Leaving Las Vegas; On Hiatus

Greenlee Gazette is on hiatus until the first week of February. New stories may appear, but I'll be mostly offline. Please come back and see me after I make the transition!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

CNN Plays Stupid Girls as Intro to Sarah Palin Story

Yeah, stick it, Sarah. Image from Zap2It
Yeah, you know, I'm really not seeing the problem here. After all, the story was about a picture Sarah and Todd Palin posted, proudly holding bags of Chick-fil-A, and giving the thumbs up. Now, I'm not going to get all pissy with every customer who continues to eat at the restaurant. I mean, I shop at Wal-Mart, even though I feel a little guilty for it. But the Palins are no ordinary people ("common" maybe), and their photo wasn't intended to be friendly or benign. It was a calculated thumb in the eye to gay people, no question about it. Truthfully, it wasn't far from what the Westboro Baptist Church Phelps family does, just a hair's breadth from carrying a sign that says "God Hates F*gs!"

So yeah, I think playing a recording of P!nk's Stupid Girls is appropriate, though maybe Meredith Brooks' Bitch would have been better.

[Excerpt]


CNN: Playing 'Stupid Girls' Ahead of Sarah Palin Story a 'Poor Choice'



CNN says it regrets playing the song "Stupid Girls" ahead of a segment about Sarah Palin that aired Sunday morning. . .



Read more at: The Hollywood Reporter



PS. I've changed my mind about the song choice. This fits my feelings toward the Palins (and Chick-fil-A) much more perfectly.

Gay Marriage Added to Draft of Democratic Party Platform

Rep. Barney Frank, recently legally
same sex married. Image from source.
I know, I know, "marriage equality" is the preferred phrase these days, but not everyone knows what it means. But the point is, same-sex marriage has leapfrogged from activists to Joe Biden to Barack Obama, and now looks poised to be a plank in the national Democratic Party platform. Which will make it very difficult for the Log Cabin Republicans and their scary spinoff GOProud in their efforts to get gay people to vote Republican.


[Excerpt]


Democratic platform draft includes marriage equality plank: sources

The Democratic Party platform drafting committee approved on Sunday language endorsing same-sex marriage in addition to other pro-LGBT positions as part of the Democratic Party platform, according to two sources familiar with the drafting process. . .

Read more at: Washington Blade

Romney Praises Israel's Universal Health Care (with Mandate!)

Newsweek says "wimp," I say "douche."
 
Image from source, Think Progress.
Really, how does Mitt Romney fit all of the cognitive dissonance in his head?

[Excerpt]


Romney Praises Israel’s Universal Health Care System, Which Includes Individual Mandate

Throughout his presidential campaign, Mitt Romney has been running away from the individual insurance mandate in the Affordable Care Act — even though a mandate is a cornerstone of the former Massachusetts governor’s health care reform law. “If I’m President of the United States, we’re gonna get rid of Obamacare and return, under our constitution, the 10th Amendment, the responsibility and care of health care to the people in the states,” Romney said during a GOP presidential debate. . .

Read more at: Think Progress

Monday, July 30, 2012

Blast from the Past: It's All in the (Re-) Mix!

Some of my favorite songs are actually not original versions, but remixes. Maybe it's the gay thing, but I've always been a fan of remixes, all the way back to the time of 12" singles. If you really dig a song, and then find three remixes of it, it can sometimes be a real thrill (or it can sometimes be mind-numbing drek). Sometimes, the well-known version of a song is the remix, and it's the original that sounds different. And in a couple of odd cases, both versions were popular. Don't know what I mean? Okay. . .

1. & 2. You Don't Know by Cyndi Lauper - The lyrics are the same in both versions of this shoulda-been-a-hit, a song about ignorance and bigotry. The album version was somber and slow. The remixed version is powerful and driving. I like 'em both.


3. & 4. Missing - by Everything but the Girl - This band has quite a following, though this is their only real hit in the US. The song itself wasn't a hit until it was remixed. Compare and contrast. . .


5. & 6. The Reflex - by Duran Duran - Everybody remembers this song, one of the final "heyday" hits by the band. But the version you know sounds very different in its original album version. The remix is definitely an improvement here.



7. & 8. One by One - by Cher - This song is very probably the reason Cher's next album Believe started out dancy. One by One was a languid ballad that was turned into a dance song that lit up the dancefloor.



9. & 10. Express Yourself - Madonna - In this last example, we have a case where both the album version and the remix were hits. In fact, you probably know both versions, and didn't realize how different they are. But there are different instruments, different backing vocals. . . and both are great!


And that'll about do it for this week. Unbelievably, it's time for another work week. So let's make the best of it. Happy Monday!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Technology and Me: The Future is Now!

My poor, dead Samsung Epic 4G
This has been an unusual weekend for me. I am--for the first time in 8 years--without a cell phone for a stretch of days. I have learned that it is a bad idea to set your phone on the hood of your car while unloading the trunk. A really bad idea. Actually, I think the phone may have survived the fall to the street. I've dropped it on the tile twice with no ill effects. But the fact that I didn't realize it was even missing for a couple of hours. . .and then the fact that someone ran over it, is probably what killed it.

I had one of those big brick Motorola phones back in the mid-90s, for the job I had then. But from 1997 to 2004, I just didn't see the need for a mobile phone. We finally decided--with The Other Half being a flight attendant--that it would be a good idea. We started with little Samsung flip-phones. Two years later we upgraded to slimmer Samsung flip-phones. We graduated to semi-smart phones in 2008, with the Samsung Rant, a QWERTY keyboard slider that could (theoretically) access the internet. It was with those phones that we discovered the uses of texting; a mystery to us before. And in 2010 (after a two-week trial with a lesser smart phone) we finally took the plunge into the smart phone pool, with the Samsung Epic 4G, the next best thing to the iPhone, at least when it came out.

State of the art, um, never.
Since then, I've been frustrated by my phone. I like everything about it, except that mine seemed to be a lemon. The Other Half's was great, but mine was beset with several annoying glitches. And now it's dead. Prior to its death though, I got very accustomed to having it. I walk 4 miles per day, most days of the week. And I use my Epic to listen to either Pandora, or DAR.fm, which lets me record The Stephanie Miller Show, and play it back. If I go walking alone, it is a slog without something to listen to. So, when my phone died, I was bereft. What do I do?

Then I remembered that I have two off-brand MP3 players, given to me as gifts from my mother at various times. They weren't iPods, far from it (and ironically, I gave my sister my iPod after I got my phone). But they work. I can't find the one that had the built-in camera, and the cumbersome menus. But I did know where my Philips GoGear was! It's a nifty little player, about the size of a pack of gum. It has a very small memory, only 512K. . .but how much do you need for a 4-mile walk? Before my walk, I deleted some crappy songs, and loaded it up with some newer ones. Only up-tempo! And, I made sure it was charged, which didn't take long.
'member these?

I don't know how old the GoGear is, but I suspect at least seven years. So, I'm impressed that it still works. I'm impressed that it works with my newish computer so well, which treated it like any other removable drive. I'm impressed that the sound was so good, and. . .I discovered something new.

I should probably mention that I'm a techie from way back to almost infancy. I've been stringing wires and cobbling together electronic things for nearly as long as I can remember. I'm a bit of a bumbler, but I end up at the right place. And I often wonder how non-techies even manage to set things up. Of course, most people have a techie friend, so I guess I understand. But even with my background, I can be surprised by what I don't know.

A year and a half ago or so, I replaced most of our home entertainment system with things made in this century (and mostly, this decade!). I held on to the late-90s CD jukebox (which they still make, by the way), and the Blu-ray player we'd gotten for Christmas weeks before. The player had wi-fi, and my mother was clueless as to why I'd want that. I said, "because we can." I truly didn't know. Other than Blu-ray Live "special features" only available online, I had no idea.

This is from my blog post after fixing a problem with
my big Mitsubishi DLP HDTV.
It wasn't long before I took Netflix up on their constant offer to subscribe. And, I've dabbled in other services. I tooled around with the menus a little in the early days, but then settled into what I know. I have the big cable package with On-Demand, I have Netflix, Blu-ray and DVDs, what else could I need? Well, what I needed was to replace my old Logitech transmitter, which would send my music from my computer to my stereo. I ultimately opted for the CreativeBlaster model. It works, but barely. I can't seem to find a sweet spot, with my wi-fi at the front of the house, and my TV room at the back of the house. Why couldn't I get either my quad-core PC or my dual-core MacBook Pro to reliably receive and send Pandora to the stereo? I was losing my mind when we'd have friends over!

I'm so dumb. I hadn't explored the Sony Blu-ray player sufficiently. Not only could I access the music that is saved on my computer through the wi-fi, it has built-in Pandora!  And it isn't just there, it's easy to access. All of that time and effort (and even money) wasted. Thanks to my friend Jeff for showing me how. Jeff and I have managed--both by coincidence and by design--to end up with a lot of the same entertainment equipment, so we really ought to compare notes more often.
See that little USB port there? Yeah, it's useful!

My most recent discovery was Saturday with my old GoGear. Have you ever noticed that USB ports--usually seen on computers--are on some other things these days? My Sony Blu-ray player has one right on the front. My GoGear has one that slides out to plug into the computer. What would happen if I plugged that into the Blu-ray? Well, it plays like a dream through the entertainment center, that's what! I know it's simple, but I was amazed.

I'm a child of the 70s, and I've watched while Radio Shack and other made adapters for everything. When 8-track tape players were replaced by cassette tapes, they made an adapter that would play a cassette in an 8-track player. When they came out with CDs, they made adapters that would let you hook your DiscMan to your car's cassette player.  They started making CD players that could play MP3 CDs. And now, just about everything has a USB jack, a flash memory card slot, and/or blue tooth. Recently, I bought a 32GB USB stick not much bigger than a quarter for The Other Half's new car. It holds about half of our CD collection.
That holds 3,000 songs. Cataloged.

So, stop and think about that. When I upgrade my car's stereo, I'll probably buy a 64GB or 128GB USB stick. It will hold all of our music, probably with plenty to spare. I could take it, and pop it into his car, my car, any computer, our Blu-ray player. . . I used to wonder what my grandfather--who was born in 1900--must have thought of all the things that changed during his lifetime. But Grandpa died in 1992. Since 1992, we have things that seem like magic. We have flat panel TVs and monitors on our desks and in our living rooms that were science fiction in 1992. We have iPads that are smaller and more impressive than the PADDs used on Star Trek: The Next Generation. My Logitech Harmony universal remote knows how to turn off and turn on each piece of equipment in my entertainment center, depending upon what I want to do. Our Scion xB's stereo can play the music stored on my phone with a simple press of a button, and silence the music to answer that phone, wirelessly.

We can stream a movie through the internet to our 60" flat-panel HDTV, pause it, and pick up where we left off in a different location on our Android phone or tablet. Almost anywhere. We have high resolution still and audio cameras in our phone that can capture history as it unfolds, and upload it to the internet, almost instantly and effortlessly. We're getting to a time where we'll always have everything at our fingertips. And there is a whole generation of people who will have never known anything else.

So, my encyclopedic knowledge of trivial minutiae has become obsolete. But they're always going to need a tech guy. Even one who managed to get his phone run over by a car.


PS. Incidentally, since I'm 8 months shy of my re-up date at Sprint, I would have to pay $500-$600 for a replacement. . .unless I want a crappy used POS. So, I've ordered the same exact phone I crushed through eBay for $99. It will be here mid-week, used. . .probably a little scuffed. But it will do until the contract can be renewed. I highly recommend looking around before forking over so much money. It's worth the 4 or 5 days being Amish. :)


Friday, July 27, 2012

Mitt Romney Sings at Britain's Olympics Opening Ceremony!

Yes, it's Rocky Mountain Mike again. I'm double-dipping, but this is hilarious. . .


SkeeterPAC (Rocky Mountain Mike)

Rocky Mountain Mike--back when he was still Mike in Raleigh--had a spoof with a character named "Skeeter." Skeeter was your typical FOX "News" fan, who spoke in short FOX-ian catch phrases like "hip hop barbeque" and "terrorist fist bump." Well, poor Skeeter is now so damaged from Obama Derangement Syndrome, that there has been a PAC formed to help the poor guy, and oh-so-many others like him!

Quote of the Day: On Mitt Romney's "Charm Offensive"

Image from Telegraph UK
"Mitt Romney is perhaps the only politician who could start a trip that was supposed to be a charm offensive by being utterly devoid of charm and mildly offensive." 

--Alex Spillius, Daily Telegraph columnist
  and former Washington correspondent

Meanwhile, on Facebook: Britain Declares, "Mitt the Twit!"



Oh, they are not liking Willard Mitt Romney in England. This is one of many derisive terms for him. Poor Mittens. . .


Image found floating around on Facebook.


Daily Show: Romney, Do We Look Stupid?

Mitt Romney seems to have bet his campaign on what some regard as gaffe, but what really amounts to a disingenuous interpretation of a pronoun at best, or an outright out-of-context lie at worst. But don't take it from me. The videos below explain it in a far more entertaining--and funny--way than I ever could.

The Daily Show with Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Democalypse 2012 - Do We Look Stupid? Don't Answer That Edition
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook
The Daily Show with Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Democalypse 2012 - Do We Look Stupid? Don't Answer That Edition - Grammatical Gaffes
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Romney Struggling to Separate Policies from Bush Era

If there were more images like this one in the
campaign, Romney would surely lose.
Image from source.
It is not surprising that Mitt Romney his having trouble separating his policies from those of the George W. Bush administration's. Basically, Willard just complains about President Barack Obama's policies, and then says he won't do that. Or he'll do better. He's been incredibly vague, and when he's touched on actual facts, they've been very Bush-y.

But, what are we to expect from a guy who gave a foreign policy speech this week that didn't have anything about foreign policy? Sheesh, this guy is really "neck-and-neck" with the Prez? The right really does hate him, I guess.

[Excerpt]


Romney Struggles To Distinguish His Economic Policies From Bush’s

Mitt Romney couldn’t substantially distinguish his economic policies from former President George W. Bush’s during an interview with NBC’s Brian Williams on Wednesday, saying only that he would “take action to get America on track to have a balanced budget.” Bush increased the national debt by trillions of dollars. . .

Read more at: Think Progress

Chick-fil-A: I'll Have a Chicken Sandwich with a Side of Jesus

Image from Bilerico.com
Right now, there is a big hub-ub (which I've participated in) about Chick-fil-A, a fast food restaurant with a goofy name. They were vocally political recently, strenuously denouncing gay marriage (and very likely, just gay people) in the press. It has been no secret that the owners of the company were conspicuously religious. In fact, there have been past gay half-hearted boycotts of the place, based on the types of groups the company gave money to.

But, what do I care, right? I've never eaten there in my life, having never lived anywhere where there was one. Besides, I rarely eat fast food, and if I did, there are plenty of other places to get it. I've even been known to frequent In-N-Out Burger on occasion for their protein burger, and they print Bible verses on the wrappers! I don't know why fast food companies would want to be so conspicuously religious, but whatever, right? Yeah, not anymore. I may have no real impact on their bottom line, but I don't have to give money to a company that in turn, spends some of the profits on groups that are out to curtail my civil rights. It's chicken. It just can't be that good.

If you think I'm being silly, take a look at this article from a few years ago from Forbes (not exactly a left-wing rag). As an atheist, I don't think about religion much. But in-your-face, overt religiosity grinds my gears. This might even grind yours.

[Excerpt]


The Cult of Chick-fil-A

At a busy Chick-fil-A in Rome, Ga. Richard Yadkowski keeps a paternal eye on employees squeezing lemons and cooking chicken. Like seven teens who work in his restaurant, Yadkowski, 33, came to Chick-fil-A when he was living in a group foster home created by Chick-fil-A founder and chairman S. Truett Cathy. "I tell the kids, 'This is not just selling sandwiches; it pays for your upbringing,'" says Yadkowski, a hardworking, happily married Southern Baptist who plans to work with Chick-fil-A for life. . .

Read more at: Forbes


Mitt Gets Worse, with Rent's Anthony Rapp

Sorry, Anthony, this is
how I remember you!



This is a novel take on the It Gets Better campaign, Dan Savage's video series of support for gay young people. Here, we have messages from gay people and their supporters about how Mitt Romney would make things worse. Anthony Rapp was the star of Rent on stage and screen. I remember him more as Darryl Coopersmith, the red-headed pain in the ass to Elisabeth Shue in Adventures in Babysitting. I remember following Rapp's posts on Usenet (way before Twitter). He always came off smart then, and he still does. Well done.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

They Come in 3s: Sally Ride, Chad Everett, Sherman Hemsley



Yesterday, there were three celebrity deaths. All very different, and I tried to find a connecting thread, but alas, no. Chad Everett was one of those bygone sex symbols my mother talked about, but I enjoyed him in Airplane II: The Sequel. Sherman Hemsley has a large chunk of my pop culture psyche, as a kid of the 70s. And Sally Ride seemed like a really cool lady back in the days when people payed attention to astronauts and the space shuttle program. All will be remembered longer than most of us! RIP Chad, Sally and Sherman!

Read: Sherman Hemsley
Read: Sally Ride
Read: Chad Everett

Quote of the Day: Steven Weber on Gun Control Arguments

Image from Huffington Post
"As a culture, we have become so disassociated from reality that we are to the point where even though men, women and children are mowed down in schools, movie theaters and streets by nut jobs with assault weapons, we rush to defend the right to own these absolutely inessential weapons constructed with the sole purpose of shredding human flesh as efficiently as possible, and cite shaky-at-best interpretations of the Second Amendment as justification."

--Steven Weber, Actor and Writer

Source: Huffington Post 

Mitt Romney's "You Did Not Build That" Moment

Image found at Democratic Underground
Mitt Romney's first national ad was a lie. It was a clip of President Barack Obama quoting something John McCain said, presented as though they were Obama's own words. I think it's still floating out there, uncorrected. Much is made of the difference between spin, distortion, exaggeration and an outright lie. I think a deliberate out-of-context quote is a lie.

And that's what's been happening this week, the Willard Mitt Romney campaign (and the man himself) have been taking an Obama speech out of context, or to be charitable, hinging a whole campaign theme on a misplaced pronoun. It is very clear by the context of Obama's often given (and borrowed from Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren) that he was not saying that small business owneres "did not build that." He was talking about infrastructure and other benefits of living in America. Romney knew this, and so do all but the dimmest of his followers. But he's running with it anyway.

Now, I'm not going to vouch for every single pro-Obama ad. I can't swear that they're all 100% spin-free. But I'm pretty sure they're not laying on the BS with as heavy a coat as Romney. And if you watch the following (very funny) Lewis Black bit from Tuesday's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, you'll see the contrast between the two. Especially when you find out that Romney gave an extremely similar speech about "not doing it all yourself," from the 2002 Olympics. Oops.

Meanwhile, On Facebook: Chick-fil-A Lies About The Muppets



This image is making the rounds on Facebook (source unknown, but I'd be happy to attribute it). If you read this blog, you already know that Chick-fil-A a) spells its name stupidly, b) is outspokenly against gay people and c) was abandoned by Jim Henson's The Muppets. As you can see, they're being less than honest about the reason for Kermit and Miss Piggy's abcense.

Suck Up, It's Mittens, That's Who! (Rocky Mountain Mike)

Are you ready for Rocky Mountain Mike's magnum opus? To the tune of Stuck in the Middle With You by Stealers Wheel, Willard Mitt "Mittens" Romney gets his due.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

In Case You Missed It: Jason Alexander's Response to Gun Assault

Image from Salon.
I don't know how much longer the terrible events in Aurora, Colorado will be in the news. Sometimes these mass shootings fade from the news cycle quickly, sometimes they linger for a long time. But we never really seem to have any meaningful movement on doing something about it. Many gun fetishists nuts advocates will say nothing can be done, without taking away their "freedoms." Most of the rest of us either sadly shrug our shoulders, or futilely rail about it for a few days. It is the rare elected official who will come out with anything that sounds remotely "anti-gun."

I'm not anti-gun. But I don't think it's unreasonable to consider and discus sensible efforts to curtail the availability of weapons that can kill or wound six dozen people in a minute or two. I don't think that's a bad place to draw the line. Anyway, enough from me. Jason Alexander (George Costanza of Seinfeld) wrote a very, very good piece on this subject, the day after the shootings. It's really good, and captures my thoughts better than I could ever put them. Alexander--whatever you think of him--is a well spoken and smart guy, and this is worth a read.

[Excerpt]


Jason Alexander’s amazing gun rant


. . .This morning, I made a comment about how I do not understand people who support public ownership of assault style weapons like the AR-15 used in the Colorado massacre. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AR-15

That comment, has of course, inspired a lot of feedback. There have been many tweets of agreement and sympathy but many, many more that have been challenging at the least, hostile and vitriolic at the worst. . .
Read more at: Salon.com

Lawrence O'Donnell Rewrites NRA Lobby's Modesty

Very well done. I'm starting to wonder if HBO's The Newsroom is influencing Lawrence O'Donnell.


Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Jon Stewart Responds to "Too Soon to Talk About Gun Control" Meme

Romney: Not the Right Time to Talk About Gun Control

Image from source, TPM
After a big shooting tragedy, we can be sure we'll hear these things:

1. If there were more people with concealed handguns, people would have been saved.
2. Gun control laws only keep guns out of law-abiding citizens' hands.
3. Any restriction or regulation of guns is an infringement on our freedom.
4. Guns don't kill people, people kill people.
5. There's nothing we can do to prevent these tragedies.
6. Now is not the time to talk about gun control/"play politics"

The first one is stupid, just stupid. The second assumes all crazy shooters would know where to get illegal guns, and ignores that most of these guys got their guns legally. Number three ignores that there are restrictions and regulations on all of the bill of rights. Freedom of speech has restrictions. The fourth one would be far more accurate if it were phrased, "Guns don't kill people, bullets kill people." It's tired. Number five sure didn't apply after 9/11, did it? And the last one? Mitt Romney just used that one, and it ignores that the best time to address this issue is after a big tragedy, when it's fresh in peoples' minds, and something might actually get done.

[Excerpt]

Romney: Not The Right Time To Talk About Gun Control

Mitt Romney on Monday dismissed calls for more stringent restrictions on the Internet sale of ammunition and semi-assault weapons in the wake of the Aurora, Colo., shooting tragedy, arguing that it is a time to come together and help communities in need. . .

Read more at: Talking Points Memo

Monday, July 23, 2012

Muppets Abandon Chick-fil-A

Every time I type Chick-fil-A, I'm sure I've typed something wrong. I mean, if you're going to go nuts with hyphens, why not go for "Chik?" And what's with the capitalization? It's just stupid. I reminds me of that old song, Dazzy Duks which was trying to be cute by spelling "Daisy Dukes" incorrectly, and wound up looking like it rhymed with "snazzy sucks" instead. Which shows you how my brain works.

So, we'll add the stupid name to the reasons to boycott Chick-fil-A. That's in addition to not being open on Sundays (which is pious baloney), and the fact that they're publicly anti-gay. Good enough for me (plus we don't have any in Las Vegas or Nevada, so it's easy too!). But it's not just me. The dude named Cathy who owns the joint has gathered quite a number of boycotters, and only managed to pick up. . .what. . .Mike Huckabee? How does that compare to The Muppets?


[Excerpt]


Muppets Abandon Chick-fil-A Because Of Its Anti-Gay Policies

Gonzo doesn’t have to worry about Camilla and his other chickens anymore, because the Muppets are officially going to be eating less chicken. In a Facebook note posted Friday evening, The Jim Henson Company, which currently offers toys in Chick-fil-A kids’ meals, announced that will no longer partner with the fast food chain on any future endeavors because of its anti-gay policies. . .

Read more at: Think Progress

Lost Weekend

Sorry for the lack of new posts. Alcohol + pool party + lots of Las Vegas sunshine = in bed by 8:15pm! On the bright side, I got lots of sleep, and am energized for the week. But alas, there were no new posts for the week. I'll be sure to get something up later today. In the meantime, happy Monday!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Movies I Can't Wait to See: Man of Steel

Henry Cavill looks good, no doubt. But I'm hoping
the costume is an early prototype. Image from
JustJared.
DC Comics has just released The Dark Knight Rises, apparently the last Batman movie we're likely to get for a long time. The movie--despite the tragic opening night fiasco in Aurora,Colorado--is likely to do very, very well. Maybe not The Avengers well, but close. And that's a darn sight better than most of DC Comics' movie adaptations compared to Marvel's.

And for life-long DC fans like me, who actually dug Green Lantern and yes, Superman Returns, it's about time. But, if you think it's weird that I liked those movies, I've also been underwhelmed by Christopher Nolan's modern day Batman series. The second one with the late Heath Ledger as the Joker? Meh. I know everyone liked it, but to me, it was just oversold or something. But then, I wasn't much of a fan of the Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher Batman series either. Well, I liked the Val Kilmer one.

So, while I don't think it was necessary to reboot Superman only six years after the last one, I am nonetheless excited about Man of Steel. Supes has always been one of my favorites, and it would be sweet if DC finally hit on a non-Batman hero, one that everyone likes, not just me. The overdone "S" shield in this promo is a little troublesome. I am a graphic artist as an adult, and that thing is just too much. But I'll be there. Maybe not on opening night though. . .

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Would More Guns Have Helped in Aurora?

I knew people would go there. My friend (and rival blogger from the other side of the aisle) Dan at LasVegasBadger knew people would go there. And so they have. Gun rights advocates (or gun fetishists, as I like to say) are all over the interwebs, talk radio, and doubtless FOX "News," loundly proclaiming that if they had been there, they'd have stopped it, by cracky! They'd have pulled out their concealed weapon, and popped that wacko before he did so much damage.

I for one am horrified by the thought. It would be bad enough finding myself in a situation like what happened Thursday night in Aurora, Colorado. The terror of an event like that probably can't really be imagined if you haven't been there. But you know what? The Dirty Harry or Die Hard imaginings of these vocal gun nuts is primarily imagination. It's quite simply delusional. And the following writeup from Wonkette--a snarky, largely humorous site--has one of the best takes I've seen on the subject. From a person who was in a shooting incident. Read it, please, particularly if you disagree with me.

Image from Wonkette.
[Excerpt]

Notes From The Periphery Of A Shooting: A Wonkette Moment Of Tenderness

You don’t have to have witnessed a random shooting in a public place to question whether an armed bystander could have stopped the shooter, but it helps. On the morning of May 21, 1998, on the way to a movie matinee, I stopped by a Tucson post office to send a package of comic books (“The Maxx”) to be autographed by the artist/writer Sam Kieth. I take my nerding seriously. . .

Read more at: Wonkette

Friday, July 20, 2012

Ron Reagan Calls for Sensible Gun Control in Wake of Dark Knight Shootings

Image from Denver Post
Whenever there is a mass shooting in America (and it is far too often), gun fetishists immediately launch into a pre-emptive defense, knowing full well that some people are going to call for something to be done regarding gun laws. They often seem more concerned with that, then about the victims of yet another tragedy. And always, people say "now is not the time" to discuss such things.

Nonsense. Now is the best time to discuss such things. When it is fresh in peoples' minds. When it is not a hypothetical, but a reality. I've said here many times that I'm basically agnostic about guns and gun laws. But I am swayed by calls for sensible gun control laws. Things like competency tests and training. Things like making sure a buyer is not batshit crazy. Things like restricting the availability of guns with the capability of inflicting massive casualties in short periods of time. This guy shot 70 people! It's not crazy to want to make it harder for a madman to kill a bunch of people in a few minutes. What do gun nuts think is coming a zombie apocalypse?

Ron Reagan was filling in for Chris Matthews on Hardball on Friday, and in the "Let Me Finish. . ." segment, gave a brilliant essay on the subject. I was glad to see him use the same phrase I do (gun fetish), and that he also considers himself gun agnostic for the most part. And that he likes tweaking the NRA. I don't know why the right dislikes Ron Reagan so much either. I mean to them, he's practically the son of God, right?


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Mass Shooting at Dark Knight Rises

For all of the importance and focus we put on terrorism from without, there seems to be little we can do about it from within. And when it comes to domestic terrorism, there is little more effective than a mass shooting. They seem to happen with disturbing regularity in this country. And without a seismic shift in public opinion, they're going to keep happening.

I'm usually ambivalent when it comes to guns, neither fetishising them as many on the right, nor being energized against them like. . .well, I'm not sure these days who is rabidly against guns. When it comes to tragic events like this, the gun nuts well get over-the-top defensive, and insist that if only more people were armed*, this wouldn't have happened. And for the most part, anyone who wants to be critical of guns or gun rights will soft-peddle what they want to say for fear of being branded anti-gun.   [Story continues below]


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I'm not sure how we got here, with this issue being so radioactive. Yes, we have a second amendment, but it doesn't say, "An unregulated gun collection, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear unlimited Arms without restriction or oversight, shall not be infringed." It says, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."  The first part is often left out, of course. And the word "infringe" is rather fuzzy and imprecise. It's surprising that it has become so ironclad. Also, you'd think the word "arms" could be defined to exclude weapons of mass destruction. It already is, in that you can't have a nuclear weapon, or a tank, or a dirty bomb.

This story is new, and we may learn some uncomfortable details--and in the meantime may hear some inaccurate ones--after the facts come in. The shooter could be right-wing, left-wing or completely politically unaffiliated. There may have been laws or regulations that could've helped prevent this, or it may be that no one could have seen it coming. I have to wonder though, why it is impossible to limit--or at least impede--just anyone from acquiring weapons capable of mowing down a crowd.

[Excerpt]


12 shot dead at 'Dark Knight Rises' screening in Aurora, Colorado

Twelve people were killed and at least 50 others wounded early Friday when a gunman wearing a bullet-proof vest opened fire during a midnight screening of the latest Batman movie near Denver, authorities and witnesses said. . .

Read more at: NBCNews.com


* The "more guns" argument bugs me a lot. It belies a rather unrealistic mindset, where life is like a movie, and every "good" gun owner is John McClane from Die Hard. I'm not sure the reality would play out like an action movie.  

Mitt Romney in It's His Taxes, Man! (Rocky Mountain Mike)

Here is the second of two Rocky Mountain Mike song parodies, as promised. This one is to the tune of The Beatles' Tax Man. And it's a goodie.

Ann Romney in Power to You People (Rocky Mountain Mike)

I actually had a blog post all written, pictures, pull quotes, the works. My blogger software ate it. So, I got peeved and went off to do other things. That's why the blog is light at the moment! So, here is the first of two Rocky Mountain Mike song parodies! This one is about Mrs. Romney's unfortunate tendency to refer to we plebeians as "you people."

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Conspiracy Corner: Hawaii Fights Back, Arpaio Proven Wrong


It is fortunate that in what is often a FOX "News"/Rush Limbaugh-led media, that the "birther" conspiracy theory(s) haven't gone completely mainstream. Sure, it's big enough that many people know what it is about. But it is the rare individual who takes any of it seriously.

Image from Huffington Post
The birthers threatened to break through on Tuesday, when Arizona's batshit crazy Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his anachronistically named "Cold Case Posse" had a big press conference. Sheriff Joe pronounced Barack Obama's long-form birth certificate (actually the PDF scan of it) a forgery. He had the alleged testimony of a 95-year-old hospital worker, and some 50-year-old penciled notations. And that was really about it. One of those notations was a "9" written in the margin. Arpaio used this to declare the document a forgery. But he and his posse lied about what the 9 meant. Surprise, surprise!

[Excerpt]


Code “9”: the Cold Case Posse’s big lie

I have debunked so much demonstrably false “birther evidence” that I sometimes lose perspective about levels of “bunk” and levels of “demonstrable.” Based on the reactions of others, I may have done something last year that applies to something high on the “bunk” scale today as well as high on the “demonstrable” scale amounting to what Joe Biden might call a BFD, and the smoking gun showing the Cold Case Posse fabricated evidence and lied. . .

Read more at: Obama Conspiracy Theories


[Excerpt]


Hawaii strikes back

The State of Hawaii has repeatedly confirmed the indisputable evidence of President Obama’s birth in Hawaii. An exhaustive accounting of this is provided on the State Department of Health (DOH) website (http://hawaii.gov/health/vital-records/obama.html). When this issue last arose in May, the Washington Post noted that “the Hawaii Department of Health has released both the short and long forms of the president’s birth certificate; and that all this information, along with clear-as-a-bell explanations, is available to the public online. . .”

Read more at: Obama Conspiracy Theories 

Hot Problems! Featuring Mitt Romney (Song Parody)

Rush Limbaugh's Idiotic Batman Conspiracy Theory (and Denial)

Image from ComicVine
Who is Rush Limbaugh, really? He's a college dropout and former DJ. He lucked into finding a talent for talk radio. He's entertaining, and sharp at what he does. But he's no kind of expert on anything. His alleged greatness is in his presentation style, not his knowledge base. And if his most recent screw up is any indication, he does very little show prep. There was a scene in Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom, where Jeff Daniels' news anchor character is winging it, and in the teleprompter it says *VAMP.* I figure that's what Rush thought he'd do with The Dark Night Rises story hook.

Rush had done enough research to know that there was a new Batman movie, that it was highly anticipated, and that it featured a nasty villain named "Bane." It's all Rush needed to stir up some shit, and he probably just figured he could vamp from there. But what Rush didn't realize--and what a huge percent of the population knows--is that Bane has been around as a character in the comics for almost 20 years. And it isn't like he was a minor character either, he broke Batman's back, paralyzing him. It was a media event, and it's where I first heard the character's name.

Rush took the Bane name, conflated it with Mitt Romney's Bain Capital, and cobbled together a half-baked conspiracy theory. Out of whole cloth. And everyone made fun of Rush, and so he had egg on his face. Turns out that Rush has an easy way to deal with embarrassment: pretend it never happened! He's on tape. Millions heard him say it. He denies it.

The whole story shouldn't matter. Rush Limbaugh is nothing but a radio host. He doesn't have special powers or even special insight or knowledge. He's developed an outsized persona, built mostly of ego and fawning fans. And the sad, scary thing is, the now firmly hard-right Republican party looks to Rush for their talking points. John Sununu was spewing Rush's rap almost verbatim the other day. And you know that some of the more gullible listeners believed the Bane/Bain connection. At least for a little while. And some will always believe it.


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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

MoveOn Ad Casts Romney in Nixon Role: "Tricky Mitt?"

But will it stick?

Conspiracy Corner: Joe Arpaio Still Pushing Birtherism

In several posts, I've lamented the many and varied web of conspiracy theories known collectively as "birtherism." Birthers all believe that for one reason or another, President Barack Hussein!!! Obama is ineligible to hold office. Some believe Obama is a criminal who has knowingly lied his way into office, knowing full well that he isn't a "natural born citizen." Others claim no such charges, and simply assert that he's invalid by reason of a technicality.

What is in the water in Arizona? Image from Gawker.
When Obama released his "long form" birth certificate, he'd finally met the condition set out by nearly every birther of every stripe: "produce the certificate, and this will all go away." Needless to say--after the less crazy ones defected--the remaining birthers declared the long form to be a forgery. They did extensive analysis (on YouTube, so it must be true) on the document. No, wait, hold the phone. . .they did extensive analysis on the PDF scan of the document. Which is pointless, stupid and to the extent they've gone on this thing, absolutely batshit insane.

I covered and debunked the analysis in a lengthy post (with a far lengthier argument with birthers in the comments section) over a year ago. And since then, it's safe to bet on two things: a) more former birthers have jumped ship, and b) the remaining ones are even more entrenched.

Some birthers go so far as to say that old pictures like
this one are all forgeries, and doubt the parentage of the
President, both his father and his mother. Ca-RAY-zee!
Image from USAToday.
Since the far right-wing essentially ate the entire Republican Party, fringe beliefs have taken center stage, and Birtherism is one of those things. Several mainstream elected officials have pandered to their lunatic base by dog-whistling to them. Donald Trump has come right out and espoused (badly parsed) birther talking points. He lied and said he had investigators in Hawaii uncovering all kinds of things. But we know he lied because he eventually dropped it.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio--one of several batshit crazy right-wing heroes--did not drop it. And he actually did send investigators to Hawaii. He even held a (invitation only!) press conference about his latest "findings" on Tuesday afternoon. And since Obama is now in federal prison, and Joe Biden installed as President, you can see that it worked! Or not.

One more thing. Every single birther nugget has been debunked, and can be found at ObamaConspiracy. I highly recommend the site if you've ever even entertained a portion of this nuttiness.

[Excerpt]

Joe Arpaio Holds Press Conference to Let America Know He’s Still a Wingnut


Good news, birthers — Joe Arpaio is sure President Obama's birth certificate is fradulent.
Sheriff Joe held a press conference this evening to continue spouting off about his conspiracy theory, complete with a team of "experts" to verify his claims. . .

Read more at: Gawker

Chick-fil-A is Officially Anti-Gay

Doesn't look gay at all. Image from Advocate.
Okay, so there's a fast food company with a name so precious and cute that I had to look it up three times to make sure I'd spelled and hyphenated it correctly. They've got a clever, funny advertising campaign. And it's run by a dude named Cathy. Sounds gay to me, but for some reason, the company--Chick-fil-A--is being run on "Biblical" principles* by said Mr. Cathy.

I don't eat at fast food restaurants very often, and even if I wanted to there are none of Mr. Cathy's reconstituted chicken parts eateries in Las Vegas nor in the rest of Nevada. But I'll be sure to add Chick-fil-A to my mental Rolodex (though I can't promise I'll remember the spelling), and I will be sure to never spend a thin dime there, until one of the one-day-dearly-departed Mr. Cathy's gay relatives inherits the place, and turns it into the next Hamburger Mary's.

[Excerpt]


It's Official: Chick-fil-A COO Dan Cathy Comes Out as Antigay

Dan Cathy, the chief operating officer of Chick-fil-A, said there is no denying that his company opposes marriage equality. . .

Read more at: Advocate.com

* Just a side note to Mr. Cathy: Jesus never said a thing against gay people, or gay marriage. And by the way, many, many potential customers are either not Christians, or don't follow Mr. Cathy's particular interpretation. But, if he doesn't mind losing business, I guess it ain't my problem.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Stephen Colbert on the 22 Rich People Potentially Buying the Next President

In Case You Missed It: Jon Stewart on Mitt Romney's "Bain Damage"

As is usually the case when The Daily Show with Jon Stewart goes on vacation, big news happens while they're away. And that always means a dynamite first segment on the Monday when they return. Stewart's take on Mitt Romney's Bain Capital problem is spot on and very funny.

 
The Daily Show with Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Democalypse 2012 - Bain Damage
www.thedailyshow.com
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Mitt Romney, Bain Capital, Retroactive Retirement and Taxes

Laugh it off, Mitt! Image from source.
On Friday, I started noticing some chop-licking going on in left-wing world. "This could be big," was the general consensus, though everyone seemed to be holding back a bit. Nobody wants to do a big schadenfreude dance, and then have the rug pulled out from under them. I mean, we saw what happened when FOX "News" mistakenly said that "Obamacare" had been declared un-Constitutional, and right-wing world had egg on its face after celebrating too quickly. Yeah, that shit's embarrassing.

But the rub is, Mitt Romney has been saying forever that he quit Bain Capital--the outsourcing, evil, money-grubbing Death Star of capitalism--in 1999. He even told the SEC that. But it came to light he was President, CEO and 100% owner of the place! All the way to what, 2002? That would be just possibly Mitt having a senior moment (repeatedly). But what about the stuff Bain did after '99 that Mitt was trying to dodge? All that shipping jobs overseas business. The making money off of abortion business. Yeah. It doesn't look good. I'm not ready for my schadenfreude dance just yet. But it was entertaining watching the righties spin on the Sunday shows yesterday. And I'm thinking of popping some corn. . .

[Excerpt]


Romney’s Tax Man Cometh

Poor, poor Mitt. He and his dancing horse have been having a tough go of it lately. Turns out he may (or may not!) have lied to the SEC about the good times he had at Bain capital between 1999 and 2002, presiding over the disposal of dead fetuses unborn babies before retroactively retiring. Then a bunch of conservatives went on the teevee and demanded that he release more than two years’ of tax returns. . .

Read more at: Wonkette
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