Monday, September 30, 2013

Right Wing Troll Boy (Rocky Mountain Mike Song Parody)

If you've ever listened to liberal talk radio (and kudos if you have, you really have to seek it out), you've heard obviously paid (or coached) shills. Callers who claim to have just come upon this show, and that they are down-the-middle independents. They will fall all over themselves, declaring their lack of partisanship. But then they belie their true positions, with their obvious talking points and inability to argue outside the parameters of their script.

Rocky Mountain Mike has captured the phenomenon in this delightful parody of Glen Campbell's Rhinestone Cowboy.


Ted Cruz, Translated for Sane People

Ugh. Image from source, Huffington Post
Yesterday, as I watched the Sunday political talk shows (remote at the ready for zapping through them), I was rolling my eyes so hard, I thought they'd pop out of my head. Republican after Republican bent and twisted their responses to questions to make the "defund Obamacare" portion of the budget bill to be a "compromise," and to make it out that it was President Obama and Harry Reid who want the government to shut down. It's extortion by the GOP, and they're honestly trying to sell it as a reasonable request, and that Democrats are the reckless ones.

Worse than them all though, was Sen. Ted Cruz on Meet the Press. Though David Gregory was uncharacteristically semi-aggressive with his questioning, there remains the problem of Gregory giving Cruz the plum spot on the show, right at the top, with no sparring partner. And then Cruz was the absolute picture of your typical "dance a little sidestep" bob-and-weave politician, that is oh-so-typical on these Sunday shows. Wasn't Cruz supposed to be different, tea baggers?

Mercifully, someone at HuffPo has condensed and translated Cruz's responses into something much easier to follow.


Ted Cruz Was On Meet The Press And Struggled With Brevity, So Here's The Short Version

As Cruz has demonstrated troubles with prolixity -- and because these troubles make everyone's life a little harder -- I am going to boil his answers in a Sunday "Meet the Press" interview down into their simplest form so that for once, Ted Cruz doesn't have to be such a long-winded pain in the ass of John Boehner or anyone else. . .

It's good, read more at: Huffington Post

Blast from the Past: Same Name, Pop Music Edition

Boy, I tell you, when it comes time to write a new Blast from the Past, I've lately been just so busy with other things that I haven't had the time to do the research. Sorry about that. But when I pick a rerun, I do try to find a fun one. This one fits the bill, I think. From August 1, 2011 (with a couple of edits).

There was briefly a show on CBS with a simple premise and simpler name: Same Name. I have no idea of the quality of the show, but basically, it has a famous person and a non-famous person with the same name (like David Hasselhoff or Kathy Griffin), and has them learn about each other's lives. I never sampled the show. But the title inspired this week's Blast from the Past.
As with movie titles, and television shows, many songs share a title or have very similar titles with other songs. Sometimes, both are hits, and even sometimes, both songs chart at nearly the same time. Back in the 80s, I remember noting that "I Can't Wait" was the title of two hit songs out at practically the same time, once by Nu Shooz, and once by Stevie Nicks, both in early 1986.

Also in the 80s, Van Halen had a hit with"Jump" and the Pointer Sisters had the very different "Jump (For My Love)." Both were hits early in 1984.

Prince and Sheena Easton teamed up for a song called "U Got the Look," in 1987. A little more than a year later, Roxette released simply "The Look." The songs are different, but largely on the same topic, with Roxette's lyrics saying "she's got" rather than Prince's "U got."

But I think the all time champ for songs with the same name at practically the same time would have to go to the cheesy 90s group Wilson Phillips and the slightly better En Vogue, who both released hit songs called "Hold On" within a day of each other in February 1990.

I'm sure there are other examples, and of course there are TONS that happened many more years apart. But that's it for this week's installment. Happy Monday, everyone!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Over Time with Bill Maher, September 27, 2013

Rude Pundit Explains GOP Debt Ceiling Extortion Attempt

I can only aspire to rival The Rude Pundit
Best analogy ever:


Here's the entire strange, ominous, and enraging place we find ourselves in our politics right now, boiled down to a simple conversation, a playlet, if you will:

Sane Person: We need food. Can I use your car to go to the store?
Crazy Person: We do need food. However, you can use my car only if you punch yourself in the balls until you vomit.
Sane Person: That's ridiculous. One thing has nothing to do with the other. How would that accomplish anything?
Crazy Person: It's what I want.
Sane Person: Well, I guess we'll just starve.
Crazy Person: Yes, but remember that if we starve, it will be your fault because you didn't punch yourself in the balls until you vomit.



Read more at: The Rude Pundit

Friday, September 27, 2013

Report: Man-Caused Global Warming Virtually Certain

Image from source, Huffington Post
To this I say, well, DUH. I've always thought it was incredibly nonsensical to think that we could pollute to the levels we have for as long as we have and not have something to do with changing the climate. I mean, to have measurable, obvious differences in climate in my lifespan of less than 50 years? How could it not be because we're pumping pollutants into the air, water and ground?

Also, I've yet to hear a logical argument for motive on the part of climate scientists to lie to us about it. They're climatologists. They get paid whatever the climate is. It makes much more sense to me that the energy companies have a huge motive to deny climate change. And when you throw in that the right wing--which is wrong about virtually everything--is heavy on the denialism, it just makes it that much more obvious.


IPCC Climate Change Report Expresses Extreme Confidence In Human Cause Of Global Warming

Scientists now believe it's "extremely likely" that human activity is the dominant cause of global warming, a long-term trend that is clear despite a recent plateau in the temperatures, an international climate panel said Friday. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

"Pants on Fire" Myths About ObamaCare

There's a bunch of 'em. . .
Source: The fantastic

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Daily Show Mocks Ted Cruz: "The Bore-Ax"

More Ted Cruz? Yes, because it's just too rich with absurdity to drop just yet. And what drubbing is complete without hearing what The Daily Show with Jon Stewart has to say about it? Riffing off of Cruz's ill-advised reading of Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham (a story whose moral Cruz obviously didn't understand), Stewart gives us The Bore-Ax.
Jon Stewart uses Dr. Seuss to mock Ted Cruz’s ‘hours of mouth masturbation’

Since Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) took some time during his 21-hour speech against the Affordable Care Act to read Green Eggs & Ham, Daily Show host Jon Stewart used his own Dr. Seuss character, “The Bore-Ax,” to explain the problems with Cruz’s stance. “Ted talked about healthcare, compared it to Nazis,” Stewart read to his audience. “As comparisons go, he was off by a lot-zi. Healthcare, he said, would end this great nation. A point made after hours of mouth masturbation. . .”

Read more at: Raw Story

"ObamaCare" Looks to be Less Expensive Than Anyone Expected

Image from source, Think Progress
Did Ted Cruz cover any of this in his fauxlibuster on Tuesday? Doubtful, right? Though there were countless cringe-worthy things said ("How long was the 100 Years' War?"), they were mostly things that made us cringe, whereas the facts would make Ted cringe.


New Report: For 95% Of Americans, Obamacare Will Cost Much Less Than Expected

When uninsured Americans begin enrolling in Obamacare’s new health care exchanges on Oct. 1, the overwhelming majority — 95 percent — will face health care premiums that are 16 percent lower, on average, than the government had previously projected, according to a new report released on Wednesday by the Obama administration. . .

Read more at: Think Progress

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

John Kerry Signs UN Treaty, Gun Rights Advocates. . .Up in Arms

Apropos of nothing, what's going on with
Kerry's face anyway? Image from
source, Huffington Post
Heh, sorry about the pun in the headline, but have you notice how many hackneyed gun metaphors we have? On target, locked and loaded, half-cocked, they're just everywhere. It's like an atheist (like me) trying to avoid saying "oh, god" or "Jesus Christ!" Oddly enough, religion seems tangled up in the gun rights battle. In fact, their love for guns seems to be equal parts politics, religion and sexual fetish. There is no faster way to get a rise out of anybody than to raise the specter of gun control.

So, is it any wonder that an treaty having to do with guns, signed by Secretary of State John Kerry (a DemonRat!) might get a rise out of them?


Arms Trade Treaty, Signed By John Kerry, Opens New Front In Senate Battle Over Gun Control

The latest front in the Senate battle over gun control opened Wednesday, as Secretary of State John Kerry signed the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty in New York. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

A Little Fun at Ted Cruz's Expense

I've already shown you Right Wing World's reaction to Ted Cruz's Senate fauxlibuster. I showed you why it's pointless. And here are are couple of people having a really good time with the whole thing:


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Why Ted Cruz's Grandstanding Doesn't Matter

A face only a caricature artist could love. Image
from source, Think Progress
I wrote about this myself a bit ago, but if you'd prefer a bit more of a thorough explanation for why Ted Cruz's fauxlibuster is just a lot of hot air, here you go.


Why Ted Cruz’s Anti-Obamacare Grandstanding Doesn’t Matter At All

On Tuesday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) took to the floor to speak against the health reform law, attempting to block a funding bill from coming to a vote in the Senate. Cruz has been pushing to derail the funding bill unless it includes a provision to defund Obamacare — a far-right strategy which could ultimately force the federal government to shut down next week, and which doesn’t actually have the support of GOP leadership or the vast majority of Republican voters. Nonetheless, when he began speaking on Tuesday afternoon, Cruz vowed to continue his “speaking filibuster” until he is “no longer able to stand. . .”

Read more at: Think Progress

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Ted Cruz Mounts Faux Filibuster, Right Wing World Goes Wild!

There are at least two things wrong with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and his "defund ObamaCare" filibuster: a) he's "blocking" cloture on a bill he actually supports, and b) the actual "bill" is not yet before the Senate. It is therefore not a filibuster and has no practical effect whatsoever. It's grandstanding at its most overt and most self-congratulatory. Cruz is doing this to pump up Cruz in Cruz's base. That's it.

South Park's Randy Marsh, after having been denied access
to the internet for far too long. And, what the average
FReeper looks like right now.
It's working, in that limited scope. I checked out* to see what they thought of the spectacle. Comments were racking up as fast as I could read them, and the overall attitude there could be best expressed in the image of Stan's dad Randy, from South Park, shown here. In short, they like it a whole, whole lot. To the point of absurdity. The cheerleading there exceeds the most rabid right-winger's idea of what an "Obama-Bot" feels for the President to a ridiculous degree.  What's more, most of them seem to be under the misapprehension that this is an actual filibuster. Those lonely realist FReepers willing to point out the obvious, are shrugged off in exchange for the euphoria the rest of the crowd is feeling. Which is why the South Park image is so perfect.

Feel free to check it out, but by all means, bring a moist towel with you: FreeRepublic.

By the way "fauxlibuster" has been trending on Twitter, and has been reacting with glee and snark in pretty much the opposite direction.

*And in case you're wondering FreeRepublic is a far-right wing website that fancies itself "real America." Though they are arguably fringe kooks, they are the Tea Party, the hardcore element of it, in any event. That's why I keep tabs on them, even though dipping a toe in that cesspool can be hazardous to ones health. And as a graphic artist, I have to also say that the site has never been redesigned since its debut in the mid-1990s. Calling it an eyesore would be too kind.

UPDATED: to add that upon reading more (why, I don't really know), it's kind of disturbing that you can't get through very many posts without calls to prayer, mentions of God and Jesus, and other intertwining of religion and politics. I mean, I shouldn't be surprised (God, guns 'n' gays, and all that), but these people are really treating this Ted Cruz sideshow like a religious experience.

In Case You Missed It: Over Time with Bill Maher, September 20, 2013

Monday, September 23, 2013

Ted Cruz: The Distinguished Wacko Bird from Texas

Image from source, GQ
Posted for content, but mostly for the headline, which is hilarious.


Ted Cruz: The Distinguished Wacko Bird from Texas

It's hard for Ted Cruz to be humble. Part of the challenge stems from his résumé, which the Texas senator wears like a sandwich board. There's the Princeton class ring that's always on his right hand and the crimson gown that, as a graduate of Harvard Law School, he donned when called upon to give a commencement speech earlier this year. (Cruz's fellow Harvard Law alums Barack Obama and Mitt Romney typically perform their graduation duties in whatever robes they're given.) . . .

Read more at: GQ

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

Another weekend gone, and between the Emmy Awards, chores, work, dealing with a mystery ailment, and adjusting to a "bland food" diet, I'm a little too spent to come up with a brand new Blast from the Past this week. But since I'm thinking of yummy, delicious foods, here's a rerun from the earlier days of the blog. I double-checked, and the videos are still good. I even embiggened them for you! Enjoy.


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

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

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

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

Happy Monday everybody.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

So, About that "Citizen Hero" Theory to End Mass Shootings

This is what I've been saying, but said better. Take a look.


Do Armed Civilians Stop Mass Shooters? Actually, No.

In the wake of the unthinkable massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, pro-gun ideologues are once again calling for ordinary citizens to arm themselves as a solution to mass shootings. If only the principal at Sandy Hook Elementary School had possessed a M-4 assault rifle she could've stopped the killer, they say. This latest twist on a long-running argument isn't just absurd on its face; there is no evidence to support it. As I reported recently in our in-depth investigation, not one of 62 mass shootings in the United States over the last 30 years has been stopped this way. More broadly, attempts by armed civilians to intervene in shooting rampages are rare—and are successful even more rarely. (Two people who tried it in recent years were gravely wounded or killed.) And law enforcement overwhelmingly hates the idea of armed citizens getting involved. . .

Read more at: Mother Jones

Rude Pundit Explains Dickishness of Congress' Budget Vote

Lee Papa, The Rude Pundit
Republicans are adamant that if the Senate or the President shuts down their bargain--we'll pass a continuing resolution on the budget if ObamaCare is defunded--then it will be Democrats who shut down the government.  This is a lot like being blackmailed and refusing to pay, and then having the blackmailer claim you're responsible for your own broken knee caps. And if you think that's maybe not the best turn of a phrase, or a strained analogy, then just check out The Rude Pundit's take on the whole thing. It's brilliant.


The Next Step in Budget Blackmail: Forced Resignation?

Let us say, and why not, that back sometime in mid-2007, when President George W. Bush's approval rating was consistently below 35%, heading to sporadically below 30% in 2008, the Democratic-led House of Representatives decided that, since they couldn't get enough votes to impeach and convict Bush on, let's say, war crimes, they would allow the government to continue operating with a continuing resolution only if Bush and Cheney resigned from office. Indeed, at nearly the same time as the continuing resolution was passed, so was a hike in the debt ceiling, which was expected to be hit in October 2007. So, yes, they could have even said they'd allow the U.S. to default if Bush and Cheney didn't step down. . . 

 Read more at: The Rude Pundit

Friday, September 20, 2013

What a Nut Job! (Rocky Mountain Mike Song Parody)

Right Wing World is screwy, as Rocky Mountain Mike will show you (with an assist from Mary in Ann Arbor), with this parody of Heart's What About Love. Enjoy!


Don't Take Your Guns to Starbucks (Rocky Mountain Mike Song Parody)

Even a heart attack can't keep Rocky Mountain Mike down. Here's his take (to the tune of Johnny Cash's Don't Take Your Guns to Town) on the absolute asshats who insist on making public spectacles of themselves by carrying their weapons into Starbucks (and elsewhere). C'mon, gun nuts, isn't that taking your fetish just a bit too far?


Blogger Down!: Health and Family Obligations Keep Blogger Away from Blogging!

Due to family and work obligations and a persistent (though hopefully minor) health ailment requiring a doctor visit, I'll be having a difficult time getting to the blog from now through the weekend. Thanks for visiting and come back soon! I'll be back before long, and probably getting something up between all of the hubbub. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Real "ObamaCare" Swindle

Image from source, Daily Beast
Ever wonder why conservatives are so rabid about defunding, dismantling and destroying the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare)? Follow the money. . .


The Obamacare Swindle (It’s Not What You Think)

House Republican leadership does not want a government shutdown over Obamacare, but the agitation of conservative activists might make one inevitable. That’s not good news for Republicans. After the debt ceiling crisis in 2011, congressional approval ratings dipped to their lowest ever, with Republicans taking a huge hit; in one survey, 71 percent of respondents disapproved with the GOP’s handling of the debt limit. In another, 68 percent said the same (PDF). . .

Read more at: Daily Beast

Messin' With Texas: Idiot Texan Argues for Creationism in Science Books

You're a genius. Image from Raw Story.
It's hard out here for a non-believer. Especially if you're the argumentative type like me, who just can't seem to avoid commenting in Facebook, Twitter or message boards. Because I'm a gay atheist (gaytheist!) and a liberal, I very often find myself arguing with religious types about all sorts of things. And the biggest problems stem from the religious person's insistence that their faith is on par with facts. No, worse than that: if facts seem to dispute their faith, it is faith that wins the argument, from their perspective!

Here's a fact: creationism isn't science. It isn't anything like science. So, ipso facto, it doesn't belong in science books. Period. What the hell is the matter with Texas and religious nutjobs? Is that redundant?


Former Texas Board of Education chair argues for ‘final blow’ to evolution studies

The former chair of the Texas State Board of Education appeared at a board meeting this week to argue in favor of a new science textbooks he hoped would strike “the final blow” to studying evolution. . .

Read more at: Raw Story

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Oil And Gas Companies Not Prepared for Colorado Flooding

Image from source, Think Progress
Yuck. My question is, will this sludge end up in Lake Mead?


Colorado Floodwaters Cover Fracking And Oil Projects: ‘We Have No Idea What Those Wells Are Leaking’

Colorado flooding has not only overwhelmed roads and homes, but also the oil and gas infrastructure stationed in one of the most densely drilled areas in the U.S. Although oil companies have shut down much of their operations in Weld County due to flooding, nearby locals say an unknown amount of chemicals has leaked out and possibly contaminated waters, mixing fracking fluids and oil along with sewage, gasoline, and agriculture pesticides. . .

Read more at: Think Progress

The Gay Thing: Michigan Republicans Want to Regulate Your Sexy Times

Remind me again please, which party is it that is against government regulations? And exactly how can the state presume to "regulate" sex and procreation anyway? Are GOP busybodies unaware that a) people have sex--and babies--without getting married, b) people sometimes have sex--and no babies--even if they are married. This is extra dumb reasoning, in a desperate attempt to find a legal reason why gay people can't get married. Why don't they just come out and say it: they think gay people are "sinners" and that their relationships are inferior to straight ones? Because that is the bottom line, and everybody knows it.


Michigan Fighting To Keep Ban On The Gay Marriage ‘To Regulate Sexual Relationships’ Like That’s A Good Thing

Oh sigh. We are so tired of these dead-enders who can’t accept that the gay agenda is totes coming to your town, thanks to that raging gay homosexual judicial activist (but only when he rules against the right; otherwise he’s just doing what Thomas Jesus Jefferson would have wanted) Justice Anthony Kennedy,
who was all, like, “Huh, why do we have some dumb law that makes gays unequal when we are ‘Merica and are supposed to be super hot for equality?” (We are paraphrasing a little. But just a little.) . . .

Read more at: Wonkette

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Gun Violence: A Recurrent American Problem

For some reason, we're not allowed to point to guns themselves as any part of the problem. Which is curious. When they say "guns don't kill people, people kill people," I always wonder how well these killers would do with a cocked finger. The guns are positively part of the problem. And our fetish for them is no excuse for denying that fact.

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Daily Show: Jon Stewart's Take on Lindsey Graham

Oh, my stars! I may just get the vapors!


Monday, September 16, 2013

Another Mass Shooting: Washington Navy Yard

How many times is something like this going to happen? Arguably, on into infinity, since it is apparently impossible to do anything whatsoever about guns. At all. At all. At all. No matter what, our gun fetish is so all-consuming, its place in the Constitution so somehow overriding of every other right, that nothing is ever going to change. So, this will happen over and over.

As usual, the chorus from the right that "if only there were more good guys with guns. . ." is ringing out. It's an overly simplistic, best-case-scenario, dream-world, go-to response. It doesn't take into account friendly fire, people mistaking the good guy for a bad guy, or the fact that your average Joe isn't freakin' Dirty Harry. Also as usual, if you visit Right Wing World, you'll find a hyper-defensiveness, and a readiness to assign motives that fit their world view. And odd, repurposed (and vaguely racist) insults of President Obama, stuff like, "is he going to say the shooter looks like his son?" [Story continues below]

And as usual, there will be mutterings of doing something, but after getting bupkis despite a big push after Sandy Hook, nobody will have the energy to do so. And nobody seems to have the clarity of mind to say out loud that "the answer to gun violence is more guns" is a lot like mutually assured destruction.


Washington Navy Yard shooting leaves at least 12 dead plus gunman Aaron Alexis

A former Navy reservist went on a shooting rampage Monday inside a building at the heavily secured Washington Navy Yard, firing from a balcony onto office workers in the cafeteria below, authorities and witnesses said. Twelve people were killed, plus the gunman. . .

Read more at: CBS News


Frivolity Break: Ginger Cat Vs. The Paper Army

Hilarious, and very well done! Git 'em, kitty!

Blast from the Past: Cookies!

Blast from the Past is often a challenge for me, because first I have to decide on a topic. Should it be relevant to anything going on, or random? Once I have a topic, should it be in depth with tons of commentary, or do I just let the clips speak for themselves? And the biggie: how much time will it take? Because sometimes, especially if I'm going heavy on the commentary, a typical post can take an hour. And that's after brain-storming on what to write about!

This week, I decided I don't need some big newsworthy tie-in. And I don't need a lot of commentary when the subject is purely nostalgic: cookies! From the past of course. The commercials speak to our pop-culture history and need no further help from me. Look close, you might see some famous faces. So, dig in. . .

I'm hungry now. Happy Monday!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Deal Reached in Syria Over Chemical Weapons

It would seem war has been averted. While things in the region could always relapse (it's a pattern), for now, we're not going into yet another battle. FOX "News" and the rest of Right Wing World will of course somehow make this a bad thing, since President Barack Obama is the guy occupying the Oval Office. But you know what, 'baggers? If you're going to give St. Ronnie Reagan the credit for single-handedly ending the Cold War, and bringing down the Berlin Wall (even though it happened under Poppy Bush, and even he didn't know it was going to happen), you're going to have to get comfortable with Obama getting credit for this one. Again, barring some other typical Middle-east dustup that throws things cattywompus. History won't care that you have an irrational hatred for the man.


U.S., Russia agree to framework on Syria chemical weapons

Russia and the United States announced Saturday that they have reached a groundbreaking deal on a framework to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons, after talks in Switzerland. . .

Read more at:

Right Wing World's Puzzling Love Affair with Vladimir Putin

We should have known when the Republican Party was willingly branded "Red" America, as opposed to the Democrats' "Blue." You could argue that this was an accident, a happenstance of how the networks colored electoral maps on television. But that would be ignoring that the colors changed from year to year, and network to network, before sticking on our current red/blue dichotomy.

So, the GOP has taken the red identity, something that used to mean communist pinko. But it's starting to make sense with the right's new found love for Russian President Vladimir Putin. Ol' Vlad seems to be their guy these days, trying to embarrass President Obama, playing hardball with gay people. He's the rising conservative superstar. I wouldn't be surprised if he endorses a GOP presidential candidate in 2016.

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What Happens in Vegas: Property with Spacious 70s-Era Bomb Shelter for Sale

There are a couple of surprising things about this story, first, that an unassuming Las Vegas house has a huge fallout shelter beneath it that would rival most 70s upper-middle-class homes. And second that I've driven right past this area countless times over the past 20 years, and never knew it was there. I used to shortcut down Viking to get to the Boulevard Mall, back when people still went to malls. And on several occasions, I've eaten at the TGIFridays that is this home's next-door neighbor. Wild.

Image from source, AOL
Las Vegas Bomb Shelter for Sale: Luxurious Blast From the Past

While "unique" is probably the most overused word in real estate listings, this five-bedroom, six-bath Las Vegas home just blocks from the Strip delivers on that while still managing to be one of those trendy luxury doomsday bunkers. The luxuries in this case are 1970s vintage, though -- hot tub, outdoor barbecue, intercom, large master bath -- and actually date from kind of late in the era of Cold War paranoia that started driving people to build nuclear bomb shelters back in the 1950s. . .

Read more at: AOL

That's the place. Click to embiggen.

The Flash is Likely Coming to Television (Again)

Grant Gustin, cast to play The Flash, image from Huffington Post.
I'm not sure I can figure out what DC Comics is up to. As a long-time fan, I've watched with jealousy while Marvel Comics fans have reaped most of the rewards, with their ultra-successful string of superhero movies. After failures (Daredevil, Electra, The Punisher), middling successes (The Fantastic Four, Ghost Rider), and mid-sized hits (The X-Men series), and blockbusters (Spider-Man, two series) Marvel's own production house has had the Midas touch with everything from Iron Man through The Avengers, and on to even more sequels.

Meanwhile, DC fans had to be happy with various versions of Superman on the small screen (Superboy, Lois & Clark, Smallville) and big screen to varying degrees of success, and two successful Batman movie series. Most everything else has been a flop or at least didn't land in the public I liked Green Lantern and Superman Returns, I would seem to be in the distinct minority. Even Man of Steel, which made 2/3 of a billion dollars, was seen my many as a "disappointment," leaving many DC fans in the doldrums. Recently, that's changed with Arrow, oddly another DC Universe similar to, but different from Smallville, this time centered around the Green Arrow character. Like Smallville, Arrow is showcasing other DC heroes. But this time, one of them is getting a spinoff.
Last time The Flash came to TV (1990), he was John Wesley-Shipp.
consciousness as a "DC Comics" success story. Even though

I've been a Flash fan as long as I've been a comics fan. He was always my favorite, probably because of his wacky "rogues gallery," and the fantastical, bizarre situations he'd find himself in. Even as a kid, I'd seek out back-issues, as far back as I could afford. When a customer on my paper route volunteered that she'd sell me her son's old 60s Flash comics, it was like winning the lottery for me. So, a TV adaptation of my favorite hero is quite exciting. It's been done before, of course, in 1990, in a fun but quirky one-season run (pun intended). But I'm hoping that they do it right, and manage to work the Arrow/Flash universe into the Man of Steel/Batman universe. Otherwise, a future Justice League could be very confusing for consumers. Though I'm sure there are a few Smallville fans who are a bit confused by the new Arrow universe anyway.


'The Flash': Grant Gustin Cast As Barry Allen For 'Arrow' And Potential Spin-Off

"Glee's" Grant Gustin has been cast as Barry Allen (AKA The Flash) on "Arrow," The CW announced Friday. He'll appear in episodes 208, 209 and 220 of "Arrow" Season 2, and if the character is well-received, headline the proposed Flash spinoff. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

Friday, September 13, 2013

Is it Over for Ted Cruz After Praising Jesse Helms?

I'm sorry, but with that full-body frown, he just looks constipated.
Image from Huffington Post.
When Trent Lott helped the extremely elderly Strom Thurmond celebrate a birthday by butt-kissing him, it effectively ended Lott's career. You just can't get that cozy with a public person that well known as a rabid racist. Oddly though, ol' Strom had been a bit rehabilitated by then, and was even known to have a (surprise!) black daughter! Oh, my. But it was still curtains for Lott.

Whither Ted Cruz? The freshman Senator from Texas, a tea party darling, has cozied up to the memory of Senator Jesse Helms. Now Helms was never rehabilitated in any sense. He was an unapologetic segregationist. He was a nasty homophobe. He tried to block Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a holiday. He did have a lot of arch-conservative bona fides, but they were all presented in a vicious, combative, pinched, unpleasant, confrontational way. And Cruz is apparently a fan of Helms' methods.

But what about Helms' beliefs? Is Ted on board with all of that crap? I assume there is a portion of the tea baggin' base that would have voted for Helms in a heartbeat. But can the GOP actually let Cruz ride on that kind of reputation? Can they take the id of the tea party, and fly that philosophy front-and-center?

Full disclosure: I loathed Jesse Helms with every fiber of my being, while he was in office. And I wasn't even attuned to politics much at the time. Also, since the first time I saw Ted Cruz, I thought he looked like a sanctimonious ass, and I didn't even know his name or party yet. My first impression was pretty well on the money though. And I still can't believe he's younger than me.

Ted Cruz: 'We Need 100 More Like Jesse Helms' In The Senate

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said Wednesday that the country would be better off if the Senate was full of people like Jesse Helms, the late senator who was ardently opposed to all kinds of civil rights measures and even tried to block the Senate from approving a federal holiday in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

And if you're wanting a rightward view of this little happening, how about a little Jennifer Rubin, who doesn't have much nice to say about Cruz either.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Double-standard on Recall Elections?

Image from source, Wonkette
Back when Wisconsin Governor Scott Wanker Walker faced a recall election, the prevailing wisdom was that recalls are for elected officials who have done something wrong. Not something unpopular, but committed a crime, or done something unethical. So, even though Walker was deeply unpopular, he managed to keep his seat, because Wisconsinites thought a recall wasn't the right thing to do.

Tuesday in Colorado, there was a recall election that was successful. A couple of legislators who'd been behind some modest gun control measures were recalled. They didn't commit a crime, or do anything unethical. They just went against the NRA, a lobbying group with very deep pockets and a fanatical base. Of course, recalling legislators for unpopular actions rather than crimes isn't without precedent. It was done in Iowa with state Supreme Court justices who'd decided in favor of marriage equality. In fact it was attempted in two separate elections, though it failed on its last try.

But I guess I'd like to see a little consistency in the conventional wisdom. Are recall elections for unpopular (or just unpopular with a small but vigilant group) a good thing or a bad thing?


NRA Fires Two Colorado State Senators For Doing Their Jobs And Voting On Stuff
Welcome to the USofNRA! And woe be unto you, any politician who dares to cross our not so new overlords in this quick-draw special interest group, by trying to maybe take high-capacity magazines from any maybe-crazy-maybe-not person who wants to get their warm, live fingers on a gun. Because in Colorado, where two rather awful mass-murdering shooting sprees were committed by some awfully deranged mass-murdering spree shooters in Columbine and Aurora, state Senator Angela Giron and Senate President John Morse were straight up recalled by 56% and 51% respectively of the maybe voter suppressed folks in their districts, because “Morse and Democrats passed laws that limit ammunition magazines to 15 rounds and require universal background checks on all gun sales and transfers. . .”

Read more at Wonkette

The Black NRA

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

FOX's Neil Cavuto Ponders: Is Syria Attack an Indicator of the Second Coming?

Kent Brockman Neil Cavuto, image from Raw Story
Yeah, you know, people can make digs that MSNBC is the liberal version of FOX "News." But honestly--beside the fact that "news" isn't in MSNBC's name--is there anything like this ridiculous babble coming out of Rachel Maddow or Lawrence O'Donnell? Really?


Fox anchor asks viewers to consider if bombing Syria is a harbinger of the Second Coming of Christ

Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto on Monday devoted an entire segment to the possibility that a United States attack on Syria could be a sign of the End Times, a period in which Christians believe that Jesus Christ will return to face the emergence of the Antichrist. “This Syria stuff is way old,” Cavuto explained. “I mean Old Testament old. That’s how old I’m talking about. Don’t laugh. Some biblical scholars say it’s all there in black and white. . .”

Read more at: The Raw Story

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

My Remembrance of September 11, 2001 [Revisited]

The following is my annual repost of my personal remembrance of September 11, 2001, with slight revisions and additions. . .

Today is the day when we look at the calendar, and nearly flinch. September 11, 2001 is distant to us in many ways, but now--amazingly--for the 12th time, we've all looked at that calendar page and have been taken back to where we were that morning.

I'm republishing my personal account of what happened to me that day, written in the early days of my blog. My story is no more special than yours, I know. But on a day when the date is sure to be used by many for political purposes, I wanted to have one post up that just remembers the day.

Photo of United Airlines Las Vegas-based Flight Attendants'
memorial service at Sunset Park, September 2001
(Originally published in the Las Vegas Review-Journal)*

Posts I've made today, and earlier in this blog's short history, have discussed or are related to 9/11. I'd rather not let the day go by without giving you the reader--and me the blogger--a little more, minus the political rhetoric.

I've become a deeply cynical person, you might say, at least as it regards politics. This is particularly true lately. But on Tuesday, September 11th, 2001 I wasn't thinking about any of that. Everyone who witnessed that day has their own story. Mine is no more relevant than yours, and is surely less traumatic than many.

I awoke that morning at my usual time, somewhere between 6:30 and 6:45 am. I had finished my morning ritual, and was just buttoning up my clothes when the phone rang. It was our friend, Larry, an American Airlines flight attendant, and he was crying. "Two planes have just hit the World Trade Center," he managed between sobs. This was startling news, but not yet sufficiently alarming for me to change my routine.

I passed the phone to The Other Half, and turned on the bedroom TV. There it was, and the slight alarm turned to a sinking feeling. This was big. We quickly learned that it was both United's and American Airlines' planes that hit the buildings, causing high alarm in the room, and on the other end of the phone. The Other Half, and our next-door neighbor/friend, were [and still are] both United flight attendants. And the neighbor was on a trip at an unknown location. My heart sank, and I nearly sobbed myself--with relief--that my partner was right there in the room with me, accounted for.

Not fully realizing the impact of what had happened, I began my journey to work. I switched on the radio, and was very shortly informed that the Pentagon was on fire. They did not yet know the cause. When I pulled into the parking lot at work, the radio announcer said that a plane was believed to have crashed in Pennsylvania. There was an erroneous report about an explosion somewhere else (maybe the White House?).  I said out loud, "the sky is falling." I fully expected at that point that a wave of attacks would continue throughout the morning. Thankfully, that did not come to pass.

Shortly after my arrival at work, The Other Half called, and told me one of the towers had fallen. Not long after, we heard the same about the other. We imagined the worst, that the buildings had fallen over, smashing all below. Thankfully, again, as bad as it was, it could have been worse.

We didn't get much work done that day. Someone went home and got a TV, and we spent much of our time in front of that fuzzy little picture. Later that day, we found that most of our friends, and their colleagues were accounted for. Our neighbor was stranded in New Orleans for over a week. We had quite the celebration upon his return.

The following days were surreal. I'd never seen Las Vegas without planes in the sky, and believe me, you notice. We watched hours upon hours of TV News, of course, like everyone else. And the casinos around town knee-jerk fired lots of people. We feared for our town.

Several days later, The Other Half went to a memorial service at Sunset Park, due east of McCarran Airport, with the Las Vegas United Airlines base crew. During the service, the first plane in days landed, flying right over the park. There was a swelling of spontaneous applause, as you'd imagine.

We were very lucky. We knew people who had friends-of-friends-of-friends who died that day, but fortunately (for our little world), were spared personal losses. One friend was quite well acquainted with one of the [United 93] pilots, and we had his wife to our house, but that was the extent of our direct contact. United, of course, had a very rocky ride of it, as did American. Many of the flight attendants left town, or left aviation. Las Vegas, predictably bounced back.


Las Vegas isn't feeling very bouncy this September 11th. Tourism is down, layoffs are widespread, hours (mine included) have been cut at many jobs. United Airlines and American Airlines are seemingly always under threat of going out of business. The neighbor moved to Florida not long after September 11th. The Other Half and I were married this year, and are doing well despite job worries. Whatever happens on November fourth, I think it will bookend 9/11/2001, and hopefully all of this will seem like a bygone era.


Things in Las Vegas haven't perked up much in the last year. We have, of course, moved from the Bush Era on into the Obama Era. It remains to be seen how that will play out. I'm not a lock-step liberal by any stretch, but I'm willing to give the President time and space.


Still waiting for the economy to pick up in Las Vegas, personally and city-wide. We lead the pack for foreclosures, unemployment and several other "worst of" lists. We did place first in a "best roads" in the US story, so that's something. All of these woes are put at the feet of: a) Barack Obama, if you are a partisan conservative, b) George W. Bush, if you're a partisan liberal, c) Harry Reid, if you're Sharron Angle, or d) the snowball effect of many factors, with blame to be shared by both political parties. I'm going with the last one. But I do have to wonder what the state of the economy and the United States in general might have been like if that clear blue skied Tuesday in September 2001 had been just an ordinary day.

Wow, 10 years. There are parts of that day that seem eerily recent. And then you remember everything that has happened since. Our two (main) wars--started in the immediate aftermath of 9/11--are still going on in one form or other. The economy noted in the updates above, hasn't improved much. Las Vegas is hanging in there, but a bit beaten and battered. And as I noted in 2010, this economic pickle might have been a bit different were it not for that one day. Maybe we still would have had a housing bubble, maybe the bankers and corporate fat cats would've still been crooks. But the whole deficit/debt sideshow might've been in  much, much better shape. Ugh. I wish things were a bit rosier for the 10-year anniversary of that rotten day. Maybe the 20? Or dare I wish it, the 11th or 12th?


In my yearly updates, I see I've gotten away from "not being political." Sorry about that, but what can you do? Everything is political these days. In 2012, our household actually is better off than we were four years ago, with everything except housing values looking up. Everyone is looking toward November's election, but very little has been made this year about 9/11, other than that this year is the first (oops) second time it's happened on a Tuesday since that fateful day. Though American Airlines is in bankruptcy this year, but United seems to be doing well with its Continental merger. In good news, the Iraq War is over. Still don't know what that had to do with 9/11. And sadly, Captain Dahl's widow died this year, oddly enough at the house of a friend of ours. So, at eleven years and counting, it's kind of a mixed bag. Here's to the day when we have to think about it to remember how many years it's been.

President Obama spoke last night, on the matter of what to do about Syria. The proximity to September 11, and our botched response to it weighs heavy over the whole thing. Then again, it also informs us about overheated, foolish reactions. Also, we have to keep in mind that last year, we were attacked in Benghazi,. Hopefully this year's anniversary will go by without anything like that. This year makes a dozen years, which means we're getting well into a time where high school kids probably don't remember much about the day as it happened. Their entire worldviews are of the "post-9/11" variety.

* Full disclosure: photo contains an image of my husband, our friends and his co-workers.

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