Saturday, March 28, 2015

FRANK ZAPPA FRIDAY AND 70S POP MONDAY ON SATURDAY

Two of my facebook features exported to Real Art.




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Friday, March 27, 2015

FRIDAY CAT BLOGGING

Stella


Be sure to check out Modulator's Friday Ark for more cat blogging pics!

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Florida employee 'punished for using phrase climate change'

From the Guardian:

An employee of Florida’s environmental protection department was forced to take a leave of absence and seek a mental health evaluation for violating governor Rick Scott’s unwritten ban on using the phrases “climate change” or “global warming” under any circumstance, according to a complaint filed against the state.

More here.

This is nuts. It reminds me of that Monty Python sketch with the bed salesman who goes into a catatonic state if somebody says the word "bed." This is just about that absurd. Clearly, some conservatives are so dead set in their opposition to the existence of global warming that they're willing to resort to Soviet style totalitarianism in order to silence critics. At least in Florida, anyway.

But it's increasingly looking like taking refuge in absurdity is these flat-earthers' only option. The scientific debate on the issue has been over a long time. Even conservatives are starting to wake up to this. And the Arctic ice continues to melt. So what do you do when the whole nation tells you you're wrong? You act like a crazy person. That's what you do.

These Republicans are no disappointment in that respect.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

If Republicans Did Get Intel From Israeli Spies, They Could Be Charged Under Espionage Act

From Addicting Info:

However, the buried lede of the story, and what is quite possibly a twist with massive implications, is what the Wall Street Journal alleges the Israeli government did with the intel.

The Journal, in its Tuesday edition, reported the “espionage” did not concern the White House “as much as Israel’s sharing of inside information with U.S. lawmakers and others to drain support” for a possible deal with Iran to rein in Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for easing of international sanctions. 
Whoa.

Considering this is the first time we’re hearing about it, it seems likely that Republicans didn’t immediately turn over the leaks to the Defense Department. Instead, they kept the info and its sources private.

The allegations have been strongly denied by Republican lawmakers, including House Majority leader John Boehner. When asked about the Israeli intel, he claimed he was “baffled” by the allegations. And don’t expect him to budge from that position any time soon because the implications of admitting to the charges would not only be political suicide, but possibly criminal.


More here.

If this is, in fact, true, and the story originates with the conservative Wall Street Journal, so it can't possibly be any sort of "liberal media" setup, then there ought to be a whole lotta Republican Congressmen and Senators in prison, for years.

On the other hand, my conservative friends, I wouldn't worry about this too much. In twenty first century America, Republicans are never indicted for crimes like this. I mean, sure, sexual malfeasance, petty graft and corruption, you bet; officials from both parties are charged for that kind of thing fairly routinely. But foreign policy stuff? Hell no! Lying to get us into an illegal war, crimes against humanity, crony capitalism with defense contractors, Republicans NEVER go down for that shit these days. Hell, they're never even charged!

So all those GOP hooligans in Congress will get their Get Out of Jail Free card on this. As usual. I mean, if it's true.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Why No One Can End Reagan’s “Dead Wrong” Voodoo Economics

From AlterNet:

It’s not just Obama, in Hanauer’s view. 'This is what progressives have done for generations, is that we ceded to the other side that the rich are job creators; we ceded to the other side that less regulation equals more growth; we ceded to the other side that if wages go up, then employment goals go down. And then we wonder and complain about the policies that flow naturally and logically from that set of baseline assumptions. That’s the problem,' he said—a failure to contest the basic framework of economic thought.

More here.

This is why I refuse to call myself a Democrat. This is why I think that, as a nation, we're going to hell in a hand basket. The Republicans won the battle for hearts and minds long ago. And the Democrats are just too stupid to know that they've helped every step of the way.

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Sen. Ted Cruz announces his presidential bid

From the Houston Chronicle:

It was like any other Monday convocation on Liberty University's sprawling campus, except the students were handed little American flags to wave on their way in the double-glass doors.

Though attendance was mandatory for the school's resident students, Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz faced a rapt audience as he launched his long-expected bid for the presidency under the Vine Center's vast, 10,000-seat white dome.

"I believe God isn't done with America," Cruz said to a raucous standing ovation. "I believe in you. I believe in the power of millions of courageous conservatives rising up to reignite the promise of America. And that's why today I am announcing that I am running for president of the United States."


More here.

This is incredibly pleasing to me!

That might sound counter-intuitive given that I'm obviously more liberal than most of the Democratic Party, but just follow the reasoning here. Given that Cruz is such a far right nut job, given that a lot of Tea Party far right nut jobs really dig his far right bullshit, and given that Tea Party types are probably the most likely group to show up to the Republican primaries, all other Republican candidates are going to have to match his nuttiness so as to appeal to all these Republican nuts. I mean, if they want to win.

That is, he's going to draw the GOP primaries further to the right than I can recall happening in my lifetime. You thought the 2012 Republican primaries were an exercise in lunacy? Just wait until next year. Applauding for the highest death penalty tally or young men without health insurance dying from motorcycle crashes will appear civilized in comparison.

And this will all be entertaining enough, in itself, to watch the Confederate Party wave its private parts around for all to see. But it means a virtual lock on the White House for the Democrats.

Cruz won't win the primary, but his rhetoric will assure that whatever relatively "moderate" establishment candidate who does win will necessarily be tainted by having had to appeal to Cruz Republicans. Same thing happened to Romney, really. He had to be a nut for GOP primary voters, and then turn around in the general election and somehow explain that he didn't really mean all that crazy shit.

Actually, Romney didn't even try. Instead, he just lied about it, pretended he didn't go there. It so took Obama by surprise in that first debate that the President was said to have "lost." But, man, what do you do when your opponent just lies straight to your face, and the nation, on live TV?

In the end, lying didn't work, either. The damage was already done. Romney embraced the psycho-conservative world view, if only for a few months, and he just couldn't shake it. So he lost.

Cruz is going to make this dynamic all the more solid. With him in the race, it will be IMPOSSIBLE for a Republican to win the Oval Office. So congratulations to Hillary, or whoever! Four more years of Democratic rule!

You heard it here.

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

‘Just how we roll’

From Raw Story:

The fiance of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s daughter, Bristol, is defending a photograph he posted of himself playing with an infant while a handgun sits on a nearby table, The Daily Mail‘s Chris Spargo reports.

More here.

I just...I'm...wow. The Palin clan continues to render me speechless from time to time. But seriously, if you can't even get the poster family for absolutist gun rights to behave in a safe and reasonable way, well, then who the hell are the "responsible gun owners" out there we always hear about when discussing outrageous acts of gun stupidity? Yes, yes, I know "stupidity" is a word often associated with the Palin family, but still. You'd think they'd have their shit together on this. Apparently not.

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Saturday, March 21, 2015

FRANK ZAPPA FRIDAY AND 70S POP MONDAY ON SATURDAY

Two of my facebook features exported to Real Art.




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Friday, March 20, 2015

FRIDAY CAT BLOGGING

Winkie


Be sure to check out Modulator's Friday Ark for more cat blogging pics!

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Misinformed USA: Why average Americans vote for Republicans

From the Examiner:

I once sat down and spoke with an acquaintance of mine, trying to get a grip on what people are thinking about the future of our country. He said he voted for Mitt Romney in 2012 because, "we need a business person to get our debt down." I asked where he got his news and information from, and after trying to deflect from the question, the answer finally came. "I don't pay attention too much, but when I do, I watch Fox." Fox News is the primary source for information for millions of Americans across the country and that's where the problem starts.

More here.

I observed to a friend the other day the bizarre and shameful paradox about how so many politicians and "serious people" all think it would be just grand to get Americans to sink their Social Security savings into Wall Street.  I mean, nice idea, right?  You get all those stock market gains that you don't get with the SS trust fund.  More money for everybody!  Yay!

Of course, there is such a thing as a bear market, which becomes particularly pernicious when Wall Street goes to Vegas and loses the way it likes to do every couple of decades or so, so maybe dropping everybody's retirement money into Wall Street isn't such a good idea. 

But the REAL problem with this idea is that it assumes a nation full of savvy investors, who understand bullshit market games, and are willing to watch all that shit, make important moves when necessary, and so on.  Needless to say, we are NOT a nation full of savvy investors and Wall Street wolves.  Rather, the vast majority of us are just regular people who work for a living, and that's usually the main focus of our lives, and boning up on investment in adult life is just out of reach for most of us.  For that matter, the schools don't even try to teach us the ins and outs of investing, anyway.  So most of us just don't know a damned thing about Wall Street, which makes us the PERFECT INVESTORS from the finance industry's perspective: a bunch of stupid hick rubes handing over our money.

What could possibly go wrong?  Obviously, lots.

But the discussion on this topic in these terms continues, almost always without mentioning these obvious problems with the idea.  And that's just about how it is for the entire American public discourse on politics.  It's truly messed up, with incorrect "facts," faulty reasoning, unfounded assumptions, complete with generous helpings of head-in-assed stupidity.

The linked Examiner essay asserts that this is why so many non-wealthy Americans vote Republican, in spite of how this harms their own personal interests.  And the essay names names as far as who's exactly behind this: there is DEFINITELY a network of well financed institutions in this country existing for the sole purpose of disseminating misinformation benefiting extraordinarily wealthy and influential organizations and individuals.  I would personally throw into the mix the public schools' unwillingness and inability to address any subject or idea at all that might in any way disrupt this campaign of disinformation.  A sort of two-pronged front, bad information combined with ineffective schooling.

This is real.  There really are lots of people who want to make us stupid morons, and they do a pretty damned good job at it.  I mean, they're SO good at it that they even affect for the worse the political perceptions of liberals and Democrats.  I mean, how many liberals worry about the federal budget deficit?  Yeah, exactly.  Lots.

In the end, my own belief is that people's personal sense of identity causes them to favor the politics they favor, rather than ideology.  Liberals don't like icky yucky rednecks; conservatives don't like filthy bossy hippies.  That comes first; ideology comes second.

But it cannot be denied that straight-up propaganda plays a significant role with all of this.  If you really want some bullshit to support your own bullshit, you can find it with just a few keystrokes, and such bullshit is the meat and potatoes of Washington discourse.

This nation continues to be on the verge of total intellectual collapse.  A precondition for the collapse of civilization.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Most of America’s rich think the poor have it easy

From the WaPo opinion section:

Why the surprising lack of compassion? It's hard to say. At the very top, the sentiment is likely tied to conservatism, which traditionally bemoans government programs that redistribute wealth, calling them safety nets. Some 40 percent of the financially secure are politically conservative, according to Pew. And conservatives are even more likely to say the "poor have it easy" than the rich — a recent Pew survey found that more than three quarters of conservatives feel that way.

More here.

One of the big reasons this country is so f'd up: apparently, having lots of money interferes with the brain's synaptic pathways. And people with lots of money own and operate the country. So we're screwed.  As usual.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Ohio’s Voter Fraud Investigation Finds Almost Nothing

From RH Reality Check:

Ohio Secretary Jon Husted’s office announced last week that his ongoing investigation into voter fraud has identified 27 people who are not citizens, but voted in Ohio elections. An earlier report by Husted’s office found that 17 “non-citizens” had cast ballots, adding up to a total of 44 illegally cast ballots since 2012.

Given these numbers, a mere 0.000006 percent of the 7.7 million registered voters in Ohio cast illegal ballots. Despite the miniscule numbers, Husted hailed the efforts as a success.


More here.


Here's what I wrote when I posted this article on facebook:

Just another reminder that Republican efforts to mandate voter ID laws in various states are not only totally full of shit in themselves, but also a cynical disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of minority voters.  It's also about cheating and circumventing democracy.

I'll be more straightforward:  1) Republicans are lying about voter fraud at the ballot box. 2) Republicans are depriving black and brown Americans of their right to vote. 3) Republicans know they can't win fair elections so they cheat.

As this latest study in Ohio, among numerous other studies, shows, there is virtually no voter fraud of the variety Republican voter ID laws would ostensibly prevent.  What little fraud that actually does exist is so inconsequential that it wouldn't affect any elections one way or the other.  So Republicans are just lying about this.  Totally lying.

And they're doing it so they can steal elections and keep black people from voting.  So they're both anti-American and racist when they do this evil shit.

Conservatives, if you're going to try to argue with me on this, please try to have some real arguments and real evidence, okay?  Fox News is fine, but it has to be a real article, citing real studies and data.  But good luck on this; there are no studies showing significant amounts of voter fraud.  Really, you've already lost the argument before you've even started.

But I will listen to you make a fool of yourself if you like. 
Excelsior!

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Monday, March 16, 2015

GOP Sen. Ron Johnson: It costs too much to fund the VA

From Daily Kos:

The war on terror started on September 11, 2001. Congressional leadership has had almost 13 years to build up the VA with enough staff and facilities to care for the wounded from two wars. After news broke that the VA was failing our veterans, the Senate finally began to act. A bill was brought to the Senate floor that would allow the VA to contract with private medical facilities, enabling veterans facing long waits to get quicker treatment. The VA would also be able to use $500 million from its current budget to hire more medical staff. While I do not agree with allowing veterans to go to private medical facilities, this bill was a good start. The organization clearly needs more doctors, more nurses, more staff, more facilities. Only three senators voted against this bill. Of those three, one of them is my senator, Ron Johnson (R-WI).

Sen. Johnson said that he couldn’t support the bill because of its cost—$35 billion the first two years and $50 billion per year after that, according to a preliminary estimate by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.


More here.

As with other important social services, we do, in fact, have the money. We always have the money. America is an amazingly, overwhelmingly, drastically wealthy nation. We have the money to do all kinds of things without sending the nation to the poorhouse. All we have to do is take it, in taxes from the insanely rich, or from corporate welfare and crony capitalist tax breaks, whatever. The money's there.

It's just a straight up lie to claim that we can't pay for the Veteran's Administration.

But, you know, even if one could convincingly make the assertion that we don't have enough money to pay for the VA, it just wouldn't matter. It would still be a top, maybe THE top, priority to FIND the money. Because this country fucking OWES veterans.

We send them into harm's way, we send them to throw their bodies into the line of fire for us, for this country. We owe them everything. I mean, this has nothing to do with whether one agrees with the conflict in which our soldiers fight. I think Iraq/Afghanistan was over-the-top stupidity, myself. But all these men and women went because they were ordered to do so. Because they love this country so much that they're willing to sacrifice themselves for it. We must treasure this level of dedication.

It's a no-brainer. We take care of our veterans. Period. So fuck this Senator Johnson guy. Fuck him HARD. Supporting the troops fucking means supporting the troops. For life.

Fucking asshole.

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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Natalie Maines Is Still Not Ready to Make Nice

From CMT:

Taking to her Twitter account Tuesday, Maines addressed the incident again, and it looks like she’s still standing her ground.

Just so you know,12 years ago today,over half of this country had lost their minds and some questioned my knowitallness.
More here.

This incident, probably more than any other single event, made crystal clear to me just how insane the nation had become after 9/11. I mean, it wasn't just this. Lots of other psycho stuff going on around the same time. But the blackballing of the Dixie Chicks probably symbolizes best the weird Stalinist and Orwellian attitudes embraced by Americans in their irrational and xenophobic terror.

I continue to be extraordinarily disappointed in my country by all that. We failed as a people.


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Saturday, March 14, 2015

FRANK ZAPPA FRIDAY AND 70S POP MONDAY ON SATURDAY

Two of my facebook features exported to Real Art.




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Friday, March 13, 2015

FRIDAY CAT BLOGGING: Yet Another Special Canine Edition!

Lola


Be sure to check out Modulator's Friday Ark for more cat blogging pics!

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Ark. Rep. Justin Harris Had Daughters’ Demons ‘Exorcised’ Before ‘Rehoming’ Them With A Rapist

From Wonkette:

The sad, ugly saga of Justin Harris and the “rehoming” of his two adopted daughters just morphed into a B-movie horror flick. According to several people who knew the Harrises, the super-Christian Arkansas state rep. and his wife, Marsha, believed the young girls were possessed by demons and hired “specialists” to drive Satan from the children’s tiny bodies. They also kept their six-year-old adoptive daughter locked and isolated in her toyless room with just a video camera to watch her so she couldn’t “communicate telepathically” with her four-year-old sister. 

More here.

How do you tell people, people who desperately need to hear it, that bizarre religious beliefs are good and fine in the abstract, but not when they endanger other people's lives? I mean, okay, believe whatever crazy shit you want. But please, please, PLEASE have enough awareness of physical reality such that you don't take anyone else down with you!

I might as well be talking to a rock.

The ones who need to understand this will never listen to a damned thing I have to say. So people will continue to be abused, tortured, even killed, because religious beliefs are sacred, and not to be questioned, because I'm an asshole if I do.
Whatever. There is no such thing as demonic possession. At least, not in this reality, and by "this reality," I mean reality. If someone is acting like he's possessed, get him to a mental health facility ASAP. I'm freaking horrified. And this psychotic thing in Arkansas is only one example among thousands of what I'm talking about.

For that matter, Jews have about as much right to Palestine as Arabs do.


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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Joe Biden Blasts Republicans for Letter to Iran

From Mother Jones:

"In thirty-six years in the United States Senate, I cannot recall another instance in which Senators wrote directly to advise another country—much less a longtime foreign adversary— that the President does not have the constitutional authority to reach a meaningful understanding with them. This letter sends a highly misleading signal to friend and foe alike that that our Commander-in-Chief cannot deliver on America’s commitments—a message that is as false as it is dangerous.
 

The decision to undercut our President and circumvent our constitutional system offends me as a matter of principle. As a matter of policy, the letter and its authors have also offered no viable alternative to the diplomatic resolution with Iran that their letter seeks to undermine."

More here

As Lawrence O'Donnell observed on his MSNBC show last night, this latest Republican scheme is in all likelihood NOT treason, as some of the more excitable Democrat-oriented observers have been proclaiming these last couple of days. According to O'Donnell, treason can occur only when an official enemy exists, during a legally declared war. Because we have not been in a legally declared war since around 1945, there can be no treason. So the forty seven Republican Senators who signed this thing are not traitors.

This does, however, look and smell like a massive violation of the Constitutional principle of "separation of powers" between the three branches of the federal government. According to Article Two, Section Three, Clause Four of the US Constitution, the President, and only the President, is to receive all foreign ambassadors, which for about two hundred years has effectively meant that the Oval Office is the official mouthpiece for America when it comes to diplomatic relations with other nations.

This GOP letter out of the Senate appears to be a Congressional attempt to "receive ambassadors," that is, to speak diplomatically for the nation, seemingly horning in on executive territory. It's essentially the same thing as if the White House tried to create law, or if the Supreme Court decided to run the FBI, the NSA, the FDA, the SEC, and so on.

Of course, the Republican dominated Congress is currently arguing that Obama's recent executive orders on immigration are horning in on their territory, but that's another story which is now playing itself out in court, which simply adds to my strong sense that conservatives love to project and then accuse. But I digress.

Anyway, I don't really know, for sure, if this letter is a violation of the "separation of powers," or if just looks like one; the courts should probably be working this out, too--we'll see if the White House has the balls to sue. But I do know one thing FOR SURE: this is the most dickish move Republicans have made since the impeachment.

And that's really saying something because there's A LOT of competition in this field. Jeb Bush stealing the 2000 election for his brother, the SCOTUS GOP majority blessing the whole thing with an unsigned and inexplicable decision installing W in the Oval Office, invading Iraq based on lies, Katrina, various government shutdowns, expecting the country to take Sarah Palin seriously, downgrading the US bond rating, piggish and insulting language about women, Citizens United, I mean, the list of candidates for most dickish Republican move since the impeachment goes on and on and on.

But I think this letter wins it pretty easily. In a single gesture, the Republican Party makes this country look like total trailer trash, meth addicted inbred toothless bikers arguing about stupid bullshit on reality television, mugging for the cameras, trying to hit on their old ladies' underage daughters without getting caught. I mean, this is a national embarrassment, the likes of which we haven't seen for nearly twenty years.

The GOP has really outdone itself with this one. I'd congratulate them, but, you know, no I won't. Because they suck.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

EVERYBODY SHOULD SUPPORT ABORTION RIGHTS!

Hey fundamentalist Christians, I hope you're all aware that the legal principle making it unconstitutional for the government to keep women from having abortions is also the same principle making it unconstitutional for the Anti-Christ to tattoo us all with the mark of the Beast. I mean, who makes decisions about what happens to your body, you or the Anti-Christ?

Just a thought.


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Monday, March 09, 2015

Could a Selma-like protest happen today? Probably not

From the LA Times:

Protesters are relegated to 'designated speech zones,' sometimes blocks or miles from the venue. The federal courts have sustained such regulations as justifiable security measures. The purpose and effect of these regulations, however, is to render the protesters invisible.

To be sure, governments permit large organized marches when they want to. But the more pertinent question is this: Must a government allow large-scale protests when it would prefer not to?


More here.

This is total bullshit. It also stands as stark and depressing evidence that this country is much less free, much less democratic, than it used to be. Public demonstrations are the very essence of democracy. But government officials find them to be a nuisance, in virtually all cases, or, at least, all cases such that demonstrators disagree with government officials. And these days government officials, from the municipal level all the way up to the feds, get what they want. And that's total bullshit.

I am in a continual state of mourning for my country.

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Sunday, March 08, 2015

Elizabeth Warren causes DC freakout: Why the liberal hero has elite Washington in hysterics

From Salon:

As the Democratic caucuses in Congress have shrunk, and as Warren’s influence has grown, the elite’s anxiety over her rise has become almost palpable. I’ve lost track of the number of times one centrist pundit or another has called her the Ted Cruz of the left (which is never intended as a compliment). It was just this week, in fact, that a new group of “centrist” Democrats, “The New Democrat Coalition,” announced its plans to keep control of the party out of Warren’s hands. It’s all very predictable; but if you’re familiar with Warren’s views and her record, it simply doesn’t make sense.

More here.

My hope is that, one day, establishment figures in DC will begin to respond to what Warren actually has to say, instead of running to the fainting couch, smelling salts embedded deeply in nose, proclaiming endlessly "Oh my, oh my!" Bunch of wussies. Scared to death of fair debate.

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Saturday, March 07, 2015

FRANK ZAPPA FRIDAY AND 70S POP MONDAY ON SATURDAY

Two of my facebook features exported to Real Art.




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Friday, March 06, 2015

FRIDAY CAT BLOGGING

Frankie, Winkie, and Sammy


Be sure to check out Modulator's Friday Ark for more cat blogging pics!

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Thursday, March 05, 2015

Netanyahu Says Iran Deal Guarantees Nuclear Arms

From Bloomberg:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, directly challenging President Barack Obama in a speech to U.S. lawmakers, said an emerging agreement with Iran would backfire and ensure the Islamic Republic gains a nuclear arsenal. 

“That deal would not prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons -- it would all but guarantee that Iran gets those weapons, lots of them,” Netanyahu said Tuesday in Washington, speaking to a joint meeting of the U.S. House and Senate in an effort to head off an accord being negotiated between Iran and world powers. “It paves Iran’s path to the bomb.” 

More here.

Hey, Netanyahu, are you really serious about wanting Iran to give up its attempts to get a nuke? This will work: dismantle your own already existing nuclear arsenal, which you've had aimed at Iran for decades. 

Yeah. Right. I didn't think so.

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Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail address at State reinforces everything people don’t like about her

From the Washington Post:

The New York Times' report Monday night that Hillary Clinton never used an official government e-mail address during her time as secretary of state, a possible violation of requirements for federal officials to archive their correspondence, is a perfect storm of political bad news for the soon-to-be presidential candidate.

Why? Because it reminds and reinforces for people many of the traits that they do not like in the Clintons while also suggesting a level of hubris that is very dangerous for someone who is the biggest non-incumbent frontrunner for a presidential nomination in modern political history.


More here.

This is serious. Hillary's got a LOT of explaining to do. And, regardless of her defense, it seems like she has to be either incompetent or up to something sinister, that is, stupid or evil. Neither scenario looks good for a presidential candidate.

Dealing with her husband's "bimbo eruptions" is political child's play compared to what she's facing right now.

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Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Officials: US report finds racial bias in Ferguson police

From the AP via the Houston Chronicle:

A Justice Department investigation found sweeping patterns of racial bias within the Ferguson, Missouri, police department, with officers routinely discriminating against blacks by using excessive force, issuing petty citations and making baseless traffic stops, according to law enforcement officials familiar with its findings.

The report, to be released as soon as Wednesday, marks the culmination of a months-long investigation into a police department that federal officials have described as troubled and that commanded national attention after one of its officers shot and killed an unarmed black man, 18-year-old Michael Brown, last summer.

It chronicles discriminatory practices across the city's criminal justice system, detailing problems from initial encounters with patrol officers to treatment in the municipal court and jail.
 

More here.

To all you conservatives out there who excoriated the Ferguson demonstrators, who continually exclaimed that the police there were "just doing their jobs," who did everything they could to hijack or destroy the "black lives matter" national discussion, instead of joining the chorus of decent Americans calling for racial justice: YOU WERE WRONG.

Tragically, terribly wrong.

The police in Ferguson were NOT doing their jobs.  Rather, they were oppressing black people.  And they had been doing so quite actively for a very long time before Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown.  Indeed, the militaristic police response to the first round of demonstrations, complete with combat fatigues, armored vehicles, and heavy weaponry, was no fluke, no mistake, not bad judgment.  It was par for the course, living breathing evidence of the Ferguson criminal justice system's dominance of black Ferguson citizens.  Just another day at work for the local PD.

"Why are they setting fire to buildings?" you asked, again and again, in a self righteous tone.  Well, I'll tell you why.  Destroying things is what you do when you are oppressed.  Oppression breeds destruction.  Destruction is an entirely rational reaction to a society that is literally out to get you.  You don't want this kind of destruction?  Then don't oppress people.  Pretty simple.

All of this was pretty obvious at the time, too.  We didn't need this DOJ report to tell us.  It was completely clear.  What gets me is how so many, many white Americans just made knee-jerk decisions to lambaste the people of Ferguson and side with "law and order."  What's up with that?  We're Americans.  We're supposed to be a people who love justice.  And it was TOTALLY obvious that there was GREAT injustice in Ferguson.  But no.  Huge numbers of white Americans rejected justice, and did everything they could to warp and twist public discourse about the topic.

You were wrong.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.  I strongly suggest that you all take a long hard look in the mirror and try to figure out why, exactly, you failed so horribly on this.  What made you decide to believe that injustice is actually "justice"?  And, more importantly, how will you stop yourself from doing it again?

Do you even want to stop yourself from doing it again?


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Sunday, March 01, 2015

4-year-old fatally shoots self with gun at babysitter's house

From the Houston Chronicle:

A 4-year-old fatally shot himself Sunday morning with a gun he found at his babysitter's house in north Harris County, officials said.

Relatives said the boy's mother, Ashley Beal, had left him overnight with a babysitter so she could celebrate her birthday. Authorities aren't sure how Codrick Beal found the gun in the home in the  1900 block of Imperial Stone Drive.

"It's just a terrible accident," Leticia Beal, a cousin of Ashley Beal, said in tears. "We see it all the time on the news but you never think it'll hit home. It's the most horrible thing."

More here.

Guns don't kill people. People kill people. In this case, it was a four year old who was obviously bound and determined to kill himself. So if there had been no gun in his babysitter's house, this depraved and suicidal killer four year old would have easily found some other way to kill himself. Maybe a knife or baseball bat or sharpened pacifier or something.

One thing's for sure, though. You cannot stop criminals like this four year old from getting guns if they really want them. Nor can you stop them from killing even when they can't get guns. They'll just find another weapon. Because guns don't kill people. People kill people.

The moral lesson here is obvious. Make guns freely available to everyone and we'll have a polite society and we'll always have guns to stop the bad guy. And we'll all live happily ever after.

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Saturday, February 28, 2015

IT'S EMERSON, LAKE, AND PALMER WEEK!

For me, anyway.  On Facebook.  So no Frank Zappa Friday and 70s Pop Monday on Saturday this weekend.  Instead, here are a couple of ELP posts.


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Friday, February 27, 2015

FRIDAY CAT BLOGGING

Sammy


Be sure to check out Modulator's Friday Ark for more cat blogging pics!

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