Saturday, March 31, 2012

New Digs for Greenlee Gazette!

After this weekend, I might actually get some blogging done around here, now that my office is finally done. Well, there are still things to do, and a lot of crap taken out of here that has to be put back or disposed of. But the hard work is done! I'm totally digging it.

. . .AFTER!!!

Unfortunately, it doesn't photograph as that different. And the "before" picture is from three years ago. The old "off-white" carpet had become markedly off-white. The walls were a plain, flat white. Now it's eggshell tanish-taupish, with a lightly patterned chocolate carpet which literally had the name "I'm Yours." All in all, it makes for a much more comfortable and comforting work space. And since I'm doing more and more work in here, that's a good thing!

Keith Olbermann Fired by Current TV

Image from source, Think Progress.
I used to be a huge fan of Countdown with Keith Olbermann. I was very sad when the host was fired from MSNBC, and replaced by Lawrence O'Donnell. But I grew to like The Last Word, and having long since grown more attached to The Rachel Maddow Show, Olbermann was soon pretty much forgotten, unless he made news. We don't get Current TV on Cox Cable in Las Vegas, so other than the occasional internet clip, Olbermann was out of sight, out of mind.

That said, I've been lobbying Cox to get Current, not just for Olbermann, but for Cenk Uygar and The Young Turks, and most recently the addition of Talking Liberally with Stephanie Miller (The Stephanie Miller Show). So far, I'm having no impact. But one of the reasons I wanted Current has apparently been removed. I checked the article for its posting date, but it is not listed as April 1, so I'm assuming it's true.

Keith Olbermann has been fired. The Al Gore/Joel Hyatt-owned station has given him the boot apparently. This is something of a surprise, given that the channel is firming up as a full-schedule liberal alternative to FOX "News." I know that Olbermann could be difficult--and was expensive--but it would seem like a really, really bad move. Olbermann must have lived up to his reputation for being hard to work with, I guess.


Current TV Fires Keith Olbermann, Replaces Him With Spitzer Immediately, Olbermann to Sue

The New York Times’ Brian Stelter breaks the news that Current TV has let go Keith Olbermann, and will replace him starting tonight with Eliot Spitzer, denying Olbermann to give a send-off or special comment to his viewers. Spitzer, like Olbermann, also had experience at MSNBC, where he appeared as a guest anchor. Olbermann had been suspended by MSNBC for violating its rules on campaign contributions, an event that soured his relationship with the network, before his departure from MSNBC opened the door to his deal with Current. He was at one point a high-profile acquisition for the network, founded by former Vice President Al Gore to provide a more progressive take on the news. But his ratings fell and his relationship with Current quickly foundered. . .

Read more at: Think Progress

Friday, March 30, 2012

S'cuse Me, I's Bin Bizzy!

Notice that there haven't been many posts lately? That's because a heckuva lot is going on: removing furniture and painting two home offices (yes, we have two), landscaping, carpet installation, regular job and part-time job. And at some point, we have to drive to Arizona to get MegaMillions tickets! So yes, I've really been busy. I hope to be back to it later today, and probably a bit on the weekend. But it won't be until the early-to-middle part of next week that I'm back up and running at full speed. Please take a look around at previous posts, or at least come back later! Thanks!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Mike in Raleigh: Stand Your Ground

It's always a good day when Mike in Raleigh (The Stephanie Miller Show) has a new clip up, even if it is on a very serious subject. I sometimes get criticized for my lack of reverence. But you know what, I've gotten the giggles at a funeral, and cried too. Gallows humor helps us get through life.

DNC Counterpunches Santorum's Goofy "Scary" Ad

Kind of unnecessary, since the ad played like self-parody, and because Rick (don't Google me) Santorum has a near zero chance of clinching the nomination. But fun anyway.

Mitt Romney Manages to Argue FOR Individual Insurance Mandate

Clueless 1%-er. Image from Wonkette.
The whole idea behind the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act (known derisively as "Obamacare" because conservatives previously used "Hillarycare" and are out of tricks) is to do a little arm twisting so that people not likely to consider getting health insurance do so. Kind of like automobile insurance. Except that not everybody needs a car, but nearly everybody will eventually need health care, or they will die prematurely or live miserably. Rare is the "never sick a day in his life, never broke a bone, cut himself, sprained an ankle, or got a burn, and lived to be 100" person.

All of those cuts, breaks, burns and diseases need treatment, and if they're uninsured, they'll go to an emergency room. Which we all end up paying for anyway. So, you tell Joe-I'm-24-and-Invincible that he has to get at least a minimum level of insurance, since he just might get cancer or gonorrhea even though he doesn't think he will. By the way, ever get chemo in an emergency room? Yet another issue that health care reform can help out with.

Now, I don't know about the individual mandate's Constitutionality, though I'm pretty sure you could call the fine for not getting insurance a tax. That's what I'd do anyway. But I do know that the individual mandate was a Republican idea, and it only became unconstitutional when President Barack Obama proposed it. Telling, that.

Which is a long way to go to tell you that Mitt Romney went on The Tonight Show starring Jay Leno and basically argued for the individual mandate. Because if he's saying that a 45-year-old can't just jump into the insurance market when he gets sick, and that people need to be long-term enrolled in insurance to get more of it, and. . .well. . .do you see where I'm going?


Human Monopoly Logo Mitt Romney Explainers Jay Leno: Uninsured Poors Should Die Already (VIDEO!)

Monocled toff Mitt Romney went on the Jay Leno Ha-Ha and Teevee Newz Hour to explain some cold hard FACTS to The Chin: You cannot wait until you are ill to buy insurance, gentles, even if there is no human way to afford it on your sad loser unemployment check! It just doesn’t work that way, good fellow! And if you work in a brake shop, and are uninsurable because you work in brake dust all day, the owners of the shop have already bought you insurance so just what is your problem, kind sir! (It is cute that Mitt Romney thinks that just because you work full-time, your job gives you “benefits.”) . . .

Read more (with video) at: Wonkette

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

George Zimmerman Video Shows No Blood, No Injury

Maybe it's just from too much CSI and Law & Order, but when a person has been in a fight that resulted in "lacerations" to the back of the head, and a broken, bloody nose. . .well, you'd expect there to be evidence of that in a video taken later that day. You'd think there'd be blood on George Zimmerman from having shot Trayvon Martin, but that's where my CSI knowledge falls down, with geometry and physics being weak spots for me. But certainly, Zimmerman could be expected to be bloodied, bruised and a little staggery if all that he said is true. [Story continues below]

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Readers of this blog know that I don't usually follow "true crime" local stories that burst through to a national level. I avoid Nancy Grace like the plague. But this case has jumped beyond an ordinary murder case. For me, it has very little to do with race, per se, unless that was what motivated Zimmerman. A lot of people on the right (and isn't it amazing that a homicide comes down to right vs. left?) have immediately jumped on the race issue with both feet. "Zimmerman isn't 'white', he's 'Mexican'" they'll say. "What about that case in XYZ state, where a black guy killed a white guy, what about that?" 

As usual, my friends on the right miss the point.  The point is that Zimmerman was released with apparently cursory questioning. It's brand new news, as far as I know, that the police even took him in. Without benefit of lawyers, jurors or judges, he was allowed to go free--remains free, in fact--still with the gun that killed Martin. If Martin had gotten the upper hand, and wrested the gun away from Zimmerman, killing him, how many people believe the kid would have been released, with the gun? Okay, so maybe it could be about race after all. Or about the police siding with Zimmerman for a different reason. Whatever it is, it stinks.

I will concede that we do not have all of the facts here. And the facts may shake out differently than we expect. But I think it is very safe to say that the police did an extremely shoddy job on this, and/or the "Stand Your Ground" law is insanely written. Because I still can't see a way where it wasn't Trayvon Martin who had a right to stand his ground.


Trayvon Martin Case: Police Video Shows No Blood, Bruises On George Zimmerman After Killing

Newly released video of George Zimmerman at the Sanford Police Department the night he shot Trayvon Martin to death show the neighborhood watch volunteer without blood on his clothing or bruises on his face or head. His clean-shaven picture seems to contrast with the violent beating he told police he endured at the hands of Martin, 17, who Zimmerman said attacked him from behind. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

Politicians Gone Wild! (NSFW)

Herman Cain, a Rabbit, a Catapult and a Shot Gun

Did you think that Herman Cain walked a fine line between stupid and crazy, when he was on the campaign trail? We had no idea. It would seem that since he has been freed from the constraints of a national election, he can let his freak flag fly. CAIN!!!

FOX "News" Conservative Guest Debunks Chevy Volt Demonizing

I don't know, it looks nifty to me. Image from
For reasons I cannot fathom, conservatives love to bash the Chevy Volt hybrid car. Though Chevrolet is an American company, and the Volt is an innovative vehicle, Rush Limbaugh, FOX "News" and thus all of right-wing world despise the car. So, how funny is it that a conservative guest on GOP-TV debunked all the crap they've been flinging at the Volt?


Fox News Debunks Right-Wing Lies About Chevy Volt: It’s ‘An Anti-Terrorist Weapon’ And ‘The Safest Car On The Road’

It’s one of the most remarkable interviews ever seen on Fox News. Yesterday, a conservative guest debunked all the destructive myths their pundits having been perpetuating, decrying their “fetish for demonizing the Volt.”

Conservatives, led by Fox News, have been pushing a variety of lies about the Chevy Volt. They’ve falsely asserted that it is unsafe and a creation of the Obama administration, using absurd terms to discourage sales like, “exploding Obamamobiles. . .”

Read more at: Think Progress

Mrs. Betty Bowers Says: Join the Republican Party!

And if America's Best Christian™ says so, who am I to argue?

Found at: (often gloriously NSFW).

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Changes at Greenlee Gazette

This is my office right after I moved in in 2009.
I'll post the new move-in when it's done!

Posting has been a little spotty of late for two reasons, 1) the rebirth of my freelance graphics business, Greenlee Graphics, (but more on that later), and 2) the rebirth of Greenlee Gazette's office space. The resulting space will be used by both of course. And the change is mostly cosmetic. The Other Half is a very good house painter, and has done all of that work so far. My job has been moving the furniture, cleaning, buying the paint, and most especially, the new carpet.

My temporary space in the middle of the room.

I only moved into this space at the front of the house a little over three years ago. At that time, we switched the guest room and my office, to give me a more comfortable space, and to get me further away from The Other Half when he has to go to bed early for his job.  Back then, we repainted and redecorated my old space to make a cozy guest room. But we just moved me into the old guest room, and didn't change anything. The carpet came with the house 15 years ago, and has seen better days, so it was time. Also, we removed the last vestiges of our 12-year-old Cat. 5 wired network, and went entirely wireless.

A snarl of wires. . .

Wait, wireless I wish. One of my projects was to reduce the number of wires in my office. So, I removed two network cables. I got rid of one of my printers, that's two cords there. I now have a wireless mouse and keyboard. But even in my temporary setup, there is a snarl of wires under my desk. I have a TV, monitor, printer/fax/scanner, cable modem, telephone, CPU, wireless router and more, most with at least two wires coming out of them. I think hiding them is the best I'll be able to do.

But the resulting work, both on my graphics projects and on the remodel have left me less time for blogging. Or more honestly, less time where I want to blog! So please bear with me over the next two weeks. My target date for carpet installation is April 11-13, since I was told--after it was paid for, naturally--that it is a special order. I guess there's some poor foreign kids furiously poking yarn through mesh. I really shouldn't rush them.

More to come on Greenlee Graphics
Anyway, more details as more happens! And I'll try to keep the blog fresh daily, but maybe not as many posts. Thanks for reading.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Should "Stand Your Ground" Laws Be Repealed?

I have to say, if I understand Florida's (and by extension, a dozen and a half other states') "Stand Your Ground" law correctly, then I have to wonder how the thing ever got passed. I do understand that anything considered "pro-gun" is heavily pushed by the NRA, and apparently the shady, hugely monied ALEC. And I understand that along with all of that, any law they're pushing has a greater chance of passage.

Image from source, Washington Post
But it sounds like this law a) allows you to shoot somebody if you feel threatened,* and b) does not require your detention or arrest to sort it all out. The cops get to decide if the shooting fits the law, and if they think it does, they just let you go. They don't test you for drugs or alcohol. They don't run a background check on you. They just ask you a few questions, and you're good to go. And you get to keep your gun!

So, basically, this type of law just requires you to have a reasonable sounding story, and you can get away with murder. Unless I'm misunderstanding something, or if somehow the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin story is atypical, this is just insane. It removes the judge, jury, attorneys, and leaves you as the executioner. Or the dead. How could anyone defend this law?


Repeal the ‘Stand Your Ground’ law

The “Stand Your Ground” laws in Florida and other states should all be repealed. At best, they are redundant. At worst, as in the Trayvon Martin killing, they are nothing but a license to kill. . .

Read more at: Washington Post

*And consider this: defenders of this type of law tend to be conservatives. And conservatives tend to also be against hate crime laws, because they have to "get inside your head" to determine intent. WTF do you think they have to do to determine that you felt threatened? And it's a cop, not a lawyer, judge or jury!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Hate and Lies in North Carolina Anti-Gay Marriage Ad

Attention National Organization for Marriage (NOM), offshoot groups like the one who produced this ad, and anyone else who supports them:

- Voting on other people's rights is shockingly un-American.
- If gay people get married, it doesn't make opposite-sex marriages weaker.
- Voting against marriage equality doesn't make opposite-sex marriages stronger.
- Voting against marriage equality won't have affect poverty.
- Marriage isn't an entity that can be damaged by letting more people get married. Every marriage is individual, it isn't a zero-sum game.
- Gay people have been getting married in various states for many years now. Unless there is measureable damage from that, STFU.
- If your chief reason for opposing marriage equality is because "God says so," you are confusing civil marriage with "holy matrimony." No one should ever  be bound by law to follow anybody's religion.

Now, here is the disgraceful, factually incorrect ad. 

Re-Elect Obama, America Becomes The Walking Dead?

There are scary ads, like the LBJ "Daisy" ad, and then there's this. Rick Santorum takes the fear mongering so far, it becomes a Saturday Night Live Digital Short. I chuckled at the spinning merry-go-round. Some of the imagery cause WTF moments, and what's with the smiling old dude in the preview there? Does he LIKE "Obamaville"? Anyway, it's mostly hilarious.

Blast from the Past: The Bangles

In all of my previous Blast from the Pasts, somehow, I've left out The Bangles. Apparently, the group has had a whole lot of drama over the fact that they're all accomplished, harmonizing (I'm talking to you, Bananarama) singers, but everybody thought it was The Bangles, Starring Susanna Hoffs. Some people are so touchy.

But, The Bangles managed to squeak out a number of pop confections before jealousy tore them asunder. And after too, though their renaissance hasn't been quite as stellar as their launch. And, hey, is that Star Trek's "Mr. Spock," Leonard Nimoy in Going Down to Liverpool?

Talking Liberally with Stephanie Miller Debuts on Current TV Monday Morning!

If you're lucky enough to get Current TV (you obviously don't have Cox Cable. . .harumph!), set your DVR and/or automatic coffee maker for 6am Pacific, 9am Eastern to watch Talking Liberally with Stephanie Miller. Don't let the title fool you. It's The Stephanie Miller Show radio program on the teevee machine. And it isn't just Steph, it's also Chris LaVoie, voice deity Jim Ward, Lab Rats' Hal Sparks and John Fugelsang (who most recently derailed the Romney campaign with that Etch-a-Sketch moment).

I listen or record Steph every weekday, but sadly, I only get audio. Though with my Rachel Maddow habit, maybe I ought not be watching 4 hours of liberal television every day. Still. . .I want my Steph Current TV!!!


Stephanie Miller: 'I'm ready for my close-up!'

I’m on Current! Yes, me, Stephanie Miller, daughter of legendary conservative Barry Goldwater’s vice presidential running mate, Congressman William Miller, is now the host of “Talking Liberally: The Stephanie Miller Show” right here on Current TV.  . . .

Read more at: Current TV

Dick Cheney Takes a Human Heart, Makes it His Own

Darth Dick Cheney. From CBSNews.

Oh, come on. Did you expect I'd be reverent on this one? Dick Cheney--otherwise known as Darth Cheney, even to some of his fans, had a heart transplant. This, after at least 5 heart attacks, a quadruple bypass, and--since 2010--a machine that pumped his blood for him. He hasn't had a heartbeat since 2010! Well, until now. Now, he finally has a heart. Here's hoping he puts it to good use.


Dick Cheney receives heart transplant

Former Vice President Dick Cheney received a heart transplant on Saturday, his office announced.
A statement from the former vice president's office said the 71-year-old is now recovering in the intensive care unit of Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va., outside Washington. . .

Read more at: CBSNews

Saturday, March 24, 2012

What's Wrong With Tennessee? Creationism In Schools Allowed

Pssst. . .creationists: Darwin didn't claim to know the origin of
the universe! Image from source.
Insanity. I don't care how fervently you believe that God created the universe, the idea doesn't belong in science class. As hard as they've tried to separate "creationism" from "intelligent design," there is no difference, other than taking the "Christianity" brand off of it. It's still taking the idea of an all-powerful magical being, and inserting it into science class. There isn't a scintilla of science in that. Not to mention that evolution makes no claim to the origins of the universe.

I know that I'll never convince a true believer that there is no God. But there is no denying that positing a "creator" into evolution or the big bang just makes the whole thing more complicated, not less. If you disbelieve the idea of the universe having always existed in one form or another, how is it so easy to believe that an omnipotent, invisible, intangible, omnipresent, omniscient, all-loving, vengeful, jealous God has always existed? You've just inserted a doozy of a claim into the story! And we won't even get into how this mega-creature, creator of the vastness of all that is, cares what we individual humans on this little speck called Earth, do with our private parts.


TN science bill protects teachers who allow debate over evolution

Senators voted 24-8 to pass a bill that says schoolteachers cannot be punished for "helping students to understand, analyze, critique and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories" taught in public schools. . .

Read more at:

Friday, March 23, 2012

Rep. Allen West (R-FL) Makes Sense for the First Time Ever

From source.
Seriously. This dude is usually on the margins, and only on the margins. This time, he gets it right.


Allen West On Trayvon Martin Case: 'This Is An Outrage'

Rep. Allen West (R-FL), a high-profile conservative and one of two African-American Republicans currently serving in Congress, posted a statement early Thursday evening on Facebook, lambasting the local authorities in the handling of the shooting of Trayvon Martin.

Notably, West said that the shooter George Zimmerman "should have been held in custody and certainly should not be walking free, still having a concealed weapons carry permit. . . "

Read more at: Talking Points Memo

I Should Have Bought Stock in Etch-A-Sketch!

Image found on Facebook, via Kenny Pick
Dammit! I've been an aficionado of Ohio Arts' (*cough!* China Arts *cough!*) Etch-A-Sketch since at least 1969. Imagine if my three-year-old self could've flashed a message to me in 2012: buy stock! But then that little prick would have withheld the idea to buy Apple, so WTF does he know?


Etch A Sketch Company’s Stock Price Triples After Political Guy Says ‘Etch A Sketch’ on TV

Romney’s primary opponents and critics jumped on the comments. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., each made appearances with Etch A Sketch toys. Santorum spokesperson Alice Stewart was out handing the toys outside of an event. The DNC also pounced. Ohio Art, OART:OTC US on the stock exchange, started yesterday at $4.00 per share and finished the day at $12.50 per share. . .

Read more at: Wonkette

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Trans-Vaginal Airlines

Mike in Raleigh can even make tragically unfunny things funny, which is probably why he is so often featured on The Stephanie Miller Show.


"Gotcha Journalist" (and Sean Hannity, Others) Get Themselves

If you're going to play "gotcha" with an ambush interview, you should probably be certain you have the right target. Didn't this doofus know what Bono looks like? And what the hell would it prove if they "got" Bono anyway? Hint: Bono isn't from Hollywood. Doofus.


Sean Hannity, Big Journalism run 'ambush interview' on Bono—but it wasn't him. Doh! 

Just when you thought the purveyors of ACORN conspiracy theories and heavily edited tapes of people
saying things that weren't what they actually said had reached a new peak in their efforts at pretend-time jourmanalism, they up the ante. Yes, the latest scoop from the Breitbart Brigades is an ambush journalism effort aimed at Bono. . .

Read more at: DailyKos

Florida's "Stand Your Ground" Law, Jeb Bush, and Getting Away With Murder

As promised, here's my second Rachel Maddow Show clip, as promised. But this one is less snarky, and far more serious. It concerns the Trayvon Martin alleged murder in Florida, and how his killer (not just alleged) is hiding behind the "Stand Your Ground" law, signed by former Governor Jeb Bush. If you've only heard a bit on this story, I encourage you to watch this.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Mitt Romney, Etch-A-Sketch, John Fugelsang and Lies

I have to begin work at insane o'clock on Thursday, so my blogging time is limited. And I know that I ran a Rachel Maddow Show clip recently. Still, Wednesday night's show was so good, I thought this would be a good way to fill out the blog until this evening. First up is a clip that covers a Mitt Romney Aide surprisingly admitting that the campaign is like an Etch-A-Sketch* (shake and start over). That segues into Rachel explaining Mitt's many, many lies. And she calls them that (politely of course). And she's not wrong.

*It's worth mentioning that it was comedian John Fugelsang who asked (politely of course) Eric Fehrnstrom the question that brought forth the Etch-A-Sketch comment. Fugelsang is a frequent guest on radio's The Stephanie Miller Show, which will soon be simulcast on Current TV. He's also part of Miller's Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour, which is the #1 comedy tour in the country, and has held the #1 comedy album spot on Amazon, iTunes and Billboard charts. As with Bill Maher, John Stewart and Stephen Colbert, it is the comedians doing some of the best work in politics.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

FOX "News" Never Said Obama is a Muslim?

FOX "News" is splitting very fine hairs when they claim "no examples of a host saying President Obama is a Muslim." First, who said anything about it being a host? And secondly, even the hosts have fed the nutty tinfoil hat, conspiracy theorists big juicy slabs of red meat. There are dog whistles, and then there are just the plain as day regular whistles.


Bret Baier Ignores Fox News' Role In Fueling Obama Muslim Myth

Fox News anchor Bret Baier responded to a new book reporting that in 2010, President Obama criticized the network for pushing the myth that Obama "is a Muslim" by saying: "For the record, we found no examples of a host saying President Obama is a Muslim." In fact, Fox has repeatedly questioned and promoted falsehoods about Obama's faith, including pushing the false claim that Obama attended a "madrassa.. . ." 

Read more at: Media Matters

As a postscript, I'd like to say, I don't care what the President says his religion is, or even if it differs from what he really is (I'd prefer if he were agnostic or atheist, personall). But we don't question what people say their religion is. We don't ask if Bush was really a Christian. It's nobody's business but their own. And there's nothing wrong with being a Muslim, either. And finally, the people making these accusations (or believing them) are by-and-large Christians (allegedly?), and yet they have no problem judging or bearing false witness. Think about that.

FCC Decision Limits Right-Wing Radio Expansion

You go, liberal radio chick! Image from Think Progress.
Well, this is interesting. But I've got to wonder. . .how could right-wing talk radio expand exactly? As it stands, they're everywhere, on multiple stations in the same market, it every city across the country. Is there a hunger for more right-wing talk? If there was ever a market that was saturated, this one is it.


FCC decision strikes critical blow to right-wing radio dominance

A Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decision issued Monday (PDF) will clear the runway for hundreds of new community radio stations that broadcast on low-power FM signals, bringing progressive, community voices to urban areas that have for decades only known what’s being broadcast by major corporations and America’s political right. . .

Read more at: RawStory

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Mitt Wins Illinois, Whether They Voted for Him or Not!

In the majority of GOP caucus and primary elections held thus far in the 2012 presidential cycle, something has gone wrong, or just been weird. The delegates don't line up, the totals are wrong, the "winner" is later changed. Here in Nevada, they had record low turnout, and it still took them three days to declare Mitt Romney the winner. . .and he won by a landslide! But, if Republicans aren't embarrassed by their candidates, can they be embarrassed by the insanity going on at the state election level?

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

AOL/Huffington Post "In the Tank" for Mitt Romney?

Really, Arianna?
No, I'm not really accusing AOL/Huffington Post of being in the thank for Mitt Romney. It's just that I've heard the term so often, pertaining to the mainstream media and President Obama, I thought it would make a catchy headline. And, the image I've chosen is also AOL's idea of a catchy headline. But a low-information voter reading, "Romney Captures Obama's Home State" might think that Romney somehow beat Obama in Illinois. . . or maybe Hawaii. Oooh, Kenya! Anyway, I thought it merited a post.

America the Stupid: WHITE POWER!

Before you detonate a bomb in my email box, I do not agree with the following:

"Will the sheeple in this country ever wake up and demand a “White Caucus”? Or maybe a “White history Month”?

I am not a racist, but I’m sick and tired of all these blacks demanding special treatment crap!!
Why can’t they just be Americans???"

-- posted on Monday, March 19, 2012 6:01:01 PMby taillightchaser,  Free

Yeah, you are not a racist. Mmm hmm. This is the latest in a series of "Why You Shouldn't be a Right-winger." Thank you.

Arpaio: Conspiracy bigger than Watergate

I have an honest question. Is Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona stupid? Is he gullible, easily duped? Is he easily confused? Or is he, perhaps, an opportunistic, lying, fame whore limelight seeker?  Because, the whole "birther" conspiracy theory set. . .they're bonkers. They're nuts. Their head cheerleader is the daffy Orly Taitz, the Gabor-like combination lawyer/dentist/realtor. Every, single (and I mean every, single) claim in this ridiculous theory has been debunked. Over and over again.

Click to embiggen.
I'll give you a quick one: They say to this day that President Obama's "grandmother" admitted that Obama was born in Kenya. A) she was his step-grandmother, and B) she was being mistranslated, and corrected the record in the same interview. They just cut that part out. That's how they work in tinfoil hat land. But Arpaio's corner of the conspiracy is the birth certificate.

For years, the birthers said--seemingly every other sentence--that if Obama just released his "long form" birth certificate, "all of this would just go away." The conspiracy would go poof, and they'd go on with their lives. But they didn't. Because, you see, all a good conspiracy theory needs is more layers. And--unwittingly--the White House gave them more layers. Boy, howdy.

You see, the electronic version of the Hawaii certified certificate of live birth was scanned into Adobe Reader. If you do that on default settings, the scanner tries to break the image into sections, ostensibly for optical character recognition (OCR), but who knows what good it actually does. It's kind of random, as you might expect for a computer that can't think or reason. So, when you open the file in a graphics program, you watch it assemble itself before your eyes. I got a half step into conspiracy world for about ninety seconds. Because, hey, it has layers!

My (gay) marriage certificate.
Embiggen all you want, it's low-res!
Very quickly, I realized, a) this is not the actual document, it's a scan of it; b) if they were going to forge the document, they'd do it on the physical specimen, not in the online version; and c) the White House has resources most forgers couldn't dream of. If they were going to forge it, it would be fucking undetectable. But conspiracy theorists don't try to step out of their bubbles when presented with something new. No, they seek to incorporate whatever comes their way that feeds the conspiracy, and eject what doesn't. On the surface, the layers seem hinky. And that's really all they need.

Though my deductive reasoning concluded that the layered document was normal, I decided to perform an experiment, to see if Adobe Reader really behaved that way. If I could reproduce a similar effect, then I would be debunking the whole "layers" hoo-ha! So, I cobbled my ancient G4 PowerBook (since replaced) to my ancient-er HP ScanJet 3C, and scanned my City of Palm Springs Marriage Certificate. The results (and ensuing pointless argument with a birther) can be viewed here. And anybody thinking there is anything to birtherism (or Arpaio's tilting at windmills), should explore the site linked below. I'm serious: they debunk everything.


Arpaio: Conspiracy bigger than Watergate 

The Arizona Republic quotes Sheriff Joe Arpaio offering a conspiracy-based explanation why the media has universally panned the investigation by a group of birthers who used his office to publicize their ideas. . .

Read more at: Obama Conspiracy Theories

Walking Dead Season Finale Scores Huge Ratings

Andrea kicks ass! From source, HuffPo
Now that I'm a rabid fan of AMC's The Walking Dead and HBO's True Blood, I get to experience the joy of fantastic, quality television, and the frustration of "mid-season finales" and tragically short seasons. The Walking Dead just wrapped its second season, and weighs in at a total of 19 episodes. There are more episodes than that in one full-length network season. I know, I know, quality over quanity.

To read internet fan message boards, quality is in short supply on TWD. They whine and complain endlessly about every little thing, from casting, to writing, to acting. It reminds me very much of Star Trek's sequels, Voyager and Enterprise. Fans watched every single episode, obsessed over every single detail, but hated everything about them. It's counter-intuitive.

The truth is, the second season did have a weak spot. One was the several-episodes-long "what happened to Sophia?" story arc. Half of the season was taken up with it, and--though it had a satisfying resolution--it felt like it was going nowhere. It seems like if you have a short number of episodes, you probably ought not drag out anything. And that would pretty much be my only complaint;* that some story lines traveled a little too slowly. Otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed the show.
Tasty. Also from Huffington Post

One of the fans' main complaints is that there's too much talking, not enough zombies. This is a "be careful what you wish for" complaint. On the episodes that did feature tons of zombies, the adrenaline was pumping, the action was sick, and I was on the edge of my seat. But you can't make that the whole show! If you don't know who the people are, what they're about, what their interpersonal relationships are, you don't care about them when they die.* Another complaint will be how this or that character reacted to a situation, or maybe someone acting out of character, or something someone said (they hate Lori, the leader's wife). And I say, This is a zombie apocalypse! The fact that they're not catatonic in a corner, wetting themselves already makes it unrealistic.

Anyway, after a semi-draggy first half (still chock full of highlights), the second half of season two was pretty much fantastic, all the time. And the fact that they're willing to kill off characters that you don't expect is pretty thrilling. On the afore-mentioned Star Trek, you could know 99% of the time who would and wouldn't die. Not on The Walking Dead. So, the stakes are always high.


And here, I have to mention Jimmy. Jimmy is a teenager apparently, and one of the regular characters in residence of TWD's second-season farm house. I say apparently, because when he died in the final episode? I had no--still have no--memory of him whatsoever. So, let me amend my "no other complaints" statement. There were some background characters who got very little development.


'The Walking Dead' Ratings: Season 2 Finale Shatters Records 

"The Walking Dead" closed its Season 2 with lots of blood, guts, zombies and big ratings. The Season 2 finale (9 p.m. ET on AMC) brought in 9 million viewers. According to the network, "The Walking Dead" is the No. 1 drama series in basic cable history with men 18-34. "The Walking Dead's" Season 2 finale grew more than 50 percent in total viewers compared to Season 1's finale. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

Monday, March 19, 2012

FOX "News" Barely Covers Big Hate Crime Story

All day on the radio, and later on TV, I heard about the sad, infuriating story about a kid who bought some Skittles and tea at the 7-Eleven, and was killed on the way back by a confused vigilante. While the story could ultimately change to show the killer in a less hideous light, it doesn't look like the killing was justified, or that self defense was even an issue. But the incident is still being investigated, and we'll know more later.

A part of the story that has much less weight, is how the media is covering it. Most of the reporting I heard on it was fairly straight ahead news. And all of the commentary I heard was negative on the killer, which--again, unless something revelatory comes out--is understandable. But everybody was talking about it today, except. . .FOX "News." Well, once. They covered it once.* Here's a brief snapshot:

CNN: 41
Fox: 1

"What difference does it make?" you might ask. And ordinarily, I might agree. But FOX "News" is constantly making a big deal out of the mainstream media doesn't report the stories conservatives think are important. Whether it's the video hoaxster James O'Keefe's latest trumped-up story, or if a couple of surly dudes think they're the "New Black Panther Party," if FOX is covering it, they're also whining that other media outlets aren't. And nine times out of ten, the mainstream media falls for it, and begins covering the coverage of the faux outrage. At least this story is newsworthy.

*FOX may have aired more segments on it since the excerpted article came out, maybe even because it came out.


Fox News Not Really Interested In Reporting On Shooting Deaths Of Unarmed Black Teenagers

 Fox News can generally be relied upon for a steady stream of artlessly jingoistic vomit, spewing forth from helmet-headed hairspray sacks who move their lips while reading important reports on hurricanes and other outrages against Heartland (= white, irrespective of actual location) America. What Fox usually fails at, though, is reporting on outrages against Urban (= black, etc.) America. (Kenneth Gladney excepted!) The latest such outrage to receive Fox News’ patented bitchy silent treatment is the unprovoked shooting death of Trayvon Martin, a black teenager who found himself in the wrong Florida neighborhood (you know, where his father lived), being hunted like prey — ALLEGEDLY but also PROBABLY — by a local paranoiac vigilante known for being “fixated on crime and focused on young, black males.” Hmm, that description… kind of sounds like every Fox scare-segment ever? . . .

Read more at: Wonkette

Mike in Raleigh: Pandering Whiner

Mike in Raleigh (famed from The Stephanie Miller Show) has done it again, with this parody of the Beatles' Paperback Writer. Keep 'em coming, Mike!

Blast from the Past: Snack Foods of the 70s!

Another weekend gone by, and not only was I busy, I'm also getting sick. So this week's Blast from the Past is another one from the vaults. But a good one! It's actually from the first regularly scheduled installment of this feature, from August 2010.


Image found at Democratic Underground
I've wanted a weekly feature on the blog for a long time. I've got several regular themes here, Right Wing World, Science is Cool, Lest We Forget. . ., What Happens in Vegas, America the Stupid and others. But they come and go with no regularity. Well, I'm going to try to change that now.

Practically since I started the blog, I've run several Blast from the Past posts, each centering on a particular batch of videos that have something in common.  I've created a couple of new ones over successive Sundays, and realized that Sunday is the perfect day for it.  It's a slow news day unless the Sunday morning political shows break something shocking (usually a politician putting his or her foot in their mouth).  So, from now on, Blast from the Past has a home on Sunday evenings (or Monday mornings, depending upon what time zone you're in).

This week?  Well, I loved the old Pringles ad from when the dehydrated snack chip first came out, so why not snack foods of the 70s? Sounds yummy, let's go!

1. Peter Paul Almond Joy & Mounds Candy Bars - This one will noodle around in your head for a while.
2. Lay's Potato Chips - Okay, so we've got Bert Lahr, the Cowardly Lion dressed as Satan, and he apparently can eat just one? I'm confused. . .
3. Doritos - I'd forgotten about the fat Dorito's guy until I found this clip. See if you remember him.
4. Jiffy Pop Popcorn - I'm pretty sure that's Ruth Buzzi.
5. Nestle $100,000 Bar - I think they call this the One Hundred Grand bar now.
6. Keebler Fudge Cookies - Somehow elves making cookies in a tree doesn't sound all that hygienic to me.
7. York Peppermint Patties - This is from a whole series of commercials that were never funny.
8. Hostess Snack Cakes - Okay, so Twinkies are fresh and wholesome? Hostess and kids, they go together. Well, duh.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Thought on Bill Maher, and the Rush Limbaugh False Equivalence

This is not a post about the whole Sandra Fluke/Rush Limbaugh/Slut-gate affair. Though it can't be pointed out enough, that Limbuagh's 3-day rant bore no resemblance to reality, and was completely out of bounds. It's not really about Bill Maher, his comedic choices, or his potty mouth. And it's not even about the actual false equivalence: Sarah Palin, uber-famous political celebrity vs. Sandra Fluke, student activist; Rush Limbaugh, conservative messiah vs. Bill Maher, libertarian comic.

What this post is about is the mystery of the news cycle. For several days (and it's probably dying down a bit right now), conservatives were pushing the "Oh yeah? Well if you're going to blast Limbaugh, we're going to tear down Bill Maher!" line. As is common when this stuff hits right-wing talk radio and FOX "News," the mainstream (liberally biased, my ass) media picks up on it too. So, the storyline became: If Rush Limbaugh's so bad, what about Bill Maher?

So, I'm not going to argue the false equivalence, I just want to know, why Maher? Do you know how many comedians have used Sarah Palin* for a punchline? Or how many have used the same words Maher used about her? Patton Oswaldt, John Fugelsang, Hal Sparks, and many others have made Palin the butt of their jokes. And don't tell me it's because she's a woman­® either. Lisa Lampanelli, Sarah Silverman, Kathy Griffin? They're all women. They've all skewered Palin. It's because she's a dolt, not because she's a woman!

So, how did conservatives en masse decide that the issue boiled down to a) sexism, b) Bill Maher and c) Sarah Palin? It would be quite a leap for so many conservatives to go to. It can't be a coincidence, so what is it? Do conservative talkers, pundits, commentators and bloggers get marching orders from headquarters? Do they get a bullet-pointed talking points daily email? Do they have some sort of Star Trek Borg hive-mind? I'd really like to know.

*And back to the sexism angle. It isn't just Palin and Michele Bachmann who get skewered with dirty words. Off the top of my head, I can think of John Boner Boehner, Eric ("bitchface") Cantor, Mitch (Yertle) McConnell, Tom (Tipsy McStagger) DeLay, Dick (Darth) Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Scott (Recall) Walker, and George freakin' Dubya Bush--all men--who comedians have had a field day with. It's not about sexism. It's about comedic potential.

A Thought on Sarah Palin, Game Change, and the Mormon Church

Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin. Bet she wins an Emmy.
Image from Vanity Fair.
It's been a week since HBO's Game Change--you know, the Sarah Palin movie that Sarah Palin didn't like--aired. It was a compelling docudrama that told the story of John McCain's 2008 campaign for President against Barack Obama. Yeah, it didn't go so well.

But that isn't the point of this post. Sarah Palin (played by Julianne Moore) was actually humanized in the film, in both good and bad ways. From the film, it was clear that she's a good mother and wife. She was shown to be driven, enthusiastic, energetic, and a go-getter. But, she was also shown to be profoundly ignorant of basic foreign policy issues and other basic knowledge. She was shown to be somewhat emotionally unstable, belligerent, a giant pain in the ass, and completely unsuited to be one septuagenarian's heart-beat away from the White House.

It was interesting to see how Steve Schmidt (Woody Harrelson) and Nicolle Wallace (Sarah Paulson)--two prominent McCain campaign operatives--dealt with Palin's obvious failings. Wallace grew weary of Palin's abuse, and basically washed her hands of Palin. Schmidt hit upon Palin's strength: acting. Acting like she knows what she's talking about. Give her a script, wind her up, and watch her go. She's a little firecracker!

But Schmidt, Wallace and the rest knew they were dealing with a dangerously incapable candidate. Their biggest issue wasn't the potential problem of an unqualified second-in-command. Their biggest issue was how to camouflage that, well enough to win the election. So, when I watch Wallace and Schmidt on television, confirming, yeah, that's how it all went down. . .well, I'm glad to hear the movie was accurate. But wait! I'm aghast that these people admit what they did!

Typical Mormons. Image from ABC News
It all reminds me of a book called The Mormon Murders by Steven Neifeh. The book recounts the true story of a con-man named Mark Hoffman. He was an antiquities dealer who had the amazing ability to find exceedingly rare Mormon artifacts. He conned the Mormon Church at its highest levels with amateur forgeries (and killed people when he got busted). Those forgeries--believed to be authentic by the church--pointed to the in-authenticity of the church itself.

So, did the church prepare to inform their congregants and potential converts that Joseph Smith was a fraud after all, and that the whole Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was now going to become a secular charity or something? No, no they didn't. They paid Hoffman beau coup bucks to take the documents and hide them away! Let's go over that again: they believed the documents saying the church was a fraud were authentic. And rather than re-assessing the whole religion, they decided to put their fingers in their ears and go, la-la-la!!!

Maybe it's a bit of a stretch, but I see the McCain campaign's decision to soldier on, and try to win--despite having knowledge of Palin's disqualifying shortcomings--to be the same kind of willful disregard for the facts. Charging ahead anyway. I find both to be disgusting.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Anti-Gay Bully Found Guilty of Major Counts

Tyler Clemeni, the student driven to suicide
by bullying. Source: Towleroad
The topic of suicide among gay youths is a troublesome and sad one. On one hand, publicizing a rash of such suicides makes people aware of the problem. On the other hand, suicides among young people can sometimes catch like wildfire. For whatever reason, the act seems to be contagious. So, making it too big an issue can make the problem worse.

The guilty verdicts in a case of a bully whose actions resulted in a suicide are nonetheless welcome, and a bit surprising. Critics will say that the verdicts punish thought, and that we can't know what the accused's motivations were. Guaranteed, there are people saying he was convicted of "thought crime," right now over at But these kinds of criminal activities often result in reduced charges, and in light punishment. The "Twinkie defense" in the case of Harvey Milk's assassin is but one of many examples of light treatment afforded to anti-gay criminals. So it is heartening to see when the system works.  Then again, we haven't seen the sentence yet, so I could be getting ahead of myself.


Dharun Ravi Found Guilty of Major Counts in Tyler Clementi Case

After 12 hours of deliberation, the jury in the Dharun Ravi case today returned a verdict, and Ravi has been found guilty on a number of major counts including bias intimidation and invasion of privacy that could land him in prison for 10 years. . . 

Read more at: Towleroad

George Clooney Goes to Jail

Even looks good in handcuffs. Image from source, Raw Story
It's for a good cause, there were several prominent people arrested with him, and he'll surely be released quickly. But my brain is wrestling between an Ocean's 14 riff and a "pretty boy in prison" joke. I think I'll just leave it there.


George Clooney arrested outside Sudan embassy in D.C.

Actor George Clooney was arrested on Friday outside the Sudanese embassy in Washington, D.C. Clooney, a longtime human rights activist, was handcuffed and taken to jail after he refused a police order vacate the private property. . .

Read more at: The Raw Story

CDC Launches Graphic Anti-Smoking Campaign

You know what would really freak the kids out?
This picture, and Rule 34. Image from HuffPo.
It has been long enough since my last cigarette (14 months ago) that I can confidently call myself a non-smoker. But I smoked for almost 20 years. And you know what didn't make me quit? Threats. Taunts. Finger-wagging. None of that stuff works on a smoker, it just makes you more defiant. It's not like smokers are in the dark about the negative health consequence of the habit. They know. But those consequences seem somehow off in a possible but not certain future. After all, everybody knows somebody who smoked from the age of 14, and died sometime in their nineties, right?

As a current non-smoker--one who is very happy he quit, and wonders why he waited so long to do it--I am rather indifferent to this current campaign. It won't make many current smokers quit. $5 per pack would have done that, were it that easy. But it might make cigarette smoking a bit less cool to the kids who haven't started yet. Or maybe not, who knows? Kids love gory movies, and kids think they're indestructible. If I could rationalize that health consequences were a ways off in my forties, certainly to kids it seems like a hundred years away. So, I don't know.


CDC Anti-Smoking Ad Campaign Set To Launch 

In a graphic new ad campaign announced Thursday, the government is trying to shock smokers into quitting with the sometimes-gruesome stories of people damaged by tobacco products.
The new effort confronts a hard truth: Despite increased tobacco taxes and bans in many public places, the adult smoking rate hasn't really budged since 2003. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post
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