Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Goes without saying he is an Air Force general

When a Lt Gen receives a new posting it is good practice to have an all hands call and let everyone know what you expect. This is what Lt Gen Ronnie Hawkins did when he took over command of the Defense Information Systems Agency. And he included a powerpoint presentation of "Ronnies Rules", two of which should have been left out.
As part of an all-hands meeting with DISA employees, Hawkins apparently showed a power point presentation that contained two slides titled “Ronnie’s Rules” that outline 18 priorites, the first and last of which are “Always put God first, and stay within His will” and “Always remember God is good — all the time!”

Hawkins said in a response to a query from Air Force Times that he stated at the all-hands meeting that “Ronnie’s Rules” were his personal road map for living and he has used it since he was a captain. He said he tries to live by these rules every day.

“Those two slides, in particular ...were in no way a directive or expectation I have for our dedicated men and women,” said Hawkins, who previously served as deputy director of command control, communications and computer systems, Joint Staff at the Pentagon. “The rules are my own personal guide posts, or moral compass.”

All DISA employees apparently didn’t see the presentation the same way.

A DISA employee who witnessed the presentation spoke with Air Force Times under condition of anonymity. He said he was shocked that a senior leader would include such direct references to God in a commander’s call that in his opinion was held to say “I’m your new commander and this is what I expect of you.”
Who are you going to believe? Ronnie or the three stars on his shoulders.

R.I.P. Davy Jones

You were the cheeky little Monkee, now done in by a dicky ticker.

We were for it before we were against it

And as soon as we get the darky out of the White House and the right tax breaks in place we will be for it again. Another classic display of Republican/Teabagger hypocrisy.
Capitol Hill Republicans mounted an all-out offensive against President Obama's energy initiatives Tuesday, even mocking him for an idea many of them used to like: using algae to create biofuel.

"Over the past few weeks the American people have begun to feel the painful effects of President Obama's energy policy," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell declared in a Senate floor speech that ridiculed an energy plan Obama detailed last week, which included the use of biofuel sources such as algae. "As millions of Americans groaned at the rising cost of a gallon of gasoline, the president took algae as a substitute for gas. Algae as a substitute for gas," McConnell said in apparent disbelief.
Back in the good old days.
In September, 2009, Nebraska Republican Sen. Mike Johanns lobbied for funding for the San Diego Center for Algae Biotechnology, a project that only offered the hope that such technology could be brought to his state.

"The center will not only accelerate the development of sustainable alternative transportation fuels from algae, but will also create new jobs in the green energy industry," Johanns wrote to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, arguing also that the technology would "reduce our dependence on imported oil."

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), now one of Obama's fiercest alternative energy critics over the failure of solar firm Solyndra, also sought support for the project in an October 2009 letter. "Development of algae as a viable and sustainable source of transportation fuel is critical to decreasing America's dependence on imported oil, while creating new sources of meaningful green collar jobs."

Similarly, former House Republican Conference Chairman Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) argued that algae was a near-magic bullet to solve American energy problems in a July 2009 letter that supported a grant for a company called Stellarwind BioEnergy.

"Algae production directly addresses all the significant challenges being faced by the U.S., namely domestic energy security, greenhouse gas emissions, scientific leadership in a variety of industries, and broad-based green job creation," Pence wrote to the Department of Energy.
But this is an election year when the need to put a white man in the White House is more important than the national good.

The only thing lower than Rep. Dan Lipinski

Would be his Republican/Teabagger opponent and Holocaust denier Arthur Jones.
A congressional candidate running as a Republican in the upcoming Illinois primary says the “Holocaust never happened.”

Arthur Jones, 64, a Lyons, IL, insurance salesman who organizes family-friendly, neo-Nazi events around Adolf Hitler’s birthday, hopes to be the Republican candidate chosen to run against Democratic Congressman Dan Lipinski in Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District.

“As far as I’m concerned, the Holocaust is nothing more than an international extortion racket by the Jews,” Jones said. “It’s the blackest lie in history. Millions of dollars are being made by Jews telling this tale of woe and misfortune in books, movies, plays and TV.

"The more survivors, the more lies that are told."

A member of the Nationalist Socialist Party in his younger days, Jones took part in the Nazis’ march on Chicago’s Marquette Park in 1978. While he doesn’t deny nor repudiate his “past affiliations,” he says he votes Republican “90 percent of the time.”
A natural progression.

A group of experts has collected a group of late middle aged men because they know the most about everything.

Women's Health Experts Speak Out from Judd Nelson

click pic to big

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Wyoming Navy sunk by state legislature

Like the Spanish in Manila Bay, the proposal never moved but was stripped out in committee.

The DC Oscars

From the pen of Tom Toles

click pic to big

A song about housecleaning

Of a sort.

Another sneaky bank scam

The state of South Carolina will now be returning income tax refunds by prepaid debit cards. Seems like a nice idea, if you are a bank. Where a check or direct deposit would put all the money in your account, a debit card will be subject to every fee that the baksters and some merchants can get away with.
But the biggest winner could be Bank of America, which will issue the prepaid cards and stands to collect an untold amount in fees from card users and merchants who own the stores where the cards may be used. The arrangement allows the Charlotte, N.C. bank to charge some card users fees as high as $10 per transaction. And unlike ordinary debit cards linked to a bank account, there are no caps on the fees banks can charge merchants when customers use prepaid debit cards...

Prepaid cardholders can visit a bank teller anywhere a Visa logo is displayed and, during their first visit, remove their entire tax refund at no cost, according to the fees listed on the South Carolina Department of Revenue's web page. They can also use the card to make purchases in stores.

If a card user decides to gradually access their refund at a teller -- one way to avoid walking around with large amounts of cash or get around ATM limits -- they will face a $10 fee each time. At an ATM, the fee is $2.50 for bypassing one of the more than 300 Bank of America ATMs in South Carolina. That's a problem for some rural South Carolina residents and families without cars.

The average tax refund in South Carolina was $837.44 last year. Many ATMs have maximum daily withdrawal limits typically under $1,000. Plus, card users will have to figure out how to withdraw the last few dollars from their card; most ATMs only allow withdrawals in increments of $10 or $20. Card users that request cash back at a store register will likely encounter similar limits.

And at some gas stations and other stores, when a prepaid debit card is used, the store charges the card user the amount due and holds additional money as a security deposit for a few days after the purchase is made.

These aren’t simply hypothetical experiences.
It seems the state and their bankster buddies have been practicing this particular scam on the unemployed for awhile already. Good thing, too. Can't have those bums living too high off the hog.

Pussy police have moved to Pennsylvania

When they found the climate in Virginia no longer welcoming to their brand of institutional rape, the Pure Pussy Protection League brought it up to Pennsylvania where they have a reliable douchebag teabagger governor and enough douchebag teabaggers in the legislature to get any shit passed. And boy do they have a piece of shit they want to pass.
Even as the transvaginal ultrasound bill in Virginia was causing national outrage, Pennsylvania conservatives were quietly pushing a even more restrictive abortion bill. The legislation is designed with so many difficult and differing restrictions that long-time abortion policy analyst Elizabeth Nash at the Guttmacher Institute told Raw Story, “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

In addition to mandating the much-maligned transvaginal ultrasound requirements since rejected by the state of Virginia, Pennsylvania legislators proposed strongly encouraging women to view and listen to the ultrasounds, forcing technicians to give the women personalized copies of the results and mandating how long before any abortion the ultrasound much be preformed — and that’s just for starters.

That last requirement has already been passed and struck down in Louisiana, partially over concerns of patients’ privacy and potential risks for women in abusive relationships, Nash said.

“This bill definitely suffers the legislators-playing-doctor problem. … There are a number of requirements in this bill that are medically unnecessary,” Nash said, pointing out that so many requirements packed into the 22-page bill could make it logistically difficult for abortion providers to comply with them. “This bill is something that would be unacceptable to most women seeking an abortion.”

Additionally, Nash points out that the length of the legislation hides bizarre and unprecedented requirements, such as asking women who gets an ultrasound more than 14 days before her abortion to view a state-approved video on fetal gestation. The bill, unlike many other ultrasound requirements, does offer exceptions for victims of rape and incest; the bill does not require victims to have reported the incidents to the authorities.
I'm guessing that teabaggers consider this a small government measure because a woman's uterus is usually smaller than your average basketball court. I could be wrong.

It takes a hard person to run a school

But there is no call to be a shitheel, too. And yet, that is what the people shitheels in charge of one school in the Tarheel State chose to be.
Donna Sotomayor took leave from River Bend Elementary School in Raleigh to receive six chemotherapy treatments and 33 radiation treatments after being diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in January 2010.

Even after returning to work in October of 2010 Sotomayor continued to miss work due to infection and other problems.

Then in November of last year, doctors informed her that the cancer had spread to her spine.

“I have a family,” Sotomayor told WRAL. “I have a lot to live for. And when my doctor tells me, ‘You have to go out and go through treatment immediately,’ then yeah, I’m going to do that.”

Although she had years of glowing work evaluations, Principal Lois Hart recommended that she be fired. She had been employed by River Bend Elementary School since 2004.

“She was always friendly and supportive, and I don’t know what changed,” Sotomayor recalled. “They said they need someone there who was reliable. Apparently, I wasn’t reliable. I was sick.”

Human resources informed her that she lacked about 50 hours of work to qualify for Family Medical Leave, giving her the option to resign or be fired.
Apparently with some people shitheels in North Carolina, that isn't tar on their heels.

Two Swedish sisters in a Melbourne alley

Calling themselves First Aid Kit,it works for me.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Big O

As seen through the eyes of Big Religion and Big Assholes, courtesy of Tom Tomorrow.

Colorado - The 8 Mile High State?

Colorado has collected enough signatures to put an initiative on the November ballot to regulate marijuana like alcohol. Could be time for a new nickname.

Democrats for Santorum

Second City gets behind Kos' Operation Hilarity.

Newticles finds an acorn

Usually the fat bastard just passes a lot of gas while making learned noises, but today in a lunch time speech he got one point right.
On Monday, the former House Speaker went a step further. At a business luncheon in Nashville, Gingrich said it is impossible to “fix” Afghanistan.

“This is a real problem,” Newt continued, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “And there are some problems where you have to say, ‘You know, you are going to have to figure out how to live your own miserable life’ … because you clearly don’t want to learn from me how to be unmiserable. And that is what you are going to see happen.”
We aren't going to "fix" Shitholeistan now or ever. Time to come home.

Let's Go Uptown

with Gene Krupa, Anita O'Day and Roy Eldridge.

We say we will Stand By You, Karzai old buddy

But the most recent uproar in Shitholeistan has some people wondering how we will be able, in two years, to make functioning security force out of the collection of Afghan badmashes and bashi-bazouks we have to work with.
But behind the public pronouncements, American officials described a growing concern, even at the highest levels of the Obama administration and Pentagon, about the challenges of pulling off a troop withdrawal in Afghanistan that hinges on the close mentoring and training of army and police forces.

Despite an American-led training effort that has spanned years and cost tens of billions of dollars, the Afghan security forces are still widely seen as riddled with dangerously unreliable soldiers and police officers. The distrust has only deepened as a pattern of attacks by Afghan security forces on American and NATO service members, beginning years ago, has drastically worsened over the past few days. A grenade attack on Sunday, apparently by a protester, wounded at least six American soldiers.

Nearly a week of violent unrest after American personnel threw Korans into a pit of burning trash has brought into sharp relief the growing American and Afghan frustration — and, at times, open hostility — and the risks of a strategy that calls for American soldiers and civilians to work closely with Afghans.

The United States now has what one senior American official said was “almost no margin of error” in trying to achieve even limited goals in Afghanistan after a series of crises that have stirred resentment.

The official said the unrest might complicate but was unlikely to significantly alter the overall plan: to keep pulling out troops and focus instead on using Special Operations forces to train the Afghans and go after insurgent and militant leaders in targeted raids while diplomats try opening talks with the Taliban.
When the Russians pulled out of Shitholeistan they didn't leave anyone behind. But they had no intention of returning either.

Not even Super Tuesday yet

And the Romney SuperPAC is already violating campaign finance laws. Not the obvious one about all the coordinating between the PAC and the campaign, but the one about third parties recycling candidate ads.
A Romney-supporting super PAC claimed this week that it did not violate federal election regulations against unlawful coordination when it recycled an official Romney campaign ad from 2007 — but a campaign finance watchdog tells Raw Story that they’re attempting to explain away a violation they’re not even accused of.

It’s not the coordination statutes their ad violates, but prohibitions against republication of official campaign materials, Campaign Legal Center attorney Paul S. Ryan said Friday.

Ryan’s group insists that what the Restore Our Future PAC has done is patently illegal, noting that federal regulations barring third party groups from re-using campaign materials are abundantly clear, and illustrate that the Restore Our Future PAC is flagrantly skirting the law.

The super PAC’s ad, released Thursday and set to air in two states, is virtually identical to an official ad put out by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in 2007. It features one of Romney’s former business partners, Robert Gay, recalling a story of how his daughter went missing and Romney shut down his entire company and hauled 50 employees to New York City to search for the girl.

A key difference between the ads in 2007 and today: the original ends with, “I’m Mitt Romney, and I approved this message,” while the 2012 version ends with, “Brought to you by Restore Our Future.”

Ryan told Raw Story that Federal Election Commission rules state “very clearly” that financing the republication of “any campaign materials prepared by a candidate or an agent of the candidate” is flatly outlawed. That’s even the case if they claim to have purchased the rights to the campaign materials from a third party, which is precisely what the super PAC claims to have done.
Laws are for little people, besides Mittens is friends with some NASCAR team owners.

Talk about a big frog in a little pond

Sometimes when you start with a good idea it can grow and get wildly out of control. Consider the efforts of Wyoming to set guidelines in the event of the total economic and political collapse of the United States. Being infested with Republicans and Teabaggers, it must seem like a real possibility to the people of the Cowboy State.
On Friday, the Wyoming House of Representatives advanced a bill to set up a task force to prepare for the total economic and political collapse of the United States. Per the bill, the panel would investigate things like food storage options and metals-based currencies, to be implemented in the event of a major catastrophe.

Then it goes three steps further. An amendment by GOP state rep. Kermit Brown*, calls on the task force to examine "Conditions under which the state of Wyoming should implement a draft, raise a standing army, marine corps, navy and air force and acquire strike aircraft and an aircraft carrier." As Miller explained to the Casper Star-Tribune, "Things happen quickly sometimes."

Buying an aircraft carrier is, as a rule, a great idea, but there are a few hiccups, not the least of which is that Wyoming is currently landlocked. Its largest body of water, Yellowstone Lake, is frozen from December through June and sits in the middle of a giant volcano that stands about as good a chance as anything else at triggering the aforementioned societal collapse.
And in the summer, the flight deck would make a dandy dance floor for hoedowns during the frequent port calls at the fishing camps around the lake shore.

Xena arrested for being lawless

From The RawStory:
“Xena: Warrior Princess” actress Lucy Lawless was arrested in New Zealand Monday after occupying an oil-drilling ship for three days to protest plans to search for oil off Alaska, Greenpeace said.

Police climbed a 53-metre (175-foot) drilling derrick on the ship Noble Discoverer in the North Island port of Taranaki and arrested Lawless, along with five other Greenpeace activists, the environmental group said.

The actress boarded the vessel early Friday in a bid to prevent it sailing to the Arctic, where it has been contracted by Anglo-Dutch energy giant Shell to conduct exploratory drilling.

“This chapter has ended, but the story of the battle to save the Arctic has just begun,” said Lawless in a statement.
No word yet if the gods will banish her to a strange little island underneath the world.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Just enough Sunday left for a sermon

I will Keep It Short and Simple.

Shirley you jest

Nope! Just thought I would do something different and throw up some Garbage for you.

You don't double down on failure

There are far too many penniless gamblers who can attest to the wisdom of the title. Apparently wisdom is not a currency used in US governmental and diplomatic decisions.
The top U.S. diplomat in Kabul and a campaign adviser to President Barack Obama said Sunday the U.S. isn’t rethinking its commitment to Afghanistan after violent protests left more than two dozen people dead, including two American shot inside a government ministry.

U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker and Robert Gibbs, Obama’s former press secretary, said they believe Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s fragile government could collapse and the Taliban would regain power if the U.S. were to walk away.

“This is not the time to decide that we’re done here,” said Crocker. “We have got to redouble our efforts. We’ve got to create a situation in which al-Qaida is not coming back.”

Added Gibbs: “What the president’s trying to do now is get us to a point where we can hand off the security of Afghanistan to the Afghans and that we can bring our troops home.”
But the only ones who want us there are the ones who are robbing us blind and when the time comes they will be out of there faster than we will. The casualty list should be 4 Americans dead and 6 or more wounded.

Another Republican/Teabagger governor complains about candidates

This time it is the uber Teabagger governor of Maine Paul "Fatso" LePage. This is a governor who made his bones being irrational. If Mittens and The Froth One are too much for him, can we really measure how bad they are?

Republicans are so good at money laundering

That they have extended those skills to the relationships among campaign support groups to hide the coordination between candidates and SuperPACs.
When Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign needs advice on direct mail strategies for reaching voters, it looks to TargetPoint Consulting. And when the independent “super PAC” supporting him needs voter research, it, too, goes to TargetPoint.

Sharing a consultant would seem to be an embodiment of coordination between a candidate and an independent group, something prohibited under federal law. But TargetPoint is just one of a handful of interconnected firms in the same office suite in Alexandria, Va., working for either the Romney campaign or the super PAC Restore Our Future.

Elsewhere in the same suite is WWP Strategies, whose co-founder is married to TargetPoint’s chief executive and works for the Romney campaign. Across the conference room is the Black Rock Group, whose co-founder — a top Romney campaign official in 2008 — now helps run both Restore Our Future and American Crossroads, another independent group that spoke up in defense of Mr. Romney’s candidacy in January. Finally, there is Crossroads Media, a media placement firm that works for American Crossroads and other Republican groups.

The overlapping roles and relationships of the consultants in Suite 555 at 66 Canal Center Plaza offer a case study in the fluidity and ineffectual enforcement of rules intended to prevent candidates from coordinating their activities with outside groups. And there has been a rising debate over the ascendancy of super PACs, which operate free of the contribution limits imposed on the candidates but are supposed to remain independent of them.
Because you know there was no way they would behave honestly and within the rules. It's not in their nature.

And the winner is......

MoDo for her appropriate reworking of the meaning of GOP, Ghastly Outdated Party. And the examples she gives are just the everyday tortured howls of Radical Right politicians diplaying their unfitness for office. Some examples,
The contenders in the Hester Prynne primaries are tripping over one another trying to be the most radical, unreasonable and insane candidate they can be. They pounce on any traces of sanity in the other candidates — be it humanity toward women, compassion toward immigrants or the willingness to make the rich pay a nickel more in taxes — and try to destroy them with it...

“Republicans being against sex is not good,” the G.O.P. strategist Alex Castellanos told me mournfully. “Sex is popular.” ...

Newt Gingrich, a war wimp in Vietnam who supported W.’s trumped-up invasion of Iraq, had the gall to tell a crowd at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla., that defeating Obama — “the most dangerous president in modern American history” — was “a duty of national security” because “he is incapable of defending the United States” and because he “wants to unilaterally weaken the United States.” Who killed Osama again?
One can detect a certain sadness in MoDo's writing. With the Republican/Teabaggers being so creatively self-destructive, she has no chance to display her own venomous skills.

US Constitution makes Rick Santorum sick

And despite his revulsion at the core principles of the United States, Rick Santorum wants to be the leader of the country. The Frothy One was speaking with George Snuffleopogous on ABC's This Week when he revealed his contempt for the basis of US government.
You bet that makes me want to throw up."

The GOP candidate was responding to comments he made last October. He had said that he "almost threw up" after reading JFK's 1960 speech in which he declared his commitment to the separation of church and state.
Will the Republican base continue its march to madness or will they realize that their candidate Santorum has declared war on the very foundation of our country.

Bill Moyers on the State of Stupidity among us

Bill Moyers Essay: Are Immunization Exemptions Fair to All? from on Vimeo.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


Don't know if the song has a name, but I don't think it matters much.

Jan Brewer is a cowardly twit

When the National Governors Association has their annual winter meeting they always have a black tie dinner, the social event of the meeting. One finger waving governor won't be there.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, who faced off with President Barack Obama on an airport tarmac last month, won’t attend the National Governors Association annual black-tie dinner at the White House tomorrow.

Brewer said in an interview today that she had a scheduling conflict.

“I’ve just decided I wasn’t going to be going because I had some other commitments I had to attend to,” Brewer said.
It's not like she can't charge that nice little Chanel number that takes years off her wrinkled puss to the state. And even Florida's Unindicted Conspirator in Chief Rick Scott will be there after skipping all the working meetings. But Jan Brewer is just a pissy little poltroon.

And the floodgates are opening

Massachusetts has passed a law allowing up to three casinos in the Commonwealth. Before the ink was dry on the bill the big casino companies were prowling around for site to make $Millions from the suckers, and you can be assured that wealth won't be held in common. The thought of all their gamblers going to Massachusetts has the neighboring states making their own plans.
Under the Massachusetts law, which allows for three casinos to be built in three different regions, the state will pocket 25 percent of the gambling proceeds, plus 40 percent of the proceeds from a separate slot parlor that it will also allow. It is a potential bonanza that, combined with thousands of promised jobs, has much of New England poised to cast aside Yankee restraint and follow suit.

In New Hampshire, which dreads losing tourism money to Massachusetts, lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow up to four casinos there.

Maine just granted its first casino license to a six-year-old Bangor slot parlor that will add table games next month, and a second casino is expected to open in Oxford this year. Both are the result of voter referendums. Rhode Island, which already has two slot parlors, will hold a referendum in November on whether to allow table games at one of them.

In Connecticut, the two Indian tribes that have exclusive rights to offer casino gambling, at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, are now worried about losing patrons to Massachusetts. The Mohegan tribe is hoping to win one of the Massachusetts casino licenses and open a Mohegan Sun location in Palmer, a town of 12,750, which borders Brimfield.

The region’s compact size makes the threat of losing money to gambling enterprises in neighboring states all the bigger, said Clyde Barrow, a professor at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, who studies gambling laws. “They already have people leaving to gamble,” he said of other New England states. “They can continue watching those jobs and revenues leave their state or pass gambling legislation to keep them.”
As usual with these endeavors, the showers of gold upon all the good people will never come close to materializing. However if you plan on fighting the casino companies be prepared to fight hard and dirty. The profits are so good they will kill before they give up.

Now that they no longer need it

The Pakistan government is demolishing the house and compound where Osama bin Laden lived and died in Abbottabad. 'Nuff said.

George W started a war that nobody was brave enough to end

And thanks to the stupidity of some hotshot who figured burning trash and burning Korans in a Muslim country was all the same, two more Americans died for no good reason.
A gunman killed two American military advisers inside a heavily guarded government building in the heart of Kabul Saturday as protests over the burning of the Muslim holy book at a U.S. base raged across the country for a fifth day.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was retaliation for the Quran burnings, and the NATO commander recalled all international military personnel working in Afghan ministries in the capital.

U.S. officials said the assailant remained at large and a manhunt was under way.
Maybe President Obama should place a call to Gorbachev. Remember him, the guy smart enough to get Russia out of Afghanistan?

Icky Ricky's pen pal and BFF

Even a failed Senator and Radical presidential candidate like Ricky Santorum gets fan mail. And one of the letters that has come to light is from every Radical Conservative's favorite fan boy, Satan himself. Having been "discovered" by Ricky, Old Scratch goes on to explain what he intends to do.
My goal is and always has been fairly simple. I will use Americans to kill the idea of America.

Life. Liberty. The pursuit of happiness. A whole government dedicated to the proposition that we are equal in dignity and worth. That we are equal under the law. That we each have the right to find our own way in the world. Troubling stuff, you know? My only aim these past two hundred years has been to make certain that there is not one person anywhere on the earth who believes you really mean it. You will become such an ugly portrait of hypocrisy and cruelty that people will reject these ideas you had the good fortune to discover. And then will come the old familiar darkness.

I'm not ready to declare Mission Accomplished just yet. I'm not an idiot. But soon. And -- here is where you just crack me up, Rick -- I'm not really using college professors and TV starlets to win this war. I'm using you, my dear. From Cotton Mather to the modern GOP, this country has always been chock-full of people who say they believe in liberty... but are willing to make exceptions. Ah, the exceptions. The details. Kind of my thing, really. You all believe in rights for people who act like you and think like you, and you're all trying to stomp on everyone different, and you haven't yet noticed that means you don't believe in rights at all. Rights only mean something if you want them for the other guy. If they're just for you, they're demands. Stupid, petulant demands from a superstitious loudmouth who is proud, yes proud, of his ignorance and his bigotry and his complete hostility to education and compassion and tolerance. I needed an army of you people. Instead I found a nation.
And everyone in Hell gets a sweatervest.

Rep. Bob Morris, Prince of Derp

And the sad, foolish Indiana state representative is clinging desperately to his 15 minutes of fame. In the face of opposition and ridicule from his party leader, he clings to his stupid and mendacious opinion on Girl Scouts.
Undaunted by ridicule from the leader of his own party, an Indiana lawmaker is standing by his allegations that the Girl Scouts is a radical organization that promotes abortions and homosexuality.

The scouts and Planned Parenthood have dismissed Rep. Bob Morris' comments as absurd, as did Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma. But Morris, a Republican, told The Associated Press his critics need to do more research into the 100-year-old scouting organization.

"My family and I took a view and we're sticking by it," Morris said Tuesday, adding that his daughters were joining an alternative group for young girls run by conservative Christians. "My girls are no longer Girl Scouts. They're now going to join American Heritage Girls."

Morris' comments were the butt of jokes inside the House on Tuesday, with Bosma spending much of the day handing out Thin Mints to lawmakers. He joked that Morris' comments led him to buy hundreds of cases of the famous Girl Scout cookies.
It is almost a shame that the people running this fool won't give him the leeway to back down.

Most parents want their kids to go to college

Not Ricky "Box of Rocks" Santorum. After telling a like minded group of parents that they should accept the fact that their kids aren't good enough, he attacked Obama for wanting to provide the opportunity for everyone's kid.
President Obama wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob," Santorum said as the crowd howled with laughter and applause. "There are good, decent men and women who work hard every day and put their skills to the test that aren't taught by some liberal college professor."

Santorum said he knows the real reason Obama wants more Americans on college campuses.

"That's why he wants you to go to college. He wants to remake you in his image," Santorum said to more applause.
Education just makes the masses harder to control. Ricky wants to limit education to the right kind of people.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Still don't know what's in it

But it sure looks like its powerful shit.

The Way of the Teabagger

h/t Juanita Jean

An Oscar for Mittens?

Martin Bashir examines the possible categories.

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

He'd Let America Fail.

Mittens, we hardly know you, and that is already too much.

Mayor Bloomie says NYPD spying was legal

Because, hey, it's not like they were spying on real people, they were Muslins. And I said it was OK, what more do you want? And most important,
Bloomberg insists the NYPD doesn’t target people based on race or religion
We just use race and religion to identify our targets.

Scientific Wild Ass Guesses

The current governor of New Jersey, El Gordo, has revealed his newest budget. To make it balance, he has relied on numerous SWAGs also known in Trenton as “optimistic” projections. Why deal with a problem today when you can put it off until next year.

Republican/Teabagger religious freedom

From the pen of Ben Sargent

click pic to big

Mittens learned a lot from his parents

We all know that he learned how to lose a presidential run from his father. Now the New York Times reveals to us that he also learned how to lose a Senate run.
A faithful Mormon and stay-at-home mother who eventually emerged as an advocate of women’s involvement in business and politics, Lenore Romney, who died at 89 in 1998, had a “steely will,” in the words of Phillip Maxwell, a childhood friend of Mitt’s. Her larger-than-life husband was blunt and candid, a fiery campaigner who burst into a room. Lenore was controlled and self-contained, traits that friends say they see in Mitt, her youngest child.

“George was very unlike Mitt — he was kind of a bull in the china shop, and he would speak his mind regardless,” said Mr. Maxwell, a classmate of Mitt Romney’s at the Cranbrook School, an elite private academy here. “Lenore was much more measured. Everyone is focusing on the father, but he is really much more like his mother in that he is much more private than his father was.”

Just two years after Mr. Romney learned the brutality of politics through his father’s failed 1968 presidential bid, he witnessed his mother’s bruising 1970 defeat. Then 23, and already married, he had taken a summer break from his studies at Brigham Young University to campaign for her, appearing on college campuses and county fairs — an experience that he later said “taught me how to get out and see people and listen to what people are saying.”

She was ill-equipped for the rigors of politics — “Lenore was no George as a political candidate,” says Bill Ballenger, the editor of a political newsletter here — and lost badly to a popular Democratic incumbent, Phil Hart, much as Mitt Romney would later lose his 1994 Senate race in Massachusetts to another entrenched Democrat, Edward M. Kennedy.

And though Lenore Romney expected a glide path to the Republican nomination on the strength of her family name, she faced a difficult primary challenge from her party’s right wing, just as her son faces in his race today.
Good to know that Mittens learned how to lose at his parent's knee. It won't hurt so much that way.

The Lady and the Jackass

Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown have op-eds in the Boston Globe. The senatorial candidates take opposite sides of the contraception debate. Ms. Warren takes the side for contraception and women's health.
Washington is so out of touch with what’s happening to families across this country that the Senate is about to vote on an amendment that would allow any insurance company or any employer to claim a vague “moral conviction’’ as an excuse to deny you health care coverage. Here’s the really astonishing news: Senator Scott Brown is not only voting for this amendment, he is fighting to get it passed.

What does this mean? If you are married and your employer doesn’t believe married couples should use birth control, then you could lose coverage for contraception. If you’re a pregnant woman who is single, and your employer doesn’t like it, you could be denied maternity care. This bill is about how to cut coverage for basic health care services for women.

Let’s be clear what this proposed law is not about: This is not about Catholic institutions or the rights of Catholics to follow their faith. President Obama has already made sure religious institutions will not be forced to cover contraception - at the same time that he has made sure women can get the health care they need directly from their health care insurers. Carol Keehan, the president and CEO of Catholic Health Association, said that Obama’s approach “protects the religious liberty and conscience rights of Catholic institutions.’’
Sen. Nudie, as might be expected, believes that his religious beliefs should be imposed on all women. He takes the position that a bunch of misogynistic old celibates should be allowed to set up death panels for women on health issues. It is good for his daughters that he has enough money to provide them with good health care. As for your daughters?

Romney's moment of truth

On the campaign trail is used by Paul Krugman to illuminate the total mendacity of The Great Mormonator. PK would have us understand that the total lack of principles on the part of Mittens is behind his failure to stand with any one position.
Every one of the Romney campaign’s major themes, from the attacks on President Obama for going around the world apologizing for America (he didn’t), to the insistence that Romneycare and Obamacare are very different (they’re virtually identical), to the claim that Mr. Obama has lost millions of jobs (which is only true if you count the first few months of his administration, before any of his policies had taken effect), is either an outright falsehood or deeply deceptive. Why the nonstop mendacity?

As I see it, it comes down to the cynicism underlying the whole enterprise. Once you’ve decided to hide your beliefs and say whatever you think will get you the nomination, to pretend to agree with people you privately believe are fools, why worry at all about truth?
In trying to be all things to all people he is nothing to anyone. And, should he be successful in his quest, he would not have room to be anything else while in office.

To give equal time to all the Republican/Teabagger candidates. he is not the only one to engage in nonstop mendacity. Truth was an early casualty of their War on America.

Republican state attorneys general fight against religious freedom

In all the noise about religious freedom and contraception, it is often forgotten that the First Amendment is a double edged sword. It not only protects your religious beliefs from government intrusion, it also protects people from the imposition of your religious beliefs. In their zeal to impose their religious beliefs upon you and I, the attorneys general of 7 Republican/Teabagger run states are using the public monies to sue the federal government and impose their private beliefs.
Seven state attorneys general have filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration that seeks to block the implementation of new federal government rules regarding contraception coverage.

The attorneys general of Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas, along with some Catholic organizations, said in their lawsuit that the new rule violates the First Amendment.

In recent weeks, a controversy has erupted over the policy, which requires virtually all private insurance policies to cover family planning, including female contraceptives, essentially guaranteeing near universal access to birth control once all the provisions of the Affordable Care Act are implemented.

“Obamacare’s latest mandate tramples the First Amendment’s Freedom of Religion and compels people of faith to act contrary to their convictions,” said Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. “The President’s so called ‘accommodation’ was nothing but a shell game: the mandate still requires religious organizations to subsidize and authorize conduct that conflicts with their religious principles.”
And again we see these "religious" zealots ignoring the command of their Jesus to render unto Ceasar that which is Ceasar's.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

It has been a while since I posted this fine group

Don't know why.

Transparent, tortured and toxic

Martin Bashir sums up the Republican candidates after 20 debates.

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

Our pollution levels are safe,

Just ignore the two headed trout, they don't mean anything. Or so the mine owners who have dumped unsafe levels of selenium into the creeks and rivers would have you believe. The problem with the owners argument is that the trout can not be ignored.
Photographs of variously mutated brown trout were relegated to an appendix of a scientific study commissioned by the J. R. Simplot Company, whose mining operations have polluted nearby creeks in southern Idaho. The trout were the offspring of local fish caught in the wild that had been spawned in the laboratory. Some had two heads; others had facial, fin and egg deformities.

Yet the company’s report concluded that it would be safe to allow selenium — a metal byproduct of mining that is toxic to fish and birds — to remain in area creeks at higher levels than are now permitted under regulatory guidelines. The company is seeking a judgment to that effect from the Environmental Protection Agency. After receiving a draft report that ran hundreds of pages, an E.P.A. review described the research as “comprehensive” and seemed open to its findings, which supported the selenium variance for Simplot’s Smoky Canyon mine.

But when other federal scientists and some environmentalists learned of the two-headed brown trout, they raised a ruckus, which resulted in further scientific review that found the company’s research wanting.

Now, several federal agencies, an array of environmental groups and one of the nation’s largest private companies are at odds over selenium contamination from the Idaho phosphate mine, the integrity of the company’s research, and what its effect will be on future regulatory policy.
Maybe the mines can buy off enough people to ignore it for a while longer, but they won't be able to swep it under the rug anymore.

Sens. Dumb & Dumber switch allegiance

After spending so many years pretending to support the US, Sens. John "Old Fart" McCain and Lindsey "Lightfoot" Graham have thrown off their false coats and shown their true colors.
On Sunday, General Martin Dempsey, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told interviewer Fareed Zakaria that he does not think the U.S. should rush to war. He was speaking after a visit to Israel and long consultations with its leaders.

Dempsey said that it was not "prudent at this point to decide to attack Iran... A strike at this time would be destabilizing and wouldn't achieve their [Israel's] long-term objectives." He also said that he did not believe that the Iranian regime was insane but was rather a "rational actor" not prone to national suicide

General Dempsey's remarks outraged Prime Minister Netanyahu, whose office put out a statement saying that Dempsey, and other U.S. officials who questioned the rationale for war, were "serving Iran's interests."

Had another foreign leader implied that the head of the joint chiefs was some kind of Iranian agent, he would have been smacked down. But that is not how it works with Netanyahu.

It turns out that Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) were in Israel at the time Netanyahu attacked Dempsey. Rather than defend the American general as these uber-nationalists would do in any other similar situation, they joined the Israeli government in bashing the general -- and war hero. (The old adage about government officials not criticizing U.S. policies when in a foreign country has not applied to Israel for years)...
It is a good thing we are not yet at war with Israel, their remarks are definitely giving aid and comfort to our enemy. Still the President does have the authority to throw their worthless asses in Guantanamo. In fact the only chance he would have of closing Guantanamo would be if he did so.

The Republican/Teabaggers had their last debate last night

And that should be a cause for rejoicing. The American voting public will not be subjected to such a degree of concentrated stupidity this year. Mind you, the stupidity will still flow in copious quantities, but never again so much at one time in one place.

Feedlot owners conspiring to kill you

They would say they are only trying to get bigger animals for their buck but now there is scientific evidence that one of their preferred methods is responsible for drug resistant bacteria.
According to a paper in the American Society of Microbiology’s newsletter mBio, researchers have sequenced the genomes of 88 closely-related strains of Staphylococcus aureus. They have concluded that one “particularly nasty” strain, CC398, began as a fairly harmless human bacterium known as MSSA, but evolved after colonizing the systems of pigs, chickens and other livestock.

Inside the animals, the bacterial strain was bombarded by an array of broad-spectrum antibiotics, drugs commonly used by factory farmers to reduce infections and disease in animals kept in close quarters. According to mBio, this allowed the germs to become resistant to antibiotics like tetracycline and methicillin, as well as allowing the microorganisms to become “bidirectional,” meaning that they can freely be transmitted between humans and livestock.

The resistant CC398 strain first appeared in livestock in 2003, but is now widespread among U.S. farm animals and has been causing sepsis and skin infections, mostly in farm workers. So far, the infection has not been able to transmit from human to human.
The thing about feedlot and factory farm owners is that given the choice between forgoing some profit or developing the next Black Plague, they would cheerfully develop the Plague.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tired of the Mormons baptizing all your dead relatives?

Now there is a way that you can fight back. And it is fool proof and eternal. Just go to the new website for All Dead Mormons Are Now Gay and convert a Mormon. There is no undo button so enjoy!

h/t Fark

The next Senator from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Get involved

Bluesday is late this week

Something from Chicago 1964 when Mike was 21.

That's Harvard for you

From Bloomberg:
Jeremy Lin might soon own “Linsanity.”

Lin, who has rejuvenated the New York Knicks over the last two weeks, moved to take control of the catch phrase that’s encapsulated his meteoric rise, filing an application on Feb. 13 with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, according to the agency’s website.

The filing came six days after Yenchin Chang, a 35-year-old Alhambra, California, resident with no ties to Lin, became the first to apply for a Linsanity trademark, according to the website.

A second filing was made on Feb. 9 by Andrew W. Slayton of Los Altos, California, and on Feb. 14 there was another filing by Yoonsoo Stephen Kim of Duluth, Georgia...

Trademark applications generally take about three months to be examined and published, according to Gary Krugman, a partner at the Washington-based firm of Sughrue Mion. As Lin, 23, is the subject of the phrase Linsanity, he would probably be successful in opposing an application filed earlier than his own, Krugman said.
Next time you get a good idea move faster.

The Christian Litmus Test

Martin Bashir expands on a quote by C S Lewis to compare presidential candidates.

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

And Jesus said,

Suffer the little children to come unto me
For it is a hell of a lot safer than letting them into a Catholic Church. First it was the priests playing hide the salami with the altar boys. Then we had the Church telling orphans to get lost because someone gay may want to adopt them. And now a Catholic church in Virginia will no longer allow Girl Scouts on the premises because of another, unrelated group's association with somebody the old, dried up Catholic male leaders don't like.

Hey, no one said you had to be smart to be a Catholic.

Babeu's booboo maybe deeper doo-doo

In addition to all the criminal acts that Paul Babeu has admitted to there may be one that he forgot.
In an unusual letter to two of his fellow local law enforcers this week, conservative Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu laid out a list of crimes alleged to have been committed by him or his former lover in the wake of their romance that soured last year.

The list was seven items long: “human rights violations, threatening and intimidating, misuse of public resources, theft of property, theft of identity, fraud and impersonation.”

But now one prominent attorney tells TPM that the sheriff, who has made a name for himself as one of the nation’s top hawks in the border debate, should be worried about one more: harboring an illegal immigrant.

Quote of the Day

And they’re telling me I can’t use it, I couldn’t use it. this is not right. you’ve got a guy who serves, does his time in the Air Force, or Army or the Navy, and then he comes home and can’t vote? What the f—- did I go in for?
Gil Paar, Air Force veteran denied the vote because his VA card was not "approved ID" in Wisconsin.

It's a dog's world

From the pen of Pat Oliphant

click pic to big

Will they make it to the top?

Prosecutors have indicted another employee of the Upper Big Branch Mine for the fatal mine disaster in 2010. This time they are reaching into management in what some people hope is an effort to criminally prosecute the top management.
Federal prosecutors announced the indictment of Gary May, a superintendent of the West Virginia coal mine where an explosion left 29 dead in 2010...

But Mr. May, one of the mine’s two superintendents, is the most senior, and industry observers say the indictment is an indication that prosecutors are getting closer to the executives who ran the company, Massey Energy, which has since been bought by Alpha Natural Resources.

“They’re moving up in the food chain,” said Tony Oppegard, a Kentucky lawyer who defends miners. “This will cause some sleepless nights for people high up in the corporate ladder.”

The indictment, filed in federal court in West Virginia on Wednesday morning, includes conspiracy to defraud the United States by impeding a federal agency, a felony that is punishable by up to five years in prison.

Perhaps more worrying for corporate officials, the type of indictment filed indicates that Mr. May is cooperating with prosecutors, a development that could eventually lead them to top executives, including Don L. Blankenship, the former head of Massey, who families of miners contend enforced a culture of cutting corners and ignoring risks for the sake of profit.
That is quite a goal they have set for themselves.

Say, has anybody noticed

That after ten years and two failed wars, the same bunch of shitheads that started it the first time around are trying again.
The United States has now endured what by some measures is the longest period of war in its history, with more than 6,300 American troops killed and 46,000 wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan and the ultimate costs estimated at $3 trillion. Both wars lasted far longer than predicted. The outcomes seem disappointing and uncertain.

So why is there already a new whiff of gunpowder in the air?

Talk of war over Iran’s nuclear program has reached a strident pitch in recent weeks, as Israel has escalated threats of a possible strike, the oratory of American politicians has become more bellicose and Iran has responded for the most part defiantly. With Israel and Iran exchanging accusations of assassination plots, some analysts see a danger of blundering into a war that would inevitably involve the United States.

Echoes of the period leading up to the Iraq war in 2003 are unmistakable, igniting a familiar debate over whether journalists are overstating Iran’s progress toward a bomb. Yet there is one significant difference: by contrast with 2003, when the Bush administration portrayed Iraq as an imminent threat, Obama administration officials and intelligence professionals seem eager to calm the feverish language.
Somehow the efforts by the Obama administration seem pretty tame and half-hearted. Almost as if they were building an alibi.

With a swipe of her literary paw

MoDo demolishes Rick Santorum in her opening paragraphs.
Rick Santorum has been called a latter-day Savonarola.

That’s far too grand. He’s more like a small-town mullah.
She then toys with him and his party for the balance of her column and puts one in the center ring.
Why is it that Republicans don’t want government involved when it comes to the economy (opposing the auto bailouts) but do want government involved when it comes to telling people how to live their lives?
No one can answer that question.

Lou Dobbs attacks Dr. Seuss.

Because Lou has been relegated to Fox Business channel and is desperate to get more the 10 viewers.

Wherein Bill compares GOP primary to slasher movie

And gets in his shots at Santorum

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

That would be James Dean

The 50's rebel not the sausage king.

If Darrell Issa was a fair and honest man

He might hold a hearing like this one, conceived and executed by Second City.

h/t AmericaBlog

Finally, two weeks+ after the SuperBowl

Petey Hoekstra, never known as the fastest car on the track, has removed his grossly offensive ad from his website.

When the people who work for you

Do a good job and increase revenues the proper business strategy is to keep the money and brag about the profits you made. The workers will be happy making what they made last year.

Catholics imposing religious beliefs on medical care

And the last time they did so, we got the Dark Ages in Europe. Combined with the religious assault on science and education, we may get one in the new world, too.
As Roman Catholic leaders and government officials clash over the proper role of religion and reproductive health, shifts in health care economics are magnifying the tension. Financially stronger Catholic-sponsored medical centers are increasingly joining with smaller secular hospitals, in some cases limiting access to treatments like contraception, abortion and sterilization.

In Seattle, Swedish Health Services has offered elective abortions for decades. But the hospital agreed to stop when it joined forces this month with Providence Health & Services, one of the nation’s largest Catholic systems.

In late December, Gov. Steve Beshear of Kentucky turned down a bid by Catholic Health Initiatives, another large system, to merge with a public hospital in Louisville, in part because of concern that some women would have less access to contraceptive services.

And in Rockford, Ill., there is resistance to a plan by OSF HealthCare, run by the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis, to buy a hospital because of new restrictions that would require women to go elsewhere if they wanted a tubal ligation after a Caesarean section.
In the eyes of the Holier Than Thou Ones, religious freedom does not apply to medical care.

10 years on in Shitholeistan

And for some strange reason NATO troops haven't figured out that burning the Koran is a very bad idea.
Protests broke out and shock rippled through the country on Tuesday as accounts emerged of NATO personnel setting fire to bags filled with Korans and other sacred books of Koranic interpretation at the Bagram Air Base.

The holy books were saved by Afghans working in the area, some of whom rushed screaming at two soldiers who were throwing the bags into an incineration pit, or reached into the fire to extract the volumes. A NATO spokesman said the books had been gathered at a detention facility for suspected insurgents and inadvertently sent for incineration.
No one is asking anybody to go native, but after 10 years you might think someone would have figured out what rubs the Afghans the wrong way by now.

Now that we have this whole blowing up people with drones thing all worked out, the faster we get out of that country the better.

American Talib leader doubts Obama's religion/

Franklin Graham, bastard child of Billy Graham and a manure pile, has denied denying the christianity in the smarmy way of his kind that says "don't believe what I say". He also stated that Santorum is a Christian. Which should tell you how little Franklin knows about religion.
Graham, who is the son of Billy Graham and the CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that Obama "has said he's a Christian, so I just have to assume that he is."

"All I know is I'm a sinner, and God has forgiven me of my sins... you have to ask every person," he said about whether he could say for sure that Obama is indeed of the Christian faith.

However, when asked about GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum's religion, Graham gave a much more concrete answer.

"I think so," Graham said when asked if he believes Santorum is a Christian. "His values are so clear on moral issues. No question about it... I think he's a man of faith."
Franklin does know about money and sees greater profit in the American Taliban than in anything that Jesus may have taught.

And what perversion is he hiding

Another Republican/Teabagger has made one more ridiculous sexual assertion, this time accusing the Girl Scouts of promoting a homosexual lifestyle.
Republican state Rep. Bob Morris on Saturday sent a letter (PDF) to his fellow House Republicans explaining why he wouldn’t sign on to the resolution, according the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette.

“After talking to some well-informed constituents, I did a small amount of web-based research, and what I found is disturbing,” Morris wrote. “[A]bundant evidence proves that the agenda of Planned Parenthood includes sexualizing young girls through the Girl Scouts, which is quickly becoming a tactical arm of Planned Parenthood.”

“Many parents are abandoning the Girl Scouts because they promote homosexual lifestyles,” the lawmaker opined. “In fact, the Girl Scouts education seminar girls are directed to study the example of role models. Of the fifty role models listed, only three have a briefly-mentioned religious background—all the rest are feminists, lesbians, or Communists. … Boys who decide to claim a ‘transgender’ or cross-dressing life-style are permitted to become a member of a Girl Scout troop, performing crafts with the girls and participate in overnight and camping activities—just like any
real girl.”

“As members of the Indiana House of Representatives, we must be wise before we use the credibility and respect of the ‘Peoples’ House’ to extend legitimacy to a radicalized organization,” he adeed. “I challenge each of you to examine these matters more closely before you extend your name and your reputation to endorse a group that has been subverted in the name of liberal progressive politics and the destruction of traditional American family values.”
And he is forcing his three girls to leave the scouts and join a Teabagger Youth organization with a name that suggests Purity Balls and NAMGLA philosophy. I would suggest that someone examine his contacts with young girls.

Monday, February 20, 2012

If you are going to do a cover

You should put your own mark on it like the Cleverlys cleverly do with this Zombies hit.

Tom Tomorrow gets The Frothy One to talk dirty

Well, at least the talk is icky for Ricky. Watch Santorum talk about the Nasty.

SEC fails to find own butt with either hand

William Cohan, writing in Bloomberg, details for us another monstrous failure of the SEC. Indeed, this one is so rotten, one can wonder just why the SEC continues to exist.
Once again, the Securities and Exchange Commission has embarrassed itself. Last week it let off the hook two hotshot former Wall Street hedge-fund managers who lost a bundle for the investors trusting them to manage their money responsibly.

Instead of going to court on Feb. 13 and laying bare the sordid facts for a jury, at the last minute the SEC settled a civil suit against Ralph Cioffi and Matthew Tannin of the now defunct Bear Stearns Cos (2942331Q). These were the hedge-fund managers who five years ago loaded up their two funds with billions of dollars of lousy mortgage-backed securities and collateralized- debt obligations, leveraged them to the hilt and, when the market for the securities soured in July 2007, liquidated the funds.

According to the SEC’s 2008 civil complaint against the men, the collapse of the funds cost investors at least $1.6 billion. These problems were among the very first indications that serious trouble was looming in the housing market and securities tied to it. The liquidation of the two funds led to the effective bankruptcy of Bear Stearns itself in March 2008 and the subsequent financial crisis that nearly wiped Wall Street off the face of the earth.

But the price the SEC extracted from Cioffi and Tannin as part of a settlement -- after previously telling the court it intended to go to trial -- was a mere pittance, “chump change,” according to the federal judge in Brooklyn overseeing the case. Cioffi, who made $22 million in 2005 and 2006 at Bear Stearns, will pay just $800,000 and agree to a three-year ban from the securities industry. Tannin, who was paid $4.4 million in his last two years at Bear, will pay $250,000 and agree to a two-year ban. Neither has to admit to wrongdoing. The agreement will deter absolutely no one from trying to pull off a similar stunt.
Boy, that ought to show them not to mess with the SEC.


What else would you call this evil plan for the Coney Island boardwalk?
After a yearlong fight over the city’s proposal to use concrete to replace the wooden boards along stretches of the aging, 2.7-mile Boardwalk, the city’s parks department is offering a compromise of sorts — but wood is not part of the plan.

Instead, the department is promising to use a combination of concrete and a type of recycled plastic that looks like wood. They want a 12-foot concrete section for emergency vehicles, with 19-foot-wide sections of the plastic polymer on either side for pedestrians.

This is not the all-concrete sacrilege that local preservationists had feared, but they still see the hybrid product as a travesty of tradition — not to mention a worrisome indicator of what could happen when the city decides to renovate other portions of the fabled walkway.

“It’s like putting a piece of plastic into a diamond ring, and this is our jewel,” said Rob Burstein, 57, the chairman of the Coney-Brighton Boardwalk Alliance, whose online petition to keep the Boardwalk wood was signed by more than 1,700 people since the beginning of the year.

The five-block stretch in question is in Brighton Beach, a mile from the heavily-traveled historic district of Coney Island, where wood is still used.

Mr. Burstein, who lives in Brighton Beach, was offended that his neighborhood could not have wood. “What are we, chopped liver?” he said.
Mr Burstein, you should be so lucky for Mayor Bloomie to think you were chopped liver.

How to raise money in a backwards towelhead country

Why kidnapping, of course. And recently the Pakistani Taliban has resorted to this ancient fund raising technique to support its efforts.
Kidnapping is a centuries-old scourge in parts of Pakistan, from the tribesmen who snatched British colonists in the 19th century to the slum gangs that have preyed on Karachi business families since the 1980s. The national total has varied only slightly in recent years: from 474 kidnappings for ransom in 2010 to 467 last year, according to Interior Ministry figures.

What has changed, however, is the level of Taliban involvement...

The Pakistani Taliban are unapologetic, saying the kidnappings earn valuable funds, offer leverage to free imprisoned fighters and are a political statement against longstanding American efforts to drive Al Qaeda from the tribal belt. “We are targeting foreigners in reaction to government demands that we expel the foreign mujahedeen,” said the deputy leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Wali ur-Rehman, during an interview at his North Waziristan stronghold.

The kidnappings are continuing even as Pakistani security forces have seemed to blunt the militants’ ability to inflict mass casualties: suicide attacks fell by 35 percent in 2011, according to the annual report of the Pak Institute for Peace Studies, while the number of people killed in attacks fell from 3,021 in 2009 to 2,391 last year.
Maintaining traditions and going where the money is at the same time.

And just how would Israel attack Iran

Elisabeth Bumiller, reliable stenographer for the NY Times, has put together various scenarios of Israel's attack on Iran's nuke facilities. Aside from the fact that the distance is twice that of the attack on Iraq many moons ago, most of the air time would be over unfriendly airspace.
Should Israel decide to launch a strike on Iran, its pilots would have to fly more than 1,000 miles across unfriendly airspace, refuel in the air en route, fight off Iran’s air defenses, attack multiple underground sites simultaneously — and use at least 100 planes.

That is the assessment of American defense officials and military analysts close to the Pentagon, who say that an Israeli attack meant to set back Iran’s nuclear program would be a huge and highly complex operation. They describe it as far different from Israel’s “surgical” strikes on a nuclear reactor in Syria in 2007 and Iraq’s Osirak reactor in 1981.
The best part about Ms Bumiller's article is the casual way she suggests that the US will have to finish the mess that Israel starts.

At last! The straight truth about Social Security

In a column by Doug Turner that explains how the system works and who and how the evil doers are trying to dismantle it at our cost.
Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan told any Democrat who would listen that it is a lot easier to dismantle a federal program than to create one. An untiring and vocal defender of Social Security, Moynihan, who left us eight years ago, would have called out President Obama for the harm he is doing to the old age pension program.

Eight years of President George W. Bush and three of Obama seem to have left Social Security old age insurance — as originally conceived — politically vulnerable. It began as social insurance, an earned benefit. It still is.

In general, workers get back what they and their employers put in. In normal times, employees put in 6.2 percent of what they earn — underline “earn” — and the boss contributes 6.2 percent. It’s insurance.

It is entirely different from Medicaid, which pays for health care for the poor, and different from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and food stamps. Those programs depend entirely on tax money.

It wasn’t until Pete Peterson, a billionaire investment banker, and other plutocrats began crusading against big government that the term “entitlement” snuck into the national conversation.

Originally, entitlement meant welfare, and food stamps and Medicaid — programs for the needy that provide benefits they do not and, well, probably cannot earn.

But Bush began mashing Social Security and welfare programs into one gooey ball, calling them all entitlements, needful of containment. This pleased his wealthy friends who pined to defame and unravel the whole Roosevelt New Deal that midwifed Social Security.

Obama, for reasons never explained, gamely picked up the lingo of the right, calling Social Security, not the earned benefit that it is, but an entitlement that needs fixing. Obama began talking that way in one of his centrist phases.

Then Obama went further, and trumpeted employee and company contributions as a “tax,” as in his “tax holiday” mantra. Yes, it comes out of a payroll tax, but it is still a contribution, and Social Security’s friends should call it that. The holiday cuts 2 percentage points from the employee’s contribution. The “tax holiday,” as Obama and the Democrats call it, looks like it will be in effect through the end of this year.

It will cost the government $10 billion a month in lost employee contributions toward their old age insurance.

The House Democratic minority under Rep. Nancy Pelosi is crowing that it won’t have to make up for the loss of revenue with other budget cuts.

So in the twisted rhetoric of Obama and congressional Democrats, Social Security ironically meets all of the odious standards of a giveaway as set in stone by the right: Democrats liken it to welfare funded by “taxes,” and their holiday is driving the republic further into debt.

Note: Social Security under the current system will be in the black through 2036.

Now for a reversal of rhetoric. Leading Republicans are resisting the “tax holiday.” Presidential candidate Rick Santorum said it will undermine the fiscal soundness of Social Security. Ditto House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., They’re right.

As Obama and Congress were pondering the “tax holiday,” the head of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, Max Richtman, wrote to them: “The payroll tax cut undercuts the concept that Social Security benefits are an earned right that stems from contributions that workers make to the program.”

Richtman’s pleas fell on deaf ears. The short-run politics of a “tax holiday” are too enticing. “The real test will be when they are supposed to put the 2 percent back,” Richtman told me.
Pass it around to everybody you know.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

PK belabors the obvious

Because even though the destructive effects of austerity are everywhere in Europe and growing by the day, those in control refuse to see the obvious. And so, as he would to the slowest student in his classroom, PK explains in simple and easy to understand words. Sadly, those in charge have egos big enough to block any effort to correct their mistakes because you know they really don't make any mistakes.

Time to get up and clank them

And show the GOP it's their turn to stay in the kitchen and lose the shoes.

There are more things in heaven and earth, Ricky

Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
w/apologies to the Bard.

click pic to big
and click again when bigged

They're back and ready to make you rich.

Mortgage backed securities, that is. The once deadly economic bombs have mellowed and been discounted sufficiently to allow making a good profit again.
Mr. Lippmann is joined by other big-money investors — mutual funds like Fidelity as well as hedge funds — in riding a wave of interest in the same complex loan pools that nearly washed away the financial system.

The attraction is the price. Some mortgage bonds are so cheap that even in the worst forecasts, with home prices falling as much as 10 percent and foreclosures rising, investors say they can still make money.

“Given its significant underperformance in 2011, we believe the product is as cheap to broader markets as it has been in a long time,” Mr. Lippmann, whose portfolio is heavy with subprime mortgage securities, wrote in a recent letter to investors.

More broadly, the nascent recovery in the mortgage bond market supports a view that the housing slump may have bottomed out. Sales of existing homes are picking up. State and federal authorities have reached a $26 billion settlement with the big banks that is expected to provide some mortgage relief. And the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has been able to auction off billions of dollars of mortgage securities that it acquired as part of the financial crisis bailouts.
Same crap, different day and as long as the Fed discounts them sufficiently, they will be the latest game on the block.

The Frothy One still pretending to be a christian

Rick Santorum, a man who prefers his Catholicism without that damned socialist Jesus, has taken to pretending that his god is better than yours. Ricky hopes this ultimate culture war tactic will help him beat that cult worshiping Mormon Mittens and the checkbook Catholic Newter. This should play well with those who take their religion with a side of stupidity. It remains to be seen how well it will work outside the Republican base where people have discovered the world is round.

Juan Cole does an excellent job of putting the puritanical fundamentalism of Santorum in context.

Bill Moyer on religious freedom

Why is there only one Bill Moyers?

Bill Moyers Essay: Freedom of and From Religion from on Vimeo.

Ever the man of the people

The Newter, high priced buttboy of American Likudnik sheldon Adelson, once again shows us his grasp of what he would like market forces to be.
With unemployment and the economy improving, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has turned to attacking President Barack Obama on the price of gas.

At a campaign event in Suwanee, Georgia, the former House Speaker told supporters that he would bring back cheaper gas because “you can’t put a gun rack on a Volt.”

“There is no reason not to believe that we couldn’t stabilize with American production by drowning demand in supply the old-fashioned, free market way,” he explained. “There’s not reason we couldn’t have a stable price around $2 or $2.50 [per gallon].”
So if GM would fit a gun rack into a Volt, we could have cheaper gas? With gas supplies already drowning demand, Newticles needs to exploit his alternative solution.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

I thought she could have done better

But he is not half bad on this one.

Climate change speaks for itself

Here is a chance for you to look and listen.

click pic to big


When you are a gay sheriff in Arizona

In addition to your uniform and your sexuality, you can keep an undocumented immigrant in your closet, too. And if the little booger gets uppity or has a headache you can threaten to deport him. IOKIYAR

Sic Transit Gloria 1%ers

From the pen of Tom Toles.

click pic to big

When you mix Mardi Gras with Star Wars

You are going to get something never before seen and have to answer the question, do we want to see it again?
Mr. Ballard and his co-founders, Brett Powers and Kira Haubrich, envisioned Chewbacchus as a New Orleans take on “Star Wars” and science fiction fandom. They did not expect a response much beyond their circle of friends, but as word spread through the city, more and more people started to show up to build floats and assemble costumes with them. By the time their inaugural parade rolled the Sunday before Mardi Gras last year, they found themselves with 400 members. They had touched a nerve.

After the group’s initial success, it became clear that Chewbacchus was a force with staying power. Now the leadership is working to cement their krewe’s place in the annual ritual. The founders have taken leadership roles as “overlords,” and the krewe has expanded with a host of subgroups with names like the Death Star Steppers, the Chewbikkan Cyclopods, the Sci Fi Brass Band and the Wild Tchewbacchatoulas, a nod to traditional Mardi Gras Indian culture.

Amateur float builders like Tim Momenee, a Lockheed Martin engineer, are answering the Chewbacchus call for outlandish creations. For the past few weeks, he has been working with chicken wire, insulation, mattress pads and faux fur to turn an old pink go-kart frame into a bantha, the wooly mammoth-like creatures from “Star Wars.” He powers it with half a bicycle hooked to the wheels.

Mr. Powers, who goes by the name Ghetto Fett during Mardi Gras, says Chewbacchus and krewes like it are a response to the exclusivity of the older groups. Chewbacchus does not have any waiting lists or recommendation requirements, and dues are only $42 (an arcane numerical reference to the novel “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”).
Talk about a mixing of the cultures.

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