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Thursday, June 30, 2011

A SQUATLO STORY: NUMBER FORTY-FOUR "SAY IT WITH POISON IVY"


TOXICODENDRON RADICANS  (POISON IVY...)                           

This is one of those stories that my mind has a hard time thinking about.  Ever do something so blindingly stupid that whenever you think back on it your brain tries to involuntarily change the mental channel?  This is one of those "unwatchable" programs I can't seem to erase from my mental DVR...
I don't know when Junior Highs turned into Middle Schools, but if you know one your know them all.  It's where seventh and eighth graders go to prep for high school (where they prep for college, where they prep for the real world, where we prep for senility...)  The junior high in my old hometown used to be an ancient white stucco building with oiled wooden floors, a place so decrepit the weight of one student walking its hallways was enough of a strain to shake the entire structure.

One of the fixtures of that now long-gone two story juvenile detention center (what else would you call junior high in those days?) was an eighth grade science teacher by the name of Mrs. Barnard.  She had been there for generations, or so it seemed, and was notoriously famous for her withering glare and short temper.  I can't testify to her abilities as a science teacher, because in all honesty I wasn't what anyone would call a serious student of any subject other than cutting-up as the class clown.  When others were furiously taking notes, I would be drawing fighter planes strafing enemy tanks on the battlefield of my science workshop notebook.  I knew nothing about paramecium, but I could draw intricate details of WWII fighter planes...
On one particularly daydreamy day, Mrs. Barnard (and I must interrupt this narrative to offer a visual description... Mrs. Barnard had heavy jowls, which were accentuated by her often foul mood and demeanor... both of which earned her the nickname "Bulldog".  I didn't give her that name, I was simply told what her nickname was when I first arrived at the junior high... apparently, she had been thusly dubbed long before I darkened the doorway of her classroom) (where the hell was I? Oh yeah...) was giving a very impassioned lecture on the dangers of poison ivy.  She had taken the time to draw a very detailed sketch of a poison ivy plant on the blackboard for our edification, complete with color pastel chalk to highlight the dark red stems and bright green leaves of the plant.  We were supposed to draw a similar sketch in our science workshop notebooks.  I think I drew a P-51 Mustang in a dogfight with a German Stukka...

My eighth grade science class preceded a fifteen minute recess.  When the class ended, hoards of bored and restless pre-teens dashed out into the gravel lot adjacent to the school to run off some of our frustration.  During that day's recess revelry one of my astute and observant classmates noticed a vine of poison ivy growing up the side of an elm tree beside the gravel pit.
"Hey Bob, why don't you take an example of poison ivy in to Mrs. Barnard?"
That's all that was said.  Anyone with any sense at all would have looked at 
the guy who made that silly-shit suggestion with a look of "Yeah, sure... moron!" but for whatever reason, I thought it sounded like a great idea.
I'm not allergic to poison ivy, although I don't make a habit of tempting the Hooey Gods by handling it.  But on that day, as if to show my buddies that I could eat the stuff with impunity, I did indeed grab the vine, snap off a two foot section, and hold it up for inspection.  By now a crowd of rabble-rousers had gathered to encourage me to carry out the original suggestion.  Like a mob chanting "Jump!" to a suicidal guy on a ledge, my "friends" began to dare me to take the poison ivy in to Mrs. Barnard.
A dare?  A double-dog dare?  (Well, no one actually said things like that, but you get the picture... I'm just glad there wasn't a frozen flag pole in the playground area)  Anyway, before I really knew what was happening I found myself marching up the stairs to the junior high school building carrying a stalk of poison ivy, followed by at least twenty giggling jackasses eager to see my impending doom.
They weren't disappointed.  I found Mrs. Barnard in her classroom sitting behind her desk eating an apple.  Teachers look forward to recess, too, apparently.  By this time I was standing beside her desk holding the "flower" in front of me as if I were delivering roses to mom.  Mrs. Barnard's face seemed relaxed, almost smiling as she rose to see what I was bringing her.  She leaned down, put her face about six inches away from a dripping vine of toxicodendron radicans, and absolutely wigged out.
What happened next is a blur.  I remember the herd of taunting jackals that had been right behind me scattering like starlings at the sound of a shotgun.  The next thing I remember was being hauled by the nape of my neck into the boys' restroom by Mrs. Barnard.  She didn't knock first to let pissing people know she was coming in with an idiot in tow, she just drug me to the nearest sink and began to scrub my hands (which were now poison ivy free, following her initial horrified slap at the plant).  The water was scalding hot, and she was furiously scrubbing away at them with her own hands and a bar of white Ivory soap from the sink's soap bowl.
I vaguely remember seeing terrified kids stop in mid-piss to dash out of the bathroom.  No doubt they ran outside to inform the rest of the world of my new found hygiene regime.
Mrs. Barnard had Hulked Out.  She had grown to at least eight feet tall, four feet wide, and was now a vivid shade of crimson.  Her grip on the back of my neck as she drug me to the principal's office was vise-like.  Escape was not an option.  In fact, I was doing my best not to pee my pants.  Oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit.... what have I done?

Once inside Principal Hobgood's office, Mrs. Barnard released her talons and thrust me face first toward the desk of a startled Mrs. Hobgood.  Mrs. Hobgood lived three houses down from our house on Robin Lane, so we'd met.  She was probably the only woman in the world more scary  than Mrs. Barnard, at least she was to me and the other neighborhood kids.
Mrs. Barnard detailed the litany of offenses I had just committed to Mrs. Hobgood, who never took her eyes off of mine while my crimes were being listed.  If a glare could kill, I wouldn't be writing this story, I'd be one of those little kids no one really remembers...
I got an F in science for the semester (we called them "six weeks" in those days), got an F on my science project (which had nothing to do with the poison ivy incident, but was a subjective grade entirely at the discretion of Mrs. Barnard), and got a "U" for "unsatisfactory" in deportment for the term.
Needless to say, my parents weren't pleased when Mrs. Hobgood placed a phone call to them later that afternoon.  My dad looked at me as if he'd raised the village idiot, and looking back on my career as a student I'd say he probably had.  
Mrs. Barnard came to class the next day covered with pink Calomine lotion.  It was on her face, hands, arms, and although we couldn't see, probably covered her ass, as well.  Apparently, some people are highly allergic to poison ivy.
Who knew?    


        

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

IF YOU WERE THINKING ABOUT TAKING UP A COCAINE HABIT, CONSIDER A FLESH EATING DISEASE AS SIDE-EFECT

Photo courtesy of AP from Huffington Post                                            


            Huff'n'Puff Post is reporting that there have been confirmed cases of a flesh eating disease associated with a veterinary drug used to cut cocaine.  If you were thinking of taking up a serious cocaine habit, you might want to take a look at the photo that accompanied their story...

            DEA officials estimate that 82% of all cocaine siezed in this country has been cut with some sort of filler, and inferior street powder cocaine is often up to 90% filler.  Usually the filler of choice is harmless baking soda, but lately shipments of South American cocaine have included large quantities of levamisole, a veterinary anti-biotic used to deworm sheep, cattle, and pigs.  Lab studies have suggested that levamisole triggers the same pleasure sensor releases in the human brain that cocaine affects, possibly giving coke producers an added bang for their buck.
             Unfortunately, some people have a different reaction to the drug... and it causes rotting flesh in some individuals who consume cocaine laced with lavamisole. 
             How bad do you want a buzz???

BIRD VIOLENCE FROM THE ARCHIVES...

          One of my friends calls this portion of my nature photography portfolio the "violence" section... It's just bird behavior caught on camera.










BLUNDER WOMAN'S MOVIE PREMIERE IN IOWA? SHOULD BE THE SUMMER BLOCKBUSTER OF THE YEAR

          CLAY BENNETT OF THE CHATTANOOGA TIMES FREE PRESS

ANN COULTER WANTS TO HIDE GOP CANDIDATES FROM MEDIA (promises, promises...)

             Hope this horrible face didn't just ruin your day...

               There are only two people on Earth who can make me physically ill on sight.  Sean Hannity is one of them.   The horrible woman pictured above is the other.  I've had a severe aversion to Ann Coulter since the first time I watched and listened to her speak, and it hasn't gotten any better with time.  The more I see of her, the angrier I become.  I can literally feel my blood pressure start to rise at the mere sound of her voice.  I confess in advance:  if given a chance, I would gladly back a car over this bitch and spin the tires in the process.  If she's ever found run-over in a parking lot, look for me.  I'm a valid suspect.
               But yesterday Coulter appeared on Faux Business News' America's Nightly Scoreboard to say this about the current crop of Republican candidates for President: “I would prefer for Republicans to hide who they are running for President and only announce it like a month before the election, so you don’t have time for the entire mainstream media to belittle, attack, ridicule and demonize whomever our candidate is.”

               Hey, I have to admit, Coulter's finally come up with a great idea!  I mean it!  Wouldn't it have a been a lot less maddening if we hadn't been subjected to the past couple of months' spectacle of watching Republican candidates acting like fools all over the news?  We would have missed The Donald ranting about President Obama's birth certificate.  We'd have missed Sarah "Blunder Woman" Palin's Magical Mystery Tour and the Paul Revere revisionism.  We would have missed out on the Noot "I'm just so passionate about America" Gingrich campaign implosion, never heard about his Tiffany's charge account, and not been breathlessly updated every time another pack of his advisers decided to follow another bell cow to Iowa.  All of the drama surrounding Mike Huckabee, Chris Christie, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, and the rest of the clown circus would not have been cluttering up our newspapers and nightly cable news broadcasts...
             In fact, I think Coulter's so right about this one issue that I'm seriously suggesting she make it a GOP campaign promise to America from this day forward.  Hide your candidates.  Put them into storage, perhaps in frozen animation, until the last possible moment before the election.  In fact, take all of the Republicans nationwide and hide them from thinking Americans.
              Maybe then we can get some problems solved in this country, and we won't have to look at people like Coulter on television explaining how the liberal media is being oh-so-unfair to conservatives by reporting those pesky old facts.
               (But for the record?  if I ever get a chance to back over Ann Coulter, her skinny ass is mine!)

              







OHIO HOUSE OF REPS PASSES "HEARTBEAT" BILL OUTLAWING ABORTION WHEN FETAL HEARTBEAT IS DETECTED

                         Ohio State Representative Matt Huffmann (R-Of Course)
            From a story in yesterday's Think Progress:
            The House of Representatives in Ohio has passed legislation that would prohibit abortion once the heartbeat of a fetus has been detected, which can occur as early as six to seven weeks into a pregnancy, at which time a woman may not even be aware she's pregnant.  There are no exceptions for rape, incest, or the health of the mother in the new bill.
            A stringent anti-abortion movement is gaining ground in state legislatures across the country, and some are pushing for a "personhood movement" that believes any fertilized egg is an individual with full constitutional rights.  Since birth control pills and intrauterine devices prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in a woman's uterus, such forms of common birth control would be deemed illegal if "personhood" were granted at conception.
            One Ohio Representative went so far as to compare opponents of the new anti-abortion legislation to slave owners and segregationists.  Here's Ohio State Rep. Matt Huffmann's reasoning on the issue:


            There aren't too many subjects I try to steer away from on this blog or in public, but the issue of abortion is definitely one that I avoid when possible.  I think the matter can be more polarizing and divisive than any other in modern discourse, and can find reasonable arguments for and against the procedure.  But I also think abortion is a matter of settled law in America.  I believe women have a right to determine their own medical decisions, and that those decisions are ultimately a private one between a woman and her doctor.  In no case would I consider a fertilized egg to be imbued with the same Constitutional rights as an individual.
            Let's consider this for just a second, then move on to less contentious fare...  Right now there are millions of fertilized eggs in frozen containers at fertility clinics across the country.  Are those fertilized eggs actually full-fledged U.S. citizens with Constitutional Rights?  Maybe we should retake that census count... and add a few more Republican Reps to Congress in those blue states?
            I can see a day when these zealots outlaw male masturbation because life-creating sperm cells are destroyed in the process.  All of those little citizens going down the drain?  It's just murder, that's what it is.
            When I hear people get this passionate about something so ridiculous I try to remind myself that they're the reason we need to keep abortion legal in America.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

NEW AND IMPROVED SQUATLO RANT COURTESY OF MY FRIEND AIMEE!

         I'm so pumped about the new and improved blog here!  My friend Aimee got tired of having to dig through multiple screens whenever she wanted to view an older post, and asked if she could tinker with my blog to make some much needed improvements.  Being a total technophobe, I quickly handed her the keys and asked her to be gentle...

         What we have now is SO MUCH BETTER!  There are links at the bottom of each post that allow a reader to share to Facebook, Twitter, all those places some of you like to spend time on, plus one that allows you to email the post.  There are also little ratings boxes you can check to let me know what you think of an individual post.
          BUT, the very bestest thing EVER, is that she was able to herd up all of my embarrassing Squatlo Stories into one easy to navigate link at the top of the page, just under the header.
          Anyone who hasn't read the story of my lovely wife saving my ass from sliding backward over the highest waterfall east of the Mississippi River might want to look for that.  Or maybe you missed the post about Squatlo almost castrating himself trying to kill a vibrating cell phone in his pocket when he thought it was a bumblebee...  There are over forty stories there, from most recent to oldest.
         Hope you'll take a look if you haven't read any of them.  The unfortunate adventures of a genuine idiot are all there for your amusement...

             THANKS AGAIN, AIMEE!  YOU ROCK!!!

BACHMANN SUPPORTERS EDIT WIKIPEDIA TO MATCH HER LATEST GAFFE (can't brighten up the candidate, just dumb down history)



        Michele Bachmann was given an opportunity on Good Morning America to clear up some of her past mistakes, and instead she tried to filibuster the conversation before adding yet another one to the list.  Heavy sigh...  Think Progess reports on what happened.
        George Stephanopolis pointed out to Bachmann that the fact checking organization Politifact had given her an abyssmal rating for her many misleading statements, and offered her a chance to backtrack and correct one of the most glaring: her recent comment that the Founding Fathers had worked tirelessly to end slavery in their lifetimes.  Instead of admitting that she'd put her foot in her mouth on that one, she doubled down on the stupid (ala Palin's defense of her Paul Revere fantasy) and said John Quincy Adams had worked his entire life to end slavery.
         John Quincy Adams as a Founding Father? 
         But Bachmann's supporters recognized the newest gaffe and immediately went into damage control mode.  In mere moments from the time she'd inserted another Prada into her open mouth, Wikipedia began to be flooded with "edits" to the John Quincy Adams reference page.  In one notable example, a description of John Q. Adams went from "John Adams was the sixth President of the United States" to "John Adams, a founding father was the sixth President of the United States."
          Observant folks might remember that shortly after Sarah Palin gave her bizarre version of Paul Revere's famous ride, Wikipedia was flooded with attempts to change the official version of Revere to match Palin's mistaken interpretation.
        
          That's right.  When you can't brighten up the candidate, just dumb down the history.  These trolls are unbelievable.

SANTORUM'S "MAN ON DOG" WARNING COMES TRUE! FLORIDA GRANDPA ARRESTED FOR HAVING SEX WITH DOG...

        Eugene Hickman, one horny old dude...

         Rick Santorum once famously said that if we condoned gay marriage in this country it would lead to all kinds of perversions, including "man on dog" relationships.  Santorum was widely ridiculed for that silly-shit comment, and gay activists managed to see to it that his name's Google Search results' top billing now goes to a definiton of Santorum as "a frothy mix of lubricant and feces often produced during anal sex."
          Not to give Santorum (whose name in Latin translates to "Crazy Asshole") any credit for this news headline, but it's a strange coincidence that the same week the state of New York votes to allow gay marriage in the Empire State, a grandfather in Florida has been arrested and charged with trying to have sex with a dog.
          Eugene Hickman, 54, or DeFuniak Springs was arrested after his grandson allegedly caught him trying to mount the family's three year old bulldog.  Hickman admitted to authorities that he was trying to have sex with the dog, but said he was unable to make penetration.  He also promised to never do it again.  The dog was unavailable for comment, but sources say it has retained counsel and will consider bringing additional charges.  Apparently, Hickman had promised to buy dinner and is now refusing to take the dog's calls...

MAKING HIS LAST DAYS ON THE AIR COUNT, GLENN BECK VISUALLY MOCKS MENTALLY DISABLED...

             In one of his finest moments, Beck spasms for the cameras...

            Bill Maher had New York Times columnist David Carr on his HBO program Real Time Friday night, and during a discussion of current political climate in America Carr made a reference to the teabaggers in middle America, calling them "neanderthals."  Personally, I think he just insulted Neanderthals, but that's not the point.
            Faux News' Glenn Beck took Carr's comments to mean that anyone who disagrees with pragmatic Harvard elites like President Obama is mentally defective.  Then he put on a brief visual display of such a person's likely behavior.  What followed was about as offensive as anything Beck's done on the air, and that, my friends, is lowering an already subterranean bar.

           From Mediaite, here's a quickie vid of Beck's oh-so-cute impression:


           Isn't he supposed to off himself on the air or something for a grand finale?

SCRIBBLING THE TRUTH: an artist's rendering of what's wrong with America today



          Sometimes it helps to just draw the problem.  The solutions are obvious...

JOHN GORKA: IGNORANCE AND PRIVILEGE (great song!)



         One of the most underrated singer/songwriters in America, John Gorka just keeps plugging along.  Listen to the lyrics of this song...

         "... I didn't know it but my way was paved..."

THIS GUANO IS MOSTLY CARTOONISH...











Monday, June 27, 2011

MY SISTER, THE GOOSE KILLER... ( not really, but hey, editorial license... )


          One of my three sisters lives about twenty miles from my house in a nice little subdivision that surrounds a man-made pond.  Her house and property are very upscale, and apparently her neighbors have a Neighborhood Watch Program in place.  Are you familiar with the concept of Neighborhood Watch?  It's when you watch your neighbors, and they watch your ass.  All the time.  Twenty-four/seven.  Not to protect one another's property or belongings, but to gather information for Homeland Security or the local neighborhood community committee just in case you break any of their many, many, many (more than you think) rules.  My sister is now on the "outs" with some of her neighbors because she isn't willing to cede her land, garden, and bird feeders to a flock of Canada Geese who strut around like they pay the mortgage.
          One of the advantages of having a huge, man-made pond in your backyard is that it provides hours of glorious adventures... the pond is large enough to be home to a lot of fish, and a person willing to step around copious amounts of goose dung can go to the water's edge, cast a line, and probably catch fish all day long.  But no one is willing to walk to the water's edge these days, because the geese now own the place.  Just approaching the water indicates that you've come bearing gifts of bread or corn for them, and they step over one another to be the first to beg from your hand.  Dozens of them.   Squawking and honking and flapping and shitting their way to wherever you are, in hopes of getting a morsel of food from one of the locals.
          Now, my sister is one of the most compassionate animal lovers you'll ever meet.  She has, on more than one occasion, worried herself half to death because of animals she's found injured or in peril.  She's the kind of person who would risk her own neck to return a baby bird to a nest if it fell from the tree and was threatened by a cat.  She'll stop her car to help a turtle cross a highway. She once called me in tears because she'd found a deer that had been wounded by a hunter's bullet, suffering in a field near the road.  Not the type of person the wildlife management people usually have to visit for an animal abuse charge.  Until today.

          A few days ago this compassionate, animal loving sister of mine threw a nine iron at a Canada Goose to chase it out of her garden area.  She doesn't golf, so I have no idea where she got a spare collection of golf clubs for assaulting birds.  Probably bought the one club at a yard sale for just such an occasion...  Anyway, the geese were refusing to leave her yard, and as a last resort she stepped out, screamed to chase them away (which they find most amusing) and then threw the golf club at them in an effort to hasten their departure.  Let me emphasize this: my sister did not intend to hit or injure one of the geese.  She's just better at throwing golf clubs than most people.
          The goose in question took the nine iron to the neck, did a great impression of Lee Marvin's death scene from the movie "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" as it spun and flopped around, squawking for attention.  Then it trotted off to play with the other geese in the pond, apparently none the worse for having been beaned by a PING iron.
           My sister wrote an email detailing the incident, then added that a couple of the neighborhood kids had come to her door to tell her she'd broken the goose's neck.  I guess she was supposed to act contrite or repentant, but my family doesn't do contrite and repentant very well.  I'm sure she told them the goose had started it, or she was returning fire, or something to that effect.  They left, no doubt to notify their parents of the mean woman they'd seen abusing a goose.  They should be glad she didn't answer the door with a golf club in her hand...
           I warned her in my email reply that geese were a protected species, and that she might end up serving time with a cellmate named Bertha at the county lockup for her troubles.  I was being facetious, but did want her to be aware of the law, especially since she lived alongside the sort of busybodies who would be aghast at such behavior.  Well, as if on cue, a representative from an organization called PAWS (Pet Adoption and Welfare Services) paid her a visit earlier today with a written warning concerning the incident, and to let her know they would be back if they got any more reports of her hurling sporting goods at the geese. 
           So now my sister and her neighbors have issues, the Wildlife Resources people are probably processing a copy of her fingerprints for a file in Washington (cue the soundtrack from "Alice's Restaurant") and at least one goose knows which garden not to fuck with...

           I've promised to bail my sister out of jail if she gets arrested.  Wonder if it's too soon to start calling her Mother Goose?

         
        

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A PORTRAIT OF COURAGE: IDA B. WELLS-BARNETT


                     Ida B. Wells-Barnett

           Consumers of electric power in the middle Tennessee area are routinely sent a little magazine produced by The Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation called The Tennessee Magazine.  Basically, it is a self-promotional screed sprinkled with informative little stories about our area's history, natural tourist attractions, and wildlife, and I'd guess that about ninety percent of the people who receive the thing probably take it directly from the mailbox to the trash.  Other than the "Yay! Electricity!" vibe, I kind of like some of the pieces contained in The Tennessee Magazine.
          This month's edition contains a story on a very courageous woman I had never heard of, and I'm glad I read the story of her struggles.  Ida B. Wells was born two years before the Civil War ended, and in 1883 at the age of 20 she was involved in an incident that forever changed her life.  While traveling on a Chesapeake, Ohio and Southwest Railroad, Wells purchased a first class ticket for a section on the train normally reserved for white, non-smoking passengers.  The train's conductor informed Ms. Wells that she would have to move forward to the second class section, but she refused to move, saying that she had purchased a first class ticket and had no intention of moving.  She was physically removed from the first class car by the conductor and two white men who assisted him when she held her seat and resisted.  Ms. Wells got off the train and promptly sued the railroad company for $5,000.
          In the court documents of the case her attorney stated that Ms. Wells "is a person of lady-like appearance and deportment, a school teacher and one who might be expected to object to traveling in the company of rough or boisterous men, smokers or drunkards."  The judge ruled in her favor and awarded her a judgment of $500 in damages, a decision that was later overturned by the Tennessee Supreme Court.
         In 1891, Ida B. Wells became the co-owner of the Memphis Free Speech newspaper and began a series of investigations into the common practice of lynching in the south.  Whites burned the newspaper office to the ground, and Wells fled Memphis and moved north.  The article states that over the next few years she became a very prolific author and speaker, giving lecture tours concerning lynchings across the northeast, and twice conducted speaking tours of England where she spoke eloquently of the plight of the black man in America.  She was one of the founders of the NAACP, despite being denied membership because of her gender.
         She married an attorney, but refused to give up her own last name, deciding instead to hyphenate between her name and his.  Her hometown of Holly Springs, Mississippi, just southeast of Memphis, celebrates her life and achievements as a fund-raising means to support a museum that has been established in her childhood home there.
        
          Consider this:  Rosa Parks refused to give up a seat at the front of a bus, and it led to public transportation boycotts across the southeast that sparked the Civil Rights movement.  She did this in the middle of the twentieth century.  Imagine a black woman refusing to give up a seat upon the order of a white man a mere eighteen years after the end of the Civil War.  Imagine having the courage to start a newspaper investigation into the horrors of lynching, and doing so as a young black woman in the segregated south.  Imagine being bold enough to write and lecture on the subject across the north and to tour England with the same message, all in an age where blacks were widely considered an inferior race.
          If Ida B. Wells had lived in the age of Martin Luther King her name would be as famous as any Civil Rights activist in this country's history.  That she led the life she led, fought the fights she chose to fight, and did so in a day and age when murder and intimidation were accepted facts of life for black Americans makes her story all the more compelling.
          
         

FAIR AND BALANCED? ACTUAL HEADLINES VRS. FOX NEWS HEADLINES TELL REAL STORY...


               A buddy of mine sent me an email with this link to an article by Matt Stopera in BuzzFeed in which actual news headlines were shown alongside actual Fox News headlines that linked to the original headline as source material.  In most cases a clear bias or intent to mislead is evident in the Fox headline.  Please take the link and read these individual cases more in depth if you're at all curious.  I'll sum up with recaps of the actual headlines versus the headlines Fox News chose to run for the same stories:

Actual:  "USDA Gay-Sensitivity Training Seek Larger Audience"
Fox: "Obama Bureaucrats imposing Radical Homosexual Sensitivity Training?"

Actual: "Malaysia police slammed for cattle-branding women"
Fox: "Malaysian Muslims Cattle-Brand Prostitutes"

Actual: "AP Poll: Economic Worries pose new snag for Obama"
Fox: " Obama has a big problem with White Women"

Actual: "Obama will speed pullout for war in Afghanistan"
Fox: "Obama doesn't thank Petraeus"

Actual: "NY Officials want schools to teach about unwanted baby laws"
Fox: "NYC Public Schools teaching how to abandon your baby?"

Actual: "Yemini man opts not to take piracy plea deal"
Fox:  "US cuts plea deal with pirates who killed four Americans"

Actual: "Mandela asks to meet Michelle Obama"
Fox: "Michelle Obama snubbed in Africa, but looking forward to private safari"

           Now, you can spin a story within the text of the article to show just about any slant you prefer.  But to blatantly use the bold print headlines is another matter altogether.  Readers may not read past the headline, so what they find at the top of a story might be their only exposure to that item in the news.  Fox News repeatedly makes certain to slant stories to their preferred agenda, and knowing their knuckle-dragging mouth-breathing audience isn't likely to read further than a headline, they like to keep it simple for their Sheeple.
           Fair and Balanced.

           Fifty years ago this kind of "journalism" would have been so widely ridiculed it would have been considered nothing more than propaganda.  Why we continue to allow this type of bias to pass as actual news reporting, while watching this network gain the lion's share of audience explains why we seem to be ass deep in ignorant, gullible folks who don't have a clue what's really going on around them.
         

Saturday, June 25, 2011

REP. TODD AKIN: "AT THE HEART OF LIBERALISM IS A HATRED FOR GOD"


                      From an article on Think Progress:
         Last weekend during a golf tournament, NBC aired a promo clip in which the words, "one nation, under god, indivisible" were omitted from a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.  Big time stupid, right?  I mean, unless you're trying to deliberately provoke the mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging troglodytes, why do something that ham-handed on a national broadcast?
         Well, of course, the right, which is always poised on the precipice of "highly offended outrage" jumped on this as yet another sign that the network was a liberal mouthpiece.  Radio talk shows went crazy, and all the usual suspects began the echo chamber cacophony of idiotic ranting about liberals and their godless agenda.
          Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) went on the air with Family Research Council president Tony Perkins (and I've written about this asshole douche bag so often I refuse to even link to his prior scummy behavior, but if you want to click on his name in the "labels" under this post you can find them yourself) to say that NBC had done this because it is a very liberal network, and "at the heart of liberalism is a hatred for God."

          Now, personally, I don't hate God.  In fact, I don't even believe in her.  I happen to know a lot of good progressives who do, though, and I'm sure they would be upset to hear that they're God-hating subversives for having liberal philosophies.
           This is yet another example of Republicans and conservatives attempting to claim God for their team, the same way they've already confiscated the American flag and the American military for the GOP, as if all patriotic people or military families MUST, by definition, be Republicans.
            I think I can modify Rep. Akin's comment somewhat, and in doing so make it a lot more accurate, at least in my own case:  "At the heart of liberalism is a hatred for God's Fan Club."

TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION CONSIDERING CONFEDERATE FLAG LICENSE PLATE

          Think Progress is reporting that Texas is considering a specialty license plate for Lone Star Staters who want to "remember Texans who died fighting in the Civil War."  I'm surprised they didn't just call it "the war of Yankee aggression."
          Hey, Gov. Rick Perry is a big fan of secession, so this should be a no-brainer for Texas!


            

REGGIE BROWN GETS TO FINISH HIS OBAMA IMPERSONATION ROUTINE ON BILL MAHER'S SHOW



         A few days ago the Republican Leadership Conference had a black comedian on stage doing an Obama impression, and as long as his jokes were about the president the crowd was happy (even when his jokes were racist in nature).  As his routine moved into Republican territory, however, he was unceremoniously yanked off stage.
          Bill Maher invited Reggie Brown to his HBO show "Real Time" on Friday to finish his routine, and Brown started with "...as I was saying" as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened.  What followed was a pretty good roast of the announced GOP candidates for president.
          This video was made by someone filming their television during Maher's show.  I've tried to embed a better vid directly from other sources, but those videos have a glitch and lock up halfway through.
           I apologize for the quality of this video, but for those of you who don't get HBO, at least you can see what Brown was trying to say before (as Maher put it) the "douchebag white guy" yanked him off the stage...

WISCONSIN SUPREME COURT JUSTICE PROSSER ALLEGEDLY ASSAULTS FELLOW JUSTICE PRIOR TO RULING ON GOV. WALKER'S UNION BUSTING CASE

                       Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser

            Most folks are familiar with the recent political dogfight in the state of Wisconsin involving Governor Scott Walker and his GOP legislature's efforts to gut the collective bargaining rights of public employees unions in that state.  A lower court had issued a stay in the case, preventing the anti-union measure from being enacted, and that decision was then overturned by a 4-3 majority in the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
            According to a Wisconsin State Journal report by Bill Lueders, one of the Justices on Wisconsin's Supreme Court grabbed another Justice around the neck with both hands just prior to the public rendering of their decision in the case, and did so in front of other members of the court.  None of those present will confirm or deny the allegations against Justice David Prosser, but others have reported the veracity of the charge under the condition of anonymity.
            Prosser recently won a hotly contested reelection to the court after a recount gave him the victory by 7,000 votes out of 1.5 million cast.  He's been in the news before...
            Last March, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel quoted witnesses as having heard Justice Prosser call Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson a "total bitch" and then vow to "destroy" her.  When questioned about those allegations, Prosser confirmed the quotes, then blamed Abrahamson and fellow Justice Ann Walsh Bradley for goading him into "incautious statements."
            Well, apparently Justice Prosser's problems with Justice Bradley boiled over into an assault just before the ruling came down on Governor Walker's case.  Witnesses say members of the Supreme Court were meeting in Justice Bradley's office when things got heated and Bradley asked Prosser to leave her office.  Prosser instead grabbed Justice Bradley around the neck with both hands.  Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs was notified of the incident, but like all other witnesses familiar with the incident, will not comment on the case.
            
             Think about it for a second... Prosser has confirmed that he cursed Chief Justice Abrahamson on one noted occasion, then blamed her and Justice Bradley for pushing his buttons.  Now he's accused of having assaulted Justice Bradley in her office in front of other Justices.  At what point do these acts of intemperate behavior result in actions to remove Justice Prosser from the bench?
             Don't be surprised if this hits the fan in the national press very soon, given the volatile situation in the Wisconsin legislature surrounding this case.

IF THIS IS SATURDAY, THIS MUST BE GUANO!