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Monday, April 30, 2012

Quote Of The Day - It Has Come To Pass Edition

April 30th, 2012

"We are in the process of creating what deserves to be called the idiot culture. Not an idiot sub-culture, which every society has bubbling beneath the surface and which can provide harmless fun; but the culture itself. For the first time, the weird and the stupid and the coarse are becoming our cultural norm, even our cultural ideal."
-- Carl Bernstein in 1992

Friday, April 27, 2012

Quote Of The Day - Here And Now Edition

April 27th, 2012

"If Paul Ryan knew what poverty was, he wouldn't be giving this speech."


-- James Salt, executive director for Catholics United, responding to Rep. Ryan's continued defense of his budget as being in keeping with the tenets of his faith.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Quote Of The Day

April 24th, 2012

"It is always the moralists who do the most harm."
-- Max Frisch

Where Is The Fringe?

April 24th, 2012

Rachel Maddow on the GOP's new normal; attempting to force victims of rape and incest to give birth to children conceived during such crimes.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Mitt Watch: The Replicant Nominee

April 23rd, 2012

I am not alone in the opinion that Mittens Romney is more than a little odd. Alex Pareene cuts to the chase:
"Mitt Romney is weird. When the Obama reelection campaign early in the cycle made the mistake of indicating that its strategy would be to imply that Mitt Romney is weird by repeatedly telling Politico that it planned on calling Mitt Romney weird, Romney’s camp countered by causing a brief and not particularly sincere media brouhaha over whether “weird” is code for “Mormon.” Plenty of Americans think Mormons are weird, yes, but in this case, the simple fact is Mitt Romney is weird, entirely apart from his religion."
Some are calling this bit of honest commentary from Pareene one step "over the line." Nonsense. He still understates the situation. We're dealing with a creature right out of Philip K. Dick. He might be Nexus 6, but he's not entirely "human."
"He seems incapable of natural conversation and frequently uncomfortable in his own skin. He’s simultaneously dorkily earnest and ingratiatingly insincere. He suggests a brilliantly designed politician android with an operating system still clearly in beta. He once tied a dog to the roof of his car and drove for hundreds of miles without stopping and some years later thought that was an endearing story. All video of him attempting to interact with normal humans is cringe-inducing, as a cursory YouTube search quickly demonstrates. (Martin Luther King Day, Jacksonville, Fla., 2008:  Mitt poses for a picture with some cheerful young parade attendees. As he squeezes in to the otherwise all-black group, he says, apropros of nothing, “Who let the dogs out? Woof, woof!”) He seems to have been told that “small talk” is mostly made up of cheerfully delivered non sequiturs."
Electing the first African American President was a great thing.

Sadly, I don't believe the nation is ready for its first Replicant Commander in Chief.

Life Is A "B" Movie

April 23rd, 2012

The following is not the breathless exclamation of some 1950s science fiction character...
"Seventy-six types of unregulated micro-organisms have been detected on the International Space Station (ISS). Though many are harmless, some are already capable of causing severe damage. And no one knows how they will mutate in space."
-- RT reporting on the amazing challenges the ISS faces.

It gets even more frightening and somehow entertaining. If you've ever actually read The Andromeda Strain, this will sound eerily familiar:
"Micro-organisms also evolved and became highly aggressive. Cosmonauts reported corroded illuminator glass, holes in the metallic casing of the control panel, and exposed leads, the insulation of which had been eaten away."
Yup. Microbial organisms which we brought into space have evolved into "highly aggressive" glass and metal eating freaks. 

Cue all Theramin soundtrack.

Quote Of The Day

April 23rd, 2012

"Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another."
-- Gilbert K. Chesterton

Signs Of Our Decline, cont...

April 23rd, 2012

Over at Forbes, Steven Salzberg notes a troubling development:
"The University of Florida announced this past week that it was dropping its computer science department, which will allow it to save about $1.7 million. The school is eliminating all funding for teaching assistants in computer science, cutting the graduate and research programs entirely, and moving the tattered remnants into other departments.
Let’s get this straight: in the midst of a technology revolution, with a shortage of engineers and computer scientists, UF decides to cut computer science completely?"
The short-sightedness of this decision would be bad enough on its own merits. But, as Salzberg notes, it gets worse:
"Meanwhile, the athletic budget for the current year is $99 million, an increase of more than $2 million from last year. The increase alone would more than offset the savings supposedly gained by cutting computer science."
If you're asking yourself how this could possibly make sense, you need look no further than the big media contracts such as this one between FU and such corporations as Fox Sports.

This is the current culture in microcosm. Investments with vast yet non-immediate returns are abandoned in favor of the quick buck.

If we truly find ourselves in a losing economic position opposite China or the EU a generation from now, we will need to look back no further than decisions like this one for explanation.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Worth 1,000 Words

April 22nd, 2012

How dare you accuse FOX of using using racially-coded dog whistles.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Quote Of The Day

April 21st, 2012

"We have always known that heedless self interest was bad morals, we now know that it is bad economics."

-- Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Social Darwinism Explained

April 21st, 2012


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

How Drudge Operates

April 17th, 2012

Matt Drudge is an ass. Here's a screencap showing today's alarmist edition of his so-called "Report." Scary stuff. Very scary!

Yeah? Well? It's also some serious bullshit. 

The story that inspired this is an actual report on "almost 1,800 people" who are, for the most part, wealthy enough to live off of domestic investments abroad.


1,800 people.

Out of well over 300 million.

So, what's the real story? It's overwhelmingly one of avaricious greed:
"The decision by the IRS to publish the names is referred to by lawyers as "name and shame." That's because those who renounce are seen as willing to give up their citizenship primarily for financial reasons.
There's also an "exit tax" for the very rich who choose to leave. During the last 25 years, a number of millionaires and billionaires have renounced their citizenship. Among them: Ted Arison, the late founder of Carnival Cruises, and Michael Dingman, a former Ford Motor Co. director."
You read that right. 1,800 (mostly) rich people are vexed that the most powerful nation in the world thinks they should pony up for continued access to the toughest consulates and protection from the most heavily armed embassies on Earth while they make a plaything of exploitable economies and simultaneously maintain substantial holdings at home.

In other Drudge propaganda today, an ongoing, anti-terrorism urban-readiness exercise was framed this way...

Blackhawk choppers... over Chicago

"Black helicopters"

In Obama's hometown.

Get it?

Some Surprising Opinions On Tax Day

April 17th, 2012

Here we are again. That most "dreaded" of "terrible" days has arrived. We have reached the annual deadline to collectively pay for our civilization. What's interesting is that, in spite of the ubiquitous hand-wringing in most media outlets, a vast majority of Americans actually believe they are taxed fairly.
Via Gallup


What War On Women?, cont...

April 17th, 2012

Jon Stewart notes that while Fox News fiercely denies there is a "war on women" at all they have equally passionately propagandized that "wars" on Christmas, Hanukkah, Halloween, Ladies nights, fisherman, salt, "spuds" and fossil fuels are all very real.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Privatization Of Everything

April 16th, 2012

Image Via
Just in time for tax day comes another reminder that the race to privatize the public sector, particularly the infrastructure we all paid to build, is an exercise which provides consistently diminishing returns.

The Sun-Times reports:
"Under the $563 million, 99-year deal that privatized four city-owned parking garages in downtown Chicago, City Hall made a promise:
It wouldn’t allow any parking facilities to open nearby.
That was six years ago, under then-Mayor Richard M. Daley.
Today, though, you can park just a block away in a new garage at the 82-story Aqua building — and it’s cheaper, too.
That’s angered the consortium of investors who took control of the garages and thought they were safe from competition. Their group, known as Chicago Loop Parking LLC, has filed an arbitration claim against the city that could leave Chicago taxpayers on the hook for $200 million or more, documents obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times show."
The story goes on to mention the legal mess Chicago is facing from one of Daley II's other privatization schemes, the wholesale turnover of parking meters (to what is also essentially Morgan Stanley, the controlling interest over the garages in the current dispute). They could have gone further and reminded everyone of the Skyway boondoggle. Or, they could have ventured just a bit to the East and examined Indiana's brewing privatization nightmare under Gov. Mitch Daniels.

But let's stop right here. I could catalog hundreds of examples from all over the country. This is just wrong in principle.

Supporters of privatization argue the real issue in this latest flap is that the city seems to have reneged on a legal agreement. With all due respect, this bargain was designed to create a territorial monopoly for an investment firm at the expense of the taxpayers who previously had already underwritten the properties. It was taxes that built and/or at least partially maintained these facilities. Now, Morgan Stanley is demanding that those same taxpayers pony up another couple hundred million dollars because a more efficient private corporation is offering them a better deal down the street.

This isn't rational finance. In nearly every instance of the privatization revolution, terms lasting as long or longer than the modern human lifetime are being doled out with anti-free market guarantees of exclusivity in exchange for dollar amounts that are only large enough to plug short-term budget holes.

This is akin to selling the store to paint the front door. And the taxpayer's formerly owned the store.

Had this parking garage deal been structured as something other than a one-time payment, it would come to a little over 5 and a half million dollars a year. If inflation were to stop dead in its tracks for the next century, it still wouldn't make sense. In fact it's nuts.

We can pretend to be a Capitalist culture all we want. That doesn't make it so. This isn't even worthy of being called "crony Capitalism."

This is Corporatism. Period.

This is also the new American "normal."

So...

As many of you file those last minute tax returns, just think what you might be paying for today that an organization like Morgan Stanley will buy for a song tomorrow. And then, for all intents and purposes, sue you for more.

Quote Of The Day

April 16th, 2012
I was quite ill last week. Please forgive my absence as I play catch up.
" 'Tis healthy to be sick sometimes."
-- Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Climate Change, Nasa And Sketchy Astronauts

April 11th, 2012

HT to Oliver Willis

This morning over at NRO, Jonah Goldberg is hyping a Washington Examiner (yeah, they're not biased) article which opens as follows:
"In an unprecedented slap at NASA's endorsement of global warming science, nearly 50 former astronauts and scientists--including the ex-boss of the Johnson Space Center--claim the agency is on the wrong side of science and must change course or ruin the reputation of the world’s top space agency.
Challenging statements from NASA that man is causing climate change, the former NASA executives demanded in a letter to Administrator Charles Bolden that he and the agency "refrain from including unproven remarks" supporting global warming in the media."
Okay, it sounds big and dramatic. In fact, it's as breathless as print propaganda gets. It's still certifiable horseshit. Who is behind this effort? This is who:
"Former Apollo astronauts Walter Cunningham and Harrison “Jack” Schmitt are listed as the main contacts for the letter, and their past advocacy against climate change science calls into question the scientific validity of the petition.
In 2009 Schmitt appeared on the talk show of 9/11 conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and said that he believed that the environmental movement was a front for Communism.
"I think the whole trend really began with the fall of the Soviet Union. Because the great champion of the opponents of liberty, namely communism, had to find some other place to go and they basically went into the environmental movement," Schmitt said." EMPHASIS MINE
Uh huh. 

What's the real latest information on this critical issue? Well, there's this...

And then there is THIS and THIS and THIS (which is especially depressing) and THIS.

But let's be honest. We really have no time for provable, empirical climate science when we are hot on the trail of the far bigger threat... the vast and insidious global Communist conspiracy.

WTF?

Majority View SCOTUS As Fully Politicized

April, 11th, 2012

ABC/WaPo polling shows a majority don't believe SCOTUS will base their health care ruling on the law.


What War On Women? cont...

April 10th, 2012

As a result of the ongoing war on women, which exists no matter how much senior Republicans are now scrambling to deny it, the gap between support among American women voters for President Obama and Mitt Romney has grown wildly. Yesterday, Herman Cain was asked about this on Fox and explained the numbers as follows:
"I think many men are much more familiar with the failed policies than a lot of other people, as well as the general public."
You read that right.

Quote Of The Day

April 11th, 2012

"There is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women."
-- Madeleine K. Albright

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Disaster Has Already Happened, cont...

April 10th, 2012

The Earth is full... via CNN

Chris Christie - No Ordinary Liar

April 10th, 2012

When New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced he was killing the The Trans-Hudson Passenger Rail Tunnel, a project 20 years in the making, he framed as some incredibly responsible and brave decision making on his part. It represented the new, post Tea Party GOP brand. The project was wasteful and something New Jersey simply couldn't afford!

As it turns out, nearly every metric he pronounced to defend this move was a flat out lie. Ahead of a new GAO report to be released this week detailing his many falsehoods, the NY Times reports:
"Canceling the tunnel, then the largest public works project in the nation, helped shape Mr. Christie’s profile as a rising Republican star, an enforcer of fiscal discipline in a country drunk on debt. But the report is likely to revive criticism that his decision, which he said was about “hard choices” in tough economic times, was more about avoiding the need to raise the state’s gasoline tax, which would have violated a campaign promise. The governor subsequently steered $4 billion earmarked for the tunnel to the state’s near-bankrupt transportation trust fund, traditionally financed by the gasoline tax."
You see? He did do exactly what needed to be done. For himself. The congestion of physical interstate commerce the project would have alleviated extends far beyond New Jersey or New York.

Steve Benen is appalled:
"Even at the time, Christie's decision on this project in 2010 was hard to understand. Conservatives, who've become increasingly hostile towards American infrastructure improvements, cheered the move, but from a substantive perspective, the governor's decision was fairly characterized as "destructive and incredibly foolish."
But this new report casts that decision in an even more damaging light. The Government Accountability Office is a non-partisan research/audit arm of Congress, and it's reporting this week that Christie's rationale for his strange decision wasn't even true. It was a mistake to scrap a major public works project during a weak economy; it was a bigger mistake to explain the move with dishonest claims."
This is big stuff. Gov. Christie, in an act of supreme political selfishness, quite literally damaged a whole sector of the American economy. On purpose.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons the Governor thought better of entering the 2012 race for POTUS.

The GOP, The Generals And "Waste"

April 10th, 2012

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) recently was forced to apologize for portraying the Pentagon leadership as liars on matters of the budget. 

The problem he had with their numbers was that they were lower than his preferred spending levels over the next decade.

The fracas drew attention to the hollowness of the GOP mantra that we should always "listen to the generals." So often have we heard this phrase that Ryan's blunder was an extremely important exposure of the Republican party's inherent hypocrisy on the issue of waste.

Keying off of Gordon Adams' take on the affair last week, Stan Collender fires with both barrels (pardon the expression):
"In the now closer-to-four-than-three decades I've been involved with the federal budget in some way, it has never ceased to amaze me that congressional Republicans are able to detect waste, fraud, abuse and overspending from a mile away when it involves a domestic program but are completely deaf, dumb and blind to the same thing when it involves the Pentagon. Why is it, for example, that an extra sandwich in a school lunch program is waste while an extra missile that will never be used and wasn't requested by DOD is vital to national security?"
There is no rational, much less decent, explanation. It's simply how these bastards operate.

Obama's Poll Numbers

April 10th, 2012

The latest WaPo/ABC Presidential polling is out this morning and Team Romney ought to be heading into crisis mode right about now.

Dan Balz and Joe Cohen write:
"Obama has double-digit leads over the likely Republican presidential nominee on who would do a better job of protecting the middle class, addressing women’s issues, handling international affairs and dealing with health care."
That pretty well covers most of the issues. Sure, there are tremendous risks, which the GOP continues to attempt to exploit, that might derail the economy. Nevertheless, in America, the personal is political. On that count, Team Romney has every reason to be preparing for disaster.

Romney's unlikables are at the most dramatic levels of any candidate since Michael Dukakis in 1984.

Obama is definitely vulnerable in certain areas, however, as the report notes:

"If Obama’s views on the role of government are seen more negatively than positively, he has the edge on another aspect of this key debate: Americans by 52-37 percent see "unfairness in the economic system that favors the wealthy" as a bigger problem than "overregulation of the free market that interferes with growth and prosperity."

This is bad news for the GOP brand itself.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know a lot can happen between now and November.

But this is Mitt Romney. I think the over/under is becoming pretty clear.

Frum's Economic Prescription

April 10th, 2012

In the wake of last month's much discussed jobs report, David Frum has some interesting ideas:

"To do better, we'll need a program to stimulate employment for the long-term unemployed -- including potentially a New Deal-style requirement that nobody receive benefits without working. It's no good to anybody -- the unemployed least of all -- to allow the unemployed to collect two years' worth of benefits while waiting at home, their skills atrophying, their resumes going stale.

To do better, we may need to induce employers to create jobs, not only through tax cuts but through direct subsidies, including subsidies of the cost of health coverage. (Especially for older workers, health costs can be more of a deterrent to hiring even than the cost of wages.)

We will need to curtail the generosity of Medicare to open fiscal room for government programs to support opportunities for the young.

We will need a permissive monetary policy that accepts moderate inflation to reduce the burden of mortgages and other debts -- even if it bites a little into savings and fixed incomes.

We'll need above all to recognize the magnitude of the social distress we still face, even as the economic statistics tell us of a recovery that moves financial markets and presidential polls -- but that threatens to bypass tens of millions of Americans for months and years."

Thomas Sowell Jumps The Shark

April 10th, 2012

Sigh. This is what passes for great thinking in the post "Derb" NRO offices?

In his column today, Thomas Sowell first regurgitates long debunked smears about half of Americans not paying their "fair share" (that would be the poor half).

That this is mendacious propaganda is illustrated HERE, HERE and HERE.

Monday, April 9, 2012

What War On Women?

April 9th, 2012

Image via
That's the official GOP line; there is no "war on women."

Today, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called it a "manufactured issue".

He went so far as to presume that high ranking Republican women agree with him:

"There is no issue. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Kelly Ayotte from New Hampshire and Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe from Maine, I think, would be the first to say — and Lisa Murkowski from Alaska — ‘We don’t see any evidence of this.' "
Really?

Romney Watch - The Guy Simply Can't NOT Lie

April 9th, 2012

Regarding a campaign appearance by Mittens last week, Dana Milbank notes just how shocking the candidate's distaste for the truth really is:

"PolitiFact has awarded Romney its “Pants on Fire” or “False” ratings for 32 claims. Among them are these: that Obama “didn’t even mention the deficit or debt” in his State of the Union address, that “our Navy is smaller than it’s been since 1917,” that Obama “never worked in the private sector,” that Obama “gave” the automakers “to the UAW,” and that “we’re only inches away from no longer being a free economy.”

Wednesday’s speech alone had more than a dozen distortions, including allegations that: Obama “has failed to even pass a budget” (Congress passes budget resolutions, which the president doesn’t sign); Obama created a panel empowered to deny treatments under Medicare (the board can only make recommendations, and only if Congress fails to find Medicare cuts), Obama “has added regulations at a staggering rate” (the Business Roundtable just said it “lauded” the administration’s attempt at regulatory reform).

No fewer than three Romney claims in that one speech merited PolitiFact’s “Pants on Fire” rating: that Obama led “a government takeover of health care,” has been “apologizing for America abroad” and is ending “Medicare as we know it.” Romney’s assertions that Obama “is the only president to ever cut $500 billion from Medicare” and that eliminating Obamacare saves “about $100 billion” were rated false.

That Romney resorts to such gratuitous falsehoods discredits his leadership more than his opponent’s."

Banning Günter Grass

April 9th, 2012

Nobel Laureate Günter Grass has been declared persona non grata by the nation of Israel. The reason?

He wrote a poem.

Before going further, I suggest that you read it for yourselves HERE.

Personally, my only real criticism of the work is that (at the ripe age of 84) Mr Grass seems to have lost his artful touch. Perhaps its weakness lies in the translation.

As far as its substance is concerned, Grass has simply suggested that Israel's possession of an utterly opaque and never internationally inventoried nuclear arsenal "endangers an already fragile world peace." He has also decried the hypocrisy of their threatening an all-out war with Iran for maintaining the same refusal to allow transparency.

This is plainly rational. The response of Prime Minister Netanyahu's governing coalition is not. The Guardian reports:
"On Sunday, Israel's interior minister Eli Yishai used a law permitting a bar on entry to former Nazis to declare Grass persona non grata for his "attempt to fan the flames of hatred against the state of Israel and its people, and thus to advance the idea to which he publicly affiliated in his past donning of the SS uniform."
With all due respect, Mr. Grass was born on October 16th, 1927. When Germany invaded Poland he was eleven years old. The Nazi regime's desperate conscription of children as their fortunes of war turned is well documented. Indeed, the total of Grass' combat experience lasted from February to April of 1945.

Neither the ugly fact of Hitler's child victimization nor Grass' long support for Israel's right to exist has prevented some in the Netanyahu regime from painting a very different picture. The ultra-radical Yeshai went so far as to call for Grass' Nobel to "withdrawn."

The N.Y. Times reports on Grass' reaction:
"Two days after his poem appeared, Mr. Grass said in an interview that he had meant to focus his attack not so much on Israel as on the policies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
"The man who damages Israel the most at the moment is in my opinion Netanyahu, and I should have included that in my poem," Mr. Grass said. "What is now an imminent threat is a risk without parallel — a preventive strike, a first strike against Iran, which would have terrible consequences."
The standard attack from Israel's American patrons on that country's critics is that 'they are the only free and Democratic nation in the Middle East.' How does barring the entry of a Nobel winner for the composition of a poem square with our supposed ideals?

Larry Durfner notes wryly:
"... in a way, he’s getting off easy; when ex-Mossad boss Meir Dagan started criticizing Netanyahu and Barak’s plan to bomb Iran, his diplomatic passport was revoked and some cabinet ministers demanded he be investigated for endangering national security.
So it doesn’t matter if Grass was in the Waffen SS (drafted at age 17 at the end of WWII). That makes him an easy target for Israel’s enforcers, but when you’re dealing with antiwar critics, any excuse will do: he’s a German, he’s a gentile, he’s a Jew who doesn’t live in Israel, he’s a fifth-column Jew living in Israel. Whatever. The point is to shut up criticism of Israel’s right to make war whenever and wherever it wants."
The American right is engaging in the same ugliness. Indeed, over at Pajamas Media, Benjamin Kerstein wrote recently that "all criticism of Israel not only can be but must be antisemitic." EMPHASIS HIS

And some wonder why I so rarely venture into this territory. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Quote Of The Day

April 8th, 2012

"And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."

Mark 11:25

A Poem For Easter

April 8th, 2012

Easter Week by Charles Kingsley

See the land, her Easter keeping,
Rises as her Maker rose.
Seeds, so long in darkness sleeping,
Burst at last from winter snows.
Earth with heaven above rejoices;
Fields and gardens hail the spring;
Shaughs and woodlands ring with voices,
While the wild birds build and sing.

You, to whom your Maker granted
Powers to those sweet birds unknown,
Use the craft by God implanted;
Use the reason not your own.
Here, while heaven and earth rejoices,
Each his Easter tribute bring–
Work of fingers, chant of voices,
Like the birds who build and sing.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

It Really Is Getting Better

April 5th, 2012

I'd like to ask the prevaricating (and blatantly racist) leadership at NOM if they'd like to argue the issue of LGBT equality with these guys... meet the You Can Play Project.

Understatement Of The Year Nominee

April 5th, 2012

I have to tip my hat to Right Wing Watch for this gem:
"As we have noted several times in recent weeks, David Barton has a problem accurately reporting on contemporary issues that are easily verifiable..."
Wow. This is politeness on a scale that deserves no small amount of praise.

David Barton convulsively lies every single time that he opens his face-hole. RWW has tirelessly and ceaselessly exposed his lies for quite a bit longer than the last few weeks.

Frankly, I suggest that they have every right to take a lot more credit here.

As to the particular matter at hand, David Barton was lying. Again. Really blatantly.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Quote Of The Day

April 4th, 2012

January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968 
‎"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."
-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

The TSA - Still Ridiculous

April 4th, 2012

And it really is.
TSA Waste
Created by: OnlineCriminalJusticeDegree.com

Arizona - The American Right's Insanity Incubator

April 4th, 2012

Admittedly, there is plenty of "conservative" crazy to go around.

In Florida, the push is on to drug test, well, pretty much everybody who works for state government provided that they are not legislators.

In Michigan, I am not making this up, the Republican Governor has just signed a law which seems to have been designed for the sole purpose of absolving the brother of that state's GOP party chair from responsibility in a multi-million dollar real estate boondoggle.

From coast to coast, the war on women rages, arguments that the poor should be taxed more are regarded as reasonable and, as Andrew Sullivan has examined HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE, standard GOP talking points about the sitting President are so far removed from reality as to be the equivalent of fiction.

There's also the Ryan plan, a scheme so fantastical in its absurdity that it contains statements like this one on page 16:
"The U.S. military is threatened by an uncontrolled debt burden that weakens America - but defense spending is not the driver of that burden." EMPHASIS MINE
Remember, this a "serious" and "non-political" document.

Mitt Romney has called it "marvelous" to the delight of the President.

Yup, the right wing's whack-doodles are absolutely everywhere making their mischief like pooh-flinging monkeys on a coke binge.

But there really is no place like Arizona.

Sure, most GOP controlled state houses are trying to pass or have passed invasive new restrictions on a woman's right to choose. But none of them are like Arizona's H.B 2036. Not content to merely ape other transvaginal ultra sound mandates or impose new limits on when a pregnancy can be terminated, Arizona's GOP has inserted a provision which effectively alters the fabric of time.

Over at Mother Jones, Kate Sheppard explains:
"Like the proposals before it, Arizona's legislation is modeled on the "Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act" designed by the National Right to Life Committee. And like the other bills, it states that abortion would be banned 20 weeks into a pregnancy. But reproductive rights advocates point out that Arizona's law would actually be more restrictive than others, as the bill states that the gestational age of the fetus should be "calculated from the first day of the last menstrual period of the pregnant woman."
Not to go all middle-school health on you, but that's not exactly the same as the actual date the egg and the sperm hooked up. Figuring out that exact point one became pregnant can be tricky. Most women ovulate about 14 or 15 days after their period starts, and women can usually get pregnant from sexual intercourse that occured anywhere between five days before ovulation and a day after it. Arizona's law would start the clock at a woman's last period—which means, in practice, that the law prohibits abortion later than 18 weeks after a woman actually becomes pregnant."
Got that?

You're pregnant when you're not, ladies. So there. Harlots.

Still, this is very nearly rational in comparison with any number of other initiatives the Arizona GOP has proposed.

Got employer covered health insurance? WELL, let's protect their right to fire you if you use birth control.

Let's link any environmental initiative, even one using private funds to cover governmental interests, to a vast conspiracy involving "one world government," the U.N., Bill Clinton and... whatever.

Let's force any woman who is struggling with the Constitutionally protected right to choose to view an abortive procedure first.

Just in time for the anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr, let's propose rather severe new penalties on civil disobedience.

Don't get me started on Joe Arpaio. Or Russell Pearce. It goes on and on and on with exemplars that boggle in comparison to almost any other so-called "Red State."

The state of Arizona has come to not only define, but also to predict establishment GOP extremism. They are the micro to the macro. If it's nuts, and it's happening there, it's also probably on its way to your state.

For the record, I used to love Arizona.

I once rode a horse in Monument Valley. It's one of my most treasured memories. I hoped at that time to capture the feeling, to be frank, that I thought John Wayne must have had in any of the many films he made there with the great John Ford directing.

It is a place of tremendous natural splendor. I also really liked the people I met when I was there.

But, that seems a lifetime ago.

Would I go back now?

Not a fucking chance unless I have to. I would as soon go to Kazakhstan and start loudly declaring myself to be American.

This is because it seems very nearly as dangerous to be one in either place.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Quote Of The Day

April 2nd, 2012

Image via
"It would be almost unbelievable, if history did not record the tragic fact that men have gone to war and cut each other's throats because they could not agree as to what was to become of them after their throats were cut."
-- Walter P. Stacy