Thursday, April 30, 2009

Adam "Batman" West Has a Garage Sale

I just thought I'd close out the month with something goofy.

Sarah Palin Twittering...

Tweeting? Twitting? Twatting? Not sure, haven't really figured out the Twitters yet. But if you want to see what goes on in Caribou Barbie's brain space, have at it!

Condi Rice Seems to Admit Complicity in Torture

Ruh-roh. Could Condoleezza Rice have stepped her Ferragamos into a big pile of poo? The first clip is from Hardball with Chris Matthews, featuring Pat Buchanan and Jonathan Turley.

And more from Countdown with Keith Olbermann, with John Dean.

BREAKING NEWS: Justice David Souter to Retire

Photo from Wikipedia

If you think 100 days of President Barack Obama, the party-switching of Arlen Specter, the imminent seating of Al Franken as Senator, and the disintegration of the GOP have conservatives going bananas, you may have seen nothing yet. Now, we have the news that Supreme Court Justice Souter is retiring from the bench. Which means, that Obama will get to appoint a new justice, with a Senate that is decidedly in his corner.

Now, do you think that Republicans are more likely to filibuster, or to demand an "up or down vote?" Considering how strenuously they barked the latter during the Bush Era, you could be forgiven for guessing wrong.


Supreme Court Justice Souter To Retire

NPR has learned that Supreme Court Justice David Souter is planning to retire at the end of the court's current term. . .

Read more at: NPR

Sexual Fetishes vs. Sexual Orientation: A Primer

Yesterday, I pointed out that the far-right blogosphere is woefully ignorant as it pertains to the term "sexual orientation." When the US House of Representatives voted to add sexual orientation to existing hate crime laws, people who really dig disparaging gay people got really upset. And in order to strengthen their case for opposition have resorted to willful ignorance--or perhaps lying.

Today, while listening to The Ron Reagan Show on Air America Radio, I heard Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) going at it again, lumping in pedophilia (and all sorts of more obscure 'philias) with sexual orientation, claiming that a pedophile would be included in protections from hate crime laws. Reagan let King go on far too long in that vein, before finally setting the record straight (after the Congressman was off the air).

But if you don't know the difference, here is a handy-dandy guide for you on just what sexual orientation is. Hint: it isn't a list of fetishes and kinks, which can be practiced by any orientation.

Source: Good as You

Jonathan Turley: Obama's Comments on Bush Era Torture

From last night's Rachel Maddow Show.

Even More 100 Days of Opposition

Apparently, putting one of these videos isn't too difficult. Lots of material to work with! And yeah, it isn't all FOX "News," this time. But is there really a distinction? Enjoy.

FOX "News": 100 Days of Opposition to Obama

Ready for your "fair and balanced" news reporting? Well, FOX "News," formerly a branch of the (Bush Era) government, is now positioned as the opposition. Need proof?


Fox News: 100 Days of “Opposition” to Obama

Fox News has reason to rejoice as President Obama marks the media-manufactured milestone of his first 100 days in office. The conservative cable network’s ratings are sky high under the new Democratic president. Yes, it looks like it couldn’t be happier serving as “the voice of [Obama's] opposition,” to paraphrase Fox News senior vice president Bill Shine. . .

Read more at: Brave New Films

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hate Crimes Law Passes House

Photo from souce, Reuters

Wherever you stand on "hate crimes" legislation, what everyone needs to remember is that hate crimes protections already exist for several classes of people, including the religious. So, when you hear religious people railing against hate crimes legislation for gay people as "special rights," remember, the people arguing against are already protected. And thus, it is the religious that already have "special rights."

Today, the US House of Representatives passed hate crimes legislation to protect gay (GLBTQETC) people. This has people who really enjoy disparaging gay people all in snit. You see, they really like bitching about gay people, and they want the right to do so. Ironically, hate crime legislation does not prevent them from doing that. They just can't yell "faggot" while beating somebody to death. Poor babies.


U.S. House passes "hate crime" bill that Bush opposed

The Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday approved an expansion of federal "hate crime" laws -- an effort that former Republican President George W. Bush had opposed. . .

Read more at: Reuters

Now, if you want to see what the once-hard-right, now mainstream GOP faithful think of this issue, take a look at some of these quotes. And then ask yourself why gays might need just a little extra protection. . .

"I guess we will just have Love Crimes, they are only HATE if you dare to speak of Sodomites and Girlie Men..."

". . .on a vote of 234-190. So there are 234 fags and bulldykes in the house."

Editor: And what, 190 raging heterosexual, patriotic 'Mericans?

"Gay's [sic] deserve to be hated! They demoralize our children and spreaddiseases [sic] among the children they molest."

Ed: Nice punctuation and typing skills there, chief.

"Not all persons are covered under "sexual orientation".

Ed: Um, OK, we've got gay, bisexual, straight and asexual. Who are we leaving out?

". . .I can no longer say “filthy disease ridden queer” on this site?
Have we now lost freedom of speech?"

Ed: Say it all you like. It says loads more about you than it does me.

"Among those sexual orientations being protected by HR-1913 are these:
Apotemnophilia - sexual arousal associated with the stump(s) of an Amputee
Asphyxophilia - sexual gratification derived from activities that involve oxygen deprivation through hanging, strangulation, or other means
Autogynephilia - the sexual arousal of a man by his own perception of himself as a woman or dressed as a woman. . ."

Ed: It goes on like that. Almost everything in this person's list is a fetish or kink, not a sexual orientation. These FReepers are really clueless. Sexual orientation is an emotional and physical attraction to gender. Fetishes can occur in any orientation.

"We need a new Constitutional Convention, to restore the original Constitution."

Ed: Yeah, ask your black friends about that one.

"So what's this mean? If a pedaphile [sic] is arrested for molesting children has his civil rights been violated? Is he a victim now? "

Ed: Um, moron, pedophiles (learn to spell) might have a sexual orientation, but pedophilia ISN'T it.

So as you can see, they're in an uninformed, ignorant, ridiculous frenzy.

Read more (if you dare) at: FreeRepublic

Dinner Out Tonight, Blogging Not So Much.

Image from source, Silverton

The Other Half and I are taking my bosses out to dinner, along with our friends, Mr. & Mrs. Lesto (yesterday was their 25th anniversary). So, blogging will be light or nonexistant tonight. I'll try to return to put something up for Thursday morning. If you don't see anything, you'll know why. It will be interesting to see if the Silverton Casino & Lodge has "down-scaled" their ala-carte steakhouse, Twin Creeks, due to the economy. Hmmm, maybe a restaurant review is in order?

Frivolity Break: Maru and the Big Box

Yeah, it's another video of a cat. But Maru is special!

And now, Maru and the Little Box!

Maru's Blog

Stephen Colbert & David Ippolito: "Special Kind of Friendship"

You already know who Stephen Colbert is. But have you heard of David Ippolito? He's "That Guitar Man from Central Park." He's a barefoot (sometimes bare chested) guitar playing singer, and he's apparently got quite a following. I first heard of him on The Thom Hartmann Show, singing "Tom Cruise Scares Me," which also took on Dick Cheney and Ann Coulter.

This video teams him up with Colbert (OK, probably not).

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Florida Unveils Jesus License Plate

I laughed when I saw this, thinking it was a joke. I mean I had heard that Florida got a special "Jesus" license plate. Which I think is an exceedingly odd idea. And potentially un-Constitutional. But I figured it would be far less stark, far less in your face. This shot--I assumed--was a photo shop job, right? I mean, I'd have been less surprised if it was Madonna's boyfriend, Jesus. This is just. . .wow.

Source: The Awl

In my opinion, the Flying Spaghetti Monster version is way better. . .

Source: Buzzfeed (comments)

This Just In: Michelle Bachmann Still Crazy

Photo from source, Wonkette

Not much to add here, except that I love the photo, and the first sentence is hysterical.


Michele Bachmann Learns of Serious Flu Scare, Decides to Speak Anyway

America’s joke, Congresslady and full-time lunatic Michele Bachmann, woke this morning from her barbiturate-wine cooler stupor, crawled on her hands and bloodied knees to the AM-only radio permanently tuned to the local wingnut talk station, and happened to catch the national news bulletin: An influenza pandemic! . . .

Read more at: Wonkette

FOX "News" Beats CNN & MSNBC Combined

If you ever needed proof that popularity does not equal quality (or audience taste), this is it. What it proves to me, is that if something is noisy, flashy and outrageous enough, it will attract eyeballs. It also proves that the nuttier the cable news host, the more likely they will find an audience. Howard Beale, you're on!


April Ratings: FNC Beats CNN and MSNBC Combined

How's this for cable news domination - Fox News beat CNN and MSNBC combined in every hour from 6amET to MidnightET in both Total Viewers and the A25-54 demo for April 2009. . .

Read more at: TV Newser

Separated at Birth: Ozzy Osbourne & Mary Kate Olsen


Source: Kenneth in the (212)


Separated at Birth: Seth MacFarlane and Christopher Knight
Sarah Palin Looks Like?Featured Blog: Totally Looks Like (Cindy McCain and Borg Queen from Star Trek)
Cindy McCain Plagiarizes Recipes? (Cindy McCain and Jane Badler, Diana of V)
Separated at Birth: John McCain & Lon Chaney, Sr.Horrible Monster or Presidential Candidate? (Fred Thompson and Movie Monsters)
Separated at Birth: Obscure Celebrity Edition
Sean Hannity & Lou Costello Separated at Birth

Frivolity Break: Treadmill Fail; Musical Cat Win!

Weird, but funny.

Blast from the Past: George W. Bush on War Crimes

Let's hope for one time in his life, George W. Bush was right about something. Watch. . .

Sen. Arlen Specter Switches to Democratic Party

This is interesting, to say the least. The Democrats have been anxious to seat Al Franken (D-Minn.), to make him the 59th Democratic Senator, in order to have nearly a filibuster-proof majority. This is necessary, because the Republicans are forcing a super-majority a lot of the time. Unexpectedly, Arlen Specter (R D-PA) has switched parties, locking it up, once Franken is seated.

Of course, Specter has long been a contrarian, and his new role will not ensure a 100% party-line vote. But it's still newsworthy. To say the least.

Randi Rhodes Web Site Returns (Sort Of)

Every other day or so, I've checked in on, to see if there has been any update into her whereabouts. I've already reported (a couple of times) that her show will return on May 11th (on KTLK-AM for one, others can be found here). But last time I looked, her website still had up the many weeks-old message that appeared after her initial disappearance.

Before Nova M Radio collapsed, Randi's site contained daily "homework" directly from her. Unlike some other hosts (cough! Rush! cough!), Randi always encouraged her listeners to do their own reading, to make up their own minds. She said often not to believe anything or anyone you hear on the radio--herself included--without checking it out for yourself. I take the same attitude with this blog. With a much more strenuous urging, since I don't have the time to do all the research Randi does.

Also at her site was a vibrant and active message board, an entire community of listeners. Hopefully, some of that will be retrieved when Randi's show is up and running again. While it isn't there yet, I was heartened to see that there is something up now, something that indicates that Randi is coming back, for real. And here it is. . .


Monday, April 27, 2009

Sarah Palin's Defense Fund an Ethics Violation?

Photo from source, Huffington Post

Poor Sarah Palin. She can't seem to get anything right. In setting up a legal defense fund to help her with her ethics violations, she may have unwittingly committed another ethics violation! Also.


Palin Legal Fund Challenged As Ethics Violation

An ethics complaint filed Monday against Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin claims the legal defense fund formed last week to challenge such claims is an ethics violation itself. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

M-O-O-N, That Spells Swine Flu!

OK, this is blatantly stolen from Wonkette. As you might have noticed, I'm not real big with the original material this blogging day. Oh, well. The clip is from the opening moments of Stephen King's The Stand, one of the best adaptations (and most star-studded) of the author's books. It has to do with (at least at first) a world-wide pandemic. It doesn't end well, particularly for those of us who live in Las Vegas.

Your Randi Rhodes Update

I'd like to take credit for this new bit of news about the resurrected Randi Rhodes Show, but I can't. Liberal Talk Radio (LTR) is the go-to site for any liberal radio news, and that is where I found this. Enjoy, Randi fans, and get set to bounce your boobies!


Randi Rhodes will be back on the airwaves come May 11, two weeks from now, via Premiere Radio Networks. Her show will originate from the Washington, DC area, rather than her longtime home in West Palm Beach. And three Clear Channel-owned stations have announced plans to bring her back as well, including KTLK Los Angeles (live), KKGN San Francisco (4-7P PT) and KPOJ Portland (3-6P PT).

So, where else will she wind up?

Find out at: LTR

Swine Flu: It's Deja-Vu All Over Again

I knew I wasn't just getting a sense of deja vu. There really was a swine flew scare when I was a kid. Picture it: 1976, year of the bicentennial, the Freedom Train, and star-spangled bunting everywhere. Farrah Fawcett's poster was on every boy's wall (even mine). But somebody got too cozy with some pigs, and we were faced with swine flu!

Here's how the Ad Council reacted:

Gay Marriage Begins in Iowa; Sky Does Not Fall

Photo from source, Des Moines Register
How 'bout that?


360+ same-sex couples apply for marriage licenses; most in Polk Co.

As final numbers come in from county recorders, at least 360 same-sex couples have applied for marriage licenses in Iowa, with the heaviest concentrations in Linn, Polk, Scott and Johnson counties, according to information collected by The Des Moines Register. The tally so far includes 26 out-of-state couples, according to a survey of county recorders. The Register is still gathering its data, but afternoon figures show that the greatest number of applications so far is in Polk County, which has logged 83. Johnson County has seen 40 applications so far, Scott County has seen at least 18, and 40 couples have applied for marriage licenses in Linn County. Today was the first day same-sex couples could since the April 3 Iowa Supreme Court opinion that struck down a state law that said marriage was only between a man and a woman. . .

Read more at: Des Moines Register

Trouble with the "Library Tower Plot" Timeline

Photo from Wikipedia

There are many things you can count on while watching FOX "News" or listening to right-wing talk radio. One of course, is that no matter what President Obama does or says, they'll have something negative to say about it. But at least as reliable is the repetition of talking points--particularly by Sean Hannity--that have been debunked.

One of the biggies right now is that torture--or what might not be torture (but it's torture)--works, because it resulted in stopping a plan to destroy LA's Library Tower. Just how feasible the plan was in the first place has been in question too. In fact, former President Bush wasn't even sure if it was the Library Tower or the Liberty Tower. Republican politicians and conservative blowhards have been touting this repeatedly, though, as evidence that whatever we did, it works, so it's OK.

Trouble is, the timeline of events just doesn't seem to work. But don't expect that to dissuade the usual suspects from repeating the story endlessly anyway.


A Timeline Problem With The 'Torture Memos' And The Library Tower Plot

. . .What clinches the falsity of Thiessen's claim, however (and that of the memo he cites, and that of an unnamed Central Intelligence Agency spokesman who today seconded Thessen's argument), is chronology. In a White House press briefing, Bush's counterterrorism chief, Frances Fragos Townsend, told reporters that the cell leader was arrested in February 2002, and "at that point, the other members of the cell" (later arrested) "believed that the West Coast plot has been canceled, was not going forward. . ."

Read more at: Just One Minute

Top 10 Conservative Idiots, April 27, 2009

Monday, again everybody! Time to start another week. And one of my favorite ways to do that is with Democratic Underground's "Top 10 Conservative Idiots." There never seems to be a shortage.


The Top 10 Conservative Idiots, No. 363
April 27, 2009
Ultimate Meltdown Edition

Some say that the GOP has lost its way. If by "lost its way" they mean "fallen down a two-hundred-foot flooded mineshaft where it is using the remainder of its failing strength to desperately tread water in pitch darkness as it awaits its inevitable death by drowning," then I would have to agree. Let's be honest. The Republican Party has flipped out. They've gone completely bonkers. What you are about to read is perhaps the craziest collection of conservative idiots I've ever had the misfortune to write about. . .

Read the list at: Democratic Underground

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Lawrence O'Donnell vs. Phil Musser on Torture

As more and more information spills out on Bush Era "Enhanced Interrogation" (torture), I'm more and more amazed at the Republican response to it, even from friends. As George W. Bush himself said, "America doesn't torture." So, let's call it something else. Give it a Frank Luntzian/Karl Rovian name, and it magically becomes something else.

But water boarding is torture, as defined by international and federal law. I heard a local right-wing radio host today (I forget her name, KXNT has an interchangeable roster of female hosts, like FOX "News"), comparing water boarding to "a little water in your face, boo, hoo." She and others keep trying to muddy the waters by making the definition of torture open to interpretation. And if it's defined as torture, it's a liberal definition! Anyway, so what if we torture, they say, these are terrorists! And the information got us information to protect us from their evil plots!

So it's not torture, but it might be torture, but it's OK because it works. Forget that these prisoners were suspected terrorists, not confirmed. And they were allowed no counsel, not even told what they were picked up for. It's all so un-American, and yet the conservatives have no problem whatsoever with it. So we broke a few laws, the ends justify the means! But do they?

Beatrice Arthur Dead at 86. Blog Editor Sad at 43.

Photo from Kenneth in the (212)
In the words of Esther Rolle as Florida Evans from Good Times:, "Damn! Damn! Damn!" Florida once worked for Maude Findlay, who was of course played by the one-of-a-kind Beatrice Arthur. Known for her caustic characters, not only on Maude, but on The Golden Girls and (most memorably for me) her cameo as an unemployment office worker in Mel Brooks' History of the World, Part I.

Two of the "girls" of The Golden Girls--Bea and Betty White--have seemed almost immortal. They've been prominent in pop culture for as long as I've been alive, and have always seemed to be "women of a certain age." So the aging of both seemed unnaturally prolonged. And they'd keep popping up here and there, vibrant and funny as ever. Bea showed up at Comedy Central roasts, in viral internet videos with Abe Vigoda and Charlotte Rae. She had a memorable turn as Dewey's babysitter on Malcolm in the Middle.

Bea Arthur has left an indellible mark on pop culture, and will live on forever, at least to this blogger. RIP, Bea. Now you can tell God personally to "get" Walter!

Weekend Projects #2, 3 and 4 Complete!

There are weekends where you get absolutely nothing done, and feel guilty about it. There are those that are planned lazy time, and there are the ones where you plan projects for yourself, and actually do them. This was one of those for me.

I came away wounded and achy after my big project, switching out the fenders on my Jeep. My other projects by contrast were fairly easy. #2 was trading out the power supply on The Other Half's computer. This might have been an ordeal years ago, but having done it before, and with easier-access computers these days, it was easy-breezy. All done in about 15 minutes.

Project #3 was to obtain and set up a quieter fan in my office. We moved my office to the front of the house, so that I wouldn't disturb TOH when he has to sleep at different hours than I do. But the problem is, the front of the house gets warm, and the fans in our house are all too noisy. They require me to turn up the TV too loud to compensate, which kinda defeats the purpose of moving in the first place. So, I found a vertical, oscillating "fan tower" that promises to be noiseless. $27, so even if it turns out not to suit my purposes, it's no big tragedy.

Project #4 was seemingly simple: obtain a filtered water pitcher. Our ridiculously expensive Maytag Ice20 refrigerator's water line freezes up over and over, so we wanted filtered water in a different way. Options for pitchers are more varied than they used to be, with different brands and sizes. I opted for a slim 9-cupper jobby that was marked down from $25 to $11.

It's kind of weird though, with a sink attachment included, and a hose that snaps into the handle. And there is only one spot in the afore-mentioned refrigerator that it'll even fit.

But looky there, four projects completed! Now, I'm going to settle in with a box DVD set of Angel, Season 1 to watch for the first time. As a huge Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan, this could almost be counted as project #5. No use wasting time blogging, as it seems there are no readers today anyway. 18-whopping people at last check. Whoopee.

Young Turks: Torture for False Information

Recently, I wrote a Conspiracy Corner column, speculating on the possible reason that Bush, Cheney & Co. might want to elicit false confessions via torture. My theory actually holds up with the one expressed here by Cenk Uygur. You just have to put on your tinfoil hat, and take it a step further. . .

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Weekend Project #1: Jeep de-Aging (Pt. 2)

I didn't want to do it, I really didn't. After changing out the fender flares on the left side of my Jeep Wrangler yesterday, I just wasn't sure if my body was up to it. My fingertips are bruised from trying to hold the plastic nuts while using the socket wrench on the bolts. My elbow is bruised from when the wrench slipped off of the impossibly shallow bolt heads. My skin is slashed on my wrists and on my hands from the edges of the fender flares.

But I decided, damn it, I'm going to do it. Otherwise, I'd put it off for a week, a month, who knows? I'd have one side with fresh new fenders, and one side with 11-year faded ones. So I saddled up, and rode that bitch. But this time, even though it is exacting work trying to hold those little nuts and bolts, I wore work gloves. I thought it would slow me down, but it didn't. I was able to hold the plastic nut much better, and the gloves got shredded instead of my hands. There were little bits of suede all over the fenders when I was done.

Anyway, here are the results. The photos don't give the full effect, unfortunately, because the old fenders just look dusty in the top photo. In fact, they were faded to an uneven light gray, with even lighter speckles here and there. The new fenders are black, black, black.

So, I washed the truck--and got suckered into washing The Other Half's car as well--thus completing weekend project #1!

American Cars I'd Totally Buy

Dodge Challenger. Ford Mustang. Chevy Camero. Jeep Wrangler. All American icons, all cars I'd own in a heartbeat. Who says I'm an America hating libtard? Because I'm all about buying American. Seriously.

Is Westboro Baptist Church Planning a Jonestown?

Image from

You know, ordinarily, I would be totally against suicide. Totally. I think it's the coward's way out. I think that nothing is so bad that suicide is worth it. I think that many suicide attemptees misunderstand that they'll be able to see the reactions of their friends and family, when in reality they'll just be dead. It's just a bad idea.

On the other hand. . .


Is Westboro Planning A Jonestown?

"BECAUSE IT’S ALMOST TIME TO LEAVE…THAT’S WHY DUMMY! We are particularly urgent about it, because the time is shortly to come when we will grant you your wicked wish, Doomed america! Let us see how that is shortly now to play out, my angry little sodomite-loving friends. It’s about time for us to leave this place. When we’re done, we will leave your filthy land and be placed safely out of the reach of the horror that will then land upon you swiftly and certainly – in one hour. We pray it to be any day now, for the promises of our God are sure and certain. We finished our job in Napa County – one of the few we have left – and then went to tell the Saints of our God-blessed exploits and our joy. . ."

Read more at: Joe.My.God

Careers Cut Short Redux: Olivia Newton-John

Photo from My Lifetime

I haven't done one of these for a while, but the home-made MP3 CD I was playing in my Jeep today landed on three different songs by Olivia Newton-John, and it reminded me of this series. I featured--back in the early days of this blog--a series of posts about musicians whose careers were tragically cut short. Don't get me wrong, they're still celebrities, but they never recaptured the massive fame they once had.

The previous entries included Pat Benatar, Cyndi Lauper, George Michael and yes, Olivia Newton-John. All of these pop stars had a stunning stream of hits, and all have equally stunning voices. Benatar had the rocker thing, Lauper had the "new-wave" thing, Michael had the "ambiguously gay" thing, and Newton-John had the Madonna/whore complex.

When I was a little kid, Olivia Newton-John was a country star. Which was confusing, because I knew she was an Australian. And also, her "country" songs were also mostly top 40 hits. From If You Love Me Let Me Know to I Honestly Love You, she was a sweetie-pie, absolutely pure as the driven snow. And she rode that image to Grease, which turned her from a goody-two-shoes to a hot mama. She came out with Totally Hot, an album with racy photos that drove my step-dad bananas. And she followed that with first, Xanadu, where she reverted to pure, and then Physical, when she got a little trampy again. But after that, things went sour.

After Xanadu the movie bombed (though the soundtrack did very well), she followed with Two of a Kind, a movie with John Travolta. It bombed too. Then Soul Kiss, a sort of concept album, playing up her sexiness bombed. Then, a cancer scare, a divorce, the disappearance of her boyfriend. She became tabloid fodder. She's been in a few small movies (loved her in Sordid Lives the movie and the series). But no hits. None at all. And I wonder why?

Cher made innumerable comebacks. Elton John, Rod Stewart, Bette Midler. . .all have had comebacks, and/or Las Vegas shows. Why couldn't Olivia? It isn't fair. And it's overdue.

#1 - Xanadu - This was the infectious theme song from the disasterous roller-disco/muse film. It's become a Broadway musical in the mean time, and has garnered a "so bad, it's good" reputation. The song is still guaranteed to fill a dance floor.

#2 - Summer Nights - One of the best (and most successful) songs from Grease. I won this record in a "sock hop" in junior high school, believe it or not.

#3 - Let Me Be There - This was one of the early ones, and it demonstrates Olivia's beautiful voice, and beautiful face. Man, she's pretty. And can you imagine if you could transplant this performance to American Idol? They'd totally plotz.

#4 - A Little More Love - This song, from Totally Hot, is one of my very favorites. I included it for the American Idol comment from above. Olivia mastered the "runs" and changeups favored by Idol stars without making them cliche or trite. She managed to change each chorus, hitting different notes, going from melody to harmony. I just love it.
And here's a bonus, the theme song from Sordid Lives, It's a Bitch

Susan Boyle's "Cry Me a River"

She ain't pretty, but she's sure got a pretty voice. Posted especially for The Other Half.

Bill Maher's New Rules, April 23, 2009

This is a good batch of New Rules. Particularly the analysis of the incoherence of today's Republican Party. Good stuff.

Conspiracy Corner: 9/11 and Torture

Put on your tinfoil hats, guys, 'cause I'm about to trudge into Conspiracy Corner.

As the evidence of torture during the Bush Era accumulates, a few things are becoming clear. First, it seems that the Bush Administration bigwigs were determined to torture. They were gonna make it happen, no matter what. Second, they seemed not to mind at all that the torture methods they were implementing were invented to result in false confessions.

For the last few days, whenever I've thought about this, I'd wonder, "why would they be so determined to torture people to elicit false confessions?" Rachel Maddow has asked this question more than once on her TV show. And no answer has been forthcoming.

Then I started to thinking about the conspiracy theories about September 11, 2001. I don't remember how long it was before the theories started swirling. But I think my first exposure to them must have been late 2003, maybe early 2004. I remember talking to my friend and sometime blog contributor, Stupid Monkey Planet about the implications of 9/11 being an "inside job." We didn't accept all or even most of the theories, mind you. But you don't have to be crazy to think that just maybe there was more to it than we've been told.

Just think about for a second, what it would mean if the Bush Administration either knew about or was complicit in the attacks. It would mean that the highest levels of our government would kill Americans, do anything to achieve their own political goals. It isn't hard to imagine, after all we know and the personalities involved, that they would go very far indeed.

The problem, of course, is that the administration--and George W. Bush himself--was seen as too incompetent to pull something like that off. Not to mention the large number of people who would be needed to accomplish such a conspiracy. Add in some of the nuttier "theories" and it is easy to dismiss all of them as rubbish. Throw the baby out with the bathwater.

The truth is, the Bush Administration was a bizarro conglomeration of incompetence and scary effectiveness. They were a disaster at policy, but masterful at politics. Karl Rove was a master manipulator of all things political, politicizing nearly every aspect of government. And it almost worked. Were it not for the problem of actual reality intruding on Rove's alternate version, they may have achieved their "permanent Republican majority."

When Monkey and I considered these things, we wondered how--if it were true--it would ever come to light. How would anybody believe such a thing? They'd likely get away with it all, because it all seemed so crazy, only the conspiracy theorists themselves would buy it. Which, when you stop to think about it, may have been part of the plan all along.

So tonight, I was thinking, if 9/11 really was an inside job, it would be ironic if Bush, Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld, Rice and the rest ultimately got busted for the torture thing instead. Kind of an Al Capone sort of ending. Then--as I'm wont to do--I went a step further. What if the pursuit of torture to elicit false confessions was all an effort to muddy the 9/11 waters? What if they were looking for a confession that would get them off the hook for their inside job? Whoa.

I'm probably not the first to think of this. But it's the first time I thought of it. And I kinda blew my own mind. What do you think?

Friday, April 24, 2009

2,000 Photos of Torture Abuses?

Image from source, RawStory

And the hits just keep on coming. And seemingly, the release of this information is worse than the reality that it happened, if you believe the right-wing. If we keep hearing more of this, how long can the Obama Administration stall on investigations?


Pentagon may have up to 2,000 photographs of prisoner abuse

The Pentagon will release for the first time 44 photographs depicting prisoner abuse after the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) won a court ruling in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed in 2004.

A "substantial number of other images" are also being processed for release, the Department of Justice wrote in a letter to a US federal court:
according to the Guardian, citing an unnamed official, that "substantial number" could be as many as 2,000 photos. . .

Read more at: Raw Story

Outrage Movie to Out Closeted Gay Politicians

Image from source, indieWIRE

I am conflicted on the practice of "outing." As a general rule, I believe that gay people ought to be able to "come out" on their own schedules. Nobody forced me out, and I really appreciate that. Sometimes a person is constrained by circumstance, some are conflicted internally. . .there are as many reasons to stay closeted as there are gay people. Most of us feel a great sense of relief once the deed is done. But then, most of us picked our own coming out moment.

A new documentary called "Outrage" is apparently going to be naming names, of closeted gay politicians. Now here is where the waters get murky. Politicians have the ability to make or influence law. And if a closeted gay politician is working to pass anti-gay legislation, that's when I say--wholeheartedly--"out them!"

When it comes to Florida Governor Charlie Crist--who is rumored to be outed in the film--I really don't know what to think. I don't know his record on gay rights issues. I guess it's time to study. . .


First Look: Kirby Dick’s “Outrage”; New Tribeca Doc Names Names

The current governor of a major U.S. southern state, the campaign manager of a U.S. president, a senior West Coast congressman, a former mayor of New York City, and others are among those outed in Kirby Dick’s “Outrage,” a provocative new documentary debuting tomorrow night at the Tribeca Film Festival. Unseen in its finished form until yesterday, the film is likely to cause waves in political and media circles as word gets out about its subject matter. . .

Read more at: indieWire

Rachel Maddow: History Refutes Torture

Is Dick Cheney in "veep" trouble, for his participation in the Bush Era torture program? Let's hope so. . .

GOP: 100 Days of "No"

Speaks for itself.

Weekend Project #1: Jeep de-Aging (Pt. 1)

I'm in the house on a break from my first part of my first project for the weekend. I have a 1998 Jeep Wrangler Sport, and while it still looks pretty good, its age is starting to show.

The great thing about owning a Jeep Wrangler (or CJ) is that to the general public, they all look the same. Ask my Mom to point out the difference between a 78 CJ-7, and 87 YJ, a 97 TJ or a 2007 JK, she couldn't do it. For the uninitiated, the CJs had rounded rear wheel openings, the YJs had square headlamps, the TJs brought back the awesome, updating yet retaining characteristics of classic Jeeps, and the new JKs made the front end look like a loaf of Spam (I want one anyway).

People who pay attention to cars and trucks probably recognize my TJ from the 1997-2006 span. But only two things really give it away as one of the early TJs: different side mirrors, and aged fender flares. The fender flares are made of vinyl, and they have a tendency to fade in the sun. Worse, the fading is irregular and spotty. Nothing makes them look new again.

Except: buying new flares! So, I had my mom get me a set off of eBay for my birthday. Thinking this would be the easiest car repair I ever undertook, I started to day at about noon. Basically, all this involves is unbolting the old flares and bolting on the new ones (plus replacing the parking lights). Easy right? Yeah, I thought so too.

I could add a new "enhanced interrogation technique" to the CIA's list by suggesting this chore. "Stress positions" would be the key word here. For most of the bolt removals/reinstallations, you need both hands. And you need to get them into awkward, unnatural positions. To make things worse, Chrysler used bolts with very shallow heads, making a constant grip with the socket wrench impossible. So after 2 hours, I needed a break. I managed to get the front left fender, parking light, and accent piece changed out. I started with the bolts on the left rear, but grew weary quickly. Need lunch. Need band aids. Need rest!

So my weekend project may go over two or three days. And we haven't even gotten to Weekend Project #2: computer power supply!

More FOX "News" Unfair and Unbalanced

I got into a little tiff with radio host Nancy Skinner right here on the blog a couple of days ago. My only real problem with her as a media personality is her FOX "News" connection. First, I do not consider FOX "News" to be a legitimate news organization (hence the quotation marks). For all the hand-wringing over MSNBC's liberal shift in its prime-time opinion shows, they have nothing on FOX for full-time, full-on partisan bias.

Bizarrely, fans of FOX will vehemently protest any accusation that the network is tilted extremely to the right, like a teeter-totter with a 220-lb. weight on one end. Forget that anyone with eyes, ears and a brain can plainly see the bias. The fact that nearly every FOX defender is a right-winger ought to be enough. Yet, they will deny it (perhaps with an acknowledgement of a slight bias), and insist that it only applies to the "commentary" shows like The O'Reilly Factor (allegedly libertarian or independent) and Hannity. All the rest is straight news, don't you know?

To buy this theory, you'd have to ignore FOX's in-house advertising of practically anything, not the least of which their aggressive push for the non-partisan (ha!) "tea parties." You'd also have to ignore the practice of two-, three- and four-on-one ratios of conservatives to liberals on panel discussions. This is Nancy Skinner's claim to fame, as the "token" liberal in a sea of conservatives. I do not know her level of success in this milieu, having no distinct memory of her on television. But often--in my experience--the token liberal is not only outnumbered, but fairly moderate, and not terribly forceful.

Today, out of curiosity (and because of my discussion with Skinner), I decided to check out a stretch of FOX "News." I watched a program that is designated in the listings as news, not opinion. The program was Live Desk with Trace Gallagher. I found the program to be as skewed, and as obvious about it as anything on Hannity.

The ongoing "torture memos" controversy was always framed as "interrogation." Popularity polls of the President were picked apart into the minutia to prove Obama is really not that popular. And the three-on-one conservatives vs. liberal was in evidence, if you count the FOX "Newsbot" female host (and I do). Token Bob Beckel gave it a game try, explaining what was so important in this "interrogation" controversy. But he was outgunned by sheer numbers. On FOX "News," not only is it unsettled whether or not water boarding is torture, apparently it doesn't matter. Torture keeps us safe! OK. . .

Obama Administration Trying to Save Chrysler?

I'm in my early (OK, mid) 40s, and I still remember when the government (then headed by President Jimmy Carter) bailed out the Chrysler Corporation. I was a "'tween" at the time, and even I wondered why anyone would bother. Back then, the big Chrysler models were the Dodge Omni/Plymouth Horizon twins, which were ugly knockoffs of the Volkswagen Rabbit and/or the Chevrolet Chevette. Can you imagine knocking off the piece of crap that was the Chevette?

But in the seventies, almost all of Chrysler's products were knockoffs of other cars. Even the flagship Chrysler New Yorker was a smaller, crappier version of the Lincoln Town Car. But after the bailout, Lee Iacocca steered the company in a new direction, one where Chrysler was the company being copied. The Dodge Caravan/Plymouth Voyager/Chrysler Town & Country were basically the first minivan (if you forget the VW Micro Bus). But internally, Chrysler still copied itself. In that last example, you can see that Chrysler's three different divisions often treated one product as different trim levels, with Plymouth the entry level, Dodge the middle, and Chrysler the top.

Eventually, Plymouth was docked at the shore, and petered out with the "niche" vehicle, the Prowler. After years of mediocrity, Dodge actually began to be cool, and Chrysler's image was tweaked as well. When they ditched the "penta-star"--which had become synonymous with crap--and changed back to their old "wax seal" logo, their image began to change. And when some designer put wings around that logo, they very likely accidentally completely changed the design scheme for the whole division. Every Chrysler has those wings now, and while it may be starting to age, I still like it. And I never look at a Chrysler product anymore and think, "piece of crap."

Along the way, Chrysler scooped up American Motors Corp. as it was dying, mostly to pluck out the Jeep division. For a few years, "Eagle" lived on as a division, stretching out the death of AMC. But Eagle was as unnecessary as Plymouth, and disappeared. Jeep has been (at least from a design and brand-stretching perspective) a success. Until recently, they wouldn't even put Jeep Wranglers on sale, because they didn't ever need to. Chrysler wasn't responsible for the square headlights on their first Wrangler, which was dreamed up by AMC. But their ten-year run of the next Wrangler brought it back to its CJ glory, making me drool until I finally bought one. Several Jeeps have been born under Chrysler, some great (Grand Cherokee), some not (first Liberty looked like the product of a mating between a Kia and a frog).

So, it would be sad to see Chrysler die after such a stunning rebirth, and sustained second life. But as we learned with the death of Plymouth and AMC, we absorb the news and get used to it. And Jeep--as it has through several previous owners--would survive the mayhem.


Obama Administration Seeks to Keep Chrysler Out of Bankruptcy

The Obama administration's autos task force adviser Ron Bloom told Chrysler stakeholders this morning that they are working to strike a deal to avoid putting the company into bankruptcy. . .

Read more at: Washington Post

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Texas Secession: What Are They Waiting For?

I wonder where we submit our designs for a 49-star flag? Or maybe we finally let Puerto Rico join, and leave Old Glory as is? Either way, this video makes a pretty good argument for letting Texas become Teabaggistan.

Most Inappropriate Logo of All Time

I'm a sign maker by trade, and a logo maker by specialty. So this hits not only my (12-year-old) funny bone, it also hits my designer bone (heh, I said bone). Anyway, you've got to admit this is pretty funny.

The most inappropriate logo of all-time

In the 70s, this picture stood for God's children. Now it just stands for boys giving priests a good ol beej. Yes, this is an actual logo designed in 1973 for the Catholic Church’s Archdiocesan Youth Commission. It even won an award from the Art Directors Club of Los Angeles.

The Young Turks: Karl Rove's Hypocrisy

Sure, Karl Rove's hypocrisy is an enormous target. But, Cenk Uygur makes the most of it. Watch.

Sean Hannity Volunteers to be Waterboarded

Charles Grodin got the manatee (™John Cleese), Sean Hannity, to agree to be waterboarded of all things. See, Seanny seems to think that waterboarding is no big whoop. After all, Ollie North had it done to him, and look what a great guy he turned out to be. It's actually quite amusing when Hannity throws out "Ollie North did it!," due to an almost adenoidal squeak in his voice.

Many--including me--have doubted the legitimacy of North's and Hannity's "Freedom Concerts." But Hannity may have unwittingly hit upon the most guaranteed successful charity event in history. Who wouldn't pay to watch that man suffer. . .and maybe learn something in the process?

Randi Rhodes to Return to Radio on May 11!

It looks like my earlier plea to liberal radio star, Randi Rhodes, to please give us some information on her future has been heeded. Actually, though I have recently been visited by a radio host, I doubt that Randi knows I even exist. But the timing is kind of cool.

I've already written many times of my fandom for Randi Rhodes, so I shall not bore you with it. Instead, let's get right to the good news, shall we? [Excerpt]

Talk-Radio Host Randi Rhodes Joins Premiere

Randi Rhodes, the liberal talk-radio host perhaps best known for her stint on the Air America radio network, is joining Clear Channel Inc.'s Premiere Radio Networks, home to Rush Limbaugh and many of the nation's most conservative voices. . .

Read more at: The Wall Street Journal

UPDATE: The WSJ link seems to now require a subscription, so try this one at Green960: RANDI RHODES RETURNS!

Ed Schultz Nails Dick Cheney

I've never been a particularly big fan of Ed Schultz, but he got this one right. Dick Cheney comes out of his "undisclosed location" regularly these days to lambast President Obama for whatever he feels to be Obama's weaknesses. But, what gets lost in the shuffle is, the biggest terrorist hit on America happened on George W. Bush and Dick Cheney's watch. Plain and simple.

Who Do We Want? Randi Rhodes! When Do We Want Her? Now!

Photo from

It can't be heartening to Nancy Skinner, the liberal talker who took Randi Rhodes' time slot, that KTLK-AM is airing commercials with this headline. The clear message is, Nancy, we'll air your show, but the second Randi Rhodes comes back on the air, you're either out of here, or relegated to a time-shifted, wee hours time slot.

Randi Rhodes' radio show left the air back in February, either as the result of--or the cause of--Nova M Radio's dissolution. News has been sparse, practically non-existent. We all get that Nova M is gone. But nobody knows the details, or at least they are not being public about it.

I've been a listener of Randi Rhodes since mid-2004, when I was looking for The Al Franken Show. It took me a while to cotton to her New York honk, but once I got past that, I was an unabashed fan. Randi was always the highlight of my listening day. But she's been gone for months now, with no real explanation.

I'm a little pissed off that there has been no official word about her disappearance. All we have is rampant speculation, and hearsay. But the funny thing is, even though I'm irritated that nobody from Randi's camp letting us know what's going on, if she came back tomorrow, I'd be there. Back to #1 fan status. Don't believe the crap you might hear from detractors. Randi's the real deal, and is the best progressive/liberal talk-show host there is.

Rachel Maddow is terrific, and I'm glad she got her TV show. I'm no fan of Ed Shultz, but I'm glad he got a TV forum too. But neither can take the place of Randi Rhodes. I'm frankly surprised we haven't gotten some sort of trickle of information, even a hint, from Stephanie Miller, or from anywhere else. How long will stations like KTLK wait? Nancy Skinner is surely not burning up the airwaves. She's--at least lately--barely listenable*. But, Randi, please give us some indication of what's going on!

*UPDATE: As Nancy Skinner herself has actually commented on this blog (under a different blog post), I find it necessary to point out that I have nothing personal against her, I just took issue with her style this week. I'm quite sure she's a nice lady. It is easy to forget when writing a blog like this that I'm talking about actual people. I will try to frame my critiques in slightly less personal terms going forward. . .

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Rachel Maddow Disambiguates Bush Era Torture Revelations

The economic crisis is too big for me to wrap my head around, and I'll be honest, I haven't tried very hard. That's why my blog posts about it have included very little editorializing. But when I really want to understand something, one of the best places to turn to is The Rachel Maddow Show.

Wait! Isn't that a liberal show? Yes it is. But that doesn't mean it's a screechy, partisan for the sake of it kind of show like Hannity or The O'Reilly Factor. In the following clip, Rachel breaks down the current Bush Era torture revelations story into an easy (or easier) to follow narrative. It's as disturbing as it is fascinating, and I encourage you to watch it. And as you do, try to picture any other cable news host delivering this kind of segment. I couldn't do it.

Dick Cheney & Condi Rice Signed Off on Torture?

Image from source, Huffington Post

It isn't difficult to see why President Obama is having so much difficulty with the Bush Era torture revelations. As more information comes to light, what many liberals already believed to be true is being confirmed: they were all in on it. If truthful investigations were allowed, it is apparently very likely that the big guns like Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice and George W. Bush would be in deep doo-doo.

So, even if it is all absolutely true, and these people really are stone cold guilty, President Obama would be seen (even if the office of the President is not involved) as the guy who put a whole previous administration in jail! There would be parties across the nation to rival the inauguration of course. But the fury of the right-wing noise machine would be akin to Armageddon. It's quite a kettle of fish. And it makes me wonder if that wasn't already on Bush's and Cheney's minds when they were up to all this. Like "too big to fail," are these guys "too big to punish?"


Rice, Cheney Approved Waterboarding

Then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice verbally OK'd the CIA's request to subject alleged al-Qaida terrorist Abu Zubaydah to waterboarding in July 2002, a decision memorialized a few days later in a secret memo that the Obama administration declassified last week. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

Weathering the Storm: Response to Anti-Gay Marriage Ad

The National Organization for Marriage's "Gathering Storm" ad has provided tons of opportunities for parody by YouTubers and others. The hilarity of the ad outweighed its mean-spiritedness and lies. The following is yet another video response, but this one is not a parody. It's a straight-up (pardon the pun) response, called "Weathering the Storm." And it's pretty good.

Shepard Smith Drops "F"-Bomb on FOX "News"

Don't worry, Shep. Working for FOX "News" would make most of us want to swear. . .

Bush Era Torture: Too Risky to Politically to Pursue?

Right-wing noise machine, from American Insurgency

Now that the hows and whys of the Bush Administration's torture policies are becoming more apparent, the new Obama Administration is sort of getting backed into a corner on what to do about it. On the surface, it would seem that President Obama just wants it to go away. As someone who voted for him, I'm hopeful that there's a little more to it than that, some sort of "master plan" for dealing with the issue in a way that doesn't let war crimes go unpunished.

Politics is tricky business, I know. Timing is very important. Not irritating your own party is important. Dealing with the right-wing noise machine, and making sure that it doesn't drive public sentiment is important. But you know what else is important? Rule of law. Torture is a federal and international crime. Despite the innumerable protestations by George W. Bush, Dana Perino and others, the United States did torture. As policy.

The Republicans (and their apologists) are having a little bit of trouble with this issue too. They can't--most of them--outright endorse torture. They have to downplay the torture that did happen as "not torture." Which is getting more and more implausible the more that we learn. So to muddy the issue, they've got to paint this as a liberal vendetta. A way to get even for years out of power. A way to even the score for Clinton's impeachment. Look for the bulk of conservative outrage on this to focus on that, rather than to take apart the actual issues.

Obama has one big advantage here, and that is the President isn't really the guy to pursue this anyway. It's the Justice Department's and Congress' job to investigate, and if Obama wants, he can pretty much leave it in their hands. Still, many of us peons probably don't know or see the divisions there, so it will be difficult for Obama to steer completely clear.

Nancy Skinner, the radio talk show host who took Randi Rhodes' place when Nova M Radio folded, is of the Peggy Noonan "walk away" crowd on the issue. Skinner is ostensibly a liberal/progressive, but of the token FOX "News" variety. There is too much to do, Skinner argues, from global climate change, to the economy, to health care. The torture issue would be a distraction, and would derail the rest of Obama's agenda.*

Maybe. And that would be unfortunate. But anti-torture laws are laws. There simply isn't a legal argument to not investigate them. As pretty as "looking forward and not back" might sound, it is terrible reasoning. All crimes happened in the past. You don't just decide to be magnanimous about theft, murder, or other crimes because they happened in the past. This might be sticky politics, but it is necessary.

We know how the right-wing noise machine works now. We can guess what they're going to squawk about before they even get revved up. It is incumbent upon the Obama Administration and its supporters to fight the screaming with facts, as fast as they lob a "poutrage" outburst. It's a big task, but it's an important fight.

*UPDATE: Nancy Skinner herself has a response to my opinion of her opinion. I don't ever intentionally misrepresent the facts or try to mislead, but I'm completely capable of being wrong. So read Nancy's comment below, and make up your own mind. Thanks!
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