Friday, November 30, 2012

Having just watched the movie

I have to say they could easily have cut out 30+ minutes and punched up the dialogue. But I liked this song by Florence.

As long as you are on the Intertubes

Here is a way to pass a few minutes and connect with your Congresscritter.

And if you have extra minutes on your cell, give them a call

Martin Bashir wishes Fux Nooz a Merry Christmas

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

And what is wrong with Socialism?

From the pen of Pat Oliphant

Quit yer bitchin'

Unless your income is down near the bottom, you are paying less in taxes than you did 30 years ago.
“It feels like the harder we work, the more they take from us,” said Mr. Hicks, 55, as he waited for a meat truck one recent afternoon. “And it seems like there’s an awful lot of people in the United States who don’t pay any taxes.”

These are common sentiments in the eastern suburbs of St. Louis, a region of fading factory towns fringed by new subdivisions. Here, as across the country, people like Mr. Hicks are pained by the conviction that they are paying ever more to finance the expansion of government.

But in fact, most Americans in 2010 paid far less in total taxes — federal, state and local — than they would have paid 30 years ago. According to an analysis by The New York Times, the combination of all income taxes, sales taxes and property taxes took a smaller share of their income than it took from households with the same inflation-adjusted income in 1980.

Households earning more than $200,000 benefited from the largest percentage declines in total taxation as a share of income. Middle-income households benefited, too. More than 85 percent of households with earnings above $25,000 paid less in total taxes than comparable households in 1980.

Lower-income households, however, saved little or nothing. Many pay no federal income taxes, but they do pay a range of other levies, like federal payroll taxes, state sales taxes and local property taxes. Only about half of taxpaying households with incomes below $25,000 paid less in 2010.

The uneven decline is a result of two trends. Congress cut federal taxation at every income level over the last 30 years. State and local taxes, meanwhile, increased for most Americans. Those taxes generally take a larger share of income from those who make less, so the increases offset more and more of the federal savings at lower levels of income.
The other side of the coin is that you are getting much less than you did before. Enjoy those potholes and closed bridges.

What you don't know could very well kill you.

Whether you get your water from a well or a municipal system, fracking could be poisoning you and you have no legal recourse to discover what is doing the harm. The well drillers can declare any of the ingredients injected into the gound a Trade Secret and keep its true nature from you regardless of the damage it may do.
A year-old Texas law that requires drillers to disclose chemicals they pump underground during hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” was powerless to compel transparency for EXP- F0173-11. The solvent and several other ingredients in the product are considered a trade secret by Superior Well Services, the Nabors subsidiary. That means they’re exempt from disclosure.

Drilling companies in Texas, the biggest oil-and-natural gas producing state, claimed similar exemptions about 19,000 times this year through August, according to their chemical- disclosure reports. Data from the documents were compiled by Pivot Upstream Group, a Houston-based firm that studies the energy industry, and analyzed by Bloomberg News. Nationwide, companies withheld one out of every five chemicals they used in fracking, a separate examination of a broader database shows.

Trade-secret exemptions block information on more than five ingredients for every well in Texas, undermining the statute’s purpose of informing people about chemicals that are hauled through their communities and injected thousands of feet beneath their homes and farms, said Lon Burnam, a Democratic state representative and a co-author of the law.
And all those chemicals can and do migrate into aquifers or get dumped into sewer treatment plants that have no idea what they need to treat for, if it is even possible. And let us not forget what is quietly dumped into the nearest creek or pond, to eventually travel downstream. Science has found many lifeforms able to exist in extreme conditions that would kill humans. It has not found a way to adapt humans, we still need clean drinking water.

Why we need bigger defense cuts

So that the Perfumed Princes of the Pentagon would not have to funds to do this. From Bloomberg:
Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) and the Pentagon have reached an “agreement in principle” to complete a contract valued at as much as $4 billion for the fifth production batch of F-35 fighters, according to the Pentagon’s spokesman.

An accord has been reached to buy 32 fighters in addition to the 63 already on contract, Pentagon spokesman George Little told reporters today.

The Pentagon said in December that it would spend a maximum of about $4 billion on the production lot. Dollar figures for the contract won’t be available for about a week, according to officials who spoke about the negotiations on condition of anonymity. The contract is the second consecutive one to involve the purchase of 32 aircraft, an indication the Pentagon assesses the program’s manufacturing processes are on solid enough footing to sustain that rate.

“It was a tough negotiation and we are pleased that we’ve reached an agreement,” Little said. “It ends the year on a positive note and sets the program to move forward.”

Signing the contract before year-end means that the dollars obligated won’t be subject to reduction if the Pentagon is forced to make $52.3 billion in additional cuts during the current fiscal year under the process called sequestration. Those cuts would begin in January unless President Barack Obama and Congress reach agreement to avert the spending reductions and tax increases known as the fiscal cliff.
32 more jets that can't perform their mission. Fortunately their mission is against an enemy that doesn't exist.

The disaster that is AG Holder's marijuana jihad.

And jihad is a good word to describe the DOJ's mindless assault on Americans who support the use of marijuana. The latest travesty is taking place in Montana.
Chris Williams is sitting in a private federal prison on the Montana prairie these days awaiting sentencing. If the federal government has its way, he won't be a free man again for three-quarters of a century, an effective life sentence for a middle-aged man like Williams.

So, what did he do that merits such a harsh sentence? Did he murder someone? Did he rape, pillage, and plunder? No. He grew medical marijuana. And, as is not uncommon in Montana, he had guns around as he did so. Standing on firm conviction, he steadfastly refused repeated plea bargain offers from federal prosecutors, which could have seen him serving "only" 10 years or so.
Williams is one of the more than two dozen Montana medical marijuana providers caught up in the federal dragnet after mass raids in March 2011 savaged the state's medical marijuana community, including Montana Cannabis, one of the state's largest providers, where he was a partner. A true believer in the cause, Williams is the only one of those indicted after the federal raids to not cop a plea, and he was convicted on eight federal marijuana and weapons charges in September after being blocked from mentioning the state's medical marijuana laws during his trial.

It is the gun charges that are adding decades to his sentences. As is the case in drug raids where police come up against armed homeowners, or as was the case of Salt Lake City rap record label owner and pot dealer Weldon Angelos ended up with a 55-year sentence because he sometimes packed a pistol, the Williams case is one where the rights granted under the 2nd Amendment clash with the imperatives of the drug war.

Williams was not convicted of using his firearms or even of brandishing them, but merely of having legal shotguns present at the medical marijuana grow, which was legal under Montana law. Still, that's enough for the gun sentencing enhancements to kick in, and that's enough to cause a rising clamor of support for Williams as he faces a January sentencing date.
This case is a senseless rape of justice by mindless policing. And just about the only area where Attorney General Eric Holder can score any kind of conviction.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

They play bluegrass instruments, except for the accordion

But they don't quite sound like bluegrass.

Worth the paper it's written on.

From the pen of Stuart Carlson

In a call for true religious equality

Pennsylvania Pastafarians
are asking for an equal place in their local courthouse holiday display.
“Good morning commissioners, it is my honor to address you today,” Evangelical Pastafarian Tracy McPherson told the commissioners at a meeting. “Last December as I drove through West Chester, I was pleased to see holiday displays in front of the courthouse. Prominently displayed were the Jewish menorah and the Christian nativity display depicting the birth of Christ. These symbols represent the meaning of the holiday season for two religious communities in our area. I could not help but feel that the display was incomplete, as there was no acknowledgement of my religion present.”

The quasi-religion and its pasta-deity were spawned in 2005, when Bobby Henderson mocked the Kansas Board of Education in an open letter for allowing the teaching of Intelligent Design, a variation of creationism, in public schools. The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster has since grown into a full-blown movement, boasting millions of members.

“As a Pastafarian, I believe the Flying Spaghetti Monster created the world and all that is in it,” McPherson explained to the commissioners. “He holds us all to the ground with his noodly appendages and that explains why we do not float away.”

The Evangelical Pastafarians would like to see their pasta-decorated pine tree placed alongside the Jewish and Christian displays. Despite its satirical appearance, McPherson insisted her devotion to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster was serious.
He boiled for your sins. May you be blessed by his noodly goodness.

It wasn't like he was hiding in a mountain fastness

While the US and the CIA crow about the effectiveness of the drones in taking out evildoers, some of the folks in the town where one of the targets lived are asking WTF?
The Nov. 7 drone strike that killed alleged al Qaida-linked operative Adnan al Qadhi outside Beit al Ahmar was just one of more than 50 American airstrikes believed to have taken place in Yemen so far this year.

Unlike the usual post-strike conjecture, however, this one has unleashed a flurry of speculation about why Qadhi, a well-known figure in this town, was targeted in such a violent and anonymous way.

American counterterrorism officials have painted drone strikes as a tool of last resort, utilized only when targets represent an imminent threat and are nearly impossible to take out by other means. But people in Beit al Ahmar say it’s hard to argue that Qadhi’s capture would have been out of the question. He’d already been arrested, and released, before, in 2008 after an attack on the American Embassy. And Beit al Ahmar, nine miles outside Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, is no isolated enclave – it’s the birthplace of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and home to much of the military’s leadership.

Sitting less than an hour’s drive from the capital, residents here say Qadhi could have been captured easily. The Central Intelligence Agency in the United States, whose drone launched the missile that killed Qadhi, declined to comment.

“It is nearly inconceivable to imagine that he could not have been taken into custody alive,” said Abdulghani al Iryani, a Yemeni political analyst. “Beit al Ahmar, of course, is the hometown of much of the top leadership of the Yemeni armed forces.”
The 'federales' could have had him any old day but they probably needed the target practice. Besides he was just another wog out there in Kaffiristan. Amirite? And look at all the people we have pissed off.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Nothing left to lose.

Haven't had a Janis Joplin post in far too long.

"A rare form of horse manure"

Martin Bashir examines the retirement savvy of Lloyd Blankfein.

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

It's a start

And as fine a note as any to begin Elizabeth Warren's Senate career with.
Wall Street’s largest swap dealers, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), will be required to guarantee trades at clearinghouses starting in March under a rule made final today by the top U.S. derivatives regulator.

The five-member Commodity Futures Trading Commission voted unanimously in a private process to complete the final determinations, the agency said in a statement. The rule, which had been scheduled for a public vote, determines which credit and interest-rate swaps must be guaranteed at clearinghouses owned by LCH.Clearnet Group Ltd., CME Group Inc. (CME) and Intercontinental Exchange Inc. The commissioners can vote on paper outside of their public meetings in a process known as seriatim.

“Central clearing lowers the risk of the highly interconnected financial system,” CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler said in statement. “It also democratizes the market by eliminating the need for market participants to individually determine counterparty credit risk, as now clearinghouses stand between buyers and sellers.”
Sure, it doesn't cover all such transactions, but ease of use, familiarity and a desire for some surety by traders will increase its use over time and may lead other markets to adopt it.

Pretty much as expected

But perhaps sooner than expected, the much vaunted charter schools are proving to be no better than the public schools they replaced.
As many as one in five U.S. charter schools should be shut down because of poor academic performance, according to a group representing states, districts and universities that grant them permission to operate.

The National Association of Charter School Authorizers said 900 to 1,300 of the privately run, publicly financed schools should close because they are in the bottom 15 percent of public schools in their states. The Chicago-based group’s members -- such as the Los Angeles Unified School District and the State University of New York -- oversee more than half of the nation’s 5,600 charter schools.

The announcement represents a challenge to the fast-growing charter-school movement, created as an alternative to conventional districts and operating without many of their rules. To hold the organizations accountable, states must pass new laws that would shut down poor performers, said Greg Richmond, president of the charter-school organization.

“For all the excellent charter schools, there are also many not serving students well,” Richmond said from Washington in a briefing with reporters. “That’s unacceptable.”
When your whole raison d'etre is to suck public money into private pockets, it is surprising that any charter schools do well.

A non-productive business model

For reasons that baffle this writer, Walmart is pursuing a policy that would seem to run counter to their desire for continued obscene profits.
Every business seeks to keep payroll costs to a minimum, and any business would jump at the opportunity for government to subsidize their employee’s salaries, but when a giant profitable corporation uses taxpayer dollars to supplement their payrolls, voters should be outraged. WalMart posted profits of $15.4 billion in 2011, and it enriched 6 WalMart heirs and heiresses whose combined worth is greater than the bottom 41% of American families (48.8 million households). Part of WalMart’s profits come from paying employees below poverty level wages, and to keep WalMart associates from going hungry and falling ill, taxpayers provided food stamps and Medicaid to make up the difference.

Because WalMart pays their employees slave wages, workers are forced to rely on food stamps and Medicaid which is how WalMart siphons money from taxpayers. The taxpayer dollars allow WalMart to pay their workers an average of $8.81 an hour without having them starving and homeless. Last week, WalMart Vice President of Communications, David Tovar, attempted to downplay their associates’ concerns about low pay, and reassure shoppers that WalMart has “got great associates” who are “going to do a great job for us this holiday season.” Tovar claimed WalMart was “working hard every day to provide more opportunities for associates” that included providing “a 10 percent discount card.” With the current poverty level for a family of four at $23,050, the typical WalMart employee is paid $22,100 a year, and because associates get a 10% discount to buy WalMart products, they are investing their below poverty pay checks back into the company that reported a 9% percent increase in third-quarter net income, earning $3.63 billion.

At a time when Republicans are proposing deep cuts to programs like SNAP (food stamps), and WalMart heavily supported Republican candidates in the recent election, it appears they have greater disregard for their employees than just paying them below poverty wages. A fallacy among many Americans, and one Republicans parrot mercilessly, is that food stamp recipients are lazy and living off other taxpayers, but a substantial number of Americans who rely on Food Stamps work full-time but are not being paid a living wage by employers like WalMart. In June, the House Agricultural Committee passed a five-year reauthorization of the farm bill that cuts $16 billion in food stamps, but they kept several subsidies for corporate agriculture intact. The bill, if it became law, would cut 2 to 3 million people from receiving food assistance and 28 million children would lose free school lunches, but the tea party caucus held out for larger cuts and as of yesterday, there is still not a farm bill.
So why does Walmart want to starve its employees and deny them health care when those same services also provide the average Walmart customer with extra funds to spend in Walmarts own houses of ill repute?

It looks good, how long will it last?

Why it almost appears as if the Obama administration is taking punitive action against the reckless negligence of BP operations in the US.
The Obama administration put a temporary stop to new federal contracts with British oil company BP on Wednesday, citing the company's "lack of business integrity" and criminal proceedings stemming from the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010.

The action by the Environmental Protection Administration won't affect current contracts, but prevents BP and its affiliates from new government contracts "until the company can provide sufficient evidence to EPA demonstrating that it meets federal business standards," the agency said.

"EPA is taking this action due to BP's lack of business integrity as demonstrated by the company's conduct with regard to the Deepwater Horizon blowout, explosion, oil spill, and response," the agency said in a statement.
Just as three low level employees are taking the rap for the criminal policies of the senior execs. So a quick plea bargain and the suspension is lifted and three guys who did what the bosses wanted are screwed. Business as usual.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tuesday is Bluesday

And Big Mama Thornton could sing it as blue as anyone who ever lived.

The Republican/Teabagger Ideal Family Man

In the words of Martin Bashir

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

Another reason to avoid the red kettle this season.

The Salvation Army
is a religious organization dedicated to the charity that Christ preached. Helping others is the reason for its existence. And this is why the arrest of the former executive director of the Army in Canada for helping himself to goods meant for the poor and needy is shocking.
Former executive director of Salvation Army in Canada is believed to be connected to the theft of $2 million worth of toys, food and toiletries intended for needy families.

David Rennie was arrested Monday. He is charged with stealing thousands of dollars worth of items from the Salvation Army’s distribution center in Toronto. Rennie is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 4, the Hamilton Spectator reports.

“We’re alleging that the toys were going to be redirected to other parties and sold for profit,” Det.-Sgt. Jim Gotell of 33 Division told the Hamilton Spectator.

Over the course of investigating the heist, officers have recovered 150 skids of porcelain dolls, Axe body spray, fruit cups, bicycles, chocolate bars and “high-end” goods in different storage facilities throughout Southern Ontario.
We can only hope he continues to receive when he is in prison.

Now they want to be part of the city

If you have made it a point of pride to not be a part of municipal structure during the good times, it will not be well received if you beg for help from the city now.
Once the gilded retreat of the Vanderbilt family, Sea Gate, like other gated communities in New York, preserved its exclusivity with the promise that the residents would assume the costs of community upkeep, maintaining their own streets, parks and sewer systems and even fielding the distinct Sea Gate Police Department.

The special status endured, through occasional controversy and political efforts to open the streets to the public, because of the community’s self-sufficiency.

But the damage inflicted by Hurricane Sandy to Sea Gate, in Brooklyn, and another gated community, Breezy Point, in Queens, was so monumental that residents who are already struggling to figure out how they will pay to rebuild their homes say they cannot afford to pay the additional cost of repairing communal infrastructure. So neighborhoods that have long held the rest of the city at arm’s length now seek the financial embrace of the city, state and federal governments.

That turnaround has been ill-received among some on the other side of the fence from Sea Gate, in historically troubled apartment towers like Sea Rise, where Cesar Catala, 29, picked up some hot food from a relief tent on Monday.

“They seclude themselves,” said Mr. Catala, who has lived in Coney Island nearly his entire life. “We don’t have problems with Sea Gate, but they put their noses down at us. We get treated like we’re second class, just because they live in houses and we live in the projects and we rent. They say they need assistance and, fine, maybe they do need assistance. But they have insurance on their houses. We don’t have insurance. We don’t have much out here.”
Perhaps, if the city has something left over after helping its full time citizens, Mayor Bloomie can give them some aid, maybe.

Is this junk science?

Or real science about your junk? The article makes it clear that more research is needed but the thesis is quite interesting to half the population.
There are so many horrible HORRIBLE puns to be made here it’s difficult to know where to start. As if women weren’t under enough pressure to go bareback or…ermmm… ingest…now they’ll have to put up with concern trolling? “But baby! It’s good for you! It’s like medicine, I swear!”

Unfortunately, it looks like that might actually be the case. It’s a very sticky situation as Gawker explains:

Using data obtained from an anonymous survey of 293 females on campus, Gordon Gallup and Rebecca Burch, working alongside University of Liverpool psychologist Steven Platek, were able to determine that women who engage in oral sex or have unprotected sex on a regular basis were happier than those who practiced safe sex.

If there’s a better way to see men cheer up than by spreading this information, I can’t think of it. To be sure, it’s bitter news for many women to swallow. Gawker continues:

Of all their findings, perhaps the most interesting was the discovery that sexually active women who usually or always used condoms were on par in their unhappiness with women who abstained from sex altogether.

Gallup and Burch also determined that women with a significant amount of “seminal plasma” in their system have improved concentration, and excel over their semen-deficient counterparts in performing cognitive tasks.
See babydoll, it is good for you.

You learn something new every day

According to Dr. Jennifer Roeback Morse of the Ruth Institute sending you son or daughter to college will expose them to gay people. OH NOES! College is more dangerous than previously imagined.

Monday, November 26, 2012

A classic video of a classic song

Written by Kirsty MacColl and performed by Tracey Ullman with Kirsty adding backup vocals.

Business As Usual

And it worked before so it will probably work again.
The corporate CEOs who have made a high-profile foray into deficit negotiations have themselves been substantially responsible for the size of the deficit they now want closed.

The companies represented by executives working with the Campaign To Fix The Debt have received trillions in federal war contracts, subsidies and bailouts, as well as specialized tax breaks and loopholes that virtually eliminate the companies' tax bills.

The CEOs are part of a campaign run by the Peter Peterson-backed Center for a Responsible Federal Budget, which plans to spend at least $30 million pushing for a deficit reduction deal in the lame-duck session and beyond.

During the past few days, CEOs belonging to what the campaign calls its CEO Fiscal Leadership Council -- most visibly, Goldman Sachs' Lloyd Blankfein and Honeywell's David Cote -- have barnstormed the media, making the case that the only way to cut the deficit is to severely scale back social safety-net programs -- Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security -- which would disproportionately impact the poor and the elderly.

As part of their push, they are advocating a "territorial tax system" that would exempt their companies' foreign profits from taxation, netting them about $134 billion in tax savings, according to a new report from the Institute for Policy Studies titled "The CEO Campaign to ‘Fix’ the Debt: A Trojan Horse for Massive Corporate Tax Breaks" -- money that could help pay off the federal budget deficit.

Yet the CEOs are not offering to forgo federal money or pay a higher tax rate, on their personal income or corporate profits. Instead, council recommendations include cutting "entitlement" programs, as well as what they call "low-priority spending."
And if you can't figure it out, "high-priority spending" is also known as corporate welfare.

When will they ever learn?

With apologies to Pete Seeger, we have Tom Tomorrow showing all concerned exactly why the Republican/Teabaggers lost.

Enough is enough!

Despite the actual failure of the military mission in Afghanistan, there are still some rat bastards in the power structure who want to continue a presence in there.
American and allied military planners are drawing up the broad outlines of a force that would remain in Afghanistan following the handover to Afghan security after 2014, including a small counterterrorism force with an eye toward Al Qaeda, senior officials say.

Under the emerging plan, the American counterterrorism force might number less than 1,000, one military official said. In a parallel effort, NATO forces would advise Afghan forces at major regional military and police headquarters but most likely have a minimal battlefield role, with the exception of some special operations advisers.

Final decisions on the size of the American and NATO presence after 2014 and its precise configuration have not been made by the United States or its allies. But one option calls for about 10,000 American and several thousand non-American NATO troops.
Once again, as in Iraq, some damn SOB wants to leave a bait force behind to provide a reason to return when they are attacked and decimated. And aren't the military's best just lining up to volunteer for that duty.

The Art of the Blowjob Profile

Matt Taibbi has read Paula Broadwell's hagiography of Gen. David Petraeus so we won't have to and gives us a review. Meh! But he also notes that it is so like every other 'authorized' bio or profile of the Very Important People. It seems they are all like a home on the range, where seldom is heard a discouraging word.
The book is so one-sided that it is almost supernaturally dull, and I was forgetting about it just minutes after I put it down.

Then it hit me – it was an interesting book, after all! Because if you read All In carefully, the book's tone will remind you of pretty much any other authorized bio of any major figure in business or politics (particularly in business), and it will most particularly remind you of almost any Time or Newsweek famous-statesperson profile.

Which means: it's impossible to tell the difference between the tone of a reporter who we now know was literally sucking the dick of her subject and the tone of just about any other modern American reporter who is given access to a powerful person for a biography or feature-length profile.
The blowjob profile has replaced any efforts at legitimate bio work among the living.

The price of marijuana decriminalization

Appears to be increased time for the minions of the law to enjoy their coffee & donuts. A study done of arrest records since the decriminalization of marijuana in California shows a 20% drop in juvenile arrests.
The San Francisco-based Center on Juvenile & Criminal Justice (CJCJ) recently released a policy briefing with an analysis of arrest data collected by the California Department of Justice’s Criminal Justice Statistics Center. The briefing, “ California Youth Crime Plunges to All-Time Low ,” identifies a new state marijuana decriminalization law that applies to juveniles, not just adults, as the driving force behind the plummeting arrest totals.

After the new pot law went into effect in January 2011, simple marijuana possession arrests of California juveniles fell from 14,991 in 2010 to 5,831 in 2011, a 61 percent difference, the report by CJCJ senior research fellow Mike Males found.

“Arrests for youths for the largest single drug category, marijuana, fell by 9,000 to a level not seen since before the 1980s implementation of the ‘war on drugs,’ ” Males wrote in the report, released in October.

In November, as Males blogged recently, voters in Washington state and Colorado voted to legalize but regulate marijuana use, like alcohol, for people over 21. California’s 2010 law did not legalize marijuana, but it officially knocked down “simple” possession of less than one ounce to an infraction from a misdemeanor — and it applies to minors, not just people over 21. Police don’t arrest people for infractions; usually, they ticket them. And infractions are punishable not by jail time, but by fines — a $100 fine in California in the case of less than one ounce of pot.
The police will always have something to do without putting the burden of irrelevant 'crimes' on their shoulders. And it is also time to re-legitimize the industrial hemp industry in this country.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Three Canadian axewomen

And not a plaid shirt in the bunch. That is Susie Vinnick on vocals, Donna Grantis on 2nd lead and Christine Bougie on lap steel.

They were voted out

But we still haven't gotten rid of our lame ass duck politicians. From the pen of Brian McFadden.

Texas GOP preparing kids for the future

The future that Big Brother could only dream about. Seems the little boogers in John Jay High School Science and Engineering Academy in San Antonio are given identity badges with RFID chips in them to track them and keep them in their proper place. One student objected, on religious grounds, no less, and was quickly put in her place.
A Texas teenager’s attorney told RT on Friday that her refusal to wear an ID badges with a GPS tag has led to her being ostracized from all school activities.

“She’s not being treated equally,” said John Whitehead, who is representing Andrea Hernandez in an upcoming trial next week. “If she doesn’t have the chip, she can’t access the library, cafeteria, she was told she couldn’t vote for the homecoming king and queen.”

Hernandez, a sophomore at John Jay High School Science and Engineering Academy in San Antonio, objected to wearing the badges, which are equipped with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips, on religious grounds, saying they bore “the mark of the beast,” a reference to a Christian prophecy in the Book of Revelations. Whitehead said she was also barred from distributing a pamphlet explaining her rationale.

RT and The Next Web reported that Hernandez was granted a restraining order allowing her to return to school pending the results of her trial, which begins Nov. 28. The badges are part of a $500,000 program whereby John Jay hopes to raise funds by demonstrating consistently high attendance via tracking student movement.
A school named for one of the Founding Fathers of this country pioneering a means of social control in violation of the Constitution, in days past. Texas has truly and completely killed irony.

Like a faithful dog

Clear Channel
provided a loyal narrative of the great businessman Mitt Romney during the election. All the while, Mitt's alleged former company was killing the company for profit.
Clear Channel helped Romney’s campaign in more ways than just having conservative talking heads like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity touting his qualifications, because as the company struggled to repay $16.4 billion in debt, they did not announce widespread layoffs, and instead, eliminated jobs in small increments over the course of the past year. An industry observer writing about radio companies, Jerry Del Colliano, said Clear Channel has “strategically fired employees in small numbers so it doesn’t appear that the company is undergoing large-scale layoffs that would have looked bad for Romney if his former company fired Clear Channel’s workers en masse.” Del Colliano continued that “They’ve been nipping and tucking a lot since last November. There has been a substantial number of people let go every week for 52 weeks, and it’s my belief that what they wanted to do was keep attention off of their Bain founder, Mitt Romney.”

Obviously, news of a mass layoff by Clear Channel to “pay down their monster debt with Bain Capital,” would have reflected negatively on Romney’s contention that Bain created jobs and helped build up struggling companies, and a long time employee opined that “obviously, they are trying to fire their way to pay that debt down.” Two private equity firms, Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners purchased Clear Channel in 2008 and loaded the company with debt to the tune of $16.4 billion that comes due as soon as 2014. When Clear Channel was restructured in 2008, they laid off thousands of employees, and they were anxious to avoid another mass firing while Bain’s former owner was running for the presidency on his record as a job creator. Former employees recounted similar stories of being fired in brief meetings with little or no explanation.
And when Bain has sucked all the liquidity out of Clear Channel, they will try to sell the dried up husk of the company to someone. If that fails they will throw it into bankruptcy and walk away with most of the value transferred to Bain accounts. And let the court put Clear Channel to sleep.

It is not often one musician can do two killer versions

Eva Cassidy had the talent to do that with this classic song. This was the first recording she put out on her Songbird album.

A posthumous release of her work in 2011 has this more traditional variation.

She crossed that River Jordan long before her time.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

American pop music has periodically gone gaga

for foreign tunes and singers. This is one such song that charted up to #5 in 1960. Petula Clark did eine Englische version that just doesn't sound the same.

Time to outlaw Black Friday (or Thursday)

Or whatever fucking day they hype up people to a fever pitch and make them wait to but cheap shit. There were no human sacrifices this year (that I know of), but that appears to have been by accident. It will probably continue because watching these outbursts of mass hysteria seem to soothe the masses.

R.I.P. Larry Hagman

From playing opposite a woman with no belly button to playing a man with no heart was all the same to your public, they loved you anyway.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Just another dance night on Cape Breton

With Ashley MacMaster, Bela Fleck and Hayley Westenra.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Take a turn back to the British Isles

And a great Scots folk band Silly Wizard perfoming a classic. "The Queen of Argyll"

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Just a couple of down home girls

From Brooklyn. The Sweetback Sisters, "Run Home And Cry"

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I suppose she could make a grand bargain or something.

Lady Madonna by the Beatles.

Life is hard now the election is over.

From the pen of Stuart Carlson

Will the CIA regain its intelligence?

Now that there is an opening at the top, will President Obama appoint a director dedicated to intelligence collection and analysis? Or will we get another Strike Force commander who substitutes drones for actual information? Gregory D. Johnsen writes about that problem facing the Agency.
WITH the resignation of David H. Petraeus, President Obama now has a chance to appoint a new C.I.A. director. Unfortunately, one of the leading candidates for the job is John O. Brennan, who is largely responsible for America’s current flawed counterterrorism strategy, which relies too heavily on drone strikes that frequently kill civilians and provide Al Qaeda with countless new recruits. Rather than keeping us safe, this strategy is putting the United States at greater risk.

For all of the Obama administration’s foreign policy successes — from ending the war in Iraq to killing Osama bin Laden — the most enduring policy legacy of the past four years may well turn out to be an approach to counterterrorism that American officials call the “Yemen model,” a mixture of drone strikes and Special Forces raids targeting Al Qaeda leaders.

Mr. Brennan is the president’s chief counterterrorism adviser and the architect of this model. In a recent speech, he claimed that there was “little evidence that these actions are generating widespread anti-American sentiment or recruits for A.Q.A.P.,” referring to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Mr. Brennan’s assertion was either shockingly naïve or deliberately misleading. Testimonies from Qaeda fighters and interviews I and local journalists have conducted across Yemen attest to the centrality of civilian casualties in explaining Al Qaeda’s rapid growth there. The United States is killing women, children and members of key tribes. “Each time they kill a tribesman, they create more fighters for Al Qaeda,” one Yemeni explained to me over tea in Sana, the capital, last month. Another told CNN, after a failed strike, “I would not be surprised if a hundred tribesmen joined Al Qaeda as a result of the latest drone mistake.”

Rather than promote the author of a failing strategy, we need a C.I.A. director who will halt the agency’s creeping militarization and restore it to what it does best: collecting human intelligence. It is an intelligence agency, not a lightweight version of Joint Special Operations Command. And until America wins the intelligence war, missiles will continue to hit the wrong targets, kill too many civilians and drive young men into the waiting arms of our enemies.
But the deeper problem is that there is more profit in drone warfare that in actual intelligence activities. And more to show off to an admiring public.

Lo and blow job, another sex scandal

This one taking place in that paragon of probably not, the SEC. Matt Taibbi has the currently known details and like all sex scandals, it is hard to excerpt. Read it and understand why the SEC never could put anybody in jail (too busy penis you know where).

Will we know when it has begun?

The Fall of The American Empire that is. Tom Engelhardt of Tom's Dispatch writes about one part that may be a sign of that decline and it centers on David Petraeus.
It couldn’t be clearer now that, from the shirtless FBI agent to the “embedded” biographer and the “other other woman,” the “fall” of David Petraeus is playing out as farce of the first order. What’s less obvious is that Petraeus, America’s military golden boy and Caesar of celebrity, was always smoke and mirrors, always the farce, even if the denizens of Washington didn’t know it.

Until recently, here was the open secret of Petraeus’s life: he may not have understood Iraqis or Afghans, but no military man in generations more intuitively grasped how to flatter and charm American reporters, pundits, and politicians into praising him. This was, after all, the general who got his first Newsweek cover (“Can This Man Save Iraq?”) in 2004 while he was making a mess of a training program for Iraqi security forces, and two more before that magazine, too, took the fall. In 2007, he was a runner-up to Vladimir Putin for TIME’s “Person of the Year.” And long before Paula Broadwell’s aptly named biography, All In, was published to hosannas from the usual elite crew, that was par for the course...

Here was the odd thing: none of David Petraeus’s “achievements” outlasted his presence on the scene. Still, give him credit. He was a prodigious campaigner and a thoroughly modern general. From Baghdad to Kabul, no one was better at rolling out a media blitzkrieg back in the U.S. in which he himself would guide Americans through the fine points of his own war-making.

Where, once upon a time, victorious commanders had to take an enemy capital or accept the surrender of an opposing army, David Petraeus conquered Washington, something even Robert E. Lee couldn’t do. Until he made the mistake of recruiting his own “biographer” (and lover), he proved a PR prodigy. He was, in a sense, the real life military version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Jay (“the Great”) Gatsby, a man who made himself into the image of what he wanted to be and then convinced others that it was so.

In the field, his successes were transitory, his failures all too real, and because he proved infinitely adaptable, none of it really mattered or stanched the flood of adjectives from admirers of every political stripe. In Washington, at least, he seemed invincible, even immortal, until it all ended in a military version of Dallas or perhaps previews for Revenge, season three.

His “fall from grace,” as ABC's nightly news labeled it, was a fall from Washington’s grace, and his tale, like that of the president who first fell in love with him, might be summarized as all-American to fall-American.
If Douglas MacArthur was the American Caesar, then David Petraeus is the American Commodus.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Eine, kleine Kink musick

Not one of their big hits but much better than Herman's cover.

When old soldiers fade away

Tom Tomorrow gives us a first person recitation of their last words.

Paul Krugman pines for the Real '50s

You know the years when this was happening.
But the ’50s — the Twinkie Era — do offer lessons that remain relevant in the 21st century. Above all, the success of the postwar American economy demonstrates that, contrary to today’s conservative orthodoxy, you can have prosperity without demeaning workers and coddling the rich.

Consider the question of tax rates on the wealthy. The modern American right, and much of the alleged center, is obsessed with the notion that low tax rates at the top are essential to growth. Remember that Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, charged with producing a plan to curb deficits, nonetheless somehow ended up listing “lower tax rates” as a “guiding principle.”

Yet in the 1950s incomes in the top bracket faced a marginal tax rate of 91, that’s right, 91 percent, while taxes on corporate profits were twice as large, relative to national income, as in recent years. The best estimates suggest that circa 1960 the top 0.01 percent of Americans paid an effective federal tax rate of more than 70 percent, twice what they pay today.

Nor were high taxes the only burden wealthy businessmen had to bear. They also faced a labor force with a degree of bargaining power hard to imagine today. In 1955 roughly a third of American workers were union members. In the biggest companies, management and labor bargained as equals, so much so that it was common to talk about corporations serving an array of “stakeholders” as opposed to merely serving stockholders.

Squeezed between high taxes and empowered workers, executives were relatively impoverished by the standards of either earlier or later generations. In 1955 Fortune magazine published an essay, “How top executives live,” which emphasized how modest their lifestyles had become compared with days of yore. The vast mansions, armies of servants, and huge yachts of the 1920s were no more; by 1955 the typical executive, Fortune claimed, lived in a smallish suburban house, relied on part-time help and skippered his own relatively small boat.

The data confirm Fortune’s impressions. Between the 1920s and the 1950s real incomes for the richest Americans fell sharply, not just compared with the middle class but in absolute terms. According to estimates by the economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, in 1955 the real incomes of the top 0.01 percent of Americans were less than half what they had been in the late 1920s, and their share of total income was down by three-quarters.
The tax rates did tend to enforce a Use It or Lose It ethic on those at the top and in doing so enabled the pay down of a huge deficit while allowing for the financing of a huge investment in American infrastructure. But today's Republican/Teabaggers wouldn't want that.

Adulterous git says Mitt should have given more gifts.

If you should beware of Greeks bearing gifts, what should you do when America's most famous adulterer proposes doing the same? Newt Gingrich, leading with his belly as usual, says that the Mittwit should have done just that.
“If it had been that simple, my question would be, ‘Why didn’t you outbid him?’” he said. “He had enough billionaire supporters. If buying the electorate was the key, he could have got all his super PAC friends together and said, ‘Don’t buy ads, give gifts.’ Be like the northwest Indians and have gift giving ceremonies. You know, he could have gone town by town and say, ‘Come here and let me give you gifts. Here are Republican gifts.’ We could have an elephant coming in with gifts on it.”
And by doing so, Newticles keeps alive the Lie that PBO bought the support of "urban" voters and slams the Mittwit for his failure. But you can rest assured that when push comes to shove, Newter will be on the side of the takers, he never gives anything that can't be cured with penicillin.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A little Sunday Gospel Music

From Eva Cassidy

Somebody wrote a report

It seems that a bunch of retired military and defense experts got together to come up with some ideas to reduce defense spending without any reduction in perceived security. They put together a list of good and not so good ideas. They seem to be wedded to the idea that the US should be the world's Imperial police but within that framework they came up with one good idea.
A new report by a task force made up of former military officers and defense experts says it is possible, even with smaller budgets, to improve U.S. military capabilities — but a key to this is avoiding prolonged ground wars.

There are several key changes required to make this possible, including reducing the size of nuclear forces, reforming both compensation and deployment policies for military personnel, and making a priority of funding research into basic advancements in military capabilities rather than rushing to build every proposed new weapon, according to the report released Friday by the nonprofit and nonpartisan Stimson Center.

To do more with less, the U.S. also needs to “strongly resist being drawn into protracted land wars” and restrict ground combat deployments “to well-defined and limited objectives,” says the report, A New U.S. Defense Strategy for a New Era.

“U.S. leaders should think long and hard before committing U.S. ground forces to contingencies that might lead to lengthy commitments of sizable scale, particularly when the goal is to stabilize failing states or to unseat despotic rulers,” the report says. “At a minimum, the U.S. should only participate in such interventions when they have the active support of friendly states with a clear stake in the situation, such as neighbors of the troubled nation.”
And if they didn't buy the idea of world police, we could avoid all those useless wars.

A Manifesto From Those Who Would Secede

h/t to Juanita Jean

See, it's easy

From the pen of Tom Toles

R.I.P. Lucille Bliss

Thank you for being some of my favorite voices,

How to tell if we taught the Afghans anything

The Afghans have begun the trial of those involved in the Afghan Bank fraud. At only two years after discovery, they are displaying a newbies haste in this matter.
A major step toward resolving the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars from Kabul Bank began last week with the trial of nearly two dozen people, including the bank’s former chairman and former chief executive, who are accused of being the main architects of a colossal fraud.

The scandal at Kabul Bank, Afghanistan’s largest private financial institution, has laid bare the crony capitalism and corruption that has thrived here in the past decade. The bank was forced into receivership in 2010 under the weight of nearly $900 million in bad loans and missing funds. With this long-stalled trial, the government is trying to demonstrate to Afghans and international donors that it is able to hold powerful people accountable in corruption cases.

International donors, including the United States, the European Union and others, had demanded that the Afghan government take a series of steps to combat corruption in the aftermath of the collapse of Kabul Bank. One of the most important was to prosecute those who had perpetrated the fraud. For a year, the International Monetary Fund suspended Afghanistan’s program largely because of the government’s lack of progress in bringing to justice the people behind the bank debacle.

Now with the trial under way, donors privately say they are cautiously optimistic. And, as important, Afghans are watching as local television stations have begun to broadcast reports of the trial proceedings.

“The Afghans are working it through their legal system, which is what the international community has encouraged them to do,” said a senior American official, who asked not to be quoted by name because of the delicacy of the case. “And we will be watching for the result, as will the Afghans themselves.”
If they find anyone guilty and put them in prison they are still under the influence of old traditions. If they reach a settlement with no admission of gulit they will prove that they have learned their lessons from us.

How steroid therapy turned deadly.

Back pain is a cruel condition because it can have multiple sources, some difficult to treat, and it is always there. If you suffer from back pain, you will reach for any remedy. Steroid therapy seemed like a quick cure.
The New England Compounding Center certainly seems deserving of its current status as the prime culprit in a tragic outbreak that has killed 32 and sickened 438. The bottles of supposedly sterile steroid medication it shipped were reportedly so tainted that white fuzz could be seen floating in some vials.

But, experts say, the now notorious Compounding Center has a nationwide network of unwitting enablers and accomplices: There are the doctors who overprescribe an invasive back-pain therapy that, in studies, has not proved useful for many of the patients who get it. And there are the patients, living in an increasingly medicalized society, who want a quick fix for life’s aches and pains.

The use of steroid injections to treat back pain has skyrocketed in the past 15 years — out of proportion to growth in the number of patients with back pain, or the aging of the population. The frequency of steroid injections dispensed to Medicare patients rose 121 percent from 1997 to 2006. Washington State found that the use of back injections grew 12.6 percent between 2006 and 2009, at a cost to the state of $56 million. Some people received more than 10 shots a year.

The increase in treatment has not led to less pain over all, researchers say, and is a huge expense at a time of runaway health costs. “There are lots of places doing lots of injections for conditions that haven’t been shown to benefit,” says Dr. Janna Friedly, a researcher at the University of Washington, who added, “Sadly, some of the patients who got meningitis were probably in that category — they did not have conditions where steroid injections were indicated.”
The patients in pain want something that can work and the doctors want to ease their patients suffering. And it is quick and easy money. Was it any surprise that everybody wanted it?

Lieberschmuck splits with Grampa & Lightfoot

In a rare display of meaningless independence, Sen. Droopy Dawg has split from his two amigos, Grampa McCain and Lightfoot Lindsey Graham on the made up scandal of Benghazigate.
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) is known for backing Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on hawkish national security policies but on Sunday said that “my two amigos” were wrong to call for a Watergate-style investigation into September attacks that killed four Americans in Benghazi.

During an interview on Sunday, Fox News host Chris Wallace asked Lieberman and Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) if they agreed with the demand that Congress create a joint select committee like those used to investigate Watergate and the Iran-Contra affair.

“The committees within the United States Senate are very capable of investigating this in the right way, and this is one time I have a slight disagreement with my good friends,” Chambliss explained.

“Yeah, I respectfully separate myself from my two amigos on this and agree with Saxby,” Lieberman agreed. “This was a tragedy but it doesn’t rise to the level of 9/11 in [2001]. Our committees can handle this and come up with answers.”
Oh, if only this were the last hurrah from a fading irrelevance.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Haven't heard from Jenny in a while

This is from her second album.

All those things you wanted Bill Maher to say

Well last night on Real Time he held nothing back.

Hear Bernie Roar

He is standing up for us, we must stand with him.

I like the way she thinks

Naomi Klein
was on Bill Moyers last night explaining why Climate Change provides a historic opportunity to Progressives to shape the future.
Naomi Klein, author of the international bestseller The Shock Doctrine , says the tragic destruction of Hurricane Sandy can also be the catalyst for the transformation of politics and our economy. She’s been in New York visiting the devastated areas — including those where “Occupy Sandy” volunteers are unfolding new models of relief — as part of her reporting for a new book and film on climate change and the future, and joins Bill to discuss hurricanes, climate change, and democracy. “Let’s rebuild by actually getting at the root causes. Let’s respond by aiming for an economy that responds to the crisis both [through] inequality and climate change,” Klein tells Bill. “You know, dream big.”
View the whole segment and see how she dreams big, but not impossible.

Give BP a proper penalty

Thom Hartman and Sam Sacks
, writing in Truthout, call for a proper penalty for BP for failure to operate in the public interest.
Eleven workers were killed when their oil rig exploded, and for three months five million barrels of toxic crude gushed in the Gulf of Mexico as BP, which never made contingency plans for this sort of obvious crisis, tried to find a way to plug the hole. That oil killed marine life, blanketed coastlines, and put Gulf Coast small businesses out of business. To this day, we still don't know the long-term effects of this catastrophe on the ecosystem or our food chain, which is now contaminated with eyeless shrimp, clawless crabs, and other oil-mutated aquatic freak shows. Not to mention the human cancers that will show up in future decades.

Now, the foreign corporation responsible for all of this, BP, will just cut a small check, and then go back to business as usual, punching holes in the Gulf. It pled guilty to 14 felony and misdemeanor charges and agreed to pay a $4.5 billion fine – the largest criminal fine in our nation's history. But for a corporation that just announced it earned $5.4 billion in three months, BP knows it got off easy.

The organization Public Citizen notes, "Claims arising from the Gulf disaster, which killed 11 workers and did untold damage, put the company's liability at a minimum of $51.5 billion." That's more than ten-times what BP will end up paying to settle.

As part of the settlement, the government still reserves the right to charge two BP employees for manslaughter. It will likely be two low-level workers who'll have to take the fall for an entire corporation – and industry – that repeatedly ignored regulations and cut safety corners, just to maximize their quarterly profits. Because of our two-tiered justice system, rarely do corporate suits go to jail.
And they are only looking at BP's Gulf Spill. If you add in BP's prior atrocious safety record of operation, it only gets worse.

Friday, November 16, 2012

There was a good bar band in the UK

That tried to invade the US and didn't knock any socks off. So they went back to Blighty and mucked around in the raw passions on blues and rock and roll. They came up with this and became a huge success.

This one definitely Does NOT Need More Cowbell.

Hubble finds Galaxy 13.3 Billion Lightyears away

To find and see something that far away and that old puts a bit of perspective on our own Earthly bullshit.

Gene Robinson says Republicans should learn to listen

And even writes a column about why they should do so. Trouble is that is like teaching a rock how to fly. You can get it off the ground but it will always have a hard crash landing. Still, we give props to Mr. Robinson for trying.

The public fascination with zombies

Should not, in any way, be extended to public servants being fascinated with zombies, especially zombie ideas. Paul Krugman tries one more time to kill off some dangerous zombie ideas about Social Security and Medicare.
The bottom line is that raising the age of eligibility for either Social Security benefits or Medicare would be destructive, making Americans’ lives worse without contributing in any significant way to deficit reduction. Democrats, in particular, who even consider either alternative need to ask themselves what on earth they think they’re doing.

But what, ask the deficit scolds, do people like me propose doing about rising spending? The answer is to do what every other advanced country does, and make a serious effort to rein in health care costs. Give Medicare the ability to bargain over drug prices. Let the Independent Payment Advisory Board, created as part of Obamacare to help Medicare control costs, do its job instead of crying “death panels.” (And isn’t it odd that the same people who demagogue attempts to help Medicare save money are eager to throw millions of people out of the program altogether?) We know that we have a health care system with skewed incentives and bloated costs, so why don’t we try to fix it?

What we know for sure is that there is no good case for denying older Americans access to the programs they count on. This should be a red line in any budget negotiations, and we can only hope that Mr. Obama doesn’t betray his supporters by crossing it.
We all need to raise a joyful noise unto Congress and the White House to keep them from being afraid of zombies.

I guess if you believe in God, no fairy tale is too outlandish.

And Bryan Fischer of the notorious hate group American Family Association has a new fairy tale that tops them all.
The director of issues analysis of a conservative fundamentalist Christian organization on Thursday asserted that the terrorists who attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001 were actually “the agents of God’s wrath” because they prompted “God Bless America” to be sung at Major League Baseball games and that is “one of the reasons we haven’t been hit since 9/11.”

Reflecting on recent super storm Hurricane Sandy, the American Family Associations’ Bryan Fischer told his radio listeners that disasters were a “form of judgment on a nation.”

“Because the point is, God will often use a military adversary — like we ran into on 9/11 — God will often use a military adversary to chasten and humble his people for their sin and bring them to a place of repentance,” Fischer explained. “I think this is what was going on on 9/11, the larger issues that God had. The jihadist on 9/11 were the agents of God’s wrath in order to get our attention as a people.”

“Have we learned? I don’t know. I think we’ve learned in part,” he continued. “One of the things we’ve done is we’ve gone to prayer at the seventh inning of every Major League Baseball game in Los Angeles, in New York and during the playoffs, and we pray, ‘God Bless America… Guide us through the night with a light from above.’”

“That’s not something that happened before 9/11. So, that’s one of the outcomes of 9/11. You have tens of thousands of baseball fans converting arenas into centers for intercessory prayer, for God to watch over, bless and guide the United States of America. And I think one of the reasons we haven’t been hit since 9/11 is that we learned that lesson.”
I think what we are learning is that Bryan Fischer needs a nice quiet room with soft walls and no sharp edges or corners. And hopefully we can get him there before he buys the Brooklyn Bridge.

We hope they can figure it out.

From the pen of Tom Toles.

Nothing like a good failure to get the Republican/Teabaggers jacked up.

And who better to display that awesome Republican quality than old Grampa Walnuts himself, John McCain. Following the Republicans massive fail in the election, the ancient jackleg Senator from Arizona has been unable to gin up any interest in their lame ass Benghazigate. This has pushed him to the edge.
It was impossible to miss John McCain’s growing desperation yesterday, as his plans to bring down Obama backfired and the narrative of the day became him skipping the very briefing that would have answered his questions. Trending on Yahoo all day was “John McCain Missed Briefing While Slamming Obama Over Benghazi Attack”. Alexa treated him no better.

Embarrassed and humiliated, the Senator screamed at a CNN for pointing out that while he appeared on TV to talk about how he needed more information about Benghazi, he missed his own committee briefing on Benghazi.

Asked to comment, he said, “I have the right as a senator to have no comment and who the hell are you to tell me I can or not?” Followed up by, “I’m upset that you keep badgering me.”
He is not the only upset Republican. The failure of their threadbare scandal to go anywhere has is just part and parcel of the awakening of the electorate. Combine this with their Obama Derangement Syndrome and they won't be displaying any rational thought for a while. At least Grampa can go and cry on the shoulder of his good buddy , Dancin' Dave Gregory on Sundays.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

President Obama responds to Texas petition to secede

Received without attachment indicated.

Happy Birthday Petula Clark

And dig the cars used as props in this video.

Quote of the Day

We didn't just dodge a bullet by denying the presidency to this preening ass, this mock Thurston Howell, we dodged a fucking missile.
The Rude Pundit, clarifying just how lucky we were this election.

Let's Get This Taken Care Of This Time

From the pen of Tom Toles.

Growth is important at Wal-Mart

Which may be the reason that even Bribery Investigations grow bigger as time goes by.
Wal-Mart disclosed on Thursday that it has expanded an internal investigation into bribery accusations in Mexico to Brazil, China and India.

The company acknowledged the expanded inquiry in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that accompanied its third-quarter financial results, which showed lower sales than analysts had expected.

Wal-Mart had previously reported that the audit committee of its board was examining possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in Mexico.

“Inquiries or investigations regarding allegations of potential F.C.P.A. violations have been commenced in a number of foreign markets where we operate, including but not limited to Brazil, China and India,” the company said in its regulatory filing.
At least they weren't thinking small.

Haley Barbour has a definite kink

How else do you explain his latest call to the Republican Party faithful?
Echoing calls for a thorough examination of what went wrong in Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) told an audience on Wednesday that he believes the Republican Party’s “political organizational activity” needs to undergo “a very serious proctology exam.”

“The ground game is really important, and we have to be, I mean we’ve got to give our political organizational activity a very serious… [pause] proctology exam,” he said during a Las Vegas conference of the Republican Governor’s Association, according to CNN.
I guess when you are dealing with the world's largest collection of assholes that is the only way to go.

Was Mitt running for Prez to keep his ass out of jail?

Or that of his son? Politicus looks at some potentially incriminating actions that would let one draw the conclusion that Mitt Wanted a friendly Attorney General.
It is absolutely true that Romney was looking forward to cutting his own tax liability to zero, privatizing the federal government, handing the Social Security Trust to Wall Street, and waging perpetual war, but with a plethora of investigations and allegations of corruption into his finances on the horizon, appointing a friendly Attorney General was certainly a primary reason for seeking the presidency. To date, Romney’s legal troubles include fallacious FEC and SEC disclosures, an investigation into him and his son’s connection to an $8.5 billion Ponzi scheme, and concealing over $15 million from the auto-bailout, and now his surrogate’s malfeasance and perjury in the eToys bankruptcy case.

Exactly ten days ago, this column reported on a Delaware bankruptcy court’s failure to enter an Emergency Motion into the public docket that included Bain Capital and Romney operative’s perjury and corruption in the eToys bankruptcy case. At the time it appeared the judge was protecting Romney and Bain Capital by suppressing the Motion in expectation he would win the election and have the Motion tossed out of court leading to the question; “is Romney’s main impetus for seeking the White House to appoint an Attorney General who will guarantee that all charges against him will go away?” Well now that he lost the election, it appears the allegation had merit because on November 7, the day after his crushing defeat, the Delaware bankruptcy court judge entered the motion into the public docket and scheduled a hearing for December 4, 2012; all on the same day.

It was a victory for the whistleblower and eToys investors, and incriminating for the Delaware court and Willard Romney because although the judge received the Emergency Motion on October 24th, it was withheld from the public docket until after it was clear Romney lost the election and would not be appointing an attorney general to drop the case. According to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 79 says when a motion is received by the court, “The clerk must keep a record known as the civil docket, and must enter each civil action in the docket and assign consecutive file numbers, which must be noted in the docket where the first entry of the action is made.” Instead of putting the Emergency Motion into the public docket immediately when it was received, it was held up until the day after the election and gives the very believable appearance the court was waiting for election results before either acting on the Motion according to the law, or letting it languish until Romney appointed a friendly attorney general.

Assuming Romney would appoint a friend of Bain as attorney general is an entirely realistic assumption because Bain Capital’s corrupt lawyers were let off the hook when George W. Bush appointed another Bain lawyer as Delaware U.S. Attorney who refused to investigate and eventually drop the eToys case instead of prosecuting and forcing Bain to repay investors who were bilked out of their money. Now that there will finally be a hearing, the court will learn (again) that Bain Capital’s lawyers did illicitly obstruct justice and destroy evidence in the eToys case by asking (and receiving) permission to Destroy the Books & Records as well as confess to supplication of more than 14 erroneous affidavits to the Delaware federal court. It is long-overdue justice that may have went uncontested if Romney had won the election and it leads one to believe that the “shell shock” Romney’s campaign reported him experiencing may have more to do with impending judicial due process than just losing the election.
It is hard to imagine him finding a friendlier Attorney General than Eric "Hack" Holder but then some people are never satisfied.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The weather is cool and so is the music tonight.

And Vince Guaraldi was as cool as you could want.

The latest White House petition

Has nothing to do with secession. It's about Grover Norqyuist the Anarchist.
All everyone to punch Grover Norquist in the dick.

Peacefully grant the people of the United States of America to have Grover Norquist be brought forth in chains and put in a public pillory.

Once Grover Norquist has been secured, anyone who wishes will be allowed to punch him once, and only once, square in the dick.
Sign in here.

A picture is worth 1000 words and then some.

Wiley on health insurance.

Justice Dept provides Corps. with How To guide

Because of recent prosecutions, corporate America was worried about what might be considered a bribe overseas, the DOJ has provided a guide to what it considers a prosecutable action.
With billions of dollars in potential fines and foreign investment in the balance, the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday released long-awaited guidance on how prosecutors interpret and enforce a federal anticorruption law that bans American businesses from bribing officials overseas.

The 120-page “resource guide” to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act lays out the government’s understanding of and standard practices for the 1977 law. The statute sat largely dormant for decades, but a recent explosion of enforcement has struck terror into corporate boardrooms, leading to large fees for compliance lawyers and enormous fines and settlements paid to the government.

The detailed guidance — including numerous case studies illustrating what would and would not be considered a violation of the law — is particularly important because cases of foreign corrupt practices rarely get adjudicated. Corporations are generally inclined to settle potential cases without a trial because being indicted can cripple a business.
So if you keep within the guidelines, you can bribe foreigners to your heart's content. And you have no excuse if you go beyond and get busted.

I'm not saying they will spit in your soup

But the idea that the kitchen and serving staff will be working while sick because they can't afford a doctor is not very tasty, is it?

It does read like a bad soap opera

But despite her prediliction for such trashy stories, MoDo does understand what is really wrong with the saga of Petraeus.
The scandal is a good reminder that, although John McCain and Sarah Palin urge total trust and blank checks for the generals, these guys are human beings working under extremely stressful circumstances, and their judgments are not beyond reproach.

Petraeus’s Icarus flight began when he set himself above President Obama.

Accustomed to being a demigod, expert at polishing his own celebrity and swaying public opinion, Petraeus did not accept the new president’s desire to head for the nearest exit ramp on Afghanistan in 2009. The general began lobbying for a surge in private sessions with reporters and undercutting the president, who was trying to make a searingly hard call.

Petraeus rolled the younger commander in chief into going ahead with a bound-to-fail surge in Afghanistan, just as, half-a-century earlier, the C.I.A. had rolled Jack Kennedy into going ahead with the bound-to-fail Bay of Pigs scheme. Both missions defied logic, but the untested presidents put aside their own doubts and instincts, caving to experience.

Once in Afghanistan, Petraeus welcomed prominent conservative hawks from Washington think tanks. As Greg Jaffe wrote in The Washington Post, they were “given permanent office space at his headquarters and access to military aircraft to tour the battlefield. They provided advice to field commanders that sometimes conflicted with orders the commanders were getting from their immediate bosses.”

So many more American kids and Afghanistan civilians were killed and maimed in a war that went on too long. That’s the real scandal.
But no matter how scandalous killing people may be, you can count on the Big Fool to say "Push On" because he is worried about his reputation.

The Grand Mistake

Now that Congress is in a ruptured duck session to try and complete the business they were meant to do over the last two years, the Republican/Teabaggers find themselves in a read-it-and-weep situation. Now that he is dealing from a stronger position, President Obama is not going to give away the bundle of goodies the GOP could have gotten last year.
Last year, Obama was willing to play loophole and tax deductions name games (aka: “tax reform”) with Republicans who signed a pledge not to raise taxes, while keeping the Bush tax cuts in place. Not so much this time around. The Bush tax cuts on the rich must go and Obama will not allow Republicans to hide letting them expire in fancy loophole language about “tax reform.”

The President is going to hold on till he gets tax increases on the wealthiest Americans, promising that the Bush tax cuts on the richest 2% will expire. The White House called this “non-negotiable” yesterday. The President has said over and over again that tax cuts for the middle class are something everyone agrees on, so there’s no reason for them to be linked to tax cuts for the rich. In other words, Republicans need to stop holding tax cuts for the middle class hostage in order to protect the über rich.

“This is a confidential document, last offer the president — the White House made last year to Speaker Boehner to try to reach this $4 trillion grand bargain. And it’s long and it’s tedious and it’s got budget jargon in it. But what it shows is a willingness to cut all kinds of things, like TRICARE, which is the sacred health insurance program for the military, for military retirees; to cut Social Security; to cut Medicare. And there are some lines in there about, “We want to get tax rates down, not only for individuals but for businesses.” So Obama and the White House were willing to go quite far.”
So we did get one benefit from Republican/Teabagger greed. Pity we couldn't have used it before the election.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

We now return to our irregular regular weekly feature

Yes, Tuesday is once again Bluesday, at least this week. And this week we have the lovely Sue Foley and her Assistant Guitar Player Peter Karp with the soon to be classic "Treat Me Right".

Poll finds reason for Republican/Teabagger loss

From Bloomberg:
A majority of Americans expect the U.S. to go over the fiscal cliff at the beginning of 2013 and would blame Republicans if that happens, according to a poll published today.

The survey by the Pew Research Center and the Washington Post found 51 percent of those polled said they don’t think President Barack Obama and Congress will be able to agree on a package of tax increases and spending cuts to replace the automatic reductions in government spending and the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts scheduled for Jan. 1. Thirty-eight percent said they expected Obama and Congress to cut a deal.

If lawmakers fail to reach a deal, 53 percent said Republicans in Congress will bear responsibility, compared with 29 percent who said Obama will be at fault and 10 percent who chose both sides.
The majority of Americans know where the problem lies.

R.I.P. Frank Peppiatt

You created so many laughs out of pure cornpone.

And today in Shitholeistan

One leader of the Afghans
has decided that with the withdrawal of the NATO forces, he had better be ready because he knows full well he can't rely on the NATO trained Afghan Army and Police.
One of the most powerful mujahedeen commanders in Afghanistan, Ismail Khan, is calling on his followers to reorganize and defend the country against the Taliban as Western militaries withdraw, in a public demonstration of faltering confidence in the national government and the Western-built Afghan National Army.

Mr. Khan is one of the strongest of a group of warlords who defined the country’s recent history in battling the Soviets, the Taliban and one another, and who then were brought into President Hamid Karzai’s cabinet as a symbol of unity. Now, in announcing that he is remobilizing his forces, Mr. Khan has rankled Afghan officials and stoked fears that other regional and factional leaders will follow suit and rearm, weakening support for the government and increasing the likelihood of civil war.

This month, Mr. Khan rallied thousands of his supporters in the desert outside Herat, the cultured western provincial capital and the center of his power base, urging them to coordinate and reactivate their networks. And he has begun enlisting new recruits and organizing district command structures.

“We are responsible for maintaining security in our country and not letting Afghanistan be destroyed again,” Mr. Khan, the minister of energy and water, said at a news conference over the weekend at his office in Kabul. But after facing criticism, he took care not to frame his action as defying the government: “There are parts of the country where the government forces cannot operate, and in such areas the locals should step forward, take arms and defend the country.”
This is a very clear call to Karzai of the Afghans to pack his pazzuzahs in a trunk and take the next flight out.

Governor Bluster of Texas backs down on "secesh"

When he thought no one would pay attention, Texas Gov. Goodhair was all for the separation of country and state. But now that at least 62,000 have signed a petition calling once again for secession he is back pedaling with all his might.
While that response is percolating, Gov. Perry, for some reason, decided to fill the void. Reached by The Dallas Morning News, his office released the following statement on Sunday evening:

Gov. Perry believes in the greatness of our Union and nothing should be done to change it. But he also shares the frustrations many Americans have with our federal government. Now more than ever our country needs strong leadership from states like Texas, that are making tough decisions to live within their means, keep taxes low and provide opportunities to job creators so their citizens can provide for their families and prosper. We cannot allow Washington’s tax and spend, one-size-fits-all mindset to jeopardize our children’s future, undermine our personal liberties and drive our nation down a dangerous path to greater dependence of government.

That will be a big disappointment to anyone who cheered Perry in 2009 after he spoke of secession by implication, saying: “If Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we’re a pretty independent lot to boot.”

It will also be a letdown to even some in Perry’s own party, like the treasurer of the Hardin County Republican Party, who wrote in the party’s newsletter than “the maggots” will soon eat “every morsel of flesh off of the rotting corpse of the Republic, and therein lies our opportunity [to secede].”
I guess the thought losing all that good federal money along with the picture of Jeff Davis after he lost changed his mind.

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