I was looking for one last post to round out the month, and decided on this one, for my friend Stupid Monkey Planet. He's a Star Wars fan from way back, and I thought he'd appreciate the thought, effort and utter incompetance of his fellow fans. Maybe you will too.
"Ambush"-style reporting can really work on shows like 20/20 or 60 Minutes. But when done by opinion shows like The O'Reilly Factor, the sheen of "journalism" is gone, and in its place? Something akin to stalking, or "stalkerazzi." And Bill O'Reilly's goon of choice--Jesse Waters--comes off as in incompetant nerd. How does this show get such high ratings?
That Seymour Hersch is really starting to freak me out. . .
Hersh: Cheney ‘Left A Stay Behind’ In Obama’s Government, Can ‘Still Control Policy Up To A Point’
In an interview on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday, host Terry Gross asked investigative journalist Seymour Hersh if, as he continues to investigate the Bush administration, “more people” were “coming forward” to talk to him now that “the president and vice president are no longer in power.” Hersh replied that though “a lot of people that had told me in the last year of Bush, ‘call me next, next February,’ not many people had talked to him. He implied that they were still scared of Cheney. . .
This story interests me because of a conflict that might not be immediately apparent. If you visit far right-wing sites like Free Republic, you'll find that Sarah Palin is still greatly loved--even revered--among the right-wing base. They show near-equal love for characters like "Joe the Plumber" and Bobby Jindal too, so there's no accounting for taste. But what is this lock-steppy bunch to do when party leaders trash their moose-skinning heroine? It's not just the evil "liberal media" doing it now, guys!
Republicans Disinvite Palin From Major Fundraiser, Trash Her In Private
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is out, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is in as keynote speaker at a Republican dinner this spring.
Palin, the party's 2008 nominee for vice president, had been slated to address the annual Senate-House Dinner in Washington on June 8. The dinner, sponsored by the House and Senate Republican campaign committees, is one of the GOP's biggest fundraisers. . .
Even though Minnesota's courts have continued to support Al Franken's victory for Senator, Norm Coleman is still douching it up, and everyone still seems to believe that Coleman will drag this out even more. If something like this happened during a Republican majority (even a slim one), there is no way it would have gone this far. Shoot, if the positions were reversed right now, the Republican Noise Machine would be cranked full-volume, and this thing would be over. Still believe the media is controlled by liberals?
It could very well be the beginning of the end for Norm Coleman. Or the harbinger of a whole new legal battle for his tireless lawyers. As much as Al Franken's lawyers celebrated it Tuesday, the long-awaited Minnesota state court ruling on Norm Coleman's appeal of the Senate race recount has – you guessed it – not quite put an end to the post-election showdown, now more than four months long. . .
As a blogger, I am often stymied by correct usage of punctuation. Sometimes I just make it up as I go. For instance, I prefer the British method of placing punctuation within quoted segments. But what do you do with Samuel Wurtzelbacher? Is it "Joe the Plumber," or Joe the "Plumber?" Considering his name isn't Joe, and he's not a plumber, I guess it should be "Joe" the "Plumber." Whatever he is, he's still inexplicably making political pronouncements, and making an ass of himself on behalf of the GOP and their causes.
But what happens when you place a non-licensed plumber in the position of arguing against something that union members are for? Hilarity, I'm sure.
I hate to so brazenly glom onto another blogger's work. But as an Air America Radio listener from nearly the beginning, the behind-the-scenes story interests me very much. And I'm finding the search for interesting stories rather fruitless tonight, so far. So here is part two of a different blogger's work, lest anyone might think I'm taking credit. It's a good read, and a great site to visit. Enjoy.
Air America - five years later (Part II)
When Al Franken opened up the microphone just after noon eastern time on Wednesday March 31, 2004, the upstart Air America Radio network was officially born. And, at that very moment, the vultures and cynics officially began speculating on their demise. . .
I've been seeing a bit of buzz about "The FOX Nation," and didn't pay much attention to it. It sounds like another in a long line of uber-patriotic-sounding things that come out of the conservo-sphere, not worthy of notice. But I kept seeing it, and got curious. Was it some sort of recruitment drive? How does this FOX nation fit in with Hannity's America?
And I think I've figured it out. For the last eight years, Karl Rove and Frank Luntz have been busily creating a false reality. And for the first few, it worked. "These are not the droids you're looking for," they'd say, and despite video taped evidence or transcripts showing the damned droids dead to rights, much of America played along. And FOX "News" played a huge role in keeping this alternate reality going. They were well on their way to their "permanent Republican majority," and then a funny thing happened: actual reality hit America in the face.
We swallowed some whoppers over the years, but eventually a huge chunk of us started saying, "Wait a minute! That's not true!" The Rovian Alternate Reality Machine ground to a sputtering, gasping halt. Until now. Most of us are out of it now, but the 25%-ers, the "base" if you will, craves and misses The Matrix. And The FOX Nation will provide it for them. It's a blue pill in the shape of the USA with a FOX logo on it.
Ironically, their mission seems to be "It's Time to Say NO to Biased Media and Say YES to Fair Play and Free Speech." Which is as Rovian and/or Luntzian a phrase as I can even imagine.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Yes, I'm aware I mixed Star Wars and Matrix metaphors, and that I'm also a geek. [Excerpt]
Online, Vox Populi Can Roar Biased media are in the eye of the beholder, and with a site built around such high-decibel stars as Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck, Fox is hoping to leverage its brand online, especially among conservative true believers. "We felt that giving people a real destination to go and express themselves would give them a feeling of belonging," says Senior Vice President Joel Cheatwood. "People feel they're dictated to a lot by the media. . ."
OK, now that it is crystal clear that Norm Coleman and his pals in the Republican Party intend to drag the 2008 Election into 2010 and beyond, isn't it time for somebody to shut them down? They're not even pretending they have a chance to win. They just want to prevent the Senate from seating an elected Democratic senator. If the shoe was on the other foot, the Republican Noise Machine would be deafening. Anybody doubt that?
Cornyn: Minnesota Senate Seat Could Take "Years" To Resolve
The Minnesota election dispute has now lasted for almost five months, with the seat vacant for the last three of them -- but that might just be the beginning, with NRSC chairman John Cornyn telling the Politico that it could take "years" to resolve. . .
Many people reading that headline might be confused. If you listen to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, or watch Bill O'Reilly on FOX "News," you might think that Air America Radio expired long ago. It is true that they've had a rocky history, have filed for bankruptcy (and come through it). It is also true that their long-term future is far from certain, with all of the radio industry in much the same boat. But it says something that they've managed to stay alive so long, in a field that is so hostile to their format.
Now, the big question is, will former AAR star Al Franken be seated as Junior Senator from Minnesota? And will AAR still be around on the day that he is sworn in? I'm crossing my fingers for both.
Five years later: Air America and the mainstreaming of progressive talk
. . .Obviously, there was left-leaning talk before Air America. Perhaps we should go back in history to explain why and how Air America came into being. In the late 1940s, long before something like Air America was even imaginable, a non-profit organization, Pacifica, was founded with a somewhat similar aim in mind, albeit in a more cultural, less soapbox-like kind of way. In the late 1960s, free-form rock stations emerged on the then-obscure FM dial, complete with left-leaning disc jockeys free to express their views on politics and the emerging counterculture in between long music sets featuring artists like Bob Dylan and The Doors expressing views on the the same issues via their songs. Talk radio was then a novelty on AM, compared to today. Most AM stations still played music. But the talk stations that did exist were locally-oriented and featured a variety of views and opinions. . .
You know, when a respected investigative reporter writes that the former Vice President of the United States was running an "assassination ring," unaccountable to anyone but himself, you'd think there'd be a bigger fuss made. So far, outside of Countdown with Keith Olbermann and the blogs, I'm unaware of much time being focused on it.
But there's finally a little more to the story, with writer Seymour Hersch amending his phrase to "assassination wing," and with former National Security Advisor John Hannah denying it. Sort of. At one point he uses the phrase "certainly true" and it sounds like he's affirming Hersch, albeit with some provisos that I didn't quite follow. See what you make of it.
To Democrats, Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann are comedy gold. To Republicans (particularly the FReeper strain), Palin and Bachmann are their great hope!
"If only we had more Sarah’s and Michelle’s in this world, we might still have a chance to fix this country. I hope that if Sarah Palin becomes our first woman President, that she puts Michelle Bachmann in her cabinet. Michelle would do a great job in the White House"
Don't leave out Bobby Jindal and Joe the Plumber! And what's with the superfluous apostrophes?
It's Monday again, everybody! Time to slog through another week. But at least there is a new "Top 10 Conservative Idiots" column up at Democratic Underground. That always cheers me up!
The Top 10 Conservative Idiots, No. 361
March 30, 2009
The Republican Road To Nowhere Edition
I was starting to get a little nervous this week. The conservative idiots have been quiet - almost too quiet. But I needn't have worried. It turns out they were just saving up for one great big burst of idiocy before the weekend. House Republicans (1) have got a surefire plan for success, along with Michael Steele (2) and Bobby Jindal (3). Elsewhere, John McCain (5) was apparently just joking about his vice-presidential pick last year, and George W. Bush (9) is a big hit with the WWE. . .
I have a full schedule today, so posting will be light. Breakfast and dinner plans, plus, The Other Half returns after a four-day trip. So, stuff to do, and a gorgeous day to do it in.
Which makes it difficult to picture some of the truly crappy weather in other parts of the country. Frozen flooding? Ice jams? Tornadoes? Here in Las Vegas at 9:00 am, it is 67 degrees, sunny, and a gentle breeze is blowing. The last few days have been replete with idyllic spring weather, something that only lasts for a few weeks before the wall of fire known as summer arrives.
So, please understand that this post isn't intended to make fun of other people for their bad weather (much). And I don't find anything amusing about a church being destroyed by a tornado, only that there is a measure of irony there. Though this photo was staged, it reminds me of a similar happening in Central America years ago, when a tornado wiped out a church, and it was hailed as a miracle that a statue of Jesus survived. This event was proclaimed as a "miracle," though to me, it looked like JC saving his own butt, to heck with everybody else. But I'm a heretic that way.
Storms sow snow, thunder from Plains to South Thousands in Kansas lose power; officials issue tornado warnings in South
Storms spread misery Saturday from the Great Plains to the Gulf Coast, dumping spring snow that cut power to thousands of Kansas utility customers and spawning tornado warnings and heavy rain across the South. . .
The headline is meant to evoke the old Match Game running gag, and Rolling Stone magazine's Matt Taibbi supplies the answer it a spectacular way: ". . .I saw a guy huffing glue out of a paper bag, and he was making more sense than Michelle Bachmann." (at 1:50) And he gets another good dig in after that too. Enjoy.
Like I do every week, I watched HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, and I enjoyed it. But not as much as usual. Bill has been playing with tweaking the format lately, trying a two-guest panel, and then bringing in a third guest part way into the discussion. Nothing wrong with that, I suppose, but the panels have been odd mixes. This week, it was Mos Def and Salman Rushdie, two guys who have very little in common besides being Muslim at one time or another. Christopher Hitchens sloshed out, drink in hand to join the panel eventually. Love him, but the discussion devolved into something like a bunch of drunken friends arguing at a party. Here's hoping the guest choices improve soon.
Still, the New Rules portion of the show didn't disappoint.
When I'm doing chores around the house, there are a few "old reliable" CDs I'll play to keep me inspired. They include, the soundtrack of Fame, the soundtrack of Xanadu, the soundtrack (sensing a theme?) to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Once More With Feeling," Donna Summer's Greatest Hits, Madonna's Immaculate Collection or I'm Breathless, and of course, ABBA Gold I & II.
So, by now you have concluded that I'm not only an old nerd, but an old, gay nerd. And you've concluded correctly. I'll totally cop to not getting most of today's music. I'm still incredulous that rap music is still popular. And while a little Maroon 5 or Scissor Sisters might sneak into the mix, my musical tastes are decidedly old school.
Not so long ago, I ran a post about my new year's wish that ABBA might reunite for one last album. I still hope they manage to do that, though nothing points to it even being considered. Clearly, they don't need the money. That won't keep me from wishing though. And I found a few YouTube clips of songs I haven't featured before. And it's my blog, dammit, so here they are, like it or not! Heh.
Anyway, these are some of my favorites, On and On and On, The Day Before You Came, SOS, and Chiquitita. Enjoy!
And for the hell of it, here are the two big US solo hits by Agnetha and Frida, Can't Shake Loose and I Know There's Something Going on.
If you ever watched the Jessica Alba TV show, Dark Angel, you may have seen something of a preview of what could happen in the United States. Not exactly of course. Nothing in this story talks about beautiful, genetically engineered women with barcodes on their necks. But in Dark Angel, a "pulse" destroyed the electrical grid, bringing with it a desolate, decimated country.
I like science fiction and dystopian future stories as much as anybody. But the excerpted article below is enough to give me a wiggins. And not in a good way. Do not read it if you like to remain blissfully unaware of possible future calamity.
UPDATE: I've also read a couple of comments out there on the interwebs that seem to think this story might be some sort of hoax or viral campaign. If so, you got me. I may just convince myself of that in any case, anyway. I'll sleep better!
Space storm alert: 90 seconds from catastrophe
IT IS midnight on 22 September 2012 and the skies above Manhattan are filled with a flickering curtain of colourful light. Few New Yorkers have seen the aurora this far south but their fascination is short-lived. Within a few seconds, electric bulbs dim and flicker, then become unusually bright for a fleeting moment. Then all the lights in the state go out. Within 90 seconds, the entire eastern half of the US is without power. . .
You know, part of what bugged me about the last eight years was the underpinnings of the Bush Administration, as much as the Administration itself. I'm talking about the people behind the scenes both prior to and during Bush's reign. Some of those people were like Ann Coulter, and Rush Limbaugh, FOX "News," and other inexplicably popular "conservatives" who kept the Rovian alternate reality going. And some of those people were the NeoCons, many of whom were behind the Project for a New American Century (PNAC).
There is a lot of crossover between the two groups. And you got the feeling they were sort of like the bigwigs on Wall Street, in that they seemed to think their reign would never end. They all worked together to play their big end game, the Bush Presidency. And we all know how that played out.
Never ones to give up, though, the people behind PNAC have put together a sequel of sorts, The Foreign Policy Initiative. They're hoping of course that President Barack Obama is a spectacular failure, and that their ideas are absorbed into the next Republican Administration. Let's hope we as Americans don't fall for it again.
Oh, and yes, I posted this mostly for the image at the top. My inner child is naughty.
Bill Kristol Launches Sequel To PNAC That Will Be Same Thing As PNAC
Even though Barack Obama is ramping up the Afghanistan war now, as well as the official policy towards Pakistan known as “F**king Around,” what we need is more wars, all the time, doesn’t matter if they’re major land wars or just playful warring. This must be done, because if we truly want the oppressed world to enjoy our freedoms, we must first kill them in wars. Comically evil Republican handyman Bill Kristol, for example, would like to see at least one new war every day. . .
As I've said before, I used to be a Republican. Actually, like most people, I sort of assumed the party of my upbringing, kind of like how people tend to be the same religion as their parents. And though the scales fell off my eyes, and I left the party years ago, I'm still on their mailing list. Or emailing list, as it stands these days. My last piece of snail mail from the GOP came before the election, with Karl Rove's signature on it. ---shudder---
These days, the GOP is feeling a lot less mighty, and is seemingly adrift. The appointment of Michael Steele as their leader promised big changes. And then things got weird. Steele alternated between chewing and kissing Rush Limbaugh's ass. He tried to get all jiggy with it, and proclaimed that he'd make the party hipper, or hip-hoppier or something. But if the current online "survey" is any indication, there is little change happening here.
Twicebefore, I've posted GOP questionnaires that were little more than push polls. The new one is more of the same. It is impossible for a now ex-Republican to answer this poll correctly, because to do so presupposes that you agree with the phrasing of the question. And I vehemently disagree with how many of the (loaded) questions are set up. For instance:
1. A recent national poll reported that nearly 25% of Americans want the government to pass more socialism. Do you agree or disagree? Agree/Disagree/Undecided
I've got to say "Undecided" because I do not agree with the GOP's definition of "socialism."
5. Should Republicans unite to block new federal government bureaucracy and red tape that will crush future economic growth? Yes/No/Undecided
Again, it's "Undecided" because I don't have any way to know if these things will really "crush future economic growth."
8. Should we do everything we can to block Democrats who are trying to shut down conservative talk radio with the so-called "fairness doctrine"? Yes/No/Undecided
I don't agree that the Fairness Doctrine would shut down talk radio, nor do I believe the issue has any traction. "Undecided" again.
10. Should Republicans unite in opposition to judicial nominees who bring a personal, left-wing agenda on social issues to their jobs as judges? Yes/No/Undecided
An honest question should be, "Should Americans unite in opposition to judicial nominees who bring a personal, partisan agenda on social issues to their jobs as judges?" But that's not what they asked.
1. If Barack Obama tries to gut the USA PATRIOT Act and other important laws that promote the safety and security of all Americans, should Republicans in Congress fight back? Yes/No/Undecided
Here, you've got to play along with the vivid word "gut," and also concede that Obama would eliminate important laws to purposefully endanger Americans. "Undecided."
Anyway, it goes on like that. It's inherently dishonest, and statistically useless. I filled it out just the same, and filled out the comments section with a rip on this whole survey. You can do the same here: GOP Survey.
It's interesting how widespread the use of the phrase "batshit crazy" comes up when Googling Michelle Bachmann's name. She has replaced Katherine Harris as the first Congressperson that comes to mind with that phrase. It might have something to do with the fact that every time her name pops up in the press she has said something. . .well. . .batshit crazy.
Two separate things have come up in this category. One has to do with some fantasy she has about a "one world currency" to replace the dollar. I don't think it's unreasonable to wonder if she's a Tim LaHaye/Jerry B. Jenkins Left Behind believer, as that is one of the main portents of Armageddon.
The other crazy item is that Bachmann talked to Sean Hannity. Not that she just talked to him--that would just be stupid--but what she said to him on his radio show. She's actually calling for revolution. "Orderly" revolution, whatever that means. Considering she's talked about people taking up arms, one has to wonder if her craziness has crossed over into incitement to violence.
[Excerpt the First]
Touting Her Currency Conspiracy, Bachmann Insists: ‘This Is Not Michele Bachmann Being A Kook’
Earlier this week, right-wing fanatic Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) started peddling false conspiracy theories that the world was moving toward a unified global currency — and that the U.S. might join in as early as next week’s G-20 conference. The myth was started when China’s central bank governor suggested replacing the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. Though the suggestion has nothing to do with a unified global currency, Fox News’ Major Garrett decided to ask President Obama whether he supported the fictional prospect of such a move. (Obama, for the record, does not.) . . .
Bachmann Blasts Obama's "Economic Marxism," Calls For "Orderly Revolution" To Save Freedom
Wow. Just plain wow. This past Wednesday, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) appeared on Sean Hannity's radio show, and sharply reiterated her calls for revolution in America, warning against the imminent dangers of tyranny under Barack Obama. . .
Trey Parker and Matt Stone aren't your typical political comedy writers. You can't peg them as right or left wing. They're as likely to make fun of liberals as conservatives, and just as likely to support one or the other--or both--in the same episode. And they always manage to view any current event from an angle nobody else ever thought of.
Sure, one of us might be able to come up with a concept of a the Treasury throwing darts at a board with various solutions on it. Office Space had a "jump to conclusions" mat. But the method of picking random solutions here is gross, funny and inspired.
Sometimes, I plug away on the blog, and walk away feeling a little pride in my work. Then, I'll read a post on one of the real blogs and feel inadequate.
AmericaBlog was one of the first blogs I ever read, back when I wondered--much like I do today about FaceBook and Twitter--what all this fuss was about blogs. It was one of my inspirations for starting this blog almost two years ago. To me, this is just a hobby. I don't pretend to be in the big leagues. So I guess I shouldn't feel like I ought to be as good as those who do this for a living.
The short post excerpted below is really not so different from what I do, I suppose. It takes the issue of political hypocrisy to task, showing Newt Gingrich and Sean Hannity to only be concerned about the Constitution and freedom when the "opposition party" is in control. It's an important point, one I've attempted to make before. But John Aravosis is a pro, and something about his writing sums it up better than I have.
After 8 years of Republicans trashing the Constitution and illegally spying on Americans, now the GOP is suddenly worried about "rights"
. . .Funny that Gingrich and Hannity sure didn't care when their Republican buddies in the White House and Congress spent the last eight years trashing the US Constitution and the rights of our citizens, all for the "greater good." That was okay. But trying to pass legislation to make it easier to forestall a depression, that's dictatorship. . .
Family Guy was slow to grow on me, but I was eventually a convert. I was actually an American Dad! fan before I warmed to it. The Other Half was even slower to take to the offbeat, outrageous humor, but is now a rabid fan. So, I was delighted to see the new Hulu ad by FG & AD! creator/producer/writer/voice actor Seth MacFarlane. It's the latest in a series, where stars of NBC and FOX TV shows openly shill for the video service in a most humorous (and offbeat) way.
Listen, I think that legalization of marijuana makes sense. It's a relatively harmless drug (at least when compared with nicotine and alcohol). Just about everybody, save the most priggish among us has tried it. For every hopeless stoner who frittered his life away, we know somebody who is a functional pothead.
Legalization would free up law enforcement for other, more important tasks. It could make room in our crowded prisons, by letting the petty pot dealers go. It could provide a revenue stream by way of taxes for state governments. It might help tamper the mess in Mexico.
But if you think a national politician--let alone the President of the United States--is going to champion the cause, you're freakin' nuts! AmericaBlog has a great post up about this very topic now, chastising those who want to throw Barack Obama under the bus for not sparking up a doobie right there in the White House. It's worth a read.
Obama and marijuana
I've been hearing through the grapevine that a lot of people are upset that Obama didn't come out in favor of legalizing pot today.
What happened was that Obama held his online town meeting today. During that town meeting, he answered some of the most popular questions that regular people submitted on the White House Web site (as judged by the number of votes people gave to each question). One question that got a lot of votes was about legalizing marijuana. In fact, there were several. It appears there was an organized effort to make pot legalization one of the top questions for Obama to answer. . .
The last post I put up was about a goofy site that posts "WTF?"-style videos and pictures. Stuff like that just makes me laugh. 'Cause I'm a dork.
Last night, I was watching TV, and the following commercial came on. It raised both my and The Other Half's eyebrows, and I wondered if we were seeing/hearing something that wasn't there. Upon review, we were both right. It absolutely belongs on Picture is Unrelated.
I've found an awful lot of sites to lose hours in, from Wikipedia to IMDB. But it's the super-silly ones that really trap me, usually leaving me in a giggling, crying, farting, gelatinous mess. You've probably already visited FailBlog.org, the site dedicated to hilarious failures of all kinds. This site, Picture is Unrelated, seems to be a sister-blog of sorts, with "WTF pictures and video."
And boy howdy do some of them make you say, WTF?!?
This is just a sampling. And yes, I realize that I'm grossly immature and easily entertained.
When is a plan not a plan? The current Republican Party has earned a reputation as the "party of 'no'" and this press conference does nothing to allay that. The conference was called to introduce the "Republican Road to Recovery," but instead merely blasted the President some more, while promising details "next Wednesday." See you next Wednesday.
House Republicans fail to deliver on promise to offer budget alternative at press conference
They are, of course. Tune in--even for a moment--to Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Sean Hannity or Michael Savage--and you're likely to hear it for yourself. But you don't have to put yourself through that. Take my word for it, and Lynda Carter's too. She's got super powers, after all.
‘Wonder Woman’ Lynda Carter Says ‘Right Wing’ Is ‘Spreading Hate’
Actress Lynda Carter, best known for her role as Wonder Woman on television, said that while there always is a loyal opposition to the party in power, the political “right wing” in America is “spreading hate.” Carter, who spoke with CNSNews.com at an event to raise awareness about mental illness, also said “it’s pathetic that we don’t do more” for the homeless in America. . .
If you've been mostly "going with the flow" during this financial crisis, just hoping it will all work out, you probably don't want to read this piece. Matt Taibbi, one of my favorite journalists, has a handle on the whole thing, but it isn't a pretty read. Hold on to your hat (and your wallet).
The Big Takeover
It's over — we're officially, royally f**ked. No empire can survive being rendered a permanent laughingstock, which is what happened as of a few weeks ago, when the buffoons who have been running things in this country finally went one step too far. It happened when Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was forced to admit that he was once again going to have to stuff billions of taxpayer dollars into a dying insurance giant called AIG, itself a profound symbol of our national decline — a corporation that got rich insuring the concrete and steel of American industry in the country's heyday, only to destroy itself chasing phantom fortunes at the Wall Street card tables, like a dissolute nobleman gambling away the family estate in the waning days of the British Empire. . .
I found this on a site called !!OMG Blog!! and I had to share. It's a useless, but obviously fascinating puzzle/game made of magnetic ball berrings. I'm not doing it justice, you'll just have to watch the video.
If Democrats got to script the run up to 2012 for the Republicans, they could do no better than how it is shaping up right now. Things could change a whole lot in three years, of course. But look at the field right now: Caribou Barbie Sarah Palin, exorcist Piyush "Bobby" Jindal, folksy religious wack-a-doodle Mike Huckabee, Mormon Willard "Mitt" Romney, and now possibly GOP pariah Michael Steele! If God wills it? I'm agnostic, but if there is a God, please will it!
And I thought the last batch was a group of cartoon characters.
I guess if the biggest albatross the right-wing can hang on President Obama is the use of a TelePrompTer, then he must be doing alright. I mean, come on. With the laser-beam focus on the guy, I don't blame him for wanting to get his speeches right. And he's far from the only one who has used the device.
New FOX "News" star Glenn Beck sees the issue as proof that Obama is a Manchurian Candidate. It just gets crazier and crazier over there.
Beck: Obama Is A ‘Manchurian Candidate’ Because He Uses A Teleprompter — But I Use One Too
I realize that some people have a hard time squaring Darwin's theory of evolution with their religious beliefs. I understand that they can't reconcile it, and so will do anything they can to deny that evolution is a sound theory. But they're going too far when their personal religious beliefs are codified in public school curriculum.
If a person wants to deny that evolution is a workable scientific theory, fine. They can declare the Earth flat, and the sun the center of the universe too, if that makes them happy. But they shouldn't be able to take science out of science classes, or to add completely unscientific religion to science class. Conservatives often decry the "dumbing down of America," and yet they seem to often contribute to it.
Texas Board of Education voting on Evolution
This week, a debate over evolution versus creationism or intelligent design as some now call it, is brewing before the Texas Board of Education.It's considering a change in the State's science standards. At issue whether or not teachers should explain the "strengths and weaknesses" of evolution which would raise doubts that all living things have a common ancestor. . .
Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann sure have been making the rounds lately. They're almost as visible as President Barack Obama. I'm sure they're trying to boost their MSNBC "brand," though they probably can't hope to topple the inexplicable FOX "News" juggernaut. Still, if they manage to raise Bill O'Reilly's blood pressure even further, then good for them!
UPDATE: By the way, I do know the difference between Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon, but I was just thinking "late night show host" when I typed the original headline. At least I didn't say it was Jimmy Hoffa or Jimmy Legs or something. . .
I've written many a post on the basic differences between conservatives and liberals. The problem with such a post of course, is that they're inherently subjective. They're usually pure opinion pieces, rife with generalizations. So even if you're right, you can't often prove it definitively. Well, this post comes as close as I've seen to a verifiable case. Glenn Greenwald doesn't just fill his piece with opinion, he backs them up with sources and links. It's good stuff, check it out.
A major difference between conservatives and progressives
One of the linchpins of the Bush presidency, especially during the first term (and well into the second, until he became a major political liability), was the lock-step uncritical reverence – often bordering on cult-like glorification – which the “conservative” movement devoted to the "Commander-in-Chief." An entire creepy cottage industry arose – led not by fringe elements but by right-wing opinion-making leaders – with cringe-inducing products paying homage to Bush as "The First Great Leader of the 21st Century" (John Podhoretz); our "Rebel-in-Chief" (Fred Barnes); "The Right Man" (David Frum); the New Reagan (Jonah Goldberg); "a man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius" who is our "Big Brother" (JohnHinderaker); and "the triumph of the seemingly average American man," the supremely "responsible" leader who, when there's a fire, will "help direct the rig to the right house and count the kids coming out and say, 'Where's Sally'?" (Peggy Noonan). . .
Photo of Sen. Kit Bond from source, Think Progress
Typically, a bill in the Senate requires a simple majority, and if there is a tie, the Vice President breaks it. In extraordinary circumstances, minority Senators can filibuster, and force a 60-vote threshold for passage. But these days, the Republican minority is threatening a filibuster routinely, making it an "ordinary" circumstance.
Now, I suppose it is true that when parties change places, hypocrisy is routine. Flat statements of "fact" in one year are ignored when the shoe is on the other foot. Not being a poli-sci expert, I really don't know if one party is worse than the other. But I do know that in the case of the filibuster, the current GOP has used it much, much more than at any other time in history. This from the same party that threatened to invoke the "nuclear option," and remove the filibuster rule, if the then minority Democrats didn't play along.
I guess my question is, why do we as a public continue to play along? We've seen certain politicians declare that the other side is wrong, and then turn around and do the same thing they previously decried. We just shrug and say "well, that's politics." Hypocrisy and deceit have become commonplace, even expected. Why do we put up with it?
GOP Senators Who Used Budget Reconciliation To Pass Bush Agenda Items Now Calling It ‘Chicago Style Politics’
Today, Politico reported that Republican senators are prepared to go “nuclear” — essentially shutting down the Senate through the use of parliamentary maneuvers — if President Obama attempts to use budget reconciliation to pass key parts of his legislative agenda, such as health care reform and and cap-and-trade. Reconciliation allows some legislation to be protected from filibusters and passed by a simple majority. On NPR this morning, Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) repeated a now familiar attack on budget reconciliation. . .
Allegedly, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal gave the Republican response to Barack Obama's press conference tonight. That might be a rumor though, since I can't find it anywhere, and did not see it on the news tonight. It would be a baffling decision on the GOP's part, after his last appearance was compared to Mr. Rogers and 30 Rock's Kenneth the Page.
I did find a Jindal clip from today though. He was Countdown with Keith Olbermann's "Worst Person in the World" tonight, for ridiculing volcano monitoring during his previous response. Given that there is a very active volcano right now in Alaska, it makes Jindal look rather shortsighted and foolish. Unless he's looking to take out Sarah Palin as his competition. . .
I did my duty as an American and watched President Barack Obama's press conference tonight. Well, watched would be stretching the term, since my eyes did find themselves closed on occasion. This economy stuff--while important--isn't exciting stuff.
Obama is a better speaker than George W. Bush of course, though that bar is quite low. I didn't feel like grabbing the remote and hurling at the screen, as I so often did in the last eight years. But I hope as he gets more seasoned in the job, that he truncates his answers a bit, and realizes that he doesn't have to fill every second with his voice. Rather than draw out "aaaaaand" or "thennnnnnnnn" he could just pause. Other than that, he was pretty good, and clearly thoughtful and engaged. I think if I had a better grasp on all of the economic issued, I would have been more engaged myself.
There are no major voices out there who are saying that former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) stands much of a chance of prevailing in his drawn out Senatorial fight. Every thing I've heard or read on the issue says--at best--that his chances are "slim."
It would seem that this protracted battle is for purposes other than Coleman reclaiming his Senate seat. It's merely an effort to delay Al Franken from claiming that seat, and giving the Senate a 59-seat Democratic majority. Now if things were going swimmingly in the country, and the only issue was hurting a placeholder President's agenda, well, that's politics. But at a time where obstructionism could well be actually hurting the country, it's. . .well. . .kinda making Coleman look like a douche nozzle. Yes, he's progressed up the hose from the bag.
Coleman won't rule out federal appeal
. . .Speaking to reporters at the Capitol before a weekly Republican lunch meeting, Coleman said he’s not anticipating “at this point” the case going to the U.S. Supreme Court, but he signaled that the recount trial may be far from over. A three-judge state court could rule any day on the Coleman-Franken case, but the panel has been deliberating for more than a week. . .
Well, this doesn't happen every day. A FOX "News" higher-up admitting that they are the opposition voice to the Obama Administration? Interesting. . .
FOX News VP Admits They're "The Voice Of Opposition" To Obama Administration
Think Progress caught FOX News' Senior Vice President for Programming, Bill Shine, admitting on NPR what the rest of us have known for years, that the supposedly "fair and balanced" network is the "voice of opposition on some issues." Shine must have forgotten to mention that they were the head cheerleaders for the Bush administration for the previous eight years.
UPDATE: Bumping this up, because I think it's very funny, and deserves another look. . .
I freakin' love Portia de Rossi. Nobody is better at deadpan humor, and in a variety of characters. This clip is from Jimmy Kimmel Live, with Portia's satirical mea culpa for all the pain her marriage has caused others. Ellen DeGeneres is a lucky lady!
And here she is in her new sitcom, Better Off Ted, a funny show with a terrible title. Portia's the best part. . .
I don't like to harp (too much) on the blog about "teh gay." But sometimes, I just can't resist. I've always liked Senator Charles Schumer, and most (though not all) of his stances. And right now, I'd like to say thank you, to Sen. Schumer, for finally coming around on marriage equality. Good on you, Senator.
Sen. Chuck Schumer Comes Out For Marriage Equality And Repeal Of DOMA
Schumer: "It’s time. Equality is something that has always been a hallmark of America and no group should be deprived of it. New York, which has always been at the forefront on issues of equality, is appropriately poised to take a lead on this issue. . ."
Well, if the Supreme Court of California decides in its infinite wisdom to "annul" my marriage, at least we'll have another state to choose from, to legally renew our vows. Probably. It's not 100% official yet, but it looks like Vermont is on the fast-track to legalize same-sex marriage. Which is cool.
Vermont Senate Approves Same-Sex Marriage
. . ."The bill will have third reading and vote Tuesday. All bills have three readings. It is designed for people to reconsider or amend an item, but it unlikely that a vote would change on a third reading. A similar measure begins moving through the House on Tuesday with testimony before the House Judiciary Committee. A full vote on that measure wouldn't come before next week. . .
I've referred to Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.) being "batshit crazy" in the past, likening her to former Rep. Katherine Harris (R-Fl.). For anyone who thinks I might be being a bit too harsh on ol' Michelle, check this out. Ordinarily, I'd cut her a little slack, like I did Barack Obama's "Special Olympics" quote. But, not only does she have a history of saying crazy things, she follows up her quote with more language that indicates, she meant what she said.
Bachmann: ‘I Want People…Armed And Dangerous On This Issue’ Of Cap And Trade
. . .BACHMANN: And really now in Washington, I’m a foreign correspondent in enemy lines. And I try to keep everyone back here in Minnesota know exactly the nefarious activities that are taking place in Washington. […]
I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us, having a revolution every now and then is a good thing, and the people — we the people — are going to have to fight back hard if we’re not going to lose our country. And I think this has the potential of changing the dynamic of freedom forever in the United States. . .
Some time ago, I ran a post called, "Who the Hell is Tammy Bruce?" She's apparently a radio talker, who had said something stupid, but I didn't have any idea who she was. I still don't, really. From what I can glean she was at least once a liberal, but I don't gather that from anything I've read about her. Now, she's hit a low even for talk radio, calling the Obama family "trash." Nice.
Tammy Bruce Calls The Obamas "Trash In The White House"
Tammy Bruce, guest host for Laura Ingram's radio show, had some harsh words for First Lady Michelle Obama.
Discussing the first lady's visit to a Washington D.C. classroom last week, Bruce incredulously recalled Obama's story about wanting to get A's in school and called out her use of a "weird, fake accent. . ."
I suppose it is a truism for both parties. Whichever one is out of power will blast the other. And while "undermining the President in a time of war" is a shameful no-no during one administration, the next time it's A-OK. Same thing with giving a President's pick for a judge an "up-or-down" vote. Along those lines, outgoing administrations usually eschew criticising the incoming one. Not this time. Dick Cheney has been making the rounds, saying that President Barack Obama is making us "less safe." Fortunately, Obama does not shy away from such attacks.
Obama fires back at Cheney on 60 Minutes
Dick Cheney and the anti-terror policies of the Bush years have not "made us safer," according to President Barack Obama. In an interview on Sunday night's 60 Minutes, the president offered a stern response to the former vice president's criticism that Obama has somehow made Americans "less safe. . ."
I'm sure it's just for medicinal purposes. This is very clever, and reminds me of some stop-action home movies I used to try to make when I was a kid. Only this is much better. Posted especially for Stupid Monkey Planet. Thanks for fixing the Jeep for me, Monkey!
LTR has a very brief, but hopeful post that says Randi Rhodes is close to a deal to bring her show back to syndication soon. I really hope so!
A very brief and very vague rumor, but it is from one of her affiliates, KPTK in Seattle, in an email that just hit my inbox:
Our fight to bring The Randi Rhodes Show back to the Seattle airwaves continues and we are now seeing the beginning of some success in this effort. We have received word from sources in Randi's camp that The Randi Rhodes Show will return to national syndication and that it will do so fairly soon. Rest assured, as soon as Randi is doing a daily radio show again... you will hear it right here, each night, on AM1090. . .
Yes, the horrors of the unknown live microphone strike again. I've heard this sort of thing happen before, without the profanity. Anyway, it's probably more entertaining than the actual show was. Be sure to read along with the video, since the outburst happened during a commercial break.
Marty Tirrell, Larry Cotlar Radio Argument Includes 12 On-Air F-Bombs
. . .Listeners of Des Moines sports radio station KXNO heard a profane argument between broadcasters Marty Tirrell and Larry Cotlar on Friday morning that included Tirrell's use of the "F-word" at least a dozen times. . .
I pretty much stopped watching FOX "News" in September of last year, after the debut of The Rachel Maddow Show. There is only so much cable news that is healthy to watch, and I already watch Countdown with Keith Olbermann most weekdays. I generally watch those two programs on the DVR, which brings my total to less than two hours, still probably too much.
Since Rachel started, FOX "News," particularly Sean Hannity, have been banished from the home, by edict of The Other Half, who just cannot stomach it. But today, while surfing the internet, I tuned to FOX "News" (since The Other Half is away). It is safe to say that FOX "News" isn't just still rightward leaning. It has gotten more so.
Sites like TV Newser and Johnny Dollar's Place are populated by commenters and posters who will vigorously protest the notion that FOX "News" is right-wing. They'll concede that it is "center-right," but more balanced than MSNBC or CNN. Bull pucky. First of all, every FOX defender I have ever read has been a right-winger. And secondly, I have eyes, ears and a brain.
Today, I caught most of replay episodes of Hannity and The Glenn Beck Show. Every element of both shows, as well as in-house advertising, and the crawls at the bottom of the screen practically scream a partisan bent at you. You could defend FOX's integrity by saying "hey, these two shows are just commentary." But that doesn't explain away the advertising and the crawls. It also doesn't explain away FOX defenders' critiques of MSNBC as leftist because of their two major commentary shows.
Hannity is a subtlety-free zone, with the most ham-handed host on television. Without Alan Colmes (who had at best a 33% "balance" on Hannity & Colmes), Sean Hannity has lost something. Controlling the program solo, Hannity's voice seems to have gone up half an octave, and his narration feels hollow, as though a voice-over artist is just reading what is put before him. I don't for a second believe that anything Hannity says is heartfelt--or even possibly understood--by the host. He seems to be there simply to advance the conservative cause and slam Democrats in any and all situations. Segments like "Liberal Translation" are pointless, and interminable, with a heavy-handed circus music score. Every segment hits like an anvil, with no subtlety or nuance whatsoever. If you aren't already in agreement with Hannity, you are very unlikely to be swayed to his side. Almost unwatchable.
Glenn Beck is very different from Hannity, because the host is so earnest. He's batshit crazy, but he probably really believes every over-the-top thing he says. He's histrionic, he's emotional, he cries. He predicts a financial apocalypse for America. He's scared to death of what liberals and Democrats will do, and yet seems to think they are outnumbered by conservatives, and thus are not a threat. Cognitive dissonance has no problem squaring in Beck's world. That circus music from Hannity would play very well as a soundtrack to the entirety of Beck's show.
But these guys sure are popular! Read the comments to any day's TV Newser ratings list. Every day, you'll see commenters ecstatic that FOX "News" won the night again! Every show on FOX beats every MSNBC and CNN show on the air, most nights. And while MSNBC has the next two highest rated shows, they are irrelevant and "nobody watches them." Still, this irrelevant network requires them to rant and rave daily about Keith Olbermann on Olbermann Watch, and Johnny Dollar's Place. So which is it, irrelevant or dangerous? Once again, cognitive dissonance rules.
I'm not sure why I even follow all of this. Ratings are irrelevant, except as it pertains to the continuation or cancellation of shows we like. They are certainly no measure of quality, or American Idol wouldn't hold the top three prime time spots week after week. No, ratings only measure how many sets of eyeballs are watching, not to how good those shows are. In my opinion, FOX continues to rule the roost, not because all the other networks are liberal, but because only FOX "News" is right-wing biased. I will not concede that all the other networks are left-wing biased, only that they don't tip rightward. MSNBC sure. The rest? A real case has not been made. It is a myth that just won't die. And it is a myth that is generally promoted by people who prefer their news with a heaping helping of right-wing bias.
FOX gives their "base" what they want, and gives them a place to congregate. I know--and I'm sure you do too--people who have FOX "News" running on their televisions at any given hour of the day, as background noise. They talk about the "Democrat Party" and ACORN. You'll hear nearly word-for-word "statements of fact" that you heard Sean Hannity say earlier that week. If you start asking serious questions of a FOX viewer, the foundations of their arguments aren't very steady or solid, in my experience. Throw a nuanced question at them, something a little detailed, and they don't have a substantive memory from FOX to draw upon. I can't count how many times I've been in that situation, and had the person I'm talking to just revert to the same lines over and over, even if they've been thoroughly debunked.
Anyway, that's enough ranting about FOX "News." I don't think I'll repeat this experiment for a while, because I don't expect the situation to change. With the addition of Beck, their lineup is more conservative and wack-a-doodle than ever, and they're not going to mess with success, except maybe to add more like it. How soon will we be seeing a sister network, a FOX Headline "News?" Maybe if the FOX "Business" channel never catches on, they can just turn it into FOX "News" 2!