Thursday, November 28, 2013

WKRP in Cincinnati: "Turkeys Away!"

If you never watched WKRP in Cincinnati, this is the first episode you should watch. And if you did? Watch it again! It's a Thanksgiving tradition! Have a great Thanksgiving everybody.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

IRS To Crack Down on Bogus "Social Welfare" Tax Exempt Political Groups

Image from source, ThinkProgress


Treasury And IRS To Crack Down On Super PACs Masquerading As Tax-Exempt Social Welfare Groups
The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service issued proposed guidelines on Tuesday that could force dark-money political groups like Crossroads GPS and the American Future Fund to spend less of their money on campaign advertising and other overt electioneering. If implemented, this guidance would clarify what actions by tax-exempt social welfare organizations are limited “candidate-related political activity” and what actions can count toward their principal purpose. . .

Read more at: Think Progress

Lara Logan and 60 Minutes Producer Suspended Over Discredited Benghazi Story

Image from source, Raw Story
Not since "Rathergate" has 60 Minutes had so much egg on their face (and to be fair, that was 60 Minutes II). In that case, the conservative blogosphere nabbed one of their first scalps. It pretty much put the arch tea-bagger site on the map. This time, the shoe is kind of on the other foot. 60 Minutes was trying to play into a right-wing conspiracy theory, and got suckered by a guy who sold them a story that fit the narrative. Interestingly, the FReeper types still believe the discredited story, in kind of a reverse of the "story is true, but the evidence was fake" theme they made fun of with the Bush National Guard documents of Rathergate. I hope Dan Rather got a chuckle out of this one, at least.


Lara Logan and ’60 Minutes’ producer put on leave after discredited Benghazi report

CBS News confirmed on Monday that correspondent Lara Logan and producer Max McClellan had been effectively suspended from 60 Minutes after a discredited report on Benghazi that the network was later forced to retract. . .
Read more at: Raw Story

Alec Baldwin Let Go from "Up Late"

Image from The Hollywood Reporter
I could see this coming before the premiere. I'll confess to liking Alec Baldwin since before Beetlejuice despite his mercurial real-life. He's had relationship troubles, he's had family troubles, he's had temper troubles all over the place. He's threatened to leave the country and threatened to quit show business, more than once. I've lost count of the legit tabloid scandals. But he's a great actor, and actually a smart and astute political mind.

There just isn't a forum for this guy that would work. It's amazing that he held it together for as long as he did on 30 Rock. And thank goodness he did, given how good both he and the show were. But starting with the promos that ran on MSNBC with Ed Schultz (awkward), and then the title ("Up Late" at 10 pm on a Friday night?), the show just didn't look like a winner.

Honestly, I think I caught at least part of each episode, mostly because I was probably finishing playing Candy Crush Saga after watching The Rachel Maddow Show. It wasn't a news show. It was more like a quiet PBS interview show, or maybe something like Tom Snyder used to do. I was actually very interested in his 2001: A Space Odyssey reunion with Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood. But it didn't ever feel like a real show, with a long-term future. How could it?

"My" Alec Baldwin, with Geena Davis, in
Sometimes I feel like I need to defend a liberal who has been sort of shamed out of a job, especially if the right is heaping undeserved scorn on them. Not so much with Alec. I will continue to enjoy his past works, and I'll keep an eye on what he does in the future. But this was bound to happen.

Alec Baldwin's MSNBC show "Up Late" is ending.
The New York Post reported Tuesday that the host has been fired. A spokesman for Baldwin raised objections to the word "fired," but told the Post, “The show is not coming back. He had questions on whether he wanted to continue. . .”
Read more at: Huffington Post

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

President Obama's Historic Deal with Iran Not Good Enough for Republicans?

Image from source, Slate
I've happened upon the internet abbreviation "SMH" a lot lately. I don't know how new it is, maybe I just started noticing it. If you didn't know, it means "shaking my head." It can be a three-letter response to just about anything, and can impart general bewilderment, honest confusion, resigned dismissal, disappointment, or even a sarcastic put-down (in the Southern, "bless your heart" style). But I find myself actually shaking my head at a lot of recent news, and controversies.

That's how I feel about the conservative reaction to President Obama's historic nuclear deal with Iran. I'm even more convinced than ever that Republicans would a) disagree with anything and everything this President ever did or will ever do, and b) will withhold credit for anything positive he ever accomplishes.

We Have a Deal With Iran. A Good One.
The Iranian nuclear deal struck Saturday night is a triumph. It contains nothing that any American, Israeli, or Arab skeptic could reasonably protest. Had George W. Bush negotiated this deal, Republicans would be hailing his diplomatic prowess, and rightly so. . .

Read more at: Slate

Right Wing World: Rush Limbaugh vs. Women, Part 1,347, 864

What is it with Right Wing World and rape? You'd think after several public rebukes, they'd knock it off. Then again, this is Rush Limbaugh we're talking about, and he does get to set the rules the conservatives play by. El Rushbo may be el douchebo to the rest of us, but he's the conservative King, and he's allowed to be crass, crude, very (very) often wrong, and he's still as golden as the false idol calf. And as large. Ha!

Anyway, I've just got to wonder where in the hell Rush's rape analogy even comes from. I mean, even if rape weren't such a radioactive topic, the analogy doesn't go anywhere. It's really, really not analogous. So it would fail on its own, but Rush keeps running with it anyway. If he had an ounce of self-awareness (or a care in the world that a misstep even matters at this point), he would have stopped a third or a half of the way in, and shifted gears. He could have even thrown in a "Nope, nope, shouldn't go there, the Feminazis won't like it, how 'bout this, my friends. . .?"


Limbaugh Compares Filibuster Reform to Rape

I don't know how or why this troll is still on the air, but apparently someone out there is listening to him. I think he's been popping too many happy pills again: Limbaugh Compares Filibuster Reform To Vote "Allow[ing] Women To Be Raped". . .

Read more at: Crooks & Liars

SCOTUS Case About "Religious Rights" of Corporations

Doesn't look like a church. Or a person.
Image from source, New York Times.
Sometimes a loony argument somehow wends its way all the way to the Supreme Court, and boy howdy is this one of them. SCOTUS is set to hear a case that asserts "religious beliefs" for corporations, more or less. This sounds preposterous of course, but when you consider that they previously called corporations people, it sounds like a logical conclusion.

So, okay. Even though corporations are clearly not people, let's presume for the sake of argument that they are. Do people have religious beliefs? Yes. Are they entitled to freedom of religion under the Constitution? Yes. They would also be entitled to freedom from religion--something the religious right has decided isn't true--which we'll get to in a minute. But typically, we think of these freedoms as personal and private. They're our own. Strangely, a new definition of "religious freedom" has taken root with the religious right, and they've pushed it all the way to the top.

What do I mean? Well, the case before the Supreme Court has to do with employers who provide health insurance. The Affordable Care Act requires that insurance plans provide contraception options. Hobby Lobby, an employer, is asserting that contraception is against their religion. Again, the corporation's religion. Now, Hobby Lobby is not a church. It's not a company that is an adjunct of the church, selling and doing business only between churches. It's a public business.

Next, consider the cases going through the courts having to do with public accommodations. Be they cake bakers, dress makers, reception halls, photographers, there is a whole category--apparently--of "oddly religious wedding planners." Several have refused to provide services to gay and lesbian couples seeking to get married (regardless of whether or not the ceremony is official or symbolic). These companies--when confronted with public accommodation laws--cry "religious freedom" too.

You'd think a corporation turning down money would
be nearly as unthinkable as a gay wedding!
While the latter point isn't directly tied to the former, they have a lot to do with each other. In both cases, you have companies claiming to have religious beliefs. And claiming that it is their religious freedom to dictate what their employers, or what their customers receive. Hobby Lobby isn't receiving contraception, or even providing it. They're providing insurance to people who may or may not get contraceptives partly covered by the insurance. But more importantly, the employee very likely does not share the employer's religion, and shouldn't have to! And a baker who has a problem with same-sex marriage hasn't got the right to insist that their customers adhere to the bakers' religion or else not get a cake.

I could veer off into several side-issues, like the fact that these oh-so-pious companies probably overlook a bevvy of other sins, and are oddly focusing on contraceptives and gays. But instead, I'll just say emphatically, your religious freedom ends with you. Unless you run a private, religious organization through and through, your religion does not extend to your employees and customers unless they want it to.

I'm nervous that this famously odd Supreme Court (which has veered from the horror of Citizens United and gutting the Voting Rights Act, to pleasing Marriage Equality decisions) might make another Pandora's Box decision. After all, if corporations can dodge all manners of laws and regulations just by crying "religious freedom," where will it end? And with whose religion? Are Satanism, Wicca, Scientology, and Pastafarians going to get in on the action?


Court Confronts Religious Rights of Corporations

Hobby Lobby, a chain of crafts stores, closes on Sundays, costing its owners millions but honoring their Christian faith.  The stores play religious music. Employees get free spiritual counseling. But they do not get free insurance coverage for some contraceptives, even though President Obama’s health care law requires it. . .

Read more at: New York Times

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Blast from the Past: Over the River and Through the Woods. . .Thanksgiving Commercials!

Okay, this is an experiment that might just peter out before I can make a full-length post. I'm going to try to find some good ol' vintage Thanksgiving-themed commercials. The product is unimportant, and can range from Stovetop Stuffing to holiday specials or "very special episodes" of old TV shows. My goal is just to find 6-12 Thanksgivingy nostalgic nuggets for you to peruse. Let's see what happens!

1. Stovetop Stuffing (1980) - This one was obvious, and the first thing I thought of. It's an ongoing campaign running at least back to the 1970s: stuffing or potatoes? I don't think I've ever had a Thanksgiving without both! Still, this is a bit of a fail, because I couldn't find a vintage one specifically about Thanksgiving. Close, but no tom turkey. Moving on. . .

2. Butterball Turkey (1974) - This is better! Though Melissa Gilbert only mentions a "holiday," we're getting closer.

3. Cool Whip (1969) - Finally, we're  spot-on for the Thanksgiving holiday, and surely this one sparks some nostalgic memories for people out there old enough to remember!

4. Durkee French-fried Onions (1993) - Another one that is specifically Thanksgiving, and since we're four-clips deep, this topic is at least half-way viable! And I love these things, straight out of the bag. Nom-nom-nom.

5. MetLife Insurance (1989) - Charlie Brown and the Peanuts characters had a holiday special), and they also were hucksters for MetLife for many years (maybe still?).

6. Quaker Oats (1980s) - Wilford Brimley brings his folksy charm to oats. . .which really have little to do with Thanksgiving (or diabetes), other than that this is a Thanksgiving-themed ad!


7. Alka-Seltzer (1970s) - This one is for after Thanksgiving! I can't believe I at the whole thing!

And that will have to do it, because though this search might turn up some more fun memories, YouTube's search feature is terrible at sorting this subject out for some reason. Anyway, here's to a short work week (unless you're unlucky enough to work for a greedy retailer), and a very happy Thanksgiving!

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FOX "News" Sunday Jumps the Shark

Despite the "liberal media" allegations, the Sunday political talk shows on network television are decidedly right-wing biased. Over and over again--no matter which party has more power in Washington, D.C.--studies have shown that guests and commentators are weighted heavily to the right. I don't really know why this is, if Republicans are just more apt to want to go on, or if Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain actually live in the green room.

So, when you start with the fact that the shows are canted to the right, you can only imagine what comes out of the likes of FOX "News" Sunday. This week, the main topic was the surprise nuclear weapons and sanctions reduction deal with Iran. Of course, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) thinks it's a bad thing, and unleashes quite a number of conservative talking points unrelated to the deal, to depict President Obama as weak, indecisive, etc. The counterpoint was fairly soft with Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Who?) providing support for the president, but without swatting down Corkers corkers.

That was par for the course, something that you might see on Meet the Press, had it been on this morning. But then, the vaguely creepy Chris Wallace brought out former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Ostensibly, she was there to talk about current political controversies, though her depth of knowledge on the subject is. . .what exactly? She has no credibility on much of anything outside of her half-term as governor of a small, remote state. And she doesn't disappoint, with her shallow, fragmented, "pageant" answers to each question. She has nothing of value to say, and it is clear every time she opens her pretty (for nearly 50) mouth, and spews her patented word salad.

But the real reason Sister Sarah was there was to respond to the MSNBC/Martin Bashir "controversy." Bashir (who I suspect was looking for the viral video he ended up getting), had been outraged about Palin's earlier comparison of the budget to slavery of all things, and had given a particularly nasty lesson in slavery to his audience. He then (after a series of insults toward Palin, all of which were absolutely true), he insinuated that the punishment given to slaves in the story, maybe ought to be visited upon Mrs. Palin. Well, Right Wing World went wobbly on its axis!

Since the story had to do with urination and defecation, the implications were quite vivid, so I get it, sort of, why Palin (who made the original, offensive comments) might be PO'd. But who is she that she needs to be tippy-toed around anyway? So, Bashir was apparently called on the carpet, and ended up giving the most thorough, detailed, over-the-top with effusive apology I've ever seen. Way more than Palin deserved. And so, Palin was gussied up and put before the F"N"S cameras nine days later.

If Wallace had just had her on for that purpose alone (even so belatedly), I could forgive the appearance. But he asked her about the important issues of the day, and given her complete lace of gravitas, I find the notion idiotic that she'd be asked her opinion on much of anything. But that wasn't all! No, no! In the completely pointless, regular feature "Power Player of the Week," Wallace had a puff piece on Mitt and Ann Romney, having a folksy family breakfast! Just like back in the campaign, when they did the same thing.  The Romneys aren't even liked in Right Wing World, so I can't see how they're any more relevant than Palin.

In all, it was the most pathetic Sunday show I've seen in years. And in this bunch (Hello, David Gregory!), that's really saying something.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Harry Reid Finally Kills the Filibuster (Mostly)

Image from source, New York Times
The fear that has been hanging over Senate Democrats' heads regarding the filibuster always was, If we get rid of it, we'll regret it when the day comes that we're out of power. That's a valid concern, but there was absolutely no assurance that if the Senate flipped to Republican control that they wouldn't "go nuclear," and kill the filibuster anyway.

As has been widely reported, virtually half of the filibusters that have ever happened, have been used during President Obama's tenure. Democrats even warned Senate Minority Leader Myrtle the Turtle Mitch McConnell that if the GOP continued to block the three judicial nominations on deck, that they'd revoke the filibuster. McConnell apparently called Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's bluff, and Reid--finally, finally--wasn't bluffing. This wasn't a dick move by Reid. It was a solution to the long list of dick moves by Senate Republicans.

The filibuster remains for Supreme Court appointments.


In Landmark Vote, Senate Limits Use of the Filibuster

The Senate approved the most fundamental alteration of its rules in more than a generation on Thursday, ending the minority party’s ability to filibuster most presidential nominees in response to the partisan gridlock that has plagued Congress for much of the Obama administration. . .

Read more at: New York Times

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Why Democrats Want Elizabeth Warren to Run

If Elizabeth Warren were to run against Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic primaries, I will have a difficult decision to make. Well, not so difficult, I'd pick Warren. I like Hillary. I love Elizabeth Warren. And if all they have on her is whether she's 1/16 or 1/32 Native American? Well, then they don't have much.

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Right Wing World: President Obama, Abraham Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address and "God"

I've been hoping that there would be some issue to talk about beyond ObamaCare (enough, give it a couple of months, see what shakes out, I'm sick of hearing about it). And there have been other things in the news cycle. But they all seem to be weird or just stupid. And stupid is the faux controversy about President Obama and the Gettysburg Address.

The President was asked to read one of the drafts of the address for documentary film maker Ken Burns. The version he read from did not contain the phrase "under God." This particular draft never has. But without doing a lick of research--or just a simple Google search--Right Wing World went off half cocked, per usual. They lit the blogosphere, talk radio and undoubtedly FOX "News" afire, alleging that Obama took God out Lincoln's famous speech.

Image of the "Hay Copy" of the Gettysburg Address
from Wikipedia
I rolled my eyes hard enough to hear an audible thunk. What is it like to live in a perpetual state of outrage? And to be so freakin' touchy about this allegedly "all powerful" deity. If he's who they claim him to be, I think he can take it.


White House explains why Obama didn't say "under God" in Gettysburg Address

President Obama irked some conservatives with his recitation of the Gettysburg Address, which he read aloud as part of a project celebrating the 150th anniversary of famous Lincoln speech. For the project, spearheaded by documentarian Ken Burns, a number of politicians and other high-profile people recorded themselves reading the Gettysburg Address. Some conservatives took offense to the president's reading. . .

Read more at: CBS News

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

McDonald's Has Tips for Their Poor (Very Poor) Employees!

Image from source, Think Progress
If you've ever been poor, you know how to stretch a dollar. You make big, cheap meals that have lots of left-overs. You eat a lot of Top Ramen. You switch to store brand everything, buy things out of the mark-down bin, shop at Big Lots or the dollar store. You get a part time job if you can, or squeeze in odd jobs for cash. If that's not enough, you might have a yard sale, or if you're really industrious, you might sell some things online. If you need money faster, maybe you opt for a pawn shop. And if you're truly desperate (and a little short on reasoning skills) you might go to a payday/title loan outfit.

I've been there. Once when I was first starting out as an adult, and once (a very long once) when I got into debt through a combination of bad decisions, bad luck and bad timing. Of course, you get advice from people, if you're willing to talk about your problems. All of the above and more. Some of it is useful, and a lot of it isn't.

But what if you were getting advice from the employer who pays you the crappy wages that perpetuate the reason you're poor? Well then (kind of like the Walmart help-a-needy-associate bins),  it can come off as insulting.


McDonald’s Advice To Underpaid Employees: Sell Your Christmas Presents For Cash
Tis the season for holiday spirit: Yule logs, egg nog, festive lights and exchanging gifts with loved ones. If you work for McDonald’s, though, be sure to save those receipts. McDonald’s McResource Line, a dedicated website run by the world’s largest fast-food chain to provide its 1.8 million employees with financial and health-related tips, offers a full page of advice for “Digging Out From Holiday Debt.” Among their helpful holiday tips: “Selling some of your unwanted possessions on eBay or Craigslist could bring in some quick cash. . .”

Read more at: Think Progress

Florida Tea Party Congressman Busted for Cocaine Possession

Nope, doesn't looked coked up at all. Image from Raw Story.
You have to cut the guy some slack. He's a tea bagger. So, it's completely understandable that when he heard he was supposed to love the Kochs, he went right out and got some coke.


Florida Tea Party Rep. charged with cocaine possession

Freshman Tea Party Rep. Trey Radel (R-FL) will appear in court on Wednesday to face charges of cocaine possession, Politico reported.  The 37-year-old former journalist could be fined up to $1,000 and faces a maximum of 180 days in jail if found guilty. He was arrested on Oct. 29 and charged on Tuesday. . .
Read more at: Raw Story

Oklahoma National Guard Drops ALL Spousal Benefits to Avoid Dealing with Gay Marrieds

Gov. Mary Fallin (R-Of Course) looking mighty
Liz Cheney-esque. Image from Think Progress.
I can't even. . . This is just so pathetic and immature. Grow the hell up, Oklahoma! Those "Oklahomo" jokes just can't be that bad.


Oklahoma Drops National Guard Benefits For All Couples To Avoid Serving Same-Sex Couples
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) announced earlier this month that state-owned National Guard facilities will no longer allow any married couples to apply for spousal benefits, regardless of whether they are same-sex or opposite-sex. The Supreme Court’s decision overturning the Defense of Marriage Act means that servicemembers with same-sex spouses are now eligible for federal benefits. Fallin’s unusual tactic is designed to avoid having to recognize those couples, which she asserts would violate Oklahoma’s constitutional amendment limiting marriage to one man and one woman. . .

Read more at: Think Progress

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Holiday Cheer: K-Mart's Ball BELL-ringing Joe Boxer Ad

Very cute. A little racy. Sure to tick someone off. Therefore, I love it!


Walmart Employees Donating Food to Needy. . .Walmart Employees?

Image from source, Wonkette
You know, I'm sure this is all somehow President Obama's fault. But the optics of Walmart employees running food drives for needy Walmart employees are really, really sad.


Walmart Associates Run Thanksgiving Donation Drive So Co-Workers Can Eat People Food
One of these days, a modern-day Charles Dickens is going to write A Christmas Carol for our times, and it will be based on this story of a Walmart in Ohio, where employees organized “a food drive – not for the community, but for needy workers.” Total Dickens, right? The noble poor (broken of body but not of spirit), the historical significance, the double-talking bureaucratic fig leaf for the Establishment, even. . .

Read more at Wonkette

Koch Brothers Behind Huge Anti-ObamaCare Effort

One of the weirder ironies of today's politics is the fact that conservatives hate "ObamaCare," have done everything they could to sabotage it, kill it, disparage it. . .and yet they continue to pretend they're upset that it has been beset with problems as it ramps up. And they're not finished yet, oh no! The Koch Brothers--the right's version of George Soros, except there are two of them, and they work against Americans' best interests--are putting big money into fighting the ACA behind the scenes.

They're actively trying to prevent people from enrolling, down to the level of asking for pledges. This continuing sabotage works in multiple ways. The negative advertising continues to make the ACA seem like a bad thing, and if they're successful in preventing people from signing up, they can help ensure that it actually has a harder time shaping up. And yet, the Kochs still do all of this mostly from the shadows. The average American doesn't know that "Americans for Prosperity" or "FreedomWorks" exist, and if they do, they just think they're patriotic-sounding organizations.

It makes you wonder exactly what's in it for the Kochs if a bunch of Americans don't have affordable health care. What good does a bunch of sick, bankrupted Americans to the Kochs? Or is it enough to try to make the President look bad?  And there's a deeper question I keep coming back to, with the Kochs, Sheldon Adelson, Foster Friess, Rupert Murdoch and so many of these conservative billionaire benefactors: why do these impossibly rich old men care so much about being just a bit richer? You know what, at least George Soros contributes to causes that don't line his already stuffed pocketbook.

Monday, November 18, 2013

George Zimmerman in Trouble Again

The George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case came to prominence because Zimmerman was let go after an unarmed Martin was killed, with no charges filed. The details of the case sounded quite fishy, and the more we learned about Zimmerman, the shadier he seemed. Negative things came out about Martin too, though how they could be at all relevant, I never sussed out. Since Zimmerman knew none of Martin's history, it's very unlikely that they influenced the events (an no, conservatives, pot doesn't make you into a raging supervillain). [Due to autoplay video, story continues below the jump]

Liz Cheney and Gay Marriage

Image from source, TPM
FOX "News" Sunday--shockingly--had an exclusive interview with Wyoming carpetbagger Senatorial candidate Liz Cheney. Wonder how they managed that? Anyhow, Satan's spawn Darth Vader's kid Dick Cheney's daughter looked like she'd had a bit of a makeover, and had a slightly different persona from her more combative "Power Panel" guise. And she's trying to tightrope walk over one specific issue. See, she can't come flat out and say she hates gay people. She's got a gay sister after all. And she can't come out and say that she's totally cool with gay people and gay marriage (Mary Cheney is married Cheney now), because Wyoming tea baggers ain't down with that. But no matter how she threads that needle, she's basically saying that her sister doesn't deserve equal rights, and that Mary's family is "less than."


Liz Cheney Defends Stance On Same-Sex Marriage

Liz Cheney, Republican Senate candidate challenging Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) in 2014, on Sunday defended her stance on same-sex marriage. Cheney's sister Mary is married to a woman and has criticized her sister for her opposition to same sex marriage, but Liz Cheney stands by her beliefs. . .

Read more at: Talking Points Memo

Don't Squeeze the Blast from the Past! Classic Commercial Spokesmen and Women

There is still such a thing as a commercial pitchman (or woman), and by that I mean a character created to sell a product or service, not merely a celebrity endorser. Back in the 60s, 70s and 80s, it seemed every big brand had it's own character. And in a world with basically three commercial channels on television, these characters were known to pretty much everybody.
1. Charmin Bathroom Tissue's "Mr. Whipple" - Why this grocery store clerk was so adamant that customers "please don't squeeze the Charmin," I have no idea. But he couldn't help doing it himself.

2. Palmolive Dish Washing Liquid's "Madge, the manicurist" - Madge was a bit snarky for her day, and seemed to get larger as the years went on. And she never got slapped for shoving a client's hand into a bowl of soap. "Softens hands while you do the dishes!"

3. Folger's Coffee's "Mrs. Olson" - Wise and friendly, Mrs. Olson always made coffee that was "mountain grown."
4. Maxwell House's "Cora" - Buying coffee from the Wicked Witch of the West? Sure, if it's "good to the last drop!"

5. Chiffon Margarine's "Mother Nature," - There were lots of memorable margarine commercial, but only Chiffon's got a regular character. "It's not nice to fool Mother Nature!"
6. Isuzu Motors' "Joe Isuzu" - Traipsing into the 80s, we find Joe Isuzu who was always lying. I'm not sure why that caught on.

7. Bartles & Jaymes Wine Coolers- No, these guys weren't the proprietors, they were just actors playing a part, but they still "thank you for your support."
8. Bounty Paper Towels' Rosie the Waitress - Nancy Walker was probably more known for touting "the quicker picker upper" than she was for her acting gigs on Rhoda and McMillan & Wife.

And that's it for this week's trip down memory lane. Hope everyone had a great weekend. Happy Monday!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Randi Rhodes Staying on Premiere Radio Network

Fun fact: I made this graphic on one of Randi's
returns after an absence. She's since used it on
her own site. So, yay!
Whew! As a fan of liberal radio hostess, Randi Rhodes, I'm breathing a sigh of relief. Randi let slip that she was likely to be terminated from her Premiere Radio contract at the end of December, sending her audience into gallows mode. Those of us who have followed her since the beginning of Air America Radio have had to endure two prior--unexpected--losses of our radio goddess. We know that in the radio business, only so many things can be said aloud, and that due to contracts and whatnot, Randi couldn't tell us where she'd be, when or why. So, we were girding ourselves for a Randi-free future.

Alas, she's been re-signed, and will be around for at least another year. Sure, I'd have survived listening to Thom Hartman (who I do like), but given the choice, I'd pick Randi any time. Already, I have the three-hour lull between The Stephanie Miller Show and Randi's show (yes, Ed Schultz is on then, but I'm not exactly a fan). There's nothing I like to listen to after 3 pm. So, I was gonna be stuck with half of Steph's show, and then kind of a doldrums. What would I do, switch to Sean Hannity? Blecchhh.

Conservative radio fans would say that Randi's near-cancellation is just an indicator that liberal radio doesn't work. Interestingly--though they insist that the media is awash with liberal programming--they claim there is no market for liberal talk radio. Cognitive dissonance of course, has never been an issue for the tea party crowd. But the truth is, when Rush Limbaugh went on his misogynistic, hateful, and completely ignorant rants against Sandra Fluke, advertisers left radio in droves. Rush (and Sean and the odious Mark Levin and Michal Savage, et. al) manage to stay on because of conservative think tank foundation money. And phony colleges. And paranoid, end-of-the-world seeds, and gold, and whatnot. Those options are not available to liberals in this "liberal media."

Anyway, I'm jazzed that I'm not losing my Randi, at least not yet, not this time. And to anyone who would sneer and say that she's just the liberal version of Rush (or any of the also-rans, wannabes and never-weres), I'll tell you this. Randi has always said, "don't believe a word I say." She says, she knows the company she keeps on the radio dial, and that you shouldn't trust anything any of them say, without checking it out yourself from real newspapers.* I've kept her motto here at my blog as well. Where Rush will tell you to trust him as your single information source, Randi is constantly urging engagement, and even assigns homework on her show and website (which includes sources and further reading on her topics, from legitimate news sites). Plus, she's funny as hell.

Congratulations, Randi!


I have good news—I’m not going anywhere. I know what you’re thinking—Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is saying the same thing. But in his case it’s probably not true... and in his case that’s not good news. But Premiere is going to renew my contract for another year, so the good news is that I’m staying put. The bad news is that I’m in Florida, but that doesn’t need to affect you. I’m not going to go away, no matter what Republicans might want. In that sense, I’m like Obamacare—I’m just a lot easier to access. That’s because I have a much better website.

Read more: Randi Rhodes

*My one quibble with Randi Rhodes is her disdain for bloggers, which--obviously--is my hobby. I agree with her that no one should take a blogger's or a radio host's word for anything. Most aren't credentialed in any way (not Randi, not me, certainly not Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity), and are just giving their opinion. An informed opinion in her case, but still just opinion. So, I get it, but I don't think bloggers are useless, I think we point people to news, much as she does. Still love her though.

And by the way, I must point out that the only way for me to listen to any liberal talk, I have to actively seek it out online or on my phone, via, or other online source. Again, for all the talk of "liberal media," we have never had a liberal radio station here in blue Clark County/Las Vegas, Nevada.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

War on Christmas, Darling (A Rocky Mountain Mike Song Parody)

How'd I miss this one? Thanks, Mike!


War on Thanksgiving!

Yep. Image from Think Progress
The War on Christmas is a manufactured, phony-baloney, insanely stupid non-troversy, made up by FOX "News" and perpetuated throughout Right Wing World. But you know what isn't phony? The War on Thanksgiving. Year after year, "Black Friday," the frenzy that is the beginning of the Christmas shopping season, has been creeping backward into Thursday. This year, they've avoided all the niceties of letting people at least have their dinner, and then starting the sales. No, they're having sales in the evening, some in the afternoon, some at the crack of dawn on Thursday.

This means, of course, that a whole bunch of workers have to give up their traditional Thanksgiving dinner. This has been true for many years for firemen, police, military personnel, quickie-mart operators and other, sure. But all those folks knew what they were getting into. My husband refuses on principle to participate during times when people are being made to work when they don't want to. And me, I just don't want any part of the nutzoid shopping crowd.

But I still think the corporations are shooting themselves in the foot. But moving the time further and further back, they're diluting the whole tradition, and screwing themselves.


Seven Stores That Won’t Ruin Their Workers’ Thanksgivings
This year, more than a dozen retailers will open their doors on Thanksgiving Day, leaving millions of workers with little choice but to forgo their holiday to jumpstart the biggest shopping weekend of the year. With profits in mind, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Kmart, Macy’s, Kohl’s, J.C. Penney, Toys R Us, and more, have announced early Thanksgiving hours. . .

Read more at: Think Progress

Sick of ObamaCare Squabbles

Blue Dogs be cryin'. Image from source, Think Progress
I'm sure critics of ObamaCare and President Obama in general would credit my frustration and irritation over the squabbling to be because they're attacking my President. "The Anointed One" as Sean Hannity so cluelessly calls him. But that's not it. I can take criticism of somebody I voted for. I'm not the swooning type. Obama was an infinitely better choice than either Mitt Romney or John McCain (2008-version), and I stand by my vote. But he's not perfect, and I never thought he was.

No, I'm tired of all the whining because I don't care about the rocky rollout of the Affordable Care Act. If they never get the wheels on straight, and if people never get signed up right, or the whole thing collapses under its own weight, sure. Then I'll care about what's going on. But it's early. There are months before people need to be signed up. Web sites are fixable, and it will get fixed, or rather, as fixed as any huge website gets (there will be crashes and outages no matter how good it is, just like Facebook, Twitter and other large sites crash occasionally). The actual product could fail. But it hasn't yet. We won't know for months, or years if it's a "trainwreck," as conservatives are fond of calling it. All of them, seemingly.

But you know what? Conservatives don't care either. Or rather, they're not really upset about it. They're digging it. Loving it. Eating it up. Don't believe for a second that they have an ounce of concern for anyone who was "lied to," and lost their crappy, sub-standard insurance plan. From day one, Republicans fought the ACA with every breath. Though it originated at the conservative Heritage Foundation, and found its way into Mitt Romney's Massachusetts health care plan before making its way to the national stage, even when it was watered down to please Republicans, they still didn't vote for it.

Since it became law, they've done everything they possibly could do to sabotage it. They've lied about "death panels," refused to implement state exchanges in GOP-controlled states, and waged a public relations campaign to destroy public confidence in it. And when there ultimately were problems, they now are "furious" that things aren't going smoothly. Please spare me.

Frankly, it is unfortunate that things haven't rolled out any better than they have. But guess what? If the website worked perfectly, if 1,500,000 people were signed up already, if 85% of the people were thrilled with the product, Right Wing World would be saying it wasn't enough, it was still socialism, and would be hyping the stories of the 15% who had problems. Of that, I have no doubt whatsoever.

But boy, I wish a Kardashian would do something crazy, a comet would come ThisClose to the earth, or there would be a surprise Game of Thrones/Downton Abbey crossover event to get the news cycle onto a different story. I'm sick of hearing it. I mean seriously, two states have passed gay marriage, and the biggest typhoon to ever appear anywhere hit the Philippines, and they barely moved the needle news-wise. We heard about health care reform for years when it was under development, and I was sick of it then! But here's what we're getting, even from the so-called liberal side of the blogosphere. . .


Senate Dems Scramble To Save Face Amid Woeful Obamacare Rollout

Senate Democratic leaders have no imminent plans to hold a vote on legislation to "fix" Obamacare and are instead working with the White House on administrative solutions to address insurance cancellations under the law, according to party leadership aides. . .

Read more at: Think Progress

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Ever Wonder How the GOP Manages To Hold on to So Much Power?

Image from source, Rolling Stone
If you're going to use tricks and schemes to cling to as much power as you possibly can, it's best to have a good cover story. And when it comes to the GOP keeping a majority in the US Congress, they've had several good ones as cover for things like Voter ID and other changes to voter laws. They've used redistricting in ways that both sides do, and in extra, law-bending ways. And though their party is shrinking, due to demographics (and the general dickishness and batshittery of the Tea Party) they still manage to hold the US House of Representatives by a wide margin.

Like I said, they have good cover stories. But they're not perfect. Sometimes they slip and admit what they're up to. And sometimes, good reporting can piece it all together. The excerpted piece below, from Rolling Stone is a must-read, even if you're a conservative who hasn't been paying attention.


How Republicans Rig the Game
As the nation recovers from the Republican shutdown of government, the question Americans should be asking is not "Why did the GOP do that to us?" but "Why were they even relevant in the first place?" So dramatically have the demographic and electoral tides in this country turned against the Republican Party that, in a representative democracy worthy of the designation, the Grand Old Party should be watching from the sidelines and licking its wounds. Not only did Barack Obama win a second term in an electoral landslide in 2012, but he is also just the fourth president in a century to have won two elections with more than 50 percent of the popular vote. What's more, the party controls 55 seats in the Senate, and Democratic candidates for the House received well over a million more votes than their Republican counterparts in the election last year. And yet, John Boehner still wields the gavel in the House and Republican resistance remains a defining force in the Senate, frustrating Obama's ambitious agenda. . .

Read more at: Rolling Stone

Nice Work if You Can Get It: Congress Done for the Year?

Image from source, Politico
There's been lots of talk in Congress about companies cutting people's hours "because of" ObamaCare (in reality taking advantage of the situation to maximize profits, usually). But there's a group of part time workers with platinum health care for life. Congress!

But tell me something. If this Congress suddenly stopped legislating. . .how would that be any different from what they're doing?


Congress seems to be done legislating for the year

 It’s just mid-November, but it’s quickly becoming a reality: Washington could be mostly done making laws for the year. If it isn’t evident by looking at the thin congressional calendar, top sources in both chambers are downright grim that the final eight weeks in 2013 will produce any legislative breakthroughs, like a broad budget agreement or an immigration deal. . .

Read more at: Politico

Daily Show: 60 Minutes' "Meh Culpa"

Hawaii Leap-frogs Illinois for 15th Place in Marriage Equality

After the largest amount of the most hideous, ill-informed, bigoted citizen commentary I've ever heard, Hawaii's state senate has finally approved marriage equality. The Governor will sign it this week, beating Illinois, whose Governor plans to wait until the end of the month to make it official. Hawaii will also be performing the actual ceremonies sooner, starting next month. Illinois couples will have to wait until June of next year. I've never understood why so often there is a months-long buffer between approval and officiating. Whenever the system goes against marriage equality, it always seems to be instantaneously squelched.

In any event, Hawaii's decision marks not just the 15th state (and Illinois the 16th, and in addition to Washington DC), it makes the ninth state to pass marriage equality in just over a year! It's pretty amazing stuff.

Hawaii is 15th state to legalize gay marriage

Hawaii was poised to become the 15th state to legalize same-sex marriage Tuesday evening after state senators sent legislation to Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s (D) desk. After a same-sex marriage bill hit legislative roadblocks earlier this year, and after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that the federal Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional, Abercrombie called the legislature back into special session to pass a compromise measure. The new version of the bill includes protections for religious officials who object to same-sex marriage. . .

Read more at: Washington Post

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

War on Christmas: Sarah Palin Babylon (And On, And On)

GOD, this woman is an idiot. Five years from relevance, she continues to babble on about artificial scandals and controversies, from death panels (which don't exist), to ACORN (which doesn't exist anymore) to the "War on Christmas," which only exists in Right Wing World, Palin just keeps squawking. Comedienne Stephanie Miller says that it's like a Scrabble game exploded in her head. I think it's more like she's barfing up a special Republican edition of Magnetic Poetry, the refrigerator magnet word set. Freedom! Tyranny! Liberty! Maverick! You betcha!


Magnetic Poetry: The secret behind Sarah Palin's word salad?
Palin links ‘zealot-like’ atheists to the ‘war on Christmas’ and ‘slavery’ from federal debt

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin called on a group of conservatives to act over the weekend because she said atheists, secularists and other liberals had launched a “war on Christmas” and were pushing the country into “slavery” by borrowing from China. During a Saturday speech to promote her book “Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas” at the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition’s fall fundraiser, Palin observed that “everywhere it seems that we see that faith, religious freedom is under attack… and it’s censored. . .”

Read more at: Raw Story

Black Friday Becomes. . .Gray Thursday?

Can you believe it's Walking Dead time in the stores again?
Image from source, USAToday
I did "Black Friday" only once. It was a bust for me, because the stores I happened to be interested in really weren't doing much. Lowe's and Home Depot didn't have throngs, at least not the year I tried it. I'm more apt to try Cyber Monday or other online specials. But some people have turned Black Friday into part of their holiday traditions.

In an effort to capitalize on the demand, and make up for a "shortened" shopping season (due to Thanksgiving being so late in the month this year), big stores like Walmart are jumping the gun further than ever, moving the starts of their big shopping events into dinnertime, and even all the way to dawn, Thanksgiving morning. I get the impulse, but I think they're really potentially defusing their own manufactured tradition. By spreading it out, and bleeding over an especially cherished holiday, they're going to alienate some, make family pariahs of others, and cause confusion about where to go, when. I'm sure there will be some savvy shoppers linked up with cell phones and iPads, networking with friends and family, and scheduling an all-day, all-night blitz. But no way your average shopper is going to do that.

I think they've muddied the concept, and are shooting themselves in the foot.


Walmart to launch Black Friday sales earlier

As the holiday shopping season kicks off, Walmart is the latest major retailer to announce an even earlier launch to annual Black Friday weekend sales — beginning at dinnertime Thanksgiving evening. Following a slew of similar announcements from stores including Target, Best Buy and Macy's, Walmart said today that it will hold two major sales events at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Thursday evening, two hours earlier than last year. . .

Read more at: USA Today 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Blast from the Past: Crackers! (Vintage Snack Cracker Commercials)

Being trapped in another Atkins Diet loop (attempt number six? seven?), I'm longing for snacks. Different kinds of snacks at different moments, of course. Right now, it's crackers. I have an oddly specific urge for Keebler Club Crackers. Mmmm, buttery. So, I shall now inflict my urge for crackers onto you, dear reader! Enjoy.

1. Nabisco Ritz Crackers, 1977, Andy Griffith
2. Sunshine Hi-Ho Crackers, 70s, Gary Burghoff (Radar from "Mash")

3. Keebler Town House Crackers, 80s
4. Nabisco Wheat Thins, 1991, Sandy Duncan

5. Nabisco Triscuit, 1988
6. Nabisco Better Cheddars, 1986

7. Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers, 2001
8. Nabisco American Classic, 1988

And that will have to do it. Because, my cravings don't always line up with what is out there on the YouTubes! For instance, I would have used a much older Goldfish commercial. I couldn't find classic ones for Club crackers (which started this whole thing), Chicken in a Biskit, Cheez-It and others. Plus, it's weird that Sunshine Biscuits was bought by Keebler which was then bought by Kellogg. Nabisco, in turn has been owned by Phillip Morris, Kraft, and most recently a mega-conglomerate called Mondelez. Who knew?

Anyway, my craving is gone, and there's sort of a sour feeling left about the very small number of companies that own everything. And that takes us back into politics! Happy Monday, and don't fortet, it's Veteran's Day.
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