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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

U.S. SUPREME COURT DISMISSES YET ANOTHER BULLSHIT BIRTHER LAWSUIT (and does so without comment)

        At what point does it begin to sink in to some of our duller citizenry that Barack Obama was born in Hawaii and is therefore eligible to hold the office to which he was elected?  How many times do lower courts and the Soupreems have to slap these silly assholes off the docket before a judge rules that their lawsuits are frivolous and meant merely to clog up our legal system with cases based entirely on internet rumors and teabagger paranoia and racism?
         If you have a few minutes, go to the link and watch CNN Anderson Cooper absolutely gut Texas State Representative Leo "I'm old and senile, but have nice hair" Berman in an extended interview, in which Cooper gives Berman plenty of time to state his case while taking the old fart's arguments apart, piece by piece.
          This is what good journalists do with cranks.  Or at least, this is what good journalists USED to do with cranks, which is why we had so few of them on the national news in years past.  Now, of course, every crank must be heard, and for every Orly Taize and Rep. Berman, there must be an Anderson Cooper or Rachel Maddow to confront their lunacy.
            Hope you'll watch the video on the link.  I'd embed it, but it's been disabled by its owners...

TENNESSEE STATE SUPREME COURT STAYS EXECUTION, TO HEAR ARGUMENTS THAT LETHAL INJECTION IS CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT

         In a highly unusual move, the State Supreme Court of Tennessee has reversed itself and decided to allow a death row inmate's attorney time to present evidence that the method of lethal injection followed by the state violates his client's right to avoid cruel and unusual punishment.  The high court had ruled just days ago that the execution of Stephen West could proceed, but decided to reconsider his attorney's call for a delay to investigate the method Tennessee would use to put West to death, and did so with less than 30 hours remaining on his death watch at the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution.
          West had even gone so far as to order his last meal: an extra large Domino's pizza with everything except black olives and pineapple.  Putting aside his dubious choice for his last supper, one must wonder how a last minute delay like this doesn't qualify as cruel and unusual punishment, in and of itself.
           Here's the rub... There are medical concerns that the second drug administered during a lethal injection might paralyze the condemned prisoner so that he might be conscious and in pain, but unable to display that pain to his executioners.  Last week the state's high court approved a method of checking for consciousness that called for the prison warden (and not a medical doctor) to shake the inmate and brush his hand over the eyelashes of the prisoner before preceeding with the last injection in the series.  Are you not grossed out enough yet?
           Imagine your job is to maintain security and calm in a facility full of dangerous men, and to have the unimaginable horror of being put in charge of determining a condemned man's level of consciousness prior to his lethal injection... by touching the man's eyelashes and giving him a good shake to see if he's "with it" or not... I wouldn't want that job for checking the pulses at a frat party kegger of Four Loko...
            The Court's ruling has delayed Stephen West's execution and those of three others on death row until lower courts can rule on the lethal injection procedure employed by Tennessee.
             Not that it really matters, but here are a couple of details from West's conviction.  He was accused and convicted of having murdered a woman and her 15 year old daughter back in 1986.  His defense attorney tried to point out at the original trial that Stephen West had been born in a mental institution to a woman who heard voices and attempted suicide, and who later abused West as a child, but that evidence was ruled inadmissible and irrelevant to the murder trial.
              Had Stephen West been sentenced to remain in prison for the remainder of his days back in 1986, the state could have avoided millions of dollars worth of legal challenges, including this last one, and he would have presented no further threat to society.  Our system of murdering in the name of the state is based entirely on our need for vindictive retribution for the crimes committed, and has nothing whatsoever to do with actual justice or the protection of society.  Whether we strap a man to an electric chair or a gurney for this final chapter, or indeed, nail him to a wooden cross, we can't justify our actions any more than the convicted can justify theirs.
               I hope the state will take this moment of reflection to heart and end the death penalty in Tennessee.
         

TEA PARTY NATION PRESIDENT ADVOCATES VOTING BE RESTRICTED TO PROPERTY OWNERS ONLY ( why not an IQ test, instead? )

       Tea Party Nation (whatever the hell THAT is...) president Judson Phillips was the host of a teabagger radio show recently and said that he thought the old laws that restricted voting to only those who owned property should be reinstated.  His line of thinking, while rooted in some smarmy noise about property owners being more "vested" in their communities, is yet another attempt by the right to suppress minority and lower class voting.  Here's a quote from Think Progress:
        If you’re not a property owner, you know, I’m sorry but property owners have a little bit more of a vested interest in the community than non-property owners.
        I guess living in an apartment in the inner city would make one unfit for the voting process in Judson's world.  Unless you own the McMansion in the 'burbs and pay someone to tend to your grass while you sleep, you're not going to be allowed in to vote.  Is there no shame among these clowns?
        There has been a steady cry for certain restrictions to be placed on voting rights since our country's founding, and recent noise from the right indicates that misplaced mindset might be making a comeback.  We've heard noted spokesmen urging the repeal of the 17th Amendment, to take the direct election of our Senators out of the hands of the voters and left to those currently in power in the form of designated lawmakers... appointed by the "ins" to stifle the voices of the "outs."
         In a less enlightened time we had a poll tax requirement to vote, meaning you had to pay for the privilege of voting.  At one time, it was restricted to those who paid income taxes.  The idea, obviously, was to take away incentives for the poor or minorities in America to make the effort to vote.  Now, some want to take us back to those "good old days" with nonsense like this suggestion from Phillips.
          I've got a better idea.  Why not give every potential voter a quickie citizenship test before passing out the ballots?  Why not ask potential voters some simple questions about American History, such as:  1) Is Hawaii recognized as a state in the United States of America?  2)  Would a person born in Hawaii therefore be considered a U.S. citizen by birth?  3)  Can you name the three countries that make up North America? (if not, you can't vote OR receive the Republican nomination for president at any point in the future)  
            Sorry for the unbridled sarcasm, but these pricks piss me off...





Monday, November 29, 2010

"FACE THE NATION" ASKS "BULLSHIT QUESTION" AND GETS LECTURE ON AMERICAN OBESITY, IGNORANCE, AND COMPLACENCY (but bleeping "bullshit" is all anyone is concerned about...)

      Sunday morning's CBS "Face the Nation" took a rather remarkable turn for the better when Theodore Roosevelt biographer and historian Edmund Morris bristled at host Bob Scheiffer's repeated attempts to get him to channel his inner 'Teddy' when asked how Roosevelt would have felt about the Tea Party phenomenon of modern American politics.
       Morris invoked the tone and dialog of Marisa Tomei's character in 'My Cousin Vinny' when he changed the tenor of his voice and replied, "That's a bullshit question!" because it's impossible to put modern perspective into the mouths of dead historical figures.  ( I've always loved the character of Mona Lisa Vito in that movie, and Tomei deserved the Best Supporting Oscar for that performance, IMHO.)
        But after bleeping the word "bullshit" from the taped exchange, the show continued with Morris blasting the American public for being complacent and apathetic about world events and foreign policy.

I see an insular people who are insensitive to foreign sensibilities, who are lazy, obese, complacent and increasingly perplexed as to why [Americans] are losing our place in the world to people who are more dynamic than us and more disciplined.

          If that doesn't sum up the problem with the American public, nothing ever will.  He just nailed the manifesto to the church door, and it pisses some folks off, not because of what the manifesto says about us as an uncurious lot of dolts, but that there's now a hole in the door someone will have to fix.
           Anyone who has channel surfed on any night of the week and been lulled into a trance-like state of drool inducing pablum by the neverending parade of reality shows (Dancing with the Daughter of an Idiot, Survivor, American Idolatry, The Great Race, Jersey Sluts, Real Housewives of Poor Bastards, etc.) would be hard pressed to argue with Mr. Morris's take on the American electorate.  Go into any Walmart and just take a look at the average American shopper in action; three-hundred pounds of blubber, standing in skin tight spandex in front of the plasma TV displays, looking for just the right gift for the little snot-nosed clones of themselves they left at the daycare center.
            We had a candidate for Vice President of the United Fucking States 18 months ago who had to be taught in debate prep that North America consisted of three different countries, and that Africa was a continent and not a country... and she's seriously considered a legitimate Republican prospect for their presidential nomination in 2012!  Our own kids can't name the state's governor, their own elected representatives to Congress, or tell you the three branches of government.
            Something tells me we ought to listen to folks like Edmund Morris, and worry a lot less about the offensive language he uses (or the hole in the door.)

         

REPUBLICAN STATE LEGISLATOR IN MINNESOTA HANDCUFFED AFTER FOUND WITH HANDGUN STALKING "GIRLFRIEND" OUTSIDE OF PLANNED PARENTHOOD IN ST. PAUL

           Police in St. Paul, Minnesota were called by concerned staffers at a Planned Parenthood clinic after noticing an armed man on the sidewalk in front of their establishment who claimed to be looking for his "girlfriend."  When police showed up, they briefly detained and handcuffed the armed man, only to find he was 58 year old Republican State Legislator Tom Hackbarth, who was recently elected to his eighth term in office.
           Hackbarth claimed he was merely looking for his "girlfriend," although he was unable to give her address because he had only met her two months earlier on-line.  He had parked near the Planned Parenthood clinic and was walking toward a shopping and restaurant district in search of his beloved when questioned about the handgun and his actions.  After taking his gun for routine processing, the legislator was released without a ticket, no doubt determined to continue his search unarmed.
             Does that not raise a red flag with anyone up there?  Hello?  A state legislator was caught carrying a handgun in search of a woman he barely knows because "she might be out with another man" and that would require weaponry?
             heavy sigh...

FOR SECOND WEEK IN A ROW, THE SIMPSON'S BLASTS FAUX NEWS

SCIENTIST CLAIMS TO HAVE REVERSED AGING PROCESS IN LAB MICE ( Mickey and Minnie demand injections )

          According to a story over on AlterNet, a scientist is claiming he has managed to reverse the aging process in lab mice by injecting them with the enzyme telomerase.  He had expected the treatment to slow the process, and was surprised to find that it dramatically reversed the aging process in the treated mice.
           "What we saw in these animals was not a slowing down or stabilisation of the ageing process. We saw a dramatic reversal – and that was unexpected," Ronald DePinho told the Guardian. His study was published in the journal Nature.

             I'm not sure what the practical applications for this breakthrough might mean for humans, but the prospect of mice and rats with longer life expectancy rates can't be good news for us.  At best, it provides entertainment and a little nourishment for our cats, but really, do we want agile, virile mice running around with the lifespans of tortoises?
             Expect Hollywood to fund immediate trial clinics into this man's research, though... the plastic surgery thing is getting out of hand out there.







         

OUR VERY OWN SENATOR CORKER ADVISES VW TO AVOID UNIONIZATION (says UAW "breeds us versus they relationship"...)

                              Senator Bob Corker (Asshole-Tn)

         If you paid attention during the Senate hearings concerning the automobile bailouts of 2008, you probably remember this guy, though you wouldn't recognize him smiling from those committee hearings.  During his face time on television he was the uppity little yippy dog, snarling around the ankles of United Auto Workers representatives, demanding concessions to bring their memberships' wages and benefits down to fall in line with the lower wages paid at non-union facilities here in Tennessee.  His 'questions' were more like accusations, and his negotiating style was to simply demand capitulation and concessions from the unions for hard-earned wage and benefit packages they had negotiated in good faith over many years with Chrysler and GM.
         Well,  Bob's back in the news.  Bob Corker (for those who don't know the guy as well as we do here in the Volunteer State) is a multi-millionaire businessman who has opposed organized labor all of his adult life.  He took the vacated Senate seat left open by Fred ('bonk bonk')Thompson when Fred decided he'd had enough politics and went to 'Law and Order' full time... then decided he wanted to return to politics, but only if he could be President of the United States.  His thrilling campaign (motto: "I'm Fred... I own a truck... and I play serious men in movies and television parts... vote for me!") didn't catch on with anyone other than the sleepier of the teabaggers.  But I digress...
          Anyway, according to today's Nashville Tennessean (motto: "Corker called, we're sending a scribe and taking notes") Senator Bob Corker has told the Volkswagen officials he lured to open a factory in his hometown of Chattanooga that he would advise them to avoid unionization for the plant because it would be "highly detrimental" for the German carmaker, and that the United Auto Workers "breeds an us-versus-they relationship."  Tennessee is a "right to work" state, meaning workers aren't forced to join unions to gain employment.  That in and of itself is enough of a lure to bring a lot of manufacturing jobs to the state, and is the reason our standard of living is so low here.
           To their credit, the officials representing the German automaker are (at least publicly) remaining neutral on the subject of unionization at the proposed plant in Chattanooga.  They plan to employ 2,500 workers next year in the $1 billion facility, and according to spokesman Guenther Scherelis, they will let the workers decide whether or not to join unions.  Of course, once the workers are in place, they'll probably do what Nissan has done here in nearby Smyrna, and that is oppose unionization with every breath they take.
            The working world would be perfect if not for unions, according to Bob Corker.  Management would rule by intimidation, set wages and benefits as they saw fit for whatever poverty stricken region of the world they chose for their facilities, and the workers would do what they were told, when they were told, and do it faster than humanly possible.  To bring in a third party interested in protecting workers' health or working conditions, collectively bargaining for decent living wages and benefits, well, that's just crazy talk to Corker.
             If you're making more than a greeter at Walmart, you're overpaid in Bob's eyes.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

MUSIC TIME... MARK KNOPFLER AND EMMYLOU HARRIS "WHY WORRY NOW?"



            Two of my all-time favorite artists teaming up to do a duet of Knopfler's "Why Worry Now."  Not sure I prefer this one to the original (the ending on the original is extended and GORGEOUS PICKING by Mark K) but this is beautifully done, and anytime you get to watch and listen to Emmylou is worth your time.

WATCH TIM PHILLIPS OF "AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY" EXPLAIN THE RIGHT'S GAME PLAN TO PREVENT CLIMATE CHANGE LEGISLATION

          Rarely do we get invited in to watch as the merchants of evil sell their wares, but apparently when you're as ballsy as the Koch Brothers and the Heritage Foundation you don't worry too much about public backlash.  In this video, the President of Americans for Prosperity Tim Phillips is holding forth at a bloggers' briefing, basically giving them the game plan for moving against future legislative attempts to curtail man-made global warming.  This is soooo hard to watch, because you end up listening to what sounds like reasonable discourse when in fact the smirking jerks you see on screen are plotting the eventual destruction of the planet through their efforts to sway public opinion on the science itself.
           There's a special place in hell for folks like these guys...

PARADE OF UNELECTABLE REPUBLICANS CONTINUES TO GROW (John Bolton expresses an interest in White House run in 2012)

                    Grade A Asshole John Bolton, your next prez?

         Every time I turn around there's another fascist coming from the weeds to announce his or her interest in seeking the Republican nomination for President in 2012.  This time it's former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton.  I shit you not!  The same guy who couldn't win confirmation in the Senate for his U.N. position thinks he stands a chance of sitting in the Oval Office as something other than a stage prop for Curious George circa 2005.
          If you've heard this man in a serious interview, felt and listened to the disturbingly venomous bile that oozes from his every pore, you might have to wonder how he could possibly view himself as a contender for the Republican nomination.  But then, look at Paladino in New York... he thought he could take a baseball bat to Albany with the same personality disorder that afflicts Bolton.
          And really, when you consider the competition (Batshit Crazy Palin, Oven Mitt Romney, Rick "Don't Mess with Texas, it's already fucked up beyond recognition" Perry, Joe "BP apology" Barton, Newt "I'd like a divorce as soon as you're through with chemo, dear" Gingrich, Mike "Evolution? Nah..." Huckabee, Jeb "Heard of my family?" Bush, etc. etc. ) he might stand as good a chance as any to win the hearts and feeble minds of the teabagger nation.
          But he's got as much of a chance of winning the Oval Office as Barack Obama would have in joining the Klan.

EPIC CAT FIGHT INTERRUPTED BY SQUAWKING CROWS ( viral video set to music...)



       I have no idea where this took place, but I imagine it was quite noisy before someone edited the sound and spliced in the dramatic music instead of the cats and crows.  Pretty awesome stuff...

NOT THAT THEY'RE LISTENING, BUT FORMER REAGAN BUDGET DIRECTOR SCOLDS GOP ON TAX BREAKS FOR THE WEALTHY

       I doubt anyone other than those on the left side of the political aisle was listening, but former Reagan budget director David Stockman has again blasted current GOP policy makers as having adopted a "theology" of tax cuts that can never pay for themselves as they claim.  He's one of the few insiders from a former Republican administration willing to tell the current Republithugs that they're falsely pointing to his former boss for their faulty logic.
        Here's a quote from Think Progress that was taken from CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS this morning:  "I'll never forgive the Bush Administration and Paulson for destroying the last vestige of fiscal responsibility that we had in the Republican Party."  He also called for a "higher tax burden on the upper income."
         Not that anyone will hear him, but it's refreshing to know that not everyone on the right is in lock-step with a policy that has repeatedly failed to produce the results they falsely claim it has.  If we had any sense on the Democratic side of the aisle, we'd hire Stockman as a full time spokesperson to refute the Saint Ronny mandate the Republicans keep pointing to as their example of fiscal policy.  He was there, he knows their policy didn't work, and he's willing to tell it like it is.  Let's use him as a lone voice of reason from their own team...

AS THE WEATHER TURNS COLDER, A TALE OF THE THERMOSTAT WARS FROM MY CHILDHOOD HOME (useful info for anyone trying to keep down the heating costs in a house full of shivering people)

      When I was a kid growing up in my parents' house in east Tennessee, this time of year was when the thermostat wars would usually begin.  We didn't have central air conditioning, so the summer temps in the house depended on fans in the windows and shade from the trees during the day.  But wintertime was another critter entirely, and the thermostat hanging on our living room wall was often the Push Me/Pull Me of electronic devices in our home.
       My dad was a tee shirt and shorts person, year 'round, if it was bearable.  My mom was usually bundled up in everything she owned for about four months of every year, freezing her ass off and arguing with my dad to turn up the heat.  Dad fretted about utility bills, or at least that's what he SAID was his primary concern during these "discussions."  More likely, he just liked the house ten degrees cooler than my mom could tolerate, despite wearing everything in her closet.
        She would come into the living room, look at the temperature gauge at the bottom of the thermostat, and invariably slide the control arm further into the red to make the radiant heat in our ceiling cut on.  Dad would come along behind her a few minutes later to slide it back into the 'frozen tundra' levels on the gauge, and usually at some point on colder days bickering would ensue.
         I don't remember exactly when it happened, but at some point my father positioned a tall table lamp just beneath the thermostat, and put a 150 watt bulb into that lamp, which he then insisted be allowed to burn night and day.  This was a guy who was notorious for going around the house snapping off lights (even ones we were reading by...) and grumbling about the electric bill, so for him to suddenly have such an obsession with that one lamp should have been a clue that something was afoot.
          It was pure genius at work, though.  The heat from the oversized bulb would rise, taking with it the thermostat's internal thermometer, which in turn would keep the ceiling heat from cutting on, regardless of the "actual" temp in the house.  My mom would come through the living room, look at the thermometer on the thermostat and say, "I don't give a damn WHAT this says, it's freezing in here!"  To which my father would calmly smile and say, "But dear, it's over 75 degrees.  See?  It's over 75 degrees, right?  Just go put on some more socks and another sweater.  You'll be fine."
           It wasn't until years later that he admitted to me that the lamp had been the key to keeping the bills down and mom frozen.  Pure genius...

ONCE AGAIN, HOMELAND SECURITY DODGES A BULLET ( OR BOMB, IN THIS CASE...)

       I don't want to go into all the details (mainly because I don't have them) that led to the arrest of Somali-born teenager Mohamed Osman Mohamud in his failed attempt to detonate a bomb during a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in Portland, Oregon on Friday night.  Suffice it to say, his intentions were made known to the authorities, and he was eventually in direct contact with FBI agents he thought were like-minded terrorists assisting him in the construction of an explosive device.  They arrested his ass while trying to detonate a "bomb" inside a parked van on a crowded Portland street using a cell phone.
       Like others who have been arrested for plotting acts of terrorism lately, this guy would probably have gotten away with it had he worked alone or known what the hell he was doing.  Someone in his circle of acquaintances dropped a dime on his butt, the authorities set up a sting operation, and Mohamud strutted right into the net.  Good work, fellas, we're all proud of you.
        My point here isn't to belittle our law enforcement agencies or to criticize their on-going efforts to protect American lives.  I'm sure they're doing their best, and trying to do it in a Constitutionally legal manner.  But it helps greatly when members of the wannabe terrorist's circle of friends is willing to rat on a brother who's acting the fool.  These people not only don't agree with the average terrorists' methods, but don't want to face the inevitable backlash that would result if one of their own did something horrible like this.
         We are, in a word, beholden to those who speak up on behalf of us all... and some of those to whom we owe a debt of gratitude might not fit into our little model of the typical "concerned citizen."  There are members of the Muslim community who have turned in fellow Muslims who were plotting attacks in past, and that is probably what happened in this case, as well.
           We all stand to lose if one of these dickheads knows enough to act on his own without setting off alarm bells by discussing his plans with others, and need to be thankful there are people out there willing to risk becoming international pariahs in the eyes of the jihadis when they speak up and notify the police of a suspected terrorist in their ranks.

CLAY BENNETT'S POLITICAL HUMOR ( THE GUY IS GOOD...!)




We don't receive the Chattanooga Times Free Press here in suburban Murfreesboro, Tn, but I look on-line every couple of days for the latest contribution from political cartoonist Clay Bennett.  The clean, simple, and yet beautiful drawings are usually right on the money.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

THE WASHINGTON HILLBILLIES ( The Palin's next reality show...)



         This is probably pretty accurate, unfortunately...

ANOTHER GUANO PILE UNTIL SOMETHING BETTER COMES ALONG...





JUST HUSH, RUSH... AND WHILE YOU'RE AT IT, TELL PALIN TO STFU, TOO...

        You might think the President of the United States could get away with issuing a fairly typical, vanilla Thanksgiving proclamation without having to have his ass raked over the coals by the usual suspects, but you'd be wrong.  Even when he says what everyone always says in their annual Thanksgiving proclamations (you know, the Pilgrims shared a feast with the Native Americans who had helped them survive their first brutal winter in the New World) he's called out by the radical right for having somehow denigrated the white Europeans who came to this country, because he mentions that they needed help from the indigenous tribe of the area to survive.
          Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin both had to jump on his case because they found fault with his little White House Thanksgiving proclamation.  I happened to be listening to Limbaugh's show Wednesday when he went off on this rant, so I heard it first, then read about it later.  Why would a relatively intelligent progressive tune into Limbaugh's scatological ravings?  Well, when we take our trash to the dump we use an old pickup truck for the smelly ride.  Seems fitting to keep that vehicle's radio tuned to something appropriate, so I usually just lock it in on the local right wing AM station to get a few chuckles as I toss out the trash.  It's one shithead after another, and no matter what time of day or day of the week I turn the key on that truck's ignition, I can count on fifteen minutes of reality free entertainment.  Like watching the cartoon channel, only without the funny music.
           Anyway, Rush must have had a slow news day upon which to base his rant, so he dissected Obama's proclamation as if taking a line by line fine tooth to a legally binding contract between himself and the syndicate that buys his hot air bloviating for broadcast.  It was remarkably convoluted, and I hope everyone visits this site to hear the segment of the show I heard... if you have a strong stomach and don't have anything better to do with your time... or you're hauling garbage to a dump.
           Palin's contributions are usually tweety time or Facebooky, but she can be counted upon to make certain her name and face get into every news cycle.  Well, there wasn't much else for her to comment upon after her 'North Korean allies' foot-n-mouth disorder, so she spent Thanksgiving researching several of Obama's previous verbal gaffes and combining them into one very sarcastic parody of her own.  Not knowing whether or not Sarah Palin can actual do her own research or writing is beside the point, of course.  What matters is that she got her name back into yet another news cycle, and did so at Obama's expense, even after trying to sound like an expert on Asian political policy by holding forth about our support for our 'North Korean allies.' "
              Would it be so tough for Todd to just shove something into that yammering pie hole once in a while?  For the good of the country?  C'mon Todd, America needs a break... give Sarah a pacifier for the rest of us.  And hide her twitter account number and Facebook password while you've got her quiet.
             We'll all be in your debt forever.  Or at least until you're finished.
           

OPPOSED TO PRACTICE OF "FRACKING" IN GAS EXTRACTION? CAREFUL, YOU MIGHT BE LABELED A TERRORIST IN PENNSYLVANIA...

        Over at AlterNet.com there's a story that should concern anyone who thinks protecting the environment is worth a fight.  Apparently, the Pennsylvania Department of Homeland Security is worried that environmentalists might be driven to take part in direct action confrontations against gas companies that use the practice of "fracking" to assist in their extraction procedures, so much so that they've begun to monitor the folks who attend screenings of anti-fracking documentaries.
         According to documents made public by the Discovery Channel's Treehugger website, the Penn Dept. of Homeland Security's own internal memos reveal that they fear the public's viewing of "Coal Country"might be a "potential catalyst for inspiring 'direct action' protests or even sabotage against facilities, machinery, and/or corporate headquarters."
          The actor Mark Ruffalo had planned to screen the documentary "Gasland," only to find that landed him on Pennsylvania's terror watch list.  If you've seen "Gasland" (and everyone should) you might think the real terrorists are the gas companies whose practice of using fracking is contaminating wells everywhere they operate.
           Environmental activists who take part in direct action sabotage against contractors and legal commercial operations should be prosecuted just like anyone else who uses violence to further their agenda.  But to monitor environmental documentaries as a source of terror leads is a ludicrous leap by the government, especially if it includes wiretaps or surveillance of concerned American citizens by our own federal authorities or state officials.
            There are thousands of privately owned water wells that are now unusable because of fracking, and it's not unreasonable for people to begin to sound the alarm as the practice spreads to unspoiled regions of the country.  Documentaries like "Gasland" and "Coal Country" bring awareness to a general population that is all too comfortable in thinking that the government will take care of their water supply or natural resources.  We need to understand that the government is usually quite content to side with the pigs and whores who run away with the proceeds from their "rape and plunder" tactics after the damage is done, and speak up in advance of the damage they bring to our communities.
            Judging the environmentally concerned as "terrorists" because they dare to screen or watch a documentary critical of the coal or gas industry is more than over the top.  It's obscene.

WILLIE BUSTED AGAIN IN TEXAS ( it's "Crazy" to keep messin' with Willie! )

                       My book-writin' buddy Willie Nelson in a  happier moment

         News out of Texas has it that they've pulled ol' Willie out of his tour bus again and charged him with possession of marijuana.  Can anyone think of a single reason a 77 year old music legend like Willie Nelson shouldn't be left the hell alone on his own bus?  It's not like he had a dozen under aged girls braiding his hair for him when they stopped him at the Border Patrol Checkpoint in Sierra Blanca, Tx Friday...
           Willie's an icon to a lot of us, and the fact that he also wrote an essay that appeared just before mine in a book by Tanya Tucker called "100 Ways to Beat the Blues" makes me feel an even deeper kinship with the guy.  It just doesn't seem right that Willie had to be taken off of his own bus and hauled away for possession of six ounces of pot... obviously, it was for medicinal purposes.  Hell, just look at the guy!
            Seriously, when are we going to stop fucking with folks about a weed that grows out of the dirt on the side of the damn road?  It's not like we talking about heroin or meth here... it's just pot, and it's just Willie.
             I'd be ashamed of myself if I had anything to do with harassing Willie Nelson's happy ass... and those who did ought be feel that way, too.
             Free Willie!

Friday, November 26, 2010

WE'RE BACK! THE PREZ HAS A BUSTED LIP, KOREA'S STILL ONE STUPID MOVE AWAY FROM CONFLAGRATION, AND SHOPPERS ARE TRAMPLING ONE ANOTHER FOR BLACK FRIDAY GOODIES... (WHAT RECESSION?)


           Mrs. Squatlo and I took our happy asses to east Tennessee for the Thanksgiving festivities, and made a conscious decision to avoid A) the news, B) the internet, and C) anyone who wanted to piss on the party.  Mission accomplished.
            On our way home we realized that we had pretty much left our cubbards bare prior to blasting off for family and friends, so rather than come home and settle for delivery pizza, my lovely wife agreed to part with one of her birthday gift cards and treat us to dinner at a local restaurant franchise.  So we pulled off of the interstate less than five miles from our front door to partake of the yummy goodness of the Outback near the mall... only to find that they don't open on Friday until 4PM, three hours later.  No problem, we thought, as we sat in Black Friday mall traffic, hungry and in bad need of an available restroom, we'll just cruise over to Bonefish Grill and eat there, instead.
             Fifteen minutes later we had managed to navigate two miles across mall traffic to the Bonefish restaurant, and found the parking lot empty and a 4PM open sign on the door...  At this point, the frustration of watching idiots text and tweet through the green lights only to move through the yellow just in time to get us caught at the red, had begun to take a toll.  Three hours in jam packed interstate traffic and fifteen or twenty minutes of bumper to bumper mall chaos was enough to send us toward home and that dreaded delivery pizza.  On the way home I made an executive decision to stop at Red Lobster, and to their credit, they were smart enough to be open on the busiest shopping day of the year.  It was wonderful.  And we made it to the restrooms just in time.
          After unloading the car, I turned on the computer, cleared all the forwards and political horseshit from my email in-box, and read the ones from friends and family that matter.  After that, I moved over to a couple of the better news sites I follow, and noticed that we weren't involved in a full-fledged shooting war in Korea, which was nice to know.  I also read that the president of the United States was hit in the mouth by one of his basketball buddies (which makes me feel good, not because I want the president hurt, but because I think it's cool they play hard enough to cause a 12 stitch wound to the leader of the free world... no harm, no foul, dude!  Curious George wouldn't do anything like that... he'd fall off his bike once in a while and scuff his knee, but he wasn't gonna get out there and bang with actual athletes on a basketball court of football field... And Cheney's idea of "sports" was to shoot another old, white fart in the face with a shotgun when he mistook him for a quail or something...)
             Anyway, I hope to get back in the saddle here tomorrow morning with a quickie catch-up on all the local and national happenings.  To anyone who came by only to find this site in a coma, I appreciate your patience and your return visit.  I'll try to live up to your dedication...
             Happy Turkey Day hangover to everyone out there.  Let's hope it's as dull a day tomorrow... no war, no drama, no blood, no foul.
              See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

HAPPY TURKEY DAY TO ALL YOU PILGRIMS! (back in a couple of days, groggier and slightly heavier)

         Gonna take a couple days off to recharge the batteries and bring up my cholesterol levels by eating like a starving dog in a dumpster for the next few days.  Hope all who check in and find this lame post at the top of the heap will make a point to come back soon, and in the meantime want to wish all of you a very Happy Holiday!

REMEMBER ORLY TAITZ, THE BIRTHER BITCH? WELL, SHE'S BACK... (heavy sigh)

                Birther Queen Orly Taitz
      There's an article on Huff'n'Puff Post about a WorldNetDaily report claiming that several state legislatures are moving to pass or reaffirm new laws that will require all future presidential candidates to produce a birth certificate in order to be included on those states' ballots.  The woman behind this "much ado about nothing" is Orly Taitz, who's only surpassed in genuine daffy behavior by a mere handful of leading Republican political leaders these days.  In other words, she's quite something to behold.
       Taitz has filed innumerable lawsuits in so many courts that she no longer has to even sign in... they know her at the door of almost every County Court Clerk's Office in America.  ("Pssst! It's her!  The batshit crazy bitch none of us can understand!  Whose turn is it file her motion to the court?")  One judge looked at her history of frivolous lawsuits and slapped a $20k fine on her ass for wasting the court's time.  Most people would take that as a sign to STFU and behave themselves, but Orly isn't Most People.
         Now there are yahoos across the country who have decided that the best way to be rid of this Muslim Kenyan Usurper in the White House is to deny his reelection bid by forcing him to admit he isn't actually a naturally born citizen of this country.  Just flashing that bogus slip of hospital documentation from Hawaii isn't going to cut it, either.  Each state is coming up with its own bizarre documentation qualifications for ballot inclusion, and a few of them aren't even sure Hawaii is an actual state... some think it's more of a state of mind, or some island locale for movie productions.
          If you want a generalized look at your average Birther conspiracy theorist, I offer this image for your consideration:


HISTORICAL EVENTS ON TODAY'S DATE... ( some more hysterical than historical)

       On this date in 1859, naturalist Charles Darwin published his theory of evolution in a book entitled On the Origin of Species (known as The Devil's Manifesto in Texas school textbooks...) in which he postulated that natural selection was responsible for most of the gradual changes in various species of plants and animals.  Not being able to see these changes occur in front of them despite several minutes of careful observation, coneheads the world over scoffed and said he was a blasphemer.  Despite overwhelming evidence to support Darwin's theory, there are still a great many people who contend his theory was nothing more than the addled musings of a crazy man with strange hair and a beard... much like the writings (and hair) of Marx and Einstein.  A majority of those who refuse to believe in Darwin's theory now call themselves Tea Party Republicans, and also refuse to believe in man-made global climate change, and for the same reasons:  They've watched carefully for several minutes (missing important updates from Orly Taitz and Dancing With the Daughter of an Idiot) and haven't seen any evidence to support global warming in their backyards, so it must be bunk.
           On this date in 1963, a sleazy businessman with underworld connections shot and killed Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin of President John F. Kennedy, while Oswald was handcuffed and in police custody.  Ruby was then promptly shot himself, thus tying up many of the loose ends that might have helped us determine who was behind Kennedy's assassination.  There are almost as many books and movies and theories concerning this sequence of events than there are bats in Michelle Bachman's belfry.  We don't let things like that happen these days.  We just "rendition" our problems off to third world pissholes for "enhanced interrogations" and forget about them.
           Also on this date a hundred years prior to the murder of Oswald by Ruby, Union troops managed to wrest control of Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, Tennessee, from the Confederate artillery that menaced river navigation below.  It was a major turning point in the Civil War, and as a result, millions of barns in the Southeast were painted with bright red "See Rock City" signs.  You'd have to live down here to understand...
            Keep your eye on Korea, they might make the "on this date in history" columns by their actions any minute now.  Film at eleven.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

FAUX NEWS REFUSES TO AIR AD ADVOCATING THE END TO DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL (despite it being a pro-military ad)



     Who knows what makes those assholes at Faux News tick... half their own commentator line-up supports the repeal of this stupid law, but they won't run this vanilla ad despite the allied generals who are featured in it.
      Go fucking figure...

COLLECTED INTERNET GUANO FOR YOUR APPRECIATION (as I prepare to leave for the gym to shoot high school hoops tonight)







TSA BUMPERSTICKER SCROLL (here's hoping everyone makes it home for the holidays with some shred of dignity intact...)

ALBERT COLLINS' "CONVERSATION WITH COLLINS" (The Master of the Telecaster)



      Like a lot of people I didn't find out about Albert Collins (and his incredible band The Icebreakers!) until shortly before his death in November, 1993.  I heard his distinctive fingernail picking sound on that Telecaster and was immediately a disciple, ordering the entire Alligator Records catalogue of his available discs.  To this day, putting on an Albert Collins disc is akin to the vibe I get when I listen to Bob Marley.  I can't help but move, and it's hard not to smile.
       This isn't the best of his songs, and it's certainly not the finest showcase for his band, but it gives a glimpse into what his stage performances were like.  He often took his guitar out into the crowd, using a 100' amplifier cord to reach the back rows of the auditorium, where he'd often take a seat next to some stunned fans and play along as he watched his band on the stage.
        I miss the guy.

     

SIMPLE SHRIMP DIP RECIPE FOR YOUR HOLIDAY GATHERING (this is "slap your mama good....")

        I've noticed that some of my fellow bloggers add personal recipes from time to time, ala James Carville in any of his books... saying he wants to feed your mind as well as your body with cajun goodies...  Well, I'm no chef and I certainly don't qualify as anything other than a run of the mill cook around the house, but I've got a recipe or three that will brighten your holidays in a big way.
         Here's a very simple recipe for a shrimp dip that everyone has raved about in my family for years:

Take a can of tiny shrimp, devined (found on the top shelf of your local grocery store along with those horrible canned meats and oysters... yuck...)
Let an 8 oz. package of cream cheese get to room temp or at least soft, while you open and drain the can of shrimp.   Dump the shrimp out on paper towels and press to dry.  Look for and remove any shells or veins that might have slipped through at the shrimp house.
 Dice up half a cup of onion until mush (I use a food processor for this part).
Add the shrimp, cream cheese, and onions to a small bowl and mash/stir vigorously with a heavy fork until the mixture is smooth and you can't see individual shrimp parts anymore.
Refrigerate the bowl after it's completely mixed.
Put a dollop of the shrimp dip on a plate along with a side puddle of a good cocktail sauce, and pass out the Ritz or Wheatsworth Crackers.

You'll be surprised how good this is! 

( you can thank me later... )

WHO'S RUNNING THAT FUCKING CIRCUS! WE GAVE "A LOT OF MONEY" TO A TALIBAN IMPOSTOR, NOW "HOPE HE'LL COME BACK"?

         In an effort to extract ourselves from the Neverending Story (otherwise known as the Afghanistan Quagmire) some Western officials have been holding high level discussions between Afghan President Karzai and a senior Taliban official in Kabul.  Apparently, after giving a man who claimed to be Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour a "lot of money" to convince him to return to the negotiating table, it has become clear to U.S. intelligence officials that the man was an impostor, and not Muhammad Mansour.
          Now they're standing around the negotiations table hoping he'll come back anyway... I shit you not.
While the Afghan official said he still harbored hopes that the man would return for another round of talks, American and other Western officials said they had concluded that the man in question was not Mr. Mansour. Just how the Americans reached such a definitive conclusion — whether, for instance, they were able to positively establish his identity through fingerprints or some other means — is unknown.

          If this weren't so comical it would be sad.  Paying terrorists to negotiate terms of their good behavior is silly enough, but paying an impostor by mistake and THEN hoping the impostor is stupid enough to return to the negotiations is absurd beyond anything they would write on an episode of The Simpsons.
          That's like hoping the ten pound bass that broke your line and took your crank bait will swim back to the boat to return it.
           Who the fuck is running this circus?






KOREAN WAR PRELUDE OR SABRE RATTLING FROM "MINI ME", EITHER WAY WE LOSE

         What to make of the noise out of North Korea of late... first, a South Korean military vessel is sunk by what most experts have determined to have been a North Korean torpedo attack, killing 46 South Korean sailors back in March.  Then a physicist from the United States was invited over to take a tour of a new centrifuge facility the North has built to produce nuclear materials for its "power" plant needs, and the world was stunned to discover a modern, state of the art compound with 2000 centrifuges already on line and in operation.  Now, after warning the South not to conduct war games off of the western coast of their disputed maritime border, the North has begun an artillery barrage upon a tiny populated island claimed by the South Koreans.
          The South is doing what it always does, showing great restraint, no doubt at the behest of Washington and our Asian allies.  They've scrambled fighter jets to the area, but probably with great care taken to stay out of range of North Korean air defenses, and they've fired a few artillery rounds of their own off into the southern seas away from the scene of the conflict.
           Kim Jung Il recently announced that his son Kim Jung Un would become the heir apparent to the reins of power in North Korea, despite a complete lack of military or political experience.  Perhaps this latest show of sabre rattling is an effort to boost his son's credentials within the military establishment, or to once again force the United States and Japan to deal with North Korea at the bargaining table where they always carry off the lion's share of concessions and bribery goodies.
            Whatever the twisted reasoning behind this latest escalation of tensions, we have tens of thousands of troops stationed at the DMZ flashpoint in harm's way.  All it would take is one tense mistake or accidental misjudgment from either side to suddenly involve our military in its previously stated defense of South Korea, and from there things could quickly escalate exponentially from bad to much, much worse for everyone involved.
             The last thing we need is yet another military engagement on the other side of the planet.

Monday, November 22, 2010

CANADIAN TRAVEL ADVISORY VIDEO FOR THOSE HEADED TO AMERICA



      Found this one on a great site called The Brain Police!  Go see 'em!

THE "OATMEAL BOX LADY" INSULTS PALIN, AND GLENN BECK INSULTS THE FORMER FIRST LADY (defending the Mama Grizzly is full time job for Beck)

       Former First Lady Barbara Bush has a unique was of saying what's on her beautiful mind.  She's one of only two women in our nation's history who was married to one president and the mother of another, and if you saw her standing beside her husband at White House functions you might have thought she was the mother of two presidents, not one.
       But back to Barbara's flying tongue and the way she expresses herself.  On the day that Curious George was set to address the nation from the Oval Office to announce the impending invasion of Iraq, Mama Bush was asked by Diane Sawyer if she watched television to see how the stress of the job was affecting her son George W.  Barbara Bush apparently found television 
 much too full of supposition and speculation for her tastes, so she read while her husband watched endless news shows about their son.  Her direct quote to Ms. Sawyer was, " But why should we care about body bags, and deaths, and how many, what day it's gonna happen, and how many this or what do you suppose?  Or, I mean, it's not relevant.  So, why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?"   (emphasis mine)
         A few years later, Barbara Bush and the former President George H. W. Bush were visiting Hurricane Katrina refugees at the Houston Astrodome, when she made this comment about conditions at the arena for those who had fled New Orleans for the safety of Houston, "Almost everyone I've talked so says, 'We're going to move to Houston.'  What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas."..."And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this, this is working very well for them."
           Most of the people close to the Bush Dynasty will tell you that Barbara is the scariest bitch alive.  She runs the house, she runs that family, and I guess there were days when she probably ran the country.  Recently, she was asked about her impressions of former Alaskan half-term Governor Sarah Palin.  She said, "I sat next to her once.  Thought she was beautiful... and I think she's very happy in Alaska... and I hope she stays there."

            Well, we all know what she means.  Nice to look at, wouldn't want to have to listen to her as the leader of the free world.  Gotcha.  But here's the thing: We're listening to her ass whether she's elected to public office again in her lifetime or not!  Her every utterance and tweet and reality show commentary is reported like words from the Ultimate Oracle.
             Meanwhile, Glenn "I'm likely to off myself on air any night now" Beck rose to defend the star of the teabagger nation, saying Barbara Bush was "his favorite Bush" of them all, but that he found her comments about Palin "very insulting."  Then he went on to joke that she looked like the "Oatmeal box lady," an apparent comparison to the fat, grey headed brand logo for Quaker Oats Oatmeal.



              Glenn Beck better watch his ass.  He might wake up to find his horse's head (or Palin's) under the bloody sheets some morning soon...
         

NOT RACIST, BUT #1 WITH RACISTS (Simpsons' new motto for Faux News Channel)

DEFENSE SECRETARY GATES' ODD WAR WITH THE REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS

      The Secretary of Defense is usually an individual that Congress either admires enough to respect, or despises enough to obstruct.  Robert Gates has served under two presidents as the Secretary of Defense and seems to understand how to wade in the gator infested political waters around the Capital.  You don't serve as Director of the CIA without learning a little bit about surviving in the political world.
       But an odd thing is taking place in D.C. these days.  Secretary Gates is urging the current lame duck session of Congress to get off their asses and move on two issues he sees threatened by the incoming Republican House majority: the ratification of the START treaty with Russia, and the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell for our military.  On the former, he's urging immediate ratification in order to resume on the ground inspections of Russia's nuclear missile programs, which would in turn lead to substantive talks with the Russians about controlling the smaller nuke materials abandoned after the end of the Cold War.  Of the latter, Gates worries that an obstructionist Republican House of Reprehensibles will come into office determined to oppose the repeal of a policy he finds detrimental to military effectiveness.
         This man isn't a liberal whom Republicans can easily demonize.  He's served under both Republican and Democrat administrations in the upper levels of intelligence and military command.  He's had his moments under intense scrutiny (re Iran/Contra) but has managed to keep his head while those around him were losing theirs.  In a word, Robert Gates is a man of gravitas.
          It will be interesting to see how the GOP deals with him on these two issues in the coming days.  My guess is they'll eventually capitulate and Gates will be successful in both endeavours.  The START treaty will be ratified, coming with enough pressure from our European allies and the direct support of highly influential former Republican stalwarts who know it is the only way to verify what the Russians are pledging to do.  Don't Ask, Don't Tell will be the harder rock to crack, simply because the Republican base will howl and the religious nuts (is that redundant?) will flood their phone lines and email in-boxes with their favorite wedge issue.
           But both issues will eventually make their way through the process.  The real question is how much political capital Robert Gates will have to expend to see them through.  My guess is he'll work to have his way on both counts, then announce his resignation from the Defense Department within the coming year.

CONSPIRACY THEORIES ASIDE, WILL WE EVER KNOW THE WHOLE TRUTH ABOUT 9/11 OR THE KENNEDY ASSASSINATION?

        Whenever I hear anyone giving their opinion on the events of 9/11, I'm reminded that we still don't really know what happened to John F. Kennedy on this day in 1963.  It's just a little something I try to keep in mind whenever it is suggested that in "due time" all of the facts of 9/11 will eventually come out.
         When an American president is murdered in the streets of Dallas in broad daylight, on film, in front of hundreds of witnesses, and the passing of forty seven years hasn't cleared up the unanswered questions, I have doubts that we'll ever know the truth about the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history.


          Just as soon as someone comes up with a plausible explanation for what happened to WTC Building #7 on 9/11, I'll tune in.  In the meantime, we're kidding ourselves if we think it was as cut and dried as we've been led to believe.  We've had forty seven years to look over and ponder the findings of the Warren Report, and that hasn't gotten any less dubious with time.
           

QUESTIONS THAT KEEP ME AWAKE AT NIGHT...

        If cricket were to become an Olympic sport, and if Yemen fielded a team, would we call them the Yemeni Crickets?

        How come a peanut butter and jelly sandwich "works", and a peanut butter and banana sandwich "works", but a jelly and banana sandwich would suck?

        Is there anything on earth as seductive as a purring cat?  The same animal that digs up your houseplants, sprays urine on your furniture to mark its territory, claws up your finest leather chair, turns its litter box into what would be considered a hazardous materials site were it in the public domain, and sheds so profusely that you begin to consider cat hair a condiment, is considered adorable when it curls up and falls asleep in your lap.

        

Sunday, November 21, 2010

ANOTHER ONE FOR THE TEABAGGERS...

EPITOME OF IGNORANT ASSHOLES SAYS MILITARY HAS FEMINIZED THE MEDAL OF HONOR BY BESTOWING IT TO MEN WHO SAVE COMRADES RATHER THAN KILLING THE ENEMY ( yet another "Christian" leader holding forth...)

       Bryan Fischer of American Family Association holding forth...

         I'm going to try to sum this up without making my hands hurt from pounding the keyboard, but it won't be easy.  If I could grab this sack of shit and sling him toward a deep body of water, he'd be damp right now.
         (inhale, Squatlo...)  This sanctimonious son of a bitch's name is Bryan Fischer, and he likes to make inflammatory statements (ala Ann Coulter/Rush Limbaugh) because it gets him the kind of attention that puts money in his wallet AND drives thinking people to the edge of apoplectic fury.
He's been in the news before, and always with some words of wisdom that reaffirm my contention that our gene pool needs chlorine.
          Just for a quick summary of Fischer's over the top commentary: 

          When discussing the rash of suicides among gay students in America's schools, Fischer said, "If we want to see fewer students commit suicide, we want fewer homosexual students."

           Commenting on Obama's visit to a mosque during which he was asked to cover his head before entering, he said, "...the only time I've been into a mosque, and it was to pray that God would pull that house down."

           When discussing the case of the rural Tennessee firemen who stood by and watched as a family's house burned to the ground because that family had forgotten to pay a $75 protection fee, he said it was the "Christian thing to do" to let the home (and pets inside) burn.

            Fischer saw the Medal of Honor ceremony last week and was upset because the litany of exploits attributed to Sgt. Savatore Giunta didn't include the killing of our nation's enemies.  According to Fischer, the Congressional Medal of Honor is being "feminized" because we've given it to someone who merely withstood withering enemy fire to save comrades (and was wounded in the process) and didn't smite our enemies.
             Writing for The American Family Association, Fischer pointed to the brave men who stormed the beaches at Normandy and took out enemy machine gun nests as the type of valor he would reserve for the CMOA.  He wrote:"That kind of heroism has apparently become passé when it comes to awarding the Medal of Honor. We now award it only for preventing casualties, not for inflicting them."




"So the question is this: when are we going to start awarding the Medal of Honor once again for soldiers who kill people and break things, so our families can sleep safely at night?" he asked.

             I'm trying to get my head around the fact that this guy claims to be a Christian, and is lauded for his "Christian" sensitivities in all things political.  He's upset because we've given the highest military award to someone who hasn't even killed anyone.  I mean, what a pussy award this thing has turned into, right?
             Anyone who could watch the moving medal ceremony at the White House and hear the President recite the official transcript of events during the battle in which Sgt. Giunta acted so heroically, and then disgrace that man's heroism by saying he didn't deserve the honor because he "didn't kill anyone" should have his happy ass on the next plane to Afghanistan's hottest sector.
             Obviously, if George W. Bush had presided over the award presentation, Mr. Fischer would have been happy with the Commander in Chief's photo op.  But watching that Muslim Kenyan usurper actually touch a Medal of Honor was too much for him to take, so he had to criticize the worthiness of the recipient.
            I doubt that the men Sgt. Giunta saved that day would agree with Bryan Fischer's assessment of his valor.
         

NASHVILLE MEGACHURCH BITCHES ABOUT PROPERTY TAXES ASSESSED ON BOOKSTORE, CAFE, AND GYM ( sacred cow sacrifice, film at eleven )

        Anyone who follows this blog on even a semi-regular basis would know that I hold a special place in my heart for organized religion in general and Christian mega-Churches in particular.  In our part of the world (middle Tennessee), every other corner is either occupied by a church or a Walmart/Walgreens/CVS pharmaceutical outlet.  Some of the most primo property in the Nashville area is dominated by sprawling church "campuses" that extend building after building after building, and are surrounded by acres of asphalt parking lots (with hamster cage playgrounds for the little ones between indoctrination classes.)
         One such mega-church in Nashville is facing a $425,000 property tax after the State's Board of Equalization ruled that the Christ Church's gymnasium, cafe, and bookstore constitute retail enterprises and are thus subject to state property taxation.  The 2,300 members of Christ Church and their attorneys view the gym (which charges membership fees), cafe, and bookstore as methods of community outreach for ministering to the locals.  After the tax bill came due, the church decided to simply close the cafe and bookstore to avoid accumulating further taxes, and gave the gym to the YMCA of Middle Tennessee.
          How large is Christ Church of Nashville?  Well, I don't have the figures in front of me, but today's Nashville Tennessean (motto: "We Report Whatever the AP Sends Us") has an article in which they claim that the gym and bookstore made up only 12% of the building space of the campus.  Just figure the place is nine times (thereabouts) the size of a commercial basketball arena. 
           A couple of other area churches pay taxes on their commercial enterprises annually, and they don't like it any more than Christ Church does.  But they abide by the state's ruling on what is church related and what is clearly secular retail business.
           In a day and age when local and state governments are being strangled with unfunded mandates from the federal government on everything from education to homeland security, it seems a little unchristian for churches not to pay their fair share to the state's coffers.  I'm not just talking about their purely commercial enterprises, either.  I believe (sacred cow, coming up!) CHURCH PROPERTY AND INCOME SHOULD BE TAXED LIKE ANY OTHER PROPERTY OR INCOME.
           If you want to balance the budget without taking money from retirees, without cutting social security, without denying the Pentagon even one screw from one weapons system contract they don't even need in the first place, without costing the American taxpayers a dime, and without gutting a single entitlement or discretionary spending outlay for the foreseeable future, put a modest tax rate on church property in America.
           Do the math.  If one little ol' country church here in middle Tennessee could run up nearly half a million dollars worth of tax debt on its gym and bookstore operation alone, imagine what the government could rake in if they taxed the entire church property.  Multiply that times the number of churches (and around here you can't throw a rock without hitting one, or at least having it ding a Lexus in a church parking lot) across America, and you would see state budgets immediately turn from red to black nationwide.
            Tax their property.  Tax their income (render unto Caesar that which is his...?).  Tax their bingo operations, their covered dish dinners, their outreach expeditions to Guatemala, and their television and satellite broadcasting operations.  Tax them like ANY OTHER BUSINESS that is making cash hand over fist.  You'll balance the budget, and the local YMCA might get a couple dozen gyms donated to them, to boot.

IF AT FIRST YOU DON'T SUCCEED...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

DANCING WITH THE STARS IS INSPIRING VIOLENCE AND (FAUX) TERRORISM? WHAT'S NEXT? SPONGEBOB?

      They're reporting that the FBI has gotten involved in the mystery of the white powder mailed to Dancing in the Stars contestants.  The Mama Griz will swear it was from Socialist Liberals who hate our freedoms and her chubby puppy, and the TeaBagger Nation will rally by sending her on to the finals and Dance Hall of Fame Glory (right up there with Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Gene Kelley, and Ellen Degeneres).
       I think I could save them some time on the chemical testing, though.  Just see if SlimFast has a powder product and match 'em up.
       And I heard on the news that some dude took a twelve gauge to his television because of DWTS.  Well done.  Probably analog and he was ready for a plasma TV anyway.  Worked out, because now they've got that bay window they've always wanted for the trailer.

       Sorry... I really don't think the kid is that heavy, I just hate all the attention paid to the idiot daughter of idiot parents.  And think she moves like Big Bird on Quaaludes.  Other than that, I couldn't care less...

SAVE YOUR BREATH... YOU'LL NEED IT LATER

THAT'S JUST HATEFUL... DUTCH WANT TO BAN FOREIGNERS FROM MARIJUANA SHOPS

        According to a story on AlterNet, the righty government of Holland wants to ban foreigners from that nation's marijuana coffee shops.  Seems some of the towns bordering neighboring countries have begun to experience traffic jams and crowd issues at some of the more popular pot shops, and tourism of that sort isn't welcome in Holland.
         The Dutch Security and Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten was quoted as having said, "No tourist attractions, we don't like that."
          Man, and I thought our border issues were sticky.


MAYOR OF LONDON PENS COLUMN WARNING BUSH COULD FACE WAR CRIMES ARREST IN EUROPE DURING HIS BOOK TOUR (oh pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease!)

        Last night on Countdown Keith Olbermann made mention of an article penned by the Tory Mayor of London (in Merry old England) in which the mayor warned former President Bush to avoid certain western European nations if he loves his freedoms as much as he always says he does, or else he "might never see Texas again."
         In an article entitled, "George W. Bush can't Fight for Freedom and Authorise Torture," published in the conservative Daily Telegraph, Mayor Boris Johnson wrote:
                      *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  
One moment he might be holding forth to a great perspiring tent at Hay-on-Wye. The next moment, click, some embarrassed member of the Welsh constabulary could walk on stage, place some handcuffs on the former leader of the Free World, and take him away to be charged. Of course, we are told this scenario is unlikely. Dubya is the former leader of a friendly power, with whom this country is determined to have good relations. But that is what torture-authorising Augusto Pinochet thought. And unlike Pinochet, Mr Bush is making no bones about what he has done.




Unless the 43rd president of the United States has been grievously misrepresented, he has admitted to authorising and sponsoring the use of torture. Asked whether he approved of “waterboarding” in three specific cases, he told his interviewer that “damn right” he did, and that this practice had saved lives in America and Britain. It is hard to overstate the enormity of this admission.
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          That's quite a statement from an elected British official concerning a book tour planned for his fair city.  I've been holding forth (and I apologize if this is beginning to sound redundant) for quite some time on the necessity for our Justice Department to bring charges against Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld, for their part in authorizing and ordering the torture of detainees.  Most people point to Obama's decision to not pursue criminal prosecution of the previous administration as the last word on American responsibility in the matter, but that's not the case at all.
            If our Justice Department, which is supposed to be totally independent of political pressure OR the power of the office charged, cannot pursue legal prosecution of Bush by order of the current President, then an independent prosecutor should be named by Congress to investigate the charges.