Monday, August 16, 2010

Return of the Cheap Blogging Crutch - 8.16.10

Right? Right?

Slate's William Saletan dismantles the flimsy arguments against the Ground Zero Mosque Lower Manhattan Islamic Cultural Center with unsurprising ease. What I fail to understand is why nobody is protesting the destruction of the hallowed vacant Burlington Coat Factory.

Speaking of Islam's nefarious attempt to destroy the American way of life and replace it with devil worship, Fordson High School's predominantly Muslim football team is accommodating duties both to team and faith by
practicing from 11 PM to 4 AM during Ramadan.

Nick Newcomen, an Objectivist with
waaaaay too much time on his hands, drove over 12,000 miles in an effort to write out, in GPS, the largest literature review of all time. I guess it was shorter than writing "I AM A SMUG, SELFISH ASSHOLE."

And finally, after this light snack, I give you a refresher course on
some truly impressive shit from fifty years back.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Deliberate Denial of a Superior Story

From Geoff Boucher's must-read interview with Gary Kurtz:
The discussed ending of the film that Kurtz favored presented the rebel forces in tatters, Leia grappling with her new duties as queen and Luke walking off alone “like Clint Eastwood in the spaghetti westerns,” as Kurtz put it.
And now comes this...

Sweet lord, I hate George Lucas.

My Unsolicited Opinion on the "Mosque" at "Ground Zero."

Shame on us for making Olympus Mons out of a grain of sugar. This is a country founded on the notion that all present are free to worship as they choose. Debating the legitimacy of building an interfaith center -- not a Mosque, mind you -- a few blocks away from the latest in a long, long, loooong line of apparently unnoticed reminders of what happens when assholes hijack the core principles of any belief system is pure folly.

It's also unconstitutional. There are two synagogues and three churches within the same radius. Also, there has been an actual mosque four blocks away from the site since before the World Trade Centers were even built. The largest private landowner in the City of New York is the Catholic Church, for, if you'll permit a small pun, Christ's sake.

This is a non-issue being exploited by hack politicians, many of whom have never set foot in our city, for cheap political gain in an election year. And that's fine. After all, the Republicans have a shot at taking back the House and you can set your watch by how politicians of all stripes will prey upon our base inclinations simply to win an election.

My point is this: Those indignantly humping the flag over the renovation of a vacant Burlington Coat Factory building are the same people who ritualistically demonize this city's allegedly godless, loony, elitist liberal way of going about things. Basically, we're a convenient talking point.

An argument against this project going forward lacks any legal, moral, or ethical legitimacy. So please don't tell us we should in any way restrict the freedom to worship afforded all of us by that document you so very apparently revere, but don't seem to have read, the Constitution of The United States of America.

Also, you don't live here. I do. Fuck off.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Picture of the day

Via TPM, photos of musicians with awkward old white men in suits.

Chart of the day

It is no secret that this blog largely believes that Congress, mostly the Senate, is an especially stupid place where all that is cheap and low rent about this country comes together to bludgeon us to death slowly with poorly thought out half-measures and cheap compromises. Hell, the entire function of TB is to catalog the dumbest parts in gape mouthed horror.

But it is rare when you see a visual aide put together that shows to just what extent our elected betters doing anything is detrimental to the country. Ezra Klein of the Washington Post has found that chart.

That's a chart of the projected deficit over the next few decades... barring the negation of this country and/or all life in a catastrophe. The top dotted line is the deficit if Congress decides to do what it always does: kiss ass to the richest part of the country and heap them with tax cuts. The bottom dotted line is what happens if they just do nothing and allow the tax cuts to expire. It amounts to a $4 trillion difference in the deficit over the next 10 years alone.

Anyone want to guess what has a lot of support?

Congress, don't always feel you have to do things. Sometimes, we want you to sit around and twiddle your thumbs on issues. Sometimes, we need you to have those thumbs up your asses. This is one of those times. Godspeed.

Video of the day

DJ Steve Porter is back with Press Hop 2.

"I'ma take ma talents to South Beach!!"

....Hollywood, Hollywood, Hollywood....

"I'ma take ma talents to South Beach!!"

Cheap Blogging Crutch 07.29

When you look at the financial crisis, the BP oil spill, and various problems over the last decade, is the problem you see one of too much government regulations? If so, get checked for a concussion or some other form of massive brain bleeding. On the other hand, you'll be really receptive to the GOP platform. John Boehner is proposing what he calls the REINS Act (Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny), which effectively subjects every regulatory action that costs over $100 million to Senate filibuster. I mean a Senate vote. Which effectively means any decent regulatory structure will be tied up in an unending morass of Senatorial hubris. But on the bright side, allowing industry to run unchecked hasn't resulted in a major catastrophe in the last week. That's got to be some sort of a record. Good luck, GOP.

I'm going to have to get up off the fainting couch, but I'm fairly sure our government actually made a semi-progressive and intelligent step forward in the farcical War on Drugs. Finally noting and changing the sentencing disparity between crack and powdered cocaine and realizing how that affected sentencing disparities between blacks and whites, poor and rich. It must have been purely accidental on the part of lawmakers and I'm sure they'll get around to correcting it once someone explains to them what they did. Now, if we can just get them to accidentally make progress on marijuana laws and the entirety of the War on Drugs....

So our appointed better, the Pay Czar, has taken a look at the wanton cash grabbing and money fights our corporate masters have been getting into and has deemed their pay practices lacking. So let's see, he finds that 17 financial firms that have been bailed out are also engaging in pay practices that are "ill-advised" and "exhibited bad judgment". So what's he going to do? Nothing, of course. Theorizing that going after such money would have been contrary to the public interest. Of course. So... all you're telling us is big financial giants are fucking around and getting rich off our dime? We already knew that! The point of a Pay Czar was to find out to what extent and do something about it. Oh sorry, he offered up some voluntary guidelines that they may or may not choose to follow. My bad. Everything's fixed now. Sorry to sound like I was complaining.

In the fight over immigration, many have been appalled at some of the tactics that states like Arizona have taken and the lengths to which supporters of Arizona's laws have gone to justify them. But that's before we learned one important fact: the Bible is for busting in the heads of Mexican interlopers. Yea and the Lord said unto Zedekiah "Them fucking' Mexicans are taking our jobs. Roust them the fuck out of here." It's in Paul's Letters to the Thessalonian John Birch Society. Sure, but what does God think about excessive government regulation?

In This is Kind of Interesting News, Chicago Mag has a story by Myra Daniels on her husband, sixties ad man Draper Daniels, the inspiration for Mad Men's Don Draper. While it does provide a good look into how the ad business worked back then, there's no word if Daniel's life and emotional state oddly synced up with the prevailing political and historical changes of the time. I'd like to read about the proto-Sterling, but that man probably drank himself to death in the fifties.

The sham that is Glenn Beck and those phony buy Gold/"Gold coins are the only way to protect yourself from the black President's inflation" companies... in graphic form. This is why I store my money under my mattress. Or I would if I had any money. Or a mattress.

For the child at heart: photoshops of the Pope in a hat.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Daily Show on the Afghanistan leaks

Jon Stewart turns his eye to Wikileaks, BradAss87, Lady Gaga, and media apathy towards what should be a much bigger story.

In case you were worrying whether even something as damaging and enlightening as the document leak could spur our media into functioning again and maybe covering this war on terror thing, it hasn't. If you thought this might spur our elected betters into acting as if war was to be anything other than a outward projection of macho manliness and something that can never end, it didn't. The House approved and extra $59 billion to fund the wars yesterday.

Nothing changed? We learned nothing? Nicely done, America. At least we got a couple of good jokes out of it.

Picture of the day

You know there's no real silver lining to the whole BP oil spill. Sure they got it capped... after three months of spilling. Sure Tony Hayward was fired... but not out of a cannon and into a sewage pit. Plus I doubt very much that this will actually lead to increased care for the environment, better and smarter government action, or better regulations.

But we can hang our hat on one thing: at least we aren't China. They're going through their own massive oil spill crisis. Hoo boy! Can you imagine their lax regulations, poor government oversight, and open bribery! Hey, at least we aren't them. It looks way worse! They're cleaning it up with rags!

Pics via BPB. Click to embiggen.

Obama's new plot to infect the minds of our braindead, zombie youth

My confidence in the right wing outrage machine is fading. Sure they had a great week manipulating media anger and getting the Obama Administration to fire an innocent woman for made up reasons, but they're slipping on the little things.

I mean Rush or Glenn Beck should be on this, throwing a hissy fit as we speak. EA Sport put Obama into a video game! OH WON'T THESE SOCIALISTS STOP TRYING TO FORCE THEIR COMMUNISM DOWN OUR THROATS!!!! That's right, when you win the Super Bowl in the upcoming Madden 11, they have an expanded celebration sequence, complete with a digitally awkward Commissioner Goodell, a specialized speech by hyperactive scream machine Gus Johnson, and a team White House trip where digital players shake hands with a digital Obama and hand him a digital jersey, digitally warping the minds of the youth with 1's and 0's about upping the minimum wage, card check, and expanding the social safety net. WHY CAN'T THEY MEET REAGAN?

I'm not sure if this also will take into account the multi-season Franchise Mode. If I take my theoretical Steelers to the 2013 Super Bowl... who will be President then? Will it still be Obama, or has EA also put together a complex political matrix that analyzes candidates real time and slaps in a likely winner? Will digital Hines Ward be shaking hands with President Palin? I must know! Will the 2016 winners shake hands with Uncle Joe, replete with a fifth of whisky in his hand, or will they be shaking hands with a guerrilla leader amid gunfire and pile of tires on fire?

All I know is that a decent and respectably crazy Tea Party movement and Fox News establishment would have already declared this the end of civilization and deemed it a nefarious liberal plot to brainwash kids. Perhaps this is too cutting edge for them. Maybe they have to work their way from the Maypo kid saying something supportive about Woodrow Wilson on a Victrola recording to the Lone Ranger saying something vaguely supportive of the WPA on the radio, before making the jump to video games.

He's in our sporting video games.

Quote of the day

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would like you to know something. Well, two things. First, yeah he's still President. How'd that backing elections and a people powered movement to back the rightful winner of the Iranian election go for you? Twitter location still Tehran? Still wearing green? He wants you to know he found it all hilarious.

Secondly, while he watched the recent World Cup, he couldn't be bothered to enjoy it as a normal human would. No, he spent his entire time scanning it for signs of Western decadence and decay and wanted to share with you his findings. He hated that fucking psychic octopus too.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian leader, says Paul the Octopus, the sea creature that correctly predicted the outcome of World Cup games, is a symbol of all that is wrong with the western world.

He claims that the octopus is a symbol of decadence and decay among "his enemies".
However, the Iranian president accused the octopus of spreading "western propaganda and superstition." Paul was mentioned by Mr Ahmadinejad on various occasions during a speech in Tehran at the weekend.

"Those who believe in this type of thing cannot be the leaders of the global nations that aspire, like Iran, to human perfection, basing themselves in the love of all sacred values," he said.
Aspiring to human perfection and sacred Iranian values? Like what, rigging elections, beating the shit out of protesters, murdering political enemies and dissidents, usurping power, acting like a sort bearded lunatic, and rigging elections? Those values?

But you're right, an octopus eating food out of a bin of the flag with the most yellow in it, really summed up every person and every leader in every non-Iranian nation, and how they.... what is he saying... we worshiped the octopus? Only so much as it helped out with gambling. That brilliant octopus made daddy some serious scrilla.

He is right about the propaganda thing. When Paul the octopus ate food out of the bin that said "Islam is the devil, Israel must be allowed to wipe Iran off the face of the earth" I thought he was getting too preachy for a bilaterally symmetric cephalopod mollusk. And he's right about or superstition and worship of boneless suction cupped sea creatures as predictive auguries with whose proclamations we live our lives by.

So beware... The West, Ahmadinejad is onto you. He knows about the octopus and he mocks us for it. See? This is why we should have gone with a panda that eats bamboo out of one of two bins to predict World Cup matches. What we might have lost in predictive totemic psychic power and long held Western superstitions, we would have gained in PR. How can anyone verbally attack a panda?

Anyway, it's all blown up in our faces. Mahmoud knows how much importance we placed into the octopus. Disperse, DISPERSE! We'll meet up again in four years with a better, more PR friendly animal to spread our propaganda through eating one of two piles of food.

Your daily dose of economic sunshine and smiles

Robert Reich is a Cal professor, former Harvard professor, a former Labor secretary, and all around expert on various economic and labor policies. He also comes in a handy pocket size. He brings you good news: our long national nightmare is over.... the rich are rich again and corporations are raking in money hand over fist. I'm sure that will trickle down to the rest of us any day now.
Second-quarter earnings reports are coming in, and they’re making Wall Street smile. Corporate profits are up. And big American companies are sitting on a gigantic pile of money. The 500 largest non-financial firms held almost a trillion dollars in the second quarter, and that money pile is growing larger this quarter. Profits that plummeted in the recession have bounced back. Big businesses have recovered almost 90 percent of what they lost.

So with all this money and profit, they’ll start hiring again, right? Wrong
He gives many reasons. Namely, they're using money to expand overseas operations not US ones, they invest money in labor saving technologies not payroll expanding ones, the money is also being used to pay out stock dividends, buy up stock, and inflate stock prices, spite, they'll totally get around to it but it slipped their mind, spite, Chinese work cheap, they totally would but American workers are untrustworthy, they got bailed out so they didn't have to hire back US workers, and spite.

He concludes that this is a long term trend and that big US corporations may never rehire large numbers of American workers. He calls it "the great decoupling of company profits from jobs." It doesn't have much of a ring to it, but it's more academic sounding than "It's hobo grade beans and cardboard boxes for life, you poor, poor bastards."

So in case you got it into your head that the increase in stability and cash flow for businesses meant that a recovery is just around the corner, don't hold your breath. It's a bounce back for them, not everyone else. They don't call it a jobless recovery for nothing. But let's just take some time out of being spiteful and not having jobs to be happy for them and the cheap Chinese workforce they've replaced everyone with. Don't be bitter, they've moved on and found someone else. We'll console each other on unrequited love in the soup lines.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


How Inception composer Hans Zimmer tied the Edith Piaf song "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien" from in the film to the score.

Because of facts

British comedian and President Obama's newest nominee to the supreme court, David Mitchell, on climate change and the boring realities of it.

Underlining the horrible realities of the financial apocalypse of the day

We all know what the Census is meant to do: keep track of us and prepare us for Obama's jack booted thugs to kick in our doors to haul us off to ACORN sponsored socialist re-education camps. Or whatever it is Glenn Beck and Michele Bachmann are saying it's for this week.

But did you know there's a little know function of the Census to count citizens and provide demographic data about the country? It's not all about the death squads rappelling from helicopters and busting through your windows. And this little known informational gathering aspect of the Census has revealed some great new data about life in our rapidly forming two-tiered, ultra-rich and peasant, societal class makeup.
More Americans say they moved because they were evicted or wanted to spend less money and now live in a worse house with more people, new Census data show.

The 2009 American Housing Survey shows the stark effect the recession and housing crisis have had on some people's lifestyles in just two years. The survey, last conducted in 2007, captures the brunt of the downturn's impact on housing.

"It seems to mark some erosion in the standard of living of Americans," says James Hughes, dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. "It's not surprising given the depths of the recession. … Some portions of Americans are now in survival mode."
Now to some, this is just a grim reminder of the state of the economy. But we say... real life is like college now! Remember college when you had no money so you piled together with a frankly insane amount of people into one dilapidated house and scraped together nickels to buy Top Ramen and the cheapest beer you could possibly find? Everyone's life is like that now!

So instead of focusing on what your life used to be like and what it's like now, stop crying and just tell yourself you're reliving your glory days. Hey...

/chugs beer
/smashes empty can on forehead

Expenses, expenses

During the season premiere of Mad Men, one Pete Campbell remarks that if a publicity stunt the ad agency were to hire hookers instead of actors, he could charge the cost to his expense account. Laughs abound. A humorous juxtaposition of the way things used to be when compared with contemporary social mores. Oh Mad Men, you've done it again.

But surely that was just how they did thing in the sixties, right? Well... unless you're a modern defense contractor.
DHB, which specialized in making body armor used by the military in Iraq and Afghanistan, paid for more than $6 million in personal expenses on behalf of Mr. Brooks, covering items as expensive as luxury cars and as prosaic as party invitations, Ms. Schlegel testified.

Also included were university textbooks for his daughter, pornographic videos for his son, plastic surgery for his wife, a burial plot for his mother, prostitutes for his employees, and, for him, a $100,000 American-flag belt buckle encrusted with rubies, sapphires and diamonds.
There's so much win and so much "AMERICA.... FUCK YEAH!" that it's hard to contain in one paragraph. That's just part on one man's story of fraud, insider trading, company-financed extremely tacky personal extravagance, and a weird obsession with mind erasing pills that don't exist.

But let's not get hung up on the illegal money wasting of one man, his fake titted wife and his pornography hound of a son. Can't we mention the legal money wasting of our own government?
A US federal watchdog has criticised the US military for failing to account properly for billions of dollars it received to help rebuild Iraq. The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction says the US Department of Defence is unable to account properly for 96% of the money.

Out of just over $9bn (£5.8bn), $8.7bn is unaccounted for, the inspector says.
The funds in question were administered by the US Department of Defence between 2004 and 2007, and were earmarked for reconstruction projects. But, the report says, a lack of proper accounting makes it impossible to say exactly what happened to most of the money.
96%? I'm surprised it wasn't 100%. But then again, it's easy to account for the $300 million they spent on strippers and coke. "Yeah, if you're looking for the money, it's wither in a g-string or up my nose. Put that in your ledger."

I do like the notion that we have an explanation for the other near trillion or so we spent in Iraq. Oh sure, we have tanks, bombs, bullets, and paychecks to show us where that money went. But I'll be damned if I know what it is we bought with that cash.

Still, if you want to relive the glory excesses of the sixties or just have absolutely no accountability for what or how you spend vast, allocated sums of money... you could do worse than a warzone.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cheap Blogging Crutch 07.26

Would you be interested in drinking the world's strongest beer out of taxidermied animals? The probable serial killers at BrewDog would like to have a word with you and offer up their 55% alcohol creation: The End of History.

The news of the day is of course the Wikileaks release of the Afghan War Diary, a compendium of over 91,000 frontline reports of our Afghan adventure. If you don't want to read through the whole depressing dirge of slow failure, the Guardian has a nice round-up of pertinent information here, news stories about the release here, and the NYT has a round-up of experts reactions.

So a series of damaging reports showing that the war is going poorly, Pakistan is stabbing us in the back and we're paying for the privilege, the Taliban resurgence, civilian death totals, and the sheer disorganization of our war effort... this is news why? Don't we already know this stuff? Spencer Ackerman explains why this is relevant in addition to being depressing.

And so the dastardly Shirley Sherrod has escaped the clutches of the vast right wing attack machine with a stellar reputation being bolstered with every day she continues to act like a class act. Of course this means she must be destroyed. Surely this virulent racist deserves to be crushed for something else she probably did. Ah-ha! She claims her relative, Booby Hall, was lynched. False! A lie! He was only beaten to death by a mob on the court steps. How dare she lie in a way that isn't a lie at all. Fire her again, Obama Administration! Because apparently some people haven't sunk low enough in their campaign to destroy this woman for no reason yet.

Rejoice, nerds! It is now legal to jailbreak your iPhones and create your own apps outside of the Apple system, much to the consternations of Steve Jobs' wallet. So, if you can ever end up getting any reception, get right on switching providers and getting all those porn apps Jobs has been keeping from you.

In case you were considering ever eating at an arena, stadium, ball park or any large venue... don't. As ESPN's Outside the Lines informs us, you're probably eating expired roach meat. Hey, we always knew eating neon yellow cheese was a risk, but who knew that eating raw fish prepared in a kiosk behind the left field wall near the pigeons was also not smart to eat? On the other hand, insects provide lots of protein, so maybe this actually made the food healthier. Hey, at least you know what the cost of that $9 beer is going towards: not maknig sure raw meat isn't left out for undetermined amounts of time.

In closing we give you the Alvin Greene campaign rap video/LeBron highlight package. It may not have been made by the Greene campaign, but it is endorsed by it.

It's hard out there for a Sith

It's been five years since the Prequels, residuals are drying up, and kids just want to talk about the Clone Wars series. Then, at Comic-con, everyone is lining up to meet the Avengers and some son of a bitch stabs you in the eye. So a Sith Lord has to take drastic steps to make some cash.

He can't even afford a good ride.

Sobering list of economic facts of the day

Michael Snyder, he of the cheerily named The Economic Collapse Blog, has brought together a cheery list of economic facts for his recent article in Sunshine and Smiles monthly entitled The Middle Class in America Is Radically Shrinking. Here Are the Stats to Prove It.

Try not to slit your wrists until you finish it.
• 83 percent of all U.S. stocks are in the hands of 1 percent of the people.
• 61 percent of Americans "always or usually" live paycheck to paycheck, which was up from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007.
• 66 percent of the income growth between 2001 and 2007 went to the top 1% of all Americans.
• 36 percent of Americans say that they don't contribute anything to retirement savings.
• A staggering 43 percent of Americans have less than $10,000 saved up for retirement.
• 24 percent of American workers say that they have postponed their planned retirement age in the past year.
• Over 1.4 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009, which represented a 32 percent increase over 2008.
• Only the top 5 percent of U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.
• For the first time in U.S. history, banks own a greater share of residential housing net worth in the United States than all individual Americans put together.
• In 1950, the ratio of the average executive's paycheck to the average worker's paycheck was about 30 to 1. Since the year 2000, that ratio has exploded to between 300 to 500 to one.
• As of 2007, the bottom 80 percent of American households held about 7% of the liquid financial assets.
• The bottom 50 percent of income earners in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.
• Average Wall Street bonuses for 2009 were up 17 percent when compared with 2008.
• In the United States, the average federal worker now earns 60% MORE than the average worker in the private sector.
• The top 1 percent of U.S. households own nearly twice as much of America's corporate wealth as they did just 15 years ago.
• In America today, the average time needed to find a job has risen to a record 35.2 weeks.
• More than 40 percent of Americans who actually are employed are now working in service jobs, which are often very low paying.
• or the first time in U.S. history, more than 40 million Americans are on food stamps, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that number will go up to 43 million Americans in 2011.
• This is what American workers now must compete against: in China a garment worker makes approximately 86 cents an hour and in Cambodia a garment worker makes approximately 22 cents an hour.
• Approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010 - the highest rate in 20 years.
• Despite the financial crisis, the number of millionaires in the United States rose a whopping 16 percent to 7.8 million in 2009.
• The top 10 percent of Americans now earn around 50 percent of our national income.
Remember: up the road, not across the street. That's right, let the red life juice flow into the warm bath.

Just something to keep in mind when our elected betters, media elites, and money overlords tell us that letting some of the Bush tax cuts expire and letting tax rates on the top 1% return to the levels they were during the late nineties will cause some sort of colossal moneygeddon. Excuse me, re-moneygeddon.

On religious tolerance

You know that whole "religious freedom" thing we have going on in this country..... theoretically? You remember that Constitutional thingy dingy that not only guarantees our freedom to practice whatever religion we want, but also protects us from religion? I know it's only really brought up now in annoying ACLU lawsuits and proclamations that the Constitution meant to say that everyone should be forced to be Christian, but trust me, it says what I said it said.

Well, unless you're Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and you're running for the Governor's seat and polling poorly. Anyone want to guess what religion he thinks the Constitution doesn't cover?
Ramsey proclaimed his support for the Constitution and the whole "Congress shall make no law" thing when it comes to religion. But he also said that Islam, arguably, is less a faith than it is a "cult."

"Now, you could even argue whether being a Muslim is actually a religion, or is it a nationality, way of life, cult whatever you want to call it," Ramsey said. "Now certainly we do protect our religions, but at the same time this is something we are going to have to face."
That might seem extreme and colossally bigoted, but you don't understand: Tennessee is thiiiiis close to being ruled by an Islamic caliphate, having all it's women forced into burquas, and have Tennessee Vols football games turned into mass suicide bombing training camps.

The question, Ramsey mused, was related to the simmering topic of a new Muslim community center scheduled to be built in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Ramsey, like many conservatives weighing in on the debate, mistakenly confused the center with a mosque -- which Murfreesboro already has -- and then proceeded to foment fears that Sharia law would be practiced by Muslims there.

"Now, you know, I'm all about freedom of religion. I value the First Amendment as much as I value the Second Amendment as much as I value the Tenth Amendment and on and on and on," he said. "But you cross the line when they try to start bringing Sharia Law here to the state of Tennessee -- to the United States. We live under our Constitution and they live under our Constitution."

THEY'RE! BUILDING! A! COMMUNITY! CENTER! HORROR OF HORRORS! He's right, that's practically forcing every Tennessean into being ruled by Sharia Law.

So I think you can see the danger here. So remember, whenever you hear about a conservative blowhard musing on how much he loves the Constitution, prepare yourselves. You're about to hear his awesome thoughts on how we need to massively violate the Constitution to placate his quasi-racist, ill-informed fears. It's practically a law. But not Sharia Law. That only happens if we allow Muslims to build things.

By-the-by... Tennessee? Man, some cold-hearted jokester pranked the shit out of a lot of Muslims when he told them Tennessee was a good place for them to settle.

Quote of the day

Rev. Ted Haggard is back and he'd like to get back into leveraging religion into personal power for himself. I mean helping people through God. And he'd like you to stop snickering about all the gay meth stuff, you insensitive clods.
He acknowledged grave lapses of judgment in the episode he refers to as "my crisis." But Mr. Haggard also said that in his sorrow and shame, he accepted too much guilt after the scandal broke.

"I over-repented," he said.
Boy, have I been there. I once over-repented and threw my back out. I couldn't move for days. You have to repent from the knees, not the back.

But seriously, Ted, any hilarious statements you wan to make about the gay thing?
Mr. Haggard said that is ridiculous. He portrays his encounter with the prostitute as a massage that went awry and said he doesn't have same-sex attractions. He dismisses as a "witch hunt" the findings of his former church that he engaged in a pattern of misconduct, including sordid talk and inappropriate relationships
Again, I think we've all been there. You're getting a massage from a male prostitute you've hired to have sex with you, and he says "How about I finish you off, like we agreed to." You of course say yes. Then he asks you to do some meth off his ass. Of course you have to accept, the man is just being polite and denying his hospitality is rude. Then this prostitute says something like "Hey, would you mind living a secret life in the closet for the entirety of your life?" and you agree to it. Who hasn't been there?
"I cuss now," he said proudly.

"It's amazing. People tell me everything," Mr. Haggard said. "That never happened when we were respectable."
Well Ted, I'm glad that your comical fall from grace and dishonest rationalizations have been such a religious boon to yourself. As for the cussin', I'm sure everyone is OK with that. As long as the cussin' isn't in the vein of "Fuck me, gay prostitute." Otherwise, the occasional hell, ass, or damn is OK. Again, as long as the "ass" isn't related to rent boys or illicit and secret gay trysts.

Good luck Ted. With the way you've rationalized, cut corners, and whitewashed what happened, I'm sure the events that caused your fall will have never happened within a year or so. That's the first step towards healing. By which I mean "completely denying the fact that you are a gay man and burying those feelings so deep that they'll probably erupt in an even bigger outburst next time." We eagerly await that time.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Picture of the day

Via Comics Alliance: Nerds and superheroes vs. the shitbags of Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church at Comicon.

Video of the day

"1945-1998" by Isao Hashimoto. An art project which catalogs the staggeringly high number of nuclear tests that occurred around the world.

It starts getting good, by which I mean frightening, in the early fifties. But it has a happy ending: America dominates the scoreboard. USA USA USA!

In which I blow your mind with a statistic about the differences between the rich and the poor and the different races

Are you ready? It involves marijuana too. OK, prepare to have your world shaken.
No city in the world arrests more of its citizens for using pot than New York, according to statistics compiled by Harry G. Levine, a Queens College sociologist.

Nearly nine out of ten people charged with violating the law are black or Latino, although national surveys have shown that whites are the heaviest users of pot. Mr. Bloomberg himself acknowledged in 2001 that he had used it, and enjoyed it.

On the Upper East Side of Manhattan where the mayor lives, an average of 20 people for every 100,000 residents were arrested on the lowest-level misdemeanor pot charge in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

During those same years, the marijuana arrest rate in Brownsville, Brooklyn, was 3,109 for every 100,000 residents.

That means the chances of getting arrested on pot charges in Brownsville — and nothing else — were 150 times greater than on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
GOLLY! More rich white people get away with shit than poor brown people? Oh me oh my, I never expected this. I bet there are more poor black people in our prisons than rich white people too and a massive sentencing disparity too! And there's a hypocrisy and staggering difference in enforcement with our drug laws? Next you'll be telling me the kind of cocaine a black person does is subject to a much harsher prison sentence that the type of cocaine a white person does.

Where's the fainting couch? I'm... I'm going to need to sit down. This is too much to handle.

When in doubt, quit.

There's been a well worn pattern for legislation over the past few years. Democrats attempt to address a pressing issue. Republicans, seeing that the successful addressing of said issue could make Democrats popular, throw all their weight into opposing it and filibustering it. In the mad dash to get 60 votes to overcome a filibuster, Democrats water the bill down to the point where all neutral observers are angered and disappointed. Bill that addresses tragically little of the original idea they meant to fix eventually passes to overblown fanfare. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Anyone want to guess how that pattern worked out for climate change legislation and energy policy? Surprise!!!! They just ended up quitting.
Light it on fire, and let its carbon pollution soar into the sky unrestricted: climate change legislation is dead.

At a press conference this afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), the Democrats' top climate and energy negotiator, acknowledged officially, and with obvious disappointment, that they lack the votes to pass legislation limiting carbon pollution, and that forthcoming energy legislation will be extremely narrow, in a bid to overcome a GOP filibuster.
In the meantime, Reid said, the Senate will proceed imminently with a much smaller bill that will tackle four goals:

It will deal with BP and oil spill liability, invest in the manufacturing of natural gas vehicles, create a jobs program -- formerly called Cash for Caulkers, now called Home Star -- aimed at increasing home efficiency, and put money back in the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Well done! Round of applause. I'm sure this problem will fix itself. Mother Earth will look at this inaction and no longer wait for the government to fix things. She'll decide to pull herself up by her own bootstraps and become self-reliant. Plus, who needs a new energy policy? We're fine right now depending on the most volatile region in the world to supply us with underground dinosaur blood.

Is their a comic addendum that sounds tin eared in its naivete?
"President Obama called me before this meeting and said, point blank, he is committed to working in these next days at a more intensive help bring together the ability to find 60 votes for that comprehensive legislation," Kerry said.
Yeah, I'm sure Republicans will be real eager to jump on board with that one. I mean sure, they wanted no part of this bill now, but a week or two from now, closer to the elections, is when they'll all stop making political hay out of this, get serious, start believing science and scientists, and get serious about governing.

Hmm, I wonder if there's a recent scientific report with charts that comically underlines the depth of failure and inaction by our elected betters?
According to NASA, 2010 is on course to be the planet’s hottest year since records started in 1880. The current top 10, in descending order, are: 2005, 2007, 2009, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2004, 2001 and 2008.

Hot is the new normal.

Hah! It's funny because we'll all be dead of heat stroke soon. Bang up job, Senate!