Monday, November 30, 2009

Post Holiday

I am back, and slogging through all my emails which is likely to take me the better part of the day. My holiday weekend was wonderful: we ate like kings and drank like peasants. We played croquet, bocce, dominoes, Scrabble, and went for walks and drives in the country. We went and tasted wine and toured the facility at this lovely vineyard which was right up the road. I mostly avoided any newspapers or news shows on TV - though the Sunday bobbleheads were on in the background, I tried not to listen. Hope all of you had spendid times with your families and/or loved ones, and thanks to all of you who left me well-wishes! Now it's time to get serious about Christmas....

Regular (well, regular for me) blogging will resume shortly - which is to say, when I feel like it. Meanwhile, wish a Happy Birthday to Dick Clark

and Mark Twain, who said, among other things, "Humor is mankind's greatest blessing.":

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Am heading out to the country today where there will be no computer, no internet. There will, however, be indoor plumbing, electricity and alcohol. Plenty of alcohol. Oh, and turkey.

I'll be back, sated and hungover, on Monday. In the interim, I'm sure you all will find much to entertain yourselves but here are a couple of posts from our friends at Sadly,No! who always do such great work. That second one is especially good as we 'Murcans celebrate our thankfulness for being 'Murcans.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

On media bias

Yes, we're all sick of hearing that idiotic whine about the "liberal media" but this is the best dissection of that topic I've found so far. H/T, as usual, to Atrios.

Monday, November 23, 2009

"festering sore of prejudice and hatred"

Via Susan at KMBBB here is an article and a letter that must be read.

And speaking of history repeating itself, this also.

Marvin and Tina

Just because.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

An excellent suggestion

Ruth invites you to join her worthy campaign - count me in!

Wingnut humor, explained

As Atrios calls it, "the good Christian kind." Amanda's theory:
The most obvious thing about these coded messages is how thin the coding is---the wingnuts putting this together are either so dim they can’t see that these “jokes” aren’t as dense as they purport to be, or they assume their audience is so stupid that “jokes” have to be really obvious to be got. Or both. It doesn’t seem possible that they’re so dense that they think that these shirts and other non-jokes are so dense as to evade being understood by outsiders or law enforcement, and so I don’t think that’s really to point of using these codes to encourage violence against Obama.

No, I think they engage in these codes not because they’re effective protection or because they’re funny, but because they get a rise out of approximating what they think being clever might feel like. These codes may not be clever, but they feel clever to people who aren’t really used to exercising their brain cells. To understand these threats, your brain needs to take two admittedly tiny steps, but those are two more steps than these assholes are used to putting their brains through, so it feels like what they imagine it must feel like to be one of those people who are actually clever and use their brains all the time. These non-jokes also function as jargon, language that only the insiders of the wingnut tribe use, which helps create a group identity, the people Sarah Palin likes to call “Real Americans”. Which is dangerous, because we know how very little they’re willing to believe that outsiders are real people.
Be sure also to read the comments to Amanda's post.

Then of course there's also this.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

Which came first?

The name or the personality? Consider "Bart Stupak" and now "Chris Buttars". Seriously, "Chris Buttars". With a name like that, could you be anything BUT an asshole?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Happy Birthday James!

This picture is a couple of years old, and Younger Brother Sandy (whose birthday is in a couple of weeks) has sprouted up to eye level with his Older Brother. They are quite a pair.

Not that I'm lazy or anything, but I think this birthday post I wrote for James way back when I started this blog still hits the right note for me today.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

How bad could it be?

If it's even worse than this guy could have predicted, it's pretty darn bad. And he has the quotes to prove it. Yikes.

Patriots and Not-Patriots

Not hard to tell the difference. Good idea to send a donation to the real patriots today.

Happy Birthday Margaret Atwood

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Where obsession will lead you

Okay, remember how yesterday I was thinking about food and Thanksgiving? Well, let me tell you, there's a price to be paid for giving in to one's obsessions, and getting lost in here is a good example of just such a price. Good for dieters!

In a post-Bush world

Anyone else cringe when they read, or hear, stories like this?
Obama stresses human rights in meeting with China's Hu Jintao


Obama, who appeared tired, said that he had reiterated to Hu in their private meetings "America's bedrock beliefs that all men and women possess certain fundamental human rights . . . they are universal rights and that they should be available to all peoples, to all ethnic and religious minorities." He said the U.S. and China would hold additional discussions on human rights next year.
"Fundamental human rights"? You mean like the right to not be tortured or imprisoned indefinitely without trial? Those "fundamental human rights"?

Until we are willing to respect our own rule of law and to hold our own leaders legally accountable for violations of those laws with regard to "fundamental human rights", we simply have no moral authority to sanctimoniously spout off to leaders of other countries. Period.

Crawling out of the woodwork

I know the Washington Times has had its problems recently, but is this what we have to look forward to from its editorial pages? Good Lord.

As usual, Dave Neiwert was right.

We will always have racist bigots among us. But the current political atmosphere seems especially dangerous. The internet and cable networks have made it easier than ever for the worst of them to communicate and encourage each other, often under the guise of shared contempt for "political correctness". I see no good end to this.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Never too early

to think about food! I will be travelling to east Texas with friends this Thanksgiving, to gather at the farm of another mutual friend and we are all excited and talking about food. This year, for the first time, I am responsible for the turkey! No biggie - I've done turkey before, and it's probably the easiest of all the dishes to do (...maybe that's why it's been assigned to me...? Heh, no, actually I volunteered.)

Riding in to work this morning with a co-worker, the subject of turkey-cooking came up, and I heard of a cooking tip that was new to me: Soaking the turkey in a "brine" of salt and sugar for about 24 hrs. prior to cooking. I haven't heard of this before, have any of you? The claim is that this gives the turkey a perfect pitch of moisture and saltiness. I just might give it a try. What goodies are you looking forward to this year? Any recipes to share?

Terrorism 101

It really is appalling how few people of influence seem to get it. It's not that hard.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Blues for a Friday afternoon

A friend passed along this KWS combination CD/DVD and it looks interesting enough to fill in some gaps in this weekend's entertainment:

Words matter

I agree 100% with this. I also hate that reactionaries in this country have gotten away with calling themselves "conservatives" - they are of course, anything but. It is the tattered remains of the left that is now "conservative" for all intents and purposes.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Will not sit at the back of the bus

Katha Pollitt hits the nail square on the head and drives that thing clear through to the other side. H/T Atrios.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Birthday Leo DiCaprio

He's got a pretty face, sure, but don't hold it against him. I think he's also a phenomenal actor.


Have a box of Kleenex nearby for this one.

H/T Balloon Juice

Happy Armistice/Veterans Day


Here's the story that accompanies this picture.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ft. Hood Memorial Service

Time to take a break from my anger and disappointment in Obama's (and the Democratic party establishment) shortcomings, and pay tribute to his significant strengths. At a time of national tragedy like this, I am especially grateful for a President who has the intelligence and grace to speak truth so eloquently:

Text and more commentary here.

There, that's better

Need cheering up. This is just the ticket; let's celebrate an anniversary:

Still pretty pissed

I got stuck in traffic this morning behind a car covered with bumper stickers such as: "Proud to be everything liberals hate" and that one with Obama made up to look like the Joker in Dark Knight that said "Socialism". I smiled thinking that this guy would be pretty happy to know how pissed I am right now. (On the upside, though, I should say that I see a lot more "Obama" stickers around than you might expect for here in red Texas - saw one the other day that said "Vets for Obama".)

What's happening to us? What do liberals have to do to turn this tide around? Barack Obama had a historic opportunity to achieve something truly worthwhile with overwhelming popular support for a Democratic agenda. And he blew it. I'm sorry, but he did:

Digby this morning (emphasis mine):
All day long, I kept hearing the argument that pro-choice Democrats are going to have to compromise because Pelosi just doesn't have the votes otherwise. But the truth is that she doesn't have the votes without the pro-choice caucus either. Why isn't it just as reasonable to say that Stupak and his crowd should compromise? I hear people say over and over again that Democrats will prove they can't govern if they hold the line on this or that provision and risk tanking the bill. But these Stupak Democrats did it --- and they won. Indeed, many people are hailing the outcome as a triumph of legislative maneuvering. (All except for the women of course, but they're on their own.)

The dynamics working against liberals are fairly obvious: they are the ones who want to help a whole bunch of people in dire straits and nobody else gives a damn. That makes them weaker in the final stages because everyone knows they want it more (that people are desperate) so they will not risk getting nothing at all when so many are suffering. The people who are willing to walk away always have more power in a negotiation.

So, knowing that, why in the hell do they go into every discussion having already given away everything but their bottom line? Especially when the only people with whom they are negotiating are ostensibly on their own team, where presumably the leadership and the president have some extra sway? If there was ever a case for the liberals to go in with guns blazing, demanding repeal of the Hyde Amendment, demanding single payer, demanding huge tax increases on the wealthy, demanding open border access to the health care system (which some countries have.) Then they would have had something to work with.

Instead they went in with the tried and true "don't make trouble" strategy assuring everyone who would listen that they had no intention of upsetting the status quo or causing "distractions" and practically apologizing for even asking for universal coverage. In the end they ended up actually rolling back their position on a matter of fundamental principle. And it sounds like that still isn't going to be enough.
It's absolutely appalling to me that women's access to healthcare should be sacrificed in order to pass a bill that makes baby steps toward achieving something that has overwhelming popular support: universal access to healthcare! What's up with that?

Atrios sez:
It's quite possible Dems will lose - and lose badly - in 2010. A bad economy, failure to deliver a recognizable good health care plan, and the determination that most of the people who vote for you don't deserve proper medical treatment, could all hurt Democrats at the polls. But good news for Republicans? People still hate them.
Small comfort, that.

UPDATE: Obama apparently insisting that he WILL NOT - not no way, not no how - sign a bill that isn't "deficit neutral". Whoopie. Good to know that he listens to the likes of Fred Hiatt.

Jill has some thoughts too.

Monday, November 9, 2009

House health care reform vote

Color me cranky. I guess I'm just a little bit too tired of concessions to rightwingers being touted as "centrism" or, even worse, "bipartisanship". It's bad enough that we have to cope with the loons in the Republican party, but we also have to contend with the backstabbers in our own party. Digby, as usual, has a couple of posts up that offer both enlightenment and snark, and if you feel the need to DO SOMETHING, as I did, may I recommend a donation to Planned Parenthood in Bart Stupak's name.

The Stupak-Pitts Amendment: What it actually does. H/T Atrios.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Brain cleansing

Friend heydave has sent along some pictures of fall life in Iowa that serve as a lovely antidote to the grim realities of the last couple of days. Thanks heydave!

"Questions have got to be asked"

And we can count on Fred to ask 'em:
Of course CAIR has condemned the murders. They have to. They can’t risk an angry American populace declaring WAR on every Muslim walking down the street. And I have to say, that WAR is not out of the equation from some of the things I have heard ‘through the grapevine’.

We have to hope that cooler heads prevail, but suppose they don’t? What then? Suppose there was some action taken in retribution by the American people? Has radical Islam not already declared WAR on us? Has radical Islam not already made their intentions VERY clear?

I’m not advocating anything, but the questions have got to be asked. At what point in time do Americans stand and defend this nation in the way it is intended by the 2nd amendment of the U.S. constitution?
Tellingly, Fred never provides any answers to these questions he poses. I guess he's waiting to hear from some of those "cooler heads" he's so very sincerely hoping will prevail. But, amazingly, no "cooler heads" manage to show up in his comments. Instead, here's a sample:
He was a Muslim American by birth. This is from a interview with his cousin. There were ample signs, altercations with others over his pro-Islam talk… someone should have locked him up and processed him OUT. We have enough fine “real American” troops, we don’t need someone who is not there to stand up for and defend America. The more I find out, the more I want to see all Muslims deported.


What CAIR says is irreverent. This guy will be considered a hero to Islam in the Middle East. The news is reporting he’s still alive. It’s too bad he wasn’t sent to his virgins.


Islam has declared war on this country and want to bring the US to its knees while killing as many Americans as possible. Why let them have a free shot at our troops from within. Until the Koran is changed and promotes peace muslims should not be allowed to join the military or any other form of govt service. As for the shooter, when he is executed; bury him with a pig.


I sadly predict there will be more and more terrorist activities in this country and unfortunately BO has made it easier in so many ways for this to happen. Once again, we the people will have a decision to make, whether we want to live in a constant state of terror, not knowing if we and our families will be safe from these random acts of violence, or if we are going to take a stand against those who have sworn to kill us and transform our nation into an Islamic state under Sharia Law. The war is no longer in the middle east, the war is here in our country and we can now longer deny it. I’m sure the media will try to portray this as an “isolated” incident and not that of a jihadist, but the facts don’t bear that out. When you add up all the “isolated incidents” what you get is an organized movement that acts with intent and forethought. I for one believe the old adage “the best defense is a good offense”.


If our government don’t have the balls to send them back to where they came from………hey!! no problem, they can be buried right here ….in pig pens. Bring back the vigilantes
and start burning the mosques first.
And on and on - you get the idea.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Didn't take long

Our troll friend, Mark, posted this comment over at Mike's blog (emphasis mine):
The Religion of Peace (c) kills again.

1. This is far worse than if Muslims had busted through the gate in a suicide truck. This is an Army Major, a Muslim, murdering his comrades in arms. They have now infiltrated our army, and these three are only the tip of the iceberg. How many murderous Muslim terrorists are in our communities? Hundreds? Thousands? A majority of Muslims here in America? We certainly have the right of self-defense to find out.

2. Eight years. Eight years and this shit never had happened again on our own soil. Now it has. On Obama's watch.
x | Homepage | 11.05.09 - 4:30 pm | #
This is TexasFred-level stupidity and bigotry. Astounding.

I stopped on the way home from work this evening to pick up some radiator coolant for the car, and in the auto parts store some woman was yammering about Obama (of course the TV was on overhead with the Ft. Hood shooting being discussed) and something about "THIS is the change they wanted?"

God help us all.

"In other parts of the world..."

Any of you ever read The Cider House Rules? I can't recommend it highly enough; I read it for the first time (and re-read it many times thereafter - something I really don't do with most books) in the mid-1980s, and it still ranks as one of my favorite books of all time. The movie was not so hot, the book is absolutely outstanding - follow the Amazon link I provided and read some of the reader comments, you'll get the gist.

Anyway, in that book one of the characters, a man named Dr. Larch, keeps a journal and his entries always begin with one of two phrases: either "Here in St. Clouds.." or "In other parts of the world...", and I was reminded of that as I started to write this post.

"In other parts of the world" this is a fairly significant news item. Here in the US, not so much.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Holy Cow!

The total absence of ability for introspection in wingnuts never ceases to amaze me. Then again, it's entirely possible that this phenomenon reflects not an inability, but rather a sociopathic capacity for dishonesty that, given their audience, they feel free to exercise with impunity.

In WallyWingnutWorld

If Eric Erickson tells you it's going to be a sunny day, be sure to take your umbrella.

Apparently there were some elections last night

Good rundown of significant results across the country here thanks to Blue Texan at Firedoglake. Good news in New York, California and Washington - bad news in Maine, New Jersey and Virginia. And so it goes. In Texas, we passed a bunch of amendments to our mammoth state constitution.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Healing Arts

A friend sends me email - ghosts of my past life.

For Freewheel - Tour de Gruene

This is cool - for a town more famous for it's dance hall (I saw Susan Tedeschi there).

Dia de los muertos

Day of the Dead for you gringos out there.