Thursday, January 31, 2013

Stephen Colbert Makes Fun of DOMA Defender

Pro-DOMA lawyer Paul Clement gets totally spanked by Stephen Colbert for his ludicrous arguments for keeping the archaic Defense of Marriage Act. Brilliant, funny and biting.

In Case You Missed It: Jon Stewart's Reaction to Glenn Beck's Utopia

I'm playing a bit of blogger catch-up, what with an event on Monday, and some unexpected mid-week work on Wednesday. So, I'm a little late with The Daily Show with Jon Stewart's reaction to the proposed right-wing CrazyTowns, "The Citadel," and Glenn Beck's "Independence." I've commented here on the blog about how counter-intuitive and bananas these armed, walled fortresses would be, but I can't touch Stewart's take. If you missed it, take a look.

Gabrielle Giffords Speaks at Senate Judiciary Hearing on Gun Control

Even I got verklempt.

FOX "News" Tumbling in Demo Ratings

Image from HuffPo
I'm frankly relieved that FOX "News" is starting to take a ratings hit. I knew that some conservatives would cling to FOX like a blankie after the "surprise" losses they suffered in November. But it was so counter-intuitive, seeing as how FOX had been spinning a web of lies and false hope for months, hell, years. It's not like their agenda didn't come before facts all along. Still, they managed to construct a false narrative that fooled even their "experts" like Karl Rove and Bill O'Reilly, even Mitt Romney himself. So, why would even FOX fans feel motivated to watch the channel, after having been hoodwinked? The curtain was pulled back, and the great and powerful OZ exposed (how fitting that Rupert Murdoch is an Aussie!). So, it is comforting that at least some of them have seen the light.


Fox News Ratings Hit 12-Year Demo Lows In January Cable News Figures

At the end of each month, cable news ratings are released to the public. And, like clockwork, Fox News dominates the top 13 or so programs, far outstripping its competitors. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Shazam! Jim Nabors Marries Partner of 38 Years!

Image from
Go-o-l-l-l-yyy! Yes, there have long been rumors that Jim Nabors is gay. It might be more surprising to some that Jim Nabors is still alive, but that's another story. Famous from The Andy Griffith Show, Gomer Pyle USMC and The Jim Nabors Hour, as well as countless appearances on 70s TV, Nabors was long rumored to have secretly married Rock Hudson. Though that was an odd and rather unbelievable hoax, the sexuality of both men was easier to swallow. And now we know. So, congratulations to Mr. Nabors and his husband. Oh, and on that whole "still being alive" thing too!


‘Gomer Pyle, USMC’ star Jim Nabors marries male partner in Seattle

“Gomer Pyle, USMC” star Jim Nabors married his longtime male partner at Seattle’s Fairmont Olympic Hotel earlier this month, according to Hawaii News Now. Nabors, a Hawaii resident, had never publicly come out. But his relationship with Stan Cadwallader wasn’t a secret before they decided to take advantage of Washington’s new same-sex marriage law, he told the news station. . .

Read more at: The Seattle Times

Senate Confirms John Kerry for Secretary of State

Ketchup for everybody! Image from source, TPM
Former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will be succeeded by former presidential candidate John Kerry! How 'bout that, the Senate can get something done. Then again, Kerry is one of their own, and he's replacing Clinton--who many of them battled just last week. Still, it says something about the quality of recent Democratic presidential candidates, doesn't it? Oh, and John Edwards doesn't count, he didn't get very far (whew!). . .


Senate Confirms John Kerry As U.S. Secretary Of State

The Senate voted overwhelmingly to confirm Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) as the nation's next secretary of state on Tuesday. . .

Read more at: Talking Points Memo

Hannity: Fox Is "Only Media Organization. . .Fair And Balanced Coverage" Of Obama


For bonus points, every time you hear Sean Hannity speak--particularly if he's addressing the camera/microphone--count how many times he starts a sentence with "Hey," or "Now," or even "Hey, now. . ." This pinhead has a limited repertoire.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Leaked Memo Tells GOP to Stop Using "Illegals"

Image from
Well, duh. If you want to stop offending groups of people, stop using terms they find offensive. Easy peasy. But simply getting the GOP to stop using the term "illegals" for undocumented immigrants, is really not enough. I mean, we already trained them not to use the "n" word, and they just started using euphemisms and dog whistles. They're still thinking of creative ways to call the president "lazy" and "uppity." So, will knocking off "illegals" really be that much of an improvement? I guess it's a start.


Leaked memo tells GOP to stop calling immigrants ‘illegals’

Republican lawmakers are being encouraged on a new set of talking points when it comes to addressing both immigration reform and Latino voters, according to a memo obtained by The Hill on Monday. The memo, prepared by the Hispanic Leadership Network (HLN), encourages the use of the term “undocumented immigrants” as opposed to “illegals” or “aliens,” and discourages criticisms of the new immigration proposal by a group of GOP and Democratic senators using the word“amnesty. . .”

Read more at: Raw Story

What Happens in Vegas: Zarkana! (A Mini Review)

I've been away from the blog because--for an extremely rare change--I actually went to a Las Vegas show last night. A good friend scored some tickets to Cirque du Soleil's Zarkana at the Aria. I'd never been to Aria or the City Center complex it sits in, so even though The Other Half is under the weather, I took another good friend, and off we went!

My previous Cirque experiences were Mystère (twice) and Michael Jackson Immortal, and I loved both. They're French (Canadian) and weird, but they're amazing spectacles. Zarkana was better than both, to my estimation. It's similar in content to Mystère, but with less of the weird, and more of the marvel. It still has goofy clowns between acts, sure. But I found the whole thing much more relatable, and I loved the stagecraft. The stage and sets are gorgeous, and the organically shaped video screens wrapping around it really add to the experience.

The show includes a very talented juggler lady, some amazing acts of balance and strength, tightrope walking (with fire), flying acrobats, bouncing acrobats, climbing acrobats, and stunning visuals. Most of the time, I was gazing in wonderment, only occasionally cringing in fear that somebody was going to fall! 

These are the guys I was scared for.
Image from DerekLovesShopping.
So, though I can claim to be no expert on these sorts of things, I can heartily recommend Zarkana, if you're looking for a show when you're in Las Vegas. You have seven Cirque du Soleil shows alone to choose from, so you'll surely have options. But I got to thinking about some of the other shows I've seen, and they kind of pale next to the size and scope of a show like this one.

My score: Highly recommended.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Lamenting Sarah Palin's Decline: Hockey Mom (Rocky Mountain Mike Song Parody)

I have an engagement this evening with some friends, so my usual blogging time is spoken for. I'm actually going to partake in some of the "culture"--such as it is--that Las Vegas has to offer. How 'bout that? I may return with a review of my experience, time permitting. But most likely, there will be little new on the blog until Tuesday night. In the mean time, please enjoy this oldie but goodie from Rocky Mountain Mike (of The Stephanie Miller Show). The timing is perfect, with Sarah Palin slinking out of the limelight after being dismissed* from FOX "News."

*Yes, I know that Sarah "quit." Which is very, very like her. But the scuttlebutt is that Roger Ailes offered her a pittance to stay, and that if she'd stuck around, that paltry amount would have leaked out. So, I think it's fair to say that she was ushered out the door.

In Case You Missed It: Autotuned Why, Why, Manti?

Very well done, and possibly the best thing to come out of the bizarre Manti T'eo fake girlfriend "scandal."

From Brooklyn's Gregory Brothers, via Joe.My.God.

Unintended Consequences: Recess Appointment Decision Fallout

Image from source, TPM
The decision by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals that called some of President Obama's recess appointments unconstitutional could yield a bevy of unintended consequences. For example, Obama is far from the only president who has used the power, which goes back almost 100 years, and notably includes George W. Bush. If the law is upheld by the Supreme Court, it might not only affect appointments made by Obama, but could wreak havoc over dozens of years. Moreover, severely curtailing Obama's power to make such appointments would also apply to the next Republican president. It would be odd indeed for Congress to seize such a massive change of rules right after the reluctance to radically alter the filibuster. This will be interesting to watch.


Will Conservative Judges Help Republicans Nullify The Recess Appointment Power?

An expansive Friday decision by a three-judge D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals panel threatens to cripple two government agencies and significantly limit the president’s power to bypass the Senate confirmation process by making recess appointments. . .

Read more at: Talking Points Memo

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Blast from the Past: Mid-Season Replacements!

We're in sort of a wasteland time of year on network television (those of us who even still watch CBS, NBC, ABC and FOX. . .and CW). You never know if you're going to get a new episode of your favorite show, a rerun, a "burnoff" episode of a cancelled show, a pre-emption by sports or political event, a lame network reality show you've never heard of, or the latest infotainment newsmagazine. During the entire month of January, for example The Big Bang Theory ran two new, two old, and a new one is on this Thursday, with some reruns on occasional Mondays. You never know what you're going to get.

The other thing that happens this time of year is a reshuffling of the surviving shows, temporary (or permanent) hiatuses for some shows, and the launch of "midseason replacement" shows. The Following, starring Kevin Bacon is the latest example of this, and it has me very interested. So, it got me to thinking about noteworthy shows that started in mid-season. And now, you can think about it!

1. All in the Family (Jan. 12, 1971)
2. Barney Miller (Jan. 23, 1975)

3. Blossom (Jan. 3, 1991)
4. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Mar. 10, 1997)

5. Dallas (Apr. 2, 1978)
6. Dynasty (Jan. 12, 1981)

7. Happy Days (Jan. 15, 1974)
8. Laverne & Shirley (Jan. 27, 1976)

9. Married. . .with Children (Apr. 5, 1987)
10. Night Court (Jan. 4, 1984)

So, break out the TV Guide. . .app on your phone. Or just go through the DVR or on demand to. . .oh forget it. This is one concept that will be consigned to the scrap heap as more and more programming is on our own schedules, on cable or elsewhere. But that's kind of the point of Blast from the Past. For you youngsters out there, you should know that most of these programs debuted when most people had three or four channels, or maybe a couple dozen if they were lucky. With a wired cable box with physical buttons!

Anyway, that's it for this week's edition. Hope everyone is staying healthy enough to have a happy Monday!

Friday, January 25, 2013

You Betcha! Bye, Bye Now! Sarah Palin Out at FOX "News"

You know, across this great country of ours, the freedom--and liberty, also--allowed by that hallowed document, the founders' Constitution, we're blessed to have a God-given right to freedom of speech and freedom of expression, too, and if we're very lucky--not to mention fortunate, although those may be the same thing--you might get to get your pretty face up on the nation's TV screens, on one of the biggest cable channels or stations or whatnot, too, and be beamed all over the world as well, also, well but not in Iran or the country of Africa maybe, I'm not sure, you know, but all good things must come to an end (just ask mavericky John McCain), and so must Sarah Palin's time at that great fair and balanced (you know, they report, you decide, right?), and completely objective--also--number one cable news outfit in these lower forty-eight states, as well as (and who could forget?) Alaska, but maybe not Hawaii which I'm not sure is a state. Also.


Sarah Palin Out at Fox

Sarah Palin will no longer be a paid contributor to Fox News. The former Alaska governor and the network have parted ways, a source close to Palin told ABC News. The same source said it was her decision to leave the network and that Fox offered her an opportunity to renew her contract. . .

Read more at: ABC News

Court Rules Obama Recess Appointments Unconstitutional

Hmm. Not sure what to think about this one. There have of course been recess appointments in the past, notably by George W. Bush. I've got to wonder if this will cause a few dominoes to fall, or The Supreme Court will stop that from happening. I've got to think that "undoing" anything done by recess appointees is going to be damned tricky. And, I'm very suspicious of the motives of those who brought the complaint in the first place.

Either way, I suppose it's a subject that has to be settled for precedent. Democrats squealed when Dubya did it. Republicans did likewise when Obama did it. But you have to understand the impulse to try it, particularly with all of the appointments--even uncontroversial ones--being routinely filibustered.* It's a shame that Harry Reid didn't have the opportunity to neuter the filibus. . .oh wait.


Appeals court panel rules Obama recess appointments to labor board are unconstitutional

President Barack Obama violated the Constitution when he bypassed the Senate to fill vacancies on a labor relations panel, a federal appeals court panel ruled Friday. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit said that Obama did not have the power to make three recess appointments last year to the National Labor Relations Board. . .

Read more at: Washington Post

*Isn't it Ironic Department: If the Senate hadn't been so filibuster happy, and so openly hostile to the President's appointees, it's very likely that Elizabeth Warren would have been appointed to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,  and would not be a Senator right now.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Filibuster (Not) Reform

He barely gave 'em heck. Image from source, TPM
I wanted to believe him. At the beginning of the 112th Congress in 2009, we were lead to believe that we might get filibuster reform. After a record number of GOP filibusters in the 111th, Democrats and liberals begged Congress to fix the filibuster; to make a Senator who wanted to block a bill actually get out there and speak. Harry Reid acted as though he might do something about it, but then he didn't. So, the 112th Congress became the most filibusterin'-est Congress in history. They blocked nearly everything, from their own ideas to uncontroversial appointments, their only goal being to thwart Democrats in general and President Obama in specific.

So, this time, frankly, I figured we wouldn't get what we were asking for either. I thought we might get a little taste, but I guessed that Reid was so steeped in the traditions of the Senate, that he wouldn't go for the Mr. Smith Goes to Washington-style rule. And even though I turned out to be right, I'm still bummed out about it. The very idea of working on a "deal" with a cretin like Mitch McConnell is very distasteful. Particularly when you know he was anything--hell, everything--but cooperative with Democrats over the last, oh, forever. But it is what it is. Sadly.


Senate Approves Modest Changes To Filibuster Rule

In two votes Thursday evening, the Senate overwhelmingly approved changes to the rules of the chamber, including the rules governing the filibuster. The final votes were 78-16 and 86-9. The approval of the changes was a disappointing ending for reformers, who had sought to dramatically weaken the filibuster, which has come to be used in recent years by the Republican minority with a frequency unprecedented in Senate history. . .

Read more at: Talking Points Memo

Debt Ceiling "Crisis" Averted. . .Now What?

Is anybody really inspired by these guys? Really?
Image from source, TPM.
The down side of the 2012 election was that the House remained in Republican control due to gerrymandering. Meaning that the already obstructionist John Boner Boehner-lead Congress is probably not going to change for at least the next two years. So, the previously non-controversial debt ceiling issue will keep being an issue until somehow, some way, it is finally squelched. I'm hoping that the American public will become so tired of the issue that all of the political oomph is taken out of it.


House Republicans Increase Debt Limit Without Spending Cuts

House Republican leaders headed off another rebuke from their conservative members and with near unanimity passed legislation to raise the debt limit through May 18, without locking in any cuts to federal spending. . .

Read more at: Talking Points Memo

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

"Modest" Filibuster Reform Deal Reached?

Give 'em. . .er. . .heck, Harry? Image from HuffPo.
When "filibuster reform" is discussed in the news or the blogosphere, it is usually characterized as, "ending the filibuster." That's not what has been proposed, by any authority I've seen, anyway. What rank-and-file Democrats have wanted is to make the filibuster more difficult. Not--as it has become--routine. We'd really like that if a Senator threatens a filibuster, he has to get down on the floor and filibuster. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington-style. Barring that, we just want it to be tougher to do, and impossible to do in secret.

I can't figure out why this is even a problem for Democrats, who are in the majority. Just do it. I know that they're all squishy about what might happen if they one day find themselves in the minority, but why? You're not getting rid of the thing, you're making it tougher. It should be tougher. It's ludicrous how it is being abused. Harry Reid is working on a "deal" with Mitch McConnell? What on earth for? Just do it. Reid is going to have to put on quite the performance if he caved on this one, in order to not have liberals asking for his head.


Filibuster Reform: Senators Reportedly Close To Deal On Modest Limits

Senators may be nearing an end to their partisan dispute over curbing unlimited delays called filibusters. Whatever the resolution, it probably won't require filibustering senators to debate on the Senate floor until exhaustion, like the actor Jimmy Stewart did in the movie "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. . ."

Read more at: Huffington Post

Hillary Clinton Rocks Congress, Part 2: Sen. Ron Johnson Gets Slapped

This is the defining moment in Hillary Clinton's Congressional hearing on Benghazi, and it addresses the point that strikes me, as I've said again and again. What difference does it make now, whether we knew immediately about protests over an anti-Muslim film? It's not a crucial bit of information that work-a-day Americans needed instantaneously. Why people like Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wi.) continue to harp on this irrelevant point* eludes me. Regardless, Hillary Clinton nailed it, and she just kicks so much ass. Hillary 2016!!!

*Actually, it doesn't really elude me. I'm pretty sure the reason is that the Benghazi storyline was drubbed into Rush Limbaugh's and the FOX "News" audience relentlessly, and that this point is what they were harping on. Why doesn't matter, because Right Wing World doesn't have to make sense.

Hillary Clinton Rocks Congress, Part 1: Doesn't Like Sunday Shows

Clinton, in one of her feistier moments. Image from
Huffington Post.
I call this Part 1 because I'm pretty sure I'll have more later. What I'll have to say about this part is that I can certainly understand not liking to do the Sunday shows. What I don't understand, is why the Republicans made so much of Susan Rice's appearance on the Sunday shows in Hillary Clinton's stead. Whether Rice was dissembling, in the dark, mistaken, or 100% correct with what she knew at the time is rather immaterial. That was five days after the Benghazi attack. It's not like the story wasn't clarified, hashed and re-hashed. It isn't still five days later. The laser-like focus on that detail is just bizarre. I really, really don't get it, unless it was just a craven attempt to throw a stick in President Obama's spokes during the run-up to election.


Hillary Clinton: 'Going On The Sunday Shows Is Not My Favorite Thing To Do' 

 Hillary Clinton told a House committee on Wednesday that she avoided going on Sunday talk shows in the wake of the attack in Benghazi in part because she just doesn't like them that much. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

Frivolity Break: VW Fastback Commercial with a Young Dustin Hoffman

Apropos of absolutely nothing, here's a Volkswagen Type 3 Fastback commercial starring a young Dustin Hoffman.

If you didn't know the Fastback was part of a brand expansion for VW in the 1960s, when they sensed the Beetle and the Bus were getting long in the tooth. They never got as popular as those cars, but they were fairly common, zipping around my 1970s childhood, along with the Karmann Ghia and the Squareback (wagon). The Golf (Rabbit) would come fairly soon, along with the Passat (Dasher) and Sirocco. But I think VW lost something when they lost their rear-engine cars. Sure, the original was started by Hitler, but that's just a accident of fate. There was an offbeat quirkiness to VWs in the 60s and early 70s. Kind of like Dustin Hoffman, when you think about it!

UPDATE: Oddly enough, as I type this, Dustin Hoffman is doing a cameo on The Colbert Report. Another of my weird useless psychic abilities/pop culture coincidence-filled life.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Republican Official Hangs Flag Upside Down on Inauguration Day

Image from source, Think Progress
Oh, for pete's sake. This crap is just getting ridiculous. Remind me again why The Dixie Chicks faced the wrath of the right? Oh yeah, it was for the comparatively mild statement that they were embarrassed by Dubya. Back then, any dissent by anyone about anyone in the Bush administration was called un-American and worse. Loudly. Vociferously. Why does just about anything go, now that it is a (black) Democrat being re-inaugurated?


Republican Official Hangs Upside Down American Flag In Protest Of Obama’s Inauguration

The head of the Mon Valley Republican Committee in Pennsylvania is facing backlash from his local community after displaying an American flag upside down — a statement usually meant as a distress signal by soldiers in times of war — during President Obama’s second inauguration ceremony. The flag was placed outside the Mon Valley Republican Party’s meeting spot on the main road in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. . . 

Read more at: Think Progress

Atari Files for Bankruptcy

I love this picture. I'm sure there are full grown adults who have
no idea what it is. Image from source, HuffPo.
Again? I know that Atari has been owned by many different companies (it was Warner Brothers at one time), and gone through huge ups and downs. But I really didn't know "Atari" was still a stand-alone company. This is like me thinking that Conrad Bain, Jack Klugman and Charles Durning were long dead, and not just recently so. What has happened to my pop culture knowledge? Man, it sucks getting old!


Atari's U.S. Operations File For Bankruptcy

Video game maker Atari's U.S. operations have filed for bankruptcy protection in an effort to separate from their French parent company. In a statement, Atari says the move is necessary to secure investments it needs to grow in mobile and digital gaming. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

(Moving) Picture of the Day: Michelle Obama Gives John Boner Boehner the Stink Eye

"Whatever, dude." Image from Wonkette

Monday, January 21, 2013

Arizona's Gun Rights Bill Above US Law?

NOT a Constitutional scholar. Image from TPM.
Okay, what kind of goofy shit is this? Honestly, are they stupid, or just spoiling for a fight? A state can't pass a law that invalidates US law, or punishes federal officials for enforcing those laws. That's just nutty. Oh wait, I forget. This is Arizona, where Sheriff Joe Arpaio seems like a good guy to keep electing. A state where a total nut bar like Jan Brewer can be reelected as Governor. I think we need to let this one go along with Texas. Can we build them a bridge across New Mexico?


Arizona Republicans Push Their Own Gun Secession Bill

A group of Republicans in the Arizona House of Representatives are pushing a bill that would limit federal gun laws’ reach into the state. The bill, known as HB 2291, would, among other things, make it a Class 6 felony for a federal government employee or official to enforce federal laws or regulations of firearms, accessories, and ammunition that are owned or manufactured within state lines and remain within state lines. . .

Read more at: Talking Points Memo

What Happens in Vegas: Straight People Allowed!

This is a novel and cute ad campaign to draw gay people to Las Vegas. Well at least I think it's novel and cute. I'm sure the (not really) 1 Million Moms have their collective conservative panties in a twist over it.

Notice the clueless straight couple on the left.
Source: BuzzFeed

President Obama Begins 2nd Term

Image from source, CNN
POTUS has a bit more grey in his hair, and FLOTUS has bangs. Those are just two of the things that have changed since the last time Barack Obama took the presidential oath. This time there was no flub between Obama and Chief Justice Roberts, which is nice. It remains to be seen if the Republicans are having a secret meeting to plan to obstruct everything, like they did last time. Although at this point, it kinda goes without saying I guess. Here's to four more years. Good luck, Mr. President. You'll need some. It's not going to be easy.


Obama sworn in to second term, faces new challenges

With the official business of the 57th inauguration out of the way, Washington began preparing Sunday for a day of revelry -- and for the challenges facing President Barack Obama over the next four years. . .

Read more at: CNN

Joe Scarborough Admits GOP Won House Through Gerrymandering

Image from source, Think Progress.
Well, the fact is obvious, but it's nice to hear a prominent Republican admitting it.

Joe Scarborough: Republicans Only Kept House Majority Because Of Gerrymandering

MSNBC host and former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough admitted on Sunday that Republicans only kept their majority in the House of Representatives as a result of gerrymandering, noting that the GOP received less votes than Democrats in the 2012 election. Scarborough argued that Republicans must prevent radical ultra-conservative voices from dominating the party’s message and pointed out that the GOP is already losing electoral ground among voters who view it as too extreme and out of touch with middle class Americans. . .

Read more at: Think Progress

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Blast from the Past: Disney Live-Action Movies of the 70s

While watching ABC's Once Upon a Time, I got my inspiration for my weekly Blast from the Past feature. I know, late in the evening right? Well, I've been busy with upgrades to my phone, my car and my computer. . .and finding myself up to my hubcaps with more trouble than I bargained for. Anyway, that's beside the point. My inspiration was--as usual--kind of roundabout. Once Upon a Time takes advantage of ABC's Disney ownership, and uses their fairytale characters. My brain hopscotched to Disney's live action movies, particularly the ones I grew up with in the 1970s.

When I carried The Columbus Dispatch, they were always running a Sunday cartoon strip based upon whatever movie Disney had coming up in theaters. And when you're a kid, you pretty much get G rated fare to pick from. So, I remember reading these strips with interest, and thrilled to have "spoilers" about what was going to happen. Hey, it's the best thing we had going before the internet! Enjoy.

And that's what entertainment was like for kids in the 1970s. The last one, in particular, is still pretty good. Now, back to my work. Happy Monday!

In Response to the Accidental Shootings on "Gun Appreciation Day"

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Butterfingers! 5 Injured at Gun Shows in 3 States

Image from source, CNN
D'oh! I'd say this falls in the category of too dumb to have a gun. There's lots of talk about limiting gun sales to the potentially mentally disturbed. But can we tack an IQ test on there too, please?


5 injured after firearms go off at Ohio, N.C., Indiana gun shows

At least five people -- three in North Carolina, one in Indiana and one in Ohio -- were injured after weapons went off at gun shows Saturday, officials said, at a time when there's been renewed discussion about private gun sales at such shows. . .

Read more at: CNN

President Obama Explains His Plan on Guns

See? Not scary. Maybe it won't stop every nut with an arsenal, but just maybe it's a good start. It is certainly more than any politician has attempted in decades on the subject. As Martin Short said on Real Time with Bill Maher on Friday, Rome wasn't built in a day, you've got to start somewhere. And I have to say, it may have been the best argument of the night.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Redmap: Republican Plan to Win 2016 (Even if They Don't Get More Votes)

I don't usually run two posts in a row from the same source, but frankly, this topic is important. And to be honest, a clip from The Rachel Maddow Show is probably the easiest-to-swallow way to take your medicine, if you haven't heard of this issue. Rachel has a way of distilling a lecture into something you want to learn. And this one is a doozy. [Story continues below]

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

If you didn't know, the Republican victory in the House of Representatives in the 2012 election was achieved by gerrymander. More people voted for Democratic candidates total, but because of the hinky way that Congressional districts are drawn up, more Republicans were elected. This rubs me the wrong way, but is semi-tolerable, because by district, the Republican actually did win. The quarrel is only with how the districts are drawn. But, given the GOP desire to turn several "blue" states into "red" states--by changing the way electoral votes are divided--gives me more pause. With that scheme, the district gets the spoils, and ends in a result where the statewide winner can lose huge chunks of electoral votes even though he/she carried the state.

The fact of the matter is, had this scheme been in place in 2012, Mitt Romney would be getting inaugurated this weekend, despite losing by millions of votes. This sort of scheming could only be done by a party that doesn't care what voters think. It can only be done by a party that puts winning and power ahead of the wants, needs and desires of the American people. My question is this: do American conservatives and Republicans care? Or are they also willing to "win" at any cost, even if they really lost? Any conservatives want to tell me (Dan?). 

Rachel Maddow Explains Trolls, and the NRA's Tactics

Wednesday night, we had friends over for dinner and cards, so I missed most of The Rachel Maddow Show. I know, no big deal, right? Right. But it seems like whenever I miss the show, there was something great on it. Por ejemplo. . . .

Happy 91st Birthday, Betty White

Still sassy after all these years. Image from Jezebel.
I started to type that Betty White has been famous and popular ever since I've been alive. But that's pretty much true for everybody. Like everyone, I watched her on Mary Tyler Moore, but unlike everyone, I also watched her on The Betty White Show. That one didn't take. I especially remember her (I mean, before The Golden Girls) from her guest spots on game shows like Password and The Liars' Club. The bubbly, sweet, kinda goofy, and kinda bawdy gal she is today she was then--as much as 70s television would allow anyway. And then of course, add Betty's sitcom and movie triumphs from the 80s to today (if you forgive The Golden Palace), and there's a career of making more people happy than just about anyone, ever. So, happy birthday, Betty!


Betty White Turned 91 Today, Let’s Celebrate the Nonagenarian by Talking About Her Rad Life

Not just anyone is celebrated with a birthday special featuring Bill "Hillary's Husband" Clinton*, but that's what happens when you're Betty White. . .

Read more at: Jezebel

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Hero of Sandy Hook Being Harrassed by Conspiracy Theorists

Wow. A lot of conspiracy theories pop up around tragedies. But few of them are as ridiculous, as pointless, as stupid as the Sandy Hook "conspiracy." They actually think the massacre was staged so that Democrats--President Obama particularly--could pass gun control laws. It's brilliant really. The Dems sat out the gun rights issue for what? 20 years? Only to put this massive conspiracy into motion, to try to catch the NRA off guard? Did they just wait until after the 2012 election when the NRA's candidates lost so badly? What really happened to the kids? Were they actually "little people" actors?

I actually hate to get silly about such a serious tragedy. Rest assured, my mirth is aimed only at, and squarely at (forgive the gun-like terminology, it permeates our language) the NRA and its nuttier members.


Leave this guy alone, seriously.
This man helped save six children, is now getting harassed for it 

“I don’t know what to do,” sighed Gene Rosen. “I’m getting hang-up calls, I’m getting some calls, I’m getting emails with, not direct threats, but accusations that I’m lying, that I’m a crisis actor, ‘how much am I being paid?’” Someone posted a photo of his house online. There have been phony Google+ and YouTube accounts created in his name, messages on white supremacist message boards ridiculing the “emotional Jewish guy,” and dozens of blog posts and videos “exposing” him as a fraud. One email purporting to be a business inquiry taunted: “How are all those little students doing? You know, the ones that showed up at your house after the ‘shooting’. What is the going rate for getting involved in a gov’t sponsored hoax anyway? . .”

Read more at: Salon

RIP, Mr. Drummond

Diff'rent Strokes was never a favorite program of mine. But given that it premiered in 1979, that I was 13, and Gary Coleman was a national sensation, of course I saw it occasionally. Enough that I knew the character's names, the actors, the basics. I already knew Conrad Bain (the white adoptive father of the two black children that formed the basis of the show) from Maude, a much more adult sitcom from a time when I was much younger. Even still, I was genre savvy enough to know that Maude was a far superior program. It doesn't matter though, for he will always be known as "Mr. Drummond." RIP, sir. Even though (along with Jack Klugman and Charles Durning before you), I thought you'd already passed.


Conrad Bain Dies at 89

Conrad Bain, the easygoing TV star who played the Park Avenue father on the 1978-85 sitcom Diff'rent Strokes, died in his hometown of Livermore, Calif., on Monday. He was 89. . .

Read more at: People

President Obama Gets Tough on Guns. . .NRA Pissed

Big surprise (literally) that President Obama actually took fairly dramatic action, with executive orders and other stern recommendations to Congress regarding gun control. Good for him, it's about time. No, none of these things individually will stop all (or most) mass shootings. But chipping away at the likelihood of such events is a good thing, and each measure is a puzzle piece toward the solution. Now, if something in there doesn't work, or turns out to be too restrictive, gun rights activists can calmly put together a reasonable position paper to overturn or repeal. . .oh, forget it, they'll just lose their shit over it. [Story continues below]
This is a particularly disturbing video, in my opinion, and also a very bad analogy.

Sorry, wrong tense. They're losing their shit already. Big surprise (sarcastically), the National Rifle Association is mightily pissed, to say the very, very least. Big deal. Suck it up LaPierre. Unless Democrats cower out of reflex, your organization has no real power anymore. The candidates the NRA threw money at in 2012 lost, and lost badly. Almost all of them. So what danger do they represent besides riling their craziest members. Oh wait, that is dangerous. Those people are proving to be psychos. They're confirming our worst suspicions about gun enthusiasts.


NRA Slams Obama Gun Control Proposal

Following President Obama's announcement on Wednesday of sweeping measures to help prevent gun violence, the National Rifle Association accused the president of "attacking firearms and ignoring children. . ."

Read more at: Huffington Post

Florida Satanists. . .for Prayer in Schools?

It's not hard to see why satanists are attracted to Florida.
Look at this guy! Image from source, Inquisitor.
In an extremely apt case of "I told you so," the prayer-in-schools crowd is getting a lesson in why that may result in things they didn't anticipate. I've been using this example for decades, but someone's actually finally putting it to use. Other reasons that born again types might want to reconsider their stance are, Mormon prayer in schools, Celtic chants in schools, bowing to Mecca in schools. . .the list is lengthy.


Florida Satanists Fight For … Prayer In Schools

Palm Beach Gardens, FL – Governor Rick Scott of Florida has some rather unusual support behind his recently-signed “prayer in schools” bill. Though the Christian population of the state must undoubtedly support the bill, it’s the Satanists who are turning out in force to rally for the measure. . .
Read more at: The Inquisitor

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Bad Lip Reading The NFL

Hilarious, as usual.

"Impeachment" Should be Off the Table

Rep. Steve Stockman, paragon
of virtue. Image from ThinkProgress.
Godwin's Law states, "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1." As such, it is usually common practice that if a person uses Hitler as an analogy, their argument fails, immediately. The response, "Godwin's Law" is all that is needed to end the discussion. I propose the same be true with the impeachment of the president except as a last resort, for obvious and clear violation of law.

Why? Because it's getting ridiculous. Ever since President Obama was sworn in, Right Wing World has been buzzing about impeachment with varying degrees of passion. It's been an impeachment in search of a reason, in their eyes. They'd literally go after him for anything they thought would stick. And we know this, because we have evidence. Recent evidence. Impeachment has only been tried twice (Nixon escaped by resigning), and one of those times was brought over a lie about a blowjob.* In a question no pertinent in a case that was ultimately dismissed.

There he is, pointing that finger.
If I didn't know how much the right hated Bill Clinton at the time, I'd have sworn that his impeachment was a deliberate dodge, in order to make the next Republican president bullet-proof. I mean, after all the loud protests about the ridiculous impeachment of Clinton, how could Democrats really go and do the same thing, right? And though it may not have really been that kind of genius behind the impeachment, that's what we got.

Yes, during Bush's second term, when the Democrats took over, and their base was ravenous for some sort of repercussions for what they saw as war crimes (and so many other things), impeachment was off the table. Even later, after President Obama was elected, we were all told that we were looking forward and not back. To my knowledge, the only Bush Era toadie to pay any kind of price (and it was light) was Scooter Libby.

So Bush/Cheney (Rice/Rumsfeld/et. al) got off clean and clear. Whether you despised the lot of them or were in their corner, there is no doubt that there were things in there that were stronger reason for hearings (at least) than a freakin' lie about a bj. And yet--even though the lot of them got a "get out of jail free" card--you can find righties, be they bloggers or actual elected officials who float the impeachment balloon.

Stop it. Just stop it. Before Bill Clinton, you have to go back to Andrew Johnson in 1868 for pete's sake.  Impeachment is a serious charge, and it should be reserved for the very last resort, when there is no other remedy, for a serious, serious reason. It's not for revenge. It's not to get rid of a guy you don't like and didn't vote for. It may be asking a bit too much, but could we just grow up already, with the political back-and-forth? It's embarrassing.


Rep. Stockman threatens Obama impeachment over guns

Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) is threatening to file articles of impeachment against President Barack Obama if he moves to change gun regulations through executive order.

“I will seek to thwart this action by any means necessary, including but not limited to eliminating funding for implementation, defunding the White House, and even filing articles of impeachment,” Stockman said. . .

Read more at: Politico

*By the way, one thing that can still--oddly--get a staunch conservative riled up is to make light of the impeachment of Bill Clinton. I still maintain it was a stupid reason to impeach a president. Yes, Clinton himself was stupid to put himself in that position, and was also stupid to lie. But it was an irrelevant lie, in an ultimately irrelevant case. As political lies go, it was utterly and completely meaningless.
"But, he LIED to Congress! He LIED to the American people!" As have--likely--every single president before him. As certainly Bush did. Over much, much, much more serious matters. Congress lies to Congress. Nearly every politician who has ever gone on Meet the Press or Face the Nation has lied to us about something. They may call it "spin," but spin is spun with lies. So, save your indignation over that particular lie, alright? It doesn't rise to "high crimes and misdemeanors," it just doesn't. If the identical lie was told in the identical case, and Bill Clinton was just an Arkansas lawyer, the chance he'd have been brought up on perjury charges over it are virtually nil. Again, stop it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

CrazyTown II: Idaho Edition!

Click to embiggen. Image from source.

In case you missed it, Glenn Beck isn't the only one proposing a massive, self-supported, armed fortress of liberty and freedom. Conservatives are weird. I'd say "scary," but this is just too funny.


IDAHO: Survivalists Plan Armed Fortress

Idaho survivalists have launched a website detailing their plan to create an armed fortress city surrounded by a "defensible perimeter" complete with gun towers. . .

Read more at: Joe.My.God

Glenn Beck Wants to Build CrazyTown!

Too bad you're crazy. Too bad you're loony as hell. Image from RawStory
I'll be honest, I never saw the appeal of Glenn Beck. I caught a few of his early HNN shows, back in the day. I braved the insanity/inanity of his FOX "News" program. I have never listened to his radio show, or partaken in his online "television" program, but I've seen enough clips and excerpts to form a generally informed opinion: he's a loon. Batshit crazy. The butter has dripped off of his noodle.

Or, he's just a craven (albeit weird) manipulator, adept at wrangling money and attention from other crazy people. Beck's organized events have been grandiose, overblown and oddly vague. He reminds me of a faith healer or charlatan psychic, making vague predictions, and finding conspiracies in mundane things. He's certainly not averse to leaps of logic, extreme supposition, and strawman arguments. And he's good at taking any news story of the day, and bending and shaping it to fit his preformed narrative. Or, alternatively, shapes the narrative around the facts, making it up as he goes along.

It is scarier to me that Beck gathers such a fervent audience. Because Beck himself is--as Keith Olbermann used to say--Lonesome Rhodes. He's schtick. He may or may not believe what he himself is selling, but he's in it for the fame and fortune. So his latest scheme is just--oddly enough--the next logical step. But it isn't really original. Las Vegas has been attempting this sort of thing for years, a sort of self-contained living center, complete with amusement rides, shopping, movies, leisure. Beck has just married that idea to a 60s commune crossed with a heavy dose of Waco's Branch Davidians. And apparently, the key to freedom and liberty is to lock yourself in self-contained, walled off compound.


Glenn Beck hopes to build utopian city-theme park hybrid

Conservative personality Glenn Beck last week announced grandiose plans to construct a self-sustaining “city-theme park hybrid” that would reflect traditional American values. The city, to be called “Independence,” draws heavily from ideas espoused by Walt Disney and libertarian novelist Ayn Rand. The project is expected to cost more than $2 billion. . .

Read more at: Raw Story

Reince Priebus: Win 2016 by Rigging the System?

Swing that hammer, Reince!
Image from source, Think Progress
There's a plan afoot in "blue" states headed by Republican governance, to change the way Electoral votes are awarded. The plan would essentially gerrymander each of the targeted states so that a Republican candidate is almost assured to win the state even if the statewide vote totals go to the Democrat. Barring that, it would at least apportion close to half of the electoral votes to the Republican even if he still somehow manages to lose. It's one of those situations where it's legal, but it ain't right. And it's very telling of the Republican philosophy, so on display in the 2012 election: rig the system wherever possible.

Some key Republicans were busted actually admitting that Voter ID laws were more about disenfranchising Democratic voters than it was about "protecting" the vote. And that was just one of the schemes they had going. It dates as far back as 1980, when modern conservative forefather Paul Weyrich said it best:

They don't want everybody to vote. It is fairly well known that if everybody comes out to vote--and is allowed to vote--Democrats tend to win. What kind of party has to scheme and plot to try and squelch the other side's votes? And what kind of party is totally cool with winning at any cost, even if it means cheating?


RNC Chair: Rig The Next Presidential Election For Republicans

In an interview with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus did not simply endorse this election-rigging scheme, he indicated that it should be targeted towards consistently Democratic states where it is most likely to skew the presidential election to the GOP’s benefit. . .

Read more at: Think Progress

Somebody Finally Noticed: Is John Boehner a Lush?

Image from Wonkette
Boozy. Other than "weepy" or "orange," that is the best descriptive term for Speaker of the House John Boner Boehner.  Whether he is or is not often publicly inebriated is open to speculation, but there is no question that it seems like it. Curiously though, it was only bloggers or the occasional comedian who would say so. And sure, the linked article below is from Wonkette--a blog, if a big one--but it's linked to The Fix and Salon, which makes me think the issue is coming to the fore. Will Boehner have to address it, in a teary-eyed press conference?


The Fix: Is John Boehner Hitting The Bottle?

The Fix, as reposted by Salon, had a simple question: Is John Boehner hitting the bottle? But nobody could discover the answer, because the story was one million three hundred seventy-four thousand two hundred twenty five point four words long, all like "Five days before Christmas, House Speaker John Boehner stood before the Republican-controlled Congress—his Plan B alternative for avoiding the fiscal cliff defeated by lack of votes from his own party, a public humiliation and repudiation of the Speaker’s authority, rare in House history. . ."

Read more at: Wonkette

Monday, January 14, 2013

Blast from the Past: The Best of Gilda Radner

I had a busy weekend, so I'm re-running a Blast from the Past from back in September. It's a Blast from the Past from the Past! Sorry, kids. I know the blog has been a little slow this year. Going to try to kick it into gear this week!

For this week's Blast from the Past, I really need an easy one. I have had a very busy weekend [it's a trend --Ed.], and don't have a text-heavy episode in me. The best thing for this sort of butt-dragging, is to put up highly entertaining clips to make up for the lack of wordsmithery.

So, here's what I'm going to do. I'm raiding NBC's Saturday Night Live vaults for my favorite bits from my favorite SNL cast member of all thirty-eight seasons, Gilda Radner! I still get sad about her early passing, and I just don't do that. Here's to you Gilda! Enjoy.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Ermahgerd! Stephen King's Under the Dome Set for CBS

Squee! I will admit with no shame that I'm an unabashed, unrepentant Stephen King fan. I like Dean Koontz too, though I prefer King's subtle liberal politics over Koontz's slightly more obvious conservative allusions. And I don't give a flying fig that "serious readers" consider this type of author to be substandard, or somehow lacking. I have ravenously gobbled up almost every King and Koontz book released in the last 25 years or so (except The Dark Tower series, which I seriously don't get).

So, when I really enjoy a particular book, it's always a thrill to see it optioned as a movie or miniseries. The actual results are more scattershot. For every good adaptation, there are several bad ones (sometimes even with the authors' input). When it comes to King, the best live action adaptations (in my opinion) are Misery, the miniseries The Stand, Pet Sematary and Carrie. There have been other good ones too (Creepshow, Stand By Me), but more often than not (Maximum Overdrive, Creepshow 2, the miniseries The Shining) they kind of stink on ice. So, I have high hopes for Under the Dome, a ridiculously thick page-turner I read in a frenzy. But my optimism is guarded with experience.

Under the Dome is a story about a small town that suddenly finds itself cut off from society, with a mysterious--seemingly impenetrable--barrier put around it. The aftermath of the event, and the efforts to thwart it take up hundreds and hundreds of pages. But I didn't care. It was an enthralling book. Can a broadcast television adaptation do it justice? I'll be watching to find out.


'Under The Dome': CBS Announces Premiere Date For Stephen King Drama, 'Unforgettable,' 'Big Brother'

Stephen King and Steven Spielberg's adaptation of "Under the Dome" will premiere on CBS at 10 p.m. on Monday, June 24, the network announced Saturday.   At the network's presentation for reporters at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour, CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler expressed enthusiasm for the concept, hoping that it will become a "big summer event" for the number one broadcast network. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post
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