Monday, May 31, 2010

Michele Bachmann Has Energy Solution: Drill Here, Drill Now!

Looking like a weird kind of showgirl, with a big plant growing out of her head, Michele Bachmann (R-Teabaggistan) is seen here signing on to Newt Gingrich's blah-bitty-blah group of some sort, encouraging drilling for oil all over the danged place. Never mind that any oil "drilled here" just goes on the global market and does very little for our price at the pump. Never mind the big, spewing BP oil geyser in the Gulf of Mexico. Of course, Bachmann is batshit crazy, so of course no one would take her seriously. Right? Right?

Day Trip to Arizona for Powerball Tickets! (And Lots of Frustration)

On Friday, The Other Half and I tried to take a run to Arizona to buy Powerball tickets. We're not big lottery players, which is fortunate, since we have no lottery in Nevada. But the big jackpot was $240 million, and we had a four-day weekend ahead of us, so why not?  Due to major congestion just outside of Boulder City, we eventually had to turn back. The Other Half had an appointment in the afternoon, and we just didn't know how far we could push it.

So after our weekend activities were complete, I decided to give it a go again today. After all, nobody won on Saturday, and the jackpot is even bigger. We'd already arranged to have others get us some tickets, but it's just not quite the same for other people to find out if we won, is it?  So, I headed out at about 10:30 am. First, I had to get some cash at the bank, where I was waylayed by incredibly selfish folks ahead of me who took at least 10 minutes at the ATM. Grrr. Next, off to get a prescription, and then gas. I got on the road at about 11:10.  The drive to "Rosie's Den" in Arizona is about 55 miles.

Getting to Boulder City is a breeze, and nowhere near as far away from Las Vegas as it seems.  Once there, however, one marvels at how primitive the route to Hoover Dam really is. It's amazing that in 2010, we're still going through a small town, and then onto a two-lane winding, switch-back road to get to a major tourist destination.  Yes, I know that there is a spectacular bypass being built, but it is outrageously late in coming.  Anyway, traffic slowed to a crawl just past Boulder City, and then to a stop several miles from the dam.  The final four miles to Hoover Dam took about 40 minutes. It turns out the entire cause of the stop-and-go traffic is a little checkpoint stop sign.  Amazing.

Once on top of the dam (yes, you have to drive across the top, dodging pedestrians at 5 miles per hour), it was at least 15-20 more minutes to get to the other side.  Entering Arizona, there is a lot of road construction, more switchbacks, and a wavering speed-limit change that finally gives way to the relief of a 65 miles-per-hour highway.  The rest of the ride to Rosie's Den (about one half the total distance of my trip) flew by. I got my tickets at about 1:00 pm.  I was feeling pretty good about my return trip, since the northbound traffic looked pretty good. Wrong!

The checkpoint into Nevada was no problem, with no wait whatsoever. It was when I hit the switchbacks leading to the dam that the traffic stopped. If I got up to 5 mph for the next hour, I'd be surprised.  The pedestrians pose more of a problem in the early afternoon. There are 5 or 6 crosswalks where walkers have absolute right of way, much to my consternation. There are also a few places that tourists try to enter the road in their cars, further slowing things down.  By the time I'd crossed the dam again, I thought I was home free. Nope.  Right underneath the massive new (unopened) bridge, traffic stopped dead. DEAD.  For around 15 minutes, we didn't move at all.  And then, as if by magic, we started moving.

I have no clue what caused that stop. The only thing I saw after things got going again, was a policeman pulling over a family of Latinos.  Illegals? Who knows? But that's all there was, so it must've been something. There were a few other irritants along the way, including a couple of really bad motorcycle riders near Railroad Pass.  But I finally got back--or rather to Sam's Club, where I wanted to shop before going home--at about 2:45 pm.  That's over 3-1/2 hours for a 110-mile round trip.

My frustration returned at Sam's, where a woman with a permanent frown had two separate problems at the checkout, and once they were resolved, only then did she whip out her checkbook. Checkbook! Who uses checkbooks anymore?  Grrr.  But I got my danged lottery tickets!  And yes, I know the odds are only slightly better than if you didn't play at all. But you can't win if you don't play.  And somebody has to win!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Holiday Weekend Project: The Garagening

This is day 3 of my 4-day holiday weekend, and I was not going to allow this one to pass by without accomplishing something. So today, we had the culmination of a three-day project to turn our 3-bay storage bin into a 3-bay garage.

- Step 1: Take the cars outside, and drag everything out

- Step 2: Divide crap into good crap, garage sale crap and crap crap

- Step 3: Throw crap crap away, and break down boxes

- Step 4: Gather and price items for sale

- Step 5: Hold garage sale

- Step 6: Give leftover sale items away for free, donate them to charity or throw them away

- Step 7: Aftermath. . .Clean up all remaining items, and tuck everything away on shelves or perimeter wall

Everything is done except to drop off all of the leftover crap to charity, which will happen in the next half hour.  There is still garbage to go to the curb, of course (has to wait until Wednesday), two pieces of furniture with no home (under the blue blanket), and a Pilate's machine left by The Former Roommate (to be Craig's Listed very, very soon).  In fact, about 1/5 of the stuff you see on those shelves is from TFR, so Richie if you're reading this, come gitcher stuff!  But the end result has made me very happy (and tired, sweaty and dirty).   Now, for 1-1/2 days of rest and relaxation. . .

Sarah Palin Constructs Ugly Fence to Keep Out Evil Journalist

Image from source, The Mudflats

I don't know if the journalist who moved next door to Sarah Palin has any nefarious intent. Maybe he does, maybe he doesn't. But Sarah's response was spectacularly white trash, wasn't it? That's one doozy of a fence right there.  And yeah, this may be a non-story, the kind of thing Sarah pumps up to keep her name on the tips of our tongues across this great country of ours. All of 'em! Also, too.  But the writeup below is ten kinds of funny, and the commentary is even funnier. Dig in, have a good time.  Because while Sarah Palin looves attention, I don't think she likes it much when we point and laugh.


Photo of the Day: Palin’s Fencetrosity

Well, here’s the new fence. It’s quite the… fencetrosity. The whole thing has the look of someone taking an already high fence, and then finding another fence like it only of a different color, and stapling that fence on to the other fence, only a couple feet higher, creating some kind of awkward layered fence hybrid that looks like it may topple over at any moment. And it’s far more horrible looking from her side, than from the neighbor’s side. That’ll show ‘em.

Read more at: The Mudflats

EDITED TO ADD: My favorite assessment of Sarah Palin. . .

Overtime with Bill Maher, May 28, 2010

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Glenn Beck's Paranoia Deepens

This guy is a loon.  But he's still popular.  I don't get it.

Gary Coleman Dies at 42

Image from source, ABC News

I guess if you told Gary Coleman that he'd live to be 42 when he was 12, he might have thought that would be okay.  He was, after all, beset by health problems at a very early age.  But it was those health problems that helped him become a star.  Without his stunted growth, it isn't likely that he'd have become the cute, wise-cracking Arnold on Diff'rent Strokes. 

I am, as it turns out, only two years older than Coleman.  That fact kind of blows me away, because he was playing much younger on Strokes.  His show was a rare hit on NBC back then, the era of SuperTrain and Hello, Larry!  I was a pop culture sponge in the late 70s and early 80s, but the action then was on ABC, with Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, Three's Company and Charlie's Angels.  Watching NBC was "slumming," so to speak.  But I caught the odd BJ and the Bear and CHiPS.  And along the way, I caught my share of Diff'rent Strokes.  It wasn't great television, but Coleman made a hell of an impact anyway.  Right up there with The Fonz's  "Ayyyyyyy!", Jimmy Walker's "Dyn-O-Mite!" and Beatrice Arthur's "God'll get you for that, Walter!" was Coleman's "What you talkin' about, Willis?"


`Diff'rent Strokes' Star Gary Coleman Dies

Gary Coleman, the adorable, pint-sized child star of the smash 1970s TV sitcom "Diff'rent Strokes" who spent the rest of his life struggling on Hollywood's D-list, died Friday after suffering a brain hemorrhage. He was 42.

Coleman was taken off life support and died with family and friends at his side, Utah Valley Regional Medical Center spokeswoman Janet Frank said. . .

Read more at: ABC News

Glenn Beck Attacks President Obama's 11-Year-Old Daughter

Image from Sansico Files

Okay, Glenn Beck is a pig. We knew that already. But after his steadfast claim that we shouldn't go after families--a plea to leave Sarah Palin's family alone!!!--his behavior is particularly irksome.


Glenn Beck smears Obama's 11-year-old daughter

Glenn Beck, who repeatedly and angrily tells his alleged persecutors to "leave the families alone," spent a good chunk of his radio program this morning mocking and attacking the intelligence of President Obama's 11-year-old daughter, Malia.

Obama remarked yesterday during his press conference that Malia asked him of the Gulf oil spill: "Did you plug the hole yet, Daddy?" Beck, taking off on this, mockingly affected Malia's voice, asking "Daddy" why he "hates black people so much." Then Beck attacked Malia's intelligence, saying: "That's the level of their education, that they're coming to -- they're coming to Daddy and saying, 'Daddy, did you plug the hole yet?' ". . .

Read more (with audio) at: Media Matters

Rachel Maddow: Did the "Top Kill" Work?

Good question. . .

Friday, May 28, 2010

What Happens in Vegas: Let the Chickens Vote!!!

Thanks to Greenlee Gazette reader Erin for the link to this video spotlighting the horrible injustice paid to the chickens of Nevada.  How can poor Sue Lowden win her primary if her favorite constituents can't vote?

Frivolity Break: Iron Baby!

I'm not much for cute baby videos, but this one is better than most!

Right Wing World: Is "Obama Derangement Syndrome" Reality Based?

Late in George W. Bush's second term, I was so sick of the state of the nation, I started this blog out of sheer frustration. Bush, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Condi Rice, Donald Rumsfeld. . .the list of "evil doers" is long, and still inspires a recoiling, defensive posture, with my shoulders to going up a notch and my lip curling into a snarl.  There wasn't any nefarious scenario that didn't seem plausible back then. Could the Bush Administration declare martial law and cancel the 2008 Presidential election? It didn't seem so crazy then.

People who felt like I did were derided by the right as paranoids, who were afflicted with Bush Derangement Syndrome (BDS).  Any negative attitude from beaten down Democrats about anything from the Bush Administration were waved off as delusional.  Were we? Maybe a little, but we had a lot to base our fears on. After 9/11--the events of which are still under a hazy cloud; you don't have to be a "truther" to think so--the United States started giving up a little freedom for the sake of security.  In very real ways (Guantanamo, torture, warrantless wiretaps, Patriot Act, etc.) our "freedoms" were being picked apart.  And there was very little to help us feel like we were overreacting, with the charisma-free Cheney seeming to be the very embodiment of Darth Vader.  Many in the administration were only a notch or two down on the Dark Side rogues gallery in action and in personality.

So, what exactly in the Obama Administration mirrors this environment for the other side?  Yes, I understand that moderately bad things seem worse when you're on the opposing political side. But what exactly has occurred in the last 16 months that has the right-wing's hackles up?  So far, the anger from the right has been frothiest around the perceived government "takeover" of things (and how convenient that "takeover" is always in Frank Luntz's talking points).  So, government oversight of health care, GM and other things is the big monster that makes them scream "I want my country back?"  Really? You want your country back for big corporations?  Somehow, it doesn't get me into a lather.

And yet, right-wing world is making pronouncements like this. . .

"Pray we have no major hurricanes come ashore this year. This Regime is one major catastrophe away from evoking martial law and declaring elections off. The simply need the driver to make it happen, and Obama can declare himself Dictator-for-Life."--by rarestia (It's time to water the Tree of Liberty.)

"November is a long way off. This bunch now in power, with the aid of the media can do a lot of damage between now and then. It is my personal opinion that unless the Democrats know that they will be able to steal this election, there won’t be an election."--by sport

"When will the Regimes Reichstag catch fire? . . .November is the last chance for any salvation from these morons. If we make it that far..."--by central_va (I won't be reconstructed, and I do not give a damn.)

That's just a taste of the rantings from (from a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" forum).  Tell me, is it just the flip side of the coin, or is there a difference in paranoia levels here?

Chicken Lady Sue Lowden Steps in it Again

Nevada politics is nothing if not amusing. Many of our more famous names become infamous eventually. And this year's crop is promising too. You already know that Sue Lowden, the top (for now) contender against Sen. Harry Reid, suggested bartering--specifically chickens--for medical care.  She got herself into trouble on local journalist Jon Ralston's show, and now she's done it again.

First, she claims to not be paying attention to other races, like Rand Paul's in Kentucky. Which itself is ludicrous. And secondly, she won't answer a simple question about the Civil Rights Act. It's not a "gotcha" question, Sue, it's fairly simple.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

House of Representatives Votes to End "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

Image from source, MSNBC

I'm not in the military, and it isn't because I'm gay. It's because I'd make a lousy soldier. But being gay is a really stupid, and kind of strange reason to kick people out of the military.  Oh, there's hand-wringing about proximity, and showers and bunks, but those stories are almost entirely "gay panic."  The truth is, gay people are in almost every region of society. If you've ever been to camp, been in a dormitory, been in scouts, been on sports teams, belonged to a gym, you've been there with gay people. Probably naked or nearly so with gay people. Has there been some sort of epidemic of gay-on-straight attacks in society at large? Hardly.

It's true in the military too, and will continue to be regardless of the outcome of this legislation.  The only question is, will gay people be able to serve openly. You'd really think that if a service member were particularly worried about being "attacked" by a gay, they'd appreciate knowing who they are, wouldn't you?

Anyway, the legislation to end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) has passed a Senate committee vote, and now the House of Representatives. Next up is the big vote in the Senate over the entire defense bill.  Senate Republicans are claiming they'll filibuster the whole darn thing--better no military at all than openly gay people in it, apparently--but I'm not sure they have the votes or the stomach to do so. I guess we're going to find out very soon.


House votes to end 'don't ask, don't tell'

The U.S. House of Representatives voted Thursday to end 'don't ask, don't tell,' the 1993 policy that bars openly gay men and lesbians from serving in the military. . .

Read more at: MSNBC

Census Workers Attacked: On Michele Bachmann's Conscience?

Image from source, Think Progress

The question in the headline is not part of the excerpted story below, but it should be. When a sitting member of Congress--even a wack-a-doodle like Michele Bachmann--spends significant time and energy demonizing the census, what do you expect her fellow wack-a-doos to do?  The census is Constitutionally mandated, something you'd think these supposed "strict Constitutional constructionists" would support. Somebody needs to tell these people that the 2nd Amendment is not the sum total of the document.


Report: More than 113 Census workers threatened and attacked this month.

Last week, a routine visit by a U.S. Census worker in Yuba City, California ended in violence when “police officers shot and killed a woman they said had first threatened the worker with a gun, then later confronted officers with a shotgun.” The Washington Post’s Ed O’Keefe reports today that the threat against a Census worker was not an isolated incident. In fact, the Census Bureau says that “more than 113 census takers have been the victims of assaults or attacks this month". . .

Read more at: Think Progress

Thanks to Stupid Monkey Planet for the link.

Rachel Maddow Unearths OLD Video With Creepy Parallels to BP Oil Spill

UPDATE: It looks like--cross your fingers--that the oil leak in the Gulf is presently stopped. Stopped by mud, but stopped, for now. They still have to cap it off with cement, 1 mile down, but there you are. The piece below is still relevant, as it might be useful to look at what was done in 1979 post-disaster.


If you've read this blog before, you know I'm a big Rachel Maddow fan. But did you know there was an oil spill in 1979, very much like the spill going on right now? Neither did I. It was, like today, in the Gulf of Mexico, and spewed for months. Remarkably, the response then was almost identical to what is happening today, down to the "junk shot" and the "top hat" (then called a "sombrero"). None of it worked then. Do we think it will work now?  Ultimately, the only thing that worked was to drill relief wells.

Maddow unearthed some old NBC News clips of the 1979 disaster, and the similarity is uncanny. How could we have forgotten about this? And what was the resultant fallout from that event? Might it help us in the current cleanup?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Frivolity Break: Lost Summed Up By Cats

Because there haven't been enough kitties around here lately, and that Lost finale--initially satisfying--has gotten more WTF the more I've thought about it.

CNN Airs Inappropriate Song While 104-Year-Old Woman Drives Cadillac

This one is just goofy, and I'll cop to finding it unintentionally amusing. Not for racist reasons mind you. This Christmas, I made a DVD slide show of family photos, with era-appropriate music. Unfortunately, one of my seventies cuts, You Sexy Thing, evokes the era well, but the whispering of the word "sexxxy!" while my step-dad hoists my infant sister aloft was. . .well, a lot like the video below. These things happen.

Can a "Good Gay" be a Conservative?

Following up on yesterday's post about gay conservatives--and my utter befuddlement with them--here is an excerpt of a post from someone making the case. It's kind of a flimsy case, but she gives it an effort.  As usual, it is pointed out that Democrats promise action on gay rights issues, but they don't deliver.  What is missing from the argument is how Republicans would be any better than that.  I mean just today, it was reported that Senate Republicans are trying to stop the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Democrats--most of them--are trying to get rid of the policy.  How does supporting the election of more Republicans help?

I get the feeling that conservative Republicans are in the game more for the fiscal issues (though those are mostly theoretical arguments), and are hand-waving away the socially conservative positions of Republicans. Or maybe they're saying, "Hey, with Democrats you don't know whether or not they have our backs. With Republicans we know upfront that they don't." As I said, I don't get it.  Anyway, check out her piece, and while you're at it, scroll down to the commentary. They're more revealing than the article itself.


Can you be a good gay and conservative?

. . .I have been offered an opportunity here to present the views of gay conservatives like me. As a board member of GOProud, an advocacy organization for gay conservatives and our allies, I believe strongly that there are many conservative policy initiatives that could improve the everyday lives of gays and lesbians.

I didn’t spring from the womb a Goldwater conservative. I grew up in a staunchly liberal household and held those ideals during my youth. Over the years, however, my personal and professional experiences caused my political views to shift and I embraced the conservative and libertarian values of free minds, free markets and limited government. I also came to believe that there is a very compelling case to be made for a conservative/libertarian approach to advancing equality. . .

Read more at: Washington Blade

Frivolity Break: Paul Lynde Does the Weather!

I couldn't find anything that felt blogworthy for my first Wednesday post (at least nothing that you haven't already heard about), so it's time for the Frivolity Break grab bag. And looky who's in the bag--literally--Paul Lynde! As a weatherman.  Lots of weathermen have had rumors swirl around them that they're gay, but none swirl as well as Lynde. How could people have been confused about him? I guess it was different in the 70s. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Old Politics From Idaho: Candidate is a "Frickin' Idiot!"

I don't know who Bill Sali is, and I don't really care. This ad is just hilarious. It's apparently from 2004, but it should be played every year, just for its entertainment value.

BP Oil: Brown. . .It's the New Green

Idaho Republican Caught Plagiarising Obama, Others

Lots of politicians make big gaffes on the campaign trail.  Nevada's own Sue Lowden, the chicken lady, knows a bit about that. But few have so many heaping piles of them, and most of them involve plagiarism.  Oops.  I don't think the name "Vaughn Ward" will be remembered for very much beyond "huge mistake" in the world of politics.

State of Shock: Artist Examines Extremist Rhetoric; Where it Could Lead

This is a show I'd very much have liked to see.


State Of Shock: An Artist Examines The Hatred In Media And Politics

. . .Fletcher Crossman, a British artist currently residing in the U.S., has opened an exhibit at the Eye Level Gallery in Charleston, SC, that explores this hostility and projects it out to its darkest conclusions. The pieces include Glenn Beck swinging from a noose over a gloomy New York skyline and Rush Limbaugh feasting on a pile of infant corpses. Interspersed are images of the media portrayal of similarly gruesome events including the assassination of President Obama. The media is not a peripheral addendum to the exhibit, but an integral part of the unfolding message. . .

Read more at: NewsCorpse

Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Has FreeRepublic Flying Its Hate Flag

Typical attempt at right-wing humor found at source, FreeRepublic

I've mentioned a couple of times on the blog a group called RightPride. They're the local Nevada off-shoot of GOProud, a way more conservative version of the pro-gay GOP group, The Log Cabin Republicans.  I've been keeping tabs on them via Facebook and Twitter, but have mostly stopped that practice due to extreme frustration.  RightPride see, is a FOX "News" watchin', Sarah Palin lovin', tea bagging, full-fledged far right group of arch conservatives.  Subtract the "gay" part, and they would be indistinguishable from the denizens of

Wait, maybe that's a little harsh.  While they rub elbows with the likes of Ann Coulter and Karl "Turd Blossom" Rove, they for the most part have been less overtly hostile than FReepers.  But it's a fine distinction. I've just found that directly engaging them in conversation is an exercise in futility. Yeah, they're gay, but that is the only thing we have in common beyond being carbon-based life forms.  I tried--fruitlessly (hah!)--to explain how hateful far-right wingers usually are to gay people, and offered FreeRepublic as an example.

Over there, you'll find many charming (read: fire breathing) posts about many topics. Several of them are divided into categories, the relevant one here being labelled, "homosexual agenda."  That phraseology--along with the need for such a category at all--probably will tip you off to the fact that it is not for fans of gay people.  There you will find--especially if the subject matter hits their wheelhouse--that Freepers feel free to say anything that comes to mind about gay people, no matter how nasty.  If anyone from RightPride has wandered by this post, please take a look at just a few quotes found today in response to the potential revocation of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy in the military (with some minor censoring).

Sidebar: Several nations--including allies Israel and Great Britain--allow gays to openly serve in their militaries. Recent polls also show that around 75% of Americans are in favor of lifting the DADT policy.


"Don't Ask" Repeal Deal May be Imminent

"If there is a silver lining it is probably that the f*gs will all finally find another way out of the service and go home with the win under their belt. “Mission Accomplished”. Their “service” had nothing to do with “service to their country”. If it was, flaunting their f*gness would have been unimportant. This was about acceptance of their perverted lifestyle."

"Why don’t we just lay down our arms now and surrender to China. It’s inevitable."

"Come on Republicans this is an easy one. Obama and the Democrats are putting f*gs before national security. This is not only inappropriate but stupid."

"Obama and the Democrats are putting Sodomy before national security. This is not only inappropriate but immoral."

"These seditious SOBs will never satiate their reprobate minds until they have completely destroyed this nation."

"This would be yet another public condoning and encouraging of sinful behavior by the United States government. A slap in the face to God."

"The Democrats and the STUPID people that voted for them have succeeded at DESTROYING our fine Military!!"

"Everyday day there is a new outrage. What will be the straw that finally breaks the camel’s back and starts the OPEN Rebellion? That time is drawing closer and closer."

"Johnny will be prancing off to war soon."

"Homosexuality is a mental illness and the mentally ill have no place in the military."

Found here: FreeRepublic

Nice group you're cozying up to, RightPride.

24 Finale Better Than Lost?

Ummmm, I'm thinking yeah.  Unlike Lost, which was tasked with wrapping up a mystical/sci-fi storyline that sprawled over six seasons, 24 was pretty much just dealing with the one day (with some attendant back story, of course). So this story just had to be whiz-bang, and leave us wanting more. And by gosh, they did it!

That kind of surprises me, because the end game in this season was pretty much just Jack Bauer going on a rampage. The major threat of the season was over weeks ago, and this finale really only had the "peace accord", President Allison Taylor's rogue turn, and former President Charles Logan's sliminess going for it. But something happened to me while watching this that did not happen during the Lost finale: I got goosebumps! And that tightness in the solar plexus. I think it's what they call being on the edge of your seat. Very cool, show! I didn't know you could do that to me anymore!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Deal Reached on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

Image from Bilerico

Finally. Well, not finally. . .it ain't over yet. But at least it's something. I still want to know why the military has to "study" how to end a policy that is fairly binary.  Repeal it or don't, what's to study?


Deal Reached for Ending Law on Gays in Military

President Obama, the Pentagon and leading lawmakers reached agreement Monday on legislative language and a time frame for repealing the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, clearing the way for Congress to take up the measure as soon as this week.

It was not clear whether the deal had secured the votes necessary to pass the House and Senate, but the agreement removed the Pentagon’s objections to having Congress immediately repeal the contentious 17-year-old policy, which bars gay men and lesbians from serving openly in the armed services. . .

Read more at: New York Times

Oh, Great: Sunscreens Might Accelerate Skin Cancer?

Irony alert!  What say we just party like it's 1999. . .eat bacon, smear the grease on our skin, sit in the sun, smoke filterless Camels, drink wine straight from the box, and just enjoy life while it lasts.


Study: Many Sunscreens May Be Accelerating Cancer

Almost half of the 500 most popular sunscreen products may actually increase the speed at which malignant cells develop and spread skin cancer because they contain vitamin A or its derivatives, according to an evaluation of those products released today.

AOL News also has learned through documents and interviews that the Food and Drug Administration has known of the potential danger for as long as a decade without alerting the public, which the FDA denies. . .

Read more at: AOL News

Lost: What Happened?

As season finales go, I'd rate Lost's an 8 or a 9. Great stuff, very satisfying. But like all good stories (and I'm thinking along Stephen King lines here), the final scene left a bit to be desired. Of course, it is open to interpretation, and that is probably best. And I won't spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it yet, but that last scene? Kinda like the spider at the end of It, or the glowing hand at the end of The Stand. Just meh. Otherwise? I loved it.

Frivolity Break: Madonna's Secret Age Cream!

While I watch the--so far fabulous--final episode of Lost, here's a funny little item I found while trying to avoid spoilers. Via Queerty.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Rand Paul's Very Bad Week Capped by Standing Up Meet the Press

Rand Paul's week has seen a huge high (winning the Republican nomination for Senator from Kentucky), and a steady stream of lows (capped by a lousy performance on The Rachel Maddow Show).  By the time the Sunday shows rolled around--where Paul would have been a featured guest on Meet the Press--Paul had finally put the brakes on. He cancelled his MTP interview, probably hoping that would staunch the bleeding.

He probably didn't count on David Gregory getting some digs in. I didn't really expect it either, since the show is a shadow of its former self after losing Tim Russert.  As these things go, it was pretty good TV.
Side note: Gregory (and other NBC/MSNBC hosts) really should learn to pronounce Rachel Maddow's name. It rhymes with "shadow."

Clip found at: AmericaBlog

Sarah Palin: Rachel Maddow Played "Gotcha" With Rand Paul?

Image from source, HuffPost

If there isn't already a short YouTube clip of Keith Olbermann saying "That woman. . .is an idiot," there certainly should be. It could be the simple summation to virtually anything Sarah Palin has to say about anything. Given an inexplicable forum to pontificate in her mangled Alaskish, she just spews forth a series of words, and we're supposed to take her opinions--such as they are--as though they come from some sort of authority. They do not. Her political opinions have no more gravitas than those uttered by second and third-tier local talk show hosts, or bloggers like me. 

This time, Palin is trying to haul Rand Paul's butt out of the fire by claiming the whole controversy--over his views on the Civil Rights Act--was Rachel Maddow's fault. Newsflash, Sarah, but Paul made those statements on NPR, and Rachel was merely following up. It was Paul who could not answer the question directly, magnifying his out-of-the-mainstream position.


Palin: Maddow Was 'Prejudiced' In Her Rand Paul Interview

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin accused MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Sunday of conducting a "prejudiced" interview with Rand Paul, in which the Tea Party candidate infamously aired skepticism about the reach of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

UPDATE: I couldn't find a Keith Olbermann "that woman is an idiot" clip, so I made one from a longer video. Wow, didn't know I could do that (it's my first try, so be gentle).

Blast from the Past: Previously on Lost: "What?"

This still cracks me up. And since the final episode of the sprawling Lost saga is airing tonight at 9:00, it is the last time the video will be relevant. Wait. What?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Overtime with Bill Maher, May 21, 2010

Nun Excommunicated for Abortion to Save the Life of a Mother

I really don't know what to say about this one. Just, wow. (Oh, and I found the image at left on the interwebs, and couldn't resist tweaking it.)


Nun Excommunicated For Abortion Decision To Save Mother's Life

When it comes to Catholic teaching on abortion, no exceptions are allowed. Even if carrying a pregnancy to term would result in the death of both mother and child, abortion is still not an option.

Which is why a nun who is an administrator at a Catholic hospital in Phoenix this week found herself formally excommunicated -- essentially the sacramental equivalent of capital punishment. . .

Read more at: Politics Daily

Don't Mess With Texas? F That, It's Time to Mess With Texas.

While this article doesn't delve deeply enough into just what has changed in Texas school curriculums, it seems fairly clear that conservative politics have infused the textbooks.  I have no problem with students questioning anything, but having the curriculum question church-state separation, and softening freakin' Joe McCarthy seems pretty outlandish.  Look, it is fairly clear what Thomas Jefferson thought about the wall between church and state. For all the wailing from the right about following the intent of the founders, they seem to be very willing to discount the wishes of the primary founder.

They say that history is written by the victors. When the heck did so-called conservatives become the victors? Maybe they are in Texas, but why does Texas get to dictate history textbooks for the rest of the United States? I can only hope that teachers who know better will fight some of this ridiculous and radical (something that usually gets assigned to liberals) indoctrination.

And as a side note to any conservative readers: do you really think that church and state should be intertwined even if the founders thought that such an idea was cool?  Really?  What if your particular brand of religion falls out of favor? What if some--to you--wacky version of Christianity or even some other religion becomes the dominant sect?  How would you like it if the Mormons or the Scientologists or the Jehovah's Witnesses or Muslims became more dominant than evangelical Christianity?  Would you still think it's a swell idea to let religion dictate pubic policy? Really?


Texas State Board of Education approves new curriculum standards

In a landmark vote that will shape the future education of millions of Texas schoolchildren, the State Board of Education on Friday approved new curriculum standards for U.S. history and other social studies courses that reflect a more conservative tone than in the past. . .

Read more at: Dallas News

Friday, May 21, 2010

What Really Went Down Between Rand Paul and Rachel Maddow

Very good (and entertaining) analysis. . .

Found at: MaddowBlog

Season Finale of Fringe a Sci-Fi Geek's Delight

Image from source, DCU Blog

We're deep into "season finale" time on network TV, and it's been a mixed bag so far.  Desperate Housewives was rather "meh." Brothers & Sisters had a (literal) bang-up of an ending, but it felt tacked on. Most of the others I've seen don't even merit much of a mention.  And we still have 24 and Lost to look forward to in the next few days. 

Last night, it was Fringe's turn, and it did not disappoint. It was the second half of an "alternate universe" story, where our heroes cross over to an alt-Earth where things are slightly different. Just how different, we don't fully know, but many items were sprinkled in to see if you were paying attention. Things like the Pan-Am building being in New York instead of San Francisco.  Or blimps being used for air travel. Or a map of the United States with "Dakota" and "Carolina" as single states, and a California that ends at the San Andreas fault line!  But the real geek-out moment was a wall of framed comic books.  You only have to scroll down a few posts on this blog to see that I'm a DC Comics fan, and they got a loud shout-out on Fringe.

In addition to a movie marquee with Superman vs. Batman, we were treated to five alternate covers to iconic DC Comics.  Included were a Dark Knight Returns take off with Superman instead of Batman, a Crisis on Infinite Earths cover with a dead Superman instead of Supergirl, and a Red Lantern/Red Arrow cover that resembled one of the most famous DC covers of all time.  I'm still squee-ing now. And thanks to the internets, we can get more than just a fleeting glimpse of this geek-out moment.


Geoff Johns and Hank Kanalz on last night’s FRINGE alternate universe covers

Anyone see FRINGE last night? If you did, or if you’ve read this blog this week, you saw the RED LANTERN/RED ARROW cover. And maybe the bizarre SUPERMAN: THE MAN OF STEEL RETURNS in the style of Frank Miller’s BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS. Or the infamous cover to CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS #7, but Supergirl’s holding Superman. Or the event that rocked the mid-90s, THE DEATH OF BATMAN. So where did these come from?

An alternate Earth. For real. . .

Read more at: DCU Blog

Captain Obvious: Rand Paul is Wrong

Captain Obvious is a feature at Greenlee Gazette, where I get up on my soapbox and opine on issues that should be obvious but for some reason aren't.

The latest political firestorm is over Rand Paul's (and by extension Ron Paul's) ideas about the Civil Rights Act as it pertains to private businesses. Essentially, Paul is saying that the government has no right to tell private businesses that they have to be racially inclusive. While making abundantly clear that he himself is not a racist, he thinks businesses should be allowed to post "whites only" signs in their windows.

Like many Libertarian ideas, what he is saying makes sense. . .for about a minute. Then, if you start thinking about it, it falls apart.  He's right, that if a business did such a thing, they'd face public scorn, and people would shun such businesses, and they'd succeed or fail for their actions. But the premise is wrong. Of course the government has a right to legislate what business can and cannot do.

To illustrate my point, here are some things that business cannot do under law:

- Sell cigarettes to underage customers.
- Sell alcohol without a license, or to underage customers.
- Sell unregistered handguns willy-nilly.
- Sell cocaine.
- Offer sex for money (except in certain counties in Nevada).
- Sell knockoffs of brand name merchandise.

I'm sure you can think of many other examples. One widespread prohibition for business in recent years is the regulation of smoking. Even here in Nevada, cigarettes cannot be smoked in any business that is not adults only.  Even places like bars that serve food can't allow smoking, as somebody might have brought their kids in for some chicken wings.  I thought at the time that the law was passed that it was wrong. That a private business should be allowed to permit smoking if they chose. But I was thinking like Rand Paul, and I too was wrong.

Can Kevin Costner Save the Gulf of Mexico?

Image from Jossip

How cool (and weird) is it that a cheesy Hollywood "event" movie could have put into motion a possible solution to the devastation caused by the BP oil geyser in the Gulf of Mexico?  I see another event movie in Kevin Costner's future.


Kevin Costner may hold key to oil spill cleanup

The " Kevin Costner solution" to the worsening oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico may actually work, and none too soon for the president of Plaquemines Parish.

Costner has invested 15 years and about $24 million in a novel way of sifting oil spills that he began working on while making his own maritime film, "Waterworld," released in 1995.

Two decades later, BP and the U.S. Coast Guard plan to test six of his massive, stainless steel centrifugal oil separators next week. Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser welcomed the effort, even as he and Louisiana officials blasted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for delays in approving an emergency plan to build sand "islands" to protect the bayous of his parish. . ."

Read more at: The Los Angeles Times

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Flash Movie Soon?

Image from source, Bam! Kapow!

Oh, please, oh please. . .! I've said many times in this space that I'm a long-time DC Comics fan, and I'm jealous of Marvel Comics' success on the silver screen.  Sure, the 2000s edition of the Batman franchise is going strong, but Batman was never a personal favorite, and his movies don't much do it for me either. I like my super heroes to have super powers.  And DC has a wealth of powered heroes, with Wonder Woman, Superman, Green Lantern, Plastic Man, Captain Marvel (Shazam!), and The Flash (not to mention lesser-knowns like The Metal Men, Firestorm, and many more).

All of those mentioned have had either cartoons, live-action TV series or movies made about them, and all have had trouble getting to the big screen. Of the list, only Superman managed a recent movie, after many years of false starts and tons of money wasted. And they still ended up with a film--though it impressed me--that didn't please audiences. How a major movie studio like Warner Brothers (which owns DC) could be so stymied by super heroes as source material will always baffle me. There is such a dense mythology to draw from, sometimes up to 70 years of stories.  C'mon, DC, get it together!  I know (or at least hope) you can do it!


Flash Movie Soon?

With the buzz over current DC projects like Green Lantern, Batman 3, and the Superman reboot, I know I speak for most of my fellow nerdians when I say I can’t wait to see what’s next. Well, Geoff Johns already told us to expect some news on the movie front here, and thanks to his Tweet, we get a clue as to what the news may be:

The goal is: SOON - but we’ll see! @kidflash3000 when are they going to make a flash movie I’ve been anticipating that for years


Read more at: Bam! Kapow!

Tuesday Night's Elections: A Clean Sweep for Progressive?

The rightward spin on Tuesday's election results really seem to have won the messaging war, with Republicans supposedly having "won the night" and set the stage for November. FOX "News" and right-wing talk radio sure seem to think so. But it didn't hit me that way, especially since in the one contest between a Democrat and a Republican, the Democrat won.  Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks has a pretty persuasive argument that progressives won the night, and in a clean sweep.

Man in Fancy Dress (Named Janis) Speaks Out Against Gays

Image from source, Joe.My.God.

Sigh. There are so many jokes that can be made like those in the headline, but this really isn't funny. And what kind of authority on sex is a Catholic priest anyway? Isn't that akin to an Amish person recommending the kind of car you should drive? Or letting a blind person opine about the best HDTV?  Anyway, he's all kinds of wrong, but it is kind of funny, so that's why I'm sharing it.

PhoboQuotable - Archbishop Janis Pujats

"We must assert that homosexuality is an acquired vice that can be likened to addiction to drugs, alcoholism, tobacco smoking, etc., so that those who practice it cannot be treated as a 'minority.' We must say that sexual perversion cannot be tolerated in the public sphere so that this disorder is not turned into a bad example for all society. . ."

There's more at: Joe.My.God.

Sen. John Ensign is Literally an Idiot

This morning on KXNT-AM, the local hit right-wing radio station, Alan Stock was interviewing the junior Senator from Nevada, the sexually adventurous John Ensign. Ensign is better known for his extramarital escapades, his ethically dubious cover-up of same, and his hairdo than he is for smarts. And this morning--while skirting any talk of the above (as far as I heard)--Ensign still managed to misuse the word "literally" at least five times in the space of the six or seven minutes I heard him talk.  Did you know that President Obama is literally driving this country into the ground?  Wait, this country sort of is the ground, so he's. . .driving the. . .ground? into the. . .uh. . .

FOX "News" Fail: Favored Candidate, Tim Burns, Loses Despite Big Push

It's nice to see that once again, despite a big push by FOX "News"--a channel that will never be accused of subtlety--Republican Tim Burns lost anyway. I haven't checked to see, but I'd bet that today they were claiming that it was no big deal. Or that the election was rigged. Or both.

Found at: Joe.My.God.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Helpful Hints for Hypocrites

I usually try to avoid two Rachel Maddow posts in a 24-hour period, but this was too good to pass up. In her series of "helpful hints for hypocrites", Rachel manages to cram in a whole lot of history, chiefly about the Republican congressional class of 1994. That was the year that brought us Newt Gingrich (and he still won't go away).  The subject was brought up this time because of Congressman Mark Souder, the family-values Representative from Indiana, who made an abstinence-only video. . .with his mistress.

Dear Democrats, We Need to Talk. --The Gays

Doing my part to spread the word (via: AmericaBlog)

ACTION: Sign our open letter to the Dems on ENDA and repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell!

Dear Democrats,

We need to talk.

This may be a hard letter to read, but I need to figure out if this relationship is still healthy for me.

For the longest time, I thought we had something special. Remember how much fun we used to have back when we were young, and control of the Congress and the presidency was just a crazy dream? You always used to ask me for help, and you knew I'd never turn you down.

You were so adorable when we were courting. Sure, you never really understood me, but I liked that you seemed to try. The White House cocktail parties were totally fun, and that Easter Egg Roll is something I'll always cherish. Or remember the time you let me march in the Inaugural parade! Other than that whole Rick Warren thing, I really thought we had a connection.
I know you kept telling me that you weren't ready for marriage, but I was willing to wait since you had promised so much else in the meantime.

But now, I've kind of had it. I'm just not getting what I need out of this relationship. You rarely call me anymore, and when you do it's to ask for money. We talked about joining the military together -- but now it seems like you are flaking on that commitment. You promised to protect me from the homophobes at work, but you don't seem to be in a hurry to actually do it. And -- that Department of Justice brief thing was just cruel. I'll never understand why you did that.

It almost seems like you're embarrassed by me in public. I know not everyone in your family approves of us, but before you got your new job, it seemed like you didn't care what they thought and were always ready to fight for me. Now, it's like you're a different person.

Please don't take this the wrong way. I still think we have a future. I want us to have a future. But I need this relationship to be healthy for both of us. And I just can't get excited anymore by your empty promises and half-gestures.

I need you to take a real step. You know what I'm talking about -- the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell.

I still worry every day that I can be fired in 29 states just because I'm gay. And my friend who is transgender can be fired in 38 states. I know you can do it. You've helped protect people from employment discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, disability and many other characteristics. Each time me and my friend have been left behind. It's our turn. ENDA's time has come.

It's our turn to be welcomed into the military as well. I want to serve my country openly and proudly. I was so excited when you promised you would repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell this year after 17 long years of putting up with it.

Now, I can't even get you to talk about DADT.

You promised to change. I know that you can. But why should I stand by your side when you can't keep your promises to me?

I get that you're scared. But I'm scared too -- scared of losing you. You need to prove to me that you really care. You need to finally give me the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell, like you promised.

I have enough disappointments in my life. I need you to not be one of them.


The Gays

Rachel Maddow's Political Enthusiasm Creates Stir

Image from source, TV Squad

I've said several times here that I occasionally listen to the conservative talk radio station on my short drive home from work. We have no liberal station here in Las Vegas, and I like to keep tabs on what the right-wing talkers are up to anyway. It can get difficult to even attempt, because on  my ride home Mark Levin is the voice I have to hear (unless I want to completely scramble my brain, and listen to Michael Weiner Savage).  Levin is nearly as bombastic, much more whiny, but--I suspect--more sane, at least when the microphone is off.

Liberal talker Randi Rhodes (who I can only listen to on my computer) does a great Levin impression: "Statist! Marxist! America hater! THERE, I SAID IT!" And she's dead on the money. Anyway, today Levin played a clip from MSNBC's primary election coverage, and it sort of mystified me. It was a clip of Rachel Maddow expressing enthusiasm about the political news of the day. Levin was implying something about the clip below, but what it was I can't be sure. He called her a misogynist, which made zero sense to me.  I'd forgotten about it, until I saw that it was an item on TV Squad, one AOL's entertainment pages. They're not usually political, so I figure this event must've been making a bigger dent than I supposed.

Is it because she used the word "vibrating?" Something sexual? Something to do with the fact that she's a lesbian? I still can't be sure. Because in the context of Rachel's overall personality, excitement about election night is par for the course. She's not excited by a particular candidate, or by a particular party, she's just excited about democracy and politics in action.  I'm still baffled by the fuss.


Rachel Maddow's Chris Matthews Moment: "I Am Vibrating Off My Seat" With Excitement

. . .Describing her enthusiasm, she told Keith she was having "election night sweats," and that she was "vibrating off my seat at a height of about six inches." Olbermann visibly struggled not to burst out laughing, and instead warned Rachel that she was "getting into Matthews territory here," a reference to his co-host's infamous "I feel a thrill running up my leg comment" after listening to a Barack Obama speech. Always self-deprecating, Rachel laughed it off and told Keith she appreciated the warning. . .

Read more at: TV Squad

Sarah Palin's Alaska!

Couldn't resist. . .

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Birther Queen Orly Taitz Immortalized in Semi-Offensive Painting!

Image from source, Mother Jones

Stupid Monkey Planet often gives me a heads-up on story ideas, and he had to have known that I couldn't resist this one. Sure, it features a dicey painting that might offend some people. But if it has birther queen Orly Taitz in a lather, I'm all for it!  In fact, it has her spinning new yarns about people out to terrorize her family. Wait, this woman has a family???


Birther Queen: Obama Persecuting Me with Placenta Painting!

Orly Taitz, the queen bee of the birther movement, sounds distraught. “I’m going through hell,” she says. The California dentist-lawyer had called to tell me about what she says is a campaign to scare her family so that she’ll abandon her quest to become California’s next Secretary of State. She says she’s endured death threats and an attempt to tamper with her car. But this time, she says, her opponents have gone too far. The final straw? An elaborate oil painting of a nude Taitz, legs splayed, giving birth to… a pancake. . .

Read more at: Mother Jones
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