Sunday, December 19, 2010

A man of wealth and taste

"I watched with glee while your kings and queens fought for ten decades for the gods they made.."



"Some folks are born silver spoon in hand, Lord don't they help themselves, oh. But when the taxman comes to the door, Lord, the house looks like a rummage sale, yes.

It ain't me, it ain't me. I ain't no millionaire's son, no.
It ain't me, it ain't me. I ain't no fortunate one, no.

Some folks inherit star-spangled eyes, ooh they send you down to war, Lord.
And when you ask them, How much should we give? Ooh they only answer, More, more, more, yoh!"

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Early Christmas!

Delay convicted! Well, it's a start.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!! I'm going out of town and away from my computer. Back sometime Saturday or Sunday. Eat, drink and be safe!

Monday, November 22, 2010

In A Nutshell

Atrios explains.

It's not that hard. As with the war crimes of the Bush administration, it all comes down to Accountability, or the lack thereof.

On the way into work this morning, I was thinking about the general hysteria that consumed the country over Bill Clinton's blowjob, and the crimes that we have been whistling past ever since. It's stunning, really, how stupid we are.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Now THAT would be something new!

"We're going to have to deal with it as adults," Boehner said at a leadership press conference.
Good luck with that.

Especially since this is what he's talking about. I have a suggestion for the "adults". When Boehner comes at you with:
Yesterday, Republican leaders, including soon-to-be Speaker John Boehner and NRCC chairman Pete Sessions made it clear that the the GOP will attempt to tie increasing the debt limit to spending cuts.
You say, "Spending cuts? Fine. Let's start with the Pentagon."

And then we'll see who the "adults" are.

"If acquitted, DeLay says he is planning a return to politics."

And why not? In today's political climate, he could probably get elected President.

This is weird, though. Does anyone doubt that Delay had plenty of capital to spend on his defense? Yet it sounds like they put out a piss-poor effort. One might think that they are pretty confident that they will prevail, no matter what, so why bother. That's the impression I get, anyway. This is Texas, after all, and Delay has always treated this whole episode as a big joke. Sure hope they're wrong (and, gee, it wouldn't be the first time, would it?).

Friday, November 5, 2010

Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio Woodie Guthrie? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you!

My Son#2 is currently attempting to construct an essay for his college application on the topic of Who has influenced you and Why, and he chose to write about...wait for it...Woodie Guthrie. Seriously. Color me one Proud Mama Not-Grizzly. When I asked him Why Woodie Guthrie? and he said, Because he spoke for people who couldn't speak for themselves, I thought I would cry.

This land is your land! This land is, well, your land....

Yeah, well. I tell this story to inspire hope, because there seems damn little cause for hope out there. The future looks pretty grim.

So we must take the long view. Our younger generation is collectively far wiser and more compassionate than the ignorant racist bigots that comprise the GOP/Tea Cracker Party, whose median age is around 65.

From Wikipedia, I find these oft-omitted verses from This Land Is Your Land:
As I went walking, I saw a sign there,
And on the sign there, It said "no trespassing." [In another version, the sign reads "Private Property"]
But on the other side, it didn't say nothing!
That side was made for you and me.

In the squares of the city, In the shadow of a steeple;
By the relief office, I'd seen my people.
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking,
Is this land made for you and me?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

TexasFred wants to Keep Fear Alive:
Arizona beheading raises fears of drug violence
October 29th, 2010 . by TexasFred
Boo!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

"Sanity" in an insane world?

PZ thinks shrillness might be not such a bad thing, and has some thoughts about today's rally in DC.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Spooky Stuff

I'm afraid wingnuts have ruined my enjoyment of Screamin' Jay doing his schtick with this song, but I have to say that Marilyn Manson is a fine replacement:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sociopaths

Good grief. I think this all started when that old guy apologized to Dick Cheney for allowing his face to get in the way of his shotgun.

Glenzilla

Glenn writes scathing posts that make his targets uncomfortable, as they should! What I really like is when they respond - it's clear he has gotten under the skin.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Like telling fire not to burn

As you can imagine, I get a lot of junk email from Democrats asking for money or asking me to sign petitions, etc. I just got one that made me laugh out loud, and it had this subject line:
Tell Karl Rove: Stop The Lies
Please. I really do fear for the future of the Democratic Party.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Today's edition of Cute Overload

Got this from Firedoglake yesterday morning:

Sunday, October 24, 2010

We don't have a tent

Amen to this. I don't know about "ideological purity", but Democrats need to decide they stand for something besides just winning elections.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Whiny Juan

Oh good grief. I had the news on for about 2 seconds this morning before I had to turn it off again in disgust because Juan Williams and a parade of idiots were all over the airwaves whining about how wrong it was for NPR for taking his "one little comment" so "out of context" and blah, blah, blah "Should NPR give him his job back? - Well, yes, they should!" Makes me want to throw up.

Firing that asshole was one of the best things NPR has done in recent memory and now if they get rid of Cokie Roberts and quit featuring bloviators from the Heritage Foundation and AEI, I'll consider renewing my membership.

UPDATE: Lawyers, Guns and Money

Thursday, October 21, 2010

So Infuriating

And they wonder why there's an "enthusiasm gap"? This is why. See also; read to the end for the real life consequences of another favorite Republican cause, "Tort Reform". When Democrats act like Republicans, it's difficult not to lose "enthusiasm" for their support.

Well, at least there is some good news today. Talk about a long overdue move.

And to further cheer us up, Amanda has not one but TWO good posts up about the recent Surge in wingnut-nuttiism: Post One and Post Two. Also, too, really - don't miss it!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Not Shrill Enough

I know that some find Glenn Greenwald too harsh in his criticism of Barack Obama but I find that I rarely disagree with his assessments. This is absolutely no exception.

Scary!!

I'm going to dress up as Christine O'Donnell for Halloween.

Now they're REALLY in for it...

I give those poor Chilean miners less than a month in the media spotlight before every single one of them wishes they were back down in that hole.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Happy Belated Birthday to Mickey Rooney

I never got around yesterday to wishing Mickey Rooney a Happy Birthday - a day late and a dollar short, such is the story of my life. Anyway, here's a clip. I don't know that I'd care much for the man on a personal level, what with all his "born again" nonsense, but then again, maybe I would. It's impossible for me not to appreciate his incredible talent and zeal for living:

Thursday, September 23, 2010

With friends like these...

You know, the Democrats really don't need an opposition Party.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Time Travel!

Gayle has taken a bit of artistic license with an oft-told legend from our youth, but the essential elements remain true and are, in fact, enhanced by her skillfull narrative. Not to mention great pictures of the old spooky place in both its past and present glory.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Red meat for the howling mob

Look at the AP headline and story that my local newpaper put on its front page website today. Well, that ought to raise ol' TexasFred's blood pressure a bit. Let's see how long it takes him to feature this item on his blog. As of 2:15 CT this afternoon, he's only yowling about guns n' Messicans.

Monday, September 20, 2010

On Tone and Substance

Glenn has a post up about false equivalencies which is characteristically good, but I especially liked this bit added at the end:
One other point about this fixation on the "tone" of our politics. Political debates are inherently acrimonious -- much of the rhetoric during the time of the American Founding, as well as throughout the 19th Century, easily competes with, if not exceeds, what we have now in terms of noxiousness and extremity -- but far more important than tone, in my view, is content. For instance, Bill Kristol, a repeated guest on The Daily Show, is invariably polite on television, yet uses his soft-spoken demeanor to propagate repellent, destructive ideas. The same is true for war criminal John Yoo, who also appeared, with great politeness, on The Daily Show. Moreover, some acts are so destructive and wrong that they merit extreme condemnation (such as Bush's war crimes). I don't think anyone disputes that our discourse would benefit if it were more substantive and rational, but it's usually the ideas themselves -- not the tone used to express them -- that are the culprits.
Thank you, Glenn. I'm sick to death of the "civility" directed by Serious People toward George W. Bush and members of his despotic administration. They are war criminals who should be in jail. It's like having to be polite to that wife-abusing murderer, O.J. Simpson (not that I've ever been called upon to be polite to O.J. - I wonder if anyone has? - but if I were, that is how I imagine it would feel. Bleh!)

Friday, September 17, 2010

I feel her pain

Amanda despairs:
What’s fascinating to me is that all this goes on while the Republicans---the party that prioritizes cutting taxes for the very richest above all other concerns---have unblinkingly adopted anti-elitism as their garb. It’s a lie that is so profound that its most naked manifestations make the non-wingnut parts of the audience wonder how they just get away with it. For instance, Carl Paladino spent most of his victory speech railing on about toppling the “ruling elite”, so much so that if you had no context and wandered in, you would swear that you had walked into an early 20th century communist rally. Paladino, of course, is a millionaire who had $10 million of his own money just laying around to spend on a primary campaign for an election he has to know he’s going to lose. He decried the “elite” in front of a crowd that I guarantee has an average income a couple of brackets over the average. To look at his policies, you’d think the “elites” that he’s out to get are exactly the same as the poor and unemployed.

The lie, in other words, is so big that I don’t even know if there’s a name for it. Is it an existential lie? The Big Lie? The biggest? It was such a whopper that I can’t believe that the folks listening didn’t get headaches from the straight cognitive dissonance between the claims being made---that they are the rabble fighting off an elite that is defined by being poorer than they are---and reality. I spend a lot of my time chronicling right wing lies. Many of them are factual. Many are more just disingenuous poses ("Liberals are the real racists!” “Abortion hurts women!"). But these insanely rich Republicans talking about how they’re going to kick out the “elite”? That’s such a reality-destabilizing lie it’s like me belligerently insisting that I’m Marilyn Monroe, and anyone who points out that I’m not simply hates gerbils. It. Makes. No. Sense. It’s maddening. I’m sure it’s meant to be.

More than any other lie they tell, the one about how Republicans defend the little guy against the “elite” is the one that makes me despair the most for my country. The only proper reaction to these claims is hysterical laughter, and yet they’re being offered as if they’re serious, and taken in that spirit. It’s complete madness. When you have so much of the population indifferent to basic reality, what do you do?

We got her anyway....

I was rummaging through some old email files and came across this gem from our dearly beloved Molly Ivins which I am reprinting in its entirety:
Molly Ivins

I will not support Hillary Clinton for president
January 20, 2006

AUSTIN, Texas --- I'd like to make it clear to the people who run the Democratic Party that I will not support Hillary Clinton for president.

Enough. Enough triangulation, calculation and equivocation. Enough clever straddling, enough not offending anyone This is not a Dick Morris election. Sen. Clinton is apparently incapable of taking a clear stand on the war in Iraq, and that alone is enough to disqualify her. Her failure to speak out on Terri Schiavo, not to mention that gross pandering on flag-burning, are just contemptible little dodges.

The recent death of Gene McCarthy reminded me of a lesson I spent a long, long time unlearning, so now I have to re-learn it. It's about political courage and heroes, and when a country is desperate for leadership. There are times when regular politics will not do, and this is one of those times. There are times a country is so tired of bull that only the truth can provide relief.

If no one in conventional-wisdom politics has the courage to speak up and say what needs to be said, then you go out and find some obscure junior senator from Minnesota with the guts to do it. In 1968, Gene McCarthy was the little boy who said out loud, "Look, the emperor isn't wearing any clothes." Bobby Kennedy -- rough, tough Bobby Kennedy -- didn't do it. Just this quiet man trained by Benedictines who liked to quote poetry.

What kind of courage does it take, for mercy's sake? The majority of the American people (55 percent) think the war in Iraq is a mistake and that we should get out. The majority (65 percent) of the American people want single-payer health care and are willing to pay more taxes to get it. The majority (86 percent) of the American people favor raising the minimum wage. The majority of the American people (60 percent) favor repealing Bush's tax cuts, or at least those that go only to the rich. The majority (66 percent) wants to reduce the deficit not by cutting domestic spending, but by reducing Pentagon spending or raising taxes.

The majority (77 percent) thinks we should do "whatever it takes" to protect the environment. The majority (87 percent) thinks big oil companies are gouging consumers and would support a windfall profits tax. That is the center, you fools. WHO ARE YOU AFRAID OF?

I listen to people like Rahm Emanuel superciliously explaining elementary politics to us clueless naifs outside the Beltway ("First, you have to win elections"). Can't you even read the damn polls?

Here's a prize example by someone named Barry Casselman, who writes, "There is an invisible civil war in the Democratic Party, and it is between those who are attempting to satisfy the defeatist and pacifist left base of the party and those who are attempting to prepare the party for successful elections in 2006 and 2008."

This supposedly pits Howard Dean, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, emboldened by "a string of bad new from the Middle East ... into calling for premature retreat from Iraq," versus those pragmatic folk like Steny Hoyer, Rahm Emmanuel, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and Joe Lieberman.

Oh come on, people -- get a grip on the concept of leadership. Look at this war -- from the lies that led us into it, to the lies they continue to dump on us daily.

You sit there in Washington so frightened of the big, bad Republican machine you have no idea what people are thinking. I'm telling you right now, Tom DeLay is going to lose in his district. If Democrats in Washington haven't got enough sense to OWN the issue of political reform, I give up on them entirely.

Do it all, go long, go for public campaign financing for Congress. I'm serious as a stroke about this -- that is the only reform that will work, and you know it, as well as everyone else who's ever studied this. Do all the goo-goo stuff everybody has made fun of all these years: embrace redistricting reform, electoral reform, House rules changes, the whole package. Put up, or shut up. Own this issue, or let Jack Abramoff politics continue to run your town.

Bush, Cheney and Co. will continue to play the patriotic bully card just as long as you let them. I've said it before: War brings out the patriotic bullies. In World War I, they went around kicking dachshunds on the grounds that dachshunds were "German dogs." They did not, however, go around kicking German shepherds. The MINUTE someone impugns your patriotism for opposing this war, turn on them like a snarling dog and explain what loving your country really means. That, or you could just piss on them elegantly, as Rep. John Murtha did. Or eviscerate them with wit (look up Mark Twain on the war in the Philippines). Or point out the latest in the endless "string of bad news."

Do not sit there cowering and pretending the only way to win is as Republican-lite. If the Washington-based party can't get up and fight, we'll find someone who can.

To find out more about Molly Ivins and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2006 CREATORS SYNDICATE INC.
UPDATE: Obama: Not helpful.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

America's Dirty Little Secret

It's not so little, and not so secret. Amanda, as usual, is spot-on:
The Tea Party revolt increasingly seems mostly motivated by anger at the Republicans for putting on a politically correct face instead of letting the bigot flag fly.
I've been observing a proto-typical Tea Cracker for some time now who goes by the moniker "TexasFred" and Amanda's statement here is the most concise and accurate encapsulation of the predominant attitude I see reflected in not only Fred's posts but also in those of his commenters. The fact that this angry movement has gained such traction in this country, aided by a hapless Democratic response and a trivia-hungry national media, should be cause for considerable alarm.

UPDATE: e.g.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Protected Power

Wonder what such a study would uncover about life among Catholics in America? We'll never know, of course, because that study will never, ever be commissioned.

But, hey, here's an idea: Tell 'em you're going to study about Muslims and pedophilia, and I'll lay odds the money comes pouring in.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9/11

Where have I been? Well, like Dr. Leo Marvin in What About Bob? I've been on vacation and, no, I didn't go anywhere and, yes, I could have blogged from home but I just didn't feel like it, okay? And actually, yes, I've been back at work this last week but as is always the case when one goes on vacation, I have been swamped and am still catching up.

Thanks to all of you that sent me lovely birthday wishes! I had a fine day, very low-key, very appropriate for an old biddy such as me who is, as they say, "getting on in years". The wonderful folks at World O'Crap even gave me my own little moment in the spotlight which is about all the thrill this old lady can handle these days.

Besides, the news sucks. There was one item I came across about a week or so ago that was talking about how our Democratic contender for Governor of Texas, Bill White, may actually have a chance to unseat that asshole, Rick Perry, and sure that would be great but I know better than to get my hopes up. Wake me up when it happens, and THEN we'll talk!

Meanwhile, it's 9/11 and I'm quite sure there's some idiot somewhere who is burning a Koran but apparently not the idiot in Florida who has had the entire news media in thrall for the last 2 weeks as he made an embarrassing spectacle of himself and them. But speaking of embarrassing ourselves, Glenn Greenwald pointed us to this excellent editorial from a couple of days ago that says all that needs to be said about the effect that 9/11 has had on us. Read it all.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Credit where it is due

I, for one, am quite happy to give George W. Bush and his entire supporting cast all the "credit" they so richly deserves for the Iraq War. May they all burn in hell for eternity after spending the rest of their miserable lives in jail.

There. I feel better now.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

An Unapologetic Liberal

Thanks to Jacob Davies at Obsidian Wings for steering me to this wonderful letter by a Berkeley professor to his students telling them How It Is!

He even links to a Kingston Trio performance at the end, God love him!! Good grief, is there anything more heartwarming these days than a principled liberal willing to stand up and shout out the truth with vigor! Yee Haw!! (Heh, an aside: I was on the phone the other day with someone from Philadelphia who told me that I didn't "sound like a Texan" - she asked me if I could holler "Yee Haw" and I replied with as much dignity as I could muster that I certainly could but that present circumstances dictated that I not demonstrate that ability right then and there...)

Incredibly Frustrating Things

Ah, the eternal mystery of Wingnutism: Stupid or Evil? As far as the Bush administration goes, I don't think it's an either/or proposition; the correct answer is: Both, with Dubya himself personifying the perfect melding of intellectual and moral bankruptcy.

And his legacy lives on! (and on, and on, and....)

Atrios sez:
One of the incredibly frustrating things during the Bush years was that people who were incompetent buffoons at best and transparently evil liars at worst were treated as Very Serious People.
"Were"??? Hell, they STILL ARE - which, of course, is one of the incredibly frustrating things during the Obama administration.

Monday, August 23, 2010

"Hatemongers always become emboldened when they triumph"

Glenn Greenwald hits another one out of the ballpark:
To belittle this issue as though it's the equivalent of the media's August fixation on shark attacks or Chandra Levy -- or, worse, to want to ignore it because it's harmful to the Democrats' chances in November -- is profoundly irresponsible. The Park51 conflict is driven by, and reflective of, a pervasive animosity toward a religious minority -- one that has serious implications for how we conduct ourselves both domestically and internationally. Yesterday, ABC News' Christiane Amanpour decided to let Americans hear about this dispute from actual Muslims behind the project (compare that, as Jay Rosen suggested, to David Gregory's trite and typically homogeneous guest list of Rick Lazio and Jeffrey Goldberg and you see why there's so much upset caused by Amanpour). One of those project organizers, Daisy Kahn, said this during her ABC interview:

"This is like a metastasized anti-Semitism. That's what we feel right now. It's not even Islamophobia; it's beyond Islamophobia. It's hate of Muslims, and we are deeply concerned."

Can anyone watch the video of that disgusting hate rally and dispute that? That's exactly why I've found this conflict so significant. If Park51 ends up moving or if opponents otherwise succeed in defeating it, it will seriously bolster and validate the ugly premises at the heart of this campaign: that Muslims generally are responsible for 9/11, Terrorism justifies and even compels our restricting the equals rights and access of Americans Muslims, and more broadly, the animosity and suspicions towards Muslims generally are justified, or at least deserving of respect. As Aziz Poonawalla put it: "if the project does fail, then I think that the message that will be sent is that bigotry and fear of Muslims is not just permitted, it is effective."
At the end of his post, he points to some very fine examples of the few brave and principled leaders who have been willing to speak out on this issue, including this one which just makes the rest of our Democratic establishment look awful by comparison.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

There's comedy gold in them hills...

And Scott is one of the best miners around!

You know, for people who disdain "elitism" so much, they sure like to confer upon themselves a lot of phony elitist-looking credentials.

Don't let the door smack your ass on the way out...

"Dr." Laura, she's a-quittin'. The reason? She wants to "regain" her "First Amendment rights". Which apparently she lost, somewhere. She wants to (emphasis mine):
be able to say what's on my mind, and in my heart, what I think is helpful and useful without somebody getting angry, some special interest group deciding this is a time to silence a voice of dissent, and attack affiliates and attack sponsors.
Uh huh. Good luck with that one, sweetie.

I recall seeing Andrew Breitbart bellowing to a TV reporter shortly after he had been humiliated elevated to national prominence by the Sherrod incident that he was inspired to become active in social and political commentary after "years of being told to Sit Down and Shut Up" (presumably by The Left - Hat-tip to you, norbizness!). I'm sure that was unpleasant for him, and as a card-carrying member of the hard-core (though, regretfully, not Professional) Left, I can well imagine telling Andrew Breitbart AND Laura Schlessinger to Sit Down and Shut Up. The common thread among these types is their seething self-righteous rage at being in any way hindered - by even so little as mere criticism - in their ability to openly espouse their racism and bigotry. It's a fascinating, in a horrifying kind of way, pathology. Someone should do a study.

UPDATE: Joan Walsh

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

In which a picture is worth....well, you decide

Thank you, Amanda!



And do be sure and read Amanda's post which is one of the best - of many good ones - on the subject of our current political lunacy.


And P.S. I am hereby officially adopting Amanda's term for the Tea Party Nutcases: Tea Crackers. Perfect!

UPDATE: Friend Sharla sends along a link to more entertaining album covers, possibly where Amanda found The Faith Tones.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Ignorance, Racism and Hatred, aka Wingnut Stew

Digby asks:
Has this know-nothing hostility been out there all along and was just held back by the GOP establishment or is it just plain old racism and xenophobia come to the surface in an environment which welcomes it?
I'm not sure this is an either/or question. Based on what I have been reading for the last 9 years on rightwing blogs such as the now-defunct All Things Conservative, and current offerings at TexasFred and Conservative Dialysis, I would say that, yes, this know-nothing hostility has been out there all along and, yes, it seems to be gaining traction, spurred on perhaps by a combination of the election of a Democratic black president, a rightwing political and media establishment that offers a veneer of respectability and acceptance for such views, and, of course, the internet which makes community-building for even the most odious populations easy.

Happy Birthday, Al!

Today is the birthday of Alfred Hitchcock, a man who got the humor of horror.

You can watch full episodes of his TV show and full features of his films here.

Turns out, Hitch shares his birthday with my friend Gayle, with whom I am having lunch today - Happy Birthday Gayle!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Fred's guest blogger

I'm sorry. I imagine that my readers might be tired of hearing about TexasFred, but he's a source of endless entertainment for me. Yesterday, he put up a post which included a picture of its author, presented below for your edification and amusement:


I guess the pipe is supposed to convey gravitas, or something. Comment away!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

RIP Ted Stevens

Awful plane crash in Alaska. Condolences to the families and friends of the victims.

UPDATE: Oh brother. My local news this morning, in the course of reporting on the ex-Senator's demise, informed me that "many" of Senator Stevens' constituents referred to him as "Uncle Ted".

Why I read Glenn Greenwald every day and you should too!

Reason #1

Reason #2

Yes, yes, I know he's "shrill". I am too, sometimes. But he's also right 99.99% of the time, and he backs up his assertions (e.g. see the end of Reason #1), and if he's ever not right, he admits it.

Remember that wonderful scene in "Annie Hall" when Woody Allen (as "Alvy Singer") pulls out Marshall McLuhan from the wings and uses him to confront an obnoxious pontificator who is standing in line behind him, then Allen looks at the camera and says, "Boy if only life were like this!" Glenn Greenwald is who I'd like to pull out of the wings.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Maybe we should ban them from serving in Congress

Good grief, look at this guy. If he's not gay, I'll eat my hat. So maybe if "they shouldn't be guiding our children" they shouldn't be serving in Congress either. New Rule: Gays can only serve in Congress if they're out and proud - closeted homosexuals and lesbians banned! That right there would thin out the ranks of probably most Republicans. I like it!

Barry Eisler

The friendly folks at Amazon who surely have nothing but my best interests at heart made a personal recommendation to me that I might enjoy the books of one Barry Eisler, so I took their advice. And I hereby report that I do, indeed, enjoy his books! I just finished the series featuring the character of John Rain, a Japanese-American mercenary assassin, and I enjoyed it enough to want to continue with his subsequent works and I'm well into the first of those, a novel called "Fault Line". What's amusing about it so far are the hints he drops suggesting his own personal political ideology which seems to slant pretty heavily, um, left. There was some suggestion of this in the Rain series also, but in this novel it seems to be a little more pronounced. For example, a leading female character is an Iranian American young woman who becomes interested in politics and finds that she prefers reading blogs much more than "mainstream media" which is "too affiliated with corporate interests" (or something like that - I don't have the book with me to quote it word for word). Then there was this rib-tickler: She goes to college where she meets her first boyfriend to whom she loses her virginity and his name is - wait for it....Josh Marshall! Heh. To top that off, her next boyfriend is John Cole! I notice that Cole's blog has Eisler's latest book prominently advertised, but that doesn't necessarily indicate endorsement. However, to further support my theory that Mr. Eisler's fiction supports a leftist perspective, I saw the other day that Juan Cole over at Informed Comment had this blog post which is a pretty good recommendation also. I'm about to go to lunch and do some more reading!

UPDATE: Oh for Pete's sake, two seconds into my lunch time reading I come to this:
A moment later, another woman's voice came on, throatier than the first, the tone more businesslike. "Hello, this is Director Jane Hamsher, Computer Architecture, Software, and Information Security. May I ask to whom I'm speaking?"
LOL! This is great fun. Also - I completely forgot to mention (this makes me feel dumb): I didn't get the reference until all these other blog names came up, but the first character in the book is a guy who gets murdered, and his name is Hilzoy! Yes, Virginia, there is a definite trend here....

Friday, August 6, 2010

Fred's seen a movie!

Our pal, TexasFred is blathering on again today about something or other to do with how Obama is Destroying America because he's such a moonbat SecretMuslim wuss, or something, and in the middle of his rant he throws this out:
Did any of you ever watch a movie called *A Few Good Men*?

The lead character is a bleeding heart wuss lawyer and he used the flight records from Gitmo to Washington, D.C. as the basis for his analysis into the habits of Col. Jessup.
This cracks me up. I've actually seen this weird phenomenon on more than one occasion - a rightwinger citing A Few Good Men as some sort of validation for whatever twisted thing is going on in what passes in their circle for "brains." At first I wondered if any of them had ever SEEN the actual movie (Do they KNOW that it was directed by Rob Reiner? Do they know who Rob Reiner is? I'm guessing Not.) or if they were just swooning over a clip that showed Jack Nicholson hollering, "You can't HANDLE the truth!" and were so busy having multiple orgasms after that they missed the ending which contains MY favorite line in which Lt. Kaffee says to Col Jessup:
Don't call me "son." I'm a lawyer and an officer in the United States Navy, and you're under arrest, you son of a bitch.
Woo Hoo!! Strike up the Band!

UPDATE: I think it's probably unfair to point out Fred's error about the "flight records" as support for my contention that he didn't actually see the movie - they were phone records, not "flight" records (and they weren't used "as the basis for his analysis into the habits of Col. Jessup" - they were used to prove that Col. Jessup was lying in his testimony under oath. Wingnuts might remember that this process is called "committing perjury".); but that's a pretty minor error and one that would be easy to make unless one is a movie fanatic like me! Still, Fred's an idiot. Period.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Target Update

Wow. Good for him, and good for the woman who started it all.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

RIP Mitch Miller

My parents thought he was great.



This is the sort of thing that, in my day, would only be watched while under the influence of major mind-altering substances.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Some Sweet Inspiration

For when the real world is just too damn depressing.



Vocal gymnastics are all well and good, but it's pure soul that gives mom Cissy the edge over Whitney:



And how cool to see the Derek Trucks Band cover their signature song!



And here are the girls offering up a sample of that sound that you will recognize from the background of many favorites:



Their story here.

Target Target

Stand up and cheer for this lady!



Story here.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Breitbart has competition

...for Asshole of the Year Award: This is un-fracking-believable.

Our far flung correspondent

I have a friend who has recently moved to Italy and I thought you all would enjoy hearing about his experiences with finding housing:
To all my old friends,

Some of you may not know that I recently moved to Italy. I have a job working for the U.S. Army at Camp Darby, just outside of Pisa. In Tuscany. It's wonderful, a dream come true and I'm loving it, but should you ever want to experience the thrill of moving into a house here, read on...


NOW DON"T GET ME WRONG..., I like my house. And I'm sure that it once was very nice and comfortable for its inhabitants, and most likely can be again. There is just this odd little transition period I have to get through before it feels like home. You see, things work a little differently here in Italy than in other places I have lived.

A little background.....

I am given paid housing (up to a limit) as part of my job benefits. There is no on-post housing at Camp Darby so everyone must find a place to live "on the economy" as they say. There is a "housing department" here on post that has a book with photos of available private properties. You can choose several to go and inspect. A person from Housing will go with you to show you places you may want to live. They also assist you in negotiating with the landlord, signing leases and setting up utilities, etc. Otherwise, this process would be a nightmare for non-Italian speakers.

The vast majority of the available housing are apartments or duplexes, single family houses being relatively rare and expensive in this area.
I chose 6 properties to go and inspect. All were within 30 to 45 minutes commute time of Camp Darby. 5 of the 6 were apartments in outlying areas. They were all nice and relatively new, if a bit far away and a little too "suburban" and isolated for my tastes. Great for families, but not so great for a single person who likes to get out and walk to restaurants, shops and other places.

The 6th place was a stand-alone house in Tirrenia, a seaside resort town only about 5 miles from Camp Darby. Now you would think that this town would be the most desired location for anyone looking for a place to live. Alas, that is not the case. Lots of people told me "It's too hot and humid in summer." "It's too crowded with vacationers and people will block your driveway." "It used to be swampland and the mosquitos are ferocious." "It is completely dead in winter", etc, etc, etc.

Despite the warnings, I really liked the fact that what I saw in Tirrenia was a private house with a nice front and back yard, it was close to work, and you could walk 5 or 6 blocks to the little town square and to the beach. Perfect I think.

When I first walked in, it was apparent that the house had not been lived in for some time. It had a very musty smell and was not very clean. The tile floors were dusty and the whitewashed walls a bit dingy. The yard was overgrown with weeds, the back door was old and not very sturdy and the kitchen had nothing, and I mean NOTHING in it but the kitchen sink. This was my first eye-opener about Italian houses. I asked the housing guy who was with me where were all the cabinets and shelves? He looked at me as if I had just been jettisoned from a passing cargo ship and washed up on shore. "No Italian houses have shelves, cabinets or appliances. When Italians move, they take their kitchens with them of course."

Ah yes, of course. Silly me. Hmm. This is a bit strange, I think. But, I can deal with this. I know that the Army is going to furnish me with appliances for the duration of my stay. As for shelves etc., I can always find an IKEA sooner or later. Or maybe someone who is moving back to the states and wants to sell stuff.

I also make a comment about how dirty the house is and the housing guy tells me...."Well, in Italy, landlords don't like to do any work or clean up before they get a commitment." So, essentially places here are shown "as is" with no forethought given whatsoever to presentation, curb appeal or any of those other odd American concepts that we foolishly think may lure prospective tenants into our properties. Here you first have to make a commitment to the landlord (by signing a lease and forking over deposits), then you have to really hope that he will clean up the place and do repairs in turn.

The house consists of two bedrooms, a long, narrow living room with a fireplace, a large foyer or entryway, one bathroom with a claw-foot bathtub and no shower or shelves or mirror, and the aforementioned kitchen, such as it is. All the floors are made of a solid rust-colored Italian tile. There are no carpets or rugs anywhere. Nor are there any lights or even light fixtures. On the ceilings are 3 wires hanging down in every room where an overhead light should be.

My housing person sees me looking at the dangling wires and just as I turn to ask him why there are no lights, he arches one eyebrow and I immediately know the answer. "Italians take their lights with them when they move, don't they?," I say. "Yes, Signore McDaniel, that is correct." Hmm.

Armed with all this information and with the notes I have made about each place I have seen that day, I retreat back to base to the hotel where I have been staying for a month. I am feeling somewhat overwhelmed and confused. What to do? Which one to pick? Should I go see more?
I mull over it all for the next week.

As expected, I get conflicting advice from my all Italian staff in the library. "Go Look at More", "Don't Settle", "It Sounds Great!", "Don't Rush In", "Make Sure it's the Right One,You're Going to Be There a Long Time."

Of course all this advice makes me feel so much better.

Before going out to look at places, I had been given a checklist by my staff of things I should look for in a property.:

1. Does it have double-pane windows (it gets cold here in winter)?
2. Do the windows have mosquito screens?
3. Do the front and back doors fit snugly, can you see light when they are closed?
4. Is it air-conditioned?
5. Has it been freshly painted on the inside and cleaned?

My House:

1. No
2. No
3. No and Yes
4. No
5. No and No

Despite knowing all this, eventually the siren song of convenience to base, short commute, walking distance to shops and restaurants and proximity to the beach sway my decision. The real estate maxim holds true over here as well...it's all about location, location, location. I go for the fixer-upper.

Some people look at me as if to say "Boy, have you made a mistake." Others say "You will love it!"

And now the REAL fun begins.

My first duty is to meet with the landlord and the housing guy to sign a contract. I say "contract" because it all seems to be much more formal and official than a mere lease. It has to be registered and certified at the municipality and then signed by a notary. During this meeting with the landlord, I am informed that my lease is for 4 years. "Wait a minute!" "4 years?" "Who said anything about 4 years?" It's the standard Italian contract, Signore McDaniel. "It is?" Yes.
"But what if I want to leave the house and live somewhere else?" Ah, but you simply have to give 6 months official notice Signore McDaniel. "6 months?"
Yes.
Hmm.

After a few more bombshells like the fact that I have to pay the first month's rent and 2 months deposit, plus the annual heating inspection and the septic tank inspection and the garbage pickup fees, etc., I'm beginning to understand that in Italy, all the rights and privileges are on the side of the landlord, and all the obligations and fees are on the side of the tenant. Hmm. Is this what 2500 years of civilization does to a housing market? During the lease negotiations, I do manage to get a commitment out of the landlord to clean up the place, repair some broken shutters and paint the interior of the house. His return volley is to say that if he paints the interior now, then I will have to have it repainted when I move out. "Is this normal?" I enquire of my housing person. Yes, Signore McDaniel, it is. Hmm.

The following week I'm off to the Water Company's office in Pisa to have the water turned on in my name. Why could this not be done over the phone? Because it seems that the tenant previous to me (an Italian fortunately, not an American) had not paid his last few water bills before he moved out and in Italy, when that happens, they come out and remove the entire water meter, and not just turn off the water supply. Why? I have no earthly idea. However, my housing guy seems non-plussed by the whole concept so I just take it at face value and move on. What it really means is that we have to go to the main office and fill out lots of forms to get it turned back on and a new meter installed. 2 hours later we are done.

Next is turning on the electricity which is accomplished with remarkable efficiency and a minimum of fuss. Feeling as if I am on a roll, there only remains the gas to be turned on. My housing guy makes an appointment for the gas technician to come to the house and tells me to be there when he's there so I can sign some paperwork. Easy enough I think. Since this appointment is to occur the following Monday, I think this may be a good time to move most of my stuff in and finally get out of the hotel on post. So, I move the majority of my stuff to the house over the weekend and just leave a toothbrush and change of clothes in the hotel room so I can go back there and sleep on Sunday night.

At 9:00am on Monday morning, I am at the house and the gas company technician arrives. He is on a scooter. He says hello to me and I grunt something back in Italian and he starts looking around for the gas meter. He finds it and then looks at me strangely. I wonder what is going on and he motions me over. "Signore, blah,blah,blah,blah.............." he starts rattling off in Italian. Although I have no idea what he is telling me, his finger pointing to a gaping hole where the gas line should be tells me everything I need to know.

It seems that this time, since the gas bills had not been paid, the gas company had not removed the meter but had decided to remove about 4 feet of the gas line itself to the house. Why? I have no earthly idea.

I look incredulously at the technician, and in my best Spanish/French/English mishmash, try to ask him "But you are with the gas company, weren't you supposed to know that there was no pipe before you came out here???" My poorly expressed sarcasm is completely lost on him (he understands nothing I am saying) and I resort to calling my housing representative to find out what is going on. I hand the technician my cell phone and after a few minutes of discussion, it is decided that another department of the company will have to come out and install some new pipe before I can get gas. The new appointment is for the following Monday.

So, there I am, almost moved in, but with no gas for cooking or hot water for showers. Luckily I did not tell the hotel on post that I was leaving so they have not canceled my room. I load up my car again and trudge back to the hotel with most of my things.

Now all of these showings and utility appointments are taking place during business hours and I am starting to feel a bit guilty about leaving work so much. However, no one else seems to think much about it and it appears no one is keeping tabs. Still, in an effort to reduce my lost work time, I have the brilliant idea of scheduling ALL my remaining appointments for the same morning on the same day. Might as well kill several birds with one stone, I think.

The next Monday rolls around and I am again back at my house with my car full of stuff. It is 8:30am. The first guy to show is a different gas technician. He immediately starts cutting and fitting pipe for the gas line. So far so good. Next to show are two guys who are bringing me the kitchen appliances that the Army provides you as long as you are working here. They start trundling in with a stove, a washing machine, a dryer and a refrigerator. This is great I think. What a deal! Minutes later the first hiccup occurs. There is only one water line in the kitchen. It goes to the sink and nowhere else.
The solution is to put the washing machine outside on the back wall of the house where there is another water line. "Okay, I can live with that. It's better than no washing machine at all", I say to myself. It even reminds me a little of my grandmother's old wringer-washer that used to sit out on the back porch of the farm house.

Around this time, another truck arrives which contains my temporary furniture. They have a bed, a couch, a couple of wardrobes, nightstands, etc. I will use these until my own furniture arrives from the States. There is much confusion and noise going on in the house. Workmen are asking me for screwdrivers and wrenches and where I want things. Through sign language and my feeble Italian, I mostly understand what they want. Another repairman shows up and is in the bathroom trying to fix my outside shutter. He's making a total mess in there and I am wondering who is going to clean it up.

One of the workmen is up on a tall ladder installing overhead lights. Yes, that is a service the Army also provides as it is a well-known fact that no Italian houses have light fixtures. Why did I not know this? The only problem is that I miscounted how many overhead lights I needed and now I have run 2 short. Unfortunately, the bathroom did not make the cut so I will have to bathe in darkness until I can reorder some lights.

About two hours after all this began, I start smelling gas. It has a really rancid smell to it, not at all like the sort of sickly-sweet smell that is added to American natural gas. This smell is much more like rotten meat or sulphur or worse and it chases me out of the house almost immediately. I find the gas technician and ask him if everything is okay. He says yes, it's only some old, bad air in the lines. Man, I'll say, I'm thinking.

Inside the kitchen, most of the appliances have been installed. They are checking the stove and out comes that foul smell again. Once more, I retreat to the front yard. "No problem signore, it will go away." " You will see." Famous last words I am thinking.

At some point during all this brou-ha ha, a little old man shows up in my living room. He is not wearing a uniform and I have not seen him before. I don't think he is one of the various workmen as he seems to be past retirement age. He's about 5ft.3 with snow white hair. He seems friendly and introduces himself. I am Filippo La Bella, he says. He knows no English but I am able to ascertain that he is the previous tenant of my house. I am a bit surprised to see him. He starts pointing to the back yard at a storage shed. I understand that some of his belongings are still in that shed and he seems to want to know when would be a convenient time to come with a van and take it all away. "I work during the week but you can come on the weekend if you would like", I tell him. I reach into my front pocket to get my cell phone (so I can look up my own number) and the loose button on my shorts that I have been ignoring for days decides to give way. It shoots onto the floor with a light clank and rolls away and my shorts start slipping down my legs. I freeze and leave my hand in my shorts to hold them up. Mr. La Bella says nothing but looks at me a bit oddly. Perhaps he's just being nice, I think. I discretely switch hands, retrieve my cell phone and give him my number and he seems happy with this. He gives me a bemused smile and rides away on a bicycle. I don't know if he saw my button fly off or not. More on him later.

So now I'm running around the house looking for something to hold up my shorts. Well, this is a new house for me so as yet there's no "junk drawer" with a clothespin, or a paper clip or a stapler or a safety pin or anything. There's nothing! The rest of the morning I am walking around the house while the workmen are still there with one hand in my pocket as if I am out for an Autumn stroll.

Around 11:00 am, the gas technician finishes, the furniture and appliance guys are almost done, and in comes the heating inspector. He could not come before the gas was turned back on so I have scheduled him to come right after the gas line has been reinstalled. Turns out that the furnace is in the garage. Furnace is not really the right word. It is in fact one of those "on-demand" water heaters that is hung on a wall and that almost all European homes have. These types of water heaters/furnaces are mostly unfamiliar to Americans. When you turn on the hot water faucet, the heater fires up and heats the water. Just for that one use. There is no hot water heater so no gas is used keeping hot water at the ready.

Now, in general, I think these devices are quite clever and are wonderfully energy efficient. However, there are some tricks to using them as I discovered long ago from bitter experience. First, you must boldly turn on the hot water faucet. After the heater kicks in and you start getting hot water, then you slowly start turning on the cold water faucet. It is highly inadvisable to turn the cold water on too quickly or too forcefully as many times the heater thinks you don't want any more hot water and shuts down. You don't realize the error of your ways for a few seconds until you are soaped up and suddenly are subjected to a blast of frigid cold water as the fire has gone out. Frantic fiddling with the faucets then ensues. The best advice is to leave well-enough alone for the duration of your shower once you find a setting and a temperature you can tolerate.

Anyway, I digress. Around noon, the heater technician is still in the garage. With my hand in my pants, I go to have a look and I see about a million parts scattered on the ground. The technician is shaking his head and tsk-tsking. Uh oh, I know what this means. Moments later my landlord shows up and he and the technician enter into a lengthy conversation about the merits of repairing this old heater or installing a new one. By the looks of the rusty parts I see all around, the decision is clear. There's no hope for this one and a new one must be ordered.
More conversation between the landlord and the technician. I gather that a new one can he had and installed in about 3 days. The landlord looks at me as if to say "You'll appreciate this later on in the year" and so I vaguely agree to the timeline. What else can I do? It's either repair this one and have it break down again in two months or wait for a new one.

So, by mid-afternoon, I am firmly ensconced in my semi-furnished, poorly-lit and cold-water-only house. It's a start, I say to myself. At least I have a place to live. For the next three days, I take the quickest showers known to man. They can't last longer than about 90 seconds. And I'm talking a full shower here. Fortunately, the weather is quite warm so it is not too painful. Since no one can see the back of the house, I open up the bathroom shutter and window completely. It's a large window, almost as big as a door. I have a vague yet exhilarating feeling of showering outside.

So I'm here. It's not quite a home yet, but I'm working on it. Stay tuned for further episodes of "Mikey Moves to Italy."
Don't miss next week's episode where Mr. La Bella returns to the house and goes into a rant! Also, look for "How to test a new home furnace."

Ciao,
Mike
Mike's kitchen on move-in day:


And Mike's washing machine:


For the record, I fall firmly in the camp of those saying "You'll love it!" but then I'm not the one taking cold showers in the dark.

Monday, July 26, 2010

But his name is Dudley!

This post echos thoughts that I had when I heard the news of Hayward's probable ouster this morning on BBC. They made it sound like he was being forced out for not handling PR well enough, instead of, you know, destroying the Gulf of Mexico.
Before you go celebrating the fact that finally somebody from BP has lost their job over this leak, keep in mind that this isn't exactly a model example of accountability. Hayward isn't being canned because of BP's poor safety record, which had been established long before the disaster in the Gulf.

Instead, Hayward is being canned because BP thinks he wasn't a good spokesman. In other words, BP thinks their problems have more to do with the nationality of their CEO than the consequences of their corporate policies. And with their new pick, selecting a long-time BP insider to replace Hayward, BP is signaling that they have no real intention of changing anything about how they do business. The only thing they want to change is the accent. But even if this move does end up helping BP's shareholders in the short-term, it won't make anybody safer or more secure, and it won't help stop their next disaster. It's an image move, having nothing to do with substance.
UPDATE: I had intended to write a longer post and got interrupted - hence, the rather odd heading. It's just kind of a funny coincidence: My father was in the Air Force and he was stationed in England in the mid-fifties when I was about 3 - 5 years old. My earliest memories are of this time. And we had a cat named Dudley. My parents subsequently bought our first of what would eventually be four bull terriers whereupon Dudley disappeared. I mourned the loss of Dudley by naming one of my many stuffed toys (a black and white cat, like Dudley) after him. So it's amusing to me that the American - possibly chosen for his American-ness - should be named Dudley.

A Very Merry Un-Birthday, Heydave!

I can't believe I missed heydave's birthday. Especially since, after I missed it LAST YEAR, I have had it on my calendar with even a reminder a week ahead. Except that I apparently got the date wrong. So there you go. But don't feel too badly for him - heydave does have friends who know how to do a Happy Birthday and do it RIGHT!

Still, I must make amends. When I asked him how he has been celebrating his birthday, he told me he's been painting his house (yeah! That's certainly what comes to MY mind when I think, How shall I celebrate my birthday?) and since we know now how much of a Hopper fan heydave is, this painting came to mind:



Now I know that this is a painting OF a house, but since I couldn't find a painting of Painting A House, this is the next best thing which is a painting of a house that heydave should probably feel good that he doesn't have to paint. Happy Belated Birthday, heydave!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Mexicans are coming! The Mexicans are coming!

Oh for heaven's sakes. Brace yourselves, and to do so you should start with TBogg who gives this story its proper slant.

Now as you might expect, TexasFred is all over this, although - credit where credit is due - he does express some skepticism. But his "skepticism" is kept in small print, and you can tell how much he really WANTS the story to be true, despite his doubts. For one thing, the headline of his post is this:
Multiple Ranches in Laredo, TX Taken Over by Los Zetas
Then, in small print underneath:
Invasion or Hoax? Did The Cypress Times get *had*?
He reprints the whole stupid story, then ends his post with this:
Some have said that a TOTAL NEWS BLACKOUT has been imposed on the MSM. I find that VERY hard to believe. Even a total blackout would still render at least some information.

The MSM is a devious bunch, they’d have a guy up in an Ultra-Lite plane with a cell phone camera if that’s what it took.

This is either a huge hoax or a huge cover-up. I’m thinking HOAX!
"Huge" either way!

But, as dumb as Fred is, it's his commenters that take the prize. Behold:

From "Bloviating Zeppelin":
As I wrote to you, YOU’VE done more work on just this story than the bulk of American “journalists.” I can understand the MSM wanting to quash this story as it potentially places our darker, more violent brethren to the south in a poor light and would lend credence to border states wishing to place a more controlled grip on illegal invasion.

Think about it: if it IS true and the story gets out, this will be the possible match that lights a firestorm. An actual invasion of this country.

But be careful; be very careful. Verify. Always verify.
From "mrchuck":
Great scoop Texas Fred!
If no Texas ranchers have been killed, then it is time for our forces, Sheriff and help, or Texas Rangers, to go in there and re-claim Texas land for the Texas Landowner.
If it becomes true fact, the the Governor can mobilize the Texas Natl Guard to respond in force immediately.
Congrats for getting this out to your blog readers.
I love that part< "If it becomes true fact,"...

Next up, "HoosierArmyMom":
Since this is exactly the sort of thing that gives credence to Arizona’s case and make MaObama’s minions, especially that communist troll Eric Holder, look like utter idiots, the liberal media can be counted on to keep this quiet, but you are right to tread lightly. It is good that we can count on you Fred, to do the leg work, research and get to the truth.

I await further details. I’m proud to be a reader of your blog and your friend. God Bless Texas and the USA!
Yes indeed, this is "exactly" the sort of thing to make Obama and Eric Holder ("that communist troll"!) look like utter idiots! Especially if it becomes true fact!

Fred chimes in here with (and the bolding is all his, I promise):
I don’t think the *liberal* media is keeping ANYTHING quiet… I am pretty sure that it’s a hoax…

I don’t give a damn WHO the POTUS or AG is, this is HUGE, if it’s real, there’s no way in hell even Olberdouche and Tingles wouldn’t be all over it…

If it is real, and if there has been a *forced* media blackout, the Constitution just became a trash basket liner…
That's a mighty big "IF" there, Fred!

Now we have "Robert" who can't help but think that the story is probably a hoax, so he has JUST the the answer:
I’m thinking hoax as well. I posted as much on my blog. My only question now is WHY? Who benefits? Only one answer.

Liberal so-called journalists would benefit from massive hysteria and mexico bashing that would be happening if this were true. The MSM would then be pointing to this instant as a reason to “Regulate” the blogsphere. As of right now if this incident truly is a HOAX then it’s a huge fail for the MSM and their liberpuke journalists.

I suggest we do not let this story die, I want to know who was behind it if it is proven fake. The good folks in Loredo PD deserve to know who is responsible for the extra work they have had to do. How many LEGITIMATE calls didn’t get through because of this? How many folks didn’t get help as soon as they should have because of this? WE SHOULD DEMAND ANSWERS.
And "Alwaysonwatch" is quick to run with Robert's meme:
believe that the mainstream media is desperate enough to bait us so as to discredit us later.

The “professional journalists” love to make fun of us bloggers. Of course, it is we bloggers who are publishing THE FACTS about Obama and others who are undermining our nation. If the mainstream media can discredit us in any way, they will.

Good post, Fred!
Heckuvajob, Fred!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A pot o' puree

This post is all nice and reasonable and you find yourself nodding and going Yeah! but there's a sizable and sickening jolt at the end. You are warned.

I haven't linked to Maha in awhile - this one is good.

RIP Daniel Shorr. Another good reason to listen to NPR gone.

No, the TeaPartyGOP's not comprised of mostly racist lunatics, not at all. Whatever gave you that idea?

When it started, by Driftglass.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Edward Hopper



I love this one - it has a decidedly Diebenkorn-ish feel to it!

Birthday greetings also to Alex Trebek, all of 70 years young today! I was going to post a YouTube but the selection was pretty terrible ("Alex Trebek drunk"; "Alex Trebek laughs at contestant"; "Alex Trebek is a jerk"; etc. etc. - good grief, has Trebek been Breitbarted??).

Bigger issues

There are two larger issues connected to the Sherrod incident which, shockingly, the mainstream media seems to be missing. One is the widespread and destructive ability of rightwing sleaze peddlers like Breitbart to affect outcomes such as Sherrod's firing and the destruction of ACORN. The other is the story of Pigford suit which strongly suggests that the targeting of Sherrod was timed and quite deliberate.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"the political shop in the White House"

What Digby said.

I'm sorry, but I keep hearing that these are the guys who "are contemptuous of what they see as liberal lamentations unhinged from historical context or contemporary political realities."

Obama's political team was brilliant during the campaign that got him elected. Ever since, not so much.

Happy Birthday, Norman Jewison!

On a brighter note, what a body of work this guy has! Some of my favorites: The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming; In the Heat of the Night; A Soldier's Story; Agnes of God; and Moonstruck.

In other related news, for all you co-movie-buffs out there, Turner Classic Movies is showing 12 Angry Men in prime time tonight - a wonderful movie produced by and starring Henry Fonda. Don't miss it!

Shirley Sherrod

So. In the latest chapter of the great American Story, "Conservatives Always Win", Sherrod may or may not be offered her job back. My advice to her is: Don't take it unless that dolt who fired you loses HIS job. Yeah, but what do I know - I'm just a DFH from the liberal blogosphere whose complaints are "unhinged from historical context or contemporary political realities."

UPDATE: OMFG. What a lying, sleazy, sack of shit is Andrew Breitbart.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Liberal Libretto

As performed by the Rolling Stones:

Scene I opens with Libby the Liberal Blogger reading a Politico piece which contains a by-now-familiar refrain:
In private conversations, White House officials are contemptuous of what they see as liberal lamentations unhinged from historical context or contemporary political realities.
To which Libby responds with a warning to the Democratic leadership:



In Scene II, Democratic elites describe their perception of the situation:



Scene III gives us Libby, looking for relief:



and declaring, finally:

Shocking!

The Rude Pundit is profane (rude?) and teabagging Tea Partiers are stupid.

And who could have known that Bush administration adventures would turn out to be colossal failures!

Learn something new every day!

H/T Crooks and Liars.

Monday, July 12, 2010

"Forget it, Jake...."

This is not the way to start a Monday morning. If you can stomach it, read this absurdly fawning news article. Some excerpts:
"I ask only to be treated fairly like anyone else," Polanski said in May, as officials spent months pondering his fate.
Of course, that is precisely what he is NOT asking. If he were treated "like anyone else" he would have served his time in jail for the crime he pleaded guilty to. His money and influence have allowed him to flee the country and continue to work and live a life of luxury. "Fairness" was not any part of this equation.

And what better character witness to call forth on the child rapist's behalf than Woody Allen?
However, despite the rape allegations, many in Hollywood have continued to compliment his filmmaking skills and continue to work with him in Europe. Most recently, Woody Allen, who has seen his own share of controversy, said Polanski has suffered enough.

"It's something that happened many years ago ... he has suffered, he has not been allowed to go to the United States. He was embarrassed by the whole thing," Allen said during the Cannes Film Festival.
He has "suffered enough", he was "embarrassed". Poor thing. And what of the 13-year-old girl he drugged and raped?
"He's an artist, he's a nice person, he did something wrong and he paid for it," the actor/director said. "[The critics] are not happy unless he pays the rest of his life. They would be happy if they could execute him in a firing squad."
Woody, honey, I've loved some of your films and recognize your talent, but that kind of bullshit coming from you makes me want to put YOU in front of a firing squad!

And, what she said.

UPDATE: Also this, which points us to this.

There may be multiple updates to this post. These points can't be made often or loudly enough.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Unforced errors

Wingnut trolls that show up over at Mike's place (or used to, haven't seen them in quite a while, mercifully) would often sneer about how all of us moonbats were so in the tank for Obama and how we thought he was the Obamamessiah, and yada, yada, and would cackle with delight at our anger and disappointment with the current state of Democratic governance. So I enjoyed the following "disclaimer" at the beginning of this post from Jacob Davies at Obsidian Wings:
First, some disclaimers. I think Barack Obama was clearly the best choice of the Democratic primary candidates, and because I wasn't repeatedly dropped on my head as a baby, I think he was clearly better than the McCain/Palin ticket, in much the same way that a nice hot cup of tea is "better" than having your home planet destroyed by the Death Star.

Still, not everything has gone quite according to plan, and I think some problems could have been avoided.
I agree with everything on his list, but I think he overlooked a couple: I would have included Obama's "Look forward, not back" policy with regard to the war crimes committed by the Bush administration, and his decision to cede the public option in back-room negotiations with the insurance industry at the beginning of the health care reform debate.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

So easy - all you gotta do is ask!





Julie - you'd better get that sound system working!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Do you miss George W. Bush?

Yeah, me neither. Go vote.

H/T TBogg who also gives us this:
Thinking there might be a companion site for fans of Dick Cheney I searched under We Miss Dick! but it turned out to be a support site for Exodus members who are having second thoughts.

I bet a lot of people go there by mistake.

Comments

Something weird seems to be happening with my Comments. I've received comments in my email that are not showing up on the blog. I've tried copying them from my email to the blog comments, but they are not counting as "Comments" on the face of the blog. Strange! Not sure if this is just a problem on my computer, or if the same thing is happening for those of you who are leaving comments (Hi Mike! Hi Freewheel!).

UPDATE: Seems to be something with my computer. A couple of reboots later, something about "cookies" and the comments seem to be working now, though it looks like I might have lost one of Freewheel's. Can't have that!

Happy Birthday to Mike and the Dalai Lama!

Emails I never finished reading...

Remember the 80-year-old wingnut coworker I wrote about here who retired a few months ago? Occasionally someone asks me if I've heard from her and, until yesterday, I always said no.

Imagine my surprise to find email from Alice in my in-box yesterday morning, with the heading in the subject line of "Proud to be an American"! Thinking how nice it was that Alice was sending out July 4 greetings to one and all in - no doubt - a spirit of unity and comity, I opened it to read:
Nice little stories about America BEFORE ovomit
Whereupon I hit the Delete button.

Monday, July 5, 2010

It may be a World O' Crap, but it's a slightly better world...

...when s.z. is back in it.

In which we wonder what's what and who's who?

Edroso points us to this new article at the Voice, talking about the righties' reaction to the death of Robert Byrd, and, naturally, it reminded me of our own fine specimen of homegrown lunacy, TexasFred, who posted a photoshopped picture of Byrd in KKK gear on the day of his funeral. Ha Ha!

I know - it IS hilarious! Is that TexasFred denouncing Robert Byrd, a Democrat, for RACISM? Yesterday, in celebration I suppose, for the 4th of July, Fred posted a picture of Obama as a Mexican, under the title "El loco presidente". But Fred's not a racist! YOU'RE a racist!

A day late and several dollars short

I think I am one of about 3 people in the entire country that didn't get a day off today, but it sure made the commute in pleasant! I couldn't think of anything July 4-ish yesterday, but this morning I remembered this wonderful Henry Gibson song from Nashville:



I think I may just have to go out and rent that one again.

Hope all of you had a lovely weekend - mine was low-key, but quite nice!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Nadal wins Wimbledon

Straight sets, not surprising.

So you don't have to

Oh the sacrifices of our liberal pundocricy! And you gotta love the picture that accompanies this post.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Blues make it better

If this doesn't get your toes tappin, you're beyond hope:

Weekend

Been too disgusted with everything to blog.

Going to watch Serena Williams win Wimbledon this morning, then go have lunch with friends.

Other people are writing good stuff, though, so you should go read them! Glenzilla has been on fire lately (I hope Matt Drudge will pardon the expression), this in particular, but also don't miss today's post about the NYT. And this is a must-read from Obsidian Wings.

Later.

UPDATE: Speaking of the NYT post by Glenn, it contains this QOTD:
Kynan Barker asks a very good question: "If NYT/WaPo's credibility is now contentious, should they avoid using the PC term 'journalism' to describe their activities?"

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Things That Make Me Want To Hurl

Michael O'Hanlon.

Saw him spouting this crap on BBC this morning. What an asshole.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Not surprising

As expected, the U.S. District Judge in the Eastern District of Louisiana struck down the Obama administration measley six-month moratorium on NEW deepwater drilling:
A federal judge struck down the Obama administration's six-month ban on deepwater oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday, saying the government rashly concluded that because one rig failed, the others are in immediate danger, too.
Yeah, go figure. How "rash"! Also not surprising is this:
Feldman's financial disclosure report for 2008, the most recent available, shows holdings in at least eight petroleum companies or companies that invest in them, including Transocean Ltd., which owned the Deepwater Horizon. The report shows that most of his holdings were valued at less than $15,000, though it did not provide specific amounts.
Oh.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Books to Film

Hope all of you dads out there had a great day yesterday! I did the obligatory watching of To Kill A Mockingbird - obligatory not necessarily because it was Fathers' Day, but obligatory because whenever it shows, I have to watch it. It's fun to browse that page at IMDB; for instance, I like the comments people leave about which scenes always make them cry. I agreed with most of them, but was surprised at the ones that were missing: I always tear up during Atticus' summation to the jury when he says, "In the name of God, do your duty. In the name of God, believe Tom Robinson." (Did you know that Gregory Peck did that scene in ONE TAKE?? That Oscar was well-earned, I tell you what!), and I also always cry when, near the very end, Atticus extends his hand to Boo Radley and says, "Thank you Arthur. Thank you for my children." Good Lord, I cry just writing about it!!

Speaking of tears, those were real tears that Brock Peters produced in his incredible testimony scene when, having been asked by Atticus if he had raped Mayella Ewell, he responded, "I did not, sir." Gregory Peck said that, during the filming of that scene, he couldn't look directly at Peters because he was in danger of losing his own composure, which is not surprising. Also, I didn't know that Brock Peters had delivered the eulogy at Peck's funeral.

So, this morning I was thinking about good books-to-movies transitions and here is my spontaneous, not-very-extensively-thought-about list. I also started thinking about what I think are some of the WORST books-to-movies transitions. All very subjective, your suggestions welcome!

Good (or great) books made into good (or great) movies:

Yes, TKAM has to top this list.
The Godfather and The Godfather, Part II
The Grapes of Wrath
The Exorcist
Howard's End
The Shining, and while we're on Kubrick, we might as well add A Clockwork Orange

I'm sure there are many that I am forgetting. Let's see what comes up in the comments! Meanwhile, here's my short list (so far) of good/great/moderately good books that were made into terrible (or at least, disappointing to me) movies:

Practical Magic
The Cider House Rules
Blood Work
UPDATE: How could I forget The Prince of Tides? I just can't warm up to Barbra Streisand. Like Liza Minnelli, I can appreciate her talent, but her personality just rankles, and it has to be a really, really good movie for me to get past my dislike of those two Stars. (Cabaret managed it, but I can't think of another example. But I digress!)

And this is a special category, I didn't like either the book OR the movie:

The Bridges of Madison County

New Blog

Photojournalist and friend, Vic, is traveling in Haiti and has started a blog about it. Enjoy!

Summer's here!

Happy Summer Solstice, everyone! Since I can't go to Stonehenge to celebrate, I'm going to have to make do with some Beach Boys music:

Thursday, June 17, 2010

And it's not even Israel!

Anyone else remember wingnuts screeching about how treasonous it was for the POTUS to apologize for America to a foreign country? Is there anyone with even a shred of sanity left in the Republican Party?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Stay classy, BP

Housing clean-up workers in corrugated steel boxes, and then there's this:
I've seen some pathetic excuses for cleanup out here—were the workers on Elmer's at least making some progress? "They're not being effective out here," Elmer said. "Two days after your article, they bused in twice as many workers, so they're up to 120 guys on Elmer's now, but I can't see any considerable difference. They're only working five sites and it's eight miles of beach. No one seems concerned about cleaning it up. The contractors are getting their money; they don't care. They've got all these people out there, but they're not accomplishing anything."

Oh, wait. Not nothing: "They've brought in prostitutes." No one knows who the "they" that brought in the pack of hookers is, but the gals have definitely arrived, and you can buy time with one for $200. It only took someone a whole month even to figure out that it would be lucrative to sell sex to guys earning 44 hours of overtime a week and living in camps and converted 18-wheelers.

If they believe their own rhetoric

Someone's been sinnin', and God spake.

Me, I wish God would get busy and smite a few more of these eyesores around the country. There's a huge one I have to pass every day on my way to work...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Good news - AL is back!

And since April, no less!

Now I wish Hilzoy would return. They are both fine writers whose clear and intelligent posts are welcome relief from so much drivel that is found in most traditional outlets.

A new generation of DFH's

My 17-yr-old son is sporting a new bracelet with a slogan on it that says: MAKE TACOS NOT WAR - DIAZ.

We chuckled about the fact that we have no earthly idea who "Diaz" is, but his sentiments are certainly fine!

Monday, June 14, 2010

As if they didn't have enough to worry about

There's a passage in the 2006 movie, Blood Diamond in which - and I'm paraphrasing because, surprisingly, it's not included in the quotes at IMDB - Danny and Solomon are walking through a village that has just been decimated by RUF troops and they encounter an old man who starts away in fear at the sight of them, and Solomon speaks to him in his native language to reassure him, saying essentially, "Don't worry brother, he (referring to Danny) just wants diamonds, like everyone else." The old man, surrounded by the corpses of his fellow villagers, responds, "First they came for the gold, now it's diamonds. God forbid they ever find oil here!"

So, yeah, say a prayer for Afghanistan.