Friday, July 31, 2009

More AOL Problems: McAfee SecurityCenter

UPDATE (07/31/09): This page continues to get hits, even though it was posted almost two years ago. Since then, I've upgraded from Windows XP to Windows Vista, and then to Windows 7. I'm now using (yes, still using) AOL 9.5, and--amazingly enough--a version of McAfee Anti-Virus. After my six-month-old computer's free virus protection ran out, I installed the Cox Cable version of McAfee for free, and so far: no problems.

I should point out that AOL still has "timeout" periods of frustration, and that I often times will CTRL+ALT+DEL it into oblivion and start over. How AOL is able to monopolize both processors in my Core2Duo, I have no idea. And it should also be noted that when I tried to install the Cox McAfee software on The Other Half's computer (which still has Windows XP), I had the EXACT same problems that are related in the original post below. That still seems to be a potent recipe for disaster.

ORIGINAL POST (8/25/07):

Ah yes, you get what you pay for. AOL has been free for quite a while now, and amazingly, they offer full safety software for free too, from McAfee. Which you'd think would be a great thing.

There have been several versions of this "helpful" software. The first was great, and was pretty much like the ordinary McAfee program. The second one was modified to look like an AOL program, with spiffy new icons. . .and was fraught with problems. On three different computers, I had to revert to the older program just to retain my sanity.

The AOL version had a tendency to try to look for updates. . .over and over and over. . .and each time with a pop-up window that you couldn't ignore or make go away. AOL techs always talked to me like a kindergartner, always starting with basic questions (not quite "is your computer plugged in?" but close). I finally got one to admit to me that it was a McAfee problem that they didn't want publicized. She's the one that gave me a link to the older version of the program.

That version worked fine, but recently, I was told it was expiring, and to be replaced with a new version. So, I downloaded the program, never thinking it would conflict with AOL. After all, the top of the program even says "McAfee SecurityCenter Special Edition for AOL." I've installed the program at home, and at work, and guess what? The firewall software won't let the AOL program connect! Priceless!

Curiously, the newest version of AOL allows you to see their "splash" page before you log in, and that somehow works. The title bar actually said "AOL 9.1 - Connected, Not Signed On." You want to talk infuriating?

But, I have the solution, if you have found this page looking for one. Uninstall the McAfee software, reboot, go to, only this time pick the custom install instead of automatic, and DO NOT CHECK THE BOX FOR McAFEE FIREWALL! Let Windows manage that, it does a fine job anyway, and you won't get this headache!

UPDATE: It occurred to me that I may be having this trouble because I'm beta-testing the new version of AOL software. It's possible, but previous history with McAfee/AOL make me think probably not. It's also worth pointing out that since AOL became free, perfomance has suffered. Often internet pages that load in seconds in Internet Explorer can take much longer, or not open at all.

"Not Responding" is a very common thing to see popping up in the title bar, sometimes for seconds, sometimes minutes, sometimes requiring a restart. I'm just about done with the service, I think.

Frivolity Break: "Simon's Cat"

This week's Entertainment Weekly has an article on the popularity of cat videos online. I've featured a number of them here in the past, and this article reminded me about "Simon's Cat." I posted one of them, and had no idea there are others. So here is a selection of them. Simon's cat is eerily like my own. I'm just fortunate that Jinx doesn't have opposable thumbs. (Double-click videos to embiggen).

"Birthers" Have Apparently Got a Southern Drawl

Image from source, Washington Monthly

Of all the things I've said about the "birthers"--the group of conspiracy theorists who believe that President Obama is not a "natural born citizen"--I've tried to shy away from over-generalizing. Sure, I've called them crazy, nutty, batshit insane. . .all of which I stand by. But I never tried to peg who they are, except to say that this is generally the same group of people who thought that George W. Bush was the best President ever, and that has serious lurve for Sarah Palin.

There is a poll out now that narrows that down even further. Take a look at the chart to presented here, and then read on. It would seem that this lump of guano has settled mostly in the south.



A new Research 2000 poll conducted for Daily Kos asked respondents a rather straightforward question: "Do you believe that Barack Obama was born in the United States of America or not?" Since the president was born in the U.S., ideally, the results would be around 100%. . .

Read more at: Washington Monthly

Blast from the Past: The Jacksons' Torture

After Michael Jackson's death, I compiled an MP3 CD for my Jeep, and have been listening to it off and on ever since. I included solo tracks, duets, the Jackson 5 and the Jacksons tracks. Since my recording ended up a bit jumbled, it'll bounce from Rockin' Robin to Black or White to State of Shock (Michael Jackson's duet with Mick Jagger, which was originally intended to be with Freddie Mercury). The transition can be jarring, but it can also zap me right back to the year I first heard the song.

One of the blasts from the past is Torture, the only hit truly from The Jacksons from 1984's Victory. I had the original cassette, and played it a lot when I was in college. But since 1985 or so, I don't believe I'd heard Torture. The song itself is hopelessly stuck in the 80s, but not unlistenable, so it is curious that it doesn't pop up anymore, especially after the Michaelpalooza we've gone through as a nation. But the video really lives up to the title. Take the worst parts of Patty Smythe/Scandal's The Warrior video, mix it with The Village People, Bonnie Tyler's Total Eclipse of the Heart, throw in a little kinky sex imagery along with A Nightmare on Elm Street, and you have Torture. Oh, and did I mention that Michael Jackson--despite providing vocal tracks--is nowhere to be found?

"Cash for Clunkers" Runs Out of Gas?

Image from source, WSJ

Well, crap! I am not yet in the market for a new car. But let's face it, my 1998 Jeep Wrangler has seen better days, even if it only has just shy of 50,000 miles on it. It looks great, but it needs about $1,500 in repairs just about every year. And at 15-16 mpg, it falls in the "cash for clunkers" program, even if it isn't a clunker, per se.

I could probably get more (possibly significantly more) than the $4,500 allowed in the program. But our local Jeep dealer was offering (up to) $4,500 in matching cash back. In other words, whatever the government would give you, they would match if you bought a new Jeep. I'm fairly confident that I'd be near the maximum allowed value, meaning I'd be eligible for $8,000-$9,000 for a trade-in! That's a good chunk of the cost of a new Jeep, and at least would end up being far cheaper than this Jeep was when I bought it at two-years-old (in 2000!). Heckuva deal! But alas, the program seems to be out of money. RATS!


'Cash for Clunkers' Runs Out of Gas

White House officials and lawmakers were studying late Thursday how to keep alive the government's cash-for-clunkers incentive program because of concerns the program's $1 billion budget may have been exhausted after just one week.

Obama administration officials warned congressional leaders Thursday it planned to suspend the program at midnight. But the White House released a statement late Thursday saying that completed deals would be honored and the program is still under review. . .

Read more at: Wall Street Journal

Bad Taste Theater: "Baby" (as seen on Tosh.0)

OK, if you're going to watch a video under a banner that says Bad Taste Theater, you should know what you're getting into, right? So I shouldn't have to post a warning that says the video is bad taste, right? Or that I have a warped sense of humor and found this to be hilarious. Oh, I guess I better anyway. . .

WARNING: The following video is in bad taste, and shouldn't be viewed by anyone with delicate sensibilities. For everybody else, it's pretty danged funny.

Baby HD from summer of tears on Vimeo.

More Rachel, More "Birthers," the Politics Behind the Crazy

Yes, I've been covering the "birthers" far more than they deserve. You could argue that The Rachel Maddow Show has too. There are some--including more than a few birthers themselves--who'd contend that any attention is good attention. I beg to differ.

The birther "movement" is ludicrous. Crazy. But it is also taking place in the exact same segment of the poplation that still thought George W. Bush was doing a heck of a job. It's the very same group that is enraptured by every utterance from Sarah Palin. They may be "fringe" but they have captured the heart and soul of today's Republican Party. So it is incumbant upon we liberal bloggers, and liberal pundits like Rachel to point out how crazy and stupid this all is. Because crazy or stupid may be evident to some of us. But others may see actual Congressmen backing this crap, and think it has some credence. It doesn't.

To see some debunking that lays waste to every birther theory, go here.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Rachel Maddow: "Birthers" Joined by "Deathers"

Warn your parents, your grandparents, your dodgy Aunt Martha, and your "confirmed bachelor" Great Uncle Arthur. . .Barack Obama wants them DEAD! Or rather, that is the latest conspiracy theory to come down the batshit crazy highway. From The Rachel Maddow Show.

Frivolity Break: Fruit By the Foot Creepy Candy Commercial

Why has Greenlee Gazette gone goofy all of the sudden? Well, it's always a little bit strange, but usually not several posts in a row. I guess it's because tonight is my "Friday" night, and I'm not feeling all political. Or at least I'm not yet. Maybe I'll have a couple of beers, and try to get riled up.

Meanwhile, enjoy this funny/creepy candy commercial. . .

Frivolity Break: Billboards That Don't Go Together

Or rather, these billboards go together in unintentionally hilarious ways. I work for a sign company, and I can guarantee, they noticed when they installed these things. Hell, they probably took the pictures!

Source: Buzzfeed (via Joe.My.God.)

Behind the Scenes at Sarah Palin's Radio Show Audition

You know, if Sarah Palin's career trajectory really is aiming for talk radio, the result will be tragicomic. The woman simply can't speak extemporaneously, or with any depth of knowledge about anything. Shoot, even her scripted speeches wander off into the wilderness. Also. So this little comedy clip might actually be kind. . .

Tonight Show: More Shatner Reading Palin Poetry

William Shaner reciting Sarah Palin's Twitter tweets. Awesome and hilarious. . .

Thanks to Katie Ryan for the tip.

Frivolity Break: Bananarama's New Song

You remember Bananarama, right? They were an 80s girl band, big world-wide, but only made a minor splash here in the US. They were like the Bangles without the harmonies. I was a fan of Venus and Cruel Summer, but never heard their other "hits" like I Heard a Rumour until much later, ironically on "Hits of the 80s" type CDs. But The Other Half, and our friend Mark in Florida are huge Banana (pronounced Buh-nah-nuh) fans. So here you go, boys!

Bananarama: Love Comes

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What Happens in Vegas: Station Casinos Files for Bankruptcy

Image of Viva, from Vegas Today and Tomorrow

If you visit Las Vegas, you might not be aware of "locals casinos." Many people who visit here often don't venture far from the strip, which is actually in the township of Paradise, and not in Las Vegas at all. I even remember flying home to Vegas one time, and overhearing a woman who was pointing to the ground. She exclaimed, "Look at all of those houses down there! What are they for?"

Those of us who live here in the valley (despite most of it not actually being Las Vegas, we call it that anyway), try to stay far, far away from the strip. If we do have a gambling itch, we head off to a locals casino, like Silverton, South Point, Orleans, or SunCoast. They're typically smaller, and infinitely more accessible. The largest chain of local joints is Station Casinos, a company whose holdings rival that of the "big boys" like Harrah's and MGM/Mirage. In recent years, they've expanded into a more upscale market, which I wouldn't have believed when they consisted of mainly the dumpy Boulder Station, and the dumpier Palace Station.

They went mid-range with Sunset Station, bought Texas Station and the Fiestas. Then they built Green Valley Ranch Station, which was by far swankier than the rest. And when they built Red Rock, they got so up-market, they even dropped the "Station" moniker. Add to this other expansions and planned expansions all over the valley (including the projected mega-project, Viva), then the economy happened. And Station has finally hit the brakes. They pledge that their properties and employees won't notice a difference, and I really hope that's true. They started out sort of an underdog, and turned into an amazing success. Here's hoping that it's a minor setback in the scheme of things.


Station Casinos files for Chapter 11

Las Vegas locals gaming leader Station Casinos Inc. and certain subsidiaries filed for a standard Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization Tuesday after Station was unable to reach agreement with creditors on a prepackaged bankruptcy deal. . .

Read more at: Las Vegas Sun

What Happens in Vegas: Unemployment Hits Vegas Hard

Image from source, HuffingtonPost

Clark County is the most populous county here in Nevada, and contains our largest cities, Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and Henderson. And the whole danged county is shaded in on this unemployment map of the country (bottom tip of state). That's pretty much what it looked like in 2004 on the electoral map, when pretty much the rest of the state voted for W.

Anyway, I'm not all that surprised. Even at a job I'v had for 12 years, things are sort of rocky, with reduced hours--something that isn't even depicted on this map. It used to be that Las Vegas was recession-proof. Not anymore.


Unemployment In June: The Worst-Hit Cities (MAP)

Unemployment rates climbed in all U.S. metropolitan areas from last June to this June, the government announced on Wednesday. Some of the jumps were dramatic. And the unemployment rate in 18 areas now surpasses 15 percent. Most of the hardest hit metro areas are in California and Michigan. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

Washington Petition Signers Want to Hide Their Names

Image from source, Joe.My.God

There are a couple of things about this story that irritate me. Number one, is that petitioners in Washington State who are trying to revoke domestic partnership rights. Whenever a same-sex marriage debate ensues, the "opposition" will claim they have no problem with gay relationships, only that it shouldn't call it "marriage." But look what happens when gays settle for an "other than marriage" arrangement.

The other thing that annoys me is that these folks feel so strongly about the issue, they're willing to sign a petition to revoke rights of other people, and that affect the petitioners' right not one whit. But those same people get bashful when their names might be made public. TOUGH.


WA: Haters Want To Hide Their Names

Protect Families Washington is suing the state to prevent the publication of the names of people who signed the Referendum 71 petition, which would overturn the state's brand-new domestic partners law. Washington's secretary of state says the request will be heard in court, but that the haters shouldn't hold their breath. . .

Read more at: Joe.My.God.

Stephen Colbert Takes on "Birthers" and Orly Taitz

Clearly, I'm not the only one who finds great humor in the "birther" conspiracy theorist movement. Stephen Colbert has a masterful take down of them, by ostensibly agreeing with them of course. The "leader" of the birther movement, Orly Taitz--a dentist/lawyer/real estate agent/taekwondo champion/professional nutball--doesn't seem to recognize that Colbert the performer is razzing her as Colbert the character. But that just makes it more fun.

By the way, Colbert did miss the most obvious joke, that of Ms. Taitz's first name. As I'm sure I'm not the first to notice, her name is LOLCat-speak for "oh, really?"

(ORLYCat picture may be used by anybody who wants it by the way. She's actually Jinx, my alarm cat).

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Womb Raiders - The Fight for the Truth Behind Obama's Birth
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTasers

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Womb Raiders - Orly Taitz
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTasers

Rachel Maddow on Being Called "Tea Bagging Queen" by Lou Dobbs

As everybody knows, I'm a huge Rachel Maddow fan. I like her feisty combination of brains and snark, and loved her double-entendre laden coverage of the "Tea Parties." Those were the vague protests staged by. . .er. . .people who don't like Barack Obama. Totally nothing to do with the fact that he's black or anything. Rachel seized upon the double-meaning of the phrase "tea bag" and its spin offs, "tea bagging," "tea bagger" and all the rest. Hilarious.

Even funnier was the prim, put-upon response by the Tea Baggers themselves, and other conservatives. How dare this woman make such off-color fun of these stand-up people? Heh. Since the tea has stopped steeping, Rachel has of course moved on. I've particularly enjoyed her take on C Street, and the creepy conflagration of religion and politics in "The Family," the religious cult that runs this halfway house for wayward Senators. Rachel has also been featuring pieces on the "birther" movement, and skewering them with her usual aplomb.

This has rubbed cranky old CNN talking head, Lou Dobbs the wrong way. Even so, I think him calling Rachel a "tea bagging queen" was a classless--and kind of bizarre--move. Don't worry though. She took it in stride, while snarkily smacking the old poop upside the head.

Hawaii Health Director Proclaims: Obama Natural Born

After months of the nutty birthers parsing, julienning and cross-cutting the previous statements of Hawaiian officials about President Barack Obama's citizenship, Hawaii has finally made a more definitive pronouncement. Obama is a citizen, and a natural-born one at that.

The craziest part of this whole idiotic theory is that it is based upon fragments of truth, wild supposition, and completely manufactured data. For instance, even though it says "Place of Birth: Honolulu" plainly on the Certificate of Live Birth (the infamous "short form"), birthers have argued that it is possible to get a Hawaiian certificate for foreign births. Even though this turns out to be untrue (such a document would list the foreign place of birth, not Honolulu), they continue to believe it.

Simultaneously, some believe that the short form is a forgery outright. They claim it is his sister Maya's, with the details altered. But Maya wasn't born in in the states, and she doesn't have a Hawaiian birth certificate. Doesn't matter, it is part of the lore anyway. The whole theory is built upon a house of imaginary cards. But the birthers hold so fast to their original theory, they haven't noticed that the lower cards have been swept away, and that the house is kept aloft by sheer force of will.

So, will this bulletproof pronouncement by Hawaiian officials end things? I doubt it. Hell, I'm sure it won't. Even the long requested "long form" wouldn't do it now, nor sworn testimony by the geriatric delivery team. If Obama had "Made in Hawaii" tattooed on his butt in 1961, with photographic evidence, it wouldn't be enough. Crazy people don't do reality.


Hawaii health director insists Obama natural-born.

“I, Dr. Chiyome Fukino, director of the Hawai’i State Department of Health, have seen the original vital records maintained on file by the Hawai’i State Department of Health verifying Barrack Hussein Obama was born in Hawai’i and is a natural-born American citizen. I have nothing further to add to this statement or my original statement issued in October 2008 over eight months ago….”

Read more at: Think Progress

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Jon Stewart Backs William Kristol Into a Corner on Health Care

It is a thing of beauty when a smart, funny guy like Jon Stewart bests a bloviating, self-satisfied pundit like William Kristol. Here, from last night's Daily Show, Stewart cannily backs Kristol into a corner over the issue of government health care. You'd think Kristol would have been better prepared, or more deft at stepping around traps. Maybe he's had a few too many softballs and setups lobbed at him on FOX "News."

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Bill Kristol Extended Interview
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorJoke of the Day

William Shatner Recites "Palin Poetry"

This is not your father's Tonight Show. Conan O'Brien's guest the other night was William Shatner, who is incredibly quirky, and hipper than most 70-something year-olds. And if you remember his bizarre readings of Rocket Man or Mr. Tambourine Man, it will come as no surprise that his rendition of Sarah Palin's resignation speech is pitch perfect. And arguably less strange than Palin's version.

Science is Cool: Ancestor of Humans Lived Before Dinosaurs

Image from source, Discovery Channel

If it is true--as creationists argue--that God put all those fossils and things there to "test our faith," he sure went overboard, didn't he? Anyway, thanks to Stupid Monkey Planet for the link to this story. I'm a sucker for sciencey stuff, and it has been far too long since I posted something.


Early Human Relative Predates Dinosaurs

The world's first known tree-dwelling vertebrate has just been identified, according to a new study. The tiny, agile animal lived 30 million years before the first dinosaurs and was a distant relative of mammals, including humans. . .

Read more at: Discovery Channel

Conspiracy Corner: 9/11 Thoughts

I haven't gotten sucked into the "President Obama isn't a citizen" conspiracy theory. Far from it, the more that I read, the more that I'm convinced that it is a ridiculous--not to mention racist--belief. But I haven't shaken off the 9/11 truthers. Well, I should explain. I don't believe some of the nuttier stuff. And I wouldn't want to extrapolate, and posit my own conclusions, because, I simply don't know enough. But I'm still convinced that the story as we've been told it is not the whole and complete truth.

The hardest part to believe, from the official story, is that Washington D.C. and New York City--arguably our most important defensive targets--were completely defenseless from a few hijackers. More than that, it is difficult to believe that the Pentagon was dive-bombed inches from the ground by an inexperienced pilot, and the only images we have are from a still-motion video camera at (what?) a gas station or something? I may be fuzzy on the details, but I'm not fuzzy on the evidence that has been presented: a blurry, inconclusive series of still shots.

Now before you think I'm a total nut, I don't subscribe to the "there were no planes!" crowd. I think disposing of perfectly good planes full of citizens, while faking the rest seems massively over-complicated. But somebody, please tell me why, at the US Pentagon we don't have video footage from every angle, conclusively showing that plane hitting the building? For all the ridiculous "just show us the birth certificate, and it'll all go away" comments from the "birther" movement, why haven't we seen a clear, obvious video of the Pentagon attack? Just wonderin'. . .

And here is the comment that led to this pondering, from Raw Story's comments:

. . .look at the facts. Building 7 fell without being hit by a plane, and the most videotaped airspace in the world (D.C.) failed to present one video that showed definitive proof the the pentagon was hit by a plane.

Source: RawStory

Owwww! Arm Wrestling Can Be Painful!

Why am I posting a video of a guy whose arm snaps at the elbow while arm wrestling? Why not?

Movies I Can't Wait to See: Tron: Legacy

The original Tron was a pretty influential movie, pop-culture wise. Being computer animated in the early 80s (on TRS-80s and Texas Instruments calculators?) they did a pretty good job. But I think it was actually the video game versions--both in arcades and on the blocky, schlocky Atari 2600--that cemented it. There were, after all, no video stores or down loadable movies back then. So, it will be interesting to see what they can do with it now. And I'm glad to see that Jeff Bridges is back.

The Cop, the Professor, the President and the Press

I don't think I've written anything about the whole Officer Crowley/Professor Gates/President Obama brouhaha on the blog. I did discuss it with my former-cop friend Les, who was--shall we say--animated on the issue. Understandable, since he can easily put himself into the situation.

Me, I just assumed both sides overreacted, and that the President--who knows Gates personally--used a few ill chosen words describing the incident. I was frankly surprised the story had enough legs to stomp around as much as it has. But the story keeps chugging, egged on by both sides. I personally tend to try and give the benefit of the doubt in stories where I have no personal knowledge

In my mind, it goes something like this: The cop checks out the situation, hears from the witness, and goes up to the house. Gates, taken aback by the appearance of the cop, flies off the handle (having just travelled from China, probably already irritable). Gates--who has likely been in racially charged confrontations before--rightly or wrongly assumes his race has something to do with it, adding to his irritation. The cop--who I won't assume was racially motivated--is now irritable too. "Hey, I'm just doing my job, and this guy's busting my balls" he might think. So, when Gates steps outside, the cop sees a way to "win" this particular argument, and does. He probably shouldn't have done that, arresting somebody for being annoying. And Gates probably shouldn't have flown into a rage on the assumption that the cop was a racist.

In my view, there's every possibility that both men were right and wrong in their own way. I'd be irritated if a cop was still acting like I was a suspect after I produced ID. And I'd be irritated if I was accused of being a racist if I wasn't. Both had reason to get upset, and both took it too far. There, all done, right? Especially after the truce being drawn, and an agreed to meeting at the White House. Something tells me, it's not over though. Betcha this just keeps finding new ways to irritate people. For instance, this clip from Countdown with Keith Olbermann, with fill-in host Lawrence O'Donnell. I enjoyed the segment, but I'd wager it will start a new round of grousing. . .

Monday, July 27, 2009

Family Guy has Abortion Episode Pulled

Image from source,

I often wondered what it would take to get a Family Guy episode banned by FOX. Unlike FOX "News," where they pretend to be all moral and high-and-mighty, the FOX network has never pretended to have a single shred of decorum. Which, is just how I likes it! Even so, I'll admit to thinking that either Family Guy or American Dad! (both creations of Seth MacFarlane) have gone over the line on occasion. But it has always been easy to shrug off because they lampoon just about everything. The name of the game seems to be taboo-busting, and there has rarely been a punch pulled.

It turns out the one "bridge too far" seems to be abortion. Frankly, it's amazing they haven't gone there before. It's not like it's uncharted territory anyway, with Maude haven broken that barrier decades ago. More recently, I've heard Chelsea Handler make off-color abortion jokes, and certainly on Absolutely Fabulous, which while British, still aired on Comedy Central. Some people, to quote Stockard Channing, are so touchy.


'Family Guy' abortion episode unlikely to air on Fox

News Corp. paid Seth MacFarlane the ultimate compliment when it made him 20th Century Fox TV's $100 million crown jewel. But the "Family Guy" creator wasn't exactly returning the favor at Comic-Con.

At the series' panel Saturday, MacFarlane continued his show's tradition of jibing its studio and network. . .

Read more at: THR

UPDATE: As a cross-eyed American (before corrective surgery, but still when I'm tired or drinking), I never noticed before that Seth MacFarlane seems to be a little lazy-eyed himself.

Congress Too Embarrassed to Vote With "Birthers"

Well, we found out just how serious the GOP Congressmen take the "birther" movement. In a vote that could have been embarrassing, they all decided it was probably better to vote with the reality-based community instead.


House passes resolution that states Obama was born in Hawaii, 378-0.

This evening, the House passed a resolution sponsored by Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-HI) that commemorates Hawaii’s 50th anniversary as a U.S. state by a vote of 378-0. The resolution also contains this provision: “Whereas the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, was born in Hawaii,” a measure that some GOP members may have had trouble supporting. . .

Read more at: Think Progress

Sara Palin's I Quit-erod

Remember when I said I wouldn't probably write about Sarah Palin for a while? Well, I guess I was wrong. I couldn't help it after I read this bit at Gawker, which cracked me up. Had to share.


Sarah Palin's Gradual Descent Into Incoherency

. . .After Sarah Palin resigned, she went fishing, and she got all morbid and depressed. She is still lying, as that is second-nature to her, and she is still paranoid about unnamed media enemies, but she cannot answer or dodge a very simple question about her own motivations, except to repeat a buzz phrase she likes, and then to mention her kids.

But Sarah Palin maybe saved the best for last. . .

Read more (with lots of videos) at: Gawker

Memories of Summers Past: Cedar Point Roller Coasters

In the summer of 1989, as part of a training program in the amusement industry, I worked at Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio. I was a little long in the tooth at the ripe old age of 23 to have a summer job there, but I was 21 Jump Street material until I was about 30, so it didn't matter.

It was mostly a lot of fun, kind of like going to camp, since you have to live on the peninsula to work there. I was assigned to "The Mill Race" flume ride, which was a classic (read: old) ride that had once been called "The Nestea Plunge." I also worked that summer in the kiddie land, the Midway Carousel and sometimes at the water park, Soak City. But by far the best part of the experience was getting to ride any ride we wanted for free. And this was the year they opened Magnum XL-200, which was the tallest, fastest roller coaster in the world at the time. Rough estimate, I rode every roller coaster at least 25 times. Here are a couple of first-person experiences for you to enjoy.

Magnum XL-200

The Mean Streak

The Raptor

Thanks to my sister for sending me a clip of The Gemini coaster, which is fun, but not the most exciting experience on video. Still, I've probably ridden Gemini more than any of the rest.

Top 10 Conservative Idiots, July 27, 2009

It's Monday again, kids. Time to knuckle down and get to work, I suppose. But if you have the time, be sure to check out the new edition of "Top 10 Conservative Idiots" at Democratic Underground. It's a fun way to start the week!


The Top 10 Conservative Idiots, No. 369
July 27, 2009
Bad Medicine Edition

This week The GOP (1,2), along with RNC chairman Michael Steele (3), remind us why they're the "Party of No. . ."

Read more at: Democratic Underground

EDITOR'S NOTE: Greenlee Gazette does not contend that all conservatives are idiots. Merely that many prominent conservatives are idiots, as this column regularly confirms. So, please, no offense is intended to those of my friends and family who are themselves conservative. In other words, present company excluded!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

HR 676: The US National Health Insurance Act

Image from The People's Voice

There has been a lot of arguing about the national health care reform bill going through Congress. On one side, you have Democrats who by and large support the bill, but can't usually clearly express something to the public. On the other side, you have Republicans who are to a man or woman are against the thing, and use Frank Luntz's code words to argue their points. And in the middle, you have "Blue Dog" Democrats who are contrarians and/or in bed with various health care lobbies.

Wherever you fall, you might want to do yourself a favor and read the thing. It looks pretty damned good to me. I can't imagine not wanting this after reading it. Unless I worked for a big insurance company, I suppose. But there even seems to be a little something-something for them in there. I'm on board. Take a look. . .


Benefits and portability

(a) In general.—The health insurance benefits under this Act cover all medically necessary services, including at least the following:

(1) Primary care and prevention.

(2) Inpatient care.

(3) Outpatient care.

(4) Emergency care.

(5) Prescription drugs.

(6) Durable medical equipment.

(7) Long term care.

(8) Mental health services.

(9) The full scope of dental services (other than cosmetic dentistry).

(10) Substance abuse treatment services.

(11) Chiropractic services.

(12) Basic vision care and vision correction (other than laser vision correction for cosmetic purposes).

(13) Hearing services, including coverage of hearing aids.

(b) Portability.—Such benefits are available through any licensed health care clinician anywhere in the United States that is legally qualified to provide the benefits.

(c) No cost-sharing.—No deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, or other cost-sharing shall be imposed with respect to covered benefits.

Read it all at: John Conyers for Congress

Letterman's Top 10 Things Overheard at Sarah Palin's Farewell Party

Dave's last chance to skewer Sarah Palin while she was still Governor of Alaska is pretty good. No doubt it is a sanitized version of what he'd like to throw out there. But he gets in some good digs. . .

Saturday, July 25, 2009

What Are the Birthers Really After?

Image from ImageShack
I've been doing a little more reading about the whole "birther" phenomenon, since the topic of President Obama's "natural born citizenship" has been bubbling to the surface in the mainstream media of late. What I've found has done nothing to suck me into the conspiracy theory, and reinforced my notion that the whole controversy is utterly, completely and thoroughly ridiculous.

But what are the motives behind the adherents to this idiotic theory? For a goodly number of them, I'm convinced that racism--whether unconscious or overt--is at the root of most birthers' reasons for believing it. They simply can't believe that a black guy won. Possibly some of them are more xenophobic than racist, and have a problem with the fact that Obama had a father and a step-father who were both foreign, and had non-Christian beliefs. So, I'd guess that a majority of the birthers are some combination of racists, xenophobes and Christian fundamentalists who can not tolerate any hint of non-Christianity.

But what of those who insist that "all they want" is to see the long-form birth certificate? What is on it that they think they're going to find? Some say they want to see the doctor's signature, and some want to see the hospital of birth. Both of those items would be confirmation that Obama really was born in Honolulu (or not), and would say for sure, one way or another, if Obama was a natural born citizen. But is that all they're really after? I suspect that the reason that they really want to see it is for the potential reasons that Obama has not released it.

Of course, Obama may be withholding it for perfectly logical reasons like a) the original is lost, or b) he knows there is no reason to do so, and that confounding these crazies is more fun. They wouldn't likely believe the document was real if they saw it anyway. But there are all kinds of potentially embarrassing things on the document that Obama doesn't want us to see, if you try to speculate about it. I got out my own birth certificate to see what sorts of things I might not want people to know.

I was born in 1966 to teenagers. Mom was still in high school, and Dad was a college freshman. My birth certificate affirms that they were 18 and 19, that they were married, both white, and Dad was a student, and they didn't even ask if Mom had a job. Mom was asyphilitic. Whew! Mom didn't have syphilis! Other information confirms that we lived in the city limits of Columbus, and that we did not live on a farm. Mom didn't have any miscarriages, terminated pregnancies, stillbirths, or other children living or dead. I was delivered by a doctor, not a midwife, D.O. or "other." I was not part of a twin or triplet birth. And my birth certificate was recorded 27 days after I was born.

Now, there is nothing there that I find embarrassing. But if I was a public figure, and my birth certificate did say something, like that Mom and Dad weren't married, or Mom was under age, or had syphilis, or that Dad was a soviet spy rather than a student, I suppose I might want to suppress my "long form" document. So, when you hear "there's simply no other reason he'd withhold it, unless he's not a citizen!" I'm sure you can think of other explanations.

If you can't, I've got a website for you. It's a "birther" debunking site, and it absolutely demolishes the entire, tangled conspiracy theory. The things that birthers keep barking out, like "his grandmother insists Obama was born in Kenya" are absolutely untrue, and are extensively documented. That's another way you can tell the whole theory is bogus. . .they almost never have anything to back up what they're saying, and when they do, they take it out of context.

So, here you go. Go to Obama Conspiracy Theories: The Light at the End of the Tunnel.

A Question About Nancy Grace

Image from ebaum's world

I'm not a fan of "missing white girl" shows like Greta Van Whatsername or Nancy Grace, and their popularity confounds me. But this morning, I was watching a "Top 20 Unsolved Crimes" show on E!, and Nancy Grace was one of the "experts" opining on each story. This is the most I've ever seen of Grace in one sitting, because I can't take her brand of TV (or her accent).

My question isn't just "Why is this woman a popular TV person, when she is so unpleasant?" but "Why does Nancy Grace always look vaguely disgusted?"

The "Found Poetry" of Sarah Palin

Many on the right have complained (even whined) that left-wing bloggers like me have made a sport out of attacking Sarah Palin. Have we? You betcha! But now that Caribou Barbie is no longer Governor of Alaska, it remains to be seen whether or not she'll continue to have any relevance. So, unless and until she does something newsworthy (or snark-worthy), I'll probably not have much more to say about her.

But the article excerpted below is a great deal of fun. It parses Palin's "word salad" statements, and fashions them into verse. Is it possible that there is more to Palin's manner of speech than meets the ear? Probably not. After all you could easily blend a beauty pageant answer of--say, that Teen Miss South Carolina contestant--into any of Palin's statements, and not notice a difference. But it's a hoot to read this theory anyway.


Sarah Palin, The Anti-Poet

Watching Sarah Palin resign the other week, I remembered how frustrating it is to listen to her speak. She uses simple words, but combines them into a fog that's hard to penetrate, out of which a few political clich├ęs like "freedom" and "reform" appear. Most politicians, of course, obfuscate to some degree, but Palin is a master, and she does it constantly. Look at how she turns a simple statement into a mind-numbing puzzle. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

"New Rules" - Real Time with Bill Maher July 24, 2009

Best new rule: Not everything in America has to make a profit.

What's This About Obama's Dropping Poll Numbers?

Image from source, News Junkie Post

Even if you steer clear of right-wing talk radio and FOX "News" you've probably heard from somewhere that President Obama's approval ratings have fallen to earth. Plunged, even. Now, it would not be surprising for any new President's approval numbers to fall, six months into his term. That's normal. Especially with all of the problems currently burying Obama's desk. But there has been something suspicious going on with the most recent, gleeful reporting from the right about some recent polls. Could there be something hinky going on with the polling? I ask because it always seems to be a Rasmussen poll that is quoted. I know that Rasmussen has invented a new metric that weighs "strongly approve" against "strongly disapprove" numbers, which wasn't used on previous Presidents. In any event, it is interesting that a group of people who poo-poohed virtually any poll in the last administration are suddenly finding them relevant.


Poll Showing Drop In Obama’s Approval Rating Is Biased

The right-wing media wasted no time in spreading the results of a poll that shows President Barack Obama’s popularity dropping to 49 percent. Some may say that this is just the ammunition that the GOP was looking for to derail Obama’s agenda. . .

Read more at: News Junkie Post

A Question to the Ether About Microsoft Windows

I don't expect an answer to this question, given my rather small readership. But I'm asking it anyhow, because I've got to do something with my frustration.

OK. When I'm using my notebook computer, particularly if I've awakened it from a slumber, the computer takes a very long time to fully wake up. And even after it has, it goes through periods of delay, characterized by a brightening of the screen, and a twirling blue icon. My question is: What the hell is my computer actually doing while it has rendered itself inert like this?

Something has to actually be happening while I sit helplessly watching the icon spin, right? Some process, some function, something is going on. Or is my computer deliberately taunting me?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Health Care: What Republicans are Really Up To

When it comes to the health care issue, I'm not fully versed on the minutiae. But as an adult in America, do I really need to be? Who hasn't had the experience (or known somebody who has) of going through medical/dental procedures, and had to deal with insurance companies? Who hasn't felt like they pay too much for insurance, for too little benefit? Just about everybody has a horror story of their own, or of a close family member or friend.

I've heard several stories about eternal waits in emergency rooms. I've heard several stories about declined coverage for people who thought they were covered. I've had to pay for procedures and medicines I thought I was covered for. I know about the entire divisions of insurance company employees whose only job is to try to deny coverage. Any reason will do. They'll even deny coverage for no good reason, and wait to see if the claim is resubmitted, or if you just pay it out of your pocket. Then of course, most of us know of someone who has fallen into financial ruin due to a medical crisis.

So, how is it that right-wing talk radio, FOX "News" and conservative politicians have been moderately successful in convincing their base that a federal health care plan is a bad idea? Somehow, they're convincing a group of people--which must have a large percentage of people who should know better--that we have "the best health care system in the world!" They demonized European and Canadian health plans, as though nobody here in the states has experienced it while travelling, or knows people from those countries. How are they having any success at selling their "let's leave it the way it is" agenda?

There are a couple of things I can think of. 1) The Karl Rove reality altering machinery isn't completely broken down yet, and some people just reflexively believe what comes out of it. 2) Every single issue in America has come down to a left-right divide, and since Democrats are for a health care plan, a Republican has to oppose it by default.

That's all I've got. But figuring out what the Republicans are up to is a lot easier than sussing out why their followers believe it. Clearly, the GOP/RNC want to stall, stall, stall on health care, so that President Obama gets either a watered-down, "pleases nobody" plan, or they want it--and him--to fail utterly. And they want this to happen as close to the 2010 political season as possible. They want one or both houses of Congress back, and they see this as their best shot to do it. Which it is. Given the cast of clowns in their all-star roster, all they can do is hope for failure on the other side. It's just amazing to me that they've had any success so far. But we should never underestimate the right-wing base's ability to ignore their own experience, and believe what Rush Limbaugh tells them.

Movies I Can't Wait to See: the New Nightmare on Elm Street

I. Can't. Wait. Please don't screw it up!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

News From Vegas: Ensign Staff Jumping Ship

Picture from Politico

I'm going to try to start posting a few items per week from Las Vegas and/or Nevada, being a Las Vegas blogger and all. Why not? And what better way to start than with a Las Vegan who has been going through an embarrassing and very public scandal?

After Senator John Ensign's affair came to light, he did what he usually does, which is disappear into the background. He was helped by the even more interesting Gov. Mark Sanford story, and then by the death of Michael Jackson. But after that hoopla was mostly over, more things trickled out, piling up in such a way as to start speculation about a resignation. Ensign jumped out in front of that one, and announced his intention to run for re-election. . .in 2012.

So, why is his staff abandoning him? Enquiring minds. . .


Report: Ensign chief of staff to leave

Sen. John Ensign's (Nev.) top aide will depart the embattled Republican's office in the wake of an affair that likely ended Ensign's presidential hopes.

John Lopez, the highly regarded chief of staff, is leaving Ensign's office, according to Nevada political columnist Jon Ralston. . .

Read more at: The Hill

Barack Obama's Birth Announcements Not Good Enough

Image from source, WND

I know I'm posting a lot about the ridiculous "birther" conspiracy theory, that says President Barack Obama is not a natural born citizen. What can I say, I can't resist the crazy. It's this month's Sarah Palin. If you're not convinced that this is a stupid story, you've just got to read the excerpted article below, and then allow yourself to follow what you've read to its logical conclusion.

See, there have been birth announcements found from 1961 in two different papers. The article below picks apart the procedures for placement, the manner of writing, and whether or not Obama could have been born outside the country, and then had his announcements appear in the Hawaii papers anyway. While you're noodling that around, ponder why his parents, his family or the papers would have bothered doing such a thing. What impetus would anyone have had in 1961 to fake the origins of a little biracial boy? Every conspiracy has its harder-than-usual-to-believe elements, but this one takes a willful blindness and allegiance to the concept to even ponder.


Hawaiian newspapers don't prove birthplace
Announcements published in 1961 not solid evidence of U.S. location

The announcements of Barack Obama's birth printed by two Hawaii newspapers in 1961 do not provide solid proof of a birth in the Aloha State because of uncertainties over the policies and procedures that apparently were being used at the time. . .

Read all about it at: World Nut Net Daily

UPDATE: As I stated in earlier posts, the claims in this conspiracy theory keep changing. Whereas people have claimed that Obama has payed $1 mllion, $2 million or just "millions" of dollars to cover all of this up, the WND article claims: "Complicating the situation is Obama's decision to spend sums estimated in the hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees to fight releasing a state birth certificate that could put to rest the questions."

G. Gordon Liddy is a Birther Too

Is G. Gordon Liddy still highly regarded in Republican circles? Because he not only comes out as a nut here, believing that President Obama was born in Kenya, he believes he's an illegal alien. Or at least, that's how it appears. Chris Matthews had to walk him through where his argument logically leads. Liddy is barely coherent, and looks like he needs a good long nap.

Conspiracy Corner: My Thoughts on the Birthers

Image from Wonkette

If you don't watch cable "news," or read the blogs very much, you might not yet have stumbled upon the conspiracy theorists known (sometimes derisively) as "birthers." I've written about them before of course. They're the ones who were very disturbed by the peaceful transition of power from the George W. Bush era to Barack Obama. Hey, I was as surprised as anyone, figuring that Bush/Cheney/Rove would come up with something, anything to hold on to power. But I digress. . .

These are the "Obama's an Arab/Mulim/Muslin/Manchurian Candidate/Socialist/Marxist/Communist/Fascist" people, and they were mightily vexed that America could or would elect a black guy. If you think otherwise, you're kidding yourself. So, they assign all of those labels to him, and maintain that he only could have been elected with the help of ACORN and dead people, and oh yeah, he lied to the rest of us, fooling us into voting for him. But there's icing on their demented little cake.

Through a series of suppositions and wild conclusions, they maintain that Obama is not a "natural born citizen," and is thus ineligible for the Presidency. They basically want his Presidency annulled. Most of this hinges on the fact that there hasn't been a public airing of his original "long form" birth certificate. Never mind that he has a passport, had an American mother, was sworn in as an Illinois state senator and as a US senator. Never mind that there was a birth announcement in 1961 less than a week after he was born. No matter what argument or piece of evidence is presented, they swat it down, and add another layer to their conspiracy theory.

Like any conspiracy theory though, the thing starts to fall apart when the theorists can't keep their allegations and conclusions straight. Various claims have him being born in Kenya, Indonesia, Canada and the Pacific Ocean. They claim various alleged dual citizenships in other countries, and travels to places that were supposedly barred to Americans. They claim that Obama could obtain his long form certificate for $8, $10, $12 or $15. They claim that Obama has spent a million, two million or "millions" of dollars to pay a fleet of lawyers to keep it all covered up. But nowhere--at least not that I can find--are those claims verifiable.

The one thing they are consistent on, is that they say if Obama would simply show them the long form (I'm assuming to each one of them individually), this "would all go away." Like hell it would. No other bit of evidence has convinced them, not the State of Hawaii's verification, not, not even people on their own side of the political aisle who dismiss the claim. They would contend that it was phony, and you can bet on that.

Further speculation is spent on why he won't show it. And here they are all over the place. But I can come up with a few reasons myself. Here are some of my best guesses.

• He doesn't have it, and Hawaii can't produce it. Certainly possible after 48 years.
• He doesn't feel the need, since what he's already provided satisfied Congress and others.
• There's something big or small on the certificate that he doesn't want to release to the public such as:
- Maybe Mom & Dad weren't yet officially married
- Maybe there was something embarrassing like an STD (they used to ask that)
- Maybe his Doctor's name was Damien Thorne, or his weight was 6.66 pounds
- Maybe a mistake was made, like the F box was checked instead of M
- Maybe his original name was misspelled or weirder than Barack Hussein Obama (unlikely)
- Maybe there was a notation "that's one goofy looking kid" or something
• He'd rather let the birthers go about ranting, making the GOP look like a big bag of crazy

I'm thinking that last one is the closest to the truth.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Inappropriate Humor: What to Say During Sex (and What Not to Say)

I haven't read something that made me laugh until my eyes leaked in a long time, but this did it. Click to embiggen if necessary, and then start in the middle and work your way left. Then start over, and work to the right. Hilarious.

Source: Incredimazing

Frivolity Break: Another Snuggie/Slanket Parody

Thanks to my sister for passing this along. I think the makers of the Snuggie commercials have made them purposefully stupid--at least I hope they have--but they've made it very easy to parody.

FOX "News" Guest Continues to Slam Captured Soldier

The mantra from right-wing world for many years now has been "support the troops!" This always struck me as odd, like saying "don't forget to breathe!" It is, after all, a very small sliver of the populace who doesn't support the troops. Increasingly--particularly since Barack Obama became President--right-wingers' "support" for the troops seems to have been on the wane.

I'm sure they'd vigorously deny that. But it's true. Go on over to, and look up any discussion about gays in the military for example. The high profile servicemen who have been dismissed under Don't Ask, Don't Tell get no support from FReepers. Then, there is any veteran or serviceman who has anything critical to say about the Bush Administration. No love for them. And now, with Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl captured in Afghanistan, there's actually some jerk on FOX "News" (the TV version of FReeperland) seemingly rooting for his death. Inconceivable for anybody who really supports the troops. But not for the denizens of right-wing world.


Peters Continues Attack On Captured U.S. Soldier: He’s A Liar And ‘A Deserter’ Who ‘Shamed His Unit’

Late last week,
media outlets reported that Taliban forces had captured U.S. Army soldier Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan. While the circumstances of his capture are not entirely known, Bergdahl said in a video released by his captors that he lagged behind a patrol, while other reports say he walked off a base with Afghan soldiers. In an appearance on Fox News earlier this week, retired Army Lt. Col. Ralph Peters suggested that the Taliban should kill Bergdahl because he is an “apparent deserter. . .”

Read more at: Think Progress

Glenn Beck's "Get Off My Phone" Freakout Set to Music!

This brilliant piece of editing is awe inspiring. That crazy, nutbag Glenn Beck famously went even crazier the other day, and didn't have the sense to be embarrassed about it. Since then, several other radio and TV hosts have had fun with it. But not until now, with "Get Off My Phone" Radio Freak Out (TWILIGHT VAMPIRE METAL REMIX) has it been used to its fullest potential. Enjoy.

Back in Black Lewis Black on Health Care

From The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Hilarious.

CNN's Rick Sanchez Puts Obama Birth Certificate Issue to Bed

To any reasonable, rational person, the issue of President Barack Obama's "natural born citizenship" is really pretty settled. But to an increasing number of wingnut "birthers," Obama is some sort of clandestine illegal immigrant usurper to the throne. Which is really--let's face it--a racist conspiracy theory to somehow square the fact that a black person became President without, you know, actually being President. It's all very stupid, and crazy. And this video ought to put it to rest. But it won't.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Crazy "Birther" Woman Rants at Congressman Castle

Oh, these crazy, crazy "birthers." For evidence that some people have absolutely gone batshit due to the election of a black President, just watch this clip. "He was born in KENYA!" All she needs is to have a boom box playing O Fortuna while she's ranting.

Here's a tip to our nut-burger here. It's OK to follow conspiracy theories, as long as you stick to facts, or holes in evidence. Once you start drawing conclusions, and stating them as fact, that is when you really start looking crazy. By the way, if anybody out there has a handy checklist of debunking points for this conspiracy theory, I'd love a link to it. Thanks.

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