Thursday, June 30, 2011

Daily Show: Debt Ceiling Alternate Realities


Reality is Flexible, Especially if You Have Koch Brothers Money

If you've got an unpopular government policy that you really want to have passed, it's always a good idea to have at least a quasi-reasonable sounding argument for it.  And often, they do. Like the Voter ID laws: even though they want to pass them to keep groups of likely Democrats from voting, the argument that it will cut down on voter fraud sounds persuasive (except for the fact that this type of voter fraud is vanishingly obscure). Or state pensions: states can only continue to pay so much. . .do you know how much they're making?!? (forget that these pensions were a form of deferred payment, part of their agreed to employment contracts).

But if a reasonble argument is a little elusive, an alternative is to seed the media with people who agree with you. "Experts" from many and varied organizations singing your song. The Koch Brothers are two of the very richest people in the world. But they want more. So, they've created "The Cato Institute" and "Americans for Prosperity" and countless other organizations with authentic sounding names. You get enough of those groups to get people on cable news, or talk radio, or advertisements saying the same thing over and over again, and it starts to become a conventional point of view, whether it's "popular" at first or not:

Hmmm. . .we may have to raise the retirement age. . . .wha??? Anyway. . .

I'm not saying that there aren't Democratic think tanks, there are. Right-wing World would claim that George Soros is the equal to both Koch brothers, but that isn't really true. Soros, for example, doesn't push agendas or policies that would tend to enrich himself. The Koch brothers cannot make that claim, not by a long shot.

The Democratic process is being hijacked in lots of subtle ways, much more proveable than those supposedly thwarted by Voter ID laws. There is large-scale stuff like what the Koch Brothers are doing, and then there are more targeted things like companies that pay people to comment on internet forums to advocate their product or view. Or trash a product or view. Companies that have voice actors who (for a price) will call in to, for example, C-SPAN or The Rush Limbaugh Show or NPR or Crazy Ira and the Douche to do the same thing. There is, where members encourage others to "FReep" a poll, meaning to hijack it to sway the results. And then there are anti-FReepers who have learned to do the reverse.

All of this was inspired by the Brave New Films video by Robert Greenwald in the clip, so I'm off on a slight tangent, I know. But it is fascinating what we're becoming as a country. We've long been accused of being shallow people. And a lot of this subterfuge is helped by a populace that isn't very concerned with digging deeper or turning over rocks. But it's getting so insidiously creative that even those of us who fancy ourselves as "plugged in" are probably at least occasionally deceived themselves. I for one have had to "talk down" a few liberal friends who were--clearly unknowingly--parroting something that sounded good, but was FOX "News"-bred claptrap.  It's tricky to know what--or who--is real these days.

Greenlee Gazette Will Return in a Few Hours. . .

After posting one thing on Wednesday evening, the Google Blogger software went offline. And now it's time to go to work, so no time to post until Thursday evening. Sorry!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Captain Obvious: Big Oil Subsidies are Spending, Not Taxes

Grover Norquist--the unelected lobbyist--wields all the power in the GOP Congress. For whatever reason, this odd man has managed to get most, if not all of them to sign his "no new taxes" pledge. I guess the poor little feller got his heart broken when George H.W. Bush broke his pledge. So, good for Grover. Why anyone feels bound by this useless document is anyone's guess.

But okay. Let's say that "no new taxes" is a good, sound, logical idea (just go with me). It would mean not creating any taxes that don't exist right now, right? No. According to Norquist, getting rid of loopholes is a "new tax." Getting rid of subsidies is a "new tax." The former is a stretch, the latter is just wrong.

The oil and gas industries are the most profitable companies to exist in human history.* They get multi-billion dollar government subsidies. These are essentially checks. Payments. Say it with me, "Spending." The GOP (and Norquist) say that we don't have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem. I don't agree, but let's say they're right. Okay, take every subsidy that can't be vigorously defended as essential, and zero it out. Those are spending cuts, not tax cuts. They're exactly what John Boner Boehner and Mitch McConnell are asking for, they just don't know it. Maybe someone should explain it to Grover Norquist.

* And FYI for Grover, "profits" are the dollars that are left over after you pay for everything. I've heard it said that they need this money for the exploration, extraction, refining. . .no. That's accounted for.

Michele Bachmann Stands Behind Her Lies!

Honestly, I barely need to comment, do I? And conservatives claim the lamestream media is digging up stuff on Bachmann? She's doing this to herself.  FYI, in case Bachmann's supporters are like Palin, and are trying to change history on Wikipedia, the founding fathers did not work tirelessly to end slavery, and John Quincy Adams was not a founding father. M'mmkay? Also, notice how she doesn't answer questions? I'm not talking in that "pageant answer," "what did she say?" Palinesque way. I mean he asks her a question, and her answer has nothing whatsoever to do with what he asked. Chris Matthews is right, she is in a trance.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bachmann & Associates and the Strange Company They Keep

Okay, back to Crazy Eyes. If you didn't know, Michele Bachmann and her husband have an enterprise, creatively named Bachmann & Associates. "We believe in providing all clients with quality Christian counseling in a sensitive and loving environment." So says their listing in  Dex doesn't seem to know that they also specialize in the "pray away the gay" reparative therapy nonsense, and that they apparently get federal money. Which goes against what Mrs. Bachmann herself is allegedly against--and has actually denied.

But that's not important right now. This post is about what DexKnows thinks are similar outfits in the vicinity. Freaking hilarious.

Is the GOP Deliberately Trying to Tank the Economy?

Okay, so here's a topic outside of my recent spate of posts. And it's a question that is starting to be asked by people outside of liberal bloggers, finally. The answer is very clear: Yes. The GOP would be happy to see, and deliberately cause the economy to tank, especially if they think they can lob the blame onto President Obama's plate. Forget that all the money crap starts in the House of Representatives, and that it is controlled by Republicans. If they are successful in not raising the debt ceiling, or getting Democrats to cave to all of their demands (which will create a dire economy, but less dire than defaulting on our debts) they'll have done their job as they see it, and they'll have Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS and the Koch Brothers' Americans for Prosperity (and its affiliates, and imitators) to spin any good that comes of it to Mitch McConnell and John Boner Boehner, and all the bad onto Obama. [Story continues below]

"Yeah, so? That's politics!" a conservative might say as he reads this. My answer is no, it's not. We've never played political chicken with the debt limit, and Republicans haven't been shy about voting for it. The predictions of what happens if the debt limit isn't raised, go from "no good" to "rotten" to "very bad" to cataclysmic.  Possibly a world-wide depression to rival the one from the 30s.

So, what exactly is the end game here? Suppose we don't raise the debt limit, the world economy crashes, and then the Republicans are heralded as our salvation, and we elect President Bachmann or President Herman Cain or whoever. That person will have inherited a set of problems magnitudes higher than even Obama did. And they won't be able to solve them in four years (or the 2-1/2 Obama has had so far). Certainly not with the "don't increase revenue at all, and slash taxes" nonsense, magical "plan." The American people. . .most much poorer, a few even richer than now will have turned into an unruly mob that'll make the tea parties look as dainty as they sound.

My guess is that they a) don't care, or b) don't think that far ahead. I don't think they have an end game. I think they just play to win, no matter how they get there. They've constantly shown that they're fantastic at campaigning and lousy at governance. And if they're really plotting to make the economy as nasty as possible? That will prove that they're evil too.

Colbert Report: Legalized Gay Marriage and Dolphin Love!

Yes, I know, I just posted a Daily Show with Jon Stewart's marriage equality in New York piece, but this one is too good to pass up. And guess what? I'm still a little feverish, and I've got some Michele Bachmann guano to spread around in a few minutes too! So the "broadening the subject matter" goal line I set for myself might have to be moved to tomorrow. We'll see!

Daily Show: Happy Gays!

Michele Bachmann Can't Stop Lyin', and it Won't Matter

Image from source, ThinkProgress
First, a note. I'm finally--I think--kicking this weird fever roller coaster ride I've been on. So I'll be back to blogging with a little more gusto. And maybe a little more diversity? Olbermann, Gay Marriage and Michele Bachmann, oh my! Yeah, I'll try to spread out a little.

But this one is a story that should, if not sink Bachmann's boat, at last put a dent in its hull. But you know what? It probably won't. Like Sarah Palin, Bachmann is more a cult of personality than an accomplished politician. For all the "Messiah/The One/Celebrity" status the right tried to paint onto Obama, they latch onto their icons with much more fierce tenacity. Liberals and progressives have shown themselves quite willing to criticize Obama, sometimes to ridiculous extremes.

But if Palin or Bachmann make a gaffe? Get caught in a lie? Are proven to be a hypocrite about something? That's just the lamestream media, picking on Republican women. It doesn't matter if they're caught dead to rights, the mere fact that the media or bloggers are making an issue of it is the problem. It's a classic "blame the messenger" response, but they don't realize it. And it's really Bachmann's ace in the hole with these people. As when Palin wrote on her hand, and then turned it into some sort of virtue, Bachman has carte blanche with conservatives.  And on a side note, since the excerpted story below is from Think Progress, no matter how true it is, every Bachmann supporter would completely discount it.


Bachmann Personally Benefited From Earmarks, Then Falsely Claims She Never Did

Michele Bachmann (R-MN) officially kicked off her presidential campaign this morning in Iowa, right after the latest state poll shows her surging and only a point behind front-runner Mitt Romney (R-MA). But as she becomes a more prominent and viable candidate, Bachmann is facing fresh scrutiny over her past remarks and positions. . .

Read more at: Think Progress

Monday, June 27, 2011

Notable Quotable: Randi Rhodes on Michele Bachmann

"Fact checking Michele Bachmann is like spell-checking Sarah Palin—you just get overwhelmed by the sheer number of wrongs."

Michele Bachmann has the Spirit of John Wayne Gacy?

Image from PrairieGhosts
Oh, my. This is a strange, strange gaffe for Michele Bachmann to make. She's done similar things before, kind of skimming a history text, and spouting out a history lesson that jumbles the details. But she's not just from Waterloo, Iowa, she's making a great big giant deal about her birthplace. So, how could she not know that the John Wayne from Waterloo was the serial killer rather than the right-wing hero?

In right-wing world, this is now a) being dismissed as a simple gaffe, b) being called the Palin-fication of Bachmann by the lamestream media, c) being called irrelevant because President Obama once said "57 states", and d) actually being cited as correct, since John Wayne's parents were from Waterloo, and that Gacy only lived there for a couple of years, so he wasn't from there! So it is now clear that Bachmann is going to get the same level of water-carrying that Palin got.


Wayne's birthplace no secret in Iowa

The Minnesota congresswoman cited John Wayne as an inspiration during her campaign kickoff in Waterloo, Iowa, Monday, saying the actor hailed from the town. In fact, Wayne hailed from Winterset, while serial killer John Wayne Gacy came from Waterloo. . .

Read more at: Politico

Thanks to my sister and to Stupid Monkey Planet for pointing this one out.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Chris Wallace Apologizes for Calling Michele Bachmann a "Flake"

Actually, he asked her if she was a flake. You'd think it'd be better to be asked this question in the friendly territory of FOX "News." But it is not at all surprising that FOX "News" Sunday's host, Chris Wallace felt pressured to apologize before the day was even done! As I've said in the past, Michele Bachmann is only well known to anybody because of her sometimes bizarre, sometimes flat wrong pronouncements. This will be the mildest version of the question she gets, should she last very long into the contest. In fact, Mitt Romney--the guy who is just barely ahead of her in the polls--won't even have to look very far to find a treasure trove of material to use against her. Think he won't?

Blast from the Past: My Love Affair with Madonna (Pt. 2)

After the True Blue album, Madonna was really trying to light a fire under her movie career. Even though she was busy, she managed to squeak out a few tunes in the next couple of years, from Spotlight (off the You Can Dance remix album), to Causing a Commotion and Who's That Girl? from the movie of the same name.  Only the last of that bunch has an official video to my knowledge. And then, Madonna switched gears to the much more serious, much more artistic with Like a Prayer.

The album finally gathered her some respect in the music industry, and marks something of a change in her career from pop singer to artist. There was still controversy, but none of it worked to her detriment. Other songs from the album like Cherish and Express Yourself are video classics.

Madonna finally nabbed a part in a hit movie as "Breathless" in Dick Tracy, and the companion album I'm Breathless produced the quintessential Madonna tune, Vogue. It's a pretty clear dividing line between her early and later work. The Immaculate Collection, a greatest hits collection, had two new hits, most notably the extremely risque Justify My Love. The video was so racy, it got banned from MTV and went on to be the highest selling "video single" ever.

By the time she followed up with Erotica, there was a full-on media onslaught, with her SEX book also hitting the stands. Madonna risked career-killing overexposure. But the music was great. Different, but great. The title track was a little kinky and weird, but it's a good song. The follow-up, Deeper and Deeper has a great double-entendre title (much like the non-hit track, Why it's so Hard).

And with that we'll close the second edition of My Love Affair with Madonna. To read the first part, go here: Blast from the Past: My Love Affair with Madonna (Pt. 1).

Blogger Down! Again! Is it Boogie Fever?

For the second time in a month, I was hit with a high fever, sort of out of the blue. A few weeks ago, I missed a day of work with a 102 fever, and congestion that was off the charts. In fact, when it started, I thought it was just developing allergies. This time, I just felt lethargic and tired, and started feeling a little sweaty. I thought, "I wonder if I have a fever?" But I didn't check, or think much of it. Later, I stood up, and was wobbly. . .whoa! Something was going on.

I checked my temperature, and it was over 100. I rapidly felt worse, and took it again: 101.6, 102. . . By the time I went to bed at 10:00--which I never do on a Friday night--it was 103! It was one of the most miserable nights of sleep I've had in my life, top three easy. I sweated away four pounds. My sheets were practically balled up. And I didn't awaken to anything much better. All day, my temperature has gone from 102 to 101 to 103 again, and back and forth. The hottest was 103.4, which worried me. At 104, I've had hallucinations. Do. Not. Want. Worse, I was supposed to go to a party with The Other Half Saturday. Ugh.

So he's off at the party with my meatballs and vegetable platter, and I'm home, in fits of sweats. But the good news: The temperature has been in decline. From 6:30 pm or so, to now (9:15), I've finally dropped to under 100. That's practically normal! A damned sight better than 103, anyway. The odd thing is, I've had virtually no other symptoms. Slight headache, a negligible cough. Mostly just sweaty, sometimes icy cold and sometimes blazingly hot. And that, in a rather large nutshell, is why I haven't blogged much today.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Right Wing Reaction to Marriage Equality in New York

First, let me say that I'm aware the blog has been top-heavy with Countdown with Keith Olbermann clips and stories about same-sex marriage, and sometimes a combination of the two. That's because Olbermann came back this week after a long hiatus, and because of all the expected (now delivered) action in New York on marriage equality. So, I can't promise to let up entirely just yet. Give me a couple of days to bask.

As regular readers of my blog (all twenty of you, thank you) know, when a big, politically divisive story crops up, I like to go check out Well, I don't like to, I just do it, because it is one of the largest internet outposts for pure id conservatism. Or what is known these days as conservatism. Anyway, I wasn't to be disappointed. This story isn't even an hour old, and look at the treasure trove of doom, gloom, hatred, homophobia, apocalyptic rage and otherwise unpleasant reactions for right-wing world.


"The idiots didn’t legalize homosexual marriage, they’re laying the groundwork to persecute those that don’t support it!"  Editor: No, in fact there was a uniquely stringent set of religious exemptions passed that is bound to the law. Meaning, if one day someone tries to remove them, they invalidate the main law.

"Welcome to HELL,New York!" Oh, eek. Yeah, I'm sure New Yorkers are quaking in fear. They've already been through hell and back.

"They just spit on Christ" Really? Where does Jesus say anything about same-sex marriage. Bueller?

"Making perversion legal - the end of a once great Republic. Obozo will finish us off once and for all." Gosh, these guys are creative. "Obozo." Genius! 

"Those so-called protections will go bye-bye at the drop of a liberal judge’s hat with the first lawsuit." Wrong. See above. But look what you're worried about: the right for religion to continue to discriminate. Doesn't sound very 'Christian' to me.

"Not to worry, Jesus is taking notes, so to speak." Ooooh. Is he makin' a list and checkin' it twice?

"I'll look for a LOT of homosexuals getting infected with HIV in their wanton celebrating tonight. They only need the mildest excuse for debauched behavior."  Yes, because Spring Break and Mardi Gras partying by straights is sooo restrained, and always done safely, and soberly.

This is a favorite cartoon at FreeRepublic. It hinges on the "slippery
slope" logical fallacy. It is easily refuted: children cannot give informed
consent, so pedophilia is out. Nobody can marry more than one person,
so there is no "equality" issue there. But gee, aren't they funny?

"Well, I always thought that if the tragic scenario occurred in which Al-Qaeda got its hands on a nuke, for me the least upsetting place for it to be set off would be in Hollywood. But, I’m really thinking right now that New York is pulling to the forefront. To repeat, burn in hell, New York!!" Nice. And these people claim to 'love' America. Apparently only parts of America.

". . .what upsets me is that the voter in NYS had no say in this matter, and from what I read, that is because unlike California, the voter cannot overturn what the legislature deems as legal. Is there no state in the union that refuses to capitulate to this devilry?" Yes, 31 of them, actually. Somehow, 31 states found the argument that it's okay to vote on other people's civil liberties. I dare say, the devilry is in that detail.
"Another nail in the coffin." You're confusing us with the Vampire Rights initiative on HBO's True Blood. Different issue.

"Memo to NY: since you’ve decided to officially become a degenerate [epithet deleted] state, don’t expect any help or sympathy from me the next time you have a 9/11. Burn in hell, New York." Another one of the America haters.
"All I can say to New Yorkers, is if you believe the Bible is the word of god. . ." Enough of this argument already. The United States isn't and shouldn't be ruled by the Bible or any other religion's text.
"It was only a matter of time until enough votes were bought." Yes, because if something passes that you don't like, it must have been illegitimate.
"So I suppose our only hope is that a single conservative judge will throw this out, like that rump-ranger in California did?" Unsurprisingly, this FReeper is as ill-informed on what he's talking about as most of them are. The "single judge" didn't just throw out a law. He ruled that Proposition 8 was un-Constitutional, and his arguments were virtually unassailable. Not to mention that the defense put up a pathetic case. And Judge Vaughn Walker may have been a 'rump-ranger' (see how clever they are?), but he was also a conservative judge.
"Kinda gives a new meaning to a “Shotgun Wedding” don’t it?" Once again, I'm stymied by conservative humor. This--I'm sure--is staggeringly funny to them, but I don't get it.
"With animals and children on leashes not far behind." As I noted in the caption to the cartoon, the "slippery slope" argument is a logical fallacy, something FReepers don't understand. Animals, like children cannot give informed consent.

There's lots more, and it's sure to get worse--and quickly. These quotes came from two posts there, but there are sure to be dozens. So rather than give you a link to a particular thread, if you want to read more, just go to, and click "Homosexual Agenda" at the top of the page. Yes, their terminology is as inaccurate as their page layout is dated.

Breaking News: New York State Legalizes Same-sex Marriage

Coincidentally, Gay Pride is in New York for the weekend. Party!
And that guy looks disturbingly like my brother. Photo from HuffPo
We now have a sixth state (in addition to Washington DC) that has passed marriage equality for same-sex couples. And for that, I and many other people in the country are very, very excited. I'll be happier when the Prop 8 case is finally finished, and other same-sex couples can join The Other Half and myself as legally wed in California. And I'll be even happier if we overturn DOMA, and my hedonistic state of Nevada has to drop its very ironic "protection of marriage" constitutional amendment. For once it seems more likely.

But then, how long until one of those misnamed "Family" organizations tries for repeal, or a New York constitutional amendment?


NY Senate passes gay-marriage bill

New York state senators Friday night voted 33-29 to legalize gay marriage, a breakthrough victory for the gay-rights movement in the state where it got its start.

The vote came after a veteran Republican senator earlier told The Associated Press he would vote yes, apparently giving the measure the support it needs to become law. . .

Read more at: MSNBC

Keith Olbermann's Special Comment on Same Sex Marriage

I'll try to take a breather on the Countdown with Keith Olbermann posts for a little while after this one (give me a break, he was off the air for five months!). But this one was too good to pass up. By the way, "same-sex marriage" or "gay marriage," aren't probably the best terms for what is essentially just marriage. And while I personally dislike the phrases, I continue to use them because those are the most common phrases people would search for when Googling the subject. But FYI, "marriage equality" is probably the phrase that fits best. Take it away, Keith. . . (please click the link at the bottom of this post)

Janeane Garofalo on Countdown with Keith Olbermann on Same-sex Marriage

As I write this, it is just past midnight, cruising into Friday, and we still don't know anything new on the New York state same-sex marriage vote. But the topic has stoked a few discussions. Here, on the new Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Janeane Garofalo voices my take on this very well, namely: why are the willfully ignorant, and the bigoted allowed a seat at the table in this discussion as though their "side" is valid. But I get that feeling about a lot of things.

And since Current TV still doesn't have a video player that won't start playing automatically, please click the link at the bottom of this post. Thanks.

Kathy Griffin Has a New Special (And She's Talking Sarah Palin)

Kathy Griffin irritates conservatives and stick-up-the-butt types of all political varieties, I suppose. But I'm a fan from wayyyy back (I even knew the difference between Griffin on Suddenly Susan, and Vicki Lewis from NewsRadio, so suck it). So, I'm always happy when there's a new Kathy Griffin comedy special (or when I have the opportunity to go see her when she performs in Las Vegas). I'm just sorry they tend to always be 1 hour, including commercials. She needs an HBO or Showtime special, rather than Bravo.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Ron Reagan Jr. & John Aravosis on Hardball: Obama and Gay Marriage

All day Thursday, there has been buzz that the New York State Senate may pass (or fail to pass) legalized same-sex marriage. At almost the same time, President Obama held a fundraiser with GLBT folks. Awkward! Why? Because for good or ill, Obama and his administration--while openly supportive of gay rights--has been dancing up to the line in regards to marriage equality. Apparently they just can't go all the way to "yes, I support same sex marriage." He has to fall all over himself, (rightfully) touting the things that have been accomplished toward gay rights during his term, and reaffirm his belief that gays and lesbians should have equal rights. As far as full equality regarding marriage (which conveys rights), they're hedging: Obama is "evolving" on that issue.

Many people, myself included, think that Obama actually does support marriage equality, he just can't say so unless he gets reelected. And I kind of get that. Except that I'm irritated that we acknowledge and accept that our political leaders--all of them--lie to us as a matter of course, for political expediency. Yes, politicians have always had the reputation for lying, but here is lying that we wink-wink, nudge-nudge, tolerate.  Anyway, commenting on all of this is Ron Reagan, Jr. (a personal favorite) filling in for Chris Matthews on Hardball, and my "blogfather" John Aravosis, my main inspiration for starting this blog.

Keith Olbermann Trims Show by Three Minutes to Appease Fans (and Rachel Maddow)

"Rachel, I won't step on your toes anymore." "Good,
and I won't call you a dick anymore." Image from HuffPo
When Current TV brought back Countdown with Keith Olbermann, the show turned out to be 63 minutes long. Olbermann tweeted that the "supersized" Countdown would be permanent. But it only lasted a few days. When a show runs over by a minute, two minutes or more, it is usually done to lead into another show, to prevent channel flipping. Current doesn't have any other shows that they are promoting. So the only thing the three minutes was accomplishing was to make people miss the first three minutes of The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, or to irritate anybody trying to record the show on their DVR. So, rather than being a nifty three minutes of extra content, it was instead seen as a dick move.

Pressure from fans, and likely also not wanting to be seen as a dick, seem to have caused Olbermann to change his mind, and upload the extra content to the internet instead. Smart.


Keith Olbermann And Rachel Maddow NOT Going Head To Head Anymore

Keith Olbermann announced Thursday that his show will no longer cut into Rachel Maddow's opening minutes—a seeming result of pressure his fans had put on him. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

The Real Right Wing Agenda: Gays and Abortion (Anti. . .Duh)

This is possibly the best political cartoon ever. This encapsulates a big chunk (25%?  33%?) of the electorate's priorities, astoundingly.

Source: VoenixRising

Photo Finish: Will Greenlee Gazette Hit 200,000 Hits or 49 Months First?

49 months? What? Yeah, I know. I've been blogging for just a skootch past four years now. But I only added the Site Meter thingy about a month or so into my project. So the point when I started measuring is sort of nebulous. But I'm watching my numbers (with ridiculous interest), and wondering. . .which is going to hit first? 200,000 visitors or 49 months? It's stupid--particularly when you figure that the big blogs like AmericaBlog or DailyKos get 200,000 visitors on a bad day. . .or hour--but for me? I'm a virtual one-man-show (with the occasional exception of Stupid Monkey Planet), with no promotion whatsoever beyond the built-in Google AdSense.

I've also discovered that smart phones and RSS visitors do not register in the total. So, my total visitor count only logs those people who arrive here by traditional means, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, Apple Safari or Opera. My real visitor count could be double, triple. . .hell, let's guess quintillion times higher! I am the internets!

Seriously though, I see the 200,000 milestone as a semi-big deal. I know that others with more laser-like focus have hit my readership in days or weeks. But this blog was started on a whim, and is still only a hobbyist venture. I consider every visitor to be a victory for the little guy, and a testament to America, and so should you! Or something! Thanks for stopping by, and please, bring your friends!

Spark Up a Fatty: Bill Ending Fed Ban on Pot Up in Congress

A note to the Monkey: Does my "Spark Up a Fatty"
headline sound as whitebread as Mitt Romney's
"Who let the dogs out, woof, woof?"
Awesome, man. Pass me the Funyons!


New bill ending federal ban on marijuana to be introduced in Congress

Reps. Barney Frank (D-MA) and Ron Paul (R-TX) will introduce legislation on Thursday to the U.S. House of Representatives that ends the federal prohibition on marijuana. . .

Read more at: Raw Story

Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi on "Batshit Crazy" Michele Bachmann

Matt Taibbi and Crazy Eyes
There are few journalists I remember by name, but few journalists are like Matt Taibbi. First, since he works at Rolling Stone magazine, he gets to write really in-depth articles, and he gets to swear.  But he knows precisely when to do it, and his articles are always entertaining, even when they scare you to death. He's also telegenic, so MSNBC should worry about Keith Olbermann nabbing him for a show on Current TV.

What Matt says about Michele Bachmann is something important to keep in mind: she's endlessly fun to make fun of; but she shouldn't be underestimated. Or maybe I should say misunderestimated, if you catch my drift. Sarah Palin is a similar character, but not nearly as driven. I get no sense that Palin actually really has much of an ideology, only snappy--and often wrong--things to say to increase her popularity. There is no depth to Palin. Bachmann either believes what she says--equally often wrong--or faked sincerity so long that it's the same difference. Bachmann is bonkers, but she's crafty bonkers. Of course, I worried about both Fred Thompson and Mike Huckabee for their scary-but-sellable message, and they washed out. I hope Bachmann does too.  Because the truth is, Bachmann is only well known because of her gaffes and howlers. I've got to believe there's a difference between notoriety and popularity.


Michele Bachmann's Holy War

Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and, as you consider the career and future presidential prospects of an incredible American phenomenon named Michele Bachmann, do one more thing. Don't laugh. . .

Read more at: Rolling Stone

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Frivolity Break: New Maru!

There are tons of cats on the internet, but few cuter or more engaging than Maru, the Scottish Fold kitty from Japan. If you enjoy the awesomeness that is Maru, check out his other YouTube videos. Thanks to Tracy for the link.

Daily Show: FOX "News" and Their Lies

I've had fun with Jon Stewart's FOX "News" Sunday appearance in a couple of previous posts. This is likely the coda to the story, but it's the best part. See, on Sunday, Stewart told Chris Wallace that FOX "News" viewers were consistently the least informed people according to polls. Politifact reviewed his statement, and dubbed it "not true." FOX viewers are consistently low on the list of knowledgeable viewers, but they're not always last. This is a dubious distinction--and a quibble at best--but right-wing world has apparently been making hay out of it.

But guess what, they lose. They lose hard. This clip from Tuesday night's show is among the funniest in a while, and illustrates perfectly that FOX "News" is not news.

President Obama Announces Slow Afghanistan Withdrawal

There are few things I don't understand about the Afghanistan War. No, that's not true, I understand very little of it. I've tried over these last 10 (!) years, to wrap my brain around it, but I don't get it. And now that Osama bin Laden is dead, as far as I (and most Americans) are concerned, mission accomplished. This time for real. On Wednesday night, President Obama made an announcement regarding the slow--very, very slow--wind-down of the war. Why so slow? I have no idea.

Most Democrats, and increasingly more Republicans want the war to end, as quickly as possible. Finishing by 2014 does not do that. In fact, the first leg of the draw-down is itself painfully slow, not wrapping up until mid-2012, leaving more troops there than were there when Bush left office. I can't wrap my brain around Obama's reasoning any more than I can about the war in general. My biggest questions are:

- If we ended the war today, would we be tangibly worse off than staying in, and how?
- What is going to happen in 2012, 2013 and 2014 that we have to wait for in order to leave?
- From a cynical, political viewpoint, why would Obama come out with such a drastically unpopular action?

And perhaps the answer to the third question is that this is not a political calculation at all. Maybe there's something more to the slow draw down than craven politics? I'm not making excuses here, just trying to understand. Personally, I think we should pull out of all our middle-east operations. But as I stated at the start, what do I know?

FOX "News" Edited Out Criticism of Exec from Jon Stewart Interview

The most truthful person ever on FOX "News."
Image from source, Media Matters
I watched the FOX "News" Sunday with Chris Wallace interview of Jon Stewart when it aired on Sunday morning. Later, when I posted the clip to the blog, I reviewed it. I did notice some edits--some of the awkward comedy that Wallace was trying to put on (what was the bit with the coffee cup about?)--but didn't think much of it. They have to cut that stuff down to fit in the time available. Well, usually it's live, I thought. But whatever.

Still, there seemed to be more in the online clip about Chris Wallace's "marching orders" from on high. When I heard the name "Bill Sammon," I knew what Stewart was talking about. But did that make air? No, it didn't. Now, I suppose you can give FOX "News" partial credit for putting the whole clip online. But the TV version was definitely edited to make FOX and Chris Wallace look better. And how many F"N"S viewers go back and review the unedited videos?


Fox News Sunday Edits Out Jon Stewart's Criticism Of Fox Exec

Yesterday, Jon Stewart appeared on Fox News Sunday to discuss his sharp criticism of Fox News. But one uncomfortable reference to marching-order emails from a Fox News executive was cut from the program. . .

Read more at: Media Matters

Nevada Candidate for Congress Has China Syndrome

Ugh. Is it too late to get Sharron Angle back? Yeesh, this thing is so over the top, it could be from The Onion.


Nevada GOP Candidate Warns Of Impending Chinese Military Invasion In New Ad

Nevada state Sen. Mark Amodei (R) didn’t wait long after starting his campaign for his state’s unfilled House seat before dabbling in xenophobia. Amodei, the GOP nominee for Nevada’s second congressional district special election in September, launched his three-day-old campaign with a television ad telling viewers China’s debt holdings will soon allow the country to rise up and destroy U.S. sovereignty. . .

Read more at: Think Progress

Newt Gingrich's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

"Of course I have a tab at Tiffany. Look at Calista. Look at me. You
do the math!" Photo from source, Politico.
So, on Tuesday, Newt Gingrich--who is allegedly running for President--got some bad news. Piling on to last week's mass exodus of his staff, he lost two more major ones today, the raising money guys. Perhaps not coincidentally, it was discovered that Gingrich has a second Tiffany's credit line, this one double the amount of the first. Gingrich was unable to explain what in the world he needed a half-million dollar tab at a jewels and baubles emporium, at least without getting huffy, and ducking it. So how's he going to get around an additional million dollar one? This guy isn't really running. At the risk of over Rachel Maddowing again, her description of the Gingrich endeavor as a "SHAM-paign" is a good one.


Newt Gingrich's implosion continues with new exits

Two weeks after his senior campaign staff departed, Newt Gingrich lost his two top fundraisers, dealing yet another blow to the former House speaker’s presidential campaign.

And more: the campaign confirmed a Washington Post report that he had a second line of credit for up to $1 million at Tiffany & Co. — which will be on the personal financial disclosure he filed an extension for earlier this month. . .

Read more at: Politico

Former Gov. Jon Huntsman (R-Utah) Announces Presidential Bid

Image from source, New York Times
To read the excerpted piece below, you'd think that former Governor Jon Huntsman of Utah (Shhhh! He's not advertising that!) was a slick, ready-for-prime-time candidate. They acknowledge a certain lack of emotion (read: boring), but talk about stage craft, and polish. And maybe it was if you were on the ground, and ignored a few details. Like Huntsman's first name being spelled "John" on the press passes, or the framing used by most news cameras lopping off the top of the Statue of Liberty. Like a boat sitting right behind his head during the speech, to a breakdown of equipment, to almost sending the press corps to Saudi Arabia, to several other things.  First up, here is the official "mainstream media" account. Keep in mind, this is from the New York Times, allegedly as left-wing as FOX "News" is right-wing.


Huntsman Announces Run for President

JERSEY CITY – Jon M. Huntsman Jr., the former governor of Utah, officially announced he was running for president on Tuesday, telling an audience of supporters and reporters gathered at a park facing the Statue of Liberty that he would be a better leader than President Obama, for whom he served as the ambassador to China until recently. . .

Read more at: New York Times

Seems pretty fair, if potentially a bit glossy, and not too deep. For the "lame stream media," it doesn't seem at all like they're tarring and feathering the guy. But then there is my favorite, The Rachel Maddow Show, which is--according to the right-- a) just like the rest of the left-biased media on ABCBSNBCNN, or b) a foaming at the mouth, far-leftist lesbian-hosted hour of venomous hatred of all that is good and American. Personally, I found it more informative, much deeper, and far more entertaining. Rachel paints a far more accurate-sounding picture. Sure, she's a little gleeful in her ribbing of Huntsman, but I'm not hearing anything nasty, and nothing that sounds untrue.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Keith Olbermann's First New Special Comment

Cool. And this one is from YouTube, not Current TV, so it won't have those "autoplaying" problems.

Keith Olbermann's First New Special Comment

Cool. And this one is from YouTube, not Current TV, so it won't have those "autoplaying" problems.">name="allowFullScreen" value="true">" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowScriptAccess="always" width="640" height="390">

Obama Impersonator Pulled from Stage at Republican Event

I actually thought the guy was pretty talented. Not all that funny, but he's got the voice and mannerisms down pat. The thing is, I don't think jabs at Democrats at a liberal function would have resulted in the physical removal of a performer. I mean Bill Maher, Seth Meyers, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert. . . all of them have made sport of Democrats, and with more biting humor than this guy. Big babies.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Justice Clarence Thomas' Ethics Problems

Who do you turn to if you think one of the United States Supreme Court justices is crooked? No really, who do you turn to?

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Countdown with Keith Olbermann's "Worst Persons in the World" Returns!

I still don't get Current TV, but I'll gladly pop over to their web site for some clips! No surprise in the choices. But (grrrrrr) we only get the bronze and the silver! (By the way, Current TV's tech guys need to fix the glitch in their player. It will only "autoplay" no matter what I try. So the video clip can be accessed at the link at the bottom of the post).

Weird Al Yankovic's Lady Gaga Parody I Perform This Way

I don't know about you, but I think it's his best work since Yoda.

Nevada Passes No Texting/No Cell Phone Law

Image from Harris May Injury Lawyers (of course)
Hmmm. For the most part, I am for this law. I very, very, very rarely talk on my cell phone while driving, and have only ever done so when answering a call (with maybe two very rare exceptions, in like seven years). When I see a person whip out their phone--as they're pulling out of a parking lot, going left, across eight lanes of traffic--I'm blown away by the stupidity. On those rare days where I answer a call while driving, I always question the wisdom of doing so. And I'd argue that there is never. Not ever. An excuse to text while driving. It is 100% of the time made of stupid.

But I wonder what I'll do now, if I hear (or feel the vibrations) my phone ringing? Will I pull over to answer the phone? Will that in itself present a new danger that I wouldn't have attempted before? Will I say, "Screw it, catch me, coppers!" Maybe. But even more rarely than I already use the phone while driving. I may have to invest in a better-than-Big-Lots-$8-Special Blue Tooth earpiece. But will fumbling with the earpiece that was laying in the console under your sunglasses, Altoids, air freshener and Chap-Stick be any safer? In any event, I hope this stops the moronic texters. If I'm ever arrested for texting while driving, it will be deserved, because I've officially taken leave of my senses.


Bill bans texting or talking behind the wheel

It will soon be illegal for you to text or use your cell phone while driving.

Last week, Governor Brian Sandoval signed into law a bill banning the practice. . .

Read more at: KTNV

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Blast from the Past: My Love Affair with Madonna (Pt. 1)

I was not among the earliest fans of Madonna, on the dance floors of New York. I was a skinny little teenager in podunk Whitehall, Ohio. But very, very shortly after I heard Madonna's first radio hit, Holiday, I wanted to know more. Like many people, I thought she was black at the time. This seems very odd today, but there was no visual to go with the record at first. The single just said "Madonna."

How could an artist so known for her changes of appearance have started out with few knowing what she looked like? Anyway, that changed very quickly. This was the advent of MTV after all, and no one used the medium quite as skillfully as. Ms. Ciccone. After Holiday, the next video to burn up MTV was Burning Up. I don't think it even charted on radio playlists, but we all got a little taste of what she was about with the end of that video.

The hits flew quickly after that. Lucky Star showed off her Catholic imagery, and a bit of the "underwear on the outside" thing. We also learned she could dance. Right after that, Borderline turned out to be more than just a pop tune and a throwaway video. This was already turning into art. 80s art, but art nonetheless.

After that, the chronology was kind of a blur. As I was transitioning from high school to college, Madonna released her second album, Like a Virgin. By this time, her image was solidly in place, right down to her "Boy Toy" belt buckle. In addition to hits like the title track, Madonna was also charting extra songs from movies like Desperately Seeking Susan and Vision Quest. From the former came Into the Groove, a song that got tons of play, and it wasn't even a single. And from the second album, the track that would become a nickname for Madonna for years, Material Girl.

All along the way, Madonna was morphing from a "street urchin", to a ersatz Marilyn Monroe to her own creation. By 1987--and after a Playboy and Penthouse mini scandal--she was a very slick, sleek phenomenon. Her True Blue album continued to prove that she wasn't a flash in the pan, and generated several hits, including my favorite, Open Your Heart and the almost forgotten title track, True Blue.

Two more tracks from that album are much more likely to be covered in any retrospective, the pro-choice/pro-life (take your pick) Papa Don't Preach and La Isla Bonita. By this time, Madonna was already a bona fide superstar, eclipsing virtually all other 80s pop stars. And there was a lot more to come.

To be continued in a future edition of Blast from the Past. For now, happy Monday!

Jon Stewart on FOX "News" Sunday

FOX "News" Sunday is easily the least of all the Sunday morning political chat fests, but due to is scheduling here in Las Vegas, usually is one of the two I regularly watch (along with NBC's Meet the Press). Chris Wallace is also the least of the hosts (narrowly edging out David Gregory), but when stacked up against the rest of the FOX "News" talent, is probably the best. Faint praise, I know. This point is made by Jon Stewart in the interview below. Stewart says--and I agree--that Wallace is most likely there to give the whole operation a sheen of respectibility, since without him, there wouldn't be any.

Stewart comes out swinging, gently, with humor. He punctuates that humor with some good solid points that FOX "News" viewers probably don't get to hear often.  And at times, he just plain comes out (justifiably) swinging. Wallace--even though probably the best reporter FOX has--tries to frame some "gotcha" questions, but Stewart comes up the winner. I think it's a great bit of video, and surely worth your time.

Current TV's Countdown with Keith Olbermann Ad

Since Current TV's videos don't seem to have a player that doesn't "autoplay," please click the link at the bottom of this post to take you to the video. (Grumble, grumble)  Dang, I wish my cable company carried Current. . .

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Photo of the Day: Eyebrows Threading

I'm becoming more and more obsessed with the Fresh & Easy market, and their daily markdown section. I was dubious of this quirky grocery when they first opened, thinking it was like Trader Joe's without the artsy-fartsy. But it's grown on me, and I'm glad that they've survived. Other stores in the same shopping center have not been so lucky, with most of the original tenants having gone out of business. But in a sign of a (hopefully) rebounding economy, most have been replaced. Oddly though, the new business are distinctly. . .well. . .odd. There's a restaurant called C R Buns. Yes, really. There's a hookah bar. And then there is the establishment with the grammatically incorrect sign in the picture at left. I'm not sure what "eyebrow threading" actually is, but I'm quite sure it isn't Eyebrows Threading.  And a pox on the cowardly sign company that didn't correct this for them. At least there isn't an apostrophe.

Over Time with Bill Maher, June 17, 2011

Noted Douchebag Andrew Breitbart Crashes Netroots Convention

He really is scummy, I don't care how much you might like his guerrilla tactics.

Obama Spokesman Denies Obama Was Ever in Favor of "Gay Marriage"

Ever get stuck between political reality, and political idealism? That's where I am with the Obama Administration and the whole topic of gay rights, same-sex marriage, and all that has to do with the LGBTQXYZ community. While I think the administration is a bit too timid and behind-the-curve on the American public's acceptance of the subject, I also recognize political realities and perceptions. Other left-wing and pro-gay bloggers (and what have you) web sites are not so forgiving. In fact, they are openly hostile to the President and his spokespeople.

I'm a bit--maybe a LOT--more forgiving. I'm frankly sick and tired of even my very favorite liberal/progressive/Democratic advocates trashing and thrashing Obama on every goddamn little thing that doesn't line up 100% with their ideals. For f**k's sake, the other side is so odious, so sometimes evil, so 180-degree opposite from everything I want/need/desire/require, they are out of the running from the get-go. I don't consider myself an Obama-bot. I am also not a defender of everything Democrats do, or a proponent of every prominent liberal.

Right now, the President and his spokespeople are tippy-toeing over his past comments on same-sex marriage. The topic is a political landmine field (though it by all rights shouldn't be). Most of us know that Obama probably doesn't give a rip if gay people get married. He's probably either indifferent or supportive. But our political climate doesn't allow that acknowledgement, either from a liberal, or a conservativeObama is in effect forced to lie, or waffle. Divisive topics force both sides to lie to appease their base. This sucks, and is very frustrating for the reality-based community.

You see evidence of these sort of things on countless political and/or news programs. You'll get the "official" quote from a politician, and then endless discussion of what "he really meant." It sucks. I've said that already, but it bears repeating. There is so much artifice in this process--on both sides, it again bears repeating--that it just freaking sucks.  So, newbie politicians give their honest opinions to survey questions, and then that same politician--years later--has to give a more measured, nuanced, poll-tested and squishy answer later. He has spokespeople sprinkle some half-assed back peddling answers to his contradictions. And then people who should be allies shit all over him for it.

I started this blog due in large part to my admiration for John Aravosis' AmericaBlog, Arianna Huffington's Huffington Post and Markos Moulitsas' Daily Kos. But it's really pissing me off that much of what is coming from these progressive sites is an automatic nuclear attack on Obama, for any transgression. It is self-defeating. It is possible to be critical while also being constructive. What I'm reading seems to be destructive, right out of the gate. I quite simply don't get it.


NETROOTS: White House Rep Denies Obama "Filled Out" 1996 Marriage Pledge

In an interview conducted in front of an audience at the Netroots Nation blogger conference early Friday in Minneapolis, White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer claimed a 1996 questionnaire favoring gay marriage, which bears Barack Obama's signature, was "actually filled out by someone else. . ."

Found at: Joe.My.God.

United Airlines Computer Crash Grounds Flights

Image from source,
As a long-time computer user (is 30 years a long time?) and husband to a United Airlines employee, this story gets me on a couple of levels. I've been affected by (and the occasional cause of) a computer glitch/disaster/Apocalypse at more than one job. But I've never worked for an international company, where a computer crash could affect the lives of thousands of people. Well, except for Bank One for a short patch in the 80s, but we were barely computerized. Shoot, we could use rubber stamps and calculators in a pinch back then.

Anyway, in a typical "checking in" phone call this evening, The Other Half mentioned a computer issue. "Hope it doesn't last too long," he said from his airport location that I was too disinterested/drunk to note. Only later--in fact on the 11:00 news, did I know that this is a worldwide issue with UAL! Holy moley. Though I've got to say, when I see him using his online software, and it is green letters on a black background, with arcane abbreviations. . . I'm not altogether surprised that this ancient system could be prone to glitches. Get home safely, honey!


United Airlines: Computers coming back online

Stranded United Airline passengers wait at the United Airlines ticket counter at Denver International Airport Friday, June 17, 2011, in Denver, Co. United Airlines is reporting computer problems that are affecting flights across the United States. On its Twitter page, United reported late Friday the computer outage was interrupting departures, airport processing and reservations. Attempts to access the airline's website are also being stymied. . .

Read more at:

Friday, June 17, 2011

Countdown with Keith Olbermann Returns Monday

Image from source, NY Times
I didn't miss Keith Olbermann nearly as much as I thought I would. As the article excerpted below states, he sort of paved the way for his own departure by cultivating talent--Lawrence O'Donnell and Rachel Maddow--that softened the blow so well, we hardly noticed. After a couple of weeks, I got used to "the new guy," and Olbermann became a memory. And while he's coming back on Monday (Countdown with Keith Olbermann returns Monday, June 20 at 8:00 pm Eastern, 5:00 pm Pacific), I won't get to see it happen. Cox Cable in Las Vegas does not carry the Al Gore/Joel Hyatt liberal experiment, Current TV on its roster. I've been pestering them to carry it, to no avail.

So, I'll have to wait for online video excerpts and second-hand reviews. It will be interesting to see a less-fettered Olbermann, freed from the constraints of corporate media. It could be a train wreck, a total id-fest, the anti-Glenn Beck. That would be interesting. But Olbermann also has a stake in the success of the revamped Current, and thus needs some tremendous buzz. Negative buzz would still be buzz, but I'm betting that's not what he wants. Oh sure, if right-wing world has a snit-fit about the show and channel, that would make him very happy. But he's also going to need the left entirely or mostly on his side. Time will tell. I'll be watching as best I can.


America’s Favorite Talking Hothead

Keith Olbermann likes looking into a camera. The return of its gaze animates him and reminds him that he has a million friends on the other side of it. But he doesn’t picture those people. He talks directly to the camera. “I’ve never been convinced the cameras are plugged into anything,” he said. . .

Read more at: New York Times
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