Friday, November 05, 2010

Some Consolation...

Well, one Michigan Republican got his ass handed to him this week: Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell.

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Tuesday, November 02, 2010


Nate Silver, the polling/election analyst hero of 2008, gives 5 reasons that Democrats might defy predictions and hold on to the House. Of course, he's also the guy predicting a 53-seat GOP gain, with a possibility of 70-80 seats. So, take all of it with a grain of salt.

In short, none of these fucking guys know what the hell they are talking about. We'll know tomorrow how right (or wrong) they all are.

Personally, I think there's no way the polls accurately portray the mood of the country, and that Democrats are likely to outperform expectations. However, I think they still lose the House and hold the Senate with only a few seats to spare.

Specific predictions? Reid barely wins. O'Donnell loses big. Brown and Boxer win. And, finally, Russ Feingold squeaks by.

But get ready for the House Energy Committee chaired by Joe "I'm Sorry, B.P." Barton.

Dumbest. Electorate. Ever.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

'Bout Freaking Time

NPR cans Juan "Not really a liberal but I play one on FOX News" Williams. Not sure why this particular incident was the final straw, but he deserves it nonetheless.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dick of the Week: Andrew Shirvell Mike Cox

Until I just watched this AC360 clip, I'd only read about this story. I had no idea what a freakshow this Shirvell guy is. As a Republican political operative, vocal Christianist and person who testifies in court, I expected a much more articulate firebrand of a bigot—not this jackass. And, as is so often the case with these anti-gay crusaders, it will be no surprise when we discover Andrew Shirvell is a self-loathing homosexual himself.

And because this guy is so clearly deranged, the DOW award has to actually go to the person who appointed him Assistant Attorney General and continues to employ him—State of Michigan Attorney General and All-Around Asshole Mike Cox.

When confronted with the clearly offensive and borderline illegal behavior of his employee Cox tossed out this garbage statement:
"Mr. Shirvell's personal opinions are his and his alone and do not reflect the views of the Michigan Department of Attorney General. But his immaturity and lack of judgment outside the office are clear."

Yeah, yeah..."First Amendment rights...civil servant protections...etc."

Bullshit. Shirvell is walking right up to the line of stalking, harrassment and slander, and this is clearly conduct unbecoming of a state official and cause for dismissal. With his half-hearted slap on the wrist, Cox himself just called Shirvell's judgement and maturity into question, yet this guy is supposed to represent the State of Michigan in court? Are we supposed to believe he can treat all people equally under the law?

This guy might have a First Amendment right to be a dickhead, but he doesn't have a right to a taxpayer-funded job that he clearly cannot perform.

Fire. His. Ass. Yesterday.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Class Warfare: Bring It.

Last week, the big story I wished I had time to blog about was the parade of wealthy jackasses who took to the Op-Ed pages to whine about how hard a tax increase would be on them. First, there was this douche nobody ever heard of before he made a complete fool of himself for bitching about scraping by on just under half-a-mil. And then everybody's favorite no-talent Hollywood conservative Ben Stein chimed in with "Raising My Taxes Is a Punishment."

I had some ideas floating around about how to tear these guys a new one, but I was never going to come up with anything as good as the salvo unloaded by Bill Maher on Friday:
New Rule: The next rich person who publicly complains about being vilified by the Obama administration must be publicly vilified by the Obama administration. It's so hard for one person to tell another person what constitutes being "rich", or what tax rate is "too much." But I've done some math that indicates that, considering the hole this country is in, if you are earning more than a million dollars a year and are complaining about a 3.6% tax increase, then you are by definition a greedy asshole.

And let's be clear: that's 3.6% only on income above 250 grand -- your first 250, that's still on the house. Now, this week we got some horrible news: that one in seven Americans are now living below the poverty line. But I want to point you to an American who is truly suffering: Ben Stein. You know Ben Stein, the guy who got rich because when he talks it sounds so boring it's actually funny. He had a game show on Comedy Central, does eye drop commercials, doesn't believe in evolution? Yeah, that asshole. I kid Ben -- so, the other day Ben wrote an article about his struggle. His struggle as a wealthy person facing the prospect of a slightly higher marginal tax rate. Specifically, Ben said that when he was finished paying taxes and his agents, he was left with only 35 cents for every dollar he earned. Which is shocking, Ben Stein has an agent? I didn't know Broadway Danny Rose was still working.

Ben whines in his article about how he's worked for every dollar he has -- if by work you mean saying the word "Bueller" in a movie 25 years ago. Which doesn't bother me in the slightest, it's just that at a time when people in America are desperate and you're raking in the bucks promoting some sleazy Free Credit Score dot-com... maybe you shouldn't be asking us for sympathy. Instead, you should be down on your knees thanking God and/or Ronald Reagan that you were lucky enough to be born in a country where a useless schmuck who contributes absolutely nothing to society can somehow manage to find himself in the top marginal tax bracket.

And you're welcome to come on the show anytime.

Now I can hear you out there saying, "Come on Bill, don't be so hard on Ben Stein, he does a lot of voiceover work, and that's hard work." Ok, it's true, Ben is hardly the only rich person these days crying like a baby who's fallen off his bouncy seat. Last week Mayor Bloomberg of New York complained that all his wealthy friends are very upset with mean ol' President Poopy-Pants: He said they all say the same thing: "I knew I was going to have to pay more taxes. But I didn't expect to be vilified." Poor billionaires -- they just can't catch a break.

First off, far from being vilified, we bailed you out -- you mean we were supposed to give you all that money and kiss your ass, too? That's Hollywood you're thinking of. FDR, he knew how to vilify; this guy, not so much. And second, you should have been vilified -- because you're the vill-ains! I'm sure a lot of you are very nice people. And I'm sure a lot of you are jerks. In other words, you're people. But you are the villains. Who do you think outsourced all the jobs, destroyed the unions, and replaced workers with desperate immigrants and teenagers in China. Joe the Plumber?

And right now, while we run trillion dollar deficits, Republicans are holding America hostage to the cause of preserving the Bush tax cuts that benefit the wealthiest 1% of people, many of them dead. They say that we need to keep taxes on the rich low because they're the job creators. They're not. They're much more likely to save money through mergers and outsourcing and cheap immigrant labor, and pass the unemployment along to you.

Americans think rich people must be brilliant; no -- just ruthless. Meg Whitman is running for Governor out here, and her claim to fame is, she started e-Bay. Yes, Meg tapped into the Zeitgeist, the zeitgeist being the desperate need of millions of Americans to scrape a few dollars together by selling the useless crap in their garage. What is e-Bay but a big cyber lawn sale that you can visit without putting your clothes on?

Another of my favorites, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann said, "I don't know where they're going to get all this money, because we're running out of rich people in this country." Actually, we have more billionaires here in the U.S. than all the other countries in the top ten combined, and their wealth grew 27% in the last year. Did yours? Truth is, there are only two things that the United States is not running out of: Rich people and bullshit. Here's the truth: When you raise taxes slightly on the wealthy, it obviously doesn't destroy the economy -- we know this, because we just did it -- remember the '90's? It wasn't that long ago. You were probably listening to grunge music, or dabbling in witchcraft. Clinton moved the top marginal rate from 36 to 39% -- and far from tanking, the economy did so well he had time to get his dick washed.

Even 39% isn't high by historical standards. Under Eisenhower, the top tax rate was 91%. Under Nixon, it was 70%. Obama just wants to kick it back to 39 -- just three more points for the very rich. Not back to 91, or 70. Three points. And they go insane. Steve Forbes said that Obama, quote "believes from his inner core that people... above a certain income have more than they should have and that many probably have gotten it from ill-gotten ways." Which they have. Steve Forbes, of course, came by his fortune honestly: he inherited it from his gay egg-collecting, Elizabeth Taylor fag-hagging father, who inherited it from his father. Of course then they moan about the inheritance tax, how the government took 55% percent when Daddy died -- which means you still got 45% for doing nothing more than starting out life as your father's pecker-snot.

We don't hate rich people, but have a little humility about how you got it and stop complaining. Maybe the worst whiner of all: Stephen Schwarzman, #69 on Forbes' list of richest Americans, compared Obama's tax hike to "when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939." Wow. If Obama were Hitler, Mr. Schwarzman, I think your tax rate would be the least of your worries.

h/t: Smitty

UPDATE: Searching for the Ben Stein link unearthed this 2006 New York Times Op-Ed by Stein. Like every loudmouth conservative, looking out for himself means a change of tune:
The real problem is the difference between the rich — including rich oil people, of whom there are not many, but there are enough — and the poor. It is up to the government to redress this extraordinary difference in incomes of the rich and the nonrich, even at the margins.

What Congress can do, and should do, is address the stunning underpayment of military men and women and the staggering budget deficits that will be a burden on our posterity for decades, by raising the taxes on the rich. It's fine that there are rich people. It's even fine that there are superrich people.

But if they are superrich, they derive special benefits from life in the United States that the nonrich don't. For one thing, they can make the money in a safe environment, which is not true for the rich in many countries. It is just common decency that they should pay much higher income taxes than they do. Taxes for the rich are lower than they have been since at least World War II — that is to say, in 60 years.

This makes no sense in a world at war, in a nation with so many unmet social needs, in a nation with so many people without health care, in a nation running immense and endless deficits.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Last Installment...and why they're wrong

Today's frame job by the AP:
Poll: Climate for GOP keeps getting better (AP)

AP - Tilted toward the GOP from the start of the year, the political environment has grown even more favorable for Republicans and rockier for President Barack Obama and his Democrats over the long primary season that just ended with a bang.

It's bullshit. Complete bullshit.

While it is true that the numbers appear worse, these polls really don't mean a thing. And as far as the just completed primary season that "ended with a bang?" That "bang" was the GOP shooting itself in the foot. The victories of Tea Party candidates aren't a reflection of anything but a fracture within the Republican party. Is there a single instance where the Tea Party candidate has actually enhanced the GOP's chances in a race? I haven't seen one. Just yesterday, the Tea Party effectively handed Joe Biden's old seat back to the Democrats by nominating a candidate that stands no chance of winning at the expense of a legitimate Republican that would probably have easily won.

The AP story goes on to use only words like "beleaguered," "dreary" and "dispirited" regarding Democrats, and trots out some polls and statistics that don't necessarily lead to the conclusions they draw...

As Illinois kicked off the primary season Feb. 2, there was little talk even among Republicans that power in the House was in reach, much less in the Senate. But the national landscape has only has worsened for Democrats.

[1] The unemployment rate was 9.7 percent; it's 9.6 now.

[2] Half of the country said in January that the country was on the wrong track; 57 percent say that now in the new AP-GfK poll.

[3] About 42 percent of the country disapproved of Obama's job performance; half does now.

[4] Democrats had a 49 percent to 37 percent advantage over Republicans on the party that voters want to see control Congress; the GOP now enjoys a 55-39 lead among likely voters.

[5] Republicans have steadily gained ground on economic issues and now have a slight advantage on handling the economy, the federal deficit and taxes. They improved their standing in the past month even as Obama stepped up his efforts to persuade the public to give Democratic solutions more time to work.

[6] At the same time, 40 percent of likely voters call themselves tea party supporters, and most of them lean toward Republicans while nearly two-thirds have a deeply negative impression of Democrats. That means the GOP could be in strong shape on Nov. 2 if tea party backers turn out and vote Republican. That's what they've been doing so far this year: The grass-roots, antiestablishment movement can claim wins in at least seven GOP Senate races, a handful of Republican gubernatorial contests and dozens of House primary campaigns.

Let's take these apart one by one...

1. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that's an improvement. It still sucks, and is not where it should be... but they act as if the number is in double figures.

2. In their sampling of two dates (Feb 2 and today) they neglect to mention that the poll they refer to actually is a graph that shows the gap closing over the last month and the overall trend for the year is still overall upward.

3. Worthless statistic. I disapprove of Obama's job performance—Congress' too—but I'm sure as shit not voting Republican! These polls are always going to be skewed by capturing Dems critical of their own party—something zombie Republicans don't do, and the media cannot seem to fathom. I hate many of the Democrats in Washington—doesn't mean I want them replaced by Republicans.

4. This is because of the steady drumbeat of coverage like I've shared the last three days. This poll question is self-fulfilling.

5. See above. No one when actually presented with information on the economy during Republican vs Democratic control could ever possibly reach this conclusion. Which is why stories such as this never include that type of useful information.

6. "40 percent of likely voters call themselves tea party supporters" That's fucking impossible. Unless they are asking these poll questions outside a Palin rally. Seriously. No. Fucking. Way.

That's it. the purpose of this AP story is to drive a narrative. Nothing else. there's no there, there.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Today's Installment

Today's Yahoo tease of an AP story [headline/link followed by the pop-up snip]:

Senate Republicans say they'll block tax increase (AP)

AP - President Barack Obama's plan to raise taxes on wealthier people while preserving cuts for everyone else appears increasingly likely to founder before Election Day.

And if you click through to the whole story it's just as bad...

Of course there's the unsurprising bit about old friends Evan Bayh, Ben Nelson and Holy Joe joining the GOP in rhetoric as well as deed, but the rest is just more of the same bullshit non-analysis we read yesterday.

The story wraps with a couple talking points from each side, which of course ends with a misleading statistic presented by the editors to back up a bogus GOP claim, and then last word goes to the Republicans.

"We could get (tax cuts) done this week, but we're still in this wrestling match with John Boehner and Mitch McConnell about the last 2 to 3 percent" of upper-income taxpayers, Obama said Monday during a backyard town hall in a Northern Virginia suburb. [NOTE: this is optimistic, to say the least, in terms of timetable, but essentially true.]

Gibbs said the middle class should not be used as a political football by Republicans maneuvering to give tax cuts to wealthy taxpayers, who he said don't need the reductions. [NOTE: Also true.] Republicans say paring taxes for the wealthy would encourage them and the businesses they operate to create jobs. [NOTE: Demonstrably false until someone produces actual evidence of successful trickle-down economics.]

Republicans, for their part, say that it's not just the rich who would be hit by Obama's tax hike on upper-income people. Many small businesses — that earn about half of all small business income — would also face the tax hike. [NOTE: There's the whopper.]

That makes it sound as if "many" equals "about half" of small businesses. Wrong. It's a deliberate attempt to conflate the income (dollars) with number of businesses. The truth is the vast majority of small business owners earn far below the threshold, and their personal income is impacted (or not) in any case, NOT the business.’

Just as the top 3% of individuals account for 20% of the nation's wealth, the "many" small business owners that account for "about half" of the small business income is actually a tiny share of the number of businesses. Like two percent tiny.

Thanks, AP!

P.S. Of course, that's skipping past the assertion that Obama is actively raising ANYONE'S taxes. He's not. This is the expiration of the GOP con game from the first Bush term.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Happy Birthday, Professor

The So-Called Liberal Media

The above-the-fold tease on the Yahoo home age:
Record gains for US poverty with elections looming (AP)

AP - The number of people in the U.S. who are in poverty is on track for a record increase on President Barack Obama's watch, with the ranks of working-age poor approaching 1960s levels that led to th...

Who could possibly benefit from that framing?

Reading into the article further, all the reader gets is more negative trend information wrapped up with the typical non-analysis of today's mainstream media [emphasis aded]:

The GOP says voters should fire Democrats because Obama's economic fixes are hindering the sluggish economic recovery. Rightly or wrongly, Republicans could cite a higher poverty rate as evidence.

Democrats almost certainly will argue
that they shouldn't be blamed. They're likely to counter that the economic woes — and the poverty increase — began under President George W. Bush with the near-collapse of the financial industry in late 2008.

They say... vs they argue. Awesome. And, seriously? "Rightly or wrongly?" It's not a question, not even rhetorically. Do your fucking jobs, you dicks. I'm glad Fox News gets to lie with impunity, while the rest of you have now assumed the mantle of "We (sort of, but not really) Report, You (are forced to) Decide."

Sunday, August 29, 2010

"Restoring America"

Burning houses of worship? I hope the likes of Beck, Palin and others pushing the fear and hate are proud of what they've wrought. The ignorance and hate in the quotes given straight-faced to the news crew in this story are enough to turn one's stomach.

I'd like to say "I don't recognize this country anymore" but sadly, I do: It looks just like the early 60s when the Klan was firebombing black churches.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Richie Hayward 1946-2010

Good video of Little Feat in their heyday is hard to come by, and while this compliation of solos doesn't really capture what made Richie one of the most enjoyable drummers EVER to watch and listen to, it's the best I could find. Richie's drumming was not flashy solos, massive kits and technical prowess as much as it was shuffles, off-beat hi-hat work, grooves and rhythym that made him — subtly — the lead instrument that really drove the music of Little Feat.

Everybody knows old masters like Neil Peart, and guys like Matt Cameron and Jimmy Chamberlain certainly have chops, but none of them had the soulful funk of Richie. He was one of a kind and arguably the greatest drummer I ever saw.

Richie was diagnosed with liver cancer in 2009 and died of complications while awaiting a transplant.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Shelby GT500

This one's for you, Bob...

Friday, July 23, 2010

Best. Counterprotest. Ever.

Fred “GOD HATES FAGS” Phelps and his band of hate-mongering motherfuckers like to show up and “protest” at various public events, funerals of soldiers, etc. seeking publicity for their twisted cause, and ultimately hoping to inflame to the point that someone punches one of them out and they can sue—that's literally the Westboro Baptist Church business model.

Well they had no idea what they were dealing with when they set up shop across from the San Diego ComicCon.
Unbeknownst to the dastardly fanatics of the Westboro Baptist Church, the good folks of San Diego's Comic-Con were prepared for their arrival with their own special brand of superhuman counter protesting chanting "WHAT DO WE WANT" "GAY SEX" "WHEN DO WE WANT IT" "NOW!" while brandishing ironic (and some sincere) signs. Simply stated: The eclectic assembly of nerdom's finest stood and delivered.
The photos are filled with all kinds of win.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Bad Idea...

Last week on the way into work, I heard a pretty in-depth explanation of the procedure that BP was about to try with this integrity test / capping the well. The whole time I kept thinking, “What the fuck are they thinking?”

I'm obviously no geologist, but common sense seems to dictate to me that this procedure seems to bring far too much risk at this stage. By “this stage” I mean we are supposedly a few weeks from a permanent kill via the relief wells, but we are letting BP fuck around with a procedure that has the very real potential to cause a complete blowout of the well that will be virtually unstoppable, or even worse, a fracture or collapse of the sea floor that will basically result in an oil volcano at the bottom of the Gulf.

The most important thing to keep in mind at all times is that BP is not to be trusted. At all.

You want to do an integrity test? Okay. BP should be allowed to have a very narrow window to monitor pressure—but be ready to begin using this new cap to continue pumping oil to the surface. If pressure slips, that means there's additional leaks, so start pumping the fucking oil up pronto!

If pressure builds, write it down, make your calculations, and then start pumping the fucking oil up just the same. IT MAKES NO SENSE TO ME TO LEAVE THIS CAP IN PLACE WITH THE WELL SEALED, AND LETTING THE PRESSURE BUILD.

If this cap can actually stop the flow temporarily, then why not use it as a 100%-capture spigot to continue pumping? Can anyone explain to me what BP's motivation for NOT pumping what they can out of this before they kill it from the bottom could possibly be?


Now only a few days later, there are conflicting stories of seepage and leaks from the sea floor that BP insists are incidental and naturally occurring... Yeah. I'm fucking sure.

Don't be surprised if it turns out that this whole process doesn't turn out to be a massive scam operation to get BP off the hook for whatever happens going forward. They've set the government up to be the fall guy regardless of the bad outcome: Pressure blowout? “The government signed off!” If the government makes BP open the cap and start pumping and something happens, “the government made us stop!”

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Daily Awesome

Working on a project at work, and I wanted to confirm using the term "The Old Country" in reference to Europe... Google led me to this.


No time for a post, but thought some of you might enjoy some of the long-ago promised auto photography... Shot this on Wednesday.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Daily Awesome

Jon Stewart on Helen Thomas and South Carolina. Brilliant.

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Monday, June 07, 2010

Things That Pissed Me Off

The last week or so has been a parade of outrage and bullshit that I've longed to blog about, but simply didn't have time. Here's a few, numbered for your commenting convenience.

1. BP CEO Tony Hayward made a strong DoW bid... I can't believe BP lets this jackass anywhere near a camera at this point. When he's not shamelessly—and transparently—lying, he's saying something unbelievably stupid. Multimillionaire oil executive Hayward stood in front of a camera on a Gulf pier and declared that "nobody wants this over more than me. I want my life back."


2. South Carolina State Senator Jake Knotts (R-Naturally) played Good Ole Boy.
"We already got one raghead in the White House; we don't need a raghead in the governor's mansion."

He was, of course referring to candidate for S.C. governor Nikki Haley, and inferring she is Muslim for the benefit of the mouth-breathers in that state. Haley is actually of Indian descent, and a Christian. Her parents are Sikh.
[Knotts] says her father walks around Lexington wearing a turban.

“We’re at war over there,” Knotts said.

Asked to clarify, he said he did not mean the United States was at war with India, but was at war with “foreign countries.”

One of President Palin's "real Americans."


3. Well, Arizona isn't gonna stand around and let South Carolina be the most repugnant, racist shithole in the country without a fight: In Prescott, AZ, things reverted back to the days of Billy Jack. A City Councilman with a radio show and a bunch of racist passersby bullied an elementary school into agreeing to "whiten" the faces of a mural depicting diverse faces of ACTUAL FUCKING STUDENTS IN THAT SCHOOL! While that mural was being painted, at times with the help of the kids themselves, they were actually heckled with the n-bomb and other slurs. Can we give that state back to Mexico already? (In the end, the school superintendent overruled the cowardly principal and the mural was unaltered—but this is likely only due to the national attention.)


And then there's Israel. But that's a whole other post. Or more.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Daily Awesome

This rules.
[HuffPo] Prepare to get your ass handed to you. While we're not sure what that actually means, we guarantee you that this guy is certainly capable of it. No description of his ability to rock will do this drummer justice - unless we simply write "amazing" over and over again. So we'll let the skins do the talking.

That clown from Cheap Trick is crying after watching this guy beat him at his own game.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

SuperBowl in New York?

Bring it. I think a cold weather game would be awesome.

UPDATE: What Captain Caveman at KSK said...

UPDATE 2: Even better from a commenter...
The winner of the Super Bowl gets the Lombardi Trophy. A trophy named for a man who said “New York? Too warm. Honey, lets move to Green Fucking Bay.” This motherfucker wouldn’t let his defenders wear gloves during the Ice Bowl for fear they might drop an interception
UPDATE 3: Big Daddy Drew

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


The Boston Globe’s “The Big Picture” photo website has a gallery of images from the Gulf that just about had me in tears in the office. Steve Benen warned that it was “not for the faint of heart.”

He is right.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Political Strategery

[straight from kos himself at GOS]

Political pop quiz: You are the Connecticut Republican Party, the nation's richest state and a solid Democratic stronghold. Your Democratic opponent has been busted (fairly or not) for lying or exaggerating his military service during the Vietnam War. Do you:

  1. Nominate a decorated Vietnam War vet, retired Colonel, and winner of two Bronze Stars, with a proven track record of winning elections in tough political terrain
  1. Nominate the teabagger co-founder of the WWE

If you were smart, you'd pick option number one. But the rules said you had to be a Republican...

I think this is goods news for someone, and it's NOT John McCain. Richard Blumenthal should weather this fake-ass controversy and when reality comes into play for voters, he will stomp Linda McMahon. This is another case of the Teabag Wing pulling the GOP too far to the right.

I know voters in Connecticut have proven themselves to be as fucking stupid as any other state last time they chose a Senator, but at the end of the day, I have to think a popular and effective public servant that had astronomical approval numbers should prevail.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Note to Rand Paul...

The choice to carry a gun is in no way equivalent to a condition beyond an individual’s control such as being born with brown skin or legs that don’t work. Therefore, your diversion about protecting “the right” of a paranoid asshole to wear his sidearm into McDonald’s doesn’t belong in a conversation on the societal benefits of the Civil Rights Act or the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Nice try, asshole.

Dog Whistle or Tuning Fork?

Or simply ideological blindness?

As you may have heard, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul made a complete ass of himself last night on The Rachel Maddow Show.

I enjoy Rachel Maddow and think she is brilliant. But I often find Maddow's show annoying in the sense that she is too deferential to her guests in the moment—even when she's being aggressive—and too often relies on follow-up after the fact. As in the next show. Correcting the record or declaring "Gotcha!" too late is usually exactly that: Too late. No matter how thorough or clever.

But this segment does such a good job cutting past the “he said” or race card bullshit and dealing directly with the real world ramifications of actual policy vs. hypothetical ideology and tying it all together that I think it's worth everyone's time.

(You could watch the entire Paul appearance if you like, but it's twenty stomach-churning minutes of Paul running from giving a straight answer on whether he supports the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The key moments are excerpted in this brilliant follow-up:)

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

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

It's over.

Gotta give props to Lee Dewyze and Simon Cowell for last night's American Idol. Cowell chose “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen (Jeff Buckley-style) for Dewyze to sing in the biggest moment of the competition. It's not a song I would have thought suited his more gruff / less pretty vocals—shows what I know. His performance was awesome. I wish the arrangement was kept simpler (ditch the horns, tone down the backing vocals in favor of Lee and his guitar along with the strings), but I think this just won him the competition. Check it out:

Not too shabby. I think a better arrangement would come as close as anyone to could to Buckley’s rendition—which I think is one of the finest vocal performances ever recorded.

UPDATE: k.d. lang's got some pipes too...

Quote of the Day

“The main difference between the far right and far left
is that the left locates the golden age in the future.”

--John Judis

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Self-Proclaimed “City of Tomorrow”

My current place of (temporary) residence is Troy, Michigan. While our permanent housing arrangements in Ann Arbor shake out, I am staying with Mrs. F's family in one of Detroit's upscale suburbs...

One of the reasons we are so excited to be relocating from North Carolina back to Michigan is the emphasis placed on education and services such as public libraries. This is true not only in our city of choice, Ann Arbor, but throughout much of Southeast Michigan (this is absolutely NOT the case in Asheville).

Here is some trivia on Troy:
  • $108,033 - median income for a family according to a 2008 estimate. Median income for a household in the city was $88,766.

  • #22 - Ranking in 2008 CNN/Money Best Places to Live: “With some of the highest-ranked schools in Michigan, moderately priced homes, safe streets and low property taxes, Troy is a great place for families.”

  • $8,443 - Amount spent on vacations (domestic and foreign, household avg. per year)

  • 10th - The Troy Public Library's ranking among Best Library in the United States for 2009.
Sounds pretty good, right? Who wouldn't want to move here? Open a business here?

Anybody with a fucking brain it turns out.

Earlier this year voters in Troy rejected a five-year 1.9 millage proposal that would have continued funding for quality-of-life services such as the public library. Starting this July the hours and services at the library will be slashed to minimum certification standards, and next July (2011) the library will close its doors permanently.

Some more trivia:
  • $37.81 - Average increase in City of Troy portion of property taxes per residential home.

  • $392.78 (or 9.4%) - Average DECREASE in all other areas of the average Troy homeowner's property tax bill for 2010 due to decrease in assessed values.

  • 29% - The phony-ass “tax increase” thrown out to scare people by the local Republican Party, local Teabaggers, talk radio asshats and other bullshit-filled opposition groups.

  • 5 - Number of years before the millage sunsets. Yes, it was fucking temporary.

  • 30 - Ranking among the 30 full-service cities in Oakland County of Troy’s tax rate. That’s right: Troy residents pay the lowest city taxes in the area. Passing the millage would have moved them up two spots to 28.
Congratulations. It worked. Wealthy Republicans in this town decided “they got theirs, so fuck you” and whipped the sheeple in this town into a lather about receiving a slightly smaller tax reduction, and now there will be no public library system.

Good luck resuscitating Troy's legacy as “Innovation Alley” and here’s to a bright future as a destination for new business and residents.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Quote of the Day

“Some of the people pushing this idea are also pushing the idea of banning handguns,” said Graham, darkly. “I don’t think banning handguns makes me safer.

[link] Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) trying desperately to rationalize why terror suspects should be put on No-Fly lists and denied Miranda rights, but still be able to purchase whatever fucking guns they like.

With the exception of part of the 2nd Amendment, the U.S. Constitution is officially null and void to these fucking GOP assholes.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Obama's Mistake

I have to agree pretty wholeheartedly with this email sent to Digby:

The NY Times thinks that President Obama has not responded aggressively enough to this spill. Let's be clear:

No way is this oil spill Barack Obama's fault.

The fault lies with the ideology and mores of the Republican party and its theory of government. Their solution to this country's energy's future is to drill anywhere and everywhere. In their theory of government, government has no right to control who, what, where and how the natural resources of this country or this planet are exploited or not exploited, resources that are needed by us all and are needed to protect us all. Like my friend Jim Gilliam said in a private email, government is supposed regulate corporate behavior not just be their willing partner/follower. This is a lesson that we all need to keep in mind and that includes the president.

In the Republican theory of government, government regulation is inherently evil or at least counterproductive. So under George Bush et al, the only regulation in the Gulf has been self regulation. This oil spill is the fault of Republican ideology.

And the Times is wrong again in saying that if BP lied to Barack Obama and misled him that is not his fault. The spill itself and even, at the moment, the seemingly futile attempts to stop the spill is the result of Republicans, down to using Halliburton's technology over another technology that is more successfully employed in Europe.

However, I think this is Barack Obama's burden and ultimately the Democratic party's burden. A month ago, Barack Obama embraced (or he thought he cleverly "co-opted") Republican ideas for how to solve our energy future. Most progressives bemoaned this, especially because he had seemed to learn the lesson of health care. He is wrong on the merits. And on the merits I think there is little disagreement. It was supposed to be another clever way to disarm right wing arguments. But it has boomeranged back into the President's face and the face of the Democratic party.

This is now the recurring riff of this presidency. And I hate to say it, but it is political malpractice.

Once again the president embraced Republican ideas to be/look bipartisan and open minded. But being Republican ideas, they have all the weaknesses of Republican ideas - just like with the health care bill being a system built on Republican ideas of the health care system - a LOOSELY REGULATED PRIVATE SYSTEM. Now the president has endorsed offshore drilling, which he still had the opportunity to repudiate clearly yesterday...but he merely temporized with an appeal to a temporary moratorium until "safe" ways are found.

Are there any safe ways? If this takes even 90 days to cap, that is 18 million gallons of oil filling the Gulf of Mexico. (I can't do the math but does that fill the Gulf ---what is the visual of that from space???)

Barack Obama is not just the President of the US, he is also the head of the Democratic Party. I hesitate to be political, especially since this is potentially an ecological disaster of vast proportions, but a Gulf full of oil through the summer, a Gulf that voters would have seen endlessly on their TV screens, would have been enough to beat the Republicans back (as well as over the head) in the midterm elections. They would have been crucified on their oil rigs.

But now is that possible? I don't think so. The Democrats running in the midterms are now hobbled in their ability to trash the Republicans, because they have to tiptoe around their own President's position. He has handcuffed them, he has almost forced them to zip their mouths shut on the issue. Indeed the inchoate anger will wrongly accrue to him, and the only thing the Democrats running may be able to do is either defend him or run away from him.

He is redefining the positions of the Democratic party in ways that many of us progressives are unhappy with on the merits. But in this case he is also losing the political benefits of being on the right side for all of us.

The comments quickly devolve into a "Obama is the same/no better/worse than Bush, which is horseshit, but the point in this essay that he is too quick to embrace or validate GOP positions is well-taken. He does. It is brutal irony that he went out on a limb only a month ago and endorsed a drilling plan that in the current light might as well be something George W Bush left in the Oval Office desk drawer.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Environmental Catastrophuck

TIME Magazine:
It may be time to stop referring to the Deepwater Horizon rig accident in the Gulf of Mexico as an oil spill. A spill sounds like something temporary, a glass of milk overturned, which empties and then can be cleaned up. But what is unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico, not far from the sensitive shorelines of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida, isn't a spill. It's an unchecked gush of crude oil from beneath the bottom of the ocean into the water — and no one can say for sure when it will finally stop.


As bad as this situation in the Gulf is, it has the potential to become exponentially worse...
The worst-case scenario for the broken and leaking well gushing oil into the Gulf of Mexico would be the loss of the wellhead currently restricting the flow to 5,000 barrels -- or 210,000 gallons per day.

If the wellhead is lost, oil could leave the well at a much greater rate, perhaps up to 150,000 barrels -- or more than 6 million gallons per day -- based on government data showing daily production at another deepwater Gulf well.

By comparison, the Exxon Valdez spill was 11 million gallons total. The Gulf spill could end up dumping the equivalent of 4 Exxon Valdez spills per week.

Um, Holy shit?

WSJ via HuffPo:
Regulators have previously identified problems in the cementing process as a leading cause of well blowouts, in which oil and natural gas surge out of a well with explosive force. When cement develops cracks or doesn't set properly, oil and gas can escape, ultimately flowing out of control. The gas is highly combustible and prone to ignite, as it appears to have done aboard the Deepwater Horizon, which was leased by BP PLC, the British oil giant.

Concerns about the cementing process—and about whether rigs have enough safeguards to prevent blowouts—raise questions about whether the industry can safely drill in deep water and whether regulators are up to the task of monitoring them.

The scrutiny on cementing will focus attention on Halliburton Co., the oilfield-services firm that was handling the cementing process on the rig, which burned and sank last week.

How can one company have its fingers in so many shit pies? At this point, I wouldn't be shocked if the volcano in Iceland is probably somehow their fault.

Such comparisons are ridiculous—this is an industrial accident of never-before-seen proportions, not a natural event with days of warning for preparation that were ignored, and then responded to by incompetent lackies. Nevertheless, this will become the right-wing meme, and soon enough the conventional wisdom with the supine media. It's a raw deal.

But I will say this: Obama attending the White House Correspondents Dinner tonight has all the makings of becoming his "George Bush with the birthday cake while New Orleans sinks" moment.

The event should be cancelled. Who's going to be upset by that? The media? Fuck them. If he attends, they will be the ones stabbing him in the back on Monday for yukking it up while oil inundates the Gulf shore.

Serious Question...

Is there a reason why we can't just construct a big-ass concrete dome to lower to the gulf floor and cover this broken rig?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Can You Do ANYTHING While Black?

Digby has the latest taser horror story. It starts out like this...police see a black man riding a bicycle without a headlight.

It ends with a DOA at the hospital.

Digby sums up perfectly:
I think tasers are unconstitutional, authoritarian torture weapons that have no place in a civilized society. No government should have the power to electrocute citizens and cause them great pain -- even briefly -- in order to make them comply on nothing more than a policeman's whim.

(I haven't had the chance to weigh in on the bullshit new law in Arizona, but this is very likely to be the type of unintended consequence that could result in unnecessary, aggressive policing of the populace there.)

Peak Wingnut, cont.

I think this piece by Andrew Sullivan on Sarah Palin's chance of running and her prospects should she do so, is worth reading. He accuses the media of being far too complacent on the topic of Palin and the de-evolution of politics—but in classic Sully style, he counters by being in my opinion, too alarmist. I think the truth lies somewhere in between: she's too dangerous to ignore, but too extreme to emerge victorious.

For now.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Reading Assignments

I picked up the new issue of GQ during lunch today (having a newsstand in the office is a nice perk), and read several well-written pieces on a variety of subjects. But the Editor's Letter by Jim Nelson is one of the best things I've read about the destruction of education and history unfolding in Texas. It cuts right to the bone, and cops just the right attitude. Read the whole thing.

Daniel Larison
rips the Band-Aid off the tire-swinging media types lamenting the departure of John McCain's Integrity. It breaks down perfectly how McCain thrived so many years by fooling some of the people, some of the time. And now when his transparent policy shifts should be fooling NO ONE, the morons in the media are waxing nostalgic.

Today's big, bad, brave bullying Teabaggers would shit their pants and die on the spot if they actually encountered real communism, facism or tyranny. An interesting post by a historian on the fallacies spread by these ignorant jackasses, and why it's a mistake not to confront it.

Peak Wingnut

Get ready. It's coming...

1. This person might be the next Senator from Nevada...

Via Yglesias. This comment in the thread nails it.
Sure, barter can work. It worked well before industrialization. But the idea that you go to your GP, and pay him a sack of potatoes, but you need x rays, and the x ray guy wants the GI Joe with the kung fu grip for his kid, so you find someone who has that and trade him potatoes, but then the blood test guy wants neither, so you give him literally the shirt off your back, and then you promise the specialist that you’ll mow his lawn for two years…

2. The new Senator from Florida, Marco Rubio, will be a tax cheat/imbezzler under investigation by the IRS for ripping his own party off. In Arizona, McCain has to fight off one of Abramoff's cronies, J.D. Hayworth—an acknowledged windbag who guest hosts for Laura Ingraham.

That's three certifiable teabagging maniacs with a good chance of joining the already crazy ranks of the GOP caucus. They aren't going to be pulling them in the proper direction.

And if those candidates, and others like them, win races, it will only embolden the rest of the freakshow.

UPDATE: Booman does a nice breakdown of two of these races...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Who Ya Got: SNL Alum Political Throwdown

Tina Fey tries to maintain a certain degree of neutrality, but it's pretty obvious which side of the ballot she wakes up on. Plus, she bolstered a career on lampooning Athena of the Right Wing. So I count her for the liberals.

On the Teabagger side, who was one of the featured “celebrities” onstage at today's big Tax DayTea Party in D.C.? None other than completely forgotten, one-dimensional, no-range-beyond-bimbo ex-SNLer Victoria Jackson.

This ridiculous appearence completely obliterates her only worthwhile contribution to life on earth, when she played Eydie Gormé on “The Sinatra Group.”

Thursday, April 15, 2010


When I left Michigan for North Carolina nearly two years ago, I also said goodbye to NPR. The lack of decent public radio in Asheville, as well as having only a five-minute commute meant my daily briefings in the car to and from work were a thing of the past.

Since moving back to Michigan, and having an hour commute as well, I've had a chance to get reacquainted with NPR and Michigan Radio.

I wasn't missing much.

The bullshit I heard on the radio today was infuriating. The show was “Here & Now” (from Boston's WBUR), and since today is April 15, they had a segment on taxes...and I quote, “When the money magically disappears from our checks, what happens to it?” I was immediately wary of what was to come, but the host introduced some guest from a “non-partisan tax research group” to break it down.

This host was already beginning to channel her inner-Sarah Palin, and the assclown she brought in as an expert guest might as well have been Glenn Beck or Grover Norquist. She asked him "how does the government spend that tax dollar?" And the first thing out of his mouth ass, is:
“Most of the money is transferred to...uh...other people.”

Now first of all, everyone knows the number one expenditure is defense. To reach his conclusion, this guy rounds defense spending down from the actual 23% to 20%, and then he lists social security (note: 20%) and medicare & medicaid (note: 19%) together, and somehow comes up with 56¢ (!) of that tax dollar going to “what the federal government calls entitlements.” And why explain that the spending on SS is mandatory and covered by its own dedicated stream, and goes to people that have already paid for it.

Even if there is somehow a case to be made for his math, his framing is pretty damn obvious—hard-working Americans are paying for lazy (and probably brown) people.

He also manages to get a dig in on how much government employees are paid. Nice.

Over the next few minutes, as he addresses other minutiae, he repeatedly beats on the welfare horse.
“[defense] is the next biggest chunk after that big 56% entitlement chunk...”

“...the vast fiscal flows out in entitlements...”

Then he proceeds to lament the deficit and points his finger Obama as the source of all of those problems.

He also references the Bush tax cuts a couple times (in a good way) and neglects to mention Obama has lowered taxes, and trots out the bogeyman of rates returning to Clinton-era rates if Obama lets the Bush cuts expire.

When the discussion turns to state taxes, it's more of the same, as he laments the progressive policies of some states who tax households above $200K more.

All the way through this the host nods along, occasionally parroting a point or two, and that's it.

Fuck that shit. That’s the kind of garbage I’d expect to see on Lou Dobbs.

And when I went to the site to find the link to this piece, I saw on the front page a bogus “he said/she said” regurgitation about whether the word “bailout” is fair to describe the Democrats finance reform. (Its not.) No analysis, no facts, no actual reference to the substance of the legislation. Just five or six quotes—the first batch all seem to be right from Frank Luntz's clubhouse.

Anyway. That's just a snip from today. I did hear an interesting discussion on the Supreme Court with Nina Totenberg later, but on balance, I am finding myself outraged at NPR far more than feeling informed.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Back From the Grave...

...and not quite ready to party.

Bringing everybody up to speed...I am now relocated to Michigan sans the rest of the Family Furious. Mrs F and the Kids are remaining in N.C. to finish out the school year and hopefully sell the house in a timely manner. While one might have expected my "free" evenings to allow for massive quantities of blogging, it hasn't quite worked out the way.

My arrival here was hectic: for the first two weeks I was adjusting to a new job in the day, while helping my old job complete projects in progress in the evening. Then, last week Mrs F and the girls came to visit, and I wasn't going to waste any of their limited time here on the computer.

Oh, and my new job (and seating location) eliminates any blogging and surfing during the day.

Next thing you know it’s been nearly a month and I've barely blogged at all. The surprise, to me, has been how little I miss it. I've amped up the Facebook a bit, but that's not really a substitute for reading, writing or commenting on a normal blog. I just haven’t felt compelled to post about much of late.

So here’s what I expect going forward...

Things will probably be more sporadic, and when I DO post, it’ll be more stuff about the cars I’m driving and photographing...I’ll probably pull an Atrios and rely on posting links and quotes a bit more...embed video if we’re lucky. And if something really pisses me off, maybe it’ll result in a long-format tirade like the good ole days.

Sticking with the automotive theme...

“Who were the ad wizards that came up with THIS one?”


Ass-kicking Canadian Nissan Sentra ad. (NOTE: Blogger is cropping like a third of the picture off, so you might want to click through to YouTube.)

[h/t Jalopnik. Also, making-of video here]



More here.

Monday, April 05, 2010

He's Coming!

It's the day after Easter, and you know what that means...

Friday, April 02, 2010

Old School

Normally I only read newspapers on vacation: when they are dropped outside my hotel door, or left lying in an airport terminal. And I always relish the opportunity.

These days, between my new digs at Mrs F's grandmother, and my new job, there are multiple papers at my disposal...New York Times, WSJ, USA Today and the Detroit paper. In fact, I'm getting more of my news and information the old-fashioned way than I am online.

There's still something satisfying about reading an actual paper. And I definitely read more stories than I do online...they're sitting right there ready to be read, not off to the side requiring some incentive to click a link.

As usual, the Sunday New York Times has the most meat on its bones...

There was a good Frank Rich column on the fomenting of rage from the right... A very good Magazine article on what Obama's Wall Street regulatory plan should look like...(Krugman briefly weighs in on this today).

Even the generally annoying Mustache of Wisdom had a decent column—someone I would NEVER click a link to without being directed to—particularly one with a title as opaque as “Hobby or Necessity?

And some stories just wouldn't work onscreen as well as it does in print. Like this frightening illustration-based story hypothesizing about an Israeli attack on Iran and what might ensue in today's version of The Six-Day War.

Friedman’s column was certainly bolstered by having read the big graphic story first, and the combination reaffirmed my stance on U.S.-Israeli relations, which boils down to this: I generally fall on the side opposing whatever Israel is up to at any particular moment. I think the United States pays far too much deference to Israeli interests, and that the relationship is extremely one-sided in who benefits from it.

The ascension of hard-liners in Israeli politics has made much of this more obvious (or less thinly-veiled), and there is a lot to be added into the equation from Freidman's column about the attitudes at play, too. But even The Mustache is giving Israel too much leeway by implying that Israeli interest in Middle East peace has diminished primarily because of economics and a lack of focus. Those certainly factor in the politics of everyday citizens (in Israel and elsewhere), and I think explains how Israeli politicians that behave like a Dick Cheney fantasy team could come to dominate the government, but it leaves aside what I believe is a very deliberate process of dismantling any movement towards Arab-Israeli peace agreements.

I finished reading that timeline of an attack on Iran, and wondered “what does the Israeli regime have to lose by doing something like this?”

Then I refreshed myself on the Six Day War, the events leading to it, and the fact that so many of the same players—then young military leaders, now high government officials—are involved, and I wonder, “When will Israel go ahead with this crazy shit, and is there anything Obama can do to stop it or react differently?”

P.S. This really started as a light-hearted post on the nostalgia of reading newspapers...

Monday, March 29, 2010


What is with Michigan and the fucking militias? Seriously.

Where would you think the higher concentration of whacked out gun zealots plotting against the government would be? The mountain wilderness of Appalachia (where I just moved from)? Or a high-brow city containing "The Harvard of the Midwest" (where I just moved to)?

These aren't even guys out in the fucking boonies. This is all right here.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Took the Nissan GT-R test car home Thursday night. Wow.

Really. Just..."Wow."

That's about all one can say about a 485 horsepower car that get to 60 mph in under 4 seconds.

I guess "Holy shit!" is appropriate as well.

[more photos]

Monday, March 15, 2010

My Cubist Period

Behold the Nissan Cube.

I joked to my former coworkers that the new guy doesn't get the BMW, and that "I'm sure I'll be driving the Nissan Cube..."

Lo and behold, those were the keys dropped on my desk. It might be the most ridiculous car since the VW Thing, but it's already grown on me.


That's what will be written on Sarah Palin's palm after this.

This has been around for a little while, but I haven't. It's excellent: Democrats are playing "Jeopardy," while Republicans play "Family Feud."

Kevin Drum rants about Republican mendacity—in this case, from Lindsay Graham—and at the end wonders, "Who do these guys think they're kidding?"

That's easy, Kevin: The guy sitting across the desk. And it's working.


[h/t Ezra]

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Dick of the Week: Dennis Kucinich

Leaning No: Will Kucinich Become
The Ralph Nader Of Health Care Reform?

[TPM link] But one of the House's leading progressives says he's unlikely to be swayed. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) voted against the House health care bill. And his office confirmed to me today that he remains opposed to the Senate bill.

Last week, there were some signs that Kucinich might be persuadable. At a White House meeting Thursday, President Obama apprised Kucinich of a measure in the Senate health care bill--authored by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)--that allow individual states to create single payer systems several years down the line. Kucinich was said to be interested in the provision.

Apparently not interested enough.

[...] But there is some chance, however small, that Kucinich will cast the deciding vote. And for the time being, he's saying he'd rather be the Ralph Nader of reform, instead of its kingmaker.

Patron Saint of the Firebaggers. Assholes on the left insisting on purity from the party are as bad as the extreme wingers on the GOP side.

It's this or nothing, Dennis, you prick. Shut the fuck up, vote "Yes" and work to improve things. But then, I suppose Nadering the bill now will help burnish your creds with the idiots who support your next Quixotic Presidential run.

Thursday, March 04, 2010


As any of you who also follow Mrs Furious' blog already know, things are crazy and about to get crazier. I have accepted a job back in Ann Arbor, MI. I leave in 10 days while Mrs F and the kids stay behind to sell the house and finish school (whichever comes first).

So that has meant (and will mean) a flurry blizzard of activity around the house; finishing projects, cleaning, packing, repeatedly shitting our pants, and then cleaning our pants. At work I have a million loose ends to tie up, and once I leave I will be settling into a new job, trying to finish some ongoing work from my current job all while living with Mrs F's grandmother—which could be serious sitcom material in itself.

Needless to say, blogging is likely to fall by the wayside for a while. Even now I have several things flying around that I'd love to touch on, but don't really have time. Maybe I'll throw together a Link Bonanza or something.

That's all for now.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Of course he's a bad guy...

Just look at him!...

When Bosnian Serb war criminal Radovan Karadžić (now on trial in The Hague) wasn't ethnically cleansing Muslims during the Bosnian Civil War he was denying Southtown a white Christmas...

The guy's pure evil.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

That Day Has Arrived...

So, I went over to MSNBC to see if I could catch up on the HCR summit being televised today, but I was diverted by the group of stories I saw over next to the picture of Obama...

"Woman's Mauling By Chimp Haunts Police Officer" Hell, it haunted me for a bit...
"Video: Orca shook trainer violently witnesses say" $50 someone uses the words "rag doll."
"Orcas have history of killing humans" I know. I saw the movie. He sure killed the hell out of Richard Harris...
"Shark-filled aquarium springs leak" All part of the plan...

The best part of the whole thing is at the end of the video in the third link, the reporter informs Matt Lauer that video footage from Sea World cameras or a tourist "could be critical for investigators to determine what went wrong here and insure it never happens again."

Let me guess what that video will show: Tilikum, the killer whale, grabbing his trainer dragging her underwater and swimming around with her until she drowned. The only determination of "why it happened" will come from a Spock mind-meld with the whale. And as far as making sure "it never happens again?" Exactly how? Aside from not creating entertainment based on intimate interaction with 15,000 pound apex predators in an environment that starts out potentially fatal to humans, what exactly will this investigation propose?

Maybe the investigators can get together and enjoy a showing of "Grizzly Man" while they await footage from Sea World.

Mrs F thought I was perhaps a bit too cynical with this post...Yeah. I guess so. I do feel that it sucks that the trainer was killed. In all likelihood she was a marine biologist-type who had dedicated her life to the study of the animal that took her life. That's awful.

My issue is with the situation that created the event and the absolutely preposterous coverage of this event as if it was some cross between a premeditated homicide and a preventable job hazard.

That whale was doing what it was evolved and born to do—grab prey and drag it to it's death.

There is no question that marine mammals are anthropomorphised more than any other wild animal due to their intelligence. Would anyone do this show with a great white shark? Or a crocodile? Or even a lion with a history of killing trainers? Of course not. "But these animals are so intelligent!" Yes. But the fact remains that they are wild animals—and in this case, not just a carnivore, but one at the absolute top of the food chain. In fact, is there a predator on earth with a higher spot than an orca?

This is a whale that already killed a trainer, and was sold by it's original owner (captor) in British Columbia to Sea World with the understanding that it would NOT be a performing animal. That's a fucking problem. I'm sure these new trainers honestly believed they could train and control him, so eventually he found his way into the arena.

This event isn't a tragedy. It's a matter of time. It's a matter of luck running out.

These are wild animals used to patrolling a range that probably covers hundreds of square mile stuck in a pool. It's an intensely social animal that lives it's whole life in a pod. Instead he is forced to interact with another species that has him do unnatural things. He wasn't a rescued animal or bred, he was captured in the ocean and placed in captivity. Tilikum survived in captivity for at least eight years (that's time between the killings), and that's DOUBLE the average captive lifespan of four years. In the wild, they live over 35 years.

He was in that show because humans, in their infinite arrogance, thought they could master him. And in a display of man's infinite greed, Sea World knew they could make a bundle off him.

So, yeah, it really sucks about that trainer. But if he's as intelligent as given credit for, it sucks more for the whale.

Cage Match

This is pretty good...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


John Cole breaks down the Tea Party Movement pretty perfectly:
Personally, I see a number of elements to the tea party:

1.) Republican operatives bankrolled by the usual suspects, with the sole intent of using the tea party to advance the GOP and corporate agendas and to regain political power (FreedomWorks, DeMint, Palin, etc.)

2.) Cynical operators like media operations, talk show hosts and glibertarians and snake oil salesman who see a way to raise their profile and raise a buck (Fox news, PJTV, Breitbart, Glenn Beck, Reason, all the little for profit hucksters starting their own tea party funds). To a lesser extent, I would throw in the hundreds of cynical “new media consultants” the GOP seems to burp up on a daily basis.

3.) Straight up Birchers, birthers, flat-earthers, racists, militiamen, Patriot movement members, and that motley crew of scumbags and lunatics.

4.) A very small group of folks who honestly are very upset about government spending, but manage to never care when the GOP is the one doing it. They probably make up the smallest chunk, but you can pick them out quite easily- they are the somewhat sane looking people that the folks from the three previous groups try to hide behind every time the cameras are on.

At any rate, the fact that the Tea Parties have gotten this far with their incoherent and often times hypocritical message (to say nothing of the lunatics and racists and militia types) is a sign to me there is no amount of bullshit our media won’t swallow. The fact that it is allegedly a “populist” movement that was inspired by a tantrum from millionaire tv financial personality and a Brooks Brothers mafia on the Chicago trading floor, upset over meager plans to help troubled mortgage holders in the wake of a near trillion dollar bailout of the the wealthy elite who pay Rick Santelli’s salary, just ups the humor value in this theatre of the absurd. Nothing cracks me up like an angry peasant mob screaming for the repeal of the estate tax and ending the capital gains tax.

A sad state of affairs.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Drink Up: Harry Reid

Of all the times for Harry Reid to try and sack up it's for stupid shit like this?
At a town hall in New Hampshire this afternoon, President Obama tried to give a little friendly recession spending advice, telling people they shouldn't "blow a bunch of cash in Vegas" when comparing the federal budget to a family budget.

"This isn't how responsible families do their budgets. When times are tough, you tighten your belts. You don't go buying a boat when you can barely pay your mortgage. You don't blow a bunch of cash in Vegas when you're trying to save for college. You prioritize. You make tough choices. And it's time your government did the same," he said.

He may not have expected just how quickly Nevada politicians, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, would react.

Reid (D-NV) shot off a statement telling Obama to "lay off" Las Vegas.

"I just spoke to the White House and told them that while the President is correct that people saving for college need to be fiscally responsible, the President needs to lay off Las Vegas and stop making it the poster child for where people shouldn't be spending their money," Reid said.

Good. Fucking. Grief.

If you're going to get your ass handed to you in November anyway, can we move onto the next Majority Leader already?

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Burned Out

I am coming off a deadline at work and heading right back into two more, so action will be sporadic at best 'round here.

But, I have to be honest...I'm pretty fucking despondent about politics right now, and have zero interest in documenting the daily dismantling of what's left of our democracy.

For the record, today it was Chris Dodd's strangling financial reform in the crib.

[h/t John Cole]

Thursday, January 28, 2010


I'm on deadline, and in the office working, so I have the speech going on on my desktop as I work, but there'll be no live-blog or even comprehensive reaction from me this time 'round.

Quickly? I thought it was a pretty good speech. Filled with some of the usual SOTU boilerplate, but his strongest speech since taking office.

  • Fuck the bankstas
  • Calling the Democrats pussies, grow a pair and get some shit done.
  • Calling the Republicans obstructionist assholes, and to get serious or GTFOTW.
  • Calling out the Supreme Court right to their face.
  • DADT repeal
  • Not telling Congress how to finish health care reform—Pass the Damn Bill, etc.
  • Stupid freeze. Though, the release was clearly a red herring, as this wasn't really the meat of the speech, imo.
That's all for now, Seacrest out!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Not Digging It

If you thought the news was bad last week, the front page of Digby's Hullabaloo is enough to make stick your head in the oven.
In case you were wondering, the consensus on all the Sunday gasbag shows is that Obama is an abject failure because of his radical leftist ideology and that his only hope of even maintaining the presidency, much less winning a second term is to take a sharp turn to the right and enact the Republican agenda. Several commentators, including such luminaries as political cross dresser Matthew Dowd on ABC, insisted that the first thing the president has to do is pick a huge fight with the Democrats to show the country that he isn't one of them. Cokie said he should have asked John McCain from the beginning what he was allowed to do.

The historians and expert political observers on Fareed Zakaria's CNN show all agreed that Obama is no Reagan, a president who never governed ideologically and always worked across party lines. Oh, and he needs to be a president or a prime minister, but nobody could agree on exactly what that means except that he should try to be more like Scott Brown, the white Barack Obama, except without all the liberalism.

That was to be expected, of course, these worthless idiots have spotted their own chum in the water and are gearing up for the feeding frenzy.

What is more disappointing is that Obama is preparing to add his own blood to the mix and in very visible and culpable ways:
But evidently, the president does want to politically tie his hands securely behind his back by putting the deficit at the top of the agenda and making sure that the nation sees it as bigger threat to its well-being than the fact that we have 10% unemployment, a moribund real estate market and an economically crushing health care system. [...]

It goes without saying that actually delivering anything of value to the country is now off the table but I'm sure that between a fierce concentration on budget balancing and sounding really annoyed at bankers, the voters will be perfectly satisfied, so that's good

And, of course, part and parcel with the media turning is the revocation of all excuses and history—they no longer want to hear about Bush—it's all on Obama now, and only other Democrats are fair game...

Bush Who?
The Republicans have run against Jimmy Carter for the past 28 years. In fact, they're still running against him.Republicans understand two simple things. You must name your enemy and you must imbue that enemy with the characteristics people hate about themselves. The Democrats used to do it quite well themselves, but after Carter they lost their nerve. (I think the Villagers joining the Republicans with their utter disdain for anything that smacks of liberal idealism completely spooked them and they have never recovered.) If the party cannot run against the catastrophic failure of Bush governance, much less against the catastrophic failure of Republican ideology, then they literally have nothing to run on but empty slogans. And that doesn't cut it once you're in office and you haven't delivered. They need to name the culprits --- if they don't, they'll become the enemy themselves, by default.

2010 fucking sucks.