Saturday, May 30, 2015

Martin O'Malley Enters 2016 Democratic Primary Race

Martin who? Yeah, me too. Though to be fair, in early 2007, it was Barack what now? So, who knows. Right now, I'd say that Hillary Clinton is probably not quaking in her stylish but sensible shoes.


O'Malley jumps into presidential race, offers progressive alternative to Clinton

Martin O'Malley launched his presidential campaign Saturday with an appeal to the party's progressive base that he hopes will upend the conventional wisdom that Hillary Clinton is destined to clinch the Democratic nomination. . .

Read more (with video) at: CNN

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Duggars Finally Speak Out (Funny or Die)

I love inappropriate humor. I'm the one who is constantly biting his cheeks to keep from laughing at a funeral. I'm prone to be the one who says the thing that has others laughing at a funeral. And I can permanently wreck your favorite song by coming up with "better" lyrics that you'll forevermore have in your head when it comes on. So, the style of Funny or Die--making fun of even the unfunniest subjects is what they do--is right up my alley. But let's be clear. Any humor in the Michelle and Jim Bob (even his name is funny) Duggar (with a last name that sounds like a hillbilly sex act) scandal is directed at the hypocrisy, the irony, the absurdity, not the crime, or the victims? Clear? Okay. . .

The Nightly Show: Larry Wilmore Takes on the Duggars

Larry Wilmore is no Stephen Colbert. But he is growing on me, and is quite funny and entertaining.

2016 GOP Clown Car Update: George Pataki Gets In

I traditionally have complained that the media tend to focus on the horse race of any given presidential election, rather than the actual issues that are important to the fight. It's a valid complaint, but futile, as conflict sells, and arguments about infrastructure and policy don't. Not that I'll give up, but at this point, with the GOP side of the aisle dealing with an overstuffed (and itself a term overused) clown car, it's bound to come down to personalities. Which is a little funny with today's update, because it's former New York Governor George Pataki entering the race, and he has very, very little personality.

My go-to pundit, Rachel Maddow, has been extraordinarily diplomatic about the GOP slate (while also being snarky, which is a deft play), declaring them all viable, and decent--if sometimes boring--candidates. She's using as contrast the 2012 roster, which did include declared and potential candidates who were nutbars, like Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain. But let's get real. We've got some doozies in this race, from candidates with no particular qualifications (Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson) to pompous religiosity (Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, Ted Cruz, Carson again, and others), to blatant animus toward LGBT people (Huckabee, Santorum, Jindal, Cruz, Carson. . .hell, most of 'em), and other nutty qualifiers to the "clown" designation.

In most presidential races, there is somebody on the opposition side that I could grudgingly deal with. They could be elected, and I wouldn't be hopelessly depressed. In 2000, it was John McCain, who did a triple-lutz into the deep end of assholery in the 2008 cycle. In 2008, it was, oddly enough, Mitt Romney, proving that I can be massively fooled by these people. In 2012 it was Jon Huntsman. This time? The only one who seems remotely tolerable is Jeb Bush, and I just can't even. Another Bush, in the span of five presidents? When the past two were marginal and disastrous, respectively? Why? His campaign slogan should be, "Third time's the charm." But in reality it could be "Bad things happen in threes." Incidentally, he's really J.E.B. Bush, which is literally John Ellis Bush Bush. Anyway, more are jumping in today, with the first being Pataki, and Rachel is right to drop in a zzzzzz snoring sound when she mentions him. Try not to fall asleep with the news.


George Pataki makes long-shot bid for President

George Pataki, the Republican who won the governorship three times in heavily Democratic New York, will run for president in 2016. . .

Read more at: CNN

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

GOP 2016 Clown Car Update: Santorum Surges Into the Race!

Rick (don't Google me) Santorum has apparently lubed up, and squeezed into the already crowded GOP 2016 Clown Car. And given that he surged from the rear last time to overtake (briefly) his rivals for the top spot, enough to look viable for a while, who can blame him? Also, there are now enough Santorum stories to dilute the dingy brown internet reputation of the word "Santorum" back to something more explainably whitish. I guess. But it's still Santorum. And he's not fooling us with which word he picked to be short for "Richard," either. He still looks like a dick to me.

Meanwhile, the rest of the field is playing some level of coy. Other than Mitt Romney, who let us know early that "this is hard," and he wasn't running, the rest of the folks in this collage are still officially undeclared, though all are expected to probably "get in the ring." My thoughts are, The Donald and Christie are the most likely to opt not to, and Lindsey Graham may retire to his fainting couch before he gets to the starting line. But those are just my gut feelings.


Rick Santorum to join crowded Republican presidential field.  

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum will announce later Wednesday he will join the race for president. He will make the seventh Republican seeking the party's nomination.  

Read more at: WALB

And in honor of Santorum's slide into whatever orifice he used to get in, here's a nice selection from Olivia Newton-John.

Life With Barack (Right Wing Radio Told Me) (Another Rocky Mountain Mike Song Parody)

Whoops! Where'd I go? Well, when you're on semi-pre-retired semi-sabbatical (meaning, taking a bit of time off from full-time work), time can get away from you, oddly enough. Here I am! And once again, it's Rocky Mountain Mike to the rescue. Seems he's always got a new parody available for sharing, to make it look like I did something, even though I have no more connection than being a die-hard fan! Here, Mike takes on a subject I've written about a lot though, the fictionalized version Right Wing World imagines President Barack Obama to be, and it is put to the tune of Reunion's Life is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me), one of my favorites. This is some piece of work. Enjoy!

For more Rocky Mountain Mike, go here. And buy his album, Politically Incoherent on Amazon!


Friday, May 22, 2015

Right Wing World Duggared: A Picture Speaks a Thousand (Yucky) Words

Something tells me there are a whole lot of conservatives purging their various social media, blog and website archives for anything  to do with a Duggar. But the internet is forever, and these photos will always exist.

And yes, I'm doing my part to make "Duggared" a verb. A really awful verb.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Computer Woes: Tech Issues that Apparently Only Happen to ME

I am so tired of computer and technology issues that seemingly only have ever happened to me. It's a pattern that I've put up with--as a PC Guru, a title I've unwillingly taken on--for many years. It goes like this:

A problem or quirk--sometimes very minor, sometimes quite major, but always annoying--will crop up on my PC, or in recent years on my MacBook Pro, Android Phone or other electronic device. I'll try to sort it out myself, but then will seek out answers on the Googles and Bings. Rarely, I'll find the answer I'm looking for, and bada-bing, problem solved.

More often, it goes like this:

- Problem crops up. Usually, it's replicatable, and often it has happened before to me on other systems, and was never resolved.
- Seek answers via Google, Bing, what have you.
- Find several responses that seemingly fit my query.
- Several responses lead to paid "help" sites, arcane uber-techy sites, hard-to-navigate forums, and often, dead links.
- Some answers list steps for resolution that either a) have no effect, or b) have steps that simply can't be done, because that menu or link or button doesn't exist on my system.
- Some answers begin with fishing expeditions by other techies who obviously have no idea what the issue is, because they start with, "well, what were you doing when it happened," "what programs are you running," "what are the CPU loads when that happens," "why are you trying to do that," "try turning off your virus checker/firewall/whoziewhatzit," and on and on. They don't know. They're fishing for a cause, because this problem has no known resolution to them.

I end up frustrated, mostly because it's impossible I'm the only one this happens to! Let me give you some examples of the problems that regularly occur that piss me off:

- Typing--just typing--slows to a crawl in a browser, usually in a simple response box, such as a comment board in Slate, Salon, or other news/blog area. It can be something as basic as a comment box using Facebook's or Disqus' format. Glacial, character-dropping, time-delayed typing. Something that should be so simple and basic that it never happens.

- While trying to scroll a Twitter feed, the feed begins bouncing around, pictures inflate and deflate, sending the whole feed up or down, and making reading very frustrating.

- A browser tab will bring up a white screen with no text, and the twirling "wait" cursor icon. This isn't too odd, but then it will knock out the rest of the computer's brain, affecting other programs, the task bar, dimming the display, sometimes everything, until the wait state is done. . .doing whatever the hell it's doing.

- My old Samsung Galaxy S4's overheating and battery devouring problem. A known issue that the Googles apparently don't remember, and offer no useful solutions for (I feel guilty for trading that phone in, for the guy who buys it reconditioned).

- My old Samsung Galaxy S4's (and The Other Half's S4's) inability to work properly with Bluetooth, in cars, and often other devices, and seemingly birthing a secondary problem where the speaker and/or microphone would simply stop working.

This is a very short list of the things that have happened to me, mostly across multiple devices, where I'm met with. . ."well, what is your model number/serial number/processor version/Windows version/Android version," and other forms of fishing. I totally get that a person has to ask questions with unfamiliar troubleshooting issues. But why are these problems unheard of, if they happen to me across devices???

I'd like to point out also that I'm kind of an early adaptor, and when it's financially possible to have the latest-and-greatest, I try to get it. Well, maybe not top-of-the-line, but decent, well above entry level. My main PC is 64-bit with a high-speed, quad processor, and scads of RAM. Should time delayed typing really be an issue? It can't be just me if it's happened on all of my systems, at work and at home, in various versions of Windows for years.


David Letterman's Last "Top Ten" List Best One Ever

The Late Show with David Letterman aired its final episode last night, and was--I thought--pretty much a perfect ending. CBS has already run a tribute special on Dave's career, so last night mostly veered away from mawkish sentimentality, and instead hewed to its usual self-deprecating style. This was clear in the star-studded, host-skewering, final Top Ten List.

Personally, I ceased being a regular Letterman watcher not because of anything against Dave or the show, but because of the Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert one-two punch, but I very often clicked over afterward to catch the last bit or so. . .until Comedy Central started @Midnight. That said, whenever Jon and Stephen were in reruns, Dave was my backup plan. And I often sought him out via DVR or the internet when he had on great guests, like Rachel Maddow (who did manage a montage shout-out last night, along with Keith Olbermann). Whenever I did catch the show, it was still as good as I remembered. Amazing, really, that they managed to hold the same offbeat vibe from the original Late Night all the way through to the last show. It was a great run.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Gay Thing: Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal Issues Anti-Gay Executive Order

Wow. Just wow. Not only is Gov. "Bobby" Jindal willing to publicly mix his religion with his politics, willing to go to the mat for this "sincerely held religious belief" bullshit about marriage and wedding vendors in the face of intense bipartisan backlash. . .he's willing to do it unilaterally, and by actually pointing out that this is about The Gays. Usually, they don't do that.

Okay, so I've said it a lot, but I'm saying it again: this issue is bogus, from top to bottom. There is no doctrine that forbids Christian businesspeople from selling their wares to gay people. Or for weddings that their own church doesn't recognize. This was never an issue for any of the countless heterosexual "courthouse weddings," never an issue before gays got legal recognition. Moreover, the public sale of common goods or services is not taking place under the guise of religion, or in a religious context. Religion does not enter into the business transaction. It didn't work as an argument during the 60s civil rights era, and it shouldn't work now.

Image from source, Joe.My.God.
There are other issues with their line of argument, namely that though these things are dreamed up by Christians from a Christian perspective about their mysterious fixation on a "sin" that is scarcely mentioned in the Bible, Christianity is not the only religion. Also, weddings aren't the only events a religious person could have religious beliefs toward. Nor are civil marriages even necessarily religious in nature n the first place. Annnnnd, of course, a person's religious rights apply to themselves, not their customers, not their employees. You--as a business owner, proprietor, cashier, whatever--don't get to shun me because my religious beliefs down align with yours! It's absurd!

But back to Bobby. His state legislature nixed this kind of nonsense, amazingly enough. So, he's doing an end-run, and issuing an executive order. Specifically addressing marriage. It's got to be unconstitutional, and it's certainly mean-spirited. It's also tremendously out of step with the times. And it sets up a whole host of problems that Bobby likely gave almost no thought to, including but not limited to demands from Christians for exemptions to other laws, whether anti-gay, or anti-someone else; demands from other existing religions for exemptions to other laws, and. . .just wait for it. . .demands from possibly newly born religions for exemptions based upon "sincerely held beliefs" about. . .well, whatever they can dream up.

Because the nifty (and bizarre) thing about "sincerely held belief" is that it need not be backed up with doctrine, or commandments, or anything more than what's inside your noggin. These beliefs can even be contradicted by empirical fact (as in Hobby Lobby, which was actually cited in the order), and still be sincerely held.


LOUISIANA: Bobby Jindal Issues Executive Order Legalizing Anti-Gay Discrimination
Earlier today a Louisiana House committee rejected the bill that would have legalized anti-gay discrimination. That rejection came after big business, including IBM, denounced the bill. Unswayed, Gov. Bobby Jindal has already followed through on his vow to issue an executive order that bypasses the state legislature. . .

Read more at: Joe.My.God.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Lindsey Graham is the Drama Queen (Rocky Mountain Mike Song Parody)

With Sen. Lindsey Graham's pre-announcement of his announcement to announce to be a presidential candidate, I thought now was as good a time as any to replay one of my favorite Rocky Mountain Mike parodies.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, Drama Queen (Rocky Mountain Mike Song Parody)
[Originally appeared May 9, 2013]

This may be my new favorite Rocky Mountain Mike (of The Stephanie Miller Show) song parody. For years, people on the left and the right have noticed something a little off about confirmed bachelor Senator Lindsey Graham (R-Fainting Couch). I'd leave well enough alone, were it not for Graham's propensity to be an insufferable media whore, appearing on the Sunday morning political shows almost every week. Worse, he's a talking point regurgitator, to the point of answering direct questions with unrelated, scripted answers. Plus, of course, he's a drama queen. So to me, this song is spot on.

[Editor's Note:] And for any concern trolls out there, yes, I realize that making fun of a person by pointing out that he seems gay can be bad form. I'll even agree that it's in questionable taste. But when said person is running for the absolute top of a political party which has anti-gay planks in its platform--load-bearing planks, mind you--my give-a-shit meter barely registers a shit. Get me? This nearly 60-year-old confirmed bachelor talks like Blanche Devereaux from The Golden Girls, is prone to political histrionics that only need a few hand-flaps and hair-tosses to complete the stereotype. I'm not making fun of his likely homosexuality, I'm making fun of Lindsey Graham himself. The fact that he belongs in a category with Paul Lynde, Charles Nelson Reilly, Liberace and Marcus Bachmann only serves to make it funnier.

Saturday Night Live Finishes Season 40 Strongly with Louis C.K.

I've mentioned before that it's kind of odd that Saturday Night Live generally seems to get strongest right at the end of a season, and then starts the next one kind of flopping. Over the summer, when you'd think they'd be storing up primo material, more often they seem like a bunch of school kids who forget everything they learned the previous year. Of course, they tend to lose several cast members either at the end of the previous season, or over the course of the break, so they're often starting with an un-jelled cast.

Well, nobody retired on this weekend's show unless I missed it, and here's hoping that they add and lose few cast members over the summer. Because I think the cast is stronger now than it's been in a long time. The past two weeks have been largely funny straight through. The new Colin Jost/Michael Che Weekend Update feels solid. And the featured players feel ready to jump to full-fledged cast members. As a fan from episode one, who has endured some real fallow periods, I'm glad to see it happen, I just wish it would happen earlier in the season.

As for Louis C.K., he's not for every taste, but he's also an acquired taste. I intensely disliked his original sitcom, but have grown to appreciate his style. I especially liked that his monologue was way inappropriate--and he knew it--but he continued on anyway. The discomfort he produced with his inappropriate topics was itself humorous, in a way that I think Chris Rock (earlier in the season) didn't accomplish when he tried the same thing.

Anyway, Lorne, don't fire anyone.


SNL: Hillary Clinton's Coming Summer

One of Hillary Clinton's big advantages in the 2016 presidential election, is that she seemingly won't have much of a primary fight. She's pretty much got the field to herself (and let me note that while I love Bernie Sanders, I don't think he's got even a ghost of a chance). But that is also a liability. Because while comedians have a Clown Car (an overused term, even by me) full of targets for their humor on the right, Hillary is it on the left. So, she's going to have to endure more comedic fire than she otherwise would for the next year and a half. I love that this skit acknowledges that she's had to put up with unfair abuse for 20 years. She's only got 2, 6 or 10 to go, depending upon how successful she is, I suppose.

Over Time with Bill Maher, May 15, 2015

Bill Maher and his guests Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Heather McGhee, John Waters, Charles Murray and Killer Mike.

2016 Clown Car Update

I've been shirking my duties as a blogger again, sorry about that. I tell you, getting back up on the horse can be tricky once you've gotten off it for an extended period. And plunging into the 2016 election when we're still this far out can feel a little less than urgent. But it's been a while since I updated our Clown Car revue, so I thought I'd add two qualified checkmarks to the tally: Lindsey (oh my gay stars) Graham and Jeb Bush, both of whom have yet to officially declare their candidacy, but both of whom keep dropping "I'm running" quotes. Graham may "well, I de-CLARE!" later today, and if he does, I'll remove my little qualified question mark.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Back to Ohio: Why do the Roads in Central Ohio Suck so Badly?

There was a common joke I heard in my youth, that the state flower of Ohio was the orange construction barrel. Every spring, the barrels would spring up, complicating any work commute in every direction. When I moved to Las Vegas in the early nineties, I realized that it's not a geographic thing, particularly. For the entire two decades I lived in the Vegas valley, I don't remember a time when Interstate 15 didn't have construction somewhere along its stretch through town.

Upon my return to Ohio this year, I had another revelation. There are huge differences between these two places as to what's going on behind those barrels. In Las Vegas, if there is a choke point on a highway, they fix it. If there is too much traffic trying to join or exit a freeway ramp on a daily basis, they build new interchanges, either replacing the existing exits, or adding new ones at different intersections. Complicated pinch points yield astonishing changes, like fly-overs, superstreet intersections, criss-crossing (and high-flying) ramps, extending and expanding roads that were previously inadequate, access roads, express lanes, and other improvements. Yes, Vegas still has The Spaghetti Bowl, and the Rainbow Curve--nobody's perfect--but by-and-large, if a section of town experiences terrible traffic, NDOT goes to great lengths to find a solution, and usually a quick one.

Not in Ohio. Sure, there have been changes. During my 20 year absence, State Route 161 was rerouted and expanded (with the efforts of Limited owner, Les Wexner), I-670 was completed as something of an innerbelt from Downtown Columbus to the Airport (it peters out in the suburb of Gahanna). I'm sure there have been other improvement projects (I saw a novel interchange at Roberts Road and west I-270, for example), and roundabouts have sprung up in both logical and unnecessary locations. Roundabouts seem to be a prestige thing for some reason, even in Las Vegas. But there are a distressing number of congested areas that are absolutely inadequate, and were inadequate in 1990, 1980, 1970.

Many of the freeway exits and junctions, for example, are of the original design: cloverleafs. They force drivers to cross each other, often requiring not only cooperation with other drivers (yeah, right), but also snap decisions. One in particular, at I-270 and State Route 3, allows almost no time to complete the maneuver. It's been that way since it was built. Traffic jams abound, and need have no other cause beyond competing drivers trying to cross each other to exit and enter.

Getting off the freeway, things can be just as bad on surface streets. Traffic jams can happen anywhere, at any time, and have no obvious cause. I can't tell you how many times I've found myself driving on a major road, and having to make a snap decision, because my lane is coming to a sudden surprise end or "turn only." Attempting to drive about three miles down State Route 256 (a major road), I had to change lanes three times to continue south, and this occurred no matter which lane
you're travelling in. Going through the town of New Albany (Les Wexner's baby), there are sequential intersections where through travel requires shifting lanes twice, neither particularly intuitive. I find this all over the place, left lane, right line, or middle lane (if there is one). Even in prestigious areas like Grandview Heights.

And while I'm on a rant, I'll point out that this is a state of few legal U-turns, and many intersections with signs that say, "No turn on red, except curb lane." Both of these things cause traffic tie-ups, the former because it forces drivers to make snap decisions, and the latter because many Ohio drivers are clueless, and read the sign as simply "No turn on red." That's a problem that funding roads can't fix, I suppose. Many Ohioans can't properly yield either, whether at roundabouts (something that I admittedly had problems with at first), or on continuous turn lanes. People in Ohio are also permitted to talk on the phone while driving without the assistance of Bluetooth, which is a huge traffic issue, just from my own observations.

But because of these side-issues about the driving-challenged in Ohio, improved infrastructure is just that much more important. And it's not getting done. I just wonder why. Yes, it's expensive. But it's important. I'd also like to point out that in Las Vegas, we had no city tax, no state tax, and property tax that was about 1/3 the amount in central Ohio. With all of this extra cash at their disposal, where does the tax money go in Ohio? Sure, those orange barrels are out all over the place, so clearly a lot goes to fixing the existing roads after the harsh winter destruction every year.  But here we are in the middle of May, and every excursion out of my house in Reynoldsburg is like a driving obstacle course. So, even that isn't getting done at a very rapid clip.

It's a daily aggravation, for me. I can only assume that your average Ohioan has come to accept the status quo as "just the way things are." When stuck in a traffic jam on East Broad Street out in the relative boonies of Blacklick to Pataskala at 2pm on an odd Saturday, they must just shrug, and think, "it's always been this way." But it doesn't have to be! I've seen it done better! There are many things about my Vegas experience I could bitch about, but attention to infrastructure isn't one of them. Why does Ohio allow this woefully inadequate condition to go on indefinitely?

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Harry Shearer Quitting The Simpsons

Image from source, CNN
Well, this was inevitable. For show that has been on for over 25 years (with characters that have been around longer than that), sooner or later, an major voice actor was bound to retire, die or quit. Harry Shearer's characters (perhaps only surpassed in number by Hank Azaria's) are too central to The Simpsons to kill them all off, or write them out. So, as was bound to happen, Shearer will be replaced. Very probably by multiple voice actors, rather than just one, as Mel Blanc was. Of course, Mr. Smithers, Mr. Burns, Seymour Skinner, Otto Mann, Dr. Hibbert, Reverend Lovejoy and Ned Flanders all have a distinctively Shearer sound to them, so maybe one guy could do them all, though I'd bet FOX would rather pay two or three guys a few hundred grand a piece rather than depend upon one guy again.

Anyway, Shearer has been instrumental to the success of the show, and will be missed, though you've got to imagine that The Simpsons in its current incarnation has to end altogether, eventually. Like The Flintstones and other popular cartoons, it will almost certainly live on in other formats, and with wholly different actors at some point. Shearer will likely start a slow exodus that leads to the end of the original series though. I'm going to go out on a limb and predict Season 30.


'Simpsons' Mr. Burns walking away from $14 million deal
"As the Simpsons continues its 27th and 28th seasons, Harry Shearer will not be within the show," showrunner Al Jean said in an email message to CNNMoney. Besides the evil Mr. Burns, Shearer also voices Ned Flanders, Principal Skinner, the Rev. Lovejoy and Kent Brockman. "We do not plan to 'kill off' his characters," Jean added, "but replace them with the most talented members of the voice over community. . ."

Read more at: CNN

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Supergirl Set to Debut on CBS (Fall TV Preview)

Image from Entertainment Weekly
Well folks, it looks like DC Comics and Warner Brothers have finally gotten their crap together. Sort of. After years of promising fans TV and movie adaptations, we're finally getting a flood of product, most of it on TV, and most of it quite good. They're not doing it as cleanly as Marvel Comics, having already created multiple continuities rather than one shared live-action universe. But thanks largely to Greg Berlanti (the guy behind Brothers and Sisters, of all things), we have The Flash, (Green) Arrow, The Atom, Firestorm, Black Canary and now Supergirl. Given that Berlanti was behind Green Lantern, a movie I liked, but which was nearly universally panned by fandom (what did you guys want it to be anyway?), I think we're lucky someone at WB had faith in him!

As with The FlashSupergirl has costume choices that are head-scratchers (Why the blue in the S? Why a different S from the movie Superman?). As with the 1984 movie and the original comic, Supergirl has heavy doses of borderline sexism in the story elements, at least as presented in the trailer. But it looks like it has potential. It looks like it's being given an honest attempt at putting Kara Zor-El on the screen and making it believable. And if Berlanti's previous efforts are any indication, we can probably expect further elements from the comics to show up in ways that reflect the real world and the heritage of the character. I expect for a cat named Streaky and a horse named Comet to figure in eventually, but without the eye-rolling corniness of the 50s and 60s.

I still have no idea why WB/DC have decided upon multiple media universes for these characters, and only hope that Supergirl ties in either with the other TV shows, or with the universe established in Man of Steel. With Gotham already complicating things by being its own thing, it would be silly to make Supergirl come up it's own stand-alone world (CBS and the CW are owned by the same folks, after all). Unless they're setting up a multiverse event? Then, count me in!


The Gay Thing: The Polygamy "Slippery Slope" Debunked

Conservatives seem to think that civil rights ought to depend upon a whole list of "what ifs." They propose endless hypothetical pitfalls to allowing equal civil rights to a group, using the classic slippery slope argument. Pointing out to them that the slippery slope is not merely a logical fallacy, but one of the big ones, does nothing to dissuade them. Well, let's be honest, cold hard facts generally do nothing to dissuade them. But the point of online arguments is often not to convince the politically entrenched, but those on the fence. Those for whom "truthiness" can sometimes cloud an issue. So, here's a quick, easy to follow debunking of the gay marriage will lead to polygamy (and other things) argument. Maybe someone will show it to Ben Carson.

Jeb Bush Shuns Iowa Straw Poll

Why does Iowa get to go first? Why is it that the political parties seemingly move heaven and earth to keep Iowa first in the presidential primary contest, even when other states try to change the calendar? Why does Iowa get this out-of-scale importance, when in fact it has only "been first" since 1972? Why is the Iowa Straw Poll--a pay-to-play contest--given such media attention, when it produces such non-conclusive results, and in fact shines the spotlight on how crazy Iowa primary caucusers are? The Republican straw poll--itself only a "thing" since 1979--has selected a non-incumbent primary winner twice, and a general election winner once. Meanwhile, it has produced nutbar results (Michele Bachmann, Pat Robertson) twice. Even the first-in-the-nation caucus has been a rather mixed bag when picking the general election victor.

So, what's the deal? Why Iowa? Even residents (and I speak as an in-law to a large Iowa family) are sick to death of the "honor." Might this be the year that Iowa's key role in presidential elections starts to unravel?

The Gay Thing: Texas Continues Assault on Gay People (and the Constitution)

It's no secret that the climate for liberalism in general and gay people in particular is not a friendly one. You could set a Google Alert containing the words "anti-gay" and "Texas," and you'd likely get news just about every day. But it is difficult to take seriously when you see stories like this one.

Cletus McGoober Cecil Bell
Here, you have state legislators passing laws that are clearly unconstitutional, and ridiculous on their face. They wear their animus completely openly, right up front. And the man leading the charge looks like a cartoonish villain, straight out of a B movie. Cecil Bell is his name, and even that sounds invented. "All hat, no cattle" seems to have been invented for him as well.

I'm sorry for my Texan gay friends and family that you have to put up with these indignities. But at least they give it to you with huge doses of comedy.


Texas Lawmakers Advance 'Pastor Protection Act,' Continue Full-Fledged Assault On Same-Sex Marriage

Last week, we told you how witnesses compared same-sex marriage to bestiality and pedophilia when they testified in support of a bill that would prevent churches and pastors from being forced to participate in gay weddings. On Monday, the Texas Senate responded by advancing the bill in a 21-10 vote, with one Democrat joining the chamber's 20 Republicans. . .

Read more at: Towleroad

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Right Wing World: Politicians Pander to Fearful GOP Fringe in Texas

I hesitated when writing "Fringe" in the headline. Because, clearly, the fringe has been wholly assimilated into the Republican mainstream these days. What would you have to believe to be considered a fringe right-winger these days? I mean, when you've got a batshit crazy conspiracy theory being given promotion and credence by elected officials and presidential candidates? You've gone around the bend, and I don't think you're coming back. So, please spare me the "both sides are the same." They really aren't. Find me a left-wing Louie Gohmert. You can't do it.


Conservatives Keep Pouring Fuel On The Texas Takeover Fire

The Pentagon has no plans to stage a military takeover of the Lone Star state. There are no tunnels covertly being constructed under West Texas' shuttered Wal-Mart stores.
So why are the fringes of the Internet still abuzz with rumors that the U.S. military is on the cusp of imposing martial law in "hostile" Texas under the guise of a training exercise dubbed "Jade Helm 15"? Representatives of the military and Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R), whose state is expected to host part of the planned training exercise, have sought to tamp down speculation that "Jade Helm 15" is anything other than a standard training exercise. . .

Read more at: Talking Points Memo

Monday, May 4, 2015

2016 Clown Car Update: Mike Huckabee Goes for a Drive

Holy crap! Three declared candidates in one day? This really is turning into a clown car! And Chucklebee? Gaahhhh. Not a fan, to say the very least. But at least he's not the charming, affable, honey-sweet character of old. He's said enough disturbing things on his old FOX "News" show and radio appearances to disqualify himself out of the gate. He's a pandering, disingenuous, wolf-in-sheep's-clothing Dominionist. He might wow them in Des Moines, but he is not a national candidate. Or rather, if he is? I'm not sure I have much hope for the nation.


Fiorina, Huckabee, Carson Join Republican Race for President
Do Republican presidential hopefuls share the same palm reader? Former Hewlett-Packard C.E.O. Carly Fiorina announced her bid for the G.O.P. nomination on Monday, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee is set to make his announcement on Tuesday, and famed neurosurgeon Ben Carson announced on Sunday that he would be joining the race. . .

Read more at: Vanity Fair

2016 Clown Car Update: Carly Fiorina Jumps In

Well that was fast. After Ben Carson got to drive the 2016 GOP Clown Car for barely a spin around the block, Carly Fiorina has gotten behind the wheel herself, and is ready to drive it into the ground like she did Hewlett-Packard around for a while! So, it looks like the Republicans have their own lady candidate, and can claim even more diversity, even though of their entire declared and potential slate, only two are anything other than a white man. I almost included "heterosexual," but the verdict is out on a couple of them. Anyhooo....

Fiorina may have a little difficulty getting very far. She's not exactly warm and fuzzy, which is funny since conservatives love calling Hillary Clinton icy. In fact, Mary Matalin shows more warmth than Fiorina. And Miz F has a decidedly sketchy biography, since her chief accomplishments are largely considered to be failures. But it is getting interesting.


Carly Fiorina jumps in: “Yes, I’m running for president”

Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina jumped into the race on Monday morning. In a video posted online, Fiorina immediately painted herself as Hillary Clinton’s chief critic, beginning with a brief clip of the former secretary of state’s own presidential announcement. . .

Read more at: MSNBC

2016 Clown Car Update: Ben Carson Climbs In

While the 2016 edition of the GOP Presidential Clown Car is certainly as feature-rich as the previous models, I can't decide if it is as entertaining. Ben Carson adds a little bit of diversity, not only by his distinctly different hue, but for his background. Yes, I know that Rand Paul is sort of a doctor, but not a real one (unless you buy his self-accreditation). Carson, though, is a surgeon. That's impressive.
But, I was taught that "book smarts" don't always equal practical smarts. From what I've seen, Carson is kind of scattershot in that regard. He's not completely wrong on everything. He's really bad at analogies. He's got a few very conservative social stances, and yet seems to support dying with dignity (which would go against the Schiavo "pro-life-at-all-costs" contingent). I doubt he's as sanctimonious as a Huckabee, as off-the-wall as Herman Cain or as bananas as Sarah Palin. But he might give this rolling side show a little flavor.

Detroit native Ben Carson set to announce presidential run
Dr. Ben Carson is choosing Detroit for a little prayer and politicking today — with a schedule that includes a prayer breakfast with city pastors, an assembly at the Detroit high school that bears his name and the official launch of his presidential campaign. . .
Read more at: Detroit Free Press

Friday, May 1, 2015

Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) Enters 2016 Race

Oh, Bernie. I love you, I really do. You're endlessly fascinating and entertaining to listen to. I agree with you on probably upwards of 95% of every issue. And you have as much chance of winning the Democratic primary and the presidency as I do.

Samantha Bee Leaves The Daily Show

Image from source, TPM
While it's more than a little upsetting that Jon Stewart is leaving The Daily Show, it's nearly as bad that many of the long-time correspondents are leaving as well. Following her husband, fellow "reporter" Jason Jones, Samantha Bee has now officially gone. And she may have been one of the strongest spices in the Daily Show stew. The clip retrospective used on Thursday night's show proves just how powerful (and powerfully funny) she was.


'Daily Show' Gives Teary Farewell To Correspondent Samantha Bee

On Thursday night, "The Daily Show" said goodbye to its longest-serving correspondent and member of "The Best F#@king News Team," Samantha Bee. . .

Read more at: Talking Points Memo

Nightly Show: SCOTUS Gets All Gay

Since I've been away at family events, a rather large thing happened, one that I can't just leave to one or two posts. The Supreme Court heard arguments for and against the constitutionality of same-sex marriage in the United States. Big, right? So, I thought I'd start with an easy post. Here's a clip from Thursday night's The Nightly Show, where host Larry Wilmore lays out what happened in a succinct (and entertainingly funny) way.

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