Saturday, July 31, 2010


             Hopefully the news will be slow and I won't miss out on too many outrageous and ridiculous political happenings in the next week while we're visiting a chalet in the Smokies.  We'll make an effort to check in on the known universe from time to time, but for the most part we'll be out of the loop.
       (original nature photography can be found at  )

Friday, July 30, 2010

AS EXPECTED, POLICE DROP SEXUAL ASSAULT CHARGE ON AL GORE, JR. (big surprise, she was making it all up for cash!)

         I won't waste a lot of "ink" on this one, because it didn't deserve any when it came across the wire...
         Al Gore is a good man.  He stands for the rights of the disadvantaged, and always has... despite his birth into high cotton, the man has always stood for the rights of the common man.  His career has been one of exemplary behavior, even when he was asked to stand up for President Clinton during the Ken Starr witchhunt.
          I worked in a factory with a man who grew up with Al Gore, Jr.  They baled hay together, spent summers working their farms, and basically this man's word I would never question.  Whenever he spoke of Al Gore, it was in the most glowing of terms.  Al Gore was one politician you could trust, when it seemed there weren't any left.
          Back when Al Gore Jr. was a Senator from Tennessee, I wrote a letter to the editor that was published in the Nashville Tennessean (I was a terrible pest to those folks, cranking out letter after letter... shit, when you live in the buckle of the Bible Belt it's hard not to be upset by the rantings of the mob with torches...) defending Gore and promoting his run for the presidency.
          He was the valid, lawful, and duly elected President of the United States in 2000, had it not been for the verdict of the Soupreems in the Florida recount fiasco which led to the Reign of Error of George W. Bush... and I feel like I was on the front lines of his campaign for the White House.
           This latest slander against Al Gore was nothing more than a publicity and money grab by the people who stand to profit from such shit... and now it's been shot down in flames by the police department charged with investigating the false accusations against this good man's name.
           If there is any justice in the world, she'll be charged with filing a false police report.


       Boy, it's hard to believe anyone this tone deaf is running for office in Kentucky and not here in Tennessee where this kind of stupidity is really appreciated...
        Rand Paul was asked about mountaintop removal as a method for mining coal and proceded to tell the interviewer that he didn't see anything wrong with that process since there seem to be too many hills as it is... and besides, once they've been flattened out they're even more desirable!
        After putting his foot ankle deep in his mouth with his Civil Rights Act of 1964 comments, you might think Rand Paul would take a moment or two to ponder a response before blurting out whatever crosses his frontal lobe on its way to his mouth... but Rand is not your average wingnut.  He's really special.  Here's a partial transcript of an interview on "Issues and Answers":

    Q: What about mountaintop removal?

PAUL: I think whoever owns the property can do with the property as they wish, and if the coal company buys it from a private property owner and they want to do it, fine. The other thing I think is that I think coal gets a bad name, because I think a lot of the land apparently is quite desirable once it's been flattened out. As I came over here from Harlan, you've got quite a few hills. I don’t think anybody's going to be missing a hill or two here and there.

And some people like having the flat land. Some of it apparently has become quite valuable when it's become flattened.

             That last comment about flat land being desirable was from Rand Paul, not yours truly here... I can't be that sarcastic and live with myself.  What a douche...
              Here's a map showing unreclaimed (in red) mountaintop removal sites in Appalachia.  Who's gonna miss a hill or two?



                             Republican Rep. Zach Wamp of Tennessee (AND WE'RE SO PROUD!)

        I guess I've written way too much about this sack of poop already, but he keeps getting his mouth on the news...
        Rep. Zach Wamp's latest foray into the "Let Them Eat Cake" hall of fame comes with this comment about those lazy-ass people who are out of work:

We want people out there scraping and clawing and looking for work and not just sitting back waiting.

        That's right, they're staying unemployed because those benefit checks are so massive they just can't bring themselves to find gainful employment.  Why work when you can sit back and have caviar by the bucket?
         This ass-wad is currently in the House of Representatives from Tennessee and is one of the top three candidates to replace the retiring Phil Bredeson as Governor of the state.  Needless to say, with quotes like this, he's a favorite of the teabaggers.
         Just last week he was having to explain his suggestion that Republican Governors might have to secede from the union in order to resist the intrusive hand of government sponsored health care reform...  Yep, he's a keeper... and we're oh-so-proud of him down here.


      Behold the fury of Representative Anthony Weiner (D-NY) when addressing the House of Representatives over a procedural roadblock being thrown up to stall a bill (James Zodroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act)  that would compensate the rescuers and fire fighters injured during the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.
       Weiner is one of the good guys, and you'll be seeing more of him on the national stage in the future.  Every once in a while someone with balls and the courage to speak steps up in Congress to call a spade a spade, and this guy doesn't mince words when addressing his Republican colleagues.
        Hope you'll watch this video, just to see what real political passion looks like.


                                Cover photo for upcoming Time Magazine

         Anyone who can look at that beautiful young woman's face and not feel horror at what she must have gone through at the hands of the Taliban in Afghanistan needs to have their pulse checked ASAP.
          Arguments will be made for and against our continued presence in Afghanistan, but I think we should look beyond the military and political implications and focus instead on the harm done when religion runs amok.  If you've read many of my blog posts you probably already know that I don't have much use for organized religion, and this is an extreme, yet common, illustration of why I think religion causes more harm than good on this planet.
          And before anyone writes a comment that excuses our religions as opposed to the barbarism of their religion, I'd just like to remind everyone that our abuses are ongoing and just as horrible.
If you think having the Pope send emissaries to sub-Saharan Africa to discourage the use of condoms isn't harmful in that AIDs ravaged region,  you probably condone systemic pedophilia.
If you think burning people at the stake for heresy was a far distant historical myth, maybe you should read up on the Crusades and Inquisition.  The conflicts in Northern Ireland, the Middle East, and half a dozen other hotspots around the globe can be traced directly to organized religion.
            It's hard for me to look at that cover photo and NOT wonder what our civilization might be like had we not substituted superstition for reason over the past five thousand years.

BASIL'S TAKE ON CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM (He's here to make your life happy!)


           There's an interesting gentleman running for the office of Governor of Tennessee, and his unusual campaign style is beginning to garner some national publicity... for all the wrong reasons.
            But Republican Goober-natorial candidate Basil Marceaux isn't shying away from his newfound notoriety.  In fact, he relishes the fact that his rambling, incoherent videos have gotten him mentioned on several nationally broadcast programs in the past few days... even if they're mocking him in the process.
            Marceaux is the kind of political gadfly that we used to call a "crank" in the days before political correctness.  He's run for a lot of public offices, lost every race, and happily concedes he'll lose this one as well... and doesn't mind losing one little bitty bit.  He'll tell you he's just in for the publicity and name recognition, and his never-ending quest to become "somebody important."
             Stephen Colbert teased Basil a little about his slurred speech and insinuated Basil might have had a few beers before making his campaign video.  But Basil says that's simply not true, and that he doesn't even drink.  He blames the difficulty some have in understanding him on the fact that he only has three teeth.
             So how does that make you feel, Mr. Colbert, sitting over there at Comedy Central hogging twenty or thirty teeth all to yourself?  You oughta be ashamed.
             And if you haven't seen a Basil Marceaux campaign video, get thee to a youtube at once, people!  This guy is priceless...


         If you haven't seen HBO's documentary "Gasland" about the dangers involved from pumping fluids into the ground to aid in the extraction of natural gas reserves, don't feel left out.  Apparently, one of Colorado's leading candidates for the Senate hasn't seen the film either... and seems proud of his own ignorance.
         Republican Ken Buck, (who's already been in the news for advising voters to put him into office specifically because he doesn't wear high heels) when asked by the Durango Herald to comment on the fracking controversy, said:

DH: It seems like most complaints about the gas industry come from the Western Slope, and not the area you're from. Have you had much experience with that?

Buck: I had not heard complaints about the gas industry. What kind of complaints are you talking about?

DH: Complaints from landowners about wells being put in places they don't want, complaints about toxic releases from wells, water pollution, things like that.

Buck: I haven't heard those complaints. I haven't heard any complaints about contaminated drinking water from wells. If it happens, it certainly should be closely examined, because it is a danger to human health, but I think it's very rare. When you think of the thousands of oil and gas wells we have in Colorado, I don't know what the prevalence is of that issue

          In Mr. Buck's defense it must be noted that the entire GOP in Colorado has decided it's just best to put their collective heads under the sand (or up their own asses) rather than face the possibility of having the truth about fracking made public and regulated.
          According to a story written by David Sirota, the Colorado Republicans have written to the Environmental Protection Agency warning them to keep "hands off" of the fracking controversy, despite what an on-going two year investigation into the practice might bring to light.
          Folks, when a documentary filmmaker can produce footage of tapwater bursting into flames from a running faucet, perhaps it's a good idea to look into the cause of that conflagration.  This is yet another example of the Republican Party standing up on behalf of Big Business to the detriment of the people.  The illnesses connected to the practice of "fracking" are well documented, and across the southwest there are countless wells and groundwater supplies that are sealed off and unusable because of the gas extraction industry's use of fracking fluids... and yet, the GOP would rather make certain their big bucks contributors maintain a healthy "bottom line" than worry about the people whose lives are ruined in the process.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

BASIL'S NOT A COP, SO DON'T BE SCARED! (he's just a Republican running for Governor of Tennessee...)

        I keep telling anyone who will listen... if you don't live in Tennessee, you should still follow our politics.  Funnier than anything you'll see on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and we aren't even trying!

        This gentleman is one of the Republicans seeking to replace the term-limited governor of Tennessee.  He's not on any serious pol's radar, but by God, he's sure fun to watch!

        Here's Basil's take on guy control, and you'll have to take notes to keep up...


          Just digging through an old file and ran across a few that haven't seen the light of day in a while.  More original photos can be found at under nature/birds/wildlife/landscapes 


IOWA GOP PLATFORM WANTS YOUR NOBEL PRIZE, YOU ELITIST FRAUD! (and keep your hands off our sheep...)

         File this one under "WTF" and hope someone comes along to explain it one of these days...
The Republican Party in Iowa (and remember, we start the election process with the Iowa caucuses) wants so badly to embarrass President Obama they've gone to the trouble of introducing a call to ratify the original language of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.
         Somehow an Amendment making slavery illegal originally contained language that would strip U.S. citizenship from anyone who accepts a foreign title or honor, and they see this as a way to express their outrage over Obama having been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize... even though the Nobel Peace Prize isn't actually bestowed by a specific foreign nation.
          Don't you just know we never would have heard of this silly shit had Ronald Reagan or Curious George been awarded the prize?  Of course, giving a peace prize to either of those war mongers would have been about as ridiculous as handing one to Obama, but you get my point.
           If they're successful in reintroducing this original language, would that mean Obama would lose his Kenyan citizenship?  I'm so confused... The same people who think Obama was undeserving of the Presidency, let alone a Nobel Peace Prize, probably don't recognize his birth certificate as an American citizen in the first place, so to go to this much trouble to have his American citizenship stripped because of the Nobel Prize MUST indicate that they recognize his citizenship as legitimate, right?
           Of course, if you actually read the Iowa GOP's new party platform you'll find quite a few interesting tidbits of cornfed common sense, including this gem:

We believe animal husbandry decisions and production practices should be decided by individual farmers, not the state or federal government.

            Nothing makes an Iowa Republican more angry than having some smartass from Washington telling him what he can and cannot do with his own sheep in the privacy of his own bedroom.  As long as it isn't a same-sex sheep, it's no one else's damn business!



      I had planned on contacting a travel agent about a villa rental in Barbados today, but the people who pull the numbered Powerballs got them all wrong yet again... So instead I have to go help my son move furniture into his new place.
      To those who were waiting anxiously for my call to join me in the islands, all I can say is "Keep Hope Alive!"

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


(to see more of these sarcastic musings, go to  )


                                      Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins in happier times...

         Mike Huckabee has his own little talk show on Faux News (motto: They Might Not Be Able to Win Elections, But Our Commentators Have a Lot to Say!) and recently he hosted one of the co-authors of the very popular Christian "Left Behind" series of books, Tim LaHaye.
         If you're unfamiliar with the "Left Behind" series, there isn't much I need to tell you.  There are twelve or so of these books in print, and they've sold 65 million copies, all of them telling the horror stories of the End Times and the coming Rapture.  You might not think you can tell an "end of the fucking world" story 12 times and keep selling novels, but these guys have a cult-like following among the hurry-the-hell-up crowd who want it all to happen while they're watching in Hi-Def...
        Anyway, LaHaye told Huckabee that President Obama's brand of Socialism was bringing us closer to the End Times, with the Apocalypse just around the corner (so buy your books and read fast!)
         I decided to see what else Mr. LaHaye had to say about things, so I googled the dude... and found that he's been ranting about all sorts of things before finding his cash cow with the gloom and doom crowd.  He wrote a book called "The Unhappy Gays," and in it claimed that gays share common traits including deceit, promiscuity, selfishness (and I thought those were good Republican family values!) poor health, and early death.
          A closer examination of this gentleman shows that he and his wife are connected to that fun-loving group of kidders The John Birch Society (insert roll of the eyes...) and has long held firm beliefs that the Illuminati (cue Robert Langdon), the NAACP, the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, The United Nations, and the Democratic Party, are conspiring to control world events.
           I could help this deluded guy a little by pointing out that the Democratic party can't even control its own events, much less the world's... but I digress...
           Yep, Obama's bringing us to the End Times and the Rapture.  But wait a minute, I thought the Rapture was a "good thing" for the believers... wouldn't a messenger who can hustle up a good thing be a, well, good thing?  Guess not...
            Huckabee was one of the guys who held up his hand when asked during a presidential debate if he didn't believe in evolution.  I'm pretty sure his guest author would agree.  And if our species were to be judged by the evolution of those guys, we might have a tough time convincing anyone that we've managed to evolve beyond our stone age ancestors.
             ... heavy sigh...




If you're a Republican running for office this November, the last thing you want to do is remind the public of George W. Bush's Reign of Error...  In fact, while most Repubs are busy promoting the exact same "voodoo economics" that brought our country to the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression, none of them are inviting Curious George to come help with the fundraising operations.
You'd think they would welcome his help, since they believe he's been maligned and falsely blamed for all of the disastrous things his administration did to America.  After all, Pete Sessions and John Cornyn (both of Texas, of course) have recently taken steps to help rehabilitate George's reputation in the public eye.  There are even billboards popping up around the country showing Smirking George and asking, "Miss Me Yet?"
But if you ask Republican insiders about reminding the public of George W. Bush just before an election you get a slightly less glowing response...  One key Republican operative called the release date of George's memoirs "monumentally bad timing," while another right wing commentator called it "selfish and stupid."
The book comes out a week AFTER voting in the upcoming November elections, but like all book releases there have been and will continue to be tidbits of content leaking out in the weeks leading up to the official sales date.  The last thing Republicans want is a daily reminder of George and his Merchants of Evil hitting the morning papers around the country just as people are making up their minds about the election.
In fact, Democrats have already begun to craft campaign commercials linking current Republican candidates with the failed and highly unpopular regime of the former President. 
So the book release is on schedule, and the shittiest president in modern history will do his best to continue "fucking things up" for fellow Republicans.  Atta boy, George...


        Whenever you need to find those worming their way into the mainstream from the weeds and rushes, look for the ones who insist upon bashing everyone with quotes from a dusty 2000 year old book of bad prose...
         The interview above is a good example.  The guy seems harmless enough, with that Drew Carey thing and all, but the overall message he and his fellow Bible Thumpers are presenting is one of hate and bigotry.


Wouldn't it be nice if we made this the Civil Rights movement of this decade?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


      This is from a few years back, but well worth the time... Damien Rice playing "Volcano"
Lisa Hannigan on harmony vocals
Vyvienne Long on Cello



        (go to for more of these sarcastic slogans and drawings...)


         Long ago in another life, I once lived with a royal pain in the ass whose dad ran a very popular barbeque place here in Murfreesboro.  One happy day this woman asked if I might happen to have a good barbeque recipe, which kind of surprised (and excited) me, because I do indeed have a good barbeque recipe.  In fact, I think it's the best barbeque recipe on the planet.
          Turned out she was looking for a barbeque chicken recipe, and I thought she was asking about a barbeque pork recipe.  See, her dad's restaurant was part of a local chain that specializes in smoked pork barbeque, and I was hoping she was asking about possible improvements to their main source of income...  Not that I would have given up my recipe to this woman or her family... not for any amount of money.  The thrill came from knowing they were looking to make improvements in a product that could damn sure use improving, and that I might hold the key to their future success.
           I was given my barbeque recipe by the widow of a man who ran a roadside tavern in my home town of Kingston, Tennessee.  Anyone who ever stopped long enough at The Roadside Cafe to have one of Bob Shrock's barbeque sandwiches knows exactly what I'm talking about... everyone thinks their barbeque is the best, but Bob's really WAS the best, and now I'm one of a very select group of people who have that original recipe.  I wouldn't have passed it along to this woman or her dad, but just the thought of comparing their's to mine made me salivate.
            When I told her I did indeed have a great barbeque pork recipe, she laughed and asked, "Why would we want a pork recipe?  We sell a million dollars worth of sandwiches a year?"
             To which I replied, "McDonald's sells a lot of hamburgers.  I hope you don't think they have the best..."
             The argument went downhill from there, even though I had her at a distinct disadvantage:  I had tasted THEIR barbeque, they hadn't tasted mine.

              I'm reminded of that conversation whenever I read or hear someone pointing out that Faux News Channel has the most viewers for their "news" shows. 
              A lot of people watch their "news" and commentary.  I hope no one thinks it's the best...


        Here's one from the palm-to-forehead department:  a guy found and bought 65 glass plate negatives at a garage sale for $45 (after talking the seller down from the original asking price of $70) and later discovered that he had bought the "lost" photographs of famed American landscape photographer Ansel Adams.
         They were believed to have been destroyed in a darkroom fire, but obviously survived long enough to make this lucky bastard wealthy.  They've been estimated to be worth $200 million.
         As much as I'd love to be that lucky, I can find some sympathy for the guy who had the negatives and sold them for junk...



         There's a story you need to read.  Nationally televised nutjob Glenn "Weepy" Beck has been ranting about a non-profit foundation out in California ever since Faux News gave him a podium and some chalk, and recently one of the more deranged of his regular viewers decided he'd heard enough and took action.
          A guy named Byron Williams was stopped by California Highway Patrol officers for drunk driving while on his way to murder folks at the ACLU and Tides Center.  Everyone knows the ACLU brings out the loonies, but why did this guy target the Tides Foundation?
           Well, Glenn Beck (and only Glenn Beck, according to Eric Boehlert at Media Matters) has made the Tides Foundation a regular part of his left-wing conspiracy theories, and he brings them up often when ranting about how progressives are ruining his America.  You scribble an organization's name often enough on your crazy-shit chalkboard and sooner or later one of your disciples takes your message as marching orders to open fire.
             This loony the cops stopped was armed to the teeth, and opened fire on the officers who pulled him over.  His mom later came on the news and said her son was having emotional issues and had been inspired to take action because of things he'd heard on Faux News.  Had the police not intercepted this righteous American before he could reach his intended targets, Glenn Beck and Faux News would have had blood on their hands.
             Of course, Beck has already written himself out of THAT narrative, saying that he's just the messenger and shouldn't be held responsible for what some deranged lunatic does with the information he passes along.  I guess if your job is to rabble rouse the angry mob you have to say things like that to prevent authorities from linking you to the mob's actions...
             Back during the health care reform debate, the Tea Party folks were attracting a lot of "patriots" who couldn't have cared less about health care reform.  Those rallies were a chance to strut around with loaded weapons, exercising their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.  Tensions rose when some of those rallies coincided with Congressional votes and Presidential events.  All the while, the talking heads at Faux News continued to play up the events, encouraging citizens to take back their government by a show of force at Tea Party rallies.
              Fortunately, the vast majority of the people who showed up were peaceful, and there were no violent confrontations with sane people... but the day is coming when the people who cheer on this mob mentality will have to explain themselves to a stunned American public after an episode of violence does occur.
              Will the Becks and Hannitys and Limbaughs of the world take responsibility for their part in inciting those actions?  Yeah, just as soon as Fair and Balanced actually means something...


Kaing (Duch) Guek Eav

A U.N. sponsored trial has just ended with a guilty verdict for the infamous jailer of the Tuol Slegn prison in Cambodia.  During the reign of terror that was the legacy of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge from 1975-1979, Kaing (Duch) Guek Eav was personally responsible for the systematic torture and murder of up to 17,000 people. 
I guess when you're talking about that many murders it's hard to even comprehend the scope of the atrocity.  Relative to population, the Khmer Rouge was by far the most lethal regime in the history of the 20th Century, with millions dead and missing.  "Duch" was just following orders...
 That defense was used at Nuremburg by the Nazis, but we hung them nonetheless.
"Duch" has been sentenced to 34 years in prison, and reduced for time served leaves him with another 19 years behind bars.  Thirty-four years in prison for killing 17,000 people?  He's doing a year for every 500 murders.
Personally, I'm opposed to the death penalty, and find state sponsored murder barbaric.  But... this guy doesn't deserve another breath of air on this planet.

Monday, July 26, 2010


      You'd think a guy with half a dozen countries considering aerial bombardment of his fledgling nuclear facilities would have better things to concern himself with than a psychic mollusk, but then, Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad isn't your ordinary paranoid tyrant.
       Various reports out of Iran have Mahmoud making repeated references to Paul the Octopus, calling him an example of western superstition and propaganda.  He has no idea how true that really is...
        When it comes to sports and superstition, we westerners have no equals.  On the other hand, it might be about time to give old Paul a chance to choose between two boxes:  one should contain a "Get out of Tehran Free" card, signifying that no surgical strike on Iran's nuclear facilities will take place.  The other box should simply say, "INCOMING!"
        Bet Mahmoud would watch the selection show... and how superstitious would THAT be?...


        About six years ago a group of right wing Republican sleazebags decided to slime John Kerry's war record, of all things, so that a confirmed draft dodger named George Bush might win a second term in office.  They called themselves Swiftboaters for Truth, and truth had very little to do with their hit-job operation.  However, they're remembered today because we consider a political smear job a "Swiftboating"... See?  Slime someone, get your name "verbed" for all posterity.
         Andrew Breitbart put forth a doctored video clip that slimed Shirley Sherrod and forced her resignation from her job with the Department of Agriculture.  It's been widely debunked now, but the damage to her name is forever done. 
        Breitbart, on the other hand, may live on forever.  To slime someone with documentation completely opposite of the truth might come to be called "Breitbarting" in the future...

        How fucking sad is that?


       Folks, if you don't live in Tennessee, you really oughta keep an eye on our political races... for amusement purposes only.  The current herd of clowns fighting to get into the governor's chair in Nashville is an astounding group.  Some might call them "special."  Short bus special...
       The current Lt. Governor of Tennessee, Republican goober-natorial candidate Ron Ramsey was recently asked about our little mosque controversy here in Murfreesboro, Tn, and replied that he wasn't sure if Islam was even a religion.  Might be more of a "cult" or something, in his opinion.
       Ramsey is backed by a lot of the teabaggers in the state, and he's received the lion's share of out of state contributions because of those endorsements.  The other candidate on the Republican side of the race claiming Tea Party endorsements is a guy named Zach Wamp, currently a member of the House of Representatives in Washington.  His recent claim to fame is a foot-in-mouth relapse in which he suggested Republican governors might have to take their states out of the union in order to free themselves from the burdens of government run health care reform.  Later on he backed off of the secession rant when it was pointed out to him that it was (a) sedition to encourage treason, and (b) batshit crazy to begin with...
       The mosque controversy in Murfreesboro has been a blogger's dream (despite being a constant source of embarrassment) here in town... I live less than a quarter mile from the site of the proposed Islamic Center, and took part in a recent gathering at the county courthouse here in town to support their right to build a new mosque on the site.  Local papers have characterized those of us who stood in support of the first amendment and freedom of religion as "an angry mob," and inflated mosque opponents' numbers five-fold.
       But that's not the reason I'm writing... You kind of expect to be labeled as naive when you don't join the mob with torches and pitchforks, so there's nothing surprising about that.  What strikes me as odd is the way so many of these candidates are willing to join in the idiot chorus just for the votes the loonies can provide.  It's clear that they know better.  They're obviously educated and intelligent enough to have risen to positions of power in modern politics, but for whatever reason they now see the need to pander to the most common of denominators, bigotry, in order to win this election.
        We can only hope that these efforts at reaching the top by playing to the dregs of society aren't successful. 


       There's a guy running for the Senate in Colorado with the support of the Tea Party movement who just can't stand the idiots who are supporting his candidacy.  Unaware that his comments were being recorded, Republican candidate Ken Buck said:

        "Will you tell those dumbasses at the Tea Party to stop asking questions about birth certificates while I'm on the camera," Buck said to the staffer. "God, what am I supposed to do?"
        When asked about his comments by the Denver Post, Ken apologized for the crass language, then said, "It's so hard to put up with these ignorant assholes!  Jeez!  They'd piss off Mother Teresa!"
        Okay, I made up that last quote... But the rest is true.  And if he DID say something like that, we'd all understand.  He's offered himself up as a prime time teabagger, and yet can't stand the jerks who make up that movement.  Apparently, if they can produce a wave of discontent strong enough to get him to DC, they're useful idiots. 

       A few days ago, Buck was urging folks to vote for him because he didn't wear high heels.  Yep, that's a fact.  His opponent is a woman, and in Ken Buck's world, that in and of itself is reason enough to support his candidacy for the Senate.  He's not ovary impaired, you see?

       Out in Nevada, Sharron Angle is running away from cameras and reporters faster than a pedophile priest.  If you want to interview this teabagger and don't work for Faux News, better have your Nikes laced up tight for the jog.  What's she running from?  Her own words... they keep asking her to affirm her previous statements, and that alone is enough to put her candidacy in sprinter mode.

        Rand Paul is carrying the teabagger banner in stealth mode, too.  He's been as hard to find on legitimate news interviews as J. D. Salinger was before he died.  Like Sharron Angle and this clod Ken Buck, Paul is at his best when he's in his undisclosed location.
         Ever remember people running for office like this?  They rant and rave for the attention of the loony-toons in their voting districts, then disappear when their own words raise eyebrows in the reality based universe.
         What some were calling a voting revolution a few months ago is beginning to look a lot like a flash in the pan constituency everyone is trying desperately to distance themselves from today.  And folks, we're a long way from November.  They've got to hide for another couple of months to pull this shit off...



Sunday, July 25, 2010


      Recently Channel Four News decided to let each candidate for governor of Tennessee have a minute to speak, free of charge, to the people of the state.  First up, Basil Marceaux.

                           Basil Marceaux, Republican candidate for Governor of Tennessee

     If you don't do anything else today, PLEASE go to this guy's website and check him out!



        A couple of days ago Republican Congressman and candidate for Governor of Tennessee Zach Wamp let it be known that if the voters didn't get their heads out of their asses and elect conservative Republicans in the midterm elections, governors of right-minded states might have to secede from the union as their only recourse.
        Obviously, that's a nutty thing for a member of the House of Representatives to say in public... in front of reporters... while running for governor...  And isn't it just like the  liberal lame-stream media to pick up on a comment like that and use it to make a good man look as stupid as a mimosa stump?  Those bastards will stoop so low to slime a guy...
        Anyway, when asked (relentlessly) about the comment, and after hearing some suggest that he might have reverted to his drug-addled University of Tennessee freshman daze, Wamp has come out and issued a total disclaimer
        Now, Zach says he doesn't favor secession at all.  Only kidding about the sedition and treasonous talk... gotta be careful what you say around those microphones, you know?
        Wouldn't he make a great governor?  He's been such a source of pride for us here in Tennessee while serving in Congress (lives in the C Street house of The Family you hear so many wonderful things about...) we just KNOW he'd be a true inspiration in Nashville as governor.


               Tony waves goodbye to the Gulf of Mexico for the last time...

       In a totally surprising career move, British Petroleum CEO Tony Hayward has announced that he will resign from the company in order to be named "Oil Czar" of Facebook.
        After Farmville member Francis McIntyre of Bridgeport, Illinois discovered a massive oil field under her Farmville plot last month, speculation has spread that Facebook would soon be making a major announcement concerning the new application.  Hayward's previous work in cleaning up spills was cited as a major contributing factor to his choice to lead Facebook through this transition period from agriculture to oil extraction. 

        Film at eleven...

TENNESSEE RANKED FIFTH MOST LAZY STATE IN AMERICA (dammit people, you're just not trying!)

       The Nashville Tennessean has an article in today's edition quoting a story that ranks the nation's laziest states, and Tennessee has placed a dismal fifth on the list.  I'm not sure how we go about trying harder to push our way to the top of the Lazy List, but apparently doing very little isn't working.
        Maybe if we all stop going to work completely?  How about if we just stop bothering to read the newspapers at all?  You have to figure, if you're reading this article in Tennessee, or for that matter, reading this blog,  you're not helping us make it to the top.  After all, reading takes effort.  Lazy's the key, people, stop doing things!
        Another national survey had us listed at number two in the Most Obese category, which might in some way be linked to the results of this survey, too.  Next week's survey results will probably show us leading the nation in alcoholism.  Suddenly I'm seeing Dean Wormer in Animal House addressing the character named Flounder:

         "Drunk, fat, and stupid is no way to go through life, son."

         Well, for what it's worth, even if you're sober, thin, and brilliant, you'll end up in the same state of decomposition as the rest of us sooner or later.  So take your bottled water to the treadmill and read Tolstoy on your way to the graveyard.  We'll be eating burgers and drinking sweet tea and watching from the porch as your hearse rolls by...


READING "THE READER" FOR THE FIRST TIME (jaw dropping bigotry and intolerance on display in print...)

     A while back there was a controversy here in beautiful little Murfreesboro, Tn, when a gentleman complained about one of the free publications being distributed at local grocery store chains.  The Kroger company decided to pull the publication from their racks after checking out the content, and the right wingers and religious nuts (pardon the oxymoron) went crazy.  If you google "controversy the reader newspaper pulled from Krogers" you'll get quite a few links to articles about this story, all of them from a decidedly "highly offended Christian" vantage point.
      Well, during our recent two night stay at a local hospital I stumbled upon a copy of this "newspaper" for the first time.  I quickly picked up on the "rightward ho!" slant of their editorial positions and was stunned by the blatantly bigoted and rascist nature of their opinion pieces.  This rag really is special, even by southern standards.
       I wish I could link you to the digital version of this paper, just for shits and giggles, but unfortunately, you have to PAY a subscription fee to read this horseshit via computer.  Trust me, it's not worth giving these assholes a penny just to see what passes for journalism in their "newspaper."  Under the banner "The Reader" are the words "In God We Trust," and just in case you're confused about "which" god they're trusting in, just open and point to any part of the paper and you'll have your questions answered post haste.
        The recent controversy here in town concerning the construction of a new mosque is big-time news to this hateful screed.  They rant about it in every imaginable manner, even in their political endorsements.  To have this paper in your hand is akin to catching the used paper that drops through the hole at an outdoor concert Port-a-Potty.  You'll quickly find yourself looking for anti-bacterial soap and hot running water.
       Unbelievable that this rag was ever on display for distribution at a chain of grocery stores, and more baffling still that it even remains in business.  In the lower right hand corner of the issue I obtained was a cute little drawing of a character they call "Mr. Reader", and under the drawing is the caption: Mr. Reader says... I just "HATE IT" when we are told to be tolerant, even if it kills us.

       Folks, you would have to see one of these things to believe it.  Ignorance on full parade, complete with advertising and color photographs. 

Friday, July 23, 2010


      I've blogged about Rep. Zach Wamp in the past, and pretty much summed up his political temperment as "over the top."  I had no idea just how far over the top he was willing to go, rhetorically, but apparently the sky's the limit for this guy.
      There's a Washington Post article in which ol' Zach suggests that secession from the union is a possibility if America's voters don't go to the polls and return conservatives to power in the midterm elections.

      When Tay-Hass Governor Rick Perry threatened to pull the Lone Star State out of the union a while back I offered to hold the door for him as he and his herd of pinheads left the building... now one of our own Congressmen has joined the idiot chorus.
       Hey, guys?  That secession thing didn't work out too well the last time we tried it, remember?  And this time you won't have two million slaves baling your cotton for you while you march off to war...


       I've had to suspend scribbling for the past couple of days in order to attend to Mrs. Squatlo's emergency surgery yesterday afternoon, and the interminable wait for medical care in the aftermath...
       Basically we've been sitting on our asses in a room watching the door for the appearance of a doctor who will, hopefully, shed some light on the cause of her emergency, the prognosis for her future well-being, and some kind of indication of when we can leave this god-forsaken facility for home...
        In the words of Richard Pryor, "I'm gonna crawl outside and die in a ditch where somebody might find my fucking body!" or words to that effect.
        To say we've been 'ignored' wouldn't be accurate... there's someone coming by to take blood or vital signs or blood pressures or to ask if the pain is manageable, but we've gotten nothing official from the doctor who did the surgery, and your ass isn't going anywhere (or eating solid food, which my wife hasn't touched since Wednesday afternoon, and this is Friday night...) UNTIL he signs off on your discharge.
         At any rate, I'll be back with something pithy to say on any number of subjects just as soon as I'm not hunkered down over this laptop...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

GARDEN FRESH TOMATOES (it don't get no better'n that!)

        If there's anything better than homegrown tomatoes on a hot summer day, I haven't found it yet.  Better'n sex, better'n money, better'n anything in between.  Don't tell my kids, but we put up a lot of salsa yesterday with garden fresh tomatoes, homegrown peppers and herbs... Really surprised my son's radar didn't go off in the middle of cooking up the salsa!   He can usually tell when we're making barbeque or salsa, even from his place in Nashville...

UNEMPLOYED? YOU'RE JUST LAZY AND UNPLEASANT TO WORK WITH... (so says Ben Stein, and he should know...)

      There's a story being reported on ThinkProgress in which Ferris Bueller's teacher is explaining long term unemployment for those who might be concerned about the out-of-work among us.
       Ben Stein says the vast majority of the unemployed in America are unpleasant people who don't know how to do a decent day's work.  Not all of them, he stresses, but most.  The former speechwriter for Richard Nixon probably knows quite a bit about working with unpleasant people.
       But as far as Ben being an oracle of truth about such things?  Well, let's check the record... Back in August of 2007, Stein appeared on the Faux News show "Cavuto on Business" where he argued that the subprime lending mess would quickly blow over and do no long term damage to the overall economy.  In fact, he argued that it was a "tiny, tiny blip" and said he believed "stocks will be a heck of a lot higher a year from now than they are now."
       Last year he was scheduled to be the commencement speaker at the University of Vermont, but had to step down after his opinions about evolution (?) became public.  Apparently, Ben thinks Intelligent Design is the better scholastic model for biology classes...

       Stein was fired from his job as Sunday columnist with the New York Times after a conflict of interest arose when he began to pitch commercials for  But Ben says that wasn't the real reason he was canned... No, he got the axe because of budget cuts at the Times, and because he'd been critical of President Obama. 

        Or maybe it was because he's just a lazy, unpleasant asshole no one wanted to work with...


       Rep. John Tanner (D-TN) gave an impassioned speech on the floor of the House that helped convince some of the Republicans in that body to help pass a measure that would ease or reduce tariffs on some products brought into the country.  The bill itself isn't the reason I'm posting a portion of his remarks... I could care less about this particular bill.
        Here's a snippet of what he said on the floor of the House of Representatives:

This is almost 'Alice in Wonderland,' where up is down and down is up," he continued. "If Republican members cannot rise above their leadership's mistakes, I suggest they turn in their voting cards to their leadership, and go home. ...

"We're not supposed to park our brain at the door because of some sort of partisan political advantage we think we might be able to get by hurting our own country."

        That sums up the Republican position on every important piece of legislation before Congress, from Health Care Reform to Financial Reform to Immigration Reform to the extension of unemployment benefits.  If it's important for America, Republicans will oppose it to hurt the party in power for partisan gain.
        If the American people watch them in action and can't tell which party represents the interests of the common working person and which protects the interests of the well-heeled and corporations, then we have no hope for common sense carrying the day in future elections.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


AN HONEST ASSESSMENT OF NETWORK BIAS... ON FAUX NEWS? (Shep Smith blasts his own network!)

        The next time someone wants to point at Michael Moore's creative editing as an example of left-wing bias, just mention Van Jones, or ACORN, or Shirley Sherrod.
         If you've followed this horror story, you know how ball-less and devoid of courage the White House and Department of Agriculture were to demand Ms. Sherrod's resignation based upon the highly edited footage displayed relentlessly on Faux News.  The people who put together that footage did so with the sole intent of discrediting yet another black administration official, and they succeeded.
         Rarely will you hear anyone at Faux News voice a criticism of that network's coverage of any event... but this is refreshingly honest dialogue from Shep Smith.

HUMMER IN FLIGHT (and I don't mean a "Mile High Club" kind of thing...)


      Many thanks to my old buddy Aimee for handing me this one...  the City Council in Elmhurst, Illinois has asked the City Attorney to look into the possibility that public "eye-rolling" might somehow fit into the laws against disturbance of the peace and disorderly conduct.
       Seems one of the town's residents was deemed to have disturbed a recent council meeting by doing just that.  She rolled her eyes during a discussion on whether or not the city needed to hire a lobbyist, and was promptly asked to leave the meeting.
        A while back I wrote about some idiots in the Georgia state legislature who were busying themselves by passing a law making it illegal to implant computer chips into the bodies of unwilling subjects.  Not to be outdone, Arizona passed a law requiring law enforcement personnel to ask for legal documentation to prove citizenship.  Our own legislature here in Tennessee, not satisfied with the infamy caused when they approved a bill to allow folks to carry home and eat roadkill, passed a law allowing permit holders to carry loaded firearms into bars.
        But eye rolling?  Shit, my daughter would be in prison for life if that had been on the books here in Murfreesboro a few years ago...

         Way to go, Elmhurst!  This competition had cooled off considerably... nice to know you're working to raise the bar for morons nationwide!


THE BLACK TEA PARTY? ARMED, ANGRY, AND IN THE STREETS? (they would have already called out the national guard...)

        Many thanks to "Earth Bound Misfit" for this one...  interesting question: 
                   "What if the Tea Party was Black?"

     Do you think we'd consider that organization patriotic?  If armed, angry black men and women were marching through the streets demanding the resignation of the President, would we call it a grassroots American movement?  If Faux News were hosted by a legion of black spokesmen, working like rabble rousers to instigate rebellion and race wars, would we tolerate their hate speech?  If a Facebook page had been formed to pray for the death of George W. Bush, and a million black Facebookers had signed on, would that page ever have seen the light of day???

                 Remember the final courtroom scene in "A Time to Kill" when the attorney tells the jury, "Now imagine she's white"?  Just for a moment, imagine a black tea party marching in the streets with loaded automatic weapons, carrying signs questioning the legitimacy of the president's birth certificate...

            We tolerate the teabaggers for one reason only:  They're white.  Flip the negative and see how quickly the government would be compelled to crack down on their organization...


         Sounds crazy, right?  Well, have you ever been to a place that required coins to poop?  Remember pay toilets? 
          This might be right around the corner...

(many thanks to Brain Rage for posting this one today!)

YOUR OLD MAN'S A MONKEY! (the anniversary of the Scopes "Monkey Trial")

        Eighty-five years ago today a jury in Dayton, Tennessee, returned a guilty verdict against biology teacher John Scopes, ending the so-called "Monkey Trial" of 1925.
        Scopes had been charged with willfully violating the Butler Act, which made it illegal to teach Darwin's Theory of Evolution in Tennessee.  The ACLU had encouraged Scopes to stand trial as a test case, and they eventually financed a formidable defense team to represent Scopes, including famed defense attorney Clarence Darrow.  The state of Tennessee asked three-time Democratic presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan to offer his services to the prosecution, thus setting up a highly publicized confrontation between theology and science.
         The trial became the first to be broadcast live via radio in the United States, and journalists from around the country crowded into the Rhea County Courthouse to watch the show.  Even the noted curmudgeon of sarcasm H. L. Mencken filed daily reports from the scene.
         The confrontation between Bryan and Darrow was later made into the play and movie, "Inherit the Wind," and has become one of the most famous courtroom dramas in American history.  Scopes was found guilty and fined $100, but the conviction was later overturned on a technicality.  The scene of the trial was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.

                Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan

      You might say this trial has been going on continuously even since.  The teaching of evolution has been challenged in almost every state in the country at one time or another, and it could be argued that at no time since the original trial has theory been more under attack.  There are movements underway across the country to bring creationism back into science classes, most notably under the guise of something called "Intelligent Design," which I like to call the evolution of ignorance.

        Darrow offered the best quote of the trial when he said, "We have the purpose of preventing bigots and ignoramuses from controlling the education of the United States."

        I would contend that fight is far from over... if  you have doubts about that, just check out the state of Texas's new history textbooks...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A MUSICAL INTERLUDE... (Jethro Tull medley, solo Chapman Stick by Rob Marino)

      I always thought Aqualung was one of the most influential albums of my generation... for so many reasons.  This gentleman's take on two of the best acoustic tunes on that record is a little rough around the edges, but so very nice just the same.
      Here is Rob Martino's solo version of "Cheap Day Return" and "Wond'ring Aloud" on the chapman stick.
      Let me know if you find this kind of thing blog worthy!


       The Tea Party Federation boots out the Tea Party Express, which will probably spawn the Tea Party Confederation, which will lead to the Tea Party Assembly, TeaBaggers Anonymous, and Coffee, Tea, or Me Party.
        All you need to join is a "lot" of anger toward everyone not already in the club.

THE LUNACY OF TRYING TO IDIOT-PROOF THE WORLD (Natchez Trace Bridge lures jumpers...)

                   Natchez Trace Parkway Arches 

         You can't idiot proof the world, and we should stop trying.  There's a beautiful bridge just outside of Franklin, Tennessee, that seems to be attracting suicidal jumpers at a rate of about one every fifteen and a half months.  Today's issue of the Nashville Tennessee devoted an entire page of the editorial section to discussing methods that might be employed to prevent this loss of life, from higher fencing along the bridge, to a system of netting below the span to catch jumpers.  One suggestion was to put up signs alerting folks to a Hot-Line for suicide prevention help.
         Listen, if there's a public safety issue out there and thousands of people are at risk, I'm all for taking steps to prevent injuries and deaths.  If your Toyota wants to blow through intersections despite your best intentions to come to a stop, then hey, let's work on the acceleration issues.  If the toys we're importing have unsafe levels of cadmium and lead in them, maybe we should get the kids to play with Uncle Jeb's shotgun instead of the Happy Meal Cup... (we KNOW American lead is unsafe, but the jury's still out on Chinese lead...)
         This bridge in Williamson County is part of the National Park system that maintains the Natchez Trace Parkway, and it is spectacular.  In 1995 the Parkway Arches bridge was awarded the Presidential Design Award, and was praised for its clean design and beautiful lines.  Now there are some who want to spend millions of dollars to put up restraining fences or nets to discourage the discouraged...  all because 13 troubled souls have taken advantage of the bridge's 155 foot height for their last solo flight.  Thirteen people have jumped to their deaths in the seventeen years of the bridge's existence, and because of that we have to do something.
         The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco had 31 jumpers last year alone.  I don't remember anyone suggesting we raise the water level in the Bay to make the jump less deadly...