Friday, March 27, 2009

Republican Alternative Budget, Simplified

Actually, this is a bit more complicated than the current budget blueprint unveiled by the GOP yesterday:

Master Baiting the GOP

You really have to pity the Republicans in the House and Senate. You really do. President Obama's budget flies in the face of almost every tenet of the so-called "fiscal conservatives" on the Right, but up until yesterday they had exactly nothing to offer by way of contrast.

Well, yesterday the House GOP leadership, led by John "Tanned and Bland" Boehner, unveiled their plan. Unfortunately, it wasn't a plan, but a 19-page blueprint or outline for an alternative budget.

Reading it, you get the feeling for what Talleyrand said about the Bourbons - that they haven't forgotten anything, but haven't learned anything either.

Energy policy? Drill, baby, drill.

Tax policy? Simple - cut taxes to a top rate of 25% on anyone making more than $100,000 a year. That's lower than Bush wanted, and sure to gladden the heart of the wealthiest Americans. Now, I fully expect a lot of screeching from my coworkers, none of whom will ever make that amount in their lifetimes and will overlook the fact that their tax burden will only increase.

Oversight of the financial sector? Dead set against it. Let a million flowers bloom so that we may garland the tomb of Ayn Rand.

Bailouts? The "plan" is against it, but Boehner wouldn't commit to such a stand. He's a treasure - can't ask for water when he's thirsty. It's like the voters in his district elected Buridan's ass.

A sensible approach would have been to not rise to Obama's challenge, and instead offer amendments that would sensibly modify ...

But what am I talking about? The GOP hasn't been a bastion of common sense or restraint since maybe Barry Goldwater, and that was a hell of a long time ago.

So President Obama baited the GOP, and they fell for it. The "alternative budget blueprint" is nineteen pages of nothing but the same codswallop that got us into the current economic mess to start with.

What happens next?

The House GOP leadership stated that the details of the "alternative budget" will come out "next Wednesday."

Next Wednesday is April Fool's Day, for those of you keeping track.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

"So Say We All"

It's been a long journey for the Sci-Fi Channel series Battlestar Galactica. From the imminent retirement of the aging warship to the final denouement, the series has explored religion, politics, sex, love, racism, and the whole spectrum of human relationships. The last 39,000-odd members of the human race have finally reached their destination.

And now it's over.

The Sci-Fi Channel aired the two-hour series finale of BSG last tonight, and I sat mesmerized as the loose ends were all raveled up and the storyline moved to its inevitable conclusion. It's been a magnificent show, and I really hated to see the old girl go.

(No spoilers here - you'll have to watch it yourself, so Nyah.)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Rule One of Fight Club

You never, EVER, talk about Fight Club.

Well, apparently, someone has talked.

If the investigation pans out and this is true, it marks a barbaric new low even for the Texas school system - a system already mired in anti-science Luddism that threatens to create entire generations of stupid people.

One commentator said that things like this don't happen - at least, not in school.

But kids will fight. What better way to have them settle their differences by having them beat each other's brains out in a steel cage for the delectation of the staff?

If it's true, my next question is whether there were any bets laid on the contests.

It's another indication of the cultural acceptance of violence in the United States. A few years ago, the correctional staff at the Pelican Bay prison in California arranged one-on-one gladiator matches in the recreation yard between gang members.

One also has to wonder what else was going on at this school (apart from the cheating scandals that led to this revelation).

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

(Faith an' begorr, here's a tip o' th' hat to Netherwulf over at FurAffinity!)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Why I Will Not Twitter

In many cases, I'm very much stuck in the past.

I refuse to give up my stereo, and the collection of vinyl LPs that I've had since I was a child.

I refuse to part with my cassette recorder.

I have a cell phone, that I use to - gasp! - actually transmit and receive phone calls. It doesn't have a camera, a keyboard, or a working Internet link. It's just a phone (and I barely tolerate it).

And I don't use Bluetooth, either. A long time ago if you saw someone talking to themselves you would think they were crazy. Now you have to look them over for the hands-free cell phone riding in their ear to make sure if they're not insane or just ordering a pizza.

In other cases, I'm future-oriented, but I know that some things just are not useful.

Like Twitter.

Americans have the same general attention span as mayflies now - is it right to further divorce people from the idea that it might, just might, be more beneficial to keep one's thoughts to oneself? That it isn't truly necessary to document every single thought that flits through a mind every minute of every day?

Here's an example:

Voice in my Head #1: I need to get up from my nap.

Voice in my Head #2: Probably.

VIMH #3: I like ice cream.

VIMHs 1 and 2: Good call!

This was an actual internal conversation this afternoon. I ask you, would you want to see and read shit like that?

I wouldn't.

And Twitter is also a distraction. Last month the President of the United States addressed a joint session of the Congress to talk about the economic Augean Stables that he inherited from George Bush, and how big a river of money was required to wash that filthy, shit-stained edifice clean.

(Nice metaphor.)

But instead of paying attention to what he was saying, members of the House and Senate - presumably mature, intelligent adults - were raptly navel-gazing with the help of their Twitters and talking of complete and utter irrelevancies. And I'm talking both sides of the aisle, folks.

There's no need for Twitter.

Blogging is bad enough.

Dumb Crooks on Parade!

Well, we have had our share of stupid criminals over the past week, ranging from AIG executives to Bernie Madoff to this dumbass:

Man Bolts Antlers to Dead Doe

Yes, you saw it right. A hunter killed a doe out of season, and tried to pass it off as a buck by sticking antlers on its head. Granted, this was back in November, but he finally got sentenced to jail time and will lose his license rights for three years.

And then we have this:

Man Tries to Rob Tae Kwon Do Studio

Real smart move there, buddy. Now, the article states that the school's master held the guy by the neck until the police arrived, but I'm certain that the would-be robber was introduced to the wall or floor at least once.

And finally, in our "Things That Make You Go OUCH!" Department, we have this:

Woman Injured by Sex Toy

In the interest of clarification, the 'sex toy' in question was quite unquestionably a dildo. There's a website advertising a variety of sex machines that include the use of a reciprocating saw, or "sawzall,' being fitted with a dildo to give the lucky lady (or guy, if that's what you prefer) the rogering of a lifetime.

But there's a caveat.

You don't stick the dildo onto the saw blade.

For this poor woman's boyfriend - you don't stick the dildo onto the saw blade, you Jackass!

If this guy gets charged with anything it should also include at least one count of Abject Stupidity. Hell, give the woman one as well; she let him do it.

And now a couple jokes:

1. What do you call a priest who wears nun's clothes? A transistor.

2. What do you call a lawyer gone bad? "Senator."

The Ides of March Have Come

In the ancient Roman calendar, the middle of each month was called the ides.

Just saying. Now you've learned something new, and as long as you learn you'll never grow old.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Movie Dungeon Time!

Hello, and welcome again to the Movie Dungeon! I have descended into this charnel pit of angst and celluloid last year for a viewing and review of Iron Man, and now I've gone back into it for a 163-minute, $14.50 orgy of self-flagellation known simply as The Watchmen.

I admit now and freely that I haven't read the comic book - oh, pardon me, graphic novel - but I went in without any preconceptions as a result.

Oddly enough, the only truly sympathetic character in the film was the sociopathic 'superhero' Rorschach. He kills and brutalizes his way to a corner of the truth, leaving bodies in his wake.

The movie also brings up a few moral insights - what makes a person want to do good in a corrupt society? How do we avoid becoming that which we deplore even as we fight against it? And is it moral to sacrifice millions for the sake of billions?

The movie's pretty good - sex, excellent music (the movie opens with Dylan's Times They Are a-Changing), ultra violence and cool special effects. There was even some comedy (even though the Comedian - well, watch the flick, okay?)

Rubbing down the fresh welts on my back with liniment, I give The Watchmen four whips.

Sunday Religious Nonsense

Since it's Sunday, I figured that a couple bits of nuttiness might be in order:

For starters, the Vatican's head of the Congregation of Bishops and the Archbishop for a region of Brazil excommunicated everyone involved in an abortion in that country - the nine-year-old mother, the doctors BUT NOT THE RAPIST (her STEPFATHER!) - despite Brazilian law stating that abortion was illegal except in cases of rape or if the life of the mother was in danger.

In this case, the Brazilian law was doubly correct - the fetuses (twins) were the product of rape and the health of the nine-year-old girl was threatened.

The excommunication did not fall upon the stepfather accused of raping the girl because, according to the Archbishop's rather twisted reasoning, the abortion was a more heinous crime than the rape.

So, time to curse ecumenically. Damn the stepfather for his crime (castration and beheading might not be savage enough), damn the Archbishop for his lack of common sense, and damn the Vatican for sheer unblinking stupidity.


An as yet unidentified man walked into a Baptist church in Illinois, had a few words with the pastor, then shot the pastor dead. His gun jamming, the suspect then produced a knife with which he stabbed himself and cut up a few people who had rushed to subdue him.

He's in the hospital, where police are waiting to identify and question him.

The executive director of the Illinois Baptist State Association, Nate Adams, had this to say:

"Our great God is not surprised by this, or anything. That He allows evil and free will to have their way in tragedies like this is a mystery in many ways. But we know we can trust Him no matter what, and draw close to Him in any circumstances."

A God who is reputedly all-powerful and all-beneficent allows evil. Try really hard to wrap your head around those three propositions without going mad.

My sympathies go out to the victims and their families, as always.


And finally, this little nugget (hat tip to Heather from Crooks & Liars, via the Great and Powerful Driftglass):

Let it be known for the record that Frank Schaeffer is the son of Dr. Francis Schaeffer, one of the founders of the Religious Right. Frank's been in at the creation, and knows The Absolute and Unvarnished Truth about where the GOP and the Religious Right have led us.

Hygiene Tip!

fail owned pwned pictures
see more pwn and owned pictures

For all those people who still think that disease isn't caused by germs, but by evil demons or sin.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Obligatory Friday Sex Post

A little naughtiness from foreign parts (pic courtesy of FailBlog):

"The raccoon was acting slutty."

Now that's just too much information, thank you.

He's not the Messiah! He's just the President!

I was reading my local paper yesterday and a column by Kathleen Parker (titled "Dueling Messiahs") leaped out to smack me in the eyes. After I managed to focus on it I read it.

The text of it can be found here, proving once again that although my local paper is a New York Times affiliate it can still feed the right-wing talking points.

(So can I, but that's another matter.)

What struck me was Parker asserting first that President Obama was the Messiah. Now that's wrong. Obama's no more a messiah than George Bush was to the thousands of screaming right wing fruitbats who worshiped the ground he walked on (recall the scene from the movie Jesus Camp where kids were encouraged to venerate his likeness). Extremism makes me nervous.

Another point was her assertion that maybe Rush Limbaugh was a Messiah.

I had to laugh. Limbaugh is a guy with a minimal education, a big mouth, a drug addiction and a predilection for taking sex vacations to the Dominican Republic. He's been trying for the past twenty years to be the reincarnation of Father Coughlin, not Jesus.

So Parker's wrong as Rick Santelli on two of the points in her ridiculous column.

The third wrong point is her metaphor of the rocking boat to illustrate the body politic. All of the opinion polling shows that Obama and his policies are still quite popular, and the majority of Americans are willing to wait to see how things pan out. The rocking boat is the Republican Party, being whipsawed between the remnants of the Party establishment and those adherent to Limbaugh.

She also repeated Limbaugh's screed at the CPAC convention that Obama was Stalin.

She had better hope not.

I know it's not fashionable for the Right to know or study history, but Iosif Stalin was notoriously unforgiving to anyone who disagreed with him on anything. If Obama were Stalin, every Republican in the Congress would be dead by now, along with all the public voices of the Party (including, I daresay, Parker, Limbaugh, Beck and Coulter). He wouldn't be ambivalent or resistant to the idea of a Truth Commission to explore the Bush Administration's treason; the trials would have been in full swing for a month, followed by the executions.

But we must remind ourselves that Obama is not Communist, nor (as the head of the Communist Party in the United States pointed out to Glenn Beck) is he a Socialist. He's a progressive liberal trying to navigate the proper course through the shoals and reefs piled up by his predecessor and his cronies.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Post #966

Only 34 to go to hit 1,000!


And to mark this, here's a little that pops up in my cerebral MP3 player from time to time (like when I'm on the treadmill at the gym):

Yes, I like classical music.

How Many Divisions?

Joseph Stalin once famously asked, "How many divisions does the Pope have?"

Quite a few, when you consider that foreign potentate's supposed moral authority.

But this isn't about dead Soviet leaders, or about the current Teutonic Termagant running the Vatican.

Michael Steele, the Chairman of the Republican National Committee, asserted his authority as "de facto" head of the Party and criticized radio talk show host, sex tourist and Oxycontin addict Rush Limbaugh for his incendiary statements.

It came as no surprise that Limbaugh went after Steele, and Steele had to back down from his earlier assertions. It must have been quite humiliating to do it, but we've seen elected representatives of the people of the United States truckling to this obese fraud over the past couple of months.

It is a truism in local politics (I can cite one case) that you don't get into a public flap with anyone who buys their ink by the barrel. I guess we can update that truism to encompass talk radio.

So ...

Michael Steele asked, "How many divisions does Rush Limbaugh have?"

And Limbaugh replied, "Enough to make you crawl to me for forgiveness."

All hail the leader of the Republican Party ... Rush Limbaugh.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Open Letter to Michael Steele

TO: Mr. Michael Steele
Chairman, Republican National Committee


I am a Republican, registered as a voter with that party affiliation since 1979. I recall that you have solicited suggestions on how to repair our Party's reputation and regain our previous standing among the American electorate as a pathway to regaining majorities in the Congress.

I have such a suggestion, but first allow me some prefatory comments.

I have watched with mounting dismay and even outright horror as the Party has been taken hostage by fringe elements, to the extent that the GOP no longer resembles the Party I registered with. Civil discourse and reasoned arguments have been drowned in a tsunami of dogmatic and hateful speech as people labeling themselves conservatives hounded all liberal and moderate elements from the Party's ranks. The Constitution itself has been watered down and even discarded entirely by the last two Republican administrations, aided and abetted by a complaisant Republican majority in both houses of the Congress.

What we have now is a Party whose platform, public positions and candidates appeal to the worst impulses in the American electorate. One need only recall the shouted word "Ni**er!" at a rally where Alaska Governor Sarah Palin spoke in 2008 to realize that the people who are now attracted to the GOP platform are as far from the mainstream of America as it is possible to get.

The Party of Lincoln now attracts white supremacists and racist demagogues; the Party of Teddy Roosevelt is now the home of global warming deniers and mining interests who tear down entire mountains in an effort to wrest coal from the earth; the Party of Eisenhower, who warned against the growing strength of the military-industrial complex, is now owned in fee simple by lobbyists and special-interest groups and has an entirely unnecessary war laid at its feet.

Here, therefore, is my suggestion to solve the Party's problems.

First, expel the ultra-conservative wing of the Party. This will be painful, but it is necessary. The small minority that now rules the GOP must be cut out of the Party or it will continue to be an albatross. Let them name themselves the Conservative Party, or some other name, but let them go.

Second, revise the Party platform to make it more tolerant socially. Abortion is the law of the land and it is an acknowledged fact that women do, indeed, have the inherent right to choose. Homosexuals are a minority, and as an African-American you should know how damaging it is to deny any minority the same rights as all other Americans - and that includes the right to marry. I own firearms, but I also advocate stricter gun controls. Socially extreme positions will not attract a diverse voter base, Mr. Steele.

Third, the Party must be more pragmatic fiscally. We have seen that one cannot grant tax cuts to the richest percentage of Americans without crippling the economy. Even President Nixon realized the need for taxes at times as the price of government. Government intervention in the economy may be considered "socialist" by the current generation of GOP apologists, but we must recall that Nixon instituted wage and price controls.

I readily concede that this shift will be a very painful one, but in my view it is necessary for the Grand Old Party to regain its former reputation. To use an often-quoted phrase, we must destroy the village in order to save it.

We cannot hope to achieve future electoral success by alienating the voters we need to attract.

Thank you for your attention.


Dumbness in Uniform

Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was on one of the Sunday chat shows yesterday where he apparently chose to backtrack to the fear-based Bush Regime's press model.

He stated that Iran "likely" had enough uranium processed to make an atomic bomb.

Of course, that's only part of the story. Iran has processed uranium, but only to about 14% - nowhere near the purity you require for a bomb (you need about 90% enrichment for that). You try to make a bomb with only 14% enriched uranium, all you're going to get is a mess.

Mullen and the rest of the Joint Chiefs (who might be smoking joints, you can't tell) are only reluctantly on board with the Iraq withdrawal plan. Too bad, assholes. There's a new Commander-in-Chief in town.


The President's helicopter, Marine One, has a teensy problem.

It's about thirty years old.

So the Bush White House and the Pentagon whipped up a set of design specifications (including "hardening" against some nuclear weapon effects) and handed it to the Navy. The Navy inexplicably gave the contract to Lockheed-Martin, which hasn't built a helicopter in its recent history.

The project is now well behind schedule and well over budget, but you can hear lobbyists screeching like harpies over the prospect of it being canceled.

Which might happen (I hope it does - my philosophy regarding defense spending is "a wild beast must be stopped of its provender").


The F-22 Raptor is a beautiful plane - sleek, fast, powerful and heavily armed.

Unfortunately it's already obsolete. Designed for a battlefield environment where it would be required to contest airspace over the combat zone, the Raptor is an air superiority fighter designed for a Soviet threat that no longer exists. And it can't perform in a desert environment, which puts it somewhat on the level of Fucking Useless for Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Air Force (which can't see itself evolving beyond the Cold War mission) doesn't want to let the Raptor program stop at its current level of 184 planes. It wants 64 more, and it has allies - defense contractors, lobbyists and politicians.

But if money has to be saved, the Raptor's a good place to look. If the Air Force wants an alternative, it could concentrate on unmanned aircraft.