Wednesday, March 31, 2010


With Sarah Palin getting her own show on FOX News along with her general lack of political bona fides it's looking like former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is the current front runner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. I say "current" because these comparisons between the health care reforms he championed as governor and those included in the reform bill recently signed into law by President Obama have only just begun and you can bet your ass that they'll be the source of some major criticisms coming from his fellow Republicans during the primaries:

And then of course there's the whole "Mormon's aren't real Christians" meme to be dealt with. I'm just not sure that his hair is nice enough to help him overcome these political obstacles coming from the right.

Galactic Empire State Of Mind

Darth Vader channels his inner Jay-Z. The bling is strong with this one, he's got 99 problems but a Jedi ain't one, etc.:


Barack Obama Looking At Awesome Things

A new niche blog. The Sword of Omens is the first post and my personal favorite.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A New Hope: Parody vs. Reality

I was watching the original Star Wars last night when I came to this disturbing conclusion: I can't watch the original Episode IV anymore without imagining and subsequently obsessively repeating every one of the lines from the Family Guy double parody episode Blue Harvest. One of my happiest memories of childhood has been subsequently replaced by one of the most entertaining videos of my adult lifefime and I barely batted an eyelash. I'm either becoming very old or else reality seems a bit too false for me at this point.

American Power And Verboten Cut And Pasting

Apparently my conservative counterpart Donald Douglas of American Power has some issues with my lack of condemnation of Alan Colmes:

Geez, I'm getting linked by lefty media folks all over the place this week. But I wonder if idiots like JBW are gonna hammer Alan Colmes for his verboten cut-and-paste hack job, "Why Are Some Right-Wingers Defending Terror Suspects?"
It seems that Colmes cut and pasted a compilation by Fire Dog Lake about how right-wingers are ignoring/excusing the recent revelation that a right-wing militia group has been plotting the deaths of American police officers and this has apparently upset Don because a) I noted a while back that Colmes had linked to me in a post about Sarah Palin's callous exploitation of her handicapped son and/or b) I routinely chastise Don for being a serial cut and paster rather than composing posts taken from his own grey matter.

Quite right Don, and it's an error that I'll correct here and now: Mr. Colmes, how dare you merely cut and paste someone else's thoughts as if you were a tubby, middle-aged neoconservative with an established history of victimology and a pathetic persecution complex to boot. Don't you know that there are people like Don Douglas, PhD. out there on the Internets keeping track of hack writers like yourself, using their own lack of rhetorical skills as a comparison to vilify you in between their frequent Twinkie binges and Ronald Reagan jerk-off fantasies?

Happy, Don? Now, try and convince yourself that it's better to be a fat, greying community college prof on the downward slope of a career than an "idiot" who doesn't have the free time to police every liberal blog that's ever linked to himself and can still see his own dick without the assistance of a strategically placed set of mirrors. Too harsh? Yeah, well too bad; it's the middle of the night and I'm very, very drunk, Tubs. Cheers.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy...

Apologies for the lack of posting as of late. The last few days of nice weather here in Northern California have been keeping me busy working on my yard. Despite my considerably less than green thumb I'm trying to cultivate the rose bushes that were here when I moved in and I'm also thinking of starting a vegetable/herb garden out on my back patio as well. Does this mean I'm getting old and boring? Regular posting will resume shortly.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Picture Of The Day II

I'm doing my part. Cthulhu bless America.


The Diversity Of The Word...

Ladies and gentlemen, the lamest fucking kid on the planet:

A 17-year-old student from South Pasadena High School in California took Vice President Joe Biden to task Friday for his use of an un-choice word this week whispered into the ear of President Barack Obama.

"This is a huge deal," McKay Hatch told reporters. "Many kids and adults all over the world look up to Vice President Biden as a role model. He needs to be a good role model for kids and use clean and appropriate language."

Hatch was referring to Biden's "This is a big f............ deal" sotto-voce remark Tuesday to his boss during the signing of the health care bill that was picked up by microphones and amplified around the world.

Hatch called on Biden to apologize, then packed a "No Cussing Club" T-shirt, wrist bands and penalty jar into a box and carried it to the local post office, cameras documenting his every move and utterance. His goal: "to remind him to use good language."

Hatch said he was not opposed to Biden exercising his First Amendment rights. "He has the freedom of speech to say what he wants, but he can't choose the consequences of what he says," the student said. "We need as a country to get back to the basic values and come together and treat people with civility."
Look, I'm not saying that you're lame if you don't curse or use the word "fuck" on a regular basis but if you're seventeen years old and you spend a significant amount of time writing letters to public officials about curse words I'm sorry but you're fucking lame. Obviously Biden wouldn't have said what he did if he had known that it was going to be picked up by an open microphone but since he did my response to this kid is the same one I have concerning tobacco, alcohol, drugs, gambling and sex: That's only for grown ups! Discussion over.

The fact that this kid is trying to tell one adult that he can't say the word "fuck" to another adult without being civil is as tone deaf as every right-wing talking head and pundit I've heard complaining lately about the supposed double standard for behaviour between Republicans and Democrats over the juxtaposing quotes at the top of this post. Words in and of themselves are not uncivil, it's the context within which they're used that can make them so. Saying that something is "a big fucking deal" and telling someone to "go fuck themselves" are two very different usages of a versatile word and the word "fuck" is extremely versatile:

It's usage can be benign or nefarious, playful or hateful, instructive or stupid, but the real stupidity happens when supposedly intelligent people can't recognize these distinctions because they've relegated such a diverse word to the catch-all category of "bad". That's how five-year-olds view the world. One would hope that by seventeen Hatch would have the ability to see things in finer shades of grey. So don't be surprised if you hear this kid's name sometime down the road as part of a campaign to censor what you and other adults can watch on television. It's all part and parcel of the same world view that consenting adults must be saved from all of the things that other adults don't like or agree with for our own good, and it's fucking lame.

Picture Of The Day

Even if this is faked, I still like it. Note the amusement...


This obviously isn't faked, and I love it. Note the nerdiness...


Friday, March 26, 2010

Chart Of The Day

Sarah Palin's political action committee's map "targeting" House Democrats who voted to pass health care reform legislation, coupled with the tweet "Don't Retreat, Instead - RELOAD!" Now I'm not saying that Palin wants these people to literally be shot for voting the way they did, just that it's an irresponsible (I'd also call it tone deaf but I suspect that her people know what they're doing here) metaphor to use for this issue when congressmen and women are receiving actual death threats. How is this supposed to improve the discourse?


[Update: "'Take up your arms’ means voting,” -Sarah Palin. Sure, it's the first connection I make with that phrase. Again, irresponsible.


Picture Of The Day

A closeup shot of the martian moon Phobos, snapped by the European Space Agency’s Mars Express spacecraft, which completed its most recent set of flybys on March 13. The photos received by the ESA as a result of these flybys represent the sharpest images to date of Mars’ largest moon. Cool.


Iggy Pop Painfully Retires From Stagediving

Yes, this is real and it's the ultimate performance fail:

Iggy Pop has vowed to stop stagediving after suffering a nasty fall at a recent show.

The singer, 62, revealed he dived for the last time during a gig at New York's Carnegie Hall. However, none of the audience caught him, leaving The Stooges' frontman bruised.

Pop reckoned that the audience were not expecting him to stagedive, reports Jam! Showbiz:

"When I landed it hurt and I made a mental note that Carnegie Hall would be a good place for my last stagedive," he said. "The audience were just like, 'What are you doing?'"
These kids today just don't know proper concert etiquette. It's the end of an era.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Something Hilarious Someone Else Said

"Violence and racism, these things are antithetical to the whole idea of freedom and everything that we stand for. It goes against my basic political philosophy. We judge people based on their individual character and merit, not on some group identity politics. That's what the left does, we don't do that on the right. That's not something I engage in." -FreedomWorks Grassroots Director Brendan Steinhauser on Your World with Neil Cavuto, commenting on the threatening and racist voicemail messages being received by members of congress after the health care reform bill was passed earlier this week (transcribed by me).

So let me get this straight: you claim that you evaluate people as individuals and don't unfairly lump them into groups or judge them based on group identity politics and you back this statement up by... casting aspersions upon and condemning an entire group of people based on group identity politics. "We don't make broad generalizations or judgements about large groups of people, but that large group of people over there does it all the time, and they're horrible for doing it." Look, I make a point to never say ignorant shit like "The right always does this..." or "The left never does that..." because people who say these things, on both sides of the aisle, sound like partisan idiots. Neither side of America's political divide has an exclusive claim on ethics or morality and I find it equally annoying when people from either party say that they do or condemn the other side as bereft of these concepts. The vast majority of people on the left and the right in this country are basically good people who are usually overshadowed by outspoken morons on their respective teams, and of course the media focuses on them. Controversy means ratings, which mean money. I don't think I'm saying anything new here.

As to Mr. Steinhauser's complaint (he blames the media for colluding with Democrats to portray all teabaggers as violent racists based on the recent words and actions of a few), going on television and stating that you condemn violence and racism is all well and good but it's also pretty much the very least you could do to stop it from happening within your organization, aside from completely ignoring it of course. I'm just saying, I see teabag protesters holding up signs advocating violence and racism against Obama all the time and I never see any of their fellow protesters or organizers confronting them about it. Yes, I understand that they make up a tiny minority of your group but if you don't adequately police yourselves or make any kind of effort to weed those people out because they help to swell your numbers and fuel your outrage then you are also tacitly approving of their message. What do you think the words "If Brown can't stop it, a Browning can" on the sign at the top of this post are supposed to mean? Freedom of speech is great but I don't see anyone else at least trying to get him to put that sign down out of concern for how it portrays your movement as a whole. Until you make the effort to remove the people holding these signs or leaving threatening voicemail messages or spitting on congressmen from your organization, you will all rightly be lumped into the same ideological camp regardless of your protestations to the contrary. That's not media bias, it's political reality.

Camping Trip Cut Short On Account Of Rain

The camping trip to Salt Point started out really great. My buddies and I took a long hike out to the cliffs overlooking the Pacific ocean, saw some beautiful nature along with some sea lions and whales in their natural habitat and much meat (no, not sea lion or whale) and alcohol was consumed by all. Then yesterday evening God decided that I was having just about enough fun for an atheist so he took a massive piss on our campsite. Even though we had a strong fire going at this point we decided that we wouldn't be able to cook dinner or hang out and drink so rather than spending the rest of the trip huddled alone and hungry in our respective tents we broke camp hurriedly in the dark and drove home late last night. Still, I'm glad we went. It's always nice getting away from everything that stresses me out every day and I really should make an effort to do it more often. So, what'd I miss?

Stonehenge On Google Street View

I've been to England although I didn't make it out to the Salisbury Plain but that's no longer a problem thanks to Google Street View. You can check out the giant wristwatch or calender or whatever it is here. Take a walk around, sacrifice a few virgins but just watch out for the Griswolds. Cheers.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sudden Disturbing Realization Of The Day

Continuing with the theme, this is what we were all thinking when Leia told Han about her and Luke:


Picture Of The Day

OK, go ahead and forget everything I said about the painting of Batman fighting a shark with a lightsaber redefining the word "awesome" because this painting of him fighting motherfucking Darth Vader just claimed that distinction.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Obama Reacts To Health Care Vote

After a hard fought victory President Obama gets in a few shots at obstructionist Republicans whilst kicking back and taking a well-deserved rest:


A Camping We Will Go...

All right Ragers, I am out of here. I'll be spending the next several days at Salt Point State Park about 90 miles north of San Francisco, camping out, eating roasted animal flesh and drinking copious amounts of alcohol with regular commenters Doug"e" and Intrepid Californio. I've queued up a few fluff posts to entertain you while I'm gone but nothing too substantial so just go ahead and lower those expectations right now. Talk amongst yourselves and try to keep it clean. Back in a few.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Something Patriotic Someone Else Said

"I felt fury and disgust and rage and nausea, but I didn't feel fear. I found I felt a sort of exhilaration. I thought: if this war has been declared as it looks as it has been, by theocratic fascism then it's a war I would never get bored with fighting, because it involves defending all the things I do like, against all the things I don't. Culturally as well as politically, and intellectually. And I still feel that way, I think it's absolutely worth fighting..." -Christopher Hitchens, commenting on where he was during the 9/11 attacks and boiling down why I really don't like war or religion, especially when they're combined.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Health Care Bill Passes, America Undestroyed


It passed in the House 219-212. Yes, it got fairly ugly and the Democrats will definitely lose some congressional seats this fall (the pendulum of history shows that the party in power almost always does in midterm elections so don't read too much into that, i.e. dissatisfaction with health care reform) but I'm now officially giving the Republicans only 4:1 odds of gaining a majority of either house of congress come election day. Despite everything that party's been screaming over the past fourteen months polls show that the majority of Americans want the changes that were passed today and I'm thinking that the wave of the right's outrage might've crested a bit too early at this point. Plus running on a platform of taking away everyone's new health care coverage and consumer protections isn't exactly a winning strategy. We'll find out in November.

Something Fairly Incoherent Someone Else Said

"What I dislike most about ObamaCare though is this notion that the leftists in Washington think that they can pass this thing through, cram it through with disregard to consider the will of the people, disregard of these constitutional legal traditional processes that have thus far been used in America's um... in America's processes to allow policy to be adopted that do it here adhere to the will of the people." -Sarah Palin, trying way too hard to sound smart whilst talking to Bill O'Reilly about the health care reform bill (transcribed by me, just now).

It's nice to have a good laugh in the middle of your day.

Predators Trailer

OK, I loved Predator, Predator II was pretty damn good (Busey scared me more than the predators, but what else is new?), Alien vs. Predator was fairly interesting yet also fairly boring and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem literally put me to sleep so I'm giving this franchise just one more sequel before I finally give up on the off-world dreadlocks (and leave the acidic aliens out this time, please):


Saturday, March 20, 2010

"Can You Give Me More Details About This Bill?"

In the comment section of my last post regular commenter, friend of this blog, family member and rational conservative one L bill wrote the following:

A coworker turned to me last week and said "next week they vote on whether the gov't takes over 20% of the economy." I asked if he was talking about healthcare (I already knew the answer) and he said "yeah". So my next question was what they were voting on. He gave me a general answer, so I clarified that I wanted to know more specifics about the bill. He said he couldn't tell me anything because he haddn't made time to read [more specifics about] the bill.

I feel like this sums up 95% of Americans... either Republican or Democrat. They latch on to the1 or 2 talking points that are easy and ignore the rest... and if that 20% figure is accurate, then it seems like there's a problem.

I know you are better read than my coworker, but I only see the general outrage in most of your blog posts. Can you give me more details about this bill, JBW? It doesn't need to be in this comments section. I know it's a lot of information.
As I began to answer I had the thought that some other readers might have the same question about tomorrows vote so I decided to make it a post instead. That number is actually closer to 16% (1/6 of our economy already goes toward health care and that number has been rising for decades). I haven't gone into any great specifics about the legislation thus far because frankly they've only just finished crafting it, and even if it passes both houses of congress certain aspects will be changed again in committee after that before it reaches President Obama's desk. Some things I can tell you:
  • It will cover 95% of Americans.
  • Almost everyone will be required to participate (that's the only way it will work to cover that many people).
  • Consumer safeguards will include no denial of coverage for preexisting conditions including children, no higher premiums for women, no lifetime dollar limits on policies for those with serious illnesses, parents can keep their kids on their policies until age 26 and starting out there will be a high risk pool for the uninsured.
  • It expands the federal-state Medicaid insurance program for the poor.
  • It closes the "doughnut hole" coverage gap in the Medicare prescription drug benefit that seniors fall into once they have spent $2,830.
  • Businesses are not required to offer coverage and instead employers are charged a fee if the government subsidizes their workers' coverage; businesses with 50 or fewer workers are exempt from this fee.
  • Tax credits are provided for purchasing insurance.
  • Small businesses, the self-employed and the uninsured could pick a plan offered through new state-based purchasing pools called exchanges which would offer the same kind of purchasing power that employees of big companies benefit from.
  • This will not be a government-run insurance plan. People purchasing coverage through the new insurance exchanges would have the option of signing up for national plans overseen by the federal office that manages the health plans available to members of Congress.
  • No health plan would be required to offer coverage for abortion. In plans that do cover abortion, policyholders would have to pay for it separately, and that money would have to be kept in a separate account from taxpayer money. And no, your grandmother will not be executed for being too old either.
As I've said before, this bill is far from perfect. I personally would have liked to see a single-payer system instituted but that idea was scrapped some time last year. I would also like to see some of the proposals put forth by Republicans (although not wholly owned by them) like tort reform, malpractice reform, increased fraud investigation and purchasing coverage across state lines included as well. Hopefully some of these ideas will find their way into the final legislation as it's instituted and refined over the next several years.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that reform will cost $940 billion over ten years whilst trimming federal deficits by an estimated $138 billion over that same time period, and studies have shown that increased preventative care will further defray current costs. To put those numbers in perspective, we've already spent over $970 billion in Iraq and Afghanistan and that cost is estimated to climb to between two and three trillion by the time we leave those countries, if ever. We spend more than twice as much on health care per capita than any other Western industrialized nation and our overall level of care is mediocre by comparison. Yes, the United States has the best health care system in the world but it has become increasingly obvious that only the financially well off are able to take full advantage of it; the rest of America is forced to incur what are often crippling lifetime debts in order to do so.

Presidents have talked about reforming our health care system since Teddy Roosevelt was in office and as every administration since has failed to do so Americans' insurance premiums and costs have continued to increase while coverage and levels of care have similarly decreased. I honestly don't know if Obama's reforms will solve these problems (nobody does, although most of the provisions sound pretty good to me) but I do know that our current path is entirely unsustainable financially and has been for quite some time. Doing nothing for decades has clearly not worked. I for one am ready to try something else. I hope this was what you were looking for, one L.

Something Someone Else Said

"[W]e really judge the extremism of legislation based on the positioning of Republicans and Democrats. If I'd told you that the Obama administration was going to release a health-care bill that would attract every Senate Democrat -- from Bernie Sanders and Barbara Boxer to Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman -- and either endorsements or neutrality from the American Medical Association, the hospital industry, the pharmaceutical industry, AARP, labor, and much of the insurance industry (though their press releases have become more oppositional recently), you'd have thought that was a pretty moderate, consensus-oriented bill. Which it is! But most Americans don't think that because the Republicans decided to treat it as the second coming of fascism." -Ezra Klein, The Washington Post.

And they've said and done everything they possibly could in order to portray President Obama as a mixture of Hitler, Stalin and Mao. It started on day one and they've just gotten louder and more absurd every day since. I shudder to think of how bad things will get in Washington if the GOP is able to take control of even one house of congress in November, let alone both of them. And if either of those scenarios does happen it won't be because their ideas were better or smarter, only that they were able to yell "Fascist!" long enough and loud enough over the previous two years as Obama has been trying to pull us out of the economic nosedive he inherited. Sometimes I really hate politics.


Friday, March 19, 2010

TDS: Progressivism Is Cancer

Jon Stewart uses his first two segments to brilliantly mock the conspiratorial rantings of an unlikely moron. The intro:

And part II, the remockening:

Genius. Obvious fish in a barrel, yet genius nonetheless.

(hat tip: halnwolf)

[Update: Stephen Colbert follows with one of the cleverest interviews of a Republican political strategist (Mary Matalin) I've ever witnessed. Watch her hopelessly flounder as she tries to avoid her carefully prepared bingo card, right-wing talking points:

Thursday, March 18, 2010

American Power And Reefer Madness

Yesterday I wrote about my conservative counterpart Donald Douglas of American Power trying to vilify President Obama by accusing him of treason for wanting to reform our broken health care system. His post was mostly just reproducing what someone else wrote rather than thoughts original to himself (come to think of it, that type of cut and paste technique describes many of his posts...) so I didn't take great exception to it. I just refuted the assertions he reposted and made fun of him a bit as I am occasionally wont to do but later I saw another posting about medical cannabis that I found somewhat more concerning. The subject of said post was this news story:

Even though Michigan resident Joseph Casias had a prescription from his doctor for medical marijuana, he was fired after a positive test for the substance by his employer, Walmart.

The news last November he'd been terminated was devastating for Casias, 29, who took great pride in his job, once earning the honor of Associate of the Year.

"It hurts. It hurts because I care. I care a lot about the store. I always wanted to make sure I do well," he told ABC News.

Casias started taking the medicine last June to cope with pain from sinus cancer and a brain tumor. He says the rare form of cancer causes him pain constantly and he almost died when he was first diagnosed.

Casias sprained his knee at work last November and underwent the routine drug test that follows all workplace injuries. Questioned about his positive test, Casias told management about his condition and presented a state card authorizing his marijuana use for medical purposes, but he was fired anyway. Casias says management told him Walmart does not honor medical marijuana cards.

"I just can't believe that it has to be this way. I don't see why they have to fire me," he said.

Michigan is one of 14 states where medical marijuana is legal, but employers in the Wolverine state can and do terminate employees who fail drug tests. Walmart policy, like the policy of other companies, indicates that in states such as Michigan which allow marijuana use for medical purposes, the store can still terminate an employee following a positive drug test. The law in Michigan says employers do not have to accommodate the ingestion of marijuana in the workplace or employees working while under the influence.
Now regular readers will know that I find situations like this to be pretty fucked up and I'll get to that in a moment but first here's Don's assessment of the story:
Walmart is right.

The issue is workers who are on the job under the influence. But I'm impressed that Walmart's bucking the larger trend toward cultural breakdown and the permissiveness of abuse. Here's hoping we see like outcomes in additional cases like this one.
It's shortsighted and misinformed to be sure but what really bothered me about the post was it's title: "Yes! - Walmart Fires Workplace Stoner for Medical Marijuana on the Job!" Yes! A powerful corporation firing a productive worker (an Associate of the Year, no less) for something he does privately in his off work hours is definitely something to be glorified and celebrated! And the fact that the poor guy has a brain tumor and painful cancer is just the sweet cherry on this neoconservative sundae! Compassion, thy name is Donald.

Now I've taken Don's irrational hatred of cannabis to task before (he never responded, of course) but the fact that he's actually cheering for a cancer patient losing his job this way is disturbing and quite frankly classless as well. Don has admitted that he doesn't smoke cannabis while the things he says about it betray rank ignorance on the subject and this latest post is no different. If "the issue is workers who are on the job under the influence" as he says then there really is no issue here. Reading the rest of the article that Don didn't quote tells us that Casias wasn't fired because he came to work high or was smoking on the job (although the title of Don's post seems to imply as much), a drug test merely showed that he had ingested cannabis at some point in the last thirty days (that's how long the active ingredients remain in your system, despite the fact that the psychotropic effects dissipate within a few hours).

And this isn't someone who is perfectly healthy and abusing the intent of the medical cannabis laws of his state to procure the drug for recreational use (yes, some medical cannabis patients fall into this category but since I advocate for the drug's legalization for everyone this point is moot for me), he has a painful cancer and a life threatening brain tumor. What's wrong with him using a fairly benign drug in his home to alleviate that pain? Nothing, unless like Don you believe that it is the job of a nanny state federal government to tell people how to live their lives and what they can and can not put into their own bodies. Once again, apparently governmental overreach into the lives of American citizens only exists when it comes to taxes and health care. The fact that this man tries to portray himself as a small government conservative is a sad joke, and so is this post.

[Update: Regular reader and friend of this blog tnlib has this video featuring similar levels of conservative compassion at a teabagger rally in Ohio posted over at Parsley's Pics:

Disgusting, but it certainly refutes the right-wing talking point about how civilized and well behaved the teabaggers are in comparison to liberal protesters. Now I know what you're thinking: OK, Douglas reveled in the firing of a cancer patient from his job for no reason other than that the guy likes something that Don doesn't but surely he wouldn't approve of this type of abuse being heaped upon an old man with a debilitating disease, right? Wrong:
Safe bet says this "Parkinson's Victim" is a well-placed plant, plopped down into the center of the protest to stoke outrage on the left, precisely as the ObamaCare monstrosity's going down. Look at the guy: Are those tremors? How about cognitive dysfunction? Can't really discern physical or cognitive impairment from the clip, so perhaps he's got mild symptoms. No matter. I seriously doubt a genuinely debilitated Parkinson's sufferer would subject himself to such indignity. The dude's a punk prankster. And for what? Shovel-ready ObamaCare. God, that's just awful. I mean, seriously, there's nothing more disgusting than putting someone up for such utter desperation. You've got SEIU thugs at the event (see the full viddy), so it's no surprise. They'd beat your grandmother to establish death panels.
I imagine Don flailing his arms about Rush Limbaugh-style as he laughs derisively at this man and his supposedly nonexistent disability. And notice the absolute lack of any condemnation or even disapproval of people standing over an elderly man and yelling abuses at him as if he were a piece of trash rather than a human being. Even if the man were indeed a "punk prankster" that kind of behaviour would still be reprehensible. I've known people with Parkinson's and I can tell you that it's not always readily recognizable but one thing that is is someone acting like a callous asshole. I recognize that quite easily, Don.]

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Meet Google

Admittedly I like Google and I use it and many of it's subsidiary services every day but I'll also admit that sometimes the overreaching immensity of it makes me nervous when I consider what it might become at some point in the future:


American Power And Death To Tyrants

My conservative counterpart Donald Douglas of American Power has posted the above wanted poster (Really, Don? Because he's a criminal, right? Jesus...) and quoted the following accusatory diatribe from another conservative blog in his post Sic Semper Tyrannis!:

WE THE PEOPLE "DEEM" that Barack Hussein Obama is an Enemy of this Constitutional Republic!! He has demonstrated clear disregard of Constitution and shown his disdain for the Rule of Law by indicating his willingness to sign the ObamaCare bill without a vote in the House on the Senate bill itself (a use of illegal and unConstitutional sleight-of-hand called "self-executing" "deem and pass") and by accepting a Senate "reconciliation" vote of only 51 Senators without opportunity of opposition filibuster. Obama has vigorously demanded that Congress to pass ObamaCare by "any means possible" even if such means are unConstitutional and against the Rule of Law. The White House is also invoking "The Chicago Way" to intimidate House members. Will House members be paid a "house call" by members of Obama's union friends? All thuggery all the time for Obama!! And all of this is happening under the backdrop that the American people, based on any poll you look at, OVERWHELMINGLY reject ObamaCare and the tactics used by this Administration to attempt to pass it!
The fact that he routinely posts hyperbolic bullshit like this is is one of the many reasons I make fun of the guy. First, as I've said before, a substantial percentage of the American people who "OVERWHELMINGLY reject ObamaCare" are liberals and independents who don't think that it does enough to reform our broken health care system and would like us to move further towards a universal system like that in every other major industrialized Western nation on the planet. They don't "reject ObamaCare", they just want it to be stronger and more comprehensive and the ideologues amongst them simply disapprove of the current watered down legislation.

Second, as I've also said before, polls show that the American people OVERWHELMINGLY support almost all of the provisions in the reform bill whilst simultaneously opposing the bill itself, proving that Americans are kind of dumb sometimes and are susceptible to the constant media cacophony decrying the bill most of the time. They like pretty much everything in this bill, they just don't know what most of it is and have a negative view of it because a year of watching partisan Washington wrangling will cast any piece of legislation in a negative light.

Third, as I've also also said before, the "tactics used by this Administration to attempt to pass it" are no different than those used by past administrations both Democratic and Republican to pass a myriad of legislation over the years. The only difference is that today we have so many 24 hour news channels and websites constantly discussing and reporting on these same procedures that they can now be successfully framed as some sort of inside the beltway, back room deal to the American people. Just as they did with fiscal conservatism, Republicans have suddenly found religion when it comes to legislative procedure and this Road to Damascus moment comes just as coincidentally when they are now out of power. Remember John Boehner passing out tobacco lobby checks on the House floor just before a vote on legislation regulating that industry just one year into the Republicans' vaunted Contract with America? I do. And do you also remember the subsequent Republican outcry about ethics and constitutionality that followed? Yeah, neither do I. Plus, polls show that the American people really don't care that much about Washingtonian tactics as much as they care about the results of said tactics. Most of them aren't political junkies, they just want responsible governance from their elected leaders.

And lastly, those aforementioned tactics aren't "unConstitutional" as the right likes to constantly bellow. The Democrats are using established and legal congressional rules and procedures to pass this legislation. To wit, I am now going to make two predictions about the future of the health care reform bill: 1) someone on the right will sue the federal government under the guise that the procedures used to pass this legislation (if, Buddha willing, it does pass, ) were unconstitutional and 2) the Supreme Court will either refuse to hear the case or will summarily rule against them. Granted, this won't cause so-called conservatives like Don to stop their crying and whining about the "tyranny" of President Obama and his efforts to reform the American health care system but it will give the rest of us ample justification for laughing at them. Ex idiota, comoedia!

Happy Saint Patrick's Day

"When I raise my flashing sword, and my hand takes hold on judgment, I will take vengeance upon mine enemies, and I will repay those who haze me. Oh, Lord, raise me to Thy right hand and count me among Thy saints." -The Boondock Saints

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Picture Of The Day

Just go ahead and forget everything you know about the word "awesome" because this painting of Batman fighting a shark with a lightsaber just redefined it.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Lady Gaga's "Telephone" Video Controversy

At my book club meeting yesterday some of my friends were discussing Lady Gaga's newest controversial video "Telephone" featuring Beyoncé, which has apparently been banned on MTV and has been widely discussed in the media lately. Check it out (fair warning, it's rather longish):

Yeah, it's somewhat racy and overtly sexual but I honestly can't say that it's all that shocking or even anything I haven't seen many times before in other venues. In fact, in addition to the obvious Tarantino and Ritchie directorial influences it borrows quite heavily from already established pop culture (MTV's site has a handy guide), whilst also including some not too subtle capitalistic product placement. Now I don't claim to be a Lady Gaga expert (truth be told, I might not even know who she was if not for Internet memes) so I honestly don't know if this is typical of her videos or a radical and tangentially newsworthy departure but regardless, anything deemed controversial by those who know better than you what you should be watching/reading/ingesting/inserting must of course be rightfully decried and destroyed for your own good.

One of my favorite (and I'm assuming somewhat typical of many on the political and social right in this country) reactions comes from Sandy Rios, a FOX News contributor and the president of Culture Campaign, an Illinois-based organization whose mission is "to engage Christians in actively living out and declaring biblical truth in a secular, humanistic American culture" commenting on Megyn Kelly's "news" program America Live today (transcribed by me):

It's the kind of thing we shouldn't even be discussing, much less thinking about from my perspective.
Quite right. Who am I as a rational adult to decide for myself what I should be discussing or even thinking when there are religious folks like Sandy Rios around to tell me what to think? And I'm sure you all remember the clause in the First Amendment to the American Constitution that mentions how free speech that anyone else finds objectionable should be censored for everyone's protection by our nanny state government, right? Oh wait, that clause doesn't exist because that line of thought is total bullshit and just this side of fascist totalitarianism.

But Sandy Rios and her conservative Christian ilk think that it definitely should exist (apparently governmental overreach into the lives of American citizens only exists when it comes to taxes and health care). Here's her reaction to Megyn's incredibly obvious and frankly very patriotic statement that this is art and if you don't like it you should just change the channel and not watch it rather than trying to get it banned for everyone:
You know I'll tell you, I'll give a real simple answer to that: you know that our world is filled with sexual predators. You talk about this every day in the news, these girls that are molested and killed and I don't know if you know this or not Megyn but they've done surveys to find out the men who do these kinds of things to these young girls, something like 85% of them, are involved in some sort of porn. So you may not watch it, your kids may not watch it, but I'm telling you the man next door who's a sexual predator probably does watch it and it has an effect on all of us. This should be outlawed, it should be banned.
What is the phrase "involved in some sort of porn" supposed to mean? Since it seems pretty unlikely that 85% of sexual predators have actually appeared in pornos (not a smart move if you're trying not to get arrested for molestation or rape) I'll assume that she means that 85% of those guys have merely used or seen pornography at some point. Now I have neither research nor polling numbers to back this up but I'd be pretty surprised if someone told me that less than 85% of all men had used or seen porn of some sort or another, much less those who are sexual predators. What kind of sheltered, wishful thinking version of reality is this woman living in where she's this ignorant of the fundamental underlying aspects of human nature and sexuality?

And I think I've heard this argument for why adults shouldn't be allowed to participate in adult behaviour and commit victimless "crimes" with other consenting adults somewhere before. Oh, yeah:

Be it tobacco, alcohol, drugs, gambling or sex I'm sick and tired of hearing the excuse that these things must be forever expunged from every facet of our society because someone else can't or won't be a responsible parent and teach their kids the difference between what's appropriate for children and what's appropriate for adults. Say it with me, soccer moms: "That's only for grown ups!" The problem of course is that for people like Sandy Rios that distinction just isn't enough; adults must also be protected from all things adult because we're just bigger children with the same intellectual and moral deficiencies as our smaller versions.

On that note, one of my favorite quotes/rants ever is by Denis Leary's character Edgar Friendly from the movie Demolition Man:
You see, according to Cocteau's plan, I'm the enemy, 'cause I like to think; I like to read. I'm into freedom of speech and freedom of choice. I'm the kind of guy who likes to sit in a greasy spoon and wonder, "Gee, should I have the T-bone steak or the jumbo rack of barbecued ribs with the side order of gravy fries?" I WANT high cholesterol. I wanna eat bacon and butter and BUCKETS of cheese, okay? I want to smoke a Cuban cigar the size of Cincinnati in the non-smoking section. I want to run through the streets naked with green Jell-o all over my body reading Playboy magazine. Why? Because I suddenly might feel the need to, okay, pal? I've SEEN the future. Do you know what it is? It's a 47-year-old virgin sitting around in his beige pajamas, drinking a banana-broccoli shake, singing "I'm an Oscar Meyer Wiener.
Word. Keep your goddamn government hands off my Medicare and just do your job: telling me and other free adults what thoughts we can have in our heads and what substances/objects we can put into our bodies. That's the American way.

[Update: You can watch an edited clip of the FOX News interview here. And it appears that the reports of MTV banning the music video were false. Good on them for supporting free speech rights.]

KFC's New Boneless Filet Is A Total Ripoff

This is Kentucky Fried Chicken's newest concept item, ostensibly in the same vein as wraps and other "on the go" food items most fast food joints have been pushing lately. You can watch the unembeddable commercial here. Looks pretty damn good, right? You can get the filet with a biscuit, your choice of a side and a drink for five bucks or you can just purchase the filet by itself for $2.29. I opted to try the individual filet for lunch today (in addition to some other fried goodness) and this is what I got (sorry about the quality, I really need to get a new cell):
That's exactly how it came out of the bag and it was as dry as British humor. Fuck. That. I love you like a father Colonel but this is a total fail, you old bastard. Speaking of, check out one of his original commercials I came across today:

This latest culinary abortion aside, that's a man I'd like to buy fried chicken from. The only way I'd trust him more would be if he were holding a mint julep. Corporate KFC sucks. It used to be about the chicken, man.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Yakuza And Baseball: I'm So Japanese!

No time for blogging today, I have to attend my book club meeting and then it's straight home to prepare for my baseball fantasy league auction draft later tonight (yes, I know that I've called baseball boring as hell in the past but what the hell else am I going to do until football season?). Since it was my turn to pick for the club last time I chose Jake Adelstein's "Tokyo Vice", a tell all about his time as a Jewish American working for a Japanese newspaper and taking on some of the most dangerous characters of the Tokyo underground. Learning about the danger and betrayal of certain Yakuza was very interesting and it provided a fascinating glimpse into many aspects of Japanese culture I wasn't familiar with; you can watch his interview on The Daily Show here. Hopefully I'll have time to write a bit more tomorrow. Sayonara, ya'll.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Iron Man 2 Trailer Compilation

I loved the first Iron Man flick so I've been meaning to post the new trailers for the sequel but then I came across this fan-made mashup. It's not the smoothest compilation I've ever seen but it's chock full of enough actiony badassery that I'm already looking forward to the second round:


Friday, March 12, 2010

Stuck Up Dutch Nurse Won't Sleep With Patients

Don't you hate people who think they're just too good for certain things?

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – A union representing Dutch nurses will launch a national campaign Friday against demands for sexual services by patients who claim it should be part of their standard care.

The union, NU'91, is calling the campaign "I Draw The Line Here," with an advert that features a young woman covering her face with crossed hands.

The union said in a statement Thursday that the campaign follows a complaint it had received in the last week from a 24-year-old woman who said a 42-year-old disabled man asked her to provide sexual services as part of his care at home.

The young woman witnessed some of the man's other nurses offering him sexual gratification, the union said. When she refused to do the same, he tried to dismiss her on the grounds that she was unfit to provide care.

If pornography has taught me anything it's that sexual favors are standard procedure at all hospitals, especially in Eastern Europe and Asia. And those other less aloof nurses deserve both raises and medals for doing God's work here on Earth. I hear through my super-secret liberal sources that President Obama is trying to work a similar "Handjobs for Health" provision into the current health care reform bill as yet one more attempt to destroy the moral fabric of American society. You're going down, moral fabric!

(hat tip: one L bill)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

"You're My Boy, Blue! You're My Boy..."

The bluest tongue in the world. Man, that's blue! Just putting it out there.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Picture Of The Day II

Some of the major events discussed in the Bible seen from outer space:

A group of Australian artists called The Glue Society has recently displayed a project that will surely be controversial. The work consists of a set of digital pictures that try to represent a series of biblical episodes just as they would be seen through a satellite, such as with Google Earth.

I of course don't believe in any of the magic portrayed here but I do like the concept. The project is called God's Eye View and the other works can be viewed here.

Why Does A Salad Cost More Than A Big Mac?

Because of massive federal farm subsidies that encourage Americans to eat the very foods of which federal nutrition programs say we should be eating less:

The Farm Bill, a massive piece of federal legislation making its way through Congress, governs what children are fed in schools and what food assistance programs can distribute to recipients. The bill provides billions of dollars in subsidies, much of which goes to huge agribusinesses producing feed crops, such as corn and soy, which are then fed to animals. By funding these crops, the government supports the production of meat and dairy products—the same products that contribute to our growing rates of obesity and chronic disease. Fruit and vegetable farmers, on the other hand, receive less than 1 percent of government subsidies.

The government also purchases surplus foods like cheese, milk, pork, and beef for distribution to food assistance programs—including school lunches. The government is not required to purchase nutritious foods.
I myself am personally against federal farm subsidies. I find it ludicrous that our government pays corporate farming companies (let's face it, the traditional image of the small American family farmer is now nothing more than just that: an image) to grow, and in many cases not grow, certain foods. What ever happened to free market principles as they pertain to economic consumption? And the fact that this same government actively encourages the consumption of unhealthy foods by the nation's poor is to me akin to class warfare, much like zoning laws that allow poorer neighborhoods to be flooded with fast food restaurants. Why are there no nutritional guidelines for these food assistance programs? Answer: because lobbyists for Big Agro have more say over what you and your children will eat than you do, especially if you're poor. Remember when the Reagan administration tried to reclassify ketchup as a vegetable for school lunch programs? This is not the way government is supposed to work.


Picture Of The Day

Simply because it looks cool. Do you have a headache yet?


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Palin Went To Canada For Socialized Health Care

Why does this not surprise me?

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin -- who has gone to great lengths to hype the supposed dangers of a big government takeover of American health care -- admitted over the weekend that she used to get her treatment in Canada's single-payer system.

"We used to hustle over the border for health care we received in Canada," Palin said in her first Canadian appearance since stepping down as governor of Alaska. "And I think now, isn't that ironic?"

The irony, one guesses, is that Palin now views Canada's health care system as revolting: with its government-run administration and 'death-panel'-like rationing. Clearly, however, she and her family once found it more alluring than, at the very least, the coverage available in rural Alaska. Up to the age of six, Palin lived in a remote town near the closest Canadian city, Whitehorse.
Actually that's not irony, it's cold hard reality juxtaposed to an inflexible ideology. As I've said, America has the best health care system in the world: as long as you're rich, which Palin's new found fame and notoriety have clearly now made her. But if you're not (Palin's father was a science teacher and her mother was a school secretary) then a socialized health care system would benefit you much more than the American system currently being run by insurers and health care providers. And frankly, I'm getting pretty tired of millionaires telling me how great our health care system is but that's the team she plays for now.


Breaking News: Bullshit Happening Somewhere

I know I watch way too much cable news because I don't think this could be any more spot on:


CSI: The Birth Of An Internet Meme

Per a previous post in which I admitted that this is my current favorite Internet meme comes this compilation of overacting sunglass donning greatness:

Bonus memeship: Create your own CSI sunglass coolness in any situation with this handy clickable link. And I dare you not to smile and think of me every time you hit it.


Monday, March 8, 2010

Something Pretentious Someone Else Said

"Notice how the film [The Hurt Locker] is described as a "little seen drama." But in my case, it's one of the films I made sure to see. The other was "Precious," which also did very well last night, for example, with Mo'Nique taking the best [Supporting] actress award. I think, in my movie-going, I seek out genuine meaning in film beyond entertainment, which is why I caught both of the productions at the theater. "Hurt Locker" and "Precious" are of course both riveting productions. But they're also films that speak to us at a deeper level than is common in what goes for popular movie culture. And by that I mean that popular culture of leftist media indoctrination or uber-commercialization that truncates real thinking." -Donald Douglas, American Power.

Translation: "I make more of an effort to watch films of real cultural and artistic merit than the rest of you dilettantes. The popular movies that most of you watch are part of some nebulous liberal plot to radically transform and destroy society that only ideological wingnuts like myself can perceive, and you're all fools and chumps for mindlessly enjoying what I claim not to. Now I'm going to eat another bucket of heavily buttered movie theatre popcorn. And some Mike and Ikes. And some nachos. And a jar of mayonnaise." Don Douglas, neocon movie critic, literally living large. Just kidding Don, you know I love you.

Trailer For Every Oscar-Winning Movie Ever

Did everyone enjoy the Academy Awards last night? I of course did not because I don't watch them but I was glad to find out that Cameron didn't get best film or director, losing them both to his ex-wife no less (yes, I enjoyed watching Avatar and yet I'm still somewhat of a Cameron hater. Learn what plot and character development are, guy). So, as a wrap up to the ceremonies here's a movie trailer for every Oscar-winning movie ever filmed. It's almost sad how generic and spot on this is:


[Update: Best picture of the evening: