Angle. In recent years, the bruising has been quite literal, up to and including a gym accident that broke bones in his face, and threatened his vision. I'd quit too, enjoy the time he has left, and leave the shambles that Congress has become to others. But Nevada will certainly drop in its Congressional power level. And I'm not sure either party has a candidate who is a sure thing to replace him. I'm sure they'll pull Angle and Chicken Lady Sue Lowden out of mothballs, to give it a go. Has John Ensign lived down his sordid affair yet? I can't even think of a Democrat who they might put up, though Dina Titus will likely give it a shot, and Shelley Berkley may not be so far out of the public's consciousness to give it another try.

Either way, good luck Harry. Ride off into that gorgeous Nevada sunset. Just don't fall off the horse any more!

Read: Reid won’t seek re-election to Senate in 2016


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Matt Baume On "Religious Liberty"

Found at: Joe.My.God.

Right Wing World On an Anti-Gay Legislating Blitz (And Why it's B.S.)

Let's get this out of the way right at the beginning: The argument that salespeople, shopkeepers, cashiers, clerks, bakers, photographers, caterers, florists, dress sellers, tuxedo renters and the like should have the "religious freedom" to refuse service to a class of people in order to protect their right to "sincerely held beliefs" is bullshit. Straight up bullshit. We've been down this legal path before, with religious justifications behind attempts to wiggle out of civil rights era legislation. It didn't work then, it shouldn't work now. The similarities are unmistakable, and unsurprisingly, those behind these arguments are doing their best to point out why that kind of discrimination was wrong, but this kind of discrimination is legitimate and necessary.

But think about that for a second. Proclaiming your religion and beliefs in cherished, sacrosanct terms, and then using them to justify discriminating against a group of people. What a thing to hang your religion on.

Now that marriage equality is poised to become a 50-state-wide reality (assuming the Supreme Court rules in that direction), religious conservatives have been in a full-blown, desperate panic over how to limit or stall it. Two major legal strategies are spreading like wildfire. One of those is to initiate legislation that effectively ignores or attempts to trump the Supreme Court, but refusing to--and in some cases punishing other legislators and judges who--follow the law. This tack is virtually assured to fail, and serves only to cast  major doubt on these legislators' grasp of the Constitution, and on any claims they may have of "fiscal conservatism." Quite simply, they're going to lose, and they're going to cost their states lots of money in legal fees.

The other tack is to create legal exemptions and loopholes for religious people. This tells the religious person: you don't have to follow Law X because it is against your religion. And this is where writing about this subject starts to get difficult. This is where it hits a tangent prism that confounds me as a writer, as to which direction of wrong to tackle first, and how to tie it all into a bow. So, I'm going to try a bullet-pointed list of problems with why this sort of legal strategy is fraught with problems. This is by no means a comprehensive list, either.

  • Religious beliefs need no evidence or justification. They don't even need scriptural citation. For example, there is no implicit Biblical commandment for being against abortion or against selling products or services to gay people. A person could claim a "sincerely held belief" to almost anything. In Hobby Lobby, the beliefs in question didn't even need to match scientific fact that contradicted the beliefs, all that mattered was the belief.
  • Though so far, the topic has pretty much been limited to the wedding industry, and the subject of marriage itself, what legal reasoning could restrict these exemptions (or this complaint) to marriage? Why would it only apply to weddings? It isn't hard to conceive that granting special exemptions to this industry and subject would be a foot in the door for exemptions for all sorts of other things. And while this may sound like a slippery slope logical fallacy, I have seen no argument that would restrict these laws in any way to this specific subject.
  • Christianity is not the only religion whose beliefs would need to be respected if such a set of laws were passed. It would apply to all religions, presumably major established ones, as well as cults, and brand new, just-born religions. Given that no evidence or scripture is even needed to claim religious belief, an enterprising individual could invent his own religion on the spot, in an attempt to skirt the law.
  • Gay marriage, homosexuality and the wedding industry are by no means the only category of law that could be claimed in conflict with "sincerely held belief." The fact that this category is claiming most of the attention in the news right now shows the transparent nature of the push: though they'll go to great pains to avoid mentioning gay people or same-sex marriage in legislation, it's that purposeful avoidance of naked animus that will make these exemptions so vague as to have trucks driven through them.
  • The obvious cause of this new flurry of legislation is religious opposition to same-sex marriage. But these are civil marriages, legal contracts. Not "holy matrimony." These are not marriages in the name of the religions objector's church, or in the name of the objector's God. They are, legally, no more religious in nature than a business contract or a building permit, unless the participants attach their religious beliefs to it. The religion of the formal occasion professional, or the government clerk servicing the civil contract are utterly irrelevant.
  • Selling goods or services to a wedding party have not--prior to the advent of same-sex marriage--been seen as endorsement of, or participation in the event the goods or services were used for. If they had been, we'd have already seen "sin checklists" that quiz brides and grooms about infidelity, religious compatibility, prior divorces, and countless other attempts to root out sin. Such a thing would have been seen as outrageous and preposterous in the industry, until now. Which should be telling.
  • There is an inherent irony involved in a religious push that simultaneously attempts to shield one group of people from violating their "sincerely held beliefs," while barring other people from following their own. These laws would ignore the customer's beliefs, by trumping them with the business person's (or civil clerk's) beliefs. It forces the customer to follow the seller's religion, or to be refused service. That the people behind such laws are very likely the same people who would be most paranoid about "Sharia Law" ought to be another red flag.
  • All of this legislation effectively ignores religions that are in favor of same-sex marriage, and/or gay people in general. These religions do exist, and are growing in number.
Anti-gay Texas legislator and cartoon
character, Cecil Bell.
There is so much more that is wrong about what's going on here, that I could double or triple the length of this article. I'll continue to try to get more succinct in future attempts, believe me. Unfortunately, the "truthiness" behind this kind of legislation is succinct. It's simple, to be more precise, and strikes a chord. Or a cord, actually, a safety cord on a parachute that gets anti-gay religious conservatives safely around having to acknowledge that gay people are attaining civil equality in any area. People who have a knee-jerk desire to stamp out these kind of gains very often--nearly always--are blind to the unintended consequences of their proposed legislation. They simply want to stop it, or barring that, delay it as long as possible. But the reality is, this isn't just a Pandora's Box they're opening, it's a series of them. A series of nesting Pandora's Boxes. And it makes their opposition to Sharia Law untenable. A better writer than me should focus on that last part. Maybe then, we could show them why this path would be a huge mistake, not just for gay people, but for those with "sincerely held beliefs."

Here are a few stories going on right now, regarding attempts by religious conservatives to legally discriminate against gay people:

Texas: Anti-Gay Marriage Bill Scrutinized in Committee
Indiana: Tech leaders to Pence: Veto 'religious freedom' bill
California: California Seeks to Head Off Initiative to Execute Gays


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Lewis Black: Even Hallucinogenic Drugs Did't Prepare Him for Ted Cruz

I'm glad that Ted Cruz's candidacy for president is generating a whole lot of WTF from the chattering classes. I've heard him called "unelectable," the male Sarah Palin, and worse. But nothing is funnier than comedian Louis Black's reaction.

Lewis Black: Not even taking LSD in my youth could prepare me for Ted Cruz

Comedian Lewis Black seemed shocked that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) could be seriously considered as a presidential candidate during a panel discussion on The Nightly Show on Tuesday.
“I took LSD in my youth, and it didn’t prepare me for him,” Black said of Cruz, before seemingly comparing him to former Republican Sen. Joe McCarthy. . .

Read more at: Raw Story

Behind the Blogger: You Can Go Home Again. . .But Everything is Smaller

As I've noted many times in this space, I've recently transplanted myself from Las Vegas--where I'd spent two decades of my  life--back home to central Ohio. The move had been many years in coming, with the timing only becoming "right" in recent months. And yes, the timing was right in several ways, primarily economically, which had not been true until very recently. It was also spectacularly bad timing for some other reasons, not the least of which was landing in Ohio during some of the worst of winter, and in the midst of some coincidental personal turmoil happening amongst some Las Vegas friends' lives.

But on the positive side of the line, we found a house that is already feeling like home. And spring is on the horizon (though I had forgotten Ohio's very moody, very changeable early spring climate). As I live out this stretch of days, wherein I acclimate to my new--if familiar--surroundings, and The Other Half continues to commute back "home" to Vegas for an uncertain amount of time, I still wander in a slight haze. As of this writing, there is no rush for me to attain permanent employment (which is  sweet, don't get me wrong). I've got errands and the many chores of new house set-up, along with my part-time work. I have had no shortage of things to do. And I've still got to get my blogging bug back.
Our poor, desert cars, after just over a week in Ohio.

Mostly, I'm still trying to shake the notion that I'm "just visiting." Every year of the past twenty, I've spent at least some time visiting Ohio, sometimes two or three times. A portion of my (seldom paid) vacation time almost always entailed "coming home." Because of this, and the gauzy reality I feel like I'm living in at the moment, I still don't feel completely gelled. So, I've wandered out quite a bit, to get a stronger feel for my area, my family's areas, and everything in between.

I've done much more driving than I'm used to. Which is necessary, because there's so much more land to travel than back in the Vegas Valley. There, outside of town there just isn't much besides desert and mountains. And my friends were almost exclusively within 5 miles driving distance. A "big day out" for me was the 11-mile drive to Costco I'd occasionally take on the weekends! Sure, once in a while I'd go out to Calico Basin, Valley of Fire, or venture to Primm or down into Arizona for lottery tickets or something. But mostly, I lived inside a 5-8 mile little area. All the time.

Now, in Ohio? Everyone is 20-30 minutes from here! Trips out to the store and back (beyond the grocery down the street) typically take at least an hour, something that really wasn't the case in Vegas. I'm much more likely to group my trips, plan them better, and have had to fill up my gas tanks much more often. At the same time, however, it's kind of startling how close things are.

A) Downtown Columbus B) My Old Stomping Grounds
C) My New Digs: Close together, worlds apart.

(Click to embiggen)
I know that's paradoxical, but what I mean is, areas that my memory holds as "worlds away" from each other, are actually smack-dab beside each other, often with no buffer whatsoever. For instance, I grew up in the small enclave of Whitehall. I'm now in Reynoldsburg, a larger suburb to the east, at one time considered an "outer" suburb. In truth, it's only separated by a ribbon of freeway and a thin strip of Columbus (which long ago oozed between the cracks of any other community here, just about). Moving west from Whitehall is a rather depressing--and Whitehall ain't joyous these days--strip of Columbus again, bumped up against the still quite frou frou Bexley. Then, train tracks and boom, you're in Olde Towne East/Franklin Park/Bronzeville, a hodge podge of enormous Victorian homes that range from dilapidated and condemned to gorgeous and renovated.

Another ribbon of highway to cross going west, and you're Downtown. The entire drive from my old stomping grounds to the center of Downtown Columbus is a little over 5 miles or so. Walking distance. But with at least five distinctly different areas, and several sub-areas, all of which don't fit in my brain into the same space. That's to say nothing of venturing north with the Downtown/Short North/Victorian Village/OSU Campus/Clintonville stretch, which to me has always blurred into one big thing. And I've been grafting onto these areas all of the places in between, shifting my young adult compartmentalized brain over to a middle-age cohesive whole. It's adding to the surreality  of everything.

And don't forget three big factors: a) the enormous amount of changes made to infrastructure and landscape in my absence; b) the simultaneous sameness--but subtly different nature--of many places around those changes; and c) the unreliability of decades-old memories. None of my memories, seemingly, can be absolutely trusted. As a navigator, I'm only as useful as my Swiss-cheese memory and horribly twitchy Android phone let me be. And on top of that, the scale of everything just seems off.

Google Earth promises a greener world than my camera
can currently deliver.
Whitehall in particular seems smaller. Much smaller than I remembered. Much closer to some surrounding areas that I'd have ever thought. And not particularly nice to look at. It's wedged in between two major thoroughfares, both of which were part of US40, the National Highway. And it was settled post-World War II. As such, there wasn't much zoning or thought put into beauty and
aesthetics. It's hemmed in by Columbus, and sits below and airport and a defense construction facility. There's nowhere to grow, and not much to beautify. When they tried, they shoe-horned in a completely anachronistic Victorian theme that still baffles me. But, I'm probably looking with jaded eyes, and at the tail end of winter too.

I know from experience (even with my unreliable memory) that spring and summer bring beauty, even to somewhat unbeautiful places. The dire looking bare trees and brown lawns will give way to gorgeous greenery soon. My mood--as it always used to do--will be buoyed by the sunshine, flowers, grass and trees. Depressing drives across suburbs and country spaces will start to feel more filled with optimism. I'll get there. And soon enough, the surrealness is bound to fade too.

I doubt my experience living 2,000 miles away in the Mojave Dessert will fade away for awhile. I'll be comparing things (notably traffic and traffic infrastructure, liquor laws, and shopping hours) to the way they do it in Vegas for many years to come. I'll continue to miss my friends out there. But I'm finding you can go home again. It's just smaller. And bigger. And different. But also the same.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Jon Stewart on the Ted Cruz Presidential Announcement

Monday, March 23, 2015

John Fugelsang on Ted Cruz, Liberty University and Irony

Exhibit #543 on why John Fugelsang ought to take over for Jon Stewart on
The Daily Show. By KatDesigns@KathyZSkowski/twitter.


Why Did Ted Cruz Announce his Bid for President the Way He Did?

Ted Cruz is very popular with Tea Party types. Ted Cruz is very unpopular with a whole big slice of everybody else. It doesn't help that besides being a bomb-throwing panderer, that he's also extraordinarily difficult to tolerate visually and aurally. Ugh. And he doesn't have a big political machine behind him. So, how to launch, and get the biggest bang?

Announce at a Christian "University," where attendance at your rally is mandatory for the student body! He was guaranteed an audience of a group of people who would be at least a little better than even-odds to be on your team.


An Evangelical Notre Dame
With degrees from Princeton University and Harvard Law, Sen. Ted Cruz may have the most sterling academic résumé of any Republican presidential contender. But to officially announce his 2016 bid on Monday, he headed to a non-elite Christian school in central Virginia: Liberty University, the socially conservative school pastor Jerry Falwell founded in 1971. Much has been said about how Cruz’s choice of venue reflects his need to court the conservative evangelical Christian voters that propelled George W. Bush to two presidential victories, but Liberty’s importance isn’t just symbolism and optics. Since overcoming significant financial problems in the 1990s, the school has transformed itself into a conservative force in a state with a bitterly divided Republican Party. If the only people who heard Cruz’s speech today were the students sitting in the auditorium, it still would have been strategically valuable. . .

Read more at: Slate

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Ted Cruz to Announce 2016 Presidential Run

Great. I find him to be one of the most irritating and obnoxious of any other potential candidate outside of maybe Donald Trump or Sarah Palin. He's potentially worse, since they're such obvious showboaters, and transparent bags of hot air. Ted Cruz is a panderer, and a charlatan. But he really knows his audience, and may be able to whip enough of them into a frenzy to be a problem. He carries the dubious gravitas of actually holding elected office, which Trump never has, and Palin never will again.

I find it extremely amusing that Cruz carries almost exactly the same circumstances of his parentage as President Obama does, in that one of his parents was foreign. In fact, Cruz has the added complication that he actually was born outside the country (while Obama's birth is only alleged to have been born elsewhere by certifiable crackpots). It is exponentially more amusing that the very same people who found Obama's parentage to be a Constitutional crisis, will almost certainly have no problem with Cruz. Unless their prejudices extend beyond "that black guy," to "that Cuban guy."

Friday, March 20, 2015

Madonna's Vogue Turns 25

Just WOW. 25 years. I was a full-fledged adult when this song came out, for goodness' sake.

I unashamedly and unabashedly admit that I have loved this song from the first time I heard it. and I especially loved the MTV Music Awards re-do of it, lip synching and all.

Hat tip to Joe.My.God. for the reminder.

John Stewart Blasts FOX "News" Hypocrisy on Ferguson vs. Benghazi

They'd really better get someone of the caliber of say, John Fugelsang or Hal Sparks to replace Jon Stewart. Whomever it is, it has got to be someone with teeth, willing to skewer where it is necessary. Here's an example why: holding Right Wing World accountable when they are being blatantly hypocritical.


Stewart Uses Fox's Own Clips Against It To Slam 'Benghazi Rage-gasm'

Jon Stewart on Thursday made good use of "The Daily Show"'s famous warehouse of archived news footage to turn Fox News against itself. Stewart ran plenty of footage showing Fox hosts declaring that the Department of Justice's recent report on the shooting of Michael Brown debunked the "narrative" of protestors across the country. Some Fox hosts even demanded an apology from the media who "peddled that narrative. . ."

Read more at: Talking Points Memo

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Rick Santorum Gets Tea Bagged

For decades, conservatives pandered to the kooks and the crazies on their far right, throwing them red meat, and wooing their vote. When the Tea Party was born (immediately after the election of a black president, don't tell me it's a coincidence), suddenly, the nutbar fringe went front-and-center. The establishment tried to co-opt the brand, and sometimes has managed to weave them in while staying in control. But the rabble really weren't supposed to ever get actual power, ever have much of a say.

I don't know the right analogy, whether it's Frankenstein's monster, or more akin to a cancer or a zombie virus. But these batshit crazy people are getting more common, and closer than ever to the levers of power.

Listen to this tea bagger's insane rant, and watch how likely (repeat) presidential candidate Rick (don't Google me) Santorum dares not shut her down for fear of alienating a voting bloc.


Frothy Mix Gets Teabagged

Probable GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum appeared this past weekend at the South Carolina National Security Action Summit, an annual event held by Frank Gaffney and the Center for Security Policy. . .

Read more at: Joe.My.God.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Schocked! Congressman Aaron Schock Resigns Amid Multiple Scandals

Well, helllloooooo, Mr. Schock!
The hottie Congressman from Illinois has finally stepped in so much doody, that his backtracking and backpeddling is only spreading it all around. The sexually ambiguous Representative is in it up to his eyeballs (balls deep, as it were), and has decided it's all just too much. And so, he's stepping down from Congress. Which is pretty amazing. And it makes me wonder how long it'll be until the coming out party.


Aaron Schock, Politically Dead at 33

Aaron Schock painted his office to look like landed gentry, but at the end a series of damaging stories he was reminded he was a public servant. And as of March 31, he won’t even have that title. Schock’s sudden resignation on Tuesday ended a 44-day free fall from power that began after a reporter from The Washington Post noticed his brightly hued-office made to look like the set of Downton Abbey. . .

Read more at: The Daily Beast

Monday, March 16, 2015

Ted Cruz Rails Against Federal Law That Doesn't Exist

He don't need no education. . .Image from source, ThinkProgress
I'll concede that I'm a liberal, progressive, Democrat, whatever. Lefty by default, pretty much. Even so, I can't imagine that if my leanings were reversed, that I'd have any affinity whatsoever for Texas Senator Ted Cruz. I find him unctuous, smarmy, irritating and I don't think he's ever taken a picture where he doesn't look creepy. Plus, he's a panderer and a bit of a dolt. Witness. . .


Ted Cruz Makes Impassioned Plea For Repeal Of Federal Legislation That Does Not Exist

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is known for waging political battles even if the odds of success are slim. He famously launched a 21-hour filibuster in a failed, last-ditch effort to repeal Obamacare. But his latest crusade may be his biggest challenge yet: repealing a federal law that does not exist. . .

Read more at: Think Progress

Traitor Joe's (A Rocky Mountain Mike Ad Parody)

During my most recent blogging hiatus, I have entirely missed commenting on the real dick move by the Senate, sending a letter to the Ayatollah of Iran. Wow. We'll get to that in more detail later. For now, here's Rocky Mountain Mike's--as usual--brilliant take on the subject!

For more of Mike's stuff, go here. And buy his album, Politically Incoherent on Amazon!


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