Sunday, June 29, 2014

Over Time with Bill Maher, June 27, 2014

Blast from the Past: Gay Anthems, Part III

This marks the end of Gay Pride Month, so I thought I'd play us out with some more gay anthems!

There are plenty to go, as you shall see. I had to do a superpack this time, 12 tunes in all.

1. I'm Too Sexy by Right Said Fred (1991) - Instantly an embarrassing novelty hit nobody will claim, this one was briefly insanely popular.
2. Macho Man by The Village People (1977) - Single-handedly responsible for injecting the word "macho" into American vernacular, and also for introducing America to The Village People.

3. I'm Coming Out by Diana Ross (1980) - Obviously.
4. Why by Bronski Beat (1984) - Another one that got by me at the time, but certainly no one else did.

5. Let's Have a Kiki by Scissor Sisters (2012) - Much newer than the rest, but essential.
6. Take Your Mama Out by Scissor Sisters (2004) - Because I love them. And this one is actually about a gay guy coming out, so there you go.

7. Dancing Queen by ABBA (1976) - Can you believe I didn't slot in ABBA in Part I or II? I mean really.
8. Last Dance by Donna Summer (1979) - All of Donna Summer's hits qualify, truly.

9. Supermodel by RuPaul Charles (1992) - Another novelty tune, but again, huge briefly. And it launched the Drag Race star into the mainstream.
10. A Little Respect by Erasure (1988) - Again, all of Erasure's catalogue could qualify for this list, but this gets a spot for the lyric, "What religion or reason could drive a man to forsake his lover?"

11. Chains of Love by Erasure (1988) - Okay, one more. This one is clearly about trying to express love for someone when society is against you. Fancy that.
12. Boom Boom (Let's Go Back to My Room) by Paul Lekakis (1987) - Unambiguously about doing it with Paul Lekakis in his room. Okay then!

And now that you're tuckered out from dancing, take your disco shoes off, and shuffle off to bed. It's a new week, and you have to work. Happy Monday!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Russell Brand Declares FOX "News" Dangerous Propaganda

I have very little affinity for Russell Brand. I feel like he's one of those people that The Powers That Be insist is a gifted, brilliant, comedic genius, but isn't. A product that I'm supposed to buy, but that I want no part of. My brother--whose pop culture tastes often intersect with mine, but other times diverge to the point of infinity--either bought the hype, or recognizes it where I do not.

But I have to hand it to Brand. This time, I recognize his genius.


Russell Brand: Fox News is ‘fanatical, terrorist, propagandist’ and ‘more dangerous than ISIS’

Comedian Russell Brand on Tuesday blasted Fox News host Judge Jeanine Pirro for taking a position on bombing Iraq that he said was even “worse” than the militant group ISIS which has taken over a large portion of the country. In what BuzzFeed called “the craziest rant a Fox News host has ever done,” Pirro over the weekend lashed out at the president for not ordering sustained air strikes on Iraq. . .

Read more at: Raw Story

The Gay Thing: Twin Victories in Marriage Equality

And the hits, they keep on coming. Both the Indiana and Utah cases came up roses for the marriage equality movement, within about ten minutes of each other. In Indiana, a stay was not issued immediately, and so, marriages commenced! In Utah (and the rest of the 10th circuit) there was an immediate stay, but hey, they already had a spate of marriages there this winter. Frankly, I find the stays that have happened irritating, just more roadblocks on the path to equality. But it's all exciting, nonetheless. The marriage map is flowing in from the edges of the country, West Coast, Northeast, Great Lakes, Southwest. It's all going to meet in the middle, and probably sooner, rather than later.


U.S. appeals court backs gay marriage in conservative Utah

Image from source, Yahoo!
DENVER (Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court ruled on Wednesday that conservative Utah may not ban gay couples from marrying, a decision that capped a day of victories for same-sex nuptials and nudges the issue closer to the U.S. Supreme Court. The ruling by a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Denver-based 10th Circuit marked the first time that a regional appeals court has made such a decision in the year since the Supreme Court ordered the federal government to extend benefits to legally married same-sex couples. . .

Read more (with video) at: Yahoo! News

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Working Again!

Sorry folks. In anticipation of a short little vacation, I had a work night. Not sure that much if any blogging will get done til sometime Wednesday. And that's packing day! So, I'll see you all when I see you.

Back to work!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Rude Pundit on the Re-naming of the Washington Redskins

Lee Papa, The Rude Pundit
As with everything else in this country, the controversy over the Washington Redskins name seems to have become a right versus left issue. And though I'd usually side with the left anyway, I can safely say that in this case, I'm unequivocally, absolutely, indubitably, unapologetically correct. There is no other justifiable answer but that the Redskins should change their name. Period.

I could go on at length as to why--though really, it shouldn't be necessary--but I don't need to. Because, The Rude Pundit, one of my favorite writers, has written a piece so brilliant (and of course, rude), that it simply can't be improved upon. If you doubt me, read it, and leave me a comment that refutes it. Dare ya.

I'm guessing die-hard Redskins supporters would
think this old GE ad is okay too? Image from source.
Regarding Racism and Redskins

. . .Casual, quotidian racism was everywhere; it was a part of the American cultural landscape as much as it was part of the American sociopolitical landscape. Advertising was filled with unsubtle racist caricatures. Tom and Jerry cartoons, into the 1950s, featured a Mammy who was constantly reacting to Tom's behavior. Aunt Jemima? Uncle Ben? Rastus, the Cream of Wheat chef? This shit was America, inescapable, insidious, and ubiquitous. . .

Read more at: The Rude Pundit

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Gay Thing: NOM's Anti-gay Marriage March Goes Bust

What if you threw a rally, and nobody came? What if you spent a better part of the year on an image-making, national, relentlessly publicized event, and it blew up in your face? That's pretty much what happened to the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) this past Thursday. The whole thing was so un-newsworthy, that even outlets like The Rachel Maddow Show and All in with Chris Hayes--which would ordinarily revel in NOM's failure--instead ignored it altogether.

Oh, but it was a failure. Even though NOM is wont to crop and Photoshop crowd pictures to give an illusion of success, and even though they claim "thousands" of participants attended, the truth is much more grim for them. News from on the ground was that a sizable chunk of the small crowd--likely closer to 500 than thousands, or even one thousand--were Spanish speaking tourists, there at the rally because they were given a free excursion to Washington DC, to see the sights.

The handwriting has been on the wall for a while that NOM is in decline. Their Twitter and Facebook pages have more gay supporters than NOM supporters. Their money begging emails and blog posts are becoming more and more desperate. And the rally is evidence that those appeals are falling on deaf ears. As the marriage equality movement continues to expand, and given the likelihood that nationwide same-sex marriage legality is on the horizon, how long can NOM stay in the game? How long can their leaders, notably Brian Brown, continue to draw enormous salaries? And how long can they continue to get name politicians to speak for them, even if they are punchlines like Rick
I've seen more people at a small, shopping center
carnival. Image from DailyKos
Santorum and Mike Huckabee?


NOM's Rally Crashed, Burned, Flopped, Failed, Fizzled, Disintegrated And Imploded All At Once

I will admit that before NOM's March for Straight Marriage yesterday, I was a little worried that it could do harm to our cause. I was worried that it might begin to roll back public opinion, possibly leading to a reluctance among judges to invalidate marriage discrimination laws. But the rally has not only invalidated my worries, it's actually made me more confident of winning than ever before. . .

Read more at: DailyKos


Inside NOM's Second Failed "March For Marriage"
On June 19, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) held its second March for Marriage - an event that proved to be largely a repeat of last year's march, with dismal attendance, bussed-in supporters, and examples of anti-gay animus on display. An estimated 2,000 attendees convened at the U.S. Capitol for a rally culminating in a march to the U.S. Supreme Court. As he did for last year's event, anti-equality State Sen. Ruben Diaz (D-NY) bussed in a large group of mostly Spanish-speaking evangelicals from the New York area, after promising rally-goers an expense-free trip to Washington to "visit the monuments." Equality Matters approached several attendees to ask about their reasons for attending the rally and their means of getting there, only to be told that they spoke little English. . .

Read more at: Media Matters


Blast from the Past: Classic Bloopers!

Some weeks in my Blast from the Past columns, I pick a subject, find my video clips, and then do descriptions of each, in brief or at length. Other weeks, the videos kind of speak for themselves. The latter weeks are easier! So, while combing my brain for ideas, I hit upon one that requires very little commentary from me: bloopers from classic shows of the distant and more recent past. I'm going into this not knowing how much I'll find, so let's discover together.

1. Happy Days, 1974-1984

2. Laverne & Shirley, 1976-1983

3. Mork & Mindy, 1978-1982
4. The Brady Bunch, 1969-1974

5. The Carol Burnett Show, 1967-1978
6. The Golden Girls, 1985-1992

7. Family Ties, 1982-1989
8. Friends, 1994-2004

And that's it for the weekend. See how easy it was? Heh. Happy Monday, everybody.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

In Case You Missed It: Megyn Kelly Calls Cheney on His Iraq Blunders

This was an extraordinary thing to happen on FOX "News," a primetime anchor of their opinion programming (separate and apart from their "hard news" stuff, naturally), throwing down with former Vice-President Darth Dick Cheney. She basically asks him why we should take his advice on Iraq now, when he was wrong about a whole host of things with the original invasion and war. She kindly doesn't level charges of lying us into war, but we can only hope for so much. Almost as remarkably, Cheney doesn't deny what she says, he doesn't back-pedal, apologize, or attempt to reframe it. He simply disagrees with her. Disagrees with facts, mind you. Hey, only a demon can live in multiple realities at the same time, right? Maybe we should ask his demon-spawn, since all of this publicity is to give the poor thing something to do.

Megyn Kelly to Cheney: "History has Proven" You Were Wrong in Iraq

". . .In your op-ed, you write as follows: "Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many." But time and time again, history has proven that you got it wrong as well in Iraq, sir. You said there was no doubt Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. You said we would be greeted as liberators. You said the Iraq insurgency was in the last throes back in 2005. And you said that after our intervention, extremists would have to "rethink their strategy" of jihad. Now, with almost a trillion dollars spent there, with 4,500 American lives lost there, what do you say to those who say you were so wrong about so much at the expense of so many?. . ."

Read more at: Gawker

What is That in the Picture with Ted Cruz?

Image from RawStory

I'd just like to point out that this man--the conservative great hope for 2016--is using a TelePrompTer. Isn't that supposed to be the height of disingenuousness, or. . .something? And might I just ask, is there a single picture of Ted Cruz where he doesn't look evil, or at the very least, creepy?


In Case You Missed It: Yes, Benghazi Was Because of the Video

Partly, at least, the attack on Benghazi was--according to one of the main guys behind the attack--about the video, Innocence of Muslims. It was also at the root of unrest in many other areas of the Muslim world, so why it is surprising that it might have something to do with Benghazi, I literally have no idea.

Maybe a conservative reading this, maybe one I'm friends with (hello, Dan!) might be able to explain to me why there is an obsessive focus in Right Wing World over whether or not the video had anything to do with it? Maybe, while you're at it, you can explain the laser-like focus on the Sunday show appearances of Ambassador Susan Rice--who is now vindicated, by the way, send your cards of apology--five days after the attack? I've never understood the key points of contention on the right. Like, at all. When Hillary Clinton said, "What difference, at this point, does it make?" that is what she was referring to, and I was in total agreement with her frustration.

Conservatives, please send your cards of apology.
A fruit basket, or edible bouquet might be nice as well.
It's time to put the Benghazi attack in the perspective it deserves: an attack on Americans, and get past this nonsense, especially now that the right has lost one of their key talking points (even if I don't understand why it was a talking point).


Benghazi Suspect Said He Was Moved To Take Revenge For American-Made Video

Benghazi attack suspect Ahmed Abu Khattala, who was captured by U.S. forces on Sunday, told people the move against the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya was intended as revenge for an American-made online video that was seen as an attack to Islam, according to the New York Times. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

Friday, June 20, 2014

Give Me Some Credit!

Click to embiggen
The Other Half and I have each had our troubles with credit in our lives, thankfully at separate times, and also thankfully in the distant past. But I'm amazed at how much the credit card companies want our business. After years of offers, about six weeks ago, I decided to start collecting the offers, just to see how often they really come. To date: 5 Capital One Card, 5 Barclay Card, 3 Discover Card. In all, 13 offers from three companies in six weeks. Even more odd, only one was for me! I guess I've been out of debt so long, they don't think I'm interested any more?

But keep this in mind, next time you wonder why your interest rates are so high: how much money are they spending on these repeated, excessive, expensive, glossy mailers?

Kitchen Update: Remodeling is Guesswork

Okay, so I have this habit, see. Whenever I make a major purchase, I second and third-guess myself. In other words, I shop for things after I buy them. To make sure I got a good deal, and to berate myself for being suckered by a sale or promotion for one. But also to determine if I made a good decision. I do this less if I spent a long time researching prior to purchase. More often, however, my purchases tend to either be more impulsive, or more urgent, and I lack the time before hand to make sure I'm getting what I should.

The original Maytag Ice2O. Note the handles.
This is how quickly trends change.
I've found that I usually do all right, a solid B grade in my choices. The sale price (ending tomorrow, seemingly always) often turns out to be ultimately a good deal, but not unsurpassed. When I upgraded our kitchen in 2006/2007, I hit about .500 on my choices. The Frigidaire Professional Series over-the-stove microwave was a great purchase, as was the Frigidaire Gallery Series gas range (with five burners). I love them to this day, and they were both stainless steel with black enamel. That was important, because the first purchase had been a black Maytag Ice2O refrigerator, and they matched just fine.

Ice2O was the first of its kind, a French door, bottom freezer model, with an ice and water dispenser through the door. I fell in love with the look of it, and made it a goal as soon as I saw the first one. I'd wanted a stainless steel model, and kept my eyes open for one. When I finally had the urge to buy one, I found a floor model at Home Depot, at a great discount. It was a black model, rather than stainless, but the price was so good, I compromised.

I should have waited. As I've said on the blog before, it was not a good choice. Being a floor model, it had some flaws. Some--like the dents on the side--didn't matter, because they really didn't show. Some, like the permanent marks from the installation of the handles, and the non-balancing, damaged rollers, were not so good. Add to those, the fact that there were built-in problems, like a tendency for the waterline to freeze, and for the control panel to become possessed at some random time. So, with little warning, the refrigerator had to be replaced*.
The new fridge, a Whirlpool Gold Series. See
the long, swoopy handles?
Also to be replaced was our Frigidare (I don't know what series, crap, maybe?) dishwasher. Bought along with the stove and microwave, initially we were pleased with it. Mostly because it replaced an entry-level, awful, noisy model. But over time (and very quickly), it developed as much noise, and the inability to. . .you know. . .wash stuff. It sucked. So, we bought two new appliances, basically 7 years after the most recent purchases.

We ended up with a Kenmore (made by Whirlpool) dishwasher first, all stainless, no visible controls, and a Whirlpool French door refrigerator, very much like the Ice2O, but also all stainless. So far, both are great additions to the kitchen, with completely by accident, matching handles. The dishwasher is frankly quieter than the fridge, and does a fantastic job washing dishes. ALWAYS, always, always put an extra couple of hundred dollars on a dishwasher if you can. You'll absorb the cost in a couple of months, and it will
Awful, awful builder sink and faucet
be worth it in the long run.

But part of my obsession with figuring out if I did all right, comes with Google searching everything, down to, is this stuff even in style anymore? And because I do this, I thought I'd share a bit of what I found with you. So, herewith are my suggestions for you, should you happen by this column, doing what I always do:

- Buy what you like, and don't pay attention to the reviews you find online, at least when it comes to style. If you search for kitchen trends, you'll find things that span the gamut, but they've been warning that stainless steel is going out of fashion for at least seven years. If you go to any appliance section of any store, you will see  a sea of stainless, some black, some white, and a smattering of colors. Stainless isn't going anywhere.
The new sink, faucet and granite.
- The same goes for granite countertops. People have been predicting that they're going out of style for a decade. But they're not. And all of the new surfaces? They're attractive, but trendy. How do you know that butcher block, concrete or stainless counter isn't going to look "so 2010s" ten years from now? My advice on granite though, is go up a notch if you can. And stay away from bullnose edges, mostly. Tan Brown, Uba Tuba, Baltic Brown, and other "entry level" granites are very common, and that bullnose has been used in so many apartments, I just advise against it. Go for a little more unique granite, with a ogee or beveled edge.
- Under-mount your sink, and consider how you'll use it before you commit. We spent a lot on our sink, but we got a seamless drain (for no crud buildup around the drain), and a thick gauge steel, so there isn't much noise. We also got a large, deep basin for washing dishes, and a smaller one for a dish rack. It's how we work. And consider if you work left-to-right, or right-to-left. Others prefer a single, deep basin, with a washtub for dishes.
- Get a tall, unobstructed faucet for the sink. Coupled with a deep basin, you'll marvel at what you can fit entirely in the sink. Roasting pans, cookie sheets, stock pots. It's a great addition, and you'll wonder why the hell builders put in those low, ugly fixtures.
The old Formica.

The new Crema Bordeaux granite, before we
put the drawers back in.
- There are going to be things you can't foresee. For instance, there was no way to know that the Ice2O had built-in design flaws. There certainly was no way to know that the trends in something like door-handles would change. Check out the handles in my photos here of the older, black fridge, as compared to the swooping handles on the new one. I even noticed the handles on our mid-90s garage fridge we just sold were significantly different from later, 2000s models. That's something you've got little control over, when keeping your kitchen current.
- If you're upgrading counters and appliances, don't forget your light fixtures. Of all the spending on kitchen stuff, light fixtures are relatively inexpensive, and can really make an impression. Especially if you still have the fixtures the builder put in.
- Once you get started upgrading, even if you don't to a tear-out (we left our cabinets), you will have difficulty stopping. We replaced the fridge, dishwasher, countertops, sink, light fixtures, as well as the faucet, trash can and bar stools. And that doesn't count the two bathrooms, and carpets in the bedrooms!

So, for now, we think we're pretty much done. The last thing, probably to be done later this year, is to upgrade the cabinets, by having them stained (as a neighbor of ours did to great effect), with the addition of  crown molding across the top, and stainless pulls for the doors and drawers. This is probably the single biggest risk, trend-wise. Because there seems to be no way to predict where cabinet trends will go.

If you are an unlucky owner of the original Maytag Ice2O refrigerator, and you have not had this problem, you very likely will. In fact, if you Google "blinking control panel, flapping ice door" it will bring up countless pages specifically on this refrigerator. But I have good news for you, if you haven't yet paid to have it fixed: if you have $5 and know someone who knows how to solder, you can fix it, and it takes very little time and effort. You just buy two little cylindrical capacitors at Radio Shack, and replace the ones on the (very easy to remove) circuit board. Here is the link to the instructions. Don't even bother calling Maytag or even the cute new Maytag repairman.

So, Finally, Here's What Happened to Lawrence O'Donnell

Image from The Daily Beast
If you follow any particular news/entertainment programs on either radio or television (which is easier to do if you're a conservative fan of such programming, than if you're a liberal), you may be accustomed to programming changes with little explanation. Again, this may happen more to liberals like me whose hosts don't have a rock-solid perch (like say a Rush Limbaugh). Anyway, when something happens, the host is gone, or the format changes, news about what happened is somehow always shrouded in mystery. When radio host Randi Rhodes was mysteriously off the air (two or three times), the only way to get any information was online, and then it was sparse and untrustworthy.

So, when Lawrence O'Donnell, host of The Last Word on MSNBC, suddenly wasn't on the air, it was no surprise that details were few. We were told he'd been in a crash with his brother in a foreign country, and that he was convalescing. That was it, there was no more information. I haven't looked, but I'm sure there were online conspiracy theories on both sides about what happened. That's just par for the course.

On Thursday, Lawrence appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show to announce his return this coming Monday. And now, we have an account of where he was and what happened. It's actually a harrowing, yet interesting story.


The Crash and Churn of Lawrence O’Donnell

“What a stupid way to die,” Lawrence O’Donnell thought to himself. A split-second earlier, the host of MSNBC’s 10 p.m. program, The Last Word, had been gazing down at a map on his iPhone, following the progress of his taxi, a Chevy van, as he and his older brother Michael rode to dinner on the resort island of Tortola. It was around 7:45 p.m., Saturday, April 12, the start of what promised to be a lovely vacation in the British Virgin Islands with his big brother, a Boston lawyer. . .

Read more at: The Daily Beast

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Dick Cheney and the Devil

Who is it besides Dick Cheney, and his demon spawn daughter (who makes a cameo toward the end of this video) that is seen by people as evil? Could it beeeeeee. . .SATAN!?!?


Yes, Obama's Approval Rating Is Down. . .But Not as Much as Everyone Else

Amongst friends, I've openly pondered, why are President Obama's approval ratings so low? All things considered--and that would be the relentless and constant opposition from Republicans in and out of elected office--I think he's doing a pretty good job. I don't agree with everything he's done, and some of the stuff that sort of carried over from Bush? Yeah, I could do without a bunch of that. But on balance, I think he's been a pretty good president. Certainly better than anyone who ran against him.
Image from source, NewsCorpse

But I get it that Right Wing World hates him. Hates. Him. That would be somewhat understandable, if it was simply a response to his policies, but it's been like this from Day 1 (or earlier), and hasn't dissipated, it's only gotten worse. And they hate him even for things that they used to be for. It's transparent, naked hatred (and I don't know if you happened to notice, but he's black). So, anyway, I'd get it if his approval ratings were hovering around 50%. That would make sense. But in the 40s?

I'd chalk it up to a fickle, easily distracted, easily led, not particularly interested public, except for the fact that Obama's ratings are among the best of the rest of our elected officials! 'Course, people could still be disconnected and hate 'em all, I suppose. But before the Boehners and McConnells and the rest get too overjoyed about Obama's predicament, they should look at their own numbers. And before the completely sell their souls to the Tea Party, they should look to see who is at rock bottom.


GOPee Yew: What The Media Isn’t Telling You About Obama’s Poll Numbers

A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll (pdf) has some decidedly bad news for President Obama. The American people, according to this survey, are losing patience with the President and expressing it with low opinions of his job performance, foreign policy, and leadership. It is a distinct concern for him as his administration heads into its final two years. That said, the news isn’t all bad. But far be it for the media to put the results in context so that people get a balanced perspective of the nation’s mood. In addition to the floundering numbers, there are some areas that ought to produce some optimism for the President and those aligned with his policies. First among them is the fact that, while Obama’s numbers are nothing to write home about, his political rivals are doing so much worse that may want to run away from home. . .

Read more at: NewsCorpse

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

If FOX "News" Covered the Marvel Universe

This is my favorite thing ever. Well, it's my favorite thing I've found on the internet for a very long time. And while it's great, I'm really not sure they went far enough! Enjoy.


What If… Fox News Covered The Marvel Universe
FOX NEWS ALERT: “Intelligence sources tell Fox News that President Obama would not allow Captain America to respond to a recent HYDRA attack on a SHIELD base. White House spokesman Jay Carney claims that Cap was 75 million light years away preventing Thanos from getting the Infinity Gauntlet, but our next guest questions whether this so-called ‘Infinity War’ actually happened.”

Read more at: The Daily Banter

Jon Stewart: Mess O'Potamia - 2014, And the Return of Iraq War Architects

This was a great bit from Tuesday night's Daily Show with Jon Stewart. It's not lost on most of us that the very people who were the architects, planners and cheerleaders of the Iraq War, those people who were wrong about everything, have come back, and are presenting themselves as experts. It's not at all funny, but somehow, Stewart makes it so.

Rachel Maddow Exterminates Dick and Liz Cheney

I used the word "exterminates" in my headline as a bit of purposeful hyperbole, to a) poke fun at typical hyperbolic interwebz headlines, b) to indulge in a little wishful thinking about the loathsome Cheneys, and c) because Rachel really does manage to almost fulfill words like "annihilates," or "destroys" with this story. She manages to give a thorough history lesson, ties it together with what's going on now, and uses it to paint the Cheneys (or as they might say, Cheney's) as clueless, tone-deaf, craven opportunists. And she manages to be entertaining while doing it!

It's long, but very much worth a view.

Conservatives Want to Live in the Bubble?

Image from source, Salon
It's no secret that we're a divided country these days, with a left, a far right, and a silent middle. Notice I didn't say "far left." That's because as far as I can tell, there isn't much of one, beyond Noam Chomsky. Of course, even moderate liberals look far left by comparison to the right, whose mainstream has been supplanted by its fringe edge. So, I guess you could say that there isn't much of a far right either, because what in the world would the fringe of the fringe look like? I mean, when Cliven Bundy is a hero?

Anyway, that's the oddity of our politics. But what's interesting, not only are we divided, but it appears we really, really want to be divided. Particularly in the case of conservatives.


Wingnuts’ sheltered fantasy: This is the far right’s scary myopic vision
A recent survey of 10,000 Americans from Pew Research Center for the People and the Press was ostensibly designed to provide proof of the increased polarization of our country. (Spoiler alert: “Republicans and Democrats are more divided along ideological lines – and partisan antipathy is deeper and more extensive – than at any point in the last two decades.”) But the poll, due to its large sample size of both far left and far right respondents, provides quantitative data demonstrating something striking: an extreme right wing that not only hates those on the opposite side of the political spectrum, but also desires to be isolated ethnically, culturally and geographically from the rest of the country. . .

Read more at: Salon

Hillary Clinton, Interviewed by FOX "News"

I haven't watched yet, but I'll get to it, and maybe do an update with my response. Meanwhile, here you go.

Right Wing World: Obama Gets Bad Guy In Benghazi Attack. . .To Distract From Benghazi

Okay, so we got the bad guy in the Benghazi attack, right? And Right Wing World has been obsessed with Benghazi ever since it happened. First, they hoped to hang it around President Obama's neck, to sink his reelection chances. That didn't work. But they kept going, in disbelief that it didn't work. After a while (and after shelving Benghazi several times to divert to other scandals), the right shifted gears, and decided Benghazi was the ticket to stopping Hillary Clinton.

Anyway, we got the bad guy behind the attack. And, Right Wing World was jubilant, and sang Obama's praises! Or rather, they went into overdrive to figure out how it was a bad thing, and Obama BAD! Turns out, they're only interested in Benghazi if in sinks Obama and/or Hillary. In other words, they're not actually interested in the event itself, but rather what it can do for them politically. Which is kind of sick, when you remember that four Americans died in the attack.


Obama Captures Suspect In Benghazi Attack To Distract From Benghazi

You might think that today’s news that a suspect in the Benghazi terrorist attack was captured in Libya would be greeted with satisfaction and relief. You would be right with respect to the reaction of the American people, but over at Fox News it’s a different story. As usual, nothing that Obama does can be characterized positively at Fox News. They work studiously to maintain their warped view that Obama is a foreign-born, anti-American, terrorist-sympathizing, incompetent, evil genius. And so it is with the apprehension of Ansar al-Sharia commander Ahmed Abu Khattala. . .

Read more at: NewsCorpse

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Hey, Kids! It's Gun Nuts! (A Rocky Mountain Mike Ad Parody)


A Proposal for the Iraq Situation

When I was a kid, and was acting up, I remember being told, "Be quiet, or I'll give you something to cry about!" Well, I have a similar suggestion for those weirdos down in Texas who want to go everywhere with their big, shiny guns:

Draft the members of OPEN CARRY TEXAS, and send them to fight in Iraq.

That's all. What do you think?

Can We Please Ignore the Iraq War "Experts?"

Image from source, Politico
I would never claim to be an expert on the Middle East. I'll be honest, I've never even really understood the fervor of our support for Israel. So, I'm not going to put on a front like I have the answer to what's going on in Iraq right now. But I'm pretty sure about a couple of things:

- Whether our withdrawal from Iraq spurred the current unrest or not, we had to leave, a) because we couldn't stay indefinitely, b) because George W. Bush signed an agreement before he left office (remember, he had a shoe thrown at him), c) the Iraqi parliament voted us out, and d) the overwhelming sentiment of the American people was for us to leave.

- The architects and players of the War in Iraq, including Rice, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Feith, Hadley, Tenet, Rumsfeld, and Dubya himself should have no role in any decisions made. They also shouldn't be viewed as experts on cable news or the Sunday political shows. Add to the Bush Administration the cheerleaders for war, such as Bill Kristol, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, and really the whole of FOX "News" and right-wing talk radio. They were all flat wrong about almost everything. Their opinions shouldn't hold any weight or any sway.

- Most of all, let's get the President out of the damned microscope. Let's have just a smidgen of the old "don't criticize the Commander in Chief in a time of war," attitude again, shall we? Not to insane, grill-the-Dixie Chicks, Patriotic­™ American® ­levels, but in the actual patriotic American sense. Imagine if we did have the dreaded sequel to 9/11. Rather than rallying around the flag, Right Wing World would be sharpening their pitchforks, lighting their torches, and storming Pennsylvania Avenue. It's not healthy individually and not healthy for our country to behave this way.


The Case for Doing Nothing in Iraq

Here we go again. Whenever there’s a crisis anywhere in the world, you can count on America’s pundit class to demand action—usually of the military variety. Don’t just stand there, bomb something! After more than two decades of unchallenged American hegemony, Washington keyboards seem almost programmed to call for intervention halfway around the globe. . .

Read more at: Politico

Monday, June 16, 2014

Blast from the Past: Let's Boogie!

My inspiration for this week's Blast from the Past is simple: I was listening to my phone's music on random while walking, and happened to have Boogie Nights and Boogie Oogie Oogie come on right in a row. And it got me to thinking, "how many songs have 'boogie' in the title anyway?" As it turns out, more than you would think. In fact, so many that I can't include them all here, unless I decide to write a sequel in the future. But here are my favorites.

1. Boogie Child by The Bee Gees (1977) - Yes, the Bee Gees are known for disco, but this was quite a bit out of their usual sound.
2. Boogie Fever by The Sylvers (1976) - Cheese, pure cheese.

3. Jungle Boogie by Kool and the Gang (1974) - Funky, early disco.
4. Boogie Wonderland by Earth, Wind and Fire (1979) - Quintessential, disco perfection.

5. Boogie Oogie Oogie by A Taste of Honey (1978) - Thin, but catchy.
6. Boogie Shoes by K.C. and the Sunshine Band (1978) - Kid-friendly, white bread disco.

7. I'm Your Boogie Man by K.C. and the Sunshine Band (1977) - More mayonnaisey-goyishy disco.
8. Blame it on the Boogie by The Jacksons (1978) - The Jacksons move on to disco.

9. Boogie Nights by Heatwave (1977) - So good, they made a movie out of it.
10. Get Up and Boogie by Silver Connection (1976) - Did I say "thin" before? This song's entire lyric sheet is "Get up and boogie. That's right!" Watch the girls having nothing to do but dance between that sparse poetry. Probably helped give disco its bad reputation.

And truly, that's just a taste of the Boogie. But that will wrap it up for this weekend. Happy Monday!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Over Time with Bill Maher, June 13, 2014

Casey Kasem Dead at 82

Image from source, HuffPo
These days, most of my Sunday* mornings begin with extreme frustration, because I--for reasons I can't articulate--tend to watch Meet the Press and one or two of the other political shows. But when I was a kid, it was a morning spent with anticipation. Because I was a pop culture junkie even then, and I'd be so excited to find out who was number one on American Top 40.

[Updated to add: Other write-ups have listed Saturday as the broadcast day, but I'm virtually certain in was Sundays, at least in Columbus, Ohio.]

Nobody sets their watch by radio shows anymore, unless they're ditto heads. But in the 70s and 80s, Casey Kasem was it, with his hours-long radio countdown of the day's hit songs, sprinkled with factoids, mini-interviews, and of course, long-distance dedications. The funniest of the latter was a woman's heart-rending dedication of Bread's Everything I Own, to her lost guitar. Kasem's show was so hot, it spawned countless imitators there for a while, with people like Rick Dees getting involved with his own countdown, as well as a shorter version for Kasem on TV.

Amazingly, though I was a media-savvy kid, it took me some time to realize that Kasem was a bigger part of my childhood than I knew at the time. Because I was a huge fan of his--unknowingly--on Saturday mornings too. His voice work on kids' cartoons was legendary, especially as the voice of Robin on Batman and The Super Friends, and of course as Shaggy on Scooby-Doo. As Casey started to fade from his peak as a pop culture phenomenon, his wife Jean became a blip on the radar. Her work as Nick Tortelli's eccentric wife on Cheers (and later its short-lived spinoff) briefly eclipsed her husband's career.

And now, sadly, Jean seems a bit loopy, throwing meat (?!) at people and screaming incoherently, and her husband has passed, after a long decline. It's a sad ending to such an interesting, quirky celebrity couple. But I guess you can't script your own ending like a dedication. RIP, Casey. And now, a story about a dog. . .


Casey Kasem Dead: Legendary Broadcaster Dies At 82

Casey Kasem died Sunday morning at St. Anthony's Hospital in Gig Harbor Wash. on June 15. The legendary broadcaster was taken off life support at age 82. Kasem suffered from a progressive form of dementia known as Lewy Body Disease. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

Friday, June 13, 2014

Totally Not Gay Rick Perry's Ideas on The GayThing

Rick Perry was once the great GOP hope. I mean after Fred Thompson, who turned out to be a big snooze. Perry was handsome, and rugged. He's been a governor of Texas, which makes him seem even more manly. But he turned out to be something of a tone-deaf goober. And a bit of a dolt.

Now, this isn't the first time Perry has shown a mixture of stupidity/ignorance, mixed with a good helping of homophobia. But I think it's particularly ironic, when you consider that Perry has had gay rumors swirling about him for years. So, it makes me wonder. I mean if Perry is on the "down-low," maybe this is how he's compartmentalized it in his mind? Like a drunk who decides not to drink, he just decides not to acknowledge his true feelings?

Image from source, Think Progress

Rick Perry Derides Gay ‘Lifestyle’, Compares It To Alcoholism
This past weekend, the Texas Republican Party approved a new platform plank that endorsed ex-gay therapy for those “who are seeking escape from the homosexual lifestyle.” Asked about the platform Wednesday night, Gov. Rick Perry (R) seemed to defend it by suggesting that homosexuality is comparable to alcoholism. “Whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or not, you have the ability to decide not to do that,” Perry suggested. “I may have the genetic coding that I’m inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that, and I look at the homosexual issue the same way. . .”

Read more at: ThinkProgress

President Obama on Iraq: Not Ruling Anything Out

Image from source, NBC News

There are one or two things I'd like to rule out, please. And I'd also like to point out that the same guys who championed the disaster that was the Iraq War are the same guys championing going in again. Let's not, okay? Sure, we broke it. But it wasn't in pristine shape in the first place. Can't we just leave it on the floor in pieces, and pretend we didn't see it fall?


Obama on Iraq Turmoil: 'I Don't Rule Out Anything'

President Barack Obama said Thursday "I don;t rule out anything" when it comes to a U.S. response to worsening violence in Iraq. Speaking to reporters briefly after meeting with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott at the White House, Obama said "my national security team is looking at all the options" available in stemming an advance by Islamic extremists in the north and west of the country. "This is an area we've been watching with a lot of concern, not just over the last days but the last several months," Obama said, adding that his administration has "been in close consultation with the Iraqi government to try to address problems they have. . .

Read more at: NBC News

Crazy Preacher Bradlee Dean Still Has it In for Rachel Maddow

Not an Axl Rose impersonator.
I have Google Alerts set up for several things for my blog, one of them being "Rachel Maddow." The other day, I got an alert for a story about Bradlee Dean (yes, he really spells it that way), the nutty, anti-gay, rock and roll preacher, and how he has a legal squabble with Rachel Maddow. This story goes back a ways, but it has to do with Rachel doing a story on Dean, and his anti-gay views. Dean said she took him out of context to make him look hateful, which is hilarious, because he is plainly hateful.

Anyhow, he lost the case, and is supposed to pay for her legal bills. But he doesn't want to. Beyond that, I couldn't really suss out what he was trying to say. Even the headline was inscrutable ("WHAT RACHEL MADDOW PURPOSED NOT TO TELL YOU ABOUT ME"). And then I got at least two more Google Alerts on the same story, covered by others. Now, since I couldn't figure it out, I passed it off to Joe.My.God., since that blog had been covering this story back in the day. But even Joe apparently couldn't make heads or tails of it.

But as I said the other day, when I have a WTF story I can't get my hands around, Wonkette is my go-to crazy-splainer.


Bradlee Dean Will Never Retreat, Never Surrender, Never Stop Suing Rachel Maddow

. . .Time for some Real Talk here. We read this DeanScreed several times, but we still can’t really figure out what on earth he is saying. He’s still SUPER MAD ALL CAPS HEADLINES MAD that Rachel Maddow quoted him, but didn’t quote everything he ever said, because if she had, then it would be totally clear that when he called for the deaths of the gays, it was totally not calling for the deaths of the gays, because context. Also, we have learned that Bradlee is in desperate need of an editor, even one of the crummy ones over at his other haunts like WND, because Christ just try to follow this. . .

Read more at: Wonkette

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Another Take on Why Eric Cantor Lost

There have been a lot of opinions thrown around about why Eric Cantor lost his job on Tuesday night, and what it all means. But I'll bet you haven't heard this point of view. Dave "Mudcat" Saunders, a long-time political strategist in Virginia--and something of an Eric Cantor expert--had some very interesting opinions about it, when he talked to Stephanie Miller on Wednesday morning. Worth a listen, if you want another perspective.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Elizabeth Warren is Unhappy with Mitch McConnell Over Blocked Student Loan Bill

Image from source, PoliticsUSA
I make no secret around here that I love Elizabeth Warren. I'd vote for her for any office she'd run for up to and including (wishful thinking ) president. I think she actually and honestly cares about what she's doing. And her big student loan bill came this close to actually passing. In fact, it passed by a majority about as large as Eric Cantor's loss on election night, but didn't quite make it to supermajority. Yes, Senator Mitch (duck and cover) McConnell mounted a filibuster threat, and that was that. Not because the bill was bad, but because it a) was a Democrat's idea and b) was paid for by raising taxes on the super-rich. Oh, woe is them.

Here's what I've got to wonder though. Every time Republicans block legislation that is popular with broad swaths of the electorate, students, minorities, women, aren't they just shooting themselves in the foot electorally? I mean, I know that Americans have notoriously short memories, and that they are unfortunately easily misled. But in this era of the Googles, John Stewart and Bill Maher, I've got to think voters are going to be reminded come election day.

Elizabeth Warren Declares War on Mitch McConnell After He Blocked Her Student Loan Bill
"Well, accountability is exactly the right word. I plan on fighting back on this, and I hope that everybody else does too. One way, I’m going to start fighting back is I’m going to go down to Kentucky and I’m going to campaign for Alison Lundergan Grimes, . She’s tough. She’s feisty. She endorsed the student loan bill, said she wanted to bring down interest rates for Kentuckians, and so my view is, I’m going to get out there and try to make this happen for her. . ."

Read more (with video) at: PoliticsUSA

What Happens in Vegas: Man Stranded at McCarran Airport Makes Hilarious Video

I laughed, and I cried. I've spent a lot of time at that terminal over the years, though never overnight, and I can surely relate to being bored there. But this guy really knows how to cure boredom. But be warned, I found it hilarious, but The Other Half--who actually works out of LAS--was less impressed.


Man Trapped Overnight at Vegas Airport Shoots Ridiculous Music Video

All by myself from Richard Dunn on Vimeo.

Caught overnight at Las Vegas' McCarran Airport with practically no one else around, Richard Dunn could have taken a cab back to the strip and partied until his flight in the morning. Instead, he whipped out his iPhone and made this gloriously cheesy music video for Celine Dion's 1996 cover of "All By Myself. . ."

Read more at: Gawker
<snort!> Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

That is all.

Eric Cantor: Thanks For the Douchiness (A Rocky Mountain Mike Song Parody)

Thanks for the memories!


House Majority Leader Eric Cantor Suffers Surprise Loss in Primary Battle

Is it so hard to see why there is a page called Eric Cantor's Bitch Face?
Image from source, MSN
I can't ever think of the House Majority Leader without thinking of Eric Cantor's Bitch Face, a satirical tumblr page that pokes fun of Cantor's perceived haughtiness and detachment from ordinary folks. And it just may be that attitude that lost him his seat, in a surprise primary night result.

Of course, it could also be the fact that tea baggers were pissed at him for his insufficiently awful immigration stance. And also, of course, because this election was so sparsely attended by voters other then tea baggers. And so, instead of Virginia being home to the second most powerful Republican in the House of Representatives, they'll have (assuming their new candidate wins) a House freshman. But the Tea Party can claim a fairly significant scalp: one of their own guys, more or less.


House Majority Leader Cantor defeated in primary

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was defeated Tuesday by a little-known economics professor in Virginia's Republican primary, a stunning upset and major victory for the tea party. . .

Read more at: MSN

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Rachel Maddow DESTROYS PolitiFact

You'll get the headline if you watch the video.

What Happens in Vegas: More Is Now Known About Walmart/Pizza Parlor Shooting

I've noticed something about gun violence, and the response it gets when it happens, in social media and the blogosphere. You get the news that a school, or a store or a military base or some other area has been attacked by a shooter or shooters. There's usually a bit of shock, followed by a smattering of sorrow and well-wishes to the survivors, and the families of the dead. It's all eventually old news, and overshadowed by the next shooting. But in between, we get:

- From liberals and/or gun control advocates (I'm the former, mixed with a tad of the latter), there is tsk-tsking. finger wagging, condemnation of the NRA and speculation. The speculation usually goes to the obvious places first, "gun nuts," tea partiers, right-wing extremists, those "sovereign citizen" people. There is a whole lot of resignation and weariness that nothing is going to change, and a simmering anger about how it's all just allowed to continue. And of course, you'll have the fringy leftists who go too far, though they're (I believe) in the minority.

- From conservatives and/or gun rights activists (I used to be the former with a tad of the latter), there is a reflexive defensiveness with amazing and instantaneous hostility. Right away, there are proclamations about what liberals are going to say or do. There are defiant announcements that this better not lead to a "gun grab." There are seeds of  conspiracy theories sown almost immediately. And there is a heavy emphasis on making sure that the perp is perceived as either a) a radical lefty, b) a radical lefty posing as a conservative in order to smear them, or c) maybe a radical righty, but if so, a lone wolf with no connection to any other conservative group or individuals. And, of course, you'll have the fringy rightists who go too far, and they are in abundance.

If you don't believe me, hit any major newspaper's comments section on this story. Or go straight to the source at, and click their section labeled "BangList." Yes, it's really called that.

Meanwhile, let's get a few facts on this whole Las Vegas shooting, shall we? As horrific as the attack was (and I'm tempted to call it a terrorist attack), there are also fascinating elements to the story, and how it is unfolding. For instance, the connection the Millers (the killers) had to a law passed in Indiana that allows citizens--under certain conditions, naturally--to shoot cops. 


Shooters carried arsenal, supplies into Sunday rampage

Jerad and Amanda Miller left their downtown apartment Sunday morning loaded for a long fight. Police said the Millers had a small arsenal and survivalist gear in two bags when they entered a northeast Las Vegas Wal-Mart on Sunday, killed a shopper who confronted them with his own gun, and then shot it out with officers before taking their own lives. . .

Read more at: Las Vegas Review-Journal

Monday, June 9, 2014

Virginia Dem Takes "Bribe" from Republicans, Shifts Balance of Power

This story is so bananas, I have to go to my favorite WTF release valve, Wonkette, to fill you in. It's just. . .I mean, I can't even. . .


Virginia Democrat Takes The Perfectly Legal Bribe Money From Republicans, Runs
[The rest is beneath the fold here, because the annoying video is AUTOPLAY (grumble)]

Over Time with Bill Maher: June 6, 2014

One of the better editions of this online-only portion of Real Time with Bill Maher. And while I'm dismayed whenever a shyster like Ralph Reed gets a forum like this, others are doubtless annoyed that Anthony Weiner continues to get the same.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Blast from the Past: Gay Anthems, Part II

Since we're still early in June, which is Gay Pride month, and it's The Other Half's birthday, I thought I'd continue with the theme of "gay anthems," those you don't have to be gay. . .but it couldn't hurt! -type songs. Of course, there are so many to choose from, I didn't have room for all of them last week anyway. Let's get started.

1. Smalltown Boy by Bronski Beat (1984) - I'll confess to missing this one, having been firmly stuck on top-40 music at the time, and only 18. Still, my younger (straight) brother insisted that it get a spot this week! Apparently, it was really, really gay.
2. Express Yourself by Madonna (1989) - One of Madge's best, and certainly her most stylish video.

3. You Spin Me 'Round (Like a Record) by Dead or Alive (1985) - Pete Burns was like the sinister Boy George, and this song was everywhere in 1985.
4. Brand New Lover by Dead or Alive (1986) - Just as fun as the previous tune.

5. No More Tears (Enough is Enough) by Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer (1979) - I mean, like you could get these divas together, and it not be a gay anthem? Unfortunately, there is no video. But that note Babs holds? Fabulous.
6. Believe by Cher (1998) - About time Cher made an appearance, right? And at the time, people were marveling at her longevity. . .16 years ago.

7. Lady Marmalade by LaBelle (1974) - Sure, the Christina Aguilera/P!nk/Li'l Kim/Mya cover version might qualify, but this is the classic original, and even burst on the scene before disco really went mainstream.
8. True Colors by Cyndi Lauper (1985) - When I think of a gay anthem, I think "upbeat," but there can be no denying this one has it's place in our big gay hearts.

9. Beautiful by Christina Aguilera (2002) - Much like the previous entry, this ballad is on the list, even if it's a bit sad. It's the defiance that sells it.
10. We are Family by Sister Sledge (1979) - But we've got to get it back to a dance party, right? And why this one didn't occur to me last time, I have no idea. So, let's dance this weekend out!

And I still left out any Donna Summer solo songs, and countless others. Maybe we'll revisit this party to close out the month. Happy Monday, everybody.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...