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...