Monday, March 28, 2011

War for song and profit!

Driftglass offers an updated version of a beloved (by me, anyway) classic.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

RIP Elizabeth Taylor

She was a beautiful and talented actress, and a great philanthropist. This NYT tribute is quite thorough and good.

I remember Molly Haskell on Turner Classic Movies once commented on her fainting scene in A Place in the Sun, how difficult that was to do. You can see for yourself about 42 seconds into this clip:

Why I Read Amanda Marcotte, Chapter XICIII

The woman speaks truth plainly and eloquently. She always makes me feel proud to be liberal.

Monday, March 21, 2011

"liberal wars"

Words fail. So now we have some kind of distinction between "liberal wars" and "conservative wars"?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

This will not stand, man!

Just saw this on Barry Eisler's twitterfeed:
Obama says no ground troops to Libya. What else that the Constitution prohibits will he announce he won't do?
about 18 hours ago via TweetDeck

If you don't know Eisler's work, and if you are a fan of spy/crime thrillers, you owe it to yourself to check him out.

Wusses in Minnesota

In Texas we just shoot 'em.

Friday, March 18, 2011

I wonder....

Maybe I should just re-name this blog "Republicans Suck" 'cause, you know, there never was any "wondering" about it.

Fox "News" viewers:

Time for some Duck Soup

"The last guy nearly ruined this place, he didn't know what to do with it.
If you think the country's bad off now, just wait till I get through with it!"


I can't find this song in a video that allows it to be embedded.

Okay, so other states are crappy too.

Texans are constantly telling themselves - and anyone else who will listen - that we are Special, that there's just something about Texas that imbues its residents with a certain je ne sais quoi. As a military brat, I lived in a lot of places as I was growing up, and I'll admit that I bought into the myth once I moved here. Texas is....different.

But it appears that Republicans are assholes no matter where they live, and other states are vying for the right to claim that their Republicans are just as Stupid/Evil/Insane as Texas Republicans are! I, for one, am willing to concede, if not at least give them credit for a damn good effort.

Still, I think our state's Let's-Let-College-Students-Shoot-Each-Other Bill should have been on the list.

UPDATE: I dunno, how do you compete with this?

Thursday, March 17, 2011


When are people going to quit voting for Republicans?

Texas is a much crappier place to live since the back-to-back Republican governorships of George W. Bush and Rick "Goodhair" Perry, especially if one is poor or working in a job which tries to provide services to the poor.

This fall, as I've mentioned before, Republicans gained super majorities in both the state House and Senate and of course ol' Goodhair won himself a third term, and they are having themselves a whale of a time trying to see just how fast they can destroy the last remnants of our state. Currently, they are rushing a bill through the lege which will mandate that public universities allow students and faculty to carry firearms. Isn't that a swell idea? Well, overwhelming majorities of students, university administrators and LAW ENFORCEMENT don't think so, but you know who does? Gun manufacturers and their lobby, the NRA! Woo hoo, party time!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Saturday, March 12, 2011

And you thought I was kidding...

...when I said that Republicans would lead the way toward repealing anti-slavery laws.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Manning update

First of all, our thoughts are with the people of Japan and all those affected by the horrific earthquake and tsunamis in the Pacific.


UPDATE [Fri.]: According to Philippa Thomas -- a long-time British journalist and current Neiman Journalism Fellow at Harvard -- State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley was speaking to a small audience of 20 people (including Thomas) at MIT regarding social media, and the following occurred:

And then, inevitably, one young man said he wanted to address "the elephant in the room". What did Crowley think, he asked, about Wikileaks? About the United States, in his words, "torturing a prisoner in a military brig"? Crowley didn’t stop to think. What’s being done to Bradley Manning by my colleagues at the Department of Defense "is ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid" . . .

Thomas noted that Crowley added that Manning deserves to be in prison, but as she puts it: "But still, he’d said it. And the fact he felt strongly enough to say it seems to me an extraordinary insight into the tensions within the administration over Wikileaks." She adds: "A few minutes later, I had a chance to ask a question. 'Are you on the record?' I would not be writing this if he’d said no. There was an uncomfortable pause. 'Sure'." If she's reporting that accurately -- and she's obviously a credible journalist -- then that's quite extraordinary.

Oh Dear. Greenwald gets snippy in response to these comments from our Hopey-Changey Democratic President:
UPDATE V: At a Press Conference just now, ABC News' Jake Tapper asked President Obama about Crowley's comments and Obama replied:

I have actually asked the Pentagon whether or not procedures on Manning meet basic standards. They assure me that they are.

Oh, that's very reassuring -- and such a very thorough and diligent effort by the President to ensure that detainees under his command aren't being abused. He asked the Pentagon and they said everything was great -- what more is there to know? Everyone knows that on questions of whether the military is abusing detainees, the authoritative source is . . . the military. You just ask them if they're doing anything improper, and once they tell you that they're not, that's the end of the matter.

I have no doubt that George Bush asked the DoD whether everything was being run professionally at Guantanamo and they assured him that they were. Perhaps the reason there haven't been any Wall Street prosecutions is because Obama asked Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein if there was any fraud and those banking executives assured the President that there wasn't.
Gosh, one wonders what "basic standards" our President is referring to; would those be our new Post-9/11 George W. Bush Basic Standards of Detainee Treatment?

Thursday, March 10, 2011


What Digby says. Excerpts:
They will take this to court. Who knows what will happen. But this is just the latest in a line of Republican end runs and undemocratic processes used explicitly for the partisan purpose of weakening and emasculating the Democratic party over the past few years. The impeachment of President Clinton was the first, followed by the stolen Bush election, the recall of Gray Davis, the gerrymandering in Texas etc. It's distinctly different than the sort of thing you saw when Democrats passed the final health care bill with a majority instead of a supermajority. That was a policy dispute that broke on party lines. These are purely partisan political actions designed to create a political advantage --- as the top Republican in the Wisconsin senate openly admitted.
But they have done something much bigger than just end collective bargaining for public employees in Wisconsin. They've raised awareness of the labor movement at a time when the middle class is under stress after years of being exploited. They wanted to deliver a coup de grĂ¢ce and have inspired a movement instead.
Like I said, Jump in!

What you can do

In the face of recent roaring onslaught of reactionary social, political, and economic changes and the exasperatingly tepid response of oppostion leadership (when they're not actively colluding, that is), it's hard not to throw up our hands in resignation. Now's not the time to give up, though. Get informed, sign petitions, speak up, give money when you can, and VOTEVOTEVOTE! Here are a couple of opportunities:

1. The case of Bradley Manning is horrifying and I urge you to read every word of this very long and informative post. At the end are some links to petitions that you can sign and organizations that you can donate money to.

2. If you subscribe to the New York Times, read this and then sign this and if they don't print a convincing apology, consider cancelling your subscription.

Opportunities for activism abound and I suspect they are going to soon become a lot more prevalent. Jump in!

Lies and the lying liars

Check out the Steve Forbes quote at the end of this cheerful little blurb about the world's billionaires:
"The super wealthy are people who (clears throat, shifts eyes, sends other signals that a lie is about to be told), almost all of them, have created that wealth...
...says the man who inherited his wealth
...which means they've created vibrant businesses that provide growth for everyone else."
That quote, of course, went unchallenged by the reporter, but to be fair, they did mention earlier in the story that America is "lagging behind" in overall growth - despite still having most of the world's billionaires.

The times they are a changing

Looks like the voters in Wisconsin have some decisions to make. It's hard to imagine that last night's shenanigans won't energize the move to recall a significant number of GOP legislators and even, in January of 2011, Governor Walker. But I hear that Republicans are also attempting to start a movement to recall the Democratic senators who left the state. It will be interesting (or sickening, depending how you look at it) to see how this plays out across the country.

Our insane gun laws

We really have a rightwing in this country that is completely out of control. Good lord. "Self defense" has long been a legal defense for killing someone, but Texas, a state dominated by gun fanatics, decided to ease up on the laws that applied to protecting one's home. This guy shot a 19-year-old kid in the back while he was running away, then shot him four more times as he was going down! That's not "self defense" (which is what the shooter is claiming), that's revenge. That used to be considered murder in Texas courts, now it's not so clear. And Texas taxpayers are going to have to pay for another trial because a juror sought some clarification about that.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What a pity.

I checked, and yes, he really did say this:
I don’t tell jokes. In my books I do comic scenes. One of the better ones involves people buying crates of condoms at Costco. In my column I rarely do humor at all, which is a pity.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

On the brighter side

This is Hopeful, and we will take all Hope we can get, right?

What we've become

Sometimes I wonder if Osama bin Laden has even the capacity to understand just how wildly successful his attacks against the United States have been.

But then, I don't think he can claim all the credit. We've clearly been on this road to self destruction for a long time.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Will the 9/11 First Responders Law Do the Job?

Barbara O'Brien of Mahablog has sent me a guest post:
Will the 9/11 First Responders Law Do the Job?

In the final days of the 111th Congress, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health And Compensation Act, also called the "9/11 First Responders bill," finally passed. The Act will provide medical monitoring and care for those who worked on the smoldering ruins of the World Trade Center after the 9/11 attacks, as well as for many who lived and worked nearby.
However, at the insistence of some senators, the final bill was considerably watered down from what it had been originally. More than $3 billion in funding was cut from s previous version of the bill, for example. Will the revised bill still do the job?
When the Senate passed the bill, initial news reports said that the monitoring and health care program would end after five years. However, the actual language of the bill provides for funding limitations for monitoring and health care after fiscal year 2016, which suggests the program might continue if Congress authorizes funding for it.
The monitoring issue is particularly critical. The collapse of the mammoth World Trade Center towers released thousands of tons of toxic particles into the air. For many weeks after the attacks, people who lived and worked in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn suffered burning eyes and hacking coughs from the foul air. Yet at the time, the federal government and the city of New York assured people the stinging fumes were not dangerous, just unpleasant.
Several days after the terrorist attacks, some independent researchers slipped past the police barricades to take samples. They found the air contained more than twice the number of asbestos fibers considered “safe,” as well as deadly levels of benzene, dioxin, and other toxins.
Why should people exposed to the toxins continue to be monitored? Asbestos in particular is a very slow killer. It has been well documented that the first symptoms of the deadly lung cancer mesothelioma may not show up for 20 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos. But early detection should prolong lives and make mesothelioma treatment and other medical care more effective.
The final bill does close the Victims Compensation Fund in five years, which is separate from the health monitoring and care part of the bill. It also provides for more stringent monitoring of benefits, which might make it harder for people to get into the program.
Today — more than nine years after the attacks — many rescue and recovery workers are suffering deteriorating health. A study published in April 2010 in the New England Journal of Medicine found that New York City firefighters and emergency workers continue to suffer from severe and persistent lung problems because of their exposure to the World Trade Center debris. Some of these 9/11 heroes already have died.
Firefighters, police officers, and other responders who had been begging Congress for help for nine years called the passage of the bill a “Christmas miracle.” Let us hope the final version of the bill will do the job.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Fred's back.

Oh well, that was fun while it lasted. Apparently his downtime was due to switching bloghost from Blogger to WordPress, and there was a glitch or two. Thought you might enjoy this money quote from his explanatory post today (emphasis mine):
Prior update may have been the problem, but the RUSH to get 3.1 out and not get it 100% right is a HUGE problem too I am thinking. Why RUSH a FIX update if it’s not going to actually FIX anything, and is quite likely causing even MORE problems?

For now this update is all I am going to post. I am not going to put the effort into posting that is NOT up to my standards and is not going to give my readers the quality look they have come to expect.

Music for these times that try men's souls...

I fear that our Wingnut/Corporate Overlords are about to drag us into some very harsh times ahead and thus far our side has been poorly represented and ineffectual in coping with the onslaught. It gets a person down sometimes, but music helps!

How do you know when Republicans are lying?

Yeah, yeah, when their lips are moving.

Somehow, I don't think this whining is going to improve their standing in the polls.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Extra, Extra!

Revolutions exploding in Libya, Wisconsin, Ohio - the world is in chaos! - but I've gotcher Big News O' The Day: TexasFred's blog is "temporarily unavailable"! Heh. Let's see how long this shocking development lasts.

Seriously, Fred has claimed in the recent past that "Big Brother" is watching his blog and, frankly, I wouldn't be surprised. His own rantings are bad enough, but his commenters dance way too close to that Line That Must Not Be Crossed if one wishes to stay out of jail for, well, whatever.

Still, we must not get our hopes up. His blog has been down before and, like a chronic disease, he'll probably be back.