Thursday, January 31, 2013

They have a country music festival Down Under

In a place called Tamworth. This year they showcased the usual Aussie country music singers and this 14 yr old yodeling cowgirl Taylor Pfeiffer.

A Public Service Announcement

To keep us all apprised of the latest in government safety for our own good legislation. Courtesy of Tom the Dancing Bug.

R.I.P. Patty Andrews

The last of the Andrews Sisters and the one that liked Lou Costello best.

There they go again

In a move designed to fool everybody into thinking they are actually doing their jobs the Dept. Of Justice is moving to block the merger of Anheuser-Busch InBev and Grupo Modelo of Mexico, thereby denying Americans their right to weak watered down beers imported and domestic.
The Justice Department sued on Thursday to block Anheuser-Busch InBev’s proposed $20.1 billion deal to buy control of Grupo Modelo of Mexico, arguing that the merger would significantly reduce competition in the American beer market.

The deal, announced last summer, would add Corona Extra to the company’s formidable stable of brands, including Budweiser and Stella Artois.

But the Justice Department said in its lawsuit, filed in Federal District Court in Washington, that allowing the merger to proceed would reduce competition in the beer industry across the country as a whole and in 26 metropolitan areas in particular. The combined company would control about 46 percent of annual sales in the country, the government said, far outpacing Anheuser-Busch InBev’s closest competitor, MillerCoors.

“If ABI fully owned and controlled Modelo, ABI would be able to increase beer prices to American consumers,” William J. Baer, head of the Justice Department’s antitrust division, said in a statement. “This lawsuit seeks to prevent ABI from eliminating Modelo as an important competitive force in the beer industry.”
The DoJ knows two things. The first is that the purpose of the merger is to reduce competition and increase prices. The second is putting up a good show before giving into what Big Beer wants will fool most Americans and double their available weak watered down beer sources. Open up another one while you can afford it and maybe enjoy it.

Republican/Teabagger exceptionalism

Most people are clever enough to realize that a failed idea will probably fail for you as well. The Republican/Teabaggers in Congress are not that clever. Perhaps they are blinded by their furious response to a black man in the White House or maybe they are simply, mindlessly committed to failed ideas. Whichever, they are leading the charge for austerity with Custer like zeal.
There are times when taking a new, untested approach to solve a problem after exhausting all other options is a brilliant idea and often a method of last resort. Obviously, no sane person would deliberately pursue a course of action that experts doomed to failure, and especially if there were living examples of a particular agenda’s failure. After Republican economic policies created a world-wide recession, many European nations imposed harsh austerity measures that have proven to be abject failures, leading Republicans to champion austerity as if results would be different because America is exceptional. If nothing else, one can say with confidence that when Republicans find an economic policy that fails, they are duty-bound to repeat it regardless the consequences.

The latest fourth quarter report on GDP growth revealed precisely what economic experts not working for the Heritage Foundation have predicted for four years; reduced government spending during an economic recovery retards growth. Although the news was not entirely bad, the Republican’s drive to enact harsh austerity measures predictably produced the same results England has experienced as their gross domestic product fell 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012. The data released yesterday showed that the U.S. economy shrank in the fourth quarter of 2012 also, and the 0.1 percent contraction is entirely attributable to cuts in government spending; precisely as economists have warned for nearly four years. Britain’s conservative government was criticized by the International Monetary Fund for their steadfast, and errant, belief that austerity is the key to economic success despite its failure that now threatens their credit rating. Still, they persist defending austerity in spite of a looming triple-dip recession Republicans are wont to repeat for America in their spending cut frenzy.

America’s private sector is doing just fine, and the good news is that personal expenditures, non-residential investment, and business investment were all up, but Republicans promise to decimate GDP growth by enacting sequestration cuts experts warn will reduce GDP growth by 0.7 percent in 2013 and destroy as many as one million jobs. The Republican’s budget guru, Paul Ryan, decried the sequester cuts and negative impact on jobs during his failed bid for the vice-presidency, and said, ”Now there’s one thing we’re going to have to deal with to make sure we protect jobs around America, and that is these devastating sequestration cuts.” This week, Ryan said “I think the sequester is going to happen-we can’t lose those spending cuts” because “Democrats rejected the GOP’s replacement legislation” that cut the food-stamp program, slashed Medicaid, defunded the Affordable Care Act, and disaster relief, and failed to produce their own Draconian cuts. However, Ryan is lying.
We are still two recessions behind England, but that is not for want of effort by the Republican/Teabaggers. And the only way out is to eliminate the Republican/Teabaggers.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

If this doesn't get your feet moving

You are either a Republican or dead.

Is it really such a crazy idea?

From the pen of Ben Sargent.

Another GOP wish comes true

But with the usual Republican/Teabagger skillz it has come too late to affect the outcome of the election.
The United States economy unexpectedly reversed course in the final quarter of 2012 and contracted at a 0.1 percent rate, the Commerce Department said Wednesday, its worst performance since the aftermath of the financial crisis in 2009.

The drop in gross domestic product was driven by a plunge in military spending, as well as fewer exports and a steep slowdown in the buildup of inventories by businesses. Anxieties about the fiscal impasse in Washington also contributed to the slowdown, one reason stockpiles grew more slowly.

Despite the overall contraction, there was underlying data in the report suggesting the economy is not on the brink of a recession or an extended slump. Residential investment jumped 15.3 percent, a sign that the housing sector continues to recover, for one. Similarly, investment in equipment and software by businesses rose 12.4 percent, an indicator that companies are still spending. Although economists expected output to decline substantially from the 3.1 percent annual growth rate recorded in the third quarter, the negative number still caught Wall Street off-guard. It was the weakest economic report since the second quarter of 2009.
Given the uncertainty the Republican/Teabaggers have been creating about the economy this is not surprising. If only it can be remembered in 2014.

Gomer Pyle gets married

For real. From The Raw Story:
Jim Nabors, the 84-year-old actor who played the character Gomer Pyle on “The Andy Griffith Show” and on his own “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.” show, married his male partner, Stan Cadwallader, 64, in a ceremony in Seattle, Washington.

According to the Associated Press, the two men traveled from their home in Honolulu, Hawaii and were married on January 15 after 38 years of partnership. Same sex marriage became legal in the state of Washington on December 6, 2012.
Our best wishes to the happy couple.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

So, you see, Steve Stills wrote and performed this song

He called it "Tree Top Flyer". RemoVegas made a video with the song and a lot of great pics of P-51's. I like both so enjoy tonights musical selection.

Well, he is from Kenya, you know.

From the pen of Nick Anderson

But the extra money won't go to R & D.

Because they are just not making huge enough profits, biotech Pharma companies are working at state levels to tilt the playing field into their wallets. They already charge as much as they want for patented medicines, now they want to cock block generics using state laws.
In statehouses around the country, some of the nation’s biggest biotechnology companies are lobbying intensively to limit generic competition to their blockbuster drugs, potentially cutting into the billions of dollars in savings on drug costs contemplated in the federal health care overhaul law.

The complex drugs, made in living cells instead of chemical factories, account for roughly one-quarter of the nation’s $320 billion in spending on drugs, according to IMS Health. And that percentage is growing. They include some of the world’s best-selling drugs, like the rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis drugs Humira and Enbrel and the cancer treatments Herceptin, Avastin and Rituxan. The drugs now cost patients — or their insurers — tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

Two companies, Amgen and Genentech, are proposing bills that would restrict the ability of pharmacists to substitute generic versions of biological drugs for brand name products.

Bills have been introduced in at least eight states since the new legislative sessions began this month. Others are pending.

The Virginia House of Delegates already passed one such bill last week, by a 91-to-6 vote.
Not hard to see Virginia in the forefront of screwing its own citizens for corporate profit. Is your state lining up to do the same?

Just exercising his 2nd Amendment rights

And another person dies. From The Raw Story:
A 69-year-old war veteran and former missionary was arrested over the weekend on the suspicion of killing a 22-year-old Cuban immigrant who mistakenly arrived in his driveway because of faulty GPS directions.

Gwinnett County jail records obtained by The Atlanta Journal Constitution indicated that Phillip Walker Sailors was charged on Sunday with the murder of Rodrigo Abad Diaz.

Friends who were in the car with Diaz told WSB-TV that they were trying to pick up a friend on the way to ice skating on Saturday but their GPS directed them to the wrong address. The friends said that they waited in the driveway for a few minutes before Sailors emerged from the house and fired a gun into the air.

Gandy Cardenas, who was in the car, recalled to WAGA that the homeowner made no effort to speak to the group before opening fire.

“He didn’t talk to them, he just started shooting,” Cardenas explained. “The first shot was in the air.”

At that point, Diaz tried to turn the car around to leave, but Sailors fired another shot, striking the immigrant on the left side of the head. The group, which included a 15 and an 18 year old, said that Sailors held them at gunpoint until police arrived.
Overboard, even for Georgia.

First on the Federal level

And now on the state level we have the Republican/Teabaggers shifting the tax burden from the shoulders of those who can afford it to the backs of those who can not.
The new front in the Republicans class war is just getting underway as Louisiana, Virginia, and Kansas governors are proposing new tax schemes that raise taxes on the poor to fund tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. The idea of making the wealthy richer at the expense of the poor is not new, but instead of just cutting services and giving the savings to the rich as tax cuts, Republicans are following an ALEC-inspired tactic of “broadening the tax base” that is code for taxing the poor to pay the wealthy and corporations. Throughout the past year, Congressional Republicans Mitch McConnell and Eric Cantor suggested taxing those Americans struggling for basic survival and reducing rates for the wealthy, but they had little chance of success in a Democratic Senate or surviving President Obama’s veto pen. However, states with Republican governors and legislatures do not have constraints on their Draconian measures and are moving forward with ALEC’s plan to give the rich and corporations relief from what they label burdensome tax liabilities.

Jindal’s tax scheme typifies the ALEC model of broadening the tax base by totally eliminating income tax that corporations and the rich oppose, while increasing sales tax that inordinately affects the poor. It is a simple scam that, on first blush, seems innocuous and fair for all, but like anything ALEC proposes, it is for the express purpose of providing entitlements for the wealthiest Americans. It is still class war, but with a slightly different means to a predictable Republican end; more income inequality, more poverty, and more wealth for Republicans’ favorite benefactors, the rich and corporations.

According to an analysis by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, Jindal’s plan increases taxes on the bottom 80 percent of Louisianans, while cutting them for the richest 1 percent by repealing personal and corporate income taxes and replacing them with a higher sales tax. In Jindal’s plan, the poorest 20 percent of taxpayers, those with poverty level income of $12,000 annually, would see an average tax increase of 3.4 percent of their income, and the top 1 percent with an average income of well over $1 million would get an average tax cut of 2.3 percent of their income. Increasing the sales tax disproportionately affects poverty level Americans because the lion’s share of their meager income is spent on basic living expenses as opposed to the rich whose enormous wealth makes the share of taxable expenditures incredibly lower. Jindal is not the only ALEC devotee implementing higher sales taxes that hurt the poor as Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell is taking a similar approach to burden the poor.
And this is not the first assault upon the afflicted at the state level. When federal funding diminished because of tax cuts and breaks for the wealthy, taxes and fees at the state level had already been raised, though not so that it hurt the wealthy. Things keep going this way we should be positively feudal in about 20 years.

Monday, January 28, 2013

For My Republican Brethren & Sistren

Now that you mention it, here is a look at what you are missing, completely.

Another NRA apologist

Brought to you, as only he can, by Tom Tomorrow

An American adaptation

Of a classic European gesture of "respect" for those who think otherwise. From the pen of Tony Auth.

3 cheers for our new Imperial outpost

We can't fund our national needs at any level to the extent needed but when we need a new drone base, no sweat.
The United States military command in Africa is preparing plans to establish a drone base in northwest Africa to increase unarmed surveillance missions on the local affiliate of Al Qaeda and other Islamist extremist groups that American and other Western officials say pose a growing menace to the region.

For now, officials say they envision flying only unarmed surveillance drones from the base, though they have not ruled out conducting missile strikes at some point if the threat worsens.

If the base is approved, the most likely location for it would be in Niger, a largely desert nation on the eastern border of Mali, where French and Malian troops are now battling Qaeda-backed fighters who control the northern part of that country. The American military’s Africa Command is also discussing options for the base with other countries in the region, including Burkina Faso, officials said.
If we know what they are doing, we can start our next war more to our liking.

Krugman rips some new assholes on Morning Joe

It's about 20 minutes long but Krugman handles the 2 shitheads, the Joe Faced Oaf and Mika like Inigo Montoya with a pack of castle guards.

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

And in his column today, he puts his brand on Bobby "Death Panel" Jindal.

What is ahead for Shitholeistan?

Predicting the future is a mug's game
. Still one can always follow developing trends and draw them out. With the upcoming withdrawal of US and NATO forces from Afghanistan lots of people are doing just that, many because their future depends on it. Broadly speaking there lies ahead one certainty and three possibilities.
Only one thing is certain in 2014: it will be a year of American military defeat. For more than a decade, U.S. forces have fought many types of wars in Afghanistan, from a low-footprint invasion, to multiple surges, to a flirtation with Vietnam-style counterinsurgency, to a ramped-up, gloves-off air war. And yet, despite all the experiments in styles of war-making, the American military and its coalition partners have ended up in the same place: stalemate, which in a battle with guerrillas means defeat. For years, a modest-sized, generally unpopular, ragtag set of insurgents has fought the planet’s most heavily armed, technologically advanced military to a standstill, leaving the country shaken and its citizens anxiously imagining the outcome of unpalatable scenarios.
Helluva war Georgie got us into. Following this, the three possibilities for the Afghans are compromise, conflict and collapse. Of the three, the first, compromise is one that hasn't been seen there in a long time which leaves the other two, likely working together as the most likely. And so, once again, only the weaponry of Afghanistan emerges from the Dark Ages. Everything else remains the same.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

It's been a long week

So to help you slide out of the weekend, here is some Brahms 3rd Symphony, 3rd Movement Poco Allegretto

Official approval usually follow after reality.

From the pen of Stuart Carlson.

We know Gen. Jerry Boykin is afraid of Muslims

And speaking today on Fux Nooz he revealed that he is also afraid of women.
An anti-Muslim retired lieutenant general says that he would not want to serve in a combat role with women because “personal hygiene and the other normal functions” are already “degrading and humiliating enough” without having the opposite gender on the battlefield.

During a Sunday interview on Fox News, host Chris Wallace asked retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin why he disagreed with the Pentagon’s decision to remove the ban on women in combat.

“You need to frame this thing correctly,” Boykin explained. “It’s not an issue of women in combat. Women are in combat already and have been in combat since 9/11, and in fact, prior to that.”

“My issue here is mixing the genders in infantry units, armor units and special forces units is not a positive, there are many distractors there, which puts burden on the small-unit combat leaders and actually creates an environment — because of their living conditions — that is not conducive to readiness.”
Jerry was a junior birdman, those guys who killed from the sky and slept in clean sheets every night. From these remarks and previous one, it is obvious that one day, like Icarus. he flew to close to the Sun and his brain melted.

The NRA has always taught children how to shoot.

Back in the old days it involved the use of .22 bolt action rifles with an eye toward safety. Nowadays the NRA works hard to stir up dreams of "a Bushmaster AR-15 under your tree some frosty Christmas morning!"
The industry’s strategies include giving firearms, ammunition and cash to youth groups; weakening state restrictions on hunting by young children; marketing an affordable military-style rifle for “junior shooters” and sponsoring semiautomatic-handgun competitions for youths; and developing a target-shooting video game that promotes brand-name weapons, with links to the Web sites of their makers.

The pages of Junior Shooters, an industry-supported magazine that seeks to get children involved in the recreational use of firearms, once featured a smiling 15-year-old girl clutching a semiautomatic rifle. At the end of an accompanying article that extolled target shooting with a Bushmaster AR-15 — an advertisement elsewhere in the magazine directed readers to a coupon for buying one — the author encouraged youngsters to share the article with a parent.

“Who knows?” it said. “Maybe you’ll find a Bushmaster AR-15 under your tree some frosty Christmas morning!”

The industry’s youth-marketing effort is backed by extensive social research and is carried out by an array of nonprofit groups financed by the gun industry, an examination by The New York Times found. The campaign picked up steam about five years ago with the completion of a major study that urged a stronger emphasis on the “recruitment and retention” of new hunters and target shooters.
How can they buy guns if they don't know which ones are cool?

Another nightclub fire kills hundreds

This time it was in Brazil
and the death toll so 232 so far.
A fire ignited by a flare from a live band’s pyrotechnic spectacle swept through a nightclub filled with hundreds of university students early Sunday morning in Santa Maria, a city in southern Brazil, leaving at least 232 people dead, police officials said.

Throughout Sunday morning, health workers hauled bodies from the nightclub, called Kiss, to hospitals in Santa Maria, with some survivors were taken to the nearby city of Porto Alegre to be treated for burns. Valdeci Oliveira, a local legislator, said he saw piles of bodies in the nightclub’s bathrooms after entering the venue with rescue workers.

Col. Guido Pedroso de Melo, the commander of the city’s fire department, said security guards had locked the doors needed to exit the club, intensifying a panicked stampede to flee the blaze. Public security officials in Santa Maria said Sunday that emergency responders had counted at least 232 dead, down from a previous estimate of 245.

Witnesses who survived the fire described a scene of mayhem inside the nightclub as patrons rushed for its main exit.
And once again the exits were locked. Time to start prosecuting owners that lock exits for murder.

The New Great Wall St. Speculation

Land and the associated water. There is no question that water controls the productivity of land and he who controls the water, controls those who farm thew land. Wall St. has been developing multiple approaches to profiting from those basics.
Writing in National Geographic in December 2012 about “small-scale irrigation techniques with simple buckets, affordable pumps, drip lines, and other equipment” that “are enabling farm families to weather dry seasons, raise yields, diversify their crops, and lift themselves out of poverty” water expert Sandra Postel of the Global Water Policy Project cautioned against reckless land and water-related investments in Africa. “[U]nless African governments and foreign interests lend support to these farmer-driven initiatives, rather than undermine them through land and water deals that benefit large-scale, commercial schemes, the best opportunity in decades for societal advancement in the region will be squandered.”

That same month, the online publication Market Oracle reported that “ [t]he new ‘water barons’—the Wall Street banks and elitist multibillionaires—are buying up water all over the world at unprecedented pace.” The report reveals two phenomena that have been gathering speed, and that could potentially lead to profit accumulation at the cost of communities and commons —the expansion of market instruments beyond the water supply and sanitation to other areas of water governance, and the increasingly prominent role of financial institutions.

In several instances this has meant that the government itself has set up public corporations that run like a business, contracting out water supply and sanitation operations to those with expertise, or entering into public–private–partnerships, often with water multinationals. This happened recently in Nagpur and New Delhi, India. In most rural areas, ensuring a clean drinking water supply and sanitation continues to be a challenge. For-profit companies such as Sarvajal have begun setting up pre-paid water kiosks (or water ATMs) that would dispense units of water upon the insertion of a pre-paid card. It is no surprise that these are popular among people who otherwise have no access to clean drinking water.
Providing clean water has always cost money ever since man learned to shit in his water source. Now that cost is going to be doubled and tripled and doubled again as it becomes the cats-paw of speculators and profiteers. They will make the water wars real again.

Onec upon a time, The NRA stood foursquare with Law Enforcement

That was the good old days when the NRA taught gun safety and was a major proponent of responsible ownership. Like so many other things in our country, the NRA's descent into madness began with the Viet Nam war.
For much of its 143-year history, the NRA’s survival depended on a cozy relationship with the government. It relied on state subsidies at its founding and then federal subsidies for marksmanship contests for generations. The U.S. military provided free guns or sold them at cost to NRA members for decades. Thousands of soldiers helped run annual shooting contests. Local police departments turned to the NRA for training.

In the late 1960s, that relationship began to change—and so did the NRA. Democrats in Congress threatened to end a $3 million shooting competition subsidy, asking why it was needed at the height of the Vietnam War. In 1968, Congress increased the regulation of guns sales and dealers in response to that decade’s urban riots and the assassinations of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Sen. Robert Kennedy. By 1977, these perceived slights allowed libertarian hardliners in the NRA to wrest control, ousting old-school sportsmen and claiming that America’s gun owners needed aggressive new defenders.

Today, many people forget how the NRA started calling agents at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, who were charged with enforcing federal gun laws, “Nazis” in the early 1970s and again after the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building by NRA member Timothy McVeigh. They forget that when District of Columbia proposed a ban on handguns, an NRA member on its city council said the ban would help revive the Klu Klux Klan in nearby Maryland and Virginia. They forget that the NRA opposed banning bullets that could pierce police vests, opposed banning guns with plastic parts that were not seen by airport x-ray scanners, and launched vicious PR campaigns aimed not just at members of Congress who supported gun controls but likeminded city police chiefs.
Steve Rosenfeld has a good look at how the NRA turned itself into our current immovable object on the road to sanity, financing itself with unrestrained shilling for and protection of unsretrained gun sales. Let us not forget that Wayne LaPierre and his crew would have approved of arming the entire al-Qaeda and Taliban if an American gun dealer could make the sale.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

They come from the Portland music scene

And are one of those cross genre bands that no one can qualify so they don't play them. Some lazy folk call it Americana but I think we need a better word for "whatever they like"

Time to run a quick survey

Respect the manholes.

At least while crossing the streets of Rio de Janiero. Diss them and they will blow up on you.
Since 2010, manhole explosions here have shattered windows, flattened cars and injured passers-by. An explosion in 2012 killed a worker at Rio’s port. While the rate of explosions has slowed, the city was rattled yet again in December after a manhole erupted behind the Copacabana Palace, the neo-Classical-style gem that is arguably Rio’s most luxurious hotel. A motorcyclist narrowly escaped the recent blast, filming with his cellphone his motorcycle going up in flames.

Such explosions are not unique to Rio. Indeed, engineering experts say few large cities are immune. Gas from any number of sources can collect underground. Electrical cables, often running in the same pipes, can fray with age, producing a spark that can set off an explosion, shooting up fire and flinging hundred-pound cast-iron manhole covers high into the air.

But Moacyr Duarte, a senior researcher on the city’s infrastructure at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, said dozens of explosions here, which often occurred in densely-populated areas, had “clearly gone beyond what it is statistically reasonable,” before recently declining.

The explosions have set Cariocas, as the residents of this traditionally relaxed city are known, on edge, and the blasts point to the broader problem of dilapidated infrastructure even as Rio emerges from a long economic decline.
Nobody pays attention to what is underground until, C.H.U.D.-like. it comes to the surface.

Tom Harkin announces his retirement

He plans to retire after this term. And so goes one of the finest Iowa Progressives.
Senator Tom Harkin, the Iowa Democrat who championed landmark legislation banning discrimination against people with disabilities, said Saturday that he would retire and not seek re-election to a sixth term next year.

The announcement from Mr. Harkin, 73, sets the stage for one of the most competitive Senate races in the country in the 2014 midterm elections. It will be a key contest in the Republican Party’s quest to win control of the chamber from Democrats.

“It’s not easy to walk away, but life is fleeting,” Mr. Harkin said in an interview Saturday. “I’ve had the privilege to be here for 40 years. Too many people hang on to power for too long, and that’s not right.”

In a Washington career that began in 1974 when he was elected to the House, followed a decade later by his elevation to the Senate, he was a forceful voice of populism. He said that his biggest achievement was passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, a bipartisan measure he advocated on behalf of his brother, Frank, who was deaf. He was also a leading proponent of overhauling the nation’s health care system.
Iowa is a state divided between adults like Sen. Harkin and the lunatic children like Rep. Steve "The Dumbest King In Congress" King. Let's hope the adults play this right.

You say you don't like taxes

Well, the easiest way to keep them down is to stop using those public facilities and programs that use tax dollars to function. If their use goes down, less money will be needed. Here is a list of 102 ways to accomplish that. And here are a few you probably thought of yourself.
Do not become a member of the US military, who are paid with tax dollars.
4. Do not ask the National Guard to help you after a disaster.
5. Do not call 911 when you get hurt.
6. Do not call the police to stop intruders in your home.
7. Do not summon the fire department to save your burning home.
8. Do not drive on any paved road, highway, and interstate or drive on any bridge.
9. Do not use public restrooms.
10. Do not send your kids to public schools.
Being old enough to remember when rivers burned and strange things floated in them, this is my favorite. 34. Do not swim in clean rivers.

Friday, January 25, 2013

A great blind blues guitarist

And a Canadian to boot. The late Jeff Healey.

Somebody in Virginia has been reading the tea leaves

And the prime somebody is the current Governor of that pissant Commonwealth, Bob McDonnell.
It looks like the plan to rig Virginia’s Electoral College votes in the GOP’s favor is too radical even for the state’s conservative Republican governor.

Gov. Bob McDonnell opposes the plan, a spokesman told The Atlantic‘s Molly Ball Friday afternoon. “He believes Virginia’s existing system works just fine as it is,” said the unnamed spox.

McDonnell’s opposition ensures that the effort has no chance of success.

The bill, which would allocate Virginia’s electoral votes based on the winner of each congressional district, passed a state Senate subcommittee Wednesday.
He didn't like the Ultrasound Rape Wand Bill but he signed it anyway. Still, if he wants to run for President, this might be the negative that breaks the candidate's back.

...with their nuts in her attache case.

Colbert reviews the Teabagger Benghazi hearings and concludes the Republicans "suck at their jobs".

The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Political Humor & Satire Blog,Video Archive

Always a fat old white guy getting in the way.

From the pen of Stuart Carlson

The Deficit Hawks in decline

Or so says the learned sage, Dr Paul Krugman. He bases his assertion on the decline of presidential interest in the deficit, among others. And certainly, after three years of failure, they should be a disappearing species
At this point, then, it’s clear that the deficit-scold movement was based on bad economic analysis. But that’s not all: there was also clearly a lot of bad faith involved, as the scolds tried to exploit an economic (not fiscal) crisis on behalf of a political agenda that had nothing to do with deficits. And the growing transparency of that agenda is the fourth reason the deficit scolds have lost their clout.

What was it that finally pulled back the curtain here? Was it the way the election campaign revealed Representative Paul Ryan, who received a “fiscal responsibility” award from three leading deficit-scold organizations, as the con man he always was? Was it the decision of David Walker, alleged crusader for sound budgets, to endorse Mitt Romney and his budget-busting tax cuts for the rich? Or was it the brazenness of groups like Fix the Debt — basically corporate C.E.O.’s declaring that you should be forced to delay your retirement while they get to pay lower taxes?

The answer probably is, all of the above. In any case, an era has ended. Prominent deficit scolds can no longer count on being treated as if their wisdom, probity and public-spiritedness were beyond question. But what difference will that make?
Alas, as he point out the deficit dickwads are still in charge of the House from which all fiscal wisdom should flow. But don't count on it with those bozos running things.

Just after backing down from a very stupid move

As Governor of Louisiana, Bobbie "Death Panel" Jindal has made a speech to fellow Republican/Teabaggers telling them not to do what he has done.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) told a group of Republican leaders on Thursday that the GOP’s brand had been hurt by candidates saying “offensive and bizarre comments” and it was time to “stop being the stupid party.”

In his keynote address at the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting in North Carolina, Jindal insisted that Republicans did not need to change their values, but they “might need to change just about everything else we are doing.”

“We’ve got to stop being the stupid party,” the Louisiana governor explained. “It’s time for a new Republican Party that talks like adults. It’s time for us to articulate our plans and our visions for America in real terms.”
The adult part is going to be hard because none of their voters are going to like it. If they had wanted adults in power they would have voted for them.

While Oily Titz is trying to arrest President Obama in CT

She is running into a spot of legal trouble in a California court. It seems that everybody's favorite lawyer/dentist/real estate agent/used car salesman/birther/Senate Candidate has a different idea of what “pending ethical, disciplinary, or related matters.” means than the court in question.
While Orly Taitz is trying to get President Obama arrested in Connecticut, a California federal judge in Orange County’s Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse ordered her to show cause for why the failed Senate candidate should not be sanctioned for lying to the court. The court thinks Taitz may have failed to report any “pending ethical, disciplinary, or related matters.”

Taitz wasn’t quite up front about pending issues, claiming that she only faced a minor discovery sanction. But it turns out that “Taitz is being sued for allegedly making a series of false, defamatory statements about private individuals as well as for planting invasive spy software on the computers of visitors to her various websites.”

So, U.S. District Court Judge Andrew J. Guilford ordered:

On October 22, 2012, the Court ordered the parties to “inform the Court immediately of any actions taken on pending ethical, disciplinary, or related matters.” On January 14, 2013, the Court was alerted to a possible unreported sanction against Orly Taitz. Taitz said in Court that the sanction was for discovery. The parties have since subjected the Court to a flurry of papers, which the Court dismisses as irrelevant except for the sole issue now of whether Taitz lied to the Court when she said the sanction was for discovery. Some evidence has been presented to the Court that the sanction involved far more than discovery.

The Court therefore now ORDERS Taitz to show cause in writing why she should not be sanctioned for lying to this Court. Taitz, and any other party, may file by February 4, 2013, papers on this order to show cause not exceeding 10 pages each in total. Particularly helpful would be documentary proof of the nature of and reasons for the subject sanction previously ordered against Taitz.

Taitz has to respond by February 4th and she must provide proof of her innocence.
Dr. Titz is like herpes, you just can't get rid of her.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

They haven't been discovered by Paul Krugman yet

But that isn't because the Trishas haven't the talent. It's just you know how those Princeton people are.

First the Senate, then the House

We hope that Secretary Clinton's trials are over.

Harry Sells Out On Filibuster

As has been rumored for the last week or so, Harry Reid rolled over and got his belly scratched by that nice Mr. McConnell and then proceeded to let him keep his filibuster. Maybe we can all chip in and get Harry something from this useful vendor. I imagine Chihuahua size would not be too expensive.

Nominating a pair of prosecutors

It may look like it signals a newer tougher stance
for Wall St with the nomination of Mary Jo White, a former US Attorney and renominating Richard Cordray as head of the CFPC.
President Obama is tapping Mary Jo White, a former United States attorney turned white-collar defense lawyer, to be the next chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to the White House.

Mr. Obama is set to announce the nomination at the White House on Thursday afternoon. As part of the event, the White House will also renominate Richard Cordray to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a role he has held for the last year under a recess appointment.

In its choice of Ms. White and Mr. Cordray, the White House is sending a signal about the importance of holding Wall Street accountable for wrongdoing. Both picks are former prosecutors.

Regulatory chiefs are often market experts or academics. But Ms. White spent nearly a decade as United States attorney in New York, the first woman named to this post. Among her prominent cases, she oversaw the prosecution of the mafia boss John Gotti as well as the people responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. She is now working the other side, defending Wall Street firms and executives as a partner at Debevoise & Plimpton.

As the attorney general of Ohio, Mr. Cordray made a name for himself suing Wall Street companies in the wake of the financial crisis. He undertook a series of prominent lawsuits against big names in the finance world, including Bank of America and the American International Group.
It may look that way but now that Harry Reid has rolled over and gotten his belly scratched by Mitch McConnell, the lack of real filibuster reform means that they probably will not happen.

‘There’s only one Dick I’ll be eating’

Those folks down under have a different viewpoint from the rest of the world and this ad shows it. Sadly TPTB down there tend to think like our own Cementheads.

Matt Taibbi says the Radical Reactionaries had a very bad week

Matt is nice enough to call them Conservatives, but these whackdoodles have gone far beyond the horizon of Conservatism. And it is that journey that led to their very bad week, worst ever, so far. The week begins with the Three Stooges scripted Gun Appreciation Day as seen at several gun shows.
Let's review the basic timeline. First, Political Media, a conservative action group, decided to try to make an appeal to win the hearts and minds of Americans everywhere by declaring January 19th – previously known as Martin Luther King Day, to the rest of us – to be "Gun Appreciation Day."

They solicited hundreds of sponsors and sought to get 50 million people to sign a goofball petition (written in the style of the Declaration of Independence, with a plethora of "Whereas…"-es... Why do gun people insist on trying to use 18th-century syntax?) against the "tyrannical governments" that were out to take their guns. "Gun Appreciation Day" would also involve gun shows and other local events all over the country, meant as a counter-balance to the candle-toting gun control protests that were springing up over last weekend in anticipation of Obama's inauguration and the rumored plans for new gun legislation.

But even before their excellent idea gets out of the gate, it stalls out, as obnoxious reporters check the list of "Gun Appreciation Day" sponsors and find that the "American Third Position," a group that purports to represent the "unique political interests of White Americans," is one of the event's sponsors.

So now, Political Media has not only decided to hold its Gun Appreciation Event on a holiday meant to celebrate the life of a black leader who was a symbol of nonviolent protest and who was killed by a white man with a gun, it's done so with the financial help of some yahoo white supremacist group. But this doesn't derail the whole thing, as it's of course just an innocent mistake. Political Media kicks "Third Position" out and appropriately issues a statement, saying, "We have removed the group and reiterate this event is not about racial politics, it is about gun politics."

So far, so good, right? Well, then they go and actually hold their "Gun Appreciation Day" rallies all over the country, on Martin Luther King Day. And what happens? Five people get accidentally shot!
And it goes down hill from there, as Matt so wonderfully writes. Read for fun ad edification.

The New Untouchables

The original group was so named for being incorruptable. The new group, made up of Wall St Banksters, gets their name from spreading their corruption deep within those who should stop it. Frontline has made a must see program on this new 'power center'.

Watch The Untouchables on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A prolific songwriter and long time musician

Most people only remember him from the 70's & 80's. And most times I don't remember him at all.

Bobby Jindal has found a Death Panel

And hey, whaddaya know, it's right there in the Governors Office.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's latest budget cuts will diminish funding for women's shelters and hospices throughout the state, shrinking the number of beds in the already struggling St. Landry-Evangeline Sexual Assault Center...

Jindal announced the cuts recently, saying the state was moving away from costly residential care for domestic violence victims in favor of short-term hotel stays and family care. The cuts were made to help close a $166 million midyear budget deficit and a Among them was a 16 percent drop in the amount spent on contracts the state holds with shelters and other domestic violence programs...

"Any further reduction would very much harm the ability for us to provide these services," Lacombe said. "And Louisiana ranks at the top of the nation every year in the number of women who are murdered by their domestic partners. And that's with the current services, so without these services, those numbers will surely rise."
Jindal is making his play for Republican/Teabagger leadership but he might as well give up any hope of running for president.

Hardest substance known to man

The stuff between a reactionary's ears. As illustrated by this exchange with Shannyn Moore.

Teabagger shithead may have a good idea.

Freshman Teabagger Ted Bozo Yoho from Florida has put forth the proposition that the interpretation of the 2nd Amendment should be updated to include all current military weapons.
The freshman GOPer said he’d spoken with a number of constituents recently and approvingly relayed their sentiment: “when you read the Second Amendment,” Yoho said, “the militia had the same equipment as the military to protect them against the tyrannical government.” Preserving those protections, he argued, is “more important today than ever”:
So lets let everybody have access to military weapons, under current military rules of access. Stuff like keeping all weapons in the armory until signed out to you for training or combat. You are responsible for that weapon while it is signed out to you. And when your assignment is done you return the firearm to the armory for safekeeping. Of course when you reach retirement from the military, you must return all weapons and lose access to them.

Bozo Yoho might have a good idea here/ Quite unusual for a shithead Teabagger. Until this happens, Bozo's constituents will just have to join the military if they want to fondle military weapons.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Now that science is ready to clone a Neanderthal

This would be a fun time to ressurerect the original mean motorscooter and bad go-getter.

The employment picture will improve for some

From the pen of Tom Toles

From your watch to your TV

And now to lighting your entire house, LEDs have come a long way. The science is in place, it only awaits the market price.
The lighting industry has finally come up with an energy-efficient replacement for the standard incandescent bulb that people actually seem to like: the LED bulb.

Although priced at around 20 times more than the old-fashioned incandescents, bulbs based on LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, last much longer and use far less electricity, a saving that homeowners are beginning to recognize. Prices for the bulbs are falling steadily as retailers like Home Depot and Lowe’s sell them aggressively and manufacturers improve the technology.

And because the light in LED bulbs comes from chips, companies have been able to develop software applications that let users control the bulbs, even change the color of the light, with tablets and smartphones. Apple sells a three-pack of such bulbs, made by Philips, with the hardware to operate them for about $200.

“You’re seeing all of your growth in the LED category,” said Brad Paulsen, a Home Depot merchant. “We absolutely expect LED technology in four or five years to be the most popular lighting technology that’s out there.”

Last year, LED sales, though small at about 3 percent of the residential market by some estimates, grew faster than those of any other lighting technology, according to retailers and analysts.
As the price comes down their use will increase. And it is their contribution to nationwide energy savings that will show their true value.

Private equity trying to save their golden rice bowl.

For a long time, private equity partners have taken huge chunks of the profits earned with other people's money and pretended it their own capital at risk and deserving of the capital gains rate. The result was a sheltering of their earned income from real tax rates, instead being liable for a Romney like 15%. With the likelihood that this will change they are desperately seeking ways to diminish the hit they deserve.
Officially, the private equity industry remains opposed to change. Its lobbying group, the Private Equity Growth Capital Council, began an extensive public relations campaign last year to improve the industry’s image during the presidential race, in which the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, was criticized for his actions as chief executive of the private equity firm Bain Capital...

But even as the industry continues to press its case, many of its members acknowledge that the carried interest break is coming to an end. “At some point it’s inevitable, so they will deal with it,” said Bradley Morrow, a senior private markets consultant at Towers Watson. If the proposal does re-emerge, the industry is expected to focus its lobbying on softening transition rules.

One issue will be the amount of carried interest reclassified as ordinary income. Mr. Levin’s 2012 bill would convert 100 percent of carried interest. By contrast, an earlier version of the bill proposed capping the affected income at 50 percent to 75 percent.

The industry is also likely to focus on how quickly any changes would go into effect. Lobbyists will probably push for a longer delay, even if it means little or no cap, said Micah W. Bloomfield, a tax lawyer with Stroock & Stroock & Lavan. That would give partners more time to pocket capital gains or restructure funds before the rate increase took effect.

Another point of contention will be the treatment of profits that partners earn when they sell stakes in their firms, a sum known as enterprise value. Currently, profits attributable to enterprise value are treated as capital gains. In earlier bills, they would have been reclassified as ordinary income.
The fruits of their labor should be classified as earned income and the sooner the better. They have had plenty of time to squirrel away their $Billions, now is the time to pay the piper.

Gun control has many meanings

As this post from the Raw Story shows us, they can be life changing in unexpected ways.
A security guard is hospitalized in the city of San Fernando in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago after accidentally discharging his weapon and shooting off his penis. According to the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian, the unnamed 33-year-old man was carrying a .38 caliber handgun in his pocket when it went off, striking him in the groin.

Police in the town of Rio Claro received a call around 8:00 a.m. on Sunday that witnesses had heard a shot coming from a parked car. Officers responding to the scene found the driver slumped at the wheel and bleeding from the injured area...

Unfortunately, these types of accidents are not uncommon. The Digital Journal listed reports of accidental gunshot wounds to the penis and testicles in Arizona and Washington state, as well as an incident from September in Port Lucie, Florida in which a man cleaning a newly purchased gun at a party shot himself in the genitals.
Carrying a gun that was cocked ended with his being decocked.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Nice and clean in suits and fancy dress

But the song they sing is still the same one Dylan wrote and so is the message.

Sometimes the reality overwhelms everything else

As in the latest comic from Tom Tomorrow in which the reality of panels totally swamps any level of satire he may have hoped for.

Don't Blow It, Harry!

Tweet, e-mail & fax Harry and the other waivers to support Merkley-Udall filibuster reform.

For those who wonder how today happened

From the pen of Nick Anderson.

Why is this guy still around

Once again Rick Santorum has shown the world why he had post coital ass drool named after him.
World Net Daily columnist and former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum on Sunday insisted that Americans were entitled to armor-piercing bullets because they are “a right in our country.”

The Pennsylvania Republican told an ABC News panel that conservatives “should stick to our guns” and oppose President Barack Obama’s efforts to curb gun violence in the wake of the slaughter of 20 children in Newtown, Connecticut.

“Having a gun and gun ownership is part of how people can feel safer,” Santorum explained.
In his defense, it might take an armor piercing bullet to get a single decent humanitarian idea into his head.

This should be fun.

Professor George Church
is probably quite normal at faculty cocktail parties, but it appears that he is hiding a streak of "mad scientist" in him.
Professor George Church not only believes that he can clone a Neanderthal, but that a extremely adventurous female human” would be able to give birth to one.

According to The Daily Mail, Church, a geneticist and professor of synthetic biology at Harvard University, said he can use fossil samples to recreate the DNA structure of Neanderthals. He said he would then place the DNA inside stem cells, which would in turn be injected into cells from a human embryo for placement inside a human womb.

“Now I need an adventurous female human,” Church said. “It depends on a hell of a lot of things, but I think it can be done...

”“Neanderthals might think differently than we do. We know that they had a larger cranial size,” he said. “They could even be more intelligent than us. When the time comes to deal with an epidemic or getting off the planet or whatever, it’s conceivable that their way of thinking could be beneficial.”
What could possibly go wrong? Probably nothing, but what real use is it other than bragging right for Prof Church.

If the Bible tell you how to spot a false Prophet

They are always wrong.

And some of our most noted and notorious god bothering skypilots have habitually been wrong in their prophesies, why does any one still listen to their hogwash? With the population increases over the last 150 years, perhaps there is more than one sucker born every minute now. Whatever, here is a compilation of false prophets for you to mock and avoid starting with one of the most recently notorious.
The world-renowned Harold Camping was just the latest in a long line of Christian preachers who've made a profitable career out of erroneously predicting the apocalypse. If anything, Camping was only unusual in that he admitted his blunder after falling flat on his face (although he didn't offer to refund any of his followers who spent their life savings on spreading his message).

Other prominent Christian sects that have gotten it wrong are still around, in some cases recycling decades-old predictions as if they were brand-new. The Jehovah's Witnesses made a habit of erroneously predicting the apocalypse throughout the 20th century. One of their founders, J.F. Rutherford, wrote a book in 1920 called Millions Now Living Will Never Die, in which he claimed among other things that the patriarchs of Israel would be resurrected from the dead by the year 1925.
And there are more.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Although often lumped in with the neo-zoot swing bands

The Squirrel Nut Zippers were far more widely based musically and showed a deeper level of creativity, as this 'seasonal' tune about "La Grippe" illustrates.

Hey! Look what we gave Amgen!

In the weeks following the passage of the fiscal "cliff" legislation, we are still finding out just what we got and what we gave away. One of the latest discoveries.
Just two weeks after pleading guilty in a major federal fraud case, Amgen, the world’s largest biotechnology firm, scored a largely unnoticed coup on Capitol Hill: Lawmakers inserted a paragraph into the “fiscal cliff” bill that did not mention the company by name but strongly favored one of its drugs.

The language buried in Section 632 of the law delays a set of Medicare price restraints on a class of drugs that includes Sensipar, a lucrative Amgen pill used by kidney dialysis patients.

The provision gives Amgen an additional two years to sell Sensipar without government controls. The news was so welcome that the company’s chief executive quickly relayed it to investment analysts. But it is projected to cost Medicare up to $500 million over that period...

Amgen has deep financial and political ties to lawmakers like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, and Senators Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana, and Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, who hold heavy sway over Medicare payment policy as the leaders of the Finance Committee.
So who is surprised that the usual boodle boys are involved? And if this costs Medicare $500 Million, why can't we label it fraud?

Four reasons why wealth inequality is hurting the economy.

Joseph Stiglitz, notoriously accurate economist, has an op-ed on the Times website that explains why the Bush Depression is being allowed to linger by the inequal distribution of wealth in our country.
There are four major reasons inequality is squelching our recovery. The most immediate is that our middle class is too weak to support the consumer spending that has historically driven our economic growth. While the top 1 percent of income earners took home 93 percent of the growth in incomes in 2010, the households in the middle — who are most likely to spend their incomes rather than save them and who are, in a sense, the true job creators — have lower household incomes, adjusted for inflation, than they did in 1996. The growth in the decade before the crisis was unsustainable — it was reliant on the bottom 80 percent consuming about 110 percent of their income.

Second, the hollowing out of the middle class since the 1970s, a phenomenon interrupted only briefly in the 1990s, means that they are unable to invest in their future, by educating themselves and their children and by starting or improving businesses.

Third, the weakness of the middle class is holding back tax receipts, especially because those at the top are so adroit in avoiding taxes and in getting Washington to give them tax breaks. The recent modest agreement to restore Clinton-level marginal income-tax rates for individuals making more than $400,000 and households making more than $450,000 did nothing to change this. Returns from Wall Street speculation are taxed at a far lower rate than other forms of income. Low tax receipts mean that the government cannot make the vital investments in infrastructure, education, research and health that are crucial for restoring long-term economic strength.

Fourth, inequality is associated with more frequent and more severe boom-and-bust cycles that make our economy more volatile and vulnerable. Though inequality did not directly cause the crisis, it is no coincidence that the 1920s — the last time inequality of income and wealth in the United States was so high — ended with the Great Crash and the Depression. The International Monetary Fund has noted the systematic relationship between economic instability and economic inequality, but American leaders haven’t absorbed the lesson.
Can we turn things around? Maybe and Joe has some ideas about that but it involves making changes that Americans don't do easily.

Just the facts, ma'am

In Joe Friday's world, this is all you would need for proper gun regulation. In our current world it is irrelevant.

Happy Birthday Slim Whitman

The man who defeated the Martian Invasion with his effortless yodeling is 89 today.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

R.I.P. Stanley Frank Musial

Stan, you were The Man.

A Texas Wonder

Carolyn Wonderland, as seen on Austin City Limits.

Good Grief!

Even Charlie Brown figured it out back on 12-30-97.

Bill Maher has the New Rules on old rights,

As in the ones we have let disappear.

When the love of your life kicks your best friend in the nuts

Is it still OK to love her? Apparently when that love is for Sarah Palin the answer is yes. And the incident involved a semi-regulated militia in Alaska which she disarmed.
In 2008, the Anchorage Daily News ran this deck bellow the headline: “NO MORE GUNS: Alaska State Defense Force stripped of many powers.”

Irony knows no bounds when it comes to the Tea Party.

In 2008, Tea Party Queen and Shoot ‘Em Up and Hang ‘Em Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK) disarmed brigade members of the Alaska State Defense Force (think volunteer militia) at the recommendation of the state military officials, based on a report by an investigator with the Washington National Guard.

(I)n a major decision proving unpopular with at least some of the force’s roughly 280 members, the state is taking away the brigade’s guns.

Yes, Sarah Palin, as executive of the state, took away their guns. And no, conservatives, you can’t have it both ways. Clearly they gave Sarah Palin the report and she took executive action on it (also known as “tyranny” when a Democrat does it).
Curiously, the NRA raised not a peep about this and shortly thereafter Snowflake Snooki was selected to run for VP with Grandpa Walnuts.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Beautiful three part harmonies

Are the key to the lovely Canadian Wailin' Jennys, whether they are singing a popular hit like "Summertime" or one of their folk and Newgrass tunes.

Some things are not easy to explain.

From the pen of Wiley

So Pete King made kissy nice with Boner

After his outburst of righteous fury when his fellow Republicans stiffed the Northeast on hurricane relief, Peter King kissed and made up with the Speaker of the House and told us all he was a Republican again. There must have been a promise of smooth sailing for that relief because Pete is pissed off again.
Rep. Peter King (R-NY) said Friday that his fellow Republicans are making New York’s members of Congress walk around “like third-world beggars” pleading for votes for hurricane relief funds.

“Quite frankly it’s going to be difficult going back and working with people you sit next to and whenever they were in need, we responded immediately,” he said Friday guest hosting a radio interview with Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), first reported by New York Daily News. “Not one member of Congress ever voted against or said one word in opposition to aid going to other states when the money was needed.”

“We’re going around like third-world beggars,” he lamented. “At least, they put us in that position.” King’s staff published his comments on the congressman’s official website.
He works with those assholes every day, what did he expect them to do? Does a leopard change its spots?

The Social Security cut is still lurking

And waiting for the right time to strike. Indeed, as Dean Baker tells us, it has been agreed to by Democrats already. It is not hard to explain why this is a very bad idea. What is difficult is to understand why unless you look at the ones who are pressing so hard for it, the bankers and businessmen who have already taken so much from our economy and want to take so much more.
The bottom line is that President Obama and many leading Democrats are prepared to give seniors a larger hit to their income than they gave to the over $250,000 crowd. And the whole reason it is necessary is that the Wall Street types who wrecked the economy say so. Is everybody happy?
And the cat food lobby is right up there pushing for it.

How to prove that guns are harmless?

Why just strap them on and march off to your local J C Penney to show everybody how cool it is. And since he was a young fella, he probably impressed a few of the young chicks with the size of his penis NOT.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

First we have him playacting as conductor

Watch how many musicians pay him any heed as they play. A conductors work is in rehearsal. Then we have Daniel Barenboim doing some fine work as piano soloist with Beethoven's 3rd Piano Concerto.

R.I.P. Pauline Phillips

You were the only one who could tell Dear Abby what to say.

Matt Taibbi doesn't like Zero Dark 30

And his reason is quite simple. The explicit torture scenes in the beginning and the storyline throughout the movie that it was instrumental in killing bin Laden are in fact bin Laden's last victory over America.
Zero Dark Thirty is like a gorgeously-rendered monument to the fatal political miscalculation we made during the Bush years. It's a cliché but it's true: Bin Laden wanted us to make this mistake. He wanted America to respond to him by throwing off our carefully-crafted blanket of global respectability to reveal a brutal, repressive hypocrite underneath. He wanted us to stop pretending that we're the country that handcuffs you and reads you your rights instead of extralegally drone-bombing you from the stratosphere, or putting one in your brain in an Egyptian basement somewhere.

The only way we were ever going to win the War on Terror was to win a long, slow, political battle, in which we proved bin Laden wrong, where we allowed people in the Middle East to assess us as a nation and decide we didn't deserve to be mass-murdered. To use another cliché, we needed to win hearts and minds. We had to make lunatics like bin Laden pariahs among their own people, which in turn would make genuine terrorists easier to catch with the aid of genuinely sympathetic local populations.

Instead, we turned people like bin Laden into heroes. Just like Marlowe in The Long Goodbye, there were a lot of people in the Middle East who were on the knife-edge about America after 9/11. Yes, we were hated for supporting Israel, but the number of people willing to suicide-bomb us was still a tiny minority.

The EIT program changed that. We tortured and humiliated thousands of people across the world. We did it on camera, in pictures that everyone in the Middle East can watch over and over again on the Internet. We became notorious for a vast kidnapping program we called by the harmless-sounding term "rendition," and more lately for an endless campaign of extralegal drone attacks, through which 800 innocent people have died in Afghanistan alone in the last four years (the Guardian claims we've killed 168 children in that country in the last seven years)...

Bin Laden was maybe the most humorless person who ever lived, but he has to be laughing from the afterlife. We make an incredible movie that celebrates his death – a movie so good it'll be seen everywhere in the world – and all it does is prove him right about us.

The Power Of Prayer

Some people, Governor Good Hair of Texas for example, would have us believe that prayer and not effective gun control is the best way to prevent more gun massacres.
Ah, prayer. I know that it gives comfort to many, for any infinite number of reasons. However, this is not a religious nation. It is a secular one built upon freedom of (and from) religion. So, why is the Republican Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, telling people to pray instead of passing laws to quell the nation’s gun violence problem? I’ve no idea why, but obviously, throughout these tragedies, scores of people have prayed, only to wake up to yet another shooting. Seems to me this prayer thing doesn’t work, or else God was too busy helping Tim Tebow win a game rather than keeping little kids from dying senselessly. In the wake of the overwhelming evidence that prayer does not work, but laws do, here is what the good governor had to say, courtesy of our friends at The Raw Story:

There is evil prowling in the world – it shows up in our movies, video games and online fascinations, and finds its way into vulnerable hearts and minds,” he said. “As a free people, let us choose what kind of people we will be. Laws, the only redoubt of secularism, will not suffice. Let us all return to our places of worship and pray for help. Above all, let us pray for our children.
Ever since firearms were invented, there have been numerous skypilots, shamans and other 'spiritual leaders' who have prayed mightily to make their warriors impervious to bullets. The results have always been the same, only the number of dead has been different.

Can you tell the good from the bad?

Can you tell which group is just exercising their Constitutional rights?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Sings right, plays left or something

Shannon McNally is a singer-songwriter who writes well, sings fine and is still searching for a critical mass of fans.

You thought you had it bad

Check out the suffering on display in this graphic from the Wall St. Journal.

What does it say about your academic degree

When you are a Professor of Economics, at a state university, and your stated opinion on chronic unemployment is this:
Oh, you have astutely noticed that this means 1/3 of working families DO struggle to pay for basic necessities, and that 37% of the nation’s children live in those families, did you? Aren’t you smart. That’s fine, not to worry, we have a solution to this problem, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal and Richard Vedder, an economist for the American Enterprise Institute! Ready? OK here it is: these poor families should WORK HARDER. Also they should not be given food stamps, Pell grants, or unemployment insurance. Seriously, this is his actual solution. Did we mention he is a Professor of economics at Ohio University, a public school where he is free to opine on cutting the government spending that benefits OTHER people while he himself suckles contentedly from the government’s teat? Well, we guess we have now.

From the mid-17th century to the late 20th century, the American economy grew roughly 3.5% a year. That growth rate has since declined significantly. When the final figures are in for 2012, the annual rate of real output growth for the first dozen years of this century is likely to be about 1.81%.

What accounts for the slowdown? An important part of the answer is simple: Americans aren’t working as much today. And this trend reflects more than the recession and sluggish economy of the past few years.

Here is the thing: none of this is true. At all.
A simple and simply worthless thesis. When your ideas can be ripped apart by Wonkette, you aren't working up to the level of your position. Maybe you just don't belong there.

Congress, working hard to solve the nation's problems.

From the pen of Stuart Carlson.

New Congressional District, Same old crazy

Thanks to a growing population, Texas got a new Congressional district following the census redistribution. As a sign of how far from a civilized state Texas has slipped, they elected one of their retread lunatics.
When I covered Congress in the mid-1990s, one of my favorite characters was Steve Stockman, a former street vagrant who somehow got swept to power in the Republican Revolution of ’94.

Voters in his Texas district, realizing their mistake, swept him out two years later — but not before he distinguished himself by demanding a federal investigation of the 1948 Kinsey Report on male sexuality and by claiming that the deadly 1993 assault on the Branch Davidians was a Clinton administration conspiracy to tighten gun control.

So it was with a mix of nostalgia and delight that I came across a headline on the news Web site Talking Points Memo this week proclaiming, “GOP Rep. Threatens Impeachment If Obama Uses Executive Order on Guns.” It turns out that congressman is . . . Steve Stockman. Sixteen years and one failed run for railroad commissioner later, he’s back in the halls of Congress.

But there is a key difference in Stockman’s second act, and it says less about him than about our politics. Back then, he proved too much even for the ’94 revolutionaries; his classmates came to shun him and voters in his competitive district sent him packing. But this time, Texas has redrawn its political boundaries, and Stockman’s new seat is safe. What’s more, his views, outlandish in the House of 1995, are more at home in the House of 2013. On Tuesday night, Stockman was one of 179 House Republicans to vote against aid to Hurricane Sandy's victims.

All these years later, Stockman can still bring the crazy. The problem is he’s now just one of many purveyors.
The lunatics are trying to run the asylum. And Texas is providing more than their fair share.

Having "hiked the Appalachian Trail"

Mark Sanford, erstwhile Governor of the Palmetto Bug State and officially paid pussy hound, now wants to run for Congress.
Mark Sanford, the former South Carolina governor whose career and marriage crumbled as he pursued a relationship with an Argentine woman, on Wednesday made official his decision to run for Congress.

The seat opened up last month, when Gov. Nikki R. Haley appointed Representative Tim Scott, a favorite of the Tea Party, to replace the conservative Republican Jim DeMint in the Senate. Mr. DeMint stepped down to run the Heritage Foundation.
It's a pity his ex-wife has decided not to run for the same seat. That would have been a most interesting election.

Shed a tear for poor Jaime Dimon

In an otherwise monstrously profitable year, he presided over a whale of a trading loss in London. In response, the Board of Directors of JP Morgan have chosen to punish CEO Jaime Dimon in a most harsh and cruel manner.
In light of the trading losses, the bank’s board voted to reduce Mr. Dimon’s total compensation. That decision was driven by a desire to hold him accountable for some of the oversight failings that led to the troubled bet, according to several people close to the board.

The board cut Mr. Dimon’s total compensation for 2012 to $11.5 million from $23 million a year earlier. While his salary remained the same at $1.5 million, his bonus was reduced to $10 million, paid out in restricted stock.
Bad Jaime! Bad! Bad! Don't you do that again!

And you thought the flu was bad

According to the World Health Organization, dengue fever, also known as breakbone fever, is on the rise worldwide and may become an epidemic.
“In 2012, dengue ranked as the fastest spreading vector-borne viral disease, with an epidemic potential in the world, registering a 30-fold increase in disease incidence over the past 50 years,” the Geneva-based UN agency said in a report released Wednesday.

The increased transmission rate of the deadly mosquito-borne disease was due to climate change and a greater movement of people, the agency said.

An annual two million cases of dengue fever were reported over the last two years by 100 countries, with between 5,000 to 6,000 of them resulting in death.

But the WHO’s Raman Velayudhan said the disease was likely underreported and estimated there were as many as 50 million cases a year with more than 20,000 deaths.

Dengue is spread by one of four viruses transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. It causes high fever, headaches, itching and joint pains. At an advanced stage it can lead to haemorrhaging and death.
On the good news side, they have almost eradicated guinea worm. But you should still be careful about drinking the water.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Before there was K-Mart there was Louis Jordan

And his cool Blue Light Boogie

I fear Mr Toles belabors the obvious

From the pen of Tom Toles

It's scary when you put the pieces together

I admit that I had not paid much attention to the occasional news item generated by this trend but knowing the evil that the perpetrators of this idea are capable of, I hope it is not too late to do something about it.
In the first study of its kind, to be published on Tuesday, researchers from the National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW) identified 413 criminal and civil cases across 44 states involving the arrests, detentions and equivalent deprivations of pregnant women’s liberty between 1973 and 2005. NAWP said that it is aware of a further 250 cases since 2005. Both figures are likely to be underestimates, it said.

The report, which will appear in the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, found that women were denied a wide range of basic human rights, including the right to life, liberty, equal protection and due process of law “based solely on their pregnancy status”.

It found a wide range of cases in which pregnant women were arrested and detained not only if they ended a pregnancy or expressed an intention to end a pregnancy, but also after suffering unintentional pregnancy loss.

The cases of detention and forced medical intervention varied widely and included one in which a judge in Ohio kept a woman imprisoned to prevent her having an abortion.

Another involved a woman in Oregon who refused a doctor’s recommendation for additional testing for gestational diabetes. She was held in a locked psychiatric ward. Another case involved a court in Washington DC, which ordered a critically ill woman to undergo caesarian section over her objections. Neither she nor the baby survived.

Lynn Paltrow, executive director of NAPW and lead author of the study said: “Our analysis of the legal claims used to justify the arrests found they relied on post-Roe measures such a feticide laws and the same arguments made in support of so-called ‘personhood measures’ – namely that state actors would be empowered to treat fertilised eggs, embryos and foetuses as completely legally separate from the pregnant women.”

She said: “It is not just the criminalisation of pregnant woman, that almost minimises the scope of what we are talking about. They are using civil statues to keep women committed. Right we’re ordering the foetus to be committed and you have to come too.”
And this shit will continue to happen until the vaginalantes are suppressed.

Another mobster shows us where Hoffa is buried.

In theory Anthony Zerilli should know. The sticking point is, at 85, does he still remember accurately and if he does, is he being honest.
For 38 years, the mystery of what happened to former Teamsters’ boss Jimmy Hoffa has done nothing but deepen. Now, the man whom the FBI has long believed knows the answer is ready to talk. As a matter of fact, 85-year-old Anthony Zerilli has not only talked, he has taken NBC crime reporter, Marc Santia, formerly of Detroit, to the Michigan field where he claims Hoffa lies buried in a shallow grave.
ANd after 38 years nothing has come up from a shallow grave? Maybe it was deeper than they remember.

Responsible gun owners do support regulation

And no, no one is suggesting any form of confiscation, despite daily reports of gun owners incapable of bearing the responsibility of ownership. Those gun owners who are responsible understand the need to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, the mentally ill and yes, even terrorists. Four ideas that have majority support are:
1. Universal background checks. The poll found that a huge majority of gun owners — 86 percent — would like to see every single person who wants to purchase a firearm go through a background check. Currently, the so-called ‘gun show loophole’ allows some purchasers (those who buy used guns and those who buy at gun shows) to forgo a background check, setting up a system where criminals can easily purchase weapons.

2. Background checks for ammunition purchasing. As the law currently stands, ammunition can be purchased in bulk online with absolutely no background check. This is how mass murderer James Holmes was able to stockpile so much ammunition without anyone noticing. Seventy six percent of gun owners surveyed by the Washington Post want to see this law changed by instituting background checks for buying ammunition.

3. Ban on extended magazines. Extended magazine clips have been a focus of the recent gun law debate. Such clips, when used in mass killings, prove exceptionally deadly since, paired with an assault weapon, the gunman rarely has to stop and reload. Adam Lanza, the gunman responsible for the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, used extended clips, as did Holmes. There’s no reason why a clip with more than is necessary to hunt, or for self protection, and 55 percent of gun owners want to see them outlawed.

4. Gun database. The United States already has a database of those who cannot buy guns — the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, NICS — but has much weaker methods of tracking the guns sold in the United States. Sixty two percent of gun owners like the idea of a database of guns purchases, so that the government has some handle on how many guns are out there. There have been reports that such a database, and a database of gun violence, might be among Biden’s suggestions.
They may not be perfect but some effort needs to be made bring responsible control to a serious threat to the safety and well being of the public. And any gun makers who bitch and whine would be more than welcome to relocate to a more congenial clime, like Somalia or Afghanistan.

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