Friday, August 31, 2012

William Shatner for DNC "Mystery Guest"

Sure, he's Canadian. I still say we need him!
David Frum, the stalwart (and virtually exiled) conservative columnist has suggested that the Democratic National Convention hire William Shatner as their "mystery guest" to counter the confounding appearance of (also octogenarian) Clint Eastwood at the RNC. As an example, Frum posted a clip of Shatner's weird, 70s-era lounge singing. I have a better idea. Keep it Shatner--I'm all about the Shat--but have him in character as Denny Crane, from Boston Legal! Crane was a bombastic, rock-ribbed Republican who happened to be suffering from "the mad cow." BL has been off the air now for a couple of years, but I think that Denny Crane bears a strong enough resemblance to a tea bagger, that a Shatner bit could bring the house down! Uh, just don't do it in prime time the last night of the convention.

Take this message taped for ABC affiliates, change the script a bit, maybe substitute Joe Biden or Barack Obama instead of James Spader. . . It. Could. WORK!!!

The Clint Eastwood Bit, and What it Reveals

Rachel Maddow explains--very well--why the tedious, embarrassing Clint Eastwood bit at the Republican National Convention wasn't just an unpleasant happening. It was a spectacularly bad gamble on what to highlight when. See what I mean here. . .

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Romney Calls America a "Company"

Oh, Mittens. . .

Apple Kills Star Trek

This expresses my feelings about Apple's odd victory in court. . .

Daily Show The REAL Romney Introduction Video

This is so funny--and so on the (pun intended) money--I just can't resist posting it. Kudos to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, for the most devastating (and honest, and funny) take-downs Willard Mitt Romney every committed to videotape. Your writers should submit this tape to the Emmy Awards for next year And kudos also to the choice of Star Trek's Leonard Nimoy as narrator!

The Daily Show with Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
RNC 2012 - The Road to Jeb Bush 2016 - Mitt Romney: A Human Being Who Built That
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

Rocky Mountain Mike: Sayin' A Lie (Romney/Bee Gees Parody)

Rocky Mountain Mike has done it again. And after Mittens' performance on Thursday night, Sayin' a Lie (to the tune of the Bee Gees' Stayin' Alive) is pitch perfect.

Meanwhile on Facebook: Clint Eastwood Cribs from Grandpa Simpson?

Next, Clint Eastwood will go on at length about how he used to wear an onion on his belt during the war. Which was the style at the time. . .

PS. Yes, I know that the original drawing said, "OLD MAN YELLS AT CLOUD," but it's still funny!

Clint Eastwood Steals the Show, RNC Day #3

"Get off my lawn!" Image from Salon.
As it was for the first two days, I watched the Republican National Convention (and participated, via Twitter) with a sinus headache. To be sure, this did nothing to help my sour feeling of this sorry spectacle. I mused, earlier in the day, about what glitch I'd like to see occur. Maybe Rubio would go off script, and disavow Romney? Maybe the RNC would go with the reanimated corpse of Ronald Reagan after all? Maybe Mitt would just draw a blank and run crying from the stage? Maybe the balloon drop wouldn't go as planned? The last part sort of happened, but that wasn't what threw a wrench into the works.

Clint Eastwood was leaked as the "surprise guest" already, so that wasn't unexpected. It was Eastwood's embarrassing, rambling, disjointed (and oh-so-many other negative adjectives) performance that will forever go down as the main story of the 2012 RNC. Whatever message Romney/Ryan was hoping to float is going to be squashed by the wacky old guy yelling at an invisible Obama. As I watched, I was reminded of Rick Perry's grasping in vain for the three departments he would cut. I flashed on New Years Rockin' Eve, when they used to wheel out Dick Clark (after the stroke). It was hard to watch. Oh, but watch it we will, again and again. Guaranteed.


Clint Eastwood steals the RNC

When it leaked earlier today that Clint Eastwood would be the “surprise” guest at the Republican National Convention, it seemed predictable that a bunch of white people in patriotic hats would shortly be chanting “Make my day” on national television.  This cacophonous “Make my day” did, in fact, come to pass, but only after the 82-year old Eastwood babbled, went blue, and inadvertently insulted Mitt Romney, the guy he was allegedly there to support. . .

Read more at: Salon

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Legitimate Rape®

It's kind of amazing that something so horrible--based on something so stupid--can still be funny. But then, I've always had an inappropriate sense of humor.

Tampa RNC: Alternate Reality Check

I'm still struggling with an almost crippling headache, so I'm going to cut this blogging thing short again. But before I do, here's a handy-dandy fact checking of the speakers in the RNC. Yeah, they made up a bunch of shit. Check it out. . .

C'mon, buddy. Tell the truth!
Image from source, AP.

FACT CHECK: Convention speakers stray from reality 

Laying out the first plans for his party's presidential ticket, GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan took some factual shortcuts Wednesday night when he attacked President Barack Obama's policies on Medicare, the economic stimulus and the budget deficit. . .

Read it all at: Associate Press 

I Can't Wait: Final Season of Fringe Begins Sept. 28

I will be on vacation the last week of September, in beautiful Yachats, Oregon. But that may not be enough to stop me from catching the premiere of the last season of Fringe. The series has been one of my favorite shows, even with all of the jarring twists and turns, alternate universes and constant threat of cancellation. It will be a short, 13-episode season. But HBO, AMC, FX, USA and Showtime have gotten us used to seasons even shorter than that, so it will have to do. And the producers know in advance how much time they have left, so it should be spectacular. I will miss this show.

Republican National Convention, Part Deux

Forgive the sparsity of posts of late. As I've mentioned before, I have a persistent sinus headache, that is either made worse by the RNC, or simply makes it more excruciating. I mean I've got to watch this crap, even though I'd rather be doing most anything else. I've got to keep attuned to my Twitter feed, otherwise it would all be truly unbearable. And that makes the headache worse!

Damn. Anyway, the lead-in to the big Paul Ryan speech was mostly a bunch of speculated about potential VP picks, before Ryan got the nod. I watched the coverage on MSNBC because dammit, I needed some sanity sprinkled in, but they did tend to gloss over some of the lesser lights who were speaking. So, no T-Paw, no Portman from Ohio. Just as well, really. [Story continues below]

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I did catch  John McCain. He was so thrilling, convention attendees were wandering around during his speech. It was a chore to stay awake. Mike Huckabee followed, and bugged me as much as any other time I've heard him speak. Huck is charming to people who go for his schtick, but nasty to those of us who are clued in to his poison. If there's one thing I despise, it's a person who smiles at you while leveling an insult. That's Huckabee in a nutshell. Anyway, though some in the hall were into Huck's rap, it was far from a barnburner. [Story continues below]

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Condoleezza Rice, on the other hand, was received warmly. Though Romney/Ryan has taken great pains to avoid talking about the Bush years, somehow, Condi has managed to brush off some of the Bush era barnacles. Her speech was well done. I didn't agree with much of it, but it didn't inspire a defensive posture, and a desire to through something through the big screen, as Huckabee did. The chatter on Twitter and MSNBC was that she was the "Ann Romney" of the night.

Ah, but they hadn't heard Paul Ryan yet. Ryan came out looking good in an expertly tailored suit. I don't know if they tamed the Eddie Munster widow's peak, but he looked really nice. His speech was initially boilerplate, rather underwhelming. The crowd was into him, but not into him. Halfway in or so, though, he got his sea legs. He got less awkward, and started getting his timing down with the crowd reactions. I didn't agree with anything he had to say, mind you, but I can recognize a speech that connects with a crowd. [Story continues below.]

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Ryan's speech was riddled with lies and distortions, but they were delivered well. The one lie that received the most attention was Ryan's charge that a GM plant closed under Obama, even though in reality it closed in 2008 (Bush era, don'tcha know?). But there were several things that had me barking back at the TV and rolling my eyes. Much of it was just the repeating of the lame, out of context, "you didn't build that," and the distortion of Obama "raiding" Medicare. Worst of all, was Ryan selling his raiding of Medicare as though he's saving and protecting it. 

Fortunately, President Obama and the Democrats have ample chance of rebuttal, and--I'm nearly certain--a more consistently enthusiastic crowd. And I seriously doubt that Obama's convention is going to be so devoid of Obama as the RNC has been devoid of Mitt Romney. Oh, he's there, but sometimes you barely notice.


The 5 Biggest Lies in Paul Ryan’s RNC Acceptance Speech

Paul Ryan took the stage in Tampa and peppered his speech with lies, falsehoods distortions and exaggerations. There were many to choose from, but here are the five biggest lies. . .

Read more at: PoliticusUSA

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Republican National Convention, Day 1 (ish)

I got a late start to blogging, due to the attention I was paying to MSNBC's Republican National Convention coverage, and to my 600+ Twitter feed. Word of advice if you're nursing a four-day-old sinus headache: doing this sort of activity is inadvisable. Ouch. . .

So, here is my take on the first full day of the RNC (the original day 1 having been postponed due to Hurricane Isaac). I caught Rick Santorum, who gives a great speech, even if I disagree with 100% of its content. He managed to kick the gays, but in an awkward comment. Somehow, straight people aren't getting married because of gay marriage? Or something. Anyway, Rick's speech was scarcely different from ones he gave during his campaign, with a pasted-on "vote for Mitt" in a few places.

Scott Walker, who is a rock star in the GOP these days (and don't get me started on vexing GOP heroes like Sarah Palin and "Joe the Plumber," or we'll be here all night), but his speech was meh. A bit droney, nothing too surprising. I didn't get to see a couple of other speakers, because the MSNBC team was talking, but I really don't think I missed much, based on my Twitter feed's reactions.
[Story continues below]

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And then came Ann. During her speech, I found her awkward, if endearingly so. I think her attempts to humanize Willard alternatively fell flat, or just came across as woefully unconvincing. I didn't buy her hard-scrabble story of their basement apartment, or that either of them is--particularly--just like us. Anyone (and hopefully everyone) feels for Mrs. Romney, and her health struggles. I'm sure it was even hard on Mitt (assuming that at least in private, he has ordinary human emotions). But I find it impossible to forget that the Romneys never had to worry about their finances during their difficult time. A significant portion of any health emergency is the financial element, and the Romneys were lucky enough to be spared the stress that comes with that. "Obamacare" may not be perfect, but it's a first good step to ensure that we regular people have some of that fear alleviated.

Despite my being underwhelmed (as was most of my Twitter feed), the media has quickly seized upon Ann as the star of the night. I'll let her have that, she was okay. Though I take issue with her comment that she and Mitt have a "real marriage." As opposed to? And then Willard was practically wheeled out, surprising no one, and looking more wooden than usual.

The over-arching theme of Mrs. Romney's speech was "love," and when New Jersey Governor Chris Christie lumbered out, he quickly stomped on that, declaring it was not love but respect that was called for. Now, let me say straight up that I don't "get" Christie. I'm concerned when I see him that he's going to have a heart attack as I watch. I'm not beyond a fat joke but that's not an attempt to be funny, he looks startlingly unhealthy. And when he gets wound up, it just doesn't look safe to me. [Story continues below]

You can include Christie in the right-wing hero camp with those I mentioned above. He's abrasive, rude, arrogant and just basically dick-ish. His speech--like some of the others--seemed to be removed from the Mitt Romney campaign, with a Mitt endorsement lazily grafted on. Christie's speech came off like a 2016 audition, with no particular enthusiasm for the party's actual candidate.

All-in-all, even with my headache, it wasn't as painful as it could have been. Yes, most of the speakers used talking points based on falsehoods (welfare, "you didn't build that"), but an average day of FOX "News" contains more Obama-bashing, and a sense of coordinated partisanship than this night of television did. It certainly wasn't a pep rally atmosphere, like Obama's 2008 convention. . .or even McCain's.


Ann Romney Speech At 2012 Republican Convention: Mitt 'Is The Man America Needs'

Ann Romney, 63, was making her national debut at the Republican National Convention late Tuesday in a speech designed to introduce the country to the man she knows better than anyone. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Rocky Mountain Mike, Take #3: A Skeeter Super PAC(K)

One more Rocky Mountain Mike post, and I'll leave him to his more famous and popular outposts for a while. But I thought "Skeeter" deserved a post, all his own. Skeeter is a FOX "News"-watchin', Glenn Beck-listenin', Sarah Palin-lovin' tea partier and all-around gullible right-wing sponge. He goes a long way to explaining the kind of ignorance we're up against, while being very funny at the same time.

Rocky Mountain Mike, Take #2: Teadar!

Already, there have been jokes about the RNC, with all the strip clubs in Tampa, and the potential also for closeted Republicans to get some action in the area's gay businesses, Craig's List and on phone apps like Grindr or Scruff. Well, thank goodness for innovation (and Rocky Mountain Mike), there's an app made just for arch conservatives!

Rocky Mountain Mike, Take #1: When You Say Mitt (You've Said it All!)

Sometimes I cram two or three Rocky Mountain Mike parodies into a single post, but not this time. These are too good, and each deserve a spotlight of their own! Not that Mike needs my help of course, with the global audience of The Stephanie Miller Show. 

This clip--if you're too young to remember--parodies an early 70s Budweiser commercial, and recreates it very well. The actual song follows. Enjoy!

In Case You Missed It: Chris Matthews Sinks His Teeth into Reince Priebus

I've never been a fan of the leaders of the parties, at least while they hold that job. Absolutely everything they say publicly is through a BS filter. In fact, it's instructive that RNC Chairman Reince Priebus has a name that breaks down to RNC PR BS if you extract the vowels. But it was fun to see Priebus get his ass handed to him by Chris Matthews.

Apple's iPhone Victory Over Samsung Might Not Stick?

I know that some of the more ardent disciples of the Cult of Mac were doing cartwheels that Apple won a massive victory over Samsung in court, but they may be celebrating prematurely. And hey, honestly, why would anyone get so emotionally invested in a corporation anyway?

iPhone and Epic 4G. Nope, these aren't really the same, sorry.
Then again, I've always been a MacPhobe, AppleAverse, iDon't. Well, until the last few years. I've owned exactly three Apple products: an iPod Nano, a PowerBook G4 and a MacBook Pro, which I still have. But Apple has never fully hooked me. I don't see them as "better," merely as different, and more expensive. For that reason, and also because of circumstance, I ended up with an Epic 4G phone, on the Android platform, by Samsung. I chose the phone on the strength of its beautiful screen, and because it had a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, which I preferred to the on-screen keyboard.

The Epic was not an iPhone. It doesn't look like an iPhone, it doesn't feel like an iPhone. . .nobody thinks their Epic is an iPhone. So, how did Apple just win a lawsuit that claimed patent infringement, based largely on look and feel? One of the key points was about how the icons were square (wow, only Apple ever thought of that), and that they "bounce" when you reach the end of a row of icons. Holy moley, stop the presses! And there was a thing about a glass screen, on a rectangle-shaped phone with rounded corners. Really???

I allege that Apple stole the idea for the iPad from
Star Trek.
It stands to reason that if Apple had decided to shitcan the iPhone idea (which allegedly almost happened), that somebody would have come up with a touch-screen phone. It would very likely have been a rectangle with rounded corners and a glass screen. This is not an original idea, it's a distillation of a flat-panel monitor, a typical non-smart phone, an MP3 player, a camera and a touch-screen. It's a combination that would have happened.

Now, if Samsung literally copied the technology required to make the phone, I can see Apple having a point. But if they merely aped the look? Tough toenails. How different are different brands of HDTVs? Car Stereos? Refrigerators? Dishwashers? All-in-one printers? Everybody apes everybody. You don't get to declare that you get the whole marketplace to yourself, and still charge out the ass for it! And anyway, how did only Samsung get on the hook for this? What about HTC, Google, Motorola, Nokia and all the rest? Is everyone supposed to go back to making flip-phones, and give the market to Apple?


Why the Apple v. Samsung Ruling May Not Hold Up

Late in the process yesterday at the Apple v. Samsung trial, when the parties and the judge were reviewing the jury verdict form, Samsung noticed that there were, indeed, inconsistencies in the jury's verdict form, a possibility Samsung anticipated [PDF]. Here's the jury's Amended Verdict Form [PDF], amended to fix the mistakes. Here's the original [PDF]. Here's the note [PDF] the jury sent to the judge when told to fix the inconsistencies. What are they, they asked? "Please let the jury know," they wrote in the only note ever sent in their deliberations, "of the inconsistencies we are supposed to deliberate on. . ." 

Read more at: Gizmodo

GOP Senate Candidates Can't Shut Up About Rape

Image from source, Wonkette
Seriously, WTF you guys? If you know you have ridiculous, douchey, inappropriate and insensitive ideas about something, why do you keep talking about it? We know that you think sex for pleasure is always wrong, sex within marriage is for procreation only, rape is only sometimes "rape," and that a sperm cell that has just penetrated an egg (or maybe is about to) is the same thing as a fully-formed human being. But every time you talk about it, it shines a spotlight on all of those ludicrous ideas.  But look who I'm talking to! These guys also seem to think they're fooling us with their comb-overs.


Yet Another GOP Senate Candidate Says Something About Rape

New Rule of Politics: If you’re a Republican running for Senate, just never talk about sex or anything related to it. You will do better pretending storks bring babies to worthy parents and/or welfare applicants. . .

Read more at: Wonkette

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Blast from the Past: George Michael & Wham!

Image from Wikipedia

I got the idea for a George Michael edition of Blast from the Past as I get many of them: on my walk while listening to Pandora. George Michael is one of my favorite artists, and one of several who is an amazing talent but who has had a difficult time breaking out beyond his heyday. Like Pat Benatar, Cyndi Lauper and Olivia Newton-John, he has his big "hit period," and then dribs and drabs. You could probably even put Michael Jackson into that category. With George, some of the problem was him being his own worst enemy. And as with Jackson, sadly, his latter career has been known more for controversy than it is for his music.

But this is about his glory days, so here are some of my favorite George Michael songs, both as a solo artist, duet partner and with Wham!

1. Wake Me Up Before You Go Go - Undoubtedly the first song most Americans knew him for, this way gay video should have alerted fans to his sexuality years and years before he announced. Those short-shorts! It's a silly, but ridiculously catchy song.

2. Careless Whisper - This one solidified Wham! as more than a novelty act, though it's actually billed as a solo song.

3. Freedom - When the tunes kept flowing from the provocatively titled Make it Big, we thought Wham! was here to stay.

4. I'm Your Man - There were several hits I'm skipping over, but by the time Music from the Edge of Heaven came out, Wham! was almost finished, even it was only their second hit album in the US.We should have known Michael would strike out on his own, since A Different Corner from this same record was his second solo tune on his group's albums.

5. I Knew You Were Waiting - This duet with Aretha Franklin (who was then enjoying a pop music comeback) served as the transition between Wham! and Michael's solo career. And it was a huge hit.

6. Faith - Though we thought he was cute before, Faith was the album that launched Michael as a sex symbol. With this tune, and the one below, his sexiness was a strong selling point.

7. I Want Your Sex - This song actually preceded Faith, having been part of the Beverly Hills Cop II soundtrack. With jaw-dropping lyrics at the time, this left Michael's squeaky-clean image on the floor amongst the sweaty, soiled sheets. Watch the video, you'll see what I mean. But it also seemingly set Michael on a self-loathing jag, a few years later.

8. Monkey - This might have been the last "George Michael is sexy" video. I just wanted to be able to dance like him. The song is not as impressive on the album, but was remixed for the single, and that version is the one used in the video.

9. Kissing a Fool - I'm skipping over several more hits, but this one always hit a soft spot for me. Anyone with unrequited love could sing along with this one, and really feel it at the crescendo before the end. This was a real showcase for Michael's voice.

10. Freedom 90 - Using the title of one of the early songs, this was where Michael started hating his sex appeal--maybe because he was selling it as straight sex appeal?--and wouldn't even appear in his own videos. No matter, this is still a fantastic video, with supermodels and still lots o' sexy.

11. Too Funky - Still (mostly) shying from the camera, this one (from the AIDS charity album, Red, Hot & Blue) has always been one of my very favorites.

12. Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me - Michael's duet with Elton John seemed almost inevitable.

13. FastLove - This is the last song I remember dancing to on the dancefloor. Of course, that might be because I'm an elderly shut-in who doesn't go out any more (hah!). The dance remix was fun though, I remember that.

14. Outside - When Michael's scandals started to outshine his music, he still managed to be cheeky about it. This video--after his arrest for public lewdness--managed to laugh it off.

And at twelve tunes, I think we've got more than enough, even though I've left out some winners like One More Try, Father Figure, Praying for Time, and Everything She Wants. Any more, and this will take too long to load in your browser, and you'll just leave the page anyway! So, that will do it for this week. Happy Monday!

Over Time with Bill Maher, August 24, 2012

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dan Savage vs. Brian Brown on The Bible and Gay Marriage

I got little blogging done on Wednesday night for Thursday morning for two reasons: 1) life sometimes gets in the way and, 2) I watched the hour long video below.

A little background: Dan Savage is an outspoken gay rights activist and sex advice columnist. He was asked to give a speech at a school (the school knowing who he was, and the subject matter involved), and he irritated a small segment of them by calling some of the things in the bible "bullshit." Brian Brown is the head of the "National Organization for Marriage" (NOM), the badly named group that wants to prevent or reverse same-sex marriage everywhere across America.  Brian challenged Savage to a bible debate after the school event, and the result is here:

My review of the piece will be brief, because the piece above is so long. First, Savage acquits himself well, sounding calm, prepared, logical and well-reasoned. I wish he would have steered the talk early to say: religion has nothing to do with CIVIL marriage unless the participants WANT it to. So, the Bible argument is largely irrelevant to the subject of marriage equality. But Dan makes his points well, speaks for his 15 minutes, and then somehow sits for 15 minutes through Brown's bit.

To his credit, Brown sat through Dan's time without interrupting too. Through Brown's portion though, I just kept returning to the thought, "irrelevant" to all the bible talk about marriage. Nobody is talking about changing holy matrimony in churches. I'm a gay-married atheist. This is all just piffle to me. But alas, a "Bible debate" was what was entered into. Moving on. . .

NOM created a whole page, and several blog posts about this event, before its release. The framing is decidedly
negative, at least toward Savage, and somewhat triumphant toward Brown.
Dan got some rebuttal time, and again acquitted himself well, but again didn't hammer home that civil marriage isn't about religion. He did point out that Brown's religion shouldn't dictate Savage's marriage, which was good, and that civil marriages don't have to be sanctified by any church. I just wish that point was the centerpiece. I really think it's the key to the whole argument.

Dan gets into a little trouble, being unable to restrain himself in Brown's rebuttal. But it doesn't come off rude, and as I said, I don't know how he managed to be so quiet for so long. Brown gets in too deep with the "marriage = children" business, which has far too many exceptions to be taken seriously. Brown fails on his explanation for why Leviticus is important with the gay stuff, but nothing else. Even the moderator couldn't pull it out of him. But, Brian Brown loses his entire argument when he says,
“Because you believe something is wrong, doesn’t mean you make it illegal.” — Brian Brown @ 47:55
And then, when he starts saying that gay marriage "can not exist," and gets into cats and dogs, he's just ridiculous. I was tempted to just stop there, but thought. . .I can push through this. As I continued to watch, I was struck by how well Savage--essentially on the defensive--comes off very strong, but not belligerent.Well, until a little later, where he gets more interrupty (I would have too!). Brian Brown by then end is on defense, and seems inflexible and frankly starts talking in circles.

Ultimately, Savage is dealing more in the fact-based world, and Brown is dealing in faith and conjecture (what might happen), which was bound to happen in this sort of debate. There were probably few fence-sitters swayed, unless they were already predisposed one way or the other. But they proved it can be done. If I had to score it, I'd give the edge to Savage, and it wouldn't even be close, except for demerits for his interrupting late in the debate. But I soooo understand. . .

What Happens in Vegas: President Obama Fires Up a Crowd

I didn't get to see him this time, and don't know if I will should he come again. But having seen him twice, I know that he can really fire up a crowd. It's difficult to understand the alternate reality spin that the Romney/Ryan campaign has floated: "division, anger, hate." They keep using those words. I don't think they mean what they think they mean. . .

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Obama Retains Lead; No Ryan Bounce?

Image from source, TPM
Well, I wonder how this is going down at Romney headquarters? Was the roll-out of Paul Ryan just botched? There was a trickle-out late on a Friday night, followed by an awkward announcement on Saturday morning (on a battleship? why?) on the closing day of the Olympics. Then, they seemed to have not prepared how to deal with very obvious questions about Medicare, Social Security, abortion and more. Romney seems no more human, and Ryan has been deemed the most extreme VP candidate anyone can remember.

And yet, Ryan was supposed to be the "game changer" for Romney, and a similar--but better!--way than was Sarah Palin. But Palin brought a bounce. . .a big bounce. We're still hearing ricochets. Ryan is just as much a tea bagger as Sarah, and with brains and actual (swoon) muscle. And now, Ryan is hopelessly tied to Todd Akin, "legitimate rape" dude. It would be sad, except that well, you know. I don't want them to win, so. . .


NBC/WSJ Poll: Obama Holds On To Lead; No Ryan Bounce

Paul Ryan’s debut on the national stage has attracted big crowds and plenty of fawning from Republican leaders. But a new national poll shows his presence on the national Republican ticket hasn’t done much to boost Mitt Romney’s campaign. . .

Read more at: Talking Points Memo

In Case You Missed It: "Wrong Direction" Sings Disclosure

I know virtually nothing about the boy band One Direction, other than apparently they're the first boy band without a "cute one." Well, this parody video does not have that problem. And it solves a riddle: how do you get people (and in this case, "people" would be straight women and gay men) to pay attention to politics in the dog days of summer? You get a bunch of cute guys in a pool to sing about it to you! It's strictly PG, so go ahead and watch it, unless. . .you know. . .you're not a straight chick or gay dude.

The Three-way Love Affair: Sean Hannity, Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney

I don't know why I found this clip so amusing, but it really had me grinning. Lawrence O'Donnell is really fun for me when he is just skewering a blowhard like Sean Hannity, and doing it in a way that would totally skeeve them out and piss them off. Plus, I happened to tune in to Hannity on Tuesday night, and catch the first part of his fellating interview of Paul Ryan. No, I haven't gone insane, it was just that Stephanie Miller was supposed to be on his show, and she hyped it on her show. Turns out she was bumped to Wednesday, and I watched that drivel for nothing.

Except, it became obvious that Hannity, Ryan (and by extension, Mitt Romney) absolutely deserved Lawrence's skewering. And he looks like he's having so much fun doing it!

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

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

GOP's Tampa RNC Convention to be a Gay Old Time!

I may have to send The Other Half on a reconnaissance mission if he should be in Florida during the Republican National Convention. Something tells me, if he installed Grindr or Scruff or any of many Android apps on his phone, the RNC would light that dang phone up. On the other hand, I better not!

Reporter Dana Milbank Gets it Wrong on Hate Group

Tony Perkins of the FRC
As a gay atheist (step back, I'm dangerous), I'm automatically on the receiving end of the ire of fundamentalists and extremists. Not usually personally, thank goodness, but the vibe is always out there. There are a number of prominent organizations--most with "family" in their names--who exist primarily to be a thorn in gay people's sides. Oh, they throw in some of the other hot-button issues like abortion and stem cells, but their primary gig is the gay. Some of these groups are dishonest and hateful enough to earn the designation of "hate group" by organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center.The anti-gay groups don't like that very much.

Sorry, couldn't resist, this is him.
Recently, when a nutty guy with a gun shot a security guard at Family Research Council, FRC (and the rest of these types of groups) got what they've always wanted: martyrdom. After gay people being tormented since time immemorial by fudies, one of ours (allegedly) went after them. This one event,* in their eyes, doesn't just balance the scales, it tips it in their favor. For some reason. Something to do with Chick-fil-A sandwiches, I don't know.

The FRC--always a group to exploit a tragedy--went about gaining sympathy, and whining about their hate group designation. And since CNN, FOX "News" and MSNBC have regularly used groups like theirs as "balance," they don't have trouble getting air time. Oddly, they're actually convincing some people, like reporter Dana Milbank. Dana's been a regular guest on several cable news shows, and is perceived to be liberal-leaning, and basically fair. This time, he got it way wrong, and has inspired the ire of a whole bunch of prominent pro-gay people, like me.

And this is Dana Milbank, who is about to
find out what happens when the gay
hits the fan.
I was going to recap further, but found the following write-up when researching this story, and frankly, I can't top it. If this story is of interest to you at all, I encourage you to read beyond the excerpt. It's all spelled out perfectly.


Dana Milbank: The Southern Poverty Law Center's 'Reckless' Name-Calling

Dana Milbank, the generally pro-gay Washington Post columnist, yesterday published a column in which he repeatedly insisted that he wasn't blaming the non-fatal Family Research Council shooting on the Southern Poverty Law Center's labeling of the FRC a "hate group." Nevertheless, he claimed that such "reckless" label-throwing "stirs up the crazies" and leads inevitably to violence. . .

Read more at: TowleRoad

*I'm obliged to say--as I've said several times before--that what the gunman did was wrong, stupid and inexcusable. Violence is not the answer, and indeed has handed them something to clobber us with. I also think it shows a tremendous lack of imagination,  as there are many non-violent ways to show our displeasure with the FRC and its like-minded brethren.  I'll continue to do all I can in this space to make them look ridiculous.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Phyllis Diller, Dead at 95

You can't call it untimely, but you can call it sad. Phyllis Diller was a trailblazer, a pioneer of comedy. She was all over television when I was a kid, managing to seem "dirty" while still being beloved by everybody. She led the way for every female comic that followed her, not to mention drag queens. And I'm quite sure that people too young to remember her couldn't possibly "get" her. You had to be there! RIP, Phyllis!

And PS, Kids, she was the ant queen in A Bug's Life.

Photo of the Day: Congressman "Legitimate Rape" Akin. . .

. . .right next to a sign saying "You Can't Fix Stupid, but You Can Vote Them Out!" It's just amazing.

Source: Andrew Kaczynski (@BuzzFeedAndrew)

Let Mitt Be (Rocky Mountain Mike)

Who knew that Willard Mitt "Mittens" Romney's name leant itself so well to song parody? This one is--of course--to the tune of The Beatles' Let it Be.

Romney Not on Board with "Legitimate Rape" Remark

Dude, is that a legitimate comb-over?
Image from source, CBS News.
Okay, kids, if there's one thing I've learned from years of following politics, current events, and. . .uh. . .living as a human on this earth, I know there is one thing you don't mess with: rape. You don't try to parse, bargain about, hand wave or poo-pooh rape. You just don't. Women (and people in general) are not just thorny on the subject, they will take your freakin' head off.

So, how does a person rise to the level of Congressman without knowing this basic fact? This douche nozzle actually tried to whittle rape down to "legitimate rape," and. . .I don't know, "kinda-sorta rape?" And then he peddled some phony-baloney psuedo science about a woman's body preventing pregnancy if there is a real, 100%, bona fide, sure as shootin' rape.

WTF on several levels, man? So, it's not exactly an act of political courage for presidential hopeful Mitt Romney to condemn such language. Or is it? Some of his base is batshit crazy on "personhood." Maybe he lost a few of the rabid pro-lifers with this statement? Who knows. We do know that Paul Ryan is against exceptions of rape and incest for abortion. What does he think about "legitimate" rape?


Romney rebukes Akin rape remark

Missouri Congressman Todd Akin, a conservative Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, said in an interview broadcast Sunday that women's bodies can prevent pregnancies in the case of "a legitimate rape," adding that conception in such cases is rare. . .

Read more at: CBS News

Saturday, August 18, 2012

What Happens in Vegas: WTF is With These "YIELD ON FLASHING YELLOW ARROW" Lights?

This post is a general observation and complaint about recent changes made in the Las Vegas valley. The traffic lights here used to be generally the same as the ones I grew up with in Ohio, except that most of the lights here are on cantilevered armatures, and in Ohio they were mostly strung on wires (which may have changed in the 18 years I've been gone). But the general concept was the same, red means stop, green means go, green arrow means you can turn and don't have to yield, and yellow means, "hit the gas, the light's turning red!"

The only thing about traffic that has ever confused me is the roundabout, which--I'm convinced--are usually installed as status symbols. They still flummox me, because I've had so little experience with them. But the pattern of traffic lights has always been clear, even with variations, like diagonal arrows, blinking lights, and the occasional red X. But apparently, a solid green in a left turn lane is confusing to people. If you've ever driven you should know that solid green anywhere means "you can go, if it's safe, and you have right-of-way. You yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians if you're turning left. You yield to pedestrians if you're turning right. Pretty simple.

My animation of the real light that works at Pollock and Pebble.
The American public--not a particularly brilliant lot, the more of them you cram onto a road--must be having a problem with it, because a new trend is sweeping the nation: "Yield on flashing yellow arrow." I only know this, because they started cropping up here in town, and I looked it up. Oddly, though I started noticing them in this past week, I never saw them being installed. Worse, they don't work as advertised.

In exactly one intersection have I witnessed repeated cycles of the light as I suppose they are intended to go: solid green for straight-ahead traffic, solid green arrow for some left turns, and blinking yellow for g'head, turn, just be careful. This was a little unsettling when I noticed it on my daily walk. I was walking in the crosswalk on the walk signal, and the left turn arrow was blinking. It used to be that it would either be a solid red arrow, or a solid green. I'm concerned that the newness of these blinking yellows could cause some pedestrians to get flattened, and we have enough of that in Las Vegas as it is.

Unfortunately, I've encountered several other intersections with the new lights where they do not work as they should. One intersection is near my office, the crossing of Sunset and Valley View. Usually, I get in the southbound left turn lane to cross the freeway on the Sunset bridge. This light used to have a decent length green arrow, followed by an equal length solid green. This would let me get through the light on the first or second cycle. Now, we get a green arrow for the same amount of time, followed by a red arrow. No flashing yellow at all, not ever, even though the sign that mentions it is up there. The turn now takes 2 - 3 cycles, and I've only had to endure it for a week.

Image from the Leader-Telegram.
With the exception of the one intersection where I've seen it work, each time I've encountered this new setup, there has been worse traffic, rather than better. And if I just noticed these things--and there has been no fanfare I'm aware of--I'm sure that they're still unfamiliar to many. I'd like to know what brain-trust thought this up, and if the flashing yellows are on a slow roll-out or something. So far? I hate it.

UPDATE: I finally found an answer to the intersections that aren't working properly. The post is from April of this year, which is around the beginning of the time these lights started going in. I assure you that the ones on my commute are very new, with the Sunset one being for sure new last week. Apparently, they install these lights and a sign, and then turn them on. . .without the yellow flasher activated. Then, they come around later to adjust the timing on that dealie, or whatever. I hope it's soon, or I'm taking a different way home from now on!

Friday, August 17, 2012

BirtherFest '12 with Pat Boone and Sheriff Joe Arpaio!

Let's just get this out of the way: "Birthers" are gullible, very likely racist fools, and Sheriff Joe Arpaio is King Moron. I don't say this because I don't like them (for the record, I don't) or from a place of ignorance and supposition. I've been following the birther phenomenon since its infancy, and have personally interacted with them both in their spaces and in mine.  They are tremendously argumentative, but don't argue logically. If you squash one of their (many, varied and often self-contradictory) parts to their theories, they change the subject. They have no problem with ignoring things that don't fit their narrative, and experts at hammering in puzzle pieces that don't really fit. They're insulting when you get a lick in, and falsely inquisitive and "concern trollish" if you manage to calm them down.
Image from Phoenix New Times
Click to embiggen.

The difference between a birther and any other conspiracy theorist is that in other conspiracies: 9/11 truthers, JFK conspiracy believers, moon landing deniers; all have at least semi-plausible reasons for their beliefs, at least at their beginnings. The moon landing was pivotal in the space race, and in the Cold War, making people wonder if it was faked in order to win that battle. The "magic bullet" theory in the JFK assassination is seemingly impossible. The events of 9/11 are difficult to explain, such as how it is that our military was unable to intercept four hijacked planes, how WTC 7 collapsed, and several other issues. All of those theories snowballed to ridiculous lengths, and all have those nagging self-contradictory (and implausible) elements. But all of them have parts that can make an otherwise sane, rational person go, hmmmmm. . . 

Birtherism isn't much like that. Oh, maybe for a minute, when the President's long-form birth certificate was found to have (gasp!) layers!!!1!!11! you might do a Scooby-Doo "HUNH?!?" Until you figure out that it is merely due to the scanning process (debunked myself, here). But there was no reason to suspect that Barack Obama was born anywhere other than Hawaii, as he has always maintained. There is no plausible storyline or evidence that puts Mrs. Obama in Kenya in August of 1961. None. Zero. Zip. Remember, this was a time of much more limited (and expensive) air travel and communications technology. The fact that two different papers had birth announcements proclaiming (in 1961!) Obama's birth puts a nail squarely in the birther coffin. Except, that birtherism is sort of undead, impervious to truthy wooden stakes and rational silver bullets. They are basically now, after-birthers, and they cling to their multiple theories even though they've all been disproved. If you don't believe me, you can check out virtually every birther nugget--all debunked--at, as I've said several times before.

Still, amazingly enough, though their numbers have thinned, the after-birthers have got some heavy hitters on their side. Well, such as they are. There's a BirtherCon coming up in September, and the average age of its two biggest stars, one-time singer Pat Boone and Arizona's batshit crazy Sheriff Joe Arpaio--is 79 years old. I don't know if these men and the others appearing at the event are so stupid and/or gullible to believe in what they're saying. They may just be in it for the acclaim and the paycheck. But the swarm that attends is going to be made up of some very scary dudes.


Joe Arpaio, Pat Boone and Teabaggers Galore Hold BirtherFest September 22 at Celebrity Theatre

. . .The flier for the event promises that the 78 year-old Christian crooner will sing as well as speak. Wonder if he'll do any tunes from his 1997 album In a Metal Mood: No More Mr. Nice Guy. Always loved his cover of "Smoke on the Water." Not sure who the old biddies will be swoonin' for more, Boone, or geriatric heartthrob Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who'll be presiding at the event as Birther-in-Chief. . .

Read more at: Phoenix New Times

Obama Team Offers Romney Deal on Tax Return Info; Rebuffed

Image from HuffPo.

It is becoming increasingly clear that whatever would be revealed in Mitt Romney's past tax returns would be more damaging for his campaign, than the stonewalling on the issue is. I'm beginning to wonder if the information contained in the returns wouldn't be catastrophic to Romney's chances; so bad that it effectively ends his campaign.

If not, what in the world is the reasoning for continuing to insist--often inelegantly, hello Mrs. Romney--that we people have seen enough? Willard's dad, George Romney said,
"Release of the document, while it might serve a political purpose, would not prove very much, he argued. One year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show, and what mattered in personal finance was how a man conducted himself over the long haul." [Source]
Has Romney even tried to refute that, or the precedent that his own father started? I know that he desperately wants to change the subject, and portray the request itself as not serious and beside the point. But it should be clear to him by now that the issue isn't going away. And for heaven's sake, he had to know this would come up, after his previous runs for office. If the issue was so bad, why did he even run for president, if he didn't have a ready-to-go spin on the subject? Isn't this kind of like John Edwards continuing to run for President, whilst having an extramarital affair that would surely have disqualified him? And Romney is still refusing, even offered a much less revealing disclosure. What is Romney hiding?


Obama Campaign Wants Romney To Release 5 Years Of Tax Returns

With the spotlight back on Mitt Romney's tax returns, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina reached out to the Romney campaign on Friday pledging a deal: If Romney releases five more years of tax returns, the Obama campaign will no longer criticize the presumptive GOP presidential nominee for his refusal to disclose more information. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

Meanwhile, on Facebook: Mitt Romney's Bogus Charges

Yeah, I'm still not getting the "division, hatred and anger" charges coming out of camp Romney/Ryan. I think they're still desperate to change the direction of the storyline, and they'll grab anything they can use as an oar. The President at his most strident rarely emotes anything harsher than a stern lecture. This cartoon--currently floating around on Facebook--captures the argument perfectly.

Obama Sticking With Biden, Despite McCain/Palin's Wishes

I never really understood the choice of Joe Biden for Vice President in 2008. I like him, and I've heard him speak--along with all of the other candidates that year--but he does have that little problem with gaffes. I don't think he's stupid, far from it, I just think his brain gets ahead of his mouth. It's not like George W. Bush, whose problem was kind of the opposite, not having enough brain to power the mouth. No, Joe knows what he's talking about, but it sometimes comes out wrong. And President knew all of that before he picked the guy.

As Vice Presidents go, he's been fine. I mean, he hasn't shot anyone in the face, or walked around without a heartbeat. But he's certainly not the main attraction on the ticket. I'd vote for just Joe, if he was up against any of the GOP options we've seen this year. But people have been speculating for a while, about wouldn't it be cool if Obama tapped Hillary Clinton for the veep spot? But how could that be accomplished gracefully? Could they switch jobs? Could it work? Think of the power of an Obama/Clinton ticket! The subject has been burbling for months, maybe years, in the blogosphere.

Well, this week, the losing team of McCain/Palin each floated the idea as if it was their own. The right-wing blogosphere response to their idea vacillated between "oh shit, game over man!" to "Sarah's so smart, she headed them off at the pass! They couldn't say they took her idea!" I'd go with the former, rather than the latter. Barring an unforeseen circumstance, I think Obama/Clinton would trounce Romney/Ryan. And the "it was Sarah's idea" meme would be short-lived if it even managed to break through in the media whirlwind that would ensue.

It's a nice fantasy. I was torn between Obama and Clinton in their run, and only soured on Clinton during the latter days of their primaries. As Secretary of State, she's really piled up the gravitas. I think they'd be a dream team. But--unless Hillary is dead set against it--it is a card they could play later if necessary. Doubtful, but a fun thought.


White House To John McCain: Thanks But No Thanks On VP Advice 

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney has a response to the vice presidential advice Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) offered President Barack Obama: Thanks, but no thanks. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post
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