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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Quote Of The Day

May 31st, 2012

"For in reason, all government without the consent of the governed is the very definition of slavery."

-- Jonathan Swift

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Trumpney - A Love Affair, cont...

May 30th, 2012

Feel the love...

Trumpney - A Love Affair

May 30th, 2012

They complete each other. Colbert has noticed.

Mitt Watch: He Couldn't Hire A Proofreader? cont...

May 30th, 2012

Seriously. For a candidate who just attempted a pivot to education issues, this is unreal.

Gizmodo reports:

"Mitt Romney's new iPhone app, With Mitt, "lets you customize photos with a variety of Mitt-inspired artistic frames." Slogans like "Believe in America," "Obama Isn't Working," and "I'm a Mom for Mitt" are just a few of the Mitt-tastic phrases that can be slapped on your iPhone photos, proudly pronouncing your support of the GOP candidate.

If only he was equally as concerned with supporting our great nation. Much to the delighted displeasure of Twitter, one particular frame option betrays Romney's secret agenda working toward bettering a place known as Amercia."

Mitt Watch: He Couldn't Hire A Proofreader?

May 30th, 2012

I know things are very busy over at Mitt Trumpney's headquarters, but this is unforgivably, hilariously, horribly bad.

Bennett Takes On Trump/Romney

May 30th, 2012

Can we all just start calling them Trumpney? I'm going to.

Quote Of The Day

May 30th, 2012

"Politics, noun. A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage."

-- Ambrose Bierce

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mitt Watch: Now He's Just Lying... Again

May 29th, 2012

If there's any hunk of red meat for self-declared "conservatives" which they can be relied upon to devour more voraciously than charges of "big government" I don't know what it is. Speaking to a crowd in Colorado today, Mittens Romney made the following statement:
"We have 145,000 more government workers under this president. Let’s send them home and put you back to work."
This isn't merely spin and it's not some sort of exaggeration. It's an outright, bold-faced, incredibly big-balled, straight up lie. Period. End of discussion. At least it should be.

Since President Obama took office, six hundred and eight thousand public sector jobs have been eliminated (SOURCE).

Here's the rub; Obama has actually presided over the largest contraction of government in generations, something the right has demanded for as long as can be remembered. That's well over half a million consumers not participating in the economy during the worst downturn in 80 years, a fact which has directly contributed to the stalled recovery by further depressing demand.

To Obama's army of detractors I would say this:

You can have wildly shrinking government or a robust and dynamic short term rebound.

You can't have both.

You have received full delivery on one of your movement's core demands and it is biting our country on the ass.

Sleep tight.

H/T to MM

Not What We Payed For

May 29th, 2012

Josh Harkinson shines some light on an ugly situation:
"Bank of America, which last fall announced plans to lay off 30,000 workers, is about to go on a hiring spree—overseas.
America's second-largest bank is relocating its business-support operations to the Philippines, according to a high-ranking Filipino government official recently quoted in the Filipino press. The move, which includes a portion of the bank's customer service unit, comes less than three years after Bank of America received a $45 billion federal bailout."
That's our money at work.

Standardized Testing Is Still Bullshit

May 29th, 2012

Not only is it of dubious value, it's also an increasingly transparent racket.
Via HuffPo:
"A memo has recently surfaced in which the New York State Department of Education appears to encourage educators to mislead students about upcoming standardized field tests meant to "provide the data necessary to ensure the validity and reliability of the New York State Testing program."
"Students should not be informed of the connection between these field tests and State assessments," the memo reads. "The field tests should be described as brief tests of achievement in the subject."
This is big business. The tests referred to in the memo are marketed by a company called Pearson PLC and are worth millions and millions of dollars. This is the same company behind the now infamous "pineapple" question. Under fire recently for that and "nearly 30 errors in last month's English and math exams," Pearson appears to have engineered new rounds of testing for their own benefit. 

Rather than tailor their materials to the needs of the classroom, they have spent incredible amounts of money to influence curricula in order to make the production of their for-profit product easier. They also have a history of demanding secrecy regarding test contents so that parents have little idea what is in them.

The revelation of this memo appears to show children treated as consumers while being forced to engage in market research masquerading as education. 

It's bullshit of the lowest order.

Quote Of The Day

May 29th, 2012

"A hypocrite is the kind of politician who would cut down a redwood tree, then mount the stump and make a speech for conservation."

-- Adlai E. Stevenson

Paying Not to Kill Wolves

May 29th, 2012

Soon, a lottery for 6,000 wolf hunting licenses will begin in Minnesota.

Barely off of the endangered species list, that state is in a mad rush to grant the privilege of slaughtering the some 3,000 wolves that now populate their northern and eastern territories.

The arguments in favor of legalized hunting are not grounded in conservation science; they are a combination of questionable anthropological theory and childish optimism. There is no current projected "overpopulation" crisis. Wolf attacks on commercial livestock are incredibly rare. What's more, livestock losses are covered through a government program which costs little because of the aforementioned rarity. Throwback notions that resumption of the killings will teach wolves to be more "wary of man" and further away from populated areas are commonly being put forward as justification when it's human expansion that endangers them and not the opposite.

There is simply no legitimate reason to do this. The last refuge argument from proponents is that there are now enough wolves again that they can "afford regulated harvesting."

Harvesting? For what? There's no market for wolf meat and there's no apparent demand in 2012 for wolf pelts.

If you think there's nothing Minnesotans of good conscience can do, The Minnesota Post's Karl Bremer, a hunter himself, has an interesting proposal:
"If you’re willing to invest $34, you can buy a chance on saving one wolf’s life. Simply enter the lottery for one of the 6,000 licenses—a $30 wolf license must be purchased to enter the lottery, which costs another $4—and if you win the right to kill a wolf, don’t exercise it.
There’s nothing that requires you to use a wolf license just because you buy one. Since there’s a cap on the number of licenses sold, every license that is won in the lottery but not used reduces the chances that the wolf kill quota set by the DNR will be reached.
Ordinarily, this might be seen as unwise meddling in a scientifically-based hunting season. But there is nothing scientific about this wolf hunting season. It’s a purely political response to satisfy the bloodlust of a vocal minority of wolf haters. A season on wolves is not necessary to maintain a desirable wolf population. In fact, the DNR hasn’t even determined what Minnesota’s maximum wolf population should be, only that it shouldn’t fall below a winter population of 1,600.
So if you think a season on wolves is one of the most idiotic things to come down the pike since a mourning dove season, step right up and invest $34 on a chance to buy a wolf a reprieve from the executioner. It may not stop the jackpine savages from shooting wolves altogether, but at least you’ll get the satisfaction of making them work a little harder to "get their wolf."
As a deer hunter who knows the value that wolves provide in culling deer herds of their unhealthy numbers, among other benefits for the soul, I plan to do just that."
Sounds like a great idea to me.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Quote Of The Day - Memorial Day Edition

May 28th, 2012

"In war, there are no unwounded soldiers." 

-- Jose Narosky

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Quote Of The Day

May 27th, 2012

"A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It's jolted by every pebble on the road."

-- Henry Ward Beecher

Well, The Zombie Apocalypse Is Finally Upon Us

May 27th, 2012

Image via
Get those boards and nails ready to barricade the doors and windows, grab as much powdered food as you can and load up on the ammo because it appears the zombie apocalypse has begun.

You read that right.

To the surprise of no one, it started in Florida...

The Miami Herald reports:
"According to police sources, a road ranger saw a naked man chewing on another man’s face and shouted on his loud speaker for him to back away. Meanwhile, a woman also saw the incident and flagged down a police officer who was in the area.
The officer, who has not been identified, approached and, seeing what was happening, also ordered the naked man to back away. When he continued the assault, the officer shot him, police sources said. The attacker failed to stop after being shot, forcing the officer to continue firing. Witnesses said they heard at least a half dozen shots." EMPHASIS OURS
We always knew it would happen this way. In every one of the films we apparently should have taken much more seriously there is just such a report in the background. Sometimes it's carried along the crackle of a radio. Other times it's a "breaking story" seen partially while someone is flipping through TV channels. And no one pays attention.

I am pleased to say that most of the folks I know and many in the commenting public aren't making that mistake. It's clear that the end is nigh and precautions must be taken so we hopefully don't have to double-tap grandma.

Also, there are serious tools at our disposal. A little over a year ago, the CDC published a piece (we flagged it HERE) titled "Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse." No, I am not making this up.

We can only hope that the victim is being properly monitored at this time. That's usually how these things get out of control.

In any event, if we keep our heads, science tells us that we stand a pretty good chance. Wired reported a few years ago on a study out of the University of Ottawa department of mathematics which gave reasonable odds for civilization's survival provided that we "hit hard and hit often." However...
"If the timescale of the outbreak increases, then the result is the doomsday scenario: an outbreak of zombies will result in the collapse of civilization, with every human infected, or dead. This is because human births and deaths will provide the undead with a limitless supply of new bodies to infect, resurrect and convert."
The biggest enemy may be official denial. MSN reports:
"Police haven't released any details about the people involved, but they speculate the alleged face-eater might have been suffering from "cocaine psychosis."
Uh huh.

As a musician who's toured extensively, I've seen plenty of "cocaine psychosis" and it never involved eating people's faces or being nearly impervious to firearms.

At least not that I recall.

That's why I am urging all of you to plan for the worst. Review the important educational materials extensively.

And, if you are bitten? Please tell your fellow survivors. They'll know what to do.

A Poem For Memorial Day

May 27th, 2012

Shiloh: A Requiem
by Herman Melville

Skimming lightly, wheeling still, 
 The swallows fly low 
Over the field in clouded days, 
 The forest-field of Shiloh-- 
Over the field where April rain 
 Solaced the parched ones stretched in pain 
Through the pause of night 
That followed the Sunday fight 
 Around the church of Shiloh-- 
The church so lone, the log-built one, 
That echoed to many a parting groan 
 And natural prayer 
Of dying foemen mingled there-- 
Foemen at morn, but friends at eve-- 
 Fame or country least their care: 
(What like a bullet can undeceive!) 
 But now they lie low, 
While over them the swallows skim, 
 And all is hushed at Shiloh.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Quote Of The Day

May 26th, 2012

"A mistake made by many people with great convictions is that they will let nothing stand in the way of their views, not even kindness."

-- Bryant H. McGill

Mitt Watch - A Staggeringly Ugly Reveal

May 26th, 2012

Image via
Websters defines the word game as an "activity engaged in for diversion or amusement."

Games are fun.

They are also frivolous.

This matters.

In an interview with one of his fawning water-carriers, the WSJ's Peggy Noonan, the GOP nominee for the most powerful position in the history of world said the following a few days ago:
"I think the game is like a sport for old guys. I mean, you know, I can’t compete in competitive sports very well, but I can compete in politics."
This should end Mitt Romney right here.

The shocking elitism in his statement is only matched by its craven stupidity. It's bad enough to consider his even thinking this way. But, to have so little regard for the people that he would say it aloud is unlike anything I have witnessed in the last quarter century.

Politics, by his own proclamation, is simply his latest hobby. While wife Ann spends part of their fortune on her "dressage," Romney has set out to saddle the people with a more hopeless future for his own gratification and that of his monied friends.

After all, it's just a "game."

We are the pawns and pieces. We are the poker chips. He likes a good bluff so why not truck with "birthers" and "tenthers" and propagandists? Anything to win.

After all, it's just a "game."

This serves to explain Romney's staggering mendacity. Why bother to tell the truth?

It's just a "game."

Wild proclamations that Russia is our "number one enemy" don't really mean anything.

It's just a "game."

Promising the last administration's neo-cons that he will give them their third war in the Middle East is of no consequence.

It's just a "game."

A worldview in which leadership of the United States is just a shiny prize during times this turbulent and potentially transformative should preclude eligibility for any office, much less Commander in Chief.

To doubt that a Romney presidency would be a disaster of previously un-imagined proportions is increasingly naive.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Quote Of The Day

May 25th, 2012

"Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing."

-- Harriet Braiker

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Quote Of The Day

May 24th, 2012

"Having been called names, one looks back at one's own angry outbursts over the years, and I recall having once referred to Republicans as "hairy backed swamp developers, fundamentalist bullies, freelance racists, hobby cops, sweatshop tycoons, line jumpers, marsupial moms and aluminum siding salesmen, misanthropic frat boys, ninja dittoheads, shrieking midgets, tax cheats, cheese merchants, cat stranglers, pill pushers, nihilists in golf pants, backed-up Baptists, the grand pooh-bahs of Percodan, mouth breathers, testosterone junkies and brownshirts in pinstripes."

I look at those words now, and "cat stranglers" seems excessive to me."

-- Garrison Keillor

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What War On Women? Humor Edition.

May 23rd, 2012

Poor women. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could help the little dears by taking away all that worry that accompanies their having to carry a uterus with such feeble little minds? Now, there is!

Staggering Impunity

May 23rd, 2012

Charles Ferguson, the director of Inside Job and author of the soon to be released examination of the 2008 collapse, Predator Nation, wants to know where the hell the prosecutions for rampant criminal activity are:
"Almost all the prospectuses and sales material on mortgage-backed securities sold from 2005 through 2007 were a compound of falsehoods. But it starts even earlier in the food chain. We also know that mortgage originators committed securities fraud when they misrepresented the characteristics of loan pools, and the nature and extent of their due diligence with regard to them, when they sold pools to securitizers (and accepted financing from them). Most or all of the securitizers (meaning nearly all the investment banks and major banking conglomerates) then committed securities fraud when they misrepresented the characteristics of the loans backing their CDOs, the characteristics of the resulting mortgage-backed securities, and the nature and results of their due diligence in the process of creating those securities. The securitizers also committed securities fraud when they made similar misrepresentations to the insurers of, and sellers of credit default swap (CDS) protection on, those securities."
The utter lack of consequences for this illegality and, worse, the excuse-making by conservatives that the downturn was somehow a "glitch" in legitimate capitalism very nearly ensure another crisis. Possibly quite soon.
"In some cases, we already have clear evidence of senior executive knowledge of and involvement in these frauds. For example, quarterly presentations to investors are nearly always made by the CEO or CFO of the firm; if lies were told in those presentations, or if material facts were omitted, the responsibility lies with senior management. In some other cases, such as Bear Stearns, we already have evidence from civil lawsuits that very senior executives were directly involved in constructing and selling securities whose prospectuses contained lies and omissions."
And yet, not one CEO or CFO involved has been charged with so much as a misdemeanor. It's long past time we admitted that these are not titans; they are simply extremely ambitious thieves.

GOP: It's Completely Different When We Do It, cont...

May 23rd, 2012

The recent decision by the Obama administration to grant a visa to Mariela Castro Espín, the daughter of current Cuban strongman Raul Castro, allowing her to attend the Latin American Studies Association in San Francisco later this week where she is set to chair a panel on LGBT issues has set off a firestorm of indignation in GOP circles. It's quite the conniption.

GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney is "greatly distrubed."

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) called it "outrageous and an enormous mistake." (Video HERE)

The ever-temperate Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) participated in an angry joint statement with fellow congressional Republicans and some Florida Democrats writing that "The State Department needs to wake up from its delusional love fest with the dictators in Havana. I urge them to immediately revoke these visas."

Ed Morrisey sees it as a possible tipping point that will send Florida to Romney in the general election:
"The Cuban-American community in Florida leans Republican, but they’re strongly anti-Castro. They won’t appreciate the decision by the Obama administration to give the dictator’s daughter a pass to the US, especially not for the purpose of politicking. Listening to lectures from the Castro family on the nature of political and cultural freedom is somewhat akin to having to sit through a seminar on graciousness by Morton Downey."
What's that you say? You've never heard of Mariela Castro Espín? That's funny because she came to the United States repeatedly under the last administration.

Where was the outrage then? There was none. Where were the screaming headlines on right wing blogs and breathless pronouncements of near-treason on Fox and talk radio? There weren't any.

It's always just "different" when they are in charge.

Worth A Thousand Words

May 23rd, 2012

The Gaffes Are Uncountable

May 23rd, 2012

Rachel Maddow notes the sheer volume of GOP blunders in recent days and wonders why they are largely going unchallenged.

Quote Of The Day

May 23rd, 2012

"The fear of not being able to buy guns has led to buying so many guns that now we can’t buy any guns... just like we feared."

-- Stephen Colbert cracking wise about the results of ongoing Obama Derangement Syndrome

Friday, May 18, 2012

Quote Of The Day

May 18th, 2012

"Fascism is not defined by the number of its victims, but by the way it kills them."

-- Jean-Paul Sartre

Just A Reminder

May 18th, 2012

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Quote Of The Day

May 17th, 2012

"Do you want to know the cause of war? It is capitalism, greed, the dirty hunger for dollars. Take away the capitalist and you will sweep war from the earth."
-- Henry Ford

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Quote Of The Day

May 13th, 2012

"Always Do Your Best. Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret."

-- Don Miguel Ruiz

In A Nutshell

May 13th, 2012

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Quote Of The Day - We Were Warned Edition

May 6th, 2012

Image via
"Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they're sure trying to do so, it's going to be a terrible damn problem. 

Frankly, these people frighten me. 

Politics and governing demand compromise. 

But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can't and won't compromise. I know, I've tried to deal with them."

-- Sen. Barry Goldwater reading the Tea leaves quite some time ago.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The GOP's Phony Bin Laden Outrage, cont...

May 2nd, 2012

My, my. The GOP sure has its collective panties in a bunch over Obama actually making political hay from his successful operation to get Bin Laden last year. There are so many reasons their hypocrisy on this represents a new achievement in willful, collective self-delusion that its hard to know where to begin. That said, let's start with Jon Stewart's take.