Friday, July 31, 2009

The New South?

Back in the Seventies you heard that phrase a lot. The Confederacy was dead ("died of an idea" as one fellow put it during the Civil War) and Old Dixie was booming. Pockets of stupidity and racism remained, even to the extent of Alabama Governor George "Segregation Forever" Wallace running for President in 1972.

Of course, a twisted little bastard named Artie Bremer put a wheelchair-sized crimp in Wallace's campaign, and Nixon won re-election in a landslide against Democrat George McGovern.

Back in the late 60s and 70s, the Republican Party started making inroads into the Old South and taking voters away from the Democrats. They managed this feat by feeding red meat to what would later become the Base of the Party. The best slogan, of course, was "state's rights," an echo of the South's secessionist past and a slogan used by Ronald Reagan back in 1979.

The Base of the GOP remains predominantly Southern, with inroads into the West and Midwest according to what states went red or blue in the 2008 general election, and the great fear of many intelligent GOP analysts is that the GOP may end up a regional party unable to slug it out toe-to-toe with the Democrats.

The liberal website Daily Kos contracted with polling firm Research 2000 to do weekly polling, and have asked a question regarding the so-called Birther Conspiracy. This little snippet of Stupid posits that Barack Obama was not a "natural-born" citizen of the United States, as required by the Constitution.

(Legal background - the definition of "natural-born" was codified as Title 8 United States Code, Section 1401. Enlightening reading.)

Of all of the 2400 American voters asked in the survey, a disheartening 11% actually buy into the Birther meme. Less than half of those polled who think that Obama is not a citizen are Republican.

That breaks down even further (with handy visual-aid pie charts) to show that of those who think he wasn't born in Hawaii, 69% live in the South, and 56% of those are Republicans. As a Republican, who lives in Florida, this is truly disheartening.

It's awful to contemplate that The Stupid is so pervasive in The New South, but there it is. Despite copies of his Certificate of Live Birth (which, under Hawaii state law, is the only accessible public record), despite his birth announcement in the Honolulu newspaper in August 1961, despite the fact that his Kansas-born mother was an American citizen (and under 8 USC 1401 his citizenship would be automatic), the Birthers refuse to face the facts.

The roots of the Birther "conspiracy" are, in my opinion, based on racism and fear. I base this assertion on several things, but the polling data and demographics released today do nothing but buttress my argument. The people in the "New" South are afraid of a biracial President (yes, calling him "black" is a misnomer as his mother was white, but it's a convenient tag that unfortunately feeds the old racist "one drop" meme) and will swallow any justification for that fear.

New South?

Don't believe it.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

No Way I Could Improve On This (UPDATED)

Just absolutely no way. Conan O'Brien had William Shatner on his show last night, and to help us put Sarah Palin's rambling and almost incoherent "farewell" in a slightly more comprehensible light, The Shat recited a portion of the speech as Beat Poetry. The recitation was accompanied, as Beat Poetry should, by bass violin and bongos.

Take a look:

The funny thing is, if you actually read a transcript, it reads like Kerouac or Ginsburg.

NBC pulled the YouTube video, so here's the actual feed.

Half a Loaf

Is nothing.

The health care bill being reported by the AP as coming from a group of Democratic Senators is not half a loaf.

It is nothing.

It is a sacrilege.

It is a declaration of war against the American people, as these Senators truckle like craven slaves before the moneyed interests who are interested in the status quo no matter how many uninsured Americans die because they cannot afford medical care.

Monday, July 27, 2009

War - huh! What is it good for?

Creating drug addicts and murderers, among other things, apparently.

This article from Siun at Firedoglake highlights a disturbing series of events relating to a unit of the US Army that came home, but brought the Iraq War with them.

Guess what? They've been redeployed to Afghanistan.

Despite what people will tell you, you can't switch off the war when you get back from it. Even as far back as World War One, the British poet Wilfred Owen wrote:

-- These are men whose minds the Dead have ravished.
Memory fingers in their hair of murders,
Multitudinous murders they once witnessed.
Wading sloughs of flesh these helpless wander,
Treading blood from lungs that had loved laughter.
Always they must see these things and hear them,
Batter of guns and shatter of flying muscles,
Carnage incomparable and human squander
Rucked too thick for these men's extrication."
- Mental Cases

And we also have this parting word, from the Firedoglake post:

You should remember something else. A people and their army who behave like this abroad invariably bring this criminal and brutish behaviour home and turn it against their own people. It is not only revolutions that eat their own."

Let Me Get This Straight

The same Administration that, in late 2001,consigned the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution to the ash-heap of history with the euphemistically-titled "USA PATRIOT Act" actually balked at sending Federal troops into Lackawanna, New York to arrest some terrorism suspects because they felt it would violate Posse Comitatus?

Amazing but true, dear readers. The same regime that spied on you, that eavesdropped on you, that arrogated to itself the power to arrest you without warrant, charges or trial shied away from fulfilling the darkest fantasies of right-wing militia and survivalist freaks?

Strange but true.

Stay tuned, folks; we're going to see a lot more raw sewage vomiting out of the cesspool that was the George W Bush Administration.

Monday, July 20, 2009

"That's One Small Step ..."

"Here men from the Planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon.
July, 1969 A.D.
We came in peace for all mankind."

The Stupid People

Who still believe that the Moon landings never happened, who still believe that a project that encompassed thousands of people including subcontractors could possibly be kept quiet for 40 damned years ...

Will not be swayed by the photograph above.

This picture was taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter over the Sea of Tranquility. It shows, quite clearly, the descent stage of the Apollo 11 Lunar Excursion Module, or LEM. You can see by the shadow and its brightness that it is not a natural formation. Subsequent pictures may show whether the American flag erected by Armstrong and Aldrin fell over from the ascent stage's blast (Aldrin recorded that he saw it whipping around in the backwash).

But you can't convince The Stupid, just as you can't cure them.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Pope Benedict XVI fell down and broke his right wrist yesterday at his chalet near Aosta. The injured arm is the one he blesses with.

Does this mean that a Cardinal is called up from the minors until Benny's off the DL?

Just asking.

RIP, Uncle Walter

The radio and television correspondent termed "The Most Trusted Man in America" passed away yesterday at the age of 92. For millions of Americans, Cronkite was Uncle Walter, whose baritone voice seemed a comforting presence during some of the most tumultuous years.

I grew up watching him, my parents preferring him (the inheritor of Edward R. Murrow's mantle) over NBC's Huntley and Brinkley. He reported on the Kennedy and King assassinations and was an enthusiastic booster of the US space program.

Like many Americans, he at first supported the war in Vietnam, but was starting to grow disillusioned by the time the Tet Offensive started in 1968. His editorial remarks (he was always careful to tell his watchers when he was editorializing, and researched his position well) famously made President Johnson remark, "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost middle America."

Later in life he embraced the Internet, seeing in it the possibility of having the news reach every part of the globe almost instantly. We've seen that in the protests and unrest following the elections in Iran, for example.

But when he retired he left the field to second-rate minds, and as the media slowly downplayed the news into "newstainment" those second-rate minds retired from the battle and gave the task of supplying us with information to people who will all too often allow their politics, ideology and biases to taint the flow of information.

Even a television veteran like Bob Schieffer, relegated to CBS's Bullshit the Nation, no longer has the iron in his blood to ask truly probing questions of his guests. And forget about people like Couric, Gregory, Stephanopoulus or Mike Wallace ever measuring up to Schieffer (let alone to Cronkite's standard).

So, rest in peace, Walter Cronkite. You did well.

"And ... that's the way it is."

Friday, July 17, 2009

Obligatory Friday Sex Post

Special Kids Edition!

A recent pamphlet issued by Britain's National Health Service suggests that teenagers masturbate or have sex as often as possible, saying that sex should be fun and is healthy when done responsibly and children are taught about it at an early age.

Rather an enlightened viewpoint, if I may say so.

And then we have this, courtesy of Failblog:

fail owned pwned pictures
see more Fail Blog

I think that's a lucky kid, who will surely be giving his mother a splendid gift on Mother's Day.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

July 16, 1969

The world held its breath as the rocket lifted off in the bright Florida sunshine, headed Out There.

Three men, headed for the Moon and the first landing by living human beings upon another celestial body.

I recall it, being old enough, and I've never lost that sense of wonder.

Fast forward to forty years (less one day) later:

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Complete Stupidity, Conservative Style

Sometimes, my dear readers, you run across examples of stupidity so blatant, so unutterably and ineffably Out There that you just can't really comment about it - you can only stand in awe.

Like this, courtesy of Salon and Gawker (partial transcript follows):

BRIAN KILMEADE: We keep marrying other species and other ethnics--

GRETCHEN CARLSON: Are you sure you are not suffering from some of the causes of dementia right now?

BRIAN KILMEADE: The problem is the Swedes have pure genes. They marry other Swedes, that's the rule. Finns marry other Finns; they have a pure society. In America we marry everybody. We will marry Italians and Irish.

DAVE BRIGGS: This study does not apply?

BRIAN KILMEADE: Does not apply to us.



See what I mean, people? But that ain't all. Stand in awestruck silence at the stylings of Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina (I specify what state this jackass belongs to, because it'd be an insult to any other state). DeMint was at the National Press Club hawking his new book when he spewed this bit of abject nonsense:

"Part of what we're trying to do in Saving Freedom is just show that where we are, we're about where Germany was before World War II where they became a social democracy. You still had votes but the votes were just power grabs like you see in Iran, and other places in South America, like Chavez is running down in Venezuela. People become more dependent on the government so that they're easy to manipulate. And they keep voting for more government because that's where their security is. When our immigrants get here, they're worried, because they see it happening here."

So, open elections that don't result in Republican victories are "power grabs," Senator? Gee, what an illuminating outburst coming from a conservative Senator such as yourself.

We are seeing plenty of stupidity from the Right.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Channels That Aren't Showing Michael Jackson's Tribute

And why they should.

Here we go:

National Geographic Channel - because Michael visited Africa once or twice.
Sci-Fi Channel - because Michael was a bit of a scary guy.
Food Network - because Michael did eat (at least I think he did).
Animal Planet - because he loved animals (just ask Bubbles the Chimp).
Cartoon Network - for those people who recall that wretched Jacksons cartoon back in the 70s.
ESPN - because watching Michael's various vicissitudes could be seen as a sporting event (at least you could bet on the trial).
Home Shopping Network - because they can make a mint today by selling Michael Jackson kitsch.
Turner Classic Movies - because I'm certain that Michael's fans just won't get enough of The Wiz, Captain Eo, and Moonwalker.

And finally ...

The History Channel - because like it or not he's history now.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

So ...

Sarah Palin says that she's answering a "higher calling" in announcing her resignation, adding that she can go national now and seek to unify the conservatives.

Pardon me for saying this, but this Bull Goose Loony has been pranging about the Lower 48 for far too long since the end of the 2008 election, to the detriment of the state she governs.* Her "higher calling" may be to raise as much money as possible to defend herself against any legal challenges (it is rumored that an indictment is in the offing).

Now, to any one in the Republican Party who has the merest moiety of their marbles,** Palin has managed to destroy whatever credibility she had left as a serious leadership voice in the Party. The Establishment has almost written her off and the GOPAQ (GOP al Qaeda, the rancid Base of the Party) is beyond help anyway, so the only "calling" she's possibly answering is the siren song of her bank account - or she's just delusional.

* She is still Governor until July 26th.
** My political and social leanings put me beyond the pale of the Party, so I consider myself smarter than most of the Party membership. So there.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Independence Day!

Today we celebrate the 233rd anniversary of the thirteen colonies' declaration of independence from British rule.

Let the beer flow, the barbecue sizzle and the fireworks explode!

Friday, July 03, 2009

Palin Cuts and Runs

Governor Sarah Palin (R-Crazyville North) has done what would be considered unthinkable for any sitting Governor with Presidential aspirations.

She's resigning, effective July 26:

I strongly suggest you listen to the entire rambling and almost-incoherent screed by the Wasilla Wonder. It's instructive, as well as amusing.

Now, why is she doing this?

Here my best guess:

Palin's trying to clear the lines to her rear - shake herself loose from her sagging popularity figures and the spate of ethics complaints that have been dogging her heels since 2008.


She's planning on a run in 2012, although, as Jed Lewison over at Daily Kos points out, taking cheap shots at "lame duck" Governors going on overseas trade missions is rather odd. If she was so convinced that Alaskans liked her, she wouldn't have been a lame duck, but gotten re-elected.

I think the catalyzing event was the Vanity Fair article, as well as the ridicule surrounding her interview in Runner's World.

The major drawback to this is she's only been Governor for 30 months and about 8 months ago she thought she had a good shot as VPOTUS because she had more "executive experience" than Obama. Her contention in her video statement that she loves her job and is doing what is best for Alaska reveals a level of cognitive dissonance. If she wants to do the best for her state as the Governor, she needs to lead, pure and simple.

Not cut and run.

Good conservatives don't cut and run, Sarah. Unless, of course, you're Reagan in Lebanon - oops, shouldn't have brought that up.

So here is Sarah Palin, leaving office about midway through her first term, and MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell states that "sources" have told her that Palin's through with politics.

Don't believe it for a New York second, folks. This woman's got a taste of the Big Politics, and I doubt - for all her rambling basketball metaphors and the resurrection of Douglas MacArthur - that she's given up on making some kind of splash on the national scene.

Of course, though, she has made a splash nationally.

But that was more like an offering made on the Porcelain Altar.

Right-wing extremist heads are exploding as we speak, the "Establishment" pundit Charles Krauthammer is pontificating that she was never a serious candidate to start with (watch for this to be the New Truth in the coming days) and I'm sure the secessionist Alaskan Independence Party would love to have her as their candidate for President.

President of Alaska, of course.

So lay back and enjoy it this Fourth of July, folks - bask in the reflected glow of The Crazy as Governor Barracuda flames out.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Many Bangs, No Whimpers

Yesterday marked a milestone in our relationship with Iraq.

No, we haven't left yet - we're not that lucky.

Apart from small training cadres, we have pulled our troops out of the cities (a day early too), an occasion marked by fireworks and jubilant Iraqis dancing in the streets. It was also marked by a number of car bombs and suicides that have killed scores and reminded people that peace and order are still very fragile things in Iraq.

But it's no longer our primary task; that task is now shouldered by the 650,000 troops of the new Iraqi Defense Forces. I wish them well, so we can get the hell out of there.

As for the violence, don't listen to idiots like Feith, Cheney and Fox News - the violence was expected no matter when we left Iraq. We kept a lid on things, first by overwhelming force, then by paying Danegeld to the Sunnis so that they'd stop shooting at us and start shooting at the salafi jihadi groups that we lumped together in our simplistic way as "al-Qaeda in Iraq."

General Ray Odierno was on the news and refused to say how many troops are still based in the cities, but took the time to dip into the Two-Minute Hate on Iran (now that the protests are suppressed and we can go back to hatred and fear of the mullahs in Teheran).

Meanwhile, in a shadowy conference room, dark forces have gathered ...

To bid on Iraq's oil fields! Yes, indeedy! Just because the SOFA demands we leave Iraq doesn't mean that the oil companies can't start capitalizing on the secondary real reason we invaded Iraq.

What was the primary real reason, you ask?


We invaded Iraq in order to make George W Bush feel like a man, of course.


I think not.

Asahi Shimbun reports on its website that, for 49 years, the Government of Japan has had a naughty little secret.

Never mind the fact that the United States let the cat out of the bag in 2000. Successive governments in Tokyo have vigorously denied the secret's very existence.

The secret?

Way back in 1960, Japan and the United States agreed that the US could bring nuclear weapons into Japanese territory without prior consultation based on conditions.

Okay, war is a good condition - you can't stop when time's a-wasting.

But it's no longer a secret, so why continue to deny it? There's only so much that bureaucratic inertia can do, you know.

Oh, Canada!

It's July First, so a hearty Happy Birthday to our neighbors to the North!

A Personal "WTF?" Moment

I posted a brief YouTube clip on my blog Monday, and yesterday I get a notice from Blogger saying that the blog's been locked pending review. It would appear (and quite erroneously, may I add) that My Two Cents was flagged as a spam blog.

I have requested a review, of course, rather than wait 20 days and have the blog deleted. I have quite a bit of stuff there that I don't want to lose.


How 's your day going?

UPDATE! They released the lock. Ain't that fun?