Friday, April 29, 2011


(Photo from Time.)

Not everybody cares about the royal spectacle. I certainly don't. Didn't we declare our independence from the monarchy in 1776? And yet there are still Americans who feel they need to pay some sort of respect...

NBC's Brian Williams earns my respect this week. After arriving in London to cover the royal wedding, he was updated on the rising death toll due to the storms, tornadoes and flooding across six states, and turned right around and came back home.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Seriously, Trump?

"I know that there is going to be a segment of people for which no matter what we put out, this issue will not be put to rest. But I am speaking for the vast majority of the American people as well as for the press. We do not have time for this kind of silliness. We have better stuff to do. I have got better stuff to do. We have got big problems to solve. We are not going to be able to do it if we are distracted, we are not going to be able to do it if we spend time vilifying each other... if we just make stuff up and pretend that facts are not facts, we are not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by side shows and carnival barkers." — President Barack Obama, April 27, 2011, on the release of his long-form birth certificate.

"The word is, according to what I've read, is that he was a terrible student when he went to Occidental. He then gets to Columbia, he then gets to Harvard. I heard at Columbia, he wasn't a very good student. He then gets to Harvard. How do you get into Harvard if you're not a good student? Now, maybe that's right, or maybe it's wrong, but I don't know why he doesn't release his records. Why doesn't he release his Occidental records." — Donald Trump, April 27, 2011, trying to keep the crusade alive.
First, let's stop shitting about the President's college records. He was and still is a smart guy. But now that the whole birth certificate nonsense is out of the way, I think the birthers are showing their true colors, in all their ugly racist hues. Of course, the record of Obama's birth will not put an end to the loonies questioning the legitimacy of his presidency...

But really? Now Trump wants to see Obama's college records? Trump is not a "carnival barker." He's a freaking one trick pony.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Slap in the Face

Last night, Jon Stewart reported on... oh hell, you have to see it to believe it:

Part 2:

Yes, so the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, intended to help the heroes of 9-11 with their medical bills, "requires the WTC Program Administrator to determine whether a WTC responder or survivor is on the terrorist watch list prior to his or her enrollment or certification."

Jon Stewart handled the whole WTF, what a slap-in-the-face angle quite well, so I want to bring up one other issue. The U.S. Terrorist Watch List was intended to stop suspected terrorists from boarding commercial aircraft for travel in or out of the United States. I always felt the list was a bad idea to begin with, but now it has turned into a monster. Since September 11, 2001, the list has bloated to over 1 million names. People can be added to this list without due process -- no trial before a judge or jury will take place before a citizen's right to travel is diminished. Furthermore, there is no system to get your name removed from the list. And if you happen to share a name with somebody on the list? Tough luck.

But now it's not just a "no fly list." The stupid thing is being used in new, novel and purely political ways. I don't know how, in a democracy, we can tolerate a secret list of citizens who must constantly be scrutinized as suspects, yet never be given a day in court. If a "no fly list" can turn into a "no health care compensation list," then how long until Congress turns this into a "no vote list" or worse?

Friday, April 22, 2011

And That's The Way It Was

(CBS video.)

That's the way it was on the first Earth Day in 1970.

In 2011, we still haven't seen a huge shift in our national conscience. Giving nature its own rights still seems a bit far-fetched, but I personally like the idea:
Environmental philosophers and other people say that biological communities — ecosystems, habitats, species and populations — have a right to exist. They’re not just valuable because they’re someone’s property. Environmental lawyers say courts should recognize this right, and could allow people to represent nature as legal guardians or trustees.
Hey, if the U.S. courts insist that corporations are people, then why shouldn't an ocean or a river have rights too?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Coldhearted Crackpot

"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." — Kung Fu Monkey.
Despite the massive push by the Heritage Foundation and Freedom Works, the film adaptation of Atlas Shrugged is seeing dismal ticket sales. Perhaps all the Teabaggers who worship at the altar of the selfish, coldhearted crackpot, Ayn Rand, really went Galt this time? Or couldn't part with their gold coins for a movie ticket maybe? Or the movie simply sucks?

The far-right's love affair with Ayn Rand is odd in some ways and quite fitting in others. On the one hand, she was an atheist and believed in abortion rights. According to Rand, "One method of destroying a concept is by diluting its meaning. Observe that by ascribing rights to the unborn, i.e., the nonliving, the anti-abortionists obliterate the rights of the living." The capitalist Randians try to keep this quote hidden from the Christian Randians.

But Rand's philosophic justification of greed is quite fitting to the Republicans. Altruism is immoral. Social goals are for suckers. Self-interest is the only acceptable motivation in society. Life and love are earned through productivity.

In other words, most of us are blood-sucking parasites. This Randian definition would, of course, encompass the soccer moms, Joe the plumbers, and every teabagger out there... but don't tell them that. Their great delusions keep them believing that they are the "better class" that Rand speaks of.

And as self-proclaimed members of this "better class," they can believe any pseudo-intellectual justifications for the growing inequality of wealth in this country.
Economists long ago tried to justify the vast inequalities that seemed so troubling in the mid-19th century—inequalities that are but a pale shadow of what we are seeing in America today. The justification they came up with was called “marginal-productivity theory.” In a nutshell, this theory associated higher incomes with higher productivity and a greater contribution to society. It is a theory that has always been cherished by the rich. Evidence for its validity, however, remains thin. The corporate executives who helped bring on the recession of the past three years—whose contribution to our society, and to their own companies, has been massively negative—went on to receive large bonuses. In some cases, companies were so embarrassed about calling such rewards “performance bonuses” that they felt compelled to change the name to “retention bonuses” (even if the only thing being retained was bad performance). Those who have contributed great positive innovations to our society, from the pioneers of genetic understanding to the pioneers of the Information Age, have received a pittance compared with those responsible for the financial innovations that brought our global economy to the brink of ruin.
This greed-is-good mentality, disdain for humanity and economic disparity are all related. No man (or woman) is an island -- not even a selfish, coldhearted crackpot.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Not Intended To Be A Factual Pie Chart

I think Senator Jon Kyl has liberated us all from the burden of facts. During the recent budget debate, Kyl took to the Senate floor to claim that abortion is well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does. Except in truth, it's more like 3 percent. By the way, this is the same guy who, during the health care debate, was against maternity care because he didn't need it.

When confronted with these drastically rounded-up numbers, Kyl's office replied: "his remark was not intended to be a factual statement, but rather to illustrate that Planned Parenthood, a organization that receives millions of dollars in taxpayer funding, does subsidize abortions."

That's doublespeak for "it was a lie." And it leaves me with a question that I guess I'm the only one naive enough to be asking: aren't there any real repercussions for these lies? If a Democrat can be reprimanded for saying "uterus," then fallout for this has to extend beyond Twitter, I would hope.

Women represent 51.1 percent of the total U.S. population, and they all need to listen up. To every woman who has ever needed health care services or information but lacked insurance, worked a part-time job, been a student, or been poor, well, the Republicans have just said "F-you."

By the way, as Colbert and Maddow both pointed out, don't try to get a pap smear or colonoscopy at Walgreens.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Picture of the Day

(Via THD.)

I know I've been absent lately. I'm trying to get back into a blogging mood. Please stand by.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011


It's scandalous I tell you. Last week Rep. Scott Randolph (D-Orlando) thought he'd mock the Republican's supposed opposition to all regulations. During a debate in the Florida legislature regarding union dues, Randolph suggested that his wife "incorporate her uterus" to stop Republicans from pushing measures that would restrict abortions. Hilarity ensued.

The Republicans didn't say much about the silly idea, but instead were horrified over the word "uterus." Never mind that it's a specific medical term that should come up in any anatomy class. To Republicans, it's an icky part of the female body.

So they banned the word "uterus" from the house floor. Ironically, the anti-regulation conservatives want to regulate speech and women's bodies. Why not go a step further and ban actual uteri?

Besides being a dickish move to reprimand a Democrat, what's really going on here? A bunch of grown men acting like adolescent boys, feeling embarrassed and blushing over a basic sex ed technical term? Or is it an attempt to halt any possible abortion debate that might actually veer into the realm of medical reality land?

Well, now thanks to this stupidity, the Florida ACLU has set up a site to incorporate your uterus. And of course there is also a Facebook page to make the usage of the word "uterus" less embarrassing to pages in the Florida Legislature. So I'm asking you, in all seriousness, who's in?