Friday, February 28, 2014

Blogger Taking a Short Break. . .Back Later!

It's been a long week you guys. Kitchen and bathroom remodel in the middle of a work week. Living in a house with things that aren't where they should be. The Other Half has been gone, and I've just been either busy or tired.

I'll be back in here some time today, but for now? Bedtime.

UPDATE: Still tired, and obligated to more events than usual. But back by Sunday evening for sure!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Gay Thing: Gay Marriage Ban in Texas Found Unconstitutional!

Boy, between states trying to legalize anti-gay discrimination and states tipping toward marriage equality, it seems like every day has some kind of gay news, doesn't it? Throw in Jason Collins, Ellen Page and Michael Sam, and it's just got to be making some people twitchy! Particularly since it's states like Kentucky, Utah, Virginia and now Texas that are seeing their state constitutional amendments get declared federal unconstitutional. Many, many people said these things wouldn't pass constitutional muster back when it was a fad to pass them all over the country. And I think the people who passed them may have even known that. Their number one tactic--even in the face of an inevitable loss--is to delay as long as possible.

Well, gay Texans still have a delay, since this decision is stayed pending appeal. Which is irritating, but expected. I suppose I shouldn't be so impatient, considering the speed things are changing.


Federal Judge Strikes Down Texas’ Ban on Same-Sex Marriage

HOUSTON — A federal judge in Texas struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage on Wednesday, ruling that the laws restricting marriage to a man and a woman violated the United States Constitution and handing gay-rights advocates a major legal victory in one of the nation’s biggest and most conservative states. . .

Read more at: New York Times

The Gay Thing: Jan Brewer Vetos Arizona "Religious Conscience" Law

When she began speaking, Jan Brewer made me a bit nervous. Whenever she speaks, I flash back to her infamous deer-in-the-headlights opening remarks at one of her gubernatorial debates. She's not a talented public speaker, but then again, neither am I. But she did come through on the right side of this one. So, Arizona's anti-gay "religious conscience" law is now vetoed.

Unfortunately, Arizona seems to be somewhere in the middle of the pack, when it comes to these far-right anti-gay laws in the states. They've been popping up like weeds as sort of a backlash to the break-neck speed with which the marriage equality movement is racking up victories. It's a badly thought out, obviously unconstitutional overreaction, and it's clearly coordinated. Luckily, it's failing. So far. Will Jan Brewer's legacy be that she effectively killed this line of attack? Or will the next try (Missouri, at last check) make it?

There has been some fun to be had along the way, oddly enough. First it was exciting that this dispute caught the news cycle, and just kept getting bigger. But it got comical when one by one, prominent Republicans (mostly after the NFL and Apple were urging a veto) jumped on the veto bandwagon. Brewer was left with a fairly easy choice, because everyone was on her side except the rabid, anti-gay contingent. And if you dip a toe into Right Wing World over at, you'll see that they think they are the only ones marching on the right foot on this, and that the whole rest of the world is wrong.


Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoes controversial anti-gay bill, SB 1062
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a bill Wednesday that would have allowed businesses that asserted their religious beliefs the right to deny service to gay and lesbian customers. The controversial measure faced a surge of opposition in recent days from large corporations and athletic organizations, including Delta Air Lines, the Super Bowl host committee and Major League Baseball. . .

Read more at: CNN

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

AZ Gov. Jan Brewer Dithers on Anti-gay "Religious Freedom" Law

Image from source, USA Today
I put "dithers" in the headline, because it's a very good description of what Jan Brewer is doing, and because conservatives love to use that word. Usually in a disparaging way, often when unwarranted. In this case, it's quite warranted.


Arizona governor takes time on anti-gay bill

Gov. Jan Brewer returned to Arizona on Tuesday, five days into an escalating controversy over a bill that would allow the use of religious beliefs as a basis for refusing service to gays and others. The Republican governor has not tipped her hand about what action she will take -- or when. . .

Read more at: USA Today

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Harold Ramis, Dead at 69

Image from Hollywood Gossip
This one came out of left field for me. Maybe because Harold Ramis was a bit older than I thought he was (though certainly not old old). My clearest memories of him are his characters from Stripes and Ghostbusters, in which he was spry and youthful. Sometimes it's easy to freeze a celebrity at a certain age in your mind, particularly when they do the bulk of their work behind the scenes. And there, Ramis really made some memories too. Groundhog Day and National Lampoon's Vacation are two of my mainstay comedy favorites, and he wrote and directed both of them.

He was multi-talented, funny, and wasn't at all hard on the eyes. And he was a chunk of my generation's pop culture. With his exit (and others to inevitably follow), that generation has to finally realize that over 30 years have passed with us hardly noticing.

RIP, Mr. Ramis.

Harold Ramis, 'Buddha of Comedy,' remembered By Rainn Wilson, Patton Oswalt

Harold Ramis influenced a generation of comedians by writing, directing and acting in films such as "Ghostbusters," "Caddyshack" and "Groundhog Day." So when news broke Monday of Ramis' death, the comedy world took to Twitter, often a forum for jokes, to eulogize and commemorate. . .

Read more at: MSN


What Happens in Vegas No More Police at Traffic Accidents?

In a move that is sure to cause confusion, anger and maybe a "stand your ground" case or two, Las Vegas Metro police will no longer respond to car accidents without a significant injury involved. The move is in response to the failure of a proposal to raise the sales tax in order to pay for more police expenses. And I'm guessing it's a way to get that tax passed.

Because this is bound to be a disaster. For one thing, it's always been my understanding that you had to call the cops if you have a wreck, in order to properly fill out the insurance paperwork. No police report? The news release says we'll have to go to the DMV, and that sounds like such a treat.

Image from source, Las Vegas Sun
But what if the other guy is seriously at fault, and there's no cop there to prove it? What if the other guy refuses to show you his ID and skips out? What if he's drunk? I imagine there'll be a few months of insanity on the roads of Las Vegas, and then a civic outcry for more police.


Metro to quit responding to minor traffic accidents beginning March 3
The days of Metro Police responding to fender-benders come to an end next week. Capt. Mark Tavarez of Metro’s Traffic Bureau said at an early afternoon news conference that beginning March 3, patrol officers would stop responding to property-only accidents within Metro’s jurisdiction. . .

Read more at: Las Vegas Sun

Monday, February 24, 2014

CNN Cancels Piers Morgan

Taran Killam will have to find a new news guy to mock
on SNL. Image from source, Raw Story.
While FOX "News" (and their fans) often point and laugh at MSNBC's ratings, the truth is, CNN would kill for even MSNBC's audience. Barring a huge news event--and those still tend to reflexively bring viewers to the channel--CNN is barely breathing, ratings-wise. CNN's own HLN (the horrible devolution of CNN Headline News, which was great) is the only major cable news channel with worse ratings.

So, while it's not a surprise that CNN needs to make changes, it's hard to figure out how they'd know where to start. I guess it's Piers Morgan being scapegoated first. Surely they wouldn't dump Anderson Cooper first. But they've got to do something.

Still, it's worth keeping in mind that cable news as a whole has a tiny, tiny audience. I watch The Rachel Maddow Show, MSNBC's top-rated program. But she manages only around a million viewers per program. And don't laugh too hard, FOX fans. Maddow's competition usually only gets about double her ratings, so it's not like it's any great shakes either.


CNN axing Piers Morgan’s show because of sagging ratings
CNN host Piers Morgan, the former British tabloid editor turned primetime successor to Larry King, will leave his show according to reports in the New York Times and POLITICO. Morgan has languished in the ratings, but achieved notoriety for his gun control advocacy in the wake of the Newtown shootings. Morgan’s show registered as few as 50,000 viewers in the 25-to-54 year-old demographic earlier this week, POLITICO noted. . .

Read more at: Raw Story

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Blast from the Past: Songs That Should Have Been Hits

For this week's Blast from the Past, I'm going to see how many songs I can find that are examples of great songs that either barely hit the Billboard charts, or didn't even break through at all. And I'm sure I'll only crack the surface here. These are the kinds of songs that you either know because they were on an album you played a lot, sometimes on a Greatest Hits collection with some "extras" that really weren't. Or it's an attempt at a comeback from an established star that just didn't do the trick. Whatever it is, these songs all have the makings of a hit, but just. . .weren't for some reason. See how many you know.

1. Ring Ring by ABBA (1973) - This early tune by the Swedish quartet managed to make several world-wide charts, some to number 1. But it didn't chart in the states at all. It should have.

2. On and On and On by ABBA (1980) - A later track by the same group had all the makings of a hit (and the by now standard repeating title of many of their others), but only hit #90 in the US.

3. I'm Gonna Be Strong by Cyndi Lauper (1994) - According to Lauper, this is the song that got her a recording contract. Small wonder. I've always wondered what could have happened if Lauper had been a contestant on American Idol, and belted this out. It's amazing.

4. You Don't Know by Cyndi Lauper (1997) - As you can now tell, I have some favorite artists who have several songs I think should have been hits. This one was probably hampered by an album track that was slow and languid. This dance version is one of my favorites, a song about the stupidity of bigotry.

5. Quantum Mechanic by Thomas Dolby and Dr. Fiorella Terenzi (1994) - This great tune from the Gate to the Mind's Eye soundtrack always made me happy. And should have been released.

6. UMF by Duran Duran (1993) - One of several tracks from "The Wedding Album," something of a comeback album that did have a couple of hits. UMF stands for "ultimate mind f**k," thought the profanity is never uttered.

7. Only You by Pat Benatar (1997) - Again, a great album, chock full of great tunes, but it still couldn't revive Benatar's hit-making career.

8. Try by Billy Pilgrim (1994) - I saw this band when they opened for Melissa Etheridge on tour. I bought their album, and totally dug it. This is one of their best songs, and it turned up on a compilation or two, but didn't really go anywhere. Great harmonies.

9. Rock D.J. by Robbie Williams (2000) - This incredibly catchy dance tune was a hit around the world, but didn't manage more than #24 on the dance chart in the US. Maybe it had something to do with the gory, out-of-left-field video.

10. Little Bird by Annie Lennox (1993) - This is (along with a couple of other tracks that didn't chart) one of my favorite Lennox tunes. Amazing that I didn't do better.

And that will wrap it up for now. I realized as I was writing that there are many, many songs I listen to that were never hits but seemingly could have been. Give these a listen, and look forward to another edition. This one is worth a sequel.

Happy Monday!

Over Time with Bill Maher, February 21, 2014

Friday, February 21, 2014

Right Wing Crank Brent Bozell Turns Out to be a Fraud

Yes, he always looks like that. Image from source, RawStory
Brent Bozell makes himself out to be the watchdog of the "liberal media," with his "Media Research Center" and its cranky blog, NewsBusters. Bozell has written about every hard-right topic, railed against the faintest whiff of liberal bias, complained about the gays and abortion and sexy times on the teevee machine. He's a prolific writer, with books and a newspaper column.

But then again, maybe not. Because it would seem that Bozell is something of a fraud. Much, most or maybe even all of Bozell's writings have actually been written by someone else. For years. How do you suppose NewsBusters will cover this one?


Papers dropping Brent Bozell after conservative media critic admits he didn’t write his columns
A longtime arch conservative crusader against feminism, secularism, marriage equality and other LGBT rights has been exposed as a figurehead whose books and columns were all written by an uncredited underling. According to Talking Points Memo, one widely-read Iowa newspaper dropped media commentator Brent Bozell’s column in the wake of his exposure and received not a single protest from any reader. . .

Read more at: Raw Story

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Tea Party Turns Five

Image from source, Wonkette
The Tea Party (allegedly an acronym for "Taxed Enough Already") has made a lot of news in its five years of existence. Most of it of a dubious nature, and a whole lot of it embarrassingly silly. The silliest part is how seriously some of the tea baggers* take it, even though its origins aren't really grass roots, and its mission has been a bit muddy. I mean, at first, they were all about smaller government, and lower taxes, and never mind all of that social stuff.

Fairly quickly--aside from the Koch Brothers' backing and opportunistic hangers-on--it became clear that the Tea Party was really a rebranding of the GOP base, the rabid, religious right. Suddenly, abortion and gay marriage were in the mix. And the candidates being supported by them were bonkers. The crazier, the better! They had initial success (though some of the nuttier candidates didn't make it), and today are just as nebulous in purpose and form as they were in the beginning, other than being as extremely right-wing as is possible.

But think about this as you "celebrate" five years of this baffling movement: the Tea Party is 30 days younger than the Obama presidency. That's right, this "organic" movement sprung up to combat an oppressive regime that was a whopping month old. One thing I'll never concede is my belief that the whole enterprise was a reaction not to a Democratic president, but to a black president.


The Tea Party Is Five Years Old Today, And Finally Acting Its Age
Five years ago today, Rick Santelli went on your teevee and said “We’re thinking of having a tea party” to protest (ostensibly) the Homeowners Affordability and Stability Plan, which was something that helped people keep their houses, even if these dumb homeowners were personally irresponsible and got fired because the economy shed however many million jobs in 2008-9, the nerve of some people, being affected by massive economic shocks! . . .

Read more at: Wonkette

*And yes, friends and neighbors, I still gleefully use the term "tea bagger" and its variants. For more than one reason, chiefly, a) it really torques off tea baggers and b) because it was originally Tea Party members who tried using the term to disparage liberals. But it backfired on them, and stuck. That doesn't happen often, but when it does, it is a beautiful (and hilarious) thing.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Gay Thing: Arizona Senate Passes Anti-Gay "Jim Crow"-esque Law

The latest in desperation backlash moves against the tidal wave of marriage equality news comes from the great state of Arizona. They're so far bucking the trend when it comes to these things, since this one seems on track to enactment, and other states' attempts have been derailed. There's still hope on this one, of course. But even if it goes through, there's just no way this thing will pass a constitutional challenge.

Still, I'm troubled by the very flawed logic of this thing actually passing any legislature. Ostensibly, members of any state legislative body are educated, often lawyers. How enough of them could even contemplate passing a law legalizing discrimination is baffling. How they can't see the potential pitfalls is equally ponderous. If it goes through, just wait to see what other "religious freedoms" will be protected with this thing, and what other religions start taking advantage of it. Idiots.


BREAKING: AZ Senate Passes 'Right to Discriminate' Bill
This afternoon, on a party-line 17-13 vote, Republicans in the Arizona Senate bucked the national trend and gave final approval to SB 1062, a GOP-led bill that would create a special "right" to discriminate against LGBT people on the basis of religion. . .

Read more at: Bilerico

The Boehner Boner (Another Rocky Mountain Mike Song Parody)

Rocky Mountain Mike to the rescue again, with another funny spin on current events, this time a skewering of John Boehner to the tune of The Steve Miller Band's The Joker. And as always, you can find this and many (many) other amazing comedy tunes and bits at Mike's SoundCloud site.


Bloody Battles in Kiev

Image from source, MSNBC
I'm not going to pretend to speak with authority on what's going on in Kiev. But I wanted to document it on the blog, and make sure it didn't go unmentioned.


Deadly clashes in Kiev as protest camp burn

A three-month-old political standoff between the Ukranian regime and anti-government forces came to a head Tuesday as violent clashes in the country’s capital turned deadly and a protest camp at Independence Square burned. Thousands of police officers descended onto Kiev’s Independence Square, where protesters set up camp demanding President Viktor Yanukovych’s resignation. Armed with stun grenades and water cannons, authorities began dismantling barricades on the perimeter of the square, where many of the demonstrators’ tents were burning. . .

Read more at: MSNBC

"Joe the Plumber" Gets Union Job, Whines About Co-workers

Alone in his field. Image from source, ABC News
Ugh. From the category of odd right-wing heroes: where are they now comes this update on the whereabouts of one Samuel "Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher. Apparently, he's landed himself a union job at Chrysler, and has gotten sufficiently mouthy about politics while at work, that he's been branded a "teabagger." Big surprise.

Wurzelbacher--as he is wont to do--is trying to turn it around, and make it into a hypocritical liberal attack on both himself and gay people. Because, a) he doesn't realize that the sexual double-entendre can be performed by straight people too, and b) he doesn't realize that it was the Tea Party itself that used the "teabagger" epithet first, in an attempt to slur liberals. Only it got turned around on them, and stuck. Which is still hilarious, and hilariously perfect. But not as hilarious as the notion that Ol' Joe-the-not-a-Plumber expects us to believe that he's on the side of gay people.


‘Joe the Plumber’ Finds New Job, Nasty New Nickname

Looks like “Joe the Plumber” has landed himself a new job – and a new, unsavory nickname. Just four days into his union job at Chrysler, Joe Wurzelbacher says a co-worker called him a “teabagger.” Wurzelbacher catapulted into the national spotlight in 2008 when he questioned then-Sen. Barack Obama’s tax plan. After the encounter went viral, Wurzelbacher became something of a Republican icon, an example of Democrats quashing entrepreneurial spirit. Wurzelbacher campaigned for Sen. John McCain, scored a book deal and even made an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. House of Representatives – all as a staunch conservative. . .

Read more at: ABC News

Infighting is Fun: Ted Cruz vs. Mitch McConnell

I have an overwhelming urge to smack them both. Image from
source, TPM
Vaguely creepy-looking Senator Ted Cruz is apparently having a feud with extremely turtle-looking Senator Mitch McConnell. Given that I can't much stand either of them, I just say, "keep it up, fellas!"


Infighting: McConnell-Cruz Feud Intensifies Ahead Of 2014 Election

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was forced to spend the long weekend defending his debt limit vote and talking up the importance of compromise to being a good leader. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) did the exact opposite: he publicly torched his own party's leadership for walking the plank and portrayed Republican senators a bunch of liars and cowards who think Americans are "rubes. . ."

Read more at: Talking Points Memo

Monday, February 17, 2014

Mary Grace Canfield Dead at 89

If you are in your 40s or 50s (or if you tend to watch the kind of programs you'd find on TVLand) you know who Mary Grace Canfield was, even if you didn't ever know her name. She was Ralph Monroe, half of the construction team on Green Acres. She filled in as Harriet Kravitz on Bewitched, after the actress who played nosy neighbor Gladys, Alice Pearce, died (and before Sandra Gould was hired to replace her). And she turned up in quite a few other places, TVLand places. She had a unique look, one that no one tends to forget. And though she's passed, she has achieved a little bit of immortality, for as long as new generations continue to discover her work. RIP, Mary Grace!


Mary Grace Canfield, who played Ralph Monroe on TV's 'Green Acres,' dies

Mary Grace Canfield, a veteran character actress who played handywoman Ralph Monroe on the television show “Green Acres,” has died. She was 89. Her daughter, Phoebe Alexiades, says Canfield died of lung cancer on Saturday at a hospice in the California coastal town of Santa Barbara. . .

Read more at: Toledo Blade


The Gay Thing: Indiana Approves Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment

In a move that feels at least ten years out of style, the State of Indiana has passed an anti-marriage equality amendment to their state constitution. Why now? I can only guess its the tsunami of successes across the nation, either allowing same sex marriage outright, recognizing marriages performed in other states, or at least having previous amendments ruled unconstitutional.

In states like Nevada and Virginia, seeing the handwriting on the wall, states attorney generals have decided to not defend their state bans. So it is quite peculiar that Indiana would just now be getting around to a ban. Oddly, they claim it will make undoing it harder. That doesn't seem to be the case in other states. And this thing can't even be finalized until 2016, a year when we will have had legal same-sex marriages in the United States for a dozen years.


Indiana Senate Approves Amendment to Ban Same-Sex Marriage

The Indiana Senate on Monday approved a proposed amendment to the state's constitution that would prohibit same-sex marriage but more steps are required before it goes to voters in 2016. . .

Read more at: NBC News

Over Time with Bill Maher, February 14, 2014

I was out of town for Valentine's weekend with my sweetie, so there was no time for blogging. So, here's the web-only Real Time with Bill Maher content, so's I can have something new up on the blog that is both entertaining and newsworthy! More later. Happy President's Day!

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Gay Thing: Virginia IS for Lovers!

Yes, more of The Gay Thing! It just keeps rolling in (with a heaping helping of the sadz and ridiculous, un-Constitutional law proposals from Right Wing World)!


Judge: Va. same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional

A federal judge ruled Thursday that Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, making it the first state in the South to have its voter-approved prohibition overturned. U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen issued a stay of her order while it is appealed, meaning that gay couples in Virginia will still not be able to marry until the case is ultimately resolved. Both sides believe the case won't be settled until the Supreme Court decides to hear it or one like it. . .

Read more at: MSN

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Gay Thing: Kentucky Ban on Recognition of Out-of-State Gay Marriage Struck Down

Well, this is certainly better than my previous post on The Gay Thing. This is very good news. And sure to cause wave of what is coming to be known as "the sadz" in certain quarters. This is what has been predicted for quite some time: that a gay couple could marry in a state where it's legal, and then go to a state where it's not, and insist upon being recognized. It was bound to happen, and it's happening.

As in the previous post, you can already see the blowback to the success marriage equality activism is having across the country. It's mean-spirited, and very definitely unconstitutional, so it ultimately will fail. But the reason they're lashing out, is that they see the writing on the wall: marriage equality nationwide. And from the looks of things, sooner rather than later. When it does happen, the likely result will be a reduction in discrimination against gay people in general, as it becomes a fact of life. Which is why they're actively trying to write discrimination loopholes into law!


Kentucky Ban On Recognizing Out-Of-State Gay Marriages Struck Down By Federal Judge

Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, according to a ruling Wednesday by a federal judge, who struck down part of the state ban that he wrote treated "gay and lesbian persons differently in a way that demeans them. . ."

Read more at: Huffington Post

The Gay Thing: Anti-Gay Laws on the Horizon? It's Getting Ridiculous

News for gay people has been--for lack of a better description--a bit bi-polar of late. Marriage equality is racking up wins left and right, small and large. There are multiple lawsuits against discriminatory state constitutional amendments in multiple states, all seemingly on track to success. Little by little (and sometimes bigger by bigger), the movement is in a really good place.

But the backlash has begun. Well, to be fair, it's been coming since forever, but it's got a new face. A really stupid, really odd, really hateful face. The new line of attack from the religious right is the concept of "religious freedom." Or, rather, the new concept of religious freedom that doesn't track logically, but somehow has found traction in Right Wing World. It goes like this: if you're selling a product or a service, and you're quite religious, you shouldn't have to sell to people who live their lives in a way that contradicts your religion.

Well, it's tighter than that. Specifically, if you're gay, they shouldn't have to accommodate you. Not divorced, or an adulterer, or any of a lengthy list of sins. Just The Gay Thing. The religious freedom of the customer doesn't matter, only the business owner, salesperson, or other employee offering the goods or service. This is--to say the least--a very peculiar and specific definition of religious freedom. And it breaks many current public accommodations laws.

Solution! Make new laws! Carve out exemptions for religious people (read: born again Christians) who don't want to sell stuff to "sinners" (read: gay people). Now, when this sort of thing was done prior to the civil rights awareness of the 1960s, it was called "Jim Crow." But the current crop of anti-gay politicos don't see it that way. And they aren't limiting their ire to participating in "gay marriage." In fact, in several of the cases that have made it to court, there wasn't any legal gay marriage in the states in questions. No, some of these hateful, nasty laws are going even further, into much more serious territory. Like emergency response. Medicine. Surgery.

Yes, these "good Christians" wish to be able to be as mean as they want to this select group of people, and have it codified into law. Does that sound "Christian" to you? It certainly doesn't sound constitutional.


Idaho bill would allow doctors or cops to refuse service to LGBT people on religious grounds

An Idaho Republican can’t think of anyone in his state who has been forced to render aid to a gay or lesbian person against their will, and he’d like to keep it that way. Rep. Lynn Luker outlined a proposal Tuesday backed by his conservative Christian allies to shield religious people from the threat of losing their professional licenses for refusing service or employment to anyone they conclude violates their religious beliefs. “This is pre-emptive,” said Luker, a Boise Republican. “The issue is coming, whether it’s 10 years, or 15 years, or two years. . .”

Read more at: Raw Story


Anti-gay marriage bill wins Kan. House's approval

Gay-rights advocates lashed out Wednesday at the Kansas House's leading Democrat, saying he showed only tepid opposition to a bill protecting people who, based on their religious beliefs, discriminate against gays and lesbians. Minority Leader Paul Davis, a Lawrence Democrat who's also running for governor, voted against the measure, which the House passed 72-49 on Wednesday, sending it to the state Senate. . .

Read more at: Houston Chronicle

Frivolity Break: Chef Boyardee Ravioli vs. Molten Lava

Because it's fascinating, that's why.


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Ted Cruz Threatens Filibuster of Debt Ceiling

He just oozes douchiness. Image from source, TPM

This guy. Again. Because his other stunts have won so much for both him and his party. It's just. . .I can't even. . .


Ted Cruz Threatens To Filibuster Clean Debt Limit Hike

Cruz's move means lawmakers will need to rally 60 votes in the chamber to pass the bill, and Democrats only control 55 votes. . .
Read more at: Talking Points Memo

The Gay Thing: Chain Reaction that May End the Nevada Marriage Ban

It's funny how the decision of one corporation during the process of an unrelated lawsuit could cause a chain reaction that will likely undo Nevada's ill-begotten constitutional gay marriage ban. Poetic justice, I'd say. And a great story.


How a Single Gay Juror Brought Down Nevada’s Same-Sex Marriage Ban
Nevada AG Catherine Cortez Masto, image from
source, Slate
In 2011, attorneys for Abbott Laboratories dismissed a prospective juror prior to a blockbuster trial on account of his sexual orientation. Abbott’s attorneys were convinced that the juror, an openly gay man, would be prejudiced against Abbott, which had been accused of inflating the price of an HIV drug. The company’s legal opponents cried foul and litigated the dismissal. And now, thanks to that juror, Nevada just gave up on its same-sex marriage ban. . .

Read more at: Slate

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

GOP Report: Military Couldn't Have Changed Benghazi Outcome

Image from source, ThinkProgress
Huh. Okay, can we finally table the whole Benghazi scandal/conspiracy theory thing? Ya think?


GOP Report Acknowledges That The U.S. Military Couldn’t Have Changed Benghazi Outcome

In a new report released on Tuesday, the House Armed Services Committee concludes that there was no way for the U.S. military to have responded in time to the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya to save the four Americans killed that night. In doing so, the report debunks entirely a right-wing myth that says the White House ordered the military not to intervene. . .

Read more at: Think Progress

Bridgegate Gets Worse: 5th Amendment Pleas will Not Stop Subpeonas

I'm an MSNBC watcher and a bonafide Rachel Maddow Show fan. But occasionally, even I will start to roll my eyes at the latest Chris Christie "Bridgegate" nugget. Kinda. I mean, I still find it interesting. But with Christie's diminishing relevance on the national stage, I wonder if it all makes any difference at this point. I'm all for getting to the bottom of it, and I like to see a big braggart get his comeuppance. But I'm getting just a little Bridgeghazi burnout.

New Jersey lawmakers vote to reject Chris Christie staffers’ invoking of Fifth Amendment
The state legislative committee investigating the George Washington Bridge scandal today voted to compel Bridget Anne Kelly and Bill Stepien to produce the documents they have refused to provide by citing their Fifth Amendment rights against incrimination and other objections. . .
Read more at: Talking Points Memo

The Gay Thing: Nevada Will Not Defend Gay Marriage Ban

Well, thank you, Catherine Cortez Masto! Recently, I took her to task for a baffling, insulting brief defending Nevada's ill-considered and disingenuous ban on same-sex marriage. I wrote to her and commented on her Twitter account, as did many furious marriage quality supporters. Almost immediately, Masto announced that she was going to reconsider her opinion and get back to us.

And get back to us, she did! She--and amazingly enough, our Republican Governor Brian Sandoval--have withdrawn the brief and will not defend the ban (originally known as Question 2). While this doesn't allow same-sex couples to marry, it makes the likelihood of that happening a much surer thing. Ms. Masto, you are back in my good graces!


Nevada officials won’t defend gay marriage ban
Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto announced Monday that she will not try to defend Nevada’s law blocking gay marriages. She said she has filed a motion with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to withdraw her Jan. 24 brief in support of Nevada’s Defense of Marriage constitutional amendment, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman. Gov. Brian Sandoval, through his office, said he agrees with Masto’s legal reasoning and the law is “no longer defensible in court.” The Republican governor is a former state attorney general and federal judge. . .
Read more at: Las Vegas Review-Journal

Monday, February 10, 2014

Blast from the Past Love is in the Air!

Valentine's Day is coming, so Blast from the Past needed to have a love theme. But what kind of love theme? I mean, music is just too broad. Do you know how many songs have the word "love" in them? It's crazy. I wanted something a little more unique. So, how about this? TV theme songs to shows with the word "love!" I don't even know how many there are, so as I find them I'll post them. Let's see how many I can gather.

1. Get Christie Love! (1974)
2. I Love Lucy (1953)

3. Joanie Loves Chachi (1982)
4. Love, American Style (1969)

5. Everybody Loves Raymond (1996)
6. Bridget Loves Bernie (1970)

7. The Love Boat (1977)
8. Big Love (2006)

What do you know, I got a full post out of it! There are others, like Love Connection (with the odious Chuck Woolery) and some reality shows. But I think this gets most of the big ones. Until Valentine's Day, have a great week!

Motel Sochi and Sochi Smells Like it's a Bad Neighborhood (Rocky Mountain Mike's Olympics Parodies)

Oh, man. I'm starting to feel bad that Rocky Mountain Mike--who has no affiliation with this blog whatsoever, mind you!--has been my primary source of material, of late. It's great material, not guilty about that at all. But I'm falling down on the job lately, while Mike manages to be super prolific. Anyway, I'm just glad he allows sharing his stuff! Enjoy.

CBO Report on ObamaCare Continues to be Misconstrued

Over the last couple of weeks, I'll admit to being a little less engaged than usual. I have paid a little less attention to the changing of the news cycle, having my attention pulled in other directions here at home. Even so, I caught that the CBO report on ObamaCare was initially (gleefully) reported by conservatives as a JOB KILLER!!! And almost immediately, the author of the thing said, no, Right Wing World had gotten it wrong. Again.

But here we were on Sunday morning, with the political shows all acting like the original storyline was the correct one. David Gregory used it in one of his "balanced" setups, as though the wrong conclusion was as equally likely as the real, intended one. Chris Wallace on FOX "News" Sunday lead with it, painting it as conclusively true, by the way he phrased it. I didn't have the stomach for the other networks' offerings.

But it looks like CNN may have gotten it right.


CNN breaks mold and tells truth about CBO report

It is a forgone conclusion that Fox News would misrepresent the latest CBO report. Sadly even Chuck Todd at MSNBC was less than clear in interpreting the report. He was more concerned with how it would be interpreted. He should have been more concerned with his free press journalistic duty. Inform the population objectively. . .

Read more at: DailyKos

Friday, February 7, 2014

America Still Remembers: Bush to Blame for Economy Crash

Image from source, TPM
I don't generally credit my fellow Americans with memories much longer than that of "Dory" in Finding Nemo. So, color me pleasantly surprised at this news!

CNN Poll: Americans Still Blame Bush For Struggling Economy

Five years into Obama's presidency 44 percent of Americans still blame former President George W. Bush and the Republican Party for the country's economic woes, while 34 percent blame President Obama and Democrats, according to a CNN/ORC International poll released Thursday.
While more Americans fault Bush for the state of the economy, blame on the former president and Republicans has dipped since 2012, when 57 percent held Bush responsible compared to 35 percent who viewed Obama more culpable. . .
Read more at: Talking Points Memo

Thursday, February 6, 2014

CBO Report On ObamaCare Not "Job Killer" as Touted in Right Wing World

This guy wrote it, so he should know what it means.
Image from source, Think Progress
If there's one thing you can be relatively certain of, it's that if FOX "News," conservative talk radio and the rest of Right Wing World are screeching about something? It's most probably skewed or downright wrong. Don't be shocked, it's happened again.


Conservatives Seize On Report To Argue Obamacare Is A Job Killer — But The Author Says They’re Wrong

. . .Testifying before the House Budget Committee on the CBO’s newly released economic projections for the next decade, Elmendorf addressed the report’s finding that the Affordable Care Act will reduce the labor participation rate and the total number of hours worked by an equivalent of 2 million jobs in 2017. According to Elmendorf, that statistic is being taken out of context to suggest that Obamacare will eliminate jobs. . .

Read more at: Think Progress

Even Pat Robertson Calls Young Earth Creationism "Nonsense"

Methuselah Pat Robertson, image from source, Raw Story
As an atheist, it is unlikely I'm ever going to reach complete understanding with the devoutly religious. But it is interesting that there are levels of devoutness. See, I would have pegged Pat Robertson as a "Young Earth Creationist." But he isn't, and that's kind of interesting.

Young Earth Creationists believe in the literal creation story told in the Bible, complete with all of Genesis and all of the begets. Counting each day of creation as a literal day, believing that man was created in the first literal week of existence, and adding up all of the generations listed, YECs have calculated that the Earth (and also the universe) is only 6,000-or-so years old. This--to most rational people--is preposterous. There are things on earth (beer, trees) that are older than that. There are stars whose light couldn't possibly have reached us in that short a time. There are geological formations that couldn't possibly have formed so quickly. And on and on, and that's not even picking apart the very pick-apartable Genesis.

Well, ol' Pat surely does believe in talking snakes, the firmament and Noah's Ark. But he's having none of this young Earth nonsense. Even a nutcase like Robertson gets one right once in a while!

Pat Robertson implores creationist Ken Ham to shut up: ‘Let’s not make a joke of ourselves’

Pat Robertson responded to the recent debate between Young Earth creationist Ken Ham and Bill Nye, a.k.a. “The Science Guy,” by reiterating his disagreement with Ham’s form of creationism.

“Let’s face it,” Robertson said, “there was a Bishop [Ussher] who added up the dates listed in Genesis and he came up with the world had been around for 6,000 years. . .”

Read more at: Raw Story 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Bill Nye the Science Guy Debates Creation Museum Guy

It can't have been a contest. I haven't had time to watch it yet, but it just had to be a lopsided "debate." I mean, the topic is science, and there is no science in Creationism. So, if you've got the chance to take a look at this, see what you think. Once I've seen it, I'll try to give it a proper review. In the meantime, I'll simply congratulate Bill Nye on his inevitable win over Ken Ham, who thinks the universe is 6,000 years old.

What Happens in Vegas: Horrifying Arson at Puppy Store

I'm a cat person, not a dog person. But I can't imagine the stone black heart it would take to plan to burn down your puppy business, while trying intentionally to burn the puppies! Fortunately the little guys survived. But can you imagine any jury not throwing the book at these two?


Awwwww. Image from source, LVRJ
Puppies safe and happy after surviving pet shop arson

More than two dozen puppies are safe and happy after firefighters rescued them from a burning pet store. Clark County Animal Control officers moved the puppies to The Animal Foundation following the Jan. 27 fire, at Prince and Princess Pet Boutique. . .which authorities say was arson. They say they have surveillance video of shop owner Gloria Lee, 35, allowing a man identified in an arrest report as Kirk Bills into the building. Authorities say Bills is shown on the video splashing kerosene on the puppy cages. . .

Read more at: Las Vegas Review-Journal

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Right Wing World: Victoria Jackson to Run for Office!

Not too long ago, Martin Bashir got into trouble for calling Sarah Palin (among other things), a village idiot. Well, as dumb as she is, Palin would have to be lobotomized and given a hallucinogen before she'd be the creature that is Victoria Jackson. Jackson not only played a dumb blonde on Saturday Night Live, she happens to be one in real life. So, naturally, she's gotten into politics! Jackson's political philosophy is basically to take the absolute nuttiest and most extreme parts of the Tea Party, married them with even further-out-there conspiracy theories, with a twist of racism and homophobia. Oh, and she sings too!

She was entertaining as part of one of SNL's heyday casts, which included Dana Carvey, Phil Hartman, Nora Dunn, Jan Hooks, Jon Lovitz and Dennis Miller. Miller also has taken a hard-right turn in his later years, but at least he is intelligent, and (occasionally, kind of) funny. Vicki is a total mess. But here's hoping her one-time celebrity shines a spotlight onto her sure-to-be-hilarious campaign. Unintentionally hilarious, of course.


Image from source, the fantastic NewsCorpse

The Tea Party’s Dream Candidate Files For Tennessee Election

That’s right, former Saturday Night Live ukelele strummer, Victoria Jackson, has declared her candidacy for a seat as a county commissioner in Williamson County, Tennessee. As a commissioner Jackson can be expected to bring her unique “knowledge” of economics, urban planning, law enforcement, business development, and government administration to Williamson’s county hall. Plus, she can recite poetry while standing on her head. . .

Read more (with video) at: NewsCorpse

In Case You Missed It: Bill O'Reilly's Interview with President Obama

All things considered, I don't think this was too bad. I think Bill O'Reilly interrupts far too often, per usual. And his laundry list of FOX "News" outrages and conspiracy theory points was a tad obvious. But I think President Obama acquitted himself well, and handled it without losing his cool. There will be some liberals (like me) who wonder why he'd even submit to a non-journalist like O'Reilly, and there will be many conservatives who will hate Obama regardless of his answers. But there will also probably be some people who will see through some of the FOX "News" crap. At least I hope so.

A Rocky Mountain Mike Song Parody Bonanza

Over-reliance on one particular site for a blogger can indicate burnout, I know. And I'll admit, with a bit going on here at home at the moment, blogging has sort of taken a backseat of late. So, I'll cop to a bit of distraction, but I'll also not apologize. Because you really can't do better for content than a few Rocky Mountain Mike song parodies. . .and they're brand spanking new!

First up, in response to conservative outrage about a multi-cultural Coca-Cola ad during the Super
Bowl, is this reworked version of I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing.

Next, is a tribute to Chris Christie's Port Authority toady, David Wildstein, to the tune of The Troggs' Wild Thing.

Then there's Hannity, about the FOX "News" host, and his recent whines about living in New York, to the tune of The Rolling Stones' Angie.

And there are more! Check out Mike's SoundCloud account for lots more gems. And thanks again, Mike, for having so much to choose from!

Chris Christie's Former Deupty Chief to Plead the Fifth

Image from source, TPM
Whether you think the whole Chris Christie "Bridgegate" story is overblown or not, there's one thing I think everybody can agree on: Christie's ex-Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Kelly knows the whole story. She's at the center of it. She was instrumental in the lane closures on the George Washington Bridge. And she could clear up almost every question about the whole affair just by talking.

But, she's not going to, apparently. Which I kind of expected. I'm not sure what is so bad that it can't be said. The damage is now pretty much done. I tell you what I'm not buying though, is that Christie supposedly didn't already get the whole story from Kelly. It would be beyond ridiculous if he just fired her, and didn't find out what happened. Well, unless he already knew what happened. . .


Fired Christie Staffer Pleads 5th, Refuses to Turn Over Documents

Gov. Chris Christie's (R-NJ) former deputy chief of staff, Bridget Kelly, said through her lawyer Monday evening that she will invoke her 5th Amendment right not to testify before a state legislative panel. She is also refusing to turn over documents subpoenaed by the panel, according to the Bergen Record. . .

Read more at: Talking Points Memo
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