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!

Wishing California and Washington well

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Picture of the day

Via the Bad Astronomy blog and science, comes a look at the moons Janus and Prometheus fooling around in the rings of Saturn.

Space click to space embiggen.

Just so you know....

This is what will come to eat you the second you turn your back or close your eyes: Ballface.

He's always waiting... to devour you.

You win this round, blacks

In case you missed the "big" story of the past week, let me recap. Dubious right wing smear merchant with a history of lying and editing videos in a misleading way, Andrew Breitbart, posts up video of a USDA employee, Shirley Sherrod, apparently claiming that she, a black woman, once denied help to white farmers because they were white. Outrage ensues, Fox News and the right wing media blow the story up, constantly trumpeting it. The NAACP and the Obama Administration, successfully baited, offer up statements of condemnation, with the Agriculture Department eventually firing Sherrod. Once again this proves to the Breitbart/Fox News crowd that black people are the true racists and that white people are currently the only true victims of racism.

But wait, it turns out that the liar with a penchant for editing videos in a misleading way, Andrew Breitbart, was a liar who edited a video in a misleading way. It turns out Sherrod was relay that story as the first half of a story in which she reveals in the second half that she realized the error of her ways, learned about racial harmony, and went on to help that white family save their farm. The white farmers were interviewed saying how Sherrod was a close friend and had helped them out tremendously. Oh, and this had happened 24 years ago. NAACP, the Obama Administration, and the news agencies that pilloried Sherrod and got her fired are forced to offer grudging apologies, and the Agriculture Department offers Sherrod her job back. This is all recounted here. And also here.

It was all a disgusting display of how lying, phony outrage, the 24-hour media cycle, and cowardice combine to turn this country into and awful and stupid place. It was even enough to get Keith Olbermann back from his vacation to pillory everyone involved for perpetrating this bullshit or falling for this bullshit. Truly a sight to behold. He's angry!

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Well, you win this round, blacks. Sure you may still be able to intimidate whites with your New Black Panthers, but we're on to you and your racist ways. But it's important we come away with three thoughts in the aftermath of this: 1.) blacks are way more racist than whites, who, despite some foibles that ended in the 1800's, are totally not racist anymore. 2.) Andrew Breitbart is in no way to blame for any of this, the racist NAACP and black President are. 3.) It was wrong to fire Sherrod for being a racist, which she probably isn't. She should have been fired for being a dirty left-wing socialist liberal, with leftists liberal plots that seek to liberalize an un-liberal America. LIBERAL!

Are we clear? Now go back to living in constant fear that the blacks are coming to take our shit.

I think I know the answer to this one

With the GOP basically filibustering everything that comes down the legislative pike, progress has essentially stalled on all manner of issues. Namely all of them. But especially the economy. And so this country stagnates.

That has lead a lot of conservatives to poke their heads out from under rocks, cup their hands to their mouth, and yell "Bet you wish Bush was still in charge, huh?". You know, the kind of statement that one basically has to ignore 8 years of Presidential and decisions that failures that led to this financial apocalypse to even say. But they still keep saying it. They even put up this billboard:

Hmm. Let's go to the tape. Scholars?
Today, just one year after leaving office, the former president has found himself in the bottom five at 39th rated especially poorly in handling the economy, communication, ability to compromise, foreign policy accomplishments and intelligence. Rounding out the bottom five are four presidents that have held that dubious distinction each time the survey has been conducted: Andrew Johnson, James Buchanan, Warren G. Harding, and Franklin Pierce.
And despite the economic upheaval and political acrimony that have marked his term thus far, voters aren't pining for Obama's predecessor; they tapped Obama over George W. Bush by a 53%-33% margin.
Blame heaving, angry, pitchfork waving peasants?
A new poll released Monday found voters were twice as likely to blame President George W. Bush, rather than President Obama, for the nation’s economic problems.

When asked whether Bush or Obama was responsible for the recession, 53 percent of likely voters said Bush and 26 percent said Obama, according to the poll from Third Way, a think tank with close ties to centrist Democrats. Another 21 percent of respondents said they didn’t know.
Other angry poors?
The survey contained a batch of good news for both the President and Congressional Democrats, however. Asked to assign blame for the balky economy, 61% point to the Bush Administration, while 27% fault Obama.
I think that's everyone. So, the answer is: no, we don't miss Bush. But we do still hate him a lot. There's that.

John Boehner cares

A lot has been made of the seeming lack of empathy that the GOP Congressional Caucus seems to have for anyone making under half a million a year or who became unemployed during this recession. And by "seeming lack of empathy" I do mean "complete and total lack of empathy".

But Republicans have feelings too. Seriously. John Boehner wants you to know that he's not some uncaring, orange monster lumbering around the halls of Congress ripping poor people in two. No, he's an elected leader with feelings. Here, he'll even tell you a personal anecdote about how he cares and junk.
“I’ve got real empathy for those who are unemployed, as most of you know I’ve got 11 brothers and sisters. I know that three of my brothers lost their jobs, I’m not sure whether they’ve found jobs, yet, so I’ve got a lot of empathy for those caught in this economic downturn,” Boehner said.
Isn't that, in fact, the textbook definition of empathy?
em·pa·thy (ěm'pə-thē) n.

1. Identification with and understanding of another's situation, feelings, and motives. See: Synonyms at pity.

2. Knowing something that has happened to a family member, but not bothering to care enough to help or even learn enough information to know whether their status in life has changed. See: pretending to care.

3. Saying you care, despite all evidence to the contrary proving that you don't. See: fibbing.

4. Having the power to read the feelings of others through telepathy, touch, or some extra-sensory mutant power, like in a fucking sci-fi movie or a comic book. See: motherfucking cool shit.
See? The man's in the clear. He cares. And too the Boehner brothers who have unfortunately lost their jobs, I hope that you find some or that at least your ultra-powerful brother deigns to call up mom to see if you're even still alive, eating catfood, unemployed, or otherwise different. You know, show that he cares.

Unless childhood prankery and bullying by you three is the reason that John Boehner is the way he is. If that's the reason, then you three can just get stuffed.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


The SoundWorks Collection is a perverse coterie of freaks who enjoy explaining and celebrating the work of sound design in films and the sexual thrills that large microphones and recording gunfire gives them.

As part of their new series looking at the good films that were released this summer, they've produced two new videos on Inception and Toy Story 3... and nothing else. That sounds about right.

"Inception" Sound for Film Profile from Michael Coleman on Vimeo.

Sound design involves a lot more careless gunplay and wanton van shooting than I previously assumed. Still, no explanation for how the gut punching BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHM sounds were made. Goddammit I need that as my ringtone or text message sound! Get on it, SoundWorks. GET ON IT!


Apologies to Detroit

Everyone is so quick to take out a brickbat and lay into Detroit for its awful state of being. Mostly it's because people have eyes and ears and are mean to the poor, ugly, violent kid with the 3rd world economy.

But perhaps we've been to harsh towards the Motor City. As this chart shows, there are much, much worse places in this country. Detroit gets a bad rap.

worse than detroit

Oof, this has not been a good couple of weeks for Cleveland. St. Louis, I'm not even going to touch your problems. But a nice round of applause to Motown for only being 37th in forceable rapes. Though, with the mass exodus from the city, I guess there aren't that many people left to rape or do the raping. It's a loaded stat.

So next time you want to unload on Detroit just because it makes you feel better about the state of your are of the country, just don't. Take some time to unload on St. Louis, Memphis, and Oakland. They're really awful, awful places to be too.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cheap Blogging Crutch 07.20

Roman Polanski birthday cards. $5 or give 'em some champagne and quaaludes and see if you can get it for free.

Matt Taibbi pauses from pointing out financial reform vote buying and various Senate charades surrounding credit card reform to point out a new study from on contributions to our elected betters from our corporate masters during the financial reform process. The final tally: 38 Senators who opposed the bill received an average of $103,266 in campaign contributions from commercial banks, the 60 Senators who were yea votes took an average of $76,759. The amount of people surprised by this revelation: near zero.

In case you were wondering what exactly it was the Republicans planned to do if they got back in power this November, they held a meeting with corporate businesses, trade groups, lobbyists, and other black robed figures to hash it all out. Let me blow your mind here: they want more deregulation, strip out everything that was done over the past few years, lower taxes for rich people and corporations, cut capital gains taxes, no inheritance taxes, and they probably want to name something after Reagan. Whew, I was worried they might want to pause from repeating the same list of shit they've wanted for the last 5 decades to actually look at the state of the country and start addressing that. No? Same shit you always say no matter what the state of the country? OK.

What is the driving force behind our electoral process? I mean besides rage, bullshit stagecraft replacing any discussion of meaningful issues, and the misguided notion that we have two functioning political parties. Sports sports sports sports SPOOOOOOOOOOORTS! According to the National Academy of Science, Division I College Football wins within a week of an election can swing incumbents extra support. Other interesting facts reveal that windmill dunks are likely to increase support for more strict zoning and land use permits and Dan Marino refused to win a championship because he was afraid that it would lead to Floridians supporting development of endangered marshlands. The man did love himself some swamp fan-boating.

While you were out getting melted by the sun, science rendered a verdict on that whole Climategate thing. You know, when a bunch of right wing blowhards and oil shills accused a guy of fabricating climate data, thus proving climate change wrong once and for all? Turns out the guy didn't do anything wrong, it was a bullshit story pushed by dishonest brokers, and was a giant nothing story. Except for the part where it helped anti-science fruitcakes and industry bagmen push a fraudulent meme which the media ate up, helped misinformed people, and helped damage climate legislation. Surprisingly they don't seem to be eating up this "it was all bullshit" thing. Ah, who cares? I'm sure everyone will come around about a decade after it's too late to do anything.

Chart of the day

Today was a banner day for government as our elected betters paused and decided to spend five minutes giving a shit about the unemployed. It was about 50 days too late and will invariably crop up the next time around, but hey, this is as close to progress on the economy as this country is allowed to have.

So they extended unemployment benefits, big deal. What about that part where they get together and figure out how to make there be not as many unemployed people? What would that take, besides a miracle? Actually, what would it take just to get us to the point where we were back before everything turned to shit?

Well, according to the good people at the Brookings Institute, 200,000 jobs a month for somewhere around 150 months. 12.5 years.

In case you haven't been paying attention, we aren't creating 200,000 jobs a month. We don't look to start anytime soon either. The Center For Economic and Policy Research is slightly more optimistic, saying that it will only take until 2014 to get us to 2007 employment levels, 2021 if you take into account the 6.5 million people that will have entered the job force between 2007 and 2014. In both scenarios, that's if everything goes swimmingly and starts doing so around a week from now.

So in other words, things will get back on track shortly after pigs learn to fly but not before they fly out of your ass. Hope that brightened your day.

Quote of the day

Amongst the criticisms of the LeBron James "I'm taking my talents to South Beach" ego festival, one of the lesser raised one was what it said about LeBron himself. Namely being that for all of the heralded sports giants and "best evers" that have kicked around in various sports, none of them ever seemed to be all that eager to, in their prime, go play second banana to a rival.

Your Jordan's, Bird's, Lemieux's and the like had confidence in their own abilities and stuck it out on the team they were on through bad years and years were they fell short on the singular premise that they thought they were the best and that they would eventually win if they worked hard enough and long enough. Because they were the best. Confidence in self.

Not so much the case with LeBron.

So what happens when they ask one of these legends what they think of James' decision to to Dwyane Wade's team in Dwyane Wade's town to play second fiddle to Dwyane Wade? Well Jordan, as was his style when he played, went right for the throat and Charles Barkley joined in for a little extra kicking.
"There's no way, with hindsight, I would've ever called up Larry [Bird], called up Magic [Johnson] and said, 'Hey, look, let's get together and play on one team,'" Jordan said after playing in a celebrity golf tournament in Nevada. The interview aired on the NBC telecast of the event. "But that's ... things are different. I can't say that's a bad thing. It's an opportunity these kids have today. In all honesty, I was trying to beat those guys."
"He'll never be Jordan," Barkley told 790 The Ticket in Miami earlier in the week. "This clearly takes him out of the conversation. He can win as much as he wants to."
No word if either of them spat out a terse "....bitch!" when they were done. Hey Bron, Jordan just dunked on you, tongue out and everything, and there's nothing you can do to even rebut it.

On the other hand, Vice-President is a nice job to have. No pressure, the President does all the work, you get to act crazy and people will slough it off as you "just being the VP", and you get to be President if something should happen to the top dog. Look at how Joe Biden is handling things. It's a fun gig. Plus, I hear Dwyane is a nice boss to have. He won't even make you call him Mr. Wade. Bosh still has to get coffee though. I just hope sports self-castration works out for you.

Video of the day

The Museum of Moving Image six part film essay Razzle Dazzle, by Aaron Aradillas and Matt Zoller Seitz, which looks at fame as it is presented by the movies. Currently Part 1: The Pitch, Part 2: The Hero, and Part 4: The Parasite are out. This is Part 3: The Fraud.
Marrying screwball comedy and social satire, the fraud movie shows how institutions and corporations manufacture false idols, satisfying the audience's desire for role models while furthering their own agendas.

Your future that could have been of the day

Via Paleo-Future, comes this look at how the people of one hundred years ago saw today.

Some of those buildings must be nearly 20 stories tall! But honestly, well thought out public transportation, investment in trains, interesting architecture, and crazy flying apparati? What, did these early 20th Century people think we'd be smart? Joke's on them. Mostly because they're all dead. We don't have moon bases either.

What will the people of 2110 think of our musings on the future? Well, if we have anything to say about it, they won't ever exist. Global economic meltdown, the environment, a loose nuke or two, or some affront to the vengeful Christian God will prevent those uppity future types from ever lording our dim postcard view of the future over us.

How the intarwebs works

Sarah Palin says something stupid and mangles the English language/intelligent thought in the process. Internet pounces. Sarah defends herself by comparing her creation of words/poor spelling and grammar/general status as a ill informed door stop to that of Shakespeare, nearly killing Roger Ebert in the process. Internet pounces.

T-shirts are made, memes are born. Shakespalin: the Bard of Wasilla. All of this happened in like three seconds.

The TB Internet Science Department is willing to surmise that it is official: Moore's Law applies to internet-based political t-shirts, internet memes, and the mocking of dim witted politicians.

What does this hold for the future? Quantum snark. We're thinking by 2015 at the latest.

It's a bold new world.

How government works

Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, David Obey (D-WI), explains how appropriations for the peasant class and budget negotiations work in this man's America. On education and government cheese:
We were told we have to offset every damn dime of [new teacher spending]. Well, it ain’t easy to find offsets, and with all due respect to the administration their first suggestion for offsets was to cut food stamps. Now they were careful not to make an official budget request, because they didn’t want to take the political heat for it, but that was the first trial balloon they sent down here. … Their line of argument was, well, the cost of food relative to what we thought it would be has come down, so people on food stamps are getting a pretty good deal in comparison to what we thought they were going to get.

Well isn’t that nice. Some poor bastard is going to get a break for a change.
And these are supposedly the liberal communist socialists who are going to drown the American ideal in a bathtub full of government handouts. Karl Marx scoffs at their contempt for the proles.

With battles like this against a Democratic White House, it's hard to see why Obey would want to retire. Oh, no wait, it isn't. This seems to be the kind of stuff that would erode your soul over the course of four decades in Congress.

Ah well, hopefully the next guy in charge of the House Appropriations Committee won't be so concerned with poor people in a lousy economy eating. Or education. Seeing as he'll probably be a Republican, I think we can safely assume that to be the case.

Your sunshine and smiles of the day

The Afghanistan NGO Security Office takes a look at our Afghanistan surge, how our new policies are working, what our chances for success are, and the general state of things in the graveyard of empires. They're glass half empty people.
The US military build-up in Kandahar is likely to further strengthen the hold of the Taliban over the vital southern Afghanistan city, a highly respected security organisation said today in a bleak report warning of record Taliban violence and rising civilian deaths across the country.

The report by the Afghanistan NGO Security Office, which monitors trends in violence on behalf of aid organisations, said Nato's counter-insurgency strategy was not showing any signs of succeeding amid rising violence, the unchecked establishment of local militias and a huge increase in attacks on private development workers across the country.
"We do not support the [counter-insurgency] perspective that this constitutes 'things getting worse before they get better', but rather see it as being consistent with the five-year trend of things just getting worse," the report said.
Come now, as long as we're able to get enough security forces and military trained up the we can have them take over the fight for us, we need to prop up the main and local governments to give them the support they need, our new strategies and counter-insurgency tactics need to be given time to work, we have to get the tribal leaders and people to understand that they have to come together to stand against the Taliban, know that we're in this for the long haul for the safety and security of Afghanistan as well as America, and other various statements, we'll get this thing won.

So buck up and don't listen to these naysayers, because this, and anything and everything that happens in Afghanistan, just shows that we're taking the fight to them and slowly turning the tide. As long as you don't note that we've been saying things like this for almost a full decade without any signs of discernible progress or an end in sight, then you can pretend that the end is just over that next insurgent infested mountainside.

So keep up with your naysaying, highly respected international observers and NGO's, this is all just part of a complex plan of success that smarty pants experts like you are completely unable to discern. Seriously, just as soon as we get those police, security, and military forces trained up, things will get better. I know that has turned into a sort of Escher painting where they're always being trained yet never finished training, but once we get that done, all these things that look like a slowly dawning failure will, in actuality, flip and become successes right at the end.

Just a couple more years, we just need a couple more years.

Friday, July 16, 2010

David Obey explains why the economy is still shitty

Rep. David R. Obey (D-WI), the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, discusses the economy and how our stupid government works in an interview lovingly titled I Leave More Discontented Than I Started.
The problem for Obama, he wasn’t as lucky as Roosevelt, because when Obama took over we were still in the middle of a free fall. So his Treasury people came in and his other economic people came in and said "Hey, we need a package of $1.4 trillion." We started sending suggestions down to OMB waiting for a call back. After two and a half weeks, we started getting feedback.

We put together a package that by then the target had been trimmed to $1.2 trillion. And then [White House Chief of Staff] Rahm Emanuel said to me, "Geez, do you really think we can afford to come in with a package that big, isn’t it going to scare people?" I said, "Rahm, you will need that shock value so that people understand just how serious this problem is."

They wanted to hold it to less than $1 trillion. Then [Pennsylvania Senator Arlen] Specter and the two crown princesses from Maine [Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins] took it down to less than $800 billion. Spread over two and a half years, that’s a hell of a lot of money, but spread over two and a half years in an economy this large, it doesn’t have a lot of fiscal power.
Lesson two today in how government works: various smart people and experts come in and lay out The Smart Plan to tell you exactly what needs to be done to fix a problem, political hacks oppose The Smart Plan on the intellectual basis of "that sounds big", elected hacks take their hatchets to The Smart Plan on the intellectual basis of "that sounds big" and the added benefit of "looking like they're doing something to justify their existence to the press and voters", and then said New, Less Smart, Less Effective Plan passes to much circle jerking and back patting..... and fails to fully address all the problems. Everyone acts surprised, yet still refuses to do anything further. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Product whoring

Holy Toast! For the man or woman on the go who doesn't have time to wait around for important religious figures to up an appear in their food out of the blue. I need the Virgin Mary to appear in my 7-grain bagel TODAY!

Me? I'm a Buddha man. Jesus and Mary are more lunch time, tortilla and grilled cheese religious figures. When I'm hungry in the morning I want to smear peanut butter and strawberry jam over a burned in image of Siddhārtha Gautama. To each his own, I guess.

How government works

How government works: via Glenn Greenwald.
  • Start as the Chief Counsel for the Senate Finance Committee in charge of health and entitlement issues.
  • Leave job to move to health insurance giant WellPoint to serve as its Vice President for Public Policy and External Affairs, lording over their lobbying and other government-influencing activities.
  • Once it looks like Democrats are actually going to get off their asses on health care, move back to Senate to become top aide to Democratic Sen. Max Baucus, the Senate Finance Committee Chairman who would oversee the drafting of the healthcare bill, after his top aide leaves to become lobbyist for health care industry.
  • Effectively write the entire health care bill and fill it with all kinds of carve-outs and concessions to the insurance industry as well as killing the public option.
  • Join the Obama administration to help implement the new law.
I'm not sure of the next step, as it hasn't happened yet, but I'm pretty sure it's "go back to Wellpoint to earn millions for the work you did for them."

Isn't it wonderful? Join us next time when we recount how this exact same scenario happens in the financial reform process with an executive who works for... probably Goldman Sachs. Yeah, Goldman Sachs.

Finally, some good news

After three months, billions of dollars spent on PR campaigns (with a little on oil cleanup as well), unprecedented media blackouts, and a couple of charred whales, BP has finally gotten around to capping that gushing plume of black death that was turning, whoops... TURNED, the Gulf into an open oil pit. Commence mild celebrations that things from this point forward can no longer get much worse.
BP said on Friday the early test results on its recently capped undersea well were heartening and there were no signs of fresh oil leaks, as the stricken well in the Gulf of Mexico held tight overnight and into the morning.

Kent Wells, a senior vice president at BP, told reporters on a conference call that the pressure inside the well had built up steadily, as engineers had hoped it would, and that engineers would continue to perform different analyses and scour video feeds from cameras to look for any underground leaks.
The oil stopped flowing from the well around 2:25 p.m. Thursday when the last of several valves was closed on a cap that the company installed at the top of the well last week, Mr. Wells said. Earlier in the week, Mr. Wells said that the longer the test continued, the better, because it would indicate that the pressure inside the well was holding and that the well bore was intact. On Friday morning, the live video feeds from nearly a mile undersea showed no burbling geyser of oil and gas — only cloudy blue waters and white specks floating across the screen.
Well done. What's the old saying? If you give a Brit 90 days and billions of dollars, he'll eventually be able to do something that would have seemed like the obvious solution months ago? I might be paraphrasing.

Though really, at this point, I wouldn't put it past BP to have rigged up a dummy site underwater and a fake feed showing no oil flowing. Then while everyone celebrates, they cancel their P.O. box, pack everything up, and move their offices five miles down the road. By the time we realize we've been had and that they faked us out yet again, they're gone and we don't know where to find BP or how to get in contact with them. You see, we'd never think to look five miles down the road.

So things are looking up for the oil soaked cuddly wuddly animals of the Gulf. Oh, and all those human creatures, what with their shattered lives, ruined homes, and crippled economy. Hey, we can all start giggling when people say "tar balls" again! It's not such a dire and serious situation anymore! TAR BALLS! Tee-hee-hee.

Anyone want to rain on this parade? President Sunshine?
In Washington, President Obama hailed the development but cautioned against concluding that the corner had been turned, noting that it was still possible for there to be complications that “could be even more catastrophic” than the original leak.
Christ, can't we get 15 minutes into a celebration without President Bring-down bringing us all down? This is literally the only thing that will get done in this country from now until the election, then after the election where Republicans win enough to keep filibustering everything or win outright and Democrats start filibustering everything, and on until the 2012 elections when we elect Sarah Palin and the Mayans hit the self-destruct button.

Give us this small victory, Barry. There's no more oil coming out. Plus, in 10,000 years all that oil will finally be cleaned up. Well, 10,000 years given a few massive technological leaps in our oil gathering and cleaning up technology. See, I'm feeling optimistic again.

Explaining our stupid elections

In recent months we've seen the debut of new election campaign strategies. Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle is taking a page out of Sarah Palin's book by not appearing on any network or allowing any media access to a journalist that will ask a hard question or not allow her to nakedly fund-raise on air. Ran Paul learned the lesson of allowing media access when the discovered that when he stated his positions near any type of recording device, they tended to make people angry. He has since remedied that situation with a media blackout.

Soon our elections will be conducted with voters only allowed to know the name and party of a candidate, with only a headshot providing the remaining information we're allowed to know. We'll make our decision on whether or not the name is cool and whether we think the person is properly dressed and has a good enough haircut in the photo. Like the founding fathers intended.

Much in this same line is Rep. Peter King (R-NY), who yesterday took to the airwaves and responding forcefully to the suggestion that Republicans should be forced to articulate some actual policy ideas instead of "Democrats want it? No."
KING: So, It’s a combination of being against what Obama is for, and also giving certain specifics of what we are for. Having said that, I don’t think we have to lay out a complete agenda, from top to bottom, because then we would have the national mainstream media jumping on every point trying to make that a campaign issue.
That's right, the GOP can't release a policy platform or series of proposals for what they'd do if they win the upcoming election, otherwise the jerkoff media might go and make the proposed governing of this country a campaign issue. You know instead of what the GOP thinks an election is supposed to be about: bland statements about how things are going to be different, hoping no one remembers the fact that their policies, governing, and obstruction put the country in the deep hole that we're struggling to get out of now, finding an ethnic, socio-economic, or political group and blaming them for all the ills of the world, REPEAL EVERYTHING~!, and never articulating a thought that could be criticized once people understood what it would do to the country.

Great. Ah well, it's not like the coverage of those imaginary issues was going to be intelligent or enlightening anyway. Onward to voting on names, looks, and party affiliation. Whoo! America!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Broken in Brief: Apple products "just work" says idiot with duct tape all over his phone

SAN FRANCISCO—Despite a recent run of bad publicity surrounding the iPhone 4G launch, local Apple enthusiast and Mac Store Genius Gerard Adams has steadfastly supported the company, claiming he buys and invests his personal sense of self-worth in the tech giant because their products, despite ample evidence to the contrary, “just work."

“Look, I’ve heard about these tepid reviews for the iPhone 4G pointing out design flaws and basic service inefficiencies and I just don’t think a man like Steve Jobs could ever make the kind of mistakes they’re accusing him of,” said Adams during a phone call to our offices.

“I’m sure, just as Steve said, these reception and antenna problems are in no way the fault of AT&T, but rather the result of humans having learned to hold phones the wrong way over the last century. Who knew you were supposed to use a grip that holds the phone from the top and bottom as opposed to the sides? Apple, that’s who.”

“And just look at the design,” he continued. “Sure, some might say that all the careful work that went into the phone is ruined by having to put duct tape all over the sides like a backwoods hillbilly just so that it can make or receive calls. But Apple is just tapping into that rugged DIY aesthetic and American can-do attitude that made this country great. Besides, dull gray tape goes well with a high gloss phone finish.”

“Can you imagine if this was a Microsoft project,” Adams asked indignantly, snorting as he said it. “I mean, there’d probably be a bug or some dorky guy in a suit telling you about how great Vista is.”

“Oh, God. Vista,” he laughed. “See...”

At this point Adams' phone cut out, possibly because he held it the wrong way. As of press time we had been unable to phone him back.