Friday, August 30, 2013

In Case You Missed It, Sarah Palin Has Been Famous for 5 Years

Seems like longer somehow, right? Yes, Sarah Palin was inflicted upon the nation at large five years ago yesterday. I happened to be home from work that day, due to a reduction in hours at work (thanks Obama)* and got to see the whole sorry affair, and even sorta live-blogged the event. Let's get in the wayback machine, and see what my first impressions were, shall we?

Originally published August 29, 2008:

"Like many, I woke this morning to the news that John McCain has chosen Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. Who? That was my first thought. Second, I thought, "well he picked one of the only people who can take some buzz away from Barack Obama's speech last night."

This is probably as close as I will ever come to "live blogging," since I have the day off from work, and am watching this unfold on the TV machine. MSNBC is a little wary of the choice. CNN is being very analytical about it, and FOX "News" is bubbling over with enthusiasm, right down on the floor with the chubby cheerleaders in the auditorium."
Palin's Wikipedia shot, used
in my original post.
I continued in my next post:
". . .OK, Palin is introduced. Crowd goes wild. Music abruptly cuts off. She's pretty. Doesn't have a girly voice, which I frankly expected her to have. Not quite Elle Woods, at least on first impression. I'm always a little suspicious of hard-right younger women. I wonder, what the heck happened to her? She looks like she could be McCain's granddaughter, which she almost could be.

Nice looking husband and family. Palin has a decent amount of charisma, which is something McCain plainly lacks. Now she's talking a little more in depth about personal family stuff. Back on track, talking about her son enlisting in the army on September 11th. What's his name? Tack? Track? Crowd erupts into short burst of "USA! USA!" I guess the Iraq War is still a popular deal in Dayton.
She just invoked the POW card for McCain, and committed a little bit of an Ohio sin. . .she praised former Sen. John Glenn. . .a hated figure amongst Ohio Republicans.

She's reminding me a little of Sally Field now, even if she's right-wing. Now, giving a shout-out to Hillary Clinton. She's going for the ever-elusive PUMAs with a "18 million cracks in the glass ceiling" comment. She's wrapping up. Sounds a little like Marge Simpson trying to rally a Springfield audience. My take: Grandpa and Gidget (all right, that's just what they look like, but it's funny!)"
So, see, I was sort of giving her a chance. Over the next couple of weeks, the campaign kept her very under wraps outside of heavily scripted appearances. Because of this, some of her Alaska baggage became grist for the national gossip mill, including the stuff about Bristol being pregnant, and some
Palin, GILF? Subject of my most popular
post, oddly enough.
speculation that Sarah's fifth child was really Bristol's first. The right wing confused the blogosphere noise for "the media," and still pretends that Palin was besieged by unfair press treatment.
We all know now, that though she can throw red meat at a tea baggin' base, she's a sentence mangler, is about as deep as a kiddie pool, and as bright as a small appliance bulb. But she's a charter member of the oddball Tea Party Heroes™ league, along with Joe the Plumber, Ted Nugent and crazy eyes Michele Bachmann. And, oddly enough, another early post I wrote about Palin became my most-clicked post ever, racking up hundreds and hundreds of views in a day and a half. Its title?

VP Pick Sarah Palin: GILF?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Naming Storms After Politicians?



Irony Alert: Rumsfeld Says Obama Hasn't Justified Syria Attack

Typical Rummy quote, this one on the location of WMDs: "We know
where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad
and east, west, south and north somewhat." Image from Raw Story.
I've already explained that I'm no expert on this Syria thing, and therefore will try to keep my opining to a minimum here on the blog. But you know who else should maybe take a step back? Donald freakin' Rumsfeld. Actually just about anybody from the Bush administration, but maybe especially Rummy. He's just proof that there is no sense of embarrassment on the right.


Rumsfeld: Obama hasn’t justified Syria attack

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Wednesday night that President Barack Obama had not done enough to justify an attack on Syria. “One thing that is very interesting, it seems to me, is that there really hasn’t been any indication from the administration as to what our national interest is with respect to this particular situation,” Rumsfeld told Fox Business Network host Neil Cavuto. . .

Read more at: Raw Story

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are: Matt Drudge & Shepard Smith

"Inside baseball" is what they call it when you discuss something that is a "you had to be there" kind of situation. But I think this translates just fine. There have been calls from the right wing for FOX "News"
host Shepard Smith to come
out of the closet. I have no personal knowledge that Smith is gay, but the rumor is on the level of a Tom Cruise/John Travolta-level, which is to say, high. So, the question can be posed, if the right is going to demand that Smith comes out, what about a nearer-and-dearer closet case? Should Matt Drudge be dragged out, kicking and screaming, from his glass closet?

One of my favorite bloggers, Joe.My.God. has asked that very question. And gotten an answer!

Read more at: Joe.My.God.

SYRIAsly, Can We Not Get Into Another War?

Image from Wikipedia. Did you know for sure
where Syria was?
We're in the last week of what is usually the "dog days of August," when the news is boring and nothing noteworthy seems to happen. Kids are going back to school, so for them the world is school this week, and the last three weeks were the summer careening out of control and crashing into school. I suppose parents of those children have a bit of a lift this week, but for the rest of us, late August is meh.

And blogging has been, even further back into the summer. Yes, stuff happened, but not a lot that I was eager to write about. Fortunately, summer gives a blogger some cover: nobody is writing quite at full strength in the summer, certainly not as stridently as usual. But here we are, with Syria. A deadly serious, deeply complicated, morally gray (as in, not knowing exactly who to support), politically gray (as in, Rand Paul and John McCain on opposite sides) fuster cluck.

I've already said in a previous post that Syria is past my pay grade (particularly since this is a hobby, and I don't get paid). Frankly, any Mideast crisis is out of my wheelhouse, and my deep personal interest. I'm not Jewish, I'm not fundamentalist Christian, I'm not Muslim. . .so, I have no emotional tie to Israel. I had to look up Syria on a map today (I was right about where it was, but I wasn't sure). I'm smart enough to know that there are implications that tie into relations with Russia and with China, and pissing them off is problematic. And I know that while President Obama has a number of options on his plate, none of them are good options.

Imagine having his job. Half a dozen shitty choices, none with clean outcomes, and all of them bound to draw fiery criticism from the right and the left. The left because they're already weary of war, and many are convinced that Obama is far further right than they thought they were getting. The right because they hate everything the President does from how he ties his shoes to how he licks stamps. The only thing almost everybody agrees on: "We've got to do something."

You know what troubles me about that? Those are the exact words my mother used, years after the Iraq War was started, as an answer to me about why we were in Iraq. As a Bush voter, and staunch Republican, she said that after September 11, we had to do something. I pointed out that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 and that there were no weapons of mass destruction. Didn't matter to Mom, we had to do something. Apparently, even if "something" is just blowing some shit up in the general area of the perceived problem.

I have a reputation for being irreverent, callous and blunt. But I don't mean to give short shrift to the suffering of the Syrian people, particularly the children. I suppose it's the fact that the Syrian government was already killing them indiscriminately before last week, that's got me wondering why now. Is it the President's "red line" statement from a while back, and that the Syrians apparently crossed it? Also, truth be told, kids and adults are being killed in lots of countries around the world. Is it only if they're poisoned that we have to send in the military?

Anyway, for someone who feels ill-equipped to really blog about this topic, I've managed to ramble on at length. I guess I just wanted to put my thoughts out there for anyone who happened by. And to explain why there may not be a heavy coverage of the topic on the blog. I suspect that when Right Wing World really gets cranked up on the topic, there will be an opportunity to at least pick apart the details, and maybe flesh things out a little. The nuts at Free Republic (for example) can be so clearly wrong about something, that it can crystalize what is right. . .or rather, correct.  See? They're good for something!


Military strikes on Syria 'as early as Thursday,' US officials say

The U.S. could hit Syria with three days of missile strikes, perhaps beginning Thursday, in an attack meant more to send a message to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad than to topple him or cripple his military, senior U.S. officials told NBC News on Tuesday. . .

Read more at: NBC News

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Trapped With a Conservative? Call ConStar! (Rocky Mountain Mike Ad Parody)

Rocky Mountain Mike (famous from The Stephanie Miller Show) has really outdone himself with this one. What's more, it's a product we could all use, for those times when you're trapped in the car with your conservative relatives! Wouldn't it be great to just have a blue button you could push? Thanks Mike!

US to Launch Military Strike on Syria?

Image from source, Boston Globe
Ugh. As a lowly hobbyist blogger, I'm going to fold on this hand. "What to do in Syria" is wayyy over my pay grade. So, I'll pass on the latest information, and just leave it there, marked as an important event. And I'll comment so far as to ask: do you suppose Republicans and Democrats will leave the politicking on this one for later, and rally around the President, who has some very difficult decisions to make? Oh, who am I kidding. . .


US assails Syria, moves closer to military strike

The Obama administration said Monday that it had “undeniable” evidence that the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad used chemical weapons to kill hundreds of civilians, significantly raising the possibility that the United States would take military action in the conflict. . .

Read more at: Boston Globe

San Diego's Mayor Filner to be Replaced by . . . (Gasp!). . .a Gay Man!

Todd Gloria, soon-to-be Mayor of San Diego,
image from source, AddictingInfo
The overly dramatic headline is not meant to disparage the man who is taking the job of Mayor of San Diego. No, it's meant to point out the pearl-clutching of the far right, who are aghast and appalled that the new mayor is gay. Good grief, people, really? Do conservatives not realize that they--almost all of them--have gay people in their families, and circle of friends? You'd think we were aliens or zombies or something, geez.


San Diego’s New Mayor Is A Gay Man And That’s Making The Right Crazy

With the news of Bob Filner’s resignation bringing an end to a turbulent six weeks of  scandal in San Diego, we discover who will step in to fill the office. His name is Todd Gloria. He is the President of the City Council and will become acting Mayor once Filner’s resignation goes into effect on August 30th. Gloria is from two military families – a common situation in the Navy-oriented city – and his ancestry bears this out: he is Native Alaskan, Filipino, Dutch and Puerto Rican, with all four grandparents making their way to San Diego from vastly different places. That, right there, is enough to make right-wing heads spin but when you add that he is gay… can you hear the heads exploding? . . .

Read more at: AddictingInfo

Anti-Gay Conservative Taunts Shepard Smith: Come Out

With so much cable news company (Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon, Rachel Maddow, Thomas Roberts, Steve Kornacki, Jane Valez-Mitchell), it's surprising that Shepard Smith--assuming he is gay, wink, wink--feels the need to stay in the closet. I mean, I know it's FOX "News" and all, but Shep is supposed to be their one claim to "real news," so he ought to be exempt, right?

Anti-gay conservative calls on Shepard Smith to ‘come out of the closet’


. . .ASI President Cliff Kincaid gave a presentation at the National Press Club last Tuesday about his organization’s investigation of Fox News. The group’s 40,000-word report warned that Fox News “has become pro-homosexual propaganda. . .”

Read more at: Raw Story

Monday, August 26, 2013

Donald Trump Sued by NY Attorney General

If you think Donald Trump is looking pretty good
(for Donald Trump), it helps to know this shot is from
2004. Image from source, Chicago Tribune.
I can't stand Donald Trump. I've thought he was ridiculous from the first time I saw him, and haven't been dissuaded from that assessment in the 25 years or so since. He's a buffoon. He's proven to be a band-wagoner for any cause that he thinks will keep him in the limelight. He's been possibly the most visible "birther," an adherent of the complex web of self-contradictory (and discredited) conspiracy theories that says President Obama is secretly foreign. And in that endeavor, he has shown himself to be a transparent liar, who can't even keep the different elements of the theory straight.

So, git him, New York. There are very few prominent Americans so richly deserving of a public humiliation and takedown. And if you think I'm being harsh, rest assured I'm restraining myself.

Donald Trump investment school sued by NY attorney general

New York state's attorney general said on Sunday he has filed a $40 million lawsuit against Donald Trump and his for-profit investment school, accusing them of engaging in illegal business practices. . .

Read more at: Chicago Tribune

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Blast from the Past: Linda Ronstadt, Hurts So Bad. . .

This week, acclaimed singer (of many genres) Linda Ronstadt revealed that she has Parkinson's Disease, and that it has robbed her of her singing voice. Sad under any circumstances, for anybody. Sadder for a person who makes a living with their voice. Devastating when it's someone with such an amazing voice.

I didn't always think so, or at least realize it, I guess. I grew up in the 70s and early 80s, and Rondstadt was a big part of the soundtrack to my childhood. Dad liked her, of course, since she was a hottie back then, right behind Olivia Newton-John and Cher. Ronstadt had a long string of hits from 1975 forward, several of them covers. But since I was more of an ABBA fan, and then on toward disco, Ronstadt just wasn't my genre, so I didn't pay much attention. But when you listen, really listen, particularly in songs like Long, Long Time? She had an amazing voice, which is especially clear when you hear the live version and it's just as good as the studio recording.

So, here, for your entertainment and edification, is a selection of my favorite Linda Ronstadt songs, which--it turns out--I actually was a fan of after all. Which is part of having a "blast from the past," when you really think about it.


There are of course, lots more, including the Neslon Riddle Era, the "Trio" era with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris, the Aaron Neville era. . .on and on. But I trust you can find them on the YouTubes yourself, should you want to. Meanwhile, have a great week, everybody. Happy Monday!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Right Wing World Tries to Tie Murder of Australian Man to Trayvon Martin Case (?!)

I really shouldn't overthink some of the stranger things to come out of the Right Wing World alternate reality machine. But it can be so strange what gets them cranked up, and how it echoes through the right-wing blogosphere. Drudge or Rush or some lucky also-ran will come up with a eureka idea--nearly always an over-reaction to something, or even a manufactured outrage--and suddenly it's everywhere, even leaking into the so-called liberal media.

Image from source, the great NewsCorpse
This time, I'm really scratching my head. Three boys in Oklahoma were "bored," and decided to kill somebody. They picked an unlucky Australian young man named Chris Lane, a good looking guy out for a jog. For no other reason than something to do, as far as any report I've seen has to say. Most peoples' reactions were astonishment, disgust and horror. "Wow, what's wrong with kids today," was my initial reaction. Later, the boys (aged 15, 16 and 17) were apprehended, put in jail and charged as adults. Their races--something that hadn't even crossed my mind--were black, black and white going by their photos, though as with any person, there could be other nationalities in the mix.

For some reason, the powers-that-be in Right Wing World have decided that this story is somehow analogous to the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case. It's being pushed all over the place, and causing little flame-wars on Facebook and Twitter. But I completely don't get it. I mean, I know that conservatives can be really, really bad at analogies. But where is the comparison here? George Zimmerman killed an unarmed kid, and the cops let him go, using his flimsy story as justification for "stand your ground." Absent a public outcry and media firestorm, we wouldn't even know about the case. The outrage--initially, and throughout the developing story--was the botched investigation, and lack of scrutiny to the death of the kid, and the sketchy character of the killer.

How this compares to three teenagers killing a guy for sport is anyone's guess. As far as we know, there was no racial motivation. The boys were not let go. There's not much ambiguity about exactly what happened (other than sheer disbelief). Nobody is jumping to the defense of the boys, calling into question Chris Lane's character, or calling him a "thug." Nobody is setting up a legal defense fund for them, and donating money (and guns!) to them. Nobody from any side is sticking up for kids who killed a man just to watch him die! There is almost nothing here to analogize to the Trayvon Martin case.


Still In The Dark: Fox News Continues To Misunderstand The Tragedy Of Trayvon Martin

When news broke about the brutal and senseless killing of Chris Lane, a young Australian studying in Oklahoma, there was universal disgust and sympathy. It was the sort of random crime that leaves everyone struggling to comprehend how it could occur. Everyone except Fox News, who immediately set out to politicize it to advance their racist agenda. . .

Read more at: NewsCorpse

Ben Affleck's #1 Fan?

I checked out Ben Affleck's Twitter feed (@BenAffleck) to see if he's said anything about his new gig as Batman in the follow-up to this year's Man of Steel movie, and. . .yikes. While the internets are on fire with "Noooooo!" responses to the news of Affleck's casting (with hashtags like #BetterBatmanThanBenAffleck), he has at least one fan. One very, very persistent fan. The screen caps here are both from just one of Affleck's tweets. There are more there. I've blurred the young man's picture and screen name in case he thinks better of it, and takes them down. But. . .wow. Click to embiggen.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Ben Affleck to Play the Next Batman

So, Warner Brothers announced on Thursday night that Ben Affleck has been signed to play the next version of Batman in the sequel to Man of Steel. He'll be playing opposite Henry Cavill's Superman, in what will probably amount to a VS. that segues into a team-up. It's an important piece of DC Comics' puzzle on the way to a Justice League of America movie, to rival the movie universe of Marvel Comics.

Warner Brothers may be having a bit of a panic at the moment, because the announcement has been instantly and overwhelmingly negative, at least in the internet quarters I've been visiting. It's a big "Noooooooo!" even from my sister. I have no idea how ironclad the contract is, but I wonder if either WB or Affleck is feeling a bit bruised already. My advice to the fandom: calm down, and let it settle in. Daredevil was a long time ago. Not only has Affleck's craft improved, so has the entire genre of superhero movies. And while I've dissed the handling of DC's properties in the past, they got the Dark Knight trilogy and Man of Steel mostly right. So who knows?

The way I see it, Affleck is the right height, has the right hair color, has the lantern jaw, the ability to beef up when necessary, and is a fairly decent actor. I'm keeping an open mind. And hey, it's not like it's "Nicholas Cage as Superman," right? When you think about it, who was thinking, "Yeah! Michael Keaton as Batman!" until they saw him in it?

Ben Affleck to play Batman in 'Man of Steel' sequel

Actor Ben Affleck will play Batman in an upcoming Superman sequel that will see the two caped crusaders face off against each other, film studio Warner Bros Pictures said on Thursday. . .

Read more at: Reuters

Call Her "Chelsea Manning"

Bradley Chelsea Manning, from MSNBC
Since I'm a gay man, people I know who are not will often think that my encyclopedic knowledge of pop culture extends to the entire LGBTQQIA alphabet. It doesn't. Yes, I'm nearly as clueless about the "trans" part of the alphabet soup as you are. But that's okay. The truth is, if we totally "got it," we'd be trans, right?

I have learned a couple of things though, mostly through online communications, since my first-hand knowledge of the subject really is limited to drag queens, and though they can look similar, they aren't the same. First and foremost: trans people's concerns tend to be ignored, minimized and dismissed even within the LGBT community. It's very easy to be declared "trans-phobic" because we Ls and Bs and Gs are kind of clueless about what it's like to have an issue with gender identity. Being attracted to the same gender isn't the same as feeling as though you're a different gender from your body.

While everyone in the LGBT category is sexually--in some way--different from your standard issue heterosexual, we aren't all faced with the same issues. So, when I'm asked--and I will be--what I think of WikiLeaks leaker Bradley Manning changing his name to Chelsea, and declaring himself an M-to-F trans person? Nope, I don't really get it. But I know better to question her, because it's out of my experience. We have no reason to disbelieve her, and she's really not got much to gain by putting on a ruse. And if she goes through with gender-reassignment surgery? In my opinion, a person does that is certain about what gender they're supposed to be. Nobody would go through that on a whim.

So, good luck, Chelsea. And to any trans-people out there who might read this, know that I may have goofed in my terminology somewhere, and may have transitioned my gender-specific pronouns at the wrong point in what I've written, but I'm on your side!

‘I am Chelsea Manning’

“As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me,” Manning said in a statement read during an exclusive TODAY show interview with lawyer David Coombs. “I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way I have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible.”

Read more at: MSNBC

God Smites "Creation Museum" Employee with Lightning

Kidding. Sort of. I'm actually an atheist, but a Creation Museum employee getting struck by lighting on the grounds? Erhm. . .that's just too funny, sorry. I mean, I'm sure it hurts like hell. I wouldn't wish it on anybody. But hey, this is literally what people mean when they say, "act of God," is it not? Oh, and for the record, the Creation Museum is ludicrous in virtually every way. Maybe God's a critic?


Creationism museum employee injured by lightning strike while on the job

A bit of the idiocy at the Creation Museum

An employee of Petersburg, Kentucky’s Creation Museum was struck by lightning Wednesday while clearing guests from a zip line attraction at the museum during a thunderstorm. According to Kentucky’s, the man was helping guests down from the wires as thunderstorms rolled into the area. . .

Read more at: Raw Story

School Gunman Stopped by Unarmed (Awesome) Woman

This is a pretty awesome story! An unlikely happy ending to a tense and awful situation. Due to some quick thinking, and a genuinely warm manner, this lady helped save the day, and very probably several lives, maybe even her own. And she didn't need a gun to do it.


Nice Time: Good Guy With A Calm Voice Stops A Bad Guy With A Gun

Here’s an actual hero: Antoinette Tuff, a clerk at Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, Georgia, who talked Michael Brandon Hill into laying down his semiautomatic rifle and abandoning his plan to commit suicide by cop yesterday. Hill had come to the school expecting to shoot up the school and then to die in a shootout with police; instead, Tuff talked to him for an hour while teachers, staff, and 870 children waited in the locked-down building. . .

Read more at: Wonkette

And in case you want to see a little more on the story, here's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell's take, which is pretty awesome too.


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

Prison Break's Wentworth Miller Comes Out, Refuses Russian Invitation

Image from
As a pop culture follower and a gay person, I'm pretty clued in to which celebrities are really gay, but in a "glass closet." Sometimes a name will surprise me (I really didn't guess Neil Patrick Harris, Wanda Sykes or Stephanie Miller), but usually I've heard it by the time they come out. I'm not saying I'm special or anything, but it's remarkable how often rumors are correct. Anderson Cooper, Ricky Martin, Matt Bomer, George Michael, Melissa Etheridge, Ellen DeGeneres, Jim Parsons, Victor Garber, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Sean Hayes, Clay Aiken and many more were all "known" to those in the know long before they came out. There are still several big names in the glass closet, and the emptier it gets, the more you wonder a) what they're waiting for and b) if there's even a chance that they're actually straight. You know who I mean, right?

Anyway, good on Wentworth Miller for coming out--though I "knew" he was in there--for coming out in a classy way, and with a politically relevant message. Kudos to you sir!


Wentworth Miller rejects Russian film festival invitation; 'As a gay man, I must decline'

Actor and screenwriter Wentworth Miller today rejected an invitation to attend the St. Petersburg International Film Festival, citing Russia's anti-LGBT laws. In a letter to the Festival's Director, the 'Prison Break' star stated that "as a gay man, I must decline." Miller goes on to say that he is "deeply troubled" by Russia's lawful brutality toward the LGBT community. "I cannot in good conscience participate in a celebratory occasion hosted by a country where people like myself are being systematically denied their basic right to live and love openly," Miller concludes. . .

Read more at:

Bradley Manning Sentenced to 35 Years

Image from source, Washington Post
Here's my take on Bradley Manning: he is in some ways a hero, and in some ways a dope. There had to be a way to expose the classified information that was important without dumping a trove of information indiscriminately, and there was probably a better person to give it to than Julian Assange. I don't necessarily think he's a traitor, but he was in the military, he did break the rules and the law. He really had to be punished. And as these things go, his sentence is comparatively light, especially when you figure time served, and the potential for parole in 10 years or so.


Judge sentences Bradley Manning to 35 years

A military judge on Wednesday sentenced Pfc. Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison, bringing to a close the government’s determined pursuit of the Army intelligence analyst who leaked the largest cache of classified documents in U.S. history. . .

Read more at: Washington Post


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Real IRS Scandal Now is in a Lawsuit

When FOX "News" (and the rest of Right Wing World) believes they have a good scandal for the Obama Administration, they won't let it go, even when it fizzles out ("Benghazi!!!" anyone?). This isn't surprising when you realize that they still believe all kinds of debunked information. So, it is predictable that they're still harping on the "IRS Scandal," you know where conservative groups were "targeted," but it turns out it wasn't just conservative groups? And that no conservative groups were denied, but some liberal groups were denied? That one.

There is a scandal in there, but it's not the one they wanted it to be. The real scandal may not even be known to typical FOX viewers. It's that 501(c)(4) organizations "operated exclusively for the promotion of 'social welfare', such as civics and civics issues," etc. A huge chunk of these groups, be they conservative or liberal do not meet that definition. Like at all. In fact, it has been laughable how political many of the groups are. Finally. . . .FINALLY. . .somebody is trying to do something about it.


The ‘real IRS scandal’: Now, a lawsuit

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

Rep. Chris Van Hollen is preparing to file a lawsuit in federal district court challenging the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service over the agency’s interpretation of the 501(c)(4) law that determines tax-exempt status for social welfare organizations. . .

Read more at: MSNBC

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Birther Dilemma: Ted Cruz, Canada, Cuba and "Natural Born Citizen"

What kind of goofy shit is this? Heh. Image from

Birthers and tea baggers (two groups with considerable crossover) have a huge problem looming with the probable presidential run of Senator Rafael Edward "Ted" Cruz (R-TX). Unlike the fanciful, self-contradictory conspiracy theory that posits foreign birth for President Obama, we know that Ted Cruz was born in Canada. Further, we know that his foreign-born father was born in Cuba. This puts Cruz's nativity story on almost precisely the same ground as the partially invented one the birthers have foisted upon Obama.

Same Question. Image from Wikipedia
Only it's worse. See, Barack Obama Sr. was from Kenya, a country with British ties. Though Cruz's birth country also has British ties, his Dad's birth country is actually considered an hostile to the United States. I don't think even the most rabid birther has tried to assert that Kenya is any kind of enemy. Of course, Obama's real story is even better than Cruz's anyway because he has been confirmed to have been born in the United States, making him unquestionably "Natural Born," no matter how you slice it (fringy, goofy birther tangents don't even rise to asterisks here).

But it's funny, now that Cruz has publicly "renounced" his Canadian citizenship and released his birth certificate, if the birther bunch wants to be consistent, they really need to dive in to Cruz birtherism. Because a great number of the problems they had with President Obama's birth certificate are true for this one as well, along with some other problems. Here is a comment from the great, the resource that has effectively debunked every single conspiracy tangent.

 . . .what they will make of these other “issues”:
* “Certificate of Birth”, not a birth certificate
* Record number does not match stamp on the bottom
* No witnesses of birth named, nobody attested to place of birth
* That red blob supposed to be a seal?
* The “E” and “e” in “Eleanor” are not on the same baseline as the rest, unlike in all other words using those letters (“RAFAEL”, “Delaware”)
* When did he ever legally change his name from “Rafael” to “Ted”? Proof?
These are the types of nits that birthers picked with both Obama's "short form" and "long form" birth certificates. It was all nonsense, all of it. I even did my own de-bunking here. Let me be clear, I have no issue with Cruz's place of birth or questions about his citizenship. But I find it very, very amusing that birthers are in this trick bag.

Read more (lots more) here: ObamaConspiracy

Messin' With Texas: Un-Paving Roads Rather Than Raising Taxes

I still can't quite wrap my head around this. Big oil has a boom in Texas. Big Oil makes more profits than any other industry ever has in the history of man. Their trucks are tearing up the roads. Texas is having a hard time paying for the roads, so. . .they're un-paving them! Not raising taxes on the oil companies, or figuring out some other sort of pay-for-play arrangement.

Their unofficial slogan is "Don't Mess With Texas." Maybe that's because Texas is already a hot mess.


Texas Converts 80 Miles Of Paved Road To Gravel Thanks To Lack Of Funds

Finding that thanks to shortfalls the budget is not equipped to handle safety upgrades on paved roads, the Texas Department of Transportation began converting 80 miles of roads to gravel on Monday.
Texas DOT spokesman David Glessner told the Texas Tribune that a lack of funding meant its “only option to make [roads] safer is to turn them into gravel roads.” For safety reasons, some speed limits on the unpaved roads will also be lowered to 30 mph. . .

Read more at: Think Progress

Monday, August 19, 2013

Looks Like We Got Us a Clown Boy! (Rocky Mountain Mike Song Parody)

The news cycle can move so fast, sometimes you miss stuff. Did you hear about the racist "Obama" rodeo clown from last week? Rocky Mountain Mike did, and has a great song parody about it to the tune of C.W. McCall's Convoy. Like to hear it? Here it go!

Science is Cool Weird Creepy: The Fish in Finding Nemo Would be Gettin' It On?!

Well, far be it for me to criticize anybody's sexual proclivities, as long as everything is consensual and legal and stuff. But, really, Nemo would be doin' his dad if Finding Nemo was truer to life? I guess in the open sea, very flexible gender identity has its advantages!


Scientifically Accurate Finding Nemo Would Be Horrifyingly Incestual

And the Million Mom types were worried about
Ellen DeGeneres? Image from Gizmodo.
Okay, so, um, here's your perception warping, good times stomping news of the day: Finding Nemo is a damn lie. Not in a oh fish can talk sort of harmless lie but in an oh my god Nemo would grow up to bone his dad sort of awful lie. The Fisheries Blog broke down the science of Finding Nemo and pretty much exposed that Nemo's mom would die, Nemo's dad would switch sex and Nemo would eventually mate with his female dad. . .

Read more at: Gizmodo

Points for Consistency: Orly Taitz Thinks Ted Cruz as Ineligible as Obama

Ted Cruz and his full-body frown, image from USNews
There is a bit of hilarity in the fact that Ted Cruz--Texas tea bagger extraordinaire--has designs on the presidency, but shares almost exactly the "disqualifying" parentage that said tea baggers assign to President Obama. Or rather, the "birther" variety of tea bagger imagines that President Obama is foreign born, and we already know that Cruz is foreign born.

Both men had mothers who were American Citizens, which would be enough in a sane world to be qualified for the presidency. Obama has the distinction of actually not being foreign born--unless you consider Honolulu, Hawaii to be "foreign"--making the whole birther genre to be rather laughable and stupid. But I wondered what the hardcore birthers would make of Cruz, a guy who is totally the bat in their belfry. My guess was that they'd do a bit of handwringing about his ineligibility, and then say that the point is now moot because of President Obama filling out his terms.

Orly Taitz, the hardest core of the hardcore birthers didn't disappoint me. She's basically done exactly that.


'Birther' Orly Taitz: Ted Cruz Has 'Basically the Same Issue as Obama'

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, a likely candidate for president in 2016, released his Canadian birth certificate over the weekend, but that's unlikely to end discussion about whether he meets the Constitution's ill-defined standard of natural-born citizenship. . .

Read more at: USNews

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Frivolity Break: A Spider Spinning its Web

Apropos of absolutely nothing, besides a discussion with The Other Half about cobwebs vs. spider webs (if you're curious), I happened upon this YouTube video of a spider spinning a web from scratch. He's a talented little booger! Now I feel guilty for all of the webs I've destroyed. Kinda.

Blast from the Past: Classic Commercials, Redux

NOTE: This one is really a blast from the past, a rerun from April, while I get my brains back in my head after a really tough weekend/week/month!

I was stuck for a topic for this week's Blast from the Past, so I went out to the fridge to get a yogurt, and it reminded me of something. There was a Dannon Yogurt commercial with old Soviets, giving the impression that if you ate their yogurt, you'd live past 100. And if you believe that. . .

Anyway, I thought I'd revisit the subject of classic commercials. There are a number of 70s and 80s commercials particularly that really stand out in pop culture history. Here are a few of them.

1. The afore mentioned Dannon Yogurt ad.
2. Calgon water softener: "Ancient Chinese secret, huh?"

3. Oscar Mayer balogna: "My baloney has a first name. . .
4. Life Cereal: "Let's get Mikey!"

5. "You sunk my Battleship!"
6. Connect Four: "Pretty sneaky, sis!"

7. McDonald's Big Mac: "Two all beef patties. . ."
8. "Please don't squeeze the Charmin."

9. Alka-Seltzer: "Mama mia, that's a spicy meatball!"
10. Diet Pepsi: "Now you see it, now you don't!"

And that should do it for this week. Hope you had a great weekend, and happy Monday!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Attention Conservatives: THIS is Why Liberals are Howling About Voter Rights Changes

It's not just about "Voter ID," though that is part of it. While actual voter impersonation fraud is virtually unheard of, I'm aware that the argument for Voter ID sounds good. You need ID for everything else, right? Right. But when you put it into context with the whole list of things that they tend to pass along with Voter ID laws, you start to see that the actual reasoning behind the law has nothing to do with protecting the integrity of the vote. It has to do with stopping people from voting, or hindering them at least. Dissuading them. And it is a certain demographic.

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

The GOP Has a Crazy Problem

Crazy Eyes herself, from source, Raw Story
Well, yeah, I've been saying this for years!

Republicans’ big problem with crazy
If you’re looking for a Republican congressman who truly embodies the ethos of the Tea Party, Maryland Representative Andy Harris is a pretty good pick. Harris, you see, is no fan of “big government” and he’s definitely not a fan of Rinos (“Republicans in name only”).

Harris made a national name for himself in 2008, when he successfully launched a primary campaign against insufficiently conservative 18-year congressional veteran Wayne Gilchrest. Although Harris lost in the general election, he was more successful two years later, joining his Tea Party contingent in the House of Representatives. . .

Read more at: Raw Story

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Rush Limbaugh: Science and Christianity are Incompatible

Oh, I'm sorry. Is my headline misleading? Actually, no, I don't think it is. I think that's what El Rushbo has said, distilled down. He's saying you can't believe in global warming if you believe the Bible. Ironically enough, it was while studying the Bible and freshman Earth science in the same year that made me an atheist. So, I guess I'm in agreement with Rush, though on the opposite side of the equation. I think science cancels out the Bible.

And I think it is the height of foolishness to dismiss the possibility of man-made climate change because of your religion or your political party.

I hope Limbaugh lives long enough for his tacky South Palm Beach palace to be under water--literally.


Limbaugh: ‘If You Believe In God, Then Intellectually You Cannot Believe In Manmade Global Warming’

. . ."See, in my humble opinion, folks, if you believe in God, then intellectually you cannot believe in manmade global warming … You must be either agnostic or atheistic to believe that man controls something that he can’t create. . ."

[By the way, there is nothing humble about Rush Limbaugh. --Ed.]

Read more at: ThinkProgress

What if Seinfeld Movie Titles Were Real?

These are pretty great. But I don't know how they could have left off Rochelle, Rochelle's tagline: "A young girl's strange, erotic journey from Milan to Minsk."

See them all at: NextMovie

The Gay Thing: Three Perspectives on Russian Olympics

The issue of Vladimir Putin's draconian anti-gay laws and the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia are bubbling out beyond the blogosphere into the mainstream. Below are three clips from MSNBC on Wednesday night, with Harvey Fierstein, Dan Savage and Greg Louganis.  Harvey and Dan took Chris Hayes to task for omissions from a previous story, so it was pretty cool that he had them on for their rebuttals. And Louganis talked to Lawrence O'Donnell, with a bit less edge. All are interesting, so if you don't know much about this particular kerfuffle, here's a way to get a few different perspectives on it.

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Daily Show: John Oliver Takes on "Stop And Frisk"

Like catch and release fishing, but all the fish are brown. I thought that having Jon Stewart away for the summer would be kind of a drag. It turned out that John Oliver was a fantastic replacement, and ought to be able to use this as a launching pad for career advancement.


North Carolina Passes Laws Restricting Voting

Image from source, CBSNews
I'm getting to the point where I'm having trouble figuring out conservatives. Well, it's always been difficult, but I'm beginning to think that the elected officials and behind-the-scenes conservatives are working from a whole different playbook from the rabble. And their media lapdogs? I'd always assumed that they were in on the real story, while passing on talking points to the sheeple.

But how to parse this one? North Carolina has passed a whole bunch of restrictions on voting rights, from Voter ID to limiting early voting, to limiting what students can vote, and other measures. I watched All In With Chris Hayes, who had invited a Republican woman from North Carolina. Chris interviewed her, trying to pry out the reasoning behind the laws. All he got were the standard "protecting the sanctity of the vote" and anti-voter fraud answers. Was she feeding him what she wanted him to hear, or did she really have no other answers?

Steve Deace, an Iowa conservative (and how) talk show host posted on Facebook that he was truly baffled how anybody could be against Voter ID, since you need ID to rent a video at Blockbuster (how quaint). Is Deace really clueless as to the whole raft of other voting restrictions that came along with Voter ID? Has he really never heard why liberals are against these sorts of laws? Does he really believe that voter fraud is rampant in America?

Listen, folks, I know that the arguments for having ID to vote sound really, really good. You do need ID for all sorts of things less important than voting. But the fact remains--though it's hard to personally imagine--that tens and hundreds of thousands of voters don't have the ID. Some have been voting without it for their whole lives, going back to the fifties or earlier. In many cases, these people live in areas where the locations and times for acquiring legal ID is restrictive, sometimes purposefully so. You know how they pass tough restrictions on abortion clinics, like the width of hallways, or admitting rights at a hospital, and then they pass a law that hospitals can't grant admitting rights? It's often like that, a catch-22.

It is also true that voter fraud is vanishingly rare. The motives for passing Voter ID laws is not voter fraud. The proof is in the admissions of several conservatives saying things like "Voter ID is going to win for us in Pennsylvania," and in the fact that so many other restrictions are passed along with them.

If you honestly think that wiping out voter fraud is the primary reason for Republicans passing all of these laws, you have got to be hopelessly na├»ve.


N.C. sued soon after voter ID bill signed into law

North Carolina Gov. Patrick McCrory has signed a sweeping voting reform bill that imposes strict photo identification requirements on the state's 4.5 million voters, rolls back the early voting period and repeals one-stop registration during early voting.

Almost immediately following the signing, civil rights groups filed lawsuits in federal court challenging the law. . .

Read more at: CBS News


Computer Woes Banished!!! . . . (Or Are They?)

It wasn't quite this bad.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: This is computer geek stuff, if you have no interest in that, please scroll on by!]

Ever since I bought my iomega cloud external hard drive, it's been trouble. For one thing, they make you send an email to whatever computer you're going to need access from, and then install their connectivity software on it. Their clunky connectivity software. My aim with this system was to integrate my work experience between home and work. Sometimes I need my work files when I'm home, sometimes I need my home files when I'm at work.

I discovered quite by accident that the Western Digital MyBook Live drive we have at work was itself a cloud drive, but it's come in handy a couple of times. It's very slow, but it always works. So, when I purchased the iomega, it was in the aim of getting pretty much the same thing. It's not. The drive never worked very well, though it usually worked from my desktop computer at home. Remote access was tenuous at best, and nonexistent at worst. I struggled with it for about a year. But when I got my new Windows 8 computer, its faults and glitches became intolerable.

The iomega Home Media cloud drive.
Stay away. By the way, they're Lenovo
now, so don't be fooled!
Problem was, I couldn't be sure that it was the drive that was the main problem. My HP Pavilion 500-037c system came with both Ethernet and wireless connections, and initially, I just hooked up the wireless. Things went swimmingly at first. I installed all my software, hooked up the drive, got everything going, even mapped the shared folders on the iomega. I also upgraded to Windows 8.1, which--if you're wondering--is a much needed improvement over Windows 8. Everything seemed fine, though truth be told, I wasn't up and running for very long before I ran into a small issue.

The new WD drive. So far, it's
better and faster. I will update
if things change. By the way,
it even will link to your
phone or tablet!
In AOL, which I by (18-year) habit use as my main email reader and for some other things, I found that the emails weren't displaying their headers, as in no information about the sender, time, date, or anything. When trying to remedy this situation, I tried the third or fourth solution I found online, which was uninstalling and reinstalling the software. The AOL uninstaller has three components, including a virtual internet adapter (who knows why). Removing that element seemed to be a mistake, though I really can't be sure now.

Anyway, upon restarting, I found that I had no internet connection. More than that, there weren't even any networks listed, where there is usually mine and several others from my neighborhood. After futzing around for a while, it became clear that I'd need to plug into the router with a Cat-5 cable, and even that didn't work without more tweaking. Eventually, I got on through the wire, but had lost the iomega cloud drive! After being frustrated nearly to tears, and having attempted Windows Restore three times, only to be told it failed, I said "screw this" and told Windows to refresh back to its original state. I knew this would mean reinstalling all the software, but supposedly keep my files (which it didn't, glad I had backups).

This seemed to work for just a little while. The iomega drive became much more problematic, only being accessible through Windows Explorer, and then not all the time. The wireless internet came back briefly, and then was gone. I got out a little USB wireless adapter from an old computer, and even that was unstable. And maddeningly, frustratingly, the iomega would only connect while there was a live wireless connection. Otherwise, it would refuse to connect. My MacBook Pro could see the drive through the network (even though it has never been able to connect remotely), but that was it. As I said, it has always been trouble, and I was sort of at the end of my rope with computer troubles. When it wouldn't connect at all from work the other day, I decided I'd had enough.

There's a Fry's Electronics on my way home from work, and I resolved on Monday to buy a new drive on my way home. I figured, hey, even if it doesn't solve all of my problems, it will at least solve some of them. On Fry's very long aisle of external drives, I found WD's MyBook series in a variety of flavors, and compared a few. Lucky for me, I realized that none of them were cloud drives, and moved on down to the end. HAZAH! MyBook Lives were at the end of the row, and no more expensive than the non-cloud versions. Before buying, I told the sales rep my issue, asked what he would buy, and he picked up the one I'd already thought I'd buy. $119 later (same price as my iomega, and 2 terabytes instead of 1), and I had it.

If you're still with me, hey, how ya doin'!  You'll be surprised to know that my iomega stayed active long enough for me to copy its contents onto the new drive. And I was surprised to find that Western Digital has simplified their software to the point of ridiculous ease. And I don't need to install it on the remote computers! I just send an email from my home computer, open it in any browser on any computer, log in and VOILA! The only catch is that it uses Java, which requires irritating updates almost as often as Adobe Reader.

Even better, after I uninstalled the iomega software, and reinstalled my computer's network drivers from HP, things seem to be back to normal. Better yet, the WD drive does not require the wireless adapter to work (it made no sense that the iomega did, but there you go). I am by no means ready to declare victory. The wireless may flake out on me again. But at this point? The router is right next to the computer anyway, and if I can see my files all the time, the wireless really doesn't matter very much. If it flakes again, it will gnaw at my computer guru psyche, but that's all.

But after all of this? The AOL mail headers still don't display. Ain't that a bitch?

UPDATE: Well, the wireless is out again, so it either had nothing to do with the iomega, or maybe it does. . .and there's some kind of crap left over causing issues. But the good news is the drive still works just fine. The bad news is, I'll be on the phone all day on Friday with HP trying to fix the damned thing (or it will drive me crazy).
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