Monday, October 31, 2011


           You can't tell the players without a program, folks...  Started to roam around the internets in search of reactions to the Cain Mutiny, and some of them are predictably right on cue.
           Rush Limbaugh blasted the Politico piece as an "unconscionable, racially stereotypical attack" with the "ugliest of racial stereotypes."  Rush would know all about ugly racism, believe me.  He's a master of it.
           Ann Coulter crawled out from under her rock long enough to say the Cain allegations were a "lynching." 
           Cain himself insisted the entire thing was a "witch hunt", and that he had been "falsely accused."  The charges were "baseless" and "never have I committed any sort of sexual harassment."   He went on to say he was unaware of any settlements having been paid to the women who had brought those baseless allegations against him when he headed the National Restaurant Association in the late '90's, but hoped if there WERE settlements they weren't for much money...
           Meanwhile, the only person in the choir singing a song I could possibly hum along with is Mike Huckabee, who said he believed in his heart that the allegations were dredged up by campaign operatives of a rival Republican candidate.  I wrote earlier that I suspected someone along the lines of Karl Rove might have been behind the "leak", and here's what Karl himself had to say about the Cain campaign's initial waffling when asked about the sexual harassment claims:

          Karl Rove has made no secret of the fact that he supports Mitt Romney.  He's blasted Rick Perry's campaign, and of late he's been highly critical of Herman Cain's positions and potential success as the GOP nominee.  When you want to find out who might be behind this entire thing, don't be surprised when all flags point back to Rove in the end.
          And if Rove DID inspire the leak to Politico, rest assured he's certain of the facts in the case and knows it will ultimately sink Cain's campaign.

           The interesting aspect of this sexual harassment story is how quiet the Democrats have been as it unfolds.  The same Republicans who made such a stink about the sexual misconduct of President Clinton now demand verifiable proof that Cain has done anything wrong, and they're lashing out at all sides to defend the man.
            Must be a partisan thing...  If President Obama were accused of sexually harassing women while working as a community organizer, think they'd call it a media lynching?  Think Limbaugh would go on the air to call the allegations an "unconscionable, racially stereotypical attack"? 
            Nope, they'd be all over this, and it wouldn't end until everyone who ever met the President had been interviewed on the matter.  Now, however, they're quick to condemn the women involved, much as they did when Anita Hill brought similar allegations against Clarence Thomas during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings.
             Funny how the same people can play either side of an issue, isn't it?


A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO HALLOWEEN CANDY (pay attention, unless you want your yard rolled...)

                                   CLICK TO EMBIGGEN (I HOPE...)

          Halloween is my least favorite "holiday" for about fifty or sixty good reasons, but I know a lot of people absolutely love the traditions and fun of costumes and trick-or-treaters.  I guess my happy memories of Halloween were pretty much screwed by THIS incident from my youth...
          But the other night my lovely (and dangerous) wife and I were discussing whether or not to even bother with Halloween candy this year, since we rarely have trick-or-treaters at our door.  I suggested we buy a bag of Snickers bars or something, just in case.  But my wife (always the thoughtful and sensible one) said it might be better if we offered kids something healthy instead.
           Now, "healthy" scares the shit out of me, because my wife recently made us both do one of those faddish "cleansings" that involved eating copious amounts of brush, nuts, and pot pourrie instead of real food for two weeks.  I wasn't even allowed to have coffee or beer, for Christ's sake!
           So, trying to think of something "healthy" that wouldn't piss off neighborhood kids to the point they might consider rolling our trees with toilet paper, I suggested we ladle a cup of our famous homemade salsa into each bag.  My wife looked at me as if I was just trying to be ridiculous, and obviously, she was right.
           I think we'll do what we usually do, just turn off the lights and go to bed early.


         Okay, first of all, let me say that I have no idea what's going on with Rick Perry in this clip.  For a little bit of context (always helpful) you really should watch the extended version of his little speech in New Hampshire Friday night:

           But even if you just watch the heavily edited clip I've embedded above you would have to admit this is a different version of Rick Perry.  Joe Scarborough implies that little Ricky might have had a cocktail or two before he took the stage, and at the end of the clip suggests that the Nora Ephron line "I'll have what she's having!" might apply.  In fact, Scarborough admitted that when he was afflicted with severe back pain, his favorite cocktail was a mix of "valium, vicodin, and a little bit of vodka"...
           But to tell you the truth, I like this Rick Perry a lot more than I care for the angry little asshole who keeps nipping at Romney's heels in the Republican debates.  That guy is a complete jerk.  This guy looks like he might be fun to hang with, at least until the drugs wear off...

           Maybe that's the key for Perry from here on out... Do a Will Ferrell parody of himself, get about half-toasted before every public appearance, and let 'er rip!  Shit, it couldn't hurt.  The 'debate Perry' is about as appealing to most Americans as that cranky neighbor who comes out on his porch to scream "Get off my lawn, you little bastards!" whenever the kids cross onto his property.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


          This is an incredible sound...


          From Boing Boing... this would creep me out, big time.


                Stories like this one make me wonder what Karl Rove has been up to lately...  Politico is reporting that one of their investigations has revealed evidence that two women who worked as subordinates of Herman Cain while he was the head of the National Restaurant Association complained to superiors about Cain's inappropriate behavior, and both received five figure settlements to leave the organization and not discuss the matter.
                 Reporters have questioned the Cain campaign, and the candidate himself appeared to bristle when repeatedly asked about the allegations.  The women have been identified by the Politico investigation, but have not been named due to privacy concerns.  According to the story, one of the women has informed her current employer that she had received a settlement check related to a current presidential contender, and that publicity about that case might become public.
                 This is the kind of story that has the signature of typical Republican dirty tricks operatives, using information gleaned from opposition research to damage a rival candidate.  Remember the push poll phone calls in South Carolina where people were asked if news that John McCain was the father of a black child would affect their opinion of the candidate?  Well, McCain did indeed have a black child, an adopted one.  But in a southern state like South Carolina, the leading nature of that push poll question is considered to have been a turning point in an otherwise close campaign.  George W. Bush ended up winning South Carolina's primary, thwarting McCain's run to the nomination.  Bush operatives were accused of having conducted the push poll in question, and Karl Rove would have been the man behind the scenes if that were indeed the case.
                If Cain had inappropriate sexual harrassment claims made against him, those claims are indeed relevant to the current campaign, whether they were settled under a gag agreement or not.
But at a time when certain factions of the Republican Party are doing their level best to discourage Tea Party influence in the presidential nominating process, you have wonder if one of the campaigns NOT affiliated with the teabagger favorites might not have uncovered this information, then conveniently leaked it to an organization like Politico.
                Who stands to gain if Cain is diminished in the race?  Everyone else, obviously.  Who stands to gain the most?  Romney.  Perry, Bachmann, and Santorum are squabbling over teabagger voters, but the vast majority of those who might be considered independent Republicans were deciding between Cain, Romney, and Gingrich.  Arguably, Gingrich has not been on the radar for some time, so Romney is the clear benefactor if Cain drops in the polls.
                 Hide and watch.  Cain will ride this out for a week or two, but then the pressure and never-ending feeding frenzy will take its toll, more info will leak out, and his campaign will implode.
Romney will catch more of the Cain losses than anyone else in the field, and it may be enough to finish the nomination process as others begin to drop out of the race.
                 Cain is about to have his Anita Hill moment in the national spotlight, but I doubt he'll survive with the same Teflon success of Clarence Thomas.


           Looking around for low-hanging fruit, I trolled over to Huff'n'Puff Post and clicked on this clip of "The McLaughlin Group", courtesy of The Daily Caller.  In it you can find a panel of relatively older Americans discussing the possible influence of the Occupy Wall Street movement on next year's presidential campaign, if any.
           Pat Buchanan immediately warned that the Prez should avoid any form of endorsement or support of the OWS folks because it's going to end badly... they're gonna get cold... they're gonna start fighting with the police... yadda yadda.  I paraphrase, because I don't have stomach for replaying the vid to get the exact quote.  Listening to Pat Buchanan holding forth in that I'm-the-Oracle tone of his makes my guts knot up in a ball-shrinking caldron of bile, and I find that I quickly become miserable company for anyone unfortunate enough to share my address.
           A young lady named Susan Ferrechio dismissed the significance of the movement by pointing to the dwindling number of demonstrators, and suggesting that some will quickly abandon ship when the weather turns colder.  Again, I paraphrase, because... well, because she annoys the shit out of me, too... especially when Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune shreds her contribution by saying:

      "Don't measure their success by their numbers out in the street.  Measure it by how the conversation has changed."


          A few months ago, all you could hear on any cable television news network was an incessant reference to the phrases "deficit reduction," "socialism," and "national debt".  Now, we can't turn a channel without hearing "income disparity" or some variation on the theme of rigged financial markets.  Suddenly, the people in ivory towers who funded and orchestrated Tea Party rallies aren't calling the shots via their nefarious talking points memos.  No one wants to talk about cutting Social Security benefits when the focus is on the moral bankruptcy of our current oligarchy.
           But I digress... back to the clip...  John McLaughlin, the host of the show, said the movement is "transitory, unless they spawn a third party candidate.  And this might be just the time for it, if it ever occurs."

           Where are you on this?

           Will this movement peter out when the weather becomes intolerable?  Should the elements have an effect on the underlying message?  Can a sustainable atmosphere of righteous indignation ever be maintained without the community and shared sacrifice of the actual "occupation"?
           Or is it possible that the anger and disgust of disgruntled average Americans ever morphs into a viable third party?  Is it possible that those who have begun to recognize the Tea Party movement for what it is,  (a vote against one's own best interests) might somehow be swayed to recognize the merits of what the Occupy Wall Street message really is? 

            Here's the thing.   If you're looking for folks who might feel warm and fuzzy thoughts about bankers and the people who run the stock market these days,  red-state middle American breakfast diners won't be any more fertile ground for your search than those tents on Wall Street, or downtown Oakland, or on the Legislative Plaza in Nashville.  People's pensions and life's savings have been "disappeared" in recent years, and good, hard working folks are pissed about it.  This Occupy vibe can be easily understood, if not completely endorsed, by a lot of older Americans who might once have participated in Tea Party rallies.
             There are quite a few people who have sat up and listened as Republican after Republican has suggested cuts to their vital social services, and a lot of those people aren't as enamored with the GOP as they were before the last midterm elections.
            Whether the time is right for a viable third party might not be a bad discussion to start.  Maybe that can be the lasting legacy of the apparent conflict between the Tea Party movement and the Occupy Wall Street movement.  Instead of being co-opted by party mechanics, what if enough people just walked away and founded a new political movement?

             "You.  Yes, you.  With your hand up?  You have a comment?"



NO HANDGUN LESSONS FOR OBAMA VOTERS OR "MOSLUMS..." (it's a Texas Thang, apparently...)

         I clicked over to BJ's blog this morning to find that he's been a busy beaver the past couple of days, whereas most of us snooze through the weekends with trivial posts, if we bother to post at all.
         One of the gems currently on display at Un-Original Thoughts is THIS priceless clip.

         Crockett Keller owns a little store in Mason, Texas, and he's offering shooting lessons to worthy Texans.  Worthy, in this case, refers to anyone who isn't an Obama supporter, an Arab, or "Moslum"... whatever that is.

        The pair handling the story for The Young Turks have their own problems in this video clip... Ana Kasparian says Keller uses "discriminative" language, and Cenic Uygur calls Keller "Sonny Crockett", whom I'm pretty sure was a character on "Miami Vice" a few decades ago.

         What kind of name is "Crockett" for a Texan, anyway?  Oh yeah, that Davy Crockett guy from Tennessee volunteered to ride down there and help make a state out of that Mexican territory. 
          Bet Davy would have given Keller some shooting lessons he could use.

          Heavy sigh...


THINGS I FAIL TO NOTICE (and things I stumble across that can't be missed...)

         I like to think of myself as a fairly observant person, but when given the opportunity to prove the point I usually walk right past whatever it is any other person with the gift of sight would immediately see and recognize.
         Case in point... about five years ago my lovely (and dangerous) wife and I rented a chalet at a resort in the Smokies.  One morning when we were getting packed for a day trip into the mountains, I left the chalet and carried a cooler out to our car.  As I walked to the car I heard (but didn't process the information) a rustling of some sort behind me.  When I finished putting the cooler into the trunk, I turned around and saw THIS thing standing on the handrail near the door I had just walked through...

             Now, there are a lot of things one is likely to encounter in the Smoky Mountains.  You might have a bear in your garbage can.  You might have deer standing in the road between you and the nearest liquor store.  Even wild boar are common.  But a peacock?  Standing on the handrail of a chalet's front steps?
             Somehow in my hungover state of mind I had walked right past six feet of fanned-out tail feathers on a bird that outweighs most people's housepets.  This thing shrieked a time or two, just to let me know it was between me and the chalet door, and I had to decide whether or not to even try to get back inside for a camera or just stand there and admire the wonder of it all.
            Turns out this bird and its mate visit some of the chalets at this resort on a regular basis, mooching for bread crumbs and handouts.

           The reason I bring up this example of my inattention to detail is this:  we all do it.  Here's a test for you...
            There are two little lines coming down from your nose to your upper lip.  You've been aware of these two little lines since the first time you saw your mama's face when she was raising you up to a tit.  You've seen them on your own face every time you've looked at a mirror, unless you've let yourself go and grown a beard over them.
             And yet, you don't notice them at all.  In fact, I'm willing to bet my next pension check you don't even know what the fuck they're called, scientifically.  What other feature of your face doesn't have a recognizable name?  You know a nose, an ear, a mouth, an eyebrow, a lip, a dimple, a nostril, a cleft chin... but you don't know what those two little lines are called without looking it up.
            Fuck... are you blind? 
            And no, Mooner, it's not called a Snot Gutter. 
            I checked.

            I gotta go.   The Titans are about to hand the hapless Colts their first win of the season, and I wouldn't want to miss the carnage...


Saturday, October 29, 2011

QUITE ENOUGH FROM MR. WOLFOWITZ, THANK YOU... (Rachel Maddow blasts former Bush neocon Mr. Wrong)

            I started looking for this clip from The Rachel Maddow Show before her program had even concluded last night, because in this segment she rips Paul Wolfowitz a brand new asshole.  Of course, any opening on this guy's body would suffice...
            If you don't remember Wolfie, please watch the clip for a brief, painful reminder of who he is/was and why he should be first in line at the Shut the Fuck Up counter.  In the express lane.  With a free coupon and a rebate for another one if that STFU ever wears out...

CAIN'S "MARLBORO MAN" HAS CHECKERED PAST ( and his lungs have spotty future... )

                                            Mark Block, Cain's campaign manager

         There's an article in this morning's Nashville Tennessean (motto: "Links? We don't need no stinkin' links!") I'd love to refer you to for this post, but the on-line version of our little local rag doesn't seem to have any knowledge of what the actual paper contains, because there's no link to the story available.
          So I'll refer you instead to this link from Faux News.
          The guy smoking the cigarette in Herman Cain's bizarre new ad is Mark Block, Cain's campaign manager.  According to several stories, Mr. Block has had an interesting life up until this point, and it's only getting curiouser and curiouser...

           Block used to work in Wisconsin politics, but was given a three year ban from political campaigns in that state after being accused of coordinating a judge's reelection campaign with a special interest group.  During his exile from badger state politics, Block stocked the shelves at a Target store while his home was foreclosed upon and he was being arrested, twice, for drunken driving.  He was also served with a tax warrant from the IRS and sued for having an unpaid bill in Wisconsin.
            In 2005, Block was ushered back into Wisconsin politics when he was hired as that state's director of Americans for Prosperity, a group founded by those lovable Koch brothers.  While serving in that position, Block helped to organize the Tea Party in Wisconsin, where he met Herman Cain.  Shortly after his return to politics, Block was again accused of dirty deeds, this time by a liberal group called One Wisconsin Now, which claimed Block was part of a plan to prevent voters from casting ballots in heavily Democratic precincts, as well as other complaints that he had been behind a series of misleading robo-calls to prevent a $119 million school building referendum.
             Between drags on his cigarette Block denied all of the allegations against him, saying they were politically motivated attacks.
              When Cain's presidential campaign flames out, look for this guy to end up selling iron lungs, or perhaps hosting a political insiders show on Faux News Channel.  And if they ever do a sequel to the X-Files series, he could play the part of the mysterious "Smoking Man" character.


Friday, October 28, 2011


                           Terry Jones, Republican candidate for president

          In order to help promote his book Islam is the Devil, pastor Terry Jones of Florida has announced he will join the campaign for the Republican Party's nomination for president.   Earlier this year he made headlines with his threat to burn a copy of Quran, and for having a mustache just like the old biker who makes custom motorcycles on cable television.
          In announcing his candidacy, Jones pointed to his Seven Step plan to bring America back from the brink.  One of those seven proposals is a promise to 'deport all illegal immigrants'. 
          Bill Maher noted Jones' announcement by saying "At last, the Republicans have a moderate in the race!"

           Stay tuned... he'll probably vault to the top of the polls before the week ends.  Mike Huckabee is lucking better and better to those guys...


        Found this at Crooks and Liars... thought it might be appropriate.


THE GROCERY STORE PONY                                           

          Most of us probably have a specific period in our lives we consider to have been 'the gravy days', or the peak of our personal happiness, and most of us seem to point to a time many years ago when we had it going on...  And for whatever reason we tend to gloss over the painful parts of our lives that occurred during that period, as if our selective memories of the good times far outweigh the bad.
           How many times have you said, "If I could only do it again, knowing what I know now!"???

           Without getting into some lengthy discussion that leads to a time travel headache, here's why that is mostly bullshit:  we're all muddling through life trying to find our own way, and no one moment is any more permanent than the next.  What we might now look back on fondly probably sucked to high heaven at the time, had we filled out a questionnaire then and opened it today.  The glory of our high school athletic accomplishments, or the sexual conquests of our college daze, or financial windfalls we've long since spent, all seem more majestic in the dim light of our fading memories than they truly were at the time. 
            Today is where we are, and I for one am happier at this moment in my life than I've ever been.  I suspect many of you might be reluctant to make such a claim about your own personal situations, but really, would you want to go through all of that horseshit again? 
             If so, go put a quarter into that grocery store pony and saddle up.  I think you'll find it a tad lacking...

             Cheers, folks!



       The woman who found a note in her luggage telling her to "get her freak on" now wishes the whole sordid story would just go away, especially since the TSA agent responsible for the note is being terminated.
         CNN Travel is reporting the TSA says it "has zero tolerance for inappropriate behavior by our employees as occurred in this instance. When this is brought to our attention TSA takes swift and appropriate action."
         For what it's worth, the woman who originally posted a photo of the handwritten note regrets her intentions have been ignored, saying that she meant to draw attention to our willingness to accept the loss of privacy our new security measures have brought into our lives, and instead, her situation has become a media circus.
        "It's easy to scapegoat one individual here, but the problem with the note is that it's representative of the bigger privacy intrusions that the U.S. government, through the TSA and other sources, levels every day," she wrote Wednesday after learning of the employee's suspension.
"As much as this is a funny and titillating story, when I put the note on Twitter for what I thought was a relatively limited audience, I was hoping it would open up a bigger conversation about privacy rights (or lack thereof) in post-9/11 America. It unfortunately hasn't done that, and instead has turned into a media circus," she said.

"The note was inappropriate, the agent in question acted unprofessionally when s/he put in in my bag, there should be consequences and I'm glad the TSA takes these things seriously. But I get no satisfaction in hearing that someone may be in danger of losing their job over this. I would much prefer a look at why 'security' has been used to justify so many intrusions on our civil liberties, rather than fire a person who made a mistake."


          I never thought I would actually enjoy a political campaign season, but this one has been a riot.  If you haven't tuned in to see a GOP debate yet this season, drop your plans, DVR "House" or whatever you're wasting time watching, and be there the next time they introduce their stunning field of candidates for another pander-fest.
          One guy who's not likely to "be there" is current Texas Governor and used-to-be Republican front runner Rick Perry.  After having his massive ego kicked around like a dry cow patty in each of the last three debates, Little Ricky has decided his best chance of winning votes is to make himself as scarce as possible when voters are looking for candidates to support.  Seems like he barely gets one boot out of his mouth before the other one slides back in... and all the while, that chameleon Romney just keeps cruising along, flip-flopping his way across the primary states like the Energizer Bunny.  Perry can't explain any of his positions on the issues, and Romney's positions change depending upon which way the wind is blowing when he's asked about them.
           Little Miss "I'm Still Batshit Crazy" Bachmann is now claiming that Rick Perry has stolen some of her flat tax ideas and promoted them as his own, as if anyone hoping to win a nomination would steal from the only candidate drawing fewer supporters than himself.  Stealing ideas from Michele Bachmann would be like stealing jokes from the "Nancy" comic strip.  Why go to the bottom of the well for material? 
           Rick Santorum's campaign seems to be designed to lock up the fetus voting bloc that all Republicans crave, but his frothy obsession with gay sex keeps cock-blocking his path to the nomination.  Noot Gingrich is rising in the polls, but you just know any moment now he's going to be caught helping Calista haul the latest purchases out of a Tiffany's somewhere... all the while telling America how frugal he is with his money.  Jon Huntsman (who?) is still alive.  Not politically, but the last time someone took his pulse, he was indeed breathing. 
           And good old Ron Paul is still riding the Crazy Train from debate to debate, making sense in a Walter Brennan sort of way that makes you wonder if he's really the father of that asshole from Kentucky who shares his name.
           And then there's Herman Cain.  You have to watch the next debate, if for no other reason than to see what Cain's going to say this time.  He's running a campaign like no other (blowing smoke never looked so strange...) and somehow he's LEADING IN ALL THE POLLS. 
            You just know if Sarah Palin, or Chris Christie, or Jeb Bush, or Yosemite Sam, got into the race they would instantly vault to the top of the polls.  Republicans are so resigned to the fact that their candidate is going to be wishy-washy Mitt that they're willing to switch allegiances to whomever the new kid on the block is, and do so with a head-spinning fervor that would make Linda Blair dizzy.
            Even if Perry secedes from the debates, you really should make plans to watch the next one.  Seriously.  This really is must-see TV.


Thursday, October 27, 2011


               Former Republican Presidential candidate
                and full time boob, Pat Robertson...

           I only have a second before I'm supposed to go out and try to earn a living (like THAT's gonna work out!) but jumped over to Mediaite and found this story.  One of Pat Robertson's loyal viewers wrote in and asked if it might be proper for good Christians to join in the Occupy Wall Street protests.  Of course, Pat didn't think that was a good idea...

“I think this is a rebellion. I think it is atavistic. Nobody knows exactly what it is. They don’t know what they’re doing. Why are they there? Well, they’re just mad. Is it right for a Christian to get involved in a protest of anger? If you’re going to demonstrate, demonstrate for righteousness, demonstrate to lift the yoke of oppression, demonstrate to help those that are poverty stricken. But don’t just go out and mess up a park and just scream and tear up things.”

           His advice is to demonstrate for righteousness, or to help the poverty stricken.  His words.  This is a guy who sits back and makes sanctimonious proclamations about the various sins that have drawn the wrath of God via hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, and probably dry heaves.  He makes more money from generous morons in a day than everyone at the Occupy Wall Street protests brings home in a month, combined, and yet thinks it's a bad idea for his faithful followers to get distracted by little issues such as wealth disparity or rigged financial markets.
           Pat would rather you spend your time in prayer, or perhaps just finding ways to write bigger checks to his organization.  Because, if you want to be on the side of righteousness, you have to pay for a seat.  Jesus was all about helping the money changers, as you recall.
            On a different note, I switched the radio over to Sean Hannity's show for a moment or two on my way home from the stereo repair shop (which took $240 out my wallet that might have been better spent by Pat Robertson... especially since the problem wasn't corrected and I'm in the process of sending the subwoofer BACK to Bose before the UPS center closes) and he was frothing at the mouth about how the OWS crowds need to basic toilet training.  Still worried about piss in the streets over at Hannity's place.  Nevermind that there are people who are literally living on those same streets 24/7 when no one is around with film crews or satellite trucks...  Hannity's concerned about the health issues, I guess.  That, and protecting Rupert's condo.
           I'm becoming more and more convinced that this Occupy movement is making conservatives nuttier than usual.  And anything that annoys Sean Hannity and Pat Robertson can't be all bad.


JOHN PRINE, BILLY BOB THORNTON, AND "DADDY AND THEM"... (things that go together...)

           John Prine and Iris Dement singing "In Spite of Ourselves"        

        A couple of weeks ago I paid a visit to BJ's Chateau Johnson compound to catch up on old times, and before I left he handed me a copy of a film called "Daddy and Them" starring Billy Bob Thornton, Laura Dern, John Prine, and Andy Griffith (with brief cameos by Ben Affleck and Jamie Lee Curtis).  Being a Prine disciple, I couldn't wait to put it on and see the film. 
         Prine's one of my heroes.  When I first moved to middle Tennessee in 1973, I started driving into town to catch some of the writers' night performances at local clubs in Nashville.  Back in those days you might walk in and see a guy who would sing a sad song, and ten years later you'd hear that sad song being sung by some other guy who was making millions off of it.  I saw Don Schlitz at a club called The Exit-In singing a song he'd just written called "The Gambler", and left the club singing it to myself on the ride home.  Seemed like only a week or two went by before Kenny Rogers was all over the radio with that hit... It was like that in those days.

Prime Prine, circa early '70's...    

John Prine today...  or damn near it                                          

         John Prine's songs aren't for everybody, but they're about everybody.  If you know his stuff, you already love 'em all.  There's a great article in this morning's Nashville Tennessean (motto: "Every now and then one of our writers has something worthwhile to say!") by music critic Peter Cooper, and in it he passes along a few stories about Prine and his career, from singing mailman to folk hero.  Highly recommend it.
          And if you can find a copy of "Daddy and Them", grab it.  Quirkiest movie I've seen in a long, long time.


          Smearing anything that threatens, even symbolically, the blue-bloods who have our economy by the throat is now in full swing.  Here's an Olbermann quote from Crooks and Liars:
OLBERMANN: First, the protesters were drugged up hippies. Then, they were anti-Semitic. Then, yesterday they were part of the Muslim Brotherhood. In our number one story now, the right wing has grasped at its next straw; the Occupy movement is actually being organized by the most vile of community organizations... ACORN.

          When police forces around the country are suddenly being forced to take aggressive and violent action against peaceful protesters, it's obvious that the people who really control our government (the uber wealthy) have issued their marching orders:  Put an end to this before they come for us with pitchforks and torches!



          Without a doubt, the funniest moment of this Colbert Report clip is when he shows a photo of the blond Faux News host and says, "... Fox News host and Alfred Hitchcock love interest Megyn Kelly".  I've never been able to put my finger on it, until now!  She's Tippie Hedron, Kim Novak, Grace Kelly, all rolled up into one anal retentive little ball of pissed, righteous indignation.
           And the faux Cain ads are great, too...

Megyn Kelly                         

Grace Kelly                     

Kim Novak                     

Janet Leigh                                    

Tippi Hedron                        


        A friend of mine in east Tennessee called yesterday to see what I thought of the title to a new country song he was writing.  When he's not being creative, he holds a day job as a general session court judge in my old hometown, so you know he has a serious side.  Somewhere.  We're pretty sure, anyway...
         He was calling some of his closest friends to get their opinions on his new song, entitled, "Ain't Got No Place to Stick My Dick".  One of our mutual friends told the judge he hated the song because it was just "too sad".  Another said he hated it because it contained the word "Ain't", and that bothered him.
         I thought it was beautiful, myself, and expressed a sentiment I had often experienced in my younger days.  As a matter of fact, it pretty much hooked up with my own motto, "Pussy Makes You Stupid".

          Here's Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers singing that old standard, "Atheists Don't Have no Songs":


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"GET YOUR FREAK ON, GIRL" TSA NOTE IN SUITCASE FREAKS OUT FEMINIST (creep factor forces her to toss her vibrator)

Jill Filipovic, editor of "Feministe"                              

          A woman flying from Newark International to Dublin found an unsettling note written on a TSA inspection notice when she opened her suitcase after arrival in Ireland.  At first she thought it was amusing, then wildly funny, but after giving it some thought, Jill Filipovic decided to toss the vibrator she had packed in her luggage. 
"To the agent who wrote the note, I'd like to say that he has actually impeded me from getting my freak on, since I now have to dispose of the offending item, as I'm not sure what he did with it while it was in his possession," she wrote.

           This is creepy on so many levels... First of all, none of likes to have our personal belongings "searched", no matter how much we might say we're in favor of increased security for our airlines.  To have a government agent find your personal vibrator during a search, then leave a note telling you to "get your freak on girl" ought to result in someone joining the ranks of the unemployed at the Newark International Airport.  An investigation has begun to identify the TSA agent responsible for the note, and Ms. Filipovic has probably already located and purchased a substitute buzz to play with.

            Back in 2005, my lovely (and dangerous) wife and I travelled to Costa Rica for a vacation.  Our flight itinerary had us leaving Costa Rica from a tiny, remote airport in the middle of nowhere.  Hundreds of fellow tourists packed into an outdoor pavilion to line up for customs inspections and to get our luggage checked for the flight back to the states. 
            The little airport there had a Disney World style series of roped off lanes for folks to line up in, and inspectors at tables were randomly calling for certain passengers to open their suitcases on those tables for inspection.  Dozens of bored travellers would then get to stand and watch as the contents of some poor unfortunate bastard's suitcase would be unceremoniously dumped out on the table and searched.  All of us were stuck in line, there was nothing to do other than stand there and watch the show.
             As the line moved along my wife whispered to me, "God, I hope they don't make me open my suitcase!"
             And I had to agree, that would indeed suck, because neither of us had really taken the time to carefully pack anything when we left our resort.  I had stuffed damp bathing suits and wrinkled shirts back into mine, and my wife had done the same with her dirty clothes in her suitcase.  As we slowly came up to the inspection table, a female agent at the Costa Rican airport motioned for my wife to bring her suitcase over to the table.  I tried to stifle a laugh, and did poorly.  My wife's face turned a shade of red I've not seen since, and I'm pretty sure the temperature in that pavilion went up a couple of degrees in an instant.
             Her suitcase was opened, then dumped out on the table for all to see.  Now, normally, my wife is a meticulous packer.  She folds things with a precision that would rival anything ever created in an origami class... But on this particular morning we had packed for our return flight home using what I like to call the "grab and growl" method.  Whatever needed to go into the suitcase was stuffed into said container, and then one of us had sat on the suitcase to mash it down tight enough to allow the clasp to be closed.  Ta-Da!  Ready to travel...
              Fortunately, there were no personal vibrators or incredibly embarrassing items clattering around on the table for the other tourists to gawk at.  But that didn't mean my wife wasn't mortified by the whole ordeal.  The line moved along, and I with it, because they don't allow you to wait for someone who's being searched, you must move when told to move.  After ten minutes or so I was fifty yards downstream from my wife, who was still a brilliant shade of crimson at the inspection table.
              To this day I can bring up that incident and count on her to put a hand up to her face and say, "Oh my god..." at the thought of her embarrassment.  I do so often, because Pavlov's dogs had a less predictable conditioned reflex than her's, and it's fun to watch her reaction, even after all these years...  Some jokes never get old.


      Boing Boing has a story reporting that the TSA has identified the agent who left the inappropriate note in this woman's luggage, and that person has been "removed from screening operations."

      Not fired.  Just moved.  Film at eleven...       


          Part of the 'charm' of losing one's entire computer memory to a crash is trying to find all of the cool sites you used to have saved in 'favorites', but can't remember.  When you have a mind like mine, which seems to have a serious leak, little details like internet addresses slip through the cracks, leaving only toxic puddles... things I know I used to know, but no longer do.  I found one such site a moment ago, and it led to this post.
          According to an article at the Army is considering a new experimental program in which 3D glasses will be used to help victims of post traumatic stress disorder cope with their nightmares.  Using image rehearsal therapy, researchers have been able to identify the stress relieving thoughts individual veterans can use to counter the nightmares that often lead to depression or violence:
In the proposed treatment, a soldier waking up from a PTSD nightmare can put on 3D vision goggles and enter an animated world populated with comforting sights. The world will be one he’s built himself in visits to his clinic, where, using biofeedback to track his response, he has trained himself to relax when he sees these images.

The world accessible through the goggles, army researchers hope, will help him calm down after a frightening dream, giving him a weapon against an otherwise overwhelming foe. Over time, this trained relaxation may help the nightmares lessen in intensity and frequency.

            Having a pair of 3D glasses on your bedside table might seem a little odd to some, but if it helps ease the pain some of our vets experience after their combat experiences it's worth a try.  The Army has set aside half a million dollars for research and testing at the Naval Hospital Bremerton in Washington, and hopefully they will be able to develop a working system for treatment centers around the country to use for PTSD sufferers.
             Ponder this... our wars of occupation are going to end, at some point.  Returning vets will come home to a stagnant economy, unemployment, and a much more stressful home life than the one they left before their deployment.  To go from a forward fire base in Afghanistan to suburban Philly while dealing with mental demons most of us can't even imagine is a recipe for disaster.  We're going to bring home tens of thousands of active military personnel, many of whom are in dire need of mental health services our woefully underfunded VA system can never hope to treat.
             If a system of video imagery can be self-administered via a 3D device for those who suffer from the most serious of PTSD issues, we should shave a few billion off of the Pentagon budget to fund that research and development.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

RICK PERRY ABORTS "BIRTHER" CAMPAIGN (but wait... didn't you say it was "fun"?)

          The people who follow Rick Perry around on the campaign trail must have the most interesting jobs in the entire political beat.  Their guy might say anything, at any time, whereas most of the candidates rarely stray off script.  Your next interview the Governor of Texas might be the plane crash half of America is expecting at any given moment with this guy... He is liable to hoof-in-mouth himself back to Austin with every public pronouncement.
           Earlier today I was reading an interview in which Perry said it "fun to poke at him a little" when asked about his recent Parade Magazine interview stance that Obama's birth certificate might not be genuine.  Being a 'birther's' a lot of fun, don't you know?
           Well, that might have been the shortest campaign theme since Howard Dean's primal scream a few years ago.  Apparently, once you've "poked a little fun" on this subject, the press won't let it go.  After all, evidence of advanced delerium in a leading presidential candidate is big news, and getting the story firstest with the mostest would pay off handsomely for the reporter who makes Perry crack on camera. 
           Perry found out today that the Party Poobahs are not happy about his idiotic decision to bring the birth certificate controversy back into public discussion again.  They thought it was "a lot of fun to poke at him a little" when the "birthers" first started making noise a few years ago, but since then they've had their hats handed to them by a) facts, and b) a dismissive public.  People see through this bullshit, and expect sane, intelligent candidates to be above the birth certificate squabble.  Accordingly, the Party bigwigs are eager to tell Perry to STFU.  When Haley Barbour is your voice of reason, and when Pat Robertson is urging Republicans to be less rigid about their base's social issues, you can't have a candidate bringing up batshit crazy conspiracy theories no one is laughing about any more.



                      NASHVILLE'S HUTTON HOTEL

           According to an article in this morning's Nashville Tennessean (motto: "What the fuck is wrong with the Titans?") a major hotel in Nashville has cancelled an anti-Sharia Law conference scheduled to take place at their facility out of concern the event could draw protests and hurt their business.  Previous attempts to hold such events which were cancelled in Houston and a similar cancellation at another Nashville hotel in 2009 have organizers of the gathering convinced that their freedom of speech is being violated.

Failed candidate and local boob Lou Ann Zelenik (with unidentified idiot)  
           One of our local wingnut politicians here in Murfreesboro has her gnarly little fingers all over this shit, and the Hutton Hotel is wise to have pulled the plug on her little gathering before it ever got started.  Lou Ann Zelenik, who ran a disgusting (and failed) anti-mosque campaign here in Murfreesboro last year while running for the House of Reprehensibles, is front and center in organizing this event.  Featured speakers at the "Preserving Freedom" conference (because we all know our freedoms are under attack from these crazy Islamists in our midst) were to include Pamela Geller, Frank Gaffney, and former GOP Rep. Fred Gandy, whom you might remember as "Gopher" from the Love Boat...  Quite a cast of characters.  Too bad Thurston Howell III has passed away, we could have gotten a real Hollywood collection into Music City for a party.
            According to the story, here's what the conference was all about:
The conference program included workshops on organizing opposition to mosques, on promoting anti-Shariah laws and criticizing the lack of women’s rights under Shariah. Tickets for the event were $75 and $125.
Murray said about 100 people had registered for the event, most of them from outside Nashville. He said an additional 200 locals were expected.

             There's profit in prejudice, obviously.  Gathering bigots to spread fears about a non-existent problem can be politically advantageous, too.  Folks here in Murfreesboro have been arguing about a proposed mosque (which recently broke ground to begin construction just up the road from this blogger's desk), and the shitstorm has begun to die down now that the courts have consistently (and justifiably) slapped down all of the frivolous lawsuits filed to prevent its construction.  People like Lou Ann Zelenik can't seem to let it go... There's just too much money and influence to be gained by standing with the intolerant, despite recent evidence to the contrary.  She and her ilk are like 'birthers' who can't seem to face the fact that their bullshit argument has been exposed and dismissed by thinking Americans.  They clamor for attention like terriers on linoleum, scrabbling around on clicky toenails of hate-filled, venomous bile, bringing the scorn of the nation to our area. 
             When informed that the Hutton Hotel had cancelled the event, Lou Ann Zelenik had this to say:  "I feel the Hutton is now under Sharia Law."
             How do you reason with that kind of ignorance?
             You can't.  The best defense against these people is ridicule, and believe me, they're asking for a ton of it around here.
             Hey Lou Ann?  Get a fucking life...


Monday, October 24, 2011


         On Saturday I posted a link to a Think Progress report listing the costs in lives and national treasure of George W. Bush's adventure in Iraq.  Mediaite today has a clip from Fox and Friends in which one of those three morons who host the show is questioning President Obama's announcement of plans to remove all American forces from Iraq by the end of this year.
         In an interview with former veteran Kieran Lalor, founder of Iraq Veterans for Congress, the host (whose name I don't remember or care to learn...) asks Lalor, "4,549 Americans have been killed in Iraq.  Could, if this goes afoul, could their lives be wasted?"
         Lalor responds that indeed their lives will have been wasted if we aren't willing to maintain a viable military presence in Iraq from now until eternity.  The same lame arguments were expressed when the last American troops were leaving Vietnam.  Maybe that's why we still have boots on the ground in Germany, Japan, and Korea... we just can't admit that a war's over and bring home the troops for fear someone will mourn our losses as "wasted".
         I'm going to say this with all the respect in the world for our men and women in uniform, and with the utmost respect for their suffering and the losses endured by the families of the fallen:
Every American life lost in this illegal and immoral war was a senseless tragedy.  The millions of killed and injured innocent men, women, and children in Iraq were maimed or killed through the actions of reckless politicians and a compliant American public.  There is nothing noble about what we've done in Iraq, no matter what the political or social landscape of that country eventually looks like.
          When war crimes and torture are on your nation's moral ledger, no end justifies the means.  What was done in our names, all of our names, is on our heads, whether we supported this war, or merely shrugged our shoulders and resigned ourselves to the sad fact that there was nothing we could do to stop the slaughter.  The fact is, we could have prevented this from ever happening, but didn't.  We knew in our hearts this was wrong, and said nothing.  As a society, we bought into the propaganda, and did so with a vengeful wrath that made dissent difficult, if not impossible.
           But that's not really true, is it?  Dissent wasn't forbidden, just discouraged.  If we had taken to the streets by the millions we might not be mourning 4500 of our own dead. 
           There may be a million reasons to keep a significant force of American troops in Iraq, but I believe our moral capital has been squandered there.  We're no longer welcome.
           Bring the kids home.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


            When the history books are written about the George W. Bush administration, few things will warrant as much attention as the decision to invade and occupy Iraq after 9/11.  From the obvious fabrication of evidence of weapons of mass destruction, to the shameful U.N. presentation of Colin Powell, to the documented authorization of torture and war crimes, the Iraq war will be the defining moment of Bush's eight year Reign of Error.
             Eli Clifton has an article at Think Progress in which he points out some of the staggering costs of this illegal and immoral war, and it's worth your time to go down the list and ponder the true costs of unchecked neocon aggression. 
             I heard Thomas Freidman say on Bill Maher's Real Time last night that America would never again allow itself to be drawn into such a foolish endeavour as the Iraq invasion.  As soon as he said those words (or words to that effect) I couldn't help but remember that the same things were said after we finally got our kids home from Vietnam.
             We have short term memory problems in this country.  The next adventure won't be as easily sold to the American people, but they'll still make the purchase if the cause is wrapped in the flag.  We can't help ourselves.  Empires have no self-control.

8 years, 260 days since Secretary of State Colin Powell presented evidence of Saddam Hussein’s biological weapons program

8 years, 215 days since the March 20, 2003 invasion of Iraq

8 years, 175 days since President George W. Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” speech on the USS Abraham Lincoln

4,479 U.S. military fatalities

30,182 U.S. military injuries

468 contractor fatalities

103,142 – 112,708 documented civilian deaths

2.8 million internally displaced Iraqis

$806 billion in federal funding for the Iraq War through FY2011

$3 – $5 trillion in total economic cost to the United States of the Iraq war according to economist Joseph E. Stiglitz and Linda J. Blimes

$60 billion in U.S. expenditures lost to waste and fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001

0 weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq