Tuesday, June 30, 2015

2016 Clown Car Update: Chris Christie Squeezes In!

Expect BIG things from this one!


Chris Christie Is Running For President. But Is He Too Late?
Chris Christie is running for president. The question now is if he's four years too late. The bombastic New Jersey governor shot to national prominence on his bravado and force of personality after his 2009 election. He quickly took on the unions there and touted his ability, as a Republican, to get things done in a Democratic-controlled state. . .

Read more at: NationalJournal

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Dear Editor...

To Rev. Stu': Thank you! And much love back to you and Mrs. Rev.!
To my readers: No, you probably won't understand! :)
From Rev. Stu':

 Much Love to You & Yours.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Gay Thing: Explaining Where "Gay Marriage" is in the Constitution

Yes, The Gay Thing again. Get used to it, it's probably going to be newsworthy for a few more days, at least.

One of the counter-arguments I've heard most from anti-marriage equality folks is that there is no right to gay marriage in the Constitution. They say this rather triumphantly, which is rather odd. I mean, it's kind of plain to me as a case of equal treatment under the law. Straight couples get scads of legal rights, benefits and responsibilities by getting married, and gay couples didn't. That's pretty simple.

But if that doesn't convince you, this clip is extremely instructive, and not just a little entertaining. This guy knows his stuff, speaks clearly and concisely, and would be very, very difficult to argue with.

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Gay Thing: What About The Anti-Gay Side of the Marriage Decision?

I could go on at length (and have) about the anti-gay side of the marriage equality battle. After Friday's Supreme Court decision, however, my extreme case of schadenfreude has me feeling especially disrespectful, uncaring for their feelings, and absolutely heedless of their "sincerely held beliefs." My give-a-shit meter is officially pegged in "don't."

Image from source, Salon.

So, rather than spend all evening on a rant about these all of these chuckle-heads, sore losers, illogical douche waffles and hateful homophobes, I'm going straight to an excerpt of an excellent post on the subject by Bob Cesca. He's snarky--and even a bit rude--but he's better at it than I am.


The GOP’s apocalyptic gay-marriage freakout: “I will not acquiesce to an imperial court”

It was just over 11 years ago, and I distinctly recall sitting in my garage, tears rolling down my face, feeling completely and utterly crushed. George W. Bush had just been re-elected in arguably the most cynical, awful way possible. It turns out that ballot initiatives banning same-sex marriage in two-dozen states motivated social conservatives to vote in higher numbers, tipping the balance in favor of that horrendous chief executive and his even more horrendous vice president. In all my years of covering politics, election day 2004 was possibly the darkest day up to that point. . .

Read more at: Salon

Proud to be an American: White House in Gay Pride Rainbow Light



The White House Is Decked Out in Rainbow Colors to Celebrate Gay Marriage

The Obama administration blanketed the front wall of the White House in rainbow-colored lights Friday night in a show of support for the Supreme Court decision released earlier in the day that made same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states. . .

Read more at: National Journal


The Gay Thing: Marriage Equality Arrives in All 50 States (Plus DC, Puerto Rico, etc., etc. . .)

Wow, where to start? In this space a couple of days ago, I detailed my thoughts on the then looming big Supreme Court decisions. I was optimistic, but nervous, and figured the Supremes would find a way to "split the baby." As it turns out, nope. We just won.

We won.

Finally. I mean, I know we've made such rapid progress over the last couple of years, it seemed "too fast" to people. But this is a battle firmly rooted in the movement started almost 50 years ago at Stonewall. And Stonewall itself didn't spring fully-formed from nowhere, there were smaller, less visible efforts before that. So, no, it wasn't too fast. Or too soon. And to people it affects, and people who have been involved and following this? It was long overdue.

The good Supremes, in this case, anyway. Image from Huffington Post.
Chief among the tactics of the anti-gay marriage side was delay. If you can't win, delay, and delay some more. Stays and appeals were requested and often attained, even when it was obvious they'd be denied. Anything to drag it out just That. Much. Further. And of course, the process itself has built-in delays. Justice just doesn't move quickly. My mother was surprised I complained about how long it's taken, because again, from her perspective this has been dizzyingly fast, this cultural revolution.

But, even this last stretch has seemed tediously slow. I got married seven years ago tomorrow. We were determined to get in under the wire, during California's initial 2008 marriage legalization. We knew that conservatives would try to shut it down. And naturally they did, crushingly on the same night we elected our first African American president. I followed every part of the process, through the Perry case, through the appeals, and to the last time the issue was before SCOTUS. All of that took five years, nearly to the day. SCOTUS kicked the can down the road, leading up to today, this time exactly two years later.

Admittedly, the past two years have been more fun to follow. One by one (and sometimes much faster than that), we watched the pro-equality states fill up the map. Once powerful groups like The National Organization for Marriage became more and more impotent and desperate. With very few setbacks, we watched the tide turn in our favor. That part was a rather stunning and relatively fast occurrence.

Image from Huffington Post.
I was on pins and needles awaiting the announcement this morning, even not knowing if the announcement would come today or Monday. The butterflies in my stomach were ravenous. Then the announcement came, and I burst into applause. Phone calls rolled in. I scanned Twitter and Facebook and flipped the TV channels. It was awesome! Rainbow flags and happiness all over! Well, not all over. . .FOX "News" was talking nothing but negatives, and the conservative blogosphere has officially lost its freaking mind. My ravenous butterflies have been feasting on their sweet, sweet SADZ ever since.

The huge squadron of GOP candidates for president are almost uniformly talking smack about SCOTUS, some shooting their mouths off about openly defying the court. A bunch of hot air. Sour grapes, personified. And already, we're old news, with one of the New York escaped convicts shot dead. Which--yay, okay, woohoo, you got him--but he's dead. What more is there to say?

Anyway, conservatives, do not expect gay folks and their supporters to calm down that quickly. Don't expect us to stop celebrating and turning metaphoric cartwheels. Don't expect us to be respectful of your "sincerely held beliefs," or to tone down our enjoyment of those of you who are having a hard time with this. This is too big. This is SCHADENFREUDE on an unprecedented scale for our movement. Most of us couldn't tone it down if we tried. If it bugs you, unplug for the weekend. Or the week. Because I will make no apology. I've waited too long for this.


Supreme Court Legalizes Gay Marriage Nationwide

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on Friday that it is legal for all Americans, no matter their gender or sexual orientation, to marry the people they love. The decision is a historic victory for gay rights activists who have fought for years in the lower courts. Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia already recognize marriage equality. The remaining 13 states ban these unions, even as public support has reached record levels nationwide. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Single Abstinance Spokeswoman Bristol Palin Pregnant. Again.

Image from source, Wonkette
The first time* Bristol Palin got preggers, it tarnished her mother's bona fides as a "traditional values" candidate, and made Bristol's mama bristle at the press, starting a political sideshow that continues to rear up its head every so often to this day. Since then, the younger Palin's hastily arranged nuptials to the first baby's father was cancelled, she's become an abstinence only spokeswoman, and has continued--along with the rest of her trashy family--to be a political Kardashian. I stopped paying attention years ago, but apparently there have been other beaus, a near-marriage (to someone who was already married, did I get that right?), and now is still married, and preggers again.

*And while I'm reporting on this tawdry tale, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that it's possible that the first time Bristol was actually pregnant, there may have been some subterfuge to pass the kid off as Sarah's. There's still an awful lot of weirdness around that particular nativity story.

Looks Like God Knocked Up Bristol Palin Again
Oh my stars, it seems America’s most virginal born-again virgin is with child. Again:
"I wanted you guys to be the first to know that I am pregnant. . ."
Read more at: Wonkette

So, What's with the Ads Against Iranian Nukes?

We are not in election season. Despite the ramping up of the 2016 presidential race, there is no looming election. And yet, in the last few days, I've seen several ads from "Secure America Now," about stopping Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. EVER! After seeing it for the seventh or eighth time, I decided to seek out the group.

They define themselves thusly, "Secure America Now is a non-partisan 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization. Contributions are not tax deductible." Bolding is mine. So, who are they? Welllll.....

Governor Mike Huckabee
Ambassador John Bolton
Pat Caddell

Aha! That's just three of them, the other names aren't on my radar. But these guys would seem decidedly partisan, wouldn't they? Especially when Bolton is quoted right below his name, saying, "The biggest threat to our national security is sitting in the White House," and Caddell is quoted saying, "We have a President who has suppressed the truth."

Huckabee is of course one of the many people running for the GOP nomination for president. What that has to do with Iran and nuclear readiness, I can't be sure. But I thought I'd just point out, this is just another one of those groups with a jingoistic name, claiming to be non-partisan when it isn't. It's the exact thing the IRS should be looking into, regarding tax exempt status.

Also of note, one of their other points of interest is Benghazi!

Here's one of their ads:

ObamaCare Survives Another Round at SCOTUS

Image from source, MSN
What does it all mean!?!

That's where I am with the trickle of SCOTUS decisions happening this month. The decision on the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) was kind of a no brainer, but a no-brain decision was what I was fearing would happen, given the shocks we've gotten in the past (Voting Rights Act, Citizens United, Hobby Lobby). But, whatever you think about the specifics of the ACA, the case was bollocks, and SCOTUS agreed. Good for them.

But given this big liberal victory, what does it say about the still-to-come decision on gay marriage? Or does it say anything at all? Before today, many were confident that SCOTUS would rule in the affirmative for marriage equality, but that the ACA decision was decidedly more sketchy.  That should be heartening, since the tougher of the two went the right way. But what if there was some sort of trade with the conservative justices? I'll give you your ObamaCare, but we get our way on marriage? It could happen. But I hope not.

Nervous and tired of waiting.


Supreme Court upholds nationwide health care law subsidies

The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the nationwide tax subsidies underpinning President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, rejecting a major challenge to the landmark law in a ruling that preserves health insurance for millions of Americans. . . 

Read more at: MSN

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

2016 GOP Clown Car Update: Bobby Jindal Gets Out to Piyush!

Really? Kenneth the Page? The guy who performed an exorcism? The guy who is more interested in theocracy than Rick (don't Google me) Santorum and Mike Huckabee? Okay, whatever, GOP.


Bobby Jindal Becomes 13th GOP Candidate
Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana, just became the 13th Republican candidate for president. Whether this will prove to be lucky or unlucky remains to be seen. Even though the field is already incredibly crowded, Jindal will not be the last Republican to announce -- there are at least two other contenders who will likely jump in (Scott Walker and Chris Christie), with the possibility of a few more longshot candidates as well. The more crowded the field gets, the harder it is going to be for any one of them to stand out, which is precisely Jindal's main problem. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Behind the Blogger: Waiting for SCOTUS, and The Other Half

I've resigned myself to blogging much more sporadically than I used to. Discovering--after eight years of doing this--that I'm under no obligation to post anything if not motivated has been kind of liberating. A strong argument could be made for giving up the venture, it being an unpaid, generally unacknowledged effort in the first place. But I enjoy having my own tiny corner of the internets, a place to shout out to the universe about whatever is on my mind.

Though I have much more time this year and this summer to blog, I'm finding that time isn't really the issue. It's a changing world, with social media making it so much easier to consume data, interact and comment on what's going on, and frankly, making it more difficult for me in particular to focus on a single subject at a time. I'm a multi-screen, multi-tasking, fragmented, near-ADD level media consumer these days. I spend far too much time doing all of the above, and with the freedom to do so, I'm still struggling with the whens, the hows, and the whys of having my butt planted in a chair in front of my screens when I could be doing something else.

Even when I force myself to change my venue, going out to get exercise, running errands, working on projects, I find myself with my screens (smart phone, touch-screen car media center) and my headphones, still consuming, still taking in data, stimulation. You'd think that this would spur more blogging activity later, not less. But I have often taken to commenting right there in Facebook, Twitter, the comments section, the letters to the editor. I've found my butt back in that chair when I didn't mean to, and the blog still gets ignored. Sorry about that, dear reader (if you actually exist!).

Summer has begun, and I've got some social obligations on the horizon, so the ramping up of chores and events and errands is about to hit in earnest. The Other Half--currently an absentee around here, as he's still commuting for an indeterminate time--returns after a lengthy time away, at the same time that friends and family are converging at our new home. Also, the Supreme Court of the United States is set to announce life-changing and politically explosive decisions in the space of the next week. Obamacare (of which I may soon be a consumer) and marriage equality (of which I've already consumed!) cases will be decided either Thursday, Friday or Monday.

When The Other Half and I moved to Ohio, we left a state where we were (only recently recognized as) legally married, fully equal to any other married couple, and to a state where we were not recognized. We will also soon be moving into a world where we don't have secured health insurance, with his retirement. So, both decisions are huge for us. It feels odd having such large question marks looming (especially since the question of future careers also loom in front of us), to be decided rather arbitrarily by nine people. Or even one person, if these cases come down to a 5-4 SCOTUS split.

For the most part, I'm relatively optimistic that both cases will be a win for the "liberal" side. I think the ACA/Obamacare case hinges upon a rather obviously partisan, paper-thin argument. A conservative win there would be just as transparently a political decision, more than a well-reasoned legal argument. On the marriage equality argument, a win seems even more certain, with virtually every indicator pointing toward 50-state legal equality for gay couples to marry. But SCOTUS has shocked us before.

Citizens United, Hobby Lobby and the gutting of the Voting Rights Act are all cases that stomp around the edges of my certainty. All of those decisions were WTF moments for people who look at things logically, not just because they were losses for my "side," but because the arguments for them seemed so bad, and the ramifications so obvious. Whenever I see someone say that the court wouldn't decide on my two cases in the conservative affirmative, because of the legal chaos it would create? I think of these other cases, where the chaos was either ignored, or even predicted by SCOTUS as "not going to happen."

If the ACA case goes to the conservatives, millions of Americans could lose their insurance, and people will die, directly because of the decision. That's relatively indisputable when you realize that nobody has a Plan B. If the marriage equality case goes to the conservatives, tens and tens of thousands of gay couples' rights are thrown into question, and the equality of unmarrieds seeking to marry becomes more of a patchwork than it already is. More chaos. But let's face it, would Scalia care?

Still, I'm optimistic. Though the court has in the past made manifestly political decisions, I'm hopeful that with these two decisions, legacy is the more important factor. For some of these justices--given their ages--legacy has got to be important. As they head into the sunset of their careers, do they really want to have deciding negatively on either of these huge cases as the thing they're remembered for? For the relatively youthful Chief Justice, does he want preside over negatively deciding them, only to have to revisit each issue again, and potentially have them overturned, or to have them overturned by the next guy? Either of these scenarios would cloud their legacies. So, that's one hope for me.

Another hope is that both cases will actually be decided on their merits, on legal precedent, and on simple logic. That may be a high hope, but if it happens, we win again. The case against marriage equality is just weak, weak, weak. I've followed this closely for its entire existence, and the one constant is just how bad the legal arguments are against equality. And the ACA case, as previously stated, comes down to intent versus semantics, and there is ample precedent that intent should win out over political sentiment over what "the state" means.

Timing over how these things are released adds to my suspense and frustration, and you have to wonder how much of the SCOTUS calendar is engineered by necessity, and how much is for dramatic effect. From my perspective, gay rights cases in general have been dragged out for as long as is possible by nearly every court. Though it seems like an incredibly fast progressing issue to many, when you follow it, it is glacially slow. But SCOTUS seems determined to wait until as late as they possibly can to tell us their decision. The wait is excruciating. And the timing is going to be momentous either way.

See, religious objectors? Not married in church, but at this
awesome city hall in Palm Springs. No Jesus, no "holy
matrimony." So, chill out.
The Other Half and I got married during the 2008 marriage equality "window," the time period between legal same-sex marriage in California and when Prop 8 shut it down. For five long years, I followed every legal wriggle, and watched the marriage equality progress in other states (including in Nevada where I then lived, and Iowa, The Other Half's home state). And finally, one day before our five-year anniversary--which we were spending back in California with our wedding party in tow--we were fully legal again, thanks to SCOTUS. Now, two years later, I'm waiting again for my home state to join the other two-thirds of the country in recognizing my marriage. And I'm waiting for The Other Half too!

If SCOTUS announces on Thursday or Friday, it will be just ahead of our anniversary again, and right before NYC's gay pride festivities. If it announces on Monday, it will be immediately after The Other Half's return. A positive announcement (hopefully in both cases) will provide a very jubilant summer. A mixed bag is going to hurt, no matter what. My best guess is a slightly mixed bag. I have a feeling we're going to get a mostly liberal victory on both of these things, but somehow tempered by the conservative justices.

With the ACA case, I'm not enough of an expert to know how they'd split the baby. But I'll bet they'll try. With the marriage equality case, I'm betting we get 50 state recognition with--at a minimum--recognition of marriages performed in other states, but possibly leaving in-state marriage up to the states. This would be a loss for our side, but would still have the practical effect of legalizing same-sex marriage everywhere. And that last domino would likely eventually fall. More likely, we'll even win on the "can get married anywhere" side, but conservative justices will muddy the win by tacking on some sort of BS "religious protections," or other minimizing language to coddle the conservatives a bit.

In short (I know, too late), I'm betting that the liberal side gets plenty to celebrate, and a little bit to bitch about, and the conservative side will be dealt big losses, but have a few nuggets to cling to. I hope that my prediction is at least what comes to pass, and that it actually comes out better. A worse case scenario is likely to drag down my summer, and drag me back to some blistering blogging.

Either way, I'm optimistic, but nervous.

Monday, June 22, 2015

John Oliver and the Confederate Flag

There is something stupid that happens if you get into a discussion about the Confederate flag. Well, lots of stupid, but one thing that stands out as ironically stupid. You'll get all kinds of defense of the flag that sounds awfully similar to the kind of defense Josh Duggar was getting after duggering four of his sisters, "it's not about slavery, it's about heritage," blah, blah. Yeah, yeah, sure, okay. But then, some "smart" person will pipe up to "educate" everyone: "That isn't even the Confederate flag! It's the second Confederate Navy Jack!" 

Oh! Well, never mind then! That just changes everything! It completely erases everything that happened in between that brief four-year secession thing, and slavery, and the fact that this flag has been used by the KKK and other white supremacists for over 100 years! It's a pointless point. An irrelevant factoid. It's like the knee-jerk gun fetishist who says, "THAT isn't an assault weapon! THIS is an assault weapon!" It almost never as any relevance or impact on the argument at hand.

Okay, now some comedic education from one of the political satirists who isn't retiring this year.


John Oliver Tells The South Exactly Where It Can Stick The Confederate Flag

John Oliver said there's really only one purpose for the Confederate flag. “The Confederate flag is one of those symbols that really should only be seen on T-shirts, belt buckles and bumper stickers to help the rest of us identify the worst people in the world," Oliver said Sunday on "Last Week Tonight. . ."

Read more at: Huffington Post

Friday, June 19, 2015

Jon Stewart Declines to Do Comedy in Wake of South Carolina Church Shooting

As a person raised around guns, where grandpa had a gun cabinet in his den, and Dad had shotgun shell and bullet loaders in the basement, I have--as I've said before--been agnostic in regard to gun control. Not rabidly for it, not rabidly against it, mostly just Switzerland.

That was then. Maybe into my mid-30s or so. Then Columbine happened, and steadily, regularly, depressingly regularly, gun violence blooms all over the country. Sometimes it's laced with anti-religious bigotry, sometimes with mental illness, sometimes with the mere desire to cause mayhem. Every time, it becomes political very fast.

Usually, there is a Left Wing World response along the lines of "Why can't we do anything? Something? Even something small? Is this finally enough?" That last question was largely replaced--after Newtown--with sad resignation, as expressed by Jon Stewart on Thursday night, that we won't do Jack shit, because there is no political will. [Story continues below]

In Right Wing World, the response is even more predictable. Go check out FreeRepublic.com or any other right-wing outpost on the internet, even the comments section of generally non-partisan news sites. Instantly--before the facts were known--there were charges of the perp probably being a Muslim, or black, foreign in some way at least. Likely a liberal atheist. When he turned out to be white, obviously race-inspired, probably very conservative, then it was a mental health issue, anti-ADD drugs, bad parenting. And--as always--the real problem is that there are not enough guns out there to fight all the guns out there, and it's really the liberal gun-grabbers' fault because they didn't allow open carry in the shooting site. And as always, someone will suggest it was all a false flag, or a planted patsy, a fake-out to inspire "gun grabbing."

Any whisper of discussion, no matter how gentle, about "is there anything that can be done to minimize these sorts of attacks?" is met with furious, profanity-laced, frothing, white-hot, paranoid rage from the right. It doesn't matter the circumstances. It doesn't matter how the guns were gotten, what type of guns or ammo were involved, whether hidden good-guy sentries with guns would have been helpful or not, the gun fetishists (and let's face it, the guns have been fetishized) come out--excuse the expression--guns ablazing.

If you take out the horror, shock and despair over the actual gun violence that has just happened (again), I'm still left with deep embarrassment that our country reacts this way. That the left is utterly impotent on this issue, and that the right can be so schizophrenic, as Jon Stewart pointed out: Islamic Terrorism must be met with a quick, furious and out-of-scale response. Gun violence? [Shrug] What can you do?


TV Jon Stewart declares no jokes in passionate Charleston commentary on The Daily Show

Jon Stewart began Thursday night’s edition of The Daily Show with an emotional, joke-free commentary about racism and gun violence in America following the shooting deaths of nine people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina on Wednesday. . .

Read more at: Entertainment Weekly

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Cher Reacts to Donald Trump Candidacy

As a gay American, I'm required by law to love Cher. But, I'd love her anyway, regardless. Her straight-forwardness, particularly in her Twitter tweets is so much fun. If Bernie Sanders pulls of a Democratic primary upset, he could do worse than Cher as a running mate. I'm kidding of course, but imagine the no-holds-barred truth telling from that team!


Cher’s hilarious response to Donald Trump’s presidential bid

Donald Trump’s announcement yesterday (June 16) that he would be running for the Republican party’s presidential nomination might have elicited a few jokes and snorts of disbelief, but Cher’s response to the anti-equal marriage property tycoon’s political aspirations has won the day. . .

Read more at: Attitude

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

2016 Clown Car Update: Ultimate Clown Donald Trump Gets In (It's Gonna be HUGE)

I literally can't even.

Rachel Maddow Expresses Confusion Over Donald Trump's Allure

Rachel Maddow has long been one of my favorite liberal pundits, long before her MSNBC show debuted. What I like most about her is the research behind her work, the context provided, and the unique angle from which she approaches a story. I also appreciate her humility and honesty, a rather unique feature in her profession. [Story continues below]

So, I won't question her confusion as it regards Donald Trump. Her perspective on the whole Trump allure is, "Why? I just don't understand." I don't get it either. This is a clownish buffoon, leagues ahead of the rest of the people jokingly referred to as "the GOP Clown Car." His appeal as even a reality TV star confuses me. He's an asshole. He's self-centered and self-serving. He's the worst kind of bullshitter, one whose bullshit is undisguised, heaped tall, sitting right in front of you with that ridiculous hair on top.

Trump's ludicrous boastfulness is transparent bullshit, whether it's his alleged investigation in Hawaii concerning the nonsense behind the President's "real" birth certificate. His solution to any foreign policy challenge, or domestic policy problem is a blanket, "I could solve that, and I'd solve it fast, and it would be marvelous." No details, because it's just bullshit. His ego knows no bounds, but is as hollow as papier-mâché.

So, my confusion has nothing to do with Trump himself. He's easy to figure out. He's a boastful jackass and bull-shitter. Fact checking him would become a full-time job for many, many people in the press. But his appeal? THAT is confusing. It's like explaining the appeal of music that grates on your ears. How can anyone like that, right? That's Donald Trump. Apparently, if you like him, you just like him. Maybe the assholery and bullshittery is your gangsta rap, or your death metal.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Dubya Introduces Jebbeh!

Hillary Clinton Officially Launched this Weekend

Image from ABC News
I'm a little confused by how presidential campaigns are done these days. Obviously, they start wayyy too early, and go on far too long. But we also have pre-announcements, and announcements that there will be a pre-announcement. We had Jeb! Bush running a campaign before he was officially running, potentially running afoul of (impotent) election laws. And then we have the official announcement that is weeks or months before the official launch?

Well, I guess it's a way to get yourself injected into the news cycle, and given the average American's attention span, I can understand that. So, hooray for Hillary Clinton, she's in with both feet. Go, Hillz.

If you note a lack of enthusiasm, it's President Obama's fault. I mean, what isn't, right? Don't get me wrong, I've never for a minute regretted either of my votes, and I hole the president in high esteem. I haven't agreed with him on everything, but his batting average is higher than any recent president in my book, including Bill Clinton. And he's leagues better than any of his prior competition. Same goes for Hillary, I'd vote for her in a hot second over every single GOP challenger.

But mustering as much enthusiasm as I had in 2008 is very, very tricky. For anyone. At that time, I was so desperate to get out of the political funk I was in after two Dubya terms, and the Karl Rove Alternate Universe Reality Warping Machine (I really wish I could make that spell K.R.A.P. somehow). Barack Obama was so different, so refreshing, so dynamic, I'd be surprised if I ever get that excited about voting again. And though I'm still a supporter, the hype was just impossible to live up to, and the enthusiasm impossible to maintain over two terms.

Add to that, that I'm in barely-just-platonic love with Elizabeth Warren, and that I agree with Bernie Sanders on almost everything (but believe him to be an extreme long-shot), and my Hillary love is just on simmer, not boil. So, heads up DNC, Team Clinton and all you liberal grass roots groups: you'd better pump up the extreme contrast between Republicans and Democrats, trumpet the importance of Supreme Court nominations, and fan the flames of the insane policy proposals coming from the GOP Clown Car. You can't buy enthusiasm, but you can put these realities front and center, in jumbo, bold, loud letters. Not everybody loves Hillary Clinton. But I've yet to find an Obama voter who wouldn't vote for her over her GOP competition. Now, let's just hope Bernie doesn't become a Ralph Nader-type spoiler.


Hillary Clinton Launches Campaign With Help From Spotify, Echosmith

Hillary Clinton kicked her 2016 presidential campaign into gear on Saturday with a grand formal launch on New York City's Roosevelt Island. Hours before the event, her campaign released the Democratic candidate's official playlist on Spotify, showcasing a range of uplifting anthems, including a handful by female artists like Kelly Clarkson, Katy Perry, Sara Bareilles and Jennifer Lopez. . .

Read more: Rolling Stone

Over Time with Bill Maher, June 12, 2015

Bill Maher and his guests – Ed Begley Jr., Ron Christie, Alexis Goldstein, Mike Pesca and Jeff Ross.

2016 Clown Car Update: Jeb Bush Finally Jumps In

The worst kept secret of the season is finally open, Jeb! Bush is running for president. Squeezing into the already packed-to-the-gills GOP Clown Car is going to take a jumbo-sized shoe horn, but Jeb! (yes, Jeb!) is determined to do it, and many consider him to be "the guy," the inevitable sane choice.

But let's not forget, he would be the third Bush in the White House of the last five presidents. That each of the last three Republican presidents would all share a gene pool. And the first two are not particularly revered. In fact, H.W. was seen as at best mediocre, and W. was seen by most as a disaster. My hope for Jeb! was that he'd go with the slogan, "3rd Time's the Charm!" and in fact, that was the logo I came up with for him. But he went with "Jeb! 2016," which looks tremendously silly, but I'll tell you why.

I'm not a paid political pundit, only a hobbyist blogger. But I am a graphic artist, one who specializes in logos and brand identity. And I'll tell you this, "Jeb!" was their solution to not having signs that said "Bush." Period. They were lucky that we have "Hillary" (or simply "H"), we have "Bernie" and we have "Rand." All of those campaigns are going first-name familiar. So, since "Jeb" is a nick name (his name is literally "John Ellis Bush Bush," remember), and is short, the apostrophe gives it some weight. I'm sure they also see it as drama, but I see it as levity. . .goofiness. I'm not sure that's what they were going for.


Jeb Bush poised to launch 2016 bid

Jeb Bush, a scion of the most recognizable family in Republican politics who fashioned an image as a sober-minded conservative truth-teller while governor of Florida, is poised to run for president.

Bush will make his formal announcement Monday afternoon here in his adopted hometown during an appearance at Miami Dade College. His candidacy comes after a weeklong European tour and months of intensive behind-the-scenes political maneuvering that erased long-standing doubts about his White House ambitions. . .

Read more at: WTAE

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Funny Lady Stephanie Miller Finally Releases Her Memoirs!

I know that sometimes the blog (when I'm actually posting) kind of resembles a Best of Stephanie Miller Show fan site. For the record, I was posting The Rude Pundit and several other areas of overlap before I heard them on Steph's show, but still. I'm a huge fan. So, I'm very happy that her long rumored memoirs are being released on Amazon! And she's got the first chapter available online for free, so, hop to it! Here you go!


Abandoned by Wolves, Raised by Republicans

In 1964, my father, Congressman William E. Miller of New York, was chosen as the Republican nominee for Vice President of the United States by Senator Barry Goldwater. Mostly, Dad's job was to start nearly every speech by saying, "What Barry meant to say was..." My dad and Barry were routed by President Lyndon B. Johnson and his running mate, Senator Hubert Humphrey, in a landslide of historic proportions. The Goldwater-Miller ticket carried just six states and lost by 16 million votes. I was three years old. . . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

Rachel Maddow Indulges in Some Franklin Graham Schadenfreude

The fact that televangelical dynasties are a thing now ought to bother people. Sure, folks like Jerry Falwell and Oral Roberts and Billy Graham caught on with the (gullible) public for some reason. Fine. I get that. But now that the first generation is gone or going, each seems to have a son following in the "family business," and for some reason they're given a similar level of reverence and relevance. Why? What did this idiotic, hateful son of Graham do to warrant him even being newsworthy?

Well, for some reason televangelists are now apparently like car dealership dynasties, and will get to hold down a corner of their "industry" in perpetuity. Since they won't fade into obscurity, at least they will continue to say ridiculous things, and make idiotic public stands like this one. It helps to be able to laugh heartily at their expense.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

2016 Presidential Logos, Ranked

My logo design for Jeb Bush, provided free of charge.
I love this article. Things don't get more in my wheelhouse than this. I'm a graphic artist, mostly for sign design, but specializing in logo design. Though I have no real formal training beyond a technical college, I've been designing logos and even corporate identities for as long as I've been shaving. Actually longer, predating computer graphics! So, it's kind of my thing. And though I won't tout my own creations as superlative, I do know quality design when I see it, and I know crap.

So does the author of this article, whose critiques are not only right on the money, but also quite hilarious. And rude. And hilarious.


The 2016 U.S. Presidential Candidates’ Logos, Ranked.

I’ve long held the ridiculously biased and shamelessly partisan opinion that Republican campaigns are…uh…less than excellent at graphic design. I have some theories on why this might be the case, which I will not be sharing. What I will be sharing is my attempt at assessing and ranking the logos of the fourteen (as of June 7, 2015) declared candidates. I have also reviewed all of the candidates’ websites for logo integration and overall design, and oh man do you ever owe me for that. . .

Read more at: Organizer Sandbox

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Rush Limbaugh is Becoming Irrelevant

Image from Salon
It's been a very long trip from fringe to mainstream back to fringe. And I'm not confident enough to say that the age of the Glenn Becks and Rush Limbaughs is entirely over. Goodness knows, today's crop of GOP presidential candidates is squarely in formerly fringe territory, politically. Limbaugh and Co. did their job of driving the right to the very cliff. But it would seem that Limbaugh himself is going over the edge, and like Wile E. Coyote, he's kind of suspended in midair, maybe not yet realizing that he needs to throw up a "Yipes!" sign, and start grabbing for branches to break his fall.

I bought The Way Things Ought to Be and See? I Told You So, Limbaugh's first two big books for my grandmother, who was a fan, way back in the early 90s. I was a viewer of Limbaugh's ill-fated TV show, though never (ever) a fan. I still marvel that he was able to muster such an audience, because over the last 20+ years, I have listened periodically. He has literally never won me over to his side on any argument. Not ever. I've always been able to spot his manipulation tricks, his spin on a subject, his steering of his audience, the red meat nuggets he's lobbing, and mostly the lies he's telling. My B.S. detectors (honed by my skepticism toward religion, and other factors, including my coming to terms with being gay in a world that was not okay with it) are tripped by Limbaugh every single time, and very, very quickly. He might as well be a Jehovah's Witness or Mormon elder at my door on an early weekend morning: nothing he says sounds convincing, and I'm irritated by his effort.

So, I think I have a more honest appraisal of Limbaugh (and his ilk, many others I've also more than just sampled) than do conservative critics of the left. I'd wager that most people who make the false equivalence of MSNBC to FOX "News," for example, have watched very, very little MSNBC. People who believe there is such a thing as a "far left" in this country would have a very difficult time finding an analogue to Limbaugh on the left. Or pointing factually to the areas where such an analogue has dragged mainstream liberal Democrats to the fringe. Or finding a liberal version of the Tea Party with any real influence on politicians.

This is where Rush has done his job well. He's drummed into his audience (and it's seeped into "conventional wisdom") that there is a lockstep liberal media, that President Obama is a radical leftist, that conservative Republican white Christian males are under attack. That absolutely everything contrary to fringe conservative thought is anti-American, anti-Christian and a sinister conspiracy. Everything is an outrage, everything is orchestrated, and somehow liberals (or gays, naturally) are a united front with hidden diabolical motives. Because of Rush and his compatriots, conservatives will declare with conviction that President Obama hates America, and that destroying it is his number one priority. They'll declare that gay people do not seek equality, don't really want to get married, they want to destroy the family, destroy America, destroy Christianity.

I've long thought that permanent rage can't last forever. It's got to burn out. Or at least evolve. I've truly never understood why Rush managed to have such a stranglehold on his audience, given his four marriages, drug scandals, odd forays into island countries with Viagra, and other unsavory behavior. Like Sean Hannity, Limbaugh has no particular foundation in political science, no background education, he's just a guy on the radio. How "Rush is right!" became such a thing, and stayed a thing for so long is as baffling to me as the fact that Dr. Phil is a thing. Why? But Rush's shtick seems to finally be bringing about his undoing. [Story continues below, after my favorite anti-Rush video]

In today's age of social media and instant memes, when you say something egregious, it can zing around the world in a few minutes. So, after Limbaugh decided to go after feminist activist Sandra Fluke (with, let me point out, a rant that wasn't just appallingly sexist, but devoid of any grounding in reality whatsoever), he blew out some load-bearing supports below his career (not intended to be a fat joke, but hey, there you go). An advertiser boycott was launched. And it has been sustained. Rush has been shedding advertisers ever since, and finally, he's also shedding his biggest radio stations.

Unfortunately, it's had the effect of damaging the already hanging-by-its-fingernails liberal side of talk radio, given the same advertiser base. Which is the potential downside of a lot of boycotts, unintended consequences. While that hurts, I can't help but have a measure of glee at the slow plunge of Wile E. Limbaugh off the cliff. And I'll be happy to wait, neck craned and ear cupped for the soft "whump!" and cloud of dust when he finally hits bottom.


Rush Limbaugh is cooked: The stunning fall of the right’s angriest bloviator

The bad news just keeps coming for conservative talker Rush Limbaugh. Which bulletin was worse, though? The news in April that he was being dropped by WIBC in Indianapolis, a booming talk powerhouse that played home to Limbaugh’s radio show for more than two decades, or the news this week that the talker’s new address on the Indianapolis dial is going to be WNDE, a ratings doormat AM sports station that has so few listeners it trails the commercial-free classical music outlet in town? . . .

Read more at: Salon

Sunday, June 7, 2015

19 Ways to Leave Your Duggars (Another Rocky Mountain Mike Song Parody)

Bwahaha! Obviously, a Paul Simon classic reworked as a lament about Mike Huckabee trying to extricate himself from an endorsement of the now toxic Duggar family. Brilliant.

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

Bill Maher: Christianity Under Attack? By Whom?

There is a real persecution complex amongst today's most vocally strident Christians. I'm talking about the professionally and perpetually outraged group of pundits, talking heads, radio hosts, keyboard warriors and their followers, who are insisting that Christianity is under attack. By "the left," or the "gaystapo" (that one is rich, and often used interchangeably with "gay mafia," "homofascists" and most recently "Rainbow Jihadists"). They have for years railed about the "War on Christmas," and see anti-Christian bogeymen around every corner. Bill Maher wants to know, and I do too. . .who are these people?

Over Time with Bill Maher, June 5, 2015

Bill Maher and his guests – Philip Mudd, Nina Turner, Rick Lazio, Ian Bremmer and Lewis Black.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

2016 Clown Car Update: Gov. Oopsie McGoodhair, Rick Perry Takes the Wheel

Well, why not? Why not try again after flaming out so utterly and so spectacularly last time? I remember watching that debate live (with my Twitter feed keeping me more entertained up until that moment) with my mouth open. Those were some awkward moments. I almost felt bad for him, until I continued reading Twitter, and was back to having a helluva time. There was some funny stuff to read then! And to think I'd been a little worried about Rick Perry's initial entrance into the 2012 race.

I don't think his 2016 entry is going to make the rest of the GOP class worry too badly.


Rick Perry poised to try again for presidency

Four years after a disastrous first campaign for the White House, former Texas governor Rick Perry announced here Thursday that he will try again, and the contrast between then and now could hardly be greater. . .

Read more at: MSN/WP

8 Year Blogiversary!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this here blog thingy is now eight years old. Along the way, I've posted over 11,000 posts, most of them originals (though occasionally re-runs). I've gone from having no focus, to merely a constantly shifting one. I've gone from occasional hobbyist blogger, to obsessed prolific blogger, to burned-out blogger, and back to basically occasional hobbyist.

So, it's funny to note that the day before yesterday marked my eighth anniversary during a time when I'm really not blogging all that much. And it's especially ironic, since now that I'm temporarily sort of retired from the job force (I'll be back, folks, just not yet!), I actually am freed up to blog pretty much unimpeded, I've fallen back to an average of less than a post per day! I blame that on two things, a lack of structure in my schedule at the moment, and in a general lack of focus on my part. Both things drove my blogging schedule in the past. Now, oddly enough, there is no schedule but still lots to do, and I find myself on projects, chores, errands, and then my evening feels like "me time." I know the complaint sounds weird when I have barely a part-time gig on the side to occupy my "work time." Most people should have such problems. Trust me though, free time has a way of filling up.

Anyway, that's a long way to go to tell you that while my output has been a bit skimpy, I have no plans to shutter the blog. Several of my favorite bloggers have either closed up shop, or intend to do so soon. I plan to keep this thing going, even if it is just my occasional place to rant. It's not like I have a massive audience of daily readers, right? I figure, any repeat business I have managed are people who just like to see what I have to say about things on a given subject, and in that area, they will generally find something I've had to say.

I'll continue to comment on the important happenings as they strike my fancy. I may end up bringing back a few features that I've allowed to lag, and I'll more than likely increase my output as the presidential race picks up steam. I'm quite sure the SCOTUS rulings in a couple of weeks will bring me online, and I know that I can't stay away for long.

So, apologies in the unlikely event that there are any readers out there who want me to write more often, but also a promise that I'm not going anywhere either. There may be days at a stretch with no new material, there may be too many posts in a row on a given subject, and I may have a month with 17 new posts in it, but I will be back! I mean, I have a habit of talking to and arguing with myself anyway, so I might as well do so in a way that doesn't appear nuts. Right?

Thanks for reading. I'll make more.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Lincoln Chafee Joins 2016 Democratic Presidential Primary Race

While the 2016 GOP side of the presidential primary election race threatens to expand from Clown Car to Clown Bus, the Democratic side also continues to grow, but at a much, much slower pace. Lincoln Chafee has entered the race, joining Martin O'Malley (who?), Bernie Sanders (a longshot favorite) and Hillary Clinton. While anything could happen, it doesn't seem terribly threatening to Mrs. Clinton at this point, though she's got to enjoy having the heat of every spotlight upon her being turned ever so slightly away, however briefly.


Launching '16 bid, Chafee refuses to rule out talks with IS

Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee entered the race for president Wednesday by calling for the U.S. to switch to the metric system, take an "open-minded approach" to drug trafficking and consider negotiating with Islamic State militants. . .

Read more at: SFGate

Monday, June 1, 2015

2016 Clown Car Update: Lindsey Graham Flounces In!

Oh, my stars and garters, some one fetch me a mint julep and place it out on the veranda next to the fainting couch! Senator Lindsey Graham DOES DECLARE! He is in this li'l ol' race! Who so ever shall be his first lady?

Mercy, this is going to be fun.


Presidential Candidate Lindsey Graham Fears Fox News

Sen. Lindsey Graham, who announced today he's running for president, has previously suggested he fears attacks from Fox News. Graham has attempted to placate the conservative network with nonstop appearances and praise of their coverage of issues like Benghazi and immigration reform. . .

Read more at: Media Matters

Friday the 13th Icon Betsy Palmer Dead at 88

It's almost impossible to discuss Betsy Palmer's role in the Friday the 13th series without spoiling the plot, pretty much. Which is okay, because the plot is so thin, it's really beside the point to spoil it! But in 1980, when I was a 13-year-old sneaking into the drive-in, her part in the film was seared into my brain. I may have recognized her from Candid Camera, or one of her other many game show appearances. But it was her role as Jason Voorhees' mother, the former camp cook who (for reasons never explained by the sequels) only thought the horny camp counselors had let her son Jason drown in Camp Crystal Lake, and was gleefully (and crazily) dispatching them one by one in gruesome (but novel!) ways. Her victims included Kevin Bacon oddly enough, so there are no degrees of separation there.

Anyway, the lady left a mark on Generation X, by agreeing to do a film pretty much because she knew it would get her a new car, and that sounds like reason enough to me to become a film legend (not that she wasn't already well known to the older generations). Paramount Pictures probably should have bought her a fleet of cars, considering that without her performance (and spectacular death scene), who knows if the first film would have achieved such success? It may have been a little nothing horror film, one of the many imitators of Halloween, rather than the hundreds-of-millions-of-dollars-grossing series it became?

I'm sure Betsy would be both amused and appalled that a for people like me, her life and career boil down to a film she made as a lark and a paycheck. But she did make an impact on a generation. How many people can say that? So, RIP, Ms. Palmer. Your place in pop culture is forever secure.


Betsy Palmer, Actress Best Known As Killer Cook In 'Friday The 13th,' Dead At 88
Betsy Palmer, the veteran character actress who achieved lasting, though not necessarily sought-after, fame as the murderous camp cook in the cheesy horror film "Friday the 13th," has died at age 88. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post
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