Thursday, July 31, 2014

What Happens in Vegas White Castle Restaurant to Open on the Strip

Hat tip to my rival/friend Dan, for this wonderful news! I don't get down to the strip very often, but I may have to make an exception now and then for authentic White Castle hamburgers! I grew up in Columbus, Ohio, where the only real "sliders" are an institution. My regular order is five cheeseburgers (technically a little too much, but four is not enough), and onion chips with ketchup. They're freaking awesome.

But they're also a challenge, and a potential hazard. Let me explain. A White Castle meal can be sort of like fast food roulette. Don't ask me why, but about one time out of ten, they cause a bit of gastrointestinal distress. For this, they earned the name, "Belly Bombers." Come to think of it, that might be where "sliders" comes from too. Doesn't matter, they're worth the risk, and whether you call them Whitey-One-Bites, greasers, WCs or any of the above,  I absolutely love them. And I'm hoping
that the new Las Vegas location is open 24 hours like all of their other stores, just for that authentic experience.

So, now that we've got the Porcelain Palace, can we finally get some good pizza? I nominate Donato's. And while were at it, how about Skyline Chili?

[Excerpt]

White Castle may finally come to Vegas

The immensely popular White Castle burgers may be finally finding a permanent home in Las Vegas. The burger chain will reportedly open it’s first Las Vegas restaurant at the Best Western Plus Casino Royale, if documents obtained by Eater are any indication. . .

Read more at: Las Vegas Review-Journal

Scandal: IRS Lady Didn't Like Conservatives

I've struggled to find the "scandal" in the IRS scandal since it broke. It was a case of the IRS investigating political groups who had filed for tax exempt status. And tax exempt status is not supposed to be granted to political organizations. But for an odd policy at the IRS itself, none of these political groups, left or right, should actually get granted the status. That is the only scandal I really see there.

But, of course, Right Wing World doesn't see it that way. Though liberal groups were targeted as well, they've maintained that the IRS focused on right wing groups more, using key words to determine who to "harass." It's kind of strange that a group called the Tea Party could object to being classified as political, but whatever. Anyway, there's this lady who ran one of the offices, and it turns out she doesn't like conservatives very much, and has spoken her mind about it in an email or two. What she had to say sounded like something I might write on this blog, so clearly, conservatives are very unhappy (or happy, depending upon your point of view) about it.

Image from source, NewsCorpse

The problem is, even if they're dead right: Lois Lerner hated conservatives, and went after conservative political groups. . .she had every right to! They're political groups looking to get a status they shouldn't get! But they got it anyway! So, what's the problem? Moreover, there hasn't been a line drawn to the White House about this at all, so how it can be an "Obama Scandal" is ponderous.

[Excerpt]

So F**king What? Former IRS Official Says That GOP Crazies Are…CRAZY!

Republicans and their friends at Fox News have mastered the art of building mountains of bullshit from the lowliest troll-hills. It’s one of their favorite tactics to malign Democrats. Just grab a sentence fragment from a long speech and pretend that it is the whole of the comment from which it was extracted. Then feign outrage that such an awful remark could have been uttered. . .

Read more at: NewsCorpse

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Lawrence O'Donnell Rewrites Kentucky's "Noah's Ark" Theme Park

Who knew there were cranes in Noah's day? Image from Inquisitr.
Oh, this is good. As an atheist, it's not often you get something this good from a religious person. And Lawrence O'Donnell is a good (though perhaps not devout) Catholic. Like me, he has a few problems with some of the Bible's wackier stories, notably the one about Noah's Ark.

The Noah story figured prominently in my slide into atheism. In my confirmation classes, it was clear that everyone around me took Genesis, up to that point, as literal truth. I was having enough trouble with that, but Noah's Ark? Plot holes you can drive an ocean liner through. It cannot be taken as a literal story, unless one is a child, one hasn't really thought about the story since he was a child, or with an economy-sized tub of faith spackle.

So anyway, they're building a theme park in Kentucky, based around the Noah story, complete with a "replica" of the ark. Kentucky is apparently going to give this entirely religious production millions of dollars worth of tax credits. To a heathen like me, this is very irritating. So, I was relieved to find Lawrence on my side. And his piece is also quite entertaining. Especially his pronunciation of "Ark Park."
 

Satanists: Hobby Lobby Decision Could Exempt Women from Anti-abortion Laws

Image from source, Raw Story
This gives me a great deal of schadenfreude. File under: be careful what you wish for.

[Excerpt]

Satanists want to use Hobby Lobby decision to exempt women from anti-abortion laws

In a statement, the Satanic Temple said that it will use the Supreme Court’s recent Hobby Lobby decision to exempt its believers from state-mandated informed consent laws that require women considering abortions to read pro-life material. Informed consent or “right to know” laws state that women seeking elective abortions be provided with information about alternatives to the procedure, often couched in language that attempts to personify the fetus. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 35 states currently have informed consent laws, and of those, 33 require that the woman be told the gestational age of the fetus. . .

Read more at: Raw Story

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Hillbilly People (A Rocky Mountian Mike Song Parody)

Another goodie from Rocky Mountain Mike, this time about some of the sadder elements of today's voting public. To the tune of Sly & the Family Stone's Everyday People.

To hear much more from Rocky Mountain Mike, click here.
 

I (Don't) Want My Sarah Palin TV!

Image from source, NewsCorpse
After the announcement that Sarah Palin is getting her own internet "TV" channel, the hashtag #PalinTVShows began trending on Twitter. I couldn't resist throwing in, 8 Simple Rules for Knocking Up My Teenage Daughter, Also Too. But seriously, the news that this political celebrity with the paper-thin depth of knowledge, is starting her own network isn't really a surprise is it?

I mean, she's become wealthy doing her "you betcha" schtick for tea bagger rubes. How much can an internet "channel" cost? She loves being on camera, and she loves to throw her Molotov Cocktail bon mots via social media. Now, she's just combining these things, and can run them on a loop. I can't imagine what would possess a person to subscribe. But you know she's going to sell memberships to media outfits like Media Matters and Think Progress, along with the organizations who agree with her like NewsBusters and World Nut Net Daily. But I have a feeling it's going to wear thin quickly.

[Excerpt]

Must See Tea-Vee: Are You Ready (To Pay) For The Sarah Palin Channel?

For those of you who have had enough of Sarah Palin pontificating for free on everything from sanctimonious piety to impeaching President Obama, your prayers have been answered. Now, rather than getting updates from her Facebook page or having to watch Fox News, you can subscribe to her Internet video service and pay $9.95 per month for all the word-salad gloriousness you used to have to suffer through free of charge. . .

Read more at: NewsCorpse

Right Wing World: FReepers Go Bananas on Gay Marriage Ruling

As I said in my earlier post, the Fourth Circuit Court ruled Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.  This is newsworthy, and cause for celebration for marriage equality supporters. Now, "traditional marriage" supporters (a misnomer, since almost nobody is against traditional marriage) are less pleased. What drives them, and keeps them as invested as gay people remains a mystery to me. But to say that some of them are not taking it well, would be a vast understatement.

Today, I checked in on FreeRepublic.com, one of Right Wing World's most fervent outposts on the web. And what I found there was. . .well, kind of amusing. FReepers are nothing if not entertainingly batshit crazy. But they also veered into the disturbing. Particularly that bit about hanging judges.


Actual Screen Cap of FReeper Discussion (Click to embiggen)
[Excerpts]

"Short of impeachment of these judges, there is no going back to civilization."

"One more example of the Decline of Western Civilization. We live in a culture of death that has rejected God and celebrates evil and perversion. Lock and load, folks. Lock and load."

"Someday someone is going to hold judges accountable for making up law (legislation) from the bench."

"A constitutional amendment banning queer marriages is needed... in addition to impeaching these corrupt and traitorous judges."

"Who, in their right mind, would even want to be president and have to govern over this drain-circling country?"

"Yep. Opposition to homosexuality is falling like dominoes. If no one is going to draw a line against it, it's going to be up to We The People. Load the magazines...it's coming sooner rather than later.
Scouts Out! Cavalry Ho!"

"There is NO HOPE AT ALL for this country. None."

"We've gone so long being meek, compliant and quiet, that our enemies have us against the ropes. The only way to win back our Republic is to fight. Hopefully, it'll be just with words, picket signs, and maybe fists, but if it goes further, we have only ourselves to blame."

"When will a state secede? The 10th amendment is being stomped on."

"It’s time to start hanging judges."

"The coprophiliacs and lesbians win again."

"We are quickly becoming the United States of Sodom and Gomorrah."

"It’s like they’re soldiers in Satan’s army."

"I am full of such rage, hate and anger as never before. I hate all of them, the left, the libs, the immoral, the courts, the president, the politicians. Eff all of them. I wouldn’t even mind if God destroys us all and sorts us out later. I hate living in this country. . ."

Here and here are the source pages.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Gay Thing: 4th Circuit Court Rules Virginia Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

Like dominos, these hateful same-sex marriage bans keep falling. And this one was a big domino, affecting Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Maryland, of course, is in the same Circuit, but already has marriage equality.

[Excerpt]

Image from source, Slate
Fourth Circuit Calls Virginia’s Gay Marriage Ban “Segregation,” Strikes It Down

On Monday, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Virginia’s gay marriage ban is unconstitutional, the latest victory for marriage equality in a unbroken string of triumphs since the Supreme Court overturned DOMA in 2013. The opinion included no stay; until the Supreme Court steps in, then, gay couples in Virginia may get married starting now. The judges of the 2–1 majority labeled the state’s ban “segregation” and held that, because it targeted a disfavored minority and implicated a fundamental right, it should be subject to strict scrutiny. It’s clear that, to the majority, laws like Virginia’s represent little more than bald bigotry. . .

Read more at: Slate

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Over Time with Bill Maher, July 25, 2014

Blast from the Past: Class of '84, The Bands (Male Edition)

Since this is my 30th class reunion year (sorry, WYHS Class of '84, I can't make it), I'm continuing my theme of hit songs from that year, 30 years ago. I've got to wonder if these tunes strike the ears of kids today, like early rock and roll of the 1950s did to me.

1. New Moon on Monday by Duran Duran - Not one of their more enduring tunes, to be sure. But this was big that year.
2. Cum on Feel the Noize by Quiet Riot - It was a year that really mixed genres, and this song proves it.



3. Karma Chameleon by Culture Club - Can you imagine this song coexisting with the previous one today on the pop chart?
4. Say it Isn't So by Hall & Oates - This 70s band had a resurgence during my high school years, kind of like the next one.



5. You're the Inspiration by Chicago - As I said, groups don't get more 70s, but Chicago had a string of 80s hits. My best friend and I used to sing this to his car: "Your My Transportation. . ."
6. The Heart of Rock & Roll by Huey Lewis - This song was huge, but their zenith was The Power of Love, the next year, from the Back to the Future Soundtrack.



7. When You Close Your Eyes by Night Ranger- Squeeze the cheese.
8. Wrapped Around Your Finger by The Police - It wouldn't be long after this that Sting went permanently solo.



9. Owner of a Lonely Heart by Yes - I didn't realize until putting this list together, how many bands from earlier decades were having a resurgence. Yes was a big one.
10. Hold Me Now by Thompson Twins - Yeah, there was a girl in this group, but since they were a trio, and 2/3 men, they fit in this category. I love their stuff, from any year. But this may have been their biggest hit.



And, that will do it for this week guys. It's been a busy weekend, and is sure to be a busy week. Hang in there, and Happy Monday!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Mary Poppins Quits! (Funny or Die)

Practically perfect in every way, except her paycheck.



Thursday, July 24, 2014

Rachel Maddow on Botched Execution in Arizona

Contrary to what you may have heard, Rachel Maddow is separate and apart from most pundits and talking heads. As much as I might enjoy some of the others, and can grudgingly see why some that I don't like have a following, Maddow stands alone. She focuses on stories no one else is talking about, or at least comes at them from another angle. She gives history and context on the subject she is talking about. And she usually makes you forget you're essentially listening to a professor's lecture. You don't get bored, and you always learn something.

Over the past year or so, Maddow has been tracking death penalty cases, particularly those with botched executions. She's focused on the problems with the state finding elusive lethal injection drugs, and openly wondered about the wisdom of capital punishment, if we can't abide by the Constitution's command against cruel and unusable punishment. Or, should we even be killing people at all?

So, when this Arizona botched execution story broke, it was actually pretty amazing that The Rachel Maddow Show was able to jump right in with a very thorough story on the subject. You don't have to be a liberal to get something out of this.
 

Yet Another Execution Goes Horribly Wrong

Image from source, Think Progress
We keep having these botched executions, and I know, it's difficult to care. I mean (barring the wrongly accused), anyone on death row is generally an awful person. And I've heard some say, "they deserve what they get." This is the United States of America, however, and we're not supposed to be all "eye for an eye" on criminal justices. There's a thing called the Constitution, and a line about cruel and unusual punishment.

So, what's the reason for all of the problems with something that ought to be fairly easy to do? Well, companies that make some drugs don't want them used for the purposes of causing death. And other drugs? Untested, and who ya gonna test 'em on? Well, looks like, the condemned. And it's not going so well.

[Excerpt]

Arizona’s Execution Attempt Goes Horribly Wrong As Man Remains Alive Nearly 2 Hours After Injection
 
Using an unusual concoction of drugs this afternoon, Arizona attempted to execute a man on death row. One hour after he was supposed to have been lethally injected, however, Joseph Rudolph Wood was still alive, “gasping and snoring.” Wood’s lawyers filed an emergency request to stay the execution and give the man life-saving help, but it was too late: After two hours, he died. . .

Read more at: Think Progress

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Is the end of ObamaCare Something Conservatives Should Really Wish For?

Image from source, NewsCorpse
As I wrote in my previous post, the Affordable Care Act is possibly imperiled by dueling lawsuit rulings. Because the results were in conflict, there's not a lot for either side to celebrate. Yet. But Right Wing World was in full swoon before the second ruling came down. Should they be so excited? Doesn't this stick to them like flypaper if it really does undo ObamaCare?

[Excerpt]

Let The Tea Party Begin: 4.7 Million At Risk Of Losing Their Health Insurance
 
Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright; The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light, And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout; For there IS joy in Teaville… …A three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled 2-to-1 along party lines that subsidies for health insurance premiums made available under the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) are only available to those who purchased their coverage in state-based exchanges, invalidating the 4.7 million citizens who used the federal exchange and therefore… …they have been shut out. . .

Read more at: NewsCorpse

ObamaCare is Dead! ObamaCare is Alive! Long Live ObamaCare!

So confusing! First a Circuit Court says that ObamaCare--at least the ability to fund it, in states without exchanges--was invalid, due to a literal reading of the law. See, the law was written with the assumption of 50 state exchanges, and the GOP thwarted that. So, the language is off by a couple of words. Intent? Phooey! We want to ditch this thing!

Then, just a couple of hours later, a different Circuit Court ruled exactly the opposite. It's just as well, Right Wing World was going to hurt itself if it did anymore cartwheels and back handsprings. So, very likely, this is going to go to the Supreme Court. Again. And who the hell knows what they'll do, really.

But I've got to think this has a heavy downside for the right. They're on record for being absolutely focused on eliminating or castrating ObamaCare from the beginning. Everyone knows it, and the case, of course, was initiated for that very reason. So, suppose SCOTUS rules that this part of the ACA is to be tossed out. And suddenly, affordable care is out the window. Poor people, who have had access to insurance for the first time, will be thrown off it. Something like 4.7 million people. I can't see how this is good for Republicans, if it comes down to that.

The amazing part is, conservatives aren't probably really against the ACA itself. It's the Obama part of ObamaCare they hate. They will do anything and everything to rob him of having that as his legacy, even while they trash the thing out of the other side of their mouth.

[Excerpt]

Appeals courts differ on Obamacare; Supreme Court case likely

It was a tale of two rulings -- the best of times and the worst of times for Obamacare in the federal appeals courts. First, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit court of appeals ruled Tuesday against a key component of the law -- the federal subsidies for millions of people who signed up for health coverage. . .

Read more (with video) at: CNN

Monday, July 21, 2014

John Oliver on America's Broken (For Profit) Prison System

John Oliver is turning out to be a great choice for HBO, to generate buzz, and start a new brand. I just wish he was on more than once a week.
 

Rick Perry Sends out the National Guard Against. . .Children?

Governor Oops of Texas is a baffling fellow. I know he's got the "smart guy" glasses on, and he's making himself very visible. I know he has designs on the White House, despite his disastrous previous effort. So, I suppose this is sort a "tough guy" move, to try to shore up his base. The teabaggers hate illegal immigrants, so he's gotta sock it to 'em? Maybe. But what in the world is the National Guard going to do with these women and children that isn't being done?

[Excerpt]

To Deal With Migrant Kids, Texas Governor Plans To Send National Guard To The Border

Faced with an uptick in children crossing the U.S.-border alone from several unstable Central American countries, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) said Monday he will send 1,000 members of the National Guard to the border. “I will not stand idly by,” Perry said in making the announcement. He told CNN, “the first thing you have to do is stop the flow [of migrants into the United States]. . .”

Read more at: Think Progress

Blast from the Past: Class of 1984, the Men

As a further tribute to my graduating year, lo those thirty years ago, this week's Blast from the Past follows last week's The Women of '84 with The Men of '84. Not the bands, that comes later. These are the solo acts. As with last week's edition, though the stars themselves will be no surprise, not all of the songs will necessarily be the ones you expect.

1. I Would Die 4 U by Prince - The little purple dude had four hits in 1984, all from the film Purple Rain. Prince has had a long career, but these would be his glory days.
2. Thriller by Michael Jackson - I'd use a different song, given this ones ubiquity, but MJ was running out the clock on this album by '84, and had no other solo hits for a while. Plus there was that whole "head on fire" incident. But I couldn't leave this on off.



3. Rock Me Tonite by Billy Squier - Squier isn't maybe the first guy you'd think of from the '80s, but I've gotta tell ya, he was huge at my high school.
4. The Longest Time by Billy Joel - Joel's discography runs so long, it's easy to forget his early-'80s MTV phase.



5. Eyes Without a Face by Billy Idol - Who knew there were so many "Billys" in this grouping? And so very different from each other. Idol, certainly, is the most '80s of them.
6. Caribbean Queen by Billy Ocean - Obviously, I'm caught in a Billy wave.



7. Running with the Night by Lionel Ritchie - Ritchie gets overrun by Michael Jackson and Prince in our memories of 80s R&B-crossover artists (which is what they were back then), but he was huge in the early 80s.
8. Sad Songs (Say So Much) by Elton John - Back when he was straight. Heh.



9. Major Tom (Coming Home) by Peter Schilling - Had to put a one-hit wonder in here somewhere.
10. Blue Jean by David Bowie - I realized that I couldn't mention the last guy, and then leave off Bowie. It wasn't a big year for him, but he was kind of between hits.



And there you have it, I've hit my limit for the week. And I didn't even get around to John "Cougar" Mellencamp, Christopher Cross, John-freakin'-Lennon, Ray Parker Jr., Bruce-yeah, Bruce-Springsteen, Rick Springfield, Rod Stewart, Peabo Bryson, Corey Hart, Steve Perry, Dan Hartman, and so many others. Maybe a sequel is in order?

Meanwhile, happy Monday!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Shot-Down Malaysian Plane Held 100 AIDS Researchers

Image from source, CBSNews
Wow. Even if the excerpted article doesn't have the number exactly right, that's just astonishing. 100 top AIDS researchers, enroute to a conference on the disease in Australia, perished when the plane was shot down, as yet by unknown assailants. The attack is of course tragic no matter who the people on the plane were. But for such a large group from one field to be wiped out at once? Tragic, and potentially devastating for the progress in finding a cure.

[Excerpt]

Crash claims top AIDS researchers heading to Melbourne

About 100 of the 298 people killed in the Malaysia Airlines crash were heading to Melbourne for a major AIDS conference, conference attendees have been told. Delegates at a pre-conference in Sydney were told on Friday morning that around 100 medical researchers, health workers and activists were on the plane that went down near the Russia-Ukraine border, including former International AIDS Society president Joep Lange. . .

Read more at: SMH.com.au


[Excerpt]

Malaysia plane victims include infants, AIDS researchers
 
Flight attendant Nur Shazana Mohd Salleh was single but hoping to find love soon. Instead, she was one of nearly 300 people who perished when Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down in eastern Ukraine. The airline initially said there were 295 people on board the Boeing 777, 280 passengers and 15 crew members. Early Friday, the airline increased the death toll to 298, saying there were three infants on board. . .

Read more (with video) at: CBS News

Frivolity Break: Weird Al Yankovic's Word Crimes

I've been a fan of Weird Al Yankovic since Another One Rides the Bus (a parody of Queen's Another One Bites the Dust) and My Bologna (The Knack's My Sharona), on the Dr. Demento Show. But this may be one of his most entertaining efforts. The thing is, it almost requires that you follow along with the video. I'm proud to say I know most of these grammar rules, though these days I couldn't diagram a sentence to save my life. This time, the target is both the disintegration of the English language, to the tune of Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines.
 

The Gay Thing: CDC Gay Study Seems a Little Off

I was going to write a bit about this subject, a survey with findings I'm really not believing, but I had an unexpected work night. So let's leave the commentary to the pros. . .

[Excerpt]

About that new federal study saying gays are 3%

So, about this new federal study that claims that gays are around 3% of the population. Yeah, not so much. In fact, this study shows what every previous study shows — not how many gay and bisexual people there are in America, but how many people were willing to tell a complete stranger that they’re gay or bisexual. And that’s a huge difference. . .

Read more at: AmericaBlog

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

House Conservatives Not Gung-Ho on Impeachment

Sorry, Sarah. Not right now. Put your hand away,
you look like an idiot. Er...more of an idiot.
High crimes and misdemeanors. That phrase is important, because it was largely ignored back in the late 90s when Congress impeached President Bill Clinton. His "high crime" was to lie about having sex with a woman who was not his wife. In a question that was immaterial to the case. In a case that was later dismissed. It was and remains ridiculous.

Now, I'll acknowledge that lo about seven, eight years ago, I really would like to have seen George W. Bush impeached. At the time, there was a very lengthy list of offenses, the majority of which couldn't even be called a stretch. And even if you don't think so, they certainly hit a higher water mark than did the Lewinsky affair. But, as Nancy Pelosi said, impeachment was off the table.

And now, the hard right--having hated President Obama from his first election day or before, and thwarted in his second--has a similar bottled-up rage. From my vantage point, it's misdirected, viewed through a ideologically distorted prism. Though I don't agree with the President on everything (not big on drones, wish the war was over), the "scandals" he's been through have mostly been nothingburgers, or--funny enough--extensions of Bush Era policies.

But, the red meat base wants impeachment. But you can tell there may be a lot of hot air behind it when they can't seem to agree on a charge. Sarah Palin wants the impeachment to be based on the border crisis, which makes no sense (surprise!). I've seen others that want it to be the IRS "scandal," something that has never implicated Obama, and has fizzled out. I'm sure Darrell Issa would point to Benghazi!!! But what's the crime? If Benghazi a crime, what was 9/11? I mean, come on.

Fortunately, it sounds like Congress isn't really in the mood anyway. Who knows what will happen if the GOP takes the Senate in November (something that wouldn't be possible in a sane world). But for now, sounds like impeachment is off the table.

[Excerpt]

Sorry, Sarah Palin: House Conservatives Oppose Impeachment Of Obama
 
Sarah Palin, your wish is not granted. A panel of the House's staunchest conservatives on Tuesday rebuffed the former Alaska governor when asked about her call last week for impeaching President Barack Obama. Some said impeachment was impractical, some said it would hurt the GOP politically and others cautioned that Obama hasn't committed high crimes and misdemeanors. . .

Read more at: Talking Points Memo

GOP Congresswoman: We Need To Talk "Down To A Woman’s Level"

Image from source, TPM
It isn't often that I hear a woman speak, and my mouth hangs open. I'm long immune to the ramblings of the Sarah Palins and the Michele Bachmanns of the world. But this lady did it.

[Excerpt]

GOP Congresswoman: We Need To Bring Policy Talk ‘Down To A Woman’s Level’

Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) said on Friday that in order to connect with female voters, the Republican party needs to bring policy explanations "down to a woman's level." During a panel discussion on issues that women face and how the GOP can better reach women voters, the chair of the Republican Women's Policy Committee said that members of the party need to better "articulate ourselves," according to the Washington Examiner. . .

Read more (with audio) at: Talking Points Memo

Frivolity Break: Teenage Ladies Fight Back Against "Bro Country"

I've written before about the trend called "Bro Country." It's what passes for Country Music these days, or I guess what would be Country's version of Top 40. I'm slightly allergic to country music outside my long-ago forays into Country & Western gay bars (don't ask). But it doesn't take much immersion to see the pattern. As I said in the past, my introduction came from being trapped in a dentist's chair for about an hour. That's all it took, an hour--maybe 8 or 9 songs--and I was just appalled. Not so much for the messages in the songs (though that's kind of icky too), but its uniformity. Every song is about essentially the same thing, and each song is sung in pretty much the same style. As a latecomer to the genre, I'm probably less aware of it than most people.

Now, a couple of teenaged ladies have decided to sing a rebuttal of sorts to this entire sub-genre. I doubt it will change anything, but I hope they get rich and famous with it!

[Excerpt]

Teenage Duo Takes On ‘Bro Country’ Cliches, Writes Country Song Where Women Do More Than Bring Boys Beer



Listen to this first single from Maddie Marlow and Tae Dye, a teenage singing-songwriting country duo, out on iTunes today. Now get ready to listen to it again and again and again. “Girl in a Country Song,” with its tongue-in-cheek takedown of the way bro country treats women—“We used to get a little respect / now we’re lucky if we even get / to climb up in your truck keep our mouths shut and ride along / and be the girl in the country song.”—has all the makings of a hit: clever, on-the-zeitgeist lyrics, a sense of humor, and two very talented, telegenic teenagers. . .

Read more at: Think Progress

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sarah Palin: Dumb Down (A Rocky Mountain Mike Song Parody)

A tribute to the brilliance of Sarah Palin, to the tune of Sun Down by Gordon Lightfoot.

Hear all of Rocky Mountain Mike's stuff at Soundcloud. And buy his album!

 

Jon Stewart Returns to a World Gone Mad

Ever come back from vacation, and find out you missed a whole lot of crap, some of it just mind-blowing? Now, imagine that it's your job to report on all of that stuff! And somehow make it funny. . .

[Excerpt]

Jon Stewart Returns from Break to Discover ‘The World Has Gone Mad!’

Jon Stewart kicked off The Daily Show‘s return tonight by going through all the various catastrophes around the world (on the U.S.-Mexican border, in Iraq, and in Israel), and could only conclude one thing: “the world has gone mad!”. . .

Read more (with video) at: Mediaite

Monday, July 14, 2014

Blast from the Past: Class of '84, The Women

I graduated high school thirty years ago, give or take a few weeks. And for all the crap 80s music gets for its soulless sound, there actually were a lot of good songs back then. They seem a lot more recent to me than three decades gone. Maybe because they have gotten so much play since then. And it's true, a lot of 80s music is crap--even If I like it, colored with my heaping helpings of nostalgia. But, you know what? A lot of it's pretty damned good in any time period.

I'm going to start my Orwellian tribute with the ladies of rock. Not the bands, that comes later. This is the solo women of rock, pop, whatever you call the hits of the 80s. And yes, I'm aware that even solo acts have backing bands, but I'm going with how they classify themselves. I'm not always going with the most obvious tracks either, no sir. These are my favorites, which usually skew to the slightly more obscure. So, come along with me, and hear the voices of the ladies who serenaded the Class of 1984!

1. All Through the Night by Cyndi Lauper - This was one of five hits from Lauper's debut album. A first in history, that accomplishment.
2. We Belong by Pat Benatar - Pat's one of my all-time favorites, and it's a shame (as it is with Cyndi) that her heyday is her only day to so many people. She's too good to be pigeon-holed.



3. Better be Good to Me by Tina Turner - Yes, What's Love Got to Do with It is a bit more famous, but this one is more timeless.
4. Self Control byLaura Branigan - Gloria is better known, but this one is just better.



5. Material Girl by Madonna - She ended up getting the name of this song as a nickname for a while. Ironic, when you consider she made all of her jack, herself. No man did it for her.
6. Twist of Fate by Olivia Newton-John - Love her, and love other songs of hers more than this one, but it was huge in '84.





7. 99 Red Balloons by Nena - This is probably a weird one today, but in 1984, cold war tensions ran high. Nena was German, and sang this song in her own language. But there was an English version of the song, and a Germanglish one too.
8. Breakdance by Irene Cara - Bet you forgot this one.



9. They Don't Know by Tracy Ullman - Funny lady Ullman had a big hit here in the states before we knew who she was. I loved it.
10. Let's Hear it for the Boy by Deniece Williams - From Footloose, this trifle nonetheless left its mark on '84.



Surprisingly, I found little else, beyond other hits by these same artists, for  popular songs by solo women. I'll follow this list with the gents, probably with women-headed groups, and a few other '84 odds and ends. But I was surprised to find so few female solo artists hitting it big in my senior year.

But it's better today, right!? So, happy Monday everyone! Have a great week.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Nogales (A Rocky Mountain Mike Song Parody)

Proving that he can make anything funny, Rocky Mountain Mike tackles the border crisis--or more accurately, the right wing response to it--with Nogales, to the tune of Marty Robbins' El Paso.

For more from Rocky Mountain Mike, please go here.

 

How President Obama Should Respond to John Boehner

When I heard John Boner Boehner throwing down the gauntlet to President Obama yesterday, saying, "This is a problem of the president's own making," Boehner said. "He's been president for five and a half years. When is he going to take responsibility for something?" I shouted back at the radio, "Bitch, how long have you been in Congress?" I mean seriously, the the guy has been in leadership since 2007! What has he done? Moreover, for a man who is suing the President over executive orders, what's he asking for there? More executive action! He's a drunken tool.

Damn straight. Image found on Twitter, with no attribution.
 

Are You Ready for Sharknado 2?

Sharknado 2: The Second One is coming! Are you ready?

 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Auto Con Bot 3000 (A Rocky Mountain Mike Ad Parody)

What can you do when that right-wing, FOX "News"-watching, Sarah Palin-worshipping, Rush Limbaugh-listening co-worker or relative isn't around? Why, get the AutoConBot 3000, of course! Thanks, Rocky Mountain Mike!

Find more of Rocky Mountain Mike's fantastic parodies here.
 

Right Wing World: "Obama's Katrina"

 
[Hey, look, it's a Right Wing World trilogy! Moving on to other subjects after this, promise.]

It's interesting, with all of the disastrous things that happened during the George W. Bush administration, that it's Hurricane Katrina that gets called out the most. I guess it did sort of put a button on it, in a way. At the time, there was a lot of poo-pooing of liberal complaints about Katrina, of course. But it's almost universally acknowledged to have been a dark part of the Bush era. And ever since President Obama was inaugurated, Right Wing World has been trying to affix "Obama's Katrina" to virtually everything.

Remember when they used to stage photo ops for everything? This
image was intentionally presented as one, but came to be remembered
for the detachment of Bush during Katrina.
What kinds of things? Well, a) Healthcare.gov, b) Hurricane Sandy, c) BP Oil Spill, d) H1N1 flu vaccine shortage, e) Ft. Hood shootings, f) Haiti earthquake, g) Christmas Day Underwear Bomber, h) Chicago housing policies, i) the financial crisis that Bush left him, and--wait for it--j) Benghazi!!! And now, it's the children immigrant problem. All Katrinas. Apparently.

[Excerpt]

Media Consecrate Their Latest "Obama's Katrina": Unaccompanied Minors Edition

Right-wing and even mainstream media have eagerly pushed the suggestion that the recent increase in unaccompanied minors crossing the U.S.-Mexico border is "Obama's Katrina" -- an inane comparison that repeatedly surfaces inside the conservative media echo chamber. . .

Read more at: Media Matters

Right Wing World: Outrage at Costco!

I get outraged every time I go to Sam's Club, and walk through the book aisle. Okay, not outraged, more like irked. Sam's has a very large selection conservative and religious (Christian, naturally) books, when you consider that they really don't carry all that many books in the first place. It's a high percentage Occasionally, you might see Hillary Clinton peeking out from the shelves, but more likely, it's Bill O'Reilly, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, or any of an assortment of treacly, preachy books.

I shop at Sam's more than Costco, simply because it's much closer to my house. But I prefer Costco in almost every regard, except for its placement on the map, and the fact that they don't carry pepperoni (essential on the Atkins diet, for me anyway). Costco's Kirkland brand is head and shoulders above Sam's Choice. And while they might carry some of those right-wing books--as evidenced by the excerpted story below--they don't overwhelm in the same way.

So, I've got to say, if Right Wing World intends to boycott Costco, I say go for it. It might be easier for me to get into and out of the place on one of those Sundays where I schedule my errands out that way!

[Excerpt]

Costco Pulls Dinesh D’Souza’s D’Book From Shelves Over Poor Sales, Replaces With Wrath Of The Wingnuts
 
Where oh where will the wingnuts of the near future go for deals on grosses of “World’s Greatest Grandma” t-shirts and barrel-sized containers of Twizzlers? Certainly not Costco, which is the newest and shiniest focus of right-wing rage after the warehouse retailer made the decision to pull Dinesh D’Souza’s latest book from its shelves. Costco claims this was part of its ordinary monthly rotation of stock – the book was released on June 2 but did not meet a certain sales threshold, moving only 3600 copies in four weeks, so the company pulled it to make room for something else. Which is JUST WHAT THEY WOULD SAY. . .

Read more at: Wonkette

Right Wing World: Sarah Palin Advocates Impeachment

You know, because when it comes to matters as serious as the impeachment of the President of the United States, I always look to half-term, half-wit governors from states with a population that is dwarfed by 17 US cities. I'm aware that I should ignore this shrill, past-her-prime mean girl, as attention (and money) is what she thrives on. But as long as Right Wing World looks to this clueless twit as some sort of political guru [get better heroes!], she's not going away. And when she stirs up shit, it tends to splatter around.

So, Palin adds her endorsement of the idea of impeachment. Someone will have to explain to her that it doesn't involve actual peaches, I suppose. Her reasoning seems sort of screwy to me. But we know from the Bill Clinton impeachment that the right will use absolutely anything as a reason. It's not so much an impeachment for a specific reason, but one just for the sake of it. Just like last time. But last time, it just made Clinton more popular, set his wife on a wave of sympathy and congratulations, and probably lead to the upcoming candidacy of Hillary Clinton.

But, I'm telling you. When Nancy Pelosi said, "impeachment is off the table," in regard to George W. Bush, the right should have taken that great gift, and returned the favor. Because if any president deserved impeachment, it was Dubya.
Image from source, NewsCorpse
[Excerpt]

Impeachment Fever: America Rejected Sarah Palin, Now She Rejects America
 
The “Quitta From Wasilla” is making headlines again by displaying symptoms of acute Obama Derangement Syndrome. Sarah Palin, the 2008 GOP nominee for Vice-President, who was soundly rejected by American voters, is now calling for the impeachment of President Obama (again), who was elected twice with significant majorities. . .

Read more at: NewsCorpse

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

What Happens in Vegas: Climate Change Deniers Hold Conference

Here's something odd. On KXNT--the Rush Limbaugh/Sean Hannity station here in Las Vegas--I heard an ad for a conference taking place here. It sounded, at first, like a meeting of climate change scientists. But as the ad went on, it became clear that it was a gathering of climate change deniers. Makes sense, given the station I was listening to, even though it's more of a straight news channel in the early morning. Still, I thought, that's just weird. That they can gather enough scientists and "experts," to make up enough people for such an event.

I suspect that the bulk of the attendees are climate change deniers of the internet commando type, with the experts making up merely the panel of speakers. Finding out is difficult though. Because outside of the commercial I heard, I can't find much of anything on the conference except on arch-right-wing sites. What I did find is fairly thin on information. So, unless it's a rip-roaring success, don't expect to hear much about it outside of those sources, even after it's over.

Now, on a side note, I'd like to say that I don't understand climate change skeptics, and I don't understand how something rooted in science has become so overtly political. How can it be that if you're liberal, you believe the science, if you're conservative, you disbelieve it? I mean, I know that conservatives often disregard science in favor of ideology, but that doesn't mean I understand it. For one thing, I can't figure out what the motive would be, or how someone would accomplish lassoing virtually all climatologists (and related science professionals), and getting them all to agree to go along with a hoax.

One of the few bonuses of climate change is that Rush Limbaugh
lives in West Palm Beach, Florida. Image from  Big Think.
It smacks of the ridiculous notion of a "gay agenda," where 97% of gay people somehow agreed to make up a "lie" that being gay is not a choice. How? When? Who was the ringleader? How do they keep everyone in line? Maybe it helps that so many conservatives are fundamentalist Christians, who routinely go along without asking too many questions? I don't know. But beyond all that, I find it insane that people don't think that a couple hundred years of spewing pollution into the air and water couldn't possibly cause a problem. Anyone remember Lake Erie on fire? Have they seen the smog in china? Acid rain? And on and on. To dismiss that mankind could cause damage to the way the Earth operates is just short-sighted and bullheaded.

[Excerpt]

Climate change denial: skeptics gather in Las Vegas
 
As the Heartland Institute gets ready to organize a conference on climate change in Las Vegas from July 7 to 9 the focus once again has shifted to the fact whether the issue is a fact of a theory. Dubbed by many as “the biggest gathering of global warming skeptics in the world” all eyes are on the ninth International Conference on Climate Change. Moreover it has come in the background of the public opinion in America that strongly feels about the subject. . .

Read more at: Northern Voices Online

The Rude Pundit on the Consequences of the Hobby Lobby Decision

Lee Papa, The Rude Pundit
There are lots of things that have bugged me about the Supreme Court and some of their decisions over the last few years. One of the biggest bones of contention for me, is that the court doesn't seem to plan for "unintended consequences." Or intended consequences. Or any consequences. They often either don't seem to have considered what the decision before them could lead to, or don't care.

Remember when Justice Samuel Alito shot back "Not true," when President Obama mentioned possible consequences of the Citizens United ruling, during the State of the Union Address? Turns out, Obama was right on the money. That tells me, Alito didn't ponder where CU could lead, or didn't believe it would happen. Later, when SCOTUS took a knife to the Voting Rights Act, they indicated that racism was over, and that the part they carved out was unnecessary. Minutes later, affected states began enacting previously prohibited voting restrictions. Wrong again, SCOTUS.

Now, we've got a) corporate personhood, b) corporations with religious beliefs, c) beliefs that are not contingent on reality or science, d) laws that can be disregarded by corporations with "sincerely held beliefs" that are in conflict with those laws, e) corporations having religious beliefs that trump the employees' religious beliefs, and f) untold future claims of possibly presently uninvented religions, with unknown beliefs. And of course, there is the underlying disrespect for women that seems to hang over anything politically conservative. It's a freakin' mess.

But I've gone on too long here. I don't have the talent of Lee Papa, The Rude Pundit, who has put pixels to screen on this subject, with far more zest than I can give it. So read on. I'll run a link to Part II when it goes live.

[Excerpt]

Yes, Everything Is Worse Than It Seems (Part 1: Hobby Lobby, Science, and You)

. . .Think about how that willful disbelief in science can apply. If Cargill, a closely-held corporation, says that its church doesn't believe that climate change is human-made, does that mean it can ignore pollution mandate? Can Chick-fil-A claim that its owners' religion says that homosexuality is a learned behavior, not genetic trait so, fuck you, queers, go home? Just think of all the laws you can toss out if you have a religious belief that is total bullshit, but sincerely held. Koch Industries was just told, "Go nuts, motherfuckers. Have blood orgies to your mad gods and sacrifice virgins to the oil demons, if that's what you believe." Walmart can finally make lard a sacrament. . .

Read more at: The Rude Pundit

Monday, July 7, 2014

American Taliban?

There is a temptation on my part to let this imagery speak for itself, paste a link, and then leave it at that. But I don't want it to seem that I'm saying this is a 100% direct equivalence. The components of the images are pretty much identical: a weapon, a flag, and a holy book being held by a woman who looks pleased with herself.

I've already seen some commentary on Facebook that virtually shrieks that the woman on the right would be either a) beheaded or otherwise murdered were she to go against her faith, or b) outright behead or murder us. Graphic, right? People have some vivid imaginations. They also seem to see wholesomeness with the girl on the left, and danger in the girl on the right. And most of all, they'll complain that Christianity and Islam are not equivalent, in that Islam is inherently dangerous, and Christianity is not.

I'm not sure this holds up historically. I think atrocities have been committed by religious people in general. I think radicals in any religion are dangerous. It may be true that there are more organized, potentially violent religious extremists on the Islamic side of the aisle at the moment. But let's not pretend that the Bible hasn't been used to justify murder and mayhem, nor that the lady on the left looks any more sane than the lady on the right.

Source: Free Thought Blogs

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Blast from the Past: When TV Theme Intros Were Awesome

After a dry spell for a lot of years, some TV shows have come around to having some good credit sequences and theme songs, though they're usually fairly short. But nothing matches the quality of a good old one-minute to one-and-a-half minute opus of a theme song, with visuals edited to go along with the song! You might not even understand what I'm talking about if you don't already know. These were masterpieces that introduced the characters, the cast, the vibe of the show, and had real artistry. Though YouTube can kill some of the effect, the action would often be tailored to the beat, to the percussion, forming essentially a music video. Often they were themes by Mike Post or Lalo Shifrin. And the series they were attached to would often lose their nostalgia value without them.

Here are some of my favorites.

1. 21 Jump Street (1987-1991) - This show helped put Johnny Depp and the FOX TV network on the map. It was nothing like the movie. But the theme song sequence is really top notch.
2. Simon & Simon (1981-1989) - Never as popular as its cousin Magnum PI, this show nonetheless was a mainstay of the 80s. The intro was so memorable, it was parodied by Adam Scott in The Greatest Event in Television History.



3. Mission: Impossible (1966-1973, 1988-1990) - It would be impossible to leave this one out, though it had many versions, and different casts. The movie series had its highs and lows, but the television series stands on its own.
4. Hart to Hart (1979-1984) - Also parodied by Adam Scott, this is one of the iconic 80s programs, and the editing in the intro (which had several variations) was superb.



5. Charlie's Angels (1976-1981) - There were a total of six angels over five seasons. But for me, it was never the same after Kate Jackson left the series. Through each combination of Angels though, they did a great job with the credit sequence.
6. Knots Landing (1981-1993) - I debated whether or not to include this one, because the program had such varied and different themes from year to year. But something about season 7's theme has always stayed in my memory. So, it's worthy of inclusion.



7. The Incredible Hulk (1977-1982) - Cheesy by today's standards, but to its credit, played it straight. No campy, cartoony stuff here. And the opening explains the premise, while being very memorable.
8. The Six Million Dollar Man (1974-1978) - Okay, this one could be campy (Sasquatch, anyone?), but the opening is very much along the same lines as Hulk's.



9. The Bionic Woman (1976-1978) - Could I leave her out without being sexist?
10. The Fall Guy (1981-1986) - Back to Lee Majors, but I have to say, this is one of the best songs in TV theme history, and the opening credits were awesome.
 


And that will do it for this week. Happy Monday!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

GOP Counts on Dubya's Legacy for Fundraising

Not in a million years
Below, is the unedited, pasted-directly-from-the-email, money-beg from today's GOP. I present this to you, merely because I couldn't believe it. While the GOP and the tea party hate President Obama, they're also usually quick to disavow former President George W. Bush. Except for the rare (and odd) "Miss Me Yet" billboards with Dubya waving, and grinning like a loon, it's the rare conservative who will openly embrace his legacy.

Pressed to come up with the good things Bush accomplished, I have a very hard time. Extending Daylight Saving time is about the only thing I can come up with. Interestingly, I think a huge swath of the population would say that Bush "significantly diminished the United States’ standing in the world — and worse, he has made us less safe," particularly the first part of the sentence. The last part might be argued, but hell, I'd argue it in the case of Obama too. What, precisely, has President Obama done to make us less safe than Dubya?

In case you forgot, Bush ignored signs that 9/11 was coming. He started an unnecessary war against a country that did not attack us--though the administration tried damned hard to get us to make that connection. He instituted torture as policy.  He and his cohort Dick Cheney invented the "unitary executive," overusing executive orders and "signing statements," and non-transparency to unprecedented levels. Those very things--used more sparingly by the Obama administration--are now some of the primary things the GOP complains about.

[Email begins]


Like
f Share this on Facebook
GOP.com
Friend,
Resolute and decisive.
That’s what I remember when I think of the leadership of President George W. Bush. He led our nation through some of the most challenging moments of our nation’s history.
He led.
George W. Bush T-Shirt
The President we have today thinks our country should “lead from behind” and has significantly diminished the United States’ standing in the world — and worse, he has made us less safe.
I miss the leadership of President George W. Bush. And I miss him.
I had the privilege of serving in his White House, and I saw the character that he and his family provided our nation. I will be forever grateful for their service.
Tomorrow is President George W. Bush’s Birthday. It’s a moment that has reminded us of what leadership in the White House really looks like. And we’re working to send principled leaders to the Senate and House in 2014 and to the White House in 2016.
Would you help make that possible by contributing $27 to get your official “I Miss W.” t-shirt today before his birthday?
Thank you,
Sara Armstrong
RNC Chief Operating Officer
Contribute Now
[End of email]


But, by all means, get the Dubya T-shirt! Wear it in public! I think you might get some odd looks, perhaps questions about your sanity. And you may find yourself pretending that you're wearing it ironically. Maybe you'll even say you got it at a thrift shop as a joke. . .after all, that's where most of these are going to turn up.

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